The strike rate of a horse, in general, is reflected in its odds.

Let's consider, for example, a selection whose odds are 2/1. Odds of 2/1 implies that, in theory, it has 1 chance of winning and 2 chances of losing. In total, there are 1 + 2 = 3 chances.

Therefore, a selection whose odds are 2/1 has, in theory, 1 chance in 3 chances of winning.

Expressed as a percentage, this is 100 x 1/3 = 33.33%.

Let’s now look at the general case. If a horse’s odds are N/M then, in theory, its percentage chance of winning is given by the formula: N x 100/(N + M).

Now let’s look at the implication of the above statement:

If a selection is backed to win whose odds are low, although it will win, on average, more frequently, the amounts won will be relatively small.

If a selection is backed to win whose odds are high, although it will win, on average, less frequently, the amounts won will be relatively large.

A very similar argument applies to laying horses to lose.

In general, therefore, there is no advantage or disadvantage to be had by backing shorter-priced selections rather than longer-priced ones to win.

The higher the strike rate, the lower are the amounts won.

The lower the strike rate, the higher are the amount won.

Also, there is no advantage or disadvantage to be had by laying shorter-priced selections rather than longer-priced ones to lose.

The higher the strike rate, the lower the amounts won.

The lower the strike rate, the higher the amount won.

In short there are no advantages to be had by backing horse to win as opposed to laying them to lose and there are no advantages to be had by backing/laying short-priced horses as opposed to the longer-priced ones.

Any increase or decrease in the strike rate is offset by a corresponding decrease or increase in the amounts won.

Well, that’s the general case dealt with. Now let’s get a little more specific.

In order to become successful at betting on horses and in order to be in a position to articles about the subject, much research was required.

Without the necessary research, any theories that one may have will remain just that. Theories.

Without the necessary facts to back them up, theories are meaningless.

To risk money on theories, without doing the necessary analysis to provide the facts, is, in my opinion, fool-hardy.

I have spent far more than the odd hour here and there analysing past results.

I have looked at the performance of well over 300 selection systems.

I have looked at jockey performance, trainer performance and the performance of favourites, second favourites and third favourites.

I have analysed race results with respect to the number of runners in the race, the going, the track, the distance and the type of race.

I have analysed the performance of odds-on favourites, long-priced favourites, joint-favourites and co-favourites.

I have analysed the performance of those horses that won their previous race, I have analysed the performance of horses that have won their last two or more races.

I have even analysed the performance of horses that have never won a race.

It is now difficult for me to identify one piece of horse racing data that I haven’t analysed in one way or another.

In fact, as far as horse racing is concerned, I’m a bit of an ‘Anorak’.

However, the analysis of past results is the only way I know of separating fact from fiction.

Of all the data that I have analysed, perhaps the most financially-rewarding has been the analysis of a horse’s odds.

In fact, to be more precise, the most financially-rewarding has been the analysis of the movement of horses’ odds.

I recorded the odds movements of horses in thousands of races held in the UK.

When I analysed the results, I found that the odds of 60.37% of the horses that won their races showed a downward trend in the last five minutes of betting before the start of the race.

Please note that this does not mean that, if the odds of a horse shows a downward trend in the last five minutes of betting, then it has a 60.37% chance of winning.

I also collected data relating to the odds movements of winning favourites of races held in the UK.

When I analysed the results, I found that the strike rate, of race favourites whose odds showed a downward trend in the last five minutes of betting before the start of the race, was approximately 34.58%.

In the case of race favourites whose odds showed an upward trend in the last five minutes of betting before the start of the race, the strike rate was approximately 31.85%.

In other words, favourites whose odds show a downward trend in the last five minutes of betting before the start of the race showed a 2.67% better chance of winning than those favourites whose odds show an upward trend.

A swing in our favour of 2.67% doesn’t sound like much. However, let me assure you that, in this game, it most certainly is. Such a swing can mean the difference between having a winning and a losing system.

So, how can we use this information about a horse’s odds movement?

If we use a system which selects horses that should be backed to win, we should concentrate on those selections whose odds movement show a downward trend in the last five minutes of betting before the start of the race.

Those selections, whose odds movement show an upward trend in the last five minutes of betting before the start of the race, should be ignored.

If we use a system which selects horses that should be layed to lose, we should concentrate on those selections whose odds movement show an upward trend in the last five minutes of betting before the start of the race.

Those selections, whose odds movement show a downward trend in the last five minutes of betting before the start of the race, should be ignored.

One word of warning: Although, statistics indicate that horses whose odds movement show a downward trend in the last five minutes of betting before the start thof the race win more frequently than those whose odds increase in the last five minutes of betting, be aware of Steamers and Drifters.

These are the exceptions to the rule and are more fully discussed in a later article.

We have now seen that if we are laying a horse to lose, we should avoid those horses whose odds decrease in the last five minutes of betting.

We have also seen that if we are backing a horse to win, we should avoid those horses whose odds increase in the last five minutes of betting.