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TIPS for BETTER BETTING
... here is a reproduction of a thread that appeared on Best Of The Bets Forum in response to the question...

"How do members arrive at their selection, i.e. what they look for in a race etc?"

the responses are well worth reading and there are plenty of good betting tips for anyone interested in betting on UK horseracing.

author - Mugs
There are a lot of system fans on this board who have based their selections on certain criteria and stick to them. This is sensible but it takes a lot of proofing before you 'know' you have got a profitable system. Once you have got one, keep it to yourself, but by all means tell people once you've got your money on. A profitable system that everyone knows about will soon become a loss maker as the prices will get hammered.

The other way of betting is to analyze each race and see if anything stands out. This is more time consuming and to be successful needs constant monitoring of the form. However if you do put in the effort day in day out and get to know your horses then it can be very profitable. Experience is the key here. After at least 2 seasons of flat or jumps you will start to get a feel for the game. Most of my bets are based on intuition but there is a lot of race watching and form reading that gives the knowledge base from which the selection can be made. It's hard work mainly due to the sheer variety of race tracks and volume of racing we have in the UK. However that is partly why you can be successful at it. Profitable backing depends on spotting prices that are 'obviously' too big and bookmakers cannot price up every horse running accurately. 

If you want to start from scratch I would say specialize in one type of race e.g. sprint handicaps, 3yo handicaps from 8-12f, or Group races. Look at every one that runs even if you are not betting in it and make lots of notes. You will get to know the horses, which ones are primed to win because they are well handicapped and coming into form. When you find one that you think has a great winning chance you will know instantly you have a bet when you look at the prices available. It will stand out a mile.

One thing I should have added is that if you have 2 or 3 strong fancies on a day and are backing them as win singles you must play the ew acca as well. For just a small % more stake you can multiply the winning hugely, and if they all place you minimize the damage or even come out in front if the prices are big enough

Tractorboy
I tend to go against the grain by preferring multiple bets as opposed to singles with a small outlay and potential large return. On course I go against this and bet singles only.

In order to arrive at my selections, I rate each horse using criteria I have developed over many years. I then tend to concentrate on the top 3 rated in each race before making a final decision. (This initial process takes a few minutes per race).

Although I make selections for all races, I tend to ignore any race with over 14 runners and races with a number of newcomers. Also amateur and apprentice races.

In order to arrive at my final selection, I check days since last outing (for fitness), jockey/trainer and also I tend to look at favorites record at each meeting.

Once I have arrived at my choice for each race, I award between 0 and 5 stars for each selection to further boost confidence. The stars represent 5 other factors (1 of which is if the selection is also Adrian Massey top rated for that race). I don't wish to expose the other 4!!

I am continually looking at ways of improving / modifying my process which works equally well for Flat and NH - my preference is NH.

Sorry if this is a bit vague but hopefully will give you food for thought. (All my results are available on my website - good and bad). It's my way of keeping track of how things are going.

D.A.V.E
Hi, just my two pennith, when I look at a meeting I disregard races that I have no idea about the form. I like to keep my eye on form of horses and races and deduce my own conclusions. I very rarely back in seller or claimers. as form, as such is irrelevant as they handicapped by other means.

I tend to avoid low grade races as a rule and apprentice/amateur events. However good apprentices are always worth following i.e Dean Corby et al. I also always avoid inside knowledge as take it from a guy who worked in racing that to the wider public 'words' are not known. In my time we had lots of inside info on our yard and the thought of having moles here there and everywhere is on the whole crap. In the big racing centres people talk about the new Pegasus or whos beating who at home but that becomes common knowledge and useless. The best Info I got was when working for Mr old our headlad rode a horse called Al Mutham we bought from Alec Stewart. He did ok over hurdles but we decided to give him a spin on the flat in the Sagaro at Ascot. Jim booked L Detori a newcomer to the scene at that time. The head lad was head work rider and he told all the lads he had never ridden a horse that had worked that well ever. People assumed that a jumps yard couldn't repeat a flat yard and we had it right off. No one knew about that!!

Basically, follow racing yourself, watch as much ATR as you can without taking over your life, look thru form as it will always be the best formula what ever people say and most of all do it yourself. Following / paying for Tipsters is just lazy and how can you get that real buzz of doing over a bookie when it not your work!! Its what I thrive on.
Put the work in, get a handle on form and all its ins and out and as much is possible have fun but the aim must be to win not have fun.

