3 Simple Horse Racing Trading Strategies: Win More on Betfair

race horse betfair trading strategies

Horse racing trading gives some of the best Betfair trading opportunities around. With so many races, you only need a small average return to be highly successful.

But where the hell do you start?

It’s often quite daunting at first, but one thing is for sure: it’ll never get boring. This is why I was immediately drawn to developing profitable horse racing trading strategies. But If I’m really honest, the huge sums of money to be made probably had more to do with it!

With 15 – 40 races a day, an average of just £10 per race soon adds up.

Building up a selection of horse racing trading strategies wasn’t quite so easy. While it was absolutely worth it, it took some time (and many mistakes on route).

I want to give you the shortcut to developing your own horse racing trading strategies throughout this post. But before we begin, it’s important to realise that focusing on one at a time, highly increases your chances of success.

It also reduces that overwhelming feeling that new traders are often faced with.

Mastering just one of these three is more than enough to make a stable side income:

  • Successful Scalping Before the Start
  • Backing to Lay For a Quick Win
  • Swing Trading a Large Price Movement

So let’s break them down, one by one…

Horse Racing Trading Strategies: SCALPING Successfully Pre-Race

If you aren’t familiar, scalping is a trading technique where small profits are taken quickly and consistently.

It’s important to be on top of your own mindset when scalping, as hesitation can undo previous progress quickly. Sudden changes in the market can mean several previous ‘scalps’ that were profitable, are wiped out quickly. However, snappy execution allows profitable traders to stay on top.

Of all the horse racing trading strategies, this has long been my favoured approach. Consistently turning a small profit adds up fast and doesn’t require a large bankroll (or market knowledge). It’s the logical place to start in my opinion. Discipline and method of execution will determine just how successful you are when it comes to scalping. But it’s not always easy… 

Do you find scalping frustrating?

If so, the chances are you’re either:

  1. Operating in the wrong setting
  2. Slow to react (poor discipline)
  3. Not executing well
  4. Over-trading

Or all of the above. For most people, the main problem is discipline (I’ve been through it too). However, with the right stake management and patience, it’s completely doable. Usually, I find followers begin to struggle after they’ve had some success scalping.


Because once you make some money, the urge is to try and apply it to everything, every race and every situation. That just won’t work. This also leads to over-trading…

Choosing when and where we are active on the Betting Exchanges is a key attribute within a profitable horse racing strategy. The very fact we don’t have to trade everything is an advantage, just think about it for a second. Then take a look below.

Here’s a clip of me scalping on YouTube from some time ago…

If you aren’t yet familiar with the interface in the video above, see this link.

What Is Over-Trading and How To Avoid It?

Over-Trading is basically when you are trading too much. You are opening too many positions, or trading too many races during the course of one session. Horse Racing trading is a game of fine margins, over-trading can really kill your profit. However, the good news is; doing the opposite means you can profit more from doing less.

Everyone with experience knows that over-trading is always difficult. But experienced traders know how important it is to avoid.

To avoid over-trading, you need to be continuously aware that you’re doing it. Awareness is key…

How To Identify That You’re Over-Trading?

You might fall into one of these categories:

Technical Over-Trader: This is a person who looks back at charts to find a reason why they have opened a trade. They are using the charts to justify what they have already done, and not using the charts to determine their strategy. They’re not letting the market’s order flow guide their horse-trading.

Trigger-Happy Over-Trader: This is basically when you doubt yourself; mainly because of a poor run in recent form. Remember Horse Racing is a long-term game, with plenty of ups and downs. Doubting yourself which leads to opening and exiting trades quickly can lead to big losses. One tick may not seem like a lot, but if you open five different positions, giving one away each time then self-doubt is expensive.

Shotgun Over-Trader: This is a trader who tries to trade too many sports, or markets, at once. Because they are trying to do too much at the same time; they lose. This is probably the most common over-trading example. Always focus on quality over quantity. Again, only trade when you have the upper hand.

Bandwagon Over-Trader: I know we all love a good bandwagon from time to time but in trading, it’s a poor method to make a profit. If you open a back after the crowd and exit a lay before the crowd; you’re missing the value. Speed is so important; you need to be decisive. You want to be the first to exploit market momentum, off before the crowd.

