Randwick Review – April 25th

by darryn on April 27, 2015

Randwick Review by Todd Burmester
Race 1

1st Painted Firetail – James McDonald
2nd Stravigo – Sam Clipperton
3rd Dane Slugger – Brodie Loy

The Two-Year-Olds went around in race one and Painted Firetail was favourite. He jumped well from the outside, but there were plenty kicking through to its inside and he drifted back to third and fourth last and was still wide. Mid race, Stravigo had a clear lead from Concubine, Lindwall was three wide and Fund Manager was out four deep. Before the turn, Painted Firetail started to track up on the back of Fund Manager and came widest once the straightened. Up the rise, Stravigo gave a big kick and for a few strides looked the winner but then Painted Firetail let go with a booming run and went to the lead inside the 100m mark and came away for a pretty soft and impressive win in the end. No excuses for the beaten brigade here, but the effort of Stravigo and Dane Slugger was good enough to suggest they will continue to race well.

Follow: Dane Slugger
(Click to continue reading…)


Trial Spy members webinar

by David on April 23, 2015

Dean held a members webinar this week to share his findings after reviewing close to 4000 Trial Spy bets over the past 2 years. He also covered questions from the survey and from members on the night, as well as his plan for the rest of 2015.

You can download a powerpoint file with four of the slides here.


Betting 360 Ep 080: Trial Spy

by Admin on April 22, 2015

Dean the Trial Spy employs a revolutionary approach to form assessment by focusing on barrier trials identify great priced winners and generate excellent long term profits.

He started the Trial Spy service with us in February 2013 and the consistent, long term success has been incredible, with over 460 units profit in just over 2 years. So we’re going to have a chat with Dean today about a variety of topics.

Punting Insights:

  • Why there is still a big edge betting on barrier trials
  • Some of the common mistakes most trial watchers make
  • What changes he’s made over the last 2 years
  • How exotics are incorporated into the service

Today’s Guest:
Dean Trial Spy

Get the Transcript:

>> Click here to read the transcript

David Duffield: I want to talk about the Trial Spy service. It’s one of the better known services we’ve got that’s for sure and definitely one of the most successful ones. What is your process in reviewing the trials?

Dean: I go through the trials in an intense level of detail that I would say few, if any, do. I do the form for a trial like I do for a race and do the form across all of the trials on a day, and set a picture of where I expect horses to finish within each trial, but also looking across say a set of 10 900m trials at Rosehill.
Also looking to see which trials I’m expecting to run quicker times as opposed to others, and identifying the class and speed ability and characteristics of each runner so that I know what I expect. Then it’s a case of often looking for what surprised me or wasn’t expected, the sneaky trial that others missed. Watching each trial over and over again multiple times to view each runner individually. Knowing the form of each runner and utilising sectional data that isn’t publicly available verifying across two independent sources. That enables me to do it at a level that others simply don’t bother with. You get to know the horses and their ability level, their improvement levels from preparation to preparation, and their idiosyncrasies really well. It’s then a case of taking into consideration the nuances of various trainers.
The trainers whose horses and good triallers are generally over-bet, versus those who are under-bet. The existing class of the horse, the times they ran, how much they were or weren’t exerted, and where they’re likely to head in their preparation. I then determine whether they fit the criteria of the horse that we want to follow for their preparation, which is essentially a horse whose speed or class isn’t truly reflected in their existing form.

David Duffield: Most edges gradually disappear over time but that hasn’t appeared to be the case with the Trial Spy. Why do you think there is still such a big edge doing barrier trials?

Dean: I think for a long time the performances in barrier trials were enormously undervalued. Very few people were watching them, and the ones that were probably weren’t aware of the value of what they were seeing.
These days, most of the largest pundits in Australia are data-driven. That creates a great opportunity. Speaking with these guys directly or listening to them speak, they all admit that they simply can’t find an acceptable way to incorporate trials into their figures. The horses aren’t running for prize money. They aren’t all trying. The jockeys are carrying different weights. They simply can’t find a way in their data or rigid computer-driven calculations with little to no human intervention to incorporate trial performances into their numbers. They either don’t incorporate it at all, or some databases or computer ratings try and incorporate it based on the times run without any additional input, which is clearly flawed, or they watch a trial once and try to fudge some sort of manual overlay in there, but probably they’re not putting the relevant time and effort into it.
They’re simply getting it wrong, either under-cooking or over-cooking the manual adjustment they should be placing in there. The opportunity for me sometimes gets even greater.
This creates the huge opportunity because, as all the different punters compiling ratings try to outdo each other with their own version of the same thing, their own speed rating or class rating or speed map or various methodologies, we’re able to sit back and wait for the great opportunities when the data that both the ratings guys and the bookie analysts, I suppose, that are setting the markets are using to price up a horse, simply doesn’t reflect the horse’s true ability, whether that’s going up or down, or their improvement from preparation to preparation.
Coupled with the fact that most people watching trials don’t really know what they should be looking for, or avoiding. Even if they think they do, that gives us the big edge.

David Duffield: Over the last couple years, what changed because there’s a lot more focus on barrier trials but that maybe the focus can be in the wrong places? How has that evolved, and how is that impacting dividends?

