Monday, 28 October 2019

Does the Betting Indicate the True Chance of Winning?


One thing all racing pundits love to mention is market movers.  

You know the score, horses which have been heavily backed or those big drifters. Is finding winners and losers as simple as watching the market? Well, clearly this is a very complex subject and one most punters have little understanding. I say this, because, unless you have statistical data to back up your opinion is it worth a jot?

Being a graduate in Psychology I learned enough to remember this simple maxim: ''Without objective testing theories are only guesses however good.''

Like it or not, that is 100% true. 

Without question, the betting market is telling us something. However, to what extent? Is it enough to make us cold, hard cash or just another one of the many promotional/marketing techniques to sway punters up a blind alley? 

I worry about any information promoted by bookmakers or horse racing publications as most of their revenue comes from bookmakers who are far from unbiased. They have many wonderful ways of addling the mind. 

So what do I know? In general, I have little idea about market movers. It is such a broad topic of conversation that it is difficult, if not impossible, to make a judgment based on fact. I'm sure if someone has the data to back up their opinions. 

My niche is two-year-old racing

I'm big on data because it is objective. I'm often surprised what an hour or two of research details. I'd rather understand the chance of XYZ if it saves me wasting my cash on a poor bet. And until we understand what the data is saying we are at the mercy of someone who knows better. Can you afford to be the naive punter who is waiting to be taken advantage of by an informed layer? That's the reason for knowing your niche. You cannot know it all for two reasons:
  • There simply isn't enough time.
  • Why do you need to know everything when you can double your knowledge by simply doubling your stake.
Each to their own, but I think punters are selling themselves short by betting on everything!

From studying two-year-old horse racing I've learned a thing or two (I still have lots to learn). From what I understand, the majority of horses are priced by the trainer. Clearly, this is related to the level of horse they train. However, each horse is (and must) be judged on its own merit. Even the smallest trainers get a good one if they train long enough. Often they are short in the betting. 

But do they win or lose?

However, there are exceptions to every rule and it is a mistake to consider that every short-priced horse means it is a winner waiting to happen. In particular, one trainer comes to mind. Brian Meehan is an intriguing trainer of two-year-olds and especially debutantes. Meehan's two-year-old debutantes at short odds are poor bets. I'm not saying they can't run a race and be placed but the chance of winning is unlikely. They are, without question, not priced to chance whatever the market may tell you. 

In contrast, Michael Dods is one of those trainers who can spring a surprise with his two-year-old debutantes at huge odds. They go very well at big odds, especially when racing at auction class on testing going. 

So does the betting indicate the true chance of winning? 

It does to a point (probably). To understand the truth of the matter you need to find the data to back up your opinions. It is remarkable how few punters do their own research. This is a mistake and reason why most gamblers are betting on hunches or flawed opinion. If you follow the crowd you will most likely lose. When most people lose at gambling you need to keep away from the opinion of the populous. 

To win at gambling you cannot afford to follow the crowd. For that reason, I would steer away from market mover (backed) unless you have the information to assess this data. In truth, I would rather consider those horses which drift in the market. Once again, this should be backed up with statistical data. 

Research is the key. Very few people bother to dig a little and find that golden nugget of information which sits in the pay dirt just below the surface. 

Good luck to all.