Newspaper racecards haven't changed in 35 years!

Five Perils of Punting from Racecard Information

Newspaper racecards haven't changed in 35 years!

Newspaper cards haven't changed in 35 years!

There are as many ways to choose a bet in a horse race as there are punters looking for a winner. And, while on any given day in any given race, any selection methodology can have a moment in the sun (or the icy tundra), over the long term some strategies inevitably play out better than others.

In this post, we'll consider the pitfalls of five of the more common 'racecard short cuts' to wager selection; and I'll highlight what I believe to be some more meaningful information which could be presented to punters as readily as the anachronisms that clutter the cards just now.

1. Last time out winner

Any horse racing bettor with more than a few weeks of exposure to the game may find themselves instinctively drawn to the short alphanumeric string to the left of a horse's name on the racecard. It is, in many ways, the ultimate lazy man's route to the bet window. But how do last day winners perform?

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Looking, as we will for each of this quintet of snapshots, at the calendar years from 2012, and covering all codes in both Britain and Ireland, we can see that horses who won their most recent start went on to win again 7,898 times from 42,389 runs.

That works out at a pretty healthy 18.63% strike rate...

...but this most over-used of data snippets would have lost 7,061 points at SP, a negative return on investment (ROI) of 16.66%. That's exactly one pound in every six you invest... lost.

It will take a while to exhaust a betting bank this way, but exhaust it one inexorably will.

2. Beaten favourite

Still common on the racecard, the 'BF' symbol permeates many national newspapers and most on-course and online cards. The theory is that a horse considered good enough to have been market leader last time must have under-performed to have been defeated and, therefore, could be expected to bounce back today. So much for the theory...

Since 2012, there were 30,037 runners that were beaten as favourite (including joint- and co-favourites) last time. That group scored 5,297 times at an acceptable 17.63% clip; though for an unacceptable loss of 5,174 points.

In ROI terms, beaten favourites returned 17.23% less than was invested and performed slightly worse than last time out winners.

3. Course and distance winner

Denoted by the letters 'CD' on the card, this symbol tells the reader that a horse has won over today's distance at today's course (not to be confused with C D, the space reflecting that the win(s) over today's course was/were not also over the distance at today's course).

It helps punters to know that conditions are in the horse's favour, to the extent of the suitability of the piste and range at least. But...

A one point level staked 'investment' in every horse running in Britain and Ireland since 2012 with at least one prior course and distance victory would have meant an outlay of 38,018 points.

There were 5,015 horses able to reprise their CD win, a strike rate of 13.19% (just better than one in eight); and cumulatively they returned 30,253 points. That's a loss of 7,765 which is a whopping 20.43% negative ROI, and a rapid route to the potless fraternity.

4. Headgear

This one is less straightforward to compute, on the basis that headgear is a generic term for a number of accessories. They comprise blinkers, cheek pieces, visor, eye shield, tongue strap, and hood. Moreover, these accoutrements can be worn in combination as well as one at a time.

The below table, taken - like all the data in this post - from horseracebase, is instructive:

Effect of headgear on performance

Effect of headgear on performance

We can see that the best win strike rates were for horses who either wore no headgear, or only wore a hood. In fact, I can reveal that the non-headgear gang had the best win rate, at 10.875%, compared with the hood squad at 10.846%.

However, it is far more material to consider returns on investment than strike rates, and here is where the hood rises above most of its fellow headgear options. A negative ROI of 21.86% is nasty, but not nearly as nasty as the excruciating 36.22% losses inflicted by use of the eye shield.

Eye shield wearers also scored at comfortably the lowest rate - 8.02% - and I can only assume these implements are akin to a minor torture device used for the sole purpose of favourably handicapping an animal.

[Note, I don't actually believe that wearing eye shields would cause a horse any harm, of course. But, please, allow a little poetic license in what is turning out to be a fairly arid exposé!]

The headline messages in the table are clear if conflicting:

1. Horses not wearing headgear win more often than horses wearing headgear

2. Horses not wearing headgear lose more money overall than horses wearing headgear

The reality of 20+% negative ROI's is that it is of only academic interest to work through the apparent paradoxes of the data. A separate analysis of headgear may follow in a subsequent post. For now, the management summary is that while headgear should not necessarily be considered an advantage, nor is it especially more disadvantageous in performance terms than those unadorned by workplace millinery.

