In the first - and possibly last - of its ilk, I try to squeeze enough form study to cover six races into a five minute video.

As you'll understand it is necessarily 'loose' and chancy, but that's precisely the joy of a small placepot perm. (Bigger perms, and therefore bigger stakes, require deeper consideration!)

Anyway, it's just a bit of fun, and we'll see how we go 🙂

Best Regards,


Placepot Picks

Placepot Picks

It's off to Catterick for the placepot today, and with a four runner and a seven runner race, things might get interesting. Let's hope so. It kicks off at 14.05...


A novice hurdle which is ostensibly a four horse race, despite ten going to post. Nice and simple, we'll side with Abbey Storm, who should stay this far, and looks a nice prospect.

A - 2


Trappy. Just how I like it. Trend Is My Friend gets to handicaps pretty quickly, and makes A. Amok won on good to soft and also makes A. Alba King doesn't have any evidence of enjoying soft ground and is overlooked. A couple of rags on B, starting with Zazamix, for whom conditions are optimal if he can put a bad run and a tumble over fences behind him on this reversion to hurdles. Molaise Lad ought to be staying on at the end here and might pass enough to make the frame for B tickets.

A - 2, 4
B - 5, 6


Four novice chasers in a handicap a reliable punting proposition does not make. It is sensible to cover all four, but in the interests of expediency I will cover only three and may save on the other one if something good happens in the 2.40 race.

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I'm going to take a big chance and swerve Dannancey's Hill, who looks a very one paced fellow. This does seems a bit easier than his most recent race, but still he seems to find one too good at the end. When you're win only, that's no good.

A - 1, 2
B - 4


Competitive stuff, and plenty with some sort of chance. Optimally suited are Fairy Nuff and Amir Pasha and they will represent the primary hopes. Supporting them on B is the trio of Mount Hope, Knight Valliant, and Silas Mariner.

Both Glencree and Charlie Crab could outrun their odds but are not sensible placepot plays.

A - 4, 13
B - 2, 3, 9


A cracking race. Lease Lend looks to have everything in his favour and is super-consistent. I'm going to bank on him here. If the placepot is shaping up nicely enough, I may look to lay him for a place on Betfair to cover my stakes.

A - 1


An unbeaten favourite and a very well supported unraced second favourite... that's A sorted with Legacy Gold and Delta Forty respectively. In a race where a lot is taken on trust, it's worth adding some ballast on B in the hope of a surprise result. As such, Dancing Lamb and Falcon's Present join the placepot party.

A - 1, 2
B - 3, 8

Basic Version, A’s only

1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 2 = 16 bets

Basic Version, A’s and B’s

1 x 4 x 3 x 5 x 1 x 4 = 240 bets

Advanced Version, using ticket builder

This is using 20p base stakes (x4 for all As, and x2 for 5A1B combo's), but could be done for as little as 5p stakes in the betting shops.

Monday Placepot from Catterick

Monday Placepot from Catterick

Good luck!

Placepot Picks

Placepot Picks

Well, last week's first attempt at a Monday placepot was the most bizarre double-edged sword you could wish for. Whilst the basic perm returned a small profit, the more advanced approach 'won' the placepot, but did not return invested stakes. In other words, it made a loss.

That tells only half the story, however, because the 36 line basic perm claimed all six winners (and four seconds as well!), meaning it would have won the tote jackpot, which was in play at Wolverhampton that day. The jackpot paid £1,823.80, a 50/1 winner for anyone who was brave (reckless?) enough to stake £36 on the jackpot.

But, even more incredible, the six horse accumulator, at odds of 13/8, 7/4, 5/1, 5/4, 6/1 and 4/1 paid £3,410.86, which is 94/1 on your £36 investment!

Hmm. Well, whilst we almost certainly won't trouble to jackpot judge again any time soon, we can definitely aspire to a winning return on the placepot. And I'll be tilting at those particular windmills down at Plumpton. Soft ground, small fields, and Monday racing make for the possibility of a tidy return for the shrewd punter. So let's see if we can't gain temporary admission to the 'shrewd punter's club' for the afternoon...

Race one is off at 1.10, and do make sure you check for non-runners between now and then. Note also that I'll be using A's and B's for the advanced perm, details of which are here, and a ticket builder tool to construct the wager, which you can use for free here.

Race 1: 1.10

Valdez had looked extremely promising prior to his Cheltenham flop last time. It's possible that heavy ground was too soggy for him or, more likely, he was simply outclassed by better horses. Either way, this represents a return to slightly firmer going (but still soft!) and a good bit easier class. Alan King is the top man at the track with a 39% win rate in the last five years, and Valdez is my 'bar a fall' banker to kick us off.

A - 1

Race 2: 1.40

Assuming we haven't succumbed to the dreaded early bath, courtesy of an unplaced odds on jolly, it's a seven runner handicap chase for us. These are the type of races - with quite competitive fields and only two places to go at - which can do some damage to the placepot pools, and I'll be going deep enough in the hope of picking up some pieces.

I'm playing A's and B's here, as follows:

The favourite, Goring Two, has been well backed, and loves this sort of trip/ground. The old boy's prominent racing style is suited here too, and he's an A player, though I'm ultimately hoping he's out of the frame. Owner Occupier has slipped to a winning mark again, has also been backed and, whilst he might want it a bit quicker, he does have soft ground form. A.

