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Late In The Day Races Theory

Lately I have been playing with an idea that's based around favourites and relative field weaknesses and over the period of this study a few older ideas have been reinforced and a lot of issues have arisen with late in the day favourites.

If you are actually one of the few that go to the races these days, you do notice a few subtle changes in crowd behaviour that I have always found to be most interesting and you probably will too if you take the time to observe. The same applies at bigger TABs where there is a gathering of punters and at larger sports bars so this observation is not restricted to the track - it is common wherever the endeavour is to make a dollar or two on the punt.

As the day goes on, the atmosphere changes and you can actually feel the anxiety, indecision and frustration levels rise. People stop laughing as much as they did earlier in the day when they faced the punting challenge with optimism and the hope of a good win. A few losses in - a quick count of the remaining bank - the realisation that you have to salute with a winner soon or things could get quite grim. The effects are magnified of course with those that are absolutely plain stupid and drink while gambling. If you drink while gambling you are a goose.

My observation has been that mid afternoon the crowd divides in to three sections - optimists, pessimists and desperates.

The optimists remain confident that the "bad run" will come to an end - if they have been having one - and tend to increase their bets, sometimes alarmingly, in the demonstrably false belief that the previous races have some bearing on the equally fake "law of averages".

The pessimists have meanwhile reached the brink of doom. Another day of losing looming. Obviously the method they're following is a waste of space. The favourites aren't winning, the tipsters are scum, everyone else is to blame except for them - time again to abandon all reason on take stab at something, anything, favourite in the next must win and off we go. They don't know anything about the favourite of course but it must be favourite for a reason. Perhaps the smarties have backed it?

The desperates start panicking, mostly because they're punting with money they simply can't afford to lose, maybe the car payment money or, worse, the mortgage money, and they start punting up big to get themselves out of their losing situation without a thought as to what their end game is going to look like. Take a stab on the favourite - I mean why else would it be favourite if it wasn't a "certainty" - as they say in the world of poker "ALL IN".

These three groups, I believe, falsely create an air of expectation about late in the day favourites that see them going off at falsely short prices in relation to their actual chance and in relation to the relative weakness / strength of their opposition.

I notice that some corporate bookmakers even frame what they now call "get out" bets on a couple of sites. Good grief! Perhaps it has not occurred to these punters that if it is a desperate get out bet, perhaps they may have been doing something intrinsically wrong during the rest of the day? And it may not change for the last race in any measurement of success performance?

It is incredible to me that people who approach this business with some very sound ideas and golden rules, seem willing to break them more and more as the day goes on. Why?

There is never a last race. Ever. I have written elsewhere on this site that I too used to be a victim of the last race mentality - in fact it always used to be the last race in Sydney. It didn't matter what price they were, I could never lose. Yeah - right - until "that day".

Observing the herd is a fascinating thing and a profitable use of time. Next time you're at the tote or sports bar - just watch and you will see that what I have written here is correct. As the afternoon wears on, the desperation levels rise and the mood changes. It's just the way it is. A lot of the faces you are discreetly looking at will show all the signs of uncertainty, hesitation and "jitteriness" if there is such a word. It is absolutely unmistakable.

So how does this impact on what I have been playing with? I truly believe that a lot of the late race favourites are way too short in comparison to their true odds and over the long term must put people playing at this pointy end of the market at a real mathematical disadvantage. The stuff I have been researching, and it only related to favourites, was showing a pretty fixed success rate of around 45% (VERY short prices) but when I dropped out the second half of the programmed races, generally stopped after race 4 on each programme, the success rate soared to 77%.

Now it may be that the very short priced ones I was playing with have a greater degree of success in the weaker, generally programmed earlier, races. My work on this idea is still incomplete so I can't say for sure. Then again, can you say anything about this stuff "for sure"? But it may be worth thinking about and doing a little observation investigation for your self.

And if you really want to do some human observation and really notice stuff, hang around the airport for a while. Now that is a fascinating exercise!

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