Today we have a chat with Ian Welch of Inform Racing. Inform Racing produce their own speed ratings and have done so since 2003.
These ratings are ultra reliable and we use them as the basis of one of the methods we use to provide tips for our Platinum members
Hi Ian, and many thanks for joining us this month, first off would you start by telling our readers a little about yourself and your background?
Hi yes of course. Well I have always been interested in horse racing since my late teens and always enjoyed a bet at the weekends, but even back then I was looking more analytically at the race and the runners than most people I knew in the betting shops, who just went by recent form, the jockey, the spotlight comments, any horse picked at random etc..
I would look at the results each day in the paper and ask myself why particular horses won certain races to try and build up a picture of who wins what and why. I read all of the books available at the time and the ones I found on speed ratings really struck a chord with me and became my passion for the next few years and beyond.
I eventually came up with a simple enough system for calculating my speed ratings that combined the trusted methods of those from the US like Andy Beyer with some ideas I read from Nick Mordin, who really first pioneered speed ratings for me on this side of the pond.
I still use exactly the same method of rating each race today for my Inform Racing ratings and I also have my own standard times for every course and distance which are updated on a regular basis. I also adjust the ratings correctly for any rail movements which has become more prevalent these days at many courses, as the distances are altered considerably which many punters won’t even realise I think.
Before I started Inform Racing, I was a carpenter from when I left school and started calculating my own ratings around 2001. I then created a website after much trial and error, teaching myself everything from scratch and started giving access to the ratings for free for about 18 months or so.
A 40/1 winner I tipped up on the Betfair forum in a six runner race at Wetherby, got me a lot of interest and free sign ups and really it all took off from there. I burned my bridges at work by telling the bloke I was working for I was leaving that day and went full time on the Inform Racing website and the ratings in 2003.
Because of the interest I already had and the continued success of my speed ratings, I made good progress from week one and Inform Racing has continued to increase its subscriber base and I believe has built itself a solid and trusted reputation over the years.
Would you say that you have a “typical” working day, and how would you describe it?
Not really a typical day, but what I do have to do every day is of course calculate the ratings for the previous day. I normally do this around lunchtime then once the full declarations are out for the following day I can upload the results and declarations file at the same time.
As the site has increased in popularity I have quite a lot of admin to take care of and as everything at Inform Racing is all done by me, I can often spend all day answering emails, updating the site and calculating the speed ratings etc.
Over the past couple of years I have been regularly making new additions to the website so that subscribers are getting more and more value for their money. Originally we just provided the ratings but now we have all of the form for each horse in our very easy to view pop up boxes, past ratings cards with results, an excel download each day, a daily stats table and items like the advanced search feature where you can drill down into each race and its particular form.
We have also now added the Inform Racing system builder where you can look back at the last ten years racing results and find your own betting systems, plus a declarations builder where you can run your saved systems each day or use any other criteria, to find the days runners in a matter of seconds. We have also just added a Tissue Tool where you can use any of the ratings to calculate a betting forecast and compare this with the actual prices to find value bets.
Many double figure winners have been unearthed in just a few months using this and we plan to add more to this and other items on the site in the coming weeks and months.
This means there are always updates to make to the website and videos etc., so that everyone can see how we are improving and learn how to use all of these new additions.
What do you think of the world of sports tipping in general and what do you think people are in search of when it comes to their hunting for a successful betting formula?
First of all I would say that I have never ever joined a tipping service in my life because I would hate to need to trust someone else to make my betting decisions for me. I have also never provided a full on tipping service at Inform Racing as I think it is as hard to provide a successful service as it is to follow one.
I make money every year from my betting using my ratings and I offer numerous suggestions and ideas for these on our Blog but I have losing runs like everyone else and I think I would feel the pressure to pick something I wasn’t that keen on for others, if I had tipped a number of losers on the run and I think there is no coming back from that position.
I have long losing runs like everyone but am happy because I understand my betting and have a definite strategy which has proven to be successful over many years now.
Regards other tipping services, I don’t really know which ones are out there or know any which are successful because it is just something I have never been interested in. I think most people can find their own losers without having to pay a lot of money each month to back someone else’s!
Do you regularly bet yourself? What style of approach do you take to your betting? What do you think of staking plans, loss retrieval systems etc.?
