Horse Racing Systems

What is a horse racing system?

A horse racing system is basically when you create a set of conditions by which you’re going to select winners. The more conditions, the greater the win strike rate is going to be (theoretically).

So, a system should be reliable and profitable, and should help you pick more winners.

You can start with some fundamentals. For instance, you might want a system purely for handicaps, or 2-year-olds. You’d therefore query your database to say “only give me two year olds”.

You then need to refine it down with some conditions. For instance, 2-year-olds who came 2nd in their previous race. You may find that this gives you a 20% strike rate, which is a decent start.

But a 20% strike rate does mean that your system only gives you 1 win in 5. You have to assess whether this is profitable. So, you’ll probably look to refine your system down even further.

Let’s look for two-year-olds, 2nd last time out, trained by Godolphin, running at Wolverhampton.

This would be a simple system – and would only produce a handful of horses – but you could probably bank on a strike rate of 45% as Godolphin’s record at Wolverhampton is generally excellent – as is their record with juveniles.

What types of horse racing systems are there?

There are as many as you care to think about. Creating a horse system is all about data and cross-referencing data, which is why you need a solid database.

However, you could break them up into the following:

  • Based on the type of race
  • Based on age
  • Based on the track
  • Based on trainers & their preferences
  • Based on last race performance
  • Based on race conditions
  • Based on breeding

Of course, you can create race systems to find winners, but you can also create systems to find losers. There are plenty of horses out there who will never win a race (approximately 75% apparently) – and there are trainers out there whose profitability at certain courses is shocking.

So you can create a system TO WIN and you can create a system TO LAY.

What should I bear in mind when creating a system?

The foundations of your system have to be sound. For instance, you could create a system based on the performance of specific trainers at a specific track. You might select the ten trainers who have an excellent record at Nottingham, for instance.

The problem here is that the fundamentals of the system could go wrong at any time. What happens when two or three trainers race against each other? What happens when the top 10 trainers at that track change (as often happens)?

A far safer way of judging this would be to analyse horses whose trainers have a high win rate, with a high enough sample size to give you confidence. For instance, a win rate of over 20% at a track, with at least 20 runners, would give you confidence, regardless of the trainer’s name.

That gives your system greater fundamentals.

Your system could be built on a falsehood, too. You can refine that falsehood down to get yourself a better strike rate, but if it’s built on rocky ground, it won’t last.

How do I create a lasting system?

The hardest element of creating a system is how do you create one that lasts? You can project results backwards and look at your performance over the years, and you’ll be satisfied that over the last five years, you’ve had a strike rate of 50%, AND it’s profitable.

But it won’t always stay that way. What’s true yesterday is not always true tomorrow – you need to keep an eye on your systems’ performance and remember that each system has its ups and its downs. I’ve seen systems with 10 consecutive winners followed by 10 consecutive losers. That’s still a 50% strike rate, but the last ten would show you a 0% strike rate.

A system can only be assessed over time, and can only TRULY be assessed over time AFTER you have started it.

Also remember that you should not backfit your system based on winners you have found. This will always give you shaky foundations.

Where do ratings come into it?

A safe way of looking at systems is by combining your systems with ratings. Horse ratings are a computerised calculation of the value of a horse’s performance and its likelihood of running well. Systems are based on historical trends – for instance, a trainer and jockey combining for a 35% strike rate.

The combination of a top-rated horse who meets this system bolsters the probability of that horse winning the race.

That’s why we started our own statistics section, to show which trends and statistics are producing winners – and we combine these horses with our ratings to produce our own ratings & systems predictions.