Four Corners by The Racing Horse

Posted by Paul Moon in Blog | Leave a comment

The Racing Horse has been asked what governs the Pacafi and what is the main criteria. On 13th November 2014 we wrote a piece for Racing Advisor and offered our view on the most important elements of a bet. You can read the original piece: FOUR CORNERS posted to THE RACE ADVISOR in NOVEMBER 2014


FOUR CORNERS by The Racing Horse

We started by talking about the systems and strategies that appeared in our inbox at that time. This paragraph might be slightly less relevant in 2018 as those who bet online have become more sophisticated so less chance of fleecing the gullible! I could be wrong on this. I delete 98% of all such promises in about 0.6 to 0.8 seconds.

The Racing Horse is indifferent to the plethora of supposed new betting advice systems and strategies that come on to the market. A few deserve scrutiny but the vast majority are either bogus or not fit for purpose. Some authors/sources deliberately procure false hope, others enlist less important or flawed features and give wrong credence to certain elements. More recently there are those who create systems and strategies who complicate so as to raise their own profiles, and then of course we have a few that make a profit.

The main criteria to any bet we make is obvious but it is our weighting that is different, because we have engaged in hundreds of conversations with other pundits on this subject we know very few agree with us.

Essential prerequisites carrying argument weighting are what we require before wagering. This common sense rationale has stood the test of time and make up the ‘Four Corners’ of our betting slip. This raison d’être was vital in 1950, essential now and will be relevant in 2050. With the help of Race Advisor we would like to herald and trumpet this lost message and reaffirm those quadri-points in order of importance!

Trainer Form
Requisite Class
Optimum Ground Conditions
Jockey Competence

The single most important element to any winning bet is TRAINER FORM. The sum of the other parts are not as important. If there is a cornerstone to win betting this is it!

Acknowledging trainer statistics and the mathematics that accompany them before making a win single bet is vital. It is a decisively indicative test that helps remove randomness, opinion and bias, it reveals how well the stable’s horses are currently and delivers an up to the minute litmus test. If backing the horses of trainers on the cold list is madness then it must be sensible to back trainers who have recorded winners?

There any amount of random factors that can affect a result and it takes small margins to win most races. These issues are more likely to be compounded if the horse is not fully wound up! Furthermore, if one accepts that handicap racing forms more than half of all races on the cards of UK race meetings a few pounds of improvement or decay can mean the difference between winning and finishing down the field.

In our piece I do not think we covered the class aspect full enough. Class is the demonstrated quality of a horse and each horse will have its optimum level. Whether it improves from a lower grade, it will eventually reach a class of race where it simply cannot match the performance of other contestants in the race. We will never get a race where every horse has the same ability yet the class boundaries are fixed. Understanding which horses might have an edge, when progressing or stepping down in grade can make a significant improvement to your betting. The more astute trainers understand this and place their horses accordingly, it is important we know it too! In any case, our piece continued:

Regarding REQUISITE CLASS each horse has a potential ability level, whether they achieve that is another matter. The better the horse is trained and looked after the more it is likely to achieve but it is accepted that genetics and skeletal soundness are factors outside the trainer’s remit. Finding the bandwidth to which each horse can aspire needs the trainer to be totally in tune with his charge and, whilst some achieve most fail in this regard.

One of our great days and memories was with Monty 'The Horse Whisperer' Roberts at the Hartpury Equine College in Gloucester. We had witnessed join-up and how he treats horses with various perceived problems and would recommend everyone to go and see his work either live or on video. We were lucky enough to meet him personally and spend some time talking about horses in a racing context. It was fascinating and Monty was most specific about racing ground.

We were fortunate to spend the day with Monty Roberts (The Horse Whisperer) and he gave us lots of information on horses and we adhere our betting to his golden principles. He told us that every horse that has ever been born or ever will be born would have OPTIMUM GROUND CONDITIONS. The onus rests solely on the bettor to find out before making an investment what that is!

Some racing people including trainers, irrationally spew that good horses go on any ground – they do not, some just handle it better or have something in hand of their rivals. This represents a problem for systems in that they are unlikely to recognise/weigh/measure optimum or deteriorating conditions against the class the horses are racing in! It is here where most bets are won and lost.

So our intended wager has a tick in every box and a winning chance looks obvious, why would anyone compromise the bet once the horse arrives at the course after weeks/months of schooling and training by compromising JOCKEY COMPETENCE? We know that trainers are not duty bound to give the ride to the best jockey available! They might use an apprentice, someone who is contracted, rides work or a favoured son. The owner might have some input or the decision might be political. But the bettor has no such restrictions. It is hard to measure or be scientific about the importance of jockeyship, but they are the trainer’s connection/conduit to the horse and it is often their decisions that dictate the result and our profit and loss.

The quadri-points listed probably represent 90%+ in the importance towards a winning bet. Of course, mistakes, stable shenanigans/cheating, course configuration, draw and track bias, pace in the race, distance, weight, breeding and much more can influence the result but the big four represents a core and serious starting point to any bet. This is where we part with most systems and strategies!

Our members will notice that we now use a composite table before each rationale and show a table (0-10) denoting our subjective view on each of the above points. If it does nothing else it removes randomness which is one of the betting saboteurs! Yes, it is basic but we believe it works!


  Today's Pacafi: click here


Proven mathematical laws are the governing force of horse racing betting. Consequently every bet we place is conceived then predicated from statistical analysis protected by a maths-based edge with perceived value attached. Our formula is simple because we are yet to be convinced that a complication of a system is proportional to profit. So what do we mean by a maths-based edge? It means finding something with a solid mathematical core, something historically profitable and something that is unlikely to change or suffer fatigue going forward. Then, if we can filter negative influences from the original proposal and provide a sound rationale for doing so, we can claim that betting edge.


The absolute key to success in betting is the ability to identify value bet situations where the odds available are greater than the true chance of winning and then to have the discipline to methodically bet only when these situations arise. If this is done the laws of mathematics and probability dictate that in the long term, you will make a profit.

Our information and betting advice is for educational purposes only. Please exercise caution when acting upon our advice and remember that gambling carries risk. No liability is taken by the site or product owner following any of the information given or sold to you. Betting always involves a level of risk and you should never bet more than you can afford to lose.

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