Pre-Race Trading on Betfair
This article was originally published over a decade ago in 2012. How time flies eh!
It's been slightly updated over the years and it continues to work extremely well for my readers. As a result, many of those readers repeatedly asked me to write a more detailed course teaching pre-race trading in a way that nobody has ever done before. Foolishly, I agreed!
Over two years later, in 2019, I finally completed it. My "Pre-Race Trader's Bible" is some 460-odd pages long, and continues to receive extremely positive reviews.
Pre-Race Trading: Introduction
For good reason, trading the pre-race horse racing markets (successfully) is seen by many to be the 'Holy Grail' of Betfair trading. This is due to the profit potential and the regularity of tradeable markets.
Therefore as you might expect, it can be an extremely elusive goal to say the very least, and not just for beginners either.
Many readers have asked me to explain how I trade the pre-off markets so I decided to put together a free but lengthy article to give a good summary of my approach, as well as some of the essential things novice traders should be aware of when attempting to master these markets.
There is no way any one-page article could take you from novice to pro trader, that should be blatantly obvious to you already, but I will do my best to make this as useful as I can. What you do with this information is what counts.
What To Expect
This section has quite a few points. It may seem a pretty long pre-amble but over the years I have learned more and more about what people expect when they approach pre race trading, and more importantly I have noticed that many people suffer due to being unaware of certain things like the difficulty levels, market volatility and more.
I am going to briefly run through this essential background information before moving on to the markets and how I trade them. This was done with very good reason so I would urge you not to skip past any of these points, the markets aren't going anywhere and a few minutes spent making sure you know these things might help you in the long run.
Trading 'pre-race' is generally considered safer for the beginner than trading in-play or 'in-running'.
It allows time for the novice trader to assess things fully and avoid getting misled by sudden and often unpredictable market movements which can be pretty scary just to witness during a race, never mind to trade.
That's not to say it can't happen before the race though!
For the average beginner to Betfair, there is too much going on after the off which can easily cause a "fat finger" moment or a mis-click leading to heavy losses if not extremely careful.
Therefore most people who try their hand at trading on horse racing for the first time tend to stick to the pre-race markets until fully up to speed with the factors that cause prices to move, as well as general experience of the racing business and knowledge of horses, trainers, jockeys, course layouts, etcetera.
(Depending on the methods used, trading in-running doesn't need to be quite so scary. With that in mind I recently published my in play strategies in my In-Running ebook. These are quite beginner-friendly but profitable methods which many readers are doing well with.)
Trading horse racing before the off is widely regarded as difficult. I have to agree, certainly in comparison to other methods like laying the draw in soccer.
It would be pretty dishonest to suggest otherwise in my view. Anyone I have ever known who has mastered pre-race trading knows only too well that it didn't all click into place overnight, far from it.
Having said that, I should also point out that once you have mastered it, you will be hard pushed to find a faster way to make decent regular profits on the Betfair exchange in normal working hours.
Horse racing markets can be extremely volatile.
It's a double-edged sword as the volatility is the reason why it can be such a profitable trading environment, but it's also why it can be such a tricky trading strategy to conquer.
Things happen very quickly, sometimes for reasons we can't understand (no matter how experienced we are). For example, how could I possibly know that a huge gambling syndicate is about to stick half a million quid on the second favourite in the 3.40 at Newcastle 60 seconds before the off?!!
It is not necessary to have a crystal ball to protect yourself from such things, but plenty of experience combined with a huge level of personal discipline and a very defensive mindset in your trading is more than enough to prevent such things emptying your bank of all the green you made in the previous few races.
I do know of one thing even more difficult than taking regular profits from the racing markets. That is teaching other people to do it!
I can't back this statement up with any data as that would be impossible, but nevertheless I would place a very big bet that if you could round up all the people who have been on any of the many Betfair trading courses, you'd be lucky to find more than 1 in 100 attendees who end up trading these markets professionally full time. I wouldn't be surprised if it was less than 1 in 200.
Is this because the courses are all rubbish? I don't think so, no.
Even a full day sat with someone successful doesn't 'translate' easily into success for the attendees. Even if things seemed to 'click' on the day, a day or two later back in their familiar environment with the expert nowhere near them, this can feel like being back to square one. So my readers tell me anyway.
No 'Lazy Riches' Here
Also, I know myself just from running this blog, many (perhaps most) attendees and people expressing an interest in learning to trade are looking to "get rich quick".
I get quite a few emails from people asking how to trade football "without having to do all the analysis" or asking questions which give away their motivations, such as "What's the best horse tipping service?" (This site is about trading, and last time I checked, that ain't gambling!)
Many people seem to want 'All the good stuff, without the effort'. The laws of nature dictate that anything worthwhile takes effort, the more worthwhile it is, the more effort it requires.
Since trading horses pre-race is the holy grail, it stands to reason that this form of trading takes more time, effort, discipline, experience, knowledge and patience than any other method. I believe this to be the case too, without a shadow of a doubt.
If easy money is what you're after, better look elsewhere methinks!
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Aristotle
Trying to learn racing trading is like trying to read a very big book by a very dim light. When your "click" happens, it's as if someone just turned on a 500W halogen bulb and added colour pictures to your book.
It's literally that sudden and that significant a moment. It's completely unmissable when it happens.
Anyone reading this who has mastered horse racing trading will know exactly what I'm referring to. There is an unmistakable watershed event, at least there is for those who stick around to reach it.
Until then, it can at times feel a bit like guesswork. Suddenly one day, if you put in the hours, with buckets of self-discipline, and follow a long list of imperative do's and don'ts, the previously blurry experience of watching ladders go up and down seemingly 'without rhyme or reason' just clicks into place and becomes clear at long last.
You are then able to glance at a market and within a few seconds decide whether:
- There is no trade
- There is an obvious trade
- There may be a trade soon, IF x,y and z happens.
In my experience, the first was the hardest to learn to identify.
It may sound silly but again, for anyone reading this who knows how to trade pre-race markets, it will make a lot of sense I am sure. The reason is because of that age-old arch enemy of every trader, especially learners... GREED.
For some people it can take literally months just to learn to stop looking for trades, and instead look at the markets in a more calm and balanced way, just aiming to find out what they are doing, rather than what we want or hope them to do. It takes a long time to kill off that unscratchable itch to 'find' a trade.
Generally, beginners look for trades. Experienced traders look at markets, to see if there is a trade. And the answer most of the time is NO!
Don't Force It!
This is where novices try and 'force a trade' out of an unwilling market, and I don't care who you are or how big your Betfair balance is, NOBODY is big enough to push the markets around.
Trying to only ever ends in tears, and substantial losses of course. Sitting tight, resisting urges to click when your gut feeling says "dive in" is in my view the biggest key difference between experienced traders and novices, that goes for any market on earth, but especially the Betfair pre-race horse markets where the speed and size of the trends can be an irresistible temptation for even the most disciplined character.
As some of you know, the majority of markets do not have a trade available for you every time you glance at the screen, surprise surprise!
Easy to understand that logic in the cold light of day isn't it?! But knowing the theory, and behaving accordingly when faced with a busy screen of clickable ladders, these are two very different things.
This is assuming you are looking for a sign that a move is about to take place which is the main focus of my approach to pre-race trading. Of course some are just looking to scalp one or two ticks, and for those people yes there could easily be many trades in nearly every market.
I do that myself when nothing else is on offer, but generally I am looking to trade bigger moves whenever possible.
Spotting a move in the markets (ideally before it happens!!) takes considerable practice and experience, along with a few essential tools.
Betfair trading software is an absolute must. Live TV pictures are essential too.
Live Racing Coverage
Despite the fact I have known a few people who traded without this, I would't advise anyone to.
You will need some form of live feed of racing coverage and ideally some commentary too. This informs your trades in such a big way you'd be foolish not to have it.
You can use Betfair's live video feed and it's definitely good enough to trade with. It gives you a small pop up window on your computer screen.
Many new traders use this because it's free. I remember years ago when it was nowhere near as slick and it would often error or fall behind. But these days its extremely fast, reliable and up to date.
You need to have a trade running or at least a 'matched order' in the event you want to watch.
That's fine when you're trading, but unfortunately it can be a bit of a problem for new traders who are not ready to put real money into the markets and just want to watch and learn.
If you can afford to, you should subscribe to a full-time horse racing channel such as RacingUK. This is perhaps the most useful item in your toolkit.
It's just a deluxe option compared to the Betfair feed. Firstly you have commentary in between the races which can give you tips and insights you won't get with the Betfair feed.
Secondly you have it on your main TV screen which is bigger, far better quality, and frees up your PC screen for more ladders or charts/information.
You can also watch AtTheRaces on channel 415 on Sky. It's free so you may as well use it, as long as you remember it can be very slow, often 6-8 seconds behind the action (by my calculations).
