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For many years, the Betting 360 podcast has brought you interviews with hundreds of professional punters, betting experts and industry figures in an effort to see the game from all angles. Now, we’re bringing you something a little different: The Ultimate Form Guide.

We’ve gathered a group of the sharpest racing and betting minds in Australia – plus a couple from across the world – to get their thoughts on many different aspects of form analysis and betting. But to truly present the views “from all angles”, we’re presenting it a little differently. Each episode will be focused not on an individual guest, but on an individual form, betting or racing topic. That way, you can hear from all the experts talk about each topic, together.

In Episode 4, the professionals talk about one of the most contentious form issues: weight. How much does it matter and does the market underrate or overrate it?

“We don’t have many races anymore where there’s a real disparity in weights from top to bottom. The compressed nature of our weight scales these days means that weight differences aren’t as impactful as they once were.”
Cameron O’Brien

“It’s simply not true to say that weight doesn’t matter. But you can ignore weight and still do fine as a punter and the same thing applies to other form factors where you can exclude one and still do OK. For many years when I was doing speed figures I ignored weight and still enjoyed a tremendous amount of success as a punter.”
Daniel O’Sullivan

“The further you’ve got to go, the more that weight is relevant because you have to carry it for longer.”
Trevor Lawson

“I don’t think weight affects every horse the same way. I believe that horses with a real turn of foot are more advantaged by a weight drop. Conversely, I think horses that are more one-paced are not going to be significantly advantaged by a weight drop or even disadvantaged going up in weight.”
Mark Rhoden

“It is a horse-by-horse proposition but I think weight is more important than some think it is. I pay pretty close attention to it.”
James Jordan

“If anything I think weight is overbet and I don’t really worry about a 1kg or 2kg weight swing here or there.”
The Professor

“Obviously, weight does make a big difference and I’m a firm believer in weight. For those that don’t believe it has an impact, why aren’t they betting up in WFA races? They’d be losing money if they did.”
Rob Waterhouse

“We tracked 100,000 apprentice rides and found no real edge. They win or lose at the rate you’d expect.”
Barry Meadow

“Apprentices going on on-speed horses can offer good value at times but as a rule, you should be wary when they’re on backmarkers.”
Terry Leighton

“We tend to find that punters come for horses up the top of the board so that indicates that weight isn’t as important as many think. But as bookies, we feel that the market can miss horses down the bottom of the weights, especially on wet tracks.”
Tristan Merlehan

“I’m always of the view that horses carry big weights in handicaps because they’re the best horses in the race.”
Wayne Finter

“I feel that when you’re handicapping a race and looking at the true merit of weight you should look at where are you settled after 400 metres and against what kind of race shape? That will determine how much of an impact weight will have on your performance”
Vince Accardi

You can listen right here, or anywhere you get your podcasts:

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The Ultimate Form Guide: The Episodes

Episode 1 Introduction
Episode 2 Speed & sectionals
Episode 3 Class
Episode 4 Weight
Episode 5 Replays & track bias
Episode 6 Jockeys
Episode 7 Trainers
Episode 8 Barrier trials
Episode 9 Wet tracks
Episode 10 Ratings & rated prices
Episode 11 Staking & when to bet
Episode 12 Bookies & bet types
Episode 13 The Exchange
Episode 14 Betting psychology
Episode 15 Betting success

The Ultimate Form Guide: The Experts

Trevor Lawson is a professional punter who’s made his living betting on Victorian racing for almost twenty years. Trevor runs the Melbourne Ratings and Trev’s Bets services at Champion Bets. Twitter @lunchandpunt

Mark Rhoden is a bookmaker turned professional punter. Starting with Mark Read’s IASBet in Darwin, Mark spent many years in the industry which culminated in his role as head trader of NSW racing at Sportsbet. Since leaving Sportsbet some five years ago, Mark has “gone it alone” as a professional punter. Twitter @cotchinsoda

The Professor is a long-time student of the form, he’s is a very successful punter with a long winning track record. He focuses exclusively on racing in South East Queensland, and runs the Queensland Winners service for Champion Bets. Twitter @TheProfessorCB

Cameron O’Brien was bred to be a champion. The son of a professional punter, he’s been producing weight ratings since the age of 15: first learning the Don Scott method and then continually refining his own approach to doing the form over time. Cameron trained as a form analyst under legendary bookmaker Mark Read, and has now been a professional punter for more than 10 years. He runs the Key Bets and Key Race Insights services for Champion Bets. Twitter @Gamblor_PCO

James Jordan started his racing journey on the phones for a corporate bookmaker before taking on various roles in the bookmaking industry. He later moved into TV coverage as a form analyst for Channel 7’s racing coverage, and is now the South Australian form analyst for racing.com. Twitter @James_Jordan

Daniel O’Sullivan is a form analyst who runs The Racing Bureau, which supplies data, software and consulting services to punters as well as a range of racing industry participants. Twitter @TRBHorseRacing

Terry Leighton is a professional punter focused purely on Western Australian racing. He’s been betting full-time for five years now, and is also a contributor to the Betfair Hub. Twitter @PerthRacingGuru

Vince Accardi has been called ‘The Godfather of Sectional Times’. He’s been focused on the science of sectional timing – recording, analysing and digesting times – for over thirty years. He founded and runs Daily Sectionals.

