Weekend Racing Reviews – January 24th

by darryn on January 26, 2015

Moonee Valley review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Schweppes Handicap (1000m)

1st Royal Snitzel – Michael Dee
2nd Just Magical – Michael Walker
3rd Shaf – Craig Williams

Royal Snitzel was hard ridden out of the gates to try and cross but Bullpit and Swiss Rock kicked up underneath to keep her working. Stingray and Just Magical settled with good runs just off the speed. Royal Snitzel persisted and eventually worked up outside Bullpit. Coming to the turn Royal Snitzel looked to be under a heap of pressure but she responded and joined Bullpit. Just Magical had pulled out to make ground with Shaf coming four wide. Stingray was gone despite having a nice run and Swiss Rock couldn’t keep up either. Royal Snitzel took over about 150m out and forged away. Just Magical ran to second but was no match for the winner while Shaf got up for third just ahead of Bullpit. Behind them Moonlight Hussler made a bit of late ground and was probably outsprinted the way the race was run.

Follow: Royal Snitzel was a class above them and can win better races, Moonlight Hussler is worth another look in an easier event. (Click to continue reading…)


Ben Krahe spent many years on the ‘dark side’ as a bookmaker, initially on course and then framing markets for the corporates right from the early days.

But a little more than 3 years ago he went full-time as a professional harness racing punter and hasn’t looked back since.

On the podcast this week we ask him the same questions we pitched to Nick Pinkerton. These are questions from our listeners keen to learn more about the skills and lifestyle of a successful professional.

Punting Insights:

  • How did he get started?
  • What is the biggest key to long-term success?
  • Why Ben turns Sky Channel off for most of the day
  • The importance of a proven staking plan
  • How he handles losing runs and maintains a work/life balance

Today’s Guest:
Ben Krahe

Get the Transcript:

>> Click Here to Read the Transcript

David Duffield: Our last podcast episode was based around listener questions so I wanted to repeat the dose for yourself. What I’ll do is run through the questions that we received which were, “What would you ask if you sat down for a quiet beer with a professional punter?” You’re right to run through those?

Ben Krahe: Well, there’s no such thing as a quiet beer with me, but sure.

David Duffield: Alright, well the first set of questions, you could broadly categorise it as getting started. How did you gain the confidence when starting out? I know you’ve got the bookmaking background, but how did you get any confidence to basically go solo as a professional punter?

Ben Krahe: Well, Dave, to put it bluntly, I had been to some bookmakers. I’ve been in around the traps and I take a lot of knowledge from all the bookmakers and even the professional punters that punted with me. I like to put all that in the memory bank hopefully. One day, I decided to leave the bookmaking side of it and had a little bit of a bankroll behind me and decided, “Let’s give it a go for real this time.” I’ve always thought I was good enough to do it, but I didn’t have the discipline to do it. We gave it a go, and 3 1/2 years later or whatever it is, we’re still doing it. Something’s going okay.

David Duffield: In terms of getting started and then the ongoing stuff, well, I know you’re pretty meticulously do records, did you already have the mindset and also the … I’m not sure of what the exact word is. Did you do that consistently, the record keeping side of things before you went professional, or only once you got started?

Ben Krahe: I probably did it for about 6 months before. That was another thing that influenced my decision to be able to go out by myself. I just decided we’ve got to make sure you can do it.
But keeping records is the main way to do it. Now as you’ve outlined, I keep a record of every bet I’ve had, every track it’s at. I can tell you where I win and where I don’t, and that’s pretty much how we narrow down where we do a bit.

David Duffield: So we had a question. It’s probably not as relevant for you being a ratings based punter. It says, “What is regarded as an acceptable strike rate for a serious punter to aim for, or is there another measure that should guide a punter?”

Ben Krahe: Well, as you said, I don’t really go on strike rates and I don’t think anyone really does. I mean for a start, you got to make a profit that’s obvious. If you can make somewhere above … I would say somewhere above bank interest. If you can make 7% or 8% or 10%, you’re flying in my books.
There wouldn’t be 1% of punters that they even win, let alone get close to winning. If you can make somewhere around that just under 10%, by the time you think of all the turnover you’re doing in a year, that’s quite a lot. You can make six figures out of it. I’m not a millionaire and never will be but we don’t big enough to do that. But as long as we’re getting by and that’s the way I look at it.

David Duffield: You might be a millionaire if there was a bookie who’d take your bets.

Ben Krahe: No. Maybe a million baht but that’s about it.

David Duffield: Another question – what in your opinion is the biggest key to your long term success?

Ben Krahe: It’s discipline 100%. You cannot chase, David. You must know that there’s no last race. You know the last race has just been run at Newcastle today and we didn’t win but there’s no use chasing it tonight.
There’ll be another race tomorrow. Discipline’s the main thing and discipline at staking is as well. Discipline is everything but making sure that you don’t let emotion come into it and you don’t … When you’re losing, you know that the winning’s coming up, so don’t go chasing it.