As far as stakes go, amateur punters always make the same mistake they never back level stakes. You can't have a ton here, a tenner there and a grand there you must start with a bank and start from there. Betfair is great, bank in 100 and you can bet in 2 and its just as much fun as backing in thousands or hundreds. Stay disciplined as losing runs will happen but as long as you keep level stake bets they can be withstained easier than throwing money away to get it back. Keeps you a lot happier in your betting. Earlier in the year I started a betfair account with 25 and got it up to 220 using 2 win or 4 win bets depending on my strength of feeling. That bank gave me 7 months of fun, while in other accounts I was having success in ante post markets and I can say that for this year I am in profit and how many can say that.

Be selective and disciplined as you don't need to bet in every race or even every day and you’ll have more fun.

Richard G
The first thing I would say is that too many people make betting harder than it has to be. After every race, I look at the form of the winner and work out why and how it won. Quite often I can then look at the form of the horse I backed and wonder how I came to that decision. It often comes from trying to be too clever. Yes there are shocks, but the majority of winners are entitled to win. 

Apart from that, clearly the most important thing is specialisation. Anything over a mile, and I may as well not bother. Group races over any distance I can just about get away with, but my real area of expertise is sprint handicaps. Usually half the field can be ruled out immediately because of a draw bias, being badly handicapped or the stable being out of form. Once you get that far, you can concentrate on analysing five or six runners and picking the winner. That's where the value comes in. I would never back a horse unless I could be certain that three quarters of the field couldn't win. That way you're leaving as little as possible down to chance. Specialising also enables you to get to know a group of horses individually. Sad as it is, give me the name of a sprint handicapper and I could probably tell you more about it than is healthy! It's all about being comfortable when you're betting. When I bet in this sort of race, I expect to get a return. On the rare occasions I bet in 1m4f handicaps, I'm surprised if I pick the winner, and really don't expect to see my money again. 

Just as a matter of interest, I do quite often bet in 2yo races and I find the ratings at www.superform.com very useful. 5furlongs.co.uk is also very useful when I get stuck into the all weather during the winter. 

The most important thing of all though is discipline. Until recently, I made a far smaller profit than I should have done. The horses I tip to friends and on here run well more often than not. Unfortunately, that's not the case with all my bets. I bet because I enjoy it, so it's a sad consequence that I make too many bets I shouldn't.

I've actually been interested in horse racing for a very, very short time, but I've thrown myself into it and grown to love the sport. It's all about enthusiasm. If you're enthusiastic about the horses you back, that confidence will rub off and you'll win more than you lose.

RunRagged
If you want to study form, which is the best way of picking winners you have to decide the most important aspect of all. Why do horses win? Once you have succeeded with this question, the rest just falls into place. Because there is no set rule as to why horses win, and they still have off days etc, it is then you have to decide the most important betting rule. What is value? It is ok determining the most likely to win the race, but is it gonna win more times than what its price suggests. you should find the case to be negative. You only bet when the odds are greater than what it should be. this is called value.

Philmcrutch
I let my eyes be the judge when I watch races - I concentrate on the leg action of as many horses as I can during the race, you soon see who has a bad action or who shouldn't be running on this kind of going. I watch the way a horse canters to post, I look at his condition - e.g I pay close attention to a horse's NECK - if with the slightest movement I see the muscle ropes stand out there, it immediately enters my calculation strongly towards a selection.I also look for firmness under the belly and I look for the two muscle ropes at the top of its backside - if they stand out hard defined - I see it as a good sign of a well galloped horse. There's lots lots more but it is something you do without even thinking when you've been watching horses for years. Sometimes I am wrong, but sometimes I am so right. 

Chas
The best advice I ever came across, was on this board......
Make a BANK. ????
And NEVER stake more than 5% of it...
When you win, your stakes increase...
When you lose, they decrease...

Rob
Hi Board.....Just a note on systems I use two one for <8 runners and >8 runners The first is looking at my top 10 gambling stables on the jump and the flat (data collected over 5 years of teletext monitoring) when a COUP is landed and the big tipping services advertise it..look up the trainer and record the horse. I then look at the small fields where the two top gambling stables occupy the first 2 in the betting and work out that race 89% BUT I always back 2 horses @ LS. NH 2000/01 season +195pts profit.

The second is the top 5 freelance jockeys on horses who have been run down the field...example Saturday Dream Magic...ran down the field a week before with a female apprentice and bolts up @ 16/1 courtesy of M Ryan. Backed it last year Haydock 9th Sept...after being given the nod from Mr Ryan after a tour of his stable and meeting Ray Cochrane, Gay Kelleway (who gave us a 12/1 jst bt the following monday).

