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1/12/2000 edition

Good Betting Races

Here is what a race caller said as the horses were going into the barriers for the first race at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

"This is a good betting race, this...The reason it's such a good betting race is that there's so much guessing going on and that's good. There's some disclosed form, there's a bit of trial jump out form, then there's nothing. In the end of the day I think a lot of people think they have a horse that gallops particularly well and because they don't know a lot about the others I think they decide to have a go, which is pretty good thinking."

A number of astute punters we know were a little flabbergasted. They could not believe that such a terrible betting race was being called a "good betting race".

The race was a 2YO Fillies Open over 1000 metres. Exactly half of the field, five  fillies, had never raced before. Only one of those five, Thylacine, had a barrier trial. The others had no disclosed form but included fillies from the strong Tinsley, McLachlan and Mitchell stables. The five fillies with race experience included three with only one start, Cossego a three lengths winner over 850 metres at a Sunshine Coast maiden four weeks earlier, while Spindle and Ashley Kate had both run respectable fourths at Doomben. Two fillies had raced three times, with top weight Idesa Bay finishing second in a 2YO Open over 1110 metres two weeks earlier.

There are good betting races and there are GOOD betting races. Maybe the race caller was calling the race a good betting race.
"What is the difference?"  you may well ask. 

In a good betting race there is:
1. A lot of activity in the betting ring.
2. There are many form queries.
3. Many horses are given a chance of winning.
4. On paper it looks a raffle.
5. Many punters decide to "have a go" and back horses at 10/1 thinking they are getting value when the opposite is the case. The horses are true 20/1 chances or even worse.

To cut things short it is exactly the type of race that smart punters who want to give themselves a decent chance of winning at the punt usually leave alone. Punters who have a big go in these races have the odds heavily stacked against them. The odds were massively stacked against punters in that 2YO Fillies Open mentioned above. 

But an important question needs to be asked.
How could the race caller describe the 2YO Fillies Open as a "good betting race"?

Nothing happened in the betting ring!!!
The opening prices of the 10 runners in the betting ring with their market percentages were:  
2/1 (33.33), 3/1 (25), 3/1 (25), 11/2 (15.38), 13/2 (13.33),
7/1 (12.5), 7/1 (12.5), 7/1 (12.5), 12/1 (7.69), 12/1 (7.69).
That totals 164.92%. 
It is equivalent to betting eight dollars to win two on the toss of a coin.
Any wonder prices eased in the betting ring.

Only Ashley Kate stayed firm at her opening quote of 7/1.
Only two horses firmed at any stage in the betting ring:

Cossego
opened at 3/1, eased to 15/4 and firmed slightly to start at 7/2.
Office Hours opened at 12/1, eased to 14/1, had a little specking and started at 12/1.    

There is no evidence whatsoever of all those owners and connections who "think they have a horse that gallops particularly well" deciding to "have a go".

Here are the starting prices of the 10 runners with their market percentages:
5/2 (28.57), 7/2 (22.22),  7/2 (22.22), 7/1 (12.5), 15/2 (11.76),
8/1 (11.11), 9/1 (10), 9/1 (10), 12/1 (7.69), 14/1 (6.67) 
That totals 142.74%. 
It is equivalent to betting seven dollars to win three on the toss of a coin !!
Combine the double whammy of lack of disclosed form with very poor prices on offer and punters are on a hiding to nothing.

Why does the race caller say when "there's so much guessing going on and that's good" and it is "pretty good thinking" to "have a go" under those circumstances? 

What is a GOOD betting race?
Precisely the opposite of that 2YO Fillies race.
1. It is a race where the odds can favour smart punters long term.
2. There is plenty of disclosed and current form.
3. There are also usually only a few horses with realistic winning chances.
4. That means the race is not a raffle. 
5. Correctly sort out the main chances, get good odds about your key selections, stake them right and long term you should do well.  

Next: Punt to Win 24/11/2000


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