The Pro Punter: Betting advice, tips for the Caulfield Cup and The Everest
Last week I mentioned Confirmation Bias when discussing how too many punters over bet favourites, particularly in relation to their investments on those at rougher odds.
In considering the probable winning chances of horses generally most punters will quickly become aware of what should be a standout favourite in a race.
They tend to then read the form with a bias to confirm that initial thought, they seek out, or put greater weight to, positive stats or comments than they otherwise would.
What then tends to happen is the staking becomes loose and results in staking proportionally too much on those that “should win”.
For example Russian Camelot last week. He was the short-priced favourite, but I wonder how many fell into staking more on him than they really should have. Even at his Betfair starting price of $1.49 he would still lose 33% of the time. Therefore, staking consistently is so important.
On to this week and we are looking at 15-25mm of rain prior to the meeting in Caulfield which makes it a very difficult set of circumstances. Only 2mm fell on Thursday when up to 10mm was expected.
Rain during a meeting generally opens the track up much quicker than rain prior. It makes betting confidently into the Caulfield meeting quite difficult at this point.
There has been differing views as to the firmness of the track on Wednesday. Craig Williams commented that there was fair give, others cited the fact that several horses pulled up sore to claim it was too firm.
I would lean to the thoughts of Williams and question how good the 10mm-plus will be. This of course will only take effect with the larger fields.
Randwick should be perfect for The Everest with little consequential rain predicted and winds likely not to be a big factor.
Verry Elleegant is a worthy Caulfield Cup favourite but not at $5. Picture: Getty Images
Caulfield Cup (Race 9)
This looks to be a deep race, as these Group 1 handicaps should be.
One interesting historical fact that has been relevant for some time relates to the overseas horses having their first run in Australia for the preparation. Inclusive of Taufan’s Melody win in 1998 there have been 49 qualifying horses for five winners.
Backing all to return $1 at their starting price would result in an outlay of $3.13 for a return of $5 (POT 59%). For me I would not back the overseas horses purely off that fact, but it is very much a consideration.
Favourite VERRY ELLEGANT does not “need: a wet track, however she does handle the conditions better than most. Her rating in winning the Tancred over 2400m on a Soft 7 last autumn was a career peak. I am struggling to get her right down to the market price given the depth of the race and have her $7 (to 100%) but with upside if the rain does set in.
Dalasan is also a sneaky chance. Picture: Michael Klein
FINCHE is my clear overlay (rated $8). He has set a perfect platform to springboard to his best, or even past his previous peak. He is third-up compared to presenting for this fourth-up last year, when he arguably could have won but for a tough run in transit.
His Turnbull Stakes run was phenomenal given he was three-wide facing the strong northerly. He carted Verry Elleegant right into the race but was still fighting on the line. He looks to get a very nice run and could easily prove to be the strongest stayer.
My other pair of overlays are MIRAGE DANCER who bounced back to his best to win The Metropolitan last start and DALASAN who was very good in the Turnbull, handles a wet track well and split Russian Camelot and Warning in the South Australian Derby in the Autumn.
The chances don’t stop there and I am terrified of MASTER OF WINE who has a perfect platform to explode to a new peak, albeit again I can only get him to around the $10 mark so is not an overlay.
Of the overseas horses I have ANTHONY VAN DYCK rated tops at $9. He held on well last start, but it was a very slow overall time, particularly compared to the other 2400m races that day. BUCKHURST ($17) may bounce back to his best rating, however the market seems to assume he definitely will after rating down in his last two starts. DASHING WILLOUGHBY ($26) is a small overlay for me, however he will be in a world of bother if he steps slowly and/or the inside cuts out prior to the race. He may also be more suited to the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup.
Mirage Dancer was back to his best winning The Metropolitan last start. Picture: Getty Images
The Everest (Race 7)
Not surprisingly, given the length of time the pre-post markets have been active, the public market is very similar to my market.
NATURE STRIP ($6.50) needs to be trusted to show up for his grand final. At this point I would be against rather than for that happening as he is just so terribly inconsistent. The opposite to him is GYTRASH who has built an impeccable set of ratings that provide him with a winning platform albeit with out any great value compared to my $8 rating.
CLASSIQUE LEGEND needs to take another big step from what he has shows thus far. I’m thinking a step too far and am prepared to bet around him with my rating closer to $8.
The horse that does represent some value for me is BEHEMOTH ($7). He has built an imposing couple of ratings in his last two starts over 1400m and he will be very strong late in what could turn out to be a brutally run race.
That said if he is sluggish away, he is going to be buried back near last on the fence, so he does have some queries.
Behemoth looks great value in The Everest. Picture: Getty Images
Stablemates TREKKING and BIVOUAC can both win and both sit in the market equivalent to where I have them. TOFANE ($17) is some value but she needs to find that one rating from the All Aged Stakes which I think is a big expectation. I am happy to work around the others, including LIBERTINI who went to an extreme new PB last start but must be a query to repeat.
The Kosciuszko (Race 5)
The scratching of Front Page this morning changes the complexion of this race with some heat coming out of the tempo. That said, try as I might, I cannot get away from the view that IT’S ME will be winning the race. She has done everything so easily to date including running the fastest last 600m and 200m of the day last start when barely off the bit.
Hardly a value play now at around $2 so likely to swerve the race.
Other early plays:
There are a couple of other races that I want to play into early, one at each venue.
Randwick Race 3
This race looks set up to suit on pacers JUST THINKIN’ and particularly PURPLE SECTOR. Just Thinkin’ drops back from 2000m to a more preferable 1600m and will likely lead the field. Tagging it will be Purple Sector who returned with a PB last start, notably his first run since being gelded. He is likely to step up again and provides significant value against my $4.50 rating.
Caulfeld Race 1
POWER SCHEME looks one of the bets of the day for Caulfield. He was held up at a vital stage first up behind Rich Hips before finishing strongly to be beaten 1¼ lengths. He handles wet conditions and importantly gets first use of the track so if the inside chops out his low draw will not be a factor in the opener. Very small concern about him stepping from 1400m to 1700m second up but will put my trust in the stable to get that right.
FRIDAY LINE – EARLY BETS (41 units)
Caulfield Race 1 No 3 – Power Scheme ($3.30) – 19 units
Caulfield Race 9 No 9 – Finche ($13) – 6 units
Caulfield Race 9 No 14 – Dalasan ($17) – 4 units
Randwick Race 3 No 9 – Power Sector ($6.50) – 12 units
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