Tag Archive for: in-running betting hacks

Pinball Wizard, Part 5: In-Running Aids and Hacks

Previously on… Pinball Wizard Betting… We looked at how I approach the In-Running Market and my strategy for winning, writes Russell Clarke. You can read that here. And earlier episodes are here: Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

Along the way I have picked up some hacks that many of you will find useful, and also the use of some aids that often enable the hacks. The most important hack I can share is to spend five minutes at the end of each day’s trading to quickly summarise what you feel you did well, what you didn’t do well, and any mistakes you made.

My crib sheets are kept in a notebook and after each race I scribble the result and any immediate feeling I have: this takes no more than 30 seconds. Then, at the end of the day, I can read through those comments, and I make bullet points of ‘Lessons Learned’. I found them invaluable when starting out, and still do it today out of habit. I will go back and read them after I have had a poor day and they reaffirm learning points.

Look to use the options on your bet placement software that suit your style of trading. Whether you are using Bet Mover or Bet Angel you have tools and servants that will place your orders into the market to give you the best chance of being matched without sacrificing too much in terms of value.

For example, you can instruct the software to place your lay orders at x number of ticks above the current back price or vice versa for back bets. In fast moving markets this gives you the best chance of being matched with some protection from offering outlandish prices. If you are using a ladder, such an aid is not required. Fill or Kill is another option that is more than useful. This essentially cancels any unmatched bets within x seconds of placement. This is especially helpful if you are inexperienced and could forget to cancel an order. Offsets and Servants provide other options for you to explore. The bet placement software tools are excellent and you should use them to their fullest.

Your surroundings when trading in-running are vital. It obviously takes more concentration than pre-race betting and you need to concentrate fully. Ideally, you should have an office space that “ain’t got no distractions” as Mr Townshend might say. You will be using your eyes and ears and making split second decisions, so you need to have a clear strategy or plan that you do not deviate from or are distracted from.

You should be constantly honing your in-running skills. You can certainly make notes on jockey styles that catch your eye by watching replays. Picking up characteristics should pay dividends in identifying possible entries before others. I have to admit, this is an area I have neglected personally.

TPD (Total Performance Data) is essentially a quantitative analysis of what you can (and can’t) see on the live pictures. If you choose to use it, you should produce screen capture videos of races and your trading of the numbers. This analysis will quickly highlight scenarios that are advantageous, speeding up the learning process. The numbers are not infallible but they will help inform decision-making.

Be aware of the type of race you are trading. Handicaps involving horses with plenty of experience and form are unlikely to yield many clues pre-race. In contrast, in fields of inexperienced juveniles, the paddock and pre-race preliminaries can inform far more. These types of races are also more heavily influenced by what is happening live and so don’t hold on to pre-race expectations set by BSP as long as you might in a field of grizzled handicappers.

Remember that “everyone sees the obvious”. So, in general, don’t hit the lay button directly after a bad jump. The market initially overreacts as everyone does the same thing and then comes back to an equilibrium a few seconds later. You will just be left with an entry level way above the current level that could be costly to trade out of, if you need to do so later. The exception to this rule might be in a big field where the mistake has been hidden from view somewhat. Similarly, on the Flat, don’t be too keen to hit the lay button after a tardy start. The market typically overreacts and then comes back and you don’t want to be left holding the baby, especially if a slow start is typical of the horse. Of course, if it is atypical, then you might want to have a go at ‘fastest finger’.

Avoiding the end of a race when you are starting in-running trading is a golden rule. Treat 3f or 2f out as the end of the race for your purposes (slightly further over Jumps). By that time, you should either be comfortable with your trade or have traded out for a green or red. The end of a race is chaotic in terms of the market and you are unlikely to have the experience to cope with the volatility. In addition you could be competing with people on-course and their time advantage is much more potent at the end of a race.

Finally, practice before you start. Use small stakes and develop the style that suits you best. That may be as a trader or a backer or a layer. You might prefer some degree of automation or manual trading. You may prefer one-click or the ladders. You might want to read the whole race, or just one or two horses. You might want to use numbers or just visuals. Or any combination of the above. But your practice time will allow you to try different methods without costing you too much in mistakes.

I hope this series of articles has been useful for both experienced and less experienced in-running players. Apologies for the painful The Who references. “I Can’t Explain”, and perhaps it is only “My Generation” who have picked them up. It remains a mystery how I failed to get “You Better You Bet” into the article!

- RC


p.s. Bonus Material! Below is an example Crib Sheet from a recent race meeting. These are the essence of how I make in-running betting work for me, so I hope you'll find the layout interesting and useful if you'd like to get started.

