Last weekend I actually made it to the pub on Saturday afternoon, the pub was busy even for a Saturday and seating was very limited, now usually a couple of sweet sherries and a pina colada are enough to lighten the mood and keep me out of trouble, either way we managed to grab a table between two respectable looking middle aged couples.
As I was minding my own business checking to see if Rip Van Winkle had managed to win the 16:15 at Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (beaten into 2nd place by a nose), foiled again by my race nemesis Frankie Dettori who managed to screws me over yet again. My love and hate relationship with Frankie goes way back!
I digress, anyway I hear the golden words, “horse racing and betting slip” this in turn focus’s my attention to ear wigging. The guy chatting was telling the other chap about his bets for today, and general chit chat. So I mentioned my race and we got chatting. He bought a round of drinks, which I thought was rather decent of him as I’d literary only know him for 10 seconds. He then started telling me about his betting, what it means to him and general betting fopar.
“Horses are animals not machines and anything, absolutely anything can happen during a horse race”
The basis of the chat was this, I determined that in the past he had been quite a steady gambler but he had obviously not been to successful and lost quite a lot of money but now he was retired he insisted that the trips to the bookies and living in a flat above was just for fun and usually entailed a few bets on the weekend and the odd race day thrown in for good measure. (He didn’t really live above the bookies, but you get the idea on the type of guy I’m chatting too), although I never asked so he may have lived above the bookies!
His whole approach was this, he had lost money betting in his younger days and at the time he was betting with money he could not afford to lose, (same old story), but he had decided where he had gone wrong back in those early days was to actually convince himself betting was a game of skill rather than luck and now he had given way to a different thought pattern. He was convinced that horse racing was a completely uncertain sport, and that no amount of form study, statistics or software could help to predict the outcome of a horse race.
At first I thought he was joking as anyone with half a clue can instantly see the benefit of Ratings, Statistics, and especially Software and Research. Normally people start to see the mistakes they have made without this superior knowledge, “the blind bets they have placed, backing horses with a nice name, following jockey silks, having their children make their selections for them. Most people usually try to shuffle there approach to the next level when confronted with new information on a subject. Being able to see how they previously placed their bets and think there has to be a better way. Often starting over with their betting and working out how this new found perspective can fit into their betting lifestyle.
However this chap was firmly planted to his belief that horse racing was utterly unpredictable. He did not believe in statistical data, horse patterns, or anything. His main argument for this was and I’m not making this up, and I quote –
“A horse could have a cold or something or just not want to have a run or maybe he had a bad sleep the night before”
Now as for my point stated earlier, anything can happen in a horse race, I know this I accept this, I’ve certainly had more than my fair share of the unexpected happening during my betting career, but the point which he totally refused to understand is that horses are designed to run, its built into their DNA it’s something they love to do, same as dogs loves to bark they don’t know why they do it they just do, especially my neighbours, mainly at night.
Getting back to his other point, I’m not even sure horses can get colds? Honestly he even made a coughing noise when he told me this one. As for a bad night’s sleep, surely this is a very poor argument for horse’s chances as once the adrenaline starts flowing and nature kicks in the horse doesn’t worry to much about the lack of 8 hours and a missed coco the night before. So there you have it the word on the street, now I leave this up to you to decide whether he really did have a solid argument, however here’s mine.
“I don’t care what anyone else says, historical data, statistics and software can and often do predict the outcome of a horse race time and time again”
Let me tell you all where I’m at with this; I’ve said it before and I will say it very loud and clear again.
“HORSES ARE ANIMALS NOT MACHINES AND ANYTHING, ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN DURING A HORSE RACE”
Now that we have that out of the way we need to take what could potentially happen within a race into account as a built in collateral damage and not worry about it too much so that we can get on with the job at hand. This is the reason why we don’t bet our entire betting bank in one swoop, you carefully use a percentage just in case we find ourselves with a collateral damage moment while watching the 3:20 at Windsor.
Using data will without a doubt point you in the right direction while making selections. The trick is how we use the data provided and how we process this data in terms of which particular style of betting suits our needs.
Here’s what I mean;
Punter 1 let’s call him Derek.
Derek may open the race card, look for a short priced favourite as a lay bet and lay that horse. He may do this once every day. Now let’s assume he has some initial success with this for a while. You can almost guarantee as much as he brags to his friends he never really makes a profit.
Punter 2 let’s call him Giles.
Giles opens the race card, looks to back the Favourite, but notices the price is to short so he simply backs the second favourite. He continues to do this and usually bets four races per day. Again let’s assume he has some initial success with this race but usually he doesn’t make much of a return, it’s mainly just for fun.
Person 3 let’s call him (YOU).
