Spring is around the corner and punters can turn their attention to the flat turf season which traditionally begins with the Lincoln meeting at Doncaster in April.
The crossover from National Hunt to the flat season can be challenging due to the fact that the horses are all very inexperienced (or in need of their first run of the season) and there is very little recent form to rely on for turf purposes.
This lack of information means that even pro punters need to focus to get results. The Brocklesby Stakes is the first big 2-year-old race of the season run on the turf and can provide some really interesting early clues. With the right strategy in place and by following some simple steps the flat season can also lead to opportunity leading to smart punters uncovering real value throughout the season.
Exclusively for Beth.bet subscribers here’s a guide which should help make the flat season more profitable.
- Draw diary – this is a very important weapon in any astute punters armoury, keep a record of any draw bias day-to-day at every track where turf racing takes place. This can be an invaluable guide for finding future winners. Very often on the flat, those drawn low or high will have a particular advantage over certain going conditions. This is more and more the case as tracks do water to artificially create good ground and try to avoid any firm in the going descriptions. In particular keep an eye on tracks like Pontefract where a low draw is a huge advantage especially when the ground doesn’t ride too soft. Similarly, at Lingfield the stands rail on the turf course has been a huge advantage. So, if you can spot trends early it can provide you with a real edge for your punting.
- Follow certain young jockeys on the upgrade – it’s well worth keeping on side of Ray Dawson, Kieren Fallon, Hollie Doyle & Eoin Walsh all of whom are going places and on the upgrade with some formidable form going into the 2021 season and look set to improve further with more racing experience. In particular Eoin Walsh who suffered a horrendous fall at Chelmsford in November but is reportedly back and fighting fit for the season ahead. He will have some very good rides from the Roger Varian stable and is well worth tracking throughout the season.
- Specialise and know your races – with flat racing taking place in the afternoon and evening through the summer months the sheer volume of flat racing can be overwhelming to even the most experienced, pro punter. It is therefore important to specialise in a certain area. Whether it is 2-year-old races, races over the 5-furlong sprint trip or middle-distance races or handicaps only or even just focusing on groups 1,2 or 3 races astute punters will find an area of expertise. Perhaps one that the more inexperienced punter just starting out might adopt is to look at 2-year-old racing only. The form is completely fresh and there is nothing to catch up on from last year, they start off with a blank canvas and you can certainly cut down the work involved by focusing on and watching back every single 2-year-old race every day. You will certainly see plenty of inexperienced horses making errors that they might subsequently work on and improve next time out. This might sound obvious but know your races and understand the different types of race that you are betting on. Focus on the differences between handicap and non-handicap races or sprints and middle-distance races and learn about the often-subtle variations and race types.
- Get to know the trainers – With flat racing in particular the price of certain runners depends very much on who trains them. For example, a John Gosden or Sir Michael Stoute 3-year-old will often command support purely because he has been expensively purchased and trained at a leading stable. The better value can lie when latching on to smaller trainers who are on the up. For example, Mick Appleby who is having a terrific time of things on the all-weather this winter is well worth keeping an eye on as his string expands and has some shrewd connections. While Andrew Balding at the other end of the scale has a terrific team of young horses who are all well worth looking out for as they progress this summer. The flip side of this is that trainers like Sir Mark Prescott might have a reputation gathered over the years, a reputation that can sometimes be overstated in the market. Stable form is also a great way to simply sense check your results vs the form so use all available tools and keep your own record of results.
- Be Patient – wait until the ground has settled a little and remember that it is vitally important to be patient and not get dragged into playing in every race at every meeting. There is so much racing often between 6-8 meetings a day and it can be very tempting to try and have an interest in every race. Don’t try and spread yourself too thinly, pick your punches, play at the top of the market and use Beth.bet to help you locate the very best value selections.
Being aware of the anomalies and gaps of knowledge in flat racing can be crucial as the market early on can be distorted based on hype from fancied stables – try to shut out the noise and hype and remain structured in your betting strategy by using the guide above and beth.bet, which will give you a more accurate reflection of the market value.