On B, I'm siding with Pindar and Brannoc. The former will probably bid to make all, and he could go close to succeeding in that attempt. The latter is interesting: from the shrewd Tony Newcombe stable, he's very lightly raced and showed marked improvement last time out on his first run since April last year. If he improves on that, he'll be thereabouts in a weak enough contest.

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Lajidaal has had plenty of chances and never won off higher than 87. He's 95 here and expected to plod on without, hopefully, bothering the first two places.

A - 2, 4 B - 5, 6

Race 3: 2.10

Race three, and we move into the first of two four-runner - and therefore win only - placepot races. Quartz de Monceau made all to win last time out, but had previously been beaten out of sight by Beware Chalk Pit on this sort of ground. His only previous win was when defeating Hobb's Dream, who also re-opposes today.

Red Anchor hasn't shown any indication that he might have a future as a race horse, and a very small insurance win bet might suffice 'just in case' he decides to bugger up our placepot aspirations. Actually, I think I'll include him on C, because he is first time in a handicap and up against mostly professional losers, despite a couple of last time winning efforts.

Beware Chalk Pit is the most likely winner and has A to himself. B for Quartz and Hobb's, and C for Anchor. (If C wins, that means all five other legs must be A horses).

A - 1 B - 3, 4 C - 2

Race 4: 2.40

The second four-runner contest and this one, a mares' novices hurdle, looks more straightforward. Essentially, Too Generous has shown a much higher level of form to date. She does have a good bit more weight to carry here, and not all mares can carry weight, and there are a couple of interesting types in opposition despite the short field. In all probability though, she'll win.

I'm tempted to add Hernello, on her first run for Charlie Longsdon (though I suspect she's a future handicap project), and  Richard Rowe's Grace And Fortune who had excuses before running a smasher last time at huge odds. They'll make C if funds allow.

A - 2 C - 3, 4

Race 5: 3.10

A trappy affair indeed. Six runners in a handicap chase, and all six have finished first or second in one or both of their last two starts.

No No Bingo will try to make all, and has much in his favour, except that this represents a step up in class, officially at least. He's A material from a box-ticking perspective, but there is a requirement for more than a single line here. The perennial best man (six second places in his last seven starts), Midnight Sail, ought to go close again and he's on A too.

B tickets are employed here, with the fairly handicapped Simply Wings and the ultra-consistent Delgany Gunner joining the party there.

If still going here, insurance can be bought by making a reverse exact / forecast on the remaining two runners.

A - 2, 5 B - 3, 6

Race 6: 3.40

A competitive handicap hurdle, with three places to aim at here, and the binary horse - Award Winner - may be under-rated. He's won three of his last six, on deep ground and over a trip, and has Tony McCoy shovelling on the coals again today aboard this nine-time winner. 8/1 looks pretty big to me, and he's A stuff.

Tidal Dance is unexposed, and is looking to add a gold to two silvers and two bronzes in four career starts thus far. As favourite, he must be on A. And I'm chucking in the well-backed Virginia Ash as well, also on A.

A - 2, 4, 6

Let's hope this mob returns a few bob. 🙂

Basic Version, A's only

1 x 2 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 3 = 12 bets

Basic Version, A's and B's

1 x 4 x 3 x 1 x 4 x 3 = 144 bets

Advanced Version, using ticket builder

Monday Placepot: Plumpton

Monday Placepot: Plumpton

It's Friday, and I haven't got much time to write, but I have been through the Cheltenham card already, so why not kill a couple of birds with one big placepot stone?

Yes, it's a Friday placepot perm! Feel free to join in, or ignore entirely. And good luck! (Note, though, that I've gone 'off piste' in a couple of races, so there's a fair prospect of nil return... that's the gamble!)

Race 1: Revolves around Broadbackbob, who is obviously well liked, but does have something to find on form with the best of these. Super Duty has the best form, and although this is his first try at Cheltenham, he deserves a shot at the more undulating contours here.

Hildisvini and Forgotten Gold are both capable too, should anything untoward befall Super Duty.

A - 2, 5
B - 1, 3

Race 2: A tricky contest, but I like the look of Sound Stage, who has some decent form here, including when winning this three years ago. He still retains ability and has come down to a handy enough weight on ground which will be optimal.

Lexicon Lad goes on the ground whereas Valley View still has to prove that after a couple of failed attempts. The latter looks better on quicker and is swerved. The ten year olds, Bene Lad and French Ties, are both interesting and the former makes the ticket.

A - 7, 8, 10

Race 3: Seventeen runner handicap hurdle should sort the wheat from the chaff, and I'm taking two from the top and four from the bottom please, Carol.

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Specifically, Dark Lover and Tom de Lys will go on A; and Open Day, Falcarragh, Gallox Bridge and Talkin Thomas on B.

A - 4, 7
B - 11, 14, 15, 17

Race 4: Every placepot perm needs at least 'one brave race', in my opinion, and this is one for me. Midnight Chase, today's Stat of the Day, has a very, very solid place chance, and will be my placepot banker accordingly.

