Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Best Kept Racing Systems Builder "Secret" On The Net

Most times when reading horse racing forums and other such "punter" sources of info you often hear about the very excellent and very free (up to a point) Adrian Massey horse racing site. A great source of information, statistics and ratings it undeniably is but are there any cheap and better alternatives to Massey in the vast sea of horse-racing sites out there?

Quite simply there are very very few. The most popular site for British punters is the racing post but with recent (crap) upgrades and a rumoured "soon to be a pay per view site" the options for the ordinary punters are looking.... well, Pathetic.

That's not quite true, hold your horses, ahem...

There is one very good site out there, it's been kept a secret by the elite few (ha ha!) until now. To put it plainly and without too much rhetoric the options you can wield using this site are quite simply VAST.

O.k. forget the hype! I would tell you now that there's too many options included on this site for the average Joe to handle and that's no joke. That's why in this game you should always specialise, whether it be in handicaps and form reading or trends and statistics and for me it's obviously systems. The site I shall now reveal is capable of supplying all the above and more.

TA DA! is the place I'm on about. Maybe you've seen it already? Maybe not, either way keep reading and I'll show you some of the features you've been missing.

Horseracebase in simple terms is an online horse racing database which presently stretches back to the beginning of 2003.

But in reality simple it is not because there are a large range of tools attached to the front end of the database which anyone can use to manipulate the data in a myriad of different ways to give many different perspectives on a typical day's races. Irish racing is included too. (Bonus!)

After logging in, the members area navigation bar has a few drop down menus that can be used to browse the entire site. In the screenshot to the right you can see the options available to the user, some of which I'll be exploring further.

Clicking the "Cards and Analysis" button brings the viewer directly to the page where the form reading tools are grouped together for easy navigation.

The racecard option brings up a screen such as the next one shown below. From these dynamic pages you can also keep the same racecard open but using the drop-down menu you can load the next tool for that racecard e.g. Jockey Stats or maybe you want to view the going statistics for each runner in the race. You would use the drop down menu to load the appropriate view. Each time the relevant runners remain on screen for your on-going analysis of the runners in the race.

You can even choose to view the entire days ratings on one page and again using the drop-down menus you can scroll through the various tools to access the ones you need at that precise moment. You can even sort the columns by using another drop-down box. For instance you might want to sort the card by forecast odds - Job done!! When you're finished, use the export to excel function to further manipulate data directly on your hard disc.

Included in the racecards are the HRB form ratings. Without going into too much detail as to what these actually are in this article, it would be easier to tell those readers in the know that you can add your own form ratings to the cards or even adjust the existing ratings criteria. Included in the database is a "ratings machine" which you can use to alter the existing ratings to suit your own interpretations of form lines - how cool is that?

All the trainers jockeys and horses are "clickable" so that you can dig further into from lines if you so wish and it all happens pretty quickly and easily. You can even open multiple tabs in your browser and have a different "large" view showing in each one. That's not so easily done using a desktop horseracing database program let me tell you.

There are even tools that allow you to follow the form of a horse/horses in the future. Maybe you want to see if the winner of a previous race will have his form "franked" by the runners up? It's all possible using the tools provided.

If you're into trend analysis the race histories page is for you. All the major races in the calendar are at your beck and call. In the this previous article some of the Grand National trends were examined.

By now I think you're beginning to see the massive benefits Horseracebase have to offer even the average punter. But It doesn't end there. My own favourite part of HRB is the system builder which I can tell you with conviction is absolutely enormous!!

There are 299 categories that can be combined in almost infinite combinations to extrapolate profitable data from yesterday's racing trends. You can combine elements from the last 5 runs of any horse/horses in any combination. Or you could look at the last time any horse won and compare it with today's data. The possibilities are almost endless. The builder is organised into two distinct sections shown in the screen-shot below.

Included in the system builder is the digger. It's a tool that is completely unique to HRB and can be used in a million and one ways. In the example below I've used it to examine profitable relationships between Uk trainers and jockeys, handicaps/non handicaps.

Doh!! Did I just give more profit away? Ah well if anyone tries to tell you that a system will become unprofitable in the longer term as everyone subsequently jumps on the same bandwagon and forces the odds to shorten over time then take them outside and shoot them!!! Twice!!

The public uses so many different criteria in their search for a winner that most systems just become part of the "market consciousness". The bookies couldn't care less about these apparent system trends. In fact they just want to balance their books on the day so that the liabilities are covered and a profit is guaranteed regardless who wins.

