The Shortlist: A Daily Goldmine

40/1 treble for The Shortlist

40/1 treble for The Shortlist

I'd been meaning to do it for a few months. Finally, prompted by a reader (thanks Martyn C), I asked my database demon, Dave, to crunch the numbers. What numbers?, you may very well be thinking. Allow me to explain...


The Context

Geegeez Gold has eight reports in its dropdown list, and the most easy to use - dare I say it, the closest to a pure tipping sheet - is The Shortlist.

Its purpose is simple: highlight those horses whose past form indicates they're best suited to today's race conditions. Here's an example, from Sunday:

Just the six winners and two second's...

Just the six winners and two second's...


The fact that this example contains nine runners, of which six won and two more were second (one of them behind a nominated winner), is coincidental. Because yesterday I got the data back from 'Database Dave'.


The Scoring System

Before I go further, I want to divert your attention to the 'score' column away to the right. That will help to explain how horses qualify to be on The Shortlist.

In order to qualify, a horse must have run at least twice under at least three of the five matching criteria of going, class, course, distance and field size.

Green is for horses with a 33% or greater win record, and scores three points. Thus, a line of five greens (as in Chris Pea Green's and Abi Scarlet's cases above) is worth 15 points.

Amber is for horses with between 15% and 32% win records under the relevant condition, and scores one point.

Grey is where a horse has yet to race under a particular condition, and scores zero. And Red is for a horse that has raced under a given criterion and recorded between 0% and 14% wins. These score -1

The percentages for the place variant of the report are more stringent and are not within the scope of this article.

To appear on The Shortlist report, a horse must score at least nine points; and it is impossible for a horse to have fourteen points. So the eligible scores are 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15.


Headline Figures: Top Rated

So it was that I excitedly - and somewhat apprehensively - opened the spreadsheet containing the historical data, running back to the end of May 2014 (just over seven months) when we introduced the traffic light and scoring system.

I had high hopes that the top rated 15 scores would be profitable, and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, remarkably, they have proved profitable at industry starting price.

I write "remarkably", because many of these types take heavy support during the day as the general public cotton on to their profiles, and the early bird will have done substantially better than SP by availing of Best Odds Guaranteed prices.

Here are the headline figures...

'Line of green' (i.e. max score 15) horses have netted 39 wins from 135 runs (28.9% Strike Rate) for 27.61 points profit at starting price (20.5% ROI). At Betfair SP, those figures rise to 47.63 units profit after commission. That's a 35% ROI.

And, like I say, BOG bettors will have outperformed those profits by perhaps as much as another 10%.

The downside, if there is one, is that 135 top rated picks in seven months is not a lot. Of course, allied to the excellent Stat of the Day and Double Dutch services, that's a handy little portfolio right there, and worth just over 200 points profit in 2014, all told.

Two. Hundred. Points. Profit.

These aren't fancy fictional numbers. They're "pop your bets on in five minutes and get on with it" real numbers, which I - and more importantly loads of you - have been deploying daily for a good while.

But I digress. Back to the sample size, which is small, granted. So what about the overall level of performance?


Headline Figures: Overall Performance of All Qualifiers

I'll be honest here. I expected this to be a big loser overall. After all, we're talking 1617 qualifiers from 30th May to close of play Sunday (when I received the data). And lots of them with Red in their profile, implying a dislike of one or other criteria.

And collectively they did lose. At SP. There was a loss of 76 points on 1617 selections at starting price, which equates to 4.7% of stakes. But, at Betfair SP (less 5% commission of course), the story was different. A good bit different.

That 76 point loss becomes a 104.77 point PROFIT at Betfair SP. With all taxes paid.

I have to be honest, I was pretty bloody delighted with that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm obviously a massive advocate of form profiling, and I knew the top rated picks were likely to be a winner. But all of them? That has been really pleasantly surprising.

And here's another thing. The scoring system, whilst not quite arbitrary, was a best guess of what ought to work. And work it surely does.

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I reckon, based on a LOT of personal experience, that it is possible to beat SP by around 20% using the best BOG prices in the morning or the night before. (That means getting 6/1 about your average 5/1 winner, so hardly implausible, right?)

But let's just say 15% for the purposes of toning things down a bit. All of a sudden, that 76 point loss becomes a profit of 103 points - amazingly similar to the Betfair SP profit.