David Duffield: Yeah I was about to ask that. One other question here was, how do you have the discipline not to over bet? I’m pretty sure they would mean in the good times and the bad.

Ben Krahe: Well, I start off by … I’m a little bit different here. I’ve got all my stuff on the computer at the moment but even when I’m at home, I turn Skye Channel off when the races are on for a start.
I don’t want to be influenced by Joe Blow by saying the late mail is this and it’s firmed ten points and all of a sudden I might think I left a good bet. If I’m not having a bet in the race, I turn it over to Channel V or whatever and watch the music or watch some sport.
For mine, I don’t even want to be interested in … I mean you can take an interest in it but unless you can sit there and watch the races and not have a bet on it, turn them off until your race comes on. That’s my first bit of advice.
Secondly is that you’ve got to have a staking plan. You’ve got to stick to it even if you’re winning and the next bet looks like the best bet in the world. You’ve got a price , so you’ve got a certain stake. Stick to it and the reason you are winning is because you are sticking to it. The day that you start to double your bets or triple your bets or something like this, you can wipe out a whole day’s work in one race by doing that. That’s the most important as well.

David Duffield: Okay. This was an interesting one. My biggest pain is me. In your punting life, have you ever felt this way? It’s an up and down business. Could you share some strategies on some ordinary periods?

Ben Krahe: I mean, everyone goes through them and everyone thinks they’re a jinx or they think if they back it that it’s not going to win and these type of things.
You’ve got to realise that it’s got nothing to do with you. It’s all happening out there. It’s nothing to do with what you’re doing. You just need to do the right things and do it consistently. If you have a bad day, bad week or whatever, hopefully your staking plan will allow for those times. Here at Champion Picks, I had a real bad three weeks, I think, at one stage where we really lost quite badly but we’d won that much beforehand. Hopefully, you had enough in the bank to cover it and we know that it’s going to come good. That’s what it did. It came good at the end of the year.
I know we’ve had a bit of a slow start at the start of this year, but we know that tomorrow, next week or next month, will be a winning month and we’ll cover it.
You’ve just got to accept the loss when it happens. There’s bad luck, yes. There’s no such thing as your due. These type of words are just stuff that mugs say.
There’s bad luck, yes, but you get good luck when you get the wins as well. You’ve just got to make sure that you can’t let it get you down. If the last race of the day is finished, turn off the TV. Turn off the computer. Go and spend some time with the family. Go to the pub, whatever but forget all about it and just remember that tomorrow, there’ll be another race.

David Duffield: Yeah. These are related and it’s an amalgamation, I suppose, of a few questions but they are related to, how to stay confident when three or four punts go wrong and how to handle the round of losses, how to deal with the psychological trauma of a long run of outs, how to handle losing odds on selections. Was there anything else that you wanted to add because this was a very common question?

Ben Krahe: Yeah. Look, I think that keeping records is a really important part of this. If we’ve kept every record when we’re having a bad trotwe can go back and see, hang on a minute, we won for … I think we had 24 days in a row or something or you won something ridiculous you know Dave .
You can go back and say, “Hang on a minute, there was a winning patch here. There was a losing patch there.” It will turn around in the long run. We know it’s going to come back again. You’ve just got to be positive. You cannot let it get to you.
There will be losing times. Every person in the world will have losing times. It’s just ridiculous to think that you won’t.
If one will have a bad month, maybe even a bad year but you’ve just got to be confident in what we’re doing and being confident in your results and just remember that the good times, and just remember when you get the good times again to not over bet them and just keep plugging away at what we do and that will cover the bad times.

David Duffield: We had a question about how do you manage time, family, work and punting.

Ben Krahe: Well punting’s first isn’t it out of all those?
Look, it’s a good question. I’m in a different situation. My wife works 9 to 5 and I’m in a different position probably for most people since I’m four hours behind than you guys.
I get up and do some work early and I pretty much work the whole day while she’s at work. When she gets home, I try and make sure I do some stuff with her. I think it’s important to not all be about punting. Whether it’s just going and have a game of golf or whatever, or going down to the pub or doing something with your wife, or even turning a footy match on and don’t have a bet in it. Just sit there and actually just watch a match for the enjoyment.
These are the things you need to do to switch off. Don’t stress that you lost. Don’t go over celebrating because you won, because remember that that’s the money that you might need tomorrow. All these things, you’ve got to be able to switch off and when the last race has been run for the day, yeah, go and do something completely different.

David Duffield: Well, of all the guys I speak to and I came across a few these days, I think you’ve got one of the better work-life balances amongst them all because you certainly put in the hours but there’s also plenty of time I think from what I’ve heard and seen, socialising, golfing, whatever. Just something away from the desk. A lot of people get chained to the desk.

