2018: Spring Racing & Punting

Rowsus

Statistician
Joined
19 Mar 2012
Messages
16,506
Likes
1,319
AFL Club
Melbourne
#1
This Saturday sees the running of the Turnbull Stakes.
This has always been, in my mind, when the Spring Racing really kicks off, and goes for the next 6 weeks.

This thread is for discussing all things racing over that period.
 

Rowsus

Statistician
Joined
19 Mar 2012
Messages
16,506
Likes
1,319
AFL Club
Melbourne
#2
What sort of punter are you?

When I'm in the mood, I can eat a good formguide. I can spend 5 or 6 hours devouring a coming days racing.
I'm what I'll call a punter that looks for situational patterns. More on that in a bit.

I'll generally back 2 or 3 horses in a race, and rarely outside of the generous promotional offers (ie. free bet if your horse runs 2nd or 3rd type thing), back horses under the $3 or $4 odds mark. I like exotics, especially Quinella's, Quaddies and First 4's.

I rate myself above average in my form analysis (but nowhere near elite). I guess if i'm going to spend that much time studying a guide, I'd want to be above average, or I'm wasting my time. Unfortnately, I only rate myself as average when it comes to punting. I seem to be able distill the race down to the main chances, but I don't seem to turn that information into winning days as often as I'd like.

I bemoan the fact that there is not one ideal formguide avaiable out there, and when I am doing serious study I'm forced to use 2 or 3 different formguides to find all the information I want, in an easy reading format. One of the keys to race punting is the horses you don't back, as much as the horses you do back. I think that is the catagory that pushes me just above average in my ability to disect a race, and where the situational patterns can kick in. It can help you eliminate some horses, or at least decide, that this may not be their best scenario for winning a race.
 

Rowsus

Statistician
Joined
19 Mar 2012
Messages
16,506
Likes
1,319
AFL Club
Melbourne
#3
So what do I mean by "Situational Patterns"?

Let me use Humidor as a small example. There are many things to look at in situational patterns. Days between starts is an under-rated tool, that's for sure. Change in distance, change in jockey, number of starts in the preparation, as well as the obvious track, track ratings and speed maps. There are others, and it can depend on the horse, and the race, as to what I might look for.

Humidor
Now here is a good example of what I'm talking about.
Career: 30-8-7-3, Good 20-5-3-2, Soft 8-2-3-1, Heavy 2-1-1-0
So he performs on all surfaces, and doesn't seem to have a discernable pattern there.
1st up 6-0-1-1, 2nd up 6-4-1-0.
That's about where the average formguide finishes, with basic information. Humidor obviously struggles a bit 1st up, and flies 2nd up. But what happens after that? Well, removing the 1st up and 2nd up runs from his career leaves 18-4-5-2.
This is where the situational patterns and digging deeper really pay off, you just have to do the work to find a very good guide as to what happens now.
Let's look at what happens in his next 2 starts, over his career, after he has recorded a win.
So, let's chop up his career, and look at what happens to him when he records a win. We are only looking at starts that can be considered to be in the same preparation, and not starts that carryover to the next prep.
At his next start after a win: 6-1-2-1, only 1 win from 6 attempts, and that was way back in his 2nd prep.
At his 2nd start after a win: 6-0-1-1, no wins.
Putting those together, and you get his record at his next 2 starts, after recording a win, is 12-1-3-2. That's not horrible, but he obviously races a bit flat after a recording a win, and takes at least a couple of starts to bounce back. Given he has generally started at shortish odds in those 12 starts, it's not great from a punting point of view!
I have avoided putting Humidor in my Quaddies at his past 2 starts, due to that situational pattern. Given he has opened around the $5 mark in both of those races, I count that as a win. Anytime you can confidently leave out any horse under $8 in your Quaddies has to be seen as a win.


Just as a matter of interest, it's good to look at a horses "by prep" record, too.
1st prep 5-2-2-1
2nd prep 5-2-1-1
3rd prep 5-1-3-0
4th prep 7-1-1-1
5th prep 4-1-0-0
6th prep 4-1-0-1 this is his current prep.


