Our greatest asset is our betting bank. Without it, our betting activities will cease, so it should be used in the most effective manner possible.

One way of ensuring this is to carefully select the races that are bet on.

There are many variables associated with a horse e.g. jockey, trainer, state of the ground, track, age, and weight carried etc.

Some variables have a relatively large effect on the outcome of a race whereas others have far less.

There are three variables in particular which I have found to have a relatively large effect on the outcome of a horse race.

They are:

• Type of race that the selection is running in • Number of runners in the race • Odds of the selection

We will now discuss each variable in turn.

Let us consider the types of races in the remainder of this chapter and consider the number of runners and odds of the selection in subsequent articles.

Although, on average, only 35% of favourites win their races, there are certain types of races in which they perform much better.

There are also certain types of races in which they perform much worse.

We can use this information to determine which races are most appropriate for our use.

The table below shows the strike rate of favourites in the various type of races.

strike rate of favourites

The above table relates to races held in the UK between 1991 and March 2008.

Those types of races in which the race favourite’s strike rate is above the average strike rate for favourites (35%) are shown in bold type.

We now have the data, but how can we make the most of it?

Well, that depends on what we are trying to achieve.

If a selection system identifies favourites which are to be backed to win, we should concentrate on those selections that are running in race types which are shown in bold type since their strike rates are above the norm (35%).

This provides our selections with the best winning opportunities.

Those types of races which are shown in normal type are best avoided since the strike rates of favourites, running in those types of races, are below the norm.

This provides our selections with the worst winning opportunities.

If a selection system identifies non-favourites which are to be backed to win, we should concentrate on those selections that are running in race types which are shown in normal type since race favourites which run is these types of races have strike rates that are below the norm (35%).

This means that race favourites are unlikely to win.

This provides non-favourites with the best winning opportunities.

Those types of races which are shown in bold type are best avoided since the strike rates of favourites, running in those types of races, are above the norm.

This provides non-favourites with the worst winning opportunities.

If a selection system identifies favourites which are to be layed to lose, we should concentrate on those selections that are running in race types which are shown in normal type since their strike rates are below the norm (35%).

This provides selections with the best losing opportunities.

Those types of races which are shown in bold type are best avoided since the strike rates of favourites, running in those types of races, are above the norm.

This provides non-favourites with the worst losing opportunities.

If a selection system identifies non-favourites which are to be layed to lose, we should concentrate on those selections that are running in race types which are shown in bold type since the strike rates of favourites which run in those types of races are above the norm (35%).

This provides non-favourites with the best losing opportunities.

Those types of races which are shown in normal type are best avoided since the strike rates of favourites, running in those types of races, are below the norm.

This provides non-favourites with the best winning opportunities and hence, the worst losing opportunities.

I perfectly understand if the above causes some confusion.

It certainly caused me some when I initially wrote it.

I have therefore taken the liberty of creating the following table in the hope that it makes things a little easier for you to understand and finally dispels any confusion that remains after reading the above description several times.

To use the table, simply identify the type of race that the selection is running in and select the appropriate row from the table.

Now, track along the four remaining columns to the one that best describes the type of bet that you intend to make (back or lay) and the type of horse that you intend your bet to apply to (favourite or non-favourite).

If the selected element of the table contains a ‘Yes’, then the bet has a better than average chance of succeeding.

If the selected element of the table contains a ‘No’, then the bet has a worse than average chance of succeeding and is best avoided.

By way of an example:

Let us suppose that a selection system that identifies horses that are to be backed to win has identified the favourite in a Novice Chase.

From the table, we can see that, if we track along the ‘Novice Chase’ row and look at the table element under the ‘Back Favourite’ column, it contains a ‘Yes’.

Therefore, the bet stands a better than average chance of succeeding.

In fact, if we take a look at the first table in this article, we will see that the strike rate of favourites in Novice Chase races is 48%.

By way of another example:

Let us suppose that a laying selection system has identified a non-favourite in a Selling Handicap.

From the table below, it can be seen that, if we track along the ‘Selling Handicap’ row and look at the table element under the ‘Lay Non-Favourite’ column, it contains a ‘No’.

Therefore, our bet stands a worse than average chance of succeeding.

In fact,if we take a look at the first table in this chapter, we will see that the strike rate of favourites running in Selling Handicaps is only 22%.

Therefore, it is highly likely that the favourite will lose and that a non-favourite will win the race. Therefore, the selection is best avoided in this case.

strike rate of favourites

Making use of the above table will not guarantee success. However, there is every chance that the strike rate of a system will be improved.

The above tables have been reproduced by kind permission of Adrian Massey at adrian massey.