Even Bad Races Have A Winner… (A New System)

It's a timeless truism, dear reader, that even bad races have a winner. And it was something I read the other day that got me thinking about this.

Every time I go to the States (which, very luckily for me, is once a year at least), I buy racing books. I can't help it. I buy (or get review copies) of racing systems, and I buy racing books. I consider them part of my education, and I pretty much always get something from them.

Well, this book I've started reading now is called Smart Choices, and it was written way back in the early eighties by a chap called Craig Victor (great name!). One of the things he talks about is how in the States, the same as everywhere else, the most money is wagered on the best class races. He goes on to say that the most money in those races is wagered on the favourite, naturally enough.

But... this is perverse, because the favourite in the top class races returns LESS of your money than the favourite in lower class races.

In fact, Group race favourites won 238 from 735 starts over the last five years here in Blighty, returning a loss of £42.98 to £1 stake (-5.85%).

Selling race favourites won 419 from 1286 races, returning a PROFIT of £25.57 to £1 stake (+1.99%).

Bad races, easy winners. If, on the basis of simply selecting selling race favourites, you'd have made a profit over the last five years, it should be quite easy to refine that further. And it is...

In turf races only, backing four year old or older horses that started favourite over the last five years, you'd have seen the following:

4 weeks' free access to Geegeez Gold

104 winners from 267 starters (38.95% win rate)

£107.72 PROFIT for £1 level stake (40.34%)

There are a couple of likely qualifiers today:

Favourite in 7.10 Leicester (could be either El Dececy or Sign of the Cross)

3.20 Musselburgh - Lucayan Dancer

Even if these both lose today, this system is definitely one to keep in mind. It's easy enough to remember, and it's made a profit in each of the last five seasons:


2004      14      47    29.79       10.71    22.79
2005      19      47    40.43       28.71    61.09
2006      18      50    36.00       16.85    33.70
2007      18      51    35.29        7.73    15.16
2008      35      72    48.61       43.72    60.72

Total    104   267    38.95       107.72    40.34

That's all for today.


4 weeks' free access to Geegeez Gold
22 replies
  1. nikibarton says:

    not sure how or why but i bet on anything with lodge or castle in its name and i do realy well out of it, had up to 50/1
    every irish person tells me the same thing ermyn lodge?? ect so trying again today at muss 15.20 with rowan lodge

    not a system but seems to work

  2. Robin says:

    Do you keep a record? I’m suspicious of “seems to work”. This can’t be anything more than coincidence.

  3. Ray says:

    This is a very good system because if there is one thing I’ve learned about racing(possibly the only useful thing!) is that it is better to specialise in one category of race.

  4. Mezza says:

    It’s purely coincidence, i know of a guy that bets on horses where the third letter of their name is an ‘R’. he does ok from it, and a quick look through results from anyday will show you that they do indeed come in quite often, but in some races you may have to back 3 or 4 horses and still get no return, then the next race will have just the one qualifier and bang it trots in at 50-1.
    These systems work in the short term but fail eventually.

  5. wilf howe says:

    Very interesting Matt. I think I might give this a whirl today and see what happens. Another one I read of the other day on one of the more statistically orientated sites was that if you’d bet on favourites or 2nd favourites returning to race within 4 days you’d have made a packet over the years. The only reason the writer could suggest for this was that it was an indication that the trainer was trying to take advantage of a horse in red hot form.

  6. dennis sealey says:

    i have been backing horses with ” oscar ” in their name..there has been good prices, but also a number of losers! i have not kept a record of these, but i still think i am ” in front “…

  7. Terry says:

    Ive taken to backing any horse that has 4 legs……

    You end up backing quite a few in each race……but over 10 years ive yet to find a race where i havent had the winner!!!!

    I even had this years Grand National winner @ 100/1 😉

    Unfortunately though im not making a profit using this system as not all races have a 100/1 winner 🙂

  8. Kevin says:

    It is an interesting concept Matt, specialising in one type of race and am sure that a profit can be made out of it. I tend to specialise on handicap races, initially laying in them but now where I can lay and back seperate horses in the same race I am finding a better profit margin.

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Terry, it includes selling handicaps.
      Wilf, very interesting concept, and it can be profitable…


  9. glennrodgers says:

    Good Day, I am just requesting clarification on your comments of “smart choices”. When you say “started favorite” are you saying Morning line odds or at the gate?
    Thanks and I love your website.
    All the best,
    glenn rodgers

  10. Paul says:

    Terry, backing horses with 4 legs seems a good idea, the majority of ones I back only have 3……:-S

  11. john purnell says:

    If you are using the excellent false favourites laying system-amazing value for £20- then you will know that the advice for laying favourites are only in stakes, handicaps and maiden races because of the low strike rate. The advice is to avoid favourites in sellers and obvioulsy with this fantastic strike rate it is no wonder. I was on lucyan dancer today – purely by chance- but noticed you had already suggested him. Definitely be looking at the 7.10 at Leicester
    Good work Matt.

  12. paul says:

    In response to Wilf Howe’s post- where did the horses finish in the race up to 4 days ago? Are you saying they all won?
    Cheers. Paul

  13. Mike Brennan says:

    Hi Matt
    With reference to the item above, it is essential that you specialise. As you know i now specialise at SOUTHWELL AW. I know it is fairly lowly fare, but from a punting point of view, it is ‘easier’ (if that’s possible) to get a profit in the low grade races as opposed to group/listed type races.

  14. David says:

    Nice one Matt! I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on this system. Would you know if it works better if the fav is under 2/1?

  15. bob marsden says:

    hi matt over the last couple of weeks i could not buy a winner then along came three two selling race favs and your stella thanks matt… me and house keeper are off to seahouses for this weekend thanks again pal … yours in sport bob marsden

  16. GRAHAM ASHFORD says:

    just found your site keep up the good work
    great start to the system today
    well woth keeping an eye on for all us patient ones

    all the best graham

  17. Sim says:

    Hi Matt, in selling and claimers over 10 furlongs + i follow a system of backing top weight that has won over c+d, you normally get a good run for your money and they tend to be under bet, its allways a good strategy to back horses that are capable rather than presuming they are capable,i also have my own rating system i.e awarding points for various capabilities thereby giving you the horse with the best overall profile.
    loving the blogs, keep up the good work Sim

  18. Gavin says:

    Hi Matt
    Well done followed your recommendations yesterday and will trial this system for a month.

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