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System Builder Help Content

Getting startedTabsFunctions Videos
Systems Basics
Welcome to the System Builder V4
Builder Categories
Records in the Builder
Fast Start Feature
Simple Stats
Recalling a Saved System
Automatic Load From Race Cards/Results/Data
Trends Transfer
My Systems Help
Overview Tab
Add/Edit Tab
Breakdown Tab
Stats Tab
Quals Tab
Now Tab
E/W Tab
Staking Tab
Save Tab
Dig Tab
Sliders Tab
Use Tab
Ratings Tab
Static & Non Static Categories
NOT option
Using text boxes to enter values
V4 Builder - Add/Edit/Delete criteria
V4 Builder - Breakdown tab
V4 Builder - Calculations
V4 Builder - Favourite Categories Set Up
V4 Builder - Now Tab
V4 Builder - Static/Non Static Criteria

Further help on horse racing systems is available here (v3 help page).

Systems Basics

A system can be defined as a formulated, regular, or special method or plan of procedure. A horse racing system follows the same principle. People often believe horse racing systems are complex, but actually they can be extremely simple. If you consistently back every selection that meets a certain set of criteria, then this is a horse racing system. Of course, a profitable system is the aim! The HorseRaceBase System Builder V4 is designed to assist those wishing to find a longer term betting strategy and is an invaluable tool for anyone interested in horse racing systems. It allows you to perform extremely complex and indepth operations on a huge amount of data instantly!

V4 Help Menu

Welcome to the System Builder V4

Version 4 includes some huge enhancements based on member feedback, including -

Please be aware of the following -

Select All Options

A common request in the v3 builder was a select all option. In other words tick all the boxes listing criteria for a category. This has now been replaced with the addition of the NOT option (you will never need to tick more than half the boxes).

Odds in the V4 Builder

Taking account of the introduction of Betfair SP and to avoid confusion, all odds in the v4 System Builder are presented as numerical including the stake - for example 4/1 would be displayed as 5.00. This format will be available throughout the site in due course.

V4 Help Menu

Simple Stats

Initially created for the v3 Builder, this feature has been adjusted to allow transfer to the v4 set up. Simply follow the on-screen instructions and then click V4 to load the data.

V4 Help Menu

Fast Start Feature

Designed to be as simple as possible to use, the Fast Start Feature lists the most commonly used categories/criteria when system building. It can be used primarily for the two following purposes.

  1. Building extremely simple systems.
  2. As a start point for a more complex system.

Initially the options are all set to include everything, in other words if you did not make any changes to the page then your system would involve backing every horse in every race!

To apply the criteria you require, simply change the set criteria in any of the areas as required, for example if you wanted to include Horses who had won at the track you would go to the Horse Form section and change the dropdown beside Form at Track to "Track Winners - horse has previously won at the Track".

When you have finished setting your criteria just press the Go button. You will be presented with the performance of your system in the V4 Builder. Should you wish you can use the tabs to analyse or refine the system further. Users of the Fast Start Feature should be aware of the following -

  • Items included in the Fast Start feature are based on user feedback.
  • For systems requiring more complicated criteria, you should use the Add/Edit Tab.
  • The criteria you have specified will be confirmed in the Overview tab of the V4 Builder after you have clicked Go. In some cases the way it is displayed may differ from the 'easy to use' descriptions in the Fast Start Feature.
V4 Help Menu

Records in the v4 Builder

All UK and Irish races since 2003 are in the Builder. Trends go back as far as 1997. Records for the previous days racing are loaded to the V4 Builder as early as possible the following day, after a rigorous checking procedure on all the various categories. The current last date in the Builder is - 24th February 2024

V4 Help Menu

Recalling a Saved System

You can recall a Saved System to the builder for further editing or to use as the start point of another system. To do so follow these steps.

  1. Go to My Systems.
  2. Scroll through your systems and click the appropriate Recall button.

Your system will only be updated if you save it. Failure to do so will mean no changes are recorded.

V4 Help Menu

Automatic Load From Race Cards/Results/Data

Quite often you may be studying the form or analysing the result of a particular race/individual and decide it would be advantageous to investigate some particular aspect of similar races. The Automatic Load features available in all race cards and results make doing so a quick step. To get to the Automatic Load area click the V4 tab in any race card, result, jockey, horse, trainer, stallion or dam and you will be presented with a list of available options. Choose the criteria you wish to automatically load in and confirm, it will then be loaded as a start point in the v4 Builder.

