Advice

Is This Race Better For The Backer Or The Layer?

(Last Updated On: March 5, 2016)

Which races are better for the backer or layer is a question that I have been asked many times. It is time that we start to de-mystify this question and look at some of the statistical facts behind which race types may provide better opportunities for the backer and the layer.

I have limited the horses that I am looking at to SP odds of 10/1. This is an average of 13.5 on the exchanges and a level which I think most of you would be comfortable laying up to as long as good bank management was also involved.

Classification Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
Amateur 9472 1413 14.92 -1438.79 -15.19
Apprentice 11370 1629 14.33 -1579.69 -13.89
Auction 19998 4057 20.29 -2507.28 -12.54
Chase 84120 15834 18.82 -9803.15 -11.65
Claiming 19011 3587 18.87 -2469.07 -12.99
Classified 11978 2062 17.21 -1394.53 -11.64
Conditional Jockeys 8277 1264 15.27 -1330.43 -16.07
Conditions 7714 1769 22.93 -773.02 -10.02
European Breeders Fund 10134 2144 21.16 -1295.85 -12.79
Fillies 29185 5041 17.27 -4296.01 -14.72
Grade 1 1386 269 19.41 -125.53 -9.06
Grade 2 3054 637 20.86 -436.38 -14.29
Grade 3 1336 168 12.57 -138.82 -10.39
Group 1 1618 289 17.86 -238.68 -14.75
Group 2 2101 354 16.85 -200.15 -9.53
Group 3 3364 605 17.98 -326.37 -9.7
Handicap 301229 44542 14.79 -43185.9 -14.34
Hunters Chase 6772 1357 20.04 -973.43 -14.37
Hurdle 102767 18841 18.33 -13621.8 -13.26
Juvenile 6097 1332 21.85 -699.57 -11.47
Listed 9649 1690 17.51 -1086.57 -11.26
Maiden 75818 15641 20.63 -9251.28 -12.2
Mares 7666 1482 19.33 -902.36 -11.77
Median 11395 2442 21.43 -1496.08 -13.13
NHF 11977 2092 17.47 -2163.27 -18.06
Novice 71914 15530 21.6 -8617.63 -11.98
Nursery 11809 1750 14.82 -1627.24 -13.78
Rated Stakes 4266 620 14.53 -446.82 -10.47
Selling 30716 4936 16.07 -4502.3 -14.66
Showcase 9452 1331 14.08 -960.15 -10.16

We are going to try and find the good races for backers and layers by using a very simple method. Above you can see a breakdown of racing results by classification over the last 13 years. I have highlighted those that have a low ROI and those that have a high ROI. The high ROI is highlighted in blue to signify a possible classification that could be good for backers and the low ROI is highlighted in pink to signify a possible classification for layers.

There are just two classifications for layers that immediately stand-out and those are NHF and Conditional Jockeys. We have three stand-outs for backers in Grade 1, Group 2 and Group 3.

We shall begin by looking at the backers possible choices. If we split these 3 classifications in race types we get:

Race Type Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
A/W 89 12 13.48 -15.88 -17.84
Chase 635 133 20.94 -46.09 -7.26
Hurdle 700 131 18.71 -55.94 -7.99
NHF 51 5 9.8 -23.5 -46.08
Turf 5376 947 17.62 -510.64 -9.5

The three race types highlighted above show significant better ROI than the other two. It is interesting to note that NHF has the worst ROI by far (although the number of runners is also small for both the other two categories which will be part of the cause) and we have chosen that race type for layers to concentrate on.

So now we have a bit more of a focussed area for backers to concentrate on we can look to see which type of runners may be worthy of more consideration. I have made an arbitrary choice that any ROI of less than -10% will not be considered. If we have a look at weight rank in these races then the top two weighted horses are below this threshold.

Weight Rank Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
1 3856 728 18.88 -357.68 -9.28
2 1216 208 17.11 -107.47 -8.84

Some other factors to consider would be DSLR and Distance To Winner last time the horse raced:

DSLR Ranges Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
0-7 470 90 19.15 20.74 4.41
8-14 728 116 15.93 -74.59 -10.25
15-21 1253 214 17.08 -221.07 -17.64
22-28 1083 192 17.73 -171.86 -15.87
29-42 1063 200 18.81 -68.74 -6.47
43-56 531 94 17.7 -69.6 -13.11
57-90 431 85 19.72 24.5 5.68
91-150 133 31 23.31 29.97 22.54
150+ 1019 189 18.55 -82.02 -8.05

Here we can see that horses running again within 7 days of their last race have actually made a profit as have any after a layoff of between 57 and 150 days.

Distance To Winner LTO Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
No Race LTO 336 68 20.24 19.49 5.8
Won or DNF LTO 2859 547 19.13 -373.04 -13.05
nse – 0.5 lengths 454 95 20.93 52.29 11.52
>0.5 – 1.5 lengths 585 106 18.12 -1.04 -0.18
>1.5 – 3 lengths 666 96 14.41 -218.33 -32.78
>3 – 5 lengths 596 96 16.11 -57.91 -9.72
>5 – 10 lengths 666 111 16.67 -15.72 -2.36
>10 – 20 lengths 338 61 18.05 -7.71 -2.28
>20 lengths 211 31 14.69 -10.7 -5.07

I have always said, and it has been written by authors such as Quirin, that a horse can be considered to have a good race if it has run within 3 lengths of the runner, particularly in races over 7 furlongs (I would reduce to 2 lengths in shorter races). With the above results we can see that those horses that ran a very competitive race, within 0.5 lengths of the winner, last time out are profitable on their own. This also goes for those runners who have never raced before.

Interestingly runners who ran a poor race and finished more than 5 lengths behind the winner have a quite high ROI and one that could probably be made into a profit with some more investigation.

A quick recap shows that some possible good races to look at for those of you who are interested in backing would be:

  • Grade 1, Group 2 and Group 3 races on Chase, Hurdle and Turf

You should concentrate efforts on handicapping those runners that have one of the following conditions:

  • Top two ranked in the weights
  • Running within 7 days of the last race or between 57 and 150 days of the last race
  • Are on their first race
  • Ran within half a length of the winner last time out

That should be enough to get you started finding some contenders to analyse for back selections. I shall follow this up in another post looking at the laying selections.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.

5 Comments

  1. Hi Michael,
    thank you for taking the time and for making your hard work available for everybody else to profit from. Best wishes

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