Smoke, Mirrors and Rational Thinking

Does anybody else remember the original SMARTsig hard copy newsletter, dear reader, or is just me?

For those of you who are, yet again, left wondering what I'm wittering on about, SMARTsig stood for 'Systems, Methodologies and Rational Thinking special interest group', and it was a fascinating monthly tome, full of interesting and sometimes obscure ideas.

Indeed, for those who might be interested, it's been reincarnated as smartersig online. You can get a feel for the kind of articles they publish here: No affiliate link there, in case you're wary of such things. 😉


Now then, the reason for the headline is due to the ongoing kerfuffle relating to this most contentious of ebooks, Smoke And Mirrors. describes a system thus:

any formulated, regular plan of procedure

Further, it describes a method thus:

a manner or mode of procedure

A subtle difference, but an important one to my mind. I understand the difference to be that a system is an absolute set of rules whereby everyone gets the same results, whereas a method is a technique one applies to achieve the same 'manner' of results.

In essence, I see a system as providing unarguable outcomes, and a method as delivering a narrow range of possible interpretations of outcome.

My point - tardy as ever - is that, judging by the comments from both users and the author of Smoke And Mirrors, I have been interpreting the system wrong (or maybe just plain getting the selections wrong).

The interesting element of the (very welcome, by the way) commentary is that each person to tell me I've got it wrong, has had a different view of the 'truth' to the others. I have no idea who has it right and who doesn't, and I'm not sure there's any way of proving this.

Moreover, one of the oft voiced concerns with Smoke And Mirrors, is that you can sometimes only see the patterns when it's too late, i.e. after the off. This occasionally renders the system inoperable or, worse, puts you on the wrong horse.

Anthony Greenaway has been good enough to email me a number of times about his system, for which I'm grateful. The poor man has taken something of a buffeting over the last week or so, with not one but two people taking large chunks of his material and passing it off as their own.

And I'd welcome Anthony's further response to my view on Smoke And Mirrors:

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It's a complex system to understand - not in principle with the four signals, more in terms of their interrelation. And there is a lot of scope for confusion / misjudgment.

As such, it wouldn't be for beginners in my view.

Moreover, and perhaps more concerningly, I fear it is only possible to get the 'correct answer', in terms of the selections for each race, after the race is off.

This does still offer the possibility of betting in running, but the odds at that time will be aligned to the in transit position of the horse in question.

One final observation with this method (I don't believe it's rigid enough in practical application to be a system per se) is that there are big swings in profit and loss terms. For instance, whilst tracking, I had a minus fifty plus points day. Now, even if I'd got a couple of those selections wrong, and I'd missed a 10/1 winner (which I didn't), I'd have still had a minus forty points day.

That, clearly, is not to everyone's tastes.

In the interests of balance and fairness, it is certainly correct to say that I only looked at Smoke And Mirrors for a few days and, during such a short review its usually difficult to be categorical about a system.

I'd welcome the thoughts of anyone who has been using this method for a longer period.

Ultimately, I'm afraid this one doesn't work for me, due to:

- the commitment to watch and react to the market prior to each race (large time commitment)

- the fact that some signals don't manifest themselves until after the off

- the difficulty I've had (could have just been me!) with interpreting the inter-relationship between signals

- the large swings in betting bank due to obscenely bad AND good days


Moving on, I had a fantastic day yesterday in the company of some racing gentlemen. As well as hooking up with Gavin from Nag3, and David Peat, Mr FRP (another nice winner yesterday, which he showed us all in the room why he believed it was going to win), we were also joined by eight other learned racing folk who took their first steps to being the next Gavin or Matt.

We got together in the ultra-plush Institute of Directors on Pall Mall, London, and had a long and full day talking about everything from finding an angle for a racing system idea, to tools to build that idea, to pulling it all together.

I'm not sure about the other attendees, but by the end I was absolutely wired. I'm really looking forward to catching up with these guys on a regular basis to monitor their progress and help them along, and I'm certain I'll be introducing the first of them to you soon...


