It's been a long-established fact that race callers are good judges of a horse. But do they make the best tipsters? We spoke to Anthony Manton, one of Australia's best race-calling form analysts, to find out.
SKY Racing caller Anthony Manton has been tipping winners for fun in recent times.
In April, punters who backed each of Manton's 39 tips generated a very tidy 69% Profit on Turnover (POT), at average winning odds of $8.22 (using best tote).
Go back and look at the horse racing leaderboard over the past 90 days, and Anthony Manton's tips have produced 40% POT. This ranks him Top 2 amongst the media experts in Australia by this measure.
Anthony Manton tips getting better and better
Take it back even further and examine the last 180 days and Manton is still sitting on a very healthy 21% POT.
What this all means in plain speaking is that Manton is bloody good at steering punters into winning tips. Not only has he been providing his followers with healthy returns, but he's been doing it consistently over an extended period.
Model of consistency- best media tipsters from 180 day statistics
So what gives Manton the edge to deliver double-digit profit, time after time?
There's no doubt that as a race caller he gets greater exposure to NSW provincial and country racing than your average punter, but all race callers aren't showing these sort of stats either.
We learned that there's much more than jockey silks being studied in preparation for the race meetings that Anthony Manton calls.
Growing up in Gundagai, Manton was exposed to racing from a young age. He has fond memories of going to country meets with his grandfather and at his very first race day experience, he backed a winner. Talk about a sign of things to come!
From that day, Manton knew that he wanted to forge a career in racing.
But he didn't start out as a race caller. In fact, Manton spent a considerable and perhaps career-defining period as a professional form analyst for a couple of leading online bookmakers.
This role included studying video as well as written form, and using that to help set betting markets. In other words, deciding which horses the bookies were going to take on, and the ones they were going to be very cautious with.
It was here that Manton learned the importance of video form analysis. He told us that identifying horses that can show certain indicators is key. These indicators include the ability to absorb pressure/race wide and hang on, overcome track bias, overcome pace/race shape and show acceleration.
Combine this with his current role as a race caller, and it's clear that Manton has amassed a valuable set of tools to find winners regularly enough to deliver very profitalbe horse racing tips.
Manton's pre-race day work begins as soon as the acceptances come out. He spends around four hours studying the form per meet, before making his selections for each race.
This form analysis helps Manton familiarise himself with the horses that are running on race day. Remarkably, Manton only begins to memorise the colours of each jockey when the horses walk into the mounting yard. While he concedes that the hours of form analysis makes it easier, this gives an incredible insight into the powers of memory that a race caller must posses.
Trusting his own analysis, Manton will bet on the tips he gives to the public. He has particular confidence when it comes to maiden races.
There are usually only a handful of chances, sometimes less. I try to identify the winner of the maiden before everyone else finds it after the win.
Manton typically only backs one horse in a race, and has a maximum bet limit regardless of the odds of the horse he bets on.
Furthermore, one of the key factors in Manton's decision to back a horse is whether it's overs.
He has an idea of what the true price of each horse should be. If it is significantly over the odds and has shown one of the performance indicators listed above, Manton will back it.
With alot of his career in front of him, Manton has already had a distinguished service as a race caller. Some of his highlights include travelling to Sweden in 2018 to call the Elitloppet - the world's most prestigious race for trotters. He also has great memories of calling some of his own horses home for the win.
But Manton is the first to admit that he's had egg on his face in the past.
He directed us to a race in Canberra, where he went the early crow on a horse called Exaggerate, that led by five lengths inside the final 100m before getting done on the line.
While some of the punters backing the leader and listening to the call might not have the fondest memories, Manton is (just) able to laugh about it now.
Q&A with Anthony Manton
Favourite race meeting on the calendar and why?
Gundagai Snake Gully Cup day. I grew up in Gundagai that’s my Melbourne Cup day.
The horse to watch after the recent Autumn campaign?
Too busy trying to find the winner of a Wagga maiden, the money is still the same colour at Wagga as it is at Randwick!
Best advice you’ve received on the punt?
"If in doubt go the topweight" my grandfather would say but I would rarely take that advice these days. "They are on again tomorrow" is one I often use.
If you had to give punters one piece of advice, what would it be?
Watch your race replays! You can't expect to pick up the form guide on a Saturday and win at it if that’s all your doing.
Who are the biggest larrikins in the SKY Racing tip stable? What do they do to deserve their reputations?
It's got to be Dave Stanley. He's a knockabout all-round good guy, who doesn’t take himself too seriously and pub punters can relate to. Jason Lincoln is another. They call him the Wizz and there is literally nothing he doesn’t know.
Any SKY Racing tipster you hold in high esteem and why?
Paul Joice, we worked together at my first job in racing at Racenet 15 years ago and I have always respected his opinion enormously. Mick Wallace is a freak at his own patch out in the west as well.
Biggest collect ever?
In December 2015, I was the form expert at Bathurst for Sky Racing. I found a horse called Sweet Surprise trained by Graham Brown in one of the maidens.
It had had four starts and had never drawn a gate. The horse was coming off a solid second at Muswellbrook where it chased a fast speed and got left in front a long way from home. Mathew Cahill was riding and it had drawn much better.
They put up $41, while my tips had it as the best bet of the day on TV and radio. It started about $12, jumped straight to the front and never looked like being beaten.
I remember watching the race with trainer Jason Attard who had one in the race. I was madly cheering Sweet Surprise back-slapping and high-fiving Jason when it won. He couldn't have cared less. His horse finished down the track but he was a good sport about it.
Ever since then Graham Brown and I have become good friends. We always chat about that race when we cross paths at the races and the name Sweet Surprise often comes up.
Do you have a hard luck betting story?
I raced a pacer called Angel In White a few years back, who we set for a Group 1 in Melbourne. I took $61 in futures and kept backing her every week leading up to the race.
She won four straight going into the race and by the time it came around, she started about $10-12 and I had her going for about $60K!
She pulled like a steam train the whole race and ran herself into the ground. She never won another race.
Also, any race where I’m on at good overs, they never seem to win!
You can follow Anthony Manton's tips performance here.