Pricewise – an Analysis

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Pricewise is a column which appears in the Racing Post on Saturdays and other big race days. Tom Segal picks the horses he thinks are the best value at the advertised bookie odds, usually for the most difficult races of the day. It is important to realise that the prime object of the column is to pick out the VALUE, not necessarily the winner. Good value bets will automatically return a profit over time. There is no indication as to HOW he comes to the conclusion that a given bet is good value.Having read the headline on the front page of the Racing Post on Sat 9th July “Pricewise 116 points profit this year”, and noticed several of his winners myself, I decided to do an analysis of all of his selections and see what happened. I was aware that this impressive profit included winners at 50-1, 33-1 and 25-1.

Prices quoted at the bookies are usually available for a very short time at 8.30am on the morning of the race. Do not expect to be allowed very much at all – these bets can be quite large arbs and the prices are often quite big too. Consistent backing of Pricewise arbs will see your accounts limited very quickly, win or lose.

The following table lists all the Pricewise horses between 1st July and 20th August 2011. It is not unusual for there to be more than one selection in a race. “Gen” means 3 or more bookies have the best price. PM = Pari-mutuel (tote) odds, no SP available.

WARNING: 61 races is a very small sample. The figures here back up the claim that Pricewise is profitable, but past results and trends are not always carried forward to the future.

Date Race Selection Odds and bookies Result SP Possible Trading Result

(Back early and wait for it to shorten)*

Sat 2/7/11 2.00 San Pastoral Player 6-1 Tote, Boyle Unpl 13-2 Probable loss
2.35 San Start Right 8-1 Will, Lads 2nd 11-2 Probable profit
3.25 Hay War Poet 12-1 SJ, 11-1 gen unpl 8-1 Probable profit
Bowdlers Magic 25-1 gen 3rd 16-1 Probable profit
Sun 3/7 4.35 Ham (Ger) Arrigo 7-1 PP Unpl 23-5 PM Liquidity likely to be a problem
Thu 7/7 2.25 Newm Fulgur 10-1 gen WON 7-1 Probable profit
3.00 Newm Afsare 5-1 gen Unpl 6-1 Probable loss
Fri 8/7 1.50 Newm What About You 25-1 gen Unpl 16-1 Probable profit
3.00 Newm I’m A Dreamer 14-1 Tote Unpl 9-1 Probable profit
Memory 11-1 Coral Unpl 8-1 Probable profit
Sat 9/7 2.40 York Rock A Doodle Doo 8-1 Lads Unpl 5-1F Probable profit
Eternal Heart 9-1 Will, Boyle Unpl 7-1 Possible profit
2.55 Newm Striking Spirit 12-1 gen Unpl 8-1 Probable profit
3.15 York Pekan Star 5-1 Will Unpl 3-1F Probable profit
Thu 14/7 6.50 Long (Fr) Reliable Man 11-4 gen 3rd 2-1F Liquidity likely to be a problem
Sat 16/7 3.30 Newb Sweet Chili 16-1 B365, Lads Unpl 11-1 Probable profit
Ponty Acclaim 14-1 B365, Lad Unpl 14-1 Probable loss
Sun 17/7 3.45 Cur Laughing Lashes 14-1 gen Unpl 15-2 Probable profit
4.50 Cur Collingwood 12-1 PP Unpl 8-1 Probable profit
Maarek 12-1 B365, Boyle Unpl 5-1 Probable profit
Sat 23/7 3.40 York Hoof It 6-1 Lads WON 3-1F Probable profit
3.50 Asc Noble Citizen 14-1 gen 3rd 12-1 Possible profit
Tue 26/7 2.00 Good Forte dei Marmi 12-1 B365, SJ, 11-1 gen Unpl 11-1 Probable loss
Mirrored 28-1 B365, 25-1 PP Unpl 16-1 Probable profit
2.35 Good Slumber 5-1 B365, Will Unpl 4-1 Possible profit
6.45 Gal Defining Year 10-1 gen 3rd 8-1 Probable profit
Wed 27/7 2.00 Good My Arch 16-1 gen Unpl 10-1 Probable profit
3.45 Good Four Nations 7-1 gen Unpl 9-2 Probable profit
5.25 Gal Dr Whizz 14-1 gen Unpl 12-1 Possible profit
Thu 28/7 2.15 Good Labarinto 7-1 B365, 13-2 gen WON 4-1 Probable profit
3.15 Good Fox Hunt 9-1 gen Unpl 5-1 Probable profit
4.50 Good Great Dirar 9-1 gen 3rd 7-1 Probable profit
Foster’s Cross 16-1 gen 2nd 12-1 Probable profit
Fri 29/7 2.35 Good Tazahum 11-2 Fred Unpl 4-1 Probable profit
3.10 Good Riggins 14-1 B365, Coral Unpl 16-1 Probable loss
Proponent 20-1 gen 2nd 14-1 Probable profit
Sat 30/7 2.05 Good Noverre To Go 33-1 Will Unpl 14-1 Probable profit
Dubai Media 25-1 gen Unpl 12-1 Probable profit
3.45 Good Macs Power 10-1 Will, Lads 3rd 13-2 Probable profit
Colonel Mak 20-1 Boyle, 16-1 gen Unpl 12-1 Probable profit
Sat 6/8 12.50 Asc Swift Gift 7-1 gen Unpl 4-1F Probable profit
2.00 Asc Dungannon 6-1 Fred, Lads WON 7-2 Probable profit
Sun 7/8 2.45 Deau (Fr) Moonlight Cloud 12-1 gen WON 9-1 Liquidity likely to be a problem
4.05 Cur Gatepost 8-1 gen Unpl 5-1 Probable profit
Sat 13/8 3.20 Newm Blanche Dubawi 10-1 gen Unpl 13-2F Probable profit
Bertiewhittle 14-1 gen WON 8-1 Probable profit
3.30 Rip Waffle 14-1 Will, Lads Unpl 9-1 Probable profit
Evens and Odds 25-1 gen Unpl 16-1 Probable profit
Mon 15/8 2.55 Deau (Fr) Planteur 14-1 gen Unpl 10-1 PM Liquidity likely to be a problem

