Profitable Horse Racing Betting System - Racing Post Ratings Improvers?

I have read a number of articles over the past few years in whichthe authors have questioned the usefulness of Racing Post Ratingsto punters, some of which have suggested that they a barely worththe paper that they are written on.However,

Profitable Horse Racing Betting System - Racing Post Ratings Improvers?

I wanted to find out whether a horse racing betting system using Racing Post Ratings Improvers could be profitable. 

Profitable Horse Racing Betting System

I have read a number of articles in which the authors have questioned the usefulness of Racing Post Ratings to punters, some have suggested that they a barely worth the paper that they are written on.

However, in my opinion, Racing Post Ratings are often unfairly maligned, as evidenced by the record of the RPR selections during 2016 to date (as at 26 November), which reads as follows: 

Metric Result
Winners 2265
Selections 8265
Strike Rate 27%
Return On Investment @ SP 93.45%

Racing Post Ratings Improvers

These figures represent a very fair winner finding effort for a ratings based service which is required to post a selection for the vast majority of races across the UK and Ireland throughout the year.

Whilst the ROI figure does represent a level stake loss of 6.55% at Industry Starting Price, I suspect that backing all selections at Betfair SP, or at best early prices with BOG would produce something close to a break-even position, if not a marginal profit.

I have found that Racing Post Ratings often provide a solid platform on which to build betting systems or strategies that are capable of standing the test of time in terms of profitability.

In fact, I currently run 6 profitable Racing Post Rating based strategies, one of which is soon to celebrate its 13th birthday, although I do have concerns that it may become surly and badly behaved once it becomes a teenager!!

However, I am always keen to investigate new betting strategies, I recently started collating data for a new project based on Top Rated Racing Post Rating improvers in NH races.

Top Rated RPR Improver Criteria

I intend to classify an RPR improver as any runner who has produced 2 consecutive career-best RPRs in their last 2 starts under the appropriate code of racing.

Therefore, a hurdler who has posted career-best RPRs of say 120 in its penultimate and 122 in its latest race would qualify as an RPR qualifier.

As would a runner who had produced figures of 122 and 122, providing it is scheduled to race over the smaller obstacles, this time.

Risk However, a runner who has recorded career-best RPRs of 122 and 120 in that order would not be considered to be an improver, neither would a horse be considered as a qualifier if it has posted RPRs over hurdles of 120 and 122 and is running in a chase this time.

The only exception to this rule is a runner who has posted consecutive career-best RPRs, which are split by a non-completion due to a fall, unseating of rider, or was brought down, but not a pulled up effort.

However, runners will only be considered to be selections for this strategy if they are both RPR improvers and are top-rated (or jointly top-rated) based on the adjusted (race card) RPRs for the race.

This is indicated by the black spot in the Racing Post, on the basis that an RPR improver who is not top rated is still likely to need to find further improvement to win its next race.

I have monitored the Top-rated RPR Improver qualifiers during the 28 day period from 22 October until 18 November, which has produced the following results: 

Metric Results
Winners 35
Selections 109
Strike Rate 32%
Return £116.72
Profit 7.72
Return On Investment @ LSP 7.1p/£

A full list of the qualifiers and results is provided at the foot of this blog, with winners marked in bold.

The fact that the basic selection criteria have produced a small profit is encouraging.

However, one winner at 16/1 has accounted for more than the eventual profit figure at Industry SP.

I don't have the data to confirm whether a better performance would have been achieved at Betfair SP, or by placing the wagers at best early prices with BOG.

However, I suspect that profit and ROI figures can be improved through the use of additional filters.

Using Racing Post Postdata As A Filter

I have often thought that Postdata information is underused by many punters and that the data may be worth using as a filter for my betting strategies if I could find a method of turning the Postdata ticks into a numeric value to identify the runner who is best suited by the prevailing conditions for the race. 

To this end, I have developed a simple calculation, which is best described as follows:

Ticks in each Postdata box:

  • 1 tick equals 2 pts
  • 2 ticks equal 3pts
  • 3 ticks equal 4 pts

Any boxes that do not contain at least 1 tick are ignored.

I then multiply the points figure for each separate Postdata box together to provide the final figure for each runner in the race, as follows:

Runner has 1 tick in 5 separate boxes, would score 2x2x2x2x2=32 pts

Runner has 2 ticks in 2 boxes and 1 tick in a further 2 boxes would score 3x3x2x2=36 pts

Therefore, the second runner with 36 pts would be the top-rated horse in this 2 horse race.