Dean: I know as a result of the webinar I did in February 2013, a couple years ago and the subsequent success of the service people definitely started to realise how important the trials were. The interesting swing I saw develop was a lot of horses who trialled well, or at least in quick time, that used to be great value but were suddenly being over-bet as others tried to jump on the bandwagon and start watching trials and were finding the obvious horses that everyone is finding and hints of being over-bet. They’re still sort of missing a real goal, which is often the hidden trial performances.
I’ve had to slightly adjust. Now there’s more of a focus on value priced winners, and profit over a strike rate, in particular in the earlier days, the service focused a lot on finding the absolute crème de la crème with trials that were young two-year olds and maiden horses that were clearly going to break through their maidens. We definitely still do that, as it’s easy money a lot of the time, but as the service has grown and developed we’ve expanded our reach and are now finding winners at outstanding prices through finding ability in those horses that everyone else has missed.
This year, 2015 alone, from limited data we’ve had winners such as Mark and Mary, $61 recorded, well, that was $67 fixed at the time of the SMS and ended up paying $84 best tote. In his last two runs that had run last, beating 9.5 lengths and 9th beaten 6 lengths.
We found another winner at $31 had been beaten a combined 12 lengths in his first two starts. Bourgeoisie at $18, Dr Sykes at sort of $15 recorded was around $17 at the time of the SMS which was beaten 5 lengths on debut and just Sunday we had a very unlucky second, just beaten a head of $21 and another had run 7th and last of two debut runs.
These are horses you usually will never find through traditional ratings or databases or computer programs or any other tipping services usually. They’re only found through the work that I do. The interesting part is, even though watching the trials and missing the Mark and Mary, at $61 had been beaten 5 lengths running last in his recent Oxbury trial, his last trial. Dylan Rock’s , his last two trials had run 6 both times and beaten 9.5 lengths cumulatively.
We’re identifying winners at big prices that no one else is on.

David Duffield: There’s been a fair bit of change recently with TVN closing and other racing websites changing. Will that help or hinder what you do?

Dean: It’s a credit to Racing Victoria and Racing New South Wales for the addition of video form for those trials and races these days is a significant improvement to what was available in the past.
My preference is to watch them on TV all at once though, rather than online trial by trial. TVN was great. The coverage was excellent. The trial days were repeated regularly with the ability to series link and record them. I guess my main beef with Sky Channel and hopefully someone from there is listening, is a lack of the replays of the trials they have. They’ve introduced live trials with analysis which I watch on mute as the guys providing the commentary don’t really sort of know what they’re supposed to be looking at. But, it takes two hours to record that and they don’t provide any replays.
On a rare occasion they do offer replays it sort of can’t be series linked sort of then you’ve got to check every day to see if there are any recordings otherwise you’ve got to go watch it online or sort through tapes. My preference would be for them to ditch the live showing for the trials and focus on multiple replays through the trials and the ability to record them as a series, obviously, would help what I do and make sense.
I think the other element with Victoria is the trials aren’t compulsory for debutantes like they are in New South Wales. I think compulsory trialing would help stimulate larger punting dollars on those early 2 year old racers in Victoria and maidens as well. I understand sort of the Victorian history with no trials with loud owners and connections to gain an advantage and land plunges on their runners. But, the prizemoney they’re racing for is provided by the punting dollar.
I’m surprised they don’t look to compulsory trials there. The other one that I’d like to see continued is the progression of greater information with the inclusion of jump out results in form guides like they do for trials. The replays of some jump outs are available online as a sort of a listing of the horses, but it’s still sort of cloak and dagger. If they added that final step of including jump out results in the form guides I think that would aid punters and contribute positively to betting turnover which helps the whole industry as a whole.

David Duffield: Well, you’re preaching to the converted here there’s no doubt about that. You mentioned before about some recent winners we’ve had but … Over the last couple of years, a key part of service has been some of the plunges that you’ve landed.

Dean: Yeah, we’ve had some big ones. Plenty of them. I guess a couple that come to mind such as Allez Cheval they bet us as much as $21 early and it SP’d $3.20 favorite and won. Even recently, we had one just a few days ago, Legendary Luke that we sent out as a free newsletter tip in the Champion Picks newsletter and it was $9.50, or you know $10.00 when we sent it out, started around $3.50 and saluted. It’s great fun for the members landing the big plunges when the bookies get it very wrong and it obviously demonstrates the big edge we have taking advantage of bookie areas and significant mispricing that happens regularly.

David Duffield: What changes have you had to make over the last couple of years?

