3 more factors to consider

By on April 21, 2015

If you’ve read Racing Secrets Exposed (and I really hope you have by now!) you’ll know I believe there are 4 fundamental factors that affect the result of every horse race: going, distance, class and course.

Hopefully you’ve also read the blog post I did on why weight isn’t among them!

But there are of course many, many other factors that have an effect on a horse race.

Patrick Veitch, one of the UK’s most infamous professional gamblers, said there are up to 80 factors he considers for each race…


Betting’s an immensely layered logic problem.

You’ve got potentially 50, 60, 70, 80 different factors, each very subjective.

The skill is in recognising which factors truly are important on any given day, and whether the combination is enough to make a horse seriously underestimated in the betting.

The cliché is of the killer instinct – being able, without drawing a massive chart, to sift it through your mind and sense that enough boxes have been ticked.


Today I’d like to go through a couple of other factors that you might like to consider.


Horse Fitness


This is another biggie.

You want to be backing a horse that’s fit and ready.

As a general rule horses that are returning to the track quickly are worth taking an interest in from a backing perspective.

The table below shows the strike rates for all horses broken down by the number of days since their last run.


[table id=16 /]

As you can see there’s a clear correlation between days since the last run and the strike rate of winners.

This makes sense as the horses returning to the track quickly should be race fit.

Whereas a horse retuning after a long lay off will probably need a run or two to get back into form.

These statistics are for all horses no matter the starting price.

Let’s narrow down a little further and focus on favourites.

The table below shows the strike rates as well as the profit/loss you would have returned blindly backing favourites.


[table id=17 /]

As you can see there’s not quite the same neat pattern as before.

Favourites returning just one day after their previous run look best avoided.

But favourites running between 2-5 days from their previous run look to be of interest.

And in fact the stats show that if you had blindly backed these favourites at SP you would have made over 100 points profit over the last ten years.

(Favourites returning after 3 days off do make a slight loss but the ROI in only -2% so this would probably be break even if you used the betting exchanges or BOG bookmakers).


At A Glance

Over the past ten years you would have made over 100 points profit blindly backing all favourites returning to the track between 2-5 days of their previous run.



Interestingly favourites running after a 4 month break also fare very well.

There could be a number of reasons for this.

Maybe the majority of these races are at the beginning of the season (either flat or jumps) and the best horses (i.e. favourites) cope with a break better than others.

Maybe after a break trainers run their horses in weaker races to get them race fit.

It’s not possible to blindly back them for a profit but just be aware that it’s OK to back horses after a break from the track.

A lot of punters refuse to back such horses but the statistics show this blanket view is not necessary.

It’s often useful to look at a particular horse’s racing history to see how it has performed after a break in the past.

Some horses will run well others may need a few races to get back to full race fitness.


At A Glance

Don’t be afraid to back favourites running after a 4 month+ break. The strike rate for these horses is better than average. But check their racing history first to see if they have prior form for competing after an absence.




The jockey obviously has a big affect on the result of a horse race.

He should know the preferred running style of the horse and the best route to take around the track.

Plus be experienced with in-running tactics like making sure the horse is not boxed in, knowing when to attack for home etc.

You could spend hours just on this factor alone, and if you did you could probably find some good betting angles.

A lot of punters like to check jockey/course statistics on the Racing Post website.

However this doesn’t really tell you the whole story.

One jockey might have a strike rate of 20% at a specific course and another jockey might have a strike rate of just 10%.

But because you don’t know the starting prices of the horses they’ve been riding these percentages are meaningless.

You could look at the profit and loss figures.

If a jockey has a positive return then he is obviously over performing at that track.

But even this isn’t foolproof as the results could be skewed if a jockey rode a 50/1 winner.

I personally like to look at whether the jockey has ridden the horse before.

If he has then did how did he run compared to his position in the odds market?

Does the jockey regularly over perform or under perform when riding this horse?

Also pay particular attention to the racing history of the jockey and the horse at a particular course.

If a jockey regularly over performs with a horse at a certain track it could be a solid backing opportunity, especially if the horse is favourite and has no issues with any of the four fundamentals.

Of course if you wanted to lay a horse you would look for a jockey that regularly under performs on a horse at a certain track.


At A Glance

See if the horse/jockey combination is favourable by looking at their record together, comparing the results to their place in the odds market.


Statistics For Favourites


Some courses are more suited to betting favourites than others.

In other words the market is better at predicting the result at some tracks over others.

There could be several reasons for this from a significant draw bias to a track simply suiting course specialists.

But just because courses have a high win percentage for favourites it doesn’t mean you can blindly back them or lay them on low win percentages courses.

For example over the past ten years York has the lowest win strike rate for favourites at just 27%.

In that time you would have lost over 87 points blindly backing favourites with a ROI of -8.4%.

The track with the highest win rate for favourites over the same time period is Fakenham with a 39% strike rate.

You would have still lost money blindly backing them but the ROI is lower at -4.2%.

Obviously the type of race, whether handicap or non handicap, has a massive affect on the strike rate of favourites.

It’s well known that favourites have a better chance in non-handicap races (with a strike rate of 41% and a ROI of -5.6%) than in handicap races (with a strike rate of 28% -and a ROI of -7.3%).

Furthermore the age category of the race also seems to have an affect.

For example favourites in 2yo races have a strike rate of 38% whereas for those in 4yo+ races it slips to 33%.

The easiest way to bring these three together (course, race type and age category) is to use the Racing Post’s ‘Favourites’ menu.

You’ll find this on the ‘Today’s Race Cards’ page under each course.

For example this is the information given for Goodwood:



It breaks down the course statistics for favourites for the past 5 years by race type and age category.

With the Goodwood example you can clearly see that blindly backing favourites in 2yo non-handicap races has been profitable over the past 5 years with a ROI of 21%.

So if you’ve found a favourite that has a good record over the four fundamentals and is running in such a race it looks to be a good bet.

If you’re a layer you’d probably want to focus on 4yo+ handicap races at Goodwood.

You could either use this information as a start point for your form reading or as simply another factor you look at to finalise your betting decisions.


At A Glance

Use the Racing Post’s ‘Favourites’ menu to see the statistics for favourites for the course, race type and age category. Use the information to narrow down which races to focus on for the day.
Thanks for reading.
I hope you have found a couple of nuggets of info that will help you moving forward with your betting.
As always I love hearing from you.
What other factors do you like to consider when making your selections?
Let me know in the comments below.
Take care,
Kris Jackman | Founder TipsterSupermarket.com

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