Strategies

How We Made £2782.75 Betting Profit From Novice Races

Today I want to share with you how we made £2782.75 betting profit from novice races.

Traditionally novice races are considered to be events that you shouldn’t bet on, including ourselves, because we’ve got no idea about how a horse is going to perform. After all… they’ve had no serious experience we can analyse.

But despite:

  • Not having any racing history
  • Being races most people recommend you don’t bet on
  • Most people struggle to profit from novices

Throughout this step-by-step case study, I’m going to show you exactly how we did it so that you can replicate it yourself. By the end you will know not only exactly how we did it, but you’ll also know how to make your own approach in a different set of race conditions.


STEP #1: FIND A GOOD STARTING POINT

In horse racing there are almost an infinite number of ways you can start building an approach that will make you a betting profit.

This in itself can often be overwhelming, and a lot of people pull up short right at the first step.

And I understand that!

It’s daunting, just the basic readily available information about a horse and its race can look overwhelming. When you discover that this is not going to be enough to make a profit, you’ve got to use yet more information, it can simply be too much.

Which is why I want to show you this step-by-step case study, so you can see that you don’t have to worry.

Instead of finding the volume of information overwhelming, start considering it as the potential source of an unlimited amount of profitable betting strategies.

You only need to between 2 and 10 pieces of information to make a profit from a betting strategy.

Remember that when you look at the amount of data available for every horse in a race. Suddenly you open the door to a potentially uncapped amount of profit.

All you need now is to know how to go about finding it!

And that’s when we start with this step… a good starting point.

You can make a profitable betting strategy from a bad starting point, i.e. one that loses a lot of money, but it’s much easier to start from a good starting point i.e. one that loses less money.

One of those good starting points are novice races.

I’ve chosen them for this case study specifically because there’s no data on them. Which means that the best source of information are the live markets.

If we look at every favourite in a novice race in 2018, we get these results:

Profit Bets Wins Strike Rate ROI Races Races SR PIV
-6.61 2583 1124 44% 0% 2448 46% 1.01

Those results are pretty damn incredible.

By simply betting the favourite (including joint favourites) in novice races in 2018 we would have only made a loss of -6.61 units across 2583 bets and 2448 races.

Not only that, we’d have won 44% of all our bets and picked the winner in 46% of all the races.

The PIV, which you can see explained here, is showing that we actually have a small advantage just by betting on these favourites. Although over tens of thousands of bets this would probably drop back down a bit to zero.

But, what’s important to take away from this data, is that we are beginning our process of finding our betting profits on selections and races that are already breaking even at Betfair SP.

The massive advantage this gives us is hard to put into words!

So, in order to find a good starting point you want to…

  • Find a set of race conditions and horses which make almost no loss
  • Ideally find selections where the PIV is as close to 1.00 (or above) as possible

In step #1 we’ve found a good starting point from which to find a betting profit in novice races by concentrating on the favourites in a race.


STEP #2: UNCOVER MULTIPLE ANGLES (KEEP IT SIMPLE)

By spending some time looking for a good starting point, you will be surprised at how easy it is to find a profit.

The majority of horse racing bettors try to make their strategies and systems complicated.

Why?

Because there’s a misconception that the more complex a strategy the more profit you’re going to make.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

The more complicated a strategy the more likely you are to be backfitting it.

Backfitting is the cause of 99% of betting system failures.

The simpler you keep your strategies, and fewer rules you have, the less likely to be doing this.

Simpler strategies are also easier to create, easier to find selections, and this means… you can create them regularly and build yourself a strong portfolio of strategies to spread out your risk.

But we can look at how to spread your risk in another blog post. Right now we want to look at a number of profitable angles we can use based on our good starting point.

Where Do You Start Uncovering Profitable Betting Angles?

You have two choices:

  1. Use a complex statistical approach to determine the most important variables
  2. Use common sense

Without any shadow of a doubt, unless you’re trying to build a complex statistical model, common sense should prevail. It’s quicker, simpler and doesn’t require a mathematics degree!

What do I mean by common sense?

Let me show you with an example…

We’ve found a good starting point by concentrating on favourites in novice races. We’ve done this because we know there’s a lack of information about them, and so the markets are a stronger than normal indication of how a horse may perform.

Knowing this we can go straight to what we’re going to have the most information on in these races… jockeys and trainers.

More specifically, the jockey and trainer combination.

Do you like everybody you have ever worked with?

Nope.

Do you work well with everybody you have ever worked with?

Nope.

And jockeys and trainers are exactly the same. They’re human, they work well with some people better than others. They work better in some environments and strategies than others.

It’s a simple, and completely common sensical (not sure that’s a word!), thought.

So why don’t we just look and see how our favourites have performed if the jockey and trainer combination have made a profit?

