In-Play Trading Selections and Strategies

The MailBag will be highlighting their best in-play trading tips for chosen race meetings across Australia.

To best take advantage of these tips, download Bet Angel, a third party tool that connects directly to the Betfair API and provides features such as one-click betting and ladder view for an easier in-play trading experience.

In addition to these selections, you can find The MailBag’s Weekend Preview, Speed Maps, Weekend Review and their Horses To Follow series on the Betfair Hub.


Sandown Race 5

Want to take a price pre-race on this horse who has a strong SP profile this preparation. Draws ideally for C.Rawiller, who should be able to settle the horse one-off the fence and in a midfield or forward of midfield position. If he does, we want to bet again and using your Betfair application, set some in-play lays at a shorter than even price to hedge the bet.

If he snicks to the rear or angles the horse to the fence, we will just let the bet ride. It does profile as a horse that may well start closer to $3 here, and looks more progressive than many of these opponents.

Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Shepard

Sandown Race 6

Small field here and a strong focus on two runners, #2 Ruban Bleu and #1 More Than Exceed. Both draw to sit off the fence which will likely be advantaged on the heavy 9 deck. Ruban Bleu recorded strong splits through the line when too far back behind Alfa Oro, and the smaller field and likely lesser tempo should allow the horse to capitalise down the straight. Happy with a back-to-lay policy with this horse as the primary win.

Also want to have something on-side with More Than Exceed, who wasn’t suited at Moonee Valley last start on a strong on-pace day. Was good through the line and recent overall figures with Punting Form are well and truly good enough for this. Using your Betfair application, again you can back-to-lay this horse, but you can also use the application to ‘dutch’ bet the two to win a certain amount, or to stake a certain amount. Once the dutch bet is on, you can place some in-play lays using preset amounts or the ladder view.

Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Ruban Bleu

BACK to LAY – More than Exceed

Sandown Race 7

Expecting the two runners up front get every possible and likely trade far shorter than their SP should Lakeside play on-pace, as we expect it to do! #7 Maliseet got the job done last start and gets a similar set-up here to try and dictate up in distance. May be a query late in the piece so we want to get in and out if focusing on that runner.

#3 Tavirun should have equally strong credentials over the trip and maps to sit outside Maliseet. Taking an early position pre-race and setting lays to have the horse running for a free bet looks a nice play.

Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Maliseet

BACK to LAY – Tavirun


Sandown Race 8

Saw #1 Shahzade close strong from an unsuitable position there last start and gets a few changes, namely the apprentice Neindorf and a drop in class. Can map to sit handier today given a few horses drawn wider have little speed. Happy to take the price pre-race and bet again with a back-to-lay strategy, should the horse settle midfield today. Should be strong late.

Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Shahzade

Sandown Race 2

Focusing on #3 The Natural here for Oliver. Prepared to stake pre-race and then heavily again early in the piece should he position the horse forward of midfield (in the first four-five runners).

From there, I personally will be looking to return my stake at a short quote, should the horse perform to expectations. I’m expecting it will trade much shorter than SP, so this is purely to safeguard if the horse gets nailed late.

Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – The Natural


Sandown Race 4

#4 Taksu sees John Allen ride for the Maher-Eustace team, and twice yesterday at Ballarat we saw the combo positive with their runners. Hoping for the same here, and he should be able to follow Gasworx across and sit on the outside of that runner.

Taksu has strong form, good figures, blinkers first time; it ticks boxes here. We’ll be betting again early should Matthew Hill’s golden tonsils announce Taksu rolls forward, and implementing another back-to-lay strategy.

Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Taksu

Sandown Race 4 – Charleise

No money for this galloper last start and promptly was snicked to sit rearward. Was very good going through the line and finds a race with little tempo or intent on paper. Gets a jockey switch and the wide gate could mean a change of intent (but don’t expect a change of tactics notification).

We’ll take a position pre-race, especially if the horse remains firm or shortens, as this will likely indicate positive intent. Either way, if the horse rolls forward we want to bet again early, and then position some in-play lays at <$2, made easy using a Betfair application such as Gruss or Bet Angel.

Main dangers Quantum Mechanic and in particular, Grand De Flora, both have SP over Charleise but that was on account of there being zero support for the horse last start. We’ll see what develops late in betting!


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Charleise

Today we look at trading a race based on a clear pattern/bias. Today at Sale you will have 8 races to decide which horses will be suited and not suited. I use Punting Form speedmaps which you can adjust and colour throughout a meeting.