V4 Help Menu

Trends Transfer

The Big Race Trends section can be used to analyse hundreds of valuable races using the complete database back to 1997. To transfer click the Query tab in any Big Race and then choose the V4 option. As an exception to all other queries in the Builder, trends can be analysed for all years since 1997.

V4 Help Menu

Overview Tab

When you first access the V4 Builder you will be on the Overview tab. If you are starting a new system you will be presented with some available options for getting started. For help with these options please see the Getting Started submenu.

If you have criteria specified in your system then you will be shown how many categories are currently set and when appropriate shown some statistics of the performance of your system. You will also be displayed a list of each set category with the criteria displayed alongside. Each category has beside it a red x, which you can use to remove (delete) that specification. There is additionally a small pencil image, which allows you to edit the criteria for the category.

V4 Help Menu

Add/Edit Tab

The Add area is for adding known data specifications to your system. Available system categories are grouped together and presented with a checkbox beside each - you can hover over any category for more details. Each of the categories are bracketed into a Data Type heading (such as Stallion Data), it is important to be aware of the category you are using and to be sure it does as you wish - for a brief help snippet hover over the category.

The two step process is as follows

  1. Tick all the categories you want to specify data for, then press enter or click the Go button at the bottom of the page.
  2. Complete the subsequent form as appropriate and then again press Go.
  • Example - If you know that you wish to specify Top Weights in Handicaps at Bath, you would tick the categories - Track, Handicap/Non & Weight v Max. You would then proceed to the next page, which will ask you to complete the criteria by filling in the form - In this example you would tick Bath, Handicaps and set both dropdowns for Weight v Max to Top Weight.
  • Tick all the categories you wish to add criteria for. Example if you wish to specify Tony McCoy in 2 mile races at Cheltenham you would tick Jockey, Track and Race Distance then press GO
V4 Help Menu

Breakdown Tab

This area is used to show detailed analysis of your system criteria by categories of your choosing. You can select up to ten categories by ticking the boxes. After you press Go you will be presented with the appropriate breakdowns.

The Breakdown tab is an extremely powerful tool, using it you can break down any set of criteria by any category. To clarify this - it does not matter what criteria you have set in your system, it can literally be anything. Using Track as an example, here are a couple of scenarios to further illustrate the point.
1 - Your criteria is Favourites. The Track breakdown shows statistics for favourites by Track.
2 - Your criteria is 3 year olds, ridden by a claimer who won last time out. The Track breakdown shows how many 3 year olds were ridden by a claimer and won their last race at each race track alongside how they performed.

Obviously the purpose of the breakdown is to try and identify key statistics giving a potential advantage when future runners share the same characteristics. It is highly likely you may wish to break the data down several times, adding in information as you proceed (or in many cases realising there is nothing relevant so simply ignoring).

You choose the categories you wish to break the data down by following the same process as the Add/Edit area (ticking appropriate categories). If you choose only 1 category there are options to select criteria and add it in to your system. If you choose several (up to 10) there will be an option alongside each breakdown to 'Close In' (where criteria can then be set).

The breakdown presentation is in accordance with the calculations you have specified in the Customise area. The page can be reloaded to change the data display, for example by sorting it in a certain manner or by stating only criteria producing a certain number of qualifiers is shown. For certain types of data such as number of runners, percentage categories and prize money there are numerous groupings that can be used to break the data down (via the group by dropdown).

The Breakdown(s) displayed apply the system rules you have specified and show analysis of each of the variables of the chosen category that have produced qualifiers. The data shown uses your settings in the customise area & the Apply & Reload form can also be used. As an example if you have system rules stating UK,favourites and choose to breakdown Track, the analysis displayed is for performance of favourites at each race track in the UK.

If you decide you wish to add some of the criteria in to your system, you do so by either ticking boxes or setting the minimum and maximum range (depending on the category). Upon completion you will return to the Overview tab and your system criteria will have been updated.

