Laying Horses At Big Prices

Laying horses on Betfair

Laying horses is completely different to backing horses of course and carries quite a large risk, especially if you are laying horses at fairly big prices. 

Depending on the price of an unsuccessful lay, it will usually take a few winning lays just to get back to where you were before.

In effect you are the bookmaker in this situation, but unlike the actual bookmakers you do not have thousands of people losing lots of money to you at the same to either balance your books or more likely as is for the bookmakers, keep you in profit.

To lay horses you will need to do this on the betting exchanges, with Betfair being the most used of them all. If you can't laying horses on Betfair, you could effectively lay a horse by backing all the other runners with a bookmaker but it is pretty unpractical.

The basics and the odds

To go over a lay bet for you if you are not totally sure how it works. You place the stake as the amount you want to win. 

So a £5 lay stake on a horse that loses will win you the £5, less commission.

A £5 lay stake on a horse that wins, means you lose 5 times the odds.

If the horse wins at 2/1, you will lose 2 x £5, so -£10

If the horse wins at 20/1, you will lose 20 x £5, so - £100. 


With the second bet, you now need 20 successful lay bets just to get your £5 back.

You can probably now see why people either prefer backing horses or laying horses at shorter odds. Unfortunately, finding horses that regularly lose at shorter odds isn't at all easy and it can be a case of one step forward and two steps back without really getting anywhere.

Bigger odds horse lose more often but.... you have seen, an unsuccessful lay bet can set you back a fair bit.

However, when I said before that after a 20/1 losing lay bet you would now need 20 successful lay bets to get your stake back, that is of course true but it is very possible that you will have had twenty, thirty, forty or more successful lay bets before that losing one.

So instead of it being one step forward and two steps back as it can feel like when laying shorter priced runners, it can be more like forty steps forward and twenty steps back.

My belief is that it is easier to lay horses at bigger odds, if you can find an angle that cuts down the losers at those odds, as these runners simply win less of the time.

If we take a BSP of 16 as what I would call a big price, just an example. 

Using the system builder, you can see that horses in handicap races of 7 runners or more, with a BSP of less than 16, have won 15% of their races, since the start of 2021. 

You can click on all images to enlarge them if needed.

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

Whereas, horses in handicap races of 7 runners or more, with a BSP of 16 or greater, have won only 3.12% of their races, since the start of 2021. 

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

So you have 5 times more chance of finding a loser at 16 or bigger, than at less than 16.

Of course much lower than 16, the winning percentage will increase as the prices shorten. And you also need to find a maximum price above 16, or wherever you want to start laying at, otherwise the risk will out do the reward, plus it is not always possible to get a half decent stake on at 100 or 200.

What you can also see on the image above, is the longest losing run on the second image of 210. I ran these above as win bets but you can switch that around and say that were you laying all of these horses at 16 or bigger, you would have at one time, had successful winning run of 210 lay bets on the trot!.

Plus there would also be many other long losing runs in the hundreds as well along the way.

So getting the price range correct is key as well as of course a betting bank, because you do not want to go into laying bigger priced horses without a very solid plan.

Laying bigger priced horses in practice

At the start of the year I looked into this angle quite deeply and came up with a set of rules on the system builder that had shown good profits going back to 2021.

This idea looks only at flat turf racing and BSP odds of between 16 and 34.

Below you can see the results and the profits per year.

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing
Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

The highlights are the overall profit of 1,085 pts, a longest winning streak of 131 and the consistent strike rate of around 96% year on year.

There is also a fairly consistent number of bets each year too, with so far this year having had about half of the totals, so perhaps a projection of another 100 or so profits to come by the end of this flat turf season?

Fortunately, and you still have to be a bit lucky laying bigger priced horses, I made 50 points profit before my first losing bet which was at odds of 25. Since then I have been up and down as you will be, but am standing at a decent position currently.

I haven't managed to get on every loser but sods law, I haven't managed to miss any losing lays!

If you are laying to £10 stakes - and these calculations and results above include a 2% commission on all successful lays - you would have made a profit so far this year of £1,173.5.

I am working on an all weather lay system, using the same odds range of between 16 and 34, which has an incredibly similar set of totals. In fact it is quite uncanny but I am planning to hone this a little and possibly start using it at the end of this flat season.

Here are the results for this all weather lay system so far, again from the beginning of 2021.

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

Betting bank and staking

You can get an idea of how much you could win, if these results continue as they have done and this can help you work out what size of bank you will need to get started.

PLEASE NOTE: Only use money that you seriously can afford to lose. There is absolutely no guarantee with anything when betting and lay betting can be dangerous if you do happen to start with a loser, or two, or even three.

If you do have money that you can afford to lose but hopefully won't, then you want to work out a worse case scenario as it were.

Suppose you had really upset the betting gods and your first three bets all won at BSP odds of 34. If you were using £10 stakes, that would mean a loss of 3 x £330, so -£990.

My advice would be to have double this loss amount as a bank, even better treble this amount. You may not have three losers on the trot to begin with but you could have two quite quickly after each other, so you will want to be in  a position to continue.

You could double everything and start with a bank of two or three times £2,000 and start laying to £20 stakes.

To be honest, once you have your bank set up and the mindset that any day you could lose what you have just made over the last month or so, whilst disappointing, a big loss isn't really that bad. You just keep going.

There is nothing wrong if you want to start laying at £2 stakes of course. A profit is a profit at whatever stakes you are using and we all have different requirements from our betting.

