Almost every week our podcast guest is an expert in their field, whether that’s punting, training or riding.

But in 2014 we started tracking the journey of someone who wanted to go from an enthusiastic punter to a full-time professional.

On the show we find out how that progress has been over the last 12 months.

Punting Insights:

  • His learning curve over the last year
  • How he’s learned to frame his own markets
  • The number of races he covers each week and his expected Profit on Turnover
  • Why being a full-time professional is no longer his goal

Today’s Guest:
Trent Orwin

David Duffield: Thanks for joining us again Trent as we follow your journey. For those that missed the chat almost a year ago now, just to give a brief rundown of your background, you were someone that was bored with your accounting job and decided you wanted to become a full-time, professional punter.
You also understood that it was going to take some time and that there was a learning curve involved. When we last spoke you were putting in pretty much the equivalent of a full-time effort of around 40 hours a week. To go from a keen punter to a semi-professional. Tell us what’s been happening over the last year or so.

Trent Orwin: The past year has been a fair learning curve. I think when I spoke to you last time I was looking at Gloucester Park which is my favorite track, my strongest point. I was also looking at Melton.
Since then I’ve scrapped Melton for a number of reasons. I’ve just found it tough trying to follow two different states. The racing is a completely different style. You’ve got to learn all the drivers, horses, trainers. It’s just too many horses to keep track of so I’ve just completely isolated it to WA now. I’m looking onl at Gloucester Park now.

David Duffield: I understand why you’d want to focus on one state. A lot of guys we speak to that are successful have done the same thing. Why Gloucester park? You’re a Victorian, why not Victoria or even New South Wales?

Trent Orwin: One of the reasons is with WA being such an isolated state you don’t get too many interstate raiders turning up to Gloucester Park to race except for some of the featured races.

A good starting point is they are the same horses that race against each other. I don’t have to look at the form for a New South Wales horse, trying to gauge how does that stack up against WA. Just with Victoria I’ve noticed a lot that there so many Victorian horses. You get your New South Wales horses coming down. You get Tasmanian horses coming up. It was just hard trying to look at their form lines through them whereas with Gloucester Park it’s the same sort of horses. You can go well horse A beat horse B. Now here’s horse C and it raced horse A.

You can put a line through the form. At times, when you are looking at one track there’s only a couple of distances you can actually try to match up the time. Also, one of the parts that I enjoy, which a lot of people don’t is the fact that there is bias at the track. I hear a lot of casual punters will complain that another leader won, another leader won. Well, why not use that to your advantage?

David Duffield: Does that track bias have anything to do with weather conditions?

Trent Orwin: It doesn’t really matter from what I’ve seen. There’s not too many meetings that I’ve covered where there has been a massive downpour of rain. Even when there was one that stands out was on the Mighty Quinn. He’s more known to come from behind. He led in the pouring rain and just won. It didn’t deter him. It’s more the track itself. How they made the track short and straight. You want to be on the peg line. It’s hard to make up ground from behind. The bias is there more times than not.

David Duffield: What about pricing your market? It’s part art and part science. I know you’ve contacted someone like Ben Krahe about how he goes about it. How’s that evolved over the last few months?

Trent Orwin: It’s still developing. I’ve certainly improved I’d say loads in the past year with that. Of course, a lot of the credit goes to Ben for that. He’s helped me understand the basics of it, having to refine it a little bit to suit me and WA and Gloucester Park. The one thing that where I’m still looking to improve on is I guess class. It’s well and good to look at the statistics of say the leaders winning 45% but when you get a more classy animal sitting outside … I’m not going to say a much more inferior horse, but slightly inferior.
It’s a maze trying to find the right balance of who should be the favorite in the market. The other one is tempo still which is processing. I’m looking still to improve on my ability to work out what sort of tempo will be in a race. Then you can price accordingly. If it’s going to be slow you really want to blow those back markers out because they’re just not going to get into it. If it’s going to be a hard speed then there might be a strong horse that can close and get over the top of them late. There’s sort of the main couple that I’m trying to work on with my pricing at the moment.

David Duffield: Once you’ve done your form, you’ve done your ratings and then you look at the market. Do you then go back and have another go-over of the form or are you locked into your original prices?

Trent Orwin: Pretty much locked in. I don’t tend to change them too much. If there’s a scratching, yes I’ll have to go back. Especially if it’s going to be a key runner. It might have the prize horse and now it’s gone. Will there be another horse to take up that spot? If it was an enforcing start will it also enforce or now that it’s gone it’ll be another horse that gets up there. It just gets up there. It won’t put the pressure on so then you might readjust to favor. If it’s a strong leader, you might give it just a bit more and just shorten it in your market. I look at that and change it tactics as well of course. Sometimes, if I think I horse is going forward, I’ll price it that way and surprisingly the stables come out and say it’s going back. Then I’ll more than likely blow it out a bit more for that reason. I’m not put off by the price. If I think it’s $3 and then they open up $10, I’m still going to back that I’m right and they’re wrong. Of course, it’s not always the case, but we assess races for a reason. You’ve got to back your own judgement so that’s one thing I’ve started doing more of.

