Punt to Win
Betting tips for wagering on horses ridden by apprentice jockeys
With some apprentice jockeys their claim is a luxury. When apprentices like Michael Rodd, Zac Purton and Blake Shinn claimed you really were getting a bonus! We would have been happy to support the horses they rode even if they did not have a claim.
However, as a general rule you need to be very careful when you back a horse ridden by an inexperienced apprentice.
You might have the advantage of a three kilos' claim. But it will pay to ignore the standard racing media cliche - "With the three kilos claim the horse comes in well at the weights." Because that three kilos will often not be enough to compensate for the inexperience of the apprentice.
Most apprentices are effectively on their L plates. They are learners. Blunders are expected. That is why they have the claim. They certainly are not given a three kilos claim so every horse they ride "comes in well at the weights." That is an absolute joke!
Put Mr. Magoo on a horse and it won't matter how big the claim is, you'll lose. (As an aside, that is an age old trick practised by some trainers to get good odds about their horses. They look for one of the worst jockeys they can find, expecting a bad ride and much bigger odds the next start when they have their horse set to win.)
How often does something like the following happen?
In a handicap over 2400 metres a horse with an inexperienced apprentice jockey is sent out as the short priced favourite because "with the three kilos claim the horse comes in well at the weights."
In distance races a good jockey will lead, but not set such a slow pace that another jockey will challenge for the lead. That is how the best jockeys can get away with a win at times on an inferior animal. The race develops into a sprint home and they steal the race from the other runners. Of course the lack of pace is given as the excuse for the backmarkers not winning.
But what will your inexperienced three kilos claimer often do?
Invariably set such a slow pace in the lead that with 800 metres or so left a more experienced jockey will have challenged and taken the lead away from the apprentice.
(Or if the apprentice does not give up the lead he wrecks his horse's chances by now fighting to hold on to the lead.)
Having given up the lead, as the horses enter the home straight the apprentice will then find himself in an awkward position on the rails, with nowhere to go, trapped behind the leader which has crossed over to the rails with other horses moving up on his outside.
So that inexperienced apprentice jockey will have taken his mount from comfortably leading and controlling the race to being in an awkward position where luck was needed to get a run because he didn't increase the speed at the right time.
When you back a horse ridden by an inexperienced apprentice jockey you have to allow for the possibility of an ordinary ride. That means you must always obtain much more generous odds than if the horse was ridden by an experienced jockey or a top class apprentice.
This edition of Punt to Win:
2005 Melbourne Cup Carnival Winners
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