I sometimes get the impression that punters don’t like their own money. Is it that they don’t study form or is it because some of them don’t know how to study form?
On Tuesday I rode Artemisia at the Vaal and I was stunned to see he had been priced up favourite despite the fact he was held on form.
In the Monday morning’s Racing Express Jack Milner wrote: “Artemisia received a 4kg penalty for her penultimate victory and another 2.5kg for winning her next start so she is back to a merit rating of 81. When last at that level she was not winning so unless she has continued to make further improvement, we shouldn’t be rushing out to take 18-10, even with Piere Strydom up.”
For those who cannot read form it was laid out in black and white for you. It really boils down to having some common sense and racing sense.
I try to prove myself wrong with my rides as my success depends on riding winners and having further success.
Financially the more I win, the better it is for me.
I am known as a jockey who studies form which is why I do this article and get asked to tip on race days. I use my knowledge of the horses and my experience in races to assist me further.
The reason I started to study form seriously is because when I moved to Joburg I was successful, but after a while I realised I was riding six or seven favourites and only coming home with one winner. I started thinking that surely, with all those favourites, I should be winning more races.
That is not the case. Currently I rarely get my first choice of rides but the punters and the bookmakers seem to think that it I do.
I know I keep going on about the same thing but I feel punters are often being misled by the betting. When I complain to the bookmakers they tell me I should be flattered because it means they have respect for my riding ability but all the flattery in the world does not help anybody back a winner.
Today we race at the Vaal and on the card is the WSB Grand Series Match Race. It has been a long time since we’ve seen a match race in Joburg. I took part in one many years back when I rode Brainteaser against Divine Act. It’s a lot of pressure for the jockey because you could ride the best race to suit your mount but the other horse turns out to be better than you. Simply put, there is no place to hide.
We kick off with a work riders’ Maiden Plate for fillies and mares and Upskilled looks a hard horse to beat. She ran second in her only start and as the rest of the field does not look that strong she should win this.
The danger could be Cop Shop, but she has not raced for a year.
Race 2 is an Assessment Plate where your best weighted runner should come out on top. But I will lean towards Oravar who ran second behind Palace Chapel and is 4kg worse off. The obvious danger is Palace Chapel and they should be good enough for the BiPot.
Race 3 is a Maiden Plate but it is quite difficult to find a winner. I am leaning towards the Old Man Thyme formline as the second horse, Zillzaal, won his next start. Therefore my selections are Paquirri and Basilica Santo. They could be good enough for the Place Accumulator but if not, you will need quite a few more runners.
Race 4 is another Maiden Plate and on this occasion the main horses I fancy do not have the strongest of form. In a very open race I give chances to March To Glory, Senor’s Guest, Riga D’ora, Riboux En Var and even Ti Gar.
Smart Deal has to have a chance but 1600m is probably too short for him.
Include as many as those mentioned in the PA and go with all of them in the Pick 6.
Race 5 is another Assessment Plate where your highest rated horses should be the ones to fight it out. They are Invincible Lady, Mrs Simpson, and the horse who has run against very strong company from bad draws, Sand Princess. Go with any two for the PA and all of them should be enough for the Pick 6.
Race 6 is a handicap where every horse should have a chance but on form the selections are Shogun, Changing Season and Chepardo. I ride Nordic Rebel and I’m surprised to see he has been tipped to win because he is held on form firstly by Bold Viking and also by Nephrite based on the change in weights.
For the PA go with the first three mentioned but for the Pick 6 put them all in.
Race 7 is a Novice Handicap where Bien Venue, Winter Storm, Make Your Move and Olofberg should fight it out.
Bien Venue has been disappointing of late but prior to that he raced against stronger. I rode Winter Storm last time and the 1000m was definitely too short, so those two are the main contenders and are my Place Accumulator horses. Add the other two into the Pick 6.
Race 8 is another handicap but again I have two fancies and they are State Trooper and Mount Keith. They should be good enough for the PA although you could even choose to banker one of them. For the Pick 6 consider Twelve Oaks as well.
Race 9 is a handicap for fillies and mares over 1000m. My first selection and a banker in all bets is Fictitious. She has run against many of these horses, has the benefit of a 4kg claimer in the irons and therefore looks to have them all beaten.
The dangers are Wrap It Up and Queen Of War.
I’m riding Nicky Noo who used to compete over middle distances and is now having her second run after a rest over a sprint. That might just find her out. I’m hoping she improves up in Gauteng and proves good enough to win today.