If things are shaping up ok in terms of the how it might pay, this is the first opportunity to 'insure' the bet by laying for a place. (If you don't know what that means, don't worry! I'll explain another day. 🙂  )

A - 1

Race 5: The cross country race, and it might not even be on. There's a further inspection at midday. As such, I'm going to gamble on a single entry. Uncle Junior is the entry. He stays, he's won over the track, and he's from the Mullins yard. I unkindly suggested he was one of the slowest horses in training last time when he won, and in his defence he's racing against many others of the slowest horses. (Also, they went an unusually quick pace that day for these races).

Again, it's a potential insurance position if the race is run. (I'm not sure about Arabella Boy on the ground and Bostons Angel, though very talented at his peak, has to put two decent runs together for the first time since winning the RSA Chase almost two years ago).

A - 1

Race 6: A huge field handicap hurdle to finish with, and the obvious starting point is the easy (and gambled) last time out winner, At Fishers Cross. He readily makes A. On B, I'm taking a few chances, headed up by the returning-from-a-break Simarian. He's got form at the trip, on the ground and over the course. Big price today too.

Buachaill Alainn is also worth another try on this track at a big price. Saint Roque's form looks more like a bad scrabble rack than a horse with a chance and that's why he makes the ticket. Often, these are overlooked. This fellow was closing last time when brought down and has his chance under an unfashionable jockey (which may also put people off).

Cross Kennon and Monetary Fund also join the B party.

A - 8
B - 1, 5, 10, 13, 16

If you just want to perm them all up on a single ticket, it will be 4 x 3 x 6 x 1 x 1 x 6 = 432 lines.

Or just all the A's would be 12 bets.

Or, if you're a permutation maniac like me, you'll run them through the bet builder here.

And that will produce something like this: [click the image to see it full screen]

And that's it. Have a great weekend and look out for Stat of the Day and Andy's TV Trends tomorrow, and Sunday Supplement on... well, sunday!


Cheltenham Placepot Perm

Cheltenham Placepot Perm

Regal Encore my horse to follow from the weekend

Regal Encore before doing battle

It started with frustration, then became frustrating in the middle, and ended with further frustration. That was my weekend's punting. And in today's post, I'll share some of the lows and lows of the last few days, as well as a few horses which I think are worth keeping on side, some of them very much so.

Cast your mind back to last Friday, and York's typically trappy card. (Trappy, not crappy!) The ground was heavy, and idiot boy here decided to go public with his placepot effort. Of course, the purpose of the piece was to highlight the approach I take and the tools I use, rather than to guide you through the winners and placers to the crock of gold at the end of the six leg placepot rainbow. At least, that's my excuse...

It was one of the mentioned potential 'placepot makers' which bit my financial fundament. I had scribbled,

We can also see that there will be the following number of places to play for in each respective race: 3,2,3,3,4,3

But… the ground is heavy and there could be more non-runners. So I especially note races where there are five or eight runners, as a single withdrawal would move these from two and three places to win only and two places respectively.

That makes the second, fourth and last legs potentially trappy/lucrative.

And so it proved, with the five runner race becoming four - and therefore win only -  and both eight runner maidens becoming seven runner affairs, and therefore two places.

The non-participant of the quintet in leg two was known sufficiently early to be accommodated, and I sailed through with the winner, as was necessary. The last race was my place lay saver race, should it be required. But the fourth race was a mess.

I'd sided with #10, Rangooned, and the unnamed favourite, a real rarity for me. As it transpired, ten minutes before the first race, and five minutes after I'd struck my bet, Rangooned was withdrawn. I therefore had two (i.e. both) lines running onto the unnamed favourite, with just two places to play for. I was marooned without Rangooned, if you will.

Having bet 3/1 each of three all morning, the market eventually settled on Bluegrass Blues as the starting price jolly, and my 'all in' hope. He, of course finished third. No good. Considerable insult was added to my public injury by the other two morning line market leaders running 1-2.

I should have drawn stumps on the weekend then and there. But, alas, I did not.

Saturday was exemplified by Countrywide Flame, a decent each way wager for me, who beat all bar the returning hero - and 66/1 rag - Aaim To Prosper, which succeeded with relish in his aaim to prosper.

I'd also decided that an each way treble might be the way to go this day, and Countrywide Flame was the first leg of that gallant/foolish wager. So far so reasonably good.

Next up was Victors Serenade, one of the three horses I'd nominated to follow from my Anthony Honeyball stable tour earlier in the year. Victors travelled well in the race - very well in fact - and, with market leaders Rangitoto and Golden Chieftain looking beaten, I was already projecting forward to leg three and landing the place part of my tickle.

And then came the fourth last. Victors decided to take the direct route through it, as though he had some sort of spectral quality allowing him to pass through objects rather than around them. It must have come as almost as much of a shock to him as it did to me when he utterly bungled the obstacle and, though Aidan Coleman scored highly in the rodeo stakes by staying on top, he did the sensible thing and pulled his steed up.

Victors Serenade would probably have won. He would almost certainly have been in the frame. He will almost certainly win a very nice race this season, but will need to jump better (quod erat demonstrandum).

Leg three, for academic purposes only, was Kay Gee Bee in the York handicap (3rd, 13/2). Dear old Victors.

And that was as close to a score as I managed all weekend, with Mr Cracker (fancied, fell away very tamely) and Missunited (ran a great race to be second, no good for my win only wager) illustrating the nature of Sunday's limp attempts at nicking a couple of quid.

