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The Fine Form Master Formula


My method based assessments have not been doing too well at the start of the Flat turf season leading me to consider reverting to a rigid system. The following snippet from the RacingSystemsBuilder e-book makes the case for doing so:

" We believe that the professional approach must be based on racing systems. The system is the cornerstone of rational punting. A system is an inflexible set of rules for making selections to back. For those with good punting temperament, this may merely constitute the framework for selection, providing potential qualifiers from amongst which final bets are drawn on the basis of gut feelings. Very difficult not to become irrational when things are running against you on this basis, though. This is where the inflexible system scores time and time again. Selections are automatically backed whatever the gut feelings, and it’s surprising how often the gut feelings prove wrong, especially if one is an inherently insecure or pessimistic punter."

The Fine Form Master Formula is a rational system, followed by many I understand. Without disclosing all the rules it provides rating for any race from the first 3 in a betting forecast, the last 2 outings in the current season, course and distance winners, and the top 3 from a handicap rating. The top possible rating is 20, plus 1/2 and/or just a + for splitting joint rated. The only extra element I introduce is to avoid extreme going.

Ascot (early season the downside is the lack of two outings in the current season, which is the main plank of the system, so we will have to see how it goes).

Ascot (going forecast GS)
2.10 The Last Lion 19 1/2, Sterling Silva 19
2.45 Light Up Our World 13, Raaqy 7, Dawn Of Hope 6
3.20 Clever Cookie 13, Mizzou 10 1/2, Flying Officer 10
3.55 Gifted Master 19 1/2, C Note 19, Washington DC 18
4.30 CaptainCat 11, Arod 10 1/2, GM Hopkins 10+, Balty Boys 10
5.00 Pearll Spectre 11 1/2, Steal The Scene 11, Gannicus 8


SIG SIG, martin_85 martin_85, ronin ronin many thanks for the interest and support. Any constructive criticism would be more than welcome.

One top-rated 3/1 win was not enough to prevent an overall loss. Too may bets is always a problem for me so I will introduce some more filters. The aim being to reduce the number of possible bets and improve the strike-rate.

a) avoid extreme going
b) no race below class 4
c) races to have some winning form in the last two outings
d) at least 80% of the field to have a hcap rating
e) maximum field of 12 runners

This snippet from the RacingSystemsBuilder e-book mainly discusses odds but I have underlined the bit I am interested in from the selection point of view. Just to make the point that it may not always be advantageous to support the Fine Form top-rated runner. Hopefully, I will deal with odds and staking in further posts.

Profitable Betting

For the average punter the intricacies of the betting market are unimportant, but one fact is paramount: THE ONLY way to make a long-term profit from betting is to bet when the price on offer is longer than the true chance of the horse winning. Thus the punter is faced with a dual challenge: not only must he consistently pick winners, but his methods must ensure that his selections are not chosen by too many others, so that the prices on offer are lower than their true chance value.

Herein lies the conundrum of successful betting: how can one choose runners which will win a high percentage of races, yet ensure that the prices remain good? For those on course or in the betting shop "on-line", the answer is simple to expound, but perhaps more difficult to implement: DO NOT BET when the price of your fancy is too short. But for the average off-course punter, who has to make selections before the event, and cannot control the price at which his wager is on, the problem is infinitely more difficult.

Despite this, it is possible to use logic and experience to tilt the balance in your favour where likely price is concerned. The following points should help.

The fewer the runners, the better the overall value. The evidence for this can be found in a number of places. The overround (bookmakers' gross profit margin on the race) is now calculated and printed at the bottom of each race result in the Racing Post results section. It is in races with few runners that bookmakers occasionally bet overbroke.

Lingfield (going forecast standard)
3.20 Suqoor 14, Inaam 12, Barlesugar 9 (possible bets with the early market 2/1 Barleysugar, 5/1 Inaam)
5.05 Pusey's Secret 19, Semra 17, Exist 9 (possible bets Exist 7/4, Semra 5/2)

Redcar ( going forecast soft side of good)
4.10 Dandyleekie 17, Galesburg 15, Eutropus 10 ( possible bet Dandyleekie 2/1)


The filters seem to have made an improvement for yesterday at least, so staying with them for now. However, flagging up possible prices smacks of 'gut' feeling personal assessment, which I was trying to get away from so will try a more routine criterion. The possible odds being replaced by 'probability percentage' in handicap races and the betting market in non-handicap races.

Accepting the OR as the standard for handicap races, where the runners have an equal chance, then the official odds for each runner is one less than the number of runners in the field. Historical stats for hcaps up to 12 runners indicates a strong fav has a 25% chance and contenders are about mid-range.

