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  • Sunday, 19 May 2019
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Horse racing pro turns hard grind into profits

Professional racing analyst reveals the road to profits

Most of us feel the need to spruik a winning day on the punt because they're that tough to come by. Lo and behold if we string a few winning days together, we're blasting everyone's ears off. It's a just reward for climbing one of the biggest mountains in town - defeating the bookies. 

For the minority of horse racing fans who make a living out of giving advice, profits like these are an expectation rather than a luxury, and everything that is said or written by these fearless few, is scrutinized by the endless list of critics in the punters market.


Chris Nelson tipping results


When you string seven profitable days together from your last ten, and show a profit over 30, 60, 90, 180 and 365 days, you've certainly earned the right to be called a 'pro', and the respect of punters everywhere. That sort of performance isn't a fluke and it isn't just good. It's something far better.

These tipping profit statistics are attached to one of the busiest and most successful form analysts in Australia, Chris Nelson. After speaking with Chris this week, we learned just how much effort and dedication it takes to rise above the resourceful bookmakers to beat the odds, and ultimately make a profit.


The grind of racing analysis

In an age where racing information is readily available for everyone to access free of charge, punters are demanding top results from racing experts in the media. Driven by that expectation, Nelson follows a tireless schedule of review and analysis to deliver his freakish profit results.

Amongst his busy schedule of radio segments with RSN Racing, RadioTab, TAB Radio WA, and his racing commentary and tips for Best Bets and other racing media sites, Nelson has to cover a lot of ground to deliver his expert advice. He gets through:

  • detailed video analysis;
  • time ratings for each race reviewed;
  • trial reviews;
  • updates to his sophisticated black book system; and
  • constructing detailed speed maps for each race that he assesses.


Chris Nelson Horse Racing Tipster

Chris Nelson meets with one of his fans, Miss Universe Australia 2004, Jennifer Hawkins.

While most professional punters have the luxury of late market information, like race day track conditions, scratchings and their effect on speed maps and late market moves, most of Nelson's comments and tips are posted 72 hours before the first race jumps. These restrictions are imposed on the Queensland form analyst to meet editorial deadlines for the Best Bets printed version of the betting magazine.


Successful habits breeds results

All that work takes time. Nelson can spend anywhere from 3-4 hours for each race meeting that he looks at in addition to countless more hours that he spends reviewing past meetings across Queensland. It's these countless hours of video review to produce accurate time ratings, that Nelson attributes to his success.

I produce a time rating for each race broken down into sectional/splits which then gives me the shape of the race & whether I should be looking at the on-pacers or the backmarkers.

I use the sectional times provided by www.puntingform.com.au to gain the individual 200m splits for each runner. From the above analysis I end up with a bunch of horses to follow (blackbookers) which are then at the top of my list when they show up in a race.

Despite the mountain of information available to punters online now, Nelson puts his greatest emphasis on what he can see with his own eyes.

I place more importance on what I see with my ‘tired’ eyes than on anything else.


His work on race day brings together the black book runners identified through his video review, with a sophisticated speed map system which considers the ability of each runner and jockey's ability, amongst other key information. 

 I’ll put together a speed map, analyse the opposition & jockeys as well as all the other basic information, however I will always look to come back to my blackbooker unless he/she is unsuited. The reason I’m so keen to stick with this runner is that I know from it being in my blackbook that it’s done something to suggest it can win a suitable race.


Horse racing in the blood 

Chris Nelson's introduction into the racing industry was a case of breeding. His earliest memories include race callers' belting out their tones over a radio. His Dad was a member of Mornington Race Club and so he got to see the real thing from a young age as well. 

These experiences sparked his interest in our great sport and led him to read more about the game and its greats like Andrew Beyer, Don Scott and The Gambling Man himself, big Bill Waterhouse.

Chris Nelson has done it all. From his first winning bet which returned him $3 as a kid, he went on to work with a country bookie on the picnic circuit. Then after providing dribs and drabs of commentary and analysis for various racing publications he became a part time contributor to one of Australia's favourite racing form guides', Best Bets.

It wasn't too long until the racing industry drew on more of his talent, leading him to the hectic full-time schedule that he maintains today.

Even with the many hours invested in racing each week, Nelson manages to get away from it all and enjoy some of his other passions. If he's not on the Golf course, he's either travelling, spending time with his family, or watching his beloved Richmond Tigers.

Doomben race track

Source AAP

Queensland racing 

With so much time invested in Queensland races we were keen to get Chris' thoughts on the perceived bias at Queensland's tracks, in particular the Brisbane metropolitan courses.

With Eagle Farm out of action, Nelson sites the heavy roster at Doomben as a major challenge for its curators in their endeavours to present an even track week-in-week-out. While he notes that the 'leader bias' tag is often over played at the track he concedes that you want your horse in the first four as they turn for home in the shorter races. Over longer distances, he believes that bias is not such a factor. In most cases punters and analysts are mistaking bias with the effects of the race pattern.

I’m a firm believer race tempo is the main player in the result of a race & feel many analysts get carried away with perceived ‘bias’. Many times I’ve heard a comment on Radio or TV after 1 or 2 races where the leader has won, that we are working on a ‘leaders track’ & you just can’t make ground from the back. In reality they are often sit/sprint affairs which have nothing to do with track bias.


Punting tips

With so much knowledge and experience behind him, and the all-important 'runs on the board', we asked Chris for his top three betting tips to pass on to punters.

  1. If punters are serious then they need to watch as many videos as possible. Just looking at the form guide won’t give them the insight they need into a horse's previous runs. They need to know about the run, not just of the run, as there are many factors involved which go unreported in most form guides.
  2. Not all punters have time to do detailed speed maps. They are, however a very important tool. Get hold of one of the many available online with caution. Quickly check to ensure it isn't computer generated without any human influence. For example you may find a horse who likes to lead in 2000m races mapped to lead first up over 1000m which is where the human side needs to come in.
  3. Patience & good staking plan is a must if you are going to be successful. Nobody I know of as yet has become rich by betting haphazardly in every race!

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