#1 – Welcome.

This is the first article in a series that will provide an overview of the performance of the Preset Systems available within the Selection Hunter pages of the software.

First, I’ll do a little introduction of myself and how I’ve got involved with this blog.

My name is Mike and have always been interested in numbers. My career choices (?, I fell/got pushed into some of them) span, the Armed Forces, the chemical industry, offshore windfarms, running a gardening business, electronics manufacture, solar energy management and electric vehicle charging.

Most of these roles have involved crunching large, complicated data sets and trying to make sense of what is going on.

Hence, Horse Racing has its appeal.

I live on the East Coast of the UK and decided a couple of years ago to take early retirement to do what I wanted. As yet I’ve not got round to a fraction of the things I want and have no idea of how I had time to go to work!!

Last year I was searching the web for tools to automate my bet placement and as a user of The Staking Machine I was aware of the ‘Merlin Ratings’ that were published and had followed a variation of them for a while. I saw that The Bet Machine ticked a lot of the boxes I wanted and after a few months the addition of the ‘Selection Hunter’ extension turned it into a valuable research tool.

A number of the ‘Preset’ systems have been added from my suggestions and I mentioned that an infrequent review of their performance would be a useful read for some.

So here we are.

The intention of the blog is:

  • To provide a summary of the performance of the Preset systems available;
    it should be stated that the Presets are designed to be templates for guidance.
  • Suggest possible ‘tweaks’ to some of them (I currently have 200+ systems in my library and aim to research a couple each week)
  • Additionally, potentially touch on staking levels/plans
    Personally I’m a firm believer in proving systems to Level Stakes BSP before employing other staking plans.
  • Hints & Tips for using TBM/Selection Hunter
  • Trying to avoid back fitting; apply some logic

[The data summarised below was collated on 8th March 2021.
The data is presented at Betfair Start Price with 2% commission deducted]

The selection Hunter Preset Systems are available from within
Selection Hunter -> Selection Hunter Help -> Online Preset Database

There are 15 available at present. Clicking ‘Load Preset’ drops the selected system criteria into Selection Hunter for viewing selections or results.

For ease of presenting the data of multiple systems I have used Microsoft Excel.

Table 1:Profit/Loss to £1 Level Stakes Betfair SP Win Markets since 1st Oct 2019

Following the 15 systems blindly in the BSP Win markets shows a profit of +2900 points over the last 18 calendar months (16 months of Racing) with no month bar the current showing a loss.
This month, March is currently a little disappointing so far but none of the individual system totals for the first week of March are wildly awry from the historical monthly totals for each. This I think highlights the need for a robust control over the bank; the drawdowns seen in March should be predictable and we’ll have a look at that soon.

Moving on to the Place Markets. Not every system performs well in place markets and not everyone likes betting in them, but you have to look to find out.

Table 2:Profit/Loss to £1 Level Stakes Betfair SP Place Markets since 1st Oct 2019

Following the 15 systems blindly in the BSP Place markets shows a profit of +650 points over the last 18 calendar months (16 months of Racing).

None of the individual months are desperately bad but personally I would want to delve a little further into their performance.

With the racing calendar being disrupted last year due to Covid the data may be a little skewed (but which way?) so overall I believe the two tables show a great deal of promise. Next lets look a little deeper into the statistics for each system.

Table 3:Win (and part Place) Market ‘Consistency’ Statistics from 1st Oct 2019

What I’m looking at in this table is the Strike Rate, Return On Investment, Break Even Strike rate, Break Even Odds, Estimated Longest Losing Run sequences.
All these feed into consistency of the data across the data set for each system.
The systems that exceed the consistency level I’ve set for the Win Markets have their names highlighted in green.
Just to be clear, this is a level that I have set based on my comfort level of bank management and drawdown acceptance.
Others may want to be either more or less cautious.

The table below shows similar for the place Markets. Again, where a named system is Green it fits my specified criteria. The yellow ones are where they don’t quite pass all tests but may warrant further investigation.

Table 4:Remainder of Place Market ‘Consistency’ Statistics from 1st Oct 2019

Taking the Green Highlights from the Win Market table, an update to the Profit/loss table shows that a potential +1200 points could be achieved over the 16 months, averaging +75 points/month at level stakes. Only 2 of the months show an overall loss.

Table 5: ‘Consistent’ Systems Win Markets P/L

Similarly, the Green Highlights from the Place Market table shows that a potential +135 points could be achieved over the 16 months, averaging +8 points/month at level stakes.

Table 6: ‘Consistent’ Systems Place Markets P/L

Obviously, this is looking at past data and we all know that we cannot predict the future: Just because a system shows historical profit it does not guarantee future performance. That said, taking an approach along the lines outlined above takes some of the element of ‘luck’ out of the equation and helps us to hang on to the winnings.

Over the next few editions I’ll keep these updated and present some improvements and other angles to attack.

Next week we have the popular Cheltenham festival. I’m sure you’ve all had emails from tipsters highlighting there choices and I’d wager that not many of them agree.

So lets try and find our own winners…

I have done a very quick review of the Cheltenham historical data in Selection hunter, ran it through a few pivot tables and came up with a system you may want to add to your portfolio. No guarantees but it shows trends for some winners.

Here are the Criteria for you to input.

It’s quite a simple one looking for top rated horses. My extended data set flags 16 selections, 8 of which won.  All of the 5 selections for the last festival won.

