Horse Racing Tips Australia

Betfair Trading Strategy

Betfair Race Trading Strategy.
Step By Step Guide For Betting Exchange Success: Part 1

What I am going to outline over this series of articles is a method that can be used successfully for trading horses on Betfair.

I guarantee this method works and will make you a profit with minimal financial risk to your overall betting pot. If you stick rigidly to the rules!!

I am going to have to make qualifying statements because if you don't stick carefully to the rules and instructions, you will lose money over the long term.

My qualifications are as below:

+ 5 years as a traditional horse racing punter (loser overall)
+ 2 years of Betfair punting breaking even.
+ 6 months using my finely tuned trading method (overall profit)

Why am I giving away this information, wont it affect my profits?

I'm sure you've seen these sort of statements before on your own research into Betfair.

There are betting systems galore presented on the internet. Everyone claims their system is the only one that works.

Surprisingly, the standard answer to this question for once is actually true, and I will attempt to explain why.

Similarly to the Stock Market trading or scalping on Betfair relies totally on liquidity and volatility or in layman's terms. CASH and NEWS!!

The more cash flowing through any financial trading system the more bull and bear trends are followed and therefore exaggerated. This in turn leads to trends being more defined and longer lasting and so becoming easier to trade.

With more cash attempting to trade these peaks and troughs bigger bets can be matched and so on and so forth.

These systems are self perpetuating until the bubble created by buyers matching sellers, in other words demand matching supply, bursts!!

And what is the initial trigger for a trend up or down or a sharp change of direction?

Well in the Stock Market there are a variety of different factors, but ultimately the sharp price movements are all triggered by NEWS.

Okay, this news may come from a thousand different sources i.e profit warnings, changing fundamentals such as account statements and balance sheets, movements of the related exchange index, all the way down to things as spurious as hurricane warnings, terror attacks and the interest rate.

Trading the Stock Market, it's extremely difficult for the average punter to follow these sources of news 24/7 and piece them together because they come from so many different angles and by the time you hear about them the market is often already pricing in the news.

You are competing against multi billion pound corporations, banks and pension funds, guys in the city who are paid huge sums to trade this information. Robots and multi-million dollar auto-trading computerized facilities compete for every penny.

Unless you are sitting in a news conference with a laptop and wi-fi you will never beat these markets.

The news can happen at any time of day or night meaning you can wake to find you've missed an important piece of news and your Stock has plummeted at opening time.

The reason Betfair is the perfect "trading" medium is due to the massive volatility involved in horse racing, and enough liquidity around the top horses in a race.

A horse race is also a defined entity with prices starting the night before, a race start and a race end i.e. the Stock exists essentially for less than a day. The market is too volatile and unpredictable for the big players. It is a collection of small players like yourself pitting their wits against each other and the system.

The racing prices given early in the day reflect purely a historical paper-based assessment of a horses chances as viewed by the bookmaker, but as the day wears on "news" begins to move prices rapidly, and as the horses start "going down" the action really takes off.

Prices at 10/1 in the morning can be 5/1 or 20/1 by the time the horses are entering the stalls.

This is where the experienced confident trader can really scalp the market and make guaranteed profits depending on their expertise.

Before you get carried away with this information, beware!

The real challenge in horse trading is as always the crucial missing link in the chain that other so-called "experts" always forget to tell you.

"knowing" which race and which horse price are going to move to a significant enough degree to cover the market spread and so allow you to trade.

Steaming is the movement of horse prices downward. Drifting is the reverse. Movement of horse prices upwards.

It is possible to trade in both directions. Most professional traders however look for steamers as this is where you will get the greatest liquidity due to lack of backers on horses which are drifting for obvious reasons.

This is where most trading "advisers" and book writers and manuals leave you. Like most promises of wealth and success on the internet, there's hype more hype a little bit of advertising and then a tiny nugget of an idea at the end which has cost you £200.

Later I will be showing you exactly how I go about looking for steamers that I can get on early enough to guarantee a worthwhile profit for my efforts.

