10 Tips To Follow For Success This Flat Racing Season
What are the keys to successful betting during the flat racing season? With the flat season in full swing, today Stephen delivers 10 tips to follow this season.
1 - Follow David O'Meara, Brian Ellison, Richard Fahey and Alan McCabe
These four yards are both on the up, with excellent strike rates and achieving what they have without the patronage of a big, high profile owner.
All are well capable of landing a touch and the market is an excellent guide as to what is expected, with improvement from other yard's "cast offs" a particularly noticeable trait.
2 - Keep a "Draw diary" to note down the daily effect of any advantage/bias
Every day update an A-Z of all the flat courses, noting down any bias from the draw and rating it on a scale of 1-10. At the first meeting of the season at Newmarket for example, there appeared to be a huge bias against the stands side rail so those drawn high were grossly favoured.
It is important to keep on top of this, and weather/watering mean that such angles can change very quickly. Everyone is aware that a low draw is essential at the sharp Chester course, but often these biases are much more subtle and not in the public domain.
3 - Compile your own ratings and specialise in a certain area
Many of the most successful backers on the flat compile their own ratings specific for certain categories of race. Whether it be 2-y-o's or sprint handicappers, it is essential to specialise and become "better than the market" in one area.
The sheer volume of flat racing throughout the summer means it is almost impossible to stay on top of all the form, and cutting the workload down is imperative to stay sane and balanced.
4 - Watch and make notes on as much racing as possible
There is no getting away from the fact that watching racing is the key to becoming a consistently successful punter on the flat. Even the legendary pro Patrick Veitch amassed his fortune through hour after hour of "video watching and note taking". If you are relying solely on the comments of the traditional form books (many of whom pay their suppliers of "comments" a very low salary), then you are going to miss an awful lot. The obvious tends to get flagged up and overstated, while a lot of subtleties are missed completely.
Concentrate on the first half of races to get an idea of who has been favoured or disadvantaged by the pace of the race, crowding, a poor draw etc. What happens in the final furlong is largely irrelevant and is something that even the laziest punter can remember.
5 - Avoid the obvious and steer away from the crowd
Try and find reasons to play against vulnerable favourites. Be a contrairian and try to oppose the paper tips and hyped horses from big stables. Look for each-way races to play in where one of the few "runners" can be opposed, or is priced up on connections rather than actual form.
Finding these weak links in the chain is crucial for long term profitability. Stables such as Jeremy Noseda or Roger Varian have such a huge following that anything remotely "fancied" at the top of the market seems to have a momentum all of its own, regardless of their form chances.
6 - Avoid playing strongly until the ground and weather settle down
Last summer was a disaster for form students, with continuous rain and unusual ever-changing ground conditions throughout the season. Usually there is a sustained "golden period" that bookmakers dread, where conditions ride good or faster and the formbook settles down into an expensive groove of punter friendly results.
The modern age of information means there are no excuses for punters to be armed with the very latest news from the tracks, and following the courses and clerks on twitter is an excellent way of staying ahead of the game.
7 - Get as many accounts as you possibly can and be primed to take advantage
One of the hardest things these days is not necessarily finding the right horses and playing in the right races, but rather it is maintaining a portfolio of accounts so that the best prices can be obtained in the desired size. Many backers have now used up every wife, girlfriend, granny or former schoolmate, so find themselves swimming with all the other sharks on Betfair or Betdaq. The introduction of a premium charge has also made things decidedly difficult for many...and new strategies to ensure survival have been sought.
Some pro's are going back to their roots by trying to get money on in the shops, employing a number of putter-oners to get through the layers defences while they are distracted counting 10p's from the FOBTS.
8 - Avoid hype and gossip...let your own eyes be the guide rather than tips from "insiders"
The flat season has more coded messages flying around than the KGB at its peak during the Cold War. My favourite one that usually surfaces in the middle of April at Lingfield in a poor all weather maiden is "that is his best 2-y-o"...but whatever the merits of these "secrets" there is little doubt that the market already knows about them before you do, so the price available is reflective of these pearls of wisdom.
Experience has taught me that your eyes are a far better judge than your ears.
9 - Structure the punting day carefully to avoid burn out
It comes as a shock every year in April when the evening racing season kicks in, with often 6,7 or 8 meetings in one day, and many followers of the sport quickly feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of all the flat racing on offer. As mentioned earlier, the need to specialise is essential and putting a line completely through certain types of racing i.e the all-weather from April to September, becomes necessary for many.
It is also important to structure your punting week, with working seven days a week with only Sunday evening off a complete impossibility for all but the most dedicated.
10 - Finally follow these 5 unexposed dark horses through the season
Majeed (b c Mount Nelson – Clever Millie) Trainer: David Simcock
Auld Alliance (b f Montjeu – Highland Gift) Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute
Ze King (b g Manduro – Top Flight Queen) Trainer: Chris Wall
Ribbons (ch f Manduro – Sister Act) Trainer: James Fanshawe
Mujazif (br c Shamardal – Red Bandanna) Trainer: Brian Meehan
Follow Stephen on Twitter: @Stephenh61