Increasing Your Chances:

Shortening the path to success means you will need to find situations where the price is fairly stable, and the volume of matched bets entering the markets is as high as possible.

Depending on the size of the stake you wish to use, you will need to consider the situation’s stability. It can be harder to get larger stakes filled quickly (I’m talking £500-£1,000+).

Being the simplest of horse racing trading strategies means you can implement this strategy in pretty much any market at one point or another. Although the key to success is picking the right time frame. The more money there is flowing through the market the easier it is to get your bets matched – limiting your risk in the process.

Think about peak periods in the market, where the most money is bet… a subtle hint you should think more about maybe.

Horse Racing Trading Strategies: How To  BACK TO LAY For a Quick Win

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook (links on the sidebar). You’ll have seen me post up Back-to-Lay pointers from time to time.

There are far fewer opportunities to use this strategy each day. Mainly because the criteria for use are far more specific than scalping or swing trading. But given the right selection and execution, it’s seriously fast money. If you want to grow your betting bank faster, then it might be for you!

Sporting Life is my preferred resource to see how horses have previously run. Many others are also useful but don’t give quite so much detail about previous performances. If you’re looking for historical prices that horses have traded at in-running, Timeform lists them.

Several followers have messaged me since I introduced them to this strategy, saying how it’s the easiest of horse racing trading strategies. The only potential downside is; there are maybe one or two really good opportunities a day.

The upside is; returns are high when considering the stake-to-profit ratio when compared to other horse racing trading strategies. Having a lower bankroll but still achieving good results makes it attractive to those just coming into the game.

…be warned it can be quite addictive! (making a profit always is).

Other horse racing trading strategies often bring a lower stake-profit ratio. However, more opportunity for use balances the comparison.

One thing to bear in mind with the video above is that you won’t want to have a large liability at the first hurdle in jumps racing. It’s a good idea to offset your liability by this point, just in case the horse falls. The best horse racing trading strategies limit your potential downside while leaving room for profit, not the other way around.

Horse Racing Trading Strategies: SWING TRADING a Price-Shift (Before the Start)

Of all the horse racing trading strategies (pre-race), this one gets people excited.

It’s easy to see why…

If you can predict a large swing in price, you have far more opportunities to win. Furthermore, this trading strategy is quite scaleable. When you’re confident, it’s possible to use far larger stakes than some other racing strategies. If there was a downside, swing trading well requires the patience of a saint at times.

The natural tendency is to close a trade when it’s winning, but let it run if it’s losing. We’ve all been there, right?

When you read that out loud, it’s easy to see – you should be aiming for quite the opposite. It’s this kind of thing that makes trading difficult, but the funny thing is – it has very little to do with the market. And quite a lot to do with the trader!

However, as ever, knowledge is power.

Having the knowledge to give you that extra bit of confidence in what you’re doing is all the difference. By feeling like you actually know where the price will go, it becomes so much easier to let the profits run.

More importantly, it’s even easier to avoid that horrible sinking feeling should something go wrong.

This live example shows how a consistently low-risk approach pays off:

Above: Swing trading just goes to show how you don’t need a huge bank to win nice amounts

Horse Racing Trading Strategies: SUMMARY

Since twenty-ten, I’ve spent a huge amount of time horse racing trading.

On route, I’ve done it all. I’ve made many mistakes and found plenty of sweet spots too! But why is this?

I’ve always been one of those annoying ‘but why?’ people. I believe this is what initially led me to success, however, I also realised something else quite early on… Mastering yourself, and your own emotional reactions is a large piece of the puzzle. You need to be able to keep your cool when the temperature is up!

Avoiding mistakes before they happen makes a big difference. Horse racing trading is fluid, the markets behave differently from others on Betfair. There’s much money lost and won every day through irrational mistakes and reactions. Not all are scaleable, but horse racing trading strategies offer a huge amount of opportunity. And there are so many ways to trade – even now I’m still finding points of interest to adapt and evolve on.

I’m sure the strategies shared above will be enough to get most traders thinking, old or new. But if you were already aware, just think; how can you improve on them?

Over the years I’ve learnt that if I have a reasonable edge, there are usually half a dozen other ideas that can come from it. Some of the best have been stumbled upon whilst looking for something completely different!

