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How I use the Racing Post and the Racing Post Ratings (RPR) to find value winners: The Victor Value Way

UK Horse Racing Flat

As some of you may know I’m the man providing the tips for the Victor Value Service.  The service has tended to focus on the big Saturday races & midweek festivals and in this piece I run through how to use racing post co uk ratings to find winners and value bets.

I suppose a lot of punters want a simple horse racing system and horse racing systems have their place, but for maximum profits you can't beat studying the form and the Racing Post cards for the day.

You can find a lot of the detail I mention below on the Racing Post free app or the Racing post betting site but I like to have the Racing Post newspaper in front of me, but that's more out of habit than necessity.

From the start of the flat season, Victor Value will totally focus on the biggest betting races. The more moderate fare that makes up most of the day-to-day action will be left to other services.

The original rational for the service will remain: To look for selections that are ‘too big’ in the betting and that are at ’working men’s’ prices. The in-depth race previews and analysis will continue as ever, and the only real change will be on the staking front.

What’s it all about Victor?

One of the failings of tipster services is their tips or selections come with little in the way of explanation of why such selections have been found. 

I like to think by providing such an analysis that I help to increase a person’s understanding of horse racing which might help them to move onto the next level.

In this article you will find answers to the following:

What kind of race do I look at?

How I find contenders?

You will see how I use the form and stats to analyse each runner’s chance in a race before making an assessment what to expect in the race itself and which horses are likely to be involved in the finish.

There’s no better way to go through how I go about picking my selections than by going through each stage step by step.

What kind of race?

On an average Saturday in the middle of the summer you can have six meetings to get through, each meeting will have six or seven races. So, you could have 37 or 38 races to look at. It can’t be done. There just isn’t enough time in a day to do it successfully. You must specialise.

Now there are many areas you can specialise in, it could for example be 5f or 6f sprint handicaps. For me it’s the class of the race. I concentrate on the races with the biggest prize money on offer. You could of course just as easily concentrate on Class 5 & 6 handicaps.

I have nothing against low grade handicaps. Indeed, I wouldn’t advise anyone against them as betting medium, as there are profits to be made if you have the inclination. Look at Hugh Taylor from Attheraces (ATR). Now Hugh is rather good at the game, as his published results show. He doesn’t shy away from the low-grade stuff. In fact, he embraces it.

On most Saturday’s you won’t find him looking for selections in the Class 2 handicap at Sandown. His selections will most likely be a Class 4 or 5 handicap at Lingfield or Wolverhampton. When Cheltenham or Royal Ascot is on, ATR will inevitably rope him into put up a selection or two. However, you get the feeling he would prefer to be punting at one of the minor meetings. Hugh has found his niche and it’s a profitable one.

Personally, I prefer the higher-grade racing. The form is more consistent, the horses are genuine, and I find that I have better handle on a horse’s chance in the race and what is a good price and what isn’t a good price.

It’s a case of each to their own, I suppose. I like watching elite sport and there’s nothing better than watching high class equine athletes in action either on the flat or over jumps.

Useful Tools – Racing Post Ratings

I’m a Racing Post Ultimate Member, mainly because I can use the video archive to watch a horse’s previous runs, but it gives me all the form guides I need. It also gives me access to Racing Post Ratings (RPR’s) and the Postdata information. 

Now there are plenty of ratings you can use and some of them may be slightly better than RPR’s, but I think RPR’s are unfairly maligned. Personally, I find that Racing Post Ratings often provide a solid platform on which to build a solid betting strategy. That has stood the test of time in terms of profitability.

For those of you unaware of what Postdata is. Here’s a recent example of it for a recent race at Wincanton.

Postdata and the racing post ratings example screenshot

Postdata gives the Racing Post Ratings and a quick view of which horse is suited to the conditions. Simply, the more ticks a horse has the better its theoretical chance.

Looking at this year’s Press Challenge in the Racing Post. Both RPR’s and Postdata are doing well with their race selections.

Press Challenge tipping competition Racing Post screenshot

Now don’t get me wrong I don’t back RPR’s top rated or Postdata’s blindly, but I find that both act as a useful filter for my methodology.

Like speed figures, stats, or trends they should be seen as just another weapon in the armoury in the battle against the bookies.

Looking at a Race

There’s no rocket science involved when I look at a race. Firstly, I look at the favourite to see if I can find one or two that can beat it.  If I can’t and the favourite is 3/1 or bigger, I don’t have a problem in backing it. If it’s say, 6/4 then I’m happy to move onto another race.

There are three reasons why I’m happy to let them win at too short a price.

Firstly, I’m a tipster and subscribers to my service want me to find a selection that isn’t an obvious one and that they can’t pick for themselves.

Secondly, if you are betting at short odds you need to have an extremely high win strike rate.

Finally, it’s a psychological one. I don’t feel comfortable betting and tipping one up at 6/4, I feel more comfortable with £20 on an 8/1 shot than £100 on one at evens.

The best type of race is one where I think I can get the favourite beaten.

Race Example: Coral Cup Cheltenham

The best way to way to show what I mean is by using a working example of a race.

I’m a big fan of RPR’ so I organise the race card by RPR’s and it’s also a good way to compare the RPRs with the Official Ratings.

What I’m looking for is to find six or seven contenders in a race. You will be surprised even a 30-runner handicap can be reduced to that number of contenders. I find that if a race has say, 11 or 12 possibles then it’s likely to be too competitive.

