Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

5 simple steps to improve your race reading skills

Learn the fundamentals of form reading

If you want to become a profitable form reader be willing to put some effort in initially, and except the fact your never going to learn absolutely everything there is to know about racing. Nobody has got the racing game completely sussed, however there are many who play to their strengths and only get involved when opportunities dictate a bet should be struck. This is exactly what I advise you to do, i.e. learn from, and emulate those who are at least profitable within their chosen niche. Ignore the scatter gun merchants and BS marketers…

“Who try to confuse you with hype and smoke screens”

The new racing post(dot)com offers great functionality to help us be more defined and objective in our race form assessment (read my quick guide here) You would do well to consider the fact that the betting forecast is a good reflection of each horses implied chance of winning and the most important form element’s  have already been accounted for by the bookies odds compilers.

Although, you should bear in mind that the racing post odds compilers regularly under/over estimate a horses true chances because they consider things such as,  horse  improvement trainer/jockey form etc. Whilst  these elements of form can be classed as useful, they are speculative, and determining the actual chances of  a horse improving or a trainers recent good strike rate continuing can be hit and miss.

Therefore it should be every punters aim to see If they can pick holes in the odds compilers opinions. Yes, we know they are adept at accurately setting the odds for each horse in race and in general these guys often point us to a small group of horses where the winner is likely to come from…

“BUT, they don’t find the outright winners of races often enough to make a profit from following their advice blindly”

Value being the key as always. Race readers telling you a 13/8 shot will win backed up by ten tipsters agreeing WILL NOT make you any long term profits. Taking all this into consideration you maybe wondering what is the best approach to take when assessing any given days racing from a backing and laying point of view. There are several strategies some more complex than others but to keep things simple yet effective we`ll look at what I`ve found over the years to be the most effective.

The core aim is to help YOU identify races you will bet in and ignore those that are difficult to comprehend. If you can find plenty of negatives about the favourite and offset those with positives for other horses, as long as they are relative to the current race conditions then a bet my be present, which  depending on your preference could give you a option such as….

  1. Back one or more of the main threats to the favourite. Dutching your stake to risk a point on that race. You can use this very handy FREE tool to work out the maths quickly.
  2. Lay the favourite (Always try to obtain the best value odds) in my opinion nothing over 4.7 ever, its just not worth the risk!  (Learn how to set your liability to a very manageable amount) using Betfair`s FREE tools

Five simple steps to improve your race reading skills

1: Only look at one race code each day.

There are general similarities in all three race codes Flat, Jumps and A.W. racing should be classed as almost completely different sports. Focusing on just one race code a day will save you valuable time and maximize your focus.

2: (K.I.S) Keep it simple

Start with one race meeting and only look at 1-12 runner races at first; meaning less horses to look at. Most of the time you will be eliminating at least 50% of horses in every race

3: Steer clear of races that are difficult to fathom out either way, such as…

• Low class A.W. races contested by very poor horses (Often these types beat each other every other week making a nonsense of the form book)

• Maiden races full of un-raced horses. ( Accurate assessment is difficult since no form is available, in reality there’s too much guesswork involved)

• Selling races featuring a bunch of no hoper`s. Often the form figures will be difficult to interpret accurately, because what’s on offer is very poor.

4: Eliminate the no hopers from a race.

Basically get rid of those animals that have a very limited chance, these are animals often rated below the first 3 to 5 in the betting forecast, depending on field size of course.

5: Race conditions

Assess the prevailing race conditions, and ability of the horses left to handle those conditions; are there any proven performers? Likely you’ll be looking at the first 3 or 5 in the betting forecast in more detail.

• Look at factors such as CLASS, DISTANCE, GOING and FITNESS. These tend to be the most important factors regarding a horse’s winning chances.

Eliminate any horse that’s not proven under the conditions, or going to give your lay selection a run for the money.

• If you’re left with 2 or even 3 horses that appear to be in with a chance, then it’s a case of picking the weakest amongst them.

Jonathan Burgess

Jonathan Burgess is an official Betfair Accredited Trainer and racing columnist for various respected betting industry publications such as: Betting School, The Daily Punt and Betfair’s Education site. He also runs the Profitable – False Favourites Betting Tips Club Which cost just 24 pence a day. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

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