The freelancers and trying....and they usually get on board when the horse is prepared.....and if it gets beat I back it next time out.

The Brianstan
The first thing, if you are new to horse racing, is not to get carried away by any early success and think that you are on the road to instant riches. Backing horses is not an exact science and I think it is important to maintain a sense of proportion. 98% of punters lose - that is why there are bookmakers to take their money. I am always amazed when I read in the Racing Post, who should know better, such rubbish as "the bookies took a caning when the favourite obliged blah blah blah". Bookmakers make a book with an over-round (i.e. profit)to ensure that whatever wins they don't lose. Sure on occasion they will show a loss but OVER THE COURSE OF THE YEAR THEY WIN. They run a business and if you are going to beat them (and it is possible but difficult) you have to take them on at their own game and run your betting like a business as well. This means being disciplined and consistent in your selections. It means accepting that most of your selections will lose - very high strike rates mean very short prices and very short prices are just a longer road to going bust. The basis of all selections is form, form is what systems are based on, what speed figures and ratings are based on it is even what so called inside information is about although the form in this case can be hidden from Joe Public; form is what anyone, except your granny on National day, uses to pick horses to back. The interpretation of form combined with an assessment of the value is what separates the mug from the pro. Anyone can pick winners but the pro only backs those he believes to represent value. Can you leave that 5/4 "certainty" alone because you believe it should be 6/4? Can you shrug it off when it wins without your money on it? If you can't you are a gambler and you will lose in the long run. Working out value comes with experience and individuals have different criteria for judging it. Personally, I won't back a horse under 5/2 as experience tells me I will lose IN THE LONG RUN if I do. Likewise, I have to have some very good reason to back anything over 8/1. My posts on this board are few but the horses I do occasionally give are always at value prices supported by strong reasons for believing that they can win the race. I don't use a system as such but look for a recent run that shows a horse is running into form and that it's previous form indicates that it has the ability to win today's race. I will use speed figures and form ratings to support my views - they can be very useful (Richard I know uses them to great effect) but it is important not to become a slave to them. If you want a simple system that everyone knows but for some reason rarely use consistently despite the fact that it shows consistent profits year in year out back any flat horse placed last time out and running again within four days. Add a few common sense filters and you have a nice little system that will provide you with modest but regular profits. Like I say this is well known but for some perverse reason punters choose to ignore it - I know this because the market reflects it and the system wins every year. If people used it this would be reflected in shorter odds and the system would lose. Why don't punters use it - perhaps because they hit losing runs, perhaps because it is perceived as boring, perhaps because they don't get the adrenaline rush of gambling. Well I can assure you after a lifetime of wasting money and time in betting shops that winning is actually quite interesting and I wish I had had the nous to do it before So stop gambling, get a betting bank, use level stakes, bet in singles, be consistent, be diciplined, look for value and most of all ENJOY. Gamblers believe that they want to win but the truth is they secretly want to lose - bookmaking is the art of separating the gambler from his money in such a way that he will come back time and time again.

Philmcrutch
Basically what I'm saying about the leg action is this - some horses seem to run with each foreleg going in a different direction - not attractive to watch. Others have a more fluid action and the forelegs point into the ground as a pivot for the thrust from the hind legs to propel in one tidy, well balanced action - Galileo the recent champion was a beautiful mover in this way. There are many other good-actioned animals to be seen. Some horses have a high knee action - the forelegs are lifted and form what looks like three sides of a square before hitting the ground. Most such horses I've noticed, act far better of softer going. Some horses point the forelegs almost at the same time that the hind legs are outstretched - so that if you take the ground as the base of a triangle and complete it at the saddle you see the image I'm describing. Such horses I notice, tend to do best with top of the ground conditions and have a quicker action, so they waste less time in the air than the high-actioned type. Some horses are naturally bulky and need much more more work to reach peak fitness but they are sturdier than the leaner types. When a horse wins and didn't seem hard trained and/or has got a strong body frame but may not have fully filled out yet - it usually has scope to improve and should be kept on the right side. 

Among sprinters a huge arse = more potential thrust. Over longer distances, lean is good. However, bulk (over any distance)can contribute to leg problems if too frequently racing on unsuitable ground. 

I believe that no matter how fit the rest of a racehorse's frame looks, if the neck condition doesn't complement or better that, I'm wary. I therefore ALWAYS look closely from the base of the neck upwards as my final assessment. 