As you learn and refine your own trading style and expertise you will get a feel of your own for steamers. Everything else is academic and can be taught, the art of finding a steamer and timing your trades is just something you develop and learn by practice.

Innovate, experiment, and learn by doing. Take the pain of losing bets and always ruminate, cogitate and digest the information as to what went wrong and why.

This is the only way you will learn to identify steamers and trade them effectively.

FACT: The more people using these and any other methods and systems on Betfair the better for everyone.

For every punter that I teach to win, there will be a hundred others who will be using this and/or other systems.

90% of people attempting to learn and follow a system will ignore a lot of the rules and caveats, or won't be as good or determined as the top 10%.

Therefore they will lose their money, which then in turn becomes available for you to win!!

Let us get one thing straight about Betfair:

When you begin to win then the money you will receive is being taken from losing punters.

Betfair is just a MEDIUM, hence the phrase "EXCHANGE" that matches your money directly with money from another punter or punters with an opposing view about an event.

If you are backing an "event" to win then the money you are wagering is matched against another who is "laying" the event to lose.

To really understand Betfair trading we need to understand the benefits of liquidity and volatility to experienced traders, and to do this we will use an example of liquidity and volatility in action in the Stock Market.

In my next article I will be looking at a recent FTSE 100 Stock situation to demonstrate a perfect example of volatility and liquidity in the Stock Market and how professional traders make easy money by disseminating vital news in advance of the market.

About the Author: Mike J Davies - Mike is a Computer Analyst, Day trader on the LSE, and a Betfair Trader and Advisor. 

Betfair Race Trading Strategy:
Part 2: Liquidity, Cash, News, Volatility And The Herd Mentality.

One of the biggest Stock Market losers of recent times came in the form of a UK owned online casino operator

Listed in June 2005, it was one of the London Stock Exchange’s (LSE) biggest offerings since 2000.

Investors splashed out $1.9 billion, all going to the founders rather than the company itself.

Operating from computers in a Native American territory in Canada, the company drew nearly 90% of its revenue from U.S. residents, where online gambling has always been officially illegal.

The company made no attempt to physically hide these facts in its prospectus, stating openly that its directors "take an apparent unwillingness or inability" of authorities to enforce the available legislation.

That changed overnight on Oct. 13 of this year, when the U.S. officially banned, outright, money transfers to offshore gambling sites, stating in black and white its prohibition and intent with regards to foreign online casinos flouting their rules.

First news of the legislation hit the UK on Sept 29 and Shares of the company plunged 56% on the LSE.

A spokesman for the company said “the original owners still hold 70% of the stock and have suffered too”, oh dear!

Too Risky for the US

Jeffrey R. Houle, a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig put the disaster in perspective stating clearly that such companies wouldn’t even be allowed to go public in the U.S.

“The Securities & Exchange Commission wouldn't have been satisfied with the risk disclosure in the prospectus. The threat of class actions would have been another obstacle.”

The tale however sad is a great analogy to use in understanding the essential relationships of Liquidity (cash) and Volatility (news) in relation to trading on horse races.

Floating on the London Exchange in 2005, the online casino magnet proved an irresistible pull for the world’s media; Exciting and glam, a great “gamblers” punt destined for huge and rapid expansion. They loved it. High tech, high risk, the return of the dotcom stock destined for global expansion. Sound familiar?

Indeed, all too familiar to experienced traders who will still remember the dotcom boom and bust between 1997-2001 with glee or despair depending on their personal outcome.

Brokers and the Herd Mentality

Papers, magazines, tipster sheets all waded in with strong “buy” recommendations. Online poker was all over the internet.

Within weeks of flotation it’s a big player in the FTSE 100, the LSE’s flagship index, worth over £9 billion.

Punters piled in again, despite small print warnings about the illegality of internet gambling being openly disclosed in black and white in the prospectus.

Not to mention the legislation being touted around and drawn up by the US senate.

