Laying Horse Racing Favourites On Betfair

Around 2 out of 3 Favourites LOSE! You can make money on Betfair by finding them. Here is some help.

Laying Horse Racing Favourites On Betfair
Laying Horse Racing Favourites On Betfair

Horse Racing Favourites

This blog has been regularly updated since first published in 2012. 

Favourites are created by the bookmakers based on horse racing form,  + statistics,  + the expected popularity of the horse + the actual weight of money bet on the selection.

If you are new to horse racing betting and need to discover the intricacies of the sport of kings please check out the best bookmakers for horse racing

You may also wish to learn how to read horse racing form at the OLBG betting school. 

Laying Horse Racing Favourites On Betfair

The premise behind this blog was not to find winners but to highlight the performance of favourites in horse racing, and subsequently profit by laying them on a betting exchange.

The odds or price on the fav becomes an anchor number in which we base the rest of the market on.

With betting exchanges the choice of which exchange you join is of course up to you, the brilliant OLBG betting exchange guide will help you.

Once you have an exchange account you can start making money by laying favourites.

The shorter the price the more of a sure thing the horse seems, despite around 40% of odds on favourites losing. 

One popular question is What percentage of horse racing favourites win? 

Update: Horse Racing Favourites in 2021

Just over 35% of outright favourites won in the UK in 2021, In Ireland, it was 33%

Horse Racing Favourite Statistics 2020

You can now compare favourites per month. 

In the truncated season of 2020 the percentages of outright favourites winning remained fairly consistent. 

I am now just using UK horse racing outright favourites for the table, I am ignoring joint-favourites.

Month Races Wins Losers Percentage
January 2020 819 279 540 34%
February 2020 677 269 398 39.59%
March 2020 336 123 213 36.61%
June 2020 744 249 495 33.46%
July 2020 846 311 535 36.76%
August 2020 811 277 534 34.16%
September 2020 870 327 543 37.58%
October 2020 925 295 630 31.9%
November 2020 831 308 523 37%
December 2020 677 241 436 35.5%


The UK ended 2020 with just over 35% of outright favourites winning. 

December 2020

The 11/2 on Edeiffs Elton at Wincanton was the biggest priced winner in December. 

The shortest-priced loser in December was the Nicky Henderson trained Grand Mogul who came second at Sandown, the horse was sent off at 1.18 (9/50). 

November 2020

4/1 was the biggest priced winner for outright favourites in November 2020.

Innisfree Lad, Ejtilaab, Mr Palmtree, Great Colaci, Dylans Sea Song, Crossley Tender, Baltic Song - all won at 4/1. 

The shortest-priced outright fav loser was Soaring Glory at  13/100. The horse fell at Wetherby when leading, compensation should await.  

October 2020

A poorish month for outright favourites with only 31.9% winning, this may be down to the flat season coming to an end, and NH horses having their 1st run of the season. 

Flat horses may be "over the top" and Jump horses "not fully tuned up". 

The longest priced outright favourite was Poets Magic on the 12/11/2020 at Wolverhampton, the horse was sent off at 5/1.

The shortest-priced favourite that lost was Mars Landing at Chelmsford. It was trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Oisin Murphy

The horses was sent off at 2/9 and finished 2nd.

Mars Landing has form figures in 2020 of 2,2,3,2 so has cost backers a fair few quid this season. 

September 2020

The longest priced outright favourite that won was the 11/2 on Lucky Lodge 

The horse won at  Newcastle on the 25th September.

The shortest-priced fav that lost was the William Haggas trained Dhabyah

The horse was beaten into 2nd place at Leicester on the 21st September, at 1/16. 

August 2020

The longest priced winner who was an outright favourite in August was Guvenors Choice at Wolverhampton on the 11th. 

The Grant Tuer trained 5 year old went past the post at 6/1.

The shortest-priced loser who was an outright favourite in August was  Senita at Doncaster on the 15th.

The John Gosden horse went off at odds of 1.17 and was beaten into 2nd by the William Haggas trained Lilac Road.

July 2020

The longest priced outright winning favourite was the Mark Johnstone trained Maydanny who won at Goodwood on the 27/07/2020 at odds of 6.0 (5/1). 

