In-Play (‘In Running’) Horse Racing Trading on Betfair

During the long period I spent learning how to make regular profits trading the Pre-Race markets, I dabbled with various In-Play trading strategies along the way as well. I had heard about some interesting in play methods and I had also tried to invent some of my own with varied success. Nothing to write home about, but enough to inspire me to keep playing around.

Tired man at deskThere were several reasons why I wanted to trade horses In-Running, not least of those was the fact that I needed a “release” from the pre-race markets which demanded immense concentration, discipline and a lot of stamina too. It was exhausting, often infuriating, and occasionally completely soul-destroying when learning. Anyone who has mastered the pre-race markets will attest to this and won’t have forgotten their own mind-numbing learning experience, of that I am absolutely certain!

Another reason I was tinkering with in-running strategies was because I was losing money, as we all do when learning something as challenging as pre-race trading. Sometimes I would lose quite a bit on a string of horrible whipsaws and sudden unpredictable trend-reversals just seconds before the off. At which point I would hit my limit and walk away from the pre-race markets for that particular day. I wanted to try and hedge off some of my losses, just to soften the blows of these losing days, and I found I could do so by trading after the off.

Suicide imagePlease don’t misinterpret that. I do not mean that I couldn’t take my pre race losses on the chin, and instead just gambled on the race in a “double or nothing” suicide venture!

I won’t pretend I have never done that, I am just as human and imperfect as the next person. But I got that silly stuff out of my system earlier when I got into football trading some years earlier. What I meant is that after a few nasty red trades in the pre-race markets, I would try changing my tack and I needed some other methods to switch over to when I didn’t want to leave the desk but needed a break from my current trading approach. This is where In-Play or IR (in-running) trading came in for me.

Before most races I would do some statistics, form analysis, listen to some commentary, read the most popular tipsters’ naps for the day and so on. I hoped this information would help with my trading in the pre-race markets, but quickly realised the information probably had more use to me when applied to the actual running of the race after the off, and how the horses would most likely perform. In particular how the front 3 or 4 runners in the market (the main contenders) would perform. I had already heard of some in play methods from friends, but this was the first time I really considered trying them myself.

I began making very small bets based on what I felt I had learned from this research, not to find a winner but to find horses which looked likely to run well (or badly) for at least a portion of the race, or in some cases with a view to laying the field. I then set about making use of that information in various ways. Sometimes backing, sometimes laying, sometimes actually betting on the outcome but not until half way through the race when I had seen the signals I was hoping to see to confirm that the data I had been reading was playing out in front of me before getting involved.

I did ok, not much better than that. At least that’s what I thought at the time. Only a good while later I realised I was actually doing a bit better than OK. I noticed that my results had been disguised by the pre-race losses I was making during that long and painful learning phase. In other words, I was losing money most weeks on pre-race trading, but I was making money on many of my in-play racing trades which I wasn’t keeping separate notes on, or looking at the results separately, stupid I know. I had simply failed to do what I preach about to people today (hence why I do preach about it!)…

Keep records and analyse your results regularly, and carefully!

If only I had done that, I could have spotted a lot more good things I was doing which unfortunately I was blissfully unaware of for quite a long time. Oops.

So, better late than never, I did eventually realise that I could make decent profits trading in-play, but by then I had long since stopped doing what I was doing (having become even more laser-focussed on pre-race trading) and here comes shameful admission number two….. I couldn’t even remember how I had previously been choosing my in play trades! Again, because I hadn’t kept good records or notes on my trades.




Hopefully the many readers out there who are new to Betfair trading are starting to understand how much I mean it when I say I really have “walked the walk” and that I really do know what you’re going through while you learn. I am talking specifically about that lonely and stressful path all traders must walk before they finally feel like they are making any progress. I think I must have tripped over every possible obstacle in my time, two or three times each! I don’t claim to be a fast-learner by any means!

The longer the path, the stronger you are at the end of it. I am totally convinced of this relationship between difficulty level and ultimate rewards. This is why I harp on about “bank preservation” being your number one priority at all times. I know how long this journey can be, and the quickest way to ruin your chances of completing it, is to have an empty Betfair account long before you discover success. So staying in the game is the first priority when learning any new method, staking small enough to give yourself the longest possible time to find consistent and prolonged success, before increasing your bank and stakes.

