Looking through the small ads of publications will often turn up a number of advertisements for betting systems. There are lots of different systems and they often guarantee excellent returns.

Do they work? The sellers of such systems will tell you they do. Friends will boast that they have invented the ultimate system that never fails. Throughout the years many systems have been invented, some more successful than others.

Ignore all claims that are made about a system. To test how effective it is try it out yourself on a dummy run. Don’t bet any money. Make a note of results over a period of time and apply the system to those results. If it gives good returns, try it out with small stakes. Continue to monitor results. If it starts failing, give

up on it and try something else.

**Developing your own systems for selecting horses **

Try to develop your own systems for selecting horses to bet on. You will need to take account of all the influencing factors mentioned. Some are more important than others but all play a part. One method is to award points for each factor. Most importance should be placed on the speed of a horse, with points added for factors that have a positive influence and points deducted for those that have a negative influence.

**Doubling up on the favourite **

Some systems involve no assessment of the runners. A popular system is doubling up on the favourite. Here, a bet is placed on the favourite in the first race. If that loses, the stake is doubled and placed on the favourite in the second race. This continues until there is a winner and the gambler stops betting.

This system falls down in several ways. The capital required to make it work can be huge. It may be some time before a favourite wins (they lose around 60 per cent of their races). If the favourite is a very low price (below 6/5) you will not recoup your outlay. There is always the danger that a horse could be withdrawn. This could bring the price of the favourite below the level that you need to break even. The potential rewards are also low.

Example

• First race £10 bet stake = £10.90. Total loss £10.90.

• Second race £20 bet stake = £21.80. Total loss £32.70,

• Third race £40 bet stake = £43.60. Total loss £76.30.

• Fourth race £80 bet stake = £87.20. Total outlay £163.50.

In the fourth race the favourite wins at 1/2. Returns = £120. Total loss = £43.50.

If the favourite had won at 2/1, returns = £240. Total winnings = £76.50.

However, there is no guarantee that the favourite would win by the fourth race. If your stake becomes too high, a bookmaker may refuse your bet. You may also run out of capital before a favourite wins.

During the last few minutes before a race, prices can change drastically. Instead of there being just one favourite, a situation can arise where there are joint or even co-favourites. Where you just back the favourite without specifying the name of the horse, your winnings will be greatly reduced if the race is won by a joint or co-favourite. In a situation where there are co-favourites of four, your winnings would only amount to one-quarter of what you had expected. Since the prices of the favourites are low, you are unlikely to recoup your outlay.

Some people apply the system to second favourites because their prices are higher. The problem here is that second favourites win even fewer races than favourites, so the capital needed is greater.

With this system, you are also making no assessment of the runners. By properly considering the chances of each horse, you may discover that another horse is more likely to win the race.

**Betting on horses that have travelled a long distance to race **

The logic of this is that a trainer wouldn’t travel several hundred miles if the horse didn’t stand a good chance of winning. The problem with this system is that there may be an equally good horse in the race that has only travelled a short distance. Horses do travel all over the world. British horses are taken to America and France. However, this doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed to win.

**Betting on horses that have an advantage on the draw **

With a lot of British racecourses, the draw can have an effect on the race. Horses starting in certain positions in the stalls have an advantage over others. By combining your assessment of horses with this knowledge, it is possible to select several horses that have a good chance of winning. Instead of backing the horses to win, bets of combination tricasts are placed.

A tricast is predicting which horses will finish first, second and third in the correct order. For a small outlay, the returns are potentially huge.

A particularly good time of the year to play this bet is in the summer months when the ground has dried out and the form is starting to show through. At this time of year it is much easier to assess the horses. You do not have to worry quite so much about the going and you have lots of previous races on which to make your Judgement.

In the 1980’s bookmakers started to lose a lot of money through this system. Many were also offering huge bonuses of around 20 per cent on correct tricasts, which increased their losses. They are now extremely cautious about accepting bets on combination tricasts, particularly where the stakes are large. In order to get your bet accepted, you may need to spread it around several bookmakers.

Effect of the draw at British and Irish racecourses

Ascot: no significant advantage

Ayr: six furlongs in large field – middle numbers; seven furlongs and over – low numbers

Bath: sprints – low numbers

Beverley: five-furlong course – high numbers

Brighton: sprints – low numbers

Carlisle: high numbers; however, low numbers are favoured when going is soft

Catterick: low numbers

Chepstow: straight course – high numbers; round course – low numbers

Chester: round course seven and a half furlongs – low numbers

Curragh: high numbers

Doncaster: round course – no advantage; straight course – low numbers

Dundalk: no advantage

Edinburgh: seven furlongs and one-mile races – high numbers

Epsom: up to eight and a half furlongs – low numbers

Fairyhouse: no advantage

Folkestone: straight six-furlong course – low numbers

Galway: high numbers

Goodwood: sprint races – high numbers

Gowran Park: no advantage

Great Yarmouth: straight course – high numbers; round course -low numbers

Hamilton Park: straight course – middle to high numbers:

Haydock Park: six furlongs to one mile – low numbers: if going soft on straight course – high numbers

Kempton Park: round course – high numbers

Kilarney: no advantage

Laytown: no advantage

Leicester: straight course up to one mile – middle to high numbers (even more so on soft ground)

Leopardstown: slight advantage to low numbers

Ungfield Park: straight course – high numbers if going is heavy, otherwise low numbers

Newbury: no advantage

Newcastle: no advantage

Newmarket: no advantage

Nottingham: straight course – high numbers; round course – low numbers

Pontefract: sprints – low numbers

Redcar: sprints – high numbers

Ripon: straight course – low numbers; round course – high numbers

Salisbury: if going is soft – low numbers

Sandown Park: five-furlong course – high numbers when going is soft

Thirsk: straight course – high numbers; round course – low numbers

Warwick: races up to eight furlongs – high numbers (more marked when going is soft)

Windsor: sprints – high numbers; on soft ground – low numbers Wolverhampton: no advantage

York: soft ground – low numbers; over seven furlongs – low numbers

Price

Look for horses that offer good value prices. Finding 10/1 winners will give you bigger profits than odds-on horses.