Champion Bets has a new racing analyst in New South Wales. I caught up with Bryan Haskins and talked about punting, his background and the impact that Jack Denham, Corey Brown and Kylie Minogue have had on his racing journey!
What’s your background in racing and wagering? Where did you start out?
I’m from England originally. I got right into racing from the age of about 14 and started having a few bets then. I started doing the form properly and got the TimeForm ratings, which were amazing back then.
After school I was thinking about university… but all I really wanted to do was get into racing. I wanted to be a bookmaker, but I was 16 when I left school so I thought I’d go and work in stables for a couple of years and the plan was to go into bookmaking when I turned 18.
I ended up staying for longer than I planned and worked for a few different stables.
What brought you down under?
It was 1989. Neighbours and Kylie Minogue were big at the time! We were all watching that and I just thought ‘Wow, I wouldn’t mind going there’. So over I came. I didn’t have a job here but once arrived I looked around and I ended up getting a job with Jack Denham. The first horses I looked after were Joanne and Triscay which was a pretty good start!
I stayed there eight or nine years working in the stables and riding trackwork, and I became a foreman for the last couple of years.
What was next for you?
I worked out that getting up at 2am every morning was ridiculous, and that I could make the same money riding trackwork freelance. So I did that for the next couple of years.
Then one day I bumped into Corey Brown, and he asked me if I’d like to manage him. I didn’t have much of a clue what to do so he told me to just get on the phone and chase rides. I gave that a go and the stewards told me I had to do one or the other – ride trackwork or be a manager. I chose the latter and have done that ever since.
Being a jockey manager you’re doing all the form anyway, and I’ve always been a punter, so you end up doing both.
I’d always had a bet but as a punter you work out you need to do the work and do it properly, and then you can win at it. I realised that and I was doing the form as a manager, and the betting took off from there.
Have you managed many riders?
Corey was the first and I’ve had a lot since: Kevin Moses, Grant Cooksley, John Marshall, James McDonald, Tye Angland, Jeff Lloyd, Glen Boss. And plenty of others.
I was really lucky when I started with Corey, because he’s obviously a great jockey but he wasn’t really having a go. I got him when he was at the bottom and we were going all over the place all throughout the week – Coffs Harbour, Cessnock… anywhere. He then realised his potential and took off. So everybody probably thought I was doing a good job, but Corey was just such a talent. It led to a lot of jockeys asking me to manage them and I’ve always had a good crew since.
Any good punting stories?
Yep, my biggest result. It was 2002 and I was really keen on Northerly. Everybody thought he was going to the Cox Plate, but I was just convinced they’d send him to the Caulfield Cup. So I thought I’d take him in an early double with something in the Melbourne Cup, but I couldn’t come up with much. I ended up narrowing it down to three horses including Media Puzzle, who I’d heard was coming out. So I had a go (and I wish I had a lot more) and took three $20 doubles, one with Northerly in the 30s into Media Puzzle at 150-1. I collected $110,000 from the $20 bet from Bill Hurley.
I was always wonder why I didn’t have $100 on… I could’ve bought a nice unit back then for half a million!
Where do you bet?
I’ve always concentrated on New South Wales. When you’re doing replays and videos, which is how I do it, you just can’t do everywhere. It’s impossible. You have to find a niche and stick to it. Guys who use data and spit out ratings can bet everywhere, but that’s not my go.
So your approach is very much that of the race watcher rather than the data analyst?
Yep, I watch the horses. I see how they’re going and maybe see some things that others don’t see these days, like a good action or other things that don’t stand right out. It’s all done with video.
Is there anything is particular that you think makes you a good punter?
I think I’m pretty good at selecting the right races to bet into. There’s a lot of races with false favourites at silly prices and I think I’m able to find them pretty consistently. If you can find them – the overrated horses – it takes a big percentage out of the market.
What do you think is the most important thing for newer or less successful punters to learn?
Find your niche, definitely. Find somewhere you can sink your teeth into and don’t try to bet anywhere and everywhere. If you find an area and learn absolutely everything about it, it gives you a big advantage.
Why are you happy to sell tips to the public?
The market is big enough that it’s not going to cost me in terms of my own betting. With so many bookies to get on with and so many punters, doing tips just doesn’t affect it.
What will your membership cover?
I bet most days of the week on NSW racing. Members will get my bets, rated prices, suggested staking and a comment on the runner.