Before you think about going away and backing all selections, two things to keep in mind:

1. The profit and loss graph shows it's a bit of a bumpy ride (see below)

2. You'd be looking at an average of 7.35 bets a day

Profit, but not all plain sailing...

Profit, but not all plain sailing...


Headline Figures: Second Top Rated

Now this might take a bit of 'getting' so bear with me. Ostensibly, if 15 is the highest available score, and 13 is the next highest available, then 13 should be the second top rated score, right?

Alas, no, it's not as simple as that. You see a 13 will consist of four Greens (4 x 3 = 12) and an Amber (1).

My contention - and not just because the data supports it - is that four Greens (4 x 3 = 12) and a Grey (0) is preferable. But not just any grey. The most likely omission from a horse's score card is that it has never previously raced at today's course.

So, and this has been the way I've looked at The Shortlist since its inception, second top rated picks for me are those that have four greens and a grey for course.

Long and short, these are profitable to follow, and to a similar degree as the 'line of green' types.

'Otherwise all green but no prior course run' types won 30 of 107 (28% Strike Rate) for +32.38 (30% ROI). It's a small sample again, but extremely well aligned to the top rated.

At SP, they recorded a profit of 16.82 points (15.7% ROI). And using the 15% over SP BOG extrapolation, that profit becomes 31 points. Again, spot on in line with the BSP bottom line.


Other Interesting Insights

I've sliced and diced this dataset more than is probably healthy, and as a consequence I've found various things of interest (as well as a heap of irrelevance and happenstance).


By Odds Range

Here's one interesting take. I broke the entire 1617 lines down into (arbitrary) SP odds ranges, as follows:

Greater than 20/1
14/1 - 20/1
8/1 - 12/1
6/1 - 15/2
4/1 - 11/2
Evens - 7/2
Odds On

And here's how the BSP profit or loss stacked up...

More than 20/1 +88.57
14/1 - 20/1 +13.07
8/1 - 12/1 -9.64
6/1 - 15/2 +0.92
4/1 - 11/2 -45.18
Evens - 7/2 +51.75
Odds On +5.27

Without getting too categorical, those are quite interesting figures, to my eye at least.

We can put them into three bands - 14/1 or bigger, 7/2 or smaller, and 'the inbetweeners'. So doing gives us this:

14/1 and up +101.64
4/1 - 12/1 -53.9
7/2 or less +57.02

I don't really know why this is, but there looks to be plenty to go at for both small staking big pot hunters (14/1+), and those who like consistent winners (7/2 or less).


By Score

I looked at all of the scoring categories, and uncovered at least one interesting anomaly. The overall BSP records of each score group was as follows:

15 +47.62
13 -35.46
12 -20.14
11 -26.94
10 +54.83
9  +84.85

Weird, eh?

I obviously got to thinking about this, and about whether these figures were acts of randomness, or skewed by a single fat priced winner. And, in the case of the 9's, the latter is true.

On the 1st December at Kempton Park, Pretty Bubbles shocked most punters by winning at 50/1. He returned 91.65 at Betfair SP, which rounds down to 87.07 after commission. That accounts for the entire 85 point profit in one hit.

It should be added, in the interests of balance, that the '9 score' group included 39 horses sent off at 25/1 or bigger, so it wasn't an entirely isolated fluke result. [And, happily, I know from correspondence that at least one Gold subscriber was on the Bubbles - well done, Stuart!]

The 15's did predictably well, as we've discussed; and the 11-13 range were unrewarding to blanket support. But the 10's were interesting. Really interesting.

There's only one way to get a 10 score, and it's this: 3 x Green, 1 x Amber and 1 x Grey.

I found this group, and their smoothest of all profit curves - almost linear, fascinating.

Nice profit profile for (perfect?) 10's...

Nice profit profile for (perfect?) 10's...


Why was this group profitable? And why was it so consistently so?

At around 10% of the total sample, it's not the biggest subset, and conclusions should be treated with caution... but here's where I got to:

My suspicion is that the combination of the known (i.e. proven against three of today's conditions), the unknown (i.e. unproven against one of today's conditions), and the less than perfect (i.e. a middling profile against one of today's conditions) was enough to inflate the average odds on such runners without especially diluting their win chances.

The table below seems to substantiate that.

High average win SP's = Profit

High ave win SP's = Profit


We can see that in the case of the 9's and 10's, the average win SP was around the 4/1 mark (3.97/1 and 4.16/1). That's higher than the 11's, and significantly higher than the 12's or 13's.