Breakdown Tab - Include Unset Option

The 'Include Unset' option appears when you breakdown a category that you have criteria already set for. It gives you the option of breaking down all criteria to see performance of both your currently set criteria as well as the criteria not included. For example if you had set the criteria for Tracks as Fontwell and Hexham and choose to breakdown by Tracks, initially only these tracks will be included in the breakdown - choosing 'Include Unset' will mean all tracks are included in the breakdown. At present this option appears in the options box of the Breakdown tab for single category breakdowns of Tracks, Jockeys, Trainers or Stallions only.

V4 Help Menu

Stats Tab

As expected the Stats tab shows statistics for the criteria you have set in the System. The presentation is in accordance with the calculations you have specified in the Customise area. There are three sub-areas within the Stats tab. These are -

  • Main - The overall statistics of the System and a breakdown by year.
  • Timeline - More detailed date breakdown, including by quarter and by month.
  • Season - Analysis by Flat, All Weather and National Hunt seasons (where appropriate).
  • Performance - Analysis of longest winning & losing runs. Statistics showing best, worst and average days, weeks, months and years for several scenarios (each table clearly states the contents therein).
V4 Help Menu

Qualifiers Tab

You may wish to have a look at the horses who have ran previously meeting the criteria you have set in your system. These can be viewed and downloaded from within the Qualifiers tab. The presentation shows data relating to each of the qualifiers such as the starting price, the race date etc. Where appropriate the data will be presented as a link, which if clicked will open up a new page with the relevant full record (for example click a jockey's name and his full record will open in a new window).

Qualifiers are shown 200 at a time, there are Next and Previous buttons at the foot of the page to navigate through the records. If you prefer to download the qualifiers, there are two options available. Click either the CSV or Excel button and the data will be transferred to the appropriate file type of your choosing. Note the number of qualifiers included in your download is dependent on your account type.

V4 Help Menu

Now Tab

The Now tab shows qualifiers due to run in races scheduled for today and tomorrow (once the next days races have been loaded to the site). It is vital to be aware the qualifiers listed are based on what is known at the time (see the Static/Non/Static help section). As with other tabs in the Builder to be a qualifier a horse must meet ALL the criteria specified in your system.

V4 Help Menu

Each Way Tab

A traditional betting option revolves around backing horses each way. This is when you place 2 points on the selection, one as a win bet and one as a place bet. The place terms in use vary by race. This tab shows the return you would have made had you backed all the selections each way. The official starting price is used for this calculation.

There are a couple of options you can use for further personalisation - these are the minimum odds you would back at (it is unlikely you would back a short priced runner each way) and the minimum number of runners in the race (small fields pay less places).The statistics are shown for backing all, handicaps only and non handicaps only.

V4 Help Menu

Staking Tab

Some systems can provide better returns when applying a staking plan. In this area a selection of plans can be accessed and applied to your system by following the on screen instructions. A short description of each of the plans is below -

  • Level% - A set percentage of the bank is used as a stake for each bet. Example if you are backing and set percentage as 1% and start bank as 100 then the stake is 1, if selection lost the next stake would be 0.99 etc
V4 Help Menu

Save Tab

When accessing this tab it is to save your system or apply changes you have made to an existing system.

    There are instruction at each stage, the options as below.
  • Choose an available slot - select one of your slots from the dropdown menu that you wish to save the system to.
  • Give your System an appropriate name - type a name for your system into the text box, it should be something simple to help you identify it.
  • Set the initial status of this system - these two dropdowns allow you to mark the system for your own records. Active or Not Active will decide if you want matching qualifiers to appear in the qualifiers page or daily email. Marking as a backing or laying system lets you apply this when viewing qualifiers. These options are particularly useful if you have several systems.
  • Enter System Notes (optional) - typing notes for your own future reference can be useful, typing them in to this area will automatically add them.
V4 Help Menu

Dig Tab

You can analyse multiple categories with the digger feature. By taking the existing system criteria you have already set and analysing your chosen categories you can instantly create a report to help analyse and spot horse racing trends or patterns. This is done by bracketing data into segments, for some of the categories this is straightforward (such as jockey) as the programme can simply separate by each criteria type, for others (such as odds) a more complicated behind the scenes procedure is required in order to provide meaningful stats

