Are Market Movers Worth Following

You hear a lot of talk these days about the betting market being stronger than ever down to the introduction of the exchanges, especially now they are firmly a part of betting with Betfair having been online and available for those in the know to back and lay since the year 2000.

It is thought that the Betfair SP is about as accurate a method for finding the real chance of the horse in a race and with seemingly many horses being backed in from big forecast odds on the day, (just yesterday in the 5.45 Kempton Nuno Tristan won at 15/8 after being forecast in the Racing Post at 16/1), I thought I would take a look and see if this was an angle worth following.

I think when you go through the results each day as I do, those that win at shorter from a much bigger early morning forecast price, seem to stick out but of course it is not so easy to see all of those that lose.

I began a three week test starting on November 12th recording the forecast price of all horses from the Racing Post, then added the starting price the next day, then took all horses that had halved in price.

So a horse that was forecast at 10/1 would need to have an SP of 5/1 or less to be counted, a horse that had a forecast price of 6/4 had to have an SP of less than 8/11 to be counted.

Big Priced Outsiders

Well on the first week I thought I was really on to something as the level stakes profit just to SP was a very healthy 31.95 points and to Betfair starting prices that shot up to a staggering 79.62 points!

Align that with a decent enough strike rate of 27% and I thought I may have found a new holy grail 🙂

However, when checking through my results I found that one horse, Queen Of The Stage, had won at 25/1 63.93 BSP),  after being forecast at 66/1 in the morning and clearly had made a huge difference to the profit made that week and another winner at 14/1 (16.6 BSP), also made me wonder about just looking at the bigger priced horses as overall there were 2 winners at double figure prices and 16 losers but a profit to Betfair Starting prices of a whopping 62.53 points.

The second week of recording between November 19th and 25th however, showed that there were 11 double figure selections here and all of them lost, and the third week of November 26th to December 2nd showed 20 selections that all lost, whilst even a profit of 15.53 points still over the three weeks, nothing very exciting I don’t think and with a strike rate of just 2 from 49 bets (4%) it would take a lot of determination to wait and just follow these bets.

The Shorter Prices

So then I reviewed the results and looked at the shorter end of the market and was quite surprised by what I saw, bearing in mind how many of these horses backed in from the forecast prices I believed went on to win.

I used a maximum SP of 3/1 as I considered these to be horses that were more than fancied and would also probably be one of the first three in the betting at the off. However results were surprising.

Week 1 showed a profit to SP of just 3.46

Week 2 showed a profit to SP of just 0.75

Week 3 showed a loss to SP of 5.79

An overall loss of 1.58 points to SP, on horses that we would assume were fancied and had been backed down in price to win. Also Waabel won in the third week at 6/4 but had an BSP of 4.79 so making a big difference to the final tally being so much bigger than the starting price.

The stats for just these three weeks are quite interesting when looking at those backed in from a forecast price of twice or more to an SP of 3/1 or lower.

Week 1 had 28 winners from 72 bets at a strike rate of 39%

Week 2 had 27 winners from 72 bets at a strike rate of 38%

Week 3 had 27 winners from 74 bets at a strike rate of 36%

For only a small three week sample these figures are incredibly similar but do show a small loss of 1.58 points overall.

Looking at every horse that ran during this period that went of at 3/1 or less and you would have shown a loss of 90.17 points and with a similar but slightly lower strike rate of 33%. Just backing favourites at 3/1 or less would have shown a small profit of 0.62 points with a 29.3% strike rate.

Summing Up.

Firstly this research has made me see that despite what I thought about horses having a much smaller starting price than forecast price, being a market mover, there is no real advantage in following these horses blindly, if at all.

Ok the average strike rate of 38% is a bit bigger than that for favourites but the profit or loss shows no significant difference to backing favourites  and whilst I am dissapointed my efforts have found no real breakthrough as I was hoping this post would be when I started recording results, it has shown that a horse that looks to be backed into 3/1 or less, has no a greater chance than if it hadn’t been.

The only angle I thought I may be able to look at was to lay these horses using some sort of recovery staking plan, however when looking at results I immediately found a run of six of these selections winning on the trot.

So you may want to remember this post next time you see a horse supposedly being backed as if it cannot lose and decide to have the mortgage on it!

If you want to download a copy of the spreadsheet to look at the results and maybe find an angle yourself then please go to this page.



Ian Welch

Creator and owner of Inform since 2003, I have over 30 years of racing and betting experience to share. Speed ratings are my main passion whilst updating the website and writing the odd blog post keeps me busy and hopefully other users well informed.

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