Recently we looked at the performance of barrier numbers and we were not too impressed. We’ll start this month off by checking out how barrier numbers perform over a range of distances.

The accepted view is that these numbers are only relevant in shorter races and particularly if there is a bend to be negotiated. In the following figures, there is an allowance of an extra 20 metres for any designated distance. This is to take account of the slight lengthening of the race caused if the rail has been moved. For example, an actual 1220m race would be considered as 1200m.

During the period under examination, there were a total of 660 races with 7,363 horses running. There were 75 races of 1000m or less and barriers one, four and eight were the only profitable ones. Barrier one had a win strike rate of 13 per cent and made a profit of $10.00, barrier four’s strike rate was 20 per cent for a profit of $39.30, while barrier eight with a strike rate of 9 per cent made $6.60.

There were 185 ?races of 1200m where barrier four was the only profitable one but with a profit of only $1.80 it was hardly worth considering. There was no profit to be had in the 170 races of 1400m and in the 92 races of 1600m, barrier eight showed up best with a strike rate of 10 per cent, and a profit of $8.10 or 9 per cent profit on turnover.

There were 38 races of 1800m and here ?it was desirable to follow barriers five and 10. Five gave a profit of $15.80 or 42 per cent, while 10 was the better one at $39.30 and 103 per cent. Both these barriers had a 16 per cent strike rate.

Three barriers came out ahead in the 30 races of 2000m. The only one that was worth following though, was barrier two with a strike rate of 13 per cent and a profit of $11.40 or 38 per cent. Barrier three, even with a 17 per cent strike rate, only showed a profit of $1.40 while seven, with a strike rate of just 7 per cent, was marginally better at $1.70. In the 25 races of ?2200m and the 16 of 2400m, four was the preferred barrier with strike rates of 12 per cent and 19 per cent respectively and ?profits of $26.90 or 108 per cent in 2200m, and $5.10 or 32 per cent in 2400m.

At this stage, the best returns appear to be from the four 2600m races where barriers one, two and five brought home the bacon with strike rates of 25 per cent, 25 per cent and 50 per cent. Profits were to the tune of $2.70, $6.10 and $9.10 while their profits on turnover were 68 per cent, 153 per cent and 228 per cent respectively.

There were only two 2800m races where barrier five was in the money with a 50 per cent strike rate and a profit of $5.70. Profit on turnover was 285 per cent. In the four 3000 m races, the only winning barrier was three with a strike rate of 75 per cent and a profit of $9.10 or 228 per cent.

Summing up, the most profitable barriers from a cold hard cash point of view were numbers four in 1000m and 10 in 1800m races with each showing a profit of $39.30. The best from the point of view of profit on turnover, at 285 per cent, was barrier five in 2800m races. However, as there were only two races at that distance, this result can hardly be taken as a guide.

The best strike rate was 75 per cent for barrier three in 3000m races. However, when there were a higher number of races, the results were not too fantastic. With as many as 185 races of 1200m, only one barrier number was profitable and then by only $1.80. The next in order of number of races, was 170 at 1400m and there was not one profitable barrier.

The 92 races of 1600m had only one successful barrier, number eight, showing a profit of $8.10 and a profit on turnover of 9 per cent. Finally, with 75 races, the shorter trips of up to 1020m showed three profitable barriers each of which gave reasonable profits. Therefore, it would appear that the theory of only following barrier numbers in short races seems to be a sound one.

That wraps up our examination of barrier numbers. I hope that you may be able to utilise these findings in your own systems.

Now, for something completely different (as the Monty Python team used to say), how can you bet on more than one horse in a race and still have the chance of making a profit? Assuming all bets are of one dollar, if the favourite is paying $3 or more, then you can bet on two horses and still come out ahead providing one of them wins. You would have a profit of at least one dollar if one of them was the favourite and it won.

It is possible to bet for a win on more than two horses. The number of horses can be estimated by reducing the fave’s win dividend on offer by one. For example, if it is paying $4, you can bet on three horses, if it’s paying $5, you can bet on four and so on. Let’s put the idea into practice.

