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Compiling Tissue on difficult races

One of the most common questions novice punters ask is 'how I do I price up my own markets?'. There's not an easy answer. It takes time, practice and sweat & tears. And every race is different. Some, like a Group 1 race, the form is out there for all to see. Other times, you are dealing with unexposed horses, or even worse, inconsistent beasts who it is very hard to take a line on - what do you do? Professional punter Declan Meagher likes to share the odd nugget of wisdom on his blog, here's how he assesses a tricky race.

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Compiling your own Tissue Prices - How to deal with hard to price horses.

by Declan Meagher

Compiling your own tissue prices can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, but it’s a skill you really need to acquire if you want to make money betting on horses, or any sport for that matter. I’m going to describe a method that shows easy ways to deal with horses, which for various reasons, are very hard to put an accurate price on. Examples would be newcomers, horses coming back from injury, or horses badly out of form. I’m going to use the 4.45 at Southwell on 6th February 2013 as an example.

The best advice I’ve ever got regarding doing your own tissue, is to avoid all outside influences, until you’ve first made up your own mind. This means no spotlight comments, Racing Post tissue prices, or Betfair prices, until after you’ve done your form study, and come up with your prices. The reason being, it’s very hard to get a price out of your head once it’s in there. It’s a bit like when you’re trying to think of someone’s name, and you think it starts with M. If someone suggests Mick you may know its wrong, but it’s still hard to shift from your mind, and this hinders you from thinking of the right name. If I see the Racing Post has a horse at 6/1, this price is now in my head, and I find it hard to shift. You can use your instincts much better if you go at a race without these outside influences. By all means after you’re done, you can read the spotlight comments, see was there anything you missed in your analysis, and adjust your prices accordingly.

I find the best way to start, is to have a quick look through all the runners and come up with a figure you think a horse will have to run to in order to win the race. For handicaps this is relatively easy, and the figure you come up with will normally see you get close to 100% on your first go. You should then go back over the runners, comparing your prices on each to see are you happy with them. If you’re somewhere near 100% you can adjust up/down to get to the required 100%, or let excel adjust each by the same margin to ensure you have a 100% book.

The first thing to note when pricing up a race at Southwell is that fibresand is a vastly different surface to polytrack, and there is many examples of horses that are 20lb better on one than the other.

White Fusion could be one that is much better on fibresand. His best run was definitely on this surface last January and a repeat should be good enough to win this off 67. Not raced here since and ran well on Poly last time in a maiden. Must have a good chance although I’m not sure about the trip. I’m going to put him in at 5.0

Low Key has had 3 runs for John Butler having come from Germany; he’s gradually improved with each but is still very difficult to put an accurate price on. Horses from this stable tend to only win when well backed. I’m going go with 15.0, but if I knew he’s back in form at home and fancied I’d make him a 5.0 shot, where as if I knew he hadn’t come on from his last run I’d make him 34. For that reason I’d have little confidence in my price.

Most of Zefooha’s best form is at Redcar, she’s never run at Southwell, and while she’d have a chance on her Pontefract win in October, I wouldn’t be mad keen on her. I’m going to put her in at 21.0

Goldmadchen won on her first fibresand start back in November, and ran well to be 2nd here yesterday. If she’s turned out again in a similar race she must have a chance, but the step up to 2 miles would have to be a doubt so it’s 6.0 for me.

Lyric Poet is another horse hard to price. He looks regressive but was well backed on his first start for Charlie Longsdon last time, but ran no race. I’m going to go with 15.0 but as with Low Key, I wouldn’t be confident.

Entitlement is a progressive sort from a stable that does well with these types. She did well to win, having been in a bad position when they quickened at Kempton last time. My only reservation is the surface change, particularly as she was held up last time. Hold up horses switching to fibresand can get a bit of a shock with all the kickback. I’ll go 3.25 for now.

Scribe is another that hasn’t run here before and is also a hold up horse. He’s been running quite well and shapes like he’ll probably get the trip. 9.0 seems about right.

Neil’s Pride ran well to be 3rd on her only fibresand start and has been pretty consistent since. A slight stamina question to answer but has a chance. I’ll put her in at 8.0



After plugging my prices into excel the % book comes in at 109.14% which is not bad. For this example I’m going to let excel adjust each runner proportionately to get a 100% book. To do this you need to divide each runner’s percentage by 1.0914, which is got by dividing the 109.14% by 100%. The adjusted to 100% book is now your estimates of each runners chances. If you’re not happy with them, adjust them until you are, letting excel adjust the field to 100% each time.

As I alluded to earlier, some of these estimates are not going to be very accurate. I wasn’t at all confident in the prices I gave to Low Key and Lyric Poet. How we deal with these is to get the current market price, and use that instead to finalize our tissue.

I suggest using last price matched on Betfair for market price. As I write this the market for this race is still very weak. Low Key is 14.0 and Lyric Poet is 11.5. For the purposes of this example though, let’s pretend Low Key has been backed in to 4.0 and Lyric Poet is friendless at 34. This will show how the market prices affect our final tissue prices. So I enter 25% for Low Key’s market price and 2.94% for Lyric Poet.

You first delete your initial tissue projections for these runners as you’re no longer using them and instead allocate the market price % to those runners. That would be a combined total of 27.94%, which leaves 72.06% for the remaining runners. The problem we have is, in my tissue I allocated 87.8% of the book to the remaining runners. Low Key getting punted means we need to adjust to account for this. To round the other runners down to 72.06% of the book, we simply divide the current percentage they take up, which is 87.8%, and divide that by 72.06% which equals 1.2184. We then divide each runner’s % by 1.2184 to get our final tissue price. The table below shows the new results.



You now have a 100% book which will be dynamic, as the final tissue for each other runner will change, as the market price of Low Key and Lyric Poet changes. You can get software that will insert the current market price directly into excel for you. From your tissue prices you can now see is there any that differ greatly from the market. If the market is 9.0 on a horse you have at 6.0 you may have a bet. I use ‘may have’ instead of definitely, as you should first check to see have you missed anything. I also like to have a reason why the market price is wrong. If I have a valid reason it gives me confidence that my price is more accurate, and thus a wager can be struck. If you have any questions feel free to ask me on twitter @declanmeagher76

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