A York Placepot Permutation…

It's Friday, dear reader, and the racing ramps up in quality terms between now and tomorrow evening, so why don't we do something a little different and have a dig at the placepot?

For those who don't know - where have you been?! - the placepot is a fantastic bet where it's possible to win a lot while staking a little. It is also possible to lose a little while staking a lot; and to lose the lot irrespective of your stakes. But hey, that's the game!

So, in the interests of Houdini-esque escapology (or simply Houdini-esquapology, perhaps?), let's take on the toughest card of the day, at York. Not only that, but the ground has changed to heavy, and there are stacks of non-runners. Perfect placepot territory. 🙂

I've written extensively on placepotting before - here's a key piece - and the first thing I do is look at the 'shape' of the meeting. What I mean by that is, what type of races are there (handicaps, maidens, claimers); how many runners (important from a number of places available perspective); and, where are the hotpot favourites.

Here's today's six race card from York:


York Placepot races

Nurseries are handicaps, so we have three handicaps, two maidens and a conditions stakes. That's a fairly typical make up.

We can also see that there will be the following number of places to play for in each respective race: 3,2,3,3,4,3

But... the ground is heavy and there could be more non-runners. So I especially note races where there are five or eight runners, as a single withdrawal would move these from two and three places to win only and two places respectively.

That makes the second, fourth and last legs potentially trappy/lucrative. See, I told you it was a bugger of a card today!

Next, let's have a quick look at the forecast odds, to see if there are any well backed or very short priced favourites. Without going through all the screens here - http://odds.geegeez.co.uk/horse-racing/2012-10-12/york - the answer is not really. There is a fairly strong favourite in the last leg, and this is something I often play up to. More on that in a moment.

Now then, 99%+ of placepot punters bet the wrong way. I appreciate that's a bold statement so let me explain. The prevailing approach is to either a) do a straight line (i.e. one selection per race), or b) perm more than one selection per race on the same ticket.

Adopting strategy a) is fun and keeps the investment right down, but it also severely limits your chances of winning a decent amount, as your fellow players will have much broader coverage through the races.

Taking strategy b) implies that you have the same level of confidence in all of your picks on the bet, as they all have equal weighting. Given that you might have an odds on shot and a 16/1 on the same ticket, you are very unlikely to have the same confidence behind both/all picks.

So, the way I structure a placepot is by perming across a number of different tickets. This allows me to weight the bet differently depending on how many of my stronger/weaker fancies are on each ticket. I use A, B and occasionally C selections, where A's are my strong fancies, B's are my fair chances, and C's are my dark horse outsiders.

I then use a tool I had developed - which is here - to combine any 5 races with A picks with one race with B picks; any four races with A picks with any two races with B picks; and any five races with A picks with any one race with C picks. And, of course, all races with A picks.

I hope this will make sense as I go through the bet now. I'm going to start back to front, by 'singling' or banking on the favourite in the last leg. That's Gabrial The Thug, who is around the 9/4 mark. The reason for this will be revealed shortly.

Now going back up to the top of the card, and the opening race, an extremely difficult Class 2 thirteen runner juvenile handicap (or nursery), to be run over a heavy six furlongs.

I feel strongly that I'll need a number of picks to get through this race, and these will be spread across my A and B boxes. The problem with a race like this is that looking only for heavy ground horses won't be enough, as plenty of these will not even have run on ground that soft, so we cannot know that they won't act well on it.

That said, we should start with what we DO know, and that is that Bachotheque and Bond Club have both won their only starts on heavy. That alone gives them prominence in my selection process, and the fact that both have won at the trip is a positive too. Bachotheque is 7/2 favourite; Bond Club a 12/1 shot. They'll go on A and B respectively.

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This is a Class 2 race, and Bond Club only won a Class 5 maiden last time. That might be a better race than the grade, but only time will tell on that, so that's why he's on B.

