rapid racing

Flemington’s annual Rapid Racing meeting is now into it’s third year and offers racing fans something a little different. For those not familiar with it, here’s a quick summary:

  • Rapid Racing is a seven-race meeting held at Flemington Racecourse in January
  • The event is held on a Friday afternoon between 3pm and 6pm, with the seven races each held 30 minutes apart
  • A jockey teams challenge pits Victoria’s best metropolitan jockeys against the best country jockeys
  • All seven races are run down the famous Flemington straight over 1000m, 1100m or 1200m
Rapid Racing: A winner for punters?

While the concept is designed as something different to perhaps lure some new people in, we’re of course just interested in the punting side!

We asked our resident Melbourne pro punter, Trevor Lawson, his thoughts on the meeting and response was simple: he’s skipping it entirely!

For those who don’t know Trev, it probably seems a little strange for somebody who makes his living from Melbourne metro racing. But close followers of his won’t be surprised.

It’s not so much due to the concept itself, more just one factor within it: every race is run down the straight.

“I don’t bet or really even do the form for the vast majority of straight races,” said Trev.

“It’s just too specialised. Straight racing takes place at one track in the whole state – Flemington – so most horses aren’t used to it and aren’t trained for it. I’ve found over time that it produces varying results and performances from horses which makes it a very different prospect in terms of doing the form.”

We asked Trev to explain in more detail the reasons why this is…

1. The lack of a rail

“From when they’re first brought into training, horses are trained to follow the rail around the track. There’s no lure of course, like the greyhounds, but it definitely provides a point of focus for them.

“Then they get onto the straight at Flemington and often that rail isn’t there. The races are often run down the middle of the track or even toward the outside. It throws many horses out.”

2. Acceleration

“Again, this gets back to the way horses are trained in Victoria. From when they’re first worked, they’re running in the anti-clockwise direction and obviously get into that habit. When the jock asks them for an effort and they go to accelerate, that involves them getting onto their right leg and taking off.

“But when they’re running down the straight, that equation changes. They might have to go left toward the inside depending on where the field is across the track. You find some of them don’t quite handle it and might want to lay in or lay out, and they miss their chance.

“I should point out that with these factors, there are of course horses that do handle it and adapt very well. Just like some go up to Sydney and adapt fine to the other way of going. But there are others that don’t, so it throws in this extra variable and degree of doubt into the mix. Will they handle it?

“It’d be a different story if a lot of tracks had straight racing and therefore horses got more experienced at it and we had a bigger volume of data. But the fact that they only get the chance if they run at Flemington means it’s very specialised.”

3. Time management

While the two factors above are to do with horses, the third reason is related to the punter himself.

“I just don’t need to devote the time to it,” says Trev.

“There is endless racing on – so much that we can’t possibly cover it all. So as a punter you should be focusing your efforts where you think you have an edge, because that’s your best chance of making some money.

“I know the form doesn’t quite stack up for straight races, so I’m not going to spend the time doing the form for an entire card of it when I’m most likely just not going to find something that appeals to me as a bet.

“Your time is precious, so use it wisely.”

Final thoughts

So does Trev never bet down the straight?

“I wouldn’t say never. But rarely. If I’m going to have a bet there I want to see that all horses have had prior runs down the straight and have handled it okay. Then I might get involved. That’s pretty rare however.

“The other thing to remember is that even though we might not bet there, we absolutely can take it into account when doing future form.

“If a horse fails down the straight, the market may well take that into account at it’s next start when it’s back around a turn. If we can see it may have just failed because of the straight, we might be able to get a price that appeals to us. So be smart about!”

Punt like a pro with Trevor Lawson’s Melbourne Ratings.

As well as a full set of rated prices, speed maps and suggested bets, you can spend each and every raceday with a pro punter: the Melbourne Ratings Live Page gives you direct access to Trev himself to ask whatever you like.

If you're keen to win, it’s the only way to punt.

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