Tuesday 8 February 2022

Racing Questions: Bets Placed, Pedigrees, Draw & Long Term Profits

There is little doubt each and every punter has their own way of working from niche to bets. 

Don't think there is a right or wrong approach because you will find what fits and works for you. Not to say you cannot learn from others. There is both strength and weakness in listening to your peers. 

Many are on a learning curve. 

From my experience there is always something to learn and problems to resolve. This is no bad thing because we cannot stand still and we must adapt to a changing scene. 

For those who love their two-year-old horse racing, it is a niche that offers much reward. 

How Many Bets Should Be Placed?

There really is no answer to this question. Personally, I have bet very selectively simply because the two-year-old season starts with a blank slate and building those form lines and knowledge takes time. There should never be a rush to bet but there should be an appreciation that the season doesn't last that long. So we need to work in an efficient but effective manner.

In some respects there is a reason to bet more, simply because you are unlikely to miss chances. Certainly, horses you fancy at big odds are always worth a wager. You don't want to miss a potential big win as they can be the making of a season. In fact, most of my good seasons have revolved around finding a big priced winner. I think you need a process to find selections and make betting opportunities work for you. This is no easy task but you need a reference point and a standardised approach. I think staking plans are often a bad idea because there is a tendency to bet less on big priced winners. I would bet level stake because there really is no way of picking between the lines. I simply don't believe someone can pick between their selections. I would suggest you record all your bets and view them from a staking plan to level stake and see which makes the most money. Whichever does continue with that approach. 

What Do I Think About Pedigrees?

I can't say I am an expert in this area but there must be a correlation between the cost of yearling purchases and performance. The success of Frankel proves this point but there can only be so few high-class horses. I would rather see a horse with a good pedigree in that the sire has winning offspring and the mare was a decent performer who won races and ideally at Listed or Group class. However, each horse should be viewed as an individual. You can assess most horses by trainer standing, owners and the betting. I can't express enough how important the betting is for each horse even if they have a million dollar price tag. It is worth remembering each trainer has their own way of working and betting patterns. I would rather a horse have a decent pedigree but if it has a proven level of form you can use that as a starting point. Considering just about all trainers have a much better strike rate on their second start you shouldn't be in any rush to bet on debutantes unless you have a very good reason. 

 Should I Consider The Draw?

The draw is very important and can often be the difference between betting and not. It's never a good thing if a two-year-old debutante is on the extreme with the potential to run into space. This often happens even on a straight course and is particularly problematic on a turning course. The draw is important in large fields if the field splits and runs against near and far-side rail. If you feel this is possible you need to have an opinion and be confident that your horse is on the favoured side. Each course has its bias. For example over sprint distances at Beverley a low draw is favoured over high unless the going is very testing. A jockey will often try to negate a bad draw by rousting their mount along to sit in a handy position but this can leave the horse tiring at the finish. That is not good news and even with a horse with experience and fitness it can be a problem and needs to be figured into your calculations. It may even be a reason to take on a favourite. The draw can be especially important on the all-weather courses. They have additional problems of if not getting across to the rail the horse can be forced to run wide. This is a disaster because it can take a truly gifted horse to give away easy lengths. For this reason I would rather a horse on the all-weather have a decent draw even if it isn't a prime draw. Often it is the extreme draws which cause problems. If you have a very talented, experience and fit horse you may be able to get away with a poor draw but these horses are often favourite and may not be the best value to start. A bad draw combined with a horse on its racecourse bow can be very bad news. The draw is something that needs to be considered seriously. 

Long Term Profits

All any gambler can do is prepare for the season ahead and learn valuable lessons from both good and bad years. I know punters don't like to hear it but sometimes you need a little bit of luck. In that I mean I would rather have a 50/1 shot win by a nose than a 6/4 favourite (betting level stake). In truth, a good or bad season is likely to revolve around one or two big priced winners. If you get more then you will be flying. My view about betting is to keep steady and jump forward when a big priced winner comes along. It's like a flat line and then a giant leap forward. In this day and age, you need to try to have a pre-emptive approach to betting. By that I mean if you fancy a horse or have an inkling it has a chance or will be backed - get your money on early. 

It is worth noting that most good bets come about through circumstance and timing.

A prime example of this last year was Karl Burke's Snooze N You Loose who was available early on the exchanges at 33/1+. I think it returned 8/1 and won well. These are the horses you need to be ready to bet at the right time. All who fancied that horse had the opportunity to bet at 33/1 - 8/1. Look at the difference between the profit on each. This is why you are better to use the exchanges because you can always lay a bet if you no longer wish to keep it. It gives you options which traditional bookmakers don't offer (I guess you can cash out with many but the exchanges are just better). I think you can only bet as you feel fit. I think however difficult you have to bet to win and not bet not to lose. You need to have that fighting spirit and stick to your guns even when you are on a losing run. 

Over the years I have learned that the process of how you think, work, make selections and bet is as important as the selection itself if not more. For example, if you don't bet level stake you may well have half stake on a 33/1 shot. When it wins you realise you made a balls-up. Each and every process which results in a bet needs careful consideration and ideally be standardised. You need this approach so you are not continuously thinking about the same problems on a daily basis. It is a waste of time and often there simply isn't an answer so you are better off keeping it simple. You don't want to be thinking on your feet as the start of the race ticks ever closer because you will make a knee-jerk reaction which rarely results in a positive. 

They say that most professional gamblers are very robotic. There is a very good reason for this. Simply, it keeps them on the right path and results in a more efficient way of working. Without a reference point we are floating in the air searching for the answer to a question when we haven't even worked out what the question is. You simply cannot work in that fashion as you will be betting like a headless chicken. 

The best approaches are kept simple but within them is a complex understanding. All you can do is set out your stall and work within the realms of what you have learned. There will always be something to learn but it is often better to tweak those aspects which need improvement than throw them away and start again. 

Good luck. 

Author: Jason Coote

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