5. The forecast favourite

The province of generally desperate 'need a winner' players, checking the forecast odds for the favourite is, unsurprisingly, not a smart play. As an example (because the forecast favourite will vary from racecard to racecard), backing the 'tissue jolly' from in all UK/Irish races since 2012 would have garnered 12,259 winners from 43,404 bets. That's a 28.24% strike rate, better than one in four. So far so good...

But strike rate is only (the easy) part of the battle. The reality is that those 12,259 winners came at a cost of 5,619 points, a negative ROI of 12.95%.


5b. The Control: unnamed favourite

All of the above can be gleaned from the racecard, and all will lose religious followers stacks (not that anyone would back one or more of these religiously).

For comparison purposes, let's include the performance of unnamed favourites, including joint- or co-favourites. Since 2012, they've scored 15,785 times out of 47,683 bets, which equates to a strike rate of 33.1%. That's comfortably higher than any of the racecard snippets.

That one-in-three trip to the pay window will keep you in the game, but the ROI of -6.91% means it's just a slower, less painful, route to bankruptcy.


Conclusions: The Status Quo

So where exactly does this leave us? The table below shows how each of the five racecard factoids measures up against the others, and against the control: unnamed favourite.

How racecard info measures up: not terribly well

How racecard info measures up: not terribly well

There are all sorts of inferences which can be drawn from that little table. The key pair are:

 - Consistently betting any 'obvious' racecard angle is punting suicide

 - Traditional racecards in Britain are no longer fit for purpose (unless you're a bookmaker)

In fairness, there is an intrinsic cause and effect relationship between those data which are most prominently presented to the market, and the market's voracious desire to subsume such knowledge into the available odds.

In plain English, the most clearly displayed information is the most over-bet information.

Conclusions: The Future

What then can the time-pressed punter do to keep herself in front of the masses, and the market? Clearly, the crucial point is to NOT do what everyone else is doing. That's all well and good, but it would be immeasurably more helpful to understand what to do, rather than what not to do.

Below are a couple of suggestions that ought to sway the balance of probabilities more in your favour:

1. We now know what not to do. So... train yourself to ignore the form string to the left of a horse's name; the betting forecast; and, any letters/symbols on the racecard. Better yet, ignore the actual card itself* and instead focus on whatever form content is included alongside the list of runners and riders.

[*unless it's a Geegeez Gold racecard 😉 ]

You'll be genuinely amazed at how (relatively) easy it is to isolate value when you trust yourself rather than relying on some numbers thunk up by someone else.

2. Look for readily digestible data which is not in the mainstream public domain. Specialist racecard and form services are relatively commonplace, and there are some very good ones out there. Not least of which, naturally, is Geegeez Gold. Our racecards have additional, meaningful, symbols, such as (four different) trainer and jockey form indicators; and flags for horses running for a new trainer (TC) and/or in a handicap for the first time (HC1).

Clicking on the TC or HC1 indicators opens a report from which you can review the trainer's form (and all others with similar sorts running today) in that context over the past year, two years, five years, or at the course in the past five years.

These are often golden nuggets and, importantly, they're not known to the vast majority of the punting population. Here's a quick example from the 7.15 Uttoxeter tonight, which will hopefully win (all the best examples win!)

We know trainer and jockey are in form, and horse debuts for trainer...

We know trainer and jockey are in form, and horse debuts for trainer...

Regal Park has form figures of P4P2P/ over jumps. Punters whose first port of call is that data string would leave this fellow well alone. However, he has his first run for Dr Richard Newland this time, and that gives reason to be more optimistic.

We can see (click the image to make it bigger if you're struggling to see) from the trainer form indicators that Dr Newland has the full set of four: two recent form ticks (14 30), and two longer term course form ticks (C1 C09+). Jockey Will Kennedy is also in top recent fettle.

Note as well the TC to the right of Regal Park's name. As I've written, that denotes a change of trainer since last time. So what?, is a perfect legitimate response. Well, let's click the TC and find out [click the image to open it full size in a new window]:

Hmm, this trainer can really improve a horse...

Hmm, this trainer can really improve a horse...

