Our methods man reveals his portfolio of methods to find more and more winners
Our systems guru tells why you should always aim for the top
Ina recent article I discussed failure and learning from mistakes. Matthew Syed’s seminal book Black Box Thinking explores how the best organisations and people embrace the concept of failure. Did you know that Sir James Dyson spent more than 15 years and created over 5,000 prototypes before his Dyson DC 01 bagfree ,‘ cyclone technology’ design vacuum cleaner proved successful commercially? The harder you practice the more successful you get.The old adage is true.
Previously, we have looked at the psychology of punting and what it is that we are looking to achieve from our interest in horse racing. I doubt whether most people really know or even find what they are looking for. My own philosophy is simple: I like to find winners. Backing them successfully and combining them in profitable numbers is another matter entirely, however the frequent losses do not detract from my enjoyment. I don’t expect to win all the time but I do still hold out hope of that one big win on the ITV Seven.
I don’t bet for a living, which is as well really. I just enjoy the winner-finding process and devising ways and means to arrive at a decent selection by the quickest and most consistent route possible.Regular readers will be familiar with the TOP Racing System articles that were featured in this magazine some six years ago. (Where did the time go?)
The articles charted the progress of the methods over a 12 month period and as we went along I ‘tweaked’ the rules to maximize results. The word that mathematicians and scientists give to this process is‘iteration’:the action or process of iterating or repeating, such as a procedure in which repetition of a sequence of operations yields results successively closer to a desired result (www.merriamwebster.com).The desired result being to find winning selections more often.
I featured the TOP 10 System in the July 2017 article and said that the rules had been simplified. I had thought about renaming the system the‘Trendsetter’,but to avoid any further confusion let us go back to the original names of the systems. They are my own Magnificent Seven and I hope that readers will agree that the trimmed down iterations make far more sense.
In the preface to the self-published TOP Racing Systems book, which was a compilation of the original Racing Ahead articles,I pointed out that I am not an original thinker on the matter of picking winners. If you Google the term: ‘Horse Racing Systems’ you will get over 1,750,000 results.Take your pick from that lot! The books I read by David Duncan, Clive Holt, Peter Braddock et al. are the inspiration behind my winner-finding efforts. The basic tenets of the old school are still relevant, even if people are more disposed nowadays to formulating their picks at the click of a button.
The TOP Racing Systems are quick and easy to use. The reference is the Racing Post but you can use the best of the tabloids to achieve the same result. The only systems that cause a little bit of confusion are the Top Trainer and Top Jockey systems.Who is the‘top’trainer or jockey at any particular course? The handler with the most wins numerically,or the one with best winners-to-runners strike rate? If in any doubt I would suggest you look at both trainers’ entries.
Readers may be wondering about the days-since figure rule(s). The reason I have done this is twofold: 1) to limit the number of selections i.e.make them manageable, (hence the reason for restricting the number of runners in each race);and, 2) to differentiate between the lesser and greater animals. In lower class races on the Flat the horses tend to run inconsistently so we need to catch them when they’re hot.Over the jumps,horses tend to need more of a break.The rules are not set in stone.Readers are free to come up with their own iterations. Some might prefer a ‘no days-since’ rule for Class 1 events as the top horses tend to run less often. Indeed,you may wish to ignore any dayssince stipulation.
I do not intend to keep a full record of selections.Now,this might go against what I have said before when bemoaning the lack of transparency from the top tipsters. However, I simply do not have time to keep a daily record and I will confine my selections and results to Saturdays only. Having said that,I sometimes have to work on a Saturday too and theWordPress blog goes missing, but I will endeavour to at least put out any picks on Twitter using the hash-tags: etc.
