Would like to make a suggestion for a future topic in your newsletter. Horse racing filters are often mentioned as being important, especially for systems players and ratings players. However, in most articles they only get a general mention, no specifics. What do you believe the smart players use as filters – not the obvious, like wet tracks, fillies and mares races etc? This could be very helpful to your “newer” clients. Regards, Shane. There are no absolute black and white filters whereby we will never bet in a particular race. But as a general guide, when we are looking to eliminate races as possible betting events here are a few things we consider. Filtering out a race (1) Too few or too many starters – too few (say 5 or less) and you often have many short-priced horses and then get slowly run tactical races where the best horse often doesn’t win. Too many starters (say 16+) and luck in running can be the deciding factor. (2) Not enough exposed form – we like to bet with an edge, not with our fingers crossed that an unraced or lightly raced runner can’t win. (3) Too many winning chances – any more than three genuine winning chances and it’s highly unlikely that we get involved. Our strategy is to either be one-out on a strong winning chance, or to back the best value runner and then save on one or two other winning chances if necessary. (4) Race distance – our ‘sweet spot’ is the 1200m-2000m bracket. Races at 900m-1100m often mean that slightly missing the start or getting a check in running can ruin your winning chance. Then in staying races you are dealing with a wide variety of tempo, fitness, distance and tactical issues that add to the unpredictability. (5) Low class animals – we don’t bet into many maidens because as a general rule the lower the class the less predictable they are in terms of effort and performance. (6) Heavy 10 – we still get involved when the tracks are wet, but almost always avoid a Heavy 10. That’s because a real bog can throw up some very hard to predict results and some of these Heavy 10’s would be Heavy 12’s if there was such a rating. (7) ‘Action’ is over-rated – are we betting just because we want to bet? Serious punters don’t need ‘action’ all afternoon or even every day. Make sure you are betting for the right reasons. Filtering out a horse (1) Weak form race – it’s important to see what the runners from previous races have done since to look for strong form races where even unplaced runs may have been quite impressive, and also to find races where all the entrants have since failed. (2) Last start peak – many punters bet based on a horse repeating their last start effort but that often doesn’t happen. Horses are not machines and a career best effort is hard to reproduce (or improve on) particularly for well exposed horses. (3) Last start gun run – if a horse had the absolute perfect run last start and the market has rated it on that performance it can be a risk next time out because there’s a very good chance it won’t have the same luck again. (4) Non winner – some horses are pack chasers so although they have the ratings to win a race they may not have the real will to win. (5) Many runs this campaign – most horses don’t gradually taper off towards the end of their campaign, instead they just have nothing more to give and run nowhere. (6) Poor trainer and jockey – depending on the circumstance we occasionally will back a horse with a mediocre trainer or jockey, but never both. (7) Maps poorly – is the horse likely to get caught out three-wide? Will the tempo of the race suit the horse? Most times we penalise backmarkers heavily and even moreso if they are drawn an inside barrier. (8) Has never run time – an impressive looking win to the eye can be far less impressive when compared to par times. Now you should never write off a horse based on one slow time as there can be extenuating circumstances (wind, track condition, slow early pace) but if they don’t have at least one relatively impressive time in their last 3 starts we will often filter them out. (9) Under the odds – the most important filter of all. The question is not do you think the horse can win the race, but is it value at the odds available? Once again I’ll stress that these filters are merely a starting point or a guideline. But since most punters actually bet into too many races each Saturday afternoon having a few filters of your own is probably a good thing. How do you filter out the worst races or horses? Share you thoughts in the comments section. Good punting David Duffield http://www.championpicks.com.au/