Dean: Yeah it’s the ever-changing sort of betting landscape. We’ve made a number of enhancements and improvements as we’ve gone along. You’ve got to keep evolving and proving what you do to stay ahead or else to get swallowed up. I’ve had to ensure we’re always sort of two steps ahead of the market. I continually perform bits of analysis on various factors impacting the horses we back and make adjustments based on what the data’s telling me.
Recently, I’ve been analysing close to 4,000 individual bets across 100 different form factors or variables which has given me great insight as to where our key strengths are and where we can improve which in turn has helped me assess where horses are being over bet and hence identify runners we can avoid in the future.
While the rest of the trial watchers are falling into the trap of backing these types we are sort of benefiting by simply saving units by not backing them. Or, winning further by betting around them.
We had an example just last week of a horse who was heavily backed into odds on in a Gosford Maiden as it had trialled well, winning it’s last Warwick Farm trial in the clear cut fastest time of 14 trials on the day. But it failed a few of the key criteria I look at. We’re all on Big Bloopa who won the race.
We recorded $10 but it’s about a $12 to $13 at most of these. The analysis has been of great assistance in many ways, such as identifying false favorites. Another element, a lot of members as a result of the success of the service started getting banned by various bookies as you’d expect.
We try to reduce the early bets where possible. The majority of our bets are in New South Wales and the minimum bet regulations in New South Wales have meant that we’re now waiting until 9 am to send the bets which ensures that every single member can get set regardless of whether they’ve been banned or restricted with the bookies forced to take their bets up to the minimum levels. That’s a big positive. There’s talk that Victoria may be looking at following in their footsteps in the near future. I think that would be no-brainer and hopefully they do.
I also think, the key to success in betting is not just who to back. That’s one element but when to bet, how much to bet, and where are incredibly important also.
The majority of the services simply give you the horse. The next level might be to give you a rated price but without a recommended stake it’s really leaving you to your own devices. The next level, again, I think is offering a recommended stake and how much of your bank to bet.
But, I think providing advice on when to bet and where to bet is what really sets the service apart. With the selections that we provide, it’s not just the horse to back but how much to have on it, it’s current price, and when and where we suggest backing it immediately or monitoring and waiting and taking some best tote, Centrebest or Betfair SP.
I’m specific and I always record the price at whatever the first recommended option was. If the price gets crunched quickly then I record the price at the next fluctuation down.
To be honest, that level of clarity and transparency and fairness is, I think, sorely lacking in 99% of the services out there. I think it sets the benchmark for fairly recording prices is acting exactly on the advice given with no mystery about it. But, also recognizing that if the price goes quickly, that an adjustment is fair.
Also, we do a weekly wrap at the end of each week going over selections and how they performed. Also restricting members has been the other facet. We haven’t done a public intake for 15 months. That’s been to protect members and their dividends.
Again, I’m not aware of any other service that has genuinely restricted members in that way for their benefit.

David Duffield: One thing that probably hasn’t changed so much is it’s very difficult to get out of your blackbook if you want to call it that although it’s quite a bit more involved than that. But once you’ve identified a horse as one you want to be on from a trial, you keep backing it and quite doggedly so.

Dean: Yeah, there’s certainly some that fall out. When they’ve run out of excuses, but I continue to test the numbers around how often do we back a horse and whether continuing to push forward makes sense. A lot of people back a horse and maybe give it one run or two runs, but my analysis shows that the 3rd run is just as profitable if not more profitable than the first and second time.
It’s definitely a big benefit that we have is people, once they start dropping off a horse they might have had genuine excuses in its races, they sort of forget about the trial, whereas because I’ve done so much detailed work on the trial I know the horse’s ability there. Often, it’s just a gear change or just a different jockey or just getting up to the right distance, just different circumstances that the horse needs to display it’s true ability and so we’ve got a lot of big price winners that way, simply by sticking on when the others drop off.

David Duffield: One thing that has changed though is there’s now a live page and a pretty detailed resources section for members.

Dean: Yeah we introduced a live page recently. We aim for once a week when we’ve got a reasonably busy day which is gives a chance for members to ask any questions of me directly, whether it’s about the day’s betting or any general questions regarding the service or betting in general. It’s been really great to interact with members that way and celebrate some of the wins together. That team atmosphere that we’ve got going as a close knit group working together to smash the bookies and to hell with the education. That’s something that I’m really passionate about. We’ve got a member resources page with FAQ’s and various interviews and webinars, reviews and educational material about how to get the best dogs and avoiding getting banned by a bookie and various other pieces of information to help assist members and get the most out of their betting, not only with the trial spy service but with their own betting and any other services they may follow.

David Duffield: What about exotics? How do you incorporate those into the trial spy service?

Dean: My belief is every race is a unique challenge. I treat every race as a strategy. You know your aim is to maximize your profits in each race and minimize variance by protecting your bank as much as you can with every investment.
I believe it makes sense to use all of the available betting options in a race strategy to maximize profits. I believe that it’s simply betting to win only restricts you and in some races simply makes no sense. I’m not a fan of betting 4 units to win 5. I do believe you can take slight unders and save. The Kelly criterion which is widely accepted as the best staking methodology to win long-term actually allows us to save as and betting on slight unders on the racing price in certain circumstances.
Yeah, sometimes we only back one horse to win the race and that’s it. Sometimes we might back two or three in a race to win. Sometimes we back and save. Sometimes we back one horse each way. At times, we use exactas and trifectas, either as saver bets or as additional profit opportunities.
It’s just a case of trying to apply the best strategy to each unique situation given the mixture of my own rated prices compared with the markets and the number of genuine sort of win and place chances I believe there are in a race. Certainly with maidens and two year olds you get races where there are horses that are simply panels above the rest. A number of runners in a race who can’t pick their feet up and you can eliminate easily.
My approach with exotics is to try and find races where either my either rated prices are markedly different to the market, which creates an opportunity, or, when I’m confident that there’s a few runners who are clearly above the rest of the field and will likely will strike the dividend is relatively high. My preferred strategy for the likes of the exactas and trifectas is to find those races, also where there’s a false favorite or even the first couple of betting are vulnerable. We’re also have identified some runners who are given good chance winning and knocking off favorites is far greater than the market price indicates. There can be situations that happen a lot with our selections where the favorite or favorites have a winning chance.
You might not necessarily want to bet heavily to take them on, but at the same time, it’s too expensive or doesn’t make sense to back the runners who are keen on it and save on the favorites as the outlay may be too much compared to the potential return.
It’s those sorts of situations where often my preferred strategy is to take a boxed exacta or trifecta that I’m really confident that let’s say, 5 horses in a maiden race are so far superior with everything else in the race that I’m really confident if our selections are going to run 1, 2, 3, and I believe that they are vulnerable.
Often, in that situation, the favorite does win. You might break even or make a very small loss but if the favorite get beat you can get some enormous dividends. We’ve done this successfully for over 60 units on exotics by implementing that strategy. We’ve got $3700 trifectas, $1100 trifectas, $390 exacts and a multitude of others for around $6,000 profit on exotics alone for our average members.
They can be very lucrative as is with all forms of betting, if you find an edge with which to use and they’ve been a valuable addition to the portfolio and enabled some very good profits.