Ben Krahe: Well, Dave, I sort of get up at 5:00 in the morning here and yeah it’s an early start but I can get 3 hours done before my wife goes to work. I go and have some breakfast with her. Have a coffee and then I sit down for the next 8 hours or whatever it is till 4:00, till she gets home and I do work and I do these 3 days a week during the week. Twice a week, I go and play golf, so I just get some work done before I go and then I get a game of golf in twice a week and Saturdays and Sundays, you should put a couple of hours in.
It all adds up to 50 hours a week which is a good week. I sort of space it out too. That’s the benefit of working from home and for yourself.
I can do it when I like. I do have deadlines to meet obviously. If I want to get up at 5 in the morning and get a good 3 hours work done before anyone’s around, it’s a good thing to do. As I said, I break up my week with a couple of games of golf. Friday, I night I go down to the pub with the boys and have a game of pool and just forget all about even whether I won or lost. I just want to get that right out of my head and have some relaxed time because it can’t be all about this.

David Duffield: Well, this question isn’t from the list. Now, it’s from me, but how do you get up at 5am when you go to bed at 3:30?

Ben Krahe: Very funny.

David Duffield: Yeah, you can pass on that one that’s fine. Okay. Form analysis was the next category.

Ben Krahe: This is not a video chat, is it? You don’t have to see what I look like.

David Duffield: What do you consider is most important when assessing the form in a race and just bearing in mind, we’re talking harness racing?

Ben Krahe: Yeah. For me, the number one key in harness racing is speed maps. I think it’s actually … I’m an ex-greyhound bookmaker.
I’ve done my time working for other bookies doing races and whatever and speed maps are important in any code you’re in. It’s got to be good to be out the front for mine. Yes, they might go too fast in front and it’s not as good but, for mine, 70% or 80% of races are won by the horses in the top 3 or 4 for trots. So speed maps are really important.
Second thing is I really like class. I think again it’s a major importance in all codes. It’s pretty obvious that if a horse had won three or four races before and it’s running against a bunch of maidens or ones that have won one race it’s going to have more ability than the others. It’s going to be somewhere in the market unless it’s horribly out of form. Horses are running in or out of their class.
Again with class, horses are dropping down and class was going up and class is a major part of what I like to look at.
A third major part of what I really like to look at is the price a runner was last time it ran in a similar type race. Let’s just say we’ve got a very easy maiden just for arguments sake and something was 6/4 last start but it only ran 5th. There wasn’t really an excuse as to it running like that but it just ran fifth but it was well favoured at 6/4.
Next week, it comes out in a very similar race, similar type horses, nothing that different. It might have a better barrier draw or worse, whatever but it might me 5/1 or 6/1 next week. For mine, I want to be all over that horse. If it was 6/4 last week, I live by the “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” sort of philosophy. There must have been a reason it was short. If they want to sent it out at 5 or 6 to 1 next week, well, I’m all over. I don’t care if it ran 5th, 8th, 10th, 2nd, whatever.
So I will have a real hard look into what price it was last start and whether or not it should have been price. I’ll take a great deal when my form comes to how well favoured last time and whether it was backed or not too.
There’s a difference between something starting at 2/1 on and drifting to 6/4 or something opening at 3/1 and firming to 6/4 as well. I like to take that into account as well.

David Duffield: Do you have a list of trainers/drivers that are questionable, so maybe not dishonest but probably more importantly named unreliable and how would you apply that to the form? So we’re not looking to slander anyone here, but how do you deal with, I suppose, the ‘red hots’ reputation?

Ben Krahe: Well, they don’t help by calling it the trots and it rhymes with ‘red-hots’ do they? That one’s up in the head, that one. That list is in the head.

David Duffield: So there is a list?

Ben Krahe: Oh there’s a list definitely. There’s a list. There’s a list for that. There’s a list also for trainers and drivers that go better, let’s say, at different tracks. There’s a list of trainers and drivers that I want to be on more than others. There’s a list of drivers that, you know, when you get a driving change from a bad driver to what I considered a good driver. There’s a list for those as well. That will all be applied somewhere in the rating the horse process. There is a list, yes.

David Duffield: Yeah. I can’t bring myself to bet more than one horse in a race if one doesn’t stand out a value or it’s winning hope, I stay away. Is this the correct approach?