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Enough of the folly of my punting, and onto more heart warming matters. Specifically, I'd like to share a few horses I feel will be worth following, many of them paid up members of the 'glaringly obvious club', but no less meritorious for that.

Let's begin with Saturday, and Newmarket's exceptional flat card.

The brightest of the bright lights was Jim Bolger's and Godolphin's Dawn Approach. Now unbeaten in six after bagging the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, this son of the trainer's ex-Derby winner, New Approach, is a serious hoss. He looked like he might not win here, as stablemate Leitir Mor set strong enough fractions out in front.

When George Vancouver came barreling down the outside, it seemed likely that Dawn would be second or perhaps only third. But he hadn't created a five run win streak by being lily-livered, and under strong encouragement from jockey Kevin Manning, he was ultimately able to boast a near three length winning margin over his pace-making stable buddy.

Dawn Approach is a 5/1 shot for next season's 2000 Guineas, and he will be hard to beat on juvenile form. Of course, he'll need to be hard to beat on three year old form to win that race, and I'm not in the business of backing shorties to make the bridge from two to three and Classic success.

Saying that, I'd not want to bet against him either, and the likes of Cristoforo Colombo, Mars and Mohaajim are short enough on what they've achieved to date. As for Reckless Abandon, well...

The apple of Clive Cox's eye (a curious adage, whose etymology traces to numerous biblical passages) took his own win streak to five when battling on gamely to hold Mohaajim et al in the six furlong Middle Park Stakes.

This was a really good effort and can be marked up in my opinion, as he had to overcome both a wide draw and an early challenge for the lead before getting his own way against the rail.

Reckless Abandon rallied when Mohaajim came to him and might have had a touch more in the locker if required. I really like this colt, and I think he'll take high rank amongst next season's sprinters at both five and six furlongs. But a miler he will not be. No. Not ever. At least, not in my view. So 20/1 (14's with those generous Boylesports chaps) is a shocking bet to my eye, apples or no apples.

Of those in behind, Gale Force Ten is the one which hasn't been mentioned much. He had more tactical speed than Cristoforo Colombo and more left at the finish than Mohaajim, and yet his Guineas price is unquoted. His form at six furlongs is pretty reasonable, and he runs on like he needs further. The ground at Newmarket was a bog, despite officially being soft, when he was beaten there on a previous attempt; and he sunk over five in a heavy ground Listed contest.

On a soundish surface, I'd be interested in Gale Force Ten at a price, though he might not quite stay the full mile. Even if he didn't, I could see him winning a good seven furlong contest such as the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. Time will tell. It generally does.

So that's Reckless Abandon in sprints, and Gale Force Ten at seven furlongs and possibly a mile.

Aaim To Prosper has been rightly heralded elsewhere on this site, and I'll not add anything further to my previous comments of great training effort, and brilliant ride. Oh, and did I mention I backed the second?!

Over at Chepstow, the National Hunt season was being ushered in with some beasts of great promise shaking off their summer slumbers. Far West looked like a sighter from Paul Nicholls in the opening juvenile novices hurdle. He saw off the better fancied Alan King-trained, Handazan, comfortably. Both are obviously well liked by connections, but it would be a surprise if either King or Nicholls didn't have a better juvie hurdler than they saddled on Saturday.

The novice chase looked to be a match between the exciting Poungach and the very exciting Fingal Bay. Poungach slithered, stumbled and tumbled at the very first fence, leaving Fingal Bay with seemingly a penalty kick. In the end though, he was made to battle by a fitter and under-rated Tiger O'Toole, who eventually yielded by a length and a half.

In fairness to Poungach, he jumped the first big and bold, and just had a problem getting the undercarriage out after the fence. He shouldn't be marked down for this. Fingal Bay will presumably strip fitter after this seasonal debut, but it was a laboured display, and I'd not be piling in at short odds if he faces a smart one next time. He did jump very well though.

Tiger O'Toole was spotting the winner eight pounds and got pretty close at the finish. There couldn't be any fluke about it, despite the Racing Post writer's comments that the winner was idling. I'm not sure I believe that, and I think Tiger might be one to keep onside, perhaps for a decent handicap as the season progresses. He does seem better in smaller fields, and will probably be kept to two to two and a half miles for now.

Hinterland lagged up in the limited handicap hurdle and his hurdling options are surely as limited as this handicap, given that he's not good enough to be a Champion contender, and is perhaps too highly weighted to win handicaps, though a race like the Greatwood might be a possibility. Chasing is more likely for him.

But the two horses I was most looking forward to were still to come on the Chepstow card. Both were from the Honeyball stable down in Dorset, and the first was the aforementioned Victors Serenade. Although he eventually bungled one sufficiently to be pulled up, he'd had a few faulty fumbles at the fences already, and will need some time back in the schooling shed if he's to take in his seasonal target, the Welsh National at the same track.

One thing is for sure: he's got the engine and the heart for the job. If he can sort his fencing, he'll be one to reckon with. Talking of the Welsh National, last year's winner Le Beau Bai was given a lovely schooling ride round here, over a trip far shy of his optimum and will presumably drop a few pounds as a consequence. There's little doubt he'll not be ready to win until some time very close to his late December repeater bid.