Throughout today’s card, make some notes on how you think the track is playing & build positive positions on the runners you expect to be favoured by the patterned. & you’ll be able to build positions against runners you think won’t be suited. More often than not those on pace are suited.

You can focus on some horses at the sharper end of the market & trade again in play purely based on their settling positions vs your opinion of track pattern/bias.

Sandown Race 6

Good race with a few angles. Charleise and Oriental Lily drop back from a Saturday BM78 to a midweek BM70. Both went very strongly in the BM78 at Flemington and have shown good ability through their careers, especially Charleise who I think will be more suited given it’s shown some speed this prep and last prep.

She is drawn wide so Jye McNeil likely has to roll forward or snick heavily to rear. This is the main trading opportunity with the race. If Jye goes forward we should Back to Lay, if Jye snicks we should Lay to Back.

Oriental Lily has a positive switch with Yendell replacing Mertens but is drawn wide and doesn’t have much early speed. I suggest a small hedge early and look to back at above SP in run before and through the big turn. I think the horse will be strong late.

Quantum Mechanic brings winning form and gets Olly on. Very well found but should get every possible. Both Without Excuse and Entrez Boo can go close at big odds.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY or LAY to Back – Charleise

If Jye goes forward we should Back to Lay, if Jye snicks we should Lay to Back.

Sale Race 7

Expect the track to favour those forward in run. There are four main hopes for mine, #2 Into Rio, #7 Empire Liberty, #10 No Joy and #3 Blenders Addition.

Empire Liberty has young apprentice Campbell Rawiller riding from a wide draw, (last couple been drawn inside). If I owned it I’d want them to roll forward but I’m not convinced they will. It never has been too positive in the run and there’s no form from its start two back.

Blenders Addition loses the GOAT D. Oliver. He’s drawn to get a good run but has never been ridden with intent or showed early speed. Given that and its price, I want to be against it.

Into Rio gets Craig Williams replacing Jamie Kah. There’s been one winner from five starters in the 19 days since it last raced. I think the horse has ability and the map to go very close here. I want to back it if it lands in the first three pairs in run.

Our main play is No Joy on which Billy Egan replaces Lucinda Doodt. The horse has been sent forward two starts back and the start prior. Barrier 1 is a concern but fifth up for Payne and closed off strongly in a decent form race. Three weeks between runs at top etc. etc.

I want to bet before they jump and look to go again if they ping the lids and land forward of midfield in run. Either way, No Joy will hit the line and trade below its SP, allowing you to trade and green up.

You can watch the full video breakdown here.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – No Joy

Ballarat Race 2

Heavy 8 at 9am after a proper deluge last night. I want to focus on 3 runners, #1 Cabinho $1.80, #3 Intellective $2.00 and #6 Sublime Diva $15. All 3 horses are 2nd up this prep and Sublime Diva likely has the most upside but the weakest rider.

It’s hard to predict the track pattern on a track like Ballarat versus a track like Sandown given that there are many more meetings at Sandown. Focussing on 3 horses allows you to use the LADDER VIEW on your Bet Angel.

I think the play here is to spec Sublime Diva and look to green up if the horse shows something upon straightening. If Olly is negative early on Cabinho, I think we can Back to Lay on jumping and be out of that position mid-race and you could Back to Lay Intellective if Yendall is positive early. So you’ve got 3 potential plays inside the 1 race.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Sublime Diva

BACK to LAY – Cabinho

BACK to LAY – Intellective

Sandown Race 2

Pariano has been up a while but has had runs well and truly spaced. Was blessed in run last start but more than likely is again here. Write Enuff SP’d $5.50 last start when beaten by Pariano who SP’d $8.50.

Mark Zahra replaces Emily Brown on Write Enuff but the horse carries kour extra KGs versus Pariano’s extra 1.5kg. I’m not a weights and measures man but 2.5 is still 2.5. These two should fight out the race and I think Write Enuff will start favourite, but only just.

I think you can trade them both pre-race by backing them both on a back-to-lay strategy. The in-play market is not as liquid in the COVID climate but I would still expect both to trade below their SP’s.

I will focus my trading more heavily on Pariano who I see as more value and as a likely winning chance. I will also try to lay near SP any runners worse than midfield early in the race.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Pariano

LAY to BACK – Write Enuff

Sandown Race 6

Glassey Miss & Diaquin both come from the Florent race at Geelong, they walked & Florent was home ok & then came out to win well at big odds at Caulfield. Willo could be more positive on Glassey Miss today than he was at Geelong, the horse has shown tactical speed before.

