Rays Lays FAQs

Below are some of the questions which have most frequently been asked regarding the RaysLays system , and which if you read through will give you a better understanding of it, including how much to stake and when.

Q : How are the selections arrived at?

A : I’ve tried quite a few laying systems in my time – most are rubbish, though there are a few decent ones around. Many imply that laying horses on Betfair is a license to print money, which of course it isn’t. The starting price on the exchanges is generally at least 5% or 10% higher than with bookmakers, and usually a lot more for outsiders. And even if the horse doesn’t win, you’ve got to pay 5% commission on your stake.

For many years I’ve worked as an analyst and programmer on various relational databases. I maintain my own database of all the horse racing results going back to before 2000. I also keep a record of Betfair prices for all horses since 2008, when they started making their historical prices available.

I developed software to utilise this data and which looked for patterns which showed a good profit when laying horses. There are so many factors involved for each horse in a race – form, fitness, suitability of going, suitability of the course, suitability of the distance, type of race, trainer form, jockey etc etc that there are patterns, but they’re not easy to spot without the software to search for them. So you could probably describe it as data mining.

In most instances, for a horse to qualify as a lay selection, it is has to pass, or should that be fail, several tests. For example, it may be trying to do something horses generally find difficult to achieve, the horse itself has been unable to achieve previously, and the trainer has a poor record of achieving.

What I’ve ended up with is a system which up until now has been producing a nice profit long-term, but which is not a get-rich-quick scheme, though hopefully it’s a get richer slowly but steadily one.


Q : I’d like to know what you feel is the minimum starting bank using the £100 liability setting?  In the trial you started with £500, is this enough?

A : If you have experience of financial trading, the first thing you’re taught is that your first priority should always be the preservation of your capital, and that’s the way it should be in the fields of sports and horse-race betting also. As regards a starting bank, I’d say £500 was more than adequate as a bank in general. It depends what you feel comfortable with in terms of the amount of money you’re risking and therefore prepared to lose on each selection.

However, personally I’d never risk losing more than 10% of my bank on any one selection. So I would not risk losing £100 if my starting bank was £500. Either I’d risk £50 or have a larger bank eg £1,000. We just made the original starting bank £500 for each of the three plans in the illustration to make them directly comparable (it’s now been changed to £1,000).  Although one of the staking plans uses 10% liability as an example, if you wanted to be more conservative you could just risk losing 5% of your bank. If you use the 5% or 10% method, then your liability in terms of amount gradually increases or decreases with time, dependant on how the system is doing.

Q : When is the best time to place the bets?

A : There’s no perfect answer to this. If the market is well-formed ie. best back and lay prices are close together and there is a fair bit of money available at the prices, then if the horse is drifting out in price it would probably be best to lay at that point. In case you don’t know, you can tell if the price is shortening or lengthening by clicking on the little graph to the left of the horse’s details on Betfair. Similarly if it’s shortening then best to wait until closer to the off. The market really takes off about ten minutes before race time, due in large part to what people think of the horse in the paddock. The same comment would apply at this point – if its odds are shortening up, hold off, if it’s lengthening, lay it then. But you can always get sudden reversals in the last couple of minutes before the off.

If you’re not going to be around at the time of the race then Betfair SP is fine, or you could consider using a bot.

If you want to see what the projected Betfair SP is, there’s a little “More Options” indicator just above and to the right of the pink box that reads “Lay”. If you click that, and then click the Projected Odds (SP) radio button to on, this will tell you what the projected Betfair SP is at any time.

So if you work at it, you can probably achieve slightly better returns than are shown on the results spreadsheet. For example, in addition to the horses on there, there have been three other horses whose odds drifted out beyond 10.0, so became non-bets. But I know some people took the earlier odds, when they were a lot less than 10, and none of them placed.

The rule we have is don’t lay the horse if it’s odds are greater than 10.0.