Spring racing
  • The best horses, the best jockeys, more predictability
  • Betting markets open up and the volume flows

The socialites and party-goers love the Spring Carnival. But what does it present for the real punter who is there to make money? They’re at it year-round… is the Spring Carnival prime time for them as well?

We asked one of our most experienced racing analysts, Melbourne pro punter Trevor Lawson, what he loves best about the spring.

1. Serious punters have a bigger advantage

You get a cross-section of horses from interstate that are all coming together at the one time and place. For those of us who follow things closely and have proper databases, we have a bit of an advantage because you can accurately rate horses when you have all of the information readily available. Punters without that quantity and quality of information can find it harder to do that – it’s not like quieter times of the year when it’s a similar group of horses running around against each other.

The international horses aren’t so easily rated, but it’s not a huge issue because they’re only aimed at a few races – the Cups and the Cox Plate. There’s hell of a lot more feature races than just those big three, so there’s plenty of opportunities for dedicated watchers.

2. Better horses

You’re dealing with a better class of horse overall and as a general statement, the better-class horses are more consistent and reliable. It makes it easier to rate upcoming races – there’s just less deviation in terms of the performances they turn out.

3. Predictable preparations

The prizemoney on offer is huge and the paths horses will take become clearer. You know that they’ve been aimed at these “grand final” races and have been prepared specifically for them. You don’t need to be unsure as to where horses are at in their preparation or how their fitness and other factors will hold up, as might be the case at other times of the year. Trainers have their horses tuned up for these races and therefore they’re more reliable in terms of running to their figures.

You can confidently assume what the target races are for many horses, and therefore they’ll run to their best on that day.

4.  Best jockeys in top form

It’s a similar case with the jockeys. The best riders – the more reliable types – are at all of the bigger days due to the prizemoney on offer. You can be sure that everybody’s at their best, well prepared and on the ball when there’s such spoils on offer. It’s like finals in the footy. You find the better riders ride the majority of the winners, and there’s no coincidence in that.

5. Field sizes

The field sizes are bigger which generally means there’s more value to be had in the market. If, due to your database and form work, you’re in a position to properly rate all runners, you can start to eliminate some with confidence. That allows you to find value elsewhere.

6. Tracks back to their best

After a long winter, it’s always nice when the sun is shining and you know the tracks are going to be drier and more even. Less bias is always a good thing – horses run to their best.

7. Betting volumes

There’s more volume in everything – the tote pools, Betfair, the bookmakers – so there’s more opportunities to get on and get on for a good amount. And that volume comes earlier on the big races… there’s often money in the exchange a few days out, which you just don’t find week-to-week during the year

8. More racing!

The other factor in terms of volume is there’s simply more races. On many of the days you have nine and even ten race cards, which just presents more opportunities again.

There’s a lot more set weight and weight-for-age races, which tend to be easier to rate as there’s no handicap to even them up. It’s more easily defined and analysed.

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