Going racing and just seeing horses at close quarters can pinpoint many clues and can therefore be a real education. 

Sweating is not always bad as some horses hype themselves up and it may in fact be an advantage to a particular animal but profuse sweating, especially around the eyes and ears area and when the sweating is too free (funk) can indicate a waste of nervous energy = bad news. You just have to play it by ear.

A quick betting principle I use on my calculator - (before even reading the form!)for assessing low grade, big field handicaps between May and early August is this :-
Races where most of the runners keep beating each other and the betting is therefore open. This is one of the bookie's favourite type of event but here's an edge towards improving your chances against the book - 

Add top weight to bottom weight. e.g 10st & 7st 7lbs = 17st 7lbs. Convert to pounds by multiplying x 14 = 245 lbs. Divide product by 28. Product is 8st 7 lbs - this is approx where you should be concentrating for the winner, particularly if there is nothing indicated in the betting as particularly fancied outside this horse and the two above it and two below it. The most fancied of the quintet as indicated in the betting should be closely looked at. 

Everyday when I first look at the day's racing card I just quickly let my eyes wander over each race, thinking NOTHING. It's amazing how often a horses's name will seem to just jump out at me - usually from some past thing I mentally noted. That can be a source of winners, believe me - try not to let your "better judgement" talk you out of what your subconscious is pointing at - I've foolishly done it so so often. 

Finally, whatever method you use to try find winners, ALWAYS ULTIMATELY FOLLOW YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT.

On another aspect of betting - I don't know how many of you are greyhound bettors but my friend who works in one of the betting shops told me this, which is no revelation of a big secret but it's surprising how many don't even realise this - at some greyhound tracks you'd be hard pushed not to believe things are "less than fair" if you open your eyes. For example, some years back, a number of the smaller tracks were up for grabs, losing money etc. Some were promptly bought by the bookies and....... Picture a scenario where at a bookie-owned track the grader is in the employ of the track owner. The form of a dog strongly indicates it is a wide runner...now, in which trap would you place it to cause maximum damage to the other runners? Repeat this process with the other dogs. With me so far? Would you guess there's much more manipulation afoot? Bet you probably wouldn't believe it and I'd be sued if I said it here. 

It's touching isn't it, how when Wolverhampton was being rebuilt as an allweather track there was profound kindness from a major bookie who gave them the lights, gratis. Now what do you imagine an unwitting pay-off for that could be? Let's put it this way, spend farthings to get thousands of pounds.

Have you ever wondered why on nearly every U K racecard the last race is a handicap? An accident surely. Let me see now, if you have managed to win anything during the day, the closing race (hopefully all) of it back. 

Kid yourself not, punters are regarded with utter contempt, as little better than turds, mostly stupid and there to be milked as ruthlessly as possible. How that piece of crap called Virtual Racing has taken so much money in turnover in so short a time and is not far now off the 2% level of total turnover is testimony enough!.

Some punters should not even be allowed out in the rain by themselves, they're that thick. How anyone sane, can put serious money on a game which is basically controlled by bookmaking interests, defies belief?. Yet many and an increasing number of them, do everyday, with BIG bets and they will certainly LOSE it most of the time. 

The apalling state of horse and greyhound betting in this country in terms of what the bookmakers have been left free to do to the punting public is quite sickening. What I really think of their shenanigans is obviously unprintable here. 

They now hate the Betting Exchanges but that competitor will ultimately force them to offer far better deals to their betting customers in due course. 

Naturally, I'm weeping for their hardship. 

To the newbies to betting here, NEVER NEVER NEVER regard the bookmaker as anything but a very cunning opponent at the very least. 

Remember when you win, that it is only a distribution of losses from other punters - so never let your focus be blinded by thinking it's the bookie you've hit. 

However, always be clinical in dealing with him, always try and hit him ruthlessly and often - he's no less determined

Oh,before I forget - I was also going to say something about fillies earlier. It's clear that training them to get the best is very much an art - at which I'd put H Cecil, M Stoute, J Dunlop, A P O'Brien, R Hannon at the top in that order and include also a very promising newcomer J Noseda as one to remember. Jockeys like L Dettori, the immaculate Pat Eddery , Michael Kinane and Richard Hughes know instinctively how to coerce them to give of their best.

Fillies can make their trainers feel utterly suicidal at times but when they're cooperative, they can be brilliant. I do believe with them, the phrase "try a little tenderness" is utterly true. 