I want to back both runners pre-race, with a slightly better result on Glassey Miss. If either or both land in the 1st 4 horses in run, I want to have 3 more clicks in play at as close to sp as possible. When you use a 3rd party app, like Bet Angel you can set your screen to be 1 click set amount stakes. Saves you time which is key in play.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Glassey Miss

LAY to BACK – Diaquin

Pakenham Race 8

Two potential plays here depending on which horse you want to follow. Kiptanui is the horse with the map advantage and was carried over the line by Oliver last start. Using Bet Angel, you could take the pre-race price and set some in-plays to hedge or trade here, as the horse should settle prominently outside the leader.

Alternatively, Splendoronthegrass looks to be the horse with the most ability but it likely sits in the coffin for Stackhouse. It will likely find traffic if and when they bunch up on the corner. Using the ‘ladder’ function on Bet Angel, you can set some in-play ‘backs’ to secure a better price then it jumps, given the likely map issues.

Depending on how the market reacts between now and jump-time, this may dictate our preferred play. At this stage, however, these are two ways to play R8 at Pakenham. Back-to-lay Kiptanui, or lay-to-back Splendoronthegrass.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Kiptanui

 LAY to BACK – Splendoronthegrass

Caulfield Race 9

Track Bias, Lanes or Patterns have been the dominant factor at Caulfield recently. Today we focus on the last race to give me & you the best chance of figuring it out. As a rule today I will be against horses worse than midfield early & adjust throughout the day if I am wrong.

Lots of the Market % is taken up by horses who likely settle worse than Midfield. Affair to Remember, Moonlight Maid, Hasseltoff, Don’ttelltheboss & BeeHunter. Leaves us with the progressive Ocular & Score. Ridden by veterans Dunn and Zahra, both very capable of reading the play & putting their horses in the best ground.

I think Ocular has slightly more upside than Score but I want to win on both. I will have more on Ocular for a bigger result on it. If either or both lob better than midfield I will bet again in the run at around SP. I would favour the runner 1 off the fence. If any of the horses I mentioned are ridden with more intent than I predicted I will back them in the run to make sure I do not lose on that runner.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Ocular & Score Pre-Jump

BACK – If either or both lob better than midfield I will bet again in the run at around SP.

Geelong Race 5

Sandsation is a horse I’ve got a lot of time for. Loved what it did and who it raced against 1st prep and it’s ticked over nicely thus far this preparation. 1st up it wasn’t suited down the straight and went straight from a very slow 1100 down the straight to a genuine 1400m at Caulfield.

Sophia’s Choice was well backed on Monday at Sandown coming from the same race. This race today is a bigger drop in class. Sandsation maps to do as Jye likes. We can back it now and after the jump again in-play if he is positive and lands inside the 1st four horses in the run.

Glassey Miss is lightly raced and gets Willo on today. Was back and buried 1st up this prep behind the smart Charliese who you can tie back to Sandsation last prep. I think Glassey Miss lands 1 back 1 off here and gets every possible – these are the main to players here IMO.

Tycoon Bella with BLK 1st time likely leads and gives a good sight, (trading opportunity) Yulong Savings and Megamea both tick enough boxes at their respective prices to save on here.


Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) – Sandsation

Caulfield Race 2

#2 Prophets Thumb

Early on at Caulfield, I want to be against horses settling at the back of the field & against horses rails in run, I will adjust that through the day if I am wrong. I want to back Prophets Thumb pre-jump & then double that bet in run if Mark Zahra shows intent & lands in the middle 3rd of the field, 1 off the fence. We can also try and LAY any runners that land Rails in Run & or last at SP in run.

Prophets Thumb won 2nd up last prep 1100m at Caulfield, Thorton off Zahra on, goes from barrier 9 of 15 to 3 of 8. Has its peak figure ever at Caulfield over 1100m with the rail in the true which was 2nd up last prep.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Prophets Thumb Pre-Jump

BACK – Prophets Thumb again In-Play if Mark Zahra shows intent & lands in the middle 3rd of the field, 1 off the fence.

Sandown Race 7

Focusing on 2 horses, #7 Ocular & #12 Golden Gorge.

Both come out of the good How Womantic race at Caulfield where Golden Gorge Sp’d 3.4 vs Ocular $4.2, However, Ocular was backed in from $5.5 & Gorge drifted from $2.6. So you could twist that either way to suit your view.