Immortal Verse 16-1 PP WON 19-1 PM Liquidity likely to be a problem
Wed 17/8 2.00 York Rain Delayed 33-1 gen Unpl 18-1 Probable profit
3.05 York Namibian 5-1 Coral Unpl 9-2 Possible profit
Thu 18/8 2.30 York Fire Lily 7-1 gen 2nd 4-1 Probable profit
3.05 York Harrison George 12-1 gen Unpl 9-1 Probable profit
Fri 19/8 2.00 York Warlu Way 14-1 gen Unpl 12-1 Possible profit
2.30 York Sardanapalus 11-1 Coral Unpl 9-1 Probable profit
3.40 York Requito 8-1 Coral Unpl 5-1 Probable profit
Sat 20/8 2.15 San Fallen Idol 9-1 gen WON 15-2 NRs 6.3%, 5.8% trading at 9.6 5 min before the race.
Malthouse 10-1 Will Unpl 5-1 ditto, trading at 6.8 to lay 5 min before race.
2.30 York Thubiaan 16-1 Boyle, 14-1 gen Unpl 8-1F available at 11 to lay before race.
3.40 York Mount Athos 12-1 gen Unpl 10-1 trading steadily at 12 or 12.5 all morning, drifted later (last price I saw on Betfair was 20).

*Please note that almost all the Betfair prices were not available and these may differ considerably from the SP near the off.

61 selections during this period with 8 winners, a strike rate of just over 1 in 8. IMPORTANT – a strike rate of 1 in 8 will give frequent long losing runs of 20 or more. If you are punting these you must be prepared for huge swings and large losses at times, hopefully offset by occasional big priced wins. A level £1 stake on each selection at the suggested prices would have netted £27 profit (44% ROI). The problem with this is that it is not at all easy to get bets on at these prices, and you may not have access to the bookie with the best odds. Surprisingly, a level £1 stake at SP (or PM if SP was not available) would have netted a profit of £8. I would not have expected a profit from these bets at SP as SP is not a value bet.

Another interesting result of this analysis is the number of horses that started at much shorter prices than the Pricewise odds. This highlights a possible trading opportunity, backing the horses early and trading out near the off (or at some point during the day). I do not have any Betfair data for the prices on these horses, and clearly some of the prices will be falsely short after non runners. If you are considering trading these, please be aware that the prices available on Betfair in the morning are likely to be shorter than the best odds (arbs), and that the SP may be rather shorter than the lowest price available on Betfair. (For evidence see the available Betfair odds on Thubiaan, which were probably 12 to back in the morning and 10 at best before the off, yet the prices quoted were 16-1 in the morning and 8-1 SP). I cannot therefore make a sensible detailed analysis of the trading opportunities and if you decide to pursue this it is at your own risk. (On today’s evidence this would not be too good an idea – Thubiaan, probably 12 to back on Betfair in the morning and 10 at best before the off, was quoted at 16-1 in the morning and 8-1 SP, and Mount Athos drifted out to 20 before the Ebor, but remained at 10-1 at the bookies).

Finally you need to be aware that these selections are published in the Racing Post and it is quite hard to get hold of them without paying for the paper (or the online version). The Racing Post is not cheap at £1.80 (£2 on a Saturday) and it is not always obvious which days will feature Pricewise. The 2 French winners, Moonlight Cloud and Immortal Verse, may well have slipped through the net if you only bought the paper on Saturdays and big race days or if you stuck to UK races and that would have made a big hole in the profits.


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