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Part II of that article from PPM


When betting, learn early that you can’t back the winner of every race. If you’re really good at selecting, you may back about three winners every 10 bets. More than that, and you really are doing exceptionally well. Not that MASS of winners means profit. If you’re getting 40 per cent winners at evens, you’re losing 20 cents in the dollar. You need ANY AMOUNT of winners whose odds total enough to give you a profit. Thus, if you can get 20 per cent winners, you need an average price per winner of 4/1 to break even, and 5/1 to make 20 per cent profit. This is a tough ask. It can be done, but it’s tough. It needs work, which I’ve stressed as one of the ways you can hit top gear . . . through hard work.

(learn the maths of betting and how many winners you need to pick - this is vital)


What do I mean by the charts? I’m talking of the turn-and-finish pictures in the Sportsman, which cover Melbourne and Sydney city meetings, and any results charts you can obtain, with full finish positions. You can learn so much from looking at the camera charts. Where was a horse on the home turn, and where did it finish? Check out the stewards’ report for the race, and, if you can, take a look at the video replay. You’ll soon have a full idea of what went on in the race and which horses you should be looking out for next time around.

(old Aus method - nowadays you should be looking at race replays)


One of the first lessons I learned in betting was to make up my mind and not waver at the last minute. Those collywobbles just before the "off", which often see punters change their minds, and their bets, can, in the long run, prove disastrous. I recall in the late '70s changing my mind with a couple of minutes to go, and running off to bet the favourite instead of the 12/1 chance I’d been intending to back! No need to tell you which of the two ended up the winner.

(have faith in your original selections - that's when you did the hard work, not panicking just before a race)


Never listen to "advice" from someone you’ve never seen before, like the bloke in the pub who earbashes you. Why should you listen to him? For all you know, he’s lost a fortune betting on the races.

(it's your money, do your own research, you have nobody else to blame if you lose)


Never bet beyond your means. Simple as that. It’s something that needs to be said twice in a series like this one, because it’s so important. Once your betting gets out of hand . . . it means trouble.

(if you have an addictive personality, then don't start betting in the first place)


Try to work out patterns in a horse’s form. It’s amazing how many horses have their various campaigns worked out in the same fashion and how often they manage to stick to the script!

(history always plays a part in the future)


Most people can’t be bothered keeping a diary. Serious punters should make themselves work at such a thing. Having a day-to-day diary of your betting adventures will ultimately prove enormously useful. Write down what you bet, why you bet it, and what happened. You’ll soon begin to understand yourself more as a punter and be able to correct the mistakes that will leap out of the page.

(the more records you keep, the more data you have to fall back on and analyse your position)


Why not make more of an effort to understand the physical complex-ities of the racehorse? If you can look at a horse and know when it’s fit, then you’re giving yourself a nice edge over the crowd.

(some people swear by this, but it is something that takes time to learn)


Make yourself aware of the perils of the losing run. Even if you have a win-strike rate of 25 per cent, there’s a 5 per cent chance that you will encounter losing streaks of at least 11 and a 1 per cent chance of a losing run of 17 or more.

(if you are not prepared to lose money, then don't bet. Nobody wins all the time)


Don’t be like some people and dismiss systems out of hand. All approaches are systematic to some extent. Systems, even very simple ones, can be effective. Why not test out this one: If the favourite is unraced, back the next horse in the betting that has raced.

(most are rubbish, but no harm in always looking for new angles. Over time, others soon find them and the edge disappears though)


Don’t fall prey to pessimism when you’re on a bad trot. It’s important to be optimistic, positive and ready to take risks at any time in your betting life. Black moods, feelings of hopelessness are of no use. If you get really down in the dumps, stop betting for a while, think about other things, refresh yourself.
(a system/method is only as good as its worst losing run, and they will all suffer them at some stage. Have courage in your convictions and ride with it, but be prepared to bail out and take a break if necessary. Confidence counts for a lot in this game)


For the simplest approach, stick to single win bets at level stakes.