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Weekend Racing reviews – January 17th

by darryn on January 19, 2015

Flemington Review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: racing Handicap (2500m)

1st Zanteco – Damian Lane
2nd Practiced – Craig Williams
3rd Martinvast – Dwayne Dunn

Kept Woman crossed the field from out wide to lead out of the straight from Falamonteand Justthewayyoare pressed on into second. Desert Road enjoyed a nice run in the clear with Winter Palace and Martinvast behind him. They seemed to go quite slowly and there wasn’t much change until Martinvast took off well before the turn and Practiced got onto his back. Kept Woman still led on the bend with Justthewayyouare staying on and Martinvast looming. Practiced came out four wide and he was being followed by Zanteco. Falamonte had no run but was being pushed along anyway. Kept Woman gave a kick and led by more than a length at the 300m. Martinvast ran to second as Falamonte battled when he got into the clear. Practiced and Zanteco started to wind up down the outside. Zanteco hit the lead inside the 100m and just had a better sprint at the end to down Martinvast and Practiced, not by a big margin but a convincing one. Falamonte ran fourth from Winter Palace and Kept Woman just faded late but in the context of the day, where the inside was a no-go zone, her run had merit.

Follow: Kept Woman is worth another chance. (Click to continue reading…)


Weekend Racing Reviews – January 10th

by darryn on January 12, 2015

Flemington review from Ray Hickson

Race 1: Better Beyond Plate (1000m)

1st Ragazzo Del Corsa – James Winks
2nd Helsingor – Glen Boss
3rd Make Her Own Whey – Jye McNeil

Landmarks took a sharp left hand turn at the start and bumped heavily with Helsingor, who was forced to drop back early. Ibtisima jumped well on the inside was up there early with Certain Ellie until Landmarks recovered and ran to the lead. Ragazzo Del Corsa travelled well on his outside. Emperor Maximilian tracked the speed with cover behind the leading quartet. Landmarks was joined by Ragazzo Del Corsa nearing the 300m and was no match as Ragazzo Del Corsa went straight past him. Make Her Own Whey was running on nicely and out wider Helsingor managed to get clear and start to make up plenty of ground. Ragazzo Del Corsa showed no signs of stopping and got right away for an easy win from the eye-catching Helsingor. Make Her Own Whey boxed on to hold third and Landmarks also battled fairly in fourth. Race experienced counted here with the winner but he’s a professional type.
Follow: Helsingor’s debut showed she’s a filly of promise. (Click to continue reading…)


Gold Coast track tips

by David on January 9, 2015

The Magic Millions seems to go from strength to strength and at $10m next year it will be the richest race day in Australia.

So let’s take a quick look at some angles for betting on the Gold Coast track, with the numbers below an indication of their performance above or below the overall benchmark which was a 9% loss on turnover at best tote odds and proportionately staked. These results are for the years 2008 to 2014 inclusive.

So +2% in the table means 2% better than the norm, not 2% profit on turnover.

Or -5% in our table actually represents a 14% loss on turnover. And of course the standard caveat applies in that this is just a very brief overview and is only intended as a starting point for more in-depth form analysis.

Click here for the tables/charts in a simple pdf.

The first thing to note is that the Gold Coast is yet another track where inside barriers are overbet. Each of barriers 1 to 5 are either below par or on the average while for barrier 6 and wider all bar one were relatively underbet:
Gold Coast barriers

Favourites and second favourites out-perform the rest of the market, as is the case at most tracks.
Gold Coast SP rank

Horses who showed the ability to be on speed last start tended to perform well:
Gold Coast LS settled

Now we’ll look at the record of trainers with at least 200 runners under 10/1 during the last seven years:
Gold Coast trainers

And the same for jockeys:

Gold Coast jockeys

Last start winners and placegetters were slightly overbet:

Gold coast ls fin pos

Horses coming off Metro form go very well while those stepping up from Country meetings tend to be outclassed:

Gold Coast ls location

Best of luck if you’re betting on the big Gold Coast meeting tomorrow.

Good punting
David Duffield


Weekend Racing Reviews – January 3rd 2015

by darryn on January 5, 2015

Moonee Valley Review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Benchmark 70 Handicap (1000m)

1st Wild Rain – Damian Lane
2nd Witless – Jordan Childs
3rd Simply You – James Winks

Wild Rain was clearly the best to begin but couldn’t cross as Oridane and Witless drove through underneath her. Big Shoes and Zambezi Diamond settled a couple of lengths away and Tykiato a similar distance back next. Witless and Oridane established a break midrace and that allowed Wild Rain to get in. Zambezi Diamond was under pressure before the turn as was Big Shoes. Witless beat off Oridane at the 300m and went for home. Wild Rain closed in and joined the leader inside the 200m and they were well clear of Big Shoes battling with Oridane on the fence. Behind those Simply You had to change course at a vital stage and switched back between horses to run on. Wild Rain started to edge clear late to score from Witless with Simply You closing in very fast late. Tykiato battled on pretty well to finish close up. Winner had the run of the race while the runner-up was brave from the front.
Follow: Simply You found it too short but she’ll be winning one soon. (Click to continue reading…)


Bet with a big edge

by David on January 2, 2015

Each of the 3 months since Dave Duffield took over the tips have been quite different.

