Over the years, I’ve done my best to encourage punting fanatics to spend time learning the fundamentals of the horse; of picking winners; AND (the most crucial skill) the fundamentals of bet selection.

The first and most important no-no is listening to public tipsters. By and large, they’re ignorant of any of the fundamentals; spend little time trying to dig beneath the surface or looking behind the obvious; and have the betting acumen of a rock and spine of an amoeba. Take the lead tipster for the official race programme, Track and Pools. Far away, please!

First, we’ll take a detailed look at the last 19 issues of that august publication (because two each included two headline tips; one none; so the sample size is a blackjack-friendly 21). Bearing in mind headline tips usually come from the day’s feature race, which is often the easiest to predict, these are his tips (winners asterisked) and results:

July 10:   Marquesas (10th of 14)
July 13:   Chace the Great (4th of 7)
July 17:   My Sister (2nd of 9)
July 20:   She’s a Maneater* (win at 1/3; $65.00 to win)
July 27:   Sentient (5th of 9)
August 1: Another Vigorous (2nd of 6)
August 3: Fayrouz (5th of 8)
August 6: Sparkle Diamond* (win at 0/100; $50 refund to win)
August 10: Run Thatcher Run (2nd of 12); Bigdaddykool* (won at 2/5; $71)
August 17: Universal Boss (3rd of 9)
August 24: Sparkle Diamond (late scratch)
August 30: No one selection discernible
August 31: She’s a Maneater* (win at 1/5; $63 to win)
September 7: Bold Aflair (11th of 12)
September 11:  I Am Di One (4th of 5)
September 14: Stranger Danger* (win at 1/10; $52 to win)
September 21: England’s Rose (2nd of  5); Supreme Soul* (won at 3/5; $86)
September 25: Peking Cruz* (won at 4/5; $90); Ras Emanuel* (won 5/2; $180)
September 28: My Switcharoo (5th of 14)

To sum up, our tipping genius landed 8 winners from 21 selections which is in accordance with the world wide average of 33 1/3%, BUT two of those “winners” were She’s a Maneater twice (thanks for nothing); and Sparkle Diamond at refund win odds. In these races a higher win percentage is expected to make up for a likely lower strike rate in more competitive races. A $50 level stake bet on these 21 “tips” would have resulted in an outlay of $1,050.00 for a return of $607.00 or a loss of 42% betting into a Tote that deducts 30%. In any universe, this is a horrendous record.

So, wherever and whenever I can, I try to encourage punters to seek VALUE first and not to make it a habit to back odds-on favourites. If we are all to win one of three, it’s mathematically obvious that it’s brainless to place one’s faith (not to mention hard-earned cash) on odds-on winners unless, of course, betting suicide is your masochistic pleasure.

Leave odds-on favourites alone. Ignore public tipsters. Pick your spots and bet only when you’re getting VALUE (one you’ve picked to win that ALSO offers longer odds than you expected).

Btw, the new SVREL website has improved slightly since my public whine about it but I’m still unable to find my way to race results beyond the most recent race day’s or get the variety of statistics (especially post position statistics) the old CTL website produced. C’mon man, we’re not supposed to suffer because of improved technology!

This makes it difficult to document what I know from past research, which is that the myth of a track bias towards low number draws on the straight course is nonsense.

Charlie Hussey, famous for his successes up the straight, will tell you if you get him in a generous moment that the secret in successfully navigating that course is in its name. It’s like Bajan directions. Ask a Bajan (especially a male) how to get to Black Rock, he’ll tell you “keep on dis road ’til you reach di nex’ crossroads. Ef you turn right you’ll pass Miss Mattie’s cold supper shop – di one she inherit from she granfadder because he didn’t like he children at all. You know dat shop?

“Yes” you’ll say earnestly hoping for more.

Ok, den, don’t turn dere. Keep straight!