The 15's, generally a better profile proposition, actually have a surprisingly high average win starting price of over 3/1.



Although the data supports my conjecture, it would irresponsible of me to suggest that my suspicions are anything other than conjecture, and should be treated as such.

The best bets remain - and I'm confident of this - the 'line of green' 15 types, and the 12's with no prior course form. Those fellows collectively accounted for 80.01 points profit over the course of just seven months.

That's eight hundred quid profit for £10 stakes on a turnover of just 242 bets. Add it to Stat of the Day and Double Dutch, and you have a very nice little 'low maintenance' portfolio within your Gold subscription, regardless of how deeply you delve into the other form tools, race cards and reports.

p.s. The Shortlist is's free Feature of the Day on Tuesdays, and can be viewed here. [Note, you need to be a free registered member, and logged in, to see it. If you're not registered yet, go here to register]. Or start your Gold trial here.


Further Investigation?

If you'd like to delve deeper yourself, the link below will enable you to download the dataset (as well as my various tabs of working out). Feel free to play with different scenarios, and do report back if you find anything interesting.

N.B. Microsoft Excel is required to edit this file. It should open, however, in other spreadsheet applications, such as Open Office, which can be downloaded free here.



More Information


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What People Are Saying

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37 replies
  1. twood715
    twood715 says:

    Another interesting piece Matt. Given the long term profitability of SotD, DD and the shortlist a low risk monthly income is easily accrued. I have always looked to the shortlist as confirmation of my own selections but as of now the shortlist will be my first port of call.

    Would it possible to interrogate data regarding the speed ratings on the race cards? Are they as effective in NH races as they are on the flat? How profitable are the top rated in various types of races, etc.

    I owe you an apology Matt, I inadvertently give the piece a one star rating – so much for touch screen! It definitely deserves ten stars.


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Terry

      Peter May provides tools on his website – pjmracing – to do just that.


  2. debeers
    debeers says:

    Interesting read as usual Matt. Thanks for letting us have the data as I can test my own theory which is somewhat counter to yours. I look for GREEN on course particularly on the AW and places like Fakenham, Fontwell etc. I’ll let you know if find anything.


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Good stuff, Richard. I know what you mean about quirky courses, and will be very interesting in any findings you might have. Do share if you’re happy to.


  3. MColebrook
    MColebrook says:

    Excellent work, Matt. Have to admit I was concerned that my request was somewhat cheeky but I am looking forward to “playing” with that Excel data later to see if I can find some more angles. Brilliant piece and look forward to future profits. Cheers, Martyn

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks for the prompt, Martyn, and apologies that it took a while to pull together!


  4. Ray Davies
    Ray Davies says:

    Another fantastic well thought through piece of info.

    Thank you Matt for your explanations and insights, these sort of articles are most welcome and the time and effort and foresight at the back of them is very much applauded and appreciated.

    Keep the good stuff coming
    Happy New Year Matt


  5. David Sutton
    David Sutton says:

    Matt, I took a very quick look at the top rated figures and if read them correctly the Shortlist has provided 39 winners from 135 selections at an average SP of 6.23. That’s phenomenal value betting in any book. From those figures, I’d expect 22 (rounded up – 135*(1/6.23)) and the actual number is 39. The Act/Exp ration is 1.80 which I view to be pretty good value indeed.

    How well do you understand Archie scores? (I’m very much a newbie with Archie) The above gives an Archie score of 16.51 and I think that indicates the results are less reliant on luck therefore sustainable?

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks David. I am vaguely familiar with Archie, and more so with IV and A/E. The latter pair are on the Phase 9 ‘wishlist’ to be added to all reports, hopefully within the next couple of months. (That said, there’s an awful lot more in the Phase 9 ‘wishlist’ too!!!)

      It’s heartening that the statistical prognosis supports the smallish sample sizes. The Archie score implies there’s around a 1 in 3000 chance of the top rated’s scoring by fluke.


  6. (John) Paul Ambrose
    (John) Paul Ambrose says:

    Thanks Matt, great research from you and Dave.

    A more technical question, if I may. As you mention, the value is often in beating SP with bets placed early, often the night before. Since Shortlist does offer this facility with the “TOMORROW” option, so the data is in the system as it were, is any change in the going updated automatically (Wednesday’s shortlist already being available as I write this at 11am)?