Others to have run well in soft ground and decent class include Effie B, who may be over-priced at 20/1, and Bircham, who should relish a return to softer ground. Both go on B.

The A side of things is looking a little thin, and I'm going to add Rod Millman's Shahdaroba there. He was 11th in the valuable Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, over a heavy five furlongs, but was beaten less than four lengths that day. This will be his second try on deep ground and, with an extra furlong (he was staying on at Newbury), he might go close.

Polski Max will also enjoy the ground and he completes the A ticket.

So that's 5, 7 and 8 on A; and 6, 9, and 14 on B. Lots of fancied runners don't make my bet, so there's a fair enough chance of an 'early bath' today...

Leg 2 is the five runner conditions stakes. Indeed, since I started writing there has been a further withdrawal, making this a win only contest. Excellent news from a placepot perspective... assuming I can find the winner without going four deep!

The truth of it is that this is really hard to fathom. Expense Claim will probably take them along, and could get an easy lead. His soft ground form and overall form level, however, is probably not quite enough to stay out in front. Prince Siegfried was second in a heavy ground Group 1 as a 2yo, far and away the best form in this race. But that was back in 2008, and a replication of anything like that would be enough here. I doubt he's capable of achieving it, though.

Mijhaar has very good soft ground form, but can pull hard. If he can settle today, he's the most likely winner for me. Beaten Up has never raced on softer than good and there must be a serious doubt about his ability to handle it.

A will thus consist of Price Siegfried and Mijhaar, and B will house Beaten Up. Depending on how the first race goes (i.e. if the placepot cuts up due to outsiders placing), I may back Expense Claim to win, to cover 50% of my placepot stake.

It doesn't get any easier, and the third leg is now a thirteen runner one mile Class 2 handicap.

Osteopathic Remedy and Suits Me are confirmed mudlarks, and both merit consideration on that basis alone. Osteo has the better recent form, but goes on the B ticket, despite running off two pounds higher than his career best winning rating. Conditions are ideal for him.

Able Master is stretching out to a mile for only the second time in his career, and he might be ready for that now. His recent form is good and he has the beating of a number of these. A. The unpronounceable Bancnuanaheireann joins them as does Vainglory, a type of placepot horse I like. The reason I like him is because he has no obvious form (looking at his recent finishing positions) but is fancied in the market, and his staying on style ought to see him pass plenty of these in the last quarter mile.

Credit Swap loves it soft, comes from a gambling yard (Michael Wigham) and has been backed today. He makes A too.

The 3.40 is a bit of a nightmare race, and one in which I'm going to have to be bold. They bet 3/1 the field in a maiden of just eight runners. This is a potentially carnage situation, and I'll need to use the market for guidance here, in the absence of much form.

Shrimpton has had plenty of chances, albeit generally against better horses, and is reluctantly overlooked. Bluegrass Blues has taken bits of support and is by a sire whose progeny do all right in deep ground sprints. Again, reluctantly overlooked.

Anderton has more experience than Bluegrass Blues but has yet to race on soft. However, he didn't improve from his first run to his second and that's a negative, notwithstanding that he may not have enjoyed the firm ground (sire's progeny do tend to handle firm).

This is a race in which I'm going to do something I rarely do, and enter 'unnamed favourite' on A. Quite simply, I'll be guided by the late market, and hope they're right. It's the placepot equivalent of 'Ask The Audience'!

I'll add Ann Duffield's Rangooned to the A ticket too. This lass ran on Tuesday, and ran promisingly. It's often a positive to be racing soon after a prior start on the flat, and she might have got herself fit enough to trouble the leaders here.

And that tentative fourth leg position brings us to the penultimate 'pot conundrum, an eighteen runner ten furlong handicap. Awkward...

In what could well be an attritional affair, I want trip and ground form over anything else. Those with ten furlong deep ground form are Deepsand, Doc's Legacy, Natural Bloom and Ingleby Angel. That quartet will do for me, in a race that could be over-thought.