The good Dr Newland has taken charge of 26 second (or more) hand equines in the past two years, and he's won with eleven of them. That's a 42% strike rate. Moreover, the ledger shows a positive balance of 12.51 points at starting price. Taking early BOG prices or BSP would further embellish his already lustrous punting appeal.

It takes me - and anyone else who employs this gen - less than two minutes, literally, to compile this info. That's because I normally take the 'top down' route first: I check the Trainer Change report against my filter settings, and look more closely at horses that fit well.

Win or lose, Regal Park can be expected to step forward on what he's shown historically on the basis that his trainer has shown himself to be able to improve most of the horses he takes into his care. As well as improving them, his record screams of an ability to place those horses optimally.

He was 10/3 with Paddy when I wrote this at 10.40pm Monday night, and for those who can avail of best odds concessions, that will be the worst price you'll get (Rule 4's notwithstanding). Anyway, the point of the example is not to tip especially, but rather to highlight a simple route to finding useful information on the racecard, something that is all but extinct in most of the mainstream digital media and in all printed newspapers.

[STOP PRESS: Regal Park bolted up at 9/4. The Racing Post said "he ended up winning with any amount in hand".]

Now it's over to you: How do you read the racecard? Which elements do you look at first/most? More importantly, what information would you like to see displayed on the card?

Leave a comment below, and let us know.


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45 replies
  1. Bobbob
    Bobbob says:

    This is a good post, and something some punters (including me) have worked out for themselves.

    What about including “last winning handicap mark ” or “wins and places in same Class” – much more valuable information in my opinion.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks Bob. Good ideas, both, and – naturally – both are included easily in Geegeez’ free racecard offering, via the Full Form Filter tab (which is an under-stated thing of beauty in my – granted, completely biased – opinion!)


  2. Blokeshead
    Blokeshead says:

    Those first two are interesting, Matt, as there must be the foundations of a laying system there. I’m assuming, of course, that the prices were quite low on such nags, so the BSP wouldn’t have been more than a few ticks above the ISP – is that correct? Maybe 5-10% above, max?

    I shall dig deeper into this, the next time I have an hour or two with nothing to do. Thanks for the idea.

    Thanks too for being the first person I’ve ever seen use “thunk” in a serious (well, mostly serious) article! 🙂 It’s a word I quite often use, as it confuses everyone in Sweden, even if it is in the Oxford Dictionary.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      In point of fact, Stuart, it was probably worth mentioning that every single one of these angles was loss-making for both backers and layers, falling as they do into the exchanges’ margins.

      That’s not at all surprising. After all, if such data are the first port of call for backers, there’s sure to be a long line of layers ready to take them on. Again, it’s good news only for the market maker (Betfair, in this case).


  3. MEmeMEme
    MEmeMEme says:

    Lo Matt
    I totally agree that form figs as shown are in some cases quite meaningless.
    I prefer (for instance in a 5f race) if the form says 232 to look at the
    distance behind the winner.
    I use upto a 1/2 length behind the winner as 2nd
    upto 1 length behind the winner as 3rd
    upto 2 lengths behind the winner as 4th.
    If the figs 232 do not match any of my distances behind the winner I
    normally discard that form. I appreciate that sometimes a horse may be hampered in the final furlong etc – than you have to allow for that as well ! !
    It is possible to use the above “method” for other length races but I would restrict that to only up to 1 mile.
    Regards – Tom W.

  4. paul
    paul says:

    Data is data, and yes you are pointing out what the ordinary layman punter looks at in most cases when deciding on which horse or horses to back in a race. It is also up to the punter what if any of these data facts he uses, the fact is they are facts to be used in any way you wish which im sure you know very well.

    depending on how seriously any punter takes his betting on choosing horses and how long they have been doing it and how intelligent they are will depend on how they use this data, It is outrageous to say that it is not fit for purpose, although i would say that the going descriptions are mostly misleading. sectional rprs and rprs in general I believe to be insignificant but useful at times, im not going to go on about my methods, i just wanted to say that to say that whats available is unfit for purpose is going to be detromental to your site and is actually quite patronising , and I mean that in a constructive way.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Paul

      I’m sorry, I must have missed why you think that traditional racecards are fit for purpose, and how you perceive my contrary opinion to be at once “outrageous” and “detromental [sic] to your site”.