Finally, it's been a while since I've put a horse up on the blog, but there's one I've a small fancy for one today at Southwell.

The horse in question is Silent Hero in the 3.45. Trained by in-form Michael Jarvis and ridden by Philip Robinson (his only ride today), he's the only one in the race with winning course form and will really appreciate the return to an easier surface after bashing his hooves against the firm turf last time.

Draw 14 is not really a problem here and, if he handles the kickback, he should at least make the frame.


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33 replies
  1. mattgiffin says:

    hello matt,i would like to point something out which you may be aware of and give you my example….trading on betfair is responsible of producing false odds on horses..yesterday a horse call zowington (usa),was 1000/1 and 10 mins before the race was 16/1 aand then dropped to 10/1…..3000 bets an hour brought the odds crashing one was betting on it to win they were trading the odds down which made is look like a very good steamer….the horse came 3rd..the graphs on betfair allow you to check the traded amount …odds are now in the hands of the manipulators.

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Matt, it is likely that there would have been very little liquidity in a horse trading at 1000 on a Monday. Thus, I imagine it would have taken very little money to move the price down. People who trade generally look at both liquidity and price movement, rather than just price movement.

      I wouldn’t exactly call this manipulation, especially in light of the fact that the horse may actually have been overpriced in the first place, given that it finished third.

      Best Regards,

  2. anthony says:

    You have to practise at this system and be quick ,even if you put your bets 20 secs before the off you will profit .it has made more points profit than any system you will find . It is totally unique and although it has a bad couple of days that doesnt mean it doesnt work.
    If you have the right sized bank there is no problem but some people rush in, don’t read the book properly and place the wrong bets and tell the world it doesn’t work.
    You have to change your mind set with this system.
    It is you and a few people who dont read the ebook who get the wrong selections
    Just doing the embedded signal will bring in more profits then most systems over the year. it is very successful.
    Anyway enough is enough.If you put up the wrong selections and then start to generate sensationalist headlines, based on false information, the least you can do is apologise to your readers

    – Show quoted text –

    • Matt Bisogno says:


      I don’t think it’s quite fair for me to attempt to track the system using real data (even if I’ve got some of the results wrong), and you to say ‘just doing the embedded signal will bring in more profits than most systems over a year’.

      You see, I’ve used real races and real results. You’ve just made a hollow statement supported by no evidence.

      Further, suggesting that people who have bought your manual haven’t read it properly is a little unkind, unless you know this for sure, no? Is it not just the case that it’s really quite difficult to follow your ‘system’?

      I mean, the very fact that you’re compiling the results for May now rather implies you’re just checking the odds charts with all the ‘final show passed after the off’ implications that come with that.

      I had really hoped you would offer a robust, logical, evidence-based response. Alas, this is not it.

      I stand by my review comments.


  3. Richard says:

    To anthony: i don’t see matts selections as false? I had almost the very same bets over the past 4 or 5 days. maybe 1 or 2 different bets or1 or 2 bets which shouldnt have been a bet.

    all it did was bring down the loss by a few pounds (on 1 pound stakes).

    One of your BIG winners last friday… the odds were not even correct before the off. At the time it was not going to be a bet and then suddenly it became a bet after the race started? What happens then? If i hadnt personally placed that one in play i would be looking at a far greater loss than i have now from this.

    I dont see why he should apologise.

  4. mattgiffin says:

    no thats the point matt it has tonnes of liquidity which i spotted early…..

  5. SEAN says:


    Zowington was a tip from a pundit, that is why it was backed.

    His selections usually are.

  6. Jon says:

    I haven’t bought the system, nor will I be doing so – it is evident that, like the great majority of commercially hyped systems, different people will get different results from the system, because in effect either the instructions are confusingly vague, or they are open to misinterpretation, or you find, as several people have vouchsafed, that you can’t bet till after the off, or if you did bet before the off there were confusing options….and so forth, lol.

