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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Thursday 5 April 2012

Form your own opinion of betting markets

The 467th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

Sometimes, when you are looking at the races, a wager of particular significance jumps out of the page at you. Yesterday (and I know I did not write a blog yesterday) such a wager came to my attention when I went thru' the day's runners in my local betting-shop (I was late for my morning train, hence I wasn't able to buy a Racing Post on the way to the office) at noon. It was at Hereford and in the 3:10 there – which was a 2m3f novice handicap chase – only 5 horses went to post. Of those, 3 had virtually no chance so it was a straight "match" between the proven chasing front-runner Chapel House, and the chasing debutant - the 5yo Getaway Driver.  Given the situation I thought that CHAPEL HOUSE should have started the race at about 5/4 maybe even slightly odds-on at 10/11; therefore I was delighted to see 2/1 being offered at noon, and in the final minutes before the race I was able to obtain 3.70 (basically, odds of 5/2) on the exchanges. My 2pt stake was rewarded with a comfortable win that never looked in doubt from the off. I know that some will view this as after-timing, but I never recommend wagers on horses at odds less than 3/1 anyway so it would never have factored on the blog. The reason I'm writing about the race and the wager is that you have to make yourself aware of potential value in the betting markets at all times. I never look at the odds for a race before I've read the form. Once I have appraised the form and have a rudimentary odds-line for the race in my head; only then do I look at the odds.

The ability to appraise a race and allocate odds according to your own interpretation takes a bit of practise and a fair dollop of racing experience, it is not a skill picked-up overnight. It is tho', a skill worth developing and you should endeavour to form your own opinion of the betting markets in every race in which you have a wager, or consider having a wager in. In the past, I've used an odds-line spread-sheet attributing values to fitness, form and going (plus other factors such as jockey and trainer, course winner, distance winner and the X-factor) and then interpreting these values into odds. For instance, if you allocate values of 60 / 50 / 40 / 35 / 30 / 25 & 20 to the 7 runners in this example race, then the highest-rated at 60 would be fair value at odds of 100/30 (60 ÷ 260 = 23%) but good value at odds longer than 4/1. If the highest rated at 60 was at odds of 5/2 or shorter, then the best value in the race would be with another runner. If you prepare an odds-line spread-sheet, in my experience it is best to focus on the top-3 rated in your appraisal, for instance my allocation of the odds in the example race would be:
Top-rated @ 60 = 100/30 (60 ÷ 260 = 23%)
2nd-top @ 50 = 4/1 (50 ÷ 260 = 19%)
3nd-top @ 40 = 11/2 (40 ÷ 260 = 15%)
4th-top @ 35 = 13/2 (35 ÷ 260 = 13.5%)

If the actual odds were:
Top-rated = 5/2 (or 28.6% of the market)
2nd-top-rated = 9/2 (or 18.2% of the market)
3nd-top-rated = 7/2 (or 22.2% of the market)
4th-top-rated = 7/1 (or 12.50% of the market)

Then the "value" selection would be the 2nd top-rated at 9/2 with the 3rd top-rated a "lay" and possibly a "place-lay". This is a simplistic illustration of finding value in a race, but the principles are sound and never go out of fashion.

There is a good race today at Ludlow at 3:50. It's a 2m4f handicap chase and, as I write, the market is dominated by Marescsou – a recent French import running for the 2nd time in the UK for Venetia Williams – and Poliiteo who runs for trainer Nick Williams. Personally, I cannot see either of these horses winning this race unless they significantly improve on what they have shown recently. Politeo ran well last November over 2m3f at Ascot on good going and he will appreciate today's ground. The horse I like in this is the top-weight COOTEHILL who has run well all season and should be able to dominate the race from the front. Currently, he's 6/1 and I would have thought he should be a lot shorter odds for this race which looks fairly weak for the grade. He's more of a 4/1 chance in my book, and I'm having a small wager on him.

Ludlow 3:50, COOTEHILL, ½pt win @ 6/1 (Ladbrokes, best odds guaranteed)

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Thanks from Wayward Lad.

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