Racing books have been a pretty scarce commodity over recent years, and good racing books have been even scarcer, with some as hard to find as hen's teeth.

So, it was with some expectation and hope when I purchased the most recent publication of the UK professional Nick Mordin, who amongst other things is the guru of speed ratings in Britain.

It is said that he was born with an insatiable thirst for knowledge about horse-racing. When he was a teenager a work colleague, amazed at Mordin's grasp of the subject, asked him, jokingly, if he went to bed with a formguide. Without batting an eyelid, he answered, 'Yes' and he was being perfectly honest - he didn't even see the joke!

The author of such books as Betting For A Living and Mordin On Time, Mordin's latest book, Winning Without Thinking - A Guide To Horse Race Betting Systems, formulates his ideas, following years of research. His fourth book and obvious life's work, its 430 pages take a personal journey through thoroughbred horse-racing analysis.

The subject matter is one that interests so many of us - racing systems - one for which Mordin has achieved great acclaim and attention through not only his books, but his regular columns in the leading UK racing paper Sporting Life Weekender, as well as the now defunct Odds On magazine.

Mordin claims to have spent over 30,000 hours researching racing over the years, attempting to uncover the principles that govern the betting market and the racing results themselves.

He has tested literally thousands of racing systems, both his own and those of others, such as academics and professional gamblers, and shares this research in his latest book.

Mordin states: 'Horse-racing and the betting market are constantly changing. It is therefore not enough to study books or to use your previous experience of betting on horses to make profitable selections. You need to know what is working right now, not in the past, Studying systems is the way to find out.'

So what does Winning Without Thinking - A Guide To Horse Race Betting Systems contain amongst its pages?

There are twenty-one chapters covering just about every aspect of horse-racing analysis, from exploiting the odds offered by the tote operators, to pedigrees, statistics, computerised systems and a lot more.

As well, there are very extensive appendices, which take up 115 pages, covering eight different topics, including the Kelly Criterion, Dr Z's system and Dosage.

One of the primary reasons for writing the book has been an attempt to give greater credibility to racing systems that what they enjoy in some quarters. Mordin is of the belief that many punters simply don't know how to use systems and that systems are fundamental to being successful. He also believes that every winning bettor uses a system of some sort.

In the very first chapter, Mordin details three simple winning systems, one of which takes advantage of the tote system. He tells the story of a successful professional punter in the US who exploited the New York tote by heavily supporting long odds-on favourites for the place, knowing that they have to declare a minimum dividend of $2.10 for each $2 ticket.  

Often the punter would plunge $50,000 or more for the place on favourites whose win price was 2/5 or shorter. Normally, the Tote’s minimum pay-out does not represent value. Occasionally, however, a race comes along where one horse seems so certain to win that it starts at 2-5 or less. If you look back through enough results, you’ll find that horses which start at such cramped odds virtually always reach the first three - and therefore pay a dividend to those who bet them to place (or ‘show’ as they call it in the US). In fact they finish in the money so often, you’d actually make a small profit betting them to place, even if they were all returned at the very minimum Tote price. 

After some years of operation and a lot of speculation, it was revealed that the person responsible for these plunges was a professional punter from Philadelphia, labelled by the New York press as the Mad Bomber.

A similar approach was also used with success in the UK for a while, but the tote operators there amended their rules guaranteeing a minimum return. Now in the UK, a winning bet could return as low as only 70p in the pound, a loss of some 30 per cent.

Not so in the US, even though the Mad Bomber caused some 'minus pool' situations for the tote operators, who instead of attempting to stop him have used him as a means of advertising their product to other gamblers.

Another of the systems in the first chapter is one published in Dr Zs Best The Racetrack by Professors William T. Ziemba and Donald B. Hausch, a number of years ago.

As Mordin and others have proven (including myself), this is a winning system based on exploiting the differences between the win and place probabilities, an idea often overlooked by the majority of punters. (It is my intention to devote a complete column to this in the near future, which will outline modified tables for use in Australia.)

The last of the three simple winning systems is one that is based on the ante-post markets supplied by some bookmakers on feature races. It concentrates on horses quoted at 10 /1 or under.

During his research, Mordin identified 155 situations where a horse qualified as a bet, for 24 winners and a 60 per cent profit on turnover.

Click here to read the series - its a ripper!

**In a related seroies of articles,  E.J. Minnis will reveal more on Winning Without Thinking - A Guide To Horse Race Betting Systems by Nick Mordin, which is published by Aesculus Press and available from the High Stakes Bookshop.


With E.J. Minnis