A few months ago I shared with you a quick way of assessing the days racing using Timeform’s free race card tools via Betfair. As you are all probably aware things rarely stay static in this age of technology, and Timeform have recently updated their form reading platform with new graphics and features. The upside being, everything is now even easier to use because the navigation structure is much more fluent; very similar to the way the new Racing Post site works, but with the added advantage of being able to view accurate live Betfair odds for each race.
How many times have you looked at the betting forecast on the Racing Post website and then hopped over to Betfair only to find the runners arranged completely differently. Ok there are times when they are similar, but the live prices are a true representation of which horses are being supported and those which are friendless. Now we all know that this information alone is not the license to print money some would lead us to believe, but the fact that everything is in one place really does give us an instant overview of lots of inter connecting racing data.
In many respects the Racing Post copied Timeform`s original platform but made improvements to the navigation flow. As you would expect Timeform have responded by improving their existing model, and in my opinion they have made it much more user friendly than the RP, which undeniably is very good, but still a little cluttered.
With all this in mind let’s look at several ways to save masses of time when assessing races. If you don’t already use this approach, the following steps will get you up and running within minutes.
Head on over to Betfair.com, click on the >HORSE RACING tab. Once you’re on the racing homepage, click on the > FORM/RESULTS/STATS tab. This will bring up screenshot 1: Below…
The new Timeform racing homepage is excellent. Everything is laid out neatly to help you smoothly navigate your way through the days racing with ease.
1. Homepage – From here you can access all the days racing action.
2. Cards & Results – Access race cards & results for up to five days.
3. Form – Search the form of 10,000 horses, 20,000 jockeys and 5,000 trainers in UK, Ireland and US.
4. Detailed Race Cards – This opens up an overview of the days races in timed order. Simply click on any race time to view the betting forecast, form and live prices for that race (refer to screenshot 3 and 4).
5. Rapid Results Service – Up to the minute racing results.
6. Horse, Jockey, Trainer - Data mining feature which allows you to search the form of 10,000 horses, 20,000 jockeys and 5,000 trainers in UK, Ireland and US. To use this select the relevant tab and type in the horse, jockey or trainer you wish to research and hit go (refer to screenshot 2).
This extremely useful feature can help you profile horses, jockeys or trainers. Many commercially available software products charge for these kind of data mining features, thankfully these are free
7. Starting Soon – The most current races of the day.
8. First race of the day in the UK
Screenshot 2: Select the relevant tab, type in the horse, jockey or trainer you wish to research and hit go.
Screenshot 3: Click on any race time to view the betting forecast, form and live prices for that race.
10. Navigate race by time for the meeting.
11. Timeform 1-2-3 – Race reader prediction for the outcome of the race.
12. Course Info – Detailed specifics about the race course configuration, characteristics and which type of horse is suited to it.
13. Race Form – Overview of each runner, including draw, form, horse, age, weight/OR (official rating) Eqp (equipment) jockey trainer and the current back and lay prices.
14. Top course jockeys – Top course trainers - Statistical break down of the number of runs, wins, places and P&L figures for backing each to a level £1 stake.
15. Detailed runner information – Ticking these boxes shows –Timeform comments, recent form and pedigree for each horse.
Five steps to simplifying race reading with Timeform:
Timeform`s race tools offer great functionality to help you be more objective in your race assessment. Having said that 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 odds compilers.
Although it’s still worth bearing in mind that odds compilers regularly under or over estimate a horses chances because as well as obvious factors they also consider factors that can`t be quantified precisely such as horse improvement and trainer/jockey form.
Therefore it should be every punters aim to see if they can pick holes in the odds compilers opinions. Yes, they are skilful at accurately setting the odds for each horse in race, and in general these guys often point bettors to a small group of horses where the winner is likely to come from, BUT time and time again they don’t find definite winners of races often enough to make a profit from following their advice blindly. Race readers telling you a odds on shot will win; backed up by ten tipsters agreeing …WILL NOT make you any long term profits.
Taking all this into consideration you might 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 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, a bet maybe present as long as the current race conditions are relevant to your selections, which depending on your preference could give you options such as….
- 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 > http://www.oddschecker.com/betting-tools/dutching-calculator.html
- Lay the favourite (always try to obtain the best value odds) in my opinion nothing over 4.7 ever, it’s just not worth the risk! Learn how to set your liability up to a very manageable amount using Belfair’s FREE tools…
You can base a fixed liability around the stakes you’ve allocated in your betting bank. For example if your maximum lay odds are 4.00 and you want to risk no more than £10 per lay, simply click the liability link on your bet slip, type in 10 and hit OK. Betting this way can help keep loses to a minimum and won’t leave you overexposed on any single bet. Obviously with laying you need to have a decent strike rate to compensate for the losing bets.
1: Only look at one race code each day
There are generic similarities in all three race codes, but 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 hopers. 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 three to five in the betting forecast, depending on field size of course. Focus on the strong form contenders, if the favourite isn`t one of them then a lay bet maybe present.
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 three or five 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 two or even three horses that appear to be in with a chance, then it’s either a case of laying the weakest amongst them or backing the strongest contenders in a Dutch bet.