As advised here seven days ago, today’s normal rails bookmaker report by Lindsay Gallagher can’t appear here, as he didn’t field at the Gold Coast last Saturday. Instead he had to field at the ordinary and low-class Ipswich meeting, the highlight of which was apparently seeing the now retired Steel Zip parade, so that would have been a thrill for the few on-course attendees.

But to keep the normal Monday betting theme happening, I’ve penned an article revolving around the punt. Again it’s an educational article aimed at helping the average punter to win more often, or at least minimize losses, but as the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”, but I can at least try to assist.

It’s a fact of life that the vast majority of punters will proceed along the path of life simply donating to bookmakers and/or TABs and losing money. It habitually happens year in and year out, yet the punter is a slow learner who implements very few – if any – new strategies to improve their chances of winning. Punters get taught lessons each and every Saturday afternoon by simply watching the three eastern seaboard meetings unfold before their eyes, yet most fail to take on board any lesson that they learn.

It would seem to me, as an outsider looking in, whether it be at any of a racetrack, or at a club or pub environment where there is a TAB outlet, that the primary reason punters lose money, over any period of time that you care to name – a month, a quarter, a year or a decade – is attributed to primarily one thing and that one thing is “a lack of discipline.” The average punter is a totally ill-disciplined individual. He or she has no business plan in their mind at the start of the day’s punting activities, with the end result being that things generally just go from bad to worse as the day unfolds.

Below are a plethora of hints to help punters improve their chance to make a profit, or to at least minimize their losses and some of these points may help some punters to see what they are doing wrong:

1. The biggest single problem is that most punters have too many bets. You see them typically running around like chooks with their heads cut off having a bet in almost every race. Or you’ll walk into a TAB outlet on a Saturday morning to have a bet or two and the bloke in front of you has about 70 tickets going through the machine. He’s the mug punter that the TAB likes as he’s “no hope of winning in the long term”. He might be able to pick one winner from the 24 full prizemoney Saturday city races that are cumulatively run across the three eastern seaboard States on a Saturday, but how the hell can 70 bets win? Even if he had a bet in every Saturday city race of say a dollar a win on a horse, he’d only have 24 tickets, so why is there a pile as big as Ayres Rock going through the machine? Sure it’s his money (women aren’t that stupid, so it will be assured of being a male with the big pile of tickets), so he can do as he sees fit with it, but you’ll never learn anything about punting from him.

2. If a punter is having no luck with his bets, why doesn’t that punter have half his stake on two horses in the one race? By the simple strategy of having half his stake on two horses in the one race, he’s now automatically doubled his chances of backing the winner. Always remember that one slice of a loaf of bread is better than no bread at all.

3. If backing thoroughbreds, don’t bet in any other races bar Saturday afternoon thoroughbred events. Forget trying to win at meetings on Monday at Donald, Tuesday at Murwillumbah, Wednesday at Sandown Lakeside, Thursday at Rockhampton, Friday at Ipswich and Sunday at Caloundra. You’re no hope. In mid-week racing the bookies percentages simply mean you are “no hope of winning in the long term”. If you are “no hope of winning in the long term” why bother stressing yourself out over a silly racehorse? At Carnival times in both Sydney and Melbourne during Saturday afternoons along with VRC Oaks day and Melbourne Cup day race meetings, which obviously aren’t run on Saturday afternoon – when bookmakers percentages get down to 110 or 112 per cent – you are a legitimate chance of winning. It’s simply a fact of life that bookmakers at Brisbane Carnivals don’t get down to anywhere near “110 or 112 per cent.”

4. Betting only on Saturday afternoon meetings also makes sense as you are betting on the better class of races and these races have the well exposed form, the horses are trained by the better trainers who have access to better training facilities, better chiropractors, top vets, etcetera – and the horses are ridden by the better class of jockeys. But even in Saturday city races avoid backing horses in poor quality races like say 0MW (no metropolitan win) races in Brisbane, where there are basically provincial quality horses racing in the metropolitan area and horses appear in them from all points of the globe, meaning it’s virtually impossible to line them all up.

5. Avoid betting in races with one or more first starters, as you have no idea whether the first starter is a worldbeater or a donkey. To find a case in point of a first starter race to avoid, we don’t have to go any further back than the Hawkesbury standalone meeting last Saturday week when the Hawkes trained debut 2YO Swear won at $12. Obviously the stable had no opinion of the colt or he would have started favourite. Instead he officially blew in on-course betting from $9 to $12. All those punters who backed a horse in that race with disclosed form hadn’t been talked into backing the unraced 2YO Swear by all the “trial geniuses” and “expert tipsters” and the like, as his pre-race CV said he’d been easily held in a couple of those silly barrier trials, which I accept are okay for the education of an inexperienced horse, or for getting the horse to shed some excess fat, but they are of very little use for anything else. And sadly you can watch them live on racing television channels now. Truly some people must lead a very boring life, if they don’t have better options apart from watching that nonsense of horses going around for a 1000-metre trial in 62 seconds under a half nelson, on a good track.

