With Group 1 racing hitting Queensland over the next few weeks, we thought it was as good a time as any to catch up with our red-hot Queensland racing analyst, The Professor.
Since starting in September, the service is up 79 units at 27% PoT. Amazing numbers! I’m assuming they’re a little better than expected?
I always try to be fairly conservative with what I project and those figures are very good. Having said that, we’ve managed to maintain it for a while now and even when we were in the proofing stage, before we went public with the service, we were hitting similar sorts of figures.
We’ve obviously had a little bit of luck of late and I’d be ecstatic if we could maintain the current rates. I’m usually more conservative as I said, but the results are very encouraging.
What do you think have been some of the highlights since the service started… where have we benefited most?
I think we have a good edge at the Sunshine Coast. I really enjoy betting there because it’s seen as a fair track… but that’s not actually always the case. Depending on where the rail is, I think it can have quite a strong bias to the fence.
So when we see the right meetings, we tend to go fairly well – not only playing to the horses that might benefit from the biases, but when you’re doing your reviews you know you can take a bit off those that are hard fence, which the market might tend to miss.
The only problem is the jockeys don’t always realise it!
There’s a fair bit in the news about Queensland racing at the moment. What’s the impact on betting?
There’s a lot going with trainers, such as the current situation with Ben Currie. We’re in a spot now where he’s given up a lot of horses to other trainers, which is something that we’ll definitely have to monitor and think about how we handle it.
The other big factor is the POC tax and the issues with market percentages, which impacts us as we bet early when the percentages are very high. We have to deal with that but everybody’s in the same boat and you just have to cop it for now.
Do you think that will lead to a change in how you bet?
At this point no, there still seems to be value there and we have a good edge on the early market. But we’re still in the early days so we’ll keep an eye on how it develops – if the market percentages creep up further it’ll be a lot harder to bet early. But you just have to play it by ear. At this stage it still looks okay.
Eagle Farm has returned. Thoughts?
Eagle Farm coming back and playing so well has surprised me. It’s been outstanding and has played really, really fairly. With everything that happened over the past couple of years, I think everybody was a bit unsure how it’d play. It’s been fantastic.
The rail has moved around a little and has been out as far as 10 metres. When it’s out the horses drawn close in have really firmed, which is a reflection of the old Eagle Farm. But I haven’t see a lot in those meetings to say that’s been the case on the new track. It just seems to be playing fair. We’ll keep an eye on it.
It’s great for Brisbane racing to have that other track for horses that aren’t suited by Doomben and like to get back and run on. It’s really good for betting.
It’s Winter Carnival time! Do you enjoy betting at carnival time, and how have you gone in the past?
I did okay last year. Generally it’s a fair bit tougher to bet in carnivals with the big fields and good horses. You get a lot of horses coming from New South Wales, where I don’t know the form as well, and a lot of the time it can be easier to find an edge in a weaker race.
You don’t want to get too sucked into feature races – a lot of our focus can be in other races on the card where we find an edge… they all pay the same!
The other thing you find at carnival time is good horses getting squeezed out to the lower-grade meetings, so it has a flow-on effect. That usually creates a few opportunities as well.