If Victors was promising but ultimately disappointing, then Regal Encore over-performed against the promise he'd implied from his sole career start last season, an enormously facile win in a 'jumpers bumper' on the Southwell all weather.

Here, up against expensive and unexposed beasties from the Nicholls, Vaughan and Curtis yards, he was held up in rear by AP McCoy, before gambolling clear as though he was passing extremely moderate animals.

The problem at this stage is that we don't know whether he was passing extremely moderate animals, as most of the fancied horses were unexposed (second, third and fourth, and sixth, all having their first runs under rules; fifth a winner on his only previous start; seventh second on only previous start).

It could be a very nice race to follow, and the winner looks a horse of huge promise. One thing to note is that he does show plenty of knee action, suggesting that he might be best on soft ground. If you're looking for a Cheltenham ante post punt, I'd suggest being wary of that as it may be too quick for him there.

In any case, that was the highlight of the weekend for me: Regal Encore.

Sunday had just the one horse to note, and that was the one which laughed at Missunited and the rest in the Irish Cesarewitch. Voleuse de Coeurs (literally, Thief of Hearts) smashed them right up, winning as she did by ten lengths(!). She'd won her previous start, a competitive Galway hurdle, by eight lengths and this was preposterously facile.

As a three year old, she might be pointed at a hurdle or two now, in which case she'd be seriously exciting. Again with the Triumph Hurdle and the Festival in mind, though, consider these two pointers: 1. She might need it soft, and 2. Minsk won this almost as easily last year, was heavily touted for a hurdling campaign and never won a race over obstacles. Wait til you see her jump and back her at a shorter price after, because there is also a possibility that she won't go hurdling at all!

And those were my weekend highlights and lowlights, dear reader. What about you? I hope you had better luck than me!


Finally, as we start to stride into the National Hunt season proper, one manual I always keep onside is TrainerTrackStats. It's unquestionably the best guide of its kind and, where many of the name manuals (Timeform, Jumping Prospects, Racing Post fifty to follow) trumpet winners but don't tell you the bottom line, I can personally vouch for the fact that TrainerTrackStats has made excellent profits in every season it's been published.

You can get your copy here.


It's Friday, dear reader, and the racing ramps up in quality terms between now and tomorrow evening, so why don't we do something a little different and have a dig at the placepot?

For those who don't know - where have you been?! - the placepot is a fantastic bet where it's possible to win a lot while staking a little. It is also possible to lose a little while staking a lot; and to lose the lot irrespective of your stakes. But hey, that's the game!

So, in the interests of Houdini-esque escapology (or simply Houdini-esquapology, perhaps?), let's take on the toughest card of the day, at York. Not only that, but the ground has changed to heavy, and there are stacks of non-runners. Perfect placepot territory. 🙂

I've written extensively on placepotting before - here's a key piece - and the first thing I do is look at the 'shape' of the meeting. What I mean by that is, what type of races are there (handicaps, maidens, claimers); how many runners (important from a number of places available perspective); and, where are the hotpot favourites.

Here's today's six race card from York:


York Placepot races

Nurseries are handicaps, so we have three handicaps, two maidens and a conditions stakes. That's a fairly typical make up.

We can also see that there will be the following number of places to play for in each respective race: 3,2,3,3,4,3

But... the ground is heavy and there could be more non-runners. So I especially note races where there are five or eight runners, as a single withdrawal would move these from two and three places to win only and two places respectively.

That makes the second, fourth and last legs potentially trappy/lucrative. See, I told you it was a bugger of a card today!

Next, let's have a quick look at the forecast odds, to see if there are any well backed or very short priced favourites. Without going through all the screens here - - the answer is not really. There is a fairly strong favourite in the last leg, and this is something I often play up to. More on that in a moment.

Now then, 99%+ of placepot punters bet the wrong way. I appreciate that's a bold statement so let me explain. The prevailing approach is to either a) do a straight line (i.e. one selection per race), or b) perm more than one selection per race on the same ticket.

Adopting strategy a) is fun and keeps the investment right down, but it also severely limits your chances of winning a decent amount, as your fellow players will have much broader coverage through the races.

Taking strategy b) implies that you have the same level of confidence in all of your picks on the bet, as they all have equal weighting. Given that you might have an odds on shot and a 16/1 on the same ticket, you are very unlikely to have the same confidence behind both/all picks.

So, the way I structure a placepot is by perming across a number of different tickets. This allows me to weight the bet differently depending on how many of my stronger/weaker fancies are on each ticket. I use A, B and occasionally C selections, where A's are my strong fancies, B's are my fair chances, and C's are my dark horse outsiders.

I then use a tool I had developed - which is here - to combine any 5 races with A picks with one race with B picks; any four races with A picks with any two races with B picks; and any five races with A picks with any one race with C picks. And, of course, all races with A picks.

I hope this will make sense as I go through the bet now. I'm going to start back to front, by 'singling' or banking on the favourite in the last leg. That's Gabrial The Thug, who is around the 9/4 mark. The reason for this will be revealed shortly.

Now going back up to the top of the card, and the opening race, an extremely difficult Class 2 thirteen runner juvenile handicap (or nursery), to be run over a heavy six furlongs.