Robbie Waterhouse is a name that needs no introduction to those in racing. The son of leviathan rails bookmaker Bill Waterhouse, Robbie has himself spent a lifetime as an on-course bookmaker, and has recently taken his business online. Twitter @RobWaterhouse1

Tristan Merlehan is another bookmaking “lifer”. The son of on-course bookmaker Lloyd Merlehan, Tristan jumped on the bag himself as soon as he was able. Their bookmaking business has evolved into TopSport, the leading Australian-owned and operated corporate bookmaker. Twitter @TopSport_com_au

Barry Meadow is a US-based professional punter who spent nearly 30 years betting for a living on US racing, as well as writing books on the science of form analysis and betting.

Wayne Finter is a UK-based form analyst who has spent years betting and doing form on UK and Irish horse racing, as well as providing selections through his Northern Monkey Punter betting service. Twitter @NMPunter

The Ultimate Form Guide: Episode 3 – Class

“Class is the ability of a horse to be able to repetitively and consistently overcome the challenges put in front of it.”
“Lower-class horses tend to be less consistent and have a much wider range of what can they do on any given day.”
Cameron O’Brien

“I don’t focus too much on class labels as they have become quite muddled over the years.”
Daniel O’Sullivan

“A high-class horse is one that can run quick time, including fast sectionals. The time of the race, sectionals within that time, quality of horse it’s competing against and also the weight carried are all important factors in assessing the class of a horse.”
“I’m trying to find horses that the handicapper hasn’t found yet, particularly horses that have run quicker than class figures for lower class races.”
Trevor Lawson

“Class is two separate things… the class of a race as defined by official handicapper ratings is one. The other is about ‘class horses’ and that is more subjective.”
Mark Rhoden

“I always look at their ability to run time, especially the ability to absorb pressure.”
James Jordan

“Class means time – a horse’s ability to show sustained speed both early and late in a race.”
“Margin spread can be a good indicator of a strong form race.”
The Professor

“The big change since benchmark races were introduced around 2012 is that trainers have become very skilful in placing their horses.”
“The difference between a BM72 on a Saturday and a handicap is not very much in most cases.”
“Many punters get it wrong in set weight races by taking a very short price on a horse with a very high official handicap rating.”
Rob Waterhouse

“I come up with a power rating on every horse at the tracks I follow, to look at horses moving up or down and assess exactly how good this horse is right now.”
Barry Meadow

“The most important aspect is knowing the actual characteristics of a horse – it’s one of the most under-rated aspects of punting. I’m not just guided by the number on a screen.”
“Class is most interesting to analyse at deeper country tracks like Kalgoorlie and Geraldton.”
Terry Leighton

“Class horses tend to be popular with punters and we find it easy to lay those higher up in the weights, as they often look to have the best form on paper.”
“Sometimes you can find value looking for lightly raced horses that were a touch unlucky earlier in their campaigns.”
Tristan Merlehan

“The market really focuses on a horse’s last start performance and its starting price in that race. That SP really influences the market next time out.”
“It’s important to look at the horse’s overall profile. I’d much rather side with one on the up than a 10 year-old that might’ve win a big race five years ago.”
Wayne Finter

“There are many ways to define class but versatility is essential – being able to handle fast or slow speeds. Dry or wet tracks. And be able to overcome bad luck in running.”
Vince Accardi

You can listen right here, or anywhere you get your podcasts:

Apple | Stitcher | Tunein | Soundcloud | Spotify | Libsyn

The Ultimate Form Guide: Episode 2 – Speed & sectionals

“Times and sectionals are very important, but on their own are basically useless.”
Cameron O’Brien

“Sectionals can be misleading – very good horses can run slow times or average horses can run a quick late sectional.”
Daniel O’Sullivan

“Never assume that a faster overall time always means a better performance.”
Mark Rhoden

“Sectionals are only really useful when used with overall times as part of the form puzzle.”
James Jordan

“Casual form students can definitely get some help by looking at sectionals.”
The Professor

“I believe the way punters look at fast sectional times is wrong, and I like to bet against them.”
Rob Waterhouse

“How a race unfolds early is crucial in judging the merit of a performance.”
Barry Meadow

“I’m a bit different to most punters in that I rely on my eye more than anything and less on data.”
Terry Leighton

“Our use and knowledge of sectional times have progressed, but we still have a long way to go.”
Vince Accardi

You can listen right here, or anywhere you get your podcasts:

Apple | Stitcher | Tunein | Soundcloud | Spotify | Libsyn

The Ultimate Form Guide: Episode 1 – Intro

Listen right here, or anywhere you get your podcasts:

Apple | Stitcher | Tunein | Soundcloud | Spotify | Libsyn

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