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi (J)P,

      Yes, we do update the report at midnight with the latest available going. That’s the last time either the going or field size (which can be affected by non-runners) get updated.

      Hope that clarifies,

  7. Paul R
    Paul R says:

    Matt, quick query, are all these tools via geegeez gold compatible with tablet and mobile devices i.e Ipad / Hudl, Iphone etc and do they require a minimum operating system version?

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Paul

      Good question. As they’re all browser based, they should be. That said, we are aware of some issues with Safari, which we’re looking into. I wouldn’t know about hudl, I’m afraid. If you try Gold out, I’d be very interested to hear if it works on that device.


      • Needers
        Needers says:

        I find that I can’t open the reports on my iPad/iPhone. I’m guessing it’s because they open in another tab and these devices won’t do that in the same way as a browser will. Either that or I’m being a buffoon!

        Awesome work here Matt, some great discoveries. As per other members, the Shortlist is always great to use when finalising bets. Nothing like selecting something yourself and then it appears on the Shortlist!

        And raw data to play with, now that’s a treat! Gold Membership here has probably been my best money spent in over a decade of betting. Excellent.

  8. Tony Cannon
    Tony Cannon says:

    Afternoon Matt,

    I find that there are also some very interesting results from the short list, place side. Any chance of you crunching the numbers on these. I feel there may be some big surprises there…..

    The interesting thing, is that you can put money on in the morning on Betfair sp with no pressure and still make two points a week profit. I feel a shady hammock in the South of France or Spain coming on, listening to test match special, of course, with a cold drink and a book. :o)

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Tony

      Great to hear that the place side seems to be yielding a profit too. It’s harder to get the data for, largely because I’ve been manually searching for the BSP’s! It took me three hours for the win ones, and there will be a lot more place ones.

      [That’s a polite way of saying I’m afraid not]

      Good luck in your quest for the sun and TMS: it’s not such a far off aspiration. 🙂


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Finbar,

      On place, it’s as follows:

      Green – More than 50%
      Amber – 26-50%
      Red – At least one run and 0-25%
      Grey – No data

      Hope that helps,

  9. sondrio2
    sondrio2 says:

    brilliant summary as usual matt, i often look at the shortlist but will be doing much more earnestly now, i notice on the patternform facebook page that someone is using your approach to do something similar with the patternform ratings, i suppose that is a compliment to your excellent geegeez site. keep up the good work.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Yes, exactly. It’s a great free resource is patternform, but obviously a little but clunky compared to Gold. The video guy – Martin Cooper – did say it would take circa 45 minutes a day to get The Shorlist output using that site.

      But that’s absolutely fine. I know that some people have more time than available readies, and it might suit them better that way. I salute what Martin K has done there over a lot of years now.


  10. sondrio2
    sondrio2 says:

    yes matt, i noticed you popped on there, i agree about the time it takes to come up with a score, ive got used to the speed of geegeez.
    as you know im a long time admirer of the instant expert, i find some great value winners there,
    i also use the speed ratings in conjunction with another rating service that proves very profitable, but i must admit apart from a quick glance at the shortlist ive rarely used it on its own merits, but after all the number crunching you have had dave do and the very impressive figures its going to be a regular port of call for me from now on.

  11. Tom Kenyon
    Tom Kenyon says:

    Matt. The approach of four Greens and a grey for the course is interesting and obviously you could look at previous form at similar courses be it stiff, sharp or galloping to determine whether today is suitable or not. Thank you again for your thought provoking items.



  12. dolphin68
    dolphin68 says:

    Hello Matt…

    Thank you for the comments that you left on the patternform website re my video. I’m amazed that Martin K still offers patternform as a free tool and spends considerable amounts of his own time developing the site (for example the pace cards, DOB cards, price movement graphs pre and in race).

    I would agree with sondrio2 comments….and yes I have nicked your approach here….but I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Better stop before I go into cliché over drive here-;) Once again many thanks for your comments.

    Martin Cooper

  13. tambhoy5
    tambhoy5 says:

    hello matt…

    can you tell me who writes the comments for each horse on the race card.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Tambhoy,

      Yes, they’re syndicated from Racing Post, along with the verdicts. We license our data from RP.


  14. Blokeshead
    Blokeshead says:

    This article is gold dust. Thank you so much.

