Life, in the world of betting on racehorses, means a constant search for a new angle. It's what we at PPM are always looking out for, something new and interesting that others haven't thought about.

It's tough, often unrewarding, work. Occasionally, though, it pays off and you find an 'angle' that promises to provide you with that vital edge you need to secure a good price about a horse that others have often ignored.

These angles cannot often be used mechanically. They need to be ferretted out and then analysed to see if they measure up for the current race.

Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. I know that through the pain of experience. Not that it's stopped me from continuing to search for the angles that are there in the formlines and just need to be discovered.

My 'great expectations' angle is one that I've been looking at for a long time. I've used it as part of my form study for some time now, and it's helped me to land some excellent winners.

I'm looking for horses who raced 'above expectations' and then I follow them through to their next start. What do I mean by racing above expectations?

It's when a horse, who is an outsider in the betting (10/1 and above in most instances), runs far better than its odds indicate it should.

A classic example is a horse sent out at 33/1 who finishes a close 2nd or 3rd. In cases like this, the public has been proven wrong. They estimated its chance at maybe 4 or 5 per cent, but it ran like one of the favourites!

In other words, it raced well above what the market expected from it. The run, then, was a clear indication that the horse (whose previous form may have been ordinary) had suddenly reached a sound level of form.

Next time out, perhaps, it could go one better and WIN. This is my reasoning. I figure that I am on an improving horse who has just peaked and is ready to do more.

Maybe a few examples will explain more clearly what I mean. I think that a good example is that of Chinhoyi. Now this one finished a half length 5th of 16 at Randwick over 1400m at 33/1 on September 4. Obviously, his  performance was way above what just about everyone was expecting. Not too many 33/1 shots go so close to winning in a big field.

At his next start, Chinhoyi confirmed the strength of that performance when he came out and won at 16/1 (yes, 16/1!) at Canterbury over 1200m on October 23.

His connections gave him a 7 week break and it did the trick. Those who ignored the power of his previous run, and apparently there were many of them, missed out on a big-priced victory.

Maybe the fact that Chinhoyi came from a non-glamour stable helped the odds to remain big for the winning run? Quite often, as we know, runners from big-name stables are overbet and sent out at odds that do not accurately reflect their true chance in a race.

There are many other examples. Like Gotham Ruler, who ran 4th at Sandown at 20/1 and won next start at 13/8 at Moonee Valley just 7 days later. In this case, the betting crowd picked up on the strength of the run at long odds and didn't allow Gotham Ruler to win at big odds.

What about Spine Tingler? This one wasn't a winner but he still made for a fine eachway collect. The qualifying run was its 2nd of 15 at 25/1 at Bendigo on November 10, beaten only a nose, which was followed 10 days later by a 3rd at Sandown at 50/1! Yes, the odds got better.

Catainer ran 2nd at 13/2 at Moonee Valley and won next start at 7/2, while Final Fantasy ran 4th, beaten only 3 lengths, at 25/1 at Canberra in October before winning next start at 9/4 at Canterbury (another instance of the betting crowd picking up on the good run at big odds).

What about Pimpala Prince? He ran 2nd of 16 at 10/1 at Grafton on July 7, beaten less than a length, and next start was allowed to start at 7/1 when he won at Randwick just over a fortnight later.

These are but a few examples of the 'above expectations' angle but I think they give you a clear idea of what I'm on about.

In studying current races, go through the last-start form of each runner and see if you can spot any that fit the bill. Even last-start winners can slot into the angle. A winner at 20/1 or better last start obviously raced way above expectations and should be worthy of a good, close look.

What you must keep in mind about the qualifiers in this angle is that you should always be looking for value. My  wn view is that if the horse you have earmarked is at skinny odds, you may as well forget it, and wait for another race.

After all, the aim of the game, no matter how you arrive at the selections, is to get prices that will enable you to make a long-term profit. Accepting short odds, underlay odds, is going to make that task even more difficult.

The UK expert Mark Coton, in his fabulous book One Hundred Hints For Better Betting wrote that a loser avoided can seem like a winner.

"You have a couple of fancies for a day's racing, but cannot quite persuade yourself they represent value for money. The temptation here is to muddle around, to finesse a few pounds (dollars) onto the first selection," he wrote,

"Stop yourself. If both horses lose, you will be on good terms with yourself, and perhaps feel virtuous, certainly in a better frame of mind for the bets to come.

"Missing a loser is not as good a feeling as backing a winner, but there are worse sensations for the backer to experience, such as walking back from the betting shop knowing you have wasted the week's food money on a couple of horses you knew in your heart you should never be backing."

How can you back the 'above expectation' selections? Provided you've achieved value with the price, you can support them win or eachway, and also pop them into any exotics you are placing.

'Wild card' horses like these can help you hit some big returns with quinellas, trifectas and so on.

Getting back to finding 'angles', how do you go about digging them out? It's all in the form. My approach is to cheek out the results. Look at the winners and go back to their last start to determine how they performed.

What were the signals that should have been spotted in relation to a winner? Had it come from a bad run or a good run? Was it wellfancied? Was it a roughie (racing above expectations!), did it come from a bad barrier, was it unlucky, did it have too much weight, etc.

After studying the results in this way, you may start to spot a discernible pattern. You may spot some odd quirk that keeps on cropping up. If so, you may have stumbled on one of those elusive angles that everyone seems to miss.

Once you feel that an angle is worth further surveillance, make sure you check it out properly. If you have the results from previous meetings, go back over them. How many times did the angle turn up, and how many winners were struck and what were the prices?

Is there room for a profit to be made if you introduced some judicious culling of the contenders?

Is there a way of concentrating on certain types of races? You don't want to be betting on too many races.

Walter Mitchell, a professional punter from 50 years ago in Sydney, had this to say about betting: "No-one can pick all the winners. But anyone with a formguide can make an intelligent attempt to pick the likely winner of a race in which a winner can be logically found."

Mitchell's belief was that you find the race before you start looking for the horse. In itself, this is an angle worth pursuing. Don't think about the selections; go through the programmes and find the races that look easy hits. Then bother yourself with the form!

The moral of this is not to allow yourself to be beaten by the unbeatable race. Learn to bypass them. In the course of a day, a week, a month, a year, there are any number of predictable events without throwing away good money guessing about the unpredictable.

To sum up, then, with my angle on the above expectation horses, make sure you can secure a good price, bet for a win or eachway, and slot the selections into your multiple exoties.

With any angle you find, check it out thoroughly, bet the qualifiers in the right races at the best prices.

By P.B. King