Lets take an example to show what the digger does. If you had set your existing criteria as trainers Richard Hannon or Aidan OBrien & jockeys Richard Hughes or Johnny Murtagh and chose to break down (dig) by Going/Track/Distance what you would be searching on is -

  • Hannon/Hughes - all combinations of Going/Track/Distance
  • Hannon/Murtagh - all combinations of Going/Track/Distance
  • OBrien/Hughes - all combinations of Going/Track/Distance
  • OBrien/Murtagh - all combinations of Going/Track/Distance

When starting the digger you need to choose between 2 and 7 categories and apply settings to two important factors. Sort By which stipulates the order data will be displayed to you and Min Qualifiers, which tells HorseRaceBase the number of qualifying horses (those who match all criteria) required before it should be included in the output.

Each time you click Run you will open a new page and automatically be at the stats tab. This is to quickly offer opportunity to analyse whether it is of further interest to you.

V4 Help Menu

Sliders Tab

Sliders allows you to test the criteria of the categories set, which are using a between range. For each appropriate category you are presented with 4 "sliders", clicking any will instantly change and update the performance of the system criteria, which is always shown at the top.

For example, if you had Race Distance set as part of your system criteria with values of Between 6f and 7f you will have 4 "sliders" avaliable - the values will be 5.5 furlongs, 6.5 furlongs, 6.5 furlongs and 7.5 furlongs. Going through each of these in turn, is the easiest way to explain.

  • Slider 1 - 5.5 furlongs. This will change your Race Distance criteria to Between 5.5 furlongs and 7 furlongs
  • Slider 2 - 6.5 furlongs. This will change your Race Distance criteria to Between 6.5 furlongs and 7 furlongs
  • Slider 3 - 6.5 furlongs. This will change your Race Distance criteria to Between 6 furlongs and 6.5 furlongs
  • Slider 4 - 7.5 furlongs. This will change your Race Distance criteria to Between 6 furlongs and 7.5 furlongs

The advantage of the Sliders function is you can quickly test different ranges and immediately view how it affects the system performance and in the process maximise the potential of your system. Below are some further notes and points to be aware of.

V4 Help Menu

Use Tab

The Use Races is an advanced facility allowing you to use the races in your system and then start a new system with only them in it. An example would be if you had chosen all races with an odds on shot in them as your system. Use Races would mean you could then apply a filter to see how Second Favs got on in these races. Another example would be if you had chosen a certain trainer and then Use Races. You could then see how other trainers got on against him.

V4 Help Menu

Ratings Tab

A common request is to include HRB Standard and other Ratings Machine ratings within systems. This is regrettably not possible as categories just yet. This option however does allow you to set up a system and then transfer the settings into the Ratings Machine to test how your ratings would have performed when applied. Further options will be added in due course.

V4 Help Menu

The "NOT" Option

It may be the case your criteria is easier applied by stating the category DOES NOT equal something, rather than the normal way of stating it does. For example if your system includes a certain trainer but you only wish to include horses not ridden by the main stable jockey this is far easier to set up by stating "Jockey IS NOT X" instead of "Jockey equals A,B,C,D,E,F etc etc". Another example is if you wish to include all tracks in your system except Kempton and Newbury, it is easiest to set this up as "Track - NOT Kempton, Newbury" rather than listing all the other tracks. The NOT Option should be straight forward to understand but here are some further points to be aware of.

  • Categories that only have a few options (for example Favouritism) do not have a NOT option as it would be pointless.
  • Everything other than the values specified in the NOT rule are included in your system criteria. As an example if you have specified the race distance is NOT between 6f and 1 mile then all race distances below 6f and all distances above 1 mile ARE included
V4 Help Menu

Using text boxes to enter values

In certain categories, entering values is done by manually typing into a textbox. The reason is there are a huge number of possible values. For example Betfair SP has a massive range and a dropdown box with 1.01,1.02....1.99,2.00,2.01 etc etc would not be user friendly and as I do not wish to limit the users input, text boxes are used. To set your criteria just enter the appropriate numeric values in the boxes. Note that entering invalid characters will cause an error and the automatic removal of the criteria.

V4 Help Menu


For various reasons certain categories have restrictions in place. Please be aware of these restrictions.