    I’m the fortunate chap mentioned in it who was on Pretty Bubbles (I hope I wasn’t the only one), and I’ve been using The Shortlist for several months as some kind of assistant. With this sort of new information, I think it will eventually be me that becomes the assistant to The Shortlist!

    I’ve just been closed down by Bet365 (for having four winning months during 2014, and barely breaking even in total for the year, even after their freebies, refunds, and “loyalty payments” – miserable bastards!) meaning half the BOGs bookies now consider me persona non grata. Therefore, any system that can be skewed in the direction of high-priced BSP horses is a lot more attractive to me than something looking at lower-priced nags. This article, in addition to the Jockey/Trainer stats, will (I hope) help me along that road considerably.

    Happy New Year, Matt (and Chris) – you’re doing a really grand job!

  15. stumac56
    stumac56 says:

    Hi Matt,

    I don’t wish to rain on your parade, but it would seem that the profit to SP of 27.61 points
    made on the Top Rated is virtually all accounted for by Master of the Hall’s win on
    20th November at an SP of 25-1 ( BSP 33.56 ).

    Sadly I doubt whether such an occurrence is likely to happen too often.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Stuart

      Did you read the comment about Archie validation?

      As for raining on my parade, far from it. As with the lower scores, there are plenty of high priced horses in the line of greens, so it is no outlier to have won. Moreover, that particular horse was flagged all over social media by me (and backed by me) ahead of time as a potentially huge price.

      Even removing that winner – which if we’re to do we should probably also remove all other losers at that price point – would still leave double digit profit and BSP, and you’re still not accounting for the value to be gained from betting at BOG.

      So, like I say, no rain and still a parade. Of course, it’s sensible to by cautious, but I’d recommend you download and interrogate the data if you haven’t already.


  16. Brian Heselden
    Brian Heselden says:

    Hi Matt

    With regard to the last two contributions on the ‘Shortlist’ debate, I’ve created a tool in an Excel Spreadsheet which allows me to optimise the profit for a set of results based on the best range of SPs. For the set of Data for Scores of 15 plus 12 with a GREY for Course, we have 242 selections with DECimal SPs ranging from 1.17 up to 67. By using a range of 2.75 up to 26, we reduce the number of bets down to 180 – with the following result:

    SR% 24 Points Profit 95.01 ROI 52.78%.

    Seems good to me! I’m certainly using this result together with SotD and Stat Picks as the heart of my portfolio.

    Happy New Year to all at GeeGeez – please keep up the good work!


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Very interesting Brian!

      I’d definitely keep an eye on the superset in the short term, due to the smallish sample size. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the ‘sweet spot’ you’ve outlined continues to be the best-performing sector.

      Thanks a lot for sharing,

  17. zynaldo
    zynaldo says:

    Great article Matt and I keep returning to it.

    My take on the loss for those priced between 4/1 and 12/1 is this where the bookies win the physcological war. These horses are bread and butter for the bookmakers traders and therefore their margins are bigger and this is where the everyday punter will look for a bet. Most people dismiss those at longer as no hopers whilst they don’t like backing shorties.

    The majority of punters get fooled by the meaning of value.

    I am just starting to get to grips with the reports and enjoy their clarity. I trade mostly but like the statistical approach when i bet. I like the pace analysis as it also gives me the potential angle for a back to lay trade or even a lay to back if the prices.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Chris

      Yes, the latest results sheet is here.

      Things have dropped back a little after a quiet couple of months, but still a rosy picture. Note that the link above is the raw data only (i.e. no calculations for BSP etc)


  18. grinder
    grinder says:

    Excellent report of the Shortlist Matt.Thank you.Is there a similar breakdown available anywhere for the Shortlist for place betting which shows the most profitable angles please?

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Ian

      Glad you found this useful. I’m afraid there isn’t a similar output for the place side, mainly because I haven’t looked into it. Personally, I use the place tab selectively.

      Specifically, I filter by odds (largest to smallest) and I look at the bigger priced horses to see if they’ve been running against the wrong conditions lately (as opposed to either being out of form over optimal conditions or ‘gone at the game’).

      Horses wheeling back to favoured conditions after a few runs in unsuitable races are GOLDEN fodder (though they tend to show up as GREEN not GOLD!)

      Hope that makes sense – what I’m basically saying is I don’t believe the place elements would be profitable to follow blindly, but I do think there are ways to get great value from some of them.


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