ATR broadcasts the smaller races which aren't shown on RacingUK so it's worth saving 415 as a 'favourite' with your remote if watching via Sky.
That way you can flick between the two channels as needed during your trading session so that, from the second you finish trading one race, you're immediately hearing the commentary (and seeing pictures) of the next race while you begin assessing the runners' prices on the ladders.
Technology is great, but no amount of technology can completely remove the 'delay' between those cameras filming the live action, and the pictures reaching your computer or Sky box.
Due to these delays on all the feeds, especially ATR, I would never advise trading solely based on what you see on the coverage.
The stuff to focus on is the information shown in the ladders and charts. The pictures merely give you hints and tips for why the ladders are doing what they are doing. They can therefore confirm something your ladders are telling you.
Most of the time the live feeds are just a safety net, or an extra indicator, not a trading indicator strong enough in their own right to validate a trade.
If you don't understand why, consider the fact that what you are seeing on the TV screen is being seen live (with no delay) by trackside traders. Why would you want to put yourself up against those highly experienced traders, and hand them a 6-8 second (or longer) advantage over you? Are you just keen to throw money away?!!
Good, neither am I. Watch how fast those on-track traders snatch your cash if you leave it hanging out in the breeze! Your trading software runs on the Betfair API which is lightning fast, practically instantaneous actually, and it will show you what's going on at exactly the same time as everyone else.
So you have no delays and no disadvantages, that surely must be a good starting point for anyone, beginner trader or full timer.
So my rule is 'Software first, pictures second', always in that order.
Well that's the background basics out of the way. Let's look at how to trade these exciting markets....
Pre-Race Trading Strategies
There's a variety of trading methods in my toolkit, but the main bulk of my trading is done using just two approaches:
- Early trends - All day until 30 minutes before the off (software not needed)
- 10 mins before the off - The Big One! (software essential)
Note: If any of the terms below are new to you, please consult the Glossary in my article: Betfair Trading Explained.
This is a fantastic way for beginners to get involved with pre-race trading but at a much slower pace and with significantly reduced risk.
With this method you can learn all about how and why the markets move, but you can do it on a kind of 'nursery slope', leaving the more frenzied '10 mins pre-off' period for much later in your learning curve.
You don't even have to worry about buying trading software or learning how to use it, as this can all be done in the browser.
Although I am a huge fan of this sneaky little method, it's much more useful to those with small trading banks (i.e. novices), and so it only forms a very small part of my racing trading overall.
I still love it though, and so will you I hope!
This approach aims to find a strongly fancied horse, usually within the top 3 or 4 horses in any race based on the early morning tips in the Racing Post, Sporting Life and other leading newspapers and websites, combined with chart analysis and other data.
This is long before the markets start attracting any serious liquidity or 'volume'. Around 9am is fine, earlier is fine too. It is very rare that I look to trade in markets with "thin" volume but these early picks are the one and only exception.
The thin volume can actually help here. If the markets are only just getting going, the lack of volume can often mean that the market hasn't fully "formed" yet, in other words the runners haven't been backed or laid heavily enough to price them at anything like their true ability or likelihood of winning.
Therein lies our advantage, because they soon will be, and we can 'ride' that wave of market correction.
Trading is about trying to find a way to predict moves. In this case, what the tipsters are saying and what the early betting markets are doing give a combined indication which is often very reliable, leading me to take a position based on where I think the volume will go when it arrives later in the day.
Why So Early?
Go in any bookies at 9-10 am and see how empty it is.
Spend the day in there (as I've done many a time in a past life of dirty rotten gambling!) and you'll see that nobody really goes to these places early in the day except the die-hard down and outs, and occasionally a few pros who want those early prices for the same reasons I do!
When the punters start cramming through the door around lunch time, stuff starts to happen, the pace picks up and prices start moving around.
When the Betfair traders get on their ladders, stuff happens even faster.
When the serious traders (and bookies/syndicates) get involved, there is a frenzy of activity and after an hour or two of that the markets can look very different to how they looked at the start of the day.
This change is what I am seeking to exploit.
Scouring markets, coffee in hand.
First I look into the early morning betting activity. I have used many different processes for this over the years (OddsChecker, Pinnacle, Arb calculators etc) but at the time of writing I am refreshing my approach so I will edit this section and insert the exact procedure once I finalise it.
Then I look at the tipsters' selections, the bigger their readership the more they matter. I want to see a 'story' developing where tipster picks corroborate the early betting market activity.
Where the early betting money is going can tip me off to a horse that will be strongly fancied later but I need the secondary check of tipsters to give a possible (likely) reason for those early betting trends.
Remember, professional and serious gamblers don't rush into Ladbrokes to fight the queues for the last minute prices before the off. They are well-prepared and determined to get the best possible price. These are often found in the morning, and this activity is the reason they change through the day.
As my ebook readers know, I am a stickler for always having multiple reasons for every trade. One on its own is just too unreliable and therefore too risky. My risk-loving days are gone. My new adrenalin rush is avoiding unnecessary risk!
Likewise the other way around, seeing the tipsters all 'napping' the same horse is not enough to start backing it in, but once we see betting money following the tipster's selections, that corroborates the idea and we now have evidence that the tipsters are influencing the punters (at least with regard to this particular event or horse).
This gives us a good idea where the growing volume is likely to be going during the day.
Take a position
If many of the tipsters fancy a particular horse, and the early betting activity shows a large proportion of bets going in the same direction, I would then place a back bet on the horse as early as possible.
I might be forced to take prices the other side of the book to get my money matched. It's not always possible to get large stakes matched due to the low volume, so I sometimes drip bets in gradually. But for beginners this won't be an issue and this method is well worth waking up a bit earlier for!
I watch the odds throughout the day monitoring my position fairly loosely. With practice this gets easier, they rarely go badly against me but occasionally they can, so I check every hour or so to begin with).
When the market warms up with heavier volume I will look more regularly hoping for a stronger pre-race trend to form as it gets backed in closer to the off.
This doesn't always happen, some horses come in based on the newspaper tipsters but then the trader's undo that idea and turn it back around, hence the reason for more regular checks later on.
Tipsters are a punter's tool, not a trader's tool, so they have more value in the morning than later on, and they are frankly worthless once the race gets very close to the off, around 30 minutes before the race. At 30 mins pre-off you should be closing any early trend trades, that's the very latest you close them.
If the horse doesn't keep trending the 'right' way, or if it looks like turning around and going against me, I will close out my trade. Usually it will go 'my way' for at least 5-10 ticks, often a lot more but sometimes not and of course some will always be losing trades.
I will take a profit when I feel it has run its course as far as the trend is concerned. If it goes against me, I won't let it go too far as clearly my early idea was wrong, so why keep throwing money at it?
Remember: Run your profits. Cut your losses.
The quicker you close trades that aren't going your way, the bigger the overall profit of the method.
The only other thing worth mentioning is the use of charts in my trading software. By using these charts you can get a better idea of the trend's strength, and when it looks like slowing down or reversing which is obviously a good time to exit. I check regularly to get a fresh look, if anything looks like changing drastically, I am out. If nothing has changed, I will hold on as long as possible as it inches in my favour.
Early Trend Trading V2.0
Recently I have been working with a friend of mine (programmer) to try and develop a small piece of software to do most of the donkey work mentioned above, as much of this can be automated with software, especially the trade-hunting stage.
The idea is to design something which can do all of the selections for me in seconds, and possibly even manage the trades too if we can get really clever with it.
But for now maybe just an alert to text or email me if the price moves suddenly against my position. That would be nice, and would mean the popping back to the screen became a thing of the past. My legs are getting old after all!
It's coming along well but nowhere near finished yet. If it works how I hope it will, and passes some rigorous testing (of course!) then it could be a rather nifty piece of kit. I will update the site as and when that happens so please subscribe to the email list to be notified.
10 Minutes Pre-Race
I said this is 'the big one', and it sure is big. It's what makes up 90% of my pre-race trading.
For that reason I won't be able to go into the extremely fine level of detail given in my pre-race course, as there are many 'micro-strategies' within each overall technique. To be honest, it was actually a real challenge to fit it all into less than 500 pages!
But I will try to give you the best possible overview of my pre-race strategies within the bounds of a one-page article, however long the page may end up being!
Many call this 'swing trading' but for me that's misleading. This is trend trading. The fact it has somehow adopted the name 'swing trading' just goes to show how tricky these markets can sometimes be.
Most of my pre-race trading is done in the last ten minutes before the race runs.
Why 10 minutes?
It's not a robotic rule, it could sometimes be 7 minutes, or 15. It all depends on what the market looks like and what activity level it has reached. But the average is about 10 minutes, that's roughly the period when markets are usually most active and of most interest to trend traders.
There is a reason, of course. It's because, if you were to sit and watch every single UK horse race one after another, ten minutes is approximately how long you'd have to wait from the end of the last race until the start of the next.
That's the golden trading period when massive volumes of money arrive on the ladders and things get exciting or, for many, downright scary.
