There is a saying used by many in the gambling industry that goes ‘You can’t eat value’. It is normally said to someone when they say ‘my pick was value, even if it didn’t win’. As long as the pick in the first place WAS value, then it will certainly pay the bills and result in profits in the long term.
There are a few keys to selecting value picks that I try and live by. The first is positioning. Your horse has to get a run up the front of the field. My value picks are normally front runners or those who take a sit 3rd/4th for the gun run. Recent examples are McClintock and Zaratone on the weekend that both lead up at huge prices ($20 and $30) and looked the winners until the final 50 metres. McClintock will win next start over a 1200m trip and Zaratone will win next start over 1000/1100/1200m as he will come back even more fit for that run.
Dame Claire, Dance With Her and Galbraith are all examples of horses that sit on the pace and on their day at their specific distances, are always big value. Dame Claire won at $30 for us three runs back and was VERY unlucky two back to run third at $11 when suffering interference that pretty much ruined the run. Both these runs were over the 2400m distance and last start was back down to 2000m. The horse has won 4, placed 3 from 11 over 2400m while only 2 wins and 3 placing from 24 starts below that distance.
Galbraith has been solid for us over the past year and a half ever since we started following him. We got him at $26 first up as our best bet of the day and since then have made more than we have lost. He is a horse that runs best on a wet track but most importantly, you can’t back him until you see his attitude in the yard. His three runs previous to the last one, you could tell he needed to be sent to the field for a spell.
Dance With Her is the ultimate value runner for us. We followed her two preps back where she had started to show promise with some good runs. She returned in the 1600m Golden Mile where she won at $130-1 for us. From there in the next five runs she won at $6.50, $30 and $3.20 with two unlucky seconds after that. This prep she has been solid but has been in races that haven’t exactly suited. She will win again over the carnival.
Spotting value for me isn’t about black books or any of that stuff, I go through the fields every day and look for horses that stick out. Zaratone was one in Sydney on the weekend due to beating home Master of Design last prep on a leader bias track (another value pick we followed and kept backing – although he isn’t a front runner, he always had the potential on sectionals) the run before Master of Design won the Darley T J Smith Stakes at $61 beating home Rain Affair. He was a big get on for us that day and everyone following us knew how keen we were!
Then you have the opposite horses such as Soft Sand and Amah Rock who are strong and swoop late but never get there. Those are the ones that people keep putting on top and costing them money. The most important item for anyone doing the form should be the Speed Map. You need to make sure your horse can get the best run possible.
We all have different systems for spotting value, mine is from memory. Stick to what you know and what you believe you are good at. Mine is spotting value runners (this doesn’t always mean $50-1, this can be $4.50 like our best bet on Saturday that won by 2L) and taking it.
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. Bet at your own risk.
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