It appears as he has gotten older, he only has 1, at best 2, peak runs to be recorded in a prep. In his 4th prep he ran what some might say was a career best run, when pushing Winx in the 2017 Cox Plate, running 2nd to her, beaten 0.4L. That was at his 3rd start after recording a victory in the Makybe Stks. It further reinforces he races flatter at his next 2 starts, after putting in a race winning effort. I would think his next start, his 3rd after recording a win in the Gp1 Memsie Stks, will be in the Cox Plate again this year. Any outstanding internationals aside, I would expect him to "bounce back", and run 2nd to her again this year, or at least race with a bit more gusto than his previous 2 starts. Yes, I know he was only beaten 0.6L at his latest start, but in his peak run scenario he would have won that race, I believe.
 

Rowsus

Statistician
Joined
19 Mar 2012
Messages
16,506
Likes
1,319
AFL Club
Melbourne
#4
One of my favourite ways to bet, when I'm just looking for an interest in a race, is to start by looking at the horses at $34 or longer in the betting. I'm generally not looking for them to win, but looking to see if they can improve enough on their most recent start or two, to finish in the first 4. If I find one or two that I think might be able to do that, I then try and find the 3 main chances to go along side the roughie.
I back them in the following manner.
Roughies 1 unit win, 4 units place.
First 4's
M, M, F, R
M, F, M, R
F, M, M, R
Where M = the main chances I worked out, and F = the field.
If it is a big field, those first 4's are taken for a low percentage, sometimes even as low as 1%. That can still pan out ok. A couple of times I have gotten 1% of a First 4 that paid $50,000+ for the dollar dividend.
Depending on my confidence in the set up, and how the race structures, I will double up with these First 4's as well.
M, M, R, F
M, F, R, M
F, M, R, M
M, M, N, R
M, N, M, R
N, M, M, R
where N = the best chances outside of the M horses.

This is a format of betting I'm still tinkering with and refining. Eventually I will incorporate a wider structure, with small % bets, with the Roughie running in the first 2. It doesn't happen often that they do (though it happened with Tosen Basil last Saturday), so for now, until I get a better feel for the "correct" structure, I'm ok with a small each way bet, and First 4's with the Roughies one out to run 4th as a starting point.
 

Rowsus

Statistician
Joined
19 Mar 2012
Messages
16,506
Likes
1,319
AFL Club
Melbourne
#5
I worked on course at the races for around 13 years, from the early 80's to the mid 90's. The last 3 years I worked for a Bookie whose staff put in $20 or $30 each, each race day, and put on a Quaddie. Wanting to be a part of the team, I joined in. I only lasted around 2 or 3 months, before I opted out of their Quaddies again.
Why?
They were making the most common mistake of nearly every "friends Quaddie". They were what I would call lazy and obvious. By the time each person put in their 0.02¢ worth on the selections, we pretty much ended up with the top 3 to 6 in the betting in all our legs. Now short term, on a one off basis, just trying to get a collect on any given day, that probably represents your best chance of achieving that collect. Long term, you may as well set fire to the money, or use it to buy a lotto ticket. It is basically close to impossible to use that sort of method, and make a profit over the longer term.
Realistically, you won't collect the quaddie often enough, and when you do, the dividends will be largely disappointing, with the odd exception of a "fluke" good collect, once or twice a year.
I kept a loose mental note of how they fared in the months after I dropped out. They would have been lucky to recover 50% of their accumulated outlay in that time.
What could they have done differently?
Well, let's look at a typical structure they may have used, and analyse the better options they could have done instead.
This will be a "basic" variation. When I do a Quaddie for my friends group we generally end up putting on around 30 to 40 Quaddies using a more complicated structure. That wouldn't have suited the situation we faced back then, and would of confused them somewhat. In addition, flexi-betting wasn't available back then, so it also limited the options a little.