After a hard days night searching for profit using this pretty amazing racing systems builder you are given a raft of options highlighting the vital statistics for your system/s. The longest winning run, the longest losing run, the most profitable month, it's all there for the viewing.

When your eyes can no longer take the strain and you want to save your system. Each user is allocated a bank of 30 slots into which each system's criteria can be saved. From the System Slots page all the days qualifiers can be viewed or downloaded to a spreadheet so there's no hassle for retrieveing system selections each day Genius!!

The site owner Chris Bagnall is a jovial sort of fella and I managed to catch up with him to ask him a few questions.

Can you give the readers more info about yourself / your background and how you came to set up

Yeah sure, I'm from just near to Glasgow originally but live in Dublin now with my family. Ive always been office-based but fanatical about sports, particularly horse racing and football. I learned some computer programming at college and when I became frustrated with the rip off culture/lack of decent resources for punting on the horses I decided to build a database. Everything has just escalated from there really, it naturally progressed into HorseRaceBase and by working with people who came and visited I invested more time and learned new things etc and just kept building the site up.

Horseracebase is a very dynamic database in terms of capabilities, which tool or tools (apart from the system builder as a whole) would in your estimation be the most profitable for a beginner/ intermediate to concentrate on?

Certainly the most popular for those just ‘popping in’ and beginners are the daily tools. The ratings often indicate the value horse in a race and simple stats such as the going/distance analysis make it easy to spot a runner who stands out. Another very popular tool for starters is the Hot Races function as it tells you straight away which races are working out well and people like to pick these out and follow them with My Races.
Let’s just say I’m a newbie to system building, what are your top tips or strategies for getting started with the system builder?

It might sound boring but my honest answer is to take the time to learn what each of the functions does. Its genuinely really simple and once you have the hang of it, its such a powerful facility that it becomes natural to start answering your own questions and finding systems. I'm in the process of adding some new help pages and examples to illustrate best use.
Do you personally advocate the use of systems in your own betting strategies or do you use Horseracebase strictly as a “form study” tool?

Its definitely a form study tool but yeah I follow systems also. The way I operate is I have many systems on the go at once. Put it this way – if you had ten systems, each of which had produced profit for the past 12 months and you decided to follow all ten – it isn't unrealistic to expect at least some of them to continue this trend. My genuine experiences are that they do and with correct staking and common sense its not difficult. Its not easy either and you will have some losing patches, so patience is the key.
The “Donation” price for Horseracebase is currently set at a very reasonable £5 per month are there any plans in the future to raise the price given the amazing value for money you are giving subscribers at the moment?

No, most donors do give more, but its up to them.
I’ve noticed that the ratings have been removed from the system builder, which in my opinion is a great loss. Are there any future plans for Horseracebase e.g A faster server to be able to re-integrate the excellent ratings?

It's not actually a server issue, its to do with how they are worked out and the fact they need to be compared to all within the same race on a mass scale. Unfortunately we had some idiots continually hitting the key pages and as they took a few seconds to load each time it was slowing the site. They will be back but an honest answer is I don’t know when.

How do you envisage Horseracebase in say 2 or 3 years from now?

With existing facilities improved and more features added. Using the feedback we get from our loyal members and the donations they give being utilised towards adding more data, software etc, these things as I already mentioned just happen naturally. We’ve only been online for a very short time and have developed so much, therefore 2-3 years will see some massive enhancements.
Kauto-Star or Denman for the 2009 Gold Cup?

If the conditions are similar it has to be Denman I guess. Based on the head to head last year and the fact Kauto was outclassed, but obviously this weekends comprehensive defeat and the operation recovery are a worry. Will be interesting, that’s for sure!

So then, whether you're into racing form, trends or systems is one amazing place for racing enthusiasts and although it's not free you won't find better value for money for a fiver anywhere guaranteed!! In fact I'm pretty sure there's not a lot of profit (if any) in it for Mr Bagnall except the feeling of satisfaction of doing a brilliant job.

P.S.There's also a good natured forum attached to the site and the members are very good at collaborating and passing good info on the day's racing.



Fantastic article, a great read for systemites and form readers alike. Very well put together and presented, and the interview at the tail end is a nice finishing touch. Great Work!


Hi Marc thanks for the thumbs up. I'm now looking forward to seeing your own blog posts on your newly started blog. Be lucky, James!