Excellent idea, let’s do that:

Profit Bets Wins Strike Rate ROI PIV Avg. Odds
42.84 339 157 46% 13% 1.11 2.79

The answer is… they perform pretty darn well.

We’ve dropped from 2583 bets to just 339, which means we’ve removed 87% of all bets. That’s a pretty hefty drop, but we’ve still got nearly one bet per day.

The strike rate has increased marginally from 44% to 46%, but most importantly the profit has jumped from -6.61 to +42.84, with a positive return on investment (ROI) of 13%, and a PIV of 1.11.

You can get further confirmation of the profit as the strike rate indicates we should have average odds of 2.17, while we’re getting average odds of 2.79.

There’s not much more we want to do here, because if we put any more filters in place the number of selections will become too small.

Instead of playing with this further, we look for another profitable angle from our starting point, and again we do this using common sense…

Common Sense Angle #2

A lot of horses in a novice race will never have run before, but some of them will have. Those horses that have run before have valuable information available from their previous races.

But is it really valuable?

In my investigations the answer to that is… no.

It’s not valuable at all.

And the reason is simple.

With so little information, any that is there is grabbed by bettors and used in their decision making process. After all a little bit of knowledge is better than none surely!

The problem is, with so little information available and everybody using it to make their betting decisions, the odds on the horses with this information, particularly when they’re favourites, are significantly lower than they should be.

Which means no profit for us!

If we can’t bet at better odds than we should be then we won’t make a profit.

So how can we turn this to our advantage?

We can do this by being a bit different. I just said that:

“After all a little bit of knowledge is better than none surely!”

But a lack of information can also be considered a wealth of information.

If we haven’t got any information on the horse, then nobody else has either. That means that everybody is going to be a little more cautious on that runner than they may otherwise be.

What this caution means for us is… slightly higher odds.

Since we’re starting from our good starting point, we only need the odds to be slightly higher than they should be to make a profit.

Here’s how we can use this to our advantage…

We look for horses that have never won a race before.

That means we’re looking for the favourite in novice races that have never won a race before.

Does that sound too simple?

Here’s the results from 2018.

Profit Bets Wins Strike Rate ROI PIV Avg. Odds
43.85 1112 461 41% 4% 1.05 2.88

Far more bets, an average of 3 per day, and a slightly lower strike rate than just betting the favourites. However, we are making a 4% ROI to Betfair SP, and the horses win 5% more often than their odds would indicate, which we can see from the PIV.

The strike rate indicates that the average odds should be 2.44, but we’re getting average odds of 2.88 showing that there’s an advantage to be had here.

Common Sense Angle #3

We already know that if we follow information that everybody has access to, the odds aren’t going to be big enough for us to make a profit. However, we can look at the information everybody has from a different perspective.

Let’s consider the form…

We already know that only a handful of the horses have any kind of form. So if we’re looking for something to investigate that won’t take long, it would make sense that form would be the one!

So how do we look at form in a way that nobody else does?

Most bettors look at form by only considering the horse in question. They see how they performed over previous races and on previous conditions to make an assessment how they’re going to run in today’s race.

Which is a perfectly good way to do it. I recommend that people do this all the time.

However, when you know everybody is doing it, and you know that in your good starting point there is not going to be much information available, then you know most people are going to come to the same conclusions about the same horses.

But…

Very few of those bettors are going to consider how those horses ran against the other horses they have met in the race.

This is known as Collateral Form.

It can be powerful in any situation, but it can be very powerful where there’s very little information.

Yup, not many of the horses will have raced against each other in the past, which is what makes these types of races the perfect races to use collateral form on.

Unless you have access to software and ratings like we provide for the Race Advisor Pro Members Club community, it can take a long time to go through a horses past races and see how it performed when it met any of the other runners in the race. Let alone to do that for every single horse in the race.

However in races where very few of the runners have much of a racing history, it’s significantly faster.

Yet nobody does it, for one very good reason…

…they can’t be bothered!

Which is great for us, because by bothering we get this:

Profit Bets Wins Strike Rate ROI PIV Avg. Odds
24.62 901 453 50% 3% 1.03 2.38

A smaller profit than our previous angles, but a profit still with an ROI of 3% and a whopping win strike rate of 50%!

The horses win 3% more often than their odds suggest and the strike rate tells us we should be getting odds of 2.00 on these runners, but we are getting average odds of 2.38, and that’s where our profit comes from.

What We’ve Done…

In step #2 we’ve used our good starting point and applied common sense about what to investigate further.

  • We’ve started with just a single additional factor added to our starting point to come up with our angles, however you can continue to do this with two, three and more factors (no more than 10) to end up with as many angles as possible.
  • We’ve used common sense rather than statistical analysis
  • We’ve checked that there is a positive ROI, the PIV indicates our selections win more often than they should, and the odds do the same.

We’ve found three possible angles that will allow us to find a high percentage of winners and make a profit.