Previously I have suggested that the fifth favourite was the one to follow. Let’s see what the outcome would have been had we bet on the fifth favourite and the outsider in all races where the fave was paying between three and four dollars inclusive. Applying this angle, we find there were 260 races and 2,993 horses involved. The fifth fave won 34 times for a profit of $98.00 while the outsider won eight times for a profit of $82.70, giving an overall profit of $180.70 and a profit on turnover of 34.75 per cent.

Let’s try another approach. Once again, we only consider races where the favourite is paying between three and four dollars, but instead of betting in every race, only bet when there are 10, 11 or 12 runners. Doing this more than halves the outlay with only 105 races and 1,168 horses. Fifth fave won 12 times for a profit of $28.40 and the outsider won four times with a profit of $91.30, giving a total profit of $119.70 and a profit on ?turnover of 114 per cent.

If we now apply the same approach again with the outsider but this time replace the fifth favourite with the first favourite, we find that while it wins 23 of the races, it doesn’t pay enough to show a profit and it ends up losing us $19.80 giving a total profit of $71.50. Thank goodness for the outsiders.

Let’s look at trifectas and how we can make up winning combinations. Trifectas can be quite lucrative if we’re lucky enough to snag them. Sometimes the obvious is so obvious that it is overlooked or at least, not recognised. Take this observation for example, if we only consider those races with 10, 11 or 12 runners, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that the first 11 favourites were placed first, second and third in 99 per cent of races.

Or that the first 10 favourites were placed in 96 per cent of them, the first nine filled all three places in 90 per cent of races, the first ?eight in 84 per cent, seven in 73 per cent . . . down to the first five favourites filling all three places in 44 per cent of the races. To put that into perspective, 44 per cent equates to 3.5 races out of eight.

That’s almost half of a track’s races for the day. That being the case, we must surely stand a good chance if we consider combining these first five favourites for our trifecta legs. Let’s see.

Remembering that the first and fifth favourites seem to be regular winners, we’ll consider them, singly or together, as our selections for the first leg of our trifecta. The remaining favourites we’ll split over the second and third legs. We are talking orders of favouritism here and not TAB numbers so, keeping that in mind, here is a list of some of the possible combinations and the results:

First leg 1-5, 2nd leg 1-2-4, 3rd leg 2-3-4-5. Cost of each trifecta $13. Total outlay for the 269 races under scrutiny $3,497. Trifectas struck 31. Profit $1,461 or 77 per cent profit on turnover. Another combination could be 1st 1-5, 2nd 2-4, 3rd 2-3-4-5. This would cost $10 for a total outlay of $2,690. We would have struck 27 trifectas for a profit of $1,532 or 57 per cent.

To reduce outlay, we could hang our hopes on the favourite to win with a combination like this: 1st 1, 2nd 1-2-4, 3rd 2-3-4-5. The cost of this one is only $6 for a total outlay of $1,614. We would have struck 21 but sadly we would have lost $238 or 8 per cent. Ouch! Forget favourites as the only selection in the first leg. What if we replace it with the fifth favourite?

1st 5, 2nd 1-2-4, 3rd 2-3-4-5. This costs $7 with a total outlay of $1,883. We’d have struck 10 trifectas for a profit of $1,699 or 90 per cent. That’s looking much better so let’s try one more combination: 5, 2-4, 2-3-4. This is a very economical trifecta costing just $4 for a total outlay of $1,076. We would have struck only six trifectas but a profit of $1,771 is a healthy 164 per cent profit on turnover.

The more numbers on a line, the more the trifecta costs but the more of them that can be struck. Sadly, the additional cost of each means that the profit on turnover is reduced. In some cases, simpler is better and it certainly seems that way here. Dollar for dollar, trifectas show a good return and as can be seen from the above results, you don’t have to strike too many to be well ahead.

A final reminder; the numbers used in this example are order of favouritism and not TAB numbers.

By Mr Money