Whilst there is an exception to every rule, fillies tend, I think, (generally) to come to hand slower than the colts, particularly when there is an unusually wet Spring yet with a bit of sun on their backs in late April/early May they can suddenly bloom in terms of form. 

When in season or in foal they also tend to show improved form. They also tend to train off at season-end, at a slower rate than the colts even though they too may have begun to go in their coat. 

From mid-October onwards I always favour fillies or mares in handicaps, for this very reason. I always pay very close attention to fillies/mares with good form, running in the Cambridgeshire, Arc De Triomphe and Breeders Cup races, against the colts.

The change in weather over the last few days is a sharp reminder that winter is a comin' dudes, and = colts tend to reflect it quicker. Softer going will become more the norm = established form will be messed up - BE CAREFUL. 

Many horses will begin to run in a way that says they are "training off" - but unfortunately it tends not to be noticed until in a race (and with your money on the beast).

Because current known form is reflected in the market price, you should also look outside those candidates in handicaps, at the bigger price players - many will now start to slam in - the smaller yards in particular need to get their corn to survive. Look more carefully at the lower weights with lotsa duckeggs. (Be warned).

Notably also, between now and the official end of the turf season the bigger trainers will try to get at least one educational quiet)run into their BETTER but slower maturing 2 y.o.s - very much with an eye for next year. 

Those horses who have shown at home they are probably up to Classic standard will normally have shown their hand by the time the penultimate big (UK) juvenile trial (The Dewhurst Stakes) had arrived, and they are unlikely to have been rushed to get there. 

Those for whom Derby aspirations are held will probably (suitable ground permitting) be sighted in the last trial at Donny (The Racing Post Trophy). I notice that the game in this race with Aiden OBrien entrants in recent years tends to be as follows:- The early betting indicates a clear FORM preference between several entrants. 

On or near the day a bigger price companion suddenly gets a big punt -that's usually the one to go for, even if on paper he's unlikely to beat the others! 

Pay close attention to all runners in this race, apart from any who clearly showed they're total rubbish. The winner is unlikely to be next year's 2000 Gns winner - we'd probably have seen that one earlier in a more speed orientated trial and not realised that yet.

"I've found in the past, that on Champion Stakes day (Newkt October)the HOUGHTON STAKES a maiden 7f race is one to note carefully for the sort of juveniles I've mentioned above."

The winner tends to be well above average and do look further down the field for the "babies" running on nicely from better yards. Any animal entered there from the bigger yards is definitely not thought to be "rubbish". 

So, keep yer eyes peeled for next year's winners from now on.

Mick Taylor
Having looked at most of these posts you could precis them and cover the pitfalls quite easily. I think we can all learn from some excellent posts. In order to be successful you have to conquer two main gremlins, one is the urge to have a bet and the other is to stop losing. I know the latter may seem obvious but so many people are trying to win before they have learn how NOT to lose. To do that requires immense will power because generally what we are doing is addictive and enjoyable, and gives most backers a daily adrenalin rush. I think people know by now that I backed for 3 months only, and not once did I back at any other time. I learned my trade like a business, and specialised in one thing only, handicaps on the flat. I perfected my trade using paranoia type discipline and I learn how NOT to lose by sticking to what I knew best.

Since I retired I have seen that systems do work quite well, but you do need to be masterful in carrying them out, simply because it is no use say winning a fortune on Mugs system, or even the one we do on the flat, and then doing stupid rediculous bets just for fun or to satisfy an urge. You have to decide wether you are backing for fun or to make money. If you want to do both, use a bank for fun and a bank for your business type bets.

The biggest problem people have is accepting losses but that should be the easiest part because it is a fact of life in betting. Once you adapt yourself to accept that you are going to lose up to 70% or more of the time at least you will adopt a better mental approach.

Also, you have to drill into you head that winning is not a short term exercise, and judge profits over a longer period, and whilst winner finding is important, the reason why most people lose is not becasue they cannot pick winners, or get the right prices, it is because they risk to much of their bank on bets, and when they become edgy due to losing they risk more to try and get their cash back. Bookies are depressingly good these days and love punters to win, because when punters win they become an easy touch, they will try and win more, and most will certainly give it back and more.

So in conclusion, once you have learned how to win, learn how not to give it back. There is enough info on these boards for people to win money for FREE, it is a super board for that, so go and fill your boots, but at the same time control your mental attitude it is vital for success long term.