For additional information and trading videos and help, check out this link. 

Book Simple

Bonus Hint:

Think about who you are trading against. Winning consistently requires an advantage of some kind…

If you are going to build a plethora of horse racing trading strategies with a significant advantage to yourself – the value has to come from somewhere.

  • Why and how do other exchange users lose?
  • Can you get access to information the masses don’t have?
  • Where are bets struck that do not care for the price?

Answering questions like this could be quite lucrative. That’s another hint.

Found this post of use? Got a question? Please share and comment below!

67 thoughts on “3 Simple Horse Racing Trading Strategies: Win More on Betfair

  1. Nice post. It seems that are a lot of similarities to tennis trading. Since I started to scalp I am on the winning path. Obviously we also have swings at tennis and back to lay (or the opposite) is also a way to make profit. It seems that the biggest advantage of the horses are the high amount of races, you can trade. At tennis I don’t see more than 4-5 opportunities a day. You have to wait for the right moment, some games are not tradeable (for example most first round matches, where a big favourite like Federer or Djokovic is involved).

    Keep up the good work. It’s very interesting to read your blog. Perhaps you can put my blog at your link list. Your one is already at my blog roll.

    Kind regards,


  2. I have immersed myself in the racing markets over the past 6 months. After many ups and downs I do feel that it’s beginning to click into place. I’m starting to get a lot more consistent with my swing trades, and scalping is getting there (although I have focused primarily on swings). Thanks for all ur content. It has definitely helped me improve. Cheers pal

    1. No problems Dean, it’s good to help out! There’s so much to learn at first… but looking back it all seems like common sense. I guess that happens with most things though right.

  3. Hi Caan,
    Am trying to purchase your Trading Guide by debit card but the “pay now” button seems to be “greyed out” so nothing is happening when I try to process the payment???
    Can you help?

  4. Might be boring as you say but let’s look at that.
    2 mins to 15 mins of work, and you can trade out on a profit of £20 before the race starts.
    Do that 10 times a day, that is £200 a day tax free…
    That’s a cool £5200 a month if you do it on weekdays and on Saturdays.
    Yep that sounds boring…
    Brill stuff Caan.

    Downside is as you say, care must be taken but as long as you are okay with a few losses each month – attitude to risk that is means you don’t mind – as you profit anyway, this works. You will make mistakes especially if you go inplay a lot to go for better odds. I do it as a secondary income on top of my usual day job as a freelancer. I use Bet Angel, perfect for this method.

      1. Oh yes, I agree. I get days when staring at stats on sites and bet angel so long numbs my brain. I tend to keep the time consumed under control partly as I run my own business too. Lots of sites are making scalping out to be easy and I want to add that on the surface, yes mostly but readers should not think ‘easy money’. That kind of approach brings easy losses. Newcomers here should take scalping carefully, and keep updated via your site and some others.

      2. Hey Caan, flicking through your posts all the way to 2015… Your insightful wisdom isn’t ever looked over, still growing myself in the trades. Majority of my time at the end of the day is at break even, I’m exactly like you with the “Why?” And defensive. Recording also big help earlier on and journal the end of my day. Some quick practices that are helping me…

        The majority of self reflective thinking that I thought to share is **(Enjoy the process and not solely on the winnings – that was when there are loses or wins your not reliant on those feelings, trading is so much more)** personal outlook anyway for those starting out @Caan

  5. Hi Caan,
    im quite new to this but 100% serious about getting up and running. I was wondering if you could provide some one2one (online) assistance for me if i were to pay for the service.
    Is this something you’d be willing to consider or not?

    1. Hi Karita,
      We don’t do any 1 on 1’s at the moment although you wouldn’t have been the first person to ask. It’s just a question of time management. However, the video course comes with a community now so that’s one way we have tried to add some extra support and individual help.

  6. Thanks for this post Caan. It’s probably the best horse racing strategies post I’ve seen on the web. You’re YouTube channel has been of great use too!

    Only question is: which of the 3 strategies are your preferred approach?

    Thanks x

  7. I’m 80 years of age so watching the ‘Scalping’ video lost me completely.
    Betting odds I understand, this stuff.. no!
    My first bet was in a factory. A guy had a timed bag to take to the bookie. 1959.
    First bet – 3 sixpenny doubles and a sixpenny treble. Had a 7/1 and a 7/2 double up – never looked back. High street bookies took me to the cleaners. 🙂

    Wish I could go back with what I know now!

