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Saturday 7 November 2020

Betting With A Valid Opinion (8th November)


No, I am not talking about the stuff women put on their faces. I am, in fact, talking about what I call the make-up of a horse race. 

If we are looking to analyse a horse race in the hope of finding the winner - where do we begin? If I was talking about one of the older horse sprint races I would begin with data I have stored on my laptop but for this blog I am talking about any race other than a sprint race. 

I assume we all start of using the data available from the Racing Post (website), where you can review each horse's past form. In all truth, it really isn't much good using the Racing Post newspaper, because it details the last three races for each horse while the rest of the paper is full of articles, so for most punters it is a waste of time and money.

The bookies pin their larger copies of the paper to the shop walls hoping mug punters enter the shop, read the paper and mistakenly thinks he is betting with a valid opinion. 

If a horse has run thirty times, you are working with ten percent of the data, so it's not really ideal. That's why the mug punter never progresses with their betting. They  are quite happy reading the paper and keep placing their bets. Infrequent wins and regular loses are the reason why the bookies prosper.

I think it is incredible that punters I have known for endless years still bet in exactly the same way. They lose on a regular basis and utter these words: ''All hobbies cost money or that they only bet for fun!'' 


Ha Ha Ha, yes that makes me laugh. 

Are they really trying to tell me they enjoy losing their money?

Losing isn’t fun.


Over the years, I have tried to help people see the errors of their ways, but virtually none of them listen; they think if they cannot win then nobody else can - because they are the best tipster in the shop, if not the country. 

I wouldn’t dream of telling someone how to bet in a mile race because it’s outside my range of expertise. However, I could give them some good pointers in sprint races. 

For example:

We are going to analyse a mile race, let's say at Newmarket. Firstly, we go through the runners to see if they have won over the distance of a mile, then look to see if they have won on today's going. 

These two simple methods can narrow down the field quite quickly. 

So now we have say four runners of interest. It's likely we would come up with a different conclusion. 

One way to avoid this is by backing all four selections, called dutching. Don’t ask me why it is called this.

I suppose the next thing someone might do is look who the trains the horse and jockey taking the mount.

Many punters would say trainer of horse 'A' is better than trainer of horse 'B' so that's their selection. However, the bookies predict this will happen so horse 'A' is a shorter price than it should be so a lot of punters will play into the bookies' hands. 

When I assess my sprint races, the most important factor to me is speed. While I'm doing my initial analysis, I don’t look who trains or who is riding the horse. In fact, I don’t want to have any outside influence on my selection. I want it to be based purely on fact or in this instance time. 

Looking at a race over a mile, speed figures can be helpful if you know what to look for but this does take time and it isn’t possible to do it just using the newspaper. 

This is what lets most punters down.

So horse 'A' likes to run in the middle of the field and then stay on strongly at the finish and can cover the distance in a time of “X” seconds. It can produce a good speed figure and its actual rating is five pound superior to anything else in the race. At this point most punters are ready to place their bets. This is where they fail to see the full picture. Looking through horse 'A’s' past form, we can see it prefers a fast early pace and then it stays on resolutely at the finish as the front runners are beginning to tire and it’s stamina kicks in. 

Is the horse suited to these tactics?

To know this, you need to read the form of all the other runners and if there isn’t any or only one known front runner then this race might not be run to suit. If the second best horse on times in the race is a front runner then it could set a slightly slower early pace and then when horse 'A' tries to come to win the race the front runner has kept something in reserve for the finish and doesn’t tire and horse 'A' cannot catch it. 

That is a simplified version of why most punters fail with their analysis, they get to a point during their reading of the form and see something that makes them think horse 'A' has every chance of winning the race but without full analysis of all the opposition that theory might well be flawed. 

The real answer to making your racing pay is having the time to study/analyse each horse in each race. It is very time consuming even with all the data I have stored: speed figures, running styles, it still takes me at least an hour to analyse a twelve to fourteen-runner race. 

So, how many races can you analyse for a day's racing? 

If you start the evening before and then the next morning you could probably manage six to eight races. It doesn’t leave much time for anything else, and soon the workload begins to tell and you start taking shortcuts and making mistakes. 

The answer to all this is simple, choose an area of racing you enjoy, then get to know your interest inside out. You don’t have to be a genius - all you need to be is a little bit smarter than the average punter.

The prices of your selections will offer more value because you''re not following the herd and therefore getting bigger prices for your bets. 

As they say: “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

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