Regular visitors to the Champion Bets site may have noticed that as well as race previews, we religiously post detailed reviews of each week’s major meetings in Melbourne and Sydney.
It’s done for good reason.
It’s hard to think of an area of form analysis that’s as neglected as the race review.
Most punters spend at least ten times as long looking at the form pre-race compared to after a race. Beforehand, most keen punters are quite prepared to spend ten minutes doing the form on every runner.
But once the race has been run, they typically spend less than sixty seconds reviewing the replay and digesting what happened. We’re too busy high-fiving each other or throwing the TV remote across the room!
It’s an approach that suggests each race is entirely independent, with no impact on the horses’ next runs. That’s literally the complete opposite of studying the “form”.
The explanation is simple: it’s work with no immediate pay-off. None of what you see will matter, in a betting sense, for at least a week (probably longer) when they go around again.
By that time however, you’ll be engrossed in many other areas of form analysis, and reviewing old races one after the other may not be as valuable. For starters, those important factors that are fresh in your mind on the day, such as track bias and conditions, can be overlooked when watching a load of different races from different meetings.
Also, you won’t be undertaking a review of purely what happened, of what went right and wrong, and why. You’ll be looking at everything through with a view to an upcoming race against other horses at another meeting.
Our NSW racing analyst and professional punter Nathan Snow regards race reviews as an integral part of his approach. He recently put together his key pointers, which you can read here. In summary:
• the first 400m is as important as the last 400m, if not more so.
• how a horse settles, and how much work it has to do to get there, often determines how much merit you give its run. A horse that has to do little work early is invariably more able to produce its best late.
• take note of horses that are wide and working hard around bends, especially the final turn. This is a big negative and often means that a horse is starting its run too early.
• horses that stay ‘on the bit’ longer than their rivals usually have more to give, and should be marked positively.
• if a horse only tires late when first or second up, especially if it had to work early, it should be viewed positively.
• look for those that are able to sustain a longer run
How we can help!
Reviewing races is clearly a big part of a professional’s workload, and can be time-consuming to do properly. This is time that many punters don’t have.
As mentioned above, we publish a race-by-race review of each Saturday’s Melbourne and Sydney meetings, so that if you don’t get time to properly review the meeting, you can spend a few minutes reading these and get an idea of what ran well, and those that battled. They’re available every week and are completely free.
Ray Hickson covers Melbourne for us, and Shane Adair is our Sydney reviewer: you can read their reviews from last weekend here, and here. Both Ray and Shane provide their “runners to watch” from every race, as well as their overall best from the meeting.
Shane joined the Champion Bets team recently, and looking back over his reviews provides an insight into the value of diligent reviewing. Since starting with Champion, thirteen of Shane’s nominated blackbookers from his reviews have had another run. Six of them have won, with another three placing.
Simple, single unit level staking of these runners has produced a profit of over 10 units from the 13 bets, at a hard-to-maintain 79% profit on turnover (at top tote). Check out the full results below.
It’s only a small sample so far, but it highlights the potential power of the race review and the edge it can give you.
“When reviewing a race, I'm looking at horses that have to make runs,” says Shane.
“Those that are trapped wide and still able to figure in the finish, and those that show tactical speed from the gates to lead and then kick strongly to be in the finish.
“This holds even more credibility should the overall time be good.
“I also look at horses with minimal starts. These are usually on the way up – sitting on or just off the pace, and are then being able to put away a field suggests there is better to come.
“Horses that flash home, although looking brilliant, don't always mean a lot if the time is slow and they have done nothing in the run. They really should be running on.”