Racing Ground

21/02/2014 Betting Strategies

Racing tools for the punter

Punters these days have a lot to be thankful for. As short as twenty years ago three lines describing a horse's chances in a race was par for the course when it came to pre-race information. Only the serious punters would venture into the news agent to buy the Sportsman, Best Bets or Winning Post weekly form guides to take a deeper dive into racing form.

In stark contrast punters today have a wealth of information at their finger tips right up till they jump.

Racing Form

Racing form from pre World War I. Racing information has come a long way.

There's a whole lot more than a few lines about the horse's last few runs and a quick comment about its chances squashed into a few pages of the tabloid to go with these days. Form guides are everywhere. Every bookmaker has a version with detailed form on as much as 15 past races. There are summary statistics on form relating to track, track condition, distance, distance ranges, first up, second up and more. Some of the more advanced form guides include racing pattern analysis, outlining trends across a horses campaign and over its career and runs and time since the horse had a win.

Price Assessments

Betting odds assessments from Deane Lester offered as part of his weekly tip packages

Price assessments are a little harder to find. Basically because they require a whole lot more work from the form analyst to produce them and get it right. Even if a punter finds the time to price the market for a race punters really have to check the source as it's tough to get this stuff right. What the publisher of the odds is trying to do is assess each horses chance of winning in the race. Based on these assessments, they are presenting you with the odds of each horses chances of winning. As mentioned in a recent article, it is difficult to determine how accurate price assessments are. Let's take a few examples.

If a price for a horse is assessed at $3.50 and it wins what can you conclude? It was accurate? Well maybe it was an odds on chance that won and the price assessment was out by quite a bit. Over double in fact.

If a price for a horse is assessed at $50 and it wins do you conclude that the racing analyst got it wrong? Maybe the analyst did get it wrong however it might just have been that lucky run in 50 that they assessed it as.

There isn't a hard and fast method to work out if price assessments are accurate or not. You would have to run the same race about 100 times under exactly the same conditions and at exactly the same time to prove your conclusions and that, of course, is impossible. A few general guides include rating the actual run of the horse in question. It may not have won the race but it got into trouble a few times so you might assess it as unlucky, full of running and worthy of it's $3.50 price. Same can be said if a horse has been priced at a much lower price that the market has it at. Say for example a $35 chance is priced at say an $8 chance. A good run in this instance tells you that the racing analyst has a good eye for value and whatever he or she is doing with the numbers is certainly adding value to your pre-race assessment.

The consistency by which they produce these strokes of value tells you how much reliance you can place on their book making. It's science, art and genius all rolled into one.

 

Speed Maps

Speed maps are the primary tool to help punters determine how a race might be run. What order they will settle in, where they might sit around the final turn and in the straight. These days speed maps are becoming more and more important to punters when they sit down to do the form. Similar to price assessments it's important to check the source. If your speed map publisher is simply reading the form guide and checking how they've jumped, where they sat at the 800 metre mark and then where they finished to determine what their place in the field will be, you might need to look on for a more reliable source. Quality speed maps are created from a lot more than a few positions from past runs, after all every horse in the race is speedster compared to a tortoise. The good form analysts will look deep into each horses statistics and use sectional times to determine their speed relative to the other horses in the race. They will look at barrier positions, race track characteristics and even jockey's and track conditions to determine who is likely to take the front with speed, who will sit midfield and who will tail off. They also use relative speed to determine the overall race speed.

Assuming you've got a quality speed map what next? Obviously you put it into the mix with your form analysis to determine who is going to finish in front. There are, however other factors to consider. Using the speed map to get a view on where horses will sit as they turn for home in terms of distance out and back, will help you determine how much each runner may be impacted by the natural bias of the track. As an example, depending on the rail, four or five wide can be the perfect position at Moonee Valley coming around the turn.

The speed map's insight into how far back a horse is coming into the turn can be very valuable information also. Moonee Valley, demonstrates this point alos with its small straight to contend with, a position more than a few lengths behind the leader in a race with 16 or more horses might reduce the horses chances of winning significantly regardless of how well it is going.

The general points for punters to consider when selecting the speed maps they will use for their race analysis include:

  • Check the speed maps' source - if the publisher is not telling you how they are putting it together then ask them. If there answer sounds like rubbish then that is probably what they are serving you up. You can't go past a trusted name in the industry.
  • Consider the speed in the race - if it is unclear how much speed is in the race than it can throw out your race analysis all together.
  • Turn for home - try and take the speed map information right up to the final turn together with the track's characteristics to determine a horse's chances of a clear run in the straight.

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Author Biography

Mike Steward

Mike Steward

Mike has an entrenched love for a flutter having grown up in country Victoria. Blessed with a numerical mind, he has a passion for identifying trends and patterns within betting markets, always on the lookout for opportunities to fill punters’ wallets.

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