The shortest-priced losing outright favourite was the Sir Michael Stoute trained Thibaan who ran 2nd at Leicester at odds of 1.22 (11/50). 

June 2020

The longest price outright favourite winner in June was Caravan Of Hope at Thirsk on the 27th June at 5.5 (9/2), trained by Hugo Palmer.

The shortest-priced outright favourites losers in June were Chase The Dollar, Ginger Max and My Girl Maggie all at 1.4 (2/5), two were trained by Mark Johnstone and one by Richard Fahey. 

March 2020

The shortest-priced loser in March was Strong Glance ridden by Richard Johnson again at Sedgefield at odds of  1.2 on the 01/03/2020

The biggest priced winner who was sent off as the outright favourite in March was Saint Roi at Cheltenham on the 13/03/2020 at 6.5

February 2020

The shortest-priced loser in February was Adicci who fell at odds of 1.13 on the 20/02/2020 at Sedgefield. 

The biggest priced winner who was sent off as the outright favourite in February was Jon Ess at Dundalk on the 14/02/2020 at 5.5.

January 2020

The shortest-priced loser in January was Who Dares Wins at 1.29 on the 5/01/2020, the horse was beaten into second at Plumpton.  

The biggest priced winner who was sent off as the outright favourite in January was Ballybreen at Exeter on the 21/01/2020 at 5.0. 

Odds On Favourites

Since lockdown, I took a look at the data for outright odds on favourites. 

I wondered whether the bookies were looking to recoup some funds since the enforced lay off because of the pandemic.

As we are looking for losers in this blog I wanted to know how many odds on outright favs LOST. 

You can view the figures below. 

Over the seven months, around 45% of odds on outright favs were beaten.

I have used SP prices between 2.00 and 1.02. 

Month Races With Odds On Outright Favourites Winners Losers
December 2020 138 77 61
November 2020 182 102 80
October 2020 146 75 71
September 2020 139 81 58
August 2020 130 76 54
July 2020 157 84 73
June 2020 136 71 65

Over the 5 months, 55% won, and 45% lost of outright favs (2.0 to 1.02).

We are getting between 4 and 5 horses at these starting prices per day. 

Therefore you should be looking ON AVERAGE of 2 a day losing. 

If we can find these poor odds on horses then could be an angle to exploit, whilst understanding that over 50% will win, as always care is needed.  

Horse Racing Favourites 2019

December 2019 Horse Racing Notes

The final month of the year saw outright favourites win 36.54% of the time.

I will be running a new blog in 2020 related to taking on favs or very short-priced runners, so look out for that new blog in mid-January. 

I hope you have enjoyed the updating of figures and that it has given you some insight into taking on favourites on Betfair. 

Three horses won at 5.0 in December and they were the longest priced outright favs that won. 

The shortest outright favs to lose were Silverbrook at Wolverhampton, and Taking Flight at Hexham, who were turned over at 1.33!!

More than 4 outright favourites winning at any 7 race meeting is rare but it does happen, as you can see below with 7 favs winning at Plumpton on the 16th December 2019. The aim is to find favs who are weak and take advantage. 

  • 12.10 Highest Sun 5/6
  • 12.40 Highway One 0 Two 9/4
  • 1.10 Top Man 5/4
  • 1.45 Hard To Forget 6/4
  • 2.15 Scrutinise 11/10
  • 2.50 Flaminger 6/5
  • 3.20 Mountain Leopard 5/2  

The favourites spread from Sporting Index or Spreadex was probably around 85 -90, this ended up at 175! and could have been very expensive had you sold favourites at Plumpton that day. 

So as always you need to be cautious when laying favourites on Betfair or betting against favourites. 

YOU WILL NOT GET EVERYTHING CORRECT, however, a good starting point for your horse racing form study is looking for poor favourites. On a 7 race card, the average will be between 2 and 3 favourites winning. 

2019 Horse Racing Outright Favourite Statistics

Month Races Wins Losers Percentage
December 613 224 389 36.54%
November  709 241 466 34.09%
October 1059 369 676 34.28%
September 788 291 497 36.93%
August 1045 369 676 36%
July 1213 459 754 37.84%
June 1093 362 731 33.11%
May 1027 356 671 34.66%
April 820 294 526 36%
March 697 275 422 39%
February 502 197 305 39%
January 639 239 400 37%

November 2019 Horse Racing Notes

The average winning SP for outright favourites was 2.68473 which is around 13/8. 