I feel strongly that I'll need a number of picks to get through this race, and these will be spread across my A and B boxes. The problem with a race like this is that looking only for heavy ground horses won't be enough, as plenty of these will not even have run on ground that soft, so we cannot know that they won't act well on it.

That said, we should start with what we DO know, and that is that Bachotheque and Bond Club have both won their only starts on heavy. That alone gives them prominence in my selection process, and the fact that both have won at the trip is a positive too. Bachotheque is 7/2 favourite; Bond Club a 12/1 shot. They'll go on A and B respectively.

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This is a Class 2 race, and Bond Club only won a Class 5 maiden last time. That might be a better race than the grade, but only time will tell on that, so that's why he's on B.

Others to have run well in soft ground and decent class include Effie B, who may be over-priced at 20/1, and Bircham, who should relish a return to softer ground. Both go on B.

The A side of things is looking a little thin, and I'm going to add Rod Millman's Shahdaroba there. He was 11th in the valuable Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, over a heavy five furlongs, but was beaten less than four lengths that day. This will be his second try on deep ground and, with an extra furlong (he was staying on at Newbury), he might go close.

Polski Max will also enjoy the ground and he completes the A ticket.

So that's 5, 7 and 8 on A; and 6, 9, and 14 on B. Lots of fancied runners don't make my bet, so there's a fair enough chance of an 'early bath' today...

Leg 2 is the five runner conditions stakes. Indeed, since I started writing there has been a further withdrawal, making this a win only contest. Excellent news from a placepot perspective... assuming I can find the winner without going four deep!

The truth of it is that this is really hard to fathom. Expense Claim will probably take them along, and could get an easy lead. His soft ground form and overall form level, however, is probably not quite enough to stay out in front. Prince Siegfried was second in a heavy ground Group 1 as a 2yo, far and away the best form in this race. But that was back in 2008, and a replication of anything like that would be enough here. I doubt he's capable of achieving it, though.

Mijhaar has very good soft ground form, but can pull hard. If he can settle today, he's the most likely winner for me. Beaten Up has never raced on softer than good and there must be a serious doubt about his ability to handle it.

A will thus consist of Price Siegfried and Mijhaar, and B will house Beaten Up. Depending on how the first race goes (i.e. if the placepot cuts up due to outsiders placing), I may back Expense Claim to win, to cover 50% of my placepot stake.

It doesn't get any easier, and the third leg is now a thirteen runner one mile Class 2 handicap.

Osteopathic Remedy and Suits Me are confirmed mudlarks, and both merit consideration on that basis alone. Osteo has the better recent form, but goes on the B ticket, despite running off two pounds higher than his career best winning rating. Conditions are ideal for him.

Able Master is stretching out to a mile for only the second time in his career, and he might be ready for that now. His recent form is good and he has the beating of a number of these. A. The unpronounceable Bancnuanaheireann joins them as does Vainglory, a type of placepot horse I like. The reason I like him is because he has no obvious form (looking at his recent finishing positions) but is fancied in the market, and his staying on style ought to see him pass plenty of these in the last quarter mile.

Credit Swap loves it soft, comes from a gambling yard (Michael Wigham) and has been backed today. He makes A too.

The 3.40 is a bit of a nightmare race, and one in which I'm going to have to be bold. They bet 3/1 the field in a maiden of just eight runners. This is a potentially carnage situation, and I'll need to use the market for guidance here, in the absence of much form.

Shrimpton has had plenty of chances, albeit generally against better horses, and is reluctantly overlooked. Bluegrass Blues has taken bits of support and is by a sire whose progeny do all right in deep ground sprints. Again, reluctantly overlooked.

Anderton has more experience than Bluegrass Blues but has yet to race on soft. However, he didn't improve from his first run to his second and that's a negative, notwithstanding that he may not have enjoyed the firm ground (sire's progeny do tend to handle firm).

This is a race in which I'm going to do something I rarely do, and enter 'unnamed favourite' on A. Quite simply, I'll be guided by the late market, and hope they're right. It's the placepot equivalent of 'Ask The Audience'!

I'll add Ann Duffield's Rangooned to the A ticket too. This lass ran on Tuesday, and ran promisingly. It's often a positive to be racing soon after a prior start on the flat, and she might have got herself fit enough to trouble the leaders here.

And that tentative fourth leg position brings us to the penultimate 'pot conundrum, an eighteen runner ten furlong handicap. Awkward...

In what could well be an attritional affair, I want trip and ground form over anything else. Those with ten furlong deep ground form are Deepsand, Doc's Legacy, Natural Bloom and Ingleby Angel. That quartet will do for me, in a race that could be over-thought.

And that just leaves me with my banker, Gabrial The Thug, in the last. If I'm still alive after the fifth leg, I will be looking to lay this horse for a place and guarantee myself a return.

For example, suppose the placepot is looking likely to pay £1000 for £1, and I have 60p running on, I stand to win £600 (less stakes). If Gabrial The Thug is 1.56 to lay on Betfair (as it is currently), then I will lay it to win around £350. The cost of laying will be around £200 which added to my stake leaves me in a position to guarantee a profit whether GTT is placed or not.

If we get this far, I'll explain in an addendum to this post what I did, and how it worked out.

Here's how the tickets I'm playing today look. (Click the image to view full size).