This new money is powerful enough to start big new trends, to stop old ones in their tracks, and to cause sharp 'whipsaw' reversals. Keep that in mind, especially if you have an early trend trade running later than you shoud!
Of that ten (ish) minutes, the first few minutes are usually spent analysing the runners and ladders, checking the charts, and waiting for indications on what this new influx of liquidity is going to do to the current picture. You can literally watch as thousands upon thousands pour into the market, by the second.
The more money involved, the more reliable the signals become. This applies to any market. Thin markets are known for wild volatility and unpredictability. It therefore stands to reason that the bigger the market (in terms of volume) the greater the stability, and the more 'trust' we can have in the signals we're seeing.
Early in the morning, one big bet can move a horse quite a long way in or out, it can even start a 'false trend' running as some people (stupidly) 'follow' the money.
During early trends analysis, any races with a big sudden chunk of money would be ignored generally, as that can be enough to imbalance the market and cause a higher risk of a losing trade, due to the trend not being 'real', for want of a better word.
When it comes to trading just before the off, big money is coming in constantly. So the indications given by the flow of that money are much more reliable, and increasingly so as the horses line up or go into the stalls.
There are many 'types' of markets covered in my course, but to simplify things I am going to cover just the two most important types and how to approach them.
Pre-Race Trend Trading
A trending market is quite easy to spot once you know how to identify them.
We're looking for a horse who's price is on a constant and steady move in one direction. It might be moving fast but it doesn't have to be. Consistency (of direction) is what it's all about.
Also bear in mind that moves always have some fluctuation, i.e. some 'back and forth' or 'noise' within the general trend. In other words, a ladder might move four or five ticks one way, then pip back one or two ticks, and onwards again in the general direction.
This is normal in any market on earth, nothing moves in a straight line, it's more like a staircase, and the direction of that staircase is what we'd call the 'trend'.
Charts (ideally in trading software) are by far the easiest and most reliable way to spot trends. The 'Market Overview' chart is particularly good as it shows the trajectory (in price) of all the main contenders on the same canvas, so more can be learned at the same time.
A good example is the chart shown on the right. That's a Market Overview chart provided in Geek's Toy software.
Which line do you think shows a strong general trend?
It's actually a trick question, as there are two: Green and Orange.
(Some might say yellow as well. It's trending, but not what I'd call 'strongly'. It's shallower/slower, but it is trending and worth taking note of in case it strengthens later.)
Note my point about learning a few extra things: The two strongest trending runners are going in opposite directions. The runner represented by the orange line is on a steady drift. The green one is showing an equally steady steam.
Both are valid (and strong) trends, the useful thing here is to note that these two runners are interacting. In other words they appear to be mirroring each other.
Price interaction isn't a topic I have time to explain fully here. It's discussed in detail in my PR ebook simply because it's a phenomenally powerful indicator.
Short version: If you decided to back the 'green' runner, you might be wise to keep a very keen eye on the price action of 'orange' while you're in that trade.
What else can we see from this chart? Well, many useful things actually. Here's what comes to my mind instantly:
- Yellow is an outsider (higher up = bigger odds) which is being backed in a bit
- Blue was third favourite but now looking more like an outsider, trading places with yellow.
- Green was 3rd/4th favourite but has taken orange's place for second favourite and looks set to become the favourite.
- Purple isn't doing a whole lot so nobody really cares for that one
- Red began as a well-backed favourite but now looks weaker, likely to become 2nd favourite soon.
See why I like charts? 🙂
But I digress, again. Let's get back on track (pun totally intended)...
Identify The Main Contenders
I open all charts for the main players in a race. (That can be done individually with Betfair charts, or using the 'Market Overview' chart above in your software).
When I say "main players" this is not an exact science but I am generally referring to all horses which look like they have half a chance based on their odds.
In some races, the favourite might be odds-on, the second favourite is 3.0, the third favourite 6.0 and the rest over 20.0. In this case, I would say there a three "main players".
However a competitive handicap at a big meeting might have 5 or 10 horses all priced under 14.0 and with no clear favourite, in which case there are a lot of charts to look at.
For this reason, I may not even bother with that type of race, that's the old "time for a cuppa" method, you can have that one for free!
With practice and experience of watching the markets, it's soon quite easy to see at a glance whether the race has a wide field of fancied horses or, in most cases, a strong top one or two horses plus a few others in contention.
The rest are all outsiders and I virtually ignore them. "Virtually", not "completely", as if a horse is backed in from 24.0 to 12.0, this could have a big impact on the other horses, even the favourite.
But this is rare so I tend to only look at outsiders' charts if the main players are acting oddly or if I can't fathom why the favourite is drifting when it looks like it should be coming in or holding steady.
Horse Racing Trading Indictors
It is absolutely imperative that you only trade IF reasons exist. Those reasons are variable, but they should always include some fundamental trade indicators.
Assuming I open the charts and I see a favourite which has crept in (coming down in odds) all day, and is still gradually coming in 10 minutes from the off, I will look for possible reasons.
This is usually (ideally) caused by one thing: The other horses are not attracting enough interest, so the bulk of money is going towards the favourite.
If I check and see all horses other than the favourite are looking weak (drifting out in price), I will back the favourite and keep an eye on those other horses in case any of them suddenly gain support, as that could threaten my expectation of the favourite to continue shortening.
Most strong favourites, without any real pressure from other horses in the market, will tend to shorten in price the closer you get to the off time. Everyone loves to back a strong favourite, that is not only true in the bookies but on the ladders too. And it's a valid trading strategy for you as well, so long as you can't find reasons not to.
Of course the reverse is also true. If a horse is drifting and all other 'main players' are looking fairly strong (either holding their price or steaming), I'd be laying that drifter, and then watching for reasons or trading indicators to tell me why my trade could go wrong, or maybe reasons to add to my position.
Until I see those reasons, my trade remains open, riding the fluctuations in price and counting on that general drift to continue until the 'picture' changes, or the runners are lined up for the off. (Don't miss that, it can be very expensive if you do, apparently! 😉 )
Readers sometimes send me screenshots of their trades for my thoughts/analysis or to show their progress. Below is a screenshot (thanks AJ) showing a good example of a fairly simple trade. Note that he isn't using the Market Overview type chart shown above. Due to having only one screen he prefers to use Bet Angel's charts, one for each runner shown at the bottom of each ladder:
Image: The favourite has struggled to resist the pressure from no less than three other runners all shortening nicely. He decided to lay it and stick with the trade until the stronger ones reduced in strength. That's starting to happen as he took this picture, and it's now about time to get out.
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If I can not see a reason, or anything which helps me understand why the favourite is doing whatever it's doing, I will not trade that market.
Saying it and doing it are two different things, and even today I may still occasionally slip up by entering a market I wasn't too clear about beforehand.
Just being honest, I don't like to admit this really! I am yet to meet a "perfect" trader, and I sure as hell ain't one!
If I do get into a market without enough clarity, I am out the very second I realise my mistake. This is another very hard thing to do in practice, but very important to learn.
Trading isn't personal so we must never take it personally, even when emotions are high.
The market didn't fool me. I fooled myself, I disadvantaged myself, so I must restore my advantage by getting out and saving my cash for a race I do have a better feel for. The markets are never right or wrong. They just.... are. 🙂
A steaming or drifting favourite is never enough reason to trade. I don't trade "moves". I trade the reasons for a move. A move which you can understand is the only tradeable move. Otherwise how would you know when the move is coming to an end? And they always do of course.
Close Trades With Pride, Not Greed
Picking good exits is half the battle of successful trading. Staying in until it reaches its "top" is suicide, which is obvious when you think about it as the top is only evident after the price comes down again!
Let the market keep some of the money. Take a nice chunk out of the middle of a trend, and leave the tops/bottoms to greedy amateurs (who won't last very long I can assure you).
If you are just "chasing" a drifting horse which is drifting for reasons you have no idea of, you are basically the mouse running up the clock. You are aimless, purposeless, confused, and ultimately nervous of that rebound you 'just know is coming' but you haven't a clue when!
Besides, you'll just get "shaken out" when the market has a small retracement or re-consolidation. Out you get, while the drift may well continue further. You can't possibly know whether it's just consolidating (pausing) or actually has finished trending and could whipsaw back on you, unless you know why the move happened to begin with.
If you only understand one move a day, you should only trade one move a day.
It's as simple as that. Don't over-trade, over-watch instead! It's cheaper, and far more useful.
If In Doubt: 'Think See-Saw'
A trader and good friend of mine for many years once said something quite brilliant:
'The markets are basically a see-saw, with the favourite on one side and ALL OTHERS on the other.'
It may not always be quite that clear cut, but that's a superb way to think about it in my experience. If one side is pushing down, the other side naturally must rise up as the book tries to stay in balance. Getting this "feel" is where the real 'Aha Moment' lives.
