horses racingHow often have you heard the refrain from punters exiting the track with empty pockets “but mi did pick five winners today…”?

These punters have lost sight of the most important factor in any enterprise, namely its objective is the pursuit of profit.  Especially in Jamaica, where the Tote literally steals your money with a 30% promoter’s takeout of the win/place pools, the selecting of winners is not anywhere near as important as the selecting of bets.

If you pick five winners on a ten race card, all at odds-on, level stake betting on all ten races means you lose.  Many punters, however, aren’t satisfied with level stakes betting on winning selections and are suckered in, race day after race day, to gambling on exotic bets.  Every punter remembers the $100,000 payout he collected on that winning Superfecta in August 2015.  He has forgotten the perm bet cost him over $2,000 and he has quietly returned his winnings to the Tote, with interest, at $2,000 per losing Superfecta ever since. Not to mention he also speculates on every exacta, trifecta etc.

It’s a statistical fact that nobody picks more than 33% winners in horse racing no matter what kind of genius you think you are.  Similarly, 2 in every three betting favourites lose. What does this mean?

  1. If you bet all favourites, especially odds-on favourites, you’re condemning yourself to losing;
  2. If it’s so difficult to pick one winner (can only be done, statistically, every three races) what serious chance do you have to pick four in one race (Superfecta)?

So the key to profitable betting is to select the two or three bets for the day that offer the most value.  What do I mean by “value”?   If Missa Chin is selling saltfish at $100 per pound and Missa Chen at $110 you’d have no problem knowing which offered more “value”. It’s the same in betting although the markets in Jamaica are so constricted with everybody attaching themselves to the Tote dividends.  Still, “value” is when you find a winning selection that’s starting at odds longer than it should (overlay).

To locate “value’” rationally, first create your own morning line for any race. To do this accurately, you must know that the 30% takeout means Jamaica’s Tote collects 143% of its payouts (100/70) as stakes. To find out how much of that “book” each horse should account for, begin by assigning each horse odds you consider realistic.  2/1 odds = 33 1/3% (stakes = 1/3rd of the payout) of the book. Even Money = 50% and so on.  “Maths brains” will prefer if I explain how to convert odds to percentages by dividing the denominator by the sum of denominator and numerator (so 2/1 = 1÷3 = 1/3 = 33 1/3%).

The total percentages of the starters added together must not exceed 143%. Make adjustments as needed until your totals are the same as the Tote (143%). Now you’re ready to seek “value”. If your selection is in your book at 2/1 and on the Tote Board at 3/1, that’s “value” (overlay). Get in early and often.  Only back your selections on the day that offer “value”. Then sit back and watch your bank account grow.


  1. Clocked-In

This is where we review local performances based on REAL times.

Abbreviations: CT = “Corrected Time”; TV = “Track Variant” (how to calculate the effect of track conditions on official times posted to arrive at the “real” or “corrected” time); TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” means it was slow (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside individual horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade average

Our notebook horses on speed have been posting several narrow losses (e.g Rockdale, nk 2nd August 5 at 8/5;  Uncle Taf, 2l 2nd to Royal Vibes, August 12) but Zi Beast, written up on July 21 as “an exciting prospect” did manage to save our blushes by winning comfortably on August 7 at 6/5.

Let’s try to squeeze in two day’s speed work for you:

August 5, 2017 [TV +0.8 per 200m (Rd) +5 (str)]:

Rani (-6) lightly-raced 4yo filly (heavily gambled despite only racing three times in 2017 showing nothing), romped (R6; $180,000 claimers nw?; 1000m straight) by 7 1/2l in 1:01.2. Her CT, 1:00.2, is a tick faster than the average for $250,000 (1:00.3) and all of five lengths better than open $180,000 claimers. Clearly, she acts well up the straight and can win again if not tried too highly.

August 12, 2017 [TV – 0.4 per 200m]

Royal Vibes (-7) working well, returned to form with a bang (R9; Overnight Allowance; 1600m; TV-3) to deny speed notebook horses Uncle Taf (-5) and Timeforarms (-4) by 1 1/2l; 2 1/4l respectively in 1:38.2. The winner’s CT is 1:39.0 (4/5ths second faster than Overnight Allowance and 3/5ths better than Open Allowance).  Additionally, he’s likely to do better around two turns.  Both 2nd and 3rd remain on the shortlist for near-at-hand Overnight Allowance events. Uncle Taf should be a cinch whenever the track is sloppy.

The Official Race programme, Track and Pools, had this to say about the 2nd Uncle Taf: “Back to form. One to note when next at the races.” DWL! But we knew that from July 29 and, based on that run, Uncle Taf was a speed notebook horse in the August 4 Public Opinion.

Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)

Overseas Betting Opportunities have been doing well especially at the PGA Championship about which I wrote on August 4 “The PGA is a place for young Turks to break out so my portfolio includes my selection Justin Thomas who has the game and the smarts and is a major winner in waiting.” Justin, available at 40/1 pre-tournament, landed some nice wagers.

On the English racing scene, my Stewards’ Cup fancy Projection was drawn on the “wrong” side for the third time in a row (very unlucky) and failed to place but isn’t to be forgotten for the big autumn handicap sprints. But readers were rescued by both August 4 notebook horses.  Algam, about whom I wrote “he has at least a maiden race to win and is very much one to keep on the right side” duly obliged next time out in a maiden race at Leicester (August 13; 7f; good to soft) at11/8. Important Mission also won next time on the polytrack at Chelmsford (August 15; 7f; standard) at 7/1! Yum, yum.

This weekend’s big English racing meet is at Newbury on Saturday (good to soft ground likely) and features the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (13f) and the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes (7f).

In the Geoffrey Freer, the two to concentrate on are market leaders Frontiersman (1 3/4l 2nd to Highland Reel in a Group 1 at Epsom despite hanging on the camber and clearly unsuited by the track; then veered left final furlong and held close home when 3/4l 2nd to Hawkbill (Group 2; Newmarket; first time cheekpieces) and Defoe (won all three 2017 starts including beating subsequent Group 3 winner Frankuus by 1 1/2l in a listed race at Hamilton).

Frontiersman has stamina and going questions to answer never having run beyond 12f and his three wins have all come on good to firm so Defoe, with lots of improvement still to come, gets the nod.

In the Hungerford, the two most likely are Librisa Breeze  [most impressive in big field handicaps at Ascot last year; shaped as if retaining all his ability after eight months off when a neck-fourth in the Diamond Jubilee (6f) at Royal Ascot; not seen to best effect back at 7f in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood] and Oh This Is Us [also not seen to best effect (keen) in the Lennox and slightly below par in the Group 1 Queen Anne but otherwise progressive and classy].

Now here’s a great example of the theme of this week’s edition, “value”.    Librisa Breeze  is currently at 4/1; Oh This Is Us 16/1. The value lies in backing Oh This Is Us.

The Great Voltigeur on August 23 and the Ebor on August 26 will highlight York’s August festival before another Public Opinion comes out so, even at this early stage, I propose you plunge on Mirage Dancer in the Voltigeur and have an each way flutter in the Ebor on another value horse, Wild Hacked, also currently available at 16/1.

One more Notebook horse for the English Racing fans:

Oriental Lilly [3yo ch.f. Orientor – Eternal Instinct (Exceed and Excel)]

A narrow second on two of her last three runs (unlucky the first time) strongly suggests she’s well handicapped and can gain compensation in a low-grade handicap before too long

Good Luck! Tage Thompson Womens Jersey

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