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