Chepstow (going forecast firm side of good)
4.00 class 4 3yo hcap over 8f with 13 runners (1 more than preferred)
Probability % nos 08.50 - 1, 3, 4, 9, 10, 13 indicates a win for the short odds half of the market. A strong fav would be 3/1, contenders around 6/1, not expected today longer than 12/1.

Medburn Dream 19 ( a bet at 3/1)
Motdaw 16
Loed Huntingdon 8

Lingfield (going forecast standard)
4.15 class 4 4yo+ hcap sprint over 5f with 4 runners.
Probability % nos - 1, 2, 3 indicates an open race. Strong fav odds-on, contender 6/4, not expected longer than 3/1.

Bertie Blu Boy 16
Equally Fast 15 ( a contender bet at 2/1)
Just Us Two 9 (a contender bet at 13/8)


Satisfactory system results yesterday :D. Today being Saturday we are overwhelmed with possibilities and it's difficult not to get carried away with it all. I have restricted myself to one race to put up first then perhaps I can post some thoughts on the final principle in making a bet, staking.

3.25 class 3 4yo+ 5f sprint hcap
Probability % nos 08.45 - 1, 2, 3, 4 indicates a short odds win. Strong fav 2/1, conender 4/1, not expected longer than 8/1.

Stake Acclaim 14 1/2 (a bet at 9/4)
Normal Equilibrium 14+ (a contender bet at 4/1)
Zac Brown 14


First the RacingSystemsBuilder take on staking plans followed by my thoughts. I have not shown the equation for their betting plan but I will come back to the Kelly criterion.

Staking plans have rather a bad name with systematic punters. The reason is that the invention or engineering of a staking plan to fit a set of results is one of the time-honoured ways for the numerous highwaymen of the turf to remove money from the unwary. Always be more than sceptical about profits from any system which are based on a staking plan. If the system doesn’t also make money on level stakes, then throw it away. In fact, I would say that any system which comes with a staking plan attached is probably only worthy of the bin. However, once you know you have a profitable method or system, then optimising the stakes is well worthwhile. Level stake betting does not represent the optimum, because relatively too much is risked on outsiders with little chance of winning. Thus if a lot of outsiders are backed, bank-draining losing runs are inevitable. All forms of retrieve staking are financial suicide, unless you possess a bank much greater than that of the bookmaker. If you do, what on earth are you doing as a punter? Trying to remove the discrepancy, obviously. Fancy schemes like pyramids are mere sophistry, the modern equivalent of counting the numbers of angels which can balance on a pinhead. Even with sequences where an increased profit is achieved, this is done overall by increasing turnover - in fact you simply end up risking more money.
We have done a tremendous amount of research on staking, and we have an optimised staking plan, produced from a very large computer simulation. It is very closely allied to the Kelly formula for betting on cards, in which stakes are increased when chances of winning are increased and when the margin in favour of the punter is increased. Thus an even money shot carries more money than a 2/1 shot simply because it is more likely to win, and a 2/1 shot which has true odds of evens carries much more money than a 2/1 shot with true odds of 6/4. Stakes are always calculated as a percentage of the bank, and the bank is recalculated after every bet. It is simply impossible to better this plan.
Unfortunately, it is also the quickest way to the poor-house ever devised by man. Let me explain. The key to optimising staking is to know the margin in favour of the punter. More should be staked when the margin is greater. With cards, the margin can be calculated with exact precision. The card-counter knows how many of each valuable card have already shown and the number of cards left. Therefore the odds of turning up a valuable card on the next deal can be calculated exactly and hence the margin calculated exactly.
Horse-racing simply is not like this. The probability of a certain horse winning can never be known with perfect accuracy. This would entail knowing precisely the details of every variable with a bearing on its chance of winning - its blood white cell count, how it was feeling before the race, the “vibes” it was picking up from its jockey, whether it had digested its last meal adequately and so on , almost ad infinitum. Calculating prior chances for every horse in the race is a very, very uncertain process. It depends first on the quality of the information that is fed to the computer which calculates, next on the ingenuity of the measures used to estimate various aspects of the horse’s fitness and ability and the connections’ will to win and finally on the sophistication of the calculating algorithm. Thus a calculation can be made based simply on ability factors, but it will never reflect the actual chance of that horse winning accurately. More factors can be added to the equation, but the estimation will still be inaccurate. Even if figures are re-jigged at the last minute to account for odds and market movements, the figures will still fall short of perfection.
If you cannot know the true odds for your bet, then you cannot know the true margin, and the optimised staking plan becomes just another suicide technique. All is not lost, however, because the principles behind optimised staking can be used to produce a staking plan which beats even staking by reducing the losses on long losing runs and maximising the returns on wins. What you need to know is what your overall margin for a series of bets is. You can estimate this by using the figures from RSB. We suggest you use the variable stake return (percentage), making an allowance for tax if necessary.
You should always err on the side of caution when you estimate your margin. Rather than take the bald historical figures, it’s much better to use the figures from an actual series of bets. You will find, time and time again, that returns in the real world are never as good as they look as if they’re going to be based on researching the past. This may be disappointing, but it is a fact of betting life, and it just has to be lived with.
Once you know your overall margin, you should stake to return a percentage of your bank. The percentage is determined by the margin. Thus if your margin is 5%, stake to return 6.5% of your bank. If your margin is 10%, stake to return 10% of your bank. The actual percentage of the bank to stake is given by dividing this figure by the price on offer (plus 1). If your margin (after tax) is more than 10%, take another cold look at it. Margins beyond this figure are often fantasy margins.
The equation for optimised staking is: (copyright ã Racedata Modelling Ltd 1994-1997)
Last edited:


