How to find a front runner – and why

There are many angles you can use with pacecards, but one of the easiest and most obvious angles to use is to identify the likely leader or front running horse in any given race.

Why is it a good idea to do this?

Well, for the right type of races at the right courses, horses that front run have very good winning records.  So picking a likely front runner can be one of the key statistics in finding the race winner.  If the front runner is unlikely to have much competition for the lead, then the chances of it winning increase.  This is because such a front runner, if allowed to run the race without being pressured for the lead, can often reserve enough energy to protect their lead to the finish.

Secondly, horses that front run for the majority of the race present good in running trading opportunities.  Back a horse before the start of the race.  Watch it set off and maintain a lead for the majority of the race as its price decreases,, and then lay the horse in running.  A so-called #backtolay opportunity.  Further, if you manage to lay the horse at half it’s odds, a “DoB” opportunity.  So-called because if the horse fails to reach half its odds in running, the bet is bust.  Or, if the horse reaches half its odds, place twice the stake of your original back bet on the lay bet, and Double your money.  These kind of bets – backing a horse just before the off and then placing a lay bet at half the odds – can also be automated in advance using trading tools such as BetAngel.  Of course, you can also place any variation on this theme, including a TRoB – treble or bust, or simply watch the race and lay off your bet at a level where you feel the profit is sufficient.

What pacecards can show you

Remember that pacecards presents data about how each horse runs its races, using past form and in-race comments.  Each horse that leads or presses for the lead attracts a score, and these scores are then summarised for each race, and compared with all the other runners in the field, so that you get a relative percentage rating for each runner.

Pacecards also lets you filter by something we’ll call “recency”.  Recency matters.  It filters the pace statistics above based on the most recent runs – into all runs, the last 10 runs for each horse, the last 5 runs, and the run for each horse.  Say that a horse led from the front when it was a 2 year old running over sprint distances and now, 40 races later, it races over a mile as a 4 year old, we cannot expect it to repeat the same front running performance with any degree of confidence.  We’d be better off looking at the last few races rather than a run 40 races ago.

The best way to see how pacecards works is to look at some races in action.  This is why we’re producing videos for Pacecards members.  Pace works for all types of racing, whether Flat or National Hunt, and looking for a front runner is one of the easiest angles to use.

See some examples in action

For a few ideas for pace angles of your own, take a look at the following two example videos of pre-race analysis to identify front runners using pacecards.  They show off a number of different features mentioned in this blog post.  First, the two videos resulted in very different outcomes for the two different angles for playing pace we mention above –  with a winner coming from the sprintt analysis, and a near miss on a DoB bet coming from spotting a front runner in a Hurdle race at Kempton.  Also, the examples could not be more different in terms of types of race – the winning horse came home in a sprint at Thirsk, and the horse trading lower in running during a hurdle race at Kempton.

Here’s the pre-race analysis of the sprint race at Thirsk: view video

Or for the other extreme, take a look at the pre-race analysis for a Hurdle race, here.

Hopefully these two video examples give you some ideas of how to use pacecards to spot your own front runners for backing or trading.  Since there are many ways of using the tool, there are different angles for everyone to find.  Be sure to look at some of our other videos for additional angles to back up a pace statistic, such as historic in race price statistics, or more detailed analysis of the conditions that each runner’s pace figure was achieved under – such as distance, going, and class – and how those compare to conditions today.

7 thoughts on “How to find a front runner – and why

  1. Molly2005

    As a general rule of thumb how many clicks below the back price would you lay off in running?

  2. Colin

    Price level is often more important than the number of ticks below the price you take. For example, if the horse you back is 4.0, it takes a lot longer to be up front in the race – often until the very end – for odds to reduce to 2.0 than for a horse that starts at 16.0 to reduce to 8.0 – even though the profit is the same.

    It’s worth looking at the average price that horses reach in running over say the last few runs, and try to stay above that.

  3. Molly2005

    I have been testing the back to lay system using Bet Angel and Pace Cards for a month now using a 15 click spread. On a level 5% of bank trade this produced a gross return off over 40%. These trades were mainly in sprint and 7-9 furlong trades. Very happy so far with this system. Is anyone else using a different system which they can share with me?

  4. CM

    When you say a 15 click spread do you mean you are backing at BSP and then laying 15 ticks below that price?

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