Their structure might have looked typically something like this:
1st leg: 1, 2, 3
2nd leg: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
3rd leg: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
4th leg: 1, 2, 3, 4
Outlay $180 for a 0.50¢ unit.
For the sake of ease, let's say 1 was the favourite, 2 the 2nd favourite etc, and the
blue numbers represent horses around $6-$9 mark, and the red numbers horses around the $10-$12 mark.
The only times they ever collected anything worthwhile, was when 2 or more of the
blue or red selections won. A lot more often than not, nothing was collected, or if they did collect, they got just a little more, or a little less(!) than what they outlayed.
Look at the breakdown of their outlay:
360 combinations covered
All black numbers: (2x2x3x3) = 36 combinations
3 black numbers + 1 blue or red number: (1x2x3x3)+(2x3x3x3)+(2x2x3x3)+(2x2x3x1) = 120 combinations
So 156 of their 360 combinations (43% of their outlay) were doomed to probably not collect anything, and if it did, theyd be lucky to cover their costs.
The "obvious and lazy" part is starting to become a bit more evident. They spent too much of their money on combinations "everyone" had, and were too lazy to fix it. They were lucky to collect around 25% of the time, so that in itself suggest they needed to do something different to their current play.


So what should they have done differently?
They should have looked at this as a long term concern, and not a week to week process. Their aim should have been to make a profit each year, NOT each week.


2 solutions. As I said earlier, these are in my opinion, basic fixes, and less complicated than I currently employ.

Solution 1. - only put on the Quaddies that have 2 or more blue or red numbers.
1st leg: 3
2nd leg: 3, 4, 5
3rd leg: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
4th leg: 1, 2, 3, 4
Outlay $36 for a 0.50¢ unit.

1st leg: 3
2nd leg: 1, 2
3rd leg: 4, 5, 6
4th leg: 1, 2, 3
Outlay $9 for a 0.50¢ unit.

1st leg: 3
2nd leg: 1, 2
3rd leg: 1, 2, 3
4th leg: 4
Outlay $3 for a 0.50¢ unit.

1st leg: 1, 2, 3
2nd leg: 1, 2
3rd leg: 4, 5, 6
4th leg: 4
Outlay $9 for a 0.50¢ unit.

1st leg: 1, 2
2nd leg: 3, 4, 5
3rd leg: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
4th leg: 4
Outlay $18 for a 0.50¢ unit.

1st leg: 1, 2
2nd leg: 3, 4, 5
3rd leg: 4, 5, 6
4th leg: 1, 2, 3
Outlay $27 for a 0.50¢ unit.

Total outlay $102 for a 0.50¢ unit
Now, while this would have drastically reduced their number of collects over a year, it actually would have also gone close to doubling their ROI. It removed most of the lower paying combinations, and ensured any collect was a worthwhile, and a profit. Whenever you are punting on exotics like this, it is obviously the better collects that make the biggest difference, to your end of year bottom line, so why not concentrate on them, and ditch the low paying combinations?
 

Rowsus

Statistician
Joined
19 Mar 2012
Messages
16,506
Likes
1,319
AFL Club
Melbourne
#6
Solution 2 - some of you may consider this complicated, but once you get used to dealing with things like this, it is not a complicated as it looks.
First of all, let's do a theoretical break down of their Quaddie.

