Betting to win

Why do we bet?

There must be a good reason because there are thousands and thousands of punters who constantly give their money away like they would hate to do in other areas of their life.

‘I just got charged nearly £12 for two pints, I was robbed!’ they scream, yet they quite happily whack twenty quid on a horse with just a slim chance of winning, five or six times a day with seemingly no problem.

Strange isn’t it?

It is banded around the internet that less than 2% of bettors actually make a profit, so why should we think we can become one of the successful few?

Well there are people who make money from their betting of course. People who don’t make a living but are able to increase their wealth in a small way every year and these people have one or two definite things in common.

1. They take time to find a simple method and then stick to their basic set of rules.

As you know there are probably a million different combination of rules that could be used to construct a betting system.

If you say there are maybe thirty main form criteria’s such as Distance, Going, Course etc., and then consider combining just four or five of these to come up with an idea, you will forever be looking for something that works.

Some rules or combinations are not too in depth like a previous Course and Distance winner for example but some are not so simple. Like looking for 5 or 7 pound claimers who have a 10% strike rate for a certain trainer when riding in 1m 4f or longer races on the flat.

Too many facts to go over and far too many races too.

Personally I prefer the KISS method, which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid.

You can go way over the top scrutinising the minute details of the form of a race and still end up backing a horse that would rather be chomping on some carrots in his warm stable back home because unknown to connections he really didn’t feel like taking part in a running race today.

So I think you want to try and minimise any time you spend on this every day but also make the rules that you come up with have some meaning.

For example, simply backing top weights in handicaps that are 11/2 or less in the betting.

Top weights in handicaps win more races than second top weights, who win more than third top weights etc. and a horse that is 11/2 or less is thought to have a good chance by those supposedly in the know. Simple and with some basis.

Or how about one I always look at myself when using the speed ratings.

Horses that have rated up to the class par for the race type last time out that have been dropped in the weights by the handicapper since, in Class 4 races or better. (Master Vintage Won 16/1 yesterday as a good example).

The Inform Racing class pars show the average winning rating for every race type/age group and can be accessed as a pop up under every race card.

By simply ignoring those that have not run to the class par in their last three runs will narrow down the field as a starting point, but sticking to those with a very good last time out rating, that is also par for the class or better, has to give a nod to a horse with a chance.

If it has also been dropped in the weights then you should be backing horses that have to go well a lot of the time.

Simple rules, simple ideas that have a sound reasoning behind them, that won’t take forever scanning through the racing pages to find any bets for the day.

These ideas above, or others that you come up with, should now be tested out over time to see if they have any legs and this is what profitable bettors will do.

Paper trading may seem boring but aren’t we here to win money, not lose it? A good system idea is just that until it proves itself to be successful and therefore it needs to be tested.

Some say a test needs to be at least 100 bets (agreed), others say at least 12 months of testing needs to be done before placing any money. This may be taking it a little too far but I bet those that do this are the ones sitting on an ever rising bank amount each month.

As Abraham Lincoln said; ‘If I had 6 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.’ In other words take time getting what is important in place behind the scenes before you take on the actual task in hand.

Bearing in mind Lincoln also said, ‘I walk slowly but I never walk backward’, you get the idea he would have been one of the 2% who made his betting profitable had he been around now.

Lesson 1: Prepare and prepare well before committing.


2. They do not expect to make enough to live on from their profits

If you go into betting thinking that you can make a living from it then, whilst there is nothing wrong with a positive attitude, the odds are clearly stacked against you.

I mean what would the average person earn in a day or a week in the UK these days, maybe £600?

So let us then assume you would need to make £100 a day and then have Sunday off to count your winnings. (Or to go to Church and pray for next week to be more profitable more likely!).

And then how do you start aiming for a hundred pounds?

A £50 bet on a 2/1 shot, now leaves you needing to win £150 when the horse you decide to back starts slowly, then slows down even further after half a mile, when he starts dreaming of those lovely, yummy carrots!

(One major reason not to expect too much is that we really have no idea of what the animal is feeling like, despite his Trainer’s gushing reports and excellent recent form. And this can happen with an odds on favourite just as much as a rank outsider. )

Other options for a quick £100 could be picking four horses in a Yankee or exotic bet and hope you get lucky with three or all four of them coming in. Unlikely, I mean it’s hard enough to get one winner let alone two, three or four.

What about a £5 win double on two 4/1 shots? Possible but again twice as hard to pick two winners. Double up after a loser? – very silly idea. Follow a tipster? Get lucky on the Placepot? Stick a pin in?

If you haven’t tried it already, it is almost impossible to win a set amount each day, each week, each month, without risking losing the money that you already have.

So just start with small stakes and see where it takes you.

If you can eventually make £100 or £200 a month on a consistent basis, then that is Christmas paid for each year, or a new smart phone for the wife on her birthday.

All paid for by your profitable and enjoyable hobby that doesn’t take over your life, which bad gambling will eventually do if you do not have a sensible plan from the start.

Lesson 2: Don’t expect to retire any time soon from your betting.


To sum up these two simple points, I would just highlight the fact that rushing into betting without proper preparation will lead to losses and I m sure most people have had too many losing days, too many times topping up an empty betting account.

Luckily for me I have never backed a loser in my life – I wish! 🙂

But like in business you may have to fail before you succeed, you just have to make sure that you learn from your mistakes and have a good plan in hand.

Sticking to a good plan is simple happily and if you are able to see your profits increasing over time it really will eliminate the need for those silly fun bets that actually cause all of the damage.

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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