It’s simply 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. They have no business plan in their mind at the start of the day, so things generally just go from bad to worse as the day unfolds.

A common email query I get is from punters that constantly lose on the punt and they ask what they are doing wrong. I wouldn’t have a clue what they “are doing wrong” unless I could see a layout of their punting activities for say the last three months, but there are many general statements that I would happily make publicly that many punters would benefit from implementing. Over today and tomorrow, I’ll place here a plethora of hints to help punters improve their chance to make a profit, or to at least minimize their losses. Listed below are a few pointers that may help some punters to look at what they are doing wrong:

1. 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 in the machine going through. He’s no hope of winning. He might be able to pick one winner in the 24 races cumulatively from the 24 races that are generally run across the three eastern seaboard States on a Saturday afternoon, but how the hell can 70 bets win? Even if he had a bet in every 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 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. At the end of this article, so it’s not ancient history, I’ll show you backing two horses in the one race is done both successfully and highly profitably.

3. If backing thoroughbreds, don’t bet in any other races bar Saturday afternoon thoroughbred events. Forget trying to win 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 long term”. If you are “no hope 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 percentages get down to 110 or 112 per cent – you are a legitimate chance of winning.

4. Bet only on Saturday afternoon meetings and only bet in the better class of races, like the high Benchmark races, Open Handicaps, or black type races. Why is that? Well 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 jockeys. Avoid backing horses in poor quality races like OMW (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 over the joint, meaning it’s virtually impossible to line them all up. Solving a Rubix cube when blindfolded would be an easier challenge. For instance in last Saturday’s OMW win race at Doomben won by Heart of Many, we had acceptors from as far away as Newcastle, Coffs Harbour and Tamworth in New South Wales and Caloundra, the Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Beaudesert in Queensland. Put simply, these OMW races aren’t genuine city Saturday horses, but race clubs put them on – in the name of supplying product. None of the horses in these low class Saturday city races are headed anywhere in life. Ditto low class Benchmark races in Sydney or Melbourne.

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 mule. To find a case in point we don’t have to go any further back than last Wednesday’s Eagle Farm public holiday meeting. Race 1 on the card was a fillies and mares Maiden. A field of 20 accepted for the race and there was just one unraced horse in that race. Her name was Quick Witted. It’s history now that she won the race and paid $19.80 on Tattsbet. Most punters who had a bet in the race just dismissed her because they couldn’t line her up.

6. Don’t bet in races with an unbeaten horse in them, as you have no idea whether the unbeaten horse in a cat or a champion. A case in point was last Saturday week at Randwick. Bart Cummings and his grandson James saddled up the unbeaten colt – Eurozone. Punters lost a fortune backing later to be proven rubbish like Bull Point (Gai Waterhouse) and Watabout (Allan Denham) to beat him, even though both those latter horses had actually been beaten in their career. In the end, Eurozone won again. He’s now won three from three. As at today, who’s to say that in his lifetime Eurozone won’t better Black Caviar’s unbeaten record of 25 straight? Trying to pick when an unbeaten horse will get beaten is nigh on impossible. Lots of people thought Black Caviar would get rolled one day. Upon her retirement day “they” were all proven wrong – they still hadn’t found the bottom of her.

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 and in any event they are impossible to line up, as you don’t know whether they are fat or skinny, so by putting a line straight through them, you’ll be proven right over 90% of the time.

8. Avoid backing “long term losers”, 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 horse many people considered to be a good thing – D’Jet at Doomben. He hadn’t won a race for over 12 months when he headed to the barrier and he never got hot in the run at the luxurious odds of $2.60, even though he didn’t even have to go around a horse all race.

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 – at last count – about 642 variables that can beset a racehorse? 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 ($1.02) in a three-horse field in the Rawson Stakes in 1939, why the hell some 74 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 Doomben meeting Race 1 odds-on favourite Double Impact got rolled at $1.90, then just 35 minutes later in Race 2, the next odds-on favourite Secret Harmony also went over at $1.90. That 90% interest in the one minute and 37 seconds that Double Impact’s and Secret Harmony’s 1630-metre race took to run, looked just too tempting for many punters who have no discipline to put their cue in the rack and forget about the race. No one is holding a gun at a punter’s head forcing them to have a bet. On this aforesaid point of 90% interest, or 50% interest on the $1.50 chance, etcetera, the Commonwealth Bank last week announced that they’d made a record profit of a staggering $7.8 billion. Now that’s not bad, particularly if you’re a shareholder. What do they pay their investors for their monies they deposit with Australia’s biggest bank? Well as at yesterday when I checked these following quoted figures were accurate. If you have $50,000 to invest in a “term deposit for 12 months”, the Commonwealth Bank will pay you a princely 3.55% interest. They do have a special deal going for customers who open what they advertise as a “Goalsaver” account. The Commonwealth Bank will pay “Goalsaver” account customers a whopping 4.05% interest, provided 1) the account balance grows by a minimum of $200 per month, exclusive of interest and 2) the customer makes no more than one withdrawal a month. So in summary, globally recognized banks like Australia’s Commonwealth Bank will pay you competitive rates like 3.55% to 4.05% for your money over a full 12 months, which surely puts in perspective the high risk associated with a bookie or TAB offering you 90% for one minute 37 seconds?

