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Where to specialize?

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  • #1559605
    • Total Posts 3

    Hi, I’m new to the forum, I have been a professional gambler for a number of years, playing online poker and trading football matches in-play.

    I’m looking to branch out into horse racing betting. I have had a passing interest in the sport for a while and always had it in my back of mind that there’s got to be great potential to make money from it.

    I have been going through a trial period of creating my own tissue prices for races, focusing on small fields and have had some instant success, albeit over a small sample size.

    My question to you all really is, where would you recommend are the best places to specialise in when it comes to horse racing? Like there must be so many different angles you can come at it from, I suppose that’s one of the things that makes it so fascinating and opportunistic from a punting perspective.

    I’m just sticking down some ideas here:
    – stick to one code of racing, i.e. pick one out of the flat or jumps and learn as much as you can about it
    – just one race distance, i.e. 7f races and get to know the pool of horses at that distance
    – focus on a specific course or two and learning everything about it and what sort of horses do well there
    – watch the 2 year-old races on the flat and pick out horses that stand out.
    – ante-post or festival angle, watch/scout for horses to run well at a specific race in the future
    – class specific, maybe just focus on all the big class 1 race, alternative you could focus on the lower class races.
    – field size, I do small fields for now because it takes the least time and I’m new to it, but maybe there’s something in sticking to a certain field size race in understanding the dynamics of how a race is likely to plan out
    – follow a certain trainer or two and learn everything about each runner they have and how their operation works
    – take a more market or trend based approach and identify reoccurring patterns.
    – Irish racing or US racing, maybe less studied and more opportunity?

    Finally I don’t expect anyone to share their exact edge with me of course but it would be helpful to have a nudge in the right direction.

    One thing I didn’t realise is how time intensive it can be to price up a race, it was taking me a good couple of hours to get through a 4 runner race for example. Watching back all the previous races, analysing the form, looking at the times, etc. So any tips on reducing the time spent would be helpful as well.

    • Total Posts 111

    Have a few cans the night before, then when there’s nothing happening around 2am go through the cards for a track you give 50p about. Make a few notes. The next day wake up and listen to the podcasts that have come out, go through Twitter, refresh this website and read what the cranks on here have to say. Then about two hours before the meet (worst time for a favourite winning, best time to catch a drifter) place your bets and sit back and enjoy.

    The Tatling Cheekily
    • Total Posts 1953

    I would personally say:

    Listed / Group flat races as:

    1. The high grade gives most certainty that all the horses and jockeys are actually trying their best.

    2. Most trainers are obsessed with saying their horses “need the run”, in effect admitting they are not getting them fit at home. Takes some getting used to, all these so-called genuis trainers admitting they are not doing their jobs. But its even worse over jumps than flat, hence my preference for flat racing.

    • Total Posts 3610

    “The high grade gives most certainty that all the horses and jockeys are actually trying their best.”`

    This pretty much on both flat and jumps

    Though I suppose most feel that way so the best actual edge may be to dredge through the crap racing and see if you can find ways to identify which horses are actually trying

    You’ll probably find half the field are running at one of the wrong distance, wrong track, wrong going, wrong time of year, wrong grade and therefore won’t win

    But us average joes simply don’t have the time

    If you are a professional punter you may have the time

    Nathan Hughes
    • Total Posts 25160

    Welcome to the forum the investor.. :bye:

    Member since March 2008
    • Total Posts 8966

    Hi Investor.

    One thing I would recommend is to watch the online interviews that Simon Nott has done with various pro horse racing punters. Some great lessons there into their various approaches. Might not specifically address your question but lots of great nuggets.

    • Total Posts 818

    Hello Mr Investor, you’ve come to the right place lots of shrewd people on here! One thing ive noticed from
    watching horse racing for a decade now (and from reading this forum) is that everyone has their own formula/type of race that they are successful with, for example I only seem to make a long term
    profit when betting on big field handicaps between 6f and 1mile in distance. So my advice would be bet on different types of races – from low grade handicaps to group 1 races and find what you have more success betting on and try and stick to those particular types of races (eg small fields like you said) and be super strict in sticking to that type of race when betting.

    • Total Posts 818

    And re the time it takes to go through a race – it’s actually a good thing it took you that long because it means you’re analysing it properly, in time you’ll be able to make assessments/judgements quicker but there’s honestly no real substitutes for taking the time to study a race thoroughly.

    • Total Posts 137

    Hi Mr Investor,

    I would definitely agree with Ben above. Try all the races to small stakes, keep detailed records (which you no doubt do anyway) and then let the data tell you where your type of analysis gets the best results.

    Personally I focus on the jumps festivals February through to end of May as they are the most profitable for me, so I put my biggest bets on then. I find the value is bigger and better then, the bookies make more mistakes in their pricing and everyone’s trying their hardest because the prizemoney is the best.

    One tip I would give you is to be sceptical about what trainers say – they are the salespeople in this world.

    Best of luck wherever you end up specialising.