      I am merely stating that in my opinion telling punters a horse was, for example, a course and distance winner is utterly pointless. Whereas telling them that the horse is running for a new trainer for the first time, or in a handicap for the first time, or that the trainer is in great form, is a lot more meaningful.

      Nothing outrageous there, nor detrimental to my site, as we have all that and more on display (as, I should add, do a handful of other pioneering sites not stuck on the bookmakers’ gravy train).

      Thank you for the comment, though as you can see, I fundamentally disagree.


      • paul
        paul says:

        the data is their for you to see if it is in a handiap for the first time, running for the trainer for the first time, and also the trainers percentage of horses running to form right next to the trainers name, i think you are trying to reinvent the wheel, but I would agree that their is room for other type racecards that would prioritise other facts at a glance for different types of punters.

        • Matt Bisogno
          Matt Bisogno says:

          Hi Paul

          If you’re referring specifically to the Racing Post cards, the data is absolutely not there on the actual racecard to check trainer change or handicap first time, without trawling labour-intensively through various views individually.

          Anyway, we’re agreed that all racecard producers could ‘up their game’ for the benefit of punters. Geegeez is not alone in being committed to this, but there are some notable players in the market – one of which may have been mentioned in this reply – who steadfastly refuse to improve the quality of their provision.


  5. sondrio2
    sondrio2 says:

    my first port of call is the trainer / jockey on the race card.
    i dont back a horse without favourable figures, then i move onto the horse and switch over to the instant expert.
    one site i use as a useful current form indicator, it is very useful in assessing a horse quickly for further investigation, very useful when time is of the essence.

  6. hollieollo
    hollieollo says:

    My first port of call is the Shortlist. I will only look at horses with at least 4 greens. One anomaly I have found is that a red in the Class column does not necessarily mean that it is in a higher class than before. It can be a lower class and thereby may have a distinct advantage. That is a slip easily made.
    I then check each race looking at the various prices and comments to get a feel for the race. I also check the various betting movements on Oddschecker.
    I then move through the selections various from guides, i.e. Recent Form, Jockey Form, Trainer Form, and the H2H. I am looking for similar conditions to today.
    I then check the Pace Analysis as per the video Matt has put on the site(Excellently helpful), the Instant Expert to see if there are any other contenders with better credentials, and finally the Full Form Filter, which is a brilliant piece of kit. Despite Matt`s misgivings, I also check for draw bias using
    I then use an old chestnut to make my final decision. I use the Churchill system. If anybody has not heard of this, Winston Churchill used to write down on a piece of paper all the `for` and `against` of a plan. Whichever had the highest number of points made the decision.
    I also have one final personal foible that makes my final decision; I never bet a horse to do something it has never done before. That is why I tend to steer clear of 2 year old races. I also have a personal dislike of amateur jockeys. They have cost me dear over the years. Why would any trainer with a great horse put an amateur on it? All that tosh about reducing the weight does not wash for me. Someone will always point out a winner with an amateur on it, but my experience has been that their inexperience will cost you dear in the end.
    Since coming back to Geegeez, using the new bits Matt has added to the cards and my experience from last year`s tipping disaster, I have had a constant stream of winners and placed horses. A few have lost, and I have lost discipline occasionally, but overall I am making a profit and that is what it is all about.
    My thanks to Matt and Chris for putting up with my constant stream of questions 🙂

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks a lot for your comment, Chris, and I like the rigour of your assessment process. It’ll be too time-consuming for many, but I can’t imagine it not working.

      With regards to the class component on both The Shortlist and Instant Expert, that’s correct. One mitigation for this would be to click a horse from The Shortlist. That will bring up the Instant Expert for that race. You can then change the Class dropdown to account for higher class races. Another small step in the process but one that would certainly address your issue there.

      Thanks again for your comment.


  7. hollieollo
    hollieollo says:

    Just thought I should add that I have also started checking Dr Mays Speed Ratings where shown.

  8. Jim
    Jim says:

    Mildy interesting but looks another blatant marketing excercise for the Geegeez race-cards to these mincers.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Glad you found it mildly interesting, Jim. It is fairly bland info but a pretty important point, in my opinion.

      And if providing more nutritious punting content is seen as blatant marketing, then I’m happy to be guilty as charged.