And that just leaves me with my banker, Gabrial The Thug, in the last. If I'm still alive after the fifth leg, I will be looking to lay this horse for a place and guarantee myself a return.

For example, suppose the placepot is looking likely to pay £1000 for £1, and I have 60p running on, I stand to win £600 (less stakes). If Gabrial The Thug is 1.56 to lay on Betfair (as it is currently), then I will lay it to win around £350. The cost of laying will be around £200 which added to my stake leaves me in a position to guarantee a profit whether GTT is placed or not.

If we get this far, I'll explain in an addendum to this post what I did, and how it worked out.

Here's how the tickets I'm playing today look. (Click the image to view full size).

I do appreciate that this bet cost isn't for everyone, and in truth, I wouldn't normally stake so much, but I do feel that today's York placepot will pay a few quid and, therefore, is worth chasing.

It's the approach which is the main thing I wanted to share, and I hope you've found some value in that.

York placepot perm

York placepot perm


In other news, it's been a great week on the tipping front here at geegeez. Chris has been in fine form on Stat of the Day duty, and has found nice winners at 6/1, and 7/2, and placers at 8/1 and 12/1. Yesterday's pick was backed from 16/1 into 9/2 favourite! The fact that it 'only' finished fourth and therefore just out of the frame shouldn't detract from the value which is what SotD is all about.

You can follow SotD here, or by following me on twitter @mattbisogno. If following me on twitter, you'll also get to hear me ranting and raving about all sorts. (What joy!)

Oh yes, and for those who followed my Arc preview last weekend, there was the small matter of me nominating the winner of the Arc, Solemia, which was available at 85 on Betfair. I know this, because those are the odds at which I backed her!

She returned 41/1, and I think a few of you backed her with bookies at odds ranging from 40/1 to 66/1. Great stuff. 😀

If you backed a winner thanks to geegeez this week, do leave a comment below. I'd love to know how many of us are winning from the bookies in what is traditionally the hardest part of the season, as we change over from flat to jumps.

And, of course, if you've any placepot related questions, do ask away on those too. I'll be happy to help if I can.

Have a great weekend, and good luck at York this afternoon, and Newmarket tomorrow if you're playing.




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25 replies
  1. Avatar
    dion says:

    Hiya, yes thanks for Solemia I got 50/1 at bet 365 for a couple of quid each way so had a good weekend.

  2. Avatar
    george says:

    Hi Matt -interesting reading.Like you I have some interest in the placepot depending on the make up of the card and the going. I have to say I take an opposite approach to you and generally weight my perms towards the end of the card and generally select outsiders in leg1 and will often have 5 horses running for me on the last leg if I have made it through.
    not many people did yesterday at Exeter! (although I wasn’t punting yesterday)

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi George

      Yes, I often have a lot in leg 6 too. The point is that from a trading perspective, IF the last leg offers the chance to make the placepot in essence a five leg bet, then it’s better to grab a smaller return than potentially no return.

      It just so happens that leg 6 offers the trading opportunity today… assuming it doesn’t cut up to seven runners (which would leave the nasty prospect of GTT finishing 3rd, meaning no win on placepot and a losing payout on Betfair’s place market, where they’d still pay three places)!

      Not sure that makes sense, but hope it does.


  3. Avatar
    paul@norwichcity (@paul8taylor) says:

    brilliant as usual i was looking at the nightmare that is newmarket tomorrow because i will be attending as i love the Betfred Cesarewitch (Heritage Handicap) and picked last years winner from my paddock pick (lucky) Using you system how do you adjust for the 36 expected runners. You can tweet me at paul@norwichcity

  4. Avatar
    chas anderson says:

    placepot at york very difficult i will leave alone had #1 ew on solemia thank you matt chas

  5. Avatar
    Andrew Johnson says:

    I got 66/1 each way on Solemia and also 12/1 as a place only bet. Very happy with that, so thanks guys.