I don’t bet every day but most days during the week and my approach has always been a systematic, going through my favourite strategies and take it from there. If I have had a busy morning and don’t get a break until after lunchtime, I tend not to bother even looking as I prefer to have a clear head and time to take in all of the races of the day. There is so much racing in the UK you don’t have to wait long to have a bet but when I do I never spend too long finding my bets as I think you can actually look too deeply into a race.
Our Inform Racing system builder has been a revelation to me since it was added and has given me so many more different angles to find basic system ideas. The vast majority of my methods use the speed ratings and I personally prefer races for older horses, be it handicaps or non handicap races.
I tend to bet singles, doubles and trebles but honestly only use small stakes because it is not about making large amounts of money for me, it is about finding the winner and seeing the betting bank increasing each year.
So many people seem to think that they will be able to ‘go pro’ with their betting and make a quick fortune but that is one of the hardest things to do. I suggest that first of all you try to make a profit and then take it from there but you don’t have to scale up massively in my view to keep your enjoyment of the sport.
I wouldn’t tell anyone not to use a staking plan as I think they can be very helpful but retrieval plans really shouldn’t be used as they will fail one day and you will lose a lot of money if you try using one of these.
What attracted you to the world of horse racing and what do you enjoy most about the sport?
I am not sure really, I suppose having a lot of spare time in my teens led me to the bookies but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the sport and as I said before, the analysis required to find the winner of a race really appealed to me.
I don’t think there is enough made about how interesting the analytical side of horse racing is and how each race is really a puzzle that can be solved. Rather than just a sport that you bet money on for fun, mostly expecting to lose. If you go racing with friends for a day out, then I wouldn’t take it too seriously but you can make money from betting if you have the right understanding and attitude.
I think racing on the main channels like ITV now, could spend more time each week explaining the race types, the handicapping system, jockeys allowances and more to new comers and younger viewers, to get them interested in the whole process of real form reading and how it all works. I doubt most casual punters even realise that horses run in different classes depending on their ability, or even the difference between flat and jump racing.
What led you to create Inform Racing, into the world of racing tipsters and what do you feel Inform Racing can offer racing enthusiasts and punters that other can’t?
I think I have gone over how I created Inform Racing back in the early 2000’s but as for what it offers punters, well the number one thing is that speed ratings and ours in particular, give users a winning edge by providing information that no one else has or uses and therefore can highlight horses that others simply wouldn’t look at.
The best angle as an explanation is one of our base systems and is one that I get most positive feedback about. It requires looking at the last time out rating, lto rating, and finding horses that have one of the top three ratings in this lto column.
All top three ratings in each column are highlighted in red so they are all very easy to see.
If you find one of these top three horses in the lto column that also came fifth or worse last time out, you have a very good opportunity for a value bet. Most people are going to look at the finishing position last time out and will likely ignore a horse if it came outside the first three or four. However, those accessing the speed ratings will see that despite the finishing position, the horse ran in a very good race, achieved a very god speed rating and has more of a chance of following up this time around.
This means they are likely to get a better price than a horse maybe should be, as most people are not using the speed ratings.
Speed ratings give you an angle that others, who use the normal form factors to find their bets and generally all come up with the same horses each time, just don’t have. You can see by a number of the testimonials I receive, the big priced winners many subscribers have been backing over the years.
New and old punters alike can struggle to make a success of their betting. If you could give them just one piece of advice to improve their profitability what would it be?
I think removing the need to end up each day in profit would help a lot of people. Betting less and increasing your discipline will help as well but constantly thinking of long term success not short term would be my best piece of advice. This will eradicate the need to double up after a loser or chase your losses at the end of the day.
If you set yourself up with a decent betting bank and know roughly the number of bets each day plus a good idea of your staking etc., you give yourself a good starting point for a positive plan of action. Concentrate on one or two races that interest you and try to come up with the winner from a shortlist of two or three and see if you can improve your strike rate from these runners.
I am more than happy to back more than one horse in a race and would hardly ever bet each way as this seems to suggest that you are not that confident in your selection.
What would you consider to be a highlight of your racing experience to date? Do you have any personal racing / betting experiences which when reflecting back brings a smile, or for that matter any which bring a grimace; you can share with our readers?
I can’t say I have a massive highlight betting wise, I mean I don’t bet massive stakes or even multiples very often so there isn’t that one big win that stands out, but I have won £1K or £2K a few times over the years from successful winning trebles.
