Like everybody, you sort of don’t know much about it and you win and lose and along the way. In the late 90s I met some smart guys who had a database and I got involved with them for about two years. Then probably since the early 2000s, I’ve had my own database in different forms. Since about 2005, I’ve imported everything into one database with Southcoast, and I’ve been using it for about eleven or twelve years now.
Over periods, I read a lot about the Hong Kong guys and Benter and a couple of the Asian Syndicates and you sort of just come up with your own way of doing it. The litmus test is if you’re winning at it, then what you’re doing’s probably half correct. Just kept whacking away.
Doing the form
I do my own ratings. I basically just bet in Victoria, and I just mainly bet on the metropolitan tracks. I find they’re the most consistent. It’s time and a percentage of weight that they carry. I have different weight variations for the distance that I do myself. I do all my own ratings for Victoria, Sydney Metro on a Saturday and Adelaide on a Saturday, just so I’ve got some sort of base for when horses come from interstate.
The theory is that the shorter the distance, the easier it is to carry weight. Conversely, the longer the distance, the harder it is. You might have to compress those, say, 50% for arguments sake in a mile race. At 1200 metres, it might be 70%. And the 2500, you might say they carry all weight. It’s just a way to even out the ratings.
Generally, I’ll look at what the horse’s average ratings are, or what the horse can do at its best. And then you might decide where it is in the prep. Has it been going poorly? It might be for example a 54 horse or something, on my data, at its best. And you might say, well, it has been going poorly but surely it can do three lengths worse. And at three lengths worse, it might price at sixteen, twenty to one or fifty to one. Because the market just dismisses it because it’s been going badly.
Then conversely, you might have young horse on the way up and they are more subjective. They’re the ones where you need to ask how much more is it going to improve next start, and it might improve the start after that as well.
I do my own times. I like to work to my own timeframe. I found with a lot of the data providers you’d get information on two days, Tuesday and a Thursday, for the previous meetings. Then I found you had so much work to do coming up to a Wednesday meeting or a Saturday meeting. I actually get the results daily now, so I can actually do the ratings each night if I want to. Then the same for times. I’ve had a couple of different providers with the times, I just found that I was always chasing my tail. You might have to wait five days to get the times, or three days, or next week, it might be seven days. If I did it myself, I could do it myself when I want to. I can use my time better.
I like Caulfield. I like leaders, I like horses that race at the pace. So I like to bet on tracks that, not so much with the bias, but generally the best tracks are where there is no bias. Yet, they’re the ones that help horses run up the front, because the track’s even, so if you’re close to the rail, you’re covering less distance than the horse that’s getting back that has to come wide. So I like Caulfield, I like Moonee Valley, with the rail out a little bit. Flemington’s okay. Sandown Lakeside is a little easier than Sandown Hillside.
I’m big on that. I like to bonus jockeys, I penalise certain jockeys. And then I like a positive jockey change. A horse that’s going from a negative jockey and then goes to a positive jockey it can be up to a length or a length and a half – it’s extra rating that I will improve it.
I like to walk the tracks. It just gives me an insight into where I think the best going will be, and then how the races will be run on the day.
ou don’t see a lot of people doing it. Which is great. Because anyone can. Talking to the track manager at Sandown, he’s told me in the past that prior to a couple of hours before the races at Sandown, I’m the only person that’s walked the track. Now there used to be a gentleman, he used to be a bookmaker, he used to walk it a couple of years ago, but he doesn’t do it anymore. It just gives you insight on where you think the best going will be and where the horses will track.
Basically it’s all pricing. I price them up and then look at the early markers to see if there’s any holes. I don’t bet early that much. The markets tend to be volatile. I do probably 95% of my betting in the thirty to forty minutes between races. I price the race up, and then just basically wait and then try to get as much value out of the race, backing what I perceive to be the overs.