  6. Avatar
    patrick says:

    Bonk noo-ah nuh hairin

    in english means something like new bank of ireland

    as always a great read!

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks Patrick – appreciate the Gaelic lesson. Need all the help I can get!


  7. Avatar
    patrick says:

    and yes I have backed Chris’s winners – I have geegeez to thank for managing to stay ahead of the bookies since the Punchestown festival….

  8. Avatar
    Lucky says:

    Thanks Matt. I too had Solemia at 50/1 with Bet365 and at 70 with Betfair. Wasn’t too sure about betting such a big price but when you recommended it after I had seen that Carl Nicholson had as well, that was enough. Ended up over 700 quid to the good on the day. Many thanks again.
    Kind regards

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Nice work Lucky. I saw Carl had it flagged too. I guess that will have made for some happy Betting School subscribers too. Well played all round!


      • Avatar
        oneman says:

        Hi Matt.

        I see Carl has flagged another one up for the Cesarewitch. I was wondering if you would like to flag one up, or do you have one of your great indepth reports on the horizon. Hint, Hint. lol

        Kind Regards


        • Avatar
          Matt Bisogno says:

          Hi oneman,

          I’ll be taking the weekend off (hint hint!), though I will be assuming the chair for SotD as Chris W gets a well earned break.


  9. Avatar
    Mondo Ray says:

    As they say In tYohire Jungle, Safari so good. Still eight points at the halfway stage!

    With both you and Carl mentioning Solemnia last week, I had to have a fiver place bet. Yeah, I know, but everyone has 20/20 hindsight!

  10. Avatar
    mikeaston says:

    pity we did not get together had the three winners races 345 you gave winners 1 and 2 plus the ones you mentioned but did not put in were placed in other races. But the Thug let me down.

  11. Avatar
    Rick says:

    Thanks Matt for the PP info and calculator, paper traded York today and was let down just by Chasing Dreams in the first race, had five others win or place! Will start having a stab at it in future. Cheers.

  12. Avatar
    The Ante Poster says:

    Hi Matt,

    ‘Had a go at the York placepot today inspired by your piece, three goes of a couple of lines each, using a combination of your choices. Not close today unfortunately, best was 3 of 6, but with few lines it’s a lower cost, occasional win option. If it was easy…

    A great idea to do this, look forward to seeing it again for one of the better NH Saturday meets to come. Have a great weekend off.


  13. Avatar
    Timsim says:

    Hi Matt,

    Cant thank you enough for all the great winners you have tipped over the last few years, I have been following Geezgeez now for about two years. My best run was ascot this year where on day 2 where you tipped 5 winners in a row, i cleaned the bookies out that day 🙂

    Im down under at the moment and im heading to the Melbourne cup festival, I will be there on the 3rd of November for Derby day. I was wondering could you offer any insight into the racecard? I know very little about the horseracing over this direction.

    Any help would be appreciated,

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Timsim

      I’m afraid I know less than very little about Aus racing and have never found the winner of the Melbourne Cup, so you’re on your own!


  14. Avatar
    john paton says:

    a great write up as usual matt always look forward to reading what you have to say interesting as usual have a good weekend off

  15. Avatar
    martyn bowen says:


    For anybody ” locked” in Spain, this might work for some things. I’m still looking……Martyn

  16. Avatar
    richard firth says:

    i see paul had last years ces winner mine finished second which stopped me having three on the trott last time,cider with rosie,,flash imp,ocean king this time my,aim to prosper first time on betfair 110 to 1 £6 win this time on betfair £17 at 130 and 140 to 1,like last time put on weeks ago but the best nearly bet was on a horse called i think kristiansen £80 ew three times with corals,boylesports,and i think victor chandler,at 80 to 1 and 66 to 1 twice finished third with excuses not bad,with flash imp i also had autumn double with silcianer sorry for all the spelling mistakes,at 11 to 1and 25 to 1 £4 double i just had to tell you there is more but not now

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