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9/4/2005 edition

Understanding Ratings

Quality Ratings Beat the Tote:

Unfortunately many punters do not understand ratings. This handicaps them in their punting battle. There are even plenty of punters who think the tote betting order is more use than quality ratings. That is misguided. For starters:

1. The tote never will tell you what is a good value or poor value bet.

2. In some cases that $3.00 tote favourite should be $2.00. In other cases $5.00. Unless you are able to work out whether the tote favourite is or is not value at the odds, the information that it is $3.00 is of no real benefit. Because odds change you also often don't even know the tote favourite until after the race!

3. The top four or five tote horses will regularly miss good value winners because the tote is nothing more than a public popularity poll. Follow the public, take the odds the public takes and you will get the public's results, which is a loss.

Good ratings:

1. Rank horses in the order of their winning chances in a race. They do not aim to pick the winner with five or six selections. The horse with the best chances of winning is top rated. The horse with the next best chances of winning is second rated and so on.

2. When ratings are used correctly, punters look for value. Punters get out of the losing habit of simply trying to pick the winner of a race with one selection which by definition is their top selection and then backing it irrespective of the odds because "it will win the race."

3. For example, with good ratings the top rated selection may be priced at $5.00. But only $3.00 is available in the betting. Punters will then know that the horse is no value and should not be backed. No matter how often you stare at the tote odds you will never be given that information. Punters who only want to back the top selection if it is value, and there is nothing wrong with that, will leave the race alone because the horse is no value at $3.00. They may even consider laying the horse on a betting exchange.

4. Good ratings service providers will also give you with a number of betting methods to use with their ratings, like we do, so you bet for value and are not just restricted to the top selection.

5. "Why do you providers of ratings claim a fifth rated selection as a winner? Doesn't that mean they are trying to pick the winner with five selections?"

That is the usual complaint from punters who do not understand the value concept of betting using ratings. No one could honestly claim a $5.00 winner that was fifth rated. If you used the ratings sensibly you wouldn't back the horse when you were only getting $5.00 for the horse and there were four better winning chances in the race.

That means the ratings also identify horses which are poor value and should not be backed. So that of course means the ratings cannot be trying to pick a winner with five selections.

6. But providers of ratings claim $30 winners that were fourth or fifth rated selections. That's no good. They should be on top."

With honest ratings it is an achievement to have a horse winning at those odds in your top four or five rated horses. We do not deliberately fill our ratings with horses at $20 and $30 like some services do. This means that when a rated horse is at big odds it is a value runner. The fifth selection in just about every race should be at considerably shorter odds than $30. That means punters backing the horse are getting value.

If you think it is so easy to find $30 winners that are fourth or fifth rated just see how you go ranking five horses in order of their winning chances. Just have a look when the big winners come along and see how you never have them in your top four or five chances.

Many punters have been misled by media tipsters. They will tip just about anything as the top selection in a race, often with the introduction, "For value I'm making this horse my top selection." Yet if really pressed, and none in the media does it to their colleagues, they would have to admit their top selection is not the horse they even believe has the best chances of winning.

That is not what our ratings are about. We do not deliberately set out to make other horses top selections because the favourite is too short. If we rate the race and the favourite has the best chances of winning the race, then it will be top rated. We just won't back it if it is poor value like being rated at $5.00 and all you can get is $3.00. Once again, no matter how often you stare at the tote odds you will never be given that information about the tote favourite.

It is an excellent achievement to rate horses that win at $20, $30 and even $50 as we have recently in your top four or five selections. Realistically, they very rarely have the form to be top rated if you are making honest ratings. But if you have identified them as a genuine winning chance in the race you will have beaten the tote market and of course beaten the public.

To win at racing long term you must get value. You must also bet differently from the public - rank and file punters who are guaranteed long term losers. If losing punters want to complain that all ratings are no good because they are trying to pick the winner of a race with five selections that's their problem. It shows their lack of knowledge. We know better, and those of our members who sensibly use our ratings and our other information also know better.

This edition of Punt to Win:
Understanding horse racing ratings
Get those betting odds
Betting favourites in small fields
Betting tips from the track - Randwick, Sydney Cup Day
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 2/4/2005
Punt to Win index

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