If we say the black numbers in their Quaddies represent around a 50% chance in each of the legs, and each of the blue and red numbers average out at around 10% chances each, then the break up of their likely results are:
1st leg: 50% + 10% - miss 40%
2nd leg: 50% + 30% - miss 20%
3rd leg: 50% + 30% - miss 20%
4th leg: 50% + 10% - miss 40%
Let's reverse how we are looking at it, and see how often they miss X number of legs:
Miss 0 legs - 23.04%
Miss 1 legs - 42.24%
Miss 2 legs - 27.04%
Miss 3 legs - 7.04%
Miss 4 legs - 0.64%
This tracks well with their around 25% strike rate of getting a collect.
The most common result is that they miss 1 leg, so why not work with that?
On the 42.24% of occassions they miss 1 leg, the break up looks like this:
3 blacks + 0 blue/red + miss = 15.00%
2 blacks + 1 blue/red + miss = 19.00%
1 black + 2 blue/red + miss = 7.40%
0 blacks + 3 blue/red + miss = 0.84%
So, around 19% of the time, they hit 2 of their "favourite" selections, 1 of their value selections, and miss 1 leg.
The cost of throwing in a big priced selection, outside of the horses they have already selected is dependant on which leg you throw it into. With the set up mentioned, the costs are:
1st leg $25.50 per horse added
2nd leg $16.50 per horse added
3rd leg $18.00 per horse added
4th leg $14.00 per horse added
They could force themselves to add in 2 REAL value horse in each leg, and put on the quaddies where one (and only one!) of those horses have to win, and 2 of their "favourite" selections have to win, and the cost would be around $148, instead of the $180 they were betting. In most of the races, there is a lot of "dead wood". It's impossible to day for sure what their success rate would be like, but I would think, in the races where the winner comes from outside their initial selections, they should be able to find the winner somewhere around 30-35% of the time.
It reduces their number of collects over a year to around 4 or 5 collects, but when they do collect, it is substantial. Probably somewhere in the $2,000 to $6,000 area.
Depending on how successful they are hitting their REAL value, forced picks, they are going to get back somewhere between 100%-200% of the money they invested, but only hit a collect every 2 or 3 months.
This still tracks a hell of a lot better, than hitting once a month, but only getting back 50% of the money they invested.

The first solution required them to put on 6 quaddies, instead of 1.
The second solution required them to put on 12 quaddies instead of 1.

Yes, it takes around 10-15 minutes longer to do the work, but in the long run, they are much better off.
The only way to win long term on exotics, is to play the less "obvious" selections in there somewhere.
The only way to increase your ROI, is to not be lazy, and remove the combinations, that when played over the longer term, will not show any profit.

Lazy and obvious exotic betting will nearly always lead to disappointing results, over the longer term, but are more likely to produce a collect over the shorter term.
 

IDIG

Moderator
Joined
8 Mar 2012
Messages
29,223
Likes
2,696
AFL Club
Essendon
#7
Great read Row! The reasons why you jumped out of the ‘friends quaddie’ is why I never go in with any expectation of a profit. You hit the nail on the head; you either win but lose or just miss out, and even if you were to pick all the winners, you’re back to point one where you win but still lose!

I’d be interested to see how a quaddie-system-that-works works but I don’t think it would be a good fit for us, especially due to the number of non horse people amongst the group and the difficult timing/time constraints to get the bet on.

I’m not a big horse person personally but the promos you mentioned for coming 2nd/3rd are too good to ignore. I usually bet on the fave with the form but in my experience, that’s not the best way to get the most out of that promo because too often the fave loses and doesn’t even place. Unfortunately picking winners outside the short faves is not one of my god given gifts so I generally steer clear unless I’m ‘in the mood’.

My biggest wins (and losses lol) have been betting on exotics in order, generally 10x tris but also dumping on quinellas/exactas. It’s a horrible and silly way to bet I know but I prefer to have the odd big win rather than the frequent small wins...probably the reason why I generally only ever donate on the ponies!
 

Rowsus

Statistician
Joined
19 Mar 2012
Messages
16,506
Likes
1,319
AFL Club
Melbourne
#8
Sportsbet and the TAB have bonus bet rewards for your horse running 2nd or 3rd this weekend.

Sportsbet have it on MV (Fri nite) races 5-8
Both TAB and Sportsbet have it for Flemington and Randwick on races 1-6 on Saturday.
I generally don't bet in a race just because of these offers, but they do represent good value.

If I was betting on all those 16 races, trying to take advantage of the offer, here is what I'd be looking at.
Suggested bets will either be 2, 3 or 4 units. Normally I wouldn't bet on all 16 of these races, even with the bonus bet offer, but let's see how it goes having a crack at them all.

MV R5 - Interram is Weir/Lane, and won untouched by 4L at $1.24 in a Mildura Maiden last start. It is currently $2.80 fav, with Morrissy $3.30 2nd fav. Morrissy won in slick time on debut, and is likely to work to the lead from his wide barrier. There's a bit of speed in the race, and not a lot of depth in the exposed form. Hard to be really confident, and it is short enough, but Interram 2 units win.