October was rock solid with $3,000 profit at $100 a unit. We’ll take 30% bankroll growth any month of the year.

November was a little disappointing as we only managed to break even.

But December was out of this world with $14,100 profit. That’s not a typo or a figure inflated by one big winner or a fancy staking plan.

It was the result of winner after winner (39% strike-rate for the month from 169 bets) and decent odds (average price of $3.70).

We promised a new and improved edge on the market when we started a total overhaul of our form analysis process in early 2013. That database development and ratings generation project wasn’t completed until the second half of last year and you may remember our excitement when we unveiled our Class and Speed ratings. That’s because not only were we convinced of their effectiveness, but so were some serious number nerds after they’d analysed our ratings for 80,000 horses.

So if you want to start the new year with a bang get on board today. Whether you want 1 day or 1 year we have a package to suit.

Ultimately, the decision about whether your betting bank doubles or disappears in 2015 is up to you.

A few weeks from now will you be organising a withdrawal from your bookie?

Or will you be making yet another credit card deposit?

Click here to bet with a big edge.










Here is an overview on our performance with Dave managing the tips service from October to December:

495 Bets
818 Unit Outlay
146 Wins
29% Strike Rate

That represents 171 units profit at a sensational 21% Profit on Turnover.

So the question is can you afford not to be a member?

Full results are always available.

And just in case you needed a bonus on top of plenty of action and a bunch of winners, members also get our Class and Speed rankings for every TAB race every day.

Champion Picks: Horse Racing Tips that win.


Weekend Racing Reviews – December 27th

by darryn on December 29, 2014

Moonee Valley review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Cactus Imaging Plate (1000m)

1st Headwater – James Winks
2nd Stoker – Damien Oliver
3rd Mr Jagger – Stephen Baster

Stoker made a mess of the start and gave away a couple of lengths. Haybah jumped best and was taken on by Lucky Fish for the lead. Headwater eased between them, as did Mr Jagger from out wider. Lucky Fish had to work a bit before crossing and soon after Headwater strode up to the leader’s quarters. Haybah had the trail inside Mr Jagger. Stoker improved to be three back on the fence with Russian Ruby under pressure at the tail. Headwater took over on the turn and dashed away. Haybah got into the clear but couldn’t pick up as Stoker and Mr Jagger made their runs. But Headwater was only being pushed out hands and heels and he ran right up to his jump outs by bolting in. Stoker did a good job to get up for second ahead of Mr Jagger who ran well but had his chance, as did Haybah.
Follow: Headwater looks pretty smart.

Race 2: Chandler McLeod Handicap (1200m)

1st San Nicasio – Vlad Duric
2nd Albert Road – Mark Zahra
3rd Lock And Load – Dean Yendall

Shaf and Our Kaboom were ridden for speed from wide gates and crossed Lock And Load to lead. San Nicasio held the fence behind them. Tides Of Fortune found himself three wide. Shaf raced clear midrace and looked to be going a bit hard. Our Kaboom sat up second as San Nicasio travelled strongly in the box seat. Lock And Load was the first to set out after the leader and moved three wide about 500m out. From the back Albert Road started a long run around a tiring Tides Of Fortune. Our Kaboom dropped off before the turn and Shaf was all out soon after as San Nicasio got off the fence and pounced. Lock And Load and Albert Road kept coming down the outside and the rest were beaten. San Nicasio forged clear from the 100m for a solid first-up win. Albert Road was taking plenty of ground off him late and finished over the top of Lock And Load while Shaf wasn’t disgraced after overdoing it. Big gap to the rest of the field. First two home should have good preparations.
Follow: Albert Road had to make a long run on his own, huge effort.

(Click to continue reading…)


Weekend Racing Reviews – December 20th

by darryn on December 22, 2014

Flemington review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Christmas Season Plate (1000m)

1st Claudia Jean – Jye McNeil
2nd Bosnia – Craig Williams
3rd Call Me Anything – Damian Lane

Call Me Anything crossed from the outside to lead on the fence from Claudia Jean. Ayers Rock sat in behind them with Bosnia, not really settling and having to be niggled, out wider. Bella Orfana trailed but only a few lengths off the lead. Claudia Jean took over before the 300m and at that stage Bosnia was under the whip. Call Me Anything boxed on and Bella Orfana started her run down the outside. Claudia Jean was still under a hold as she skipped away and just shaken along she coasted home with plenty in hand. Bosnia kept at it and just managed to hold second between Call Me Anything and Bella Orfana who hit the line together. Ayers Rock was beaten off a few lengths back. Only a small field but the winner looks smart.

