Can we learn from handicapping experts around the world? Sure we can. Over the years, PPM has brought you the views of many top professionals, from America, Europe and even Asia.

All had something interesting to say. Some years back, we brought you the 'thoughts and theories' of the great US speed ratings guru Andy Beyer. It drew a massive response from our readers.

In this new series of articles, we'll be unveiling more pertinent handicapping comments from various international punters and media scribes.

Firstly, let's cast back to the '50s and a well-known US racing journalist Bill Hogan, staff writer for the now defunct Thoroughbred Racing Journal, published in New York.

Hogan wrote many books on betting. In one of them, inside Racing Angles, he made the following points, all of which bear listening to by punters anywhere in the world.

  • I define a 'bad bet' as a bet that should not have been made in the first place. There are more reasons for not betting than there are for playing a horse. And the old adage 'a bet saved is a bet won' never can be ignored if the operator is to hope for long-term profit on his turf investments.
  • By simply avoiding one bad bet a day, the punter who bets only $10 saves $3000 in a year.
  • How can you avoid bad bets? Well, there are no hard-and-fast rules. It's simply a matter of denying yourself the privilege of betting 'just for the sake of action on a race.
  • Never let the mere fact that a horse is a longshot affect your attitude towards its winning chances. If you have good reason to believe the horse his a chance, the longer the odds the greater the bargain you are getting percentagewise.

Ada Kulleck is another American professional whose words of advice are worth paying great attention to.

She and her late husband Francis began a two-decade career at the racetracks in southern California.

After working for many years in the financial and banking worlds Ada's most recent book is called Beat The Track and contains a number of strategies for both beginner and advanced punters.

The following are some small extracts from the book (available from the Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas).

  • If you see a horse in the formguide that hasn't won for the last two years, you have a candidate for elimination. This is a horse who has formed a habit of losing, and there's no reason to think he will break the habit in today's race.
  • Never bet a horse that doesn't look good on paper. It's a good rule. A horse that has been running bad races very seldom pops up with a win without first showing some sign of improvement.
  • Draw a line just above arty race run more than a year ago. It is safe to say that anything that happened more than a year ago could hardly have much value in today's competition. What the horse could do a year ago may have very little to do with what he can accomplish today.
  • Bet to win. It's the most efficient use of your capital. When a longshot appears as your indicated selection, resist the temptation to back him up with a place bet. If the horse wins, tl-te money you invested in a place bet would have returned much more if it had been used to buy a win ticket.
  • In the long run, the money you win on place bets will not make up for the money you've lost on them.
  • Very few of us are qualified to judge the condition of a horse by his appearance. It leaves us with just one recourse: the formguide. Here we have something anyone can learn to read and evaluate; and if you haven't already learned, you must if you ever expect to make money at the races.

In next month's PPM, we'll bring you more winning tips from international experts. We'll have nuggets of gold from the likes of Mark Cramer, Andy Beyer, Barry Meadow and J. Levin Browne. Don't miss this excellent article; it will be packed with good advice.

Click here to read Part 2.

By Philip Roy