Tag Archive for: Flat Trainer betting systems

Racing Systems: Flat Trainers, Part 3

In the past couple of articles - here and here - I have been researching and sharing some trainer-based systems for flat racing (turf and all weather combined), writes Dave Renham. And in this piece, I have one more group of flat trainer systems to share. Once again, the focus will be on UK racing from Jan 1st 2009 to Dec 31st 2021 with all profits quoted to Betfair Starting Price (less 5% commission).

As a researcher and writer I feel my job is to share facts and figures and, from there, the reader can make an informed choice. Systems do not have to be rigid: we can use them that way of course, but we have options that allow the selection process to be more flexible. With that said, here are the final four of twelve trainer angles for the flat.


Ralph Beckett – The 3yo system

Ralph Beckett was discussed in an earlier article when the focus was solely all weather racing. Here is a different system which could be employed on both the turf and the sand. It has very few rules:

  1. Flat racing (Turf / All weather)
  2. Trainer – Ralph Beckett
  3. 3yo runners

I have discussed before that in general the simpler the system the better – this is a case in point. Here are the overall stats for the last 13 seasons:



These are sound figures overall, especially across nearly 3000 qualifiers, and the system has produced returns in excess of 8%. Here are the stats broken down by year. The graph below shows the yearly Return on Investment % to BSP. I am using ROI% as I tend to do with bigger sample sizes:



There have been nine winning years and four losing ones, with three of the losing years back in 2012 or before. The last five years have all returned a profit so there's some good overall consistency, which is backed up when we look at the yearly win strike rates of these 3yos:



In twelve of the 13 years, Beckett has returned a strike rate of 15% and above, and only in 2009 did he not exceed this figure (SR was 14.1% in that year). This gives greater confidence in the base line figures.

Digging a little deeper we can see there is further consistency when we split the results by distance. Dividing into three we get the following:



All distance ranges have made a profit and the returns have been similar at that.

This angle in its raw form will give us a decent number of qualifiers each year. For me it is a case of looking at each qualifier on an individual basis and examining the races they are contesting in more detail. From there I will decide if the horse looks a value bet or not.

Andrew Balding – The 2yo non-handicap system

Andrew Balding has successfully followed in the footsteps of his father Ian starting back in 2003. His strike rate in all races is solid, averaging around the 15% mark, and he is at or near this figure year in, year out. The system I want to share with you relates to his juvenile runners. The rules are:

  1. Flat racing (Turf / All weather)
  2. Trainer – Andrew Balding
  3. 2yos in non-handicaps


This system has produced the following results:



That is an absolutely huge profit over the past 13 years. There have been a good number of bets again and here is the annual breakdown data, via Return on Investment (ROI%):



As can be seen from the upward spikes, there have been several extremely profitable seasons, with ten in the black and just three losing years. However, as you might suspect, this system has been blessed by several big-priced winners: in fact, ten winners have returned at a BSP of over 50.0! Clearly, then, a good proportion of the overall profits are down to these runners. The results are definitely a touch skewed.

However, before thinking this may not be the system for you, it should be noted that horses whose industry SP has been 10/1 or shorter have made a profit as well. OK, we are only talking about 9%, but if your shorter priced runners are making a profit, then I think this type of approach has ‘legs’. To reproduce the amazing profits of the past 13 years it will need the odd big-priced winner, but even if these are less frequent, there is a good chance this system will still make a long-term profit.

Finally I want to share the Balding stats in terms of ground conditions (going). He has been profitable on all types of turf going as well as making a profit on the sand:



Clive Cox – The 3yos in 3yo+ races system

Clive Cox has saddled over 850 winners and, last year, saw his highest tally of winners, 79. Indeed, since 2009, if you had backed ALL of his runners in every single race you would have made a profit of 8p in the £. Not bad considering the sample size is in excess of 5,200 runners. Also, six of the last seven years would have produced a blind profit which is impressive.

Clive Cox has done especially well with his three-year-old (3yo) runners since 2009, especially when they are racing in 3yo+ races. The system reads:

  1. Flat racing (Turf / All weather)
  2. Trainer – Clive Cox
  3. 3yos in 3yo+ races

Again, there are very few rules which, as I have stated before, is important for the logic to stand up. The overall results show good profits:



Looking at the annual breakdown, the below figures using BSP profit to £1 level stakes:



2009, 2010, 2017 and 2018 were all very profitable and these years are why the system has an overall profit. What is interesting, though, is that Cox has not really had any bad seasons. Even in 2019 and 2020 the losses were very modest considering the raw nature of this system. So, despite four seasons contributing to virtually all the profit margin, this system shouldn’t in my opinion be written off due to inconsistency. Whether it is the type of system for you, only you will know. Again my personal approach would be to highlight qualifiers using the rules and then take a more pragmatic approach by doing further research into the horses in question and their rivals in the highlighted race.

A couple of extra pointers: firstly Cox has done better at shorter distances (less than 1m 1f). Secondly, horses that finished in the first five last time have produced 126 winners from 609 runners (SR 20.7%) showing a profit of £299.44 (ROI +49.2%). Breaking the annual results down for this second subset of runners sees an impressive twelve winning years out of 13. Of course we need to ask, is using a last time out finish in the first five back-fitting? Possibly, but even with extra stipulation this angle still has very few rules. Also, if you had restricted to a finish in the first three last time out, the results would have been similar.

There is no easy answer sometimes to whether an extra rule or two is a good idea to a very simple system. If the additional rule(s) has logic then you could argue it either way; if it is not logical then there is no argument – it is definitely back-fitting!

Mick Appleby – The 3yo handicap system

Mick Appleby started training in the summer of 2010. He had just three winners that year followed by 15 in 2011. From 2012 his stable increased in size and, over the next two seasons (2013 & 2014), he saddled 101 winners. In the last five years, Appleby has saddled at least 90 winners each time.

The system is thus:

  1. Flat racing (Turf / All weather)
  2. Trainer – Mick Appleby
  3. 3yos in handicaps


Again a system with very few rules. They have produced some decent returns as we can see in the table below:



This time we have a slightly lower strike rate than the other angles I have shared, but in handicap races this is generally likely to be the case. Here is the annual breakdown.



It's a bit of a roller-coaster, truth be told. 2016 and 2021 were huge years but both had one very big-priced winner which helped the bottom line considerably. In 2016, Mick had a winner that effectively paid 253/1, while in 2021 he had one that paid around 194/1 (prices adjusted to account for commission). This takes the overall profit figure down to £246 which still equates to a tidy profit of 18p in the £.

Regarding outliers, Appleby had only one other winner that paid over 50/1 (it paid 70/1 after commission). Restricting the Oakham trainer's runners to an industry SP price of 14/1 or less, his figures remain good: 156 winners from 919 runners for a profit of £154.52 (ROI +16.8%).

Another point worth sharing is that his record is considerably better in 3yo only handicaps. In such contests, the strike rate increases to 14.2% and profits stand at £655.45 (ROI +94.7%). Overall it would have given a much smoother ride from a yearly perspective.

Most systems that solely use handicap races are likely to fluctuate somewhat and hence come with risk. Thereafter, it is the old risk / reward conundrum. For me, once again this system is a case where I would be noting the qualifiers and undertaking further research to determine whether a horse is a betting opportunity or not.


So there you have it, the last four trainer systems from a group of 12. It will be interesting to see how they fare over the next two or three seasons. Time will tell.

- DR