David Duffield: Our guys like the exotics winners, but also backing horses early that end up at Group one level. That’s been something that’s happened on a few different occasions.

Dean: Yeah we found a number of future stars before they were famous, if you like. We identified Zoustar who we backed on debut to win at $7.50 and we went on to back him 5 times for 4 wins including winning the Golden Rose for us at $16. He won us over 30 units on his own. Horses like Mossfun who we backed 3 times for 3 wins. We backed Vancouver on debut to win. We backed Pride of Dubai in the Blue Diamond. Also, Rudy, we’ve backed since debut and in 5 of his wins for over 23 units profit.
We backed future Group One stars like Brazen Beau, Hampton Court, Alma Lad, Chatauqua and Terravista in their early days. Members really love backing these horses, mostly on debut before anyone is aware of their true ability and following them through their career as they reach the top level.

David Duffield: Excellent. Well, we’ll leave it there for now. We really appreciate you coming on for the first time and one of the reasons is obviously, we’ve got the service open for a limited time.
By limited, we definitely mean that’s the case because we can’t take many hundreds of people to sign up because that will just flood the market. We’ve restricted it to the last 16 months. There hasn’t been any opportunity to get on board but there is now.
That might last for a day or a couple of days we’re not sure but at maximum it will be 3 days in total. It’s a good chance to join the service that’s made massive profits in … well, a good period of time before going live with us and then in the almost 2 1/2 years that you’ve been with us.
It’s 460 units profit which is a massive return so it’s highly profitable, highly enjoyable for all the members and Dean is absolutely committed to helping you win so there’s a hell of a lot of information that goes out each and every week and quite a few winners to go along with that so it’s a good opportunity to get on board. You can hear from Dean’s chat today that he certainly knows what he’s talking about.
Thanks for joining us today, Dean. Was there anything else you wanted to talk about just before we wrap it up?

Dean: That’s all. Thanks for having me on and I look forward to welcoming some new members for the first time in a very long time.

David Duffield:: Excellent.

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The Trial Spy service has delivered a massive 466 units profit since launching in early 2013.

That’s a total of $46,600 profit for the average member betting $100 per unit (based on a $10,000 betting bank) at a very impressive 13.5% Profit on Turnover

It has been closed to new subscribers for an extended period of time so that dividends were protected for existing members. In fact we haven’t had a public intake since January 2014.

But today we’re re-opening the doors for a very limited time.

Right now is the one and only opportunity to become a Trial Spy member in 2015 before we revert back to a waiting list until 2016.

Here is some of what you get as a Trial Spy member:
· Selections emailed to you daily with a write-up detailing why it has qualified and why today’s race is suitable
· Exact staking for your investments
· Recommendations on when and where to bet, with prices recorded fairly based on the recommendation given (and taken at next fluc down if the price disappears quickly)
· Profitable exotic betting strategies to maximize returns in addition to win & place including all ups, exactas, trifectas and first fours
· Substantial proportion of betting on NSW racing and with most bets sent after 9am so that even members with restricted or closed/banned betting accounts can get set thanks to the minimum bet rules
· Our Exclusive Profit Guarantee for both the 3 month and 12 month packages

This opportunity will be available until midnight Friday at the very latest. Please note though that in the past two intakes we have had to close the memberships earlier than advised and reserve the right to do so once again.

So don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to join what is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most proven and profitable selection services.

Choose a package below to start winning today: 


Weekend Racing Reviews – April 18th

by darryn on April 20, 2015

Caulfield Review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Marathon Series Final (4000m)

1st Jileks Spur – Nick Hall
2nd Coogan – Jake Bayliss
3rd Vihanna Victory – Dean Holland

Duplicity Jones worked his way to the lead after 200m or so from Stella’s Choice with Vihanna Victory taking the trail. Jileks Spur landed in good spot fourth ahead of Coogan. There was no action for basically an entire lap. The first to make a move was Jileks Spur and he slid up three wide at the 800m and joined Duplicity Jones soon after. Stella’s Choice dropped off and Coogan went around him as Vihanna Victory boxed on. They got away from the rest of the field. Jileks Spur took over on the turn, staying well off the fence, and raced well clear. Coogan ran into second and Vihanna Victory moved past the tiring Duplicity Jones late to grab third. Jileks Spur continued his superb form through the series and romped in.

