A number of factors come into play when picking a winner. I always tell people, you are not just trying to pick the winner of the race, but you are trying to get the best value. If your stats suggest a horse that is $50 wins the race every 20 races, then you are getting value and you need to support that horse, even for a small amount. You will be up significantly in the long term if you can extract value from races.
The most important piece of equipment for any punter is their form guide. If you see someone with the paper in front of them making a bet, the majority of the time, they are a losing punter. Almost every form guide in a paper does not cover 90% of the statistics you need to look at. We couldn’t punt without the free form guide from TAB website (Skyracing Form). You don’t need an account to use the form and you obviously don’t need to bet with the TAB either.
What you are looking for on the form guide
- How the horse runs on the track and track conditions
- Long or short straight, how does it run on both
- Up/Down or same class race
- Up/Down in weight
- Where the horse runs (front/back/middle of field etc)
- If first up or second up, does it run well off a spell
- Is there any decent form to go from and has it beaten/been beaten by others in race
- Stewards comments – One of the most important features of SkyRacing form guide are these comments shown as two speech bubbles.
Form is only part of the story
We haven’t been involved in the racing industry and only had a small interest in betting on horses until mid 2011. AFL is our game and we know that you need to put in the time and effort to know every player and team to get the full information. You also need to learn the coaching styles and how a team will play. That is the same with horses. A prime example is David Haye’s horse named Eagle Falls. It’s not a consistent horse but is trained on every prep to win one or two races. It is targeted towards them and due to such poor runs in other races, will jump at massive odds in those races. It won the Oakleigh Plate I believe at $28 and won at $30 on Saturday 11 Feb 2012 as one of our tips first up from a long spell. For the first month of Horse Racing bets, we didn’t profit. We didn’t bet big at this stage because it was still the learning stage. Adjusting as we went, you see certain things along the way that just click in your head. The most important thing i can say to you in this article is stick to only a small section of the racing market. Saturday big meet Melbourne is our niche that we excel in. We tried to do Sydney, Perth, QLD but Melbourne is where our passion was and we know many of the horses. I wouldn’t even think about betting on the VFL or SAFL in the footy so it makes sense that I don’t look to other states unless a handy Melbourne horse makes its way interstate.
Let’s have a look at our example horse Social Rank. It was paying $17 on the Tote and about $20 on Betfair. When we saw the price we almost fell off our chairs. Al’s Magic Miss was the favourite paying about $3.40. Let’s have a look at all the positives in Social Rank to start.
Recent Form: Has won 3 from last 5 races. One loss in a much harder race by only 1.8L.
Recent Starting Prices: An important factor when determining value. Social Rank started at $4.80 or less in 4 of last 5 starts and was only $11 in a much harder race two back.
Track conditions: It was a Good track condition this day and Social Rank has a 3/2 from 7 record on Good.
In Run & Barrier: The track had been suiting front runners and Social Rank was always going to the front from this barrier
Times: Probably the most important factor for us here – Social Rank ran a 1:02.4 over 1100 last up. This is a extremely fast time and Al’s Magic Miss hasn’t gone anywhere near this time in the past.
Weights: Not the best weights but with a claim we thought 56.5kg was reasonable.
Now that you have seen all the positive factors and you know that we are writing up this horse because it won for us, it is also important to note that Al’s Magic Miss had a lot going for it as well. With no weight on it’s back in 52kg and in equal class from last up 0.5L loss, it was suited here. Runs well on Good and loves the distance. Good form lines to come from. It ran 2nd in this race.
Many people will be suckered into backing Al’s Magic Miss thinking it deserves a win. I’m not going to say it’s a bad play, but if they looked harder at Social Rank, all the benefits pointed to it. We backed Social Rank and has a saver bet on Al, believing it was the second best in the race. If you don’t know, a saver bet is when you place the exact amount you need to cover your other win bet if that horse loses (and you believe the ‘saver horse’ may win).
Picking a winner is a learning game. Understanding the different grades and what a good time is over different race lengths is difficult for the best of us.. but you will get a hang of it. You may want to try and do some research and write those things down. Also knowing the different race courses, which ones have a 400m straight, 300m and 200m is vital also. Some horses just don’t run on, on corners and need a long straight!