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Form guru Dominic Beirne reveals his secrets to help you win on the punt
Brad Davidson, The Daily Telegraph
ASTUTE analyst Dominic Beirne believes sticking to your punting principles is the best way to maximise your winning ways.
In an in-depth interview with The Daily Telegraph, the former legendary bookmaker now regarded one of Australia’s most astute punters, discusses all things racing and reveals his secrets to help you win on the punt.
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1. Let’s talk about finding winners. Do you have any tips for the average punter when it comes to doing their own form?
The average punter isn’t capable of writing sophisticated algorithms and isn’t able to afford complex data. So my advice is to identify factors that matter most to you.
Doing form is a repetitive practice, so capitalise your time and effort by taking notes of what things have attracted you to a horse and what you might dislike about another. By the time you’ve done a few meetings, you’ll have your own list of positive and negative factors — you might be surprised what you gravitate towards.
This will fast-track your future workload and allow you to concentrate on new factors that you previously haven’t had time for or considered properly.
Always revise the race results in The Sunday Telegraph. Focus on the horses you liked and the winners and placegetters, by paying regard to their stats as tabled in The Saturday Telegraph or Sportsman. This will help you decide if the factors you’re focusing on are worthwhile. It may lead you to investigate new factors in the future.
2. If you had to label the five most important factors when doing the form, what would they be?
1. Form cycle — which run from a spell is this?
2. Days since last start — is my horse likely to perform well today?
3. Race distance — horses have limitations.
4. Jockey — while there may only be a length or so between the top jockey and the 10th best, that equates to being twice as likely to win.
5. Speed map/race shape — are my horses suited? This is the most important factor, but is the last task you should undertake, the final arbiter to bet or not.
3. How important is value and how do you find it?
I’ve been producing betting markets all my life and value is essential to how I think and behave. It is also the hardest thing for the average punter to be taught.
The marketplace in Australia is phenomenally accurate, so if you’re not mathematically inclined, rely on the fact that the market is probably correct, focus on finding your own factors and apply yourself consistently and diligently.
4. Can you give us an insight into your staking plan and how should the average punter stake?
People doing it for a living act as if there is no last race — the amount wagered is dictated by pool size (or what the market will absorb at a value price), the degree of value and the odds.
However, the average punter isn’t positioned to act that way. Your punting bank is not a fixed amount and the amount at your disposal fluctuates from week to week. I recommend that you invest maybe 20 per cent of the daily bank per race. If you’re winning, you’ll be increasing your outlay per race and if you’re losing you’re decreasing. Punting is meant to be enjoyable and there’s a direct relationship between punter satisfaction and longevity in the game.
5. I understand you like to bet on the tote. What are the advantages of betting there?
The biggest advantage of betting on the tote is that no one can see what you’ve bet. Being copied reduces the win odds and causes a reduction in exotic dividends. In other words, you cannibalise your own value in the quinella, trifecta and first four when you bet down the win odds with the bookies.
6. How much of a benefit to Australian racing do you think a national tote pool would be?
I’m not convinced it will be a big deal, but the final pool size is dictated by the size displayed at race time minus one minute, which is dictated by the pool size at race time minus 10 minutes, etc. The bigger the pool, the more it generates.
7. What are your views on exotic betting?
Exotics provide the most wonderful challenges and biggest rewards. Quadrella betting is easily the best value of all bet types in Australia. Basically, the takeout is around five per cent per race.
In order to enjoy punting, the average punter should invest across the various pool types — you can’t pick every winner, and being returned something from the quinella or trifecta can limit your losses, or exaggerate your wins.
8. Do you have a tip for our readers at Randwick on Saturday?
A quick comparison of my computer prices versus the Telegraph’s market draws my attention to race nine at Randwick. Steyne is displayed as a $3.50 chance, significantly longer than my computer price. The race pace may favour Kingsguard ($7), so perhaps your readers can bet 75 per cent of their race investment on Steyne and 25 per cent on Kingsguard.
9. What does the betting landscape look like to you in the next five years?
I envisage a merger of, or withdrawal by, corporate bookmakers as regulations and turnover taxes make it more difficult to profit. I also envisage the introduction of an exciting lottery-style exotic wager that captures the attention of the wider public, and introduces new revenues to the tote and racing industry.
10. How can Australian racing officials ensure racing remains relevant in society today?
To be relevant, you have to firstly exist. As we’ve seen recently with the greyhounds, there’s no certainty of relevance if you don’t behave well. About 10 years ago, the Australian Racing Board under Andrew Harding got on the front foot with important issues of public interest — whip usage and tracking horses from birth to death to ensure they’re treated properly