Sim­ple sys­tems

Stephen Mullen looks at two sim­ple meth­ods — and finds one in par­tic­u­lar stands out

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Stephen Mullen finds favour with the KISS method

Many of us love a sys­tem. There are many peo­ple who de­vote years of their life try­ing to find the holy grail, that set of rules that can un­lock the game.

Although many are dis­parag­ing about them, for a sys­tems fan there’s ev­ery bit as much sat­is­fac­tion from the “method” turn­ing up a win­ner as from spend­ing hours go­ing through the form.

The prob­lem is that sys­tems don’t work do they? In the hope of prov­ing this premise wrong, sys­tem de­vis­ers have delved deeper and deeper into ev­ery as­pect of form.

One fo­rum for rac­ing nuts re­cently held a heated de­bate about the an­gle of a bend at a cer­tain track be­cause they wanted their “num­bers” to be as ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble.

That’s all very com­mend­able but there is an­other way of look­ing at sys­tems — and that’s the KISS method.

KISS stands for Keep It Sim­ple, Stupid and the high-brow rac­ing pub­li­ca­tion Smart­sig al­ways tried to in­clude this method of de­vis­ing sys­tems along with the more in­volved.

Most of the KISS meth­ods are a bit too sim­ple but one that read­ers of a cer­tain vin­tage will re­mem­ber is Fine­form.

Ad­verts for this method were a main­stay of Race­form Up­date and other long gone and much missed publi­ca­tions of the 80s and 90s.

The man be­hind Fine­form was Clive Holt and if you can get hold of his wares on Ebay or else­where, they are still worth a read.

His KISS method was to award points based on a horse’s last two runs and whether they were a course and dis­tance win­ner or not.In a nut­shell, the idea was to look out for horses that have won their last two starts — this sea­son only — and are course and dis­tance win­ners.

Now straight away that sounds ridicu­lously sim­ple — af­ter all a horse could have won two sell­ers and be go­ing for a Clas­sic. Un­likely as that sce­nario might be, it high­lights the weak­nesses with KISS sys­tems.

Hav­ing said all that, these “max­i­mum” bets do sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than any of the well paid tip­sters em­ployed by the na­tional or rac­ing press to tip race-by-race.

Us­ing the ex­cel­lent www.horser­ace­base.com we can run the re­sults of the max­i­mum bets since 2003.

Fol­lowed blind they show a loss, but noth­ing like most tipster’s over the same pe­riod.

In that time, there have been 4,525 bets with 1,181 wins for a loss of £440 to £1 at SP or a loss of £198 at Bet­fair SP in­clud­ing com­mis­sion.

That’s a 26.1% strike-rate on all se­lec­tions, in­clud­ing races where there are more than one qual­i­fier.

Things are helped a lot by only bet­ting in races with one qual­i­fier, with the strik­er­ate go­ing up to 27% and the loss re­duced to £343.51 to SP. That’s on 960 win­ners so you don’t have to beat SP by much to make a profit – in these days of Best Price Guar­an­teed (al­beit to small stakes) that shouldn’t be too much of an

is­sue. Just back­ing blind in 2006 and 2007 made a profit and the strike-rate has been pretty con­stant right through the past 13 years with 23.31% the low­est in 2009 and 30.49% the best in 2007. Nor­mally it hov­ers around the 25% mark at much bet­ter odds than the favourite.

On such a solid set of re­sults,it must be pos­si­ble to add one or two more fil­ters to up the prof­itabil­ity and strike-rate. Af­ter all,a los­ing run of 20 is highly likely on the base fig­ures and few pun­ters can cope with that.

The ob­vi­ous solution is to stick to non­hand­i­caps be­cause that in­creases the strike-rate to 34.7% and the loss is just £40.64 to a £1 bet at SP.

For a KISS sys­tem that is an im­pres­sive re­turn across 1,000 bets.

For a method that was de­vised well over 30 years ago, that’s wor­thy of praise and there are many news­pa­per tip­sters who would love to record such a re­turn.

We know that KISS method still works, but does an­other old faithful of bet­ting shop wis­dom stand the test of time?

This par­tic­u­lar one is a favourite of mine – al­ways back the top-weight in a claimer.

Ac­cord­ing to Horser­ace­base, clear top weights in all claim­ing races win 24.66% of the time for 721 wins from 2924 races and a loss of £238.22 to SP.

Dig­ging a bit deeper, take out jumps races and the strike-rate nudges past 25% and the loss dips be­low £200.

Be­lieve it or not, we are now just one more rule away from hit­ting upon a KISS win­ning sys­tem.

The rule is sim­ple, in all Flat and all­weather races, back the clear top weight in a claimer if it is a course and dis­tance win­ner.

This has brought 215 wins from 647 bets at 33.23% and a profit of £46.61 to £1 bet at SP.

The strike-rate hasn’t tailed off in re­cent years, in fact 2015 was one of its best on 42% win­ners.

Sadly there aren’t as many claimers as there once was but there should be around a bet per week on av­er­age.

If you want slightly more bets, the re­sults are just as good over the jumps when you stick to the CD rule.

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