Follow: none, though the winner is likely to go jumping. (Click to continue reading…)


How to bet our Victorian ratings

by David on April 17, 2015

A quick run-through of how to bet the Victorian ratings service is below.

The full results sheet can be downloaded here.


Big bonus bets at Palmerbet

by David on April 17, 2015

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Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell has been a regular podcast guest, most recently when he was celebrating the scintillating win of Protectionist in the Melbourne Cup.

A lot has happened since then so Luke is back to chat about Protectionist’s disappointing autumn campaign and plans for the future, how the overseas horses went overall and what’s next for finding imports.

Punting Insights:

  • Where to now for the dominant 2014 Melbourne Cup winner?
  • Why Hartnell and Contributer weren’t nearly as impressive as most people thought
  • A simple but effective way to find horses looking for more ground
  • Why this year’s 2yo crop is suspect
  • Luke’s thoughts on the best horse in Australia and an up-and-comer for the Cox Plate

Today’s Guest:
Luke Murrell

Get the Transcript:

>> Click here to read the transcript

David Duffield: Thanks for joining us again Luke. Now you’re probably a little bit flat because Protectionist never really hit his straps this time in, but what’s your take on his four autumn runs?

Luke Murrell: Yeah he’s always going to have a lot of pressure on him, that horse. To be brutally honest, I was absolutely gutted after Saturday. But on the flip side, on my ratings and how I measure horses and if I was buying horses, I’ve got him in the Australian Cup probably 2 lengths off his career best.
I thought his first up run was more than acceptable, so I was really happy with those 2. BMW run, really happy with, again. Something about this horse is he won’t go around corners, hence those bigger Randwick and Flemington tracks are certainly his go.
He probably lost a little bit of momentum in the BMW and if he hadn’t drawn 12, any other barrier would probably have 2 pairs closer, and he runs a place, and everyone says, “It’s the flashing light”.
I was really happy with the runs, up until that point. Then, the highs of the Melbourne Cup versus that on Saturday is a long way apart for me, and unfortunately, he’s come out of the race … He’s injured himself during the race, which explains his performance.
Overall, I was happy enough with the horse. He’s earned a hundred grand for the prep, and the horse showed to us that he was racing at his absolute … Well, close to his peak. That’s all positive going forward. The big thing for us is coming out of today. He goes and gets some dye through his system and it highlights any hot spots, or where he’s actually hurt himself.
That’s an unknown, whether it’s a minor or serious, but we’re not thinking it’s career threatening, so that’s positive, but yeah, it was very different emotions, I can tell you that.

David Duffield: So early in the prep, he had a fair bit of market support and was seen by some to be disappointing, but you’re saying you were happy with those runs right up until Saturday?

Luke Murrell: Yeah, absolutely. I think what you’ve got to appreciate is that if you go yourself for a run out on the road, and we ask you to sprint from the moment you leave your door and sustain that for such a long period of time, there’s very few athletes in the world that can do that.
A lot of people have got to remember that the 1800m and the Australia Cup were never his main aims, but if we have a look at the tempo of those races were run, they were run at suicide type speeds.
For a horse that hadn’t raced for a while, to ask him … And you’ve got to watch him in the run. The horse is, at his top speed, sort of 100m, 200m, once they’ve left the gates, so I think they were really credible to finish as close as he did, we were really thrilled with.
I could not believe the market support for the first … Well, probably all runs this prep. Especially the first 2 or 3. It certainly wasn’t sort of stable inspired. Look, the horse was going really well, but you only had to watch him pull up and come back to the yard.
He needed the runs, and we fully expected that. We didn’t want to overtax him. He’s got a big 12 months coming up. It was never a target, they were more a kick off and give him a pipe-opener and really setting him for that BMW and Sydney Cup.
Just that suicide pace … It was funny, because in New South Wales, they absolutely crawled in all of the weight for grade races, and down in Melbourne, they went sort of “Bat Out Of Hell”.
That was good in one way, because it gave him a good grounding to come up to Sydney. He came out of the really rock hard sort of races, but unfortunately we drew the outside in the BMW and had to go back to last.
Who Shot Thebarman and Protectionist were probably the best 2 runs in that BMW race, considering the lack of tempo. Thebarman obviously went very close Saturday, so we weren’t disappointed with the horse at all. I can’t believe some of the knockers.
I suppose when you win a Melbourne Cup in that sort of fashion, everyone expects you just to be an out and out superstar, which we’ve still got him as, but unfortunately he’s had a lot of racing prior to us getting him and we were not displeased at all with his efforts. It’d be nice to be winning those races, and on the ratings … On mine, he sort of wins 7 out of the last 10 Australia Cups, and 7 out of the 11 BMW’s.
His runs were good. It was just, unfortunately, he had a race shape that didn’t suit him for the stage of the prep he was at and probably, to be fair, some really decent depth and quality fields that we probably haven’t seen in recent times, anyway.

David Duffield: Assuming that it’s not a major injury, you talked about the big plans for him over the next 12 months. Have you narrowed that down? Do you know what you’re going to do?

Luke Murrell: Yeah, look, a lot of it will obviously depend on today’s results but we’re, at this stage, going to stay here and he’ll probably have something like a sort of a kickoff in say something like a Chelmsford at Randwick, then I think there’s the Hill Stakes at Randwick. That’ll take him into a Caulfield Cup and then a Melbourne Cup.
Then, the plan certainly after that is to look abroad. Whether it’s Dubai thereafter and then onto Europe, and probably after that, depending on how he’s going, we’ll look to retire him. He’s worth a lot of money at stuf and he’s got a really pedigree there, so that should remain in demand.