(very simple, very dull, very pointless IMO)


The great UK professional Alan Potts says you should maintain a minimum acceptable price of 2/1, and this advice makes good sense. He also says you should think twice about any bet at under 4/1. Potts wins big money year in, year out; he knows what he’s talking about.

(the higher the price, the less winners you have to find. At 2/1, you have to be backing the winner every third race just to break even. I prefer to find value at higher prices personally)


Why not concentrate on a distance range? Many professionals say they bet only on races at 1600m and further. They claim you need a lot more luck in sprint races, while in the longer races something can go wrong but a horse has the chance to overcome the trouble and win.

(specialise - Irish racing, all-weather, 2yos etc - you can't keep up with everything!)


Why consider letting the first race go by? This gives you the chance to observe the going and any effect of the barrier draw, especially on days when the track is affected by rain.

(just like watching the first 10mins of a game - watch closely and see what effect it has on your initial thoughts)


Alan Potts is a great believer in this maxim: No bet is no problem. Unlike most punters who seek action in every race, serious bettors know there is no problem in missing a race, even missing a meeting. As sure as the sun rises, there’ll be more race meetings, and easier targets than the ones you have missed.

(discipline is key. Use some days purely for research)


Don’t ignore the minor trainers who take on the "big boys" in major races . . . give them respect. The logic is simple: The small man needs winners to make his name and to retain his owners and to simply survive.

(just because a trainer doesn't have stables the size of Godolphin or Gai Waterhouse doesn't mean they aren't good at what they do. They often specialise in a certain area and can be underrated by punters)


We all know it can be very helpful to keep a list of horses to follow but it’s also a good idea to keep a list of horses to oppose! Some horses are born losers but they run well enough without winning to keep punters coming in on them time and again. Check out these non-winners and put them on a blacklist.

(betting exchange punters profit from winners and losers - watch losers do it time and time again)


You really need to set up a proper approach with proper goals for each year’s betting. Think about the following:
(a) What are your profit expectations?
(b) How many bets will you have?
(c) How many losers can you afford?

(set aside a bank to bet with then get serious about it. The customary figure for a regular bet is 1-2% of your bank. Slow and steady wins the race, lumping it all on causes stress and can affect the rest of your life too much)


Develop your money skills. That is, your money management skills. The punter MUST manage the money, not the money manage the punter. Placing of bets and the amount of the stake must be decisions taken in isolation and not based on the results of previous bets, says Alan Potts.

(discipline and money skills are just as important as being able to read a form guide)


In the move from mug punter to professional punter the hard part is always facing up to the reality that there will be more losers than winners, more losing days than winning days, more losing weeks, and so on. Understand this. Record all your bets, analyse them and put everything into perspective.

(5% of punters win long-term and probably triple that think they do but are actually losing because they don't keep records)


Some professionals never feel happy if they bet on a big race and leave out a really great jockey who is riding everything to victory. I know pro’s who will always take savers at least on big-race riders. An example was in the Melbourne Cup: A professional friend backed Jardine’s Lookout but took savers on Glen Boss and Damien Oliver. It paid off. "I just couldn’t not back these blokes in a major race," he says.

(what a toss - you are either betting to win, or to have some fun like your grandmother. It either can win, or it can't, and that should show up from your initial analysis which considers those factors anyway)


My pal The Optimist says he never looks at pre-post prices when he is working out the form. It’s something for everyone to consider. "It influences the thinking too much if you see the market beforehand," says The Optimist.

(make your own assessment first before looking at other opinions - and betting prices are just that - opinions. This is key to having faith in your own analysis)


If you’re a punter who hates risk, then go for place betting. Go for doubles and trebles, and consider using The Patent, an English method of 3 singles, 3 doubles and a treble.

(place betting yes, but any form of multiples/parlays/accumulators means giving more percentage to the bookmaker - avoid them unless you are absolutely certain of having value on your side)


So, these 50 points come to a conclusion. Bet safely, but don’t shy away from a risk or two, pick your betting spots carefully, have a proper approach with a proper target in mind over 12 months, study the form . . . and make your decisions with care and good sense.


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