David Duffield: You’re focusing on the one meeting per week at the moment. How many races of those do you not bet into at all?

Trent Orwin: If there is a trot race on the program, I don’t even follow the form of the trotters over there. There’s only maybe once per month. The trotters come to town on a Friday night, so I won’t bet into that. I don’t tend to price the 2 year old and the 3 year old races, especially early in the season. As they get closer to the feature races I’ll really start crunching the form for the better runners, but there are lot of country horses that come to town early on. They don’t measure up and you don’t see them again. I just don’t spend too much time on it at this stage. Quite often, there’s a dominant horse like right at the moment in the 3 year old range Boating Boas is a duel Group 1 winner. He just smashes everything that’s racing at the moment. For me, I just ignore the race.

David Duffield: The races you are betting into, do you have an overall profit on turnover goal in mind as a percentage?

Trent Orwin: That’d I’d like to make?

David Duffield: You know like say 6 cents on the dollar?

Trent Orwin: Not at this stage. Ideally, when I feel like I’ve got to a point where I feel I am on a semi-professional level, I’d like maybe 8%.

David Duffield: That’s pretty realistic. The last time we spoke you talked a lot about wanting to stay disciplined and not take any shortcuts. How have you gone with both of those?

Trent Orwin: Yeah. I’m still fairly disciplined. I price the meeting. I stake according to what the spreadsheet says. I don’t bet more or bet less just because I’m in front or I’m down for the night. In that regard, I’m sticking to the rules. Yeah. I’m not sure what else to say with that part.

David Duffield: That’s all right. In a typical race, what percentage of your bank would you outlay?

Trent Orwin: Same with Ben, and all the Champion Picks, I’m essentially the copycat. Ben knows that. It’s a strategy that works for him so it’s one that I’m applying to myself. Betting to collect say 5% of the bank. Two and a half percent might be the standard sort of outlay. 2 1/2 – 3%.

David Duffield: I’m not sure I mentioned before that you back multiple horses in a race.

Trent Orwin: Yes. Exactly like Ben. You know, price it, get it to 100% and back every single overlay that’s there.

David Duffield: All right, so longer term, is your goal still to be a full-time professional?

Trent Orwin: It has changed slightly. I would like to be, I’ll use the term semi professional. Ideally, long term I’d like to target probably 2 maybe 3 meetings per week. Just with the Gloucester Park it’s more likely be two. There’s the Midweek Program and the Metropolitan Friday night program. I’d like to transition to pricing a midweek program. At this stage, I don’t. There might one race that takes my fancy which will be the sort of Metropolitan performance that racing in the midweek company. Essentially it’s the Friday night feel on a Tuesday night. That’s sort of the path I’d like to take. I’ve revised it a little bit. At this stage now I don’t want to go down the path of solely relying on punting income. I’d like a mix of working income and punting income. Semi professional, part time whichever you call it.

David Duffield: I think I know the answer, but I don’t want to assume. What’s lead to that decision as far as wanting more stable income but also doing it quite seriously?

Trent Orwin: Well, I’m 26 at the moment and my next step in life is to save up for a house. The best way to do that is to at least have some guaranteed income coming in. A bit of stability to pay the bills and whatnot. That’s one factor and just stress. 12 months on or 10 months on since our last chat, I still feel that every week. It’s a bit stressful. At this point in time, I just wouldn’t want to be completely living off it day to day, paycheck to paycheck.

David Duffield: That makes sense. What about the liquidity? For our thoroughbred punters it can be a real issue getting a bet on. What’s it like for harness in particular in the west?

Trent Orwin: Oh, I couldn’t tell you. I’m not avid you know. At this point in time, I’m not exactly bidding to win a thousand dollars a race. It’s probably a question for someone like Trent Cooper whose a WA form analyst. He’s a very serious punter. I’d say it would be probably not just Western Australia, you know. Anyone with harness, the corporates aren’t too kind people that have an idea. Particularly people that take money from them. It’s certainly a problem.

David Duffield: All right, so if we have another chat later this year or early in 2016, where do you think you’ll be at, at that stage?

Trent Orwin: Well, I’d like to be covering the 2 meetings that I outlined. It’ll be 2015, 20 races a week that I’ll be looking at and betting into. I’d like to continue to improve upon my price assessment of races and as mentioned earlier, I just want to improve on my ability to pick up sort of tempo in the race. Just the lower class races are the ones that mainly get me with open class free for all list, I get a pretty good idea. They tend to race fairly consistent whereas, in the lower classes, which might be the MO or C2 classes they have on Friday nights now. You think you’ve got a race worked out and there’s only two horses that may contest the lead and you price it that way. Think you have it covered and the next thing you see there are 4 and 5 across the track all vying to get up there. It’s just one thing that I want to improve upon. Long term, it should help improve my profit.

David Duffield: Excellent. Good luck to you. Thanks for joining us again today. It’s interesting to track your journey. Look forward to our next chat, as I said, a little later in the year or early next year.

Trent Orwin: Great. Thanks Dave.

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