Follow: Claudia Jean is a Magic Millions filly, whether a five horse field is a guide to that is questionable but she was impressive. (Click to continue reading…)


Last week on the podcast Nick Pinkerton answered questions from our members on how to get started as a serious punter including skills, lifestyle, mindset and form analysis.

In part two of our chat (below) Nick focuses on how, when and where to place a bet and also how to manage your money.

Punting Insights:

  • His preferred staking plan
  • How to deal with rising and shrinking banks
  • The reason why he never bets quaddies
  • How he has a much more balanced lifestyle than ever before

Today’s Guest:
Nick Pinkerton

Get the Transcript:

>> Click Here to Read the Transcript

David Duffield: I want to move on to the bet placement and staking money management. We had a bunch of questions in this one. The first one was “How can I make money out of exotics?”

Nick Pinkerton: Look that’s a conversation for another day. Exotics are tricky. I don’t play exotics, I’m a win only punter. I don’t bet each way. I literally bet win only. My own perspective, I’ve got that much respect for punting. I find it hard enough to back a winner, never mind point 1, 2, and 3 in a race or even find 4 winners of a quadrella. What I will say on the subject though is Daniel O’Sullivan opened my eyes once about 10 years ago to the chances of winning a quadrella and it struck me like a brick and I’ve never forgotten it.
If you talk even money about winning every leg of a quadrella, you still only going to win 1 in 16 quadrellas. I was like that’s amazing.
You mean if I back 50% of winning chances in every race, it’s only going to be a $16 chance. If you do the maths that’s right, 50% by 50% by 50% by 50%, comes out at $16.
That’s when I went too hard for me, I think I’ll leave that alone. I’ve got a similar philosophy about exotics, so there’s plenty of better people you could ask if you don’t me passing on that one.

David Duffield: Not at all. How do you determine the true odds for a horse to finish in a place?

Nick Pinkerton: Again, depends on, look, there’s a mathematical way of doing it, and then there’s other ways of doing it which are a little bit more artistic again. It’s again the art versus the science.
If you’re talking about backing the second or third favourite against the favourite you believe is totally undervalued, then the true mathematical odds are not going to represent the full opportunity as if it was the other way around. I think stick to the mathematics of it, but understand that there are opportunities to shift slightly over and slightly under from that.

David Duffield: Do you have a minimum price? This is a new question, not to do with the place, do you have a minimum price, say $1.50 where you won’t bet under that or do you just look at value?

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, I would never back anything under $1.50. I have backed $1.35 at once and was in a 2500m race and I just didn’t enjoy the experience.

David Duffield: Did it win?

Nick Pinkerton: It did win. It was Faint Perfume in the VRC Oaks. It might have been $1.35 actually, but didn’t win by much either, I might add, but enough. I just didn’t enjoy it.
I think what happens when I start playing at that end of the marketplace, I start thinking about how I’d feel if it got beaten, and I start to lament the position I put myself in. Yeah, absolutely, just from a personal mindset point of view, and being able to control my confidence levels, I definitely have a minimum price.

David Duffield: What about getting the best price? It came up a few times. Someone’s got here, “knowing when to bet early or when to wait,” another person wrote “deciding the right moment to put your bet on”, so how do you try and read the market?

Nick Pinkerton: It’s got a lot harder since markets have opened on Wednesdays. Obviously, this would have been a very different question 5 years ago, before we had such activity from Wednesday through to race day, but I personally use Dynamic Race Odds.
I’m happy just to have a group of bookmakers there who I believe represent times when markets are likely to move and I just monitor horses on there until such a point as I feel it’s time to move. Do I get more right than wrong? Yes, but do I get plenty wrong? Absolutely.
I think it’s one of those things that over the course of time, you just have to run with. On a Saturday, if you’re looking at the horse’s prices at 9, 9:30 in the morning, and you haven’t had a bet in the race yet, but you don’t know whether to take that price that’s available at the time or not, definitely look at best of the best options and all those best odds guarantees if you can. It makes sense that if you’re not happy to take fixed odds, fixed price then, well, something to do with top fluc or best tote is definitely going to be a reasonable outcome.

David Duffield: What about getting a bet on? How do you about trying to stay alive with the corporates, and just being able to get a reasonable amount on when you do want to get involved?