The biggest winning outright favourite was No Getaway on the 12/11/2019 at Hereford. Trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by Bridget Andrews, the horse returned at 6.0 or 5/1. 

Buveur D'Air losing on the final day of the month (just) was the shortest-priced favourite beaten. This great horse was beaten at 2/13!!

The November 34.039% percentage was average, and I think you can see that with such percentages taking on favs can be undertaken with confidence.  

October 2019 Horse Racing Notes

The longest priced outright favourite was Trueshan at 7.5 on the 11th November at Newmarket. Ridden by William Buick the horse won a 19 runner handicap by 3 and 3/4 lengths. 

It was no fluke despite the great price, as Trueshan followed up next time out beating Hamish by a neck. 

The shortest outright fav to lose in October was More Than Likely ridden by Shane Kelly, the horse in a seller went off at 1.36, but was beaten into second. 

In total 62 odds on favourites were beaten in October, we hope no OLBG members had their fingers burnt.   

September 2019 Horse Racing Notes

The longest priced outright favourite in September 2019 was Hi Ho Silver, who won at Lingfield Park at 6.0(5/1).

The winning horse trained by Chris Wall was one of two big overpriced outright favs by this trainer in September, as he also had Delilah Park at 9/2. 

His horses maybe should be noted when running at Southern tracks.

Horse Racing Favourites Percentage Example

As you progress on your exchange learning curve you will start to recognise which races are suitable for laying horses and which races should be avoided. 

When you were choosing horses to back with a bookmaker you often looked I suspect for races that looked non-competitive, as this made finding the winner easier. 

When you want to lay the favourite you need to do the reverse this and look for competitive races at the bookies with LOTS OF POSSIBLE WINNERS. 

You can see by the two sample bookmaker races below that Frankel looks look to have much easier race than Enable.

Frankel is odds on and the next horse in the betting is 5.0 (4/1). Enable is odds against and has a host of horses at similar prices. 

The total percentage on Frankel's race is only just above 100%, The total percentage on Enable's race is huge indicating that the race is very open. 

Frankel Enable
1.9 3.00
5.00 3.25
7.00 3.75
12.00 4.33
14.00 5.00
21.00 6.00
26.00 9.00
34.00 10.00
100.53% 171.00%

These are made up examples to give you an indication of overrounds, it can be a good exercise to collate percentages, its something that will pay dividends in your laying. 

You need to be looking for competitive races such as Enables for laying purposes when you check the exchange prices. 

The exchange prices will be different but will follow the overall theme of the bookmaker prices. 

As you watch more markets it becomes much easier to recognise the best races with the bookies, and then transfer your actual wagers to taking on the favourites on the exchange.

You will not get everything right but the choice of race is one of the key attributes to successful laying.  

You can read more about horses racing percentages on the OLBG Odds Converter Blog

Horse Racing Favourite Statistics 2018

We saw little change to the overall favourite statistics in 2018. 

The % of winning favourites was 33.5%, this was over both codes. 

National Hunt: 35%

Flat: 32.7%

These figures have remained fairly static since I first wrote this blog in 2012.  

A simple exercise that still holds true is looking for weak horse racing favourites. 

On an average midweek raceday there are around 20 races, it would be rare to get anything above 8 favs (40%) winning. 

Just look for the most competitive race meeting of the day and find a weak favourite. 

Handicaps are more competitive than non-handicaps, so that is another way to narrow down your choice of races.  

In 2018 the worst courses for favourites i have listed below.

All these are well under the 33% average

National Hunt

  • Cartmel is an unusual track where horses can get away from each other. 
  • Bangor is a mystery as it doesn't have huge fields, I suppose trainers who have travelled their horses to the North Wales track may make the races more competitive. 
  • Cheltenham [Details of the festival below]


  • Epsom is an idiosyncratic track with observers unsure of how a particular horse will handle the undulations. 
  • Chester has the biggest draw bias of any course, where even favs find it hard to win from poor draws. 
  • Redcar often has big fields on the flat. 


Cheltenham Festival Favourite Statistics.

