Expert horse race selections and exclusive sectionals and reviews from New Zealand

Expert horse race selections and exclusive sectionals and reviews from New Zealand

Bulk discount couselling available for Blues fans Print

It always makes for good conversation when the people you are watching a big game with are going for the  team you don't support. Such was the case last night when the odds were stacked against me three to one. The borax flowed strongly when the Blues were up by eight points early on, but having 30,000 home town supporters cheering you on always meant that they were going to come back hard, and they sure did. As long as they stick with Ricky Stuart, they will keep coming an excellent second. The three I watched the game with are all getting counselling next week, so if you are a Blues supporter, let me know if you need some, as you could all get it together at a special group rate.

The Formpro Ratings said Te Horo Bling could win today at her 29th start and she did it comfortably leading all the way. She rated 4 lengths clear of the rest. It will be interesting to see when she wins her next one. Occasionally, horses like her go on and win a couple more soon after, so we will see. In the very next race, Wotabuzz rated 8 lengths clear, which doesn't happen very often, and he bolted in paying good money at $2.70. He was one of two horses I was confident about winning for subscribers today. The other, Stormin Norman, charged home late wide to miss by 0.6 lengths. But for those who saw the head on replay, you are probably asking the same question I am - why did the rider follow the outside rail down the straight, which goes out half way down then back in, and lose any chance he had of winning? At time of writing, the stewards report wasn't up, so I, along with a few of you, will be interested to see what the stewards said about the ride.

Luke has mentioned that it is not a very exciting stage tonight in the Tour. I won't be having a bet but I may have if there were a couple of head to heads on offer as Luke suggested yesterday. Come on bookies, give us at least one head to head so we can get some of that mid-Winter Xmas bonus off you?

Tomorrow I will post selections for the Auckland harness meeting. We have had a very good run of winners since I began previewing them there. I spend a lot of time analysing the replays and sectionals there. I really do feel that the trick to winning there is to eliminate undervalue value runners and stick to the best one, two or three best placed bets. Jessie's Cullen made many of us a lot money last week when backed in from $7 to $3.20 with bookies along with the bet of the night, Irish Whisper. They were the only two horses selected on the night. That won't happen every night, but it has happened often enough since selections started there for most to be a long way ahead.

Bookies avoid big payout on Tour Print

Chavanel certainly gave us a great run for our money when he kicked clear with 5 kilometres to go last night and put a 12 second break on them. He was backed into $13 from $22. But the final hill got to him and they swallowed him up. It certainly added a lot of spice to the race. I have posted Luke's preview of stage four and I have to agree that the bookies could offer some simple head to heads. He suggests keeping our powder dry tonight but if there were some head to heads on offer, it would have generated some good turnover, which is what the business survives on.

Another good example of the Dog Box Speed Ratings finding that value was in the last race at Wanganui today. Ate Pizza had by far the best early box speed and rated 81 last start which is very good for a class 2 dog, but at $1.30 was no value. But with a single click on the Box Speed arrow, you could quickly have seen that 5.Cyclone Six was very likely to jump in the first two and with the best Track and Distance rating on the track, was a definite chance to run the quinella. If you ignored the fact that it was the rank outsider you could have struck the $12.90 quinella as he jumped out first and led with the favourite on his tail. He was overtaken on the turn but held second easily. Just another example where the ratings reveal the value runners in a race.

Matt Cameron and Lisa Allpress are having a real fight for the Premiership with Lisa only two in arrears. It is a toss of the coin to see who wins it, but the best value bet has to be Lisa to win 160 or more races. With 23 race days left she will be probably ride at all but a couple of them and with 15 wins needed, she should make it comfortably at $1.85.

The decider is played tonight in Queensland. I just can't see the Blues beating the Maroons in front of a what will be a very supportive home crowd. The $1.55 on offer is about right.

