James Jordan is a popular member of the Racing.com coverage in his role as form analyst for South Australian racing.
What has endeared James Jordan to so many punters is that he wasn’t actually a television presenter originally. He was a punter and worked for bookmakers, with the television side of things only coming when he worked for Channel 7 and Racing.com.
He started from humble beginnings, working the phones at the former Sportingbet, and gradually climbed the ranks of the corporate bookmaking world.
I sat down with James Jordan to talk about his background in the punting and racing landscape, and ask for his thoughts on doing the form to gain an edge in punting.
James Jordan: The two key points about form study I picked up were from my time at Tom Waterhouse. They would rate very positive runners in the first four of running and penalise runners in their markets that get back in the field.
Secondly, when I was working at Sportsbet I learnt to rate every single runner. Every runner needs a number.
These learnings, among others, moulded my punting and form analysis style to what it is today.
James Jordan: Firstly, I have my ratings of the runners from their previous runs. I will then spend a lot of time on the map of the race. Knowing the tracks, horses and riders intimately helps greatly in making that as accurate as possible.
I will then price heavily from the map. I want to be on the runners who are getting the best runs and will favour their racing patterns.
If I am time poor I tend to focus on races where I know the favourite is very short and my price would be a lot longer. This is always a good starting point for any punter; if we can confidently predict, we can get the favourite beaten.
James Jordan: It can be a bit of trap for punters, I feel. I first cast my eye over the times of a trial; if there is a particularly quick one I want to be watching that. I like to watch the horse’s action and see how they are travelling in the run. However we have all seen the horse in a trial look like Black Caviar when travelling under no pressure. Then come race day when the button is pushed there is nothing there.
James Jordan: The best advice I would give is to concentrate in one area or two maximum if time permits. Get to know the horses / trainers / jockeys and tracks as this can give you an edge over the computer based punters. There are characteristics in a race they can’t put a figure on accurately. But you can put these into your comments or ratings.
In today’s betting climate, markets go up in Sydney and Melbourne on a Wednesday. All those opinions and big betting syndicates have played into those markets. So come jump time the odds are spot on. Now you have to ask yourself is my market more accurate than 1000’s of other people’s opinions on this race? Maybe for this race but over the long term? Getting to know your area inside and out can be your edge.
If I was brand new to racing I think I would be playing small areas. Like Tasmania or even the Northern Territory. The runners are the same week to week and you are playing the opinions of one or two market makers. The rest of bookmakers just follow the leader. This gives the punter more edge. You can be less accurate more of the time and churn out a profit.
James Jordan: I was attending Geelong on a Tuesday. I got wind that a client had heavily backed a runner to win the Thousand Guineas. The same runner happened to be debuting that day at Geelong.
I was set to back it and ran into my old school mate Levi Kavanagh, son of trainer Mark Kavanagh, on course and told him the runner I had the tip for.
Levi said “We have a runner in that race and he would want to be good because ours is very good”. Levi is a straight shooter and I respected his opinion. We backed the Kavanagh runner from $2.5 to $1.9. We also saw it in the Thousand Guineas field at $51 and grabbed that.
She bolted in at Geelong then won the Thousand Guineas as an odds-on favourite.
Her name… Atlantic Jewel!