My name is Jimmy Welsh and horse racing is by far my favourite sport and it also supplies me with a fantastic additional income. It provides an intellectual challenge and has allowed me the meet some of my best friends. Sixteen years ago, after reviewing my betting records, I found I was good at picking winners but was not showing a profit so I decided to adopt a more professional approach. It has proved very successful and I have shown a profit in 16 of the last 17 years and today I am enjoying racing more than ever.
If you are going to become a profitable punter, it's absolutely necessary to make the distinction between punters who gamble and those who bet. Gambling is playing games of pure chance with no possibility of predicting long-term results. Examples include the National Lottery, Fruit Machines, Casino games etc. Betting is all about odds. Neither bookmakers nor the punters know the true odds. Bookmakers and layers are in competition, so their odds on offer differ and the odds can change quickly as punters place their bets.
Horse racing gives us the opportunity to assess the odds on offer and make an accurate assessment of the risk and return equation and only bet when the return or the likelihood of success is particularly attractive.
There is now a vast amount of information available to computer literate punters from which to assess the risk element. We can use previous results, statistics, trends etc, to enable us to ascertain which variables work at influencing the results of races. These variables can then be applied to future races.
Before placing a bet set aside a sum of money, which you can afford and is separate from the remainder of you assets and create a BANK ACCOUNT solely for betting purposes. I use a current account. As an example, the account could be £1,000 and you bet win only singles staking £50 each time. If you double your betting bank, then double your stake. If and hopefully not, you half your bank account then half your stake. Following this method will allow you to sustain any long losing run, however if you follow my advice or are solely betting my tips then this should never happen.
You have opened your new betting account, now we have to take advantage of the best prices available, allowing us to beat the SP and increase profits. Most firms offer early morning prices, but some Internet companies now offer prices the evening before racing. You can compare prices using one of the many Odds Comparison services, competition is so fierce some are offering best odds guaranteed so if the horse drifts & returns a bigger sp you get paid at that.
If the odds on the horse you're on start increasing or 'drifting' in the morning don't be scared. I know serious pro-punters who manipulate the morning odds by backing small amounts on horses they don't fancy but because of who they are the odds will shorten & this in turn lengthens the price of their true fancy.
With over 8000 races run in the UK each year it's almost impossible to keep track of all form. After analysing my results form the previous years and identifying my biggest source of profits, I decided to SPECIALISE in better class races for older horses, over 7 furlongs to a mile & a half. The reasons for this are, you have plenty of information about them, you know what going they produce their best form on, what distances they prefer and which type of course suit them. The majority of my bets are placed during the flat season mainly between late May and September when the form has settled down and is more reliable. I check the race types the day before and know how many races I'm going to study that evening. Another advantage of specialising is you get to know most horses that will be competing against each other and under what conditions they produce their best form & this will give you a vital edge.
After identifying how many races could provide potential bets, I allocate half an hour per race each evening for analysis. I find the Racing Post's site an excellent addition to my own form book I keep. I always make my selections the evening before racing as this allows me to get on early the next morning taking advantage of the bookmakers best prices on offer. Some people who go racing regularly won't place a bet until they've seen the horse in the paddock and then on the way to the post.
This is all very well and a safe approach but what is the point when in the morning you could have got on at 5/1, then it opens on course at 3/1, may look great in the paddock and on the way to post, but when you go to place your bet it's 9/4, less than half the price you could have got in the morning and is now not a value bet. You might bet less losers but won't make a profit in the long run doing this.
Keep a record of all your bets, without betting records you will not know whether you are successful or not, even record the fun bets. It's amazing how these mount up and are unprofitable. I keep my betting records on a spreadsheet, this performs all the necessary calculations for me. I personally record as much detail as possible. By analysing your own betting records you will soon identify where you are going wrong and what you are good at and be able to adopt a professional strategy.
I am continually updating my list of horses to follow & watch replays of every race. I used to just be interested in the final two furlongs but I now know the importance of watching the whole race. Watch every section of a race as see where a horse works hardest, it might have ran too fast too soon or has been asked to make up too much ground. Where there has been a big draw bias note horses that have not won but ran well from an impossible draw, I note these a 'outliners' in my list.
Look for horses that have been held up & lead close home winning by a small margin, they will only be put up a few pounds in the ratings & check it's breeding to see if it might even improve for a step up in trip next time. My favourite bet is an improving three year old who fits this criteria.
The evening before racing, when analysing a race I always use these rules to assist me in making a selection. One variable remains constant. The horse must be a WINNER. By this I mean, it has won a race recently, demonstrating that it has the will to win and in doing so produced a turn of speed, that when given the same conditions can do it again.
Possibly the most important factor. I find most horses will only let themselves down and show their best form on certain types of ground. A horses previous form will tell you want going it prefers. If however it's lightly raced check its pedigree for assistance. I carried out research into what going leading sires offspring have a significant preference for. Remember some horses, early in their careers, can outclass other horses to win on going they least prefer, but now they are in their true class they cannot cope. I prefer to bet when the going is on the fast side as this is the optimum conditions for horses with the quickening power I look for, this usually coincides with a long dry spell. When rain softens the ground it provides less resistance to the horses' hooves and reduces traction. This reduces a horses ability to accelerate and reach its maximum speed.