Tomorrow at Waverley in the first race, Te Horo Bling is having her 29th go at trying to win a race. The Formpro Ratings tell us she rates 4 lengths clear of the rest based on their last four starts and after weight adjustments. So tomorrow looks like it could just be her day - here's hoping anyway. I have a couple of good bets lined up for there tomorrow which I will post by 8.40 a.m. and maybe one or two at the Cambridge harness meeting.

Wellington's weather is a myth Print

Last week I moved to Wellington, leaving the legendary Nelson weather behind. To be fair though, the weather has been terrific here, so I'm enjoying it while I can. I've moved over for family reasons and also because I will be able to attend more Central Districts meetings. I want to do more stories about people involved in racing so will be in the right place to do it. If you know of a good story that others would be interested in hearing about, please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

I recently mentioned the value of speed mapping in gallops and harness racing. But with the dogs, it is even easier with the new addition of the early Box Speed rating. This figure is the average of a dog's last ten starts position at the first bend. It really does amaze me how often the early leader is nearly always in the first three rated runners and go on to win. You can fiddle round with all sorts of systems with the dog ratings using that vital figure. For example, if the dog has the fastest box speed rating, and rates in the first three in the 'Best ' Column, ( Just click on the arrow to order them) then that is a logical bet. At Palmerston North dogs yesterday, Bimboo in race 5 had the best box speed figure and was 3rd best rated. He jumped and was second in the running and wore the leader down to pay $8.50. The dog with the second fastest box speed rating was the leader and formed the $38 quinella! You could combine the fastest two dogs out of the box with the 'Best' two in a box trifecta. That would have snared the $344 trifecta in Bimboo's race. Today at Otago, in race 9, the first leg of the quaddie, 3.Wandy Chick had the second fastest Box Speed figure and rated 84 last start which is very good, and led all the way paying $16. The second fastest do won the second leg, the fourth fastest box speed dog won the third leg and the fastest box speed dog won the last forming the $691 quaddie.

If all the greyhound replays were available online, and not just Auckland's, then I'm sure their turnover would increase even further.

 If you have a favourite and would like to share it with readers, please email it to me. If you haven't used the Formpro Ratings site before you can login for free with username: formpro and Password: lunch until Thursday night. You can also go back through previous meetings and see how the ratings could have helped you find the winner.

I'm enjoying Luke's Tour previews. We almost had a big collect in stage 1 but saving on Sagan covered us nicely. He has emailed us what he feels is the best value bet so far in the tour for tonight's stage three which I have posted for subscribers here.

Stage two preview Print

Tour 2012 – Stage 2

by Luke Radich

Sagan 1st, Boasson Hagen 3rd, 48 in the lead group at the finish ... last night’s stage went pretty much as expected.

Tonight it’s a typical early Tour flat stage tailor-made for the sprinters. Unless the weather is terrible or there are severe crashes, the breakaway will be caught and it will be a mass sprint finish – so it’s certainly a stage to MySky rather than watch live. I will keep this preview brief not for that reason but because I don’t think there are any great betting opportunities.

In these type of stages Cavendish has often been odds-on in the past, so $2.40 may seem attractive at first glance, but he has a surprisingly poor record in the first flat stage of Grand Tours and didn’t look completely at the top of his game in the intermediate sprint last night. Moreover, in Tours past he has had the advantage of a great lead-out train, but now he rides for Sky, who have been protecting Bradley Wiggins as their top priority, he will have to do much more on his own. I couldn’t back him at $2.40.

Nor, however, can I find anyone else worth backing. I would be a little wary of Sagan after his exertions last night, particularly when tomorrow’s stage also suits him much better. That leaves Marcel Kittel ($5) and Andre Greipel ($6.50) as the next fastest in the peloton. They, along with Cavendish, met in four consecutive sprint finishes just a couple of weeks ago at the Ster ZLM Toer, and it was generally Kittel who got the best of it. I did think, however, that Greipel particularly looked very strong last night when he did a big turn on the front of the peloton pulling back the break, so I’ll lean towards him at the slightly better price. Just a small play tonight, though, as we wait for a much more interesting stage tomorrow.