The share price rose like wildfire from a float of 116p to a high of 176p. Just for the record that’s 66 % on your investment in a matter of weeks.

This is indeed a classic example of the herd mentality moving market prices.

The REAL point here is that the herd mentality is magnified 100 times on Betfair.

Think about it this way.

If Stock Brokers, Pension Fund managers, Full time professional Day Traders can get it so wrong with so much information, experience, qualifications up to their eyeballs, what do you think is happening dozens of times a day on Betfair where the majority of people are just having a “fun punt”?

For experienced traders events like the online casino debacle are manna from heaven. Ride the bull up to 176, watch the technical charts for signs of a switch, and sell out quick.

Inexperienced traders sat and watched like rabbits frozen in the headlights. This is classic example that shows how only experience can assist in knowing when to sell a stock.

Here are a few mental debates that always prevent an inexperienced trader buying or selling:

1. The stock price is rising so I would be foolish to sell because it might go up some more?

2. The index won’t correct or crash will it; surely it will just keep going up. I’ll wait till it starts falling before I sell?

3. This stock has just plummeted; surely it is not a company worth buying into. Or conversely, the stock is soaring if I don’t buy in now I’m going to have lost out?

All 3 statements may seem logical on first glance, but to an experienced trader all 3 statements are fundamentally incorrect for 3 reasons which are just as simple as the statements are incorrect.

1. When supply of a stock outweighs demand at any given price, the price will fall and vice versa. It can be and still remains very difficult to pinpoint exactly when this will happen. Hundreds of theories abound, millions has been spent on research, and there are libraries full of literature. Nobody has found an effective solution to effectively predict the market.

2. News and events related or completely unrelated to your particular stock can happen at any time and can directly affect the stock or the index that pertains to your particular stock. This can have a huge effect on your stock price at any time. In the global economy, news can come in at any time, day or night, and can affect your stock price within minutes. Can you keep up with it all the time?

3. When a stock crashes, the effect of the “herd mentality” can leave it massively undervalued at which point although the stock may look like it is in the doldrums it has actually become a “Value” buy. This very much depends on the nature of the cause for the crash. If the firm is going bust then it is never going to be “Value”. Similarly when it soars, it can end up massively overvalued and in reality represents very poor value.

With all this conflicting information stacked against you, it becomes obvious why so many day traders fail and become disillusioned with the Stock Market, and why the Betting Exchanges are taking off the way they are.

A good knowledge of Technical Analysis (TA) and Fundamentals combined with personal experience of both winning and losing trades are the only ways to profit long term from liquidity and volatility.

For people interested in short term hedging and scalping who do not want the prolonged agony and uncertainty of having medium or long term trades open in the Stock Market, Horse Race trading with Betfair is becoming THE medium of choice.

• You can pick your race, your horse.

• You know the exact time of the race.

• You can open your trade in the morning and close it in the afternoon.

• You can open it 15 minutes before the race and close out when the horses are in the stalls.

• You can even wait till the race has started and take advantage of price swings that would make a day trader hide behind the sofa.

• At the end of each day you can log into your online Profit and Loss account and sleep tight, or cry into your whisky, depending on the outcome.

• There is no global economy. There are no hurricanes, earthquakes, interest rates or profit warnings. There is no setting the alarm clock for opening time and there is no watching a static stock for months waiting for the quarterly accounts.

All the Fundamentals are free online at and

There are free tools that I will show you how to use in order that you can do some basic Technical Analysis.

There are paid for tools for those who really want to take TA to another level.

The prices move so quickly that the absolute essentials are a real time charting facility, and the ability to fire trades into the market within microseconds, and I will show you a free tool that has these features.

Most importantly you will need some cash, an open mind, and some bottle.

Anyway just to finish off the hapless tale of the online casino operator.

Before the inexperienced trader heard the news and had their sell order in for the morning of Monday 2 October, the price had plummeted to 47p, a 56% drop, one of the biggest drops in Stock Market history.

