One of our top horse racing tipsters, ‘Eagle Eyes‘ has very kindly given us some valuable insight into his in-depth selection process…
As punters we must find each horse’s optimum condition to succeed. The more favourable factors we can find, the better our chance of success.
What do I mean by optimum condition?
Can the horse run to its highest level on the current ground condition? Is the stable in form? Is there a draw bias at the racecourse? Will the race be run at an honest pace or will it turn into a tactical affair? Does this course favour front-runners or hold-up horses?
We must ask each race as many questions as we can before deciding on our choice. Every horse entered must be looked at; lazy research leads to empty pockets. If you don’t ask questions you will never receive the answer to the conundrum.
Each race I look at is a puzzle waiting to be solved. You can’t put pieces together unless they fit perfectly. Take, for example, a firm ground horse running in heavy ground. I hear people saying ‘It has won its last four races and your choice has four duck eggs against it!’
That may be so, but my research tells me that the multiple winner hasn’t been placed on ground softer than good, while one of its opponents has already won once on heavy and been placed a further three times on soft ground.
Looking deeper into the results of each horse will show you the true ability of the animal on different surfaces, ground conditions and racecourses. You must be able to read a race before you place your wager.
First port of call for me when deciding on my selections is the five-day decs via the Racing Post website. All the info needed to race read is on this site for free. Also I visit the British Horseracing site on a daily basis for all things horse racing.
My favourite link is the stewards’ reports, which are always very enlightening. At the five-day stage look for any early jockey bookings that aren’t stable retainers, plus it’s a bonus if you see a good 3/5lb claimer booked for a h’cap – this horse is usually aimed at the prize.
Next I take note of multiple bookings for any horse, especially if a horse is entered in any top h’cap/listed/group race in the future. I also look at the long-range forecast to predict the ground condition for the day of the race. This gives me a list of horses to start with.
Now, is the stable of the horses in form? How many winners/placed horses have they had over the last week/fortnight? The Racing Post gives a RTF rating after the trainers name (eg J.Gosden 76% rtf). The RTF is worked out by taking the expected rating for all the trainer’s horses and comparing it with the actual rating for the race.
The higher the % the better chance the trainer’s horses will run to form. This rating is the starting block for my final choices. Has any of the horses shown form at this track before? Doesn’t have to be winning form, placed efforts will do, along with running well in a higher grade of race at the track.
Draw bias is a major element of flat racing (for jump racing, replace draw bias with jumping ability). If your choice is drawn in stall 14 at the oval track of Chester over five furlongs, you can forget winning! Catterick is a sharp left-handed track that favours low drawn runners, while at Brighton high drawn runners on soft ground will be best placed as the field will cross from one side of the course to the other for the better ground, giving the higher drawn horse a major chance of grabbing the stand rail. DrawBias.com will give you the basics, but doing your own research is always best in the long run.
You now know the ground, draw, winners and placed horses at the course, plus trainers in form. How do we whittle down to our final choice/s?
You have to form a mental image of how the race will be run. Are there any front-runners in the race? Can your hold-up horse get through beaten horses on a turning track? You must question each horse’s/jockey’s ability for each scenario that may occur.
The last thing I look at is Oddschecker for the early shows of betting. You will soon know who prices up first, who goes tight on prices and who dodges the question until all others have listed their SPs. I never look at the market until I have chosen my horses, so my view is not tainted by prices or by reading other tipsters views.
When I do look at the prices, I take into account which bookmakers are short/long on certain horses. If any bookie is way shorter than the others on a horse you really need to take notice. They have slush funds available, and certain firms will allow trainers, owners, stable staff etc to place a big bet with them so they can go short on the horse and save themselves a bigger payout. Ladbrokes going short on a horse is always a pointer; they are always the bench mark in my eyes.
I hope my own view of punting can help you find those elusive winners…. Eagle Eyes.