  8. Awesome article here Caan. Your free content is brilliant, and helped me out so much already! Thank you.


  9. Hay Caan, Great post and I’m learning a lot. I went and dabble the scalp method and i entered £5 stake @6.6 and exit at 6.2. All happened before the race, but after checking my Betfair statement, I haven’t won or lost at all. Is it because my stake was too low?

    1. Hey Andrew, sounds like you may have not hedged up?

      If you see the scalping Betfair post linked earlier in the article you’ll see that it’s best to use software (it’ll do the calculations for you). That way you can hedge up quickly. By backing and laying the same values at different prices you’d have only been left with a profit for the race if your selection won. And no loss on the other runners. Good luck with your scalping!

      1. Hi Caan, As a newbie I had a similar experience at first but realised I had to hedge up or so I thought that is what what I was doing by clicking on the the sum offered in green at the top of the ladder interface. It seemed to work with no issues in practice mode but when I tried it for real nothing happened when I was on the side of a profit but when it when it went into the side of a lose red it worked fine. I have checked my settings in bout practice mode and real mode and can’t see any differences. any hep with this would be appreciated

  10. Hi Caan, great post, really informative. I do back and lay trading. I back the night before on a horse whose odds look very good value and lay out generally about 20 minutes before the off. The scalping I’ve found a bit confusing. Does anyone else do this back and lay strategy?

    1. Hi Lisa, do you mind if I ask how you choose the races / horses to back? I’ve tried this method with mixed results. How successful have you been with this strategy?

    2. I do it this way as well, either the night before or get up early in the morning. After 9 O’clock it is no good as the value has gone and the market is settling down. Being a woman I don’t think I have the required nerve to trade 10 mins before the off, as it doesn’t give you much time to correct your mistakes. I’m going to give it a try though, and thanks to Caan I am learning more

  11. Hi Caann,
    How do you go about selecting your horses to back and lay for a profit? do you use Sporting life? If you could give me your criteria that would be great :).

    Kind regards

  12. Hi!!!
    A question about horse race: preracing trade How many tits do you take 1-2 ticks?

    And you’ll be fine if you’re going wrong, go out of your trade 1-2 ticks or scratch?

    What size in% of your bank should run at prerace trade?



  13. Hi!
    Question about prerace trading: how many% of the bankroll should you use for prerace trading?


  14. Trying to replace password . Bought racing info but password will not replace.
    How do I set up Geeks Toy for 2 week trial?

    1. Hi Roger, don’t quite understand this? If you’re having trouble resetting your password via the link, drop the support email a message with your details and they’ll get it fixed.

  15. Dude. This is glorious. I’ve been studying, reading, watching for a while now but yet to take the plunge. I’ve been betting for years (Not too bad, got restricted on a few in the end lol), matched betting ran it’s course and arbs done ok.

    It’s the scalping I really like the look of.. some real gold material on your site here.

    Top stuff.

  16. Good post Caan. I have been attempting some different horse racing trading strategies for a while now without too much success. It seems that I may have been doing a thing or three wrong. This blog has helped me see some of the situations in a different way, you are a wise fella. Wish me luck!

    1. Hi Scott,
      Glad you found it of use. Horse racing trading provides a huge range of opportunities each day. It’s why so many people focus on this first… if you miss something, the next one is only 10-15 minutes away maximum.

  17. Hi Caan,
    Really enjoyed watching a lot of your videos this morning.
    After losing money on Betfair (hopefully this will offset future premium charges) gambling over the years I feel trading is the way I can be successful.
    I don’t expect it to be easy and will ease myself in with small stakes just trying to understand how the markets operate although I think I have picked up some knowledge over the years. I really think there is an opportunity for me and my main concern is understanding the software and technology that goes with it. I plan mainly to trade pre-off horse racing and maybe some scalping on goals market in football matches. Do you have any advice for me? Thanks.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Obviously I am biased with it being such a big part in my life, but trading is certainly the way to go for many reasons. Logic being the main one. If software concerns you have a search on the sidebar of the blog, plenty to help you out there for free. Horse racing trading strategies often require a decent software setup as there are so many moving parts inside of the live show. But like anything in life, the larger the barrier to entry, the bigger the prize on the other side.