      You may have noticed that I strongly reference the free content on Geegeez, which includes this post, though of course it’s still marketing, strictly speaking.

      Out of interest, have you tried the Gold cards?


  9. Simon Parker
    Simon Parker says:

    Agree with Tom W and like to look at the distance behind winner. Without that it is a bit hard to interpret finish position.

  10. mike oliver
    mike oliver says:

    I agree with what you say about things like past form figures, beaten favourites (BF), course and distance winners (CD) are no longer of much use to punters. But the others you currently champion such as 1st time in a handicap, first run for a new trainer, profitable trainer/jockey combos etc won’t be for much longer either. As a system builder back in the day it was easy to build profitable systems around (BF), (CD) etc, but the market soon caught on. I am already finding that systems built on the newer, more fashionable ideas you advocate are becoming less profitable as the market catches up. Of course Matt, this is partly down to the success of Geegeez Gold because too many people now know about these things and the real key to success is to keep ahead of the market.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Mike

      Thanks for the comment – a very good point you make, too. Couple of observations in response:

      1. The value is normally in the early markets. The SP market accommodates pretty much all thinking, but bookmaker early prices are extremely unsophisticated (relatively) in comparison.
      2. Yes, inevitably the value of any angle recedes over time. However, the nature of trainer angles is that the keen-eyed punter can be on the look out for the next generation of trainers before the market cottons on, meaning there will always be some sort of edge (albeit perhaps not as pronounced as is currently the case).

      Moreover, it is definitely true that one must continue to innovate and re-invent to stay ahead of the crowd. That’s why traditional racecards have had their day, and why TC/HC1 will in large part have its day (though probably not for another five years), and why sectional timings will be absorbed by the market in a matter of months if they’re ever adopted as ubiquitous on British/Irish race courses.

      In their place will come another angle/edge, and then another. There will still be plenty of unexplored pockets of value even when you and I have had our 200th birthdays, I suspect.

      As for the success of Geegeez Gold, we can comfortably accommodate a few hundred more subscribers without touching the sides of the markets in which we swim. 🙂

      Thanks again,

  11. stargates
    stargates says:

    Your results are pretty amazing actually, I use the shortlist and the stat of the day.

    My one frustration with “The Shortlist” is that it does not include previous days “shortlist”, with results added, as I would like to be able to look back and see how it went for “Winners” ( which I may have backed with insurance anyway just in case they came close but did not win ) and “Placed” horses.

    I am of course aware that this is a starting point and clicking on the list brings up the tabs for further analyses, but unless I backed a horse, I do not know if it WAS on the list at all to back check and see WHY it won or lost, by delving further into the data.

    Its a learning process after all, analysing these things, as your article points out quite clearly, so being able to see WHY you should or should not have backed a horse would help, don’t you think?



    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Steve

      Great to hear you’re having success with SotD and The Shortlist. For many people they’re worth the sub on their own (and it was nice to see 5/1 and 8/1 winners on The Shortlist yesterday from five contenders 🙂 ).

      Regarding yesterday’s report output, it might be possible to include a ‘Yesterday’ button. Will need to ask my tech guys.


      • Blokeshead
        Blokeshead says:

        I’d also appreciate a “yesterday” button – it would save me a minute or two each day, which adds up over time.

  12. kemali
    kemali says:

    Matt…Interesting as usual…At a quick glace though I find that if a horse has come first or second last time or is a BF then it’s worth a second look. But at the end of the day only reading the form will do…a fifth in a Group 1 is often better than a first in Group 3.

    Oh and by the way I will be stunned if that donkey Regal Park wins!! Solstice Star and Tennessee Bird for me!

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Good to hear from you, Kemal, and thanks for the comment.

      Re Regal Park, he may very well not win. After all, he’s still 11/4, so he’s much more likely not to prevail.

      But look at the likes of Express du Berlais, Ebony Express, Masterofdeception, Neverownup.

      This guy’s record with horses having their first start for him after previously being trained elsewhere, since the start of 2014 is: 411311173212115159103

      I’m happy with the other side of 3/1 on that basis alone. Like I keep trying to get across, it’s not always on the traditional racecard!!!!


