I don’t bet at carnival time

| July 17, 2018

Betting at the big horseracing carnivals can be challenging but exciting and rewarding.

Sounds like heresy, but for me I don’t like to bet on the big racing carnivals. The biggest racing carnivals in Melbourne and Sydney, where hundreds of thousands of people attend and engage in wagering, are a nightmare for serious punters.

Don’t get me wrong, as a horseracing enthusiast since the 1960’s, I love the racing carnivals. It’s where the best horses compete and the greatest thoroughbreds in the land are at peak performance. Incredible prizes are at stake and the racing is exhilarating, thrilling and exciting. Horses can go from virtually worthless to become million dollar thoroughbreds, the difference separated by only a matter of inches. Jockeys from across the globe come to the carnivals and show their elite skills. I don’t think any sport can match it in terms of excitement and admiration at the same time.

However, for the punter in me, I find it a nightmare! Most races, especially in Melbourne, can have upwards of 18-24 runners, many of whom have a chance of winning. Under these conditions, luck plays a big part. Where the horse finds itself in the running can be largely due to luck, or the skill of the jockey. How are us punters expected to know where the jockey will place the horse in running? I’m not even sure if the jockey knows! At the start, he or she probably has several strategies in mind, and the one that is played out depends on the situation in running. For punters, not knowing where the horse will be placed in the field is a huge risk.

Horses are also fine-tuned to perform on the day. Hence, it’s sometimes difficult to line up recent form, where they are most likely not performing optimally but instead are getting ready for later targets.

There are also often dramatic changes in weather conditions. In Melbourne springtime, horses are coming out of the dead of winter, some see the fresh sun and lift several lengths in performance. Where they have ran poorly in lead up events, they may show dramatic rises in form on firmer sun-drenched tracks.

Great racing days like Derby Day and Cup Day are nightmares for punters, but they can be more exciting and profitable when you can select the winners. On these days, the punting pools are a lot larger and exotic bet types can yield larger returns. However, with up to 24 horses in each race, I am always amazed when I hear a friend has landed the trifecta. I’m not great at maths but I believe the chances of hitting the trifecta in a 24-horse race are 1 in 12,144. Only your skill at assessing recent form can lessen these odds but I think you’re up against it when there are so many unknown variables at play.

On Oaks Day in 2017, I was fortunate to have selected the Melbourne quadrella, paying $7,950.20. If I selected one horse in each leg, based on the number of runners, I had a 1 in 25,200 chance of getting all 4 legs. I lessened the odds by including 2 horses in each race, hence I had a 1 in 1,575 chance, still a formidable proposition! I was lucky on this occasion, however I guarantee it’s much easier to win when fields are smaller and recent form is more transparent. The only downslide may be the smaller prize.

In summary, my advice is, when it comes to carnival time, enjoy the racing! It’s the best sport in the world. But if you feel the need to get involved in betting odds for horse racing, make sure you know the risks and challenges.

My friends know that I live and breathe horseracing, but secretly, I rarely bet at Carnival time.


Category: Betting

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