Of course I didn’t forget everything I had been doing in-running. I did have some vague memories and ideas, but I definitely felt totally unable to just pick up where I left off and confidently repeat the same types of trades after so much time had passed. I had a stroke of luck though around that time, I met someone who remains a good friend to this day. He traded in play regularly, and after we got to know each other we began sharing methods, I talked about football, he talked about racing.

Aside from the football stuff we shared, the upshot of this new relationship was that I got some great tips for going back into the in-play horse racing markets but this time I had someone to guide me a bit and to talk to when I had any problems or confusing outcomes in some races. I learned a massive amount from him over the next year or two, and during that time I tried a variety of in-play strategies. I soon learned two important things:

  1. There is a lot of money on offer if you can follow a definite plan, without being tempted to hold on longer for “the big win”, or worse, to hold on to avoid or undo a big loss (as they only get bigger!)
  2. The in-running market is one hell of a different beast to the pre-race markets, and even more volatile!

I was soon hooked, and knew that in play trading would definitely remain a permanent part of my trading toolkit. It was so different to trading the pre-race markets. It demanded even more self-control and discipline (more than I had when I started) so I knew I could only get stronger as a trader by sticking with it, and I soon found that it was actually pretty easy to pick winning trades with just a minute or two of research. Aside from the extra self-control needed (due to the speed things happen in running) it actually felt in many ways a lot easier than pre race trading had felt when I was learning that.

Since then I have always enjoyed trading horses in-running. I had quite a few methods to choose from, but after a while I decided to just pick a few of the best and do away with the others, mainly just to help me focus better and specialise in the ones which I found the most profitable and simplest to carry out. It was time to adopt the Zulu Principle into my Betfair trading.

Zulu Principle

I gradually learned to multi-task between pre-race and in play trading. I would never run two trades at the same time (one PR one IP), but I could close a pre race trade seconds before opening an in play one, and so my days became a nice mixture of the two after a good deal of practice. On days where the pre race trading was not very good (some days are just pure rubbish and you may as well not bother), I had other things to keep my interest and attention, and of course to grab some green ticks with.

Quite a few people asked me to write an ebook about in play trading. For a few years I said no because I couldn’t commit the time I knew it would need in order to make it detailed enough to do it justice. But after a while I decided to have a stab at it, and after a lot more work than I expected, I eventually completed it in summer 2017.

In Play Racing Trading ebookThis guide is 130 pages long. It was quite challenging to produce because I wanted to be able to cater for total novices as well as people who may have been trading for some years, trying to think about everything all these different people might need to know took quite some time. It is also probably the most valuable information I have ever published, with the only possible exception being my pre-race ebook.

I genuinely mean this when I say it…

If I had access to a laptop for just an hour or two per day, had to choose only one way to earn my bread and butter, and didn’t have months or years to practice pre-race trading, the methods in this ebook are definitely what I would be doing with my time.

Pre-race trading is without doubt the Holy Grail of Betfair trading, but it is definitely not easy, and it takes considerable practice to really master. It’s the end goal for every trader, at least it has been for any trader I have ever known, but on that journey it helps to have some other tools to put money in the balance, and this fits the bill perfectly. The in-play trading methods in this ebook take a fraction of the time and can still net very good profits, so for me these would be favoured as the quicker and frankly easier way to bank regular green trades from the racing markets. For someone who has never traded Betfair horse racing, I would say starting here would make more sense than starting with pre-race trading, as this is easier and will return results faster. Then once you’re regularly trading in-running, you can confidently enter the challenging but lucrative world of the pre-race markets.

Please do bear in mind that when I say “easier”, it’s all relative. NO trading is “easy” for a novice. I am talking about comparisons with other methods, not comparisons with sewing or making a sandwich. With that said, I would have given anything to have had access to this eBook myself, back when I was in my tough learning phase as it would have made my journey a whole lot easier, faster, and more enjoyable. I like to think I can help some of you to have an easier route to success than I did, and I am sure this ebook will help do that.


In-Play (‘In Running’) Horse Racing Trading on Betfair — 2 Comments

  1. You recount here exactly my experience. I’m a Bet Angel newbie pre race trader and I have gone through exactly what you say. So I have spent a couple of days playing in practice mode in the lay to back market in running with quite a bit of success. Going into real trading tomorrow. Need some rest from the ardour of pre race/match trading.

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