We used to go racing quite often throughout the year and had an annual trip amongst our close friends to Windsor races on a Monday evening.
Of course I am supposed to be the ‘expert’ but I normally came away having picked fewer winners than everyone else which always gave them a good laugh at my expense.
We now live in France so these trips have had to stop for the foreseeable future but maybe that is a good thing from my point of view!
There was another meeting at Windsor two or three years ago, which was an extra meeting added due to the weather because another local meeting had been abandoned and me and my wife decided quite late to go along.
As it was an extra meeting it was almost empty at Windsor, apart from Trainers, Jockeys, Owners, officials and a few race goers.
I had already selected a horse at Windsor in the morning, so we decided to go along and watch it run. The horse in question was perennial slow starter Captain Scooby and was put in the forecast as one of the outsiders, however I had him clear top rated that day and he was also in with half a chance because of the likely pace of the race he was running in.
At Inform Racing, we provide our own run style figures which show how each horse is likely to run. When I looked at the race it looked like the majority of runners wanted to lead or be up with the pace which, if all went to plan, would allow Captain Scooby, to run through the tiring horses towards the end of the race.
I knew this top rated horse did not have a great strike rate overall but catching him when conditions were in his favour, did give us half a chance that the old fella would run a decent race.
We took 20/1 with one of the few bookies who had turned up and to our delight or probably amazement, the race went perfectly to plan and the horse ran on at the end to win quite comfortably. Where were all our Windsor friends on that glorious day I thought!
It was quite funny after the race when we had seen the horse back to the winning post and went to collect our winnings. When we got to where the bookie had been set up near the parade ring, it looked like he had done a runner with our winnings as his stand had all been cleared away and he was nowhere to be seen!
Standing around and wondering what to do, the bookie next to where the other one had been, saw us standing there and asked us if we were the ones who had backed Captain Scooby? I think it must have been the last race of the day or close to the end and he had decided to pack up and go but had given our winnings to this other bookie, which thankfully was still there and gave us our money.
That was certainly a memorable day, but any trip to the races is always great fun and we often stayed away somewhere for the weekend and went to the racing on the Saturday.
What about the gambling industry, is there anything you like to see changed there? Many website forums are full of criticisms of the bookmakers and their treatment of their customers? Is this something you have an opinion on?
I tend to bet on the exchanges most of the time but do have a few bookmaker accounts as well. I understand they have a business to run but they don’t treat successful punters very well at all. I mean as a business you do have to find where your losses are coming from and nip these in the bud, but somehow, it doesn’t seem right to close accounts from the winning punters just like that.
I have a number of subscribers who I know who are very successful and have had accounts closed very quickly once they started winning big.
For me, the bookies seem to have double standards when it comes to winners and losers. They are supposed to have procedures in place to monitor and help block punters who continually lose a lot of money but I have read a number of articles or Tweets that show this is clearly not happening. They manage to spot a winner as soon as he is winning, why can they not do the same for those who are losing heavily too and use their influence to try and help these people?
Gambling problems don’t only affect the person doing the gambling and as we know and these days it is so easy to just keep depositing money into an online account and lose thousands of pounds in a very short amount of time. It actually makes me feel sick in the stomach when I think of just how much people do reportedly lose when they do have a problem and how it can really ruin the life of a family.
There really should be far more being done on this because bookmakers make millions every year for themselves and they should be held far more accountable if they allow people to bet when they can clearly see someone is getting into trouble.
What do you do to relax and unwind? What interests have you outside the world of horse racing?
Running Inform Racing gives me an enormous amount of pleasure and whilst there is always plenty to do, I wouldn’t call it at all stressful or hard work, so I do live a fairly relaxed life as it is.
We moved to France a couple of years ago and this is a very laid back place to live, with lots of pleasant countryside views and so much less traffic. In fact it is a pleasure to drive around as the roads are emptier which is so much better, in fact there probably isn’t a French word for pothole, because you really don’t see any at all.
I go to the gym in the nearest big town twice a week but just being able to take life easy is a real bonus and we don’t have plans to come back to the UK anytime soon.
I’m learning the language slowly which at the beginning was very daunting but it does start to come together the more you speak the language and that is something I have really enjoyed doing.
I am also able to follow all of the Premier League matches over here, more than I could back in England and of course drinking lots of local red wine has been one of the more enjoyable plusses to living over here too!
You can find out more about Ian and his Speed Ratings here – http://www.informracing.com/