Ian Harrison talks us through his pre-race betting routine on getting the best odds – and why trial and error has its merits
Interview with the best-selling racing novelist
We know that the bookies fiddle the prices. Oddschecker is one source for prices, making sure you are on with the highest price bookie but they play around with those blue and pink markers. Blue means the price is coming in and pink means it’s drifting. I have been keeping a close watch on horses that I fancy and at 8am I note the current best prices and frequently it will be blue, which is a good sign.
Say I am looking at 5/2.At 9.15 I go back to have another look and lo and behold the price is now shown in lovely pink at 2/1.This will put many people off so you do need to keep a close eye on what they are doing with the prices. If you click on the horse’s name you will see the complete price record going back to the evening before.You do need to do your homework.
I usually only give one bet a day with three or four bets a week. One bet a day helps you to stay in control because you can only lose one point and as I am running a ten-point bank it is very important that you rarely put more than 10% of your bank at risk. A ten-point bank makes you very very disciplined with your eye constantly on the bottom line.
On 14th July, I struck gold with two bets on the day and they both won. PARFAIT won the Silver Bunbury Cup at 5/2 and then ROLY POLY won the Falmouth Stakes at 9/4 giving me a 10/1 double.Usually if I give two bets I only expect one of them to win still giving a profit. Aiming for a 50% strike rate is just being realistic and if you can keep that up you are doing well.
Those who are observant will notice that Roly Poly is shown at 9/4 when the SP was 6/4. That is because I always advise taking an early price about a horse when you expect the price to come in.
You are better off looking for the price on Betfair. You get a better idea by looking at the graph and if this is showing a downward slope then that is more realistic than looking at the bookies’ prices.
Betfair customers are punters and they have no axe to grind.The graph symbol is to the left of the horse’s number.You don’t need to sign in to get the graph but you do to find out what percentage money is on your selection. Anything over 50% is a good indicator.
From 15th June to 14th July, I was struggling so I stopped betting altogether and ran a trial period of two weeks when I did a lot of tidying up without the usual pressure. Which would you prefer, a tipster who just barges on or one who will stop and reconsider his methods?
My clients got all the trial bets despite pleas from some who didn’t want them but it would be no use telling them after the event that yesterday I had a 50/1 winner. The fact has to be proven, so they were all given out.The result was quite amazing. 10
bets, 8 won/pl, 15 points and I had stopped betting.Ouch.Some of my clients were on and very pleased they were too. Ian Harrison has managed Goldcrest since 1985. His booklet ‘Advice to Backers’ is available free by e-mail.