You carefully choose your race card while looking at the race as a whole. You look for a horse not only with the least chance (laying) or best chance of winning (backing) in terms of liability/percentage of risk in relation to price, but also you look in depth at the competition (strengths and weaknesses) surrounding your selection “we’ll call this Horse A”.
You do not just take Horse A’s, CD, BF or other historical information for granted, and assumes the past will dictate the future.
You look at the history for each particular horse and decipher which horse makes solid claims in relation to its background and which is likely to follow its past patterns again today. You look at whether the competition is still competitive today rather than has beings propping up the race as a whole.
It’s always better to say ok, who hasn’t got a realistic chance in this race, dismiss the horses making up the numbers and then work from the favourite back over. Doing this should help to eliminate half the field in one swoop.
Ok so back to the start, we have a selection which on paper and in the ratings, matches our criteria, for example – points score, price is of value on Betfair, plenty runners in the race, decent class race e.c.t
Now instead of simple heading over to Betfair and Backing or Laying the selection, let’s work backwards. Start with the lowest rated horse and determine if this horse has a cats in hells chance at actually competing? Work your way through each horse. Usually you will be able to spot 5 or 6 horses who may look at first like they have a chance within the race. Now look a little deeper and you will soon see negatives and positives when studying the competition. You need to take note of these factors when reading form.
Classified Information; Here’s what I do within seconds of choosing a race; “Now don’t go telling everyone”
Is the horse fit? How many days since the last race?
Did the horse place in its last 3 races?
Were these races recently, (this season?)
Has the horse shown ability on this Surface, (Ground)?
Did the horse compete in a similar type of race last time out?
Did the horse run the same distance last time out?
Is the horse carrying more or less weight? Has the horse carried this weight before and managed to compete?
Is the horse moving up or down in Class? If so has the horse done this previously and what was the result?
Is the same Jockey riding today as last time?
The list goes on, however what I want to stress is you can take all or a few of these additional checks above and start introducing them into your selection making process. It will go a long way in helping you determine each horse’s chances and give you a more in depth look into the race. The other really important part of this is this – if your horse doesn’t perform, ask yourself why? Did I miss something? Were you just unlucky? Then you can assess any areas which you may have overlooked or just a simple mistake you won’t make again.
If you managed to do all of the above form reading only to find the winner was a 60/1 shot and no one on earth considered it had a hope in hell; then ok sometimes we cannot predict something like this happening, maybe your horse did in fact have a cold or “horse flu”. If however your horse came in second to this long shot or was beaten into second place by a length, then you’re definitely on the right tracks, it just didn’t go in your favour this time out. Who’s to say that by doing all this additional form reading that your horse did win as you managed to actually spot this 60/1 winner?
“It’s all about variables and making judgement calls which you cannot make excuses for or turn a blind eye to, but rather makes a case for”
I actually had two races this weekend which I just missed out on, one selection I mentioned earlier was beaten by a nose and the other 55.00 on Betfair when I placed my back bet (shortened to 28.00) beaten by a shoulder. Was I wrong with my selection process? NO, unfortunately it just ended up one of those days.
If a horse has shown throughout its race career that the ground, distance and course suits but it seems to be lacking recent form, then at least you can take onboard the knowledge that these conditions won’t go against the horse. It’s then a case of seeing if this horse still has a better chance against the competition. This can be done by seeing if other horses within the race are on par with a lack of recent form or have the other horses not been proven at this trip, or never placed on this ground?
Building up a profile on each horse will give you greater flexibility when choosing your back or lay selection. The evidence as it were, is usually hidden within the history, to find it you need to look a little deeper and read between the lines before placing a bet. With practise you will find yourself doing this type of form analysis quickly, and the more you practise the better you will become at dismissing or embracing the horse’s chances.
Those members who are already using the Software will be fully aware of the software’s ability to take care of the hard work for you. One key feature which saves so much time during form reading is the “software’s pattern matching tool”. Having the ability to see a horse’s history matched in relation to today’s race criteria is not only a time saver but also a huge advantage in helping you to spot how the horse may find today’s conditions.
An even greater feature is having the ability within the software to combine conditions for each horse, such as Course, Going, Distance, Class, Race Type and Jockey and match these conditions not only with todays race but also against the horses competition.
Remember, always qualify your selection with an open mind, don’t make excuses as they will usually come back to bite you.
P.S. WARNING – It might be a good idea to stock up on vitamin C this winter. It’s not Swine flu you have to worry about, but Horse flu is doing the rounds, symptoms to look out for are; nausea, tongue flapping, excessive apple eating, trotting, feeling the urge to jump, excessive sweating and crapping whilst walking.
You’ve have been warning.