    Another evident factor is that the system does very often go for longshots. That’s fine, except that you are up against a basic fact here: the first four in the live betting market win 75% of all races.

    No answer from Anthony to my query yesterday – looks like he’s getting in a bit of a huff, which all these instigators of commercial systems always do eventually, after their systems have been shown not to live up to the hype, lol.



  7. Steve says:

    Perhaps Smoke and Mirrors could work if you are able to watch the races and see exactly when they’re about to start but if you can’t then I think the problems Matt mentioned are unavoidable. So many races get delayed and if you are unaware of this and just bet, say, 30 seconds before the official start time then several minutes could have elapsed before the race begins and the signals could be completely different by then. I found time and again when I tested the system (albeit only over a short period) that I was losing money on selections which shouldn’t have been selections. As Matt said unless you wait until after the off and take a chance on the in running price I think its pretty unworkable (especially taking into account the big time commitment).

  8. bob marsden says:

    hi matt you and your loyal readers do a fantastic job with these system trails…. this system you are trying to moniter now sounds to complicated for me ..i only leanred this computer a bout 4years ago when i retired as for backing all these horses in one race some off which only qualify after the off ..well thats no good for me …by the time ive found all the buttons on this betfair site the race would have finished thanks to you guys thats another system i dont need…… keep up great work yours in sport bob marsden… a very good lass who ive known since she was a baby has just sent hot zone back in training ..i live in countryside and ive seen hot zone flying up a 1/2mile very steep hill for the past month or so…. he should be as fit as a flea by the time mr holt enters him to run …so keep your eyes open for him matt

  9. Jayson says:

    Personally I love these systems/methods that are some what difficult in operation.The simple fact is most punters will have given up on this system in a few months,leaving the profit for those prepared to make the effort.The swings are brutal for sure but,if something is going to make 40+ points in a month,you have to expect a loosing day to be around the same mark or even possibly bigger.
    It works for me though,so Im happy.

  10. mattgiffin says:

    The New Complete Manual of Racing and Betting Systems…..rrp 10.99 Author(s): David Duncan Publisher: Foulsham
    this a great book and must be read by all……

  11. Steve says:

    S & M does work for me albeit not every day. My advice is that you try and cut down on the number of points you bet in a race. Idon’t bet more than 2 points in a race and they are usually Win bets only.Bet on the 2 strongest signals (Usually embedded and in/out) and I only do a place bet at about 25/1 or more and then only if I can get at least 5.0 in the Betfair place market. Also if one or two of the horses at the top of the market are showing strong signals but are too short to bet (say under 9/2) I treat the race with extreme caution and perhaps only bet on the next strongest signal. As has been pointed out quite often the price will change at the last moment or after the off – don’t worry those horses can still win or you can see if you can lay the horse back in running.

  12. Richard says:

    Steve please tell me how it works for you??? It doesnt work for me and ive used it 4 or 5 days straight. Its just too inconsistent for me with the different prices at the off or in play?

  13. hershman says:

    Thank you Matt for Silent Hero – I got it at 4/1 – and it won so easily!

  14. mattgiffin says:

    s and m ,i must point out that if you are getting more than one signal then dont bet,i look for a race with one signal only….had two favs at 2.38/1 and 1st 5 Spirit of Xaar (IRE) 12/1 ,seen alot of signals but only looking for one signal in a race, last at southw had three signals and not one won …..its not about winning every race…

  15. KeithW says:

    Many thanks for “Silent Hero”:paid 5.7 on Betfair.
    Interestingly I also had a magnificent E/W win from a Holy Grail recommendation:Golden Groom @ Betfair 14.63/2.75 in the 17.00 @ Ripon.
    HG has some V. good systems, which I suggest you might afford a trial.

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Well done Keith. I’ll take a look at Holy Grail with a view to adding to the review ‘wishlist’.

