Want to brush-up your betting technique? Feel like injecting a bit of excitement into raceday? Need to alter your mental approach to selecting?

We all feel like this at some stage in our betting careers. I've compiled a list of 20 ideas that might help you beef up your betting and bring a smile to your face!

  1. Try to attend a race meeting at least once a month. It's always beneficial to experience racing 'live' and not from a TV screen. You might realise again that the track is where you can obtain VALUE by deciding to bet between tote and bookmakers.
  2. Drop your usual betting on racehorses and take look at the dogs, or the trots. You may find a new and exciting interest in one or both the minor codes. Sometimes we can burn ourselves out chasing winners in one code. A switch could prove just the tonic to start winning again.
  3. Try betting on non-handicap races only. Handicaps are probably the toughest races to assess. By limiting yourself to Set Weights and wfa races, you will be able to more easily handle the weight aspect of things. Plus. you'll not have so many races to consider.
  4. Put together a 'stable' of horses, trainers and jockeys to follow. Start with 6 to 10 horses, 3 jockeys and a couple of trainers. Check them out each raceday, consider their prospects and bet when you feel the odds are in your favour. Something different can help.
  5. Make a decision not to drink 'n' bet. Millions of dollars a week are thrown away by punters who are under the influence when they make their betting decisions. The drunker you get, the more your judgement is going to be affected. It's not worth it.
  6. Buy yourself a few books on handicapping and staking there are not too many Australian books around, but the US and UK bookshops have hundreds of titles. Get on the Internet and search under 'horse racing books' and you'll soon be on the trail of the best-sellers.
  7. Stop the 'pop in'. If you haven't studied the form for the current day's meetings, don't just pop in to the TAB and start betting by doing a quick scan of the TAB sheets on the wall. This is the surefire way of ending up with egg on your face.
  8. Try to think like a trainer when you're assessing each runner's form. What is the trainer thinking of with the horse? Does the form pattern indicate the current race is the target? Or does it look as if he's being set for future races and not today's race? Probe their minds!
  9. Think twice about betting short-priced runners. If the value isn't there, resist the urge to bet. There are many false favourites going around, and always remember that 70 per cent of these favourites are going to lose. Sobering stuff!
  10. Be more vigilant about the money you spend chasing winners. Buying formguides, newspapers and racebooks can be a major expense over the course of a year. You may find you can make do with one formguide rather than two or three. This could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
  11. Don't become addicted to one form of betting. Many punters can't stop throwing their money on trifectas and quadrellas but these are the hardest bets of them all. Try for something easier even plain old win bets.
  12. Be on your guard against OLD horses. Once a galloper reaches 7 or older, he becomes a suspect betting proposition. He'll take longer to get fit and it's unlikely he'll be able to reproduce the form he showed 12 months before. Old equals slower!
  13. Get stuck into jockey form. The man or woman aboard your fancy is all-important. If you can restrict your bets to the top riders, you may well find your win-strike rate improves along with your profits. A Shane Dye, or a Damien Oliver, can be money in the bank for you.
  14. Give yourself a holiday As much as we like to bet 12 months in the year, it's often advisable to take a break, just as racehorses do. Two or three weeks off can help you clear your mind and renew your energy level. You'll come back fighting mad!
  15. Try to pick up on the positives in a horse's formlines. It can be destructive to look for what the horse can't do or hasn't done before. It's more meaningful to determine what he can do and then assess his prospects from there.
  16. Sit down and think about Nick The Creek's winning philosophy. Always bet on good horses, never take odds-on, back the favourites that firm in the betting, and take a saver on the favourite if it eases and instead back the second favourite as the banker.
  17. Test yourself out on a 'best bets' approach Instead of betting on lots of races restrict yourself to one prime bet every day. Don't get disheartened if the first two or three don't win. Stick at it, be patient, be sensible and if you're a good judge the winners will arrive.
  18. Work out your strike rate over a lengthy period and determine what sort of losing runs you're facing. If your longest losing run has been, say, 11, then you should allow for 33 losers in a row when setting up your betting bank.
  19. Keep a full record of city racing by filing away each weekend's copy of Best Bets. It's a pocket-sized book so not much space is needed. It's easy to find each copy and check back on a horse's form. Make sure you write in comments for horses who ran well or poorly.
  20. If you're not already a subscriber, why not spend 60 cents a day to get access to the Practical Punting Daily Club on the Internet? The winners that flow from our popular website are extraordinary. The annual fee is only $200 plus GST. A great bet!

How to cash in on the best riders
It's easy to find out which jockeys are the best in any area of the nation. Formguides like Sportsman, Winning Post and Best Bets carry a full summary of the jockeys' strike rates each week.

Wizard formguide contains much more detailed statistical surveys, even telling you what the strike rates are for the various SP brackets. You can see which riders have the best winning performances on favourites, for example.

If you're going to stick to top riders, make sure they are the TOP riders. Shane Dye, Damien Oliver and any of the others among the top 5 in each State.


By Damien Whitchurch