David Duffield: A lot of your work involves assessing the overseas horses. Were you expecting the kind of performances that we saw from say, Hartnell and Contributor?

Luke Murrell: Yeah, it’s really funny. I actually had Contributor bought, so he’s always been a bit of a bogey horse, and at the last minute, the Shiekh came in and doubled my offer so I’ve followed him very closely.
Do you know what? I think for both of those horses, as good as they’ve been, they’ve been very flattered. Contributor especially is one horse that I think is a mile or 2000m horse but he’s just absolutely devastating off no tempo. In all 3 of his top runs this prep, he got that.
I think we saw in Melbourne in the Spring, when he was in those races that were truly run, it dulled his turn of foot. I’m not saying he’s one dimensional, but he’s very much suited to that weight-for-age sit. Especially in Sydney racing it seems to be hold up, hold up, and then sprint for the last 800.
He’s shown he’s got the best turn of foot, probably in Australia, over that type of race shape. That really suits him, and Hartnell’s probably a little bit in the same category.
I was very surprised he started $1.60 in the Sydney Cup. If you look at his sectionals in the BMW, he had the 2nd or 3rd slowest last 200m of the race and one point that I use a lot of reference on is, if you watch the horses passed the post, especially in those staying races, you can get a guide for their inclination if they’re going to get further.
He was probably the first horse passed the post, that stopped as quickly as he did. In that particular race you had Protectionist and WhoShotThebarman, and they were sort of 4 in front of him, probably 100m passed the post.
I think that’s a very good point. When you’re looking at horses, will it handled a step up in trip if you go back and watch that.
And, it wasn’t run at a suicide tempo. I would suggest that Contributor’s … I laid him heavily, a place in the Queen Elizabeth. I’d suggest, going forward for a Cox Plate or a tempo race like that, he’s just got no hope.
Unfortunately, in Europe when he got in those races as well, he failed at it. A lot of our racing is sit and sprint. He’ll win plenty more races, but he needs the right race shape, and Hartnell’s a bit the same, he can handle a little bit faster tempo, but I don’t think he’s the next … Some of the reports are saying … Making out he’s the next Phar Lap reincarnated, but they’re not those type of horses. They’re very explosive, if they get their right race shape.

David Duffield: What about the Japanese horses? There was some mixed results there and also some mixed luck for them in terms of the track conditions.

Luke Murrell: Very much so. I’m a big fan of Japanese racing, you’ve only got to watch their racing, and they make our Pacific Highway look like a soft track, some of those tracks over there. It’s just phenomenally hard.
Most of those tracks over there, every race you’re seeing dust fly up. I think for the horses that … There’s a lot to be said for the lushness and the thickness of certain tracks.
While it’s visually very pleasing to the eye, these horses would never have raced on tracks where there’s that much thickness of grass. If you picture The Cleaner, I think The Cleaner would do exceptionally well in Japan racing because that’s their style of racing over there. They just run, and run, and keep running through brick walls. They’re not “ride pretty”. You get a lot of French horses that are … Some of their races, they don’t sprint until the 400m mark. They ride pretty and just sprint home.
The Japanese are going from the gates. I felt they probably selected 2 jockeys this time that tried to ride them like Australian horses, and I think that really came back and bit them on the bum.
They were trying to ride horses that are high-cruising, high-tempo speed horses. They were trying to hold them up and ride them pretty. I don’t think that helped them at all. I don’t think we ever saw the proper Japanese horses. That Real Impact is a very good horse, and I would have suggested if he’d ran in the Queen Elizabeth he would have beat Criterion again.
He’s obviously had the best performance out of all those horses that arrived, but to be fair he was the 4th stringer when they come. They’ve walked away very happy. It’s why you find a lot of the Japanese horses fail to do well in France, because if the French jockeys get on them over there and “hold them up, hold them up”, and these horses are used to running through pain thresholds at the 1000m mark and just keep running on.
We saw in the Caulfield Cup, even though it looked a tough run, that horse is out there travelling and travelling well and they just keep coming. The point that I use a reference on … If they’d had more of a front-running rider on them, and a more aggressive rider, I think they would have got a lot better, and different results.
Someone not scared to ride outside the norm. A guy like a James McDonald or a Brenton Avdulla or even Jimmy Cassidy. He’s not the rider that he was, but his daring tactics where he doesn’t care what everyone else does. I think they needed that or possibly to even bring their own jockey.
It’d be interesting to see whether they come again or not. They took a fair chunk of our money. They were probably coming away all fairly pleased with the exception of World Ace. He was probably the horse that possibly was the 2nd best of them, behind that To The World.

David Duffield: Do you look closely at Japanese form to try and find imports that you could buy? I know, you’re trying to stay ahead of the game, and Germany was a focus there for a while because you thought it was undervalued and probably proved that with Protectionist, but is there much of an opportunity in Japan or the prize money too good over there?

