How to Bet on Horses: Reading Form / Creating Betting Systems

How to bet on horses

How to bet on horses

How to Bet on Horses

In this post, I present a video on how to bet on horses.

It is my hope that there will be something for all levels of knowledge in the following video about betting on horses.

The video covers both form analysis and the creation of betting systems, and runs to around ninety minutes in length (about the same as an England friendly, but hopefully a bit more interesting!)

So, grab a cuppa and a notepad, and click play below.

I hope you like it - feel free to leave questions or comments in the space below, and between me and the massed ranks of Geegeez readers, we'll do our best to help answer them.

There are also links below the video to tools and services referenced in the video.

How to Bet on Horses: Links

HorseRaceBase - (special 7 day free trial for Geegeez readers)

Better Betting post

Questions? Comments?

Leave your questions and/or comments in the box below, and we'll get them answered.


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19 replies
  1. david furlong
    david furlong says:

    fair play matt not many succesful punters would be so open. will definately subscribe to horse race base have been looking for an affordable database/system builder

  2. Stuart W Hogg
    Stuart W Hogg says:

    Hi Matt

    Very interesting video. I have now finished watching part one much of which is in line with my own thinking. When you initially look at a racecard do you decide that there are certain races not worth spending a deal of time with and focus on those racing which have more investment appeal. In short do you have a brief method of finding the ideal race to concentrate on any given card or day.

    I was surprised that in your video in regard to Clinical you did not mention two vital stats which led me to select this animal. Firstly that Mark Prescott was a trainer very much in form and had a strike rate over the last fourteen days far in excess of the other trainers involved and combined this with a high strike rate at the course.

    Please accept that this is not a criticism. I was just surprised given your emphasis on training stats that you did not mention it which would have given some creedence to your belief that trainer stats are of vital importance.

    Very enjoyable and thought provoking.

    Stuart W Hogg

    In all

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Stuart

      I’m pretty sure I did mention that I look for trainers currently in form, though I may not have referenced that specifically in the context of Clinical. (As you will have seen, the video was recorded on the fly, and so I probably forgot some of the things I should have mentioned!)

      Trainer form is a key element of how I, and many other bettors, frame a race.

      With regards to races I tend to look at / leave alone, I’m always interested in Group races, as I believe there are often clear class ceilings between the Group 3 and Group 2, and Group 2 and Group 1, which are underestimated by the public.

      I’ll look at handicaps of up to 12 runners, when I think there’s an angle in: possibly pace, trainer, horse for course, and so on. And occasionally I’ll look at a maiden if I think a trainer’s horse will improve markedly for the run, or if a trainer has a very good first time out record.

      Hope that adds some colour, and well done for getting through the first part. It is a long video!


    STUARTY says:

    really enjoyed that Matt more of the same in future please,all the best Stuarty

  4. Ray
    Ray says:

    Well done, Matt, a Herculean effort! Very informative and chock-full of ideas.



  5. george
    george says:

    HI Matt
    Very interesting video-lots of very informative insights.
    One of the fascinating things about this ‘game’ is opinions. A friend of mine has the complete opposite idea about hold up horses-he’s obsessed about sectional times and spends ages doing his own with stop watch, etc.He feels that it’s only the last 1 1/2 Furlongs which is really important especially over 1 mile on the flat and a horse that can run that in a faster time will generally win even if held up-of course he is looking here specifically for horses that are front runners who may waste energy taking each other on up front letting in the hold up horses later.
    Having said that he tends to concentrate on the all weather.
    What do you feel about ‘top speed’ analysis?- I find the figures in the RP quite suspect to be honest. Do you tend to do much video analysis of previous races with regard to making your selections?
    I’m interested also in your views on Sire stat’s etc.That to me is one of the tricky areas in horse assessment but I feel is very important. I know a lot of people are very interested in how horses walk to paddock, and paddock evaluations etc but as someone who works in human sports injury rehab it’s not always possible to infer from the stance and gait of an individual (the biomechanics if you like) how well they are likely to run a particular distance as you have no way of really knowing what their cardio-vascular capabilites are. If they have various postural anomalies that can definately impact on their efficieny and likelehood of injuries but it still won’t tell you what the capabilites are of the particular individual from a cardio -vascular veiw point.IN general though certainly when it comes to human performance the most important aspect is generally the cardio-vascular capabilites even if the actual ‘style’ doesn’t look particularly great. Paula Radcliffe is a good example of that! I’m sure the hereditary aspect can give you a lot of very useful information here statistically-with regard to that. That’s a particular area I’m very interested in researching much more intensely.
    THanks again for a very interesting presentation.
    And again I’m very interested in your thoughts about top speeds and sectional timings and their importance to you or not!!