Once I have identified what I think is the quickest horse in the race and the most likely winner of the race, I always check it's stalls position and if there is a track draw bias. I carried out research into the UK racecourses. It's not just in sprint races the draw has an effect, big fields on turning tracks over any distance can be affected by the draw. It certainly makes sorting out big field races a lot easier when you can comfortably rule out a third of the field due to bad draws. Also on extremes of going, the draw bias can change. I recommend you regularly check results at each track and watch for any biases developing. If you can spot these early, this will give you an edge over everyone else. By reviewing the results at a track where the bias has a pronounced effect, you can sometimes spot a horse who has lost but still ran a great race from an impossible draw 'outliners' and could be worth following next time around, granted it gets a reasonable draw. Some sprinters run up a sequence of unplaced efforts despite running well from bad draws and can pop up at great prices as they have been underestimated.
This is one area that has changed, racecourses have now far more advanced watering systems and selective watering can change from meeting to meeting even the big festivals can change day to day, check the press releases to find out this information.
Probably the only horse racing analogy to feature in every day life is 'Horses for Courses'. Horses have marked preferences, particularly so in National Hunt racing. Some horses only win going right handed others on tight tracks. In the UK each track is unique and I have carried out research into all these racecourses topography.
Every horse has a class ceiling. Just ask yourself how many horses win in the highest class of race possible, a Group One. Very few each year. A horse must have shown form in the type of race it's competing in today, whether it's a Class D handicap/Group 2/Claimer etc. Some only win when they carry big weights against inferior opposition in handicaps, some can't bridge the gap between Group 2 to Group 1. Out with their class and even receiving weight is not enough to compensate for a lack of speed. Watch out for horses who can dominate in small fields but can't handle the hurly burly of a big sized field.
The horse must have proven it can stay the distance of today's race. Never rely on speculation that it will stay a distance if it has never ran over it before. Every horse has stamina limitations and once they exceed this they have no strength left at the end of a race to accelerate. My only exception to this are three year olds who have lead close home in their previous race & both their breeding & running style indicate improvement when stepped up in distance.
A race with no pace and run at a crawl with a sprint to the line will produce a freak result. When analysing a race I ensure the race includes at least one proven front-runner. This horse must have led or contested the lead in at least 3 races.
Check the trainers tables published daily in the Racing Post or in other publications, these usually have statistics for the last 14 days. I place a greater importance if the stable is out of form. Things can change very quickly and I suggest you check the results daily, watching closely for any trainer who has had several well backed horses who have been well beaten within in a short space of time.
I would not say this is essential but I think it's an advantage if today's jockey has ridden the horse before, preferably winning on it. Horses have different styles of running, for example some are front runners, some have to ridden with restraint and come from off the pace so it is a help if a jockey knows these traits. Confidence is a great thing and you can check the recent statistics to see which jockeys have a good record of wins to rides.
I look for a pattern, some horses need time between their races and run best fresh while others stay in form only for a short time of the year. I use a 35 day rule, any absence longer than this and there might have been a problem. One thing I have noticed is how well some horses run after a season or more out, then on their next run they bounce (lose). I tend to be wary of these.
Always check the weather forecast for the racecourse you are planning to bet at. In the UK the weather can quickly deteriorate having a significant effect on the going, one of the biggest factors in determining the outcome of a race and this will have to lead to re-evaluation or no bet altogether.
After analysing the race, you have made your decision, you'll back what you think will be the winner of a race, take any price, a winner is a winner. DON'T! Each horse's true chance in a race cannot be scientifically verified. But you should be more disciplined, calculate a price you are prepared to take and don't take anything less. You always hear people talking about value, but to me there is no way of calculating value. Value is a matter of personal opinion. A crude method of calculating the odds you are prepared to take, is to list all the potential rivals to your selection in the race. If there are only two look for approximately 3/1, if there are six look for 8s. You will soon develop your own method and become good at forecast odds.
Nobody knows if a horse will improve, for example, stepping up in trip, wearing blinkers for the first time, running on different going, wearing a tongue strap etc. Stick to what conditions and equipment the horse has show it's best form in.
If you follow these rules you will become more disciplined, analytical, bet less and beat the SP, allowing you to make your betting on horse racing pay. You will also find you enjoy it more. As mentioned earlier, I strongly recommend specialising in particular types of races as it's very time consuming analysing each race, in fact it's impossible to dedicate enough time to this task. I generally have about 200 bets from March to November, so be patient, never chase losses and don't bet when you get an urge, your time will come.
I've given you the "How To" and the "Rules" for success. What I can't give you is the natural desire to put in the time and effort needed. Or to put it another way, most readers want long term success but their lives are already way too manic to allow them to succeed to a professional level.
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Quality over quantity is my betting mantra and I will be looking to back between 5-7 high quality tips a week concentrating on the better races.
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Obviously I would kindly welcome you to become a member of "Shrewd Tipster." However if the time is not right for you then I sincerely hope our time today has in some way helped you in becoming a more profitable punter.
PS. Always Remember - Keep Calm & Beat The Bookie! I do and so can YOU!