Idiots Guide

The Ratings were developed purely and simply because I got fed up losing money on a regular basis, whilst others were making a living from the game that is horse racing.

I reasoned that, if “they” could do it, so could I….all I had to do was work out how!

After a couple of year’s trialing certain things I hit upon a method for scoring handicaps that produced unbelievable results. Before I allowed myself to pack in the day job, I spent two years following and fine tuning them, then came the day when I decided to hang up my postman’s sack!

What I had discovered was a way of narrowing down the field to enable me to punt in much the same way as a bookmaker lays horses. The difference was that whilst they had to lay every horse in their book to make a small profit, I could, more often than not, narrow it down to a certain number of horses and spread my stake (Dutch), across those horses to ensure a bigger profit (which is what it’s all about), regardless of which one of them prevailed.

Most “mug” punters (and I used to be one of them), look at a race and place their wager on just one horse. You might try to have a big hit by combining your selections in doubles, trebles, Yankee’s etc. You will have days when this is a successful method but, you’ll have far more when you lose and that make just one person happy, the bookmaker. Long term this method is for fun punters only, not for those looking to ensure they produce more by way of profit, than they lay out.

I discovered that by applying certain criteria to each handicap race, we could get things more or less in our favour. For the flat season this requires me to take into account 11 factors, for National hunt racing, it is merely nine.

In my idiots guide to using my figures I’ll cover terminology, something that is a mystery to most of my readers, form and various other things that separates winners from losers.

HOW DO THE RATINGS WORK?

Form has nothing at all to do with how a race will pan out on a given day. The Ratings takes absolutely no notice at all of how a horse has recently performed and a perfect example concerns a horse called Blue Spinnaker.

Mick Easterby, the horse’s trainer, had him fit and firing. He had won a 10 furlong handicap at Doncaster on the 11th April, 2008, by 10 lengths and they were going to war with this one, running him again on the 16th April. The morning tissue had him priced up @ 4/6 but my figures said this:

Race 4… BEVERLEY 3-55….16th April, 2008

GRETHEL….+25

HARRY THE HAWK….+19….WON 13/2>4/1

AMANDA CARTER….+15

KEISHA KAYLEIGH….+10

BLUE SPINNAKER….+2….2ND EVENS

NELSONS COLUMN….-7

One to punt – GRETHEL, HARRY THE HAWK

One to lay – NONE

My advice regarding this race was – “20/80 my second best, dutch numbers (rated horses) 2, 3 and 4….if my numbers are right, we have an odds on shot beaten. Not quite a lay but very close.”

The result was an easy success for my second best and a winning bet was placed.

Just two days later they pulled Blue Spinnaker out again and my figures for that race were:

Race 4… THIRSK 3-05….18th April, 2008

BLUE SPINNAKER….+2….WON 6/4

TOUGH LOVE….-1

KIRKBY’S TREASURE….-8

NOK TWICE….-10

HULA BALLEW….-12

PARKVIEW LOVE….-14

One to punt – BLUE SPINNAKER, TOUGH LOVE

One to lay – MESSIAH GARVEY

My advice this day was – “straight win bet my top one….two days ago I laid it, today we punt!”

Blue Spinnaker absolutely hosed up by six lengths! What was different just two days on?

Well, plenty as a matter of fact. Different track for starters but what difference that made shall remain my little secret!

Once I have “rated” a handicap the hard work begins. It does not naturally follow that my top rated is going to win. It has a serious chance of success, as it has scored most points and I’ll advise that punting my top two in each race will secure long term profits but, by delving that little bit further, we unearth gems that are ridiculously priced and bring them into the punting equation.

What I’m looking to do with each race, is produce a profit. I myself set a minimum of 35% but you might want more and so, you cut your cloth accordingly.

HOW TO USE THE RATINGS

You can do several things. Leave it to me to produce suggested punts, utilise them to work with what you yourself do, or punt the top rated/top two rated, as suggested earlier

If you yourself have a method for rating handicaps or, like several people I know, produce pure handicap figures, then compare notes and, like one sage always tells me, “when we agree, put the betting boots on!”

I myself punt in the following ways:

Win only….sometimes it is blatantly obvious which horse is going to win a race and we take advantage of it.

Dutching….a method of punting devised (reportedly), by the accountant of none other than Al Capone, Dutch Schwartz. It involves you spreading your stake across more than one horse in a race, ensuring a profit if one of them wins. It’s all about maths and if that scares you, we have a superb tool called the “Dutching Calculator” that does the mental stuff for you. All you need to do is input the current prices of the horses you fancy and the machine will tell you how much you need to place in order to a) produce a set return should one of them oblige or b) produce a set % profit in the event we are successful.

20/80….essentially an e.w. bet but we have more on the place portion than the win. This method is used when our primary selection is priced attractively enough to produce a profit in excess of 100% should it place and producing a healthy profit in the event it wins. You will not find a High Street bookmaker prepared to take this kind of bet and so, unless you play the Exchanges such as Betfair, Betdaq or WBX, then the traditional e.w. bet is the way to go. You’ll not make as much profit in the event the horse only places but your win portion will be considerably better should it oblige.

Exotics….simply a more pleasant way of saying, forecast, exacta, trifecta, or tricast. It can also include bets such as doubles, trebles, Yankee’s and other more impossible multiple bets. I never get involved in multiples and any bookmaker will tell you, they love the punter that regularly places such bets. Sure, you might get lucky and scoop a pool but such instances are so rare they make tabloid headlines when they happen! The Trifecta/Tricast however is a bet I love and, when the prices of my top four horses suggest a monster payout should we land it, we get involved.

Laying….in addition to working out which horses have the best chances of success, the Ratings also highlights which horses have little or no chance of winning. Never get sucked into laying big priced horses though, as one bad result can wipe out a whole months good work. I myself am looking to lay the front two in the market, if they fall outside my top six rated horses.

HOW TO MAKE A PROFIT FROM HORSE RACING

The only way to profit from backing horses is to be disciplined, play only those races on which you have a definite opinion and never chase your losses. The biggest certainty is that tomorrow will arrive and we have another chance.

You also need to recognise that at certain times of the year, funny things are going to happen. April and October can be seriously funky, as the National Hunt season winds down and the flat boys start to get theirs ready for the summer. Think about taking your holidays in the spring and autumn!

Never punt “odds on” in juvenile races, novice events or maidens. Such bets are the fastest way to the poor house.

Always be aware of how much you can afford to lose and punt sensibly.

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