How To Find Horses To Lay

I have written a number of posts recently about the class pars we provide on the website and how they can help narrow down the field and find winners.

In this post I want to continue to look at the class pars but show you how you can use them, alongside the horse racing speed ratings and Master rating in particular, to find horses to lay.

The class par is the speed rating that a horse should have achieved before or recently, in order to win a race or to be competitive. This Par figure is shown at the top of each race card and is the average rating that has been recorded by all previous winners of the race in question, going by race type/race class and race age group.

The Master rating is the best rating each horse has achieved in the past 12 months.

We know that a horse that runs in Class 5 or Class 6 races will never beat a Group horse because of the obvious difference in class, but when horses are running all the time in similar class bands, how can you tell those that can win and as importantly, those that can't?

The answer is in the speed ratings.

A speed rating takes the time of the race and calculates the going on the day and turns this into a useable number that can be compared too all of the runners in the race. 

Any that have not achieved a speed rating the same as or better than the class par, can normally be discounted from any shortlist and as I am going to explain further, be laid on the betting exchanges to lose - even when they are considered by those in the know as contenders.

We also know that the top 3 rated horses in the Master rating column win over 50% of all races, so that is where we will start looking for horses to lay.

Below you can see a race run at Lingfield yesterday where the top three rated horses were:

Newyorkstateofmind (84)
Chitra (83)
Pink Flamingo (82)

Two other things you can see are that the top rated horse won the race at 3/1 and that the Class Par for the rating shown in the header of the race, was 77.

When looking at horses to lay, it is wise not to be laying at too high a price, so initially I am looking at horses that have a forecast price of around 6/1 or less and that are not one of the three top rated horses.

Whilst not an exact science, the forecast price does normally shape the market so on most occasions, those horses that are forecast as one of the first four or five favourites, will start as one.

Immediately you can see that the horse at the bottom called Fresh Snow, actually with the lowest Master rating in the race, yet forecast at 9/2 second favourite, is one horse I would be interested in laying and would at least go on my shortlist.

Looking at the result, Fresh Snow came 6th of 12, starting at 9/2 and therefore was a successful lay not only in the win market but also in the place market, where it's BSP's were 7.04 for the win and 2.39 for the place.

Using the Class Pars.

Having found a successful lay using the Master Ratings, you can also see that this horse would have also stood out as a possible lay using the class pars because it's Master rating was only 76, whislt the class par for the race, shown in the race header, was 77.

Whether you are looking to lay horses or remove horses from your calculations, horses that have a Master rating less than the par for the race, can certainly be considered as not having a realistic chance of winning, given all that is known about it's previous speed ratings.

(You may also notice that the winner had a Master rating of 84, equal to the higherst ever achieved for the race type/race class/race age, so would have been on many Inform Racing backers shortlist for the day).

It is worth noting that Fresh Snow did have form figures of 22482 from it's only previous five races, with two of the seconds coming on the same All Weather surface as the race at Lingfield, so on all known form you can see why this unexposed horse would have been put in as the second favourite.

The difference was that the speed ratings told a different story and those not using the Inform Racing speed ratings, would just look at the form figures without having any knowledge of what sort of runs the horse ACTUALLY produced when coming second.

As I have said many times before, second place is just a position behind the winner and a number 2. What you really need to know is the value of the race and the run itself and you can only know that by using the proven and profitable speed ratings.

Back to the race and you can see that there is a +1 in the OR column for Fresh Snow and I want to talk about what this means further on in this post as we will be using this and other data on the card to filter out horses that may have more of a chance of winning despite their ratings.

Let's take a look at another race yesterday at Kempton.

The horse I am looking at here is Cotai Bear because it is not one of the top 3 Master Rated horses and is forecast at 4/1 third favourite. It also has a Master Rating 5 less than the par for the race and eventually came fifth of six beaten over 15 lengths.

 To go back to my earlier point, especially if you are not a regular user of our speed ratings, it is worth noting the last time out rating of 76 for the winner and the 71 rating for Cotai Bear two runs ago because for the 76 rating the horse came third and was beaten by three and a half lengths whilst for the 71 rating, Cotai Bear came second and was only beaten by a short head.

How many punters would look at the form figures and distances beaten and give Cotai Bear the nod over the other horse?

This must prove as a reminder that form figures themselves and how far a horse has been beaten can be more than a little misleading and again I will say, it is the value of the run itself providing the actaul speed rating itself that will highlight where the winners and losers will come from.

So on the race card, you will also see that Cotai Bear has a +1 in the Cls column and now I want to talk about this and bring in the +1 from the horse in the previous example.

The Cls column shows if a horse has gone up or down in class since the last race and the OR column shows if a horse has had its handicap mark raised or lowered since the last run.

For my purposes, I am ignoring any horses that would qualify either by a poor Master rating or Class Par, if they have a minus number in green, in either of these two columns.

If they did, it would mean that despite the ratings, the horse is being given an easier task than before and could provide a better performance if it has been dropped in class or has a lower handicap mark.

All horses either with nothing in both Cls or OR columns or a plus figure in red, means that on all known speed ratings evidence the horse should not be able to win PLUS they are running in the same class, with the same handicap mark or worse and hopefully will be unlikely to improve.

Despite everything as we know, horse racing is what it is and some of these qualifiers will still improve and run well or win and that is where you need to restrict the prices that you lay to, delve a little deeper into the connections of the race perhaps, or look to the place market for shorter lay prices.

Yesterdays results.

Qualifiers: 29
Lost: 25
Winners: 4 at BSP's of: 7.69, 3.86, 3.79 and 3.6
Unplaced: 19
BSP Lay to lose profit incl. 5% commission: +8.81
BSP Lay to place profit incl. 5% commission: +6.74

If you only laid those horses that had a Master Rating below the Class Par for the race you would have had 8 winning lays from 9 bets and a 5pt profit on the day.

If you took all qualifiers and only laid those that were not top 3 rated in any of the Master, Lto1 and Avg columns, so all black ratings not red, you would have had 7 winning lays from 7 and if you then laid only those that had no red ratings as well as a Master rating below the class par for the race you would have had 4 winning lays from 4.

General Rules.

Races with plenty of form for all if not most horses.
Look for horses that are not top 3 rated in the Master column.
Look for horses whose Master rating is less than the Class Par rating for the race.
Look for horses that have a forecast price around 6/1 or less.
Ignore horses that have a minus number in green in the Cls or OR column.


All of this hopefully goes to show how you can look for lay bets using the Inform Racing speed ratings, using a number of different strategies or by combining them together.

Generally, horses that have poor ratings compared to others in the race, will not win and if they have a short forecast price, then most punters will assume it has a chance. However knowing what the actual value of a race is, can be key and this can only be known by using the speed ratings.

Please remember that horses that 'aren't supposed to win', do actually sometimes win and that laying horses can be dangerous so you need to watch what prices you are laying to, however the majority will lose or run poorly and you can use the information here to help you find your losers.

Subscribing To Inform Racing

Inform Racing is the #1 resource for UK speed ratings and has been successfully online since 2003.

To sign up and access the speed ratings and all class pars too, use the link below.

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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