Half-witted jockeys, encouraged by fearful trainers, insist on tacking across the track from low number draws in straight races thus losing several lengths and inflating high number draws’ winning stats. The reality is that it’s middle draws that are slightly disadvantaged because horses drawn on either flank have a rail to guide them home.



This regular review of local performances is based on REAL times.

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

No real standouts on the clock emerged since we last met. Also, you’re cautioned not to expect form on a sloppy track (there’ve been a few recently) to be repeated on fast going. Don’t be tricked into following form in sloppy going save on other wet surfaces.

I’ll list the Track Variants since September 14 for your records

SEPTEMBER 21 [TV-0.5 per 200m (Round)]

SEPTEMBER 25 [-0 (Round) +4 (Struck by Grace); +3 (Peking Cruz); -6 (Nuclear Thunder/ Lord Ashton); -3 (Ras Emanuel)

On September 25, Races 1-3 (Black Point; Struck by Grace; Peking Cruz) were run on a good surface; the remainder on a sloppy track.

There are no horses to note on the clock but, trip-wise, I was most impressed by Money Monster’s maiden win on September 28 on only his second run. The way in which he lengthened stride in the last furlong together with his breeding (by Gulfstream Derby 2nd Casual Trick out of 1,000 Guineas winner She’s Traditional) makes him an exciting prospect for next year’s 2,000 Guineas. Casual Trick is by Bernardini out of the Epsom Oaks winner Casual Look so Money Monster has much going for her, including that she’s conditioned by the excellent Fitzroy Glispie (formerly Gillespie) who trained the dam to win the 1,000 Guineas and was a renowned classic winning jockey of his day.

SEPTEMBER 28 [+0 (Round) -6 (straight)

Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)

As the flat season winds down and the rains arrive, there’s a glut of important races this and next weekend headed by Sunday’s Arc De Triomphe (Longchamp; 12f; 1505GMT; 9.05 a.m. Jamaica Time) where the world’s heroine Enable is favourite to complete an awesome Arc hat trick, having won in 2017 and 2018. She’s unbeaten in three 2019 starts and 11 for 12 lifetime so only her short price (8/11 currently) militates against backing her.

She’ll carry the hearts of every racing fan but, betting-wise, it would be best to have an each way flutter on Aidan O’Brien’s Japan who is three for three (including a Group 1 over course and distance in July) since failing to act on the peculiar Epsom switchback and camber when a half length third on unsuitably fast going in the Derby. He has more in the tank and will welcome any rain. 

Tomorrow will see the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge (Ascot; 1m3f211y; Soft; 1435GMT; 8.35 a.m Jamaica Time) where highly fancied Morando looks hard to beat and the Group 1 Sun Chariot (Newmarket; 1m; Good To Soft; 1525GMT; 9.25a.m Jamaica Time) where Sir Michael Stoute’s Veracious (working well) should also take all the beating.

Next week Saturday, Newmarket hosts the iconic Group 1 Dewhurst (2yos; 7f; 1530GMT; 9.30a.m Jamaica Time) where the impressive Pinatubo, unbeaten in four career starts — all over 7f including the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh — will be opposed by some exciting prospects for next year, especially unbeaten French invader Earthlight (5 for 5) who should relish this first try at 7f and is picked to beat Pinatubo.

Newmarket will also be the scene of the second leg of the famous autumn double, the Cesarewitch (Handicap) over 2 miles 2 furlongs. Irish genius Willie Mullins seems to have this year’s renewal wrapped up with either Mr. Adjudicator or Buildmeupbuttercup. The former is the better over hurdles but the latter is the pick on the flat.

One more for the notebook:

Highest Ground [2yo ch.c. Frankel – Celestial Lagoon (Sunday Silence)] It’s not often that a Michael Stoute-trained 2yo makes a winning debut so eyebrows were raised when Highest Ground won first up in a 7f novice at Leicester (September 23) having started slowly (as usual for debutantes from this yard) but made good headway from over 3 furlongs out; led over a furlong out; and ran on well to win going away. He looks like a classic 3yo in the making.

 Good Luck!

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