I do appreciate that this bet cost isn't for everyone, and in truth, I wouldn't normally stake so much, but I do feel that today's York placepot will pay a few quid and, therefore, is worth chasing.

It's the approach which is the main thing I wanted to share, and I hope you've found some value in that.

York placepot perm

York placepot perm


In other news, it's been a great week on the tipping front here at geegeez. Chris has been in fine form on Stat of the Day duty, and has found nice winners at 6/1, and 7/2, and placers at 8/1 and 12/1. Yesterday's pick was backed from 16/1 into 9/2 favourite! The fact that it 'only' finished fourth and therefore just out of the frame shouldn't detract from the value which is what SotD is all about.

You can follow SotD here, or by following me on twitter @mattbisogno. If following me on twitter, you'll also get to hear me ranting and raving about all sorts. (What joy!)

Oh yes, and for those who followed my Arc preview last weekend, there was the small matter of me nominating the winner of the Arc, Solemia, which was available at 85 on Betfair. I know this, because those are the odds at which I backed her!

She returned 41/1, and I think a few of you backed her with bookies at odds ranging from 40/1 to 66/1. Great stuff. 😀

If you backed a winner thanks to geegeez this week, do leave a comment below. I'd love to know how many of us are winning from the bookies in what is traditionally the hardest part of the season, as we change over from flat to jumps.

And, of course, if you've any placepot related questions, do ask away on those too. I'll be happy to help if I can.

Have a great weekend, and good luck at York this afternoon, and Newmarket tomorrow if you're playing.




How to Bet (and Win) The Placepot


Winning The Placepot

Winning the placepot bet is a great feeling. Not only does the average placepot dividend amount to over £500, and frequently go into the thousands, but the feeling it produces when you 'have' it is incredible.

And in that feeling when you 'have' it is one of the biggest drawbacks of betting this kind of wager. I'll explain what I mean in a moment, but for now, let's quickly recap what the placepot is and how it works.

What is a Placepot?

A placepot is a pool bet operated by the tote, where the player is required to select a placed horse in six consecutive races (usually the first six on the card at any given meeting).

Place positions vary depending on number of runners and type of races, but typically we're trying to get a horse to finish first, second or third in each of the six races.

As I say, this is a pool bet, which means all of the money wagered is placed into a central betting pool, from which a deduction is made (28%) to cover admin but mostly to put money back into the sport.

The remaining 72% of money in the pool is divided equally between the number of winning players. So, for instance, suppose the pool of money was £100,000, and there were 72 winning tickets.

The dividend (always declared to a £1 unit stake, though players can play multiples of as little as 5p) would be calculated as follows:

£100,000 - 28% /72 (because of the 28% deduction and the fact that we have 72 winners in this example).

In other words, £100,000 - £28,000 / 72 = £72,000 / 72 = £1,000

So the dividend in this case is £1,000. Make sense so far? Good!

Now of course you might only 'have' 20p of it, or you might have £12 of it, depending on how you staked your bet.

Alternatively, you might very well have none of it, depending on how you picked horses in your bet! 😉

So that's what a placepot is: a six leg place wager where you get back a return based on how many of your fellow placepot wagerers also correctly selected six placed horses.

How to pick your horses in a placepot

This is one of two places I think a lot of people make mistakes when betting the placepot. Sometimes people - and I've been guilty of this many times myself - try to be too 'cute' in their selections.

They might put in the long odds on favourite, and also a 16/1 who they quite like, just in case.

There's nothing wrong with that per se, but... it is clear that there is far more likelihood of the 2/5 favourite placing than the 16/1 chance. So it must be equally clear that both horses ought to be 'weighted' differently in the bet. That people don't do this is almost certainly THE most common mistake in placepot (and jackpot and scoop6 and exacta and tricast) betting. More on that in a moment.

So, back to how to pick horses for a placepot. Obviously, we're picking horses that we need to place. This may mean that we actually select horses differently from the one we might pick to win the race.

Many horses have form figures like '4011816'. In other words, they either win or run nowhere if things don't go their way. If I was playing a jackpot (I never do, though I love the US Pick 3, a more achievable mini-jackpot), I'd definitely have this horse in the mix.

But in a placepot, I'd think twice, because he's as likely to finish nowhere as he is to place, and there may be more reliable place wagers.

A good example of this is in the 1.15 race at Cheltenham today (12th November 2010), where Theatrical Moment has form figures of 44116P-

He has two wins to his name, but they were sandwiched in between a number of unplaced performances. (Clearly, there is a lot more to the selection process than that, but these horses take an inappropriate amount of the pool money quite frequently).

Your first 30 days for just £1

The other problem with contrarian views - or trying to beat the odds on favourite out of the frame - is that generally you'll be wrong. But you don't want to miss out on the relatively rare occasions that you're right! So, what to do?

Well, Steven Crist in his excellent book 'Exotic Betting', has a solution to this problem. [Exotic bets are what these type of wagers are referred to in the US, and they take FAR more of the money bet than straight win, and place bets.]

