Finding Big Priced Winners

I have written a few posts in the past on this subject and it's one I like to return to now and then because it is something most punters are interested in.

I think a lot of us who have been betting for a while know that around 50% to 70% of all handicap winners, I am concentrating on handicap races here, come from the first three in the betting. This sounds like it makes things quite easy as you have just three horses to concentrate on, however picking the winner from these three enough times to make a profit is still not an easy task.

The flip side to these 70% of 'generally shorter priced runners' is that around 30% of all winners aren't from the first three in the betting and when they do win can be anything from around 7/1, 8/1, right up to the really juicy winners at 33/1, 50/1 and more.

Unfortunately you could have anything from 1 to 2 to 15 or 20 of these other horses to pick from in a race, so how can we start to find something with a chance at what they used to call, 'working mans odds'?

Well in this post there are a few suggestions and examples that should help you or will give you something to think about.

See what has already won and ask why? 

Two winners yesterday at 33/1 and 18/1

Hindsight is a great thing of course but looking back at two of the big winners yesterday, neither of which I backed by the way, you can find reasons why these horses did have a better chance than their starting prices suggested.

One of my favourite profiles for finding big winners, is a recent win in one of it's last two races, then finding reasons why or excuses for the horse on it's more recent poor run(s).

The other profile worth looking at in a race are the lightly raced horses, which both were yesterday.

Just to add, looking back on previous results and trying to figure out why a horse won at a big price is really worth the effort. Whilst often it will just be that the horse hadn't won for years, was down to a really low handicap mark and just happened to be on a going day, at other times you will be able to find a real reason or two, why it ran better than the price suggested.

Many punters follow the favourites or first few favourites and think anything over 12/1 or so can't or shouldn't win so don't bother taking the time to look at these but if you want to make money these two examples could certainly be added to any of your current strategies.

Yesterday Bet 1. King's Code Won at 33/1, forecast at 14/1

When you look at this race for three year olds only, the majority of the runners hadn't had too many runs so were mostly lightly raced. There were three or four that had run ten times or more but none of these managed to get in the frame in a race that was dominated buy outsiders.

The thing about King's Code was that two runs ago, he had won on firm ground over a mile at Bath, then ran poorly, finishing 5th, running on the all weather for the first time at Wolverhampton.

Look at the race card below and you can see the details of the Bath race in the small yellow pop up box when the horse won. You can also see the horse has a run style figure of 4, so has shown to prefer being held up in it's races. Only one other horse had this run style profile, whilst all other runners had run style figures of 1 or 2, so those were likely to want to lead or race prominently.

Click all images to enlarge if needed.

Now running back on the turf, on Good to Firm ground similar to that at Bath, the horse was likely to run better and despite going up in class, was running off just one pound more than the Bath win.

Add to this todays drop in distance to seven furlongs from the win over a mile at Bath and having a strong pace to run at, it was likely that King's Code could stay on strongly at the end having won over further, whilst everything else started to tire.

As it happened this is exactly what happened and the horse finished fast and led just before the line.

So definitely look for horses with a recent win and try to work out if there is a reason why it has since run poorly. Was it the going, a bad draw, an unlucky run blocked in at some stage, a different jockey, the wrong distance?

It is even likely that the horse will be dropped in the weights after one or two excusable runs and despite what it looks like, is still in the same winning form as the recent win. Now back on favoured conditions it is ready to win again..................hopefully at 33/1 like King's Code did yesterday!

Yesterday Bet 2. Democritus Won at 18/1, forecast at 10/1

This horse was the outright most lightly raced in the field having only had six previous runs over hurdles. It was also only one of two horses that had never run as far as this trip of two miles  four furlongs before, so there was the unknown possibility of the longer trip helping this day. Especially when the best form of the horse so far was when it ran second over just a furlong less, two miles three furlongs at Warwick.

I wouldn't say the horse was overly well handicapped off 102 but perhaps this could suggest he actually did have a better chance than the odds suggested. His speed ratings were poor before this race but this can be the case for lightly raced horses running over the wrong trips but yesterday he came good over the longer trip and duly won by over a length.

