• Does the Efficient Market Hypothesis apply to horseracing? Hopefully not...

    In the early 1960s, Nobel Prize winning economist Eugene Fama put forth the theory of efficient markets called the Efficient Market Hypothesis. The theory is simple but powerful. It states that markets correctly price the value of a stock, or any other commodity, correctly. In other words, the price of a stock is not too high or too low. The price reflects all known information at a point in time.

    The theory has three versions: strong form, semi-strong form and weak form. I’ll focus on the strong and semi-strong forms of the theory. In strong form efficiency is where all information, public, personal and confidential, is instantly reflected in the prices. Therefore, punters are unable to achieve a competitive advantage. This degree of market efficiency implies that above average returns cannot be achieved regardless of a punters skill and access to information.

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  • Are some tipsters more consistent than others?

    At a recent trip to the races with friends I was asked if newspaper tipsters are any good, and were any in particular worth following. In reply I cited the basic statistic that all the main national newspaper tipsters make a loss overall because it is very hard to make a selection in every race, like the racing correspondents are asked to do, and to then to publish the tips in mass circulation newspapers. However, I did say that some do make a small profit from their naps. I was then asked “What is a nap?” I was getting a little tired of this conversation and lazily said that “it is just the tipsters best bet of the day, the one from all their tips that they think has the best chance of winning”. I didn’t add that sometimes the editor of the newspaper will insist that the nap is made for the big race, such as Derby, Grand National or a race that the newspaper is sponsoring or advertising. Nevertheless the statistics do show that tipsters do much better with their naps than for their daily selections.

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  • Can you make a profit from the naps of the Racing Post tipsters?

    When I was a teenager I came up with a very simple betting system. I took a copy of the Racing Post and worked out which horse had been selected as a 'nap' by the most number of newspaper tipsters. My logic was that the newspaper correspondents were the real experts because they studied the form everyday and had all the best contacts. Therefore if anyone was going to get inside information then it would them. Alas I soon worked out that these so called experts were not particularly good tipsters and few of them managed to make a profit from backing horses. My early faith in newspaper tipsters took a further knock when I later heard a rumour that some racing correspondents tip or write up a horse in a positive way to give a free advert to a trainer to whom they owe a favour. Whether this is true or not I don't know but I've been suspicious of newspaper tipsters ever since. However, I have to say that I haven't really properly analysed whether my prejudice is justified or not.

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  • Add the 'Money Horse' system to your portfolio

    A good way to become a successful punter is to play a portfolio of systems. This has worked for me down the years, and I know that this is an approach favoured by a number of other serious players. The concept is very simple but has a good statistical rationale behind it, and adopts the same approach as any successful investor in the financial markets.

    The strategy is basically to develop a whole range of betting systems and then to play them at the same time. Provided a system has been well researched and has proved to be successful in a trial period then it should be added to one’s system portfolio.

    In playing a whole range of different systems the punter effectively spreads his or her risk, provided that the portfolio is big enough, and diverse enough in its range of strategies.

    The difficulty is coming up with enough profitable systems. The 'Money Horse' system is one that you might want to add to your systems portfolio.

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  • Are Sporting Life Star Ratings profitable?

    The leading horse racing website www.sportinglife.com carries a huge amount of information and provides detailed racecards for every race in Great Britain and Ireland. As part of that coverage the website provides something called Sporting Life Star Ratings that are supposed to be a rating that expresses the chance of a horse winning. In this article we have statistically analysed their performance over thousands of races.

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