NEIL DAVIS is a NZ-based form analyst who runs the website. He is regarded as one of NZ’s most authoritative racing experts.

Trifectas have the attraction of a big return for a comparatively small outlay. But the big plus is that with percentage betting, you can scale the bet to fit your budget.

But how do you strike the good priced ones in gallops? Simple! Find the false favourites and make the most of it.

The Win pool and Trifecta pool are completely separate pools but the win prices do influence the trifecta prices. If a horse is being talked up on TV and it starts coming down in price, many punters will follow and anchor it or include it in their trifecta combinations.

But if you can go against the crowd and bet against it winning or, even better, not filling a place, you are going to get value for money. That is the key to making a long-term profit with any punting.

You can’t expect to win every week. Using the method I’ve outlined below, if you can get two or three out of 10 trifectas you stand a very good chance of making a profit over the period of a year, because the ones you strike will more than likely cover the losses.

The key is identifying the false favourites and having the nerve to go against the crowd. Remember, statistics are in your favour; 70 per cent of favourites don’t win. So, if you can find a race in which you feel the favourite has little chance of getting into a place, then those races are like precious gems.

So, what do you look out for when trying to identify a false favourite?

Below are the main ones I look for:

  1. I’ll start with my two favourites. It’s when a horse’s body language indicates before the start that it is not going to perform as expected.
  2. The horse may be ridden by a top in-form rider and punters are backing it mainly for that reason.
  3. An unfavourable draw – on good or dead tracks a wide draw with a short run to the first bend is tough to overcome. On a slow or heavy track an inside draw can count against it. The draw is another topic on its own.
  4. Second-up after a hard run first-up, especially when it has not performed second-up before.
  5. A poor winning strike rate.
  6. The pattern of the race may not suit the favourite. It may be a back runner with very few on-pace runners which could make it difficult to make up ground in a sprint home.
  7. It has not performed in the prevailing ?track conditions.
  8. Racing at a distance or track that it has consistently not performed at.
  9. Not raced for 21 days or less. ?Especially so if most of its wins have been within 21 days of its last start.
  10. All of its form has been one way of going and it has failed going the other way.
  11. Its best times on a good track surfaces are not as fast as other fit horses.

And of course, the sectionals can be a very good indicator of a horse going off form. ?It gets a soft lead then fights on up the straight for a two length third, when others are running faster last 600m sectionals.

That alone will save you many dollars and signal that you can bet against it next up.

There are many other reasons but they are some of the main ones to look out for.

I mentioned in Number 1 above about a horse’s body language indicating that it is not ready to win.

A ?recent example I can use was on Sunday, September 10 at Taupo. In Race 9, Tatlock was sent out a hot favourite at $1.65 for a win. Just eight days before he raced at Hastings and hung badly throughout the race. He proved a difficult ride for Lisa Cropp, finishing eight lengths behind winner Kay’s Awake.

In this much weaker field, he had the performances behind him to justify his favouritism. But if you watched his preliminary, which was shown on TV, he did exactly the same thing that he did in his prelim at Hastings – he hung.

At Hastings he sweated up badly before the race, which, combined with the hanging, indicated that he was a bad bet.

He did not sweat up anywhere ?near as badly at Taupo but his tail was flat against his backside and he was reluctant to go into the barrier which all added up to him saying, “I don’t want to be here”.

And that is how he raced. He couldn’t muster any early speed despite the urgings of Lisa Cropp and when he got going around the top he started to lay in and was even worse in the straight. He finished on for fourth.

So that was a race to get stuck into the trifecta. The trifecta with 4th win favourite, Point Guard, with the 3rd and 2nd win favourites paid $264.20 in a seven horse field. One horse had no show in the race, Vermont, which finished a long last. ?

You could have narrowed your bets down and taken three horses to win, four for second and five for third, for a $27 dollar outlay and would have got it without too much stress.

Click here to read Part 2.

By Niel Davis