100 Great Betting Ideas

In this series so far, we have looked at 52 of our Great Betting Ideas. Now we go from number 53 and this is to do with horses resuming from a spell, one of the most tricky factors to evaluate in horse-racing.

1. CASTING A SPELL

Whenever you study a race field, always have a close look at those runners resuming from a spell. With Saturday racing, it's easy to check as you can use Best Bets and the Wizard. Firstly, go through all the runners who are resuming (indicated in Best Bets by a (-) after a horse's figures for its last three runs). Once you have done this, circle all horses which are listed in Best Bets as having won first-up. This information is denoted in the main group of details following its name, weight, trainer and breeding. Then use the Wizard (or Sportsman) to determine how many days off the horse has had. This information is contained in the special race-details panels in both guides.

Taking the process a step further, check the days off with each runner's previous winning performances to see if there is any 'days off' link with the present break. You may see that a horse has currently been off racing for 120 days, but then you see in the Wizard that he has won twice before first-up after spells of, say, 95 and 155 days. This gives you a clear link. The horse could well be ready for another winning effort. It's a pattern.
2. QUINELLA PAIN

Quinellas can be rewarding, but they can also inflict pain. Don't accept poor value. Make 20/1 a minimum price for a quinella. At the track, you will have likely quinella divs on display. If you're betting blind at the TAB then, as a general rule, find the likely divvie by multiplying the prices of your 2 fancies, then divide that total by 2. The answer will be somewhere near what the quinella will pay. (i.e. \$4 x \$5 equals a likely \$10 tote div for the quinella (4 x 5 divided by 2).)
3. LAST-START WINNERS

Don't get too carried away by last-start winners - but do look for those backed up within a fortnight at a Saturday meeting after scoring at a midweek city meeting.
4. LAST-START WINNERS #2

A little system worth keeping in mind with last-start winners is to back them when they are the only last-start winner in a race. It often happens that these horses win and at good odds.
5. THE RESERVE BANK ANGLE

Build yourself a bank before you set out on serious betting - and definitely have a reserve bank in case things go horribly wrong. You'll feel a lot happier if you have backup cash.
6. CIRCLING THE BEST

It often pays to circle off (in colour pen) the horses that come from top stables. For example, in Melbourne, you would circle horses from the stables of Lee Freedman, David Hayes, Gerald Ryan, John Meagher and John Hawkes. In Sydney, Hawkes, Gai Waterhouse, Max Lees, Brian Mayfield-Smith and Graeme Rogerson. In Brisbane, Bruce McLachlan, Alan Bailey, Roy Dawson, John Wallace, Jim Atkins. This is a good starting point for form analysis.
7. PAROCHIALISM!

Many professionals maintain the only way to win is to stick to one State's racing. And they say you must specialise with certain races. In other words, for example, pick Melbourne racing, choose Opens, Welters and Weight-for-Age races on which to bet - and study them like crazy!
8. TAKE A DAY OFF

Test yourself for a day now and then - with no betting. It often pays to have a break from betting activity. Take a week off; look at the race fields and just enjoy phantom betting. It might amaze you, if you keep a record of the phantom bets, how much you would have lost!
9. SEEING IS BELIEVING

Believe only what you see with your own eyes. If you're a really serious punter you will want to have first-hand knowledge of the horses on which you bet. That means, seeing as much 'live' racing as you can, or solid study of video replays.

Don't rush into systems betting. If you draw up a plan and you find that it works for a few weeks, it will pay not to get carried away. Check it out further - on paper only. Only bet when you're sure it's going to work for a long time.
11. SAFETY FIRST

Avoid staking plans where you are asked to invest greater and greater amounts. Any staking plan has to have a safety brake in the case of losing runs.
12. STAY SOLVENT

The first principle of betting: Don't bet if you cannot afford to lose. If that's the case you cannot afford to bet. Scared money rarely realises profits.
13. THE RIGHT AMOUNT

Take only as much as you need to the races. If you have five bets planned at \$10 each, then take just the \$50, nothing more. If you have extra cash in your pocket you will be tempted to bet it.
14. BIG HITTERS!

One way of looking at form analysis is to search out all horses with a 50 percent and more win strike rate. Look closely at them before going on to lesser lights. Ignore horses with less than a 20percent strike rate unless there is a compelling reason to fancy them.
15. AVOID THE PRICES

Don't look at the 'morning line (pre-post prices) when doing the form. They will influence your thinking (Paul Scoyer, American expert from New York).
16. TRAINING BIGGIES

Keep a check on horses which win with big weights (say 58kg and more) and mark down who trains them. After a while, you will have a good record of which trainers can produce horses to win with big weights.
17. SMALL NOT BEST

Always remember that 'small time' trainers do not win many city races. They very rarely strike in major races. It pays to stick with the strength in most instances.
18. TRICKY BOOKIES

Keep in mind, always, that bookmakers are trying to sucker you into accepting the worst of the odds. If they think a horse is a 2/1 chance they'll try to get you to back it at 6/4. It's a bit like a shopkeeper trying to flog you goods at higher prices than you can get down the road.
19. THE BLACK BOOK

It can often pay off to keep a newspaper clippings’ book. Paste the main stories from the newspapers into the book, and you'll have a very useful record of what trainers and jockeys have been saying. This applies particularly for major races.

NEXT MONTH: More great betting ideas from our team of experts. This will be the final article in this series.