Betting Advice (8 of 8) - Final Advice

This article originally appeared in a series called "Punting Pointers" at this link. We want to share it with our customers as it is very important advice to help you bet better.

8 - Final Advice.png

This is the wrap-up of an eight-part series aimed at educating punters to help take their wagering to the next level. Brad Gray sought the insights of five of the most respected industry figures when it comes to punting, form analysis and bookmaking.

We’ve made it to the eighth and final part of the series.

This last segment provides Dom, Robbie, Nathan, Daniel and John with the chance to offer punters any parting wisdom, on any element of punting they see fit.

Remember that the appeal about punting for many is there is no perfect formula, and that you'll never stop learning. For what it’s worth, my two cents is to ultimately, back your own judgement. Then you’ve only got yourself to blame which will drive you to continue to make adjustments to improve your punting game.


Dominic Beirne (@domran)

My parting advice to new players is that it’s a circular process. You have to pay attention to why you thought something. The most valuable time you can spend is after the race meeting. Watch the races and ask yourself why that horse won at $10 or $50 and look for the explanations.

You have to analyse post-race what went right and what went wrong for different horses. The post-race analysis is more important than pre-race.

There is always something to learn and new data to create and then analyse. Punting is a challenge but a rewarding one.


Rob Waterhouse (@RobWaterhouse)

I keep saying that you have to be in the marketplace and the track is the place where you are getting the best value. No doubt betting with the corporate bookmakers, and the deals they have for a short time are also good but you have to be in a marketplace where there is not a large market percentage against you.

Achieving the best odds all of the time is the difference between winning and losing. The shopping is the key to it. If someone had done the long hours of form study the early markets are unsophisticated and there are still mistakes in them. If they intend to back horses to win a few hundred dollars they’ll do well out of it.


Nathan Snow (@snowbet)

The best piece of advice that has stuck with me is the harder you work the luckier you get. It’s the truest bit of advice I’ve ever been given.

In terms of general parting advice, learning bankroll management is something that doesn’t get touched on much in these.

I’ve seen so many good form students that couldn’t gamble go bust and others who wouldn’t know one end of a horse from the other, who have an innate ability to understand markets and manage their bankroll well, become successful punters.

It’s about reading a marketplace, not just relying on a set of prices. You can be doing a race and two horses are $5 chances. You’re not looking at being too involved and all of a sudden the market is telling you that one of them is really an $11 chance. Then the $5 chance realistically becomes a $3 chance and all of a sudden you are playing. It’s hard to quantify but that’s what separates the best punters.


Daniel O’Sullivan (@TRBHorseRacing)

The single most important thing is to manage your money well. Done poorly it’ll prevent you from enjoying betting and enjoying any level of success because it’s a roller coaster ride and a long game. Even if you are betting for the enjoyment you'll get a lot more enjoyment from betting if you are sensible in the way you manage your money. The way you make decisions. Your staking. Not chasing losses and all the traditional things.

In my experience, poor habits in that area are the number one thing that holds punters back from achieving whatever goals they have.

It’s not the inability to find the right horses or know the form, it’s poor habits when it comes to money management and staking.

[Editor's note - listen to the experts - that is why we invented RewardBet]

Beyond that, it’s how you respond to good and bad runs. People think that having four losing bets in a row is a bad run but that’s just common occurrence. I call it managing the process of betting.

The process of looking at the form, deciding your bets, implementing it, having a series of results and you react to that in a certain way and then repeat the process.

To enjoy betting and have any chance of being successful you have got to be able to manage that process well. If you constantly lose the plot or run off the rails in one way or another it’s going to hold you back forever.

I know people who have spent their whole punting lives locked in that cycle where they are going well, they try a new approach they’ve got a couple of winners but strike an inevitable bad run, which we all have, they chop and change too much, run out of money and three months later start betting again.

All of that can be avoided by managing your money, and yourself, better.

The other thing, and it sounds a bit corny, is to just enjoy racing and betting. That should be the first and foremost thing. People go into it thinking they’ll make money out of it even though they might not know a lot of what they are doing.

At a hobby level, they think that they’ll make an income but they lose sight of why they are doing it, which is in the first place to enjoy the sport and the intellectual challenge. To make small steps and make appropriate goals. It’s unrealistic expectations that drive all of those negative habits and behaviours.

If you learn to enjoy betting, the intellectual challenge, the sport, the horses, the big races and the not so big races and use that as a base it helps keep you more level headed and your betting in perspective.

That’s what allows you to keep improving and make slow steps without getting too carried away.



John Walter (@J_Walter23)

The things I’ve learnt in racing have been from the strangest people so don’t be afraid to listen to anyone’s opinion no matter how good or bad a punter you are and put it into practice.

Probably the best thing I ever learnt was that strength was the overall winning factor in races – always trying to find the strongest horses in the truest run races.

That’s why I like sprint races because they are generally run at a truer tempo overall. You won't finish too far away from the action applying that logic.

There are not too many ways to integrate data that people aren’t already doing, and very smart people, so it’s the little funny things you hear and angles that you can suck the most out of to gain an edge in this game.