Armed with this methodology, I was able to identify whether each of the Top Rated RPR Improvers, were also considered to be top-rated (including joint top) using the Postdata information, which can be identified on the list of all qualifiers below by the name of the horse being marked in CAPITALS.

The results for Top Rated RPR Improvers who were also top rated on Postdata using the above calculation, were as follows:

Metric Results
Winners 25
Selections 56
Strike Rate 45%
Return £65.15
Profit £9.15
ROI @LSP 16.3p/£

Clearly, selecting qualifiers who are top-rated using the Postdata calculation produces a slightly improved profit figure and has effectively doubled the ROI at LSP.

However, I also noticed a couple of simple additional filters that were worth considering.

Days Since Latest Race

The analysis of the number of days since each Top Rated RPR Improver last ran makes interesting reading, as follows:

1 to 21 days since the last race 

  • Winners: 15
    Selections: 47
    Strike Rate: 32%
    Return: 54.51
    Profit: 7.51
    ROI at ISP: 16.0p/£

22 to 35 days since last race 

  • Winners: 15
    Selections: 33
    Strike Rate: 45%
    Return: 53.40
    Profit: 20.40
    ROI at ISP: 61.8p/£

Overs 36 days since last race 

  • Winners: 5
    Selections: 29
    Strike Rate: 17%
    Return: 8.81
    Loss: (20.19)
    ROI at ISP: minus 69.6p/£

Clearly, qualifiers who are returning from a break of over 35 days are worth discarding, whilst runners who are returning off a break of 21 days or less have recorded an acceptable level of profit.

That said, the qualifiers who last ran between 22 and 35 days, have done exceptionally well both in terms of strike rate and overall profit, albeit they are significantly bolstered by the 16/1 winner.

Not On A Saturday

Losing Bets 

Many years ago, my Grandfather who was a keen punter, explained to me that he would rarely make a profit when backing his selections that ran on Saturdays.

The standard of racing was significantly higher than during the rest of the week and was therefore much more competitive.

This scenario has not markedly changed during the intervening years, albeit I believe that punters have in general become more sophisticated, and whilst I don't shy away for backing my selections on Saturdays, I do tend to check the viability of my betting strategies against this maxim.

The results for the 4 Saturdays during the sample period, were as follows: 

Metric Result
Winners 2
Selections 16
Strike Rate 13%
Return £4.90
Loss (-11.10)
Return On Investment @LSP (-69.4p/£)

From the limited information during the monitoring period, it would appear that it would be wise to steer clear of Top Rated RPR Improvers that race on Saturday.

Results after the Application of the 3 Filters

The final stage of my analysis of Top Rated RPR Improvers so far was to apply all 3 filters to the original sample, namely:

  • Top rated on Postdata Information
    Days Since Latest Race: 1 to 35
    Not Racing on a Saturday
Metric Result
Winners 22
Selections 39
Strike Rate 56%
Return £52.66
Profit £13.56
Return On Investment @LSP 34.8p/£

This return is significantly higher than the original ROI of 7.1p/£, which was massively dependent on one 16/1 winner.

However, the results if we focus on runners who are running between 22 to 35 days after their previous race are even more impressive: 

Metric Result
Winners 11
Selections 15
Strike Rate 73%
Return £23.90
Profit £8.90
Return On Investment@LSP  £59.3p/£

Top Rated RPR Improvers: 22 October to 18 November 2016

As promised earlier in this article, here is the full list of selections for the sample data period, 

This is annotated to show whether the selection was clear or jointly top-rated on RPRs and it's standing in respect of Postdata information, plus the number of days since it last ran.

All winning selections are marked in bold.


2.25 Cheltenham: WHOLESTONE (RPR: TR/PD: TR/23 days): Won at 2/1F 

3.05 Punchestown: Moonlone Lane (RPR: TR/PD: 8/58 days): Unp at 20/1

4.05 Cheltenham: Top Of The Town (RPR: JTR/PD: J4/157 days): 4th at 7/1
5.15 Cheltenham: River Wylde (RPR: TR/PD: 3/292 days): Unp at 13/8F

