Laying The Field

One particular trade you may consider on horse racing markets is laying the field for Betfair trading, at odds-on’.

Look at how many horses get beaten these days at odds-on in-running – it means punters are over-reacting and losing, so why not be on the other side of that and profit from it?


To create a profitable book based upon laying several horses at a pre-determined price during the race.

How to do this

To have a profitable book your combined lay bets need to exceed 100%. Therefore, if you lay 2 horses at 1.8 (55%) you would be a winner. Should you decide to lay @ 3.0 (33.33%) you will need to lay at least 3.1 horses at that price during the race.

The price you choose will vary depending on your research or testing (keep liability small). Factor you may want to consider include distance of the race, flat or jumps, hurdles or fences, ground, or size of field.

Below are three easy steps, using an example of a race at Brighton in which orders were entered to lay the whole field should any of them trade at 1.8 in running.

Step 1
Go to a horse race. Click on the ‘Place Bets’ tab on the right of the market and select ‘Lay All’.

Step 2
Enter the price you want to lay each of the selections and then click ‘liability’ – the word NOT the dot.
Enter the amount you are prepared to lose on the market (in this instance £10) and click ‘Ok’. This will automatically calculate how much you need to lay each selection to risk your liability. Remember you will only pay out on one horse; therefore the worst result is £10 (if 2 horses dead-heat your loss would be £5 x 2 as winnings are halved).

Step 3
Before placing your bet just check that your liability for each selection is £10. Having submitted the bet, if placing the orders before the race has started, you will need to click ‘keep’ and submit to ensure they are not erased when the market suspends at the beginning of the race.
So what will happen next?
There are several different scenarios that may occur.

Scenario 1 – The winner is the only horse to trade through 1.8 in running and you had layed it to lose £10. In this instance, Fairly Honest.

Scenario 2 – What actually happened in this race was 2 horses traded through the price during the race. Fairly Honest looked the likely winner two furlongs out but emptied out in the closing stages and was collared by Lancaster Lad. On Fairly Honest you will win £12.50 (you layed it at 1.8 therefore someone staked £12.50 to try to win £10 from you). With Lancaster Lad you would lose £10
PROFIT ON MARKET is £2.50 less commission (ROI is 25%)

Scenario 3 – Even better, 3 horses trade through the price during the race. On the winner you will lose £10. On the two beaten horses you will win £25 (£12.50 x 2).
PROFIT ON MARKET is £15 less commission

And so on……. the more that trade through the price the more you will profit from the market.

Summary for Laying the Field

You may want to try other prices too. I have found 1.4 works well in race between one mile and one and a half miles on the flat. Five to Seven furlong races don’t win as often as expected as often one horse is leading into the final furlong and the other horses aren’t quick enough to reign it in.

Over longer trips a horse may look to have gone for home and win but can run out of petrol near the finish allowing those that have come from the back to pick it up and allow you to get two or more lays taken.