  • Date Restriction 28th December 2011 - the following categories are currently only compiled as far back as this date and an enforced rule will be put in place for all systems including any of these categories.
  • Date Restriction 1st July 2012 - the following categories are currently only compiled as far back as this date and an enforced rule will be put in place for all systems including any of these categories.
  • Date Restriction 1st January 2003 - Stallion and Dam data. Every horse who has had a run since 1st January 2003 has records for Dam and Stallion complete. The period of some tests cover months prior to the race, therefore you should not rely on stats that may cover a period of time prior to 2003 (as I dont have all stallion/dam data for 2002 and prior) - it is recommended (but not enforced) that you include data from 2004 onwards.

V4 Help Menu

Calculations in the System Builder

As part of the customise area you choose the calculations you wish to see in different areas of the System Builder. The calculations all work on the basis you would have placed a selection on every horse matching specifications. All available calculations are listed below with a description of each, for any exchange calculations it is vital to be aware Betfair SP came into effect on 13th December 2007 for UK Win Bets and 10th February 2008 for Irish Win Bets. For place bets the dates were 18th February 2008 (UK) and 28th February 2008 (Ireland). For dates prior to this then figures of zero will be used (no bet) - originally I was going to use an estimation process for exchange prices prior to this time, however analysis of actual exchange vs official SP show this would ultimately be complete guesswork and totally unreliable because the exchange price vs trade SP varies dramatically depending on so many circumstances and factors, our tests have shown to use a 'guess' for previous data can be very misleading indeed in certain systems and I have therefore chosen not to do so. If you wish to use an estimate process there are various methods you can use including using the percentage difference between 'PL (SP)' and 'PL (BFSP)' for the years there are data or using a standard percentage.

The minimum liability for a bet placed at Betfair SP is £10 for a lay bet and £2 for a back bet (or the currency equivalent in each case). If you wish you can set the units staked for the appropriate calculations using the dropdown menus in the customise calculations area.

Explanation of available calculations
  • Bets - The total number of bets. (Count of all).
  • Wins - The total number of winning bets. (Count of all horses finishing first).
  • Win% - The strike rate of winning selections. (Wins/Bets displayed as a percentage).
  • PL (SP) - The profit/loss assuming a level stake of 1 was placed on all bets using the official starting price. (Sum of all winners starting prices minus stake and minus losses).
  • Places (Std) - The number of selections who placed using standard place terms. (Count of all placed horses).
  • Place% - The strike rate of placed selections. (Places/Bets displayed as a percentage).
  • Races - The number of individual races. (Count of unique races included in the Bets).
  • Race% - The strike rate of races containing the winner. (Count of unique races where the winner was backed divided by Count of unique races).
  • ROI (SP) - The return on investment percentage figure when backing all selections at SP. (Profit/Loss (SP) divided by bets).
  • PL (BFSP) - The profit/loss assuming a level stake of 1 was placed on all bets using Betfair SP. (Sum of the Betfair SP minus stake for all winners minus commission and minus losses).
  • ROI (BF) - The return on investment percentage figure if all selections were backed using Betfair SP. (Same process as SP except using Betfair SP).
  • LAY (BFSP) - The amount you would have returned had you layed all selections at level stakes of 1 using Betfair SP. (Sum of winning lays (1 point) minus commission, minus cost of losing lays).
  • ROI_LAY - The return on investment of laying all selections at Betfair SP. (Profit divided by risk times 100). Using a specific example, there are 3 lays with prices of 4.14, 3.70 and 4.19 meaning the risk is 9.03 (the total amount you would have lost had they all won the race). The selection at 4.14 was unplaced making a profit of 0.95 (1 minus 5% commission). The selection at 3.70 also lost meaning running profit of 1.90. However the lay at 4.19 won the race making a final loss of -1.29 (1.90 minus 3.19). The ROI_LAY figure is thus calculated as -14.28 (Profit of -1.29 divided by Risk of 9.03 multiplied by 100).
  • Places (BF) - The number of winning places using the places paid on Betfair. (Count of paid places on Betfair). Note the difference between this and Places (Std), for differences it is normally the case that a race originally had a certain number of runners and this subsequently changed. Example a race has 16 confirmed entries and is a handicap therefore it is set up to pay 4 places, despite the fact there are subsequently several non-runners the market will continue to offer the same numer of paid places. Also be aware even if you have changed your account settings to ignore wins in place calculations THEY ARE included here as in Betfair place markets winners are regarded as finishing placed.
  • Place% (BF) - The strike rate of winning placed selections on betfair displayed as a percentage. (Count of winning place bets divided by total bets).
  • PLBF (Place) - The same process as PL (BFSP) but using the Betfair Place SP. Note the dates above.
  • Lay (Place) - The same process as Lay (BFSP) but using the Betfair Place SP. Note the dates above.
  • Max Odds - The maximum betfair SP of any selection included in the statistics.
  • A/E BFA/E - A figure based on actual versus expected return. This is calculated as the total number of wins versus the expected number of wins. The expected number is based on the official starting price, for example a horse at 1/10 has an expectancy of 0.91, an Evens money shot has an expectancy of 0.50, 2/1 is an expectancy of 0.33 and 10/1 is an expectancy of 0.09.
  • Chi / BFChi - A calculation used by some people to check whether the system results are 'a fluke' or consistent. There are differing opinions as to how the figures can be used and ultimately it as the users discretion. The exact calculation is as follows (note that ace stands for actual vs expected) runs*power(sum(wins)-sum(ace),2) / (sum(ace) * (runs-sum(ace)))
  • ExpWins / BFExpWins - The number of expected wins as described in the A/E calculation above
  • Avg Win Odds / Avg Win BFSP - The average price of winners in the statistics using either SP or Betfair SP
  • Num_Horses - The number of distinct horses in the statistics. Useful if for example you are using a Dam or Stallion and the same horse may have appeared several times
  • Num_Seconds - The number of times selections finished second
  • SPWAX / BSPWAX - The total number of wins minus the expected wins (as described in the A/E calculation above) using official SP or Betfair SP
  • WAXDIFF - The difference between SPWAX and BSPWAX as above
V4 Help Menu

