There can never be too much information for punters — it’s what you do with it that counts. And as far as races on Channel 4 go, it’s time to fill your boots. Find out how to maximise your profits on Channel 4 races.
When Channel 4 are in town, the racing press go into overdrive. Breakfast shows on television and national newspapers — at the weekend, at least — producing pullouts. If you want expert advice for a bet, that is where to start. Every national newspaper has its own racing page and, in most cases, its own racing correspondent. And part of their brief is to give their tip for
every race of the day.
Some, admittedly, are better and more clued-up than others. And just because they work in the racing press, don’t believe for a second they are expert tipsters. Here’s a tip for free. Check out the Racing Post NAPs table, which rates how the national tipsters fare over the course of the season. If, for instance, the guy from the Daily Bugle is showing a loss of £64 to a £1 stake, it’s probably best to steer clear of him for a while.
Pricewise of the Racing Post is seen as the guru. He specialises in finding the value in big Saturday races and, crucially, in finding the winner. Not much gets past Tom Segal — that’s Pricewise’s real name — and he’s always a good place to start.
But — and it’s a big but — bookies are well aware of the Pricewise threat. And it often means that any horse he tips will be cut in price. For instance, a horse available at 12-1 on Friday night may be cut into half that if Pricewise is on, chiefly because of the amount of money they expect to be bet on it. And it means you, the punter, is getting an artificially small price.
That happens a lot on Channel 4 races. Punters put a lot of faith in favourites as they see them as a quick route to the rich house. Again, the end result is that the favourite is overpunted and the price is artificially small. And while you should hope to be getting 3-1 about a favourite in a certain race, you end up getting 7-4. In short, you’re not getting value.
Also, don’t be afraid of a big-price outsider. Checking out the favourite is usually a good place to start, but more often than not the market leader doesn’t win. If you fancy a horse at big odds, and you can make out a solid case for it, then don’t be afraid to back it. There was evidence to suggest Wayward Prince would win the Scottish National back in April (Pricewise found it, by the way) and he duly delivered at 25-1. The following week Just A Par won the bet365 Gold Cup at 14-1. They aren’t easy to find, but what a payday if you do.
It’s also a wise move to check out the special offers bookies have on the table. A favourite one is to offer money back — or a free bet — if your selection finishes second to the favourite. Others offer money back if your horse falls. And then there’s BOG — Best Odds Guaranteed.
Certain — not all — bookmakers offer this. What it means is that if you back a horse in the morning and take the price at 4-1, then it goes and wins at 8-1, you get paid out at the starting price.
Here’s a final tip. It’s easy to knock pundits — and in some cases it should be encouraged — but Channel 4’s Jim McGrath knows horses and is well worth listening to on The Morning Line. Don’t take it from us, read the words of the great Peter O’Sullivan who a few years ago simply said: “I wouldn’t like to be Jim’s bookie!”