1.50 Wincanton: LINGUINE (RPR: TR/PD: TR/18 days): 2nd at 4/6F
2.10 Aintree: Desert Sensation (RPR: TR/PD: 2/22 days): 5th at 15/2
2.55 Wincanton: Code Of Law (RPR: TR:/PD: 2/6 days): 2nd at 11/2
3.15 Aintree: Templehills (RPR: TR/PD: 2/18 days): Unp at 9/1
4.25 Aintree: PAWN STAR (RPR: TR/PD: TR/17 days): 3rd at 11/4

1.30 Chepstow: Rolling Dylan (RPR: TR/PD: 2/220 days): 2nd at 5/4
4.05 Chepstow: Sir Will (RPR: TR/PD: 6/179 days): 4th at 5/2

2.15 Clonmel: ROSSHAVEN LADY (RPR: JTR/PD: TR/23 days): Won at 2/1 

3.00 Sedgefield: VOLVALIEN (RPR: JTR/ PD: JTR/25 days): Won at 2/1F 

3.50 Clonmel: BLACKTHORN PRINCE (RPR: JTR/PD: TR/28 days): Won at 2/1F 

4.40 Sedgefield: G'DAY AUSSIE (RPR: JTR/PD: JTR/15 days): Won at 7/2 

5.00 Stratford: BURROWS LANE (RPR: TR/PD: TR/25 days): 4th at 7/4 JF
5.10 Sedgefield: Earls Fort (RPR: TR/PD: 3/2 days): Won at 11/5F 28Oct2016

2.45 Wetherby: Today Please (RPR: TR/PD: J3/8 days): 3rd at 9/4

3.55 Wetherby: CLIFFS OF DOVER (RPR: TR/PD: TR/7 days): Won at 7/4 29Oct2016
4.55 Ayr: GREAT FIGHTER (RPR: TR/PD TR/328 days): 4th at 7/2


1.00 Carlisle: TWO TAFFS (RPR: TR/PD: TR/197 days): Won at 2/7F 

1.55 Huntingdon: LATE NIGHT LILY (RPR: TR/PD: TR/36 days): Won at 11/8F 

2.00 Wexford: Slemish (RPR: TR/PD: J2/24 days): 3rd at 7/4F
2.20 Galway: Mick The Jiver (RPR: JTR/PD: J5/8 days): 3rd at 9/1

2.50 Galway: Potters Point (RPR: TR/PD: 2/245 days): Won at 11/8F 

3.35 Huntingdon: JIM DANDY (RPR: JTR/PD: TR/25 days): 3rd at 2/1

2.25 Galway: HE ROCK'S (RPR: TR/PD: TR/14 days): 5th at 4/1
3.30 Hereford: MOULIN ROUGE (RPR: TR/PD: 3JTR/4 days): 6th at 9/4JF

3.45 Wexford: BALL D'ARC (RPR: TR:/PD: TR/18 days): Won at 4/7F 

4.30 Galway: JELAN (RPR: TR/PD: JTR/31 days): Won at 1/1F 02Nov2016
2.05 Musselburgh: The Character (RPR: TR/PD: J2/35 days): Won at 3/1 


12.45 Musselburgh: King Julien (RPR: TR/PD: 2/24 days): 3rd at 3/1
2.20 Musselburgh: Grove Silver (RPR: JTR/PD: 3/155 days): 3rd at 8/11F

2.25 Thurles: Teacher's Pet (RPR: JTR: PD: J4/20 days): Won at 4/1F 

2.55 Musselburgh: Milrow (RPR: JTR/PD: J4/6 days): 3rd at 11/8F
3.55 Market Rasen: UNIFY (RPR: TR/PD: TR/17 days): Won at 1/2F 04Nov2016

1.25 Warwick: Linguine (RPR: TR/PD: 2/12 days): 2nd at 5/2
4.05 Down Royal: Morgan (RPR: TR/PD: J2/19 days): 3rd at 11/10F


12.50 Down Royal: Lord Justice (RPR: TR/PD: J3/35 days): 3rd at 7/2
1.10 Kelso: CHAIN OF BEACONS (RPR: JTR/PD: TR/28 days): 4th at 5/2F
1.35 Wincanton: SHANTOU VILLAGE (RPR: TR/PD: 4JTR/14 days): Fell at 6/4F
2.00 Down Royal: DRAYCOTT PLACE (RPR: TR/PD: TR/20 days): Unp at 7/1
2.05 Aintree: Ennistown (RPR: JTR/PD: J6/28 days): Fell at 5/1

