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21/6/2002 edition

Horse Racing
Selection Criteria

Continued from previous page

"4. Recent form - last four starts, last run, days since racing etc. Improving? How is it running?"

Our reply:
It is difficult to isolate recent form because it is also important to take account of the distance, track conditions, run in the race and so many other factors before you can assess whether or not a horse is improving.

But as a rule of thumb most horses need a few runs in to imporove their ftness levels. Of course there are first up specialists.

A horse may have had three runs in from a spell, been placed over an unsuitable distance first up and then run over unsuitable conditions at its next two starts, say rain affected tracks. It then gets a dry track fourth up and wins at odds.

Nothing is too easy and straight forward. If it looks easy and straight forward you can guaratee the odds will not be there.

"5. Analysts, handicappers and tipsters, the markets. I can never have the depth of analysis of the experts: I'd be a fool not to listen to what they have to say."

Our reply:
Don't automatically assume everything said by race analysts and tipsters is correct. They are hyped up by their media bosses as "experts" when that is often not the case. It's not that difficult to sound like an expert to the average punter by just repeating some video notes they have in front of them.

Do the media tipsters explain why they have horse A on top instead of horse B? Sure, they can tell you what horse A has done and what horse B has done, but do they tell you why that means horse A should be put on top and horse B second? For example, have a look at the Saturday Sportsman pre race comments for each state to see what we mean.

"6. That's an awful lot of data to synthesize. I'm spending about 45 minutes on a race. And then, of course, having studied it in depth, and having ruined your eyesight on the fine print in the form guide, you might come up with... the favourite."

Our reply:
One of the most important points for successful betting is to develop a reliable method for determining what odds to accept on different horses when you bet. It is fine backing the favourite if it is at value odds, but more often than not it will be under its true winning chances.

"7. I'm looking for an elimination device. How can I narrow a race down to a manageable number of runners to study without eliminating winners too often? What is best? A ranking method of analysis or an elimination method?

I've been working on a ranking system. No doubt there are hundreds of them around already, but my way is to build my own system from scratch so that I understand each element. I'm keen to hear voices of experience though...

Great forum. Some very useful stuff. Thanks to all. Happy punting. Not a good weekend for me at the track. Oh well... Hermes."

Here is a reply posted on June 17 which has some very useful statistics.
Continued next page

This edition of Punt to Win:
Sandown track bias - punters destroyed
Bet for value
Trainer tips and Sky Racing leg-ups
Horse racing selection criteria - helpful tips
Money talks - Rosehill and Sandown plunge horses
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 14/6/2002
Punt to Win index

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