TonyBrassel

Tony Brassel the story behind the tipping machine

Cracking insights from the form guru

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He is the main man behind the cameras and mic at Sky Racing. The face and voice that most punters, right across the country, associate with the great game - horse racing.

Whether it be a Group One main event or a bush maiden, he's already done his home work when asked to share his wisdom in one of the 65 races he covers each week.

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Speaking with Tony Brassel, we learned about the hours of preparation and challenges which go into his tireless schedule at SKY Racing.

We got Bras' votes for greatest horses of all time, learned about his favourite and least favourite tracks with some cracking insights for punters.

He then gave us some "behind the scenes" truths about live SKY broadcasts, and we listened to some golden memories which will take punters back to a time when mobile phones and the Internet weren't around.

 

Doing the Form

 



Tony Brassel has been referred to as a 'form analysis machine'. Up unto recently he covered 12 meetings a week across three days which would often surpass 100 races in seven days.

Bras utilises several databases which capture his notes from past meetings and trials, while allowing him to easily cross reference this information with a horse's form.

Equipped with speed maps, trial video footage and the high level view taken from the databases, Bras is ready to start fine tuning his analysis. But it doesn't stop there. 

As the deadline to submit his tips to Sky Racing approaches, Tony is factoring in pre-race information like scratchings and changing weather and track conditions, to arrive at his final selections for the day.

 

Mounting Yard Footage

In addition to footage of past races and trials, Bras reviews mounting yard footage to get a deeper understanding of a horse's condition and where it might be in iits preparation.

He admits it's more of an art than a science, where the knowledge on what to look for is acquired over time.

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The Tipster's Challenge

 

 

Tony acknowledges that there are factors which only become apparent after the tip submission deadline on race day morning. These factors can sometimes throw a cloud of doubt over the decision he makes in some races.

Track bias, changing track conditions and mounting yard observations are just a few of these factors which casts uncertainty over his original decision.

Despite this challenge, Bras' rule is never to change the tip. It's just unfair to the punters who have taken the tip earlier in the day and have already backed it, Brassel says.

 

The Track

 

Amazingly, Tony Brassel hasn't been to a race track in two years and that's because race day all takes place in the SKY studio. 

When asked if that's a problem, Bras told us "..as long as I'm backing winners I am happy".

He reflected on some of the great times he's had at the track in years gone past. Reminiscing about the good old days when he was up early to observe the trials and spoke about some of the legends of the Australian turf that he would mingle with in between runs.

 

Tipping Stats

 

 

Amongst the many impressive stats that Tony has achieved since we started recording his tips back in 2009, he boasts a career profit at Caulfield. We thought that the home of the Caulfield Cup might be his favourite track - but we were wrong.

 

Favourite Track

 

 

Brassel mentioned Randwick and Canterbury as his two favourite tracks. They're the fairest and easiest to plot compared to any other track in Australia and the world, he told us.

 

Flemington pitfalls

 

 

One of his least favourite tracks is Flemington. He warns punters not to look for inside runs at the home of the Melbourne Cup. They very rarely come, Tony told us.

 

The Valley

 

 

One of the toughest tracks for many punters is Moonee Valley because of its tight and circular nature. We asked Bras what his thoughts were about how the track played. Surprisingly, he loves it.  Tony sees these unpopular track characteristics as an advantage to the punter, suggesting they contribute towards truer run races where the best horse wins more often than not. 

 


The Brassel Stable

 

 

With a Father in the racing industry who was passionate about the great game, it's not surprising that Tony and his two brothers, Stephen and Mark, also landed careers in racing.

With so much passion for the sport in the family, weekends usually involved watching the trots on Friday night followed by runs to the TAB during Saturday to get everyone's bets on.

 

The Greatest Thoroughbreds

 

 

Kingston Town was Tony's favourite on account of his dynamic racing nature. Sprinting three times in a race as a three year old is just one example of that amazing talent, Bras told us.

He acknowledges Winx's class but it was Kingston Town's extraordinary range, having won over 3200m as well as sprint distances, which seals it for Brassel.

He also mentions Saintly because of his similar racing characteristics and achievements to 'the King'.

 

Industry Changes

 

 

The commercialisation of breeding is one factor that Bras sites as having a significant impact on the industry. A factor that may have seen one of the Australia's greatest mares Winx get things a little easier than she would have otherwise experienced if some of the young star colts during her racing career, continued to race.  

He also quotes the vast increase in foal numbers fathered by sires in the modern era compared to decades earlier. Modern day sires produce almost ten times more offspring, Brassel tells us, which highlights the heightened commercialisation of breeding operations today. 

 

Advice

 

 

Tony provided some solid words of encouragement for aspiring racing analysts and commentators. It's a more level playing field now and young enthusiasts can practice online whenever they want, he said.

When it comes to racing, he advises the younger brigade to observe and learn to read a horse and all its mannerisms and characteristics. It doesn't all happen in the form guide. Watching the real thing as much as you can is a big part of being successful in the industry.

 

The Big Question

 

 

What would you change in Australian racing? Tony acknowledged the opportunity to have all parts moving in the same direction which a single unified administration would help achieve.

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Author Biography

Damian Deguara

Damian Deguara

Damian Deguara is editor in chief at theGreatTipOff.com. He is one of the founders of our site and has a strong passion for racing. He loves a Saturday on the punt and especially enjoys the Spring Carnival.

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