Horse Racing Profits: How To Find Winners On Heavy Ground

So you are looking forward to a race meeting the following day only for the heavens to open during the night and you wake up to find the going has changed to heavy, bottomless, mud!! So how do you go about trying to make horse racing profits in mud?

This can be a complete nightmare with the form book …. or is the effect on form really that great? I am going to dig into the stats to show you how people and bookmakers can overreact when it comes to bad ground conditions.

This first clear stat that shows you how much overreaction occurs is comparing the normal SR of favourites with the SR of those that run in a race with heavy going. I am using data from the last 3 years, as using more starts to include tracks that have changed layouts, old fences, different drainage, etc. These stats include UK & Irish racing.

All Favourites: 31.8% SR
Heavy Favourites: 34.5% SR

What, I hear you say! Favourites on heavy going actually WIN 2.5% more races? They certainly do.

The next stat is the ROI% (Return on investment).

All Favourites: 3.2% (Exchange Prices)
Heavy Favourites: 1.24% (Exchange Prices)

This clearly shows that if you backed every favourite on heavy ground you would lose less than half as much compared with any ground. That is a very important pointer on how you should be betting on heavy ground. If you get that much advantage compared with the norm, then you should dig a little deeper to see if you can find an edge.

The reason I am using Betfair prices is that you will find it much easier to profit long term using a betting exchange. If you used a normal bookmaker the Heavy Favourites ROI% would be 5.1% …. Ouch!!

So can we turn that negative 1.24% ROI into a positive one with a little deeper research?

Take a look at this table, it shows you that flat racing makes a loss, and a bad one at that. This is the same result even if I run the data over 10 years and the reason for this is simple. Flat horses are not bred for racing in the mud whereas National Horses are bred to run on softer ground.

Race Type Runners Winners Win S/R P/L Exc ROI Exc
Chase 610 207 33.93 -18.75 -3.07
Hurdle 778 301 38.69 48.01 6.17
NHF 153 61 39.87 4.59 3
Turf 592 166 28.04 -60.21 -10.17

So we need to concentrate only on NH horse racing.

One stat that usually stands out in a lot of system is the actual sex of the horse, and the following table shows that mares have a low SR compared with the others, and so if you are building a system you would discount all mares.

HorseSex Runners Winners Win S/R P/L Exc ROI Exc
c 3 0 0 -3 -100
f 12 5 41.67 -1.32 -10.99
g 1336 502 37.57 56.68 4.24
m 190 62 32.63 -18.86 -9.93

The final stat I will look at is individual racecourses excluding mares, as we have so much variation in this country, and I know from experience that ground conditions can effect how form workouts at racetracks. These tracks are terrible at drainage and so the ground gets very sticky, which although still heavy, means that this is basically heavy heavy going. It is no surprise to see Uttoxeter top, as drainage is pretty much non-existent.

Ascot used to show heavy losses in the past based on the above variables but since it had new drainage put in a few years ago they have completely turned around.

Course Runners Winners Win S/R P/L Exc ROI Exc
Uttoxeter 77 18 23.38 -18.36 -23.84
Newcastle 36 9 25 -11.42 -31.74
Navan 64 23 35.94 -9.71 -15.18
Fairyhouse 68 22 32.35 -7.75 -11.39
Tipperary 15 3 20 -7.45 -49.66
Lingfield 41 14 34.15 -5.2 -12.69
Down Royal 29 9 31.03 -4.6 -15.86

Removing the above tracks gives you the following yearly stats:

Year Runners Winners Win S/R P/L Exc ROI Exc P/L to SP ROI to SP
2010 267 104 38.95 20.05 7.51 10.04 3.76
2011 355 138 38.87 30 8.45 14.22 4.01
2012 399 167 41.85 66.86 16.76 49 12.28

Pretty good results, but you can improve on them, although just sticking to the above variables gives you a decent profit each year and a good SR, but if you want to improve on them, although you will have less selections, then just use the top 19 performing racetracks for favourites on heavy ground.

Not only do these produce very good profits on the betting exchanges you can also profit with SP, which is great for those of you who still bet with just a bookmaker.

Profit On The Exchanges: Laying Horses with an Official Rating

While doing a bit of research today I was looking at the Official Ratings of horses (OR) and seeing if any trends showed up. The OR is freely available you’ll find it on the Racing Post and Sporting Life sites.

Now all ratings service produce long term losses if you back everything, the way to use them is to do some research and see if any long term trends are profitable, or be selective. Or, since you know they show long term losses you can look for an edge when laying the horses. So while looking at the OR stats from various angles a couple of race type kept showing profits if you laid them on the exchanges.

Year Ran Win SR Lay PL
2008 86 42 48.84 12.52 14.56
2009 82 46 56.1 1.27 1.54
2010 79 42 53.16 8.57 10.85
2011 78 31 39.74 24.44 31.33
2012 58 31 53.45 7.27 12.53

Now some may think the stats above aren’t impressive but when I tell you all the selections were ODDS ON FAVOURITES they look pretty good, especially as the average odds were 1.68. And these results have the 5% commission deducted as well, so if you have less than the default 5% then that means more profits.

So although this system has less than 100 qualifiers a year, it helps you target odds on horses with lay betting.

Free Horse Racing System Rules:
1. Check for races in which the favourite will be odds on, do not use forecast odds, you need to bet near the off.
2. Only bet in CLAIMERS or CONDITIONS races, regardless of whether they are a handicap or not.
3. Make sure the selection is the top rated with its Official Rating.

It is as simple as that. All horses in the race need not have an OR. If just one has an OR then that is the top rated.

How Can I Profit On The Exchanges? Profiting On Kempton’s AW Track.

A question you may have asked yourself numerous times is ‘How Can I Profit On The Exchanges?

Well first of all as a betting exchange should give you at least and average of 10% better odds than SP over the long term, it is a lot easier profiting on this betting exchange than it is with a bookmaker. Imagine if a bank paid 10% more per year than everyone else, you’d be stupid not to take advantage of it wouldn’t you?

The simplest way to profit is to stick to WIN bets only, as your money is only riding on one result, none of this bookmaker holiday fund multiple bets.

In order to profit on the exchanges, or a normal bookmaker if you enjoy lower average odds, is to concentrate on those horse fancied in the markets, such as the first or second favourites as these win the most races. Then target a specific surface/race type whether it is chase, hurdle, NHF, flat or AW, and then a particular race type.

For this example we will concentrate on the favourites on the AW as this track has decent horses running at it on the AW, and so horse form stands up well throughout the year.

One thing I do know on tracks that have quality horses is that what are considered low quailty races on low quality tracks can prove profitable on the tracks that have quality horses.

So taking that into account I’m going to zap Apprentice races through Proform and see if they are profitable. I could use Raceform and add 10% to the SP but that’s an extra bit of work and I’m being lazy!

Now you don’t get many Apprentice races but as the results show below this simple free horse racing system is something you can add to a portfolio of profitable systems. You will find a few on this site, with many more to come in the future.

Year Ran Win SR PL BF ROI  Exc
2009 25 8 32 8.06 32.23 6.25 25
2010 20 7 35 5.08 25.4 2.69 13.47
2011 21 11 52.38 25.35 120.72 22.03 104.89
2012 17 6 35.29 4.42 26.01 3.28 19.26

So the betting system rules are simple:
Kempton AW track only
Races with the word ‘Apprentice’ in
Must the be the Fav
Use Betfair, although this is still pretty good at SP