Knowledge is power?

Why doesn’t my system work anymore?

Many punters use systems to arrive at the bets they place – either bought or self devised. The majority of mechanical systems are aimed at horse racing and if you really want to develop your own skills then there are data information sites that can help with this – we have reviews of 2 excellent such resources on this site – Racing Bet Data and Football Bet Data which offer the user great opportunity to test their theories.

If you have acquired a horse racing system you may find that it tends to drop off in performance after a season or two. And it is not unreasonable to ask why this might be.

Some tipping services are based on systems as well and recently a service which has been around for years and is categorised by a better than 50% strike rate published views on why the number of selections for the service has reduced significantly. With the author’s permission is repeat his words below:

“As promised last week, I want to expand on the reasons for why we have had a scarcity of First Favourite selections, especially in recent weeks, but also over the past 2 or 3 years. Before I do so, I want to stress that my confidence in the process to determine a selection remains at 100%. The rules I have are rules to stand by and rules that have stood the test of time. These are the same rules that have made profit and prevented losses. I trust the process implicitly. The change is not in the horse race itself perse’ but in the changes to the Racing Calendar by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), particularly in recent years. 
My first concerns were at the beginning of 2017 and the end of 2016. Selections were hard to come by. Mid way through 2017 I was very concerned and I felt I was in danger of not giving a value for money service. Yes, we were still making profit together, but not in the manor we were from 2012 onwards. It was at this time in 2017 I introduced Trends Bonus Bets to give added value to the service and the Trends have proved a profitable addition, thank goodness. I was aware that the First Favourite selections still needed to increase but I could not foresee what the BHA was about to do in response to, and to appease in particular, Newmarket trainers with the ending of Maiden races in favour of Novice races. In no particular order, these are the critical changes made by the Racing Authorities over the years that has so impacted on the number of First Favourite selections ……
All Weather Racing:
Firstly, and let’s make no bones about it, All Weather racing was introduced to maintain daily Betting Turnover and generate revenue for the Bookmaker, lesser so to the Horseracing Levy Board, when meetings were abandoned because of bad weather and also to help the lower end of horse ownership. In 1989, the start of All Weather racing at Southwell, Sheikh Mohammed (now Godolphin) stated he would not send his horses to the all weather track, thus giving the small owner an opportunity to win. However, Wolverhampton and Lingfield soon followed and then the emergence of Kempton, Newcastle and Chelmsford City. Kempton and Newcastle ended all Turf Flat racing in favour of All Weather Racing. As years went by,bigger and better races were run on the All Weather and consequently Prize Money was increased and it has become a free for all, including for Godolphin. Racing, in my opinion, is at saturation point and consequently we suffer smaller fields, low Prize Money, Jockey burn out, a confused form book, etc. We have fewer horses running on turf and many horses now race firstly on Sand and then Turf and vice versa. For a form student, that makes it too challenging and too risky to place bets and the way, in which I interpret the form book, it makes for many “No Bet” days. ANYBODY can continue to bet in small sums, guessing with selections, but to get ahead into the 2% of Bettors who win worthwhile amounts, they won’t. With horses campaigning on one surface only, I can cope with, but this is not the norm, as horses swap and change surfaces almost weekly, especially at the lower end of racing.
Maiden Races v Novice Races:
Horse racing has been brought up on Maiden races. Always! Basically, as I discovered, many races were between a bunch of no hopers and maybe one or two that could win the race. I worked hard for many years and eventually discovered a route to good profits if I could wait and bide my time for the right race to appear on the card. Imagine a man of 24 stone, a man of 22 stone, a man of 20 stone running against ladies of similar size but placed in the field was a honed athlete. It is not rocket science where we would place our bet. There were regular races such as this although not quite so obvious to an untrained eye! Yes the price would be short, but the athlete was home and hosed so often that over time a good profit could be made. That was the secret to Maiden races. They have all but gone on the Flat racing scene to be replaced by the Novice Stakes. I could write another 500 words on the whys and wherefores but there is no need. The Novice Stakes races are races I avoid at first glance everyday and if we had bet in them, as the BHA changed the goal posts from time to time to make things fair (eg. weight penalties for a win) we would have lost money. It’s as simple as that. It takes years to hone a winning advantage for race types and sometimes an advantage cannot be found. I was never ever prepared to “experiment” to a possible winning advantage with your money at risk. Novice races are not good for a betting medium in my opinion.
Fillies & Mares Only Races:
Some bright spark at the BHA has decided we need more races of Fillies only and Fillies and Mares only. No we don’t! Again, these races have replaced bread and butter “any sex” races and again it removes our opportunity to profit from a race. The form book, from how I know how to read the form book profitably, dismisses such races. There has always been races for the fairer sex only, quite right too, but not in the increased numbers of recent years. Unless one is working with the very top end of Fillies and Mares races, the form can be unreliable especially when form from such races is introduced to form involving Colts and Geldings. The increase in Fillies and Mares races has helped reduce the number of First Favourite selections.
Long Distance Races:
Probably the same bright spark at the BHA decided we need more staying races. Wrong! No we don’t. The Classic St Leger has been in demise for perhaps 25 years simply because the Breeder did not want staying blood – yes, it’s that simple. However, Breeders have now decided to introduce more staying blood to their Mares and consequently more long distance races have been added to the Calendar. To try to reintroduce the enthusiasm for Stayers, more long distance races have been introduced from 14 furlongs to 20 furlongs. To truly stay these distances, we need anomalies such as Yeats, Double Trigger and latterly Stradivarius; but in all honesty, most horses don’t stay such extreme distances so Staying races attract 12 furlong horses and 2 milers from off the national Hunt scene. Once again, the form book has little or no chance. For you and me who care about how and when we place a bet, it is another race that has gone by the wayside. I can refer to the recent Champions Day race of Stradivarius and Kew Gardens and the accompanying write up on the day. It was spot on to within a nose! There is a place for long distance racing on the Turf Flat, there always has been, but this sudden pandering to a fad from Breeders is not a welcome addition.
In a nutshell, the advancement and introduction of the above, is why we have had so few selections. But thanks to the “Rules”, we have not been tempted into the unknown and lost our shirt as so many others will have having giving total disregard to any changes made by the BHA and the Industry.
It is with confidence that I say I know when horses ought to win equally as when they might lose.

Now be honest, how many of you knew about the subtle changes that Mel Gee has described above? Quite apart from demonstrating the depth of research that First Favourite is founded upon it highlights how your process can be affected by factors which may not even be apparent to the ordinary punter. When I was working in commerce – many years ago – I recall a presentation where we were told that not doing your market research was as good as planning to fail.

What I am trying to emphasise here is that you need to keep checking that the premises upon which the system is founded still hold good today.

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