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The Psychology Of Tipping
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The Psychology Of Tipping

“What crucial piece of information did I miss?”

“Was that just a lucky run?”

“Where did that improvement come from?”

“Was the jockey to blame?”

I can’t speak on behalf of anybody else, but these are just some of the questions that flow through my head as I watch a horse that I was so sure of winning being beaten into a 10 length second by a 33/1 outsider. I tend to stick with smaller stakes but that’s almost irrelevant in this instance. When you spend large amounts of time wading through form guides, trainer and jockey comments, going forecasts, previous opposition and whatever else makes up a selection, it’s as important to be right as much as anything else.

A Short Price Winner is Better Than a Long Odds Loser

It’s quite amazing to see the number of people who are so focused on impressing their peers by being the one who picked out the latest big price winner that they rarely end up with any winners at all. A miss is as good as a mile in this game and, although the 100/1 shot may have run a stunning race to finish 5th of 23, it still doesn’t bring with it any profit (a personal victory, perhaps, but betting banks won’t survive on that alone). The way to avoid this happening is to assess the form without any price guide at all from the bookies meaning that you can make your educated and informed decision without influence from others.

Race Class Doesn’t Necessarily Equal Race Quality

The initial impressions of a form guide can be quite the deception and this is really where giving yourself enough time to do the research can play such an important part. If a horse is shown as having won its last race in class 2 and is now racing in a class 3, we need to dig deeper before we can make any sort of assessment on that form alone. The most recent win in the higher class may be easily explainable by the fancied horses all failing to complete, extreme weather conditions, a small runner field, or indeed just a very weak race for that class in general. It pays huge dividends to take a look at the opposition your selection has beaten as this will open up some real clues as to its ‘true’ quality in the grander scheme of things.

When the Going Gets Tough…

The difference that the ground and surface type can make to a horse is absolutely incredible and I’m not just talking about the extremes of firm vs. heavy; even changes from good to good/soft can have a big impact on the overall horse performance. The upcoming weekend’s racing from Newbury is a perfect example of this, with a number of horses very closely matched on ability but are incredibly different performers depending on whether they run or soft or heavy ground. The going is measured using a going stick which is pushed into the ground to give a reading of between 1 (softest) and 15 (hardest). Since March 2007, every racecourse has had to use a uniformed measurement method, publishing the reading alongside the going reading in any form guide.

So that’s it for this week’s instalment of handy little guide to all things betting. Join us next week as we continue to explore the various psychologies of horse tipping, including some exclusive opinions from some of our leading tipsters. Until then, good luck!

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