More importantly, getting a feel for how much power is in that see-saw, that's when you are really motoring.
Some markets given a casual glance can look like there is a lot of downwards pressure on the non-favourite side, but on closer inspection it might have been misleading as the prices may just be sitting on top of solid 'resistance points' (strongly traded prices resisting the price moving through).
In which case you would bear in mind your initial feeling, but you would need it to be confirmed by those horses sitting on resistance actually breaking through that resistance. Then the see-saw would have some real power behind it, and a trade is then sensible as the odds are heavily in your favour that the favourite will move and will move enough distance to get you in, out, and greened before it runs out of steam.
As you may have realised, I tend to mainly trade the favourite. This is not a concrete rule by any means, I do trade other runners but I trade the favourite far more often. It's where the bulk of the money has gone during the day usually so it at least feels like the safest place to stick my cash.
Obviously in some races there is no clear favourite and I will either walk away or have a half stakes dabble on another runner if I have a half-decent 'hunch' about what's going to happen. In such cases I am ready to pounce on the exit button if I am wrong, but equally ready to pounce in with my other half stake if my gut feeling was right.
Price Range Trading
Ranging markets take mere seconds to identify. Years ago when I began trading I used to hate these and I usually left them alone as I was only ever hunting for a big fat juicy trend.
Over time, I learned that money can be made from trading a Betfair price range, not as much as trends perhaps, but more than enough to be worthwhile. Making a few quid here and there in between the bigger moves certainly seemed better than drinking too much tea and running back and forth to the loo all afternoon.
That's not to say you can only earn a few quid here, there's plenty more than that available, and a lot more trades too.
A ranging market is basically just a market where the horses are not trending strongly, and are bumping up and down inside a previously traded range of prices.
You can see this 'traded range' within your software, all the main software programs show the traded volume next to each price on the ladder. This gives an instant view of where that horse has traded and more importantly which prices saw the most money being traded.
- A 'ranging' horse is a horse which has a very clear band of prices at which it has traded, and very little volume outside that range.
- A ranging market is just a market where all the runners are doing that, they all have a tight and clearly-defined range, and they just don't seem to want to trade outside of it.
The image opposite shows a good example of a ranging horse. The far left column shows the number (of pounds) that have traded at each price increment, shown in light green.
The darker green shows only the volume traded in the last 60 seconds (variable based on software settings). Both are useful for showing a short-term and longer term 'range'.
In this case you can see the horse has actually traded well above, up to 4.0. But those small sums can be ignored as that was probably just early morning activity while this runner found it's 'correct price'.
This might remind you of why and how I do the early trends stuff above. There was a gentle shortening of this horse's price throughout the day until the real money arrived to determine its 'real' price range based on a much bigger weight of opinion (money).
After this time the big money has quite clearly shown what prices this horse 'should' be trading at. It has traded as low as 3.15 but again you can see the volume is £86 (which means £43 backed and £43 laid), versus £9,500 traded at 3.35 and £9,700 traded at 3.45.
This tells me that the real money formed a tight and clear range of (roughly) 3.6 to 3.25. Remember, this determination is not an exact science, it's an experience-based opinion and I wouldn't object to someone calling 3.50 the top of the range here. (Though I would say 3.25 is a firm and clear bottom.)
Any range of more than about 10 ticks would be ignored as that's not tight enough to be reliable. But in this example the horse has slowly been backed into this range and now it's found that range it is likely to be fairly "obedient" to its boundaries.
There are no guarantees in trading, but the probabilities are good enough for me.
Handicaps Are Often 'Rangey' Affairs
A competitive handicap (Hcap shown on Betfair) is often a good place to find these, not that I go looking for them specifically, but if I see "Hcap" I might start loosely 'expecting' tight price movements.
Handicapped races frequently have horses trading within a clear range. Sometimes only 4-5 ticks, sometimes more, sometimes even less.
Knowing that this "range" is where the horse has traded all day is valuable information. Of course past data is certainly no guarantee of future performance (heard that before?!) but it stands to reason that if a horse has only traded between 1.94 and 2.0 all day, it is reasonably likely to meet with some resistance if it tries to trade outside of that range.
Because it has resisted doing so many times already. And each time it does, the 'boundary' is re-validated and often strengthened.
Of course it's not the horse that's "resistant", but the market participants, the punters and traders in other words. Every time the horse was backed down to 1.94, the layers got off their back sides and laid it saying "that's a good price to lay".
Then each time it drifted up to 2.0, the backers got back involved saying "that's a good price to back", and so it continues.
As these ranges can and do sometimes get broken, we must not see them as any kind of 'rule', just a suggestion of what is likely to happen. Trading is all about an 'edge'. An edge means more than 50/50 chance, so if you did the same thing over and over again, you'd end up more often green than red.
If it was guaranteed, it wouldn't be 'trading'. It is a trade because I am aligning my money with what is more likely (than not) to happen.
I plan for it to go wrong, I am ready to act the second it does go wrong. That's the losses taken care of and prepared for. Of course more often than not, it doesn't "go wrong" and the traded range helps to keep the price where I am hoping it stays, meanwhile I can bag a few ticks, often several times in a minute or two.
Trade The Range
So, in case you haven't worked it out already (if not, wake up!)....
I will lay a horse at the bottom of its traded range, and/or back it at the top.
Think of range trading a bit like ten-pin bowling with the kid's bumpers in use, those things to stop the ball going in the gutter!
The bumpers are your 'resistance', hence the stronger the definitions around the range, the stronger the bumpers.
Just bear in mind, they are not as reliable, they can sometimes jump out of the way once your ball approaches! But the analogy is a good one, as most of the time the price will 'bounce' from one side to the other.
Protecting Your Position
During the trade I will keep a close eye on the other ladders/runners, again looking for an early warning of any dangers to my position.
In a 'rangey' market, most or all of the other horses are also in a range of their own, the 'main players' that could have an impact on the favourite anyway.
If one horse, or worse still, two other horses break out of their previous traded range, it stands to reason that the favourite may now have an increased chance of breaking out of it's own range.
At this point, I am out, usually before it actually does so. This method has obviously limited profits, so it's key to keep the losses to a minimum even if it means missing out on a possible winning trade.
If I don't see an early warning and only notice when the horse I am trading breaks out of its range, I exit the trade immediately, usually for a loss of one or two ticks (three or four at the very most).
Trading software can give an automated exit or 'stop loss'. I don't always use it but I do sometimes, especially if the phone goes or some other distraction turns up (which I know it shouldn't!).
Some markets can stay within their ranges right up to the off, but I will usually expect at least one attempted breakout as they usually test their boundaries at some point.
Best Trading Window
With this method, the best trading period in my experience is between 15 and 5 minutes from the off, 2 minutes at the very latest.
When it gets closer than 5 minutes to the off I find more chance of range breakouts. If I am already in a range trade as 2 mins comes along I won't necessarily exit my trade, but I will move my stop loss closer to protect more green and reduce my exposure to a sudden last minute move.
It is possible to trade much earlier than this, especially on quieter racing days when there are bigger gaps between each race.
An Interesting (Unintended) Example
I had a look around on Youtube for a video which might show a rangey market nicely for those readers who have not looked at this stuff before.
Curiously, I couldn't find anything giving a clear demonstration of it, but the last video I clicked on was a Peter Webb (of Bet Angel fame) video entitled "How to read a racing market".
Don't view it as a way to learn 'how to read a market', it's not a nice market at all as you will see! But.... It's got some real value for us.
Here is a market which firstly looks tricky regardless of any significant things happening to make it even more tricky, and something did happen to do that, a horse was withdrawn.
In case you don't know already, when a horse is withdrawn the market has a major reshuffle to account for the change in odds across all runners. These are nasty races for beginners generally, you can almost throw all the early analysis out of the window!
But this video is perfect for showing here. Peter does well to get a green from this market in my view, I suspect he would agree it wasn't a great market to be trading and great respect should be given to him for publishing it. I suspect he could have chosen some much more boastful or impressive examples if he wanted to. Kudos.
Watch the video and then I will explain why I think it is so useful:
When I opened this video up and saw the first glimpse of the ladders, I very nearly closed the window as it looked to be of no use whatsoever in showing the type of rangey market I am discussing here. But for some reason I was intrigued enough to watch it through and I am glad I did.
Even in an erratic and volatile market which has just had a hand grenade thrown into it, look how quickly a range formed. Again, this is not a perfect example of a tight range but (loosely speaking) I would say it quickly became apparent that this horse had a range of 1.76 to 1.81 ish (once it had formed).
See 3:58 on the video to see the traded volume bars starting to 'paint' a nice range for your eye to see.
Watch it again, and count how many times it hit the end of the range and reversed.
So even though Peter Webb was looking for a breakout/trend to start happening (which is the opposite of what I am watching it for!) this video ended up being a prime example of range trading in my opinion. How many range trades could you have had in this market? Loadsovvem!
