Updated 21/03/2022

What is a lay?

For the uninitiated Laying horses is essentially turning betting on its head, instead of backing a horse to win, you are laying it to lose.

Bookmakers “Lay” every horse in a race and, no matter which one actually wins, they generally return a profit on that event. Unless of course they are  doing something drastically wrong.

The ”Speculative Lays” system is a method of identifying horses that have little or no chance of winning the race they are competing in.

The adjective speculative has synonyms which include, risky, dangerous and unpredictable and as the highest starting price qualifier from this system to win a race in the last 10 years has been 66/1 those terms have been to a certain extent justified, but, when you look at the bigger picture and realise 82 horses from the system have been sent of at those lofty odds that solitary losing lay doesn’t seem so bad after all.

What is the criteria for the speculative lays system?

Race Data

  • Race Code – National Hunt and Flat (turf only)
  • Handicaps Only
  • Between 8 and 40 runners

Horse Data

  • Headgear: None, Cheekpieces, Blinkers
  • Betting Market Odds: Between 7/1 and 125/1
  • Official Rating: Top Rated

Horse Last Race

  • Days since last run: Between 11 and 30
  • Last race placing: NOT First

And that is all.

As a lays system is speculative lays any good?

In a word yes.

This table shows the performance of the system overall and by year.


Where can find the latest speculative lays qualifiers?

How do I use speculative lays?

Method 1

Lay the horses on the betting exchanges such as Betfair and Smarkets.

Method 2

On Bet365 back the horses in the “Not To Win” market.

Method 3

Simply eliminate these horses from your calculations when deciding which horse to back in a race, thus narrowing the field and putting you in most cases a step nearer to finding the winner.

How do I get speculative Lays?

Speculative Lays is one of over 40 horse racing systems which are are only available to Full Members of One Stop Racing more details here.

As the website grows a more comprehensive article about laying horses will be added to the One Stop Academy

**One Stop Racing has no affiliation to any of the bookmakers mentioned on this page.**

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