This is a letter from the old SCHB sports forum that points up the RSB contention on staking:


Example: EV = ½ (1) – ½ (1) = 0 advantage

Let me share a secret with you. Unless you accept and implement the principle detailed in the following article it is impossible profit by betting on horses in the long-term. Without adopting this strategy you must resign yourself to losing in the end.
Every bet made must be subject to the winning mathematical formula of expected value: -
EV = P (G) – P (L)
Where P is the probability of the event, G is the potential gain and L is the potential loss.
If the expected value is positive you have an overlay sound bet, conversely if the expected value is negative it is an underlay unsound bet. For example on tossing a coin strictly heads or tails that is evens as a return on your stake the EV = 0 and is a fair bet with no advantage to either party. Neither an overlay nor an underlay: -
EV = ½ (1) – ½ (1) = 0
If offered 4/5 the probability remains the same but G is now 0.8 and thus EV is negative. Naturally after one toss of the coin you are as likely to win as you are to lose but in the long-term over a number of spins: -
EV = ½ (0.8) – ½ (1) = - 0.1
This is what happens for example at the roulette wheel. Forget about staking plans etc., in the long-term at roulette both the probabilities and the potential gains/losses are certain so you must lose.
Horseracing offers a different scenario as the potential gains/losses are certain but the probabilities of events are subjective phenomena. For example if you believe Opera House had a 20% chance of success in the King George at odds of 4/1 the EV would be 0: -
EV = 0.2 (4) – 0.8 (1) = 0
However, at early prices Opera House was available at 8/1, therefore: -
EV = 0.2 (8) – 0.8 (1) = + 0.8
This indicates a positive return of 80% in the event of a winning run.
In the same race we may believe that Commander In Chief has a 30% chance of success, available at odds of 2/1, therefore: -
EV = 0.3 (2) – 0.7 (1) = - 0.1
If the probabilities were correct Commander In Chief would win a race more often than Opera House, but if only overlays are supported in the end they win.
Most people can accept the logic and validity of the argument presented (if you do not then you are mistaken because they are mathematical facts). However, it is alien to back anything but a major fancy in a race, which is natural and acceptable, so long as it is only backed if it is an overlay bet.
Someone said: “You can beat the races but you cannot beat the race.” The meaning of that statement was that there is no such thing as a racing certainty? However, profitability is inexorably linked with the law of expected value.
The probabilities assigned must be a function of statistical fact rather than subjective views.


This is me, the mega-mug on staking.
(Dyed in the wool gamblers will be yawning with this feeling never mind the bull just shovel the money in and pull the handle).
However, if your selection method does not win at level stakes you will lose in the end, or will you?

Here is an idea from my notebook to consider, a staking plan to compare with level stakes.

Commence with a 2 point stake
After each loser increase the stake by 1 point
After a win at odds-on stay on the same stake
After a win at 1/1 to 11/8 revert by 2 points
After a win at 6/4 or longer revert by 4 points
Minimum stake is 2 points

(back again later)


At this late stage of my betting career I prefer a level return to a level stake and the reasons are explained in the attachments from an old letter to the SCHB sports forum.


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This is me, the mega-mug on staking.
(Dyed in the wool gamblers will be yawning with this feeling never mind the bull just shovel the money in and pull the handle).
However, if your selection method does not win at level stakes you will lose in the end, or will you?

Here is an idea from my notebook to consider, a staking plan to compare with level stakes.

Commence with a 2 point stake
After each loser increase the stake by 1 point
After a win at odds-on stay on the same stake
After a win at 1/1 to 11/8 revert by 2 points
After a win at 6/4 or longer revert by 4 points
Minimum stake is 2 points

(back again later)

Can't see this working for Cockney Rebel Cockney Rebel ...


