Racing Is Bent, But It’s A Good Thing! (for us)

Horse Racing Trading Betfair

Racing is bent, fact…

Not every race of course! but you don’t have to look far to see it’s not exactly pure either. If you have time, you may want to see this series of documentaries (5 parts).

For us mere mortals this is not good, or is it?

I haven’t got a hope in hell of receiving ‘special’ information about possible gambles or horses that are ‘ready to go’. But when I think about it, I’ve got something far better! we all have…

It’s good news! there’s absolutely no reason to feel deflated. If anything it’s quite exciting!

With the use of betting exchanges, certain behaviour can be quite telling. As with everything in life, behaviour repeats itself again and again, as Trading Guide readers will know.

Insider Knowledge and Betfair Trading…

If you’ve ever read Enemy Number One – by the pro punter Patrick Veitch or much from any big-time punters, you’ll know half their battle is placing bets.

Why is this?

The first two most obvious reasons that spring to mind for me are:

  1. Bookies don’t want their money if anything they want to avoid winners at all costs. It’s no secret how quick they close accounts and won’t accept bets in the modern world.
  2. These punters know that putting down a large amount of money is going to cause a stir and ultimately blow their cover.

Let’s just think about that for a second…

The first point is of course; no use to us whatsoever. Other than the fact it may entice some large bettors to use exchanges like Betfair or Betdaq.

The second is the most interesting as, ‘insider’ knowledge shows in the market. Okay, you say… but that’s a lagging indicator, and it is!

But how often does the past repeat itself? and if it doesn’t, what happens then?

What happens when there is no money for a horse that possibly the majority thought there may have been? could its price drift do you think?

Regardless of how much the massive punters are making or even the toffs ‘in-the-know’ are doing it’s giving us as traders an opportunity…

Horse Racing Trading Betfair 2

Opportunity for Betfair Traders…

Now I’m obviously not going to divulge exactly where I think these opportunities arise frequently on the blog, but I’ll give you a small example to make my ramble clearer…

It doesn’t matter where you go in life, there are always people who ‘play the system’. If you think it’s ethically right or not, it’s another thing… there’s no getting away from it. It’s going to happen.

Recently I read in the media that Top Shop owner Philip Green had paid his wife Tina a £1.2 Billion dividend. Conveniently she lives in Monaco so there was no tax paid…

I’ll just let that settle in for a second…. yep, you read it right.

What’s this got to do with horse racing I hear you ask? Nothing. Apart from the fact it highlights how it happens everywhere, horse racing included.

Sir Mark Prescott is a quality trainer, there’s no denying it. He’s probably made a lot of money because of it too, but inside the horse racing world, he is recognised as doing something rather well. Something that owners are fond of no doubt, I really can’t think why?! (I’m being sarcastic by the way).

Unlike Philip Green, he’s not completely taken the piss either. But he has made the most of the system over the years.

The best bit being (for us), it happens over and over again. Let me explain…

Handicapping and Betfair Trading…

Experienced racing trainers will know their horses very well. Much like anything, it’s not just about having a good horse, but where to place them?

  • What races can they win?
  • Would be a hefty handicap mark?
  • What would be a good handicap mark?
  • What is their ideal trip?
  • What’s their ideal course?

Having their finger on the pulse is extremely important. To win over better horses, new owners and of course the one thing everyone craves; money, they’ll need to win lots of races.

So if you’re to go back to the drawing board, and look at the rules of the system, much like our friend Mr Green.

You could say it’s a good idea to run a horse over the wrong trip, the wrong distance at its least favourable track a few times just before the end of the season. On return, it’ll most certainly have a lower handicap mark than it deserves.

On return, after some good quality training, of course, it could be eligible to be placed in a race full of horses that maybe aren’t in such great shape!

I know what you’re thinking – bloody hell Caan, get to the point, will you?!

That is the point; who wants to bet on horses that are poorly assessed on old information that wasn’t ideal anyway? everyone.

Everyone who’s ‘in the know’ anyway, as the price may not truly reflect the horse’s ability to win. And they’re usually the people who have the most influence over the market, as they don’t bet in £10’s and £20’s. And of course, they might have told their friends, family, trainers and jockey too. But that’s my own personal spin obviously…

So the next time you see a horse in a handicap’s price in free-fall, have a look at its previous history! Obviously, it can’t apply to all, but you’ll be surprised how often it does.

Now, of course, that’s all perfectly above-board. Nothing wrong with it!…. But what do you make of this below?

To me, it looks like the jockey voluntarily bailed there. Or was it that he knew he was going to fall and decided it’d be less dangerous to hold on for dear life?

Related: Horse Racing Strategies For Betfair


A few readers emailed in to ask:

Where can I find out information about various trainers and the horses they have entered?

There are all kinds of places you can pick up this kind of information, the racing post for a start…

…but I guess what you really want to know is; where can I find it all, quickly.

Currently, there isn’t a one-stop shop (that I’m aware of if there is comment below!).

The best way I’ve found to spot this kind of situation is through the following:

Alerts… has an alert service you can set up. All you need to do is register for an account, it’s a free service.

All you need to do is:

  1. Register for free, with your email address
  2. Set alerts for specific trainers, horses (see below)
  3. Check your inbox daily

betfair trading alerts

When your noted ‘alerts’ are scheduled to take place, will email you the evening before. I use this service for a number of reasons, it really shortens the time it takes to find specific situations.

Changing News…

As you’re probably already noticed, change often means opportunity.

Checking the news is a monotonous task though, I must admit. I’m not going to suggest you read through each and every headline on the day’s racing post… but it’d be a good idea to start building up a list of places where you can check for pieces of information that has or is changing.

For example, both the Racing Post and Sporting Life list runners that are wearing first-time blinkers, travelled a long distance, changed class, trip etc.

Something else to think about maybe withdrawals… when a horse is withdrawn at the start, how does it affect the rest of the market?

I’ll leave you to work the rest out 😉

5 thoughts on “Racing Is Bent, But It’s A Good Thing! (for us)

  1. An extremely interesting post, thanks Caan.

    I’ve wondered for a while whether bent racing makes it harder/easier to trade.

    One problem is the issue of ‘false’ drifts or gambles – how can you tell the difference between a spoof and a real one? Perhaps it doesn’t matter if just following money? However, the spoof may well bite you on the backside in that case?


  2. I always laugh at headlines screaming that ‘HORSERACING IS BENT!’ because you need to look at the bigger picture. Any industry that provides human beings (mostly men, note) with the possibility of making money by cheating, people will cheat. They’ll cheat by not putting a dollar into an honesty jar at work (see Freakonomics) and they’ll cheat the most where there’s the most money to be made. Just witness the financial industry in the past thirty years. Billions upon untold billions of pounds scammed through fraud, deception, price-rigging, Ponzi schemes, mis-selling, inside information, money laundering, rate-fixing and outright lying. It happens, period. As for whether it affects traders, that depends on how you trade. Just be aware that it happens so you’re forewarned and forearmed.

    1. Most definitely. If you were to look at situations and observe the rules under which they could be ‘bent’ a little, you may find some interesting fuel for your trades….

  3. racing is so bent now it should be banned all together.2.10 today a joke 1/3 to 4/6 in minutes,14/1 winner,no has to stop punters are getting sharfted.get the first jolly out the way,bookies luving it.

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