#TOP10,#TOPHat, THE TOP 10 SYSTEM
1. Selections found via the Past Winners records for any race or ‘Ten-year trends’ 2. Favourite Records must give results for the last 10 renewals of a race 3. There must have been at least 5 winning favourites of the race 4. Back the FORECAST favourite in the race on the card with the most number of winning favourites 5. Do not back in split divisions
THE TOP HAT SYSTEM
1. Forecast favourite must be priced at 6/4 or LESS 2. Next horse in the betting must be priced at 4/1 3. Favourite must be top rated by Racing Post Ratings (RPR) 4. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 28 days ago (Class 1 – 3) 5. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 14 days ago (Class 4 – 6)
THE TREBLE TOP SYSTEM
1. Horse must be tipped by both PostData and Verdict and RP Rating 2.Horse must be Course OR Distance winner 3. Horse must be the forecast favourite 4. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 28 days ago (Class 1 – 3) 5. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 14 days ago (Class 4 – 6)
THE TOP TRUMP SYSTEM
1.Horse must haveWON its last TWO starts 2.Horse must be a Course OR Distance winner 3. Horse must be top-rated by Racing Post Ratings (RPR) 4. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 28 days ago (Class 1 – 3) 5. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 14 days ago (Class 4 – 6)
THE TOP WEIGHT SYSTEM (FLAT ONLY)
1.All-Aged HANDICAPS between 6 and 14 runners (except apprentice, ladies, selling etc.) 2. Horse must be in the top three of weights (or form expert top rated) and the betting forecast 3.Horse must be a Course OR Distance winner 4. Horse must be the top-rated in the race according to Racing Ahead Form (RAF) 5.Horse must be running no more than 7 days after its last run
THE TOP SHOT SYSTEM
1.Horse must be top rated by Racing Post Ratings (RPR) 2.Horse must be a Course AND Distance winner 3.Horse must haveWON last time out 4. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 28 days ago (Class 1 – 3) 5. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 14 days ago (Class 4 – 6).
THE TOP TRAINER SYSTEM
1. Top trainer at any particular course either wins or strike rate 2.Horse must be a Course winner 3.Horse must haveWON last time out 4. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 28 days ago (Class 1 – 3) 5. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 14 days ago (Class 4 – 6)
THE TOP JOCKEY SYSTEM
1. Top jockey at any particular course either wins or strike rate 2.Horse must be a Course winner 3.Horse must haveWON last time out 4. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 28 days ago (Class 1 – 3) 5. Horse’s last run must be LESS than 14 days ago (Class 4 – 6)
• All races must have between 6 and 14 runners • In National Hunt races the days since a run must be LESS than 28 days
In the first three weeks of September there have been 6 winners from 15 runners (40%) with a return of 26 points which is an ROI of 173%.
Unfortunately, Defoe (as feared) did not have the class to win the St Leger.His run in the Zetland Stakes at the back end of last season was no fluke.RogerVarian’s horse simply wasn’t good enough. Stradivarius on the other hand ran a blinder but wasn’t quite able to maintain his winning momentum in the final furlong, finishing just under a length back in third having been pipped in the shadow of the post by Crystal Ocean - who must surely be another of those Stoute horses-to-follow next term.
QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE
ENABLE (23pts) is unbeaten when ridden by Frankie Dettori and is the clear antepost favourite after routing her rivals in a host of top Class 1 events in England and Ireland in the season to date.There is no doubting that she is a high class filly who appears to have no going concerns. It is hard to knock her chance. However, there is a horse that scores the maximum 30 points who may be worth looking at if you are not tempted by the slim prices being offered against John Gosden’s filly.
DSCHINGIS SECRET (30pts) has won his last three starts for the German based handler Markus Klug. The colt’s latest win was over the Arc course and distance in the Prix Foy run at Chantilly. On soft going the four-year-old won readily from Andre Fabre’s CLOTH OF STARS (15pts) who was unbeaten this season going into the race. True, the Godolphin runner was having his first run since May, but Dschingis Secret beat another Godolphin owned horse Hawkbill in the Longines Grosser Preis von Berlin, also over 12 furlongs, the time before. The word ‘readily’ again appeared in the race comment.William Hill had decided to go it alone and oppose the horse at 33/1, the best price available with other firms was 16/1 at the time of writing this article, and so the each-way was there to be taken. I clicked on the 33/1 on the Racing Post odds comparison page and signed into my William Hill account, the each-way stake was entered and… ‘Unfortunately we cannot place your bet as the price of your selection has changed. Dschingis Secret EW – the price was 33/1 but has now changed to 12/1.’ Despite a number of brilliant horses being entered i.e. Order Of St George, Cracksman, Ulysses etc. the RAF selection would appear to be a decent pick. Until next month – Happy Racing!
Don’t forget to follow all the #RAFPick action on Twitter: @LarkspurRacing and check out the blog every Saturday at: tonylarkspur.wordpress.com
Cloth of Stars