The Moral: If you do not make liquidity and volatility your best friends as a trader, they will become truly feared enemies.

You have to identify a trend early, disseminate all the information and fundamentals, identify the risks, use Technical Analysis to get your trade timing correct, get in early before the herd stampedes and get out early before it peaks and they all run over the edge of the cliff.

If you think the Stock Market is volatile wait till you start trading horses.

About the Author: Mike J Davies - Mike is a Computer Analyst, Day trader on the LSE, and a Betfair Trader and Advisor. 

Betfair Race Trading Part 3: Stops, Spreads, The Rules And The Reality.

There are certain personality traits evident in all the best traders, whether on Stocks or Sports.

FACT: Not everyone is cut out to be a trader. Trading requires a certain personality type and attitude.

• You must be firm, logical assertive and decisive.
• You must be willing to accept and learn from your mistakes.
• You must be able to follow a system and accept the rules without question.
• You must be aggressive and quick in following your predictions.
• You must be humble enough to realize that you must NEVER fight the market.
• You must be able to accept LOSS without judgment or self loathing.

These are personality traits which can to some degree be learned, in that trading can be taught by a set of rules, but the core personality is either there or it is not.

The other thing which is always missing from trading manuals is:

The reality of trading “profits”

Your days profit will be defined by the profits from trading decisions you make that move in the correct direction minus the losses you make from trading decisions you make that turn against you minus the sales commission taken by the broker or the commission on profit taken by the exchange.

What is essential in trading is the insight to see quickly when a trade is going against you and work to a system that activates a “Stop Loss” at a set predetermined level that you MUST stick to.

As I talked about previously due to the extreme volatility of horse prices, what can be an early morning steamer can be a pre-race drifter with news coming out of the stable or via the trainer.

And particularly so when the horses start warming up, “going down”, and the on-course professionals get their first look at the runners and riders.

You HAVE to accept this as part of the sport. If you have already backed the horse and it starts drifting, you HAVE to Lay it off when the price reaches your predetermined Stop Loss.

You can of course leave a trade alone once it moves against you, and pray that your horse wins or loses depending on whether you opened with a Back or a Lay, but this strategy is a form of recreation known as “Gambling” which is a different kettle of fish altogether.

In setting a Stop Loss it is important to understand the concept of Market Spread.

In Stock Market terminology the “Buy” price of any given stock is always higher than the “Sell” price at all times. So it can be seen that the Sell price has to move to a significant enough degree that it is higher than the Buy price you paid in order for you to make any profit at all.

The difference between the “Buy” price and the “Sell” price is the Market Spread.

The situation is analogous but slightly different with Betfair.

You will see that at any given time the Lay price is higher than the Back price and so the Back price has to move to a significant enough degree that it is higher than the Lay price you paid, or conversely, the Lay price must move such that it is lower than the Back price you paid in order that your trade can possibly make any profit.

In reality we tend to work in such a manner that we are looking to Back horses at what appear to be unjustifiably long odds and hope that the horse begins to “steam” in, making the price shorten as more money comes in to Back it.

This will simultaneously pull the Lay price down with it and we can “Lay the horse off” to lock in a guaranteed profit, as I will demonstrate later.

As you learn to trade you will begin to notice that you win more than you lose as you start instinctively identifying and following common patterns.

As you become more experienced at spotting trends you will spot patterns earlier and act on them more quickly and more decisively.

I think it is important to remember that when you are winning you are taking money from punters who are less experienced and see the patterns too late or haven’t the insight to act on current available data, or have just made an incorrect decision on an event.

It may sound harsh, but that’s trading, and if you don’t win there is only one other option available.

Fact 1: Betfair pays on average 15-20% higher odds than traditional bookmakers.
Fact 2: More people make a profit on Betfair than they do with traditional bookmakers.
Fact 3: Losing punters lose less money with Betfair than they do with traditional bookmakers.
Fact 4: Between 80 and 90% of people using Betfair STILL lose money overall.

