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Favform

He sidled up to me in the betting shop and whispered, "I've got a great system for you." Now, I should explain that this was not some suspicious stranger, nor a good friend who knew of my interest in systematic betting, but an ordinary fellow-punter that I would see in the shop occasionally and exchange greetings of the kind - "How's your luck?" "All bad." "Picking any winners?" "No, I couldn't pick my nose." I should also explain that this encounter took place about the middle of July this year; that’s important. He turned to his Racing Post, had a quick look through it and then announced, "No, there's not a bet today. But anyway, here's what to do."

I'm a sucker for such approaches and listened attentively to what he had to say. When he had finished I felt an absolute sense of anti-climax and disappointment, and yet I knew that what he was saying was completely true - every winner was genuine and the huge prices were well documented. So, what was his wonderful system? Simply, back all the selections of Pricewise in the Racing Post. I like to think of myself as a reasonably switched-on punter and I've been well aware of Pricewise since its earliest days. As I recall, Mark Coton was one of the first writers of the column, and since then many who have followed him have gone on to fortune, if not fame, as successful telephone tipsters. Mel Collier comes to mind as a recent example, and I'd be happy to punt a quid that Tom Segal, the present incumbent, will be following that profitable money trail before too long. So, if I know all this, why was I not cashing in on it like my fellow-punter in the betting shop? A good question. I was fully aware of Pricewise's great run of winners, but because I had not got in on it at the start and because, unless you are very quick you miss out on the value of the early odds on offer, I had not felt inclined to back one of Pricewise's great winners. As I write these notes around mid August, it would seem that the golden run of Pricewise has perhaps come to an end for the moment. And I can't help but remember hearing John McCririck on Morning Line some time ago sounding off about how Pricewise had just suffered a losing run of quite alarming proportions; and what can happen once can easily happen again. These are just a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind that day as my punter pal revealed to me his wonderful system.

I know that some of you out there are keen golfers, so here's something for you - a golfing joke. Husband and wife were out together having a game when the wife was stung rather painfully by a wasp. The husband rushed her to a doctor, who was himself a golfing enthusiast, and explained the problem. "And whereabouts were you stung?" asked the doctor.

"Between the first and second hole,” replied the lady.
"My goodness,” said the doctor with some interest, "you must have a really wide stance!" That was too short; we’d better have another one. This is a true story concerning a friend of mine who really is a bit of a comedian. We were having a game this day and he hadn't been playing at all well. Then to make matters worse, as he was walking out of a bunker he trod on the bunker rake that was lying there, and it came up and hit him a painful blow in a delicate area. When he'd recovered he said, "Ooh, that was sore! But it's the best two balls I've hit all day." Favform is the name of our system for this month, and the name more-or-less sums it up. You'll be backing carefully selected favourites with a special kind of form and it's not, perhaps, the kind of form you might be expecting. It dates from the time of the Sporting Life, so when it mentions using the betting forecast of that paper, then, as usual, I'd suggest the forecast of the Racing Post to replace it. I've just had a look at the results it gives and they cover a period, Flat and N.H., of over six months. If we can believe them, the strike rate is an incredible 74%, including a winning run of 14 and a losing one of only 3. The points profit works out at just under 30, which is more than the total number of selections for the period. If that kind of form can be maintained, it would certainly be a favourite with me.

This method involves looking for horses that despite a poor previous outing are considered well clear favourite over the rest of the field, by having a forecast S.P. (Sporting Life) well apart from the second favourite forecast. So, whereas many methods are simply rating formulae, this method highlights a more 'intuitive' selection. This approach is extremely successful as the results show.

Selections are made as follows for all races, N.H. or Flat, shown in the Sporting Life.
1. Consider only horses that are clear favourite in the S.P. betting forecast shown in the Sporting Life for that day.
2. Note the S.P. forecast in the Sporting Life for these horses (this must be between 11/10 and 5/2 inclusive) and also the 2nd favourite forecast S.P. (which must be greater than or equal to 11/4). These two forecasts must fall into one of the following combinations.

Forecast S.P. of Favourite Forecast S.P. of 2nd Favourite
11/10 Greater than or equal to 11/4
5/4 Greater than or equal to 11/4
11/8 Greater than or equal to 11/4
6/4 Greater than or equal to 3/1
13/8 Greater than or equal to 3/1
7/4 Greater than or equal to 7/2
15/8 Greater than or equal to 7/2
2/1 Greater than or equal to 7/2
9/4 Greater than or equal to 7/2
5/2 Greater than or equal to 4/1

3. Eliminate horses which are racing for the first time in the season, unless they have never raced before in races shown in the Sporting Life.
4. If the horse has raced that season, the result as shown in the Sporting Life must be '0' for its previous outing, i.e. it finished the race, but out of the first four places.
5. In the betting market the horse must be clear favourite just before the 'off', and its price must be greater than evens but less than or equal to 3/1. Note, this means that odds-on selections are not backed.

When conditions 1 to 5 are satisfied, the horse is backed to win only.

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