How our Melbourne Ratings expert analyst has managed to stay ahead of the every-changing Victorian racing landscape.
For over 20 years, Victorian racing expert Trevor Lawson has been at the height of the punting game.
Plenty has changed over the years across the horse racing and betting landscapes, but Trevor’s longevity has stemmed from his ability to adapt to each change.
Changing With The Times
The nature of the ever-changing market makes it difficult for professional punters unless they find ways to improve and keep moving forward.
“I always just try and revise things”, he explains.
“You’re always trying to move with the times and adapt. If you stand still you get run over.
“I do a lot of things differently to what I did 15 years ago, and a lot different to what I did 10 years, and a lot different to what I did five years ago. You’re always trying to evolve.”
It’s that attitude that has allowed Trev to stay on top of the game for so long.
One example of change in recent times is the importance of weight in rating a horse’s chance of winning a race.
“Weight’s relevant to a degree, but it’s probably not as relevant as it was through the Don Scott books.
“I compress a lot of it, and I’ve started to compress a little bit more in certain areas.”
Minimum Bet Laws
Perhaps the biggest change over the last decade has come with the introduction of Victoria’s Minimum Bet Laws in October 2016. In a nutshell, the law that ensures corporate bookmakers are required to take bets to win up to $2,000 after 9am on race day or 2pm for night meetings, protecting the successful punter from being banned or not being able to get their bet on.
The laws completely changed the betting landscape and Trev’s approach, like that of many other pro-punters, had to change dramatically to keep up.
“Originally I used to do 95% of my betting in the half hour before the race on course, whereas now I don’t do any betting on course at all.
“I try to do a fair bit of my betting before the last thirty minutes now, so it’s completely changed and gone from one extreme to the other.”
A big consequence of the Minimum Bet Laws is that the prices change early with big money coming from major syndicates early, once the laws kick in. It has meant the markets have been shaped much earlier in the day than they used to be, and the prices of fancied runners get slashed a lot earlier.
“Basically whatever price they (big syndicates) mark the field, that’s what price the market runs at now.
“If you’re on one that they like, it will shorten up early. It’s a sort of guess work to find the ones they want to be on and which ones they don’t that you like.
“All the power is with the corporates now, which means it’s a completely different way of doing it. You just adapt and make it work for you because that’s the way it is now. We just change with the times.”
One trap for punters is getting drawn in by the bright lights of the Spring Carnival – a time of the year that certainly doesn’t guarantee success.
With so many more overseas raiders coming to contest the big races nowadays, it makes it that much harder to do the form as accurately as in the past.
“You get a lot more value in the Spring, but it’s getting a bit harder with a lot of overseas horses coming that you don’t know much about.
“In the past I used to like betting in the Melbourne Cup and the Caulfield Cup, but now I tend not to because there are just so many horses you don’t know.
“In previous years the Spring was alright when there was one, maybe two horses from overseas, but now it’s seven and eight international runners.
“You don’t bet big into those races anymore. You’re just betting into the other races.”
Staying In The Game
Of course, not everyone has been able to remain in the game over the journey, and Trev has seen plenty of punters come and go.
“One bit of advice I could give for anybody is to never be embarrassed by how small you bet.
“The secret is to stay in the game, because if you run out of bullets, you can’t back the next winner.”
That seems like very good advice from someone who has been able to find enormous success as a professional punter over more than two decades in the ever-changing world of thoroughbred racing.