Yes, there it is, for all the internet hype, the bravado, the marketeers with their egos telling you this and that about the “Pot of Gold” that is Betfair and the Betting Exchanges.

The truth lies somewhere in the 4 facts above as stated.

By making statements about the “Pot of Gold” they are boosting liquidity via inquisitive short and medium term punters who are either transient or go on to get hooked.

Believe you me, this stuff is powerful, addictive and groundbreaking.

The technology is very advanced, reliable, exciting and innovative.

Because of the liquidity which it generates, even traditional on-course bookies and the large high street chains are using Betfair to hedge against large losses while on course when their books drift out of balance.

Watch the huge wagers coming in one minute before the off. This is the real big players and the bookies balancing their books.

It is very important to remember that trading is still essentially gambling.

Although you are not directly betting on the winner or loser of a race, you are still gambling that a price will move in the direction predicted, if you get it wrong your trade can only possibly lock in a loss rather than a profit meaning essentially that you have lost before the race has even started.

This is a particularly unenviable situation to experience. These are the type of occasions when you will see red and start making rash, uninformed decisions on nags that have 2 hopes. Bob and No!

Chasing your losses will only lead to the poor house, but we have all done it. If you cannot handle LOSS then you are the wrong personality type for trading or any other form of gambling and should keep your money in a high interest savings account.

If you make ill considered wagers, like anywhere else, you will lose money and if you are losing a lot of money the attraction will soon wear off, and Betfair will STOP being fun and profitable.

Who are the 10 -20% of winners and what are their common features?

• They are full or part time professionals

• They are experienced recreational gamblers

• They are often traders using all the tips, tricks, information resources and experience at their disposal.

• They often use powerful hardware and professional custom software and are prepared to lose money initially to learn their trade.

• They may use Satellite Information Services to watch the events live and gain an extra edge.

• They practice, hone and develop their skills and learn from their own mistakes.

• They practice a “series” of rigid systems that DO NOT ALLOW FUN BETS.

• They perfect their skills on one system and one sport before moving onto another.

So why Trading, rather than Dutching, Backing or Laying?

In my next article I will outline the various betting mechanisms available through Betfair, why they are so exciting and innovative, and why a lot of punters looking for long term profitability often come back to Trading.

There are punters doing well with Dutching Backing and Laying, but as I said before these strategies are more generally known as “Gambling”.

Gambling is innately a higher risk, higher reward, and higher octane type of strategy that I will be talking about in the future.

What I want to concentrate on first is “Trading”.

I will talk about the psychology behind online gambling and the discipline required to become one of the 20 % rather than the 80 %.

I will then move onto the rules of my Trading System that will enable you to start scalping, trading and hedging on Betfair to beat your opponents and set up an artery pumping cash directly from their account to yours.

About the Author: Mike J Davies - Mike is a Computer Analyst, Day trader on the LSE, and a Betfair Trader and Advisor. 

Betfair Race Trading: Pt 4.
Laying, Backing And Dutching. Pots Of Gold Or Pots Of Pain.


A lot of new customers to Betfair are attracted by the prospect of a new style of bet; namely, “Laying”, which is being allowed to back the loser of your chosen sport or event.

In relation to horse racing, this is known as “Laying” a horse i.e. Backing it to lose the race.

Laying a horse to lose is effectively the direct opposite of backing it to win.

It has actually always been possible to do this via a traditional bookmakers by backing every horse in the race to win using a “Dutching” mechanism, except of course the horse that you want to lose.

The result being, that whichever horse wins the race, as long as it is not the one you chose as the one you want to lose, you will make a set amount of profit.

To do this in a real life situation in a bookmakers as the horses are at the post, you have to be a mathematical savant or some other form of genius, and you may also get a rather strange look from the staff at Ladbrokes.

The Betfair computers take all the aggro out of “Laying” your selection. They do all the math and present you with a single decimal odd for laying your selection.