Static & Non Static Categories

The Builder allows members to save systems and retrieve daily qualifiers in the My Systems area. In this regard, it is vital you are aware which of your categories are static and which are not.

Failure to understand can lead to significant problems. As an example the most difficult category to monitor is Odds because the odds market changes throughout the day and right up to the off. If you check the qualifiers and have a criteria specifying the horse must be exactly Evens - it is unlikely it will stay at that exact price all day and then go off at the same price. Therefore if you checked the qualifiers every hour for this scenario it is highly likely you would see the qualifiers list changing.

To confirm exactly what is meant by Static/Non Static, see the descriptions below -

  • Static Categories - For all categories marked as static the criteria is not open to change. This means your criteria is locked in and there is no area for movement. For example the race track is a static criteria and you can be sure only horses due to run at the track that day will be retrieved. All categories relating to previous races are also static.
  • Non-Static Categories - All categories marked as non-static are subject to change - reasons include non-runners, overweight, odds fluctuation and a change in the going conditions. The information I load on to the site in advance of a days racing is based on what is known at the time and therefore ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure you do not miss or incorrectly back any given horse. An example would be jockey - if you have included Frankie Dettori as a system criteria all horses he is down to ride the night before will be flagged to you but you should always be aware that its possible he may either miss or obtain additional rides after this point.

The following categories should be treated with care when building your horse racing system. This is because the system data may change close to the start of the race and the information provided in advance (qualifiers) may in fact change. Some categories are more likely to change than others so please do read carefully.

CategoryLikelihood of Change & Comments
Jockey & Jockey related categoriesUnlikely - possibility of a jockey change
Odds & Odds related categoriesVery likely - the odds can change dramatically in the hours pre-race.
Going & Going related categoriesUnlikely - the going does sometimes change on the day of the race.
Distance & Distance related categoriesUnlikely - the track do sometimes move the rails very late.
Number of RunnersQuite common - there are always a few non-runners each day.
Weight & Weight related categoriesUnlikely - horse weight can change on the day though.
FavouritesLikely - not quite as bad as the odds category but favouritism status does change a lot from the forecast.
Comparison categoriesQuite common - whenever comparing runners in the race, non-runners can affect the comparison.
V4 Help Menu

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