Crist suggests you break the horses down in each race, according to how likely you think they are to get the required placing. He talks of dividing them into four categories:

A - horses you feel have a very high chance of being placed
B - horses you feel have a reasonable chance of being placed, and who represent value (i.e. who might be 'dark' horses)
C - horses who might just enjoy a revival today based on some element (course, distance, going, jockey, etc) coming in its favour, and who represent value (i.e. who might be 'dark' horses)
X - horses who either have no chance, or are terrible value to place at their expected odds, or on whom you have no strong opinion

As you can see, these gradings take into account two elements: your ability to read a race (reflected in terms of what you like) and the market's relative ability to read a race (reflected in terms of where you see value horses, or under-priced horses)

By breaking each race down like this, you might end up with a chart as per the below. (This example assumes six nine-horse races).

------ A                     B                            C                             X

1   3,4                                                  1,8                    2,5,6,7,9

2   1                        4,6                                               2,3,5,7,8,9

3  2,3                     9                            5,7                    1,4,6,8

4  1,3,6,7                                              2                      4,5,8,9

5   8,9                                                                          1,2,3,4,5,6,7

6   6                      4,7                                                   1,2,3,5,8,9

How to bet your horses in a placepot

The good news is we've managed to discard many of the runners in most of the races. The bad news is that if we tried to perm all the runners in our A, B and C lists, we'd still end up with 4 x 3 x 5 x 5 x 2 x 3 = 1800 lines.

Even if we did just 10p per line, that comes to £180 and, more worryingly still, we'd need some luck to get big priced horses hit all place positions in one, and possibly two races at least in order to get back more than the £180 we'd invested.

But, by weighting our opinions according to our perception of the likelihood of those horses making the frame, we can bet the horses in a commensurately weighted fashion.

In other words, if we can't get at least four of our A horses in the frame, we don't really deserve to win the bet, because we don't have a strong enough and / or smart enough opinion of the sextet of contests that form the placepot that day. Besides, getting four out of six on the placepot is easy, right?! 😉

So, if we accept that we should have at least four of our A-team selections come in, then we can write out multiple tickets where we'll collect if any of the following scenarios occur:

- A in all six races
- A in five races, and a B or C in the other
- A in four races, and B in the other two

This gives us lines that look like this, from our example above:

AAAAAA             2x1x2x4x2x1 = 32 bets
ABAAAA             2x2x2x4x2x1 = 64 bets
AABAAA            2x1x1x4x2x1 = 16 bets
AAAAAB            2x1x2x4x2x2 = 64 bets
CAAAAA            2x1x2x4x2x1 = 32 bets
AACAAA            2x1x2x4x2x1 = 32 bets
AAACAA            2x1x2x1x2x1 = 8 bets
ABBAAA            2x2x1x4x2x1 = 32 bets
ABAAAB            2x2x2x4x2x2 = 128 bets
AABAAB           2x1x1x4x2x2 = 32 bets

So we now have ten different placepot perms we're going to strike, and we could stake them differently as well. In this case, for simplicity, we won't bother to do that.

The total number of lines comes down to just 440, or less than a quarter of the initial number of plays for 'full coverage'.

We have lots of chances to win and, because it's a placepot bet where we can get more than one horse placed, we still have lots of chances to double - or even triple - up.

So, our previous 1800 x 10p bet, which would cost us £180, can now be re-struck at a cost of just £44 (440 x 10p), or we could 'go large' and play 40p lines for £176 - still four quid cheaper than the initial permutation.

In order to exemplify this further, I am (stupidly) going to attempt this on today's Cheltenham placepot... Drum roll...

------A ------------------------  B--------------------  C----------------------  X

1- 4,6,9-------------------  3,10--------------------------------------  1,2,5,7,8,11,12

2- 2------------------------  1,4 -----------------------------------------  3,5,6,7,8

3-  1-----------------------  4,7 -------------------  2,6-----------------  3,5,8,9,11,12

4- 1,5------------------------------------------------------------------  2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10

5-  11,12,17,21----------  9,18------------------------------------------  THE REST

6-  7,8--------------------  3,6-----------------------------------------  1,2,4,5,9,10

Again, we have to get four A's at least for a score. Just eight tickets this time, as follows:

AAAAAA  3 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 48 bets
AABAAA  3 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 96 bets
AAAAAB  3 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 48 bets
CAAAAA  2 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 32 bets
ACAAAA  3 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 96 bets
AACAAA  3 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 96 bets
AAAACA  3 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 24 bets
AABAAB  3 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 96 bets

The total is simply perming all A, B and C selections would be a whopping 5 x 3 x 5 x 2 x 6 x 4 = 3,600 lines. Even for ten pence a line, that's a scarcely affordable £360 which is a lot of money to recoup even if you 'have' the placepot at the end of the day.

Granted it is still not the most affordable of placepot bets even with the 'four A's' rule in play. But at least we've managed to massage that figure down to a more palatable (and affordable) 536 lines which, at the aforementioned 10p a turn, is £53.60. That's just under 15% of our full coverage, and we have very good chances of getting through at least the second and last races.

Initially, I played one each in the B and C slots in the cross country race, but it's VERY hard to envisage both Garde Champetre and Sizing Australia being out of the first three. So I've used that as the banker play in the ticket.

I have placed these bets this afternoon, so we'll see how it goes!

Cheltenham Placepot

The eight tickets for my Cheltenham Placepot

And that, dear reader, is how to play the placepot. 🙂


p.s. if you have any clever ways of whittling the number of perms down, do please leave a comment...