Year Races Winning Favs


The Cheltenham Festival is a great place for opposing favourites if you know what you are looking for and choosing the best bookmaker for Cheltenham should also be a key part of your strategy

Best Betting Exchange

If you are going to lay and trade horses on a betting exchange you will need a new betting exchange account. 

We have researched and advised the best betting exchange, click here to check who we rate as the best betting exchange

Horse Racing Favourite Statistics

When the favourite loses generally the bookmakers win and win more.

The horse is the favourite because it has been supported and has received the most bets and most money placed on them.

You can see by the table below the % of winning favourites throughout 2012.

The winter months were better for favs than the summer, but taking the year as a whole the average was at 34.41%.

Fate of the Favourites 2012

Month % of Winning Favs
January 38%
February 38%
March 35%
April 33%
May 35%
June 33%
July 32%
August 34%
September 32%
October 31%
November 33%
December 39%


Update August 2016: In the last year 33% of favs have won. So readers can see that the fav stats are fairly reliable from year to year.

Second favourites in the last year won around 20% of races.

So around 50% of races go to either the 1st or 2nd favs, meaning 50% of races do not and those are the races to concentrate on.

Look for races where the head of the market is weak and take those horses on by laying them on the Betfair Exchange.

So around 65% of favourites lost. So you could argue that the bookmakers are not very good at predicting winners!

But as we know there is more to them shortening and lengthening prices.

So how can we benefit from knowing that on average 65% of favourites lose?

The way I do it is to write down all the favourites over all the meetings, and add up the % that each favourite currently offers in comparison to the rest of the book.

So you may have the 1st race where the total book % is 120% and the favourite is at say 5/2 (28.57%), and on the 2nd race the total book % is 110% but the favourite is 3/1(25%).

  • Race 1: 8 run (5/2) 28.57%
  • Race 2: 7 run (3/1) 25.00%
  • Race 3: 11run (7/4) 36.36%
  • Race 4: 8 run (6/4) 40.00%
  • Race 5: 16 run (7/1) 12.50%
  • Race 6: 9 run (4/1) 20.00%

When you have these percentages written down across ALL THE CARDS and side by side it becomes much easier to see and read weak favourites, compare and contrast as they use to say in your school exams.

When you are armed with the above stats and knowing that on a regular 6 runner race card a maximum of 3 favourites are going to win at a particular meeting it becomes easier to intuitively see what is happening.

Although do be aware that one 1 day 6 favourites could win on a race card and the next day 0 favourites win on a race card.

These stats are just the starting point on your Betfair laying quest and further investigation is always needed, but by utilising some of the processes bookmakers use you can reap some of the benefits.


Weak Horse Racing Favourites on OLBG

On OLBG we receive 000’s of horse racing tips in the OLBG tipping competition, here you can read and follow the most popular horse racing selections of the day.

Tipsters assess the form and the market and then add their best bets and horse racing tips..... their study can help us!

  • To help in finding weak favourites, look at which favourites have received lots of OLBG tips and which favourites only a few.
  • If a forecast favourite is not on the list of most tipped horses on OLBG then consider this as a potential lay.
  • Look for races where there is a spread of horses being tipped, thus making the race competitive.
  • You can also separate the daily meetings on the horse racing tips pages and view which meeting is best or worse for tipped favourites.

If a favourite is not on this popular list then that horse should be considered.

Below is a snapshot of 1 meeting with the most popular tipped horses at 9.00AM.  

Events Selection Odds Tips
2.10 Kelso Elvis Mail 1.3 9 of 12 tips
2.40 Kelso Bennys Secret 4.0 5 of 14 tips
3.10 Kelso Ueueteotl 6.0 5 of 12 tips
3.40 Kelso Another Venture 2.88 10 of 17 tips
4.10 Kelso Halcyon Days 4.33 6 of 15 tips
4.40 Kelso Sir Lonica 1.8 3 of 8 tips
5.10 Kelso Royal Reserve 1.91 12 of 15 tips

In the above example, the 3.10 and 4.10 had horses that were not forecast favourites receiving the most tips, this means the forecast favourite was not the most tipped and could be a possible lay.

Remembering you have already created your percentage favourites list above, so you are building your knowledge on a horse and race with each piece of research undertaken. 

Then choose the best betting exchange which gives the shortest lay price on your researched horse.

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