Luke Murrell: Yeah, it’s so good. To be frank, I had a deal done on one of the Japanese that was here, but unfortunately he failed the vet yesterday so we couldn’t proceed. Well, he passed the vet, but we couldn’t proceed with 1 or 2 of the issues.
Yeah, the Japanese horses over there. A lot of people don’t know, but they actually have 2 divisions of racing over there. It’s a bit like the English Premier League. They’ll have the Premier League and then they’ll have the 1st Division.
So, horses based on their performances, get relegated up and down. In the top division, you’re racing for serious money. But, they’ve got maiden’s over there where they’re racing for $300,000 Aussie to the winner.
I think some stats put out the other day, the average amount of owners in a Japanese horse is 668, or 64 or something. That’s because their, what we’d probably classify as our Inglis Premier or Inglis Classic type horses, they’re selling over there for the equivalent of a million and 2 million dollars Aussie. And, they’re not the absolutely blue bloods, because they generally get kept by the Yoshida’s.
The different owners over there, so the prize money’s phenomenal, and therefore it just makes buying next to impossible, because those horses will go back over there and every race they’re racing for … Especially those Group 1 races, they’re all a million bucks to the winner type thing, so you get a bit of luck … Some of their Group 2’s are just phenomenal type money so it makes our Championship’s look enticing, but they’re certainly not jaw dropping compared to their standards.

David Duffield: So, you’ll stick to Europe?

Luke Murrell: Yeah, stick to Europe. It’s funny at the moment. Throughout the world, I think, the older horse crop or division are almost non-existent. I’m really close on a horse in England that we’re trying to buy half of to bring to the Melbourne Cup.
I remember 4 or 5 years ago you used to have 15 or 20 proper Group 1 horses. But, just through injuries and probably some of the foal crops not standing up, there’s just not that depth of older horses in Europe at the moment.
I think any sort of proper Group 1, world class Group 1 horses, they’re few and far between. Very interested this year to see what comes through in the 3 year old’s because a lot of the good horses have either broke down or retired.
Interesting to see the British Horse Racing Authority put out a paper yesterday saying, they want to try and limit or ban, or they’ve got to improve English racing because they feel they’re losing too many of their better horses to the Southern Hemisphere, but I don’t see their best ones being bought to come down here.
It’s interesting that they’re starting to get a bit worried about it. Watching some races at the moment, and there’s 1500 pounds to the winner. A race, sorry. So, there’s 1000 pounds to the winner.
Makes it very hard up there. You’ve got to have plenty of surplus money to even contemplate going into horse racing up there. The syndicates aren’t as popular as what they are down here, most of our horses these days are owned by 10-20 people but it’s very much a royalty up there. That’s the big worry I have. I think New South Wales is really trying to make horse racing elite and I think that’s probably the wrong direction.
Victoria has probably done it better where they’re trying to encourage every man and his dog to enter racing. The elitism up in Europe has really come to bite them on the bum, with some very strange decisions.
It’s good that there’s money around, but I think for us, we’ll just stick to Germany, and Ireland, and France. They’re the 3 places that I think there’s still some value, if you can get in and get them early.
We’ve changed our system slightly this year to try and identify a couple more. They seem to be winning all of our major staying contests year after year, the imports, so I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to change.

David Duffield: So, just back to the local scene then and the Spring’s not all that far away. Is there one local horse that you’d love to own? I don’t necessarily mean one that you’re targeting, but one that you think is set for a big Spring?

Luke Murrell: Not really. My personal opinion is the 2 year old crop that we’ve seen at present is very suspect. I use my parameters more based on, will these 2 year olds develop into proper Group 1 weight-for-age horses, and the only one I think that ticks that box is Vancouver.
Horses like Pride of Dubai, they’re looking very flat to the eye. They just haven’t done it. Hallowed Crown, no, but he’ll be off to stud.
It’s interesting. A lot of these studs are now getting involved. You see Deep Field retired. I’m tipping it won’t be long before Hallowed Crown’s off to stud. The horse of Snowden’s, Shooting To Win he’s sort of dropped right off the radar.
There’s a lot of international money now coming into our market. You’ve got these Yanks that have come in and bought the Yallambie down in Victoria. I know they’re very keen to try and buy some stallion prospects.
For mine, the best horse in Australia is Chautauqua. He’s just world class and I think, on what I do, he could even be a word class miler, but there’s probably no need for him. He’s a gelding, and he’s just obviously clearly dominant over anything that we’ve got here.
He’s the one, but he’s obviously really obvious. I don’t think our 2 and 3 year old crops are as good as what we might think. I think it’s definitely proven that the Melbourne 3 year old’s prep with that Guineas, is far superior to the Sydney crop. I know that is sort of different to what the media was trying to make out, but Kermadec is the one with the big plus.
You’ve had horses like Wandjina. I really love that thing of McEvoy’s – t Alpine Eagle. The horse that ran 2nd in the Guineas. I think he’s an absolute … I think he’s one horse that you could back in a Cox Plate pretty confidently if they decided to head that way. He looks a proper horse.
You know, Wandjina those types, they’re just as good as your Kermadec’s and what not. It’ll be interesting. I’d love to see some proper 2 and 3 year old’s stand up and have a good year, because I don’t think we’ve had that for a while. The better ones we do have sort of end up off to stud.

David Duffield: That’s good. Opinionated as always. I like that, and I’m sure the people do, too. You don’t sit on the fence, and you tell it how it is. Or, how you see it, anyway.

Luke Murrell: Yeah.