There have been zero winners from Gorgeys next 2 runs & he’s 41 days between runs but Willo replaces Dee & it’s drawn well. Whereas Ocular is 19 days since running in the hot Overkill race at the Valley, of the 6 horses to race since that race, 2 have won, 2 ran 2nd & one ran 3rd, most improving their overall Punting Form benchmark.

In form apprentice Thomas Stockdale replaces Holland & he has to make a bold move early to overcome the wide draw. With the Eden stable you can more often than not predict intent or lack of via watching the market late with Betfair Live. If the horse is soft late he likely snicks to be worse than midfield. If the horse is firm late I’d expect the horse is ridden positively early & put into the race.

I’m keen to back the firmer here.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – The market mover between Ocular or Golden Gorge.

Sandown Race 7

Kooweerup is the most exciting runner today, she brings strong form & two very strong trials to the race.

She’s back to Fillies & Mares from proper elite races last prep. The tactics are the key to how hard we bet here. I want to BACK before they jump, & launch again very early if they show any intent.

I will then place some in-play LAYS at much shorter prices, regardless of tactics she probably still wins & at least runs on enough to trade well below her SP.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Kooweerup

Sandown Race 6

Track pattern is key! If the track plays as he has done in recent times, there will be no disadvantage to be on pace. I want to be with horses mapped to be forward of midfield and drawn mid to inside. Charleise fits the bill and has some good upside this prep. Trialled really nicely to be forward enough first-up.

John Allen scares me but at worst I think he lands in first four. If he does ping the lids and rolls forward I want to bet again and then look to limit my risk via IN-PLAY lays from $2 down.

I think Sandsation and Glassey Miss can both run good races and are progressive. If the track is favouring wide draws and swooping, Splendouronthegrass and Brazen Song can both go really well and are very tradable, pending the track pattern. You do you.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Charliese with the possibility of in-play lays if gets too forward

Moonee Valley Race 3

Horse #8 Vangelic was a huge yet sneaky in its run down the straight behind the smart ILoveMyself. Given none, ridden cold and never saw clear air.

Form from the race is very strong. Willo sticks for Gai and I predict they will ride more positive tonight. I think he can sit OSL or even lead. I will be set before they jump (will have bet). I will bet again and heavily in run if Willo is positive and I will then put some in-play LAYS in from 1.9 down to 1.01.

Hoping to green up and limit my exposure.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Vangelic

Sandown Race 5

The Punting Form Worksheets are a great way to start pricing your own races to 100%. They will save in your database & you will be able to compare vs the market & the results. It’s a great tool.

We focus on race 2 today & 2 horses which likely settle near last & given the track has favoured on pace horses for a long time they will need to be very good as 2yo’s from back there.

I think Itzhot will get the best run in the race & trade much lower than it starts with the Betfair Starting Price. Chart Buster will trade higher than it Sp’s.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Itzhot

LAY to BACK – Chart Buster

Sandown Race 5

Comes from a series of strong form lines last preparation including its most recent start in the Sandown Guineas against the boys where it SP’d $5 with the likes of Banquo, Pretty Brazen, Conqueror and Heart Of Puissance. They’ve performed again this preparation, and we may well end up with a better price than the $3.7 currently available.

We want to build a position pre-race, and then bet again should John Allen position the horse midfield. From here, we want to hedge or at least partially hedge that bet as the horse should loom given any clear running.

The other horse we’ll be looking at saving on is #1 Debt’n’deficit. The price looks short enough now, but it should drift. If Thornton shows any intent and lands the horse midfield, we want to be with it.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Affair to Remember

Flemington Race 4

Spanish Reef is 3rd up and to Flemington looks really well placed. From barrier 6 I think lobs in the 1n1 (1 back 1 off) able to handle any race pace or track pattern from there I’m confident at some point in the straight she looks the winner.

Bet now. Bet again when she lands in the 1n1 and set some in-play lays in from $1.6 down. Green up.

Could also lay Greys Glamour who was completely blessed last start and won’t be here.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Spanish Reef

Flemington Race 6

We focus on R6 at Headquarters, where both Pistol Pete and I will be eyeing the ponies all day for themailbag.com.au Mounting Yard Mail. That’s right, not one, but two sets of eyes on the ponies.

