There has been a series of articles recently in the Racing Post, in which contributors to the daily racing paper give insights into their punting strategies. The Racing Post correspondents who I will quote, and to whose quotes I will add my own comments, are Graeme Rodway (GR), Brian Sheerin (BS) and Richard Birch (RB).
GR: There is no perfect strategy to make money, no such thing as a certainty in life, and I’ve simply given up trying to find winners. Instead I’m trying to find value. I play the percentages by backing horses that, in my opinion, are bigger prices than they should be. My first piece of advice is stop trying to pick winners and instead concentrate on finding horses who are the wrong price.
My Comments: I concur completely with trying to find value, but I still want to end up with a selection that I feel for one reason or another is a likely winner. That said, ‘finding value’ is still the most important part of the race analysis.
GR: I’m not a science type and definitely don’t place too much emphasis on the data. The problem I have with that approach is it’s there for all to see, including bookmakers, and doesn’t get missed in the markets.
My Comments: I cannot agree with this. I use data to a great degree in my analysis. It most certainly is not “there for all to see.” I come across so many angles on a daily basis that are just not generally known by the betting public or the bookmakers. Example – In the last 10 years on turf, trainer William Haggas has a 46% strike-rate (23 winners from 50) with 5lb claimers in non-apprentice only races. This has yielded a profit of £52.01 (104%) to £1 level stakes at Betfair SP. Just from 50 races. Are the bookies or the general public aware of this every time Haggas has a 5lb claimer up in a non-apprentice only race? I think not.
BS: Be disciplined. Whether it’s in life or in work, discipline is key. It is crucial not to chase losses. In that respect it is important to keep a full account of your bets. They can make grim reading when you’re going poorly, but it’s important to learn from your mistakes and take the good with the bad.
My Comments: I am 100% on board with this. My Champagne Kid service has had an appalling month so far, the results do indeed make for grim reading, and I sincerely hope that my members are able to take the bad (this month to date) with the good (the previous 2 months showed 388 points profit).
BS: Don’t be put off by the price. Well, maybe do if it’s shorter than you’d anticipated, but if you fancy one and it opens up bigger than you expected, there’s no reason not to get stuck in.
My Comments: Whilst I will occasionally get stuck into a short-priced horse (short-priced for me is around 7/4 to 9/4; any shorter is not of interest), my long-term profits come from the bigger priced horses. The problem with this is that losing runs can be lengthy and dispiriting (this month is a good example of that), but over a decent period of time, profit is made.
BS: It’s a cliché but there’s never been as much information available to the punter than there is now and it would be foolish not to take advantage of all the great material and tools that are out there. I’m not a huge fan of horse trackers but I read as many opinions and views that I can get my hands on.
My Comments: The amount of information available to punters is indeed hugely increased from years gone by. There could still be more information made available, sectional timing being one area I would like to see more progress being made in. I don’t see any negatives in the use of horse-trackers. Unless you have perfect memory and forensic eyesight, you’re going to miss one that you have been waiting for without a tracker in place.
BS: Go racing. You have the opportunity to study the horses in the flesh, plus as a punter I find it good to be in contact with likeminded people; being able to bounce ideas off others has proved invaluable down the years.
My Comments: I love going racing, but unfortunately I just do not have an eye for spotting much in the paddock. I wish I did, but even after reading articles and books on the subject, I still don’t have that eye. I don’t see that changing, and I’ll just have to live with it.
RB: There are no short cuts in punting if you’re serious about winning. It’s all about working hard, putting in a ridiculous amount of hours, and coping with the relentless grind during the peak summer months.
My Comments: I agree with this completely. The worse things have got for my service this month, the harder I have worked to correct it. So much so that my bets are put out at the very last minute most days. The results this month show scant reward for the effort put in, but I owe it to my members to put in the shifts and turn things around, and that hard work will continue.
RB: Steer clear of each-way betting. I used to be a big disciple of each-way betting, but mainly steer clear nowadays. The reason is that most of the horses I back are bang triers and ridden to win.
My Comments: “The horses I back are bang triers.” Good for you Richard! I find this statement to be slightly arrogant, a fault which I feel is unfortunately often not hard to find in Richard’s writing. For lesser mortals such as me, I will continue to use each-way betting where I deem it appropriate.
RB: Bet on a day-to-day basis. I can be buzzing after a great day or despondent after doing my brains. However, as soon as I wake up the following morning that all has to be forgotten and I must have moved on.
My Comments: OK Richard, I’m back on the same page with you again. As Kipling said – “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same… you’ll be a man, my son.” It can sometimes be difficult to react to a series of poor results with a balanced viewpoint, but that is something I am much better able to do than in earlier years. I see no reason for my methods to suddenly stop working and feel sure that the recent poor run will shortly be overcome. My members can rest assured that I will continue to work hard on their behalf to make it so.