Nick Pinkerton: Getting a decent bet size on has become a real struggle, as I’m sure everyone of your listeners will understand. I think the key to all is dribbling a bit on spread your bets across a whole range of bookmakers. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t try and get egotistical about firming things. Just try and leave all emotion and ego aside and just be as under the radar about your activity as you possibly can.
Personally, I don’t understand why the corporate bookmaking model is the way it is today?
Why would you want to close the account of a winning punter, only to find out a month later he’s been using some bowler and taking you for another ride? Wouldn’t it make much better sense to make a phone call to him and say listen, you’re too hard to beat, but I’m not going to break you. I’m going to bet you the odds to win such and such. Everyone knows where they stand, the corporate bookmakers still get to see your flow, and we can all go on with our business. I know what my limits are going to be at every joint, and I just know obviously now I can pick a sequential order who I’m going to go to first, second, third, etc.
I won’t mention who, but I once had a corporate bookmaking account through which, I opened and for about the first 6 weeks I did nothing but lose. I was about $25,000 in the hole to this account at the time, and there was a day, it might have been Victoria Derby Day, 2012, I think it could have been, and they were betting $71 about a horse that was $51 in the ring. I asked them for $500 straight out on it. They bet me. Of course it won. It’s $35,000 to $500, and within a minute, I was barred. I couldn’t have another bet.
How on earth do you run a business like that? You let someone do $25,000 in 6 weeks. You go up 70’s on a 50’s chance, I have $500 on it, and that’s it. You’re barred. You’re finished. Just didn’t make any sense to me. It’s a disgraceful practice, and you’ve just got to do the best you can to stay alive and spread your bets.

David Duffield: A lot of questions about staking. “What staking plan do you use, and what are your risk versus return rules?”

Nick Pinkerton: As far as staking is concerned, this is the thing that got me into the most amount of trouble in the 5 months I was having a losing trot. As I said, once I stepped away, Caulfield Cup Day last year and looked back at it, I realised that’s where I was making my biggest mistake. I just didn’t adjust where I needed to.
As I was bringing in new variables, I was backing more horses in a race, and just didn’t compensate appropriately.
I think the best staking strategy long-term is to bet to collect a certain percentage of your bank. Depend on your confidence level edge and some other factors. I think somewhere between 2.5% and 5% is probably common practice. For me, I use something even a little bit more simplistic than that.
I tend to group horses into price ranges and bet a certain number of points. Which is again very similar to a percentage of my bank. Just depending on what price bracket the horse is in. The most important thing to remember is 2/1 chances will win more than 4/1 chances and 4/1 chances obviously win more that 10/1 chances. You’ve got to have a staking methodology that recognises that appropriately.
You can’t be betting level stakes in my mind.

David Duffield: What’s your view on proportionate staking as opposed to escalator betting, and how and when do you choose one over the other? By escalator I mean level stakes, but the stake increases as the bank increases, but never decreases.

Nick Pinkerton: Escalating and diminishing banks are interesting.
I think my best advice on that is if you stick to collecting a certain percentage of your bank, and you stick with that as your bank rises and falls. Now I don’t mean necessarily in every little increment, but if you start with a $10,000 bank, you might say OK when it gets to $15,000 I’m going to increase my bet size. Or when it gets to $7,500 I might decrease my bet size. You don’t need to do it every day, but if you were to do it every day that would solve the problem of it escalating and diminishing bets.
I just look, what’s my styling bank at the beginning of the day. OK, what percentage am I going to back a horse to collect, what percentage am I looking to collect from my bank and go with that. If the bank’s $11,000, it’s that percentage, if it’s $10,000, that percentage.

David Duffield: This question is about bankroll growth. How do you access your winnings to use as a steady income, withdraw from accounts or laying true exchanges or copying commission? Also, after a successful run of winners, how do you keep the money and then continue with the build up of winnings? My bank has grown more than 4 times over the last 6 months, but I’m still betting at the same level per unit as I did at the start. At what point should you look to up your betting stakes?

Nick Pinkerton: Well that’s an excellent effort.

David Duffield: That’s a nice problem to have.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, it’s a great result. I think this comes right back to the very basics we talked about at the very beginning of this call.
What’s your plan?
Is your plan to bet so that you can build the bank big enough so that one day you might be able to rely on it for income? Or is your plan to bet so that you might be able to take your family away on an annual holiday at Christmas time? Is your plan to bet to get an extra mortgage repayment in every year?
What is the plan?
If you’re lucky enough to be able to quarantine some cash and say, all right, there’s my $10,000 starting bank, and I’m going to grow this as hard as I can for the next 5 years without taking anything out of it, such as your client has got 4 times growth?
Then that’s probably the best scenario, and in the event that you’re getting that sort of growth, you should definitely be increasing your stakes. If you’re betting to collect a certain percentage of your bank, you would have been doing that, and that 4 times growth would probably be significantly higher now.
The key to betting, obviously is that with punting you can make your money work much harder than a traditional investment will, because you’re going to turn that upfront capital over multiple times every week, month, and year.
You want to be maximising your opportunity if you’ve got an edge and you’re a profitable punter and you’re growing your bank, increase your bets to reflect the growing bank size. Leave what you can in there, so that you can leverage off the extra return from the growth in your bank.