I am not saying you would have been right to do so, as I don't think this looks like a nice market to be range trading at all given the early action and the non-runner adjustment, but it demonstrates the movements so nicely I think it's an excellent, if unlikely example to help explain my point.
Since I watched it so closely, I may as well give you a breakdown of what my interpretation was of this market, at various different points:
00.05 (5 seconds into the vid) - The market looks like someone just threw a grenade into it, as Peter says himself. He now waits for things to settle down and get some clarity again.
00.36 - Some big backing takes place which finally starts to find a 'bottom' for this horse's price range.
01.21 - Big bet takes the market out of the bottom of the range for a split second, but the layers did their duty and jumped back in to keep the price above 1.76. What actually happened here is someone wanted to back a grand or whatever on this horse, and decided to back it down at 1.74 which hoovers up all the money in the queues above it first. Instantly those lay orders which were hoovered up were replaced with plenty more. So in effect this big back bet was an anomaly, it was a one off, and didn't indicate a break out of the range. If it had been followed by just one more similar bet, that would suggest to me the range has no bottom yet or isn't going to be a range at all.
01.24 - Look at the volume bars growing on the right of the ladder. Look at 1.75 and 1.76. Regardless of the back bet which has just gone through the market, it is clear that 1.75 didn't have a lot traded, and nearly 5 times as much has traded at 1.76. It also didn't spend more than a second or two at 1.75 before going back up a tick to 1.76 where it seems much more comfortable.
02.13 - He placed a similar bet to what I would have, laying at 1.77, but I would have probably waited for 1.76 as the volume bars on the right hand side clearly show the horse is good friends with the 1.76 price. Just after he enters, it dives one tick below his lay. He (wisely) gets out as for a split second it looked like a strong move down. If he had held one more tick, he would have stayed in for the subsequent return up the range. I would point out here that in no way am I criticising the master of Betfair racing trading (which is Peter Webb by the way). He is simply looking at (and for) different things to me on this ladder, and don't forget I have hindsight when he didn't. I am sure in his own hindsight (what a wonderful thing that is) he would have held that extra tick anyway. But remember, exiting is never a mistake, even when it is. If that makes sense, you are really tuned in now! Exiting takes more balls than entering, remember that when your ego is taking a bashing :). Don't "be brave and get in", "be brave and get out"!!!! Also note the big chunk of lay money thrown in at 1.76 just as he exits. This is further confirmation that serious money is resisting this price moving lower than 1.76.
03.04 - The price does similar to what it did at the bottom earlier. It hits 1.81 briefly and then money gets thrown in there to contain the price in the range below. The 2k or so backers money at 1.81 is then attacked by layers and it looks like it's going to go up through 1.81, but yet more money comes in to put paid to that idea. That was two clear challenges to breaking out of the top of the range, both failed.
03.50 - Again we arrive at 1.76 and you can clearly see the market saying "no chance" and turning it back upwards. There is even a solid effort from a spoofer at 1.77 which is laughed at by the genuine layers. If you are not aware, "spoof money" is money put there purely to influence other traders. It's been thrown in there to scare people and/or make the average novice traders panic into thinking this horse is going to come down in price. This will often cause the desired result as plonkers pile in under the 5k with their back bets "following the money". The only trouble with that is that they often "follow sweet fanny adams" as "the money" wasn't really there, it was just put there briefly to cause them to click then it disappears. Obviously this spoofer (maybe you're reading, if so, stop it! :--)) wanted to push the price of this horse down for one of many possible reasons, we don't care about those reasons. The money looked spoofish simply due to the sum being much bigger than most bets on the ladder, and it was confirmed as the spoofer pulled it out and ran for the hills when it came close to getting matched!
Spotting the spoof... 03.53 - Look carefully. The ladder shows over 5k 'wanting' to back at 1.77. The traded volume bar on the right shows 23.4k traded. Then the 5k disappears in the blink of an eye, but the traded volume doesn't go up accordingly, so it didn't get matched and is now safely back in his Betfair balance. In other words he bottled it and cancelled his order as it was never intended to actually get matched. Hence "spoof". If that 5k bet was matched by a layer, that would have added 10k to the traded volume bar at that price. Another way to spot a weak attempt at spoofing is to see where it sits on the ladder. If you see regular very large sums (in relation to the rest of the bets) landing one tick away from the current prices then you are probably seeing spoof bets trying to push the market (actually the other traders) around. A tick away from the action gives the spoofer a bit more time to cancel it. I would love to watch someone spend a day quickly matching all spoof bets, that would be fun!
04.24 - Peter gets so tired of waiting for a breakout and therefore a trend to form (which is his plan for this market) that he eventually decides to make a few ticks if he can while he waits. He orders a back bet at 1.8 to see if he can take a few ticks in the range. He then cancels it at 05.27 and instead lays as he again feels like the price could push through him and out of the range, i.e. that the breakout he is waiting for turns up. Yet again it doesn't happen and the backers turn up instead to resist the breakout. Watch the back money build up in seconds to over 2.5k at 1.8.
06.35 - Ok Peter, finally you got your wish!! Breakout time! Notice how hard it resisted the next attempt, but the layers finally overcame the backers and 1.82 is hit and surpassed. How many warnings did you see there? It did briefly break through, then the range boundary still dragged it back down briefly before losing for good the final time.
All of this action was the period when (IF you were trading this) you were getting signals that this range wasn't going to hold true for much longer, but even if you didn't spot the signals, who cares because you had ample time and chances to get out with a break even or a tick or two loss at the most.
Once 1.82 and 1.83 are showing clear volume growth, you know this range is no longer relevant. Watch it several times and you will actually start to feel the market forces pushing and pulling. No this isn't mystical BS, it's just learning to interpret what your eyes are seeing, and due to the speed at which you need to make these decisions, it becomes more of a feeling when actually trading.
After the fact, watching back on a video for example, it's easier to explain each specific thing but you can't do that when it's live in front of you, so this starts to become very intuitive. It has to really. You don't have anything like enough time to discuss all the pros and cons with yourself before clicking.
The rest of the video is not of much use, other than to show that this breakout was strongly resisted even after it broke, there was strong backers money just slowing down the drift until it finally lets rip and gets up over 1.9.
So again, not an example of a race I would be range trading, and not an example of a good tight range. But nevertheless it's very useful to show that even in markets I wouldn't touch, ranges still have real power once they have clearly formed.
It is a very useful first step to learn, to be able to open up a market and determine if it's a trending market or a ranging one (or neither/can't tell). In this example, I would definitely not have believed it was a ranging one from early analysis. I want to see much clearer traded volume bands than this race showed. But as I watched, it became clear that there was an obvious range going on there, and it was evidently tradeable even if I wouldn't have done so.
I can not (and would not) criticise Peter Webb when it comes to trading. But if this was a video from my brother in law asking me for comments, just to be totally transparent here, I would probably have told him he was too fixated on "finding" the breakout he was so sure was coming, that he overlooked what the market was actually doing in front of his eyes. He hampered his own market-reading abilities, by being too fixated on one 'expectation'.
Peter Webb knows far too much to accuse him of that, he was probably recording it to try and show that very thing he was hoping to find, and he was clearly spot on in waiting and planning for the move he wanted to trade. But for someone inexperienced who wouldn't have known that was coming, this would have been a mistake to ignore so many obvious green ticks while waiting for 'the big move'.
Scalping Pre-Race Markets
I could write a book on this subject alone, and it's perhaps my favourite trading strategy of all, at least as far as pure enjoyment goes anyway!
The reason I mention it here is simply because ranging markets make the ideal learning ground for scalping.
Scalping is another often mis-used term. In my mind the 'pure' definition of scalping is the process of taking just one tick out of a market, with extremely low risk or practically no risk at all if possible. (And it is, if you know how!)
In a very stable market, where sudden moves are rare or highly unlikely, you can often 'pinch a tick' over and over (and over and over) again. That's honestly why I love it so much, because it can feel very much like a cash machine, albeit with very small sums, but they can mount up fast especially with bigger stakes.
I won't go into the complex how-to's of scalping here as it's covered extensively in my ebook and I will soon be publishing a full page article about it. *
Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect
Watching 50+ markets a day 7 days a week is the only way to fully understand this stuff if it's all brand new to you.
Trying to watch, learn, and have money at risk all at the same time is a surefire way to fail. You will be shaken out of trading in no time.
If you want to learn racing trading you start by watching, trading comes later when you feel so sure you have sussed what's going on that you just can't NOT be involved in the next move you see coming. That's how you know you're ready to risk your hard-earned money in these interesting but challenging markets.
You will quickly learn what a ranging market is versus a trending one. Trending ones move faster and are more volatile, so they usually take longer to learn to trade.
Also, the risks are greater in trending markets as a trend can reverse as fast (or faster) than it went, and if you haven't mastered the art of spotting why and when it's likely to happen, you will get a nice juicy green which turns into an equally juicy red in what feels like the blink of an eye.
