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Pre-Race Trading

Richard Futter's picture
Mar 14, 2015

With the start of the Flat racing season now just a fortnight away, it’s high time we had a good look at how to make best use of the profit-rich markets awaiting us over the next seven months.

While I love the spectacle of National Hunt racing, you can’t beat the Flat action for trading. The races are shorter, leaving much more trading time between races, and during the months of May, June and July we can add plenty of good evening meetings to the mix.

I plan to write several blogs on pre-race trading over the next couple of weeks, and I thought I would look first at various strategies to make sure you’re on the green side of the market most of the time.

1) Make the trend your friend – the simplest and in my experience still the best way of profiting regularly. Ten minutes before the races that interest me, I look at all the main Betfair graphs, looking for horses shortening in a good steady fashion.

The secret here is to be very selective. I tend to ignore those markets which are too erratic – no horse ever comes in in a straight line, but the closer it is to it the better in my experience.

Having chosen the horse I want to back, I wait for a sign the move will continue – ie. a further move inwards of a tick or two – and then get in as fast as possible.

Not all these horses will continue to steam of course (if only……) so depending on how the market is looking I tend to use a manual stop loss of between 3-5 ticks, trailing it inwards as the price continues to shorten until I hopefully reach a no-loss situation.

Now, as the price shortens further, it’s profit all the way. And don’t be afraid to let the price run close to the off time, because when these trades are successful, they tend to land some big profits.

I usually find at least 3 to 4 of these on a decent afternoon’s racing. For instance, trading this Saturday afternoon there was Four Seasons: 2.48 into 2.18 – using a £1000 bank that represented a profit of just over £130. Also Hollow Tree (6.4-5.2), Port Melon (2.78-2.48), Bold Optimist (3.1-2.78) and Withoutdefavourite (5.5-4.5) boosted the bank very nicely indeed.

You need to be able to accept small losses when the market moves immediately against you, but if you stick to a disciplined, tight stop loss, these relatively small losses will be be vastly outweighed by the profits reaped by the big steamers.

But, if you’re new to this style of trading, it’s a good idea to paper trade for a week or two, building confidence in your selections, before switching to small stakes and gradually increasing the amount you’re comfortable with risking as you begin to make regular profits.

In future blogs, I’ll be looking at a few more winning strategies, as well as pointing out the pitfalls of pre-race trading and the importance of having the right mind-set to take advantage of the many money making opportunities the racing markets provide.

Good hunting.

Richard has been a Pro Trader on Betfair for over 10 years. A former local sports TV presenter at Anglia News, Richard has an incredible wealth of sports knowledge which luckily for us he is willing to share!