They are still there but you have to be open to some strange formulas. If you are going to do the same things as everybody else and follow the same formulas like a cookie-cutter you are going to struggle.

You have to look at things from different angles to uncover advantages. Don’t go too big either because it’s impossible to keep up with the workload. You have to cut it down and carve out your own little niche.

A 10 minute brain explosion can put you back three months of work. It hurts the disciplined punters more than the radicals. If you grind away and then lose your path it’s a long way back.

That is what kills people emotionally in the game. You put so much into it and it all just falls over then you have to start again. Keeping that in check is the hardest part.

The best punters are the least emotional, long term. You’ve got to keep it out or at least let go once it’s finished.

Betting Advice (7 of 8) - Sectional Times

This article originally appeared in a series called "Punting Pointers" at this link. We want to share it with our customers as it is very important advice to help you bet better.

7 - Sectional Times.png

This is part seven of an eight-part series aimed at educating punters to help take their wagering to the next level. Brad Gray sought the insights of five of the most respected industry figures when it comes to punting, form analysis and bookmaking.

Sectionals aren’t new to racing but it’s fair to say they are certainly more mainstream as punting tool simply due to their accessibility through the likes of Punters’ Intel.

Just because they are easier to track down doesn’t mean they are any easier to understand or implement though. Below offers an insight into how our five experts not only use sectionals but their place in the larger form puzzle.


Dominic Beirne (@domran)

Sectionals are a very intricate study and extremely important. One of the dangers of sectionals though is the misinterpretation of what is valuable.

We have been doing sectionals since the 80s and it’s become extremely popular more recently hence the value in it is being a little overplayed.

You’ve only got to watch the replay to know that a horse that came from 13th and ran fourth probably ran the fastest sectional. But is that a prospective way of making money over time? Finding the horses that run home to run fourth or fifth all the time?

Punter's Intel is an interactive sectional tool free for download

Punter's Intel is an interactive sectional tool free for download


Rob Waterhouse (@RobWaterhouse)

Sectionals are one of those things that everyone I know thinks are wonderful but wish they could master. And I fall into that category.

I’d like to make better use of them but I haven’t been able to find a way. Having said that, I am certainly aware of them, and the horse that runs a big sectional, but actually winning on the punt using sectionals I think is a hard job.


Nathan Snow (@snowbet)

They are the new fad. They’ve been around forever though. I used to own a stop watch and clock them off the television. It’s just the technology has changed.

It’s a massive time saver now. They are just a piece of the puzzle. They are an important piece but they are not the be all and end all.

The key with times is they are so fraught with danger when comparing them from different days.

So much can change – the wind, grass length, track moisture, rail position – all sorts of factors. If you are just starting out and you want to look at times I’d start by comparing them on each day.

In terms of comparing times across different meeting at different tracks, it’s something you have to leave to the sophisticated algorithms.

They’ve got banks of data that knows how to compare times properly whereas for anyone starting out, it’s impossible.

When I was starting out I would keep data on each track and that would give me a guide on how they were playing, and the merit in each horse’s run.

(Sectionals) confirm what you are seeing most of the time. After watching so many races it’s like you’ve got a clock in your head sometimes, but you need that confirmation.

In particularly I look for the 600 to 400m sprint and how that relates to their overall 600 to the finishing split because most horses have got a sprint for 200-300m, maybe 400m at best, so any horse that is doing excess work from the 400 to the 600m is a penalising factor. Especially if it is around a bend which they generally are.

How the sectional breakdown is displayed on Punters' Intel application.

How the sectional breakdown is displayed on Punters' Intel application.


Daniel O’Sullivan (@TRBHorseRacing)

The first thing I would say is that I never look at raw sectionals. Over 15 years I’ve established systems to rate times and sectionals so they can be compared across tracks, distances, provincial to city.

There is no one key thing I look at it. It’s more about understanding what each horse has done in the context that it was presented with.

For example, horses that run in slow run races are never going to run fast time so it is pointless looking at the overall times and trying to assess that but with the right tools and techniques you can identify top class performances.

The same can be applied in reverse where horses might run a fast time but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a strong race. Horses can run a fast last 200m or 600m split but it needs to be interpreted in the context how fast they went early. It’s a multifaceted type of approach.



John Walter (@J_Walter23)

They are a checking tool for mine. Looking at the vision, trying to work out what happened in a race and then checking sectionals.

When a few different sectionals are put together – say they go quickly early, stack up and then go quickly again late as opposed to quick all the way through, the overall time paints some sort of picture but not the overall picture.

Those sort of things are still underplayed. The anchor drops are hugely advantageous to a video watcher because that sort of makeup to a race really hinders a lot of horses and helps others and they are unlikely to go into that kind of race at their next start.

Some sectionals paint a truer picture than an overall time. If they match the vision or not, there is an advantage either way so sectionals are huge to give you the truth as to what really happened.

The last 200m is probably the most important. Even the last 100m and the last 50m if you can get it.

That’d be the most important sectional in reviewing meetings as strength through the line is really important to me, but overall I don’t pay too much attention to one particular sectional. It’s more as an overall.