Benson 
The point I would like to make is on the losing bets, over the years looking back at my big bets I found that most of my losses always came after a big winner, year after year it was the same. I have put this down to a confidence factor are feel good factor after the win, which I think effects my judgement and the negative on a horse which would normally render it no bet, does not seem as big due to the feel good factor after the big win. In order to correct this, after a win now I don’t even look at the racing for two days and do something completely different, this as made a big difference in the reduction of having losses after a win, which as allowed me to be more consistent with the winners, it just adds fuel to the fire that your mental state when picking horses is just as important as picking winners, more so when not trying to give your winnings back to the bookie

Mick Taylor
The feel good factor is a very good point that must be controlled and this I suppose is a major advantage with system backers. They follow rules and should not get emotionally involved. The feel good factor can cloud your judgement in a similar way to when you watch a race that a selection you have backed is running....be honest..you only watch your horse don't you?? Don't worry it's natural we all do it. I videoed as many of the big handicaps I could so I could then watch them again in the cold light of day..you see a totally different picture that you didn't see first time.

With regard to prices at SP and Early that reading mentioned. In 12 years of serious backing I never backed a horse at SP ever. There were 2 reasons for this one was I formed my own market based on my own handicap ratings and 2, when you back at SP you are letting the bookies manipulate your cash. The reason why I know this is the case is because I could get any amount of money at SP but I soon as I asked for a price the barriers came up and I was restricted. Also I needed to know my winning return and you are never going to be able to judge the concept of long term value if you are backing at SP. I am absolutely certain that if most of you stopped backing at SP when you could, you would win more or lose less over time.

I noticed a few people going on about breeding too. I am quite happy to be shot down here, but I have never ever used breeding in my selection process, I don't believe it has any bearing on long term success, but I made my money from handicapping so I'm bound to say that, cos people don't go into to bloodstock with the intention of producing handicappers that I take an interest in. As far as I am concerned you should never back a horse until it is proven on a racecourse no matter how high profile the parents are, and as far as I am concerned if I had just seen with my own eyes a horse sluice up at Ascot and I looked at the breeding and saw the winner's father was a shetland poney, would it stop me from backing it in future. would it bollox!!!

Having said that, I am not naive enough to realise that there are some positive stat facts in this field, but it's the same old story. use you own eyes when assessing a horse's ability and use breeding as a back up only.
Sorry to rabbit on but there is a very important thing that I forgot to mention and it is due to the massive increase in Internet backing since I packed up. For me there was nothing better than trailing round the shops to get my money on in CASH. Some of you may remember that when I diaried my backing it was a often part of my daily routine to be outside the shops as they opened to get the best prices and haggle. When you back on the internet it became a bit to virtual for me at times, and there is nothing better than going to the bookies to collect a great wad of cash that you have just won.after all that what it is all about. The lazy punter has turn into a virtual lazy punter who often just sees a few figures on a screen going up and down...it is pointless...come on there are many of you out there!!...once in a while go and put the bet on at the bookies and get the pleasure of feeling your cash. If your Befair account gets high, draw it out after a few months and experience the feeling of the cash and rejoice in how you won it, treat yourself, rather than just see it as increasing balance on your betting bank. that is part of the feel good factor. just ensure you control it.

Preparing for the flat - The Fear Factor (Mick Taylor)
I know we are all occupied with Cheltenham at the moment but I for one will be glad when it’s over and we are closer to the flat..we have had a mixed winter season and I just want to get interested again in what we do best….selecting on the flat. Due to the brilliant effort last season we will be increasing our bank for the system bets this season. I was pondering over a few things last night as I was recovering from a major plumbing leak in one of my restaurants, and just to get over it, as always, my thoughts turned to racing and winning, hope this doesn’t bore you too much.

My whole philosophy during my three months of backing was not just to find horses that will win...we can all do that.....it was looking for opportunities to risk money in order to make a serious payday, and ensure that the reward is worth that risk. A big part of this is conditioning yourself to losing much more than you will win...that is hard...but provided the horses you back are at the right price and your judgment is generally sound...you should be ok and will win "in the long run".

This also applies when you decide you pay for information which is what we are involved in aswell. There is nothing wrong with paying for information, but it has to be of a reasonable cost and you have to know that you have a winning chance at least...sadly in order for many services to make profit...they must expect to win all of the time because their policies are way out of line......and whilst it is unrealistic to expect every selection to win,it is not unreasonable to win "in the long run" which is what one is looking to do but very few services can do it. We tried it this winter for the first time with real cash after paper testing for ages, and it has been disappointing and I have been justifiably criticised, however, you have to appreciate we only risked 10% of our total pot on this experiment and bets were of a small nature of less than a quarter percent, so the losses per share are minimal at the moment, and there is still Cheltenham to come. When we find a service who can make us more we would of course risk a bit more but experiments are on going all of the time and it’s difficult.

