Winning money at any form of racing is a tough assignment. Winning at harness racing, it is said, is harder despite the fact that many more favourites win than in horse-racing.
The problem with winning trots' favourites is that almost without exception they are at ridiculously short odds. Thus, although the bettor gets his collects they don't add up to enough to ensure a good profit, or even a profit at all.
The small punter has to look for value. In some way he has to tie up the winners that are going to arrive at value odds - the so-called 'rough diamonds' in the field. The method I am about to unveil in this article tries to cash in to some extent with horses in the value category.
Punters who decide to follow the system need to have some time at their disposal, as well as the 'true grit' to keep a close eye on market moves. Basically, you are looking for what I call 'hot' horses - ones that firm markedly in the betting from the morning newspaper price line to the price they are sent out at on the track at racetime.
THE 'HOT' HORSE SYSTEM
- Consider only those horses which are on the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th lines of betting in the morning newspaper. Note that here we are looking at the line of betting. For instance:
5/2 Golden jug
4/1 Blue Caesar
5/1 Aussie John
7/1 Misty Glenwood
10/1 Paleface Bee Bee, Neva Rite
25/1 Tarport Rebel, Double Robust.
In this betting market, then, the horses we consider would be those from 6/1 upwards (Waitoma, Misty Glenwood, Paleface Bee Bee, Neva Rite, Fletcher and Tarport Rebel/Double Robust.
- Firstly, check the horse or horses on the 4th line of betting. If a 4th-line horse is sent out FAVOURITE it becomes a bet.
- Secondly, check out the horse or horses on the 5th line of betting. If a 5th line horse is sent out SECOND FAVOURITE or LOWER it becomes a bet.
- Thirdly, check out the horse or horses on the 6th line of betting. If a 6th line horse is sent out THIRD FAVOURITE or LOWER it becomes a bet.
- Fourthly, check out the horse or horses on the 7th line of betting. If a 7th line horse is sent out FOURTH FAVOURITE or lower it becomes a bet.
- Lastly, check out the horse or horses on the 5th line of betting. If an 8th line horse is sent out FOURTH FAVOURITE or lower then it becomes a bet.
To arrive at a selection, check out the 4th line horses first. If there is a qualifier, then it becomes the bet for the race and no other horses are considered. If a 4th line horse does not qualify, you then consider the 5th line horse.
- If the 5th line horse qualifies, it becomes a bet and no other horses are considered. If a 5th line horse does not qualify, you then consider the 6th line horse - and so on.
- Do not back any horse which is priced at evens (TAB dividend $2.00 for $1.00) or under.
Any significant change in a horse's odds from its race morning quote to its price at the start is an indicator that the horse has been well-supported, often by its connections.
How do you operate the method if you are off course? Obviously, if you are betting TAB agency, a PubTAB or a where a TAB is located, you will not have access to bookmakers. What you need to do is a simple check TAB dividends with 5 minutes remaining to start time.
Firstly, you 'convert' the morning price line quotes into potential TAB dividends. Therefore, 2/1 becomes $3.00, 5/2 would be $3.50, 3/1 would be $4.00 and so on. Write these in RED ink next to each horse's name in a notebook.
Then, look at the TAB monitors with 5 minutes of betting left, and write down in BLUE or BLACK (or some other colour, apart from red) the dividends that are showing for each horse.
Once you have done this, you can arrange the field in betting order. At a glance, you will be able to see how each horse has moved to a different line of betting, or remained where they were in the morning.
You then check off each runner, starting with that 4th line horse, or horses, from the morning market. And so it goes on, until you find a bet. You will not be betting in every race; sometimes the market moves do not fall into the pattern required.
By the time you have done all this, it will be time to go straight to the TAB window to place your bet.
If you are betting at the track, you can work directly from bookmakers' prices. Or you can use the TAB. My suggestion is that you choose one or the other. Find the latest price lines using one form of betting (TAB or bookies) but once you have got a selection you check both TAB divvies and bookies' prices for the best price available.
This system should provide you with lots of winners, and a lot of fun (and hard work!) into the bargain. It's for those punters who are serious enough to want to take on the challenge of the price spotting. So, I'm the first to admit, it's not a system for everyone.
But it does throw up some terrific value bets. And on horses which are invariably well fancied.
Click here to read Part 1.
By Rick Roberts
PRACTICAL PUNTING - OCTOBER 1993