Chapter 1 - Betfair and Horse Racing

Understanding Betfair and Its Exchange Model

Betfair, launched in 2000, revolutionized the betting industry by introducing the concept of a betting exchange.

Unlike traditional bookmakers, Betfair allows users to bet against each other, effectively cutting out the middleman.

This peer-to-peer betting system means you're not betting against a bookie but against other Betfair users.

Trading isn't just about numbers; it's about passion, intuition, and the thrill of the chase. Start your journey today, and let the racetrack be your guide to limitless possibilities. - Philip Borrowman (Horse Race Trading Creator)

For example, if you believe a horse won't win a race, you can "lay" that horse, meaning you're betting against it winning. If someone else believes the horse will win, they can "back" it. If the horse loses, you win the backer's stake. If the horse wins, you pay out the agreed odds.

A Detailed Example of How the Betting Exchange Works:

Let's take a hypothetical horse race as an example. Imagine there's a horse named "Star Runner" participating in an upcoming race. On Betfair's exchange, you'll see two primary options for every horse: "Back" and "Lay".

  1. Back Bet: This is when you bet on an outcome to happen. For instance, if you believe "Star Runner" will win the race, you can place a back bet. Let's say the odds for "Star Runner" to win are 5.0 (or 4/1 in fractional odds). If you place a £10 back bet at these odds, you stand to win £50 (including your initial stake) if "Star Runner" wins.
  2. Lay Bet: This is when you bet against an outcome. If you think "Star Runner" won't win, you can lay the horse. Using the same odds of 5.0, if you lay "Star Runner" for £10, you're essentially taking the position of the bookmaker. If "Star Runner" loses, you keep the £10 staked by the backer. However, if "Star Runner" wins, you'll have to pay out £40 (the potential profit the backer would have made).

In this scenario, the backer and layer have opposite views. The backer believes "Star Runner" will win and stands to gain £40, while risking £10. The layer believes the opposite and risks £40 to win £10. The exchange simply facilitates this transaction, matching backers and layers with opposing views.

The beauty of Betfair's exchange model is that you can choose to be either the backer or the layer, giving you the flexibility to trade positions and lock in profits even before the race starts.

How Exactly Do Traders Make Profit From Betfair?

But how do traders actually turn these elements into consistent profits? Let's delve into the mechanics of making money on Betfair.

Understanding Market Movements

Before diving into specific strategies, it's crucial to understand how the Betfair market moves. Prices (or odds) fluctuate based on the collective actions of all participants.

When more people back a particular outcome, its price shortens. Conversely, when more people lay an outcome, its price drifts.

Example: If a horse named "Golden Sprinter" starts with odds of 6.0 and a large number of traders begin backing it, the odds might drop to 5.0 or even lower. This is because the market perceives a higher chance of that horse winning.


Scalping is one of the most popular Betfair trading strategies. It involves taking advantage of small price movements to secure a profit, regardless of the event's outcome.

Example: If you back "Golden Sprinter" at odds of 5.5 and then lay it at 5.4, you've scalped one tick. If you used a stake of £100, you'd make a £2 profit (minus Betfair's commission).

Swing Trading

Unlike scalping, which focuses on tiny price movements, swing trading aims to capture more significant shifts in odds. This strategy requires a deeper understanding of the market and often involves analyzing external factors like a horse's form, track conditions, and jockey changes.

Example: If you lay "Golden Sprinter" at odds of 4.0, believing its odds will drift, and then back it at 6.0, you've made a successful swing trade. The potential profit here is much higher than scalping, but it also carries more risk.

Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage involves taking advantage of price differences between Betfair and other bookmakers. If you can back an outcome at higher odds with a traditional bookmaker and lay it at lower odds on Betfair, you can lock in a profit.

Example: If a bookmaker offers odds of 7.0 for "Golden Sprinter" to win, but you can lay the same horse at 6.0 on Betfair, you've found an arbitrage opportunity.

In-Play Trading

While our focus is on pre-race trading, it's worth noting that many traders transition to in-play trading once the race starts. This strategy involves reacting to events during the race, such as a horse falling or taking the lead.

Example: If "Golden Sprinter" takes a significant lead halfway through the race, its in-play odds might drop drastically. A trader could lay the horse at these lower odds, anticipating that the race might still have some twists and turns.

Making A Profit Is Very Simple To Understand

Making a profit from Betfair trading involves a combination of strategy, knowledge, and discipline. While the potential rewards are significant, it's essential to approach trading with a clear plan and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt.

Whether you're scalping ticks or capturing more significant price swings, the key is to remain patient, stay informed, and always prioritize risk management.

As you gain experience, you'll develop an intuitive sense of the market, allowing you to make more informed decisions and, ultimately, increase your profitability.

Basics of Horse Racing

Horse racing, often referred to as the "Sport of Kings," has a rich history dating back centuries. The sport has various types of races, with Flat Racing and Jump Racing (or National Hunt Racing) being the most prominent.

Major events like The Grand National, The Derby, and The Cheltenham Festival attract millions of viewers and bettors worldwide.

For instance, The Derby, held annually in Epsom, England, is a flat race that has been run since 1780. It's not just a test of speed but also of stamina, strategy, and skill, both for the jockeys and the horses.

Types of Races

Horse racing is a diverse sport with various types of races, each with its unique characteristics. Understanding these races is crucial for traders, as the race type can influence the market's liquidity and volatility.