Time to the 600m and then the last 600m to see what they have done paints a really quick picture of tempo.

Then if you want to interrogate them further because you have seen something else they are always good to have there but I don’t use any particular sectional religiously.

Betting Advice (6 of 8) - Quick Form Tips

This article originally appeared in a series called "Punting Pointers" at this link. We want to share it with our customers as it is very important advice to help you bet better.

6 - Quick Form Tips.png

This is part six of an eight-part series aimed at educating punters to help take their wagering to the next level. Brad Gray sought the insights of five of the most respected industry figures when it comes to punting, form analysis and bookmaking.

Not all punters have the luxury of being able to commit hours and hours to doing the form every week.

Hypothetically you’ve got 10 minutes up your sleeve, so how best do our experts suggest you use that short period of time?

Do sectionals, speed maps, odds come into play? What elements of the form guide will be of the greatest use to find a few winners?


Dominic Beirne (@domran)

You won’t get anywhere with one 10 minute interval but if you only had 10 minutes to do it every week you’ve got to be learning something.

Your practice has to amount to something. It’s a circular process like teaching oneself to play golf.

Every now and then the ball flies off the club. It’s no use patting yourself on the back though, you’ve got to look back on what you did differently.

Did I have the grip a bit different? Did I take the club back further? Did I follow through properly? What was it about that swing that made the ball come off so well?

So if you are only going to spend 10 minutes doing the form and go to the races to bet those horses, it’s extremely important to know what you did in those 10 minutes to come up with the answers.

Take time to identify the factors that you gravitated to when you picked a winner or loser and take notes of these. After a few short weeks, you’ll have a satisfactory record.

In your 10 minutes of doing form you might focus only on jockey stats or distance stats, for example, you may have focused on these factors and three of the four horses you gravitated towards all shortened in the market which tells you that other people, the smarter public, generally speaking, liked those things.

So if you are spending 10 minutes before the races, you’ve got to spend 10 minutes after. That’s the only way to advance yourself. To know why occasionally the ball flies off the club perfectly.


Rob Waterhouse (@RobWaterhouse)

You’d buy a train ticket to the races!

There are a million strategies and ideas. One of them is finding someone who is smart and backing the same horse. That’s a winning strategy.

You can find all sorts of ideas. Backing at the jockeys nipping at the heels of the top jockeys isn’t a bad one. It’s not hard to win at the races…

The SP is very accurate but not perfect and I think it has always been accurate but not perfect.

Perhaps it’s become a little more accurate over the years because people do a better job doing the form.



Nathan Snow (@snowbet)

One of the key things I look at are the maps and that was always the thing that took time and you had to know the horses.

Now Racing NSW are publishing speed maps, they are a great starting point if you’ve got limited time. I’d take a look at them and then assess from there which sort of horses will get the good runs and the bad runs.

There is a pace comment on there suggesting which ones will be suited. Then I’d look for a good jockey that’s on a runner that has form over the distance.

I think form over the distance is underrated. Different distance races are often run at different tempos and horses can be specific at the distance ranges they like.

You look for 1000m horses. 1100m and 1200m horses. 1300m and 1400m you can group. 1500m and 1600m you can group. There is another break to 1900m to 2100m and then another break to 2400m plus.

RNSW speed map for the Villiers Stakes

RNSW speed map for the Villiers Stakes


Daniel O’Sullivan (@TRBHorseRacing)

First thing I’d say is to start with the early markets. Look at the top two chances in each race and note those that will race up in the lead. Give an extra bonus to those that jump from middle to wide barriers.

I say to people if you are going to the races for a day, look for favourites that look like they’ll lead. Or second favourites that look like they’ll lead.

Wide drawn horses are profitable, leaders are profitable, horses in the market are more profitable than long shots and obviously, you’ve got a much better chance of collecting so there’s fewer horror losing runs.

We spend 60 hours a week doing the form but if you follow those principles, have got a really good market sense, and can get really good prices for your horses, you probably don’t need to do much more to squeeze out a reasonable profit.

If you backed every favourite at top fluctuation you’d make a small profit every year and I’ve said for years that the average hobby punter's best chance of profiting is backing metro favourites.

It’s by far and away the easiest path to making a profit. Sometimes we want to complicate it by being fancy but the principles of success don’t need to be.


Where you'll find the Racing NSW speed maps:



John Walter (@J_Walter23)

Doing cheat form is the answer to the question. What I’d do is focus on the shortest-priced favourites and have a look at those races, trying to pick holes in them.

If I can find a race where I don’t like the favourite I’d target it and the easiest way to do that would be by starting with a map. Work out where they’ll be and who is vulnerable.

It’s not easy but if you can pinch somebody else's good maps and then go through the prices and find vulnerable favourites there might be some value.

At least you know with the Racing NSW speed maps that they are not automated. Thought has gone into them and adjustments are being made whereas a lot of the other ones you’ll find out there are produced off sectionals.

You know that trainers and jockeys are looking at it and it is going to influence them, believe it or not, so there are few better out there.