Laying horses can be attractive and profitable to seasoned professionals who attend race meets and can visibly see a horse directly before a race.

Satellite Information Services are available for those with an enormous budget, but even so, they may not focus directly on the horse you are interested in so may not give you any real clues pre race.

Let me explain the problem with “Laying” using an analogy.

You have a favorite at 3/1 in your Maiden Handicap at Chepstow, the field is large, 12 riders and there are 3 or 4 strong contenders in this race all bunched at around 4’s and 5’s

This is a terrible race to try and lay select and I will explain why.

The professional lay punter will go to the paddock 15 minutes before the race just as the horses are going down and will see that the favourite in this race is in fact very nervy, the eyes are jumping, the sweat has turned into white foam, the head is down and he refuses to canter or gallop.

Meanwhile the other 3 contenders are lightly sweating with a glossy shiny coat and bright steady eyes. They are cantering and galloping around with their heads and ears pricked up.

A professional punter now has about 2 minutes to phone Betfair or use his wireless laptop and get a large lay on the “out-of-sorts” favorite before the hobby punters, the on course bookies and TV cameras catch on, and the price on this horse starts drifting, first with the on course bookies, then Betfair and then the internet bookies.

This is what you are up against trying to outwit the professionals, the bookies, the market and Betfair. It can be done, but please heed my words of caution.

Without seeing the runners and riders before this race, it would be impossible to say with any certainty which of the major contenders is going to win and which will lose, and the main problem with laying is the enormous cost of paying for the rest of the field should your lay selection go on to win.

Always remember the comparison with Dutching in that you are betting on every other horse in the race to win with wagers that return an equal amount whichever horse wins.

In other words, should the horse you left out of the Dutch win you have to pay for every other horse in the race.

Also and this is a very serious point that many punters laying on Betfair are totally missing.

Betfair vaunts much of its success on its ability to provide punters with better odds than they will get to “Back” events with traditional bookmakers, and this they invariably achieve.

But as I have discussed in article 3, due to the higher back prices and the market “Spread” the lay prices are in fact far worse than what you would get if a traditional bookies offered the option to lay horses.

To back this up lets examine the fiscals:

Let’s say, the favorite in our maiden at Chepstow is at 3/1 on course. Betfair uses decimal odds to facilitate the Stock Market style trading and hedging that helps make it so popular. To get the decimal odds add 1 and then 0.5 (for the favorite).

The odds are better on Betfair as the bookies cannot factor their “cut” or “over round” into the odds. The prices do reflect the Bookmakers prices, but are more lenient as we are betting against other punters, not the bookies.

Betfair just takes a 5% commission from winnings and this percentage actually diminishes the more bets you place.

So the favorite will be at around 4.5 to back on Betfair in this example.

However to “Lay” the horse there is what is known as a “spread” in Stock Market terminology.

The difference between buying and selling a share equates to the difference between backing and laying a horse as detailed in Part 3 of this series.

It is always more expensive to lay a horse than to back it, this has to be otherwise the book would not add up. So the lay price of a favorite at traditional 3/1 will be around 4.7 decimal.

If you lay this horse to lose for £1 at 4.7 and it does lose, you stand to make £1 minus Betfair commission of 5% so you get your £1 stake back and a profit of 95p. All very good.

However, if perchance the contenders do not perform, your horse suddenly wakes up and goes on to win, then you have to pay for every other horse in the race that lost. So your loss would be your £1 stake * 4.7 = £4.70

So let us examine this data from another perspective; it can be said that you are going to need 5 of the above type of lays to make enough profit to pay for 1 race where the horse you laid goes on to win i.e. a losing bet.

And, this example is laying the favorite at the lowest odds of all the horses in the race.

Just to hammer the nails into the coffin of your “Lay” strategy, look at the “Fate of the favorites” as detailed by Adrian Masseys’ excellent free resource which records and analyzes the results of UK horse racing over the last 15 years.