Trend reversals are actually another method I use which I haven't explained here as I feel it would only confuse the issue. After a year of trading trends and ranges, you might be somewhere near ready to start trading reversals! Another year and you might be able to trade a trend, and then the subsequent reversal tacked onto the end, meanwhile trading a tight range on the 3rd favourite!!
The nicest part of range trading is the stop loss issue. When trading a trend, you have to constantly move your stop loss to protect some green. Well, you don't "have to", but you should. Why make green if you are not securing some along the way?
Range trading is different. In the example of a favourite trading between 1.94 and 2.0, if you lay it at 1.94 or 1.95 (both are acceptable to me) then you have a planned green exit (1.99 or 2.0), and a planned red exit (very important for reducing stress) which would be 1.93 or 1.92. This simplifies things a lot and it can really make the whole experience feel much more controlled and "easy", if I dare to use that awful word, no part of racing trading is "easy", especially pre-race trading.
One other nice thing about range trading is the dilemma of when to make your entry. This dilemma is a constant one with trend trading but when you're trading within a range, you don't much care for where the price is between the range limits.
You can just drop in two orders, a lay order down the bottom and a back order up the top. Now you sit back, absorb the commentary and watch what all the ladders are doing, nice and relaxed.
You then wait for an order to get taken as the price nudges up or down it's range. When one of the orders is taken, you now switch on a bit and basically defend yourself against the risks. Is the live feed showing your horse messing the jockey around, rearing up on its way to the stalls, sweating and snorting like it's about to keel over, getting a bad rap from the talking heads etc?
If so, you now know the range may be under threat.
Are the other horses staying in their range? Are any other horses playing up?
Remember the see-saw analogy..... if a horse kicks his jockey off and then goes for a jolly jaunt the wrong way round the track closely followed by his trainer, jockey, and course staff, that horse's ladder is almost certainly going to break out of its range, and that will almost certainly affect your range trade on a competing runner.
Assuming all looks good, you just wait until your horse moves to the other end of his range, and you bank your green with a satisfying click, and often get back in for the return journey to the other end!
Thanks for reading. If you'd like to be notified of new articles and Betfair trading information I publish, subscribe for free.
P.S. If you found this article useful, please say thanks by sharing it...
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Pre-Race Trading easy?
Pre Race trading is one of the harder Betfair strategies to master. I think it's worth learning, but for those struggling, In-Play racing trading is much easier and can be very profitable too.
How long does it take to learn to trade before the off?
In my case, a long time! But since producing my PR trading course for my readers, I have seen it could have been done in much less time, maybe as little as 6 months.
Which software is best for PR?
Software is essential for trading pre-race and my preferred program is Bet Angel, but I have a detailed review of all trading software options, all of them are perfectly usable.
I really like the sound of this and I would love to see a video of this
It's planned, along with many others 🙂
I'd be happy to pay for advice and assistance to get full understanding of this. ? I don't have a great deal but would love to learn how you make this work.
Fantastic advice and thanks for putting together a great site. Who would you consider the top 10-20 tipsters you mention in the post?
Thanks Mike. Years ago Robin Goodfellow, Tony Stafford, and the Daily Star tipster were memorable ones for causing a wave of emotion among their readers. I am less up to speed on it lately as I have not used this method for a while, mostly due to personal commitments making the timing of these trades difficult for me. I do intend to get back to it this year and I will brush up this post and add a lot more detail as soon as I can.
I'd like to read more on this thanks.
I have a lot of stuff planned for the site this summer regarding horses. It's my main summer trading approach for various reasons which I will go into at some point soon, perhaps with some detailed methods too. 🙂
I use Fairbot .I dutch non handicaps and lay the fav in handicaps but green up using both strategies.Just to small stakes at first till I am confident enough to step up.
Hi Dave, interesting post thanks. Why do you only dutch non-Hcaps?
I notice a 1.01 horse was overturned yesterday (Thursday). I hope you laid that one, along with £27k of other people's money, if my memory serves me well!
Really enjoyed this. A lot of effort and a lot of good advice as usual. Great read Tim. Looking forward to the ebook.
Brilliant article, thanks very much Tim!
A quick way to save a screenshot is with Dropbox. On my PC I do a Ctrl Print Screen and it saves a copy of it into a screenshots folder in my dropbox folder so I can get it later.
Hi Tim, great article.
Any news on when the ebook will be ready?
Thanks Barry. Should be within the next month, hopefully 1-2 weeks.
Peter Webb, Caan Berry, Tom Hargraves all of them counterfeit their screenshot with P/L and trades when I asked them why? they blocked me and my comment on youtube and twitter so I would warn you to blindly listen what they are saying in their videos. Only ask yourself a question why would anyone trustfull counterfeit a screenshots?
You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to disagree with it, which I do completely. I do not believe for a moment that Peter Webb and Caan Berry have or ever would do such a thing. (I do not know of Tom Hargraves). I think perhaps your accusation would cause them to block you as you are basically accusing them of being criminals and if they are not (as I am sure they are not), it wouldn't be a surprise to me to find they didn't want to hear from you again! I don't know either of them but my view from what I have heard about them is that they are completely honest and decent people who are making a good living from horse racing trading. If you have evidence of some sort of crime I would urge you to take it to the police. If you only have an opinion then you are of course entitled to it, but I would suggest you look further into it for some evidence, and when you find there is none, you should consider whether your opinion is a rational one. If not, maybe modify it, and who knows, maybe apologise.
I can't, don't and wouldn't speak for these people. But there is my opinion and since you commented here, I assumed you wanted it
One other point, I think you should put your energy into succeeding at trading rather than attacking those already doing so. Admittedly this will be a much harder choice to make and require a lot more effort and determination on your part 🙂
Hi Tim, thanks for so long answer but instead go to one of their twitter account, dowload one of their screenshots published with trades then zoom in 400% and comeback with another comment. Cheers
Sorry John, I don't understand your message. I don't do Twitter (my posts automatically go on Twitter but other than that I wouldn't have a clue how to use it!). "Zoom in" - what does this mean?
Once again all I can say is I don't agree with you, but if it's simple to "prove" as you say, get in contact with the Police, I am sure they can use Twitter
Ok no problem Tim. You can watch this video to understand what i mean youtube.com/watch?v=gaePt_8HdqE
I decided to watch the video for some reason, and it didn't help me understand anything sorry. Maybe I am not clever enough for this, but to me it just looked like you zooming in and scrolling your mouse around at random. I am sure you have a point but I didn't catch it whatever it was. Maybe some text overlay on the video could explain what you are trying to point out, as I am utterly lost as is the last 8 minutes of my life 🙂
Sorry Tim that you didn't get what is in video I thought that picture expresses more than a thousand words... and thanks for compliment lol you can watch second movie about someone who's called Peter Webb youtube.com/watch?v=3bJLjuPt5sQ
Hi John. Against my better judgement I resisted the urge to ignore what you were saying as I like to listen to all points of view even if my gut feeling says not to. The burden of proof lies firmly with the accuser under our legal system here. Opinions and beliefs are meaningless, as are personal gripes, jealousy, hatred, or any other emotionally driven opinions. You said it was clear and obvious to see this alleged fraud. I invited you to present this 'clear' evidence, giving you the benefit of the doubt and allowing you to publish anything you wanted, something I am sure most other people would not have been kind enough to offer you.
After some discussion and two videos where you could have explained all of your evidence which you say is so clear and easy to see, I am yet to see the slightest hint of proof of any of your allegations. I have opened my ears to you and spent time reading and watching your attempts to present clear evidence of something so that I might be "enlightened" to seeing the fraud you claim is definitely taking place. Maybe I am just too dumb to see the bright light you are shining on this, but either way, I can't do any more than I have to try to understand. It's your job to explain it (as the accuser), not my job to understand. You have failed dismally, much as I expected.
I wish you luck in whatever positive things you decide to put your energy into in the future.
In the video, John opens up screenshots (original) saved as a 'jpeg' image so he can zoom in or magnify the image by 400%. A jpeg image changes the original image to a new, compressed (reduced) version of the image. Usually changes are normally subtle, unless you magnify several hundred times. I think John has simply observed a change in quality between Caan's posts and actual screen images and assumed this must demonstrate a tampering of the image - but it is most likely that John created the alteration himself by saving to his desktop as a jpeg. Hope this provides an explanation and helps to alleviate John's concerns. Wiki has a great picture of a cat which demonstrates how images are altered by this format: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPEG
Well said thanks
The information transmitted on just one page is much larger than any other source I found on the internet: clear, direct, objective and simple. I wonder if you have a date to make your ebook available.
Thanks Luciano, that's a very kind compliment. Several weeks at a guess
Great stuff, Tim.
Please add me to your forthcoming trading ebook mailing list.
Much appreciate what you are doing for the little guys.