I think that if Successful Betting was to charge for the information given for FREE over the past 3 years on the flat (and most of it will still be)...at the current market rate.......what would it be worth, when you consider services charging over 1000 per annum. As most of you know by now we just ask for a SMALL seasonal no win, no fee price just to help run the costs of the site. I remember a while back that a service called Highfield Racing had a free service and then out of the blue decided to charge 800 and assumed everyone would come a running...how niave can you get.........I would be surprised if they got any takers at all and this is often the case....I know how difficult it is to attract punters. I feel you have to offer so much more than just "reading the sun" and putting a selection on a line everyday" which is how 80% operate. I like the way we all share views....good and bad.......but the most satisfaction I will always get from posting on this board is not necessarily picking selections...it is stopping people from wasting money on horses that they simply should not be backing whether they are certainties or not....and steering them away from people who also will never make them money either....but having said that..there are many who get a great deal of enjoyment backing a winner...some don't care whether they win or lose..they do it for fun...I haven't a problem with that...when I go to a race meeting with my family...I have a lots of fun...and lose every time...you just need to know where the line is between having fun and making money cos it ain’t fun losing regularly.

I have always had a tendency to assess other services selections in an attempt to make money for SB, but if I was to inflict my own policies on certain services I would very rarely be able to have a bet. I'm only talking Flat here. If a service said to me back a horse at 8-1 unlike most I wouldn’t back it at 5-1, that's 3 points and on a decent bet is anything up to 3000...you cannot risk that..you cannot look at it as 5 points gained if it wins...you've lost 3 points before you have even put your money down..that's ludicrous....people may think I talk double dutch at times...that's fine...but I do things very different to the norm. Don't ever worry about refusing a bet...even if you think it's nailed on..just sit back and then watch your "nailed" on selection lose.....cos eventually most of the time it will..and it's a great feeling..nearly as good as a winner when you have refused it and it fails . Many times I have had a so called certainty that I had uncovered through painstaking study only for it to be a far worse price than expected. Am I bothered that my "reputation" was tarnished because it got beat, was I hell I would be giving myself apat on the back because my selection process was fully justified in that not ALL parts of it was complete for a wager, and I'd have been pretty hacked off if I'd been on at a silly price and it was beaten, and that’s how you must look at it...remember there is always another race tomorrow, and never believe that betting is something for nothing!!!

The passing of information about racing to one another is often about a feel good factor...many people do it because if they are successful and have given the information out...it makes them feel good...it is a nice feeling to know that everyone has taken your advice and have profited from it…it’s the same when you recommend a restaurant or holiday and the people stop you and say how they enjoyed it. You feel appreciated…great feeling don’t you agree..in racing you can soon become very popular which is great...some of you know what that feeling is like when you post a selection on a daily basis, but more must be encouraged to do it....it doesn't matter what price it is..just post it...I'm pretty sure that when you have hundreds of people looking at the selection you are giving out..you will take a little more time selecting than you normally do...which is a start...if the selection wins and all the people know that, I can tell you, it will give you aboost. Look what Mugs and RichardG and derby have achieved of late. It will teach you to be even more rigid in how you select.

However, having said that, you now have on the other side of the coin what is known as the "fear factor" the fear factor stops people doing things, we allow fear to rule our lives....the twisted logic we have here is that if we don’t try we can’t fail. That’s why the vast majority of us don’t step out of our ‘comfort zone’. The difficulty arises because our comfort zone becomes increasingly small. All successful backers and even businessmen for that matter view failure as a valuable lesson. They learn from mistakes and go on to succeed. No top athlete or sportsman has ever achieved greatness without first tasting failure. In fact fear is the biggest single reason why we fail to reach our potential in any walk of life never mind backing horses.

Lets just bring in a few more aspects…...the fear of ridicule… “what is people going to think of me if I keep giving crap selections” one might think. We are so preoccupied with what other people think of us that it becomes self-limiting. All great past inventors have shrugged off other people’s ridicule because they believed in themselves….backers have to have that attitude to be successful. There is a depressing tendency in this country to enjoy someone else’s failure and to ridicule it..come on some must have felt it…you have just lost all you money and the guy over the other side of the bookies is on a role and he doesn’t mind shouting about it….you can’t wait for him to lose to shut him up..but he keep on winning..eventually he loses because he’s got greedy..and that makes you feel better..there is now two losers..don’t try and deny that feeling…I don’t mind admitting I’ve been there in the early learning days I used to hate it when my mate picked them out with a pin after I’d spent ages studying form…look what the papers did to superstars like Ian Botham and Steve Davis…two of our greatest winners, when things got difficult.