I think you should be laying to level stakes, £2, £10, £20 or whatever, rather than to liability as the profits will be so small using these stakes and the odds I am looking at here.

How to find these losers at big prices?

With both my flat turf and all weather laying systems, I am not just laying everything between odds of 16 and 34.

So you want to start using the result breakdowns on the system builder to sensibly find what horses lose a lot more at bigger odds.

Probably not horses that won last time out in a better class, more likely horses that haven't won for a while that are on the down grade. So horses running below their last winning mark, or horses that have never won before after quite a few attempts.

Does the class of the race make a difference? Do horses win less at big odds in blinkers or in a visor first time out?

You can find out just what horses to look for by using the system builder and result breakdowns to hone this idea, or any others that you may have.

Here is something you can start using today.

I have a third 'bigger priced' lay system idea and I am going to share this with you here.

On our speed ratings race cards, you will see a lot of figures in red. These red figures highlight all top 3 rated horses in each of the columns, so a horse with no top 3 rated ratings, should be a horse worth looking at for laying purposes.

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

The card above is from a race yesterday at Lingfield and you can see that I have highlighted the ratings for Bernadine because as you can see, it has no ratings for the first six columns that are in red. So none in the top 3 at all.

Note: the two columns after the Lto1 column, show the two previous runs/ratings and are the top 3 rated are not highlighted in red. However, you can look at the card and see they are not one of the top 3 in these columns.

Plus, these are ranked on the system builder, so these are calculated. And as you will see, it is easy to run any system using the declarations to get all of your system bets listed for you in a second or two.

There is another horse also without any red ratings, Bishop's Glory, but that has a forecast price of 16/1 and I will explain why I have not picked that one soon.

So Bernadine has no top 3 rated ratings, it is forecast at 6/1 and that horse would now go on my list of possible lays.

If at the off, Bernadine started at a BSP of over 11 and less or equal 34,  (a slight change in my BSP odds range for this one), it would be a 'system' lay bet.

As it was, Bernadine went off at a BSP of 32 and came fifth of the nine runners, so a successful lay bet.

So here are the results, based on finding horses that had no top 3 ratings from any of the first six columns, that were forecast at 10/1 or less, that went off with a BSP of over 11 and less or equal 34

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing
Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

So if you want to see how well the ratings can work for you, there have been nearly 6,000 horses with no top 3 ratings since 2021, with a forecast price of 10/1 or less and a qualifying BSP and close to 95% of them have lost.

There has also been a longest 'winning streak' of 110 bets!

You can set yourself up with a betting bank as suggested above and start laying these runners today.

To see what the rules are for this one, just copy these below into the system builder and then you can get any possible selections every day by checking the declarations button at the top.

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

You just need to make sure these are all over 11 BSP and less or equal 34 BSP before placing your lay at the off, or by using a bet placement software such as Fairbot. 

One more thing as you can see in the rules, there needs to be 7 runners or more in the race at the off as well, to follow the rules correctly.

I have run this through the decs for today and it gives just 10 possible lays, so we are not looking at dozens and dozens each day and some of these won't be within our price range either. 

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

Result update: From these ten possible selections, five qualified by being between the BSP range and all were soundly beaten, so five successful lays yesterday.

Finally... another free system for you.

With the previous free laying system that you can use yourself from today, if you flip it a little, you can have yourself a profitable backing system too.

So instead of laying those with no top 3 ratings, what about backing those that have ALL top 3 ratings?

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

As you can see, the first six columns on the card; Master Rating, Lto1, 2 and 3 ratings, Average rating and M+A rating (Master + Average), all must be in the top 3 of that column, so less or equal 3 as you can see on the rules above.

Plus I have removed any forecast and BSP rules, tweaked with the number of runners and added two new rules as well.

These two new rules both stood out as positive when using the result breakdowns on the system builder and is something you really want to look at or be using, if you haven't already.

These breakdowns give you an in depth look into your system and let's you see what is working for it and what isn't. You will spot things that you never even thought of that can turn a dud idea, into very profitable system.

Watch a video on these breakdowns here. (It is quite an old video but it shows just how these breakdowns can help you.

So, back to the system and the following set of results.

Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing
Laying Horses At Big Prices Inform Racing

Here you can see a nice profit each year since 2021, with 2024 looking good so far bearing in mind there is almost six months of the year to go. To date that would make a profit this year of over £1,100 to £10 stakes.

This system takes in all types of handicaps on the flat and over the sticks.

You can see there has been a longest losing run of just 27 in over three and a half years. The ELS Calc button highlighted at the top, opens a calculator which allows you to work out your staking depending on the biggest losing run your system has and how risky or risk averse you want to be.

You can also see there is an excellent profit for placed bets too. That makes an extra 40% profit on top of the win bets and the strike rate for these very close to 50%. 

As an Inform Racing subscriber, you can open the system builder and copy any of the lay or back or both rules, into the system builder and start using these today.

I believe both can still be improved by using other result breakdowns that I didn't use, so you can still play around with these if you want to.

Just to note, that non runners can affect the ranking positions on the system builder, so it is worth running the systems through to check any selections.


Laying horses at big odds is probably easier than laying horses at shorter odds. You just need an angle in to which ones lose more often.

You must however, set yourself up with a good bank, one you can afford to lose and also you should start to expect that some of your lays will actually win, losing you quite a bit of money when they do.

If you are set up correctly though, this shouldn't affect you too much, just keep placing the bets and wait for things to come back round into profit.

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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