@*t0m* I know nowt about football betting but I have an 'infallible' system for it :whistle:.

Back to the plot, for anyone still with me here is an explanation of the Kelly formula, where you can try to work out your 'advantage' from past bets:


I believe this is a staking plan used at for casino games of chance in America but it is also advocated for horseracing.
' A computer simulation covering 1000 simulations of a 700 race sample given a 30% win ratio at average odds of 2.75 to 1, after tax, gave the following results. Betting 4% of a 1000 point bank averaged 5054 and never at any time went broke.'
'Invest a percentage of your bank equal to your advantage over the bookmaker calculated as: -
Percentage Advantage = Win % - (Loss%) N.B. The result gives the % for staking at Evens (Odds)
which then has to be divided by the odds of your selection to find the actual percentage to be staked.
To bet more than your advantage guarantees losses in the long run, but betting less than your advantage will win you less than you are capable of.
1000 repetitions of 700 race sample performance. Assumption 30% strike rate at odds of 11/4
Percentage……….Average Bank……….Largest Bank……..Bust
3……………………. 4991…………………. 4991……………..0
5……………………….407………………… 4075……………. 0
10……………………….7…………………….. 70……………. 0
Actual example over 50 repetitions
Strike rate 34% odds 5-2 bets 250
Starting bank 500 starting wager 3% average return over 250 bets = 2107 longest losing run 7
First bet was 3% of 500 = 15
After first 10 bets recalculate the advantage as a percentage and stake that amount. In future calculate the advantage after every runner. If the strike rate drops to 30% the average return drops to 852. If the strike rate rises to 40% the average return rises to 5326. Thus the staking system is sensitive to strike rate which rests with the backer'.
'The fact that the original percentage applies when dealing with Even money chances seems to be understood as can be seen from the examples. With a win percentage of 34 and SP5-2 the stake is 3% of the bank. Th formula would give: -
34% - 66% divided by 5-2 = 34% - 26.4% = 7.6%. The 3% is correct being the 7.6% divided by SP.
However, this is not the end of the story. The formula is correct if we know accurately the percentage advantage over the bookmaker and this is impossible to obtain from samples. Further research indicates that the correct percentage to stake is lower than the formula indicates. Between half or three quarters of that amount. Three quarters of the amount indicated is a reasonable compromise'.
Although the underlying principle seems sound it is very tedious doing a full recalculation by odds after each bet and even worse deflects concentration away from the selection process. This is a suggested short cut to employ.
After a minimum of 10 results note the strike-rate percentage and stake according to it in the following manner. Thereafter recalculate your wins to runs percentage after each bet. It is assumed average odds bet of about 5/2.
20 – 25% bet 2% of the available bank
26 – 30% bet 3% of the bank
31 – 35% bet 4% of the bank
36 – 45% bet 5% of the bank
46 – 55% bet 6% of the bank
56 – 65% bet 7% of the bank
Above 75% bet no more than 8% of the available bank
This is similar to staking operations in the past but where a betting return as a percentage of the bank was required as opposed to betting a percentage of the bank.


The fewer the runners, the better the overall value. The evidence for this can be found in a number of places. The overround (bookmakers' gross profit margin on the race) is now calculated and printed at the bottom of each race result in the Racing Post results section. It is in races with few runners that bookmakers occasionally bet overbroke.

Hi Jack your cooking the Gas with the above your words :)

Q are we/you trading here for fixed returns not £10 bucks on an even money for £10 bucks profit ... So a 3/1 would be £5 bucks for the fixed return of £10

Only ask as i have read a lot on your methods of trading for many a year Sir.

I shall follow this thread with very keen interest as you always educate me & think outside the box

Many thanks once again for all you have written & aided me along with others over the years



Sometimes what seems Value is Not Value

The BF Market is usually Trading around 101% Over Round and although not necessarily true odds, is a 100 % Book as near as can be

Now if the Layers are Offering Odds Greater than the Betting Public suggest they should be you would expect that the Betting Public is Getting Value

The Amount Matched on each horse can be turned into a fraction and the Implied Odds calculated. In a Fair Market the Implied Odds would equal the Odds being Offered

Now if the Layers are offering twice the Implied Odds you would say that is Value (Price Disparity)

So lets look at some snap shots taken at around 12 MD

Only one horse won who had a Price Disparity 2.00 or Greater so what should be perceived as Value is not Value, the Layers are trying to take these horses on by offering odds greater than the Public think they should be

Take an Extreme example in the 5.15 Swirral Edge at 11.45 PM has 87% of the Book, if you accept that the Horse is Dodgy then that amount of the Book can be taken out and the Remaining Horses can be Dutched at Value Odds

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