Market Phases

I thought I’d write something to try and help you guys make sense of how a market is formed and how money arrives. I’ll attempt to do this by describing what the phases are and their relevance and behaviour.

Let me start by saying I am by no means an expert in this subject. I cannot real off pages of stats, or give accurate ways to predict volumes or other interesting titbits. But what I can describe is how these changes can effect you and how you may trade them.


The first “phase” would be the when the market is opened by Betfair. There are companies who I believe are paid (or offered favourable terms of commission). This overnight and early morning stage would see 2 types of bettors. The very shrewd and clever guys, and the foolish ones that the clever ones feed off. 🙂 I would have phase One ending around 9:00am

Phase 2 for me is when the tipsters and Bookmakers make their selections and prices available. This is when the markets start to form properly and the books tighten up. The gaps between the prices become smaller. The activity increases and the market form properly. There are some big moves to be had if you know how to spot them. If you go back in my video archives I used to do a daily market preview where I showed you how I spot opportunities. (They were B2L’s I called them). I have refined this somewhat over the years. One of the lads in my Mentorship program caught the move on Glasgon from 10.5 into 4.9. last week He was “quite happy” 🙂 Wish I had spotted it!!!! This phase runs up until the On Course betting shows go live. This can be between 15 and 5 minutes from the start.

Phase 3 is more difficult to pigeon hole. This the most active time of the market. In broad terms it starts when the previous race being shown on TV ends. I say broad terms because if there are only 2 meetings, and the previous race finished before the On Course live shows are active, then the money arrives in a more even pace. The same amount of money will arrive, but it is spread out more. The thing to take from this when racing is stacked on top of each other, and clashes are a plenty. It interferes with the normal flow and harmony of the markets. This leads to increased volitility in some cases. in others a stagnant market. This depends on the races importance compared to the races(s) clashing with it. So a 2m hurdle at Down Patrick, wouldn’t have too much impact on the 2000 Guineas market if it spilled over on to it.

The final phase is the most critical one. In a flat race it’s the stalls loading and in National Hunt it’s when the horses form a circle or are getting themselves into some sort of order for the start. Both of these scenarios are critical and can a huge effect on odds. You can have an excellent position on a short priced favourite, it stays to play up going into or in the stalls and all that is gone in a heartbeat.  The same is true if your big drifter is 3 lengths in front of the pack walking onto the course. 7 or 8 ticks swings are common place here. Keeping an eye on the start is a smart move.

If you want to see a market from from start to finish in real time I strongly suggest you load up a Greyhound market  with 6 or 7 minutes to go. You can see the market from scratch to full maturity in fast forward. The phases (except the final phase where the most exciting thing you will see is a dog having a quick shit) are the same – just much quicker.

Understand the markets you bet in will improve your trading no end. Not only in terms of when to bet – more importantly when not to.

As always I welcome your questions and comments


6 thoughts on “Market Phases

  1. A couple of questions:-

    1. In the third paragraph you mention companies that are paid. Paid for what?
    2. I understand that most on course bookmakers now hedge on the exchanges rather than between themselves as they used to in the “good old days”. Does this activity have an impact and is it visible in the market?

    • It is my understanding is that market makers are either paid by the exchanges or offered incentives of very little or low commission terms to seed the market with money. Betdaq for example offer a lower commission structure if you offer a bet as opposed to taking the price on offer, this is for all customers. The market cannot operate with this money. There is one company that claims to have traded £3,0000,0000,000 over the past 5 years on Betfair. My guess is they don’t pay Premium Charge.

      I’m sure that Bookmakers hedge on the exchanges, especially Betdaq. Betfair have been doing it themselves for a while in their own markets. The way the markets behave it is not possible to see who is putting the money in. If you were dumping £10k + into a market I would think you would do it in a way that wouldn’t attract too much attention if you had half a brain. Showing your hand is not a great idea as it opens you up to manipulation. However, there are some big amounts being traded of late. I have no idea where from though.I suppose if the individual wanted to hedge a position by backing at 3 and there was money available all the way up to 3.5, taking the lot wouldn’t be a concern. Myself I would split it up to maintain the best price I could.

      Hope this answers you questions – Cheers MG

  2. I have been looking at scalping for a while now watching endless videos which show people making what seems easy money but with no real advice or explanation. By chance I found your blog and I am slowly working through all your post I have to say the information you share is excellent and I feel I am beginning to build up a understanding of your swing trade approach I am sure there is a lot more to learn, will you do anymore mentor days after July as that clashes with my hols ? . One question you seem to have a ceiling on a price which you will trade if so what is it and what are your reasons ? If the answer lies somewhere in your blog if you could point me in the right direction it would be appreciated. I am a successful poker player I wish this sort of information was available when I stated playing that would of saved me a lot of money and speeded up my progression excellent blog giving straight forward information in a clear manner which can easily be understood keep up the good work many thanks

    • Thanks for you great comments Dave. I have another date on the 22nd Sept – I haven’t released this yet – But I am taking reservations if you’re interested. By that I mean I will give you first offer of a place before I advertise the date. Most are my videos are swing trading. I find better swings at a certain price. But I have different strategies for all price points. I just don’t make videos about then so much. If you want to reserve fist shout for Sept let me know mate. Cheers Steve

  3. Hi steve,

    thanks for that nice article.

    I also recognise some people who lay something with say 4-8 k in on go, even on big odds, where you would it never expected. All of the sudden you see that chunk come in and the price shoots up and everybody want to get out or got on and the pricemove is a hell if you on the wrong side of it. I saw this now a few times and got caught a few times. I can´t understand what happening when the do so and even worts it seems that so many people get on and make it even worster :). This horse don´t play up or something else is coming in drasticly and this shoots up. Don´t know, maybe its that somebody offset their position as you wrote?



    • These large amounts of money that drop into the market are becoming more frequent. Quite often the price will bounce back to where it was. It’s very difficult to understand, let alone explain what is happening. I have a couple of ideas, but nothing that I am 100% sure about. When I know for sure I all write a post and explain my theory. – Cheers Steve

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