I love a good system. And a system based on ratings? Love it even more.

Firstly, I suppose we have to ask:

What is a system?

A system is a method of selecting horses that you don’t veer from. In its most simple terms, you could say your system is to only back Mark Johnston’s 2-year-olds when they’re running in the north of England on their 2nd or 3rd race. You wouldn’t get many picks, but occasionally your system would provide you with some selections and you’d have a strike rate, an ROI and a profit figure.

You’d probably need a whole bunch of systems like this in order to have a regular stream of selections, and that’s fine – you can do that. But you’d have to maintain them regularly because a system like this is only based on historic data and not on future quirks such as Mark Johnston deciding no longer to race 2-year-olds because he doesn’t make money out of them.

These things happen frequently with systems that are based on fixed inputs such as this.

What is a ratings system?

A ratings system is agnostic as to who the trainer is – or even what track the horse is racing at. A ratings system is based on historic ratings data, which consistently rates the horses over the span of several years.

That’s why it’s more reliable than a fixed input system – because the method of rating hasn’t changed, the inputs are likely to be the same.

For instance, we have a number of ratings systems on the website, you can check them out for yourself. JOTRASU is based on three main ratings – Jockey, Trainer and Suitability. There’s also a filter that means the odds have to be above 2.5, so we’re looking for horses that are potentially overlooked by the market.

You could apply this theory to any code.

JOSUITRANH is a system that works best in the National Hunt races over the winter. Jockey + Suitability + Trainer in the National Hunt – and it tends to have a record of around 40% when the form analysis figure is high. The trouble is that the odds can often be quite low, so it’s a case of looking at the system selections and assessing what the market is giving you.

Should I blanket bet systems?

Jesus, I can’t believe you even asked me this.

No, never.

Not unless I tell you to.

Actually – you could, if it’s easier, but it’s never advised because there are always factors that can be overlooked by a system. A horse may have been penalised, which may weight it out of the race. Or it may be venturing out to a track it has never raced at before.

Every system pick should be taken with a pinch of salt and assessed on its own merits.

You may even decide the odds are not in your favour. A place bet at odds of 1.2 for a system pick is just 20p back to the bank if it places, and that’s where you have to measure up against the forecast odds and the RTH odds and assess whether it’s worth the hassle.

What other kinds of system are there?

I’m constantly trialling new systems. There’s one created for one of our members called the AP System which I can share with you if you’re interested – just e-mail me at gareth@nags.tips and I’ll give you access. It’s very much in beta, and I’ve tried various methods of assessing its worth and refining down the selections. But I’m not there yet.

This is a system that involves combining ratings and changing the weightings. It’s interesting, and it might just work.

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