In Play Horse Racing Trading jpg

Simple In-Play Horse Racing Strategies (Winning Statistics & Weak Spots)

Posted on Posted in Horse Racing

Winning in-play horse racing strategies aren’t always easy to find. But they do exist! your luck’s in…

Although I spend most of my time trading the horses pre-race I’m going to share some in-play knowledge with you. In-play racing strategies aren’t usually so appealing to the risk averse, mainly because of the roller-coaster results it can bring.

In this post I’ll cover:

  • What makes a good in-play strategy
  • Pro’s and con’s of trading in-play
  • Opportunities to develop your in-play horse racing strategies
  • Statistical data and horse racing strategies in-play

What Makes a Good In-Play Horse Racing Strategy?

It’s a fair question. Simplicity is the first thing attribute that comes to mind.

No matter what you’re trading, be it tennis, horse racing or football. Simplicity and clear thinking is the start of any good strategy. When building an in-play horse racing strategy it’s even more important.

Why? Because the markets are wild!

Just look at this chart for example…

in play strategy frantic

If you wasn’t thinking clearly, or didn’t have a clear strategy I think it’s fair to say; it’d be a bit of a gamble. I don’t like gambling, or taking a risk personally.

If you’re trading in-play manually it’s important to have a strategy, be patient and possess the ability to stick to it! I can see it already, some of you reading this are like “that’s obvious”… and it is, but you’re still not doing it.

The best in-play horse racing strategies are dependant upon a weak-spot in the market though, just like pre-race trading. Which weak-spot that is becomes a whole new ball-game though, is it through visual signs (live video), time delays, market psychology, data, or are you going to be one of those people who just offer terrible value and wait for some poor sod in a panic to match your bet?

More about that in a moment…

Pro’s and Con’s of Trading In-Play

In play horse racing pros and cons

I guess it depends on your personality and what you’re most interested in. But for me pre-race trading is a little more appealing, it always has been. Don’t let that deter you though, particularly if you’ve got a good at holding your nerve when staring at a loss.

In-play trading on the horses is frantic and depending on the market, most are not that liquid. In-play traders tell me it’s not as good as it used to be either… I think a lot of in-play traders gave up when the premium charge was cranked up. Why take so much risk when you have to give a huge chunk away? unless you’re track-side of course. Lower liquidity always means a bit more risk, trying to exit is harder when there’s less on offer to match. Smaller stakes though, it’s still quite workable.

On the flip side, lower liquidity and frantic market movements mean you can trade with a smaller bank quite easily. It might be easier to burn your stake in-play but making a large profit-stake ratio is quite possible too.

I’m certain the best in-play horse racing trading strategies operate around backing at bigger numbers or laying at very low ones. It’s a lower risk – higher reward game. For manual traders the hard bit is not getting ‘sucked in’ to the action when they can’t get a bet matched or make a mistake.

Overall, for me at least, it presents a pretty stressful days trading… something I’m not into so much. I’d rather take a steady profit race-on-race every time.

Want More Racing Strategies? Sign Up Here. Get extra info direct to your inbox now…

Weak Spots to Exploit In-Play

In-play horse racing trading strategies are no different to any other. You need an edge.

Not familiar with what an edge is? It’s a weak-spot, a vulnerable point within the market that offers more potential upside than down… other wise it’s just a punt.

Bearing in mind that every time something changes drastically there is an opportunity, or at least, potential opportunity is the best way to start building up an edge. For example… have you noticed that;

  • when a jockey begins to get ‘active’ on a horse early its price shoots out?
  • as a horse takes the lead its odds often shorten? the later in the race the better.
  • camera angles actually affect the market?
  • there comes a point where the market moves all at once?

That last point’s a good one, look at this…

See how, as they come around the bed the market springs into life… If you had already entered a good position before that, chances are you’d be whisked along for a quick profit. It’s a good place to start when building up an in-play horse racing strategy.

Also think about those that go to the track and bet at the side of it (ahead of the TV). Do they all start betting at the final bend? Is there an edge to be had involving them?

The ability to assess how well a horse is running within the race is also a real bonus.

And then of course there’s…

In-Play Statistical Data

Last but not least there’s the hardened-data angle.

It’s not likely to be for everyone as it requires collecting number, processing it and filtering the best opportunities. More for the tech-nerds and automaters, although there are a few worth following. I re-post some of the data used by others on twitter here.