06Nov 2016
12.50 Ffos Las: FURIOUSLY FAST (RPR: TR/PD: TR/29 days): Won at 6/4F 

1.05 Sandown: MORE BUCK'S (RPR: TR/PD: TR/36 days): 2nd at 13/8F
1.10 Naas: TELL US MORE (RPR: TR/PD: JTR/21 days): Won at 7/2 

2.15 Sandown: Vivaldi Collonges (RPR: TR/PD: 4/204 days): 3rd at 1/1F
2.20 Naas: O CELALLAIGH (RPR: TR/PD: TR/15 days): 4th at 5/2
3.30 Naas: Llancillo Lord (RPR: TR/PD: 2/7 days): Won at 5/1 

3.40 Ffos Las: UNIFY (RPR: TR/PD: JTR/3 days): 3rd at 5/6F
4.05 Naas: BRELADE (RPR: TR/PD: TR/26 days): Won at 1/2F 07Nov2016
1.10 Carlisle: STONE QUERCUS (RPR: TR/PD: 3JTR/4 days): Unp at 7/2
1.30 Kempton: LITTLE POP (RPR: TR/PD: TR/32 days): UR at 11/4
1.50 Fairyhouse: Alcander (RPR: TR/PD: 10/26 days): 3rd at 25/1
2.20 Carlisle: DERINGTOHER YANK (RPR: TR/PD: TR/25 days): Won at 1/2F 

2.55 Fairyhouse: Balzac Turgot (RPR: JTR/PD: J3/36 days): 3rd at 5/6F
2.55 Fairyhouse: FIRE IN HIS EYES (RPR: JTR/PD: TR/26 days): Won at 2/1 

3.25 Carlisle: SPANISH FLEET (RPR: TR/PD: TR/18 days): 2nd at 9/4F
4.00 Carlisle: DERRYNANE (RPR: TR/PD: JTR/223 days): 3rd at 5/4F

1.20 Lingfield: PHOBIAPHILIAC (RPR: TR/PD: TR/168 days): Won at 1/4F 

2.20 Huntingdon: All Set To Go (RPR: TR/PD: 2/30 days): 4th at 3/1
3.10 Sedgefield: THE LAST BAR (RPR: JTR/PD: JTR/230 days): PU at 5/1
3.10 Sedgefield: FOOL TO CRY (RPR: JTR/PD: JTR/13 days): Unp at 5/4
3.30 Bangor: Tasty Ginger (RPR: TR/PD: 2/10 days): Won at 5/2 

3.55 Ayr: Sunset Marquis (RPR: TR/PD: J2/237 days): 4th at 5/2JF

1.35 Ludlow: Happy Diva (RPR: TR/PD: J3/176 days): 2nd at 7/4
1.45 Towcester: Tanit River (RPR: TR/PD: 2/13 days): Won at 2/1 

2.05 Ludlow: Show's Over (RPR: TR/PD: 5/10 days): Won at 7/2F

2.15 Towcester: PINKIE BROWN (RPR: TR/PD: TR/6 days): 2nd at 5/2
3.35 Ludlow: Bring Back Charlie (RPR: 3JTR/PD: 6/28 days): Unp at 7/2
3.45 Towcester: Oologist (RPR: TR/PD: J4/26 days): Unp at 6/1
4.05 Ludlow: LORD HUNTINGDON (RPR: TR/PD: TR/25 days): 2nd at 4/9F

1.40 Newcastle: ST GREGORY (RPR: JTR/PD: TR/18 days): Won at 7/2JF 

3.15 Cheltenham: Runyon Rattler (RPR: 4JTR/PD: J8/52 days): Unp at 16/1
3.15 Cheltenham: Magna Cantor (RPR: 4JTR/PD: J3/11 days): Unp at 14/1
3.15 Cheltenham: Wildmor Boy (RPR: 4JTR/PD: J8/27 days): Won at 16/1 12Nov2016
12.40 Cheltenham: NUCKY THOMPSON (RPR: TR/PD:JTR/8 days): PU at 10/1
1.05 Uttoxeter: ROLLING DYLAN (RPR: TR/PD:TR/18 days): Won at 10/11F 

1.40 Uttoxeter: Doitforthevillage (RPR: 4JTR/PD: J4/178 days): UR at 16/1
2.15 Uttoxeter: Wilcos Mo Chara (RPR: TR/PD: 2/27 days): Fell at 4/1F
2.45 Naas: Dark Outsider (RPR: TR/PD:3/37 days): 4th at 9/4F
3.20 Naas: Shoubard (RPR: 3JTR/PD: J4/23 days): Unp at 10/1