David Duffield: Excellent. All the best for the scans today for Protectionist and for the Spring.

Luke Murrell: No problem. Thanks.

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Weekend Racing Reviews – April 12th

by darryn on April 13, 2015

Flemington review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Starlight Children’s Foundation (1200m)

1st Black Vanquish – Patrick Moloney 2nd My Poppette – Chris Parnham 3rd Zarabeel – Stephen Baster

Black Vanquish assumed the lead in the middle of the track with My Poppette right behind him. On their inside were Beachley, Overstay and Miss Cooper with Little Bita Spunk staying on the fence. Modrich had a trail behind My Poppette and Badcoe settled about midfield. Black Vanquish had most of them off the bit by the 400m and wasn’t called for until My Poppette started to loom. Modrich came off their backs but was a bit flat chasing and wider Zarabeel started to run on. Those on the inside weren’t in the hunt headed by Badcoe and Invincible Knight making a bit of ground. Black Vanquish saw off the challenge of My Poppette and coasted to an easy win. Zarabeel continued her run into third in a nice debut while Modrich had every chance. Invincible Knight wasn’t bad at his first start either.

Follow: none really stood out but like to see Invincible Knight again. (Click to continue reading…)


Saturday 4:35pm (Etihad Stadium) 

After demolishing North Melbourne in emphatic fashion in Round 1, Adelaide head to Etihad Stadium on Saturday to take on Collingwood. We were as surprised as anyone with Collingwood’s strong performance in Round 1, where they smashed Brisbane for three quarters before allowing the Lions to make the score line look respectable late. We were, like many, on Brisbane to cover the start. The line movement was strong, moving from -9.5 (that we tipped) to -15.5. While we did not get the result, we picked up where we left off last season, comfortably beating the closing line on our bet selection.

Following on from the theme of our podcast, we will provide some colour on how we have come up with our line projection for Collingwood v Adelaide, focusing on the two components of our pricing methodology:

  1. Initially, we run our statistical team based model, which crunches team based data from a selection of past matches (mainly from 2014) to come up with a team based line projection. We run this model multiple times, tweaking how much weighting each historic game gets. We focus on weighting previous matches between the two teams, and games where teams have a similar player rating to their named line-up for the weekend (if possible). Our team based model’s projection for this game, factoring in home ground advantage was Adelaide by 10 points.
  2. Next, we run the player based component of the model. We take the weighted average player rating of each team, based on the weightings we gave to each of their historic games that were inputs into the model. We then look at the relative strength of each team for the coming weekend compared to their weighted average strength input into the model, and make a mathematical line adjustment based on any differences.

Player adjustments: Refer to the graph below for point of reference

Collingwood adjustment: Collingwood lost one of the best midfielders in the competition in the offseason (Dayne Beams). Furthermore, new recruit Levi Greenwood, star midfielder Steele Sidebottom, and tough nut tagger Brent Macaffer are all out through injury. This leaves some serious holes in their line-up, which is well below the strength it played at in all bar one game in 2014 (where they were flogged by Hawthorn). Therefore, the weighted average of Collingwood’s player ratings input into the model is higher than their squad strength for the coming weekend. This leads to us making an adjustment to our line calculated using our team based statistics model.

Adelaide adjustment: Adelaide are playing at a similar strength to what they played at for the back half of the 2014 season (illustrated in the graph below), where their performance notably spiked as they made a run for the top 8. The team based model had greater weighting to these games, and limited weighting to their games in Round 6 and 7 where they were well below full strength. Overall, our weighted average of Adelaide’s player ratings input into the model was about on par with their team this weekend, therefore not requiring an adjustment.

Final Line = (Team based model projection) + (Home team adjustment) – (Away team adjustment) = Collingwood +24


Based on our projection, we rate the fair value of Adelaide -13.5 as $1.62. The $1.86 available at Pinnacle for subscribers therefore had an expected ROI of 15.4%, making them a solid value investment.

The line has now moved out to Adelaide -16.5 at Pinnacle, however at the improved odds of $1.93 there is still value there, with this bet having an expected ROI of 12.9%.

Prediction: Adelaide by 4 goals

Bet: Adelaide -16.5 @ $1.934 (Pinnacle)

Bonus content: 2014 match-up analysis

Round 9, Adelaide Oval. Line: Adelaide +14.5

As you can see in the graph above, Adelaide’s line-up was bolstered before their Thursday night showdown with Collingwood at Adelaide Oval last year. Our model identified this, and while almost being a bet without any player adjustments (given the strong home ground advantage to the Crows), we were a clear bet after adjusting for the Crows increase in player rating. The mug punters were all over Collingwood on game-day, obviously only remembering that Adelaide had lost to Melbourne on the same ground. This game was perfect example of how the public opinion can actually help in creating value in the market, and the importance of not having a one week memory.

Round 18, MCG. Line: Collingwood -2.5

Later in the year you can see the two teams met again, this time at the MCG. Adelaide were in good form, and the Pies were playing OK but not to the level of the first half of their season. Our team based model had Adelaide as the better side statistically, however with home ground advantage being with the Pies, we priced this as a 50/50 game. With player rating adjustments however, Adelaide experienced a slight increase, whereas Collingwood experienced a slight reduction, and this was enough to move our price to Adelaide being favourite making them a bet.

Get more information on our AFL betting tips.