      Matt G, you continue in excellent form. Don’t think I’ve ever heard you mention having a loser on here… 😉


  16. mattgiffin says:

    so far matt i havent lost with the horses.(stock market around 3k,bank shares)…i have sat here from 2pm til 905 pm.and followed every signal…so here it goes-6 races no signal…33 spotted signals before race…10 lossing signals(no win or place)4 winning signals..29 lost win bets……but 23 winning place bets… the 23 place bets paid for the 29 lossing bets (just) and the 4 winning bets netted 26 points profit….minus the 10 lossing signals equals 16 points profit for 7 hrs work ….. .i traded around 60 times so its taken two hrs going through it all…..

  17. mattgiffin says:

    ps having four computer screens helps ,two side by side ,two on top (bracket) it does help

  18. Rebel says:

    Hi mattgiffin,

    Thanks for an interesting post regarding Spirit Of Xaar, paid 23.0 at BSP, not to be sneezed at.
    I trust you are making healthy profits from S&M, as we would all wish to.

    What you stated makes a great deal of sense, however, I cannot be alone in scratching my head and wondering whether you have invented your own way of reading the signals to a profitable end, hopefully so. Perhaps, you could enlighten me because, as I understand the printed rules, no way could that qualify as a bet.

    Would be happy to correspond privately with you, should you so wish. Just wondering where I may have gone wrong with this. Put me out of my misery, please.

  19. anthony says:

    my last defence of my system

    Matt has put up the wrong selections and claims it doesnt work.
    that is total misrepresentation.
    I was away for a few days last week and was not able to watch the betting shows however they were all videod and i was collating the results from them
    late movements happen in only 10% of cases and you will win more by leaving the bet as it is
    yesterday kingsmaite was a bet and after the off flipped to 9/1 from 10/1 . it won and everyone was on ,but i dont count this 12.0 winner in my results.
    Richard if you are doing the same bets as matt you are not doing the system right.
    sorry about that but matt has got the selections wrong.
    totally wrong
    end of story

  20. Matt Bisogno says:

    Again Anthony, you fail to produce anything concrete, except to say I’m ‘totally wrong’. If that was the case, EVERY selection I’d picked would be incorrect.

    That obviously is not the case. I’ll ask you one more time Anthony, why don’t you present the full story?

    You sent me the jumps results which supported your profit statements, but failed to send the corresponding period’s flat results (and failed to include May, when you released the system, for either!)

    It still feels back-fitted, and there is still no evidence provided by you or anyone else that this works over time.

    I’d love to be proven wrong. After all, if your system does what you say it does (and not what I say it does), I make money, you make money, and lots of happy readers make money.

    But just saying I’ve misrepresented you, and I’m totally wrong, ‘end of story’, is a little immature, don’t you think?


  21. mattgiffin says:

    i only bet up to the off…..because on course a bookie would not be changing his odds after the race??? i have both sport and betfair graphs up as these show patterns to….between the two i get a good picture of patterns…i am a number cruncher,my brain loves numbers….spotting patterns in the racing……i see patterns forming with this system and a few are not mentioned in the system…is anyone laying the non signals…..this sytem is half of it and by laying the non signals and backing the signals you should be on to a winner………as this is what a bookie does….now im down the bookies for the day to try it there ill let you know after 6pm how i get on……(ps matt,my tipster had his worse month in may…41 points profit)thats 5 winning months this yr)

  22. Richard says:

    I also want the concrete evidence. If you say the selections are wrong then why dont you show us what we are doing wrong instead of claiming that we’re wrong

  23. mattgiffin says:

    one quick tip,what is a pattern. are we looking for patterns or are we looking for something that has returned to where it began….there is a difference…i chose the later….(trying not to give the plot away)……and place the steamers.

  24. mattgiffin says:

    ps-this system is not for people who are married–wifey pointed out the time scale yesterday… my profit will now go on some flowers…..

  25. Michael says:

    Matt G – if your tipster is doing so well, why do you need to do hours of S & M as well?… Unless every tip is a 10 pointer! I hope the bunch of flowers was enormous…

  26. Charlie says:

    Well anyone who is Sherlock could work it out…. so who got the 70+ BSP today? Big smile!!

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