    • Total Posts 27776

    Hi The Investor,

    If wanting to cut down on time taken per race you may consider a Timeform subscription. Can recommend Timeform Race Passes.

    value is everything
    He Didnt Like Ground
    • Total Posts 1481

    I’d def say make use of trainerspot in racing post , hot and cold trainer’s , stay away from cold trainer’s , poss virus in yard etc and if a trainer is hot it pays to follow until they start to cool , also some trainer’s horses run well at particular courses , for example D McCain at Bangor , while I play on the flat during the summer I find the nat hunt much more profitable , as for all weather , Id always play small stakes ….

    • Total Posts 171


    “The form book is a record of the past and properly read is a guide to the future – very seldom does the result of a race so confound the form student that he tears his hair; he may be surprised by a result but he has only to get out his form books to find substantiation therein in 99 cases out of a 100.”

    That was written by an accountant turned racing analyst in 1950, and although 99 is pitching it rather high, it is a view with which after years of assessing races I very much agree.

    The reason for drawing it to your attention is that for me it bears on your question, “where to specialise?”.

    On average, there is no doubt which type of horses have the most form, ie the most data from which we can evaluate their chances in a coming race – sprint handicaps. Personally I never analyse nurseries or 3yo only sprint handicaps for essentially the obverse of that – often not much form. But other sprint handicaps are a quite different matter.

    Last night I was looking in detail at a seven runner handicap run at the end of August. Leaving aside the one 3yo runner (who before the race had run in just four handicaps), on average the others had run in over 30, the range being 25 to 37. My view is that with that amount of data for each horse it is more likely that one can work out the circumstances in which it is likely to win, or not than if one was focusing on races where the runners have much less form.

    The one downside to sprint handicaps is that occasionally one’s selection will get caught flat-hooved at the start and five or six furlongs doesn’t give a lot of scope for recovering. On the other hand, sprint handicaps are seldom tactical affairs and pace, which can be an issue in longer flat races, is not an issue.

    • Total Posts 27776

    Yes, the sample size may be too small to really mean anything, Investor. Any way of analysing races can make a profit for a short period.
    There are many things a punter needs to take in to account in order to produce a worthwhile 100% book. How are you currently calculating each horse’s chance?

    Not just about what rating each horse is capable of running to, but also how likely they are of showing it. So as well as the usual distance and going, there’s recent form, best form, trainer form, jockeyship, track, improving or on the decline, temperament and possibly breeding, etc…

    And then an often overlooked question of pace… May sound pedantic but horses may be effective at 10 furlongs and may act on heavy ground (when racing at a mile)… But will it stay in the likely strongly run 10f on heavy? ie It’s more about having enough speed and/or stamina rather than trip and going…
    And when assessing the likely pace I look at not only how each horse likes to run – front run, race prominently, track pace, race mid-div, held up or dropped out… But also is the nature of the race likely to suit? eg Horse A is effective between 10 and 13 furlongs while racing at 10f will likely need other conditions (strong pace and/or soft/heavy going) placing the emphasis (at the trip) on stamina… So on good going such a horse will need a strong pace and if there aren’t many of the right type of front / prominent runners in the race – a good pace would be unlikely and therefore horse A’s chance can be marked down. Its chance not dismissed; just needing a lot higher price to be backed than one with the same “form credentials” who conversely will be suited by the likely pace.

    value is everything
    • Total Posts 1799

    Work hard, dig deep, find edges the market hasn’t cottoned on to yet, never reveal what what those edges are on a public forum.

    Because if you do….

    Best-case scenario: Your methodology is ridiculed.

    Worst-case scenario: Everyone copies you, the market adjusts and your edges disappear.

    It’s dog eat dog.

    • Total Posts 256

    Hi The Investor

    Probably doesn’t answer your question but I’ve heard it time and time again from others and of course its true: find out what you are interested in (and hopefully half successful at) and go with that. Its no good finding a niche which is a chore to do the groundwork for, nobody likes doing a job they hate. Might mean a bit of trial and error, trying a few different things etc….

    I just focus on high end stuff myself (Group 1’s/heritage handicaps) but that is purely a time perspective as I have a young family and a busy job so weekends and festivals are where I get some time to focus. One plus point is the horse population is mostly very well known so not too much research but that is obviously also a big negative as it is much harder in terms of finding an edge as the population is known to all.

    The best advice I’ve heard which helps me even at the top end is to ignore the media and trainer hype about certain horses and question everything you see and hear. Respect opinions of the better judges in the game by all means but make your own mind up about a horse. Was a recent winning performance really that good or did it have everything go in its favour? Equally if a horse puts in a bad run can you find an excuse for it? Even to this day with the market more efficient than ever the recency bias around one good or bad performance for some horses staggers me and is there to be capitalised on.

    Not really specialising but does help narrow things down – I avoid certain things for the enjoyment/time factor and because I’ve never done that well with them – personal things like 2 year olds on the flat and juvenile hurdlers. I’ve never had a bet in a bumper race either and don’t really understand the appeal of them to this day. You’ll find things you want to avoid even if you don’t really specialise.

    I think part of the problem could be for me even if I had the time is that in order to do well financially in something I have to become quite detached from it and take emotion out of things. I struggle to do that with horse racing as I enjoy watching the races from a sporting perspective and everyone has their favourites/cliff horses. So yeah try and stay detached from the horses and don’t have your favourites.

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