It can be seen that across all flat races 33% of favorites go on to win their races with the figure for flat handicaps at 25% Favorites win their races in 38% of National Hunt races with the figure for Handicap hurdles at 30%.

Averaging these figures we could say that approximately 1 in 3 races are won by favorites. Yet we would need to lay 5 favorites to lose at 3/1 to make a profit.

Are you that good at spotting weak favorites??

This is the reality of laying horses on the betting exchanges.

You are ticking along nicely……bam! Just one predicted loser wins and you are back to square one.

And I can tell you it is more than just deeply irritating.

This is one area of using Betfair that is usually passed over in the “Pot of Gold” manuals.

The amount of mental energy and anxiety that you can expend on the Betting Exchanges is astonishing and really is something that should be factored in by anyone thinking about using Betfair to make serious money.

Picking horses to win or lose is mentally draining.

The research, the study, the angst, the mental debate and arithmetic required to pick a horse to win or lose with any degree of certainty, and follow it through the stalls round the course and through to the finish will leave many punters thoroughly drained after a few races, and then to see it all thrown away on the last race of the day can be utterly soul destroying.

Obviously the same scenario with a final race victory will be thoroughly satisfying. But in either scenario DO NOT underestimate the amount of mental work, anxiety and stress involved in making a living from Betfair.

In Part 5 I will talk more about “Laying, Backing and Dutching” horses and will reveal some more excellent resources which will help you on your way to Betting Exchange success.

About the Author: Mike J Davies - Mike is a Computer Analyst, Day trader on the LSE, and a Betfair Trader and Advisor. 

Betfair Trading Part 5: Want A Tip? Don’t Back Or Lay…. Trade!

In my experience to date, “Trading” is the ONLY way to guarantee long term profitability on the Betting Exchanges.

Laying horses to lose is no more profitable than backing them. The effect on profits is akin to backing in reverse.

Simply put; the effect of laying is a long winning streak of small wins interspersed with a large loss as oppose to backing which is a long losing streak of small losses interspersed with a large win.

Laying horses is relatively new and therefore has a novelty “excitement” factor that draws a lot of new punters onto the Betting Exchanges. Punters can experience “Quick wins” due to the unsurprisingly high ratio of losers to winners in any race.

It is not till a failed lay is experienced that reality bites.

Indeed most novice punter pots will only be able to sustain a run of 3 failed lays before they are broke.

The idea that there are 16 horses in a race and all you have to do is pick one that has no chance of winning, and watch the profits roll in, is an extremely potent aphrodisiac for punters looking for something new.

You sign up, you get hooked, and if you don’t know what you are doing you go bust as with any other “gambling” venture!!

The reality of laying horses is that most selections above 4/1 are NOT financially viable as a potential lay. And from my own experience I can tell you that horses from 4/1 upwards that look like nags pre-race frequently DO win races.

With so many race meets every day of every year the quality of a lot of meets is so poor that there is absolutely NO WAY of accurately sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

It is a lottery, pure gambling, especially through the winter months when the reasons for turning out horses in different scenarios are often muted and many horses are not running to form.

Horses that pundits and tipsters make out are ready for the knackers frequently go on to win races.

Horses after all, are JUST animals.

You can study the form, the conditions, the track, the pundits and tipsters spotlights, the breeding, stall numbers, jockeys, owners, trainers, the list goes on, but I will tell you this from experience.

Feel free to waste thousands of pounds verifying this information for yourself or you can take it from me.

Any horse that makes it to the stalls can win any race on its day. And any horse that is a dead cert can lose. That is the reality of betting on animals.

Animals do not wake up the morning of a race and think “my form states that I am favorite for the 2.30 at Chepstow so I had better get ready and win it!!”

You can make some slow progress laying horses admittedly and you can lose money quite slowly. There is a chap who does a free lay roundup of likely losers everyday at

The data is computer generated and he tests a variety of laying systems and analyzes the data very carefully.

However you will never be able to lay the horses at the SP odds posted on the site. In fact you will never get a lay price at SP full stop.