10. If punters habitually cannot get trifectas and First 4’s, concentrate on lowering your 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. As for the Big6, well the average punter even getting involved in such a ridiculous bet type is testament to their hopelessly positive attitude. Yes I acknowledge that it would be nice to win Gold Lotto for a $20 outlay and that it would be nice to win the Big6 for a $20 outlay, however the historically proven facts and realities are that getting involved in either is simply a waste of money. The odds of a person winning Gold Lotto with a $20 ticket, or Big6 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 earthy 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 winner in the second race somewhere Saturday afternoon, which requires him or her to pick one horse, not six horses like in a Big6.

11. If a punter can’t win backing horses, there is nothing nowadays to stop that punter becoming the bookmaker, without even being licensed as one. Simply by joining Betfair, the punter can start laying short priced horses that they think are a risk – to lose. The key here is to only lay short priced horses up to a certain self imposed price limit. I advise my Sectional Times clients to lay my recommended lays up to and including a price of $3.75. That’s where the money is. There’s no use the average smaller punter haphazardly laying 10/1 or 20/1 chances, as if one gets up on them as it will erode a lot of profit made from laying the short priced ones. So it’s not ancient history, the following short priced horses all went over last Saturday afternoon in just the first few races run along the eastern seaboard – Double Impact $1.90, Ferment $3.30, Secret Harmony $1.90, Mukaddamah Son $2.25, Champagne Cath $2.50, Coup Ay Tee $3.40 and Bells Of Troy $2.25 had all gone over by 1.25pm.

In terms of 2) above here is how to back two horses in the one race. This was the advice that I emailed to my Saturday Morning Mail clients last Saturday morning at 9am. Those valued clients get eight races of my choice previewed for them each Saturday morning. Here is the preview of Race 1 at Rosehill that they received. I have withheld one comment as they can use it to their personal advantage in the future. Their preview read:

ROSEHILL Race 1 – 12:35PM 3YO BENCHMARK 75 (1400 METRES)




Going for three wins in a row but won a Maiden at Kembla Grange two starts back then had no option but to win last start after they went out in 1.25.26 pace and he was outside the leader at the 600. He’s limited – and his only plus is that he’s proven over 1400 metres.


Ran on strongly last start when second to Windjammer here 14 days ago but steps up from 1100 to 1400 here and was weak to the line over 1200 two starts back, so I’d query him at 1400.


Looked like a Golden Slipper filly when she bolted in here over 1200 on debut on 8/12/12. Jumped awkwardly resuming from 34 weeks here on 3/8/13. Race plates go back on today. Simply looked too good on debut to discard on one bad run, but gee she gave in meekly last start over 1100 and has to jump to 1400 today, so she’s terribly short and would have to be backed win only and I don’t think she’s any “put-in-take-out” job.


Last start Warwick Farm winner at the trip so he could go on with the job as he’s nicely bred and this is only his third race start.


Heavily backed late from $3.60 into $2.60 but raced greenly last start when beaten 1.5 lengths by Tarangower but now meets that horse 3.5kgs better (equates to 2.56 lengths). Tommy Berry who rode him on debut on a good 3 track when he was beaten only a short neck by Dothraki reunites today taking over from Blake Spriggs. Granted he’s a Maiden after four starts but two of those four starts (ran fourth in each) have been on heavy tracks and he’s simply not bred to handle heavy tracks. From a good 2YO yard (Waterhouse) and is up to his ears in this at odds.


A Maiden after five runs and will be a Maiden after six runs. Blinkers come off again today.


Stablemate of Aussies Love Sport. Has won only one of five starts – and that was a Newcastle Maiden. Place chance only on her last start fair third to Kirov.


Well backed late on debut on 20/7/13 when beaten only a head and a half neck by Kirov at Kembla Grange with a 3-kilo girl I’ve never heard of on board. Could improve here with 1) that experience and 2) jockey James McDonald replacing the girl. (next comment withheld considered confidential to clients) Race plates go on today for the first time as do winkers. Meets Kirov 3kgs better for being beaten a head and a half neck by him at only start, so on that score wherever they finish today, Happy Clapper has to beat Kirov home, barring interference.


I fancy the “doom” part at the end of the name would be pretty close to the money. Race plates go on for the first time today.

Additional comments: I believe this is a possible result race as there should be enough speed in the race that the other jockeys don’t meekly hand up the lead to Nash Rawiller and Champagne Cath. There are two youngsters that could improve today and win this race, so I’d have half my stake each way on both – Aussies Love Sport and Happy Clapper.


It’s history that Aussies Love Sport won at $14.40 on a “best of three totes” basis and that Happy Clapper ran second. A boxed exacta of the pair which would have cost $2 paid almost 90/1 on a “best of 3 totes” basis. That’s how you back two horses in the one race and show a profit.

To be continued tomorrow, when I’ll release a statistic that will shock many punters, regarding exactly how many horses that firm in the betting from their opening price to their starting price actually win in Saturday city races.

Today on there is the first of two montages of photos from Doomben last Saturday. On David Clarkson looks at Geoff Slattery, whilst on Matt Nicholls looks at Victorian racing.

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