STEP #3: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

How do we put this all together? How do we make sure that we make a profit?

It’s important that we put all this together correctly to make sure that we walk away with a profit. This is even more important when you’re betting in races that don’t have much information because the edge you’ve found is likely to be smaller and so it can be quicker to disappear.

Luckily help is at hand.

First we need to make sure that we track the results properly, you can download a spreadsheet I made to track bets in this blog post.

Track the results of each of your strategies separately so you can remove the ones that are under-performing.

Next we need to find the contenders for each of these strategies.

I’m going to do this by using the Race Advisor Pro Members Club software and ratings, which is going to make the process much quicker for me. However you can do it manually as well.

First of all we find a Novices race from the dashboard.

How We Made £2782.75 Betting Profit From Novice Races 2

Having found a novice race and sort it by Betfair SP so the favourite is at the top.  Then I open the race card I’ve made specifically to find these contenders, which contain the three pieces of information that tell me what we need for each of the three angles we found.

How We Made £2782.75 Betting Profit From Novice Races 3

We can see that in this race the favourite is currently Streamline. Of course the closer to the race you can do this the better.

You can see that I have put three ratings onto this custom race card, these are:

  • Jockey / Trainer Profit
  • RnkPFP
  • RnkEProCLL

The Jockey / Trainer Profit is pretty self-explanatory, it shows us whether that jockey and trainer have made a flat bet profit together, which in the case of this favourite they haven’t.

The RnkPFP shows the ranking for each horses PFP rating. The PFP rating is a collateral form rating, and we can see at a glance the strongest collateral form horse is the favourite.

The RnkEProCLL is an earnings class rating, it’s calculated by taking the total prize money earned in winning races and dividing it by the number of career starts a horse has had, with races in recent years being weighted as more important. Quite simply if this is blank then we know that the horse has never won a race before because it’s had no winnings.

We only need a horse to fulfil one of these three criteria, as well as being a favourite in a novice race, to be a contender for one of the strategies, which means that Streamline is a contender and can be added to our shortlist.

If we look at another race we can see…

How We Made £2782.75 Betting Profit From Novice Races 4

We can see that in this race the favourite has not won a race before, the same as all horses in this race, because the RnkEProCLL is blank.

As you can see the process is very simple to find the possible contenders.

But we want to make another couple of steps before we place our bets, after all we know that the market is the biggest indicator of a horses performance in these races.

So we want to check how people are betting.

We can do this using OddsChecker and Betfair. If we open OddsChecker for the first race, and scroll to underneath the horses you can see the Most Popular Bets pie chart.

How We Made £2782.75 Betting Profit From Novice Races 5

You want your contender to have at least half of the pie chart, this indicates that the money is coming on for the horse and the market thinks it’s got a good chance of winning.

You should also  keep your eye on the Betfair market leading up to the race. If a horses odds start to drift in the last five minutes before the race then I would suggest you skip this runner.

Finally, as always, if your horse does have some history, like Streamline does…

How We Made £2782.75 Betting Profit From Novice Races 6

We can see that Streamline won it’s only race, which was a Class 4 Flat race over 5 furlongs on Good to Firm going. The race it’s going to be racing in is…

How We Made £2782.75 Betting Profit From Novice Races 7

The race this horse is about to run in is an All Weather Class 5 race, on Standard to Slow going over 5 furlongs. The race type is different, the going is different and the only element in it’s favour is the class drop.

Which would give me cause for concern, I’d be looking for everything to be aligned in these unknown races. The horse may love the All Weather, it may love the slightly slower All Weather ground it’s going to get, but it may not. And when there is uncertainty I prefer to skip the race and wait for another.

There’s never any rush to have a bet, there’s always another race just round the corner!


CONCLUSION

Throughout this case study my aim has been to show you how you can build out your own strategy using a good starting point and some common sense.

Once you’ve got your multiple angles, some of them will stop being profitable. I would recommend that you paper trade them for a while until you’re comfortable with them. It’s perfectly reasonable to drop some of the angles during this stage if you’re not happy with them or they don’t suit your personal style of betting.

Have you ever used an approach like this to find strategies before?

Do you have your own method?

Are you going to use the angle in this case study?

I’d love to hear if you’re going to try this approach or if you are already using something similar, please leave me a comment below to let me know.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help punters improve their betting profits and think outside the box with their betting strategies. To date he has written over 450 articles on the site and recently started UK Racing News which has become a leading news site for horse racing in the UK and IRE. Check out my personal blog or my Google+

2 Comments

  1. Very interesting Michael and it all makes common sense. I use a systematic approach to find winners. It would be good if you could do you analysis for a 3 year old+ Flat Handicap and I will do the same.

  2. Very interesting Michael and it all makes common sense. I use a systematic approach to find winners. It would be good if you could do your analysis for a 3 year old+ Flat Handicap and I will do the same.

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