Can You Really Turn Small Stakes into Big Returns Using the Placepot? Maybe . .

Run by the Tote, the Placepot involves the selection of one horse to be placed in each of the first 6 races at a particular meeting.

If there are 4 or fewer runners, you will have to select the winner in that race. If there are 8+ runners, we must select a horse to finish in the first 3. In handicap races of 16+ runners, we must select horses to finish in the first 4.

Winnings are paid out in a dividend, to a £1 stake, proportionate to your stake, eg if your stake was 10p, you will be paid 1/10th of the winnings.

All bets are placed in a pool and divided equally, as above, determinant on the size of the pool of money for that particular meeting.

Why permutations could be the key

Essentially what we are doing with the Placepot is trying to identify good place-only bets and good each way bets and avoid horses which we deem could be good potential lays. Naturally, this will be easier in some races than others. For example, big field handicap races (in fact all handicap races) are so competitive that the majority of the horses are in with a shout and the favourites are not necessarily the best horses in the race.

We can eliminate certain horses in each race IF we are currently operating successful lay selection systems or look to select horses most likely to place for our place-only betting. If this work has already been done, eliminate the horses you would like to lay.

With the knowledge I hope you have accumulated so far, you can attack the Placepot from a number of different angle . . .

Use a ‘Follow the Money’ strategy…

Yes, this issue covers many ‘follow the money’ strategies, all of which have one thing in common – the need for the live betting market. Because we are Placepot betting, it follows that we have to get our bet on before race 1, so using the live market is not possible.

Early Prices – The Next Best Thing

So early prices are our only option if we want to see where the money is going. Sites such as show early prices on all races, as does whose “steamers” section can give you some pointers as to the horses attracting money. Using the system The Patriarch describes on page 11, we can compare The Racing Post’s betting forecast with the early prices found at  to determine any horses whose odds may have been cut by the bookmaker. Take out a notepad and pen and write down the horses whose odds in the early price market are much shorter than the odds quoted by the betting forecast in The Racing Post.

Betfair’s Price Graphs

Use the price graphs for the horses on Betfair to determine if the market is speaking for the horses or against the horses.

By clicking on the horse’s name on Betfair you can view the price graph. Fig A is a good example of the direction the graph will move in when a selection is being backed – from top left to bottom right.

Now, if a selection’s graph is moving from bottom left to top right, as in Fig B, the price is increasing and so we can deduce that the selection is unfancied.

Betting Forecast Analysis:

Using what you learnt in July’s edition about deciphering the Betting Forecast, there are some races which we can confidently whittle down to a handful of principles. From these principles we can select one or more horse who we feel has the greater chance of placing

Using the Racing Post

The experts in The Racing Post can also point us in the direction of more fancied horses, especially in imponderables such as big field handicaps. Look also for the Postdata table which can help show the horses recent form/ability in comparison to other horses in the field. Spotlight’s synopsis of the horses can also give us a few clues as to whether it is expected to run well or not.


The number of selections a certain horse gets from the tipsters who make up the selections box in The Racing Post can also swing you towards, or away from, a potential selection. The more tips a horse has, the better chance it has of placing. If a horse has no tips or, 1 tip, this indicates that the “professionals” don’t fancy that horse.

Eliminate The Negative

Do you have a lay system which has a fair strike rate? If so, strike out those selections from your possible place-only picks. The handicap system on page 3 is ideally suited as its strike rate in finding unplaced horses in handicap races is very impressive.

A Placepot Example – Wolverhampton 14/08/06

RACE 1 BETTING FORECAST: 5/2 Tipsy Prince, 9/2 Call Me Rosy, Fen Dream, 13/2 Madam Gaffer, 12/1 Avoncreek, Iron Dancer, Pertemps Networks, Social Rhythm, 16/1 Mister Always, 20/1 Perfect Style, 33/1 Only A Splash.

Looking at this betting forecast it’s clear that Tipsy Prince is obviously fancied. There is a slight price gap to Call Me Rosy at 9/2 and Fen Dream at 9/2. Master Gaffer at 13/2 is next best. Then there is a 6 point gap to Avon Creek. This 6-point gap interests me as it puts distance between the first 4 in the betting market and the next group of horses.

Alas, this is a crude method of analysing the races, as I firmly believe that the live betting market is the key, but with Placepot betting where we must get our bet on before race 1, the live market is out of bounds.

In this particular race, I would be relatively confident about Tipsy Prince. As the horse is not a banker bet by any means, perhaps we can afford, in this race, to choose another of the first 4 as our selection.

Fen Dream is positively spoken of by Spotlight and, as joint 2nd in the betting would be my selection here.

Result: None of the horses placed. Tipsy Prince drifted out to 5/1 but I selected the horse without this knowledge! This shows how important the live market can be, and why our inability to use it in Placepot betting is a major negative!

RACE 2 BETTING FORECAST: 2/1 Beauchamp Viceroy, 7/2 Nepos, 9/2 Convivial Spirit, 5/1 Baylini, 12/1 Dream Eile, 14/1 Final Dynasty, 16/1 Brave Quest, 20/1 Hidden Ace, 33/1 Aggbag, Fine Leg.

Using our betting forecast analysis, the first 4 in the betting, in race 2, are clear by 7+ points from the next group of horses. It is hoped that Hidden Ace onwards can be ignored. We must account for the race type when determining our Placepot selections, and here Final Dynasty and Brave Quest are the debutants in this 2-year-old maiden. Beauchamp Viceroy was 2nd last time out, but has only ran once. Beauchamp Viceroy under Frankie looks a good place only call here. Beauchamp Viceroy under Frankie Dettori obliges, but my Placepot is down already! The key to Placepot success is choosing the right card with the right races.