MV R6 - $2.80 fav Fill The Flute probably leads, but there should be some pressure. 2nd Fav Alta Stella ($3.00) is back in class from a LR, and gets regular jockey L Meech back. Has run 2 good races at Listed level, and this is a few grades below that. Alta Stella 3 units win.

MV R7 - Friar Fox is $3.20 fav, and while she has been racing in better races than this, and is Weir/Lane, she is first up, and taking on Open age males here. I'm prepared to bet against her. It's not a bad betting race, if i'm right about the fav being unders. I suggest 3rd fav Mahamedeis 3 units win at $4.80 for your bonus bet wager, but then throw in Strike Force 2 units win at $7.50 as well. No bonus bet available with that bet, but he loves MV.

MV R8 - Don't like the race at all. If Silent Roar at $5.00 gets a run, it might be the one to back. Silent Roar 2 units win.

Rand R1 - Only 7 runners here. Royal Celebration has never finished further back than 2nd, and has The Autumn Sun form. That alone should make it fav, but it's 2nd fav at $3.10. It's the one to back, Royal Celebration 4 units win.

Flem R1 - Unraced 2yo's, so zero confidence. These early 2yo races in Melbourne are usually dominated by Hayes or McEvoy, so let's back one of theirs. They have 6 between them in the race! Grand Scholar 2 units win at $8.50.

Rand R2 - These Highway C2/3 races are raffles! Rapture Miss 2 units win at $8.50. In the unlikely even the rain doesn't arrive and affect the track, Bella deluxe at $20 is worth a small each-way bet.

Flem R2 - Rainier has form around horses that have Group form. That's good enough for this race. Cummings/Bowman is a bonus. Rainier 4 units win at $3.40.

Rand R3 - You actually tend to "lose" the value of the bonus bet, if you back horses at too high odds. The 2 I like here are Domed at $14, and Is Don Is Good (how's that for an omen?) at $12. I'm expecting the track to be soft, and both those horses are much better in soft ground. Especially IDIG, who has won 3 from 4 on rain affected ground. Tamarack beat Domed by a fair distance last start (but Domed might be better suited now), Tamarack 2 units win at $6.50 for the bonus bet wager, and Domed $2 win as well as Is Don Is Good $2 win.

Flem R3 - Plein Ciel has only missed a place once in 11 starts (his most recent start!). That makes him ideal for this sort of bonus betting, even though he is probably looking for further than the 1400m now. Plein Ciel 3 units win.

Rand R4 - Generally don't like backing Mares in Open company, or horses 1st up, that haven't won 1st up before. It's a strange race, and I keep coming back to Just Dreamin', who is a $4.20 fav here. Yes, she's a Mare taking on Open Company, and she's 1st up, and hasn't won 1st up before. Just Dreamin' 2 units win.

Flem R4 - 2 starts on dry tracks (dry likely at Flem), for 2 really convincing wins. Weir/Yendall. Only $3 in a 16 horse field is the only distraction, and what knocks it back from 4 units to 3 units. Savoie 3 units win at $3.

Rand R5 - Interesting race! A few superior wet trackers, and I think we'll be dealing with a wet track. I suggest we back Fierce Impact 3 units win at $4.60, for the bonus wager. Zourkhan and Tip Top are solid chances, and out at longer odds Abdon and Astoria.

Flem R5 - How do you bet against Winx? Normally you just don't, but under the premise of this post, we are forced to do it. If she is to lose, there would appear to be only 2 horses that can beat her. Kings Will Dream and Grunt. KWD will be coming from a similar position in the field as Winx, so it seems less likely he can beat her than Grunt, who will likely give Winx something to try and run down. Grunt 2 units win at $13.