Do not waste money on paid tips on the internet for laying.

There are one or two that seem to have credentials for selecting horses to back, but even with the best you will be paying way over the odds with no guarantees and you should always back up any tips with your own research.

If you are thinking of trying the dubious world of tipsters please visit the site below before you go any further.

This excellent site provides a wealth of Racing and Betting Exchange resources and has a system whereby tipsters who come and go like Tony Blair’s cabinet have to “proof” their tips on a daily basis.

The site is independent of the tipsters so punters can see exactly how their proposed tipster is performing. To really get a feel for who knows their game and who is bluffing study the figures over a prolonged period of at least 6 months.

But ultimately, the results vary month by month, and they usually average out to a small profit or loss and you then have to factor in your subscription fee.

When I was starting our punting I found using the current leader of the Naps competition and Pricewise to be just as efficient at getting a good supply of hopefuls as anywhere else.

As an aside it’s interesting to note that the winner of the naps competition usually posts around a 30 point profit per season.

The Naps is a competition run by the Racing Post,, where experienced racing journalists for different rags compete against each other to fictional £1 level stakes. They must provide one daily tip over the course of an entire season.

It can be projected that to £1 bets, the best racing journalists average around £30/40 profit for an entire season. The rest all make less profit, break even or make a loss.

Ask yourself. If these guys cannot consistently pick winners when it is their job, how on earth will the chancers who have thrown together a website and claim dubiously to know trainers, owners, stable hands and bookmakers.

While desperate punters still pander to these con artists these sites will come and go taking your money with them.


In a nutshell it relies on backing the most likely 3 or 4 horses to win a race and calculating a set amount of profit that you want to make should any of these horses win, by varying your stakes across the differing odds offered on each horse.

There are free and accurate calculators available on the internet that do all the math for you.

As with laying the aim is to look for suitable types of race and really focus on those where you are backing the only horses which have any real chance of winning the race, and the total cost of doing so is not prohibitive.

The last factor to look for in choosing a race to dutch is the spread of prices being in a certain format and “shape”. The free calculators can be a great pointer as to what to look for.

This method has for many proved more profitable than backing, and definitely more so than backing/laying a single horse to win or lose.

But, to be successful it requires a great deal of skill and focus as you have to find the correct race where the layout and spread of the odds across the race are suitable, all major contenders are going to run to form and so on.

You also have to watch out for non runners which can mess up proceedings totally in advance of a race if a favorite pulls out.

Similar to laying you will have to win 3 or 4 races on average to pay for the one loser which may come in to ruin your day.

An excellent dutching tool is provided by Bet Angel professional.

It looks at races and tells you automatically if it is a viable dutching opportunity, does the math for you based on your requested profit level and even allows you to modify the profit levels for an individual horse.

For example when there is a favorite that you really fancy you can increase the profit from the dutch should that horse come home first, request a lesser profit for the second favorite and request a scratch on the third favorite.

The tool below is a simple but effective no frills dutching calculator with full instructions and provides a good introduction to dutching.

Many punters successfully use dutching long term so it should be rated more highly than laying and backing individual horses. I regard it as a halfway house between gambling and trading.

In my next article I will outline a method that you can employ using freely available real time websites and data to assimilate, filter and identify horses to trade.

Then I will show you how to use another free tool from

which will enable you to trade far more effectively than you would with the Betfair interface.

The aim will be to show you how to make a profit on Betfair at your first few attempts

Bet Fair and Bet Well folks!!

About the Author: Mike J Davies - Mike is a Computer Analyst, Day trader on the LSE, and a Betfair Trader and Advisor. 

Best Regards, 

Mike Keenan.

Any Questions? Phone Mike Keenan on (07) 46344012 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday or email me directly via the Contact Us page. And always please feel free to phone me as I basically work 7 days a week because this job is so intensive and time consuming and I am always happy to take some time out to have a chat to anyone about anything to do with horse racing.
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