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By David Fowler | Tuesday, March 13, 2018

David Fowler is the principal thoroughbred caller for Radio TAB. David, who is a keen form student and punter, has enjoyed a lifetime involvement in the racing media. His personal blog, ‘My Call’, appears exclusively on HRO.

If a punter doesn't respect the marketplace in the last half hour of betting, they should take up gardening instead.

There is such proliferation of fixed odds available, sometimes days out, that the 30 minute lead-up betting activity before a race has somewhat lost its mojo.

And that's often because the punter has committed their stake, believing they have secured "overs" on this or that.

This is in stark contrast to say, a decade ago, when the punter relied heavily on the movement in the marketplace on raceday to form a judgement.


Let's use the Saturday template as an example of why early betting can be fraught with danger on a number of fronts.

To be competitive against rivals, it's a case of earlier the better and, whether it be TAB or corporate, the first market assessment is done after only a few hours of study.

But the same scenario applies to the punter so it's a fairly swift opinion versus a fairly swift opinion.

Percentages can be high on occasions and scratchings are nil.

It's fair to say over the next 48 to 72 hours the marketplace doesn't change a lot.

That might seem strange but it's basically true. A favourite on Wednesday is invariably a favorite at Saturday lunchtime even if everyone has potted it and knows it will start longer or even lose the favourite rating.

Now the serious business begins.


The famous "they" (insert individual or group) are hard at work on race morning fine tuning their betting strategies.

Often these strategies are implemented on Saturday morning which is the reason why you will often see a horse open significantly shorter at the "official price" compared to a general fixed odds quote with the TABs or corporates during race morning.

But the shift in prices, or fluctuations, in the last 30 minutes cannot be ignored. In fact, it should be given the highest priority.

Prices don't rise or fall for no reason. It's based on investment or lack of it.

Among the factors controlling this landscape are factors that can't be assessed before raceday.

Track bias and horse presentation fit well into this category.

And "they" are still there. You get the drift.


And the facts don't lie. Most horses who drift in the market don't win.

Conversely, many horses who firm in the market from whatever price either win or run well.

If you doubt such a judgement, grab the results from last weekend and do the math yourself.

Punters often feel they are missing the boat if they allow the flurry of fixed odds activity to pass them by on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Yes, the ball game has changed but one thing hasn't.

Betting trends in the 30 minutes before a race are just as significant in 2018 as they were in 1978.

Don't let anyone tell you differently and ignore them at your punting peril.

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David Fowler
David Fowler
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best