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi George

      There’s a lot of questions there, so I’ll try to cover some but hopefully others will pick up on the others.

      It is of course true that horses who show late speed in races may be well handicapped, and capable of better. But if they consistently finish 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc., it’s not much use. My view is that a lot of race clockers over-complicate the piece. Pareto’s Principle of 80/20 comes into play here.

      What I mean by that is that even simplistic Mordin-esque speed figures remain profitable to follow on AW, especially in races shorter than a mile.

      Anyone using speed figures beyond a mile is setting themselves up for a fall generally, in my opinion.

      Topspeed – decent enough starting point, but no rating OR form judge as central in the public domain as the Racing Post’s speed man has a hope of making a profit. Quite simply, this info is factored into the price, as it’s consumed by the masses.

      Sire stats are general and suggestive. They can’t ever be any more than that.

      Hope that adds some colour. I’m sure others will have differing – and possibly divergent – views!


  6. Steve
    Steve says:

    Thanks Matt,

    I spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour and a half and found much to ponder. There were many interesting points raised and as others have said, not many would be bothered to spend the time in trying to help others.

    Again many thanks.


  7. Gary
    Gary says:

    HI Matt

    Watched your video never realised how powerful Horseracebase was, even more powerful with ideas for the system builder 🙂

    Quick question for you if you dont mind. The first part of the video you looked at trainers who are good at the relevant track, us this available through racingpost or is this something you have learnt over the years or do you go through each trainer at the meetings to give you a starting point?

    Do you also consider current ‘hot’ jockeys? Or more concerned about trainer



    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Gary

      That trainer info is available in Racing Post, and in the free part of the site as well.

      I rarely look at hot jockeys. To be honest, whilst I think it’s true that a poor ride can lose a race, it’s quite rare that a fantastic ride is the difference between victory and defeat. An overrated element in my view. Jockeys are generally only significant in relation to which trainer is using them, and their historical performance when doing so.


  8. george
    george says:

    Paretto’s principle!
    Thanks Matt-very interesting although I guess you could say it’s a matter of opinion what to put in the 20 %!
    I generally agree with you about Jockeys although I take the converse view quite often-IE I have quite a few jockeys on my blacklist so to speak that are a negative when considering selection.
    I also think that in amateur or apprentice/conditional jockey only events, especially in hunter chases for example, or ‘quirky’ tracks winning experience can be pretty important in considering your selection.

    Thanks again

  9. Paul Williamson
    Paul Williamson says:

    Hi Matt, another excellent and interesting piece, very interesting many thanks Paul

  10. James Martin
    James Martin says:


    Thought I would drop you a line as whilst I do build my own systems (not in your league yet though I guess), they are normally based on race types and not trainers (first). Having watched your video over the weekend, I did attempt to follow your methods of trainer first – I must admit that I agree with the idea that a trainer is somewhat a creature of habit.

    Anyway, I placed a couple of small bets yesterday on big price horses that had good records at the track/class/distance/going for one of the top trainers at the track. Not watching the race, I have just opened my Betfair account to see a higher than expected balance (always good). This comes from my “to be placed” on Ron Barr’s “Brave Battle” (which came 3rd at 40/1) and my win bet on Gowanharry (due to Dods’ record at Newcastle).

    I have paper traded a multiple today with one winner, two good value places and a loss, returning a 5.5pt profit.

    Have found six selections for tomorrow and whilst this is a lot, a small stake set of trebles seems to be in order.

    Fingers crossed (and thanks for the pointers!)


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Excellent stuff Jim. Yes, it’s definitely a great seam to mine. Has its losing runs, obviously, but a generally overlooked approach.


  11. Ravi
    Ravi says:

    Hi Matt,
    Some great comments here, however i only saw your mail now. Is there a dowloadable version. Even with a sorta nice dsl line, my video is very slow in appearing. More time spent waiting for buffering.


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Ravi

      I’m afraid there isn’t. Perhaps you could wait a while for it all to get downloaded and then the buffering should be less of an issue. (I’m not a tech wiz on such things I’m afraid).


Comments are closed.