Hi Walter, I would gladly do that for you but I use an anti-spam email list service so I can't add you manually myself, it has to come from your end. If you like the Facebook page or sign up in the ezine subscription form on the right hand side, that will keep you up to date with the announcements. Thanks
I loved this article and found it so useful. Definitely one i will read over and over again. I hope you will write more on trading the horse racing market.
Is you new ebook on trading the horse racing market or for football?
Thanks very much Stephen. New ebooks on various topics including horse racing yes. All a bit waylaid at the mo due to yet more hospital 5hite, but soon!
Sorry to hear Tim, my best wishes and hope it all works out well. Health first.
Thanks. No sweat, we are winning!
This was brilliant. Thanks for the insight. I hope your going to write more articles on betfair horse racing.
Is your new ebook on horse racing or football?
Hi Tim....firstly the guy John above, i cant understand what hes going on aboutin the 2 videos either...ive got Caans videos and have chatted with him in the past and can assure anyone he is definately not a fraudster but a genuine guy who only wants to share his vast knowledge of trading...........Your article above is probably the best ive read and is very informative and theres not much traders will give out strategies like you have...thanks for that and good luck in the future
Hi Dave, thanks very much. That was kind of you to say and glad you think so.
Yes, unfortunately there are a few people in this world who would rather find fault in others than themselves. I don't know if John is one of those but he seems to follow a similar pattern to those types of people. Some people see others doing things they so badly want to do, they just can't accept it when they can't do it too (usually through lack of trying hard/long enough). Sadly instead of trying harder, its often easier to write it all off and give up, turning their energy towards ruining someone's reputation more out of jealousy than anything else, a bit like the "well if I can have it, you can't have it" mentality more often seen in a school playground.
I don't know John so I can't know if this is the case, but if I had to guess with what little I have seen of his views and lack of anything meaningful to provide as evidence, I would have to guess it's just rotten apples after a failed attempt at trading for him. Sad really. I always listen to people with different views than my own and wish more people did so as its becoming very rare these days. I listen long enough to hear their evidence. If none is provided, we are just sharing opinions and it's fairly useless and not worth my time beyond that. I can hear opinions anywhere, and in far nicer places than my office!
Thanks again for your comments and best of luck with your trading
Excellent article - best I've ever read on trading, would be very interested in the ebook.
Hi Wendy, thanks for the compliment 🙂
Having some problems setting up the order page but very soon there will be 2 new ebooks, then I will get working on the pre race trading ebook. That will be biggest task of all, don't even know how I can cover it all but I will do my best!
How would you recommend staking the early signal horses?
This would suit me due to being out the house all day.
I back horses to win and have know my selections very rarely do not shorten in price so would like to open a separate account and trade them also for a (hopefully) guaranteed profit.
Would you use a large % of your bank on these or a small amount?
Hi Paul, great if you can spot horses which usually shorten in price! You have a trading system of your own, keep hold of that!!
I never like to use a large percentage of my bank for any trade! That's unless I am doing something like bookmaking or scalping in big football games (where millions are being traded in the last hour) and I am only looking for 1 or 2 ticks, AND there is NO chance of me losing my stake (or more ticks than I am prepared to accept)
I don't really offer advice on staking as everyone is different and I don't like to choose someone's risk for them. Having said that my general advice is the same as always, use the smallest stakes possible until you know you are onto something, have a good strike rate, used to the software you're using (if any) etc. Once all looking good then increasing seems fine to me but not to huge percentages. I would say 10% of bank is a large stake for anyone, depending on the trading method of course. 5% feels big for me and I don't like going above that, but when I was growing my bank I did use higher stakes. The danger of it is obvious, a few losers and you can destroy a bank very quickly. Another danger is that it can feel quite hard to cut back those %'s when the bank grows, it feels like you are "missing out" which is another very risky thing to feel when trading.
Best to just use a flat stake you are comfortable with and which will show a consistent line of profit or loss after say a month or two. If that's looking good, you then have a much better idea of how much real risk there is and therefore can increase accordingly. To make a blanket statement would be foolish so if someone pushes me to a figure, I always say £2 per trade and that usually stops them asking. 😀 😀
Hope that goes well for you, sounds good to me!
Thanks alot Tim!
I'll start small and see how it goes.
Cheers for your time!
A question about Preracing trade: How much of your bankroll should you use as a percentage?
Hi, you asked that (and I answered) on another page over here ...... https://www.ukfootballtrading.com/2017/08/19/new-article-and-ir-racing-trading-ebook/
When talking about early morning trading you said look where the money is going. Can you point me in the direction of where on Betfair I view where all the money is going? Thanks
Thanks Alex, there are various ways to do this but the easiest is to use ladders on trading software like Gruss or Bet Angel, you can see the queues of money and where the bets are landing (which horse I mean). You can probably use Betfair too, click to open the graph of each horse. There is a much more complex method which I am hoping to be able to offer a piece of software for once its finished, its in development now.
Ah thanks lot mate. Will keep an eye out for that software. But in the meantime you suggest checking where the money is landing first thing and checking what the tipsters say first thing too. If both criterias are met then this gives a decent but indication of the way the market will go in the next few hours.
Yes, in very simple terms we want to see :
1. Where the bulk of punters' money is going
2. What the tipsters are favouring.
IF both converge on the same horse, it's likely to get backed in throughout the day.
This is a very reliable method but time consuming without software, hence....... soon ;D
Great looking forward ! Will it be posted on here so I know about it? Please don't make it too pricey 😉
Ha, yes it will be posted here and on Facebook page (automatically)
Another question. When do you reccomend backing - night before? Or morning?
Also are there set odds you don't touch if the favourites price is so short in the morning. I backed horse few days ago at 1.70 in am despite all the signs being positive and the market moved against me to 2s. Is that just how it is or did I do something wrong? Thank you!
A lovely clear explanation of the strategies you use in a simple form and much better than some others try and put across
I am just starting to have some success with pre market trading and I find your article very useful ..thanks
Thanks for the kind comments and glad it's of some use!
Hey, i'm a french citizen and i live in France and i'm still have a job. I can't have Betfair, only Matchbook with the software. I know it's less interesting but do you think i could learn with Matchbook because with my job i can trade in the night (20H30 )and the week end.
Thank you for your answer.
Bonjour! I don't know much about Matchbook so I can't advise on that specifically, but if you have access to markets which you can bet on during games, and you can lay as well as back, I can't see why the same trading couldnt be done there.
Thanks for the Ebook it's a very learning read well put together I shall be trading with the book on my desk Which I am sure will give me the motivation to make the right decisions as I try to trade with success.
Cheers Kevin, glad you like it
Tim sorry for calling you Jim on my first post,what a Wally,I have started trading with a small bank just trying to make 3% each day I have made a balance sheet to tell me what the 3% will be before the start of trading I find that this keeps me focused along with the finer points of your ebook. I have traded in the past a few times but fell foul to all of the normal traps that lay in wait for the novice trader.horse racing is my trading area as I have a long history in that field I have been involved with racing at the highest level in the past one way and another so let's say I know my way around the form book and other aspects of the sport. I am in some ways lucky that I am under no pressure to try and fund a living out of trading as I am retired , age creeps up on us ,but I don't feel old quite yet so l am looking at this trading as a new adventure and will keep you posted thank you once again Tim for the brilliant read from your ebook.
HA - I didn't notice anyone calling me Jim, must pay more attention!
"been involved with racing at the highest level" - hmm, I think it might be me picking your brains rather than vice versa!
From the people I have known, those who have been involved in the racing industry tend to do quite well at racing trading on betfair, generally speaking anyway. keep your shirt on, keep your rules tight and follow them religiously, then just let your knowledge advise you about horse's trending in the market! I will get a PreRace trading book out soonish and that will be a golden ticket once combined with your knowledge I think!
All the best with it Kevin
Brilliant advice on here.
I've been trading Pre-off horse racing for just over a year and have put so much time and effort but this has given me a fresh outlook on them so thank you.
Pre off is absolutely brutal compared to other markets but the golden egg on the other side keeps me going.
Would certainly purchase and ebook you put out there. ?
Thank you Dan for such kind words. I know exactly what you mean by "brutal". I had traded footie for a few years before having much to do with horse racing other than some dabbling. It was a huge awakening, and needs a TOTALLY focussed mindset above all. Discipline can be handy too! 😀
Thanks again for the comments and keep plugging away there
This is the best single article I have ever read on pre match trading and the best part is how you clarify parts of a very complex subject ..
I have been trading for a couple of years with limited success however your point of view and approach has helped me as I think many of us can get too over involved with all the aspects and benefit from making things more simple to assist in making the decisions to be more right than wrong and often its not getting them right but how you deal with what happens when they go wrong and finding out why they have gone the other way ..
Anyway very helpful and thank you
Thank you Gary I really appreciate you taking the time to comment
What trading bank do you think pros operate with pre trading the horses ?