It is with this hindsight we can find winners after the race but of course the challenge is to look for these horses before the race and not be put off by the big price as not every outsider loses.

These are just two examples of things to look for that will find you winners at big prices and if you are using the Inform Racing race cards you can hover around the race cards with your mouse and find everything you need that I have explained here, in a couple of minutes or so.

Personally I am not one for spending hours on a race, just for my selection to come nowhere, so our cards are perfect for me! 

My recent daily selections and why it's worth looking at bigger odds.

I have been posting up some daily win and each way bets recently and as you can see by the results, it is actually the each way bets, those that I predict will start at bigger prices, that have made the results look acceptable so far.

See the results here >>

Subscribers can get these each day at the top of the Betting Systems link on the menu, once logged in.

Once you have understood the results on the link above you will see that all of the profit so far has come from the each way bets. You can also see that since I have started to put up two each way bets, all fifteen of these have lost, showing to me that it is hard enough finding one hopefully bigger priced winner, let alone two each day.

(This is why I am going to revert back to just the one each way bet again from today.)

Presently the two win bets are showing a loss, even with a half decent strike rate of 20%. I am not unhappy overall with the win selections having 37 so far coming 2nd and a few of these getting their noses in front would have made things look much better, especially those that came second at 11/1, 9/1, 8/1, 7/1 and more.

Whilst I have had a fair number of losers, at least a decent percentage are getting close. It is when all your bets are coming last that you want to be a bit more concerned.

These win bets are found looking around the 3/1 to 5/1 forecast price mark and it does go to show just how many winners you need at shorter prices to even make a profit. I am not saying I am the master of finding winners but I have some good knowledge, experience and a decent strike rate but still am struggling to make a profit on these.

You and I should be able to make a profit from betting to win at reasonable odds but it isn't always easy, as you can see by some of mine that finished close. But if you also pick one or two at bigger odds you will have a nice mix of horses to bet on and having just two, three or four bets each day, really gives you something to look forward to and gives you a little more time to make your selections too.

Try and stick to an absolute minimum forecast odds of 2/1, maybe even 11/4 otherwise winning becomes almost impossible. If you do like to bet on even shorter priced horses then I would suggest you forget it as the strike rate required to win will likely be unattainable.

Anyway, back to the each way bets and whilst it is impossible to know what price a horse is going to go off at, I generally look within the the 10/1 to 20/1 forecast price range. If I see nothing there I will go down to those forecast around 8/1 or 9/1.

Another thing about betting at bigger odds is that you need to accept there will be long losing runs. It is not hard to understand this as less horses win at bigger odds, so once you get your mindset right and you know you can eventually find a winner, you will start to get less frustrated about a loser or twenty!

Bet to win or bet each way?

I have always believed that each way betting is hardly worth it, certainly on shorter priced runners, however I can't help myself betting each way on something around 10/1 or bigger or if I can get 2.5 or so on the place side of the bet or more.

I guess it really comes down to the individual and how you prefer to bet.

If you look at my each way results, you can see that the place side of things barely breaks even but if you do bet each way, you should get shorter losing runs on getting some sort of return, although not always.

Getting some sort of return gives us a little bit of comfort and confidence and if your runners are coming in at over 10/1 you should make yourself a small profit on the bet because of the place odds.

If you prefer to just bet to win and take a longer losing run then you could stake double or put the full stake on the win and ignore the place side of the bet. You can work out just on my daily selections how this would have improved things for the profits.

As I say you can get these selections each day as a subscriber on the Betting Systems link each day and can subscribe here now if you want to join up.

Using the system builder to find big priced winners.

The Inform Racing system builder can help you when looking for big priced winners as it can narrow down the sort of profiles that win and I have been doing my own research on this subject myself recently.

As said previously, it is impossible to know what price a horse will go off at, so I started looking to the betting forecast at odds of between 10/1 and 33/1, which will hopefully mean the horse goes off at something half decent, or the majority of selections will anyway.

Looking first of all at a basic system builder search from the start of 2020, over three and a half years of results to today, for horses forecast at between 10/1 and 33/1, that is 11 and 34 as decimal odds and in only handicap races, flat and jumps.