It doesn’t bother me at all now…although I have to admit that when I was on a massive payout and the missus comes in and says “ Give me the paper I’ll pick the winner” you can be sure that that is exactly what she will do, and I’ll sit there quietly seething inside…we’ll done dearest I’ll say!!!

Seriously though, the truth of the matter is that the people who enjoy another’s failure will never fail or risk ridicule because they settle for the most boring, mundane life imaginable. These people contribute nothing. They try nothing. They achieve nothing. I have always encouraged people to seek out the company of creative and optimistic people because the pessimists of this world will only attempt to bring you down to their level of misery, you only have to walk in to a smoke filled bookies and see em. Same old faces!!

Another fear is the fear of rejection….I know for a fact that some of my staff have a great fear of rejection…for starters they don’t ask me for a pay rise for fear that I might think bad of them…which I wouldn’t…they would rather seethe inwardly about how undervalued they feel than do anything to secure a pay rise. Again we British don’t barter when buying an expensive hi-fi in case we’re refused, and embarrassed. We worry about chatting up the stunning blonde in the pub in case we are knocked back. So look at it this way…in one week you could get a pay rise…negotiate 100 of a hi-fi and secure a date a sexy female that you have fancied for ages. All this is achievable is you cease to worry about the fear of rejection. Ok what is the worst scenario…well it is that you are back where you started, but at least you won’t be left wondering “what if?”

When it comes to backing you maybe all have your set patterns and ways of doing things it ok for me one says..I am doing ok…better to stick with the policy I know….if that is familiar…you are suffering from the fear of change. Many of us fear change because we would rather cling onto what is safe and familiar. .however when it comes to backing horses you must never retain a safe opinion when new evidence demands you change it. Never forget that!!

All the fears I mention can effect the decision on whether to back a horse or give information to others, in order to get the most out of you backing, or everyday life for that matter, you must confront your fears and step out of the comfort zone…so let’s hear even more from you all. Probably the single most important question you can ask yourself when dealing with any fear situation is this:

"What is the worst possible thing that can happen if I confront this fear."

If you look at it this way, the things you fear most don’t seem nearly so daunting, and you will be amazed at how your attitude to selecting and backing horses will improve.Certainly once you have initiated small changes in your fear of failure and ridicule you will soon find the confidence and self belief will grow and the fears diminish, and once you start it’s hard to stop…and provided you adopt the right procedures....the winners will begin to flow consistently.

Hope this was of value and maybe might get some discussion and opinions brewing!! We are fast approaching the point where places for the flat will close, if you want to be involved and increase your learning capability and hopefully win a few bob too..... get in touch now!!

Mick Taylor
My personal view is that handicapping doesn't work on the All Weather, however, that doesn't mean to say anyone else can't make it work, but if I did break from tradition and do early season backing the only thing a previous run on the all weather would tell me was that the horse is fit. I tend to disregard any handicap mark on the All Weather on turf, and judge like for like. You don't need to be wasting your time, and I would be if I did that, so you need to ensure your study is not wasted and can maybe put it to better use, in a different slant.

Use the early season handicaps not necessarily to find daily winners but to find future winners, because you will then race read a race in a different manner. I see so many people give very professional scenarios, but they miss so much by trying to find a winner, and then do nothing afterwards, and the guilty ones are the ones that actually picked the winner, they think the job has been done, but it hasn't. I would bet that 99% of people who back a winner NEVER do a post race review. It is a key area in handicapping that most forget or cannot be bothered. Try and put yourself in the trainers position and plan what you would do with a horse that took your eye.

By trying to finding a winner in a very difficult early season handicap will side track you from the actual race itself, and at this time of the year it is far more important to review a race than to back in it, as you more likely to see things in the cold light of day, that you didn't see cos you were to busy watching your own "selection." Quite understandable cos I do it all the time, but I then watch the race over and over again afterwards also.

I am taking more interest in early season than normal because of the race conditions, by the time June comes, most of what has gone on will have been forgotten by the massess, and as we have June conditions with unfit horses, there is so much to take in. Normally you can put a line through nearly every race at this time of the year cos the going is soft and I never back a handicapper with serious money on soft ground, because you don't get a true picture.
 
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