And the place strike rate is approaching 90%

As a confirmation, when I run the data through my sheets it comes out as Green for both Win & Place markets.

I hope this first edition has been of use to some of you and helps to find a few winners.

Take Care and Good Luck until next time


16 thoughts on “#1 – Welcome.”

  1. Great read. I have uploaded the Cheltenham preset suggestion to the online database so that all TBM users can use it straight away. Saves typing it out manually. Also, anyone using this don’t forget to adjust your ‘User Selections with Conditions’ settings for odds between 3 and 8 and the favourite rank must be less than or equal to 4.

    As an extra I also noticed that ‘Racing Post Rank = 1’ just on its own with no odds or favourite limits, was also a good base to build on for slightly more selections at Cheltenham.

    • Thanks.
      Re: The Racing Post Rank observation, I think it shows the quality if the horses that are ‘aimed’ at the Cheltenham festival by the Trainers. They are all backed up by good form that the RP ratings recognise. Stepping down the ranks the profits quickly disappear.

  2. Hi Mike,

    Great read, very interesting.

    Can I ask, you mention the points total if blindly betting each selection to level stakes at BSP, is this taking in to account the odds filters advised within each Selection Hunter preset, or purely betting to BSP whatever the odds maybe?



    • Hi Billy, thanks for the comments.
      The data is following the selections to the odds filters within the preset. So at the off time they are include / excluded from the dataset depending on the range set for BSP, some also have limits for Fav Rank and number of runners.


  3. Hi Mike,
    I’ve been reading your blog with interest and decided to set some of these up on TBM. For the place systems (eg SteamersV2) it is possilbe that more than one selection could be found in any one race. Do you prioritise the selections or somehow bet both in the place market. TBM doesn’t seem to have the option to bet multiple selections in the place market so interested to know how you set TBM up to deal with this scenario (?)

    • Hi Stuart, thanks for reading.
      You have touched on a point that I want to try to cover in a bit of detail in a future blog.

      I’ll give a quick summary for now (and I’m sure Dave will maybe want to add a comment) , Multiple Place bets need to be made as ‘Dutched’ and either to equal profit or equal stakes.
      See http://www.thebetmachine.com/dutch-bets/
      My way of choosing between the two is by looking at a system in back test mode, clicking the ‘Analysis’ button, then the ‘Place Market’, and then flicking between the 2 dutch options in the ‘Bet Type’ to see which feels best. This is also a quick way to see if multiple selections for races are present.
      Generally my feeling is that Equal Stakes suits my systems better for place markets.
      This does of course raise the question of whether I have reported the returns of the place markets accurately in the article above? The answer to that I think is that the %Strike Rate and %Return on investment should be very closely matched but the magnitude of the returns will be reduced due to the dutched stakes being lower for each bet. It will depend upon how many selections were dutched. (My head hurts now thinking about that!!)
      I hope that helps. I can’t paste images into this reply box but will include some in the next blog, hopefully next week.

  4. Hey,

    Very interesting stats. Did March mostly end up red as indicated in your screenshot or did the systems smooth out before the start of April? Best regards

    • Hey Peter,

      I just writing the next instalment and will give some detail of the March performance but for now let’s say that it was an ‘interesting’ month. The Preset example systems showed an overall loss with a couple of shockers in the group.
      One observation is that the middle period of March performed Ok but the last week showed a downturn for most.
      I am always a little cautious at this time of year with the change of race code and the other factor that I believe has a huge effect is the weather. UK weather over the last few weeks has hit some extremes; hottest March day on record to snow a few days later. I haven’t tried to quantify weather variations into ratings yet but I’m sure there is a link!

      • Thanks for the elaborate reply. The weather seems to be rather unique and I share your concerns on how it has and will affect the racing performance.

        Looking forward to read your future analysis on the blog.


  5. Hi Mike
    I have used TSM on and Off for many years but only a recent user of TBM. I am also a systems person and agree with your sentiment with regards showing a profit at BSP to level stakes before even considering a staking plan. My main concern with the Preset systems is the Long Losing Runs associated with all the systems and if running more than one of the presets could potentially result in large drawdowns. What staking system would you conceive could cope with these losing runs?

    • Hi Dave,
      I’ve been pondering your question and will try to address what I can but thinking it through it probably needs a few of the future planned articles to fully answer.

      Firstly the presets are suggested systems which when researched showed promise in terms of ongoing profits. This can change. For example Article #2 – Don’t Panic, highlights changes that occur within data sets are either through a scarcity of data or external influences.

      Secondly, my experience of the ‘exotic’ staking plans is very limited: Level stakes and Percentage Staking are about a far down that road I’ve ventured.

      Excuses over!

      Personally I treat each systems as an individual: Each has it own bank, stake amount and therefore the potential drawdowns should all be managed by assessing the previous data.

      So I think you may be wanting to apply the same bank and stake to an amalgamation of all the selections from more than one system.
      In that case I would suggest combining all the data from the systems to analyse them as a single entity. This should then allow suitable stakes for the performance of the ‘whole’ to be calculated taking into account the aggregated drawdown.

      In terms of the ‘exotic’ staking plans, an interesting read to help you appreciate the complexity of them is a book by Tom Whittaker – The Staking Plans Book.
      It is more of a research dissertation than a relaxing page-turner but it does give a good comparison of many differing approaches and which may be suitable for your odds ranges.

      I hope this helps for now. The plan is to cover many of the issues that your question raises in the next few articles.


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