Here's a breakdown of some common race types and their relevance to trading strategies like scalping and swing trading:

Maiden Races:

  • Description: These races are for horses that have never won a race before. They're often seen as a proving ground for new talent.
  • Trading Relevance: Maiden races can be unpredictable since there's no winning track record for any of the horses. However, they often attract significant interest, especially if there's a hyped horse making its debut. This can provide good liquidity, making it suitable for scalping. Swing trading might be riskier due to the unpredictability.

Handicap Races:

  • Description: Horses are assigned weights based on their past performances. The idea is to level the playing field, giving every horse an equal chance of winning.
  • Trading Relevance: These races often have high liquidity due to their competitive nature. Both scalping and swing trading can be effective, but traders need to be aware of potential market shifts as new information (like weight changes) becomes available.

Claiming Races:

  • Description: Horses in these races are up for sale (or "claiming") for a specified price. The claiming price can often indicate the horse's perceived quality.
  • Trading Relevance: Liquidity can vary. While it might not be the best for swing trading, scalpers can find opportunities, especially when there's a notable horse with a surprisingly low or high claiming price.

Stakes Races:

  • Description: High-quality races with significant prize money. These races attract top-tier horses and are often the highlight of the racing calendar.
  • Trading Relevance: Due to the high profile of these races, they attract massive attention and, consequently, high liquidity. Both scalping and swing trading can be highly effective, but traders should be prepared for sudden market moves, especially as the race start approaches.

Allowance Races:

  • Description: Horses in these races haven't met the conditions of other race types. They're a step up from maiden races but below stakes races in terms of quality.
  • Trading Relevance: They offer moderate liquidity, making them more suitable for scalping. Swing traders might find opportunities, but it's essential to be cautious and well-informed.

Different race types offer varied opportunities for traders.

While maiden and stakes races often provide the best liquidity, making them ideal for both scalping and swing trading, other races like claiming and allowance races might be more suited to scalping.

As always, understanding the race and the horses involved is crucial for any trading strategy.

Why Horse Race Trading is a Goldmine

Trading on Betfair's pre-race horse markets offers a unique blend of excitement, potential, and freedom. When compared to the traditional 9-5 grind, the advantages become even more apparent.

Let's dive into why this form of trading stands out as a goldmine for those looking to break free from the confines of a regular job.


The Betfair pre-race markets are known for their high liquidity, which means there's a lot of money moving around before a race starts.

This liquidity allows traders to capitalize on small price movements, leading to potential profits.

Think of it like buying a product in bulk at a discounted rate and selling each unit at a higher price. In a traditional job, your earnings are often capped by a salary or hourly wage.

No matter how hard or long you work, there's a limit. In trading, the sky's the limit. The better you are, the more you can potentially earn.


One of the beauties of Betfair trading is that you don't need a fancy degree or years of training to get started. With a stable internet connection and a modest starting capital of as little as £100, you're good to go. 

Compare this to many traditional professions that require years of education, certifications, and climbing the corporate ladder just to reach a decent earning level.


While there's undoubtedly a learning curve to Betfair trading, the basics are relatively straightforward. It's about buying low and selling high or vice versa and the tick difference in odds is your profit. 

Once you grasp the core concepts and strategies, it becomes a matter of refining your skills. In contrast, many traditional jobs come with ever-changing roles, office politics, and a myriad of responsibilities that can make your head spin.

Potential for Consistent Earnings

With the right strategies and discipline, Betfair trading can offer consistent returns. It's akin to a skilled craftsman who, after mastering his trade, can produce quality work time and time again.

In a regular job, you might face periods of uncertainty, especially in today's volatile job market. Layoffs, company downsizing, or even industry shifts can jeopardize your earnings. But with trading, you're in control.

A Viable Online Income Source

Trading isn't just about the potential for high returns; it's also about the consistency it offers. With dozons of horse races happening daily across various time zones, there's a continuous stream of opportunities to tap into.

This regularity means that, unlike other online ventures that might have seasonal or market-driven fluctuations, Betfair trading can provide a steady income source day in, day out, seven days a week.

Also, one of the significant advantages that often goes unnoticed is the tax-free element of Betfair trading profits in many jurisdictions, including the UK.

Traditional jobs come with a slew of tax implications, with a chunk of your hard-earned money going to the taxman.

But with Betfair trading, what you earn is yours to keep, minus the Betfair commission, maximizing your take-home income.

Understanding the distinction between professional gambling and trading as outlined by HM Revenue & Customs, shows that traders and gamblers pay 0% tax on all winning.

This tax benefit, combined with the daily racing schedule, makes Betfair trading not just a profitable venture but a consistent and efficient one.

While traditional jobs offer stability, Betfair pre-race trading offers freedom, potential, and control over your financial destiny.

It's a path less traveled, but for those who tread it, the rewards can be immense.

Taking The Next Step To Start Trading

In this first chapter, we've embarked on an enlightening journey into the world of Betfair pre-race trading, understanding its core concepts, the unparalleled advantages it offers over traditional jobs, and the goldmine of opportunities it presents. 

But, as with any venture, the foundation is crucial. Now that we've grasped the 'why' of Betfair trading, it's time to dive into the 'how'.

Chapter 2 - Setting Up and Navigating Betfair will be your roadmap to getting started.

From setting up your Betfair account to understanding its intricate features, we'll ensure you're well-equipped to navigate the platform with confidence.

So, buckle up as we delve deeper into the mechanics of Betfair, ensuring you're set up for success from the get-go!

Chapter 2 - Setting Up and Navigating Betfair >>>