1.10 Navan: WAKEA (RPR: TR/PD: TR/8 days): 4th at 5/2
2.10 Fontwell: SOME BUCK'S (RPR: TR/PD: JTR/7 days): Won at 11/4

 2.20 Naas: Wolfslair (RPR: JTR/PD: J4/9 days): Unp at 11/4F
2.45 Fontwell: Tonganui (RPR: TR/PD: J2/37 days): Unp at 12/1
3.50 Fontwell: GALROS LADY (RPR: TR/PD:JTR/5 days): PU at 11/8F

1.50 Musselburgh: Ryalex (RPR: TR/PD: 3/187 days): 4th at 3/1

1.35 Fakenham: Dawnieriver (RPR: TR/PD: 3/15 days): 2nd at 2/1
1.45 Southwell: DEFINITELY GREY (RPR: JTR/PD: TR/20 days): Unp at 11/4F
2.15 Southwell: BALLYMALIN (RPR: TR/PD: TR/24 days): Won at 1/2F 

3.05 Fakenham: PRETTYLITTLETHING (RPR: TR/PD: JTR/7 days): Won at 5/6F

 3.15 Southwell: Rossington (RPR: TR/PD: 2/31 days): PU at 11/1
3.35 Fakenham: Bertenbar (RPR: TR/PD: 4/214 days): Fell at 2/1

12.10 Fairyhouse: RIVERRAINSHINE (RPR: TR/PD: TR/17 days): Unp at 12/1
12.40 Fairyhouse: ASTHURIA (RPR: TR/PD: TR/234 days): Won at 8/15F 

1.0 Warwick: TROUBLED SOUL (RPR: JTR/PD: JTR/36 days): 2nd at 6/1
1.10 Fairyhouse: Neddyvaughan (RPR: 3JTR/PD: 2/9 days): Unp at 4/1
1.20 Chepstow: COPAIN DE CLASSE (RPR: TR/PD: TR/22 days): Won at 10/11F

2.15 Fairyhouse: TB BROKE HER (RPR: JTR/PD: TR/17 days): Unp at 5/1F
2.40 Warwick: ROYAL PLAZA (RPR: TR/PD: TR/22 days): Won at 5/2F 

3.15 Warwick: Midnight Jade (RPR: 4JTR/PD: 4/226 days): 4th at 8/1
3.15 Warwick: YANMARE (RPR: 4JTR/PD: TR/34 days): Won at 2/1 17Nov2016
1.15 Wincanton: Lets Go Dutchess (RPR: JTR/PD: 6/35 days): 2nd at 7/2
1.35 Clonmel: BLACKTHORN PRINCE (RPR: JTR/PD: TR/21 days): 2nd at 3/1
2.50 Wincanton: Smoking Jacket (RPR: JTR/PD: 4JTR/21 days): 3rd at 11/4JF
3.50 Clonmel: VIGIL (RPR: TR/PD: TR/29 days): Fell at 4/7F

1.25 Haydock: King's Odyssey (RPR: TR/PD: 3/293 days): 3rd at 7/2
3.30 Ffos Las: ROYAL SALUTE (RPR: JTR/PD 3JTR/5 days): 2nd at 5/4F

Conclusions and Further Actions

I will be the first to admit that this analysis has been undertaken on a relatively small sample size (109 selections), but the results obtained have been very promising and suggest that Top Rated RPR Improvers may provide the basis of a lucrative betting strategy.

Bet Button However, I feel that further data collation and analysis is required before I would commit to backing the selections, so I intend to continue to work on this project for the next couple of months to ensure that the results are in line with the original data sample.

I will also consider the viability of alternative filters (e.g. type of race, minimum RPRs vs class of race, the correlation between career-best RPR and Official Rating, etc), in an attempt to identify the most efficient filters for the final strategy.

In addition, it may be possible to implement the strategy with an alternative staking plan which will provide a significant boost to profits when compared to backing each selection to level stakes.

Finally, I will also be considering ideas for other betting strategies based on Racing Post Ratings, as I am sure that there must be more relatively low hanging fruit that can be exploited by way of relatively simple betting strategies.

I hope that readers have found this analysis of interest and as usual, I would welcome any comments and feedback, especially if readers have any similar ideas/strategies that they are happy to share.

Also, if you have enjoyed this blog, please feel free to share the link on social media, with your friends and contacts who are interested in horse racing.

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