6. Don’t bet in races with an unbeaten horse in them, as you have no idea whether the unbeaten horse is a cat or a champion. Black Caviar retired having won 25 races straight. Any punter who had a win bet in any race she contested never had a collect as they tried to guess which day she’d get beaten. Upon her retirement day “they” had all done there dough trying to predict the day she’d get beaten. In the end “they” still hadn’t found the bottom of her. And if Black Caviar is a bad example, well let me just go back to Adelaide last Saturday and the unbeaten Abbey Marie. Any punter who had a win bet or a win component of an each way bet in the race – apart from her – did their money cold as she won again even though she blew from $5 to $7 with no takers before the race. Trying to predict when an unbeaten horse will get rolled is just a mug’s game.

7. Avoid backing horses resuming from a spell. A “spell” is deemed to be 12 weeks or more since the horse last raced. As I’ve proven in monthly website articles placed publicly here over 12 full months, less than 10% of spelled horses resuming will win in Saturday city races and in any event they are impossible to line up, as you don’t know whether they are fat or skinny, so by simply putting a line straight through them, you’ll be proven right over 90% of the time.

So it’s not ancient history, two horses that opened favourite in their respective race were ordinary late in their race. In the first race at the Gold Coast I have absolutely no doubt that Lucky Tom was the best horse in the race, but the horse was obviously fat inside, as he dashed to the front on straightening before fainting and running sixth behind horses that he’d play off the break if he met them when he was fit. And bookies knew he was “fat inside” as he was $4.80 to $6 late in proceedings with no takers. Down at Flemington in Race 2 and Second Bullet resumed from a spell. He was officially $3.20 into $2.80 but Australian trainers rarely win races first-up at 1800 metres with their horse and the end result was that Second Bullet ran a fading third as, like Lucky Tom at the Gold Coast, his condition gave out late.

8. Avoid backing “long term losers” in Saturday city class races – that is “horses that haven’t won a race anywhere for the last 52 weeks inclusive or more”. They’ll only win another Saturday city race between 5% and 6% of the time, so you’ll be right most of the time using that strategy. So it’s not ancient history, the shortest priced long term loser that got beaten last Saturday was the Sydney visitor to the Gold Coast that many people considered to be a good thing – Hauraki. He was off the map from $3.40 into $2.80 officially before getting easily held late by 30/1 change Leebaz.

9. Don’t take odds-on about any equine or canine athlete. Why would you “buy money” from a bookmaker or a TAB given there are about 642 variables that can beset a racing athlete and all variables work in favour of the house just like the zero on a roulette wheel? Always remember fat and/or rich bookies got that way from laying short priced favourites. They didn’t get “fat and/or rich” from laying 10/1 or 33/1 chances. If Ajax could get beaten at 40/1 on (about $1.02) in a three-horse field in the Rawson Stakes in 1939, why the hell some 77 years later are punters still so dumb that they think some odds-on chances are merely “put-in-take-out” jobs? It defies belief. Once again I don’t have to go back far to prove my point. At last Saturday’s Gold Coast meeting and the world had concluded unbeaten 2YO Impending couldn’t get beaten. He opened $1.40 on course and drifted out to officially $1.60.It’s history now that he ran out of luck in the home straight with “champion jockey” James McDonald on. Fair dinkum I could have lost 40 kilos and ridden the horse that well. Maybe Impending was unlucky or maybe he wasn’t – it’s all academic. Don’t get involved backing odds-on horses or dogs and you won’t have any stress, so you’ll live longer. Then long before Impending got rolled at the Gold Coast, Merriest never looked likely at $1.80 in the opener at Flemington. And after Merriest and Impending both went over at odds-on, the only other odds-on commodity along the eastern seaboard was Supido, which fell in, in Race 5 at Flemington, at $1.55. Any punter who backed him will have no problem to be “regular” this week, as he took an hour and a half to win. It’s just not worth the drama – walk away. So the upshot was that three horses started odds-on last Saturday in eastern seaboard Saturday city racing and two got beaten and the other one fell in.

10. If punters habitually cannot get a trifectas or a First 4, they should concentrate on lowering their sights to quinellas and exactas. Getting the first two across the line is infinitely easier than getting the first three in a trifecta, or the first 4 across the line to land a First 4. I acknowledge that it would be nice to win Gold Lotto for a $20 outlay and that it would be nice to win a big First 4 for a $20 outlay, however the historically proven facts and realities of life are that getting involved in either betting entity of Gold Lotto or a First 4 is “simply a waste of money”. The odds of a person winning Gold Lotto with a $20 ticket, or a First 4 for a $20 outlay are so astronomical that winning either will never happen in the lifetime of 99.99% of Australians. To that end, personally I never buy a ticket in Gold Lotto, as I figure that if I can’t pick a 5/1 winner at the races on Saturday afternoon what earthly chance am I of landing an 8,000,000/1 chance on Saturday night? “None” is the accurate answer – but the world is full of dreamers – not realists. On the plus side though, a punter would be some chance of picking a quinella or exacta in the second race somewhere on Saturday afternoon, which requires him or her to pick two horses, not four horses in the correct order as is required in a First 4.

Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au there’s the What’s In A Name segment from last Saturday’s races.

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