Rand R6 - Tough race to finish the Sydney session on. Jonker 2 units win for the bonus bet wager, then Spin 2 units win at $12 and Sesar 2 units win at $9.50, as both appeal as being over the odds they should be,

Flem R6 - Osborne Bulls is clearly the best horse in the race, but has drawn barrier 1. That quite often proves to be a disadvantage in Flemington straight races. His style of running (get cover, and get home hard) is actually ideal for straight races though. I think we need to hedge our bets in this one. Osborne Bulls 3 units win at $3.60 for the bonus wager, then Dreamforce 2 units win at $9, and Bons Away 2 units win at $8.

Total outlay:
42 units aimed at bonus bets
14 units in other bets
 
Last edited:

IDIG

Moderator
Joined
8 Mar 2012
Messages
29,223
Likes
2,696
AFL Club
Essendon
#9
Rand R3 - You actually tend to "lose" the value of the bonus bet, if you back horses at too high odds. The 2 I like here are Domed at $14, and Is Don Is Good (how's that for an omen?). I'm expecting the track to be soft, and both those horses are much better in soft ground. Especially IDIG, who has won 3 from 4 on rain affected ground. Tamarack beat Domed by a fair distance last start (but Domed might be better suited now), Tamarack 2 units win at $6.50 for the bonus bet wager, and Domed $2 win as well as Is Don Is Good $2 win.
Omen indeed!
 

IDIG

Moderator
Joined
8 Mar 2012
Messages
29,223
Likes
2,696
AFL Club
Essendon
#10
Row, you've inspired me to get involved! I'll only be betting on the sb promos and betting a fraction of my usual unit, but will be recording them as units for ease of recording.

I'm going to experiment with a different approach to my normal losing one (lol) and look for a bit of value.

Moonee Valley
R5 - No. 10 All A Spritz $11.00
R6 - No 3 Alta Stella $3.00*
R7 - No. 4 Mahamedeis $7.50
R8 - No. 1 Desidero $5.50

Question for you, do you take into consideration the price fluctuations, and if the are shortening/drifting?
 

IDIG

Moderator
Joined
8 Mar 2012
Messages
29,223
Likes
2,696
AFL Club
Essendon
#16
R7 - No. 4 Mahamedeis $7.50
Like an idiot, i folded this blindly :mad:

Didn't like the way the odds were blowing out, especially with the live bet so jumped off. IDIOT.
 

Rowsus

Statistician
Joined
19 Mar 2012
Messages
16,506
Likes
1,319
AFL Club
Melbourne
#17
Question for you, do you take into consideration the price fluctuations, and if the are shortening/drifting?
Ripping start, even with the fold.

I don't let drifting/firming affect my decision in backing a horse.

Firstly, the opening markets are usually set to 125-130%, and the best flucs usually end up around 102-104%, so just by the nature of that, most horses will drift.
Secondly, there are a lot of factors in whether a horse firms or drifts. Some stables/owners just don't punt, and their horses drift nearly everytime. For the most part, just ignore it, and if you are getting better odds because it drifted, just go with it.

Funnily enough, in your jumping off because it drifted, in that situation, I will quite often throw another 0.5 unit on, to even out my odds!
 

IDIG

Moderator
Joined
8 Mar 2012
Messages
29,223
Likes
2,696
AFL Club
Essendon
#18
Ripping start, even with the fold.

I don't let drifting/firming affect my decision in backing a horse.

Firstly, the opening markets are usually set to 125-130%, and the best flucs usually end up around 102-104%, so just by the nature of that, most horses will drift.
Secondly, there are a lot of factors in whether a horse firms or drifts. Some stables/owners just don't punt, and their horses drift nearly everytime. For the most part, just ignore it, and if you are getting better odds because it drifted, just go with it.

Funnily enough, in your jumping off because it drifted, in that situation, I will quite often throw another 0.5 unit on, to even out my odds!
Good to know. I always hear the term 'late money is on' and wonder if it's those with inside info unloading...and i guess for that reason, i jumped off my bet because all the money was going elsewhere.
 

THCLT

Moderator
Joined
13 Sep 2014
Messages
9,003
Likes
1,522
AFL Club
North Melb.
#19
1U on 3 to win and 3U for place in the get out stakes!
 
Top