A lot of punters steer clear of most winter racing, having a rule to bet only when the track is rated good or better but, in doing so, I believe they miss many opportunities to back winners at prices that represent enormous value.

A perfect example of wet track value was the 1100m Flying welter on the bog track at Rosehill on May 4. The horse concerned was the Paul Perry trained grey gelding Well Known.

Basic data for the horse, reproduced here from the Sportsman, is a real eye-opener and highlights the importance of studying more details than merely the form line.

One of the first points highly worthy of note is that Well Known is by The Pug, a renowned producer of mudlarks. Virtually all his progeny get the giggles when they hear a dripping tap, let alone a rain storm.

Then we see that the horse has had 8 wins and 1 second from just 11 starts. His average prize-money is $8236, the third-highest average of all starters in the race, so fie is certainly up to the class of the race, especially considering that he has been handicapped on only 52.5kg.

He has had one run on a dead track for 1 win, one run on a slow track for 1 win, one run on a heavy track for a second placing (when he was beaten one length by Military Coup at Randwick).

Incidentally, subsequent study of the form lines show that Montana Sands finished third in that race, three lengths behind Well Known when in receipt of 1kg from the latter. In the May 4 race Well Known was handicapped to receive 2kg from Montana Sands.


This was ultimately increased to 5kg when Well Known was granted a 3kg allowance for apprentice Tanya Randell who had previously ridden the horse in four of his wins.

So, in effect, Well Known was 6kg better off in the current race despite defeating Montana Sands by three lengths at their previous encounter in heavy conditions.

Yet Montana Sands started FAVOURITE in the May 4 race.

But back to the Sportsman's data: Well Known has had 2 runs on the Rosehill track for 2 wins, 2 runs at the 1100m distance for 2 wins. He has not raced over this distance at this track, he has wins over a good spread of distances.

Previously he has had three campaigns and he has won first-up every time. He is first-up again today. Overall he has a 72.7 per cent win-strike rate and an 81.8 per cent place ratio.

A glance at his racing habits shows that he usually leads all the way, so all Tanya Randell really has to do is sit on him and steer, especially as he is carrying only 49.5kg. It's most unlikely that he will be hampered in running.

Additionally, the two horses who have higher average prize-money than Well Known are conceding him 9kg and 10kg - and on a bog track!

Of the seventeen runners, every other, bar one, is conceding him at least 5kg and between them have scored only four wins on a heavy track and eight wins on slow tracks.

The morning line pre-post betting has Well Known at 12/1. Of six tipsters in the paper's panel, only two tip him to run a place. On radio on race morning, nobody mentions him.

Now that's what I call a good bet.

Bookies, of course, are not as dumb as punters, and open him at 7/1, which is still most generous, and he rapidly firms to start at 11/2.

Naturally he wins like all good things should.

There will be more that stand out like him during winter. Take a little extra time when you're doing the form and make sure you find them.

By Russ Writer