I also like reading the Racing Post’s post-race analysis and I will read through their write up as I’m studying the horse’s form.  However, as much as I respect them there is no substitute for watching the race yourself to see if you concur with their opinion. You will be surprised how many times you won’t agree with their comments.

One innovation for 2021, in the race comments section, is the introduction of the Racing Post assessment of the race. I have found this very useful of late. I also like the trainer quotes at the bottom, they can be very useful when it comes to looking at future targets for the horse.  

I would then go on to look at the video of the race to see if I agree.

Racecard Racing Post screenshot

Given there were 26 declared runners, I don’t have the space to put them all in but here’s a sample of the runners ordered by RPR.

Runners ordered by RPR Racing Post screenshot
Runners ordered by RPR Racing Post screenshot - part 2

You can quickly see that the top three on RPR’s, are also in the top three in the Racing Post’s betting forecast for the race. 

And all three all posted their best RPR’s on their last start and look to be improving, as can be seen in the below table.

RPR table Racing Post screenshot


I like to see a horse running his best RPR on his last two starts.

I tend to draw a line through runners 20/1 or bigger in the Racing Post betting forecast.

Using the Racing Post to dig a bit deeper into the form.

Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo form Racing Post screenshot

Lightly raced and has been put up 12lb for a comfortable success at Kempton. I like the fact that he ran on strongly at the end of the Kempton race.

Grand Roi

Grand Roi form Racing Post screenshot

Steadily progressive on RPR’s. Handicap debut in the race but looking at his adjusted RPR of 162 he looks on winnable mark.

Looking at the Racing Post race analysis for his last run:

Grand Roi – Probably took another step forward after his Limerick win at Christmas. He didin't have the pace to match the winner when he kicked on again but kept going to good effect and will stay further.

Racing Post
Grand Roi Racing Post notes

Although stamina for a strongly run 2m 5f must be proven there looks to be a good chance the trip could unlock further improvement in the 5-year-old.

Guard Your Dreams

Guard Your Dreams form Racing Post screenshot

Guard Your Dreams only finished 6th in the Betfair Hurdle on his last start. However, looking at RPR’s it was a career best effort form the 5-year-old.

Guard Your Dreams – another novice, was up 7lb having made a winning handicap debut at Sandown last time and he just found things happening a bit quickly here on less testing ground against better opposition

Racing Post
Guard your dreams RP notes

The Coral Cup is his first run beyond an extended two mile, but he was nearest at the finish at Newbury and shaped like he would appreciate a step up in trip.

Finding More Contenders

Top weight Thomas Derby finished runner-up in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle here in 2019. Digging deeper into his form in the Racing Post.

Thomas Derby form Racing Post screenshot

Since his run in the Supreme, you can see he’s been a consistent horse who won a valuable handicap hurdle at Ascot last season under top weight, off 4lb lower.

Looking at the Racing Post’s post-race analysis for his last run at Kempton.

Analysis Racing Post screenshot

Racing Post Ratings assessment: The easy winner is probably a bit better at this shorter trip but figures wise is rated similar to Newbury. The next two were close to their marks in good time compared with the later handicap, and the form looks solid.

Interesting to read in the analysis:

“His trainer believes he is crying out for 3m, but he is more inclined towards Aintree than Cheltenham”.

He would need a career best to win the Coral Cup but given his overall class/consistency I would add him to my list of contenders.

Now switching to the Racing Post’s Postdata table for the race.

Racing Post Ratings and Post Data Racing Post screenshot

Postdata have Craigneiche as their top rated.

Looking at his form in more detail.

Form detail Racing Post screenshot

He’s got a bit to find with the top three on RPR’s, but he’s only had the four starts and improved to win on his handicap debut at Ascot.

Analysis Racing Post screenshot
Summary Racing Post screenshot

Craigneiche has been hiked 12lb for his Ascot success but he’s lightly raced and another potential improver.

past winners Racing Post screenshot

Craigneiche, like Monte Christo, is trained by Nicky Henderson who has won the last two running’s of the Coral Cup and saddled the 2014 winner.

He would be another to add to the shortlist. 

That leaves me with five:

Monte Cristo

Grand Roi

Guard Your Dreams

Thomas Derby


Turning to the betting.

Here are the prices the day before the race:

prices before the off - screenshot

All five contenders are at the front end of the betting and Craigneiche and Thomas Darby are coming in for support which is something that I would consider a positive.

Interestingly Monte Cristo is the longest priced of my contenders. Ok, he’s yet to show that Cheltenham is his track but the 14/1 available looks too good to ignore. I think he’s overpriced compared with say Grand Roi whose price seems about right.

It would be tough to win this under top weight, but Thomas Darby has solid enough each way claims and given Paddy Power were offering 7 places that was worth taking.

In a race like the Coral Cup, I would normally have two or three against the field.


Monte Cristo – 14/1 (E/W)

Craigneiche – 10/1

Thomas Darby – 14/1 (E/W).

I have written this before the race, so I don’t know whether I have been left with egg on my face or not.

In summary: In truth you can find all the information you need to find your selections in the Racing Post easily. Concentrate on runners with good RPR’s or have the capability of improving past their present marks. To cut down on the amount of research for a race with 20+ runners, focus on runners 20/1 & under in the Racing Post betting forecast. You will find plenty of winners using this simple methodology.

Well. I hope you enjoyed this short look at how I delve into a race to find my selections.

Good luck with your betting.

Until next time.

John Burke

For more of John Burke's wisdom read Horses Returning From a Break and How to Understand Each Way Betting