Historically, if it looked like it had been up for too long that was usually a reason for us to take a lot of horses on. Alternatively if they haven’t had enough runs in their legs we’d be happy to oppose them for a lot as well. Things like that, the historical lead-ups to races were huge for particularly feature races, where you can be standing horses for half a million or a million dollars. That was probably the key factor with us, the preparation leading up. Any hiccup for those sort of races was just an instant negative. Any things that we thought, particularly off last run, if we saw there was a sign of weakness in that run we’d be really, really keen to oppose it in the big race.
It depends the situation. Being not a pro punter like the others who probably let it ride, a lot of them, I tend to just see what position I’m in. Then I’ll maybe save on a few other horses rather than crush. Basically if I’ve had a bet nine times out of 10 I think it’s going to run a very good race so I’d rather hang onto it, but I might save on one or two runners that might have caught my eye closer to the event.
I love the barrier trials. I used to go out there a fair bit and sit with Mark Shean and learn a few things off him. Also Mo Hartley used to be up there. They’d all get there and have a little chat and you’d pick up little bits and pieces off them. A lot of the time I love seeing horses trial away from home, for me that’s my number one thing with the trials. It’s very easy for horses to look to trial well at home, but I think the trip away from home and they barrier trial and they can do that well. Peter Snowden made a living out of it for Darley. A lot of the time his good horses would trial away from home first go.
Second go they might come home just to have a really quiet time. I know that Chris Waller seems to follow that trend now, particularly we see his horses trial at Randwick. Guy Walter’s taking a lot of horses to Hawkesbury. It is a little edge and definitely something to follow. I would also caution people looking at the barrier trials to be very wary of horses that trial in fast time that don’t have a really well known trainer and most likely will have a lightweight jockey on board. They might look to smash the clock but there’s a lot of things that are a little bit against that. They’re usually pushed out to line, usually revved up, maybe for sale or maybe trying to impress some owners. And a lightweight jockey is also some that a lot of people tend to because they run fast times in trials.
As I said earlier I would love to have the discipline to be a professional punter. I think you put that much time into the form, but you might be able to be a great judge. I think there’s a huge difference between being a decent judge and a good punter or a decent punter. Those who make a living out of it to me have discipline, patience, they don’t chase, which is to me obviously, that’s one thing where people seem to, and myself included, you can chase. Also emotion, they don’t tend to let too much emotion get involved. I think… You have bad beats or horses get slaughtered.
They probably should have won, they get carved up in final, they missed the boat behind. It is very tricky. You think in your head you’ve found the right horse, you probably have, it hasn’t won the race. You look at your balance it hasn’t gone up, it’s gone down. I think it is hard to get away from that but the pros seem to be able to do that. They also seem to have in their head that this isn’t the last race so there’s no going to Ascot or going to the meetings where you’re not familiar with and you might be just following bets there, or looking to just try and back a favorite, just salvage something the day. They just seem to be very well set up in terms of, in the morning they probably have certain prices where they want to take. They’ve even got the discipline then to wait for the betting to go up in the ring which probably enables them to get on some more money.
Whereas a lot of smaller punters tend to bet early to try and snap up the big overs. A lot of the time that ends up getting back out because the big money hasn’t gone on during the actual 35 minutes of the on cause fluctuations going up. Probably the other thing they don’t do, they don’t fall into the path of changing bet size too much, it seems to be pretty regular pattern, be it how they bet, what size they bet to, the confidence they have. These are all things that in theory and hindsight seem really easy to do but I think once you’re in battle during a day having a bet it is hard to keep those things in place.
SPs, the videos, jockey, trainer, do the speed map, it’s pretty common for a lot of people to do that. I’m not big on times and weights which is probably a failing of mine to be truthful. There does seem to be a huge shift towards the times and I know there’s some very successful people that do that. I tend to try and trust my eye with certain horses. But it is something that if I was going to go back into bookmaking, that side of it again, and pricing it for a living I would definitely have to do some work on that to try and catch up to the marketplace with that. Yeah, basically videos, trials, maps, trainers and jockeys are huge for me. If there’s a trainer I don’t like I tend to put the sword through their horse unless it’s done a lot of things to give it a positive. Jockeys it’s pretty much the same. Jockeys that aren’t profitable tend to, if they’re not profitable in a certain period they go in. It’s the same as trainers, that you’ve got to find them when they’re in form and be against them when they’re not in form.