Kind regards ,
Hard to say, depends which pro you mean! If I was to GUESS, which is all I can do, I would say the top ones like Peter Webb may trade a bank of many tens of thousands, possibly even hundreds. I would guess that most pro traders who earn a respectable/decent salary off trading are probably using a bank of 5-20k. In some countries with a lower cost of living I know 1k is a big bank and can net a damn good salary relative to their national averages. In places like Bulgaria you can buy a huge farmhouse with land for a few thousand quid, so a grand in the bank would probably seem like a million over there!
I came across your site by accident whilst I was looking online for a pre horse race strategy.
I have been trading (trying)for a year now and it has been like a continuous game of snakes and ladders, (with a disproportionate number of snakes).
I read your article on pre race trading, and instantly, I have been making consistent profits, (albeit with small stakes) and crucially, with far fewer snakes.
I am amazed that you have made this possible with such a short explanation. Everything is so much clearer now and I can't understand why I didn't "get it" before.
Anyway, I would love to buy the Pre Horserace Trading book which you have mentioned. The thing is, I can't see it advertised like the others. Either an EBook or a hard copy would be fine.
I would be grateful if you could send me the link.
Thanks for taking the time to post that here Jackie, and thanks for the positive comments, really pleased to hear this article has helped some people. Snakes and Ladders is such a perfect analogy for beginner PR trading, and I remember it well myself. The fact that ladders can suddenly turn INTO snakes is another problem all traders experience (in all kinds of trading) but the racing ladders can be particularly challenging due to sudden events like a horse "sweating up" or refusing to go in stalls. I have seen many horses get backed in heavily all day, and right up to 30 seconds pre-off, only to whipsaw around and fly out eating up green, or producing a red (if in too late). This experience is vital, and trading with small stakes is the key to surviving long enough to learn the signs and not get fleeced by them.
The in play trading manual is really great. It leaves nothing out. Makes complete sense. I've already started using geeks toy to try and convert the theory into profit. Discipline is absolutely key and the book gives you every advantage.
We are all waiting eagerly for the pre-race trading book. Any idea when that might be ready?
Hi Johnny, thanks for the comments and good to hear that. PR book has been delayed a bit but hoping to have it out this summer
Thanks for this, you made me think about my trading in a different way and it’s really helped me.
Hope this finds you in good health....
Just a quick question: Is your Pre Horse Trading book due out soon?
Hi, yes very soon. It should have been done by now but it grew legs and i had some personal issues which yet again caused me delays, but 1-2 weeks it should be done. its looking good!
Sorry, didn't see this message. It's INCHES away now. Promise!
Can I please ask if the pre race trading bible is still relevant in todays markets - I know they’ve become a lot more volatile in the last 3 years?
Have not seen any reviews posted in the last couple of years and noticed there was at least one dodgy review where someone from Australia was claiming to be making over 100% ROI per race based on $2 stakes.
Also it’s been years since anything was posted on this page: https://ukfootballtrading.com/pre-race-trading-horse-racing-on-betfair/
Hi Austin. I agree with your healthy scepticism, and appreciate the chance to address it...
There is so much BS out there, and a hell of a lot more over last few years from what I can gather, I understand your apparent cynicism.
1. In answer to the first question, yes it is relevant in today's markets. This isn't a 'system', i.e. something built to function in certain markets and thus not adaptable to changing ones. This is a thorough course in how to read the markets, as well as how to trade them with various approaches, but it focusses heavily on the reading/analysis side of things so that people can (and do) adapt that understanding to help them trade in various other ways which I don't teach in the book. I have a few people who have adapted the analysis to their preferred ways of trading which are nothing like my way, but they gave excellent reports purely due to their increased knowledge of the markets, and better abilities at reading what's going on (and why).
2. Re: "Have not seen any reviews posted in the last couple of years" - Not sure what you're referring to, comments on this page or testimonials. If you mean this page, the comments are not really a good guide as this isn't the product, but the comments are 100% genuine, unedited/adjusted (of course), and from real people. On the testimonials page there are many testimonials which again are 100% bona-fide, from genuine people, and came in via email from purchasers of the relevant products they are commenting on. Most of the testimonials don't have dates, but some do and there are testimonials from within the last couple of years, such as :
March 2021 - “Hi Tim. I purchased your pre-race ebook yesterday and to be honest I had a bit of fear as, like many of your customers, I have purchased numerous ebooks, courses etc in the past and while they haven’t all been useless there has always been an incomplete picture (or they have actually been completely useless!). I’m 40 odd pages in and it is abundantly clear to me that this product is different. There is an honesty and a level of detail which is hugely impressive.
Finished my first reading and firstly I’d like to congratulate you on the best product on the market by some distance. So much information and an attention to detail that is unparalleled. The work (I can only imagine how much) and dedication to giving purchasers the very best chance of success is clear from the first chapter.”
or in June 2021:
“I bought your (Pre-Race Trading) Bible a couple of months ago and have thoroughly enjoyed the content, your sense of humour, and all the detail and information enclosed. I have about 80 pages left to read. What I have done so far is to read through about 50 pages at a time and then go back through again making in-depth notes for my own reference purposes. I thought it would be nice to complement you on your Book as I can see you have put in an extreme amount of work compiling this is in order to cater for the newbie (i.e. ME) and the experienced trader alike. Thank you once again for your in-depth Bible.”
There are no doubt more, and I don't publish all the emails I get, there have certainly been plenty of positive comments more recently.
As you're probably not aware, I am working on a new site so this site has not been getting the admin attention it probably should have, and for a while now as the task is 100 times bigger than I ever foresaw. The new site will be tidier and dates etc will be made more clear, and I will try harder to publish all comments coming in by email, although most people don’t take the time to comment in review form (so I appreciate those who do). I would point out though, whether you care to believe it or not, I have not received one single negative comment about the Pre Race ebook, not one.
3. Re: "noticed there was at least one dodgy review where someone from Australia was claiming to be making over 100% ROI per race based on $2 stakes" - Again, your cynicism is noted, and indeed warranted going by some of the stuff i have seen online. However I slightly resent the word 'dodgy', that makes a conclusion, and a false one I am sure. Why? Because I know every single comment placed on this site by others (like your own one here) was written by someone else, neither with my input, nor with my coercion/payment/influence of any kind. I have a few very happy customers down under (Australia) and none of them are remotely close to being 'full of it', neither are any of them 'on the payroll' or in any way influenced to give anything but their honest opinions/experience.
I don't know what 'review' you're actually referring to, but whatever it is, if it's written on the site by someone other than me, then it IS what a genuine buyer genuinely said. Ok I confess I don't ask for documentary evidence from anyone in the rare instance that someone posts an actual numerical result they achieved in the markets, especially in a comment on the blog where I might not know more than their first name! (Although I do regularly see proof of how well some people are doing, not that I would share that of course.)
So I am pretty damn sure that whatever the comment was, they were either telling the truth, or didn't explain/word it very well, or possibly they were referring to a different method/trading strategy that, for all I know, they made up themselves and use with the added information from me to read the market better or choose their trades better etc. I have heard some people use "ROI" to refer to how much bank they trade with! Obviously that's completely wrong, but people can say silly things like that sometimes. I never use the term ROI as I don't see it has any place in trading. Return on stake maybe, return on risk maybe (laying), return as a percentage of bank maybe, but ROI is an often-misused term which I don't think lends itself well to trading on Betfair.
Either way, I am certain there is nothing 'dodgy'. It could be 'wrong' (i.e. an innocent mistake) but the word 'dodgy' to me suggests subterfuge or calculated deception, and I can absolutely guarantee that isn't the case. Whether you choose to believe that or not is your prerogative but I’ve answered you in some detail and hope it was worth something at least.
Oh and re the last comment: "Also it’s been years since anything was posted on this page: https://ukfootballtrading.com/pre-race-trading-horse-racing-on-betfair/" - Yes and no. Bear in mind that content is edited occasionally as and when needed, but as far as comments you're right there. Bear in mind that this site gets VERY little traffic. Perhaps 20-40 people a day, it's pathetic really. And that's a long story in itself, short version: SEO (getting ranked/traffic from Google) has changed a lot in the last few years, so much so that there are millions of sites ticking Google's boxes to get ranked with plagiarised content (some of which is mine) and I didn't bother with it as I had no time for trying to please Google. Combine that with the fact I have never paid a penny for advertising/clicks/facebook or social schmarketing etc, I only have what Google send me, and that's collapsed since around the time of those most recent comments. The new site may help with that somewhat, but I am really not aiming to be the most famous or popular site on the web, people seem to find me eventually when everything else they tried failed, and that's good enough for me! But that explains the drop off of comments, purely a function of drop off of traffic (from 100s a day to tens). If you look at all other pages, you'll see the same drop off in comments.
Hope that explains things somewhat. Time for some grub and a game of Scrabble (the life I lead eh!)
All the best.