David Duffield: Another good question is: Establishing bank size and unit bet size when using several different betting strategies at the same time, I have a $20,000 betting bank, with 3 different, independent strategies, betting the ratings, the New Zealand tips and the Sports Predictor service. Should I be using $20,000 bank for each strategy, so one unit amount terminology is $200? Or dividing the bank into 3?

Nick Pinkerton: I think you should be using 3 different banks for 3 different strategies. Would you agree with that?

David Duffield: That’s the way we recommend it to people. There can be… the beauty of having 3 strategies is it’s highly unlikely that all 3 all going to have a big drawdown at the same time, so you can have some diversity there, but for full bankroll protection, you really need to have separate banks for each strategy.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, particularly when they’re unrelated like that, given they’re sports, New Zealand, and Australian products. Three banks makes sense.

David Duffield: OK. Do you play the multi-s?

Nick Pinkerton: No.

David Duffield: That was short and sweet and the answer I expected. Do you ever stop because you’ve won enough for the day?

Nick Pinkerton: No. I think that’s really important. Why? The first 6 races have gone well, should the results of races 7, 8, and 9 be any different? It’s-

David Duffield: Also we don’t judge our results on a day anyway. People like to and you can fall back on that subconsciously, but we look at a monthly approach just because it helps you deal with the ebbs and flows and as far as it going away or not. Day by day is not really something that we measure other than we have to in that we report the results on the website.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, absolutely right.
There’s nothing harder to deal with than a day where you’ve gotten off to a flying start and you’re having a personal best after race five and you end up square or slightly in front or heaven forbid, slightly behind.
It is hard to deal with, but it’s just how it is. There’ll be other days when you’ll get off to a shocking start, you’ll get out and finish just in front, and if you’d stopped after the shocking start you would have got the other results.
I think the most important thing here is the last race never comes and really, end of day, end of month, end of quarter, or end of year. They’re just accounting periods. The only reason we put a line in the sand is so that we can actually get some indication of how we’re going and form some evaluation on what we’re doing and what we might be able to do better. If not for that, I wouldn’t recommend any bet ever being different on the basis of an outcome that’s already happened.

David Duffield: I agree. Now, last thing I wanted to cover was the work life balance. Someone has written here and said, “managing time, family, work, and punting, how do you do it?”

Nick Pinkerton: Chronic, it’s absolutely chronic. Particularly with video work, it’s one of the hardest things to stay on top of because as soon as you take a holiday, you’ve got a backlog of work to get on with, and of course you came to get back on with the pre-race and the betting side of things, rather than the post-race and database maintenance. It’s really tricky.
In my case, I’m a father, I’m a husband, and a father of 4 children. They’ve got used to that lifestyle but it’s a disciplined approach everyday. This has got nothing to do with racing, but it’s probably going to help people, or I hope it helps people.
Every day I have a plan for what I want to achieve for the day. The first thing is life. I make sure my wife’s got what she needs to have what she wants done in the day, my children have what they need to get done what they need to get done in the day, then I structure my activities, then I make sure the last thing I do every day was go back and deal with life issues again. If you just get your head into what I’m doing and don’t pay any attention to what the wife and children want, it ends up in tears.
The other beautiful thing about what I do is I’ve got flexibility in terms of time. Saturdays are obviously Saturdays, Wednesdays are Wednesdays, but the rest of it, you can do your replays over 5, 6, 7 day period. It’s not like they have to be done at a certain point in time, so if I’m up at midnight, trying to finish a workload for a day, because I’ve had to spread myself across the family, then that’s one of those things I have to do. It’s a much better option doing things that way, than getting things done and finding out that everyone else is just pulling their hair out.

David Duffield: Great answer. We’ve covered, getting started, lifestyle and mindset, form analysis, bet placement, staking, money management, it’s been fairly comprehensive. Was there anything else you want to chat about just before we wrap it up?

Nick Pinkerton: No, the only thing I will say, is I really do want to encourage people that I really do believe, I’m speaking from a personal experience of 20 years, I think people should be encouraged to view punting as a viable alternative form of investment.
I see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do that if you compare the results you can get from a $10,000 starting bank in punting, using a Champion Picks product or a product of any service provider, if you compare them to what you’d get by giving $10,000 to a managed super fund investment plan, I think you’ll find over 3 year period with appropriate skills and planning and discipline, you can get a much better outcome. I’ll encourage people to do that.
Most important thing is just find a selection or pricing product that works, that you’re comfortable with, but ultimately, chase more pleasure, more profit, more confidence, in what you’re doing, and understand that you can get a return and get extra income and cash from whatever it is you’re trying to do, as long as you follow a plan and stay structured and disciplined.

David Duffield: Good advice. Really appreciate your time, Nick. Thanks for returning to the show and all the very best for 2015.

Nick Pinkerton: Absolute pleasure. Thank you, David.

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