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Plenty of it is, Gareth. Sadly, I have to pay developers and data licenses, and try to scratch a living from it as well, which I’m afraid precludes your request…


  13. Tom
    Tom says:

    I have to agree with Paul.
    ALL information is relevant when selecting horses to back.
    c and distance (CD) for instance.
    Obviously States the horse acts on the track and at the trip. Useful info considering the idiosyncrasies of
    British turf tracks
    But which decent punter would back every horse blind on the single fact it is a CD winner.
    Same with every other pointer, BF, L.T.O. Winner, Headgear, Forecast Fav.
    They are all different clues in picking your selection. Along with many others which can be used.
    If there is any “perils” in race cards it is the punter can get bogged down with information.
    Of which gee geez gold is probably not immune to .

    Sorry but you are spitting facts out, ( although true) and not stating their true worth in winner finding
    Just to beef up your race cards.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:


      I have stated their true worth – they are NOT WORTH ANYTHING in isolation. I have also said, as you have reiterated, that nobody backs sole angles religiously.

      As for promoting my (very good) service on my website at the end of a post I spent three hours putting together which forms part of my business, well how very rude of me! 😉

      A question for you: have you ever tried the free Geegeez racecards? They contain MORE information, and they contain MORE USEFUL information than the ones you’re probably using now.

      Again, they’re FREE. I would encourage anyone concerned about the possibility that this is a blatant marketing pitch (which, of course, it is in part – unashamedly, obviously) to try the free stuff. If you like it, maybe take a fiver trial. If you don’t, no problem. Fair enough?


  14. ron
    ron says:

    Hi Matt
    very interesting article and no guessing then why racecards in the press haven’t altered in 35 years !The bottom line with the punter is though- just how long does anyone have to spend on studying form? Betting shops are never going to have something like geegeez gold on display, so for most things wont change!
    I have studied the results concerning the 1,2,3 fav for years and wonder to myself-how do the horses know? In each of the racing catergories: flat,a/w and n/h their is little fluctuation in the % year on year.For example 32% favs, 20% 2fav and 13% 3 fav win on the a/w.rarely do results fall away from 1% in either direction.Maybe you can shed some light on this?
    keep up the good work.


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Ron

      If a punter chooses to have no time to spend on finding a horse, that punter gets what they deserve, I’m afraid.

      If a punter chooses to have a little time to spend on finding a horse, there are lots of ways to isolate value in short order, and make some good bets.

      It’s impossible to justify spending money on a bet without thinking about it, unless the outcome is entirely inconsequential to the bettor.


      p.s. with regards to fav’s, 2nd, 3rd, etc. They all lose money to back blindly, and they lose gradually more money the further away from the top of the market you drift.

      p.p.s. Betting shops now have interactive screens in them, so why not display, for instance, Instant Expert? Moreover, online bookies have no such space restrictions. So again, why not display better / more content? In fairness to Coral, though I think it’s a terrible gimmick, they have some race predictor content on their bookie site now. Doesn’t show how the result was arrived at, which for me would be completely pointless. But it is at least additional content…

  15. telme2
    telme2 says:

    how about adding if possible without overcrowding the cards, “CR” to indicate that the horse has run at the course, this being not that they have won, but are running more than once at the course, maybe down to owner/trainer preference to have that “local” winner


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Terry

      You’ve hit the nail on the head there. It’s a real challenge trying not to ‘clutter’ the racecard with too many symbols and indicators, but whilst still giving as much gen as possible.

      We get round that to some degree with both Full Form Filter (free to registered users) and Instant Expert (Gold, but free in Race of the Day and also for all races on Thursdays for free registered users). They’re both very (very!) easy to check and will give you full chapter and verse on course, distance, class, and a number of other elements.


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

    Good shout, Matt. I was on the second at 33/1 (20/1 SP). If you’d clicked on trainer form you’d have seen he was 1/1 in the last 14 days, and 2/2 (at about + 100 pts profit!) in the last 30 days. Not my spot I confess – thanks Racing Consultants – but the theory’s the same.

  17. Chris Arnfield
    Chris Arnfield says:

    Hi Matt,
    Just a quick message to say what a brilliant piece of selection your tip above for Regal Park.
    All those `experts` who have been writing cobblers all afternoon might want to eat a bit of humble pie.
    I have not read one so-called professional tipster even remotely think Regal Park would be anywhere near winning because as you said in your article, people are blinded by the race card form figures, which show a number of PU, i.e. pulled up.
    I congratulate you and your excellent website.