Ripon 22/07/23

2.46 5f Maiden

MUTASAWI (bsp 3.11)…Sire was 3/8/43 for 2yo’s, though he has a clear form chance.

CAST NO SHADOW (bsp 8.26)…Debut

TROPICAL ISLAND (bsp 2.91)…Debut

A tricky race to trade because I had 3 horses on the crib sheet and it was a 5f race, thus leaving little time for decisions. In these instances, I try and latch on to the one that looks weakest as early as possible.

In this instance, it was quite clearcut. Mutasawi was quickly away, but both of the debutants made poor starts and so I concentrated on them. Tropical Island had reasonable TPD (Total Performance Data) numbers as the race settled down. In contrast, Cast No Shadow had a very high cadence number in the very early stages and that is a little worrying for a 2yo on debut as it suggests over exuberance/greenness. All of this was established within the first furlong. I decided to concentrate on Cast No Shadow.

Of course, it was also possible that Cast No Shadow could be a very fast 2yo (as I had no racecourse evidence) and so my approach here is to look for visual confirmation of the  Crib Sheet and the numbers. He did look green, raced on the outside and then got carried further over. I laid him at this point at an average of 11. In fairness he ran well. It felt like a safe entry and I never needed to consider trading out.

3.20 6f Novice Stakes

MINACK….. slowly away in both runs to date. Negative pace/draw bias (0.28 PRB).

CAPITAL GUARANTEE….First run for new trainer whose record in such situations was 5/10/49.

Minack ended up with a bsp of 100 and Capital Guarantee was a non-runner. I watched the race in case I saw something, or the TPD numbers threw something up, but there was no trade.


3.56 10f Handicap

CASILLI (bsp 12.0)……. A negative pace/draw bias of 0.44

GAREEB (bsp 5.93)….Stable relatively out of form….Slowly away on 2 of his last 3 races….Sire record at this distance 9/24/104 compared with an overall 53/130/372 (which is a place percentage of 23% v 35%) and this is his first try at the trip.

In the race, Casilli did race 5 or 6 lengths off the pace and I considered a lay at around his bsp, but my eye was immediately taken by Gareeb who was rushed up from a moderate start (clearly to avoid being slowly away again) but then got trapped behind horses and started to pull. This was somewhat hidden on the pictures. My thought process was that, given the stamina doubts, pulling hard cannot be a good thing (ordinarily I don’t penalize horses pulling too much as I think it is oversold by the market). He traded below his bsp until well into the straight and I could (and probably should) have taken advantage of that. Instead, I was more cautious and waited for a real sign of weakness and then laid him heavily. I averaged just over 11 and didn’t need to trade as he was beaten very quickly. It was a profitable trade, but, in hindsight, I should have trusted my Crib Sheet and eyes earlier and looked to trade rather than waiting for a cast-iron lay.

4.30 12f Handicap

DARK JEDI (bsp 9.74)…….Trainer/Jockey combination have horrific numbers of 7/45/281 with IV and A/E figures of 0.34 and 0.23. However, in the past, he has won on this ground off this mark.

In the race itself, Dark Jedi had a very good cadence number in the early stages and I saw no visual clues until his price had gone way above his bsp. My eye was taken by Sir Rumi (bsp 11.18) who raced in last position off a relatively modest pace. He had poor TPD numbers and was having to be niggled along by his 7lb claimer and then hung throughout the straight. He was certainly a potential trade but never got close to his bsp and I didn’t get involved.

5.05 8f Handicap

WOBWOBWOB (bsp 13.37)….. A winner over 6/7f and there was a doubt about his stamina on soft ground at 8f.

INNSE GALL (bsp 19.2)….Negative Pace/Draw bias.

In the race itself, Wobwobwob unseated as he came out of the stalls. I was too slow to take advantage. Innse Gall was held up, but it was clear from the par charts that the race was truly run and so the negative pace bias wasn’t likely to pan out. Young Fire caught my eye in the race. He was trapped on the inside (arguably well placed) but wasn’t travelling with much fluency. His TPD numbers were poor and yet he was trading around his bsp. I entered the trade at an average of around 9.2 at the first sign he was under pressure. It wasn’t with maximum confidence and so I was poised to trade out. He didn’t pick up and again I didn’t have to trade out.


Overall, an uneventful day (which is always a good sign). Three profitable trades (none of which were traded) and, although the prices were a little higher than I would normally like, all were close enough to bsp for me to be confident I was getting a value entry. Gareeb was my most confident and most profitable trade of the day. But, it would also get the award for the least well executed trade. There's always more to learn and improve upon!

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