We both saw Jumbo Ozaki parade first up for the cup-winning trainer at Sandown 42 days ago, we both thought it would improve with the run. He went really well that day behind Bam’s On Fire who has since run two enormous PuntingForm Bm figures and beat Rainbow Thief who was plain at Pakenham but enormous last week at Sandown, winning well.

Ozaki finds a speed map here today where Willo (who sticks) can land in the first four horses and get every possible, whichever way the track is playing. He is a box-ticking pony today – Form + Map + Rider +.

I want you to have half your bet on pre-race $2.4, the second half on if he lands inside the first four runners $2, then I want you to lay some sneaky little lays from about $1.5 down to $1.1 IN RUN using the Ladder view option on your 3rd party app. You should green up as much or as little as your mental health requires.

I think he will be winning today. Clarice Cliffs gets the good run too and has the figures to be going close. Wham is flying but will need some luck from back in the ruck.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Jumbo Ozaki

Moonee Valley Race 3

OverKill is lightly raced & comes up $3.5 fav here. From barrier 5 I expect & hope Ben Melham will land OSL (Outside Leader) with the rail out 7 tonight I expect the track favours those on pace.

If he does land OSL I will bet again in run down to $2.7 & then put some in-play lays it at around $1.5 down to $1.1.

The goal is to green up my book as he enters the home straight. If he is slow away & or doesn’t go fwd I would look to limit my position on OverKill.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Overkill

Sandown Race 2

Western Sun and Paradee both present with potential back-to-lay opportunities should they find the front and be able to roll along well into the straight. The other potential play is to lay Diasonic which looks short enough given its likely map.

Should it settle back and buried on the fence, we see an opportunity to quickly lay it again. From here, you have the option to hedge that lay in the straight if Dunn is able to get clear passage.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Western Sun

BACK to LAY – Paradee

LAY – Diasonic

Moonee Valley Race 4

Just A Joke is unbeaten so far this preparation, recording good figures last start off a slow tempo at Bendigo. The step-up in distance looks ideal, as does the booking of Linda Meech.

She should be able to find the lead and dictate this race. Take the $4 on offer now and if inclined, set up some in-play lays to return your initial stake.


Betting Strategy

BACK to LAY – Just a Joke

Sandown Race 4

Antagoniser has strong form heading into this event and gains the services of Craig Williams. We are looking for him to be positive from barrier 4 and put this galloper into the race.

If this eventuates we are happy to back it early and build a strong position. Into the straight, we can decide to place some lays to cover the stake, or you can automate this using a trading application.


Betting Strategy

LAY to BACK – Antagoniser

Flemington Race 7

The ‘random’ nature of Rapid Racing at Flemington presents us with a series of tantalising in-play opportunities and the last event is a prime example.

We’re firstly recommending a back-to-lay strategy on Lickopaint. This galloper was the starting price favourite in the BM70 over 1200m at Sandown where it met fellow rivals Delusions and Angel Lass. It should settle prominently and as long as the inside ground at Flemington is fair compared with the outside rail, it should travel long enough to shorten in price.

The other strategy is a lay-to-back with Angel Lass, who we expect to settle rearward along the inside. Given the way it finished at Sandown with top 10 L8-L200 splits of the day, it should be able to loom late.


Betting Strategy

 BACK to LAY – Lickopaint

LAY to BACK – Angel Lass

Moonee Valley Race 9

Looking at two potential options here for trading in-play. The first is looking to lay 9am favourite Bacchus early in run should it be confined to the fence from gate 3. We’re expecting backmarkers to be disadvantaged at The Valley tonight, and, as such, Craig Williams will need to extract this galloper from a tricky spot. If we get the lay in early, we can then look at neutralising the bet at a longer price. Using Bet Angel, you can create automations that will do this for you.

Alternatively, we will look to side with Sizzleme from the wide barrier should Ben Melham be positive on the horse. Blinkers come off here, which may be a sign of a lack of intent. But if indeed the horse begins well and they are positive, it is a galloper who has strength and has not been suited of recent times. Back it early, and put in some in-play lays to off-set your bet.


Betting Strategy

LAY to BACK – #13 Bacchus

 BACK to LAY – #4 Sizzleme


Related articles

Bet Angel Betting App

Learn more about popular third party tool Bet Angel.

Bet Angel Ladder Settings

We’ve shot a video walk-through for you to set up a Bet Angel ladder for cricket. The same basic ...

Your Bet Angel Settings for In-Play Racing

Are you already using Bet Angel or did you hear about Betfair customers using third party software to bet ...