    Chris Arnfield BA, BSc

  18. sondrio2
    sondrio2 says:

    well said chris arnfield, regal park was in the bottom half of the ratings i use, so indeed a great spot and i was very pleased to be on it.
    thanks matt

  19. Tuckers Luck
    Tuckers Luck says:

    thanks for taking the time to post this Matt, always good stuff, it just had to win lol. I see nothing wrong in highlighting the differences between the bookies racecards and what Geegees offers, its called clever marketing…

    gl all

  20. Blokeshead
    Blokeshead says:

    It’s a crying shame that even a site like this has its share of these:

    Matt’s article gave me:
    1. An interesting read.
    2. An idea for a simple-ish laying system.
    3. Regal Park. (Thanks for that one, Matt – he’d got under my radar).

    However, none of that stopped the moaners. If I ever need evidence for the cliché “You can’t please all the people all the time”, I shall use this site – it’s the best example of it I’ve ever seen.

  21. Chris Jones
    Chris Jones says:

    Hi Matt,

    I was a bit confused when I first read through your article and saw that you thought that course and distance statistics were useless for picking winners. I mean, both of those appear as filters on geegeez racecards when using the instant expert tool so how can they not be useful?

    Reading through your replies to other comments, I guess the answer to why include ‘course’ and ‘distance’ in your filters is because they are taken as part of an overall view rather than in isolation.

    That being the case, aren’t you being a bit hard on the newspaper versions, its not like they tell you to only use one piece of the information provided is it?

    I’m a fan of the instant expert filter having had a few nice priced winners when I’ve gone to check on a selection only to back something else based on the instant expert figures.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Chris

      Yes, it is a composite approach that most punters take, so picking on individual approaches is harsh. However, at risk of repeating myself, I did say “not that anyone would back one or more of these religiously”.

      What I should perhaps also have said is that in combination they’re little better. For example, since 2012, beaten last day favourites who are course and distance winners ‘today’ won 1185 of 5446 races (21.76%) for a negative ROI of 18.9%.

      Instant Expert’s great asset, in my opinion, is how it quantifies a horse’s efforts in percentage terms. Moreover, it doesn’t cover course and distance (CD) collectively, but individually (C and D); it is Full Form Filter that allows a user to combine the two.

      So there are grades of course and distance winner. A CD winner with one victory from five runs over CD would be graded AMBER, e.g. Clement in the 6.20 Kempton; whereas a CD winner with two wins from four over CD would be graded GREEN, e.g. Diamonds A Dancing in the same race.

      Again, Instant Expert presents a lot more data – covering class, going, course, distance and field size (as well as speed rating and official rating comparison with last winning rating) – in a single view. With the colour coding, it’s really easy to assimilate that information into a view of two things:

      1. How each horse fits against today’s criteria
      2. Whether there are any outstanding ‘fit’ horses in a race with little competition in that regard.

      Its real power is in point 2 above, as I’ve written about here:

      In a nutshell, a line of green (or near green) in a sea of red is an attractive punting proposition. And this can be done really quickly. I just went through every single one of the 42 races today, and shortlisted nine possible bets in, literally, 3 minutes 29 seconds (I used an online stopwatch to time it!). And that was writing the horse names rather than numbers!

      Just for fun, here is my rapid shortlist (which I’d obviously go on to check other angles on before placing bets) –

      2.50 W – Noguchi 4/1 PP
      3.50 W – Saturation Point 14/1 general / Diletta Tommasa 14/1 Skybet
      5.00 C – Imperator Augustus 16/1 general
      5.30 C – Perardua 10/1 general
      6.20 K – Diamonds A Dancing 8/1 general
      6.50 K – Weld Arab 5/1 general
      7.10 B – Escalating 6/1 general
      9.20 K – Perfect Alchemy 10/1 BetVictor, Hills

      Hope adds some further colour. In short, yes, I have been a bit mean to traditional racecards, but not especially so, I don’t think. They are deeply inflexible, and in today’s information age they lag far behind prediction tools used in, well, pretty much every other industry.


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      It happened to be the horse I’d flagged with no form as well, Robert. Point made (thankfully!)

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