Understandably the data is just a representation of previous behaviour although it’s sometimes surprising how often the trend continues. The downside to this is it’s not just about the selection under analysis, there are often many others in the race that will affect the horses price in-play,

in-play horse racing strategy data g bettle

Credit: G Bettle.

It’s not for everyone but keep an eye out as I share those that appear useful regularly.


In-play trading is an acquired taste. It’s got its own specific positives as well as it’s downfalls, those who have a strong understanding of the sport and an eye for a well travelling horse are more likely to do well then most. In-play isn’t for the faint hearted given the erratic movements and surprise upsets. For me I’ll stick to the pre-race stuff as it’s my ‘safe place’.

Hopefully this post offered a little insight into how you can improve your approach! Please share it about…

Related Article: Horse Racing Trading Strategies (Pre-Race)

10 thoughts on “Simple In-Play Horse Racing Strategies (Winning Statistics & Weak Spots)

  1. The in-running markets will always be the place the real money is made (and lost 🙂 ) not sure I’d do it manually though. I bot the markets for a living and make at least 25 times money from in play versus pre off. I reckon I could probably double the money I made using the same techniques pre off by manually doing it but doubt I’d make a profit using the same in play techniques,, the market moves too fast and too much info to process to do it efficiently manually. Not trying to put people off as in-running is where the money is , and the more the merrier in the market for us all, but people should go slowly until they find something that works as it’s not as simple as it may appear at first.

    1. I’m new to trading ,could anyone give some advice on strategies that seems to work better than others.feed back is much appreciated

    2. Of course. Rushing is never a good idea when it comes to trading…. 25 x ? that’s remarkable. I’ve known a couple of automation geeks over the years who said that automation in-play had got harder. Around 2005 sounded like the place to be doing in-play automation from what I’m told.

  2. I love trading in play… it really makes me tick. Its higher risk I agree but all the runners prices will move out so you know that all but one horse will go a certain direction so I like to get in and get out with a little profit 😀

  3. I trade both pre-race and in-play. Pre-race on the ladders then switch to the one click screen. I’ve been punting for thirty years so have noticed a few pointers that are really useful working inplay. The favourite for example will make a play at some point in the race. It may not win but the market expects it to make a play. Catching the start and end of that play are excellent entry and exit points if you get it right. Mostly I do. However it is really important not to be greedy. Discipline is everything. Decide what you are prepared to lose and get out if things go that way. Staying in a live race is a disaster. It’s also a good idea to set an exit point in terms of the time during the race, say 50%, 75% absolute max. If nothing is happening by that point just forget it. There’s always another race. As stressed above, though, it’s not a good place for the panicky type to be – you do need a cool head.

  4. I trade pre race and inplay. Whilst I feel pre race is ‘the way to go’ for long term trading success, I find it difficult to ignore the success I’m currently having with inplay. I have a strict inplay strategy which today had a 6 out of 6 horse racing success rate today. I only wish that two horses in two other races were not non-runners! After I’ve made my selections in the morning, I place my back bets 30 seconds before post and place my lay orders in the market. I used to manually place my lay orders once the race was underway, but on one occasion ended up closing my trade and opening another (lay order) on a horse that went on to win. £500 down the swanney!. I find my current strategy a lot less stressfull, as at least I know what my downside will be if things don’t work out.

  5. I love in play trading I only used small trades ie last week I made Total P&L: £1,035.36 just using £8 trades ..There is no system and I trade each race a bit different but most times I keep my eye on the favourite and 2nd and 3rd too and watch them as the race progresses and as it nears the end I back the one which looks like winning at maybe 3 ish and if its challenged i will back the incoming horse and if it becomes more certain back it gain at maybe 1.5 ish . actually thats only really very basic cos all the way through the race I am weighing up the winner .. I get it right more times than wrong but in any case if I lose I add the losing amount to the next stake and carry on but this is NOT martingale which goes 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 NO the way I do it is 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 BIG difference and with bank of a couple of thousand foolproof ..I am surprised others dont do this as its never mentioned and I done mind who knows what I do cos its a skill which takes time and patience to master .. Good luck to all in whatever you do ….

  6. Hi Caan, thanks for the post. I’m wondering what reliable sources of these stats are out there to subscribe to? So far all my trading has been pre-race however after researching in-running i think it would be rude not to have a dabble. Does ‘gbettle’ post more of the data or is it just a daily NAP? cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *