Punt to Win
Two Year Old Races
First starters - does money talk?
The standard racing media comment about first starters is to "Watch the market and follow the money." That is nothing but a punting myth. It is guaranteed to lose you money over the long term.
Last Saturday there was a 2YO fillies race at Rosehill over 1100 metres. 13 of the 14 fillies were having their first race. There were two solidly backed runners in the race, both trained by Gai Waterhouse.
Cheeky Choice firmed from $3.40 to $3.20. After leading she finished second by half a length. Tantra firmed in the betting from $5.00 to start at $4.80. She finished fifth, more than three lengths from the winner.
The winner of the race was Absolutelyfabulous, who started at $6.50. Absolutelyfabulous was also the only filly with race experience, having finished two lengths third as $2.30 favourite to Aquabelle at Randwick two weeks earlier.
In the following example we look in detail at the Merson Cooper Stakes run at Sandown in November 2001. It was a set weights with penalties Listed race for two year olds over 1000 metres. This 11 horse race had eight first starters. The other three horses had each raced once.
The best supported runner in the betting ring was the Lee Freedman trained first starter True Glo who firmed from $5.00 to $4.20. This gelding, ridden by Melbourne Cup winning jockey Scott Seamer finished tenth, beaten by nearly 15 lengths.
There was a little nibble for the Colin Little trained first starter Blur who firmed from $6.00 to $5.50. This gelding never looked like winning but at least finished third, beaten by one and a half lengths.
No other horse firmed in the betting, which was more than understandable considering the opening market was over 160%!
The winner, a filly named British Lion, had barrier 10. She was out fast and led throughout to win in the very slick time of 55.58 seconds, only 1.08 seconds outside the track record. Not bad for a two year old filly. Her starting price? She eased from $15.00 to start at $21.00. She paid up to $36.60 on the New South Wales tote. From those price movements there was also no really serious professional money or serious inside money on British Lion.
So much for following the market. So much for money talking. Yet Trevor Bailey, Melbourne foreman for his father and trainer Alan Bailey was not surprised and reportedly said, "It didn't surprise me she went so quickly as everything she's shown us suggests she is a runner." The previous Tuesday she had defeated an older stablemate, the city placed Breezer over 650 metres at Caulfield.
Apparently British Lion's owner, the New South Wales located Meringo Stud Farm were happy to let British Lion go around for the $48,750 first prize. And why wouldn't they? She only cost $10,000.
It is quite clear - money usually does not talk in a field full of first starters. The betting is not an accurate guide. That is a punting myth.
Purchase prices at the yearling sales are no real guide either. Here are what some of the runners cost as yearlings and where they finished:
This edition of Punt to Win:
2005 Melbourne Cup Carnival Winners
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