RACE 3 BETTING FORECAST: 7/4 He´s A Star, 2/1 Woolly Back, 5/1 Dubonai, 12/1 Lord Of Methley, Molly´s Secret, Tuscany Rose, 20/1 Skin Sure Thing, 33/1 Mr Strowger,

This is a selling race so is not an ideal betting medium. Again there are 2 clear market leaders with a 3 point gap to the next and a 7 point gap to Lord of Methley. In this 8-runner race, we must select a horse which will finish in the first 3. With He’s a Star returning from a 65 day lay off and Dubonai coming back after 129 days, I will select Woolly Back to be placed. Again we can confirm before race 1 starts, via  the confidence or otherwise behind the main protagonists and back the one who has shortened in price mid-morning.

Woolly Back placed 2nd here so it’s 2 out of 3 but I still don’t win the Placepot!

RACE 4 BETTING FORECAST: 11/4 Cesc, 7/2 Easy Lover, 4/1 Billy Dane, 7/1 Intersky Sports, 8/1 Beau Sancy, 12/1 Goose Green, 14/1 Soffooh, 16/1 Everyman, 20/1 Fasuby, 33/1 Spinning Game.

The betting forecast indicates a very difficult race. We should look to include multiple selections, perhaps 3 in this race. There is a slight price gap from Billy Dane to Intersky Sports. With 11/4 the field the favourite is not rock solid. If you read Spotlight’s snippets, Cesc runs under a penalty. I will include Billy Dane with Frankie Dettori on board, Beau Sancy, if the horse’s price on’s early morning prices, has shortened, and Easy Lover, the Spotlight choice

Billy Dane wins and Easy Lover comes 3rd, BUT I still don’t win the Placepot!

RACE 5 – BETTING FORECAST: 5/1Underscore, 11/2 Golden Alchemist, 6/1 Rosein, Vienna´s Boy, 7/1 Magic Rush, 8/1 Mistral Sky, 10/1 Joyeaux, 12/1 Bessemer, Thunderwing, 14/1 Pommes Frites, 16/1 The Crooked Ring, 20/1 Lord Of The East.

This is a handicap, 5/1 the field indicating it’s wide open, so is the most difficult race so far. This is where we can discount the first 2 in the betting in such a race. With the outsider at only 20/1 this really is tight. The first 5 are covered by 3 points, the next 5 by 6 points. The early prices will perhaps be key here in this type of race. If there is mention of the draw this can be a factor in our choices. Perhaps we could automatically discount the horse with the worst draw, although this is 7 furlongs. I will discount the horses in draw 10/11/and 12 – Lord of the East, Thunderwing, and Pommes Frites. Rosein, Vienna’s boy and Magic Rush interest me as the 3rd/4th and 5th selections in the betting forecast. I have decided on multiple entries because this is a tricky handicap race.

Magic Rush wins at 7/1 and Vienna’s Boy 3rd, BUT, yet again, I fell at the first hurdle!

RACE 6 – BETTING FORECAST: 9/2 Ice And Fire, 5/1 Lysander´s Quest, 11/2 Swords, 6/1 Star Rising, 8/1 Aristi, 10/1 Irish Ballad, Trials ´n Tribs, 16/1 Indian Chase, Lets Try Again, Scurra, 20/1 Johnny Alljays, Shingle Street, 25/1 Step Perfect.

Another difficult Placepot scuppering handicap race. Lysander’s Quest has finished in the frame on his last 2 runs and is provisional 2nd favourite. I will select this horse in the hope that the form remains. There are no real clues anywhere else so I will hope that the bigger priced horses run as their odds indicate. The prices from the favourite to the 16/1 horses is 5 and a1/2 points. There are 3 tiers: 9/2, 5/1, 11/2 and 6/1 being the first tier – all prices very close together, then 8/1 clear on its own, and 10/1 twice. I want to select a horse from each tier, and here I’m afraid luck will play a greater part than judgment. I will select Lysander’s Quest from tier 1, Aristi from tier 2 and Irish Ballad from tier 3.

Result? Irish Ballad came 2nd for another place. An interesting first try on the Placepot. With better race cards my first winning Placepot may not be far away!

Irish Ballad comes second in this race. Had you read the Patriarch’s follow the money article prior to the race, you would have noticed that Irish Ballad, at 10/1 in the betting forecast, opened up at 5/1, and hence became a bet. Alas, I didn’t have this knowledge.

CONCLUSION – 5 from 6 – not bad for a first try at the Placepot. Looks like the key ingredients must include a large dollop of luck!

How to calculate your bets

Perming more than 1 selection per race is perhaps the best way to proceed, and it’s simplicity itself. Taking the above examples

RACE 1 – 2 selections RACE 2 – 1 selection RACE 3 – 1 selection RACE 4 – 2 selections RACE 5 – 3 selections RACE 6 – 3 selections

My total number of bets are 2x1x1x2x3x3 = 36 bets at 10p a bet =£3.60. The stake can be whatever you feel comfortable with. You can also include more selections as your wallet and confidence dictates. If you feel that a particular meeting looks easier to predict, you can perhaps reduce the number of selections and hence the number of bets you need to pay for.

Why Selectivity is the key

I don’t do the Placepot often, but there are occasions where I can go through the race card at a particular meeting and say to myself “There are a few horses in each race that I would consider backing to win/ for a place/in a dutch/ each way”. On these occasions (and they are infrequent) the Placepot bet is worth pursuing.

I hope this can provide you with some inspiration to create your own Placepot method of selection. I have deliberately chosen a difficult card on the all weather, and would recommend patience if you want to play the Placepot, and look for those days where you actually fancy one or 2 horses in separate races, and would consider betting these horses independently.


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