      1. Hi Caan,
        Thanks for the reply.
        When you mention the software set up are you talking about trading software such as Geeks Toy? I set up the 14 day trial on Monday but while I do the learning not sure how much I’ll use it. I’m going to start the video pack course this morning and try to be as patient as possible for now (which isn’t one of my better traits). Thanks.

  18. Boa Tarde Caan Berry . Excelente trabalho.
    Comprei uma treinamento pré-live em cavalos e o livro com cento e oitenta e oito paginas referente ao Guia de Negociação em Pre corridas mas não estou conseguindo a tradução do Ingles para o Português no Google Chrome. Esta protegido. O que devo fazer?

    1. Hi Rick, it’s not hosted inside of google chrome – this would be why. Please contact support with your specific account details.

  19. Hi,

    I’m looking for some help as I know nothing at all about betting but want to try the back to lay betting on betfair- I have an account set up. I’ve been watching tutorials over and over and just not getting it, and also believe that I will need a free app to do this on IOS. Can you please help and explain in the simplest way possible how to guarantee profits , and just how you go about this type of betting? Thanks

  20. Hi Caan
    Question I am a subscriber to a tipping service A greater number of times the horse that is tipped firms quite considerably .The best price is with the bookies eg i could back a horse at 4/1 and sp would be 2.70 how do you make a profit from this scenario . At the time of day the tips are sent out there is not much happening within the Betfair markets . Hope your well wait for your reply .
    Thanks James

  21. Hi Caan and congratulations on your amazing service!

    My question is whether you have trading strategy advice for extra places where you can win both the back and lay bet should the horses covered have landed the extra places.

    Also if you can comment on whether we could use Betfair’s sportsbook Edge where one can add extra places themselves in conjunction with or without Betfair’s exchange where we can get the 2 3 4 5 6 places option on UK/IR races to play with.

    Thanks in advance for your reply and again for your awesome valuable contene!

    1. Yes there are other horse trading strategies that utilize things like extra places but they aren’t so much Betfair trading related. If you take a look on the blog and search function you will find them. Betfair sportsbook isn’t as much interest to me as I’m stake restricted there. Betfair Exchange is the focus for horse trading.

  22. Thank you for this article Caan it was very insightful and useful I will be sure to employ these strategies when attempting my next pre-race trades on Betfair.

    1. Thanks, Richard. They’re all a great place to start for any profitable horse trading strategy. Building out from these strategies is a wise thing to do!

  23. Which of these horse racing trading strategies do you think of the most effective Caan? I have done some matched betting but I feel a bit overwhelmed by this I just want to make £100 a week really.


    1. Haha great question! Pre-race swing and scalping are the bread and butter that make the most money. Lots of opportunities for those too.

  24. Gday Caan – I just come across your YouTube vids this afternoon & was particularly interested in your strategy on looking at how much the market has moved 25% drop? As each race would have a horse that has moved the most but doesn’t necessarily represent good value…

    1. Hi Steve, can you re-phrase your question? Market drops happen all the time but the smoothest are usualy pre-race horse trading.

  25. Today I Just had a dabble on your front runner list 13-30 Dubai Hope, £7 profit in 10 secs . I greened up at £9 for win or £5 if it lost (which it did) but wasn’t greedy and took middle ground..
    Cheers Caan I’ll have to look more into these trades

  26. Hey I’ve watched ur videos and YouTube and wondered if u can help me or give me legitimacy on the sbk betting agency. I’ve got £50 in there from free bet winnings but they won’t let me withdraw as they have an ‘issue’ with my bank. Is this a legit issue.

  27. I follow your videos on you tube and have for a while now. However, I can’t find one that covers this topic. Do you think that the new finance checks and accounts suspension are as likely on the exchanges as they are on the sports books as were betting peer to peer rather than the house? I’m only asking as I’m getting quite successful on the exchange and I don’t want to have my account suspended or details asked for when I start withdrawing profit. Thanks.

    1. The checks are a pain but on the exchange they don’t use them to target profitable horse racing traders. If you search the blog on the sidebar menu you’ll find other articles about those things.

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