So this is if backing every horse with these forecast odds and no other filters at all, you can see that maybe surprisingly there is only a -79.36 pt loss to BSP, whilst the loss to betting at SP is over 19,000 pts!!

The strike rate is just over 5%, the longest losing streak was 129 and the overall place profit, using the Betfair place rules as we do, shows as just +8.92 pts.

It is at this point that you want to start looking at the Result Breakdown tables below the results, to see if you can filter out the races, or the horses or the criteria, that aren't winning or placing and could help turn your losses into profits. Or at least identify the type of horse that will run better at a bigger price.

Whilst we have over 40 result breakdown categories and are in the process of adding more, you can use other categories that don't have result breakdown tables too.

I have added nine rules or filters to the basic set up above and two of these do not have breakdown tables, so it is worth looking at all of the categories when running your filters.

And here are the results once I ran my filters. 

First of all a reduction in bets of over 84,500. That's very good news for starters!!

An increase in the win strike rate of over 43%.

An increase in the place strike rate of over 30%.

A drop in longest losing run from 129 to (just) 58.

An increase in win bet profit points from -79.36 to a whoppingly good +932.98 pts.

An increase in place bet profits, to Betfair place sp from +8.92 pts to over +520 pts.

An increase in Actual to Expected results from 1.01 to a really good 1.24

Longest losing run 58 against profits of nearly £10,000 to £10 stakes?

I suppose the question you need to ask yourself is, could you use a system that has had a longest losing run of 58 win bets? But what if the resulting profits were so positive though?

Having said that and I am turning things on their head here, the longest losing run so far for the place bets has been just 19.

So......... what about just betting the place and doubling your stake on the place bets, ignoring the win bets? That would have resulted in more points profit than you would have had for the win profits.

Either way and despite the long losing run, the results are pretty impressive given the average winning BSP is over 18 and the average Betfair placed odds are 4.85, or better than 11/4.

If you set your betting bank up correctly and staking, then you can almost cover any number of losing bets. The system builder has it's own Actual to Expected losing run calculator so you can set yourself up correctly from the start. 

Given that we are using the forecast betting odds, there is no guarantee all bets will be at double figure odds and with non runners, this can increase the chance of a horse meaning the price for both win and place could drop.

However, there is no restriction on number of runners so Betfair place rules come in to play whether there are 4 runners or 34.

Want to see if you can replicate my rules above?

You can set up the basic system on the Inform Racing system builder, then try and find the 9 different rules I used to get my results, in fact you may even get better results than me.

Two helping hints for you.

The two filters I used that do not have result breakdown tables are Weight Carried Rank and Ability Rating Rank.

Can't be bothered and just want the system itself?

If you want to bypass all of the effort, then you can download this system on the Betting Systems link on the menu once you have logged in, so you will need to be a subscriber.

Join Inform Racing here >>


It isn't easy finding big priced winners but there are a numbers of things that you can do to narrow down your search and make things easier.

I believe that you have all of the information you need on the Inform Racing cards themselves and all of the information can be accessed within the card, so you can really go through a race in a few minutes rather than hours.

The System Builder, as well as the Betting Tissue Tool are other items contained within a subscription that can really help highlight big priced winners.

If you are looking for your own big each way bets, maybe start with smaller fields, say races with between 8 and 12 runners and start with handicaps as I feel the form is generally easier to read and more consistent. This will make it simpler to find something at a price.

Races with a forecast favourite at 4/1 or bigger should mean the race is quite open and that could give the outsiders a better chance of getting placed or winning.

When you watch your selections run, remember you selected them for a reason, so if they get a bad jump out of the stalls or are blocked at an important point of the race, then put them in your tracker for next time. If the conditions suit again then back your horse again, this way you can build up a nice little list of horses to follow, that given ran not so well as expected, will likely be dropped again in the weights in future.

Finally, accept you will probably have a good few losing runs, try and learn from your selections that both win and lose, look at the reasons why horses have already won at decent prices and with a little bit of luck, you will be able to find yourself a good bet at a good price.

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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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