The value of speed maps Print

You may have been surprised that I selected Noble Warrior as the main danger to Fiorano at Ruakaka yesterday. He was paying close to $20 and the main reason I put him in was that he was likely to lead or get a soft sit near it if something else kicked up early. With the small field, they were likely to settle into position without too much trouble. So it was going to favour runners in the first half of the field. He jumped well and was able to lead wide at the winning post the first time round then rider Leith Innes didn't force the issue when The Strutter kicked up to hold the lead and sat second outer. Desert Lad was caught 3 wide so pressed on to sit 2nd outer giving him the 1x1. I was pleased to see Jason Collett ensure Fiorano was on the pace early with the likely moderate pace, and they ended up on Noble Warriors's back. Matost which was always likely to get back, was the lay of the day on the Dead track as it needs it wetter and was never going to outsprint some of these.

The sectional analysis showed that they came home their last 600m off the front in 35.76, the same as the Open sprint, so the predicted moderate tempo did eventuate. Noble Warrior got going 500m out and led on the turn, but Jason Collett was right onto his back and had them covered over the last 100 metres to win nicely. Now, doing a speed map doesn't always pay off like that race did, as horses can slip at the start, get squeezed up or have umpteen other things happen to them. But it certainly did in this case. It gave me the confidence to make Fiorano the bet of the day and also anchor him in the Pick 6  for the syndicate which returned $2,800 from a $376 bet and is hopefully the start of a comeback. If Faraway Eyes had got the nod it would have been a very interesting dividend. The quinella with Noble Warrior paid $23. The horse that did well considering the tempo of the race was Jungle Juice which was on Fiorano's back. She was finding the line strongly for fourth out wide.

Conversely, the Open Sprint at Hastings had most of the runners wanting to either lead or be near it so it was very likely to set up for a back runner. Tome Valea missed the jump slightly and got back, which was a blessing really. They went out hard. In fact the first 600m was run in 34.14 by Shahbab so it had no chance of hanging on to win. Toma Valea settled 3rd last but moved closer on the turn and came with a strong burst to win well. They came home their last 600m in 35.60 off the front with Toma Valea running 34.80 to win it. I fancied Brackenwood as a solid eachway chance and he ran on well for third. Shahbab actually did very well to hang on for a 1.3 length fifth after being headed 100m out. In a race where she can get a softer lead, she can win.

I'm enjoying cherry picking the best bets in the northern harness meetings. The highlight from last Friday was Jessies Cullen. Doing speed maps in harness racing can be a bit easier, but when you have a top driver like Peter Ferguson in the sulky, you know it will very likely get every chance to win. She opened at $7 with the bookies and soon dropped to $6 then got down to $3.20 a few hours later. Ferg made sure he gave her the cosiest run possible as the 2700m can sort them out late in the race in this class. He did just that and got moving just before the turn and led halfway down the straight and looked home. But just to make it a bit more exciting David Butcher decided to come at them late on Elsudoku but was a stride too late. She made a nice multi with the only other selection on the night, Irish Whisper, which never looked in doubt with a perfect drive from Tony Herlihy.

So the value of doing speed maps in gallops racing can mean all the difference between an average and excellent day.  They are more reliable when you have more form to work off obviously. Maiden races can prove very unreliable. And in harness racing, I put more faith in the best drivers to make the right move at the right time, as they nearly always do.

Thank you for the many emails and texts about the success of last week's selections. It is a tough time of the year with so many different kinds of wet tracks so I'm being very choosey. If I'm not going to back them myself, I won't be posting them. Remember last week, I mentioned there are only a handful of races during a week of racing worth serious consideration. Over the last four days we were able to find 5 such winners. Some weeks it may be one or none out of five getting up for us, but long term, we stand a much better chance than most punters who chase bets in raffle races. Tomorrow we have a heavy 10 at Matamata and I am struggling to find anything worth a serious bet. If I do find something I will post it by 8.40 a.m. tomorrow morning.

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