Record keeping and identifying trends in those records has been key for my own betting on horses and it should be imperative for any serious racing bettor.
The key to becoming a better and better punter is adapting to information as and when it becomes available.
To be able to back a horse with confidence I'd say you need at least three good reasons why you think Horse A would win. They could be:
Will love the ground
Should improve for the step up in trip based on previous runs and breeding
Has a great draw
Stable are in form
Now here's how the good punters become very good. Say Horse A wins, the lesser punter will accept that he was right on all four reasons and quickly move on. The very good punter, however, will go back through that list and analyse it. The very good punter comes up with the following based on the above four reasons in order:\
Seemed to love the ground
Only just won, faded inside the final furlong
Draw seemed a major advantage as could get run through on the rail
Stable are definitely in form, had two other winners today
So in this instance for Horse A he thinks that he didn't get the call right as regards the step up in trip. Now he adds this analysis to some kind of database including distance, ground, course, draw etc. or even just puts it in a notebook.
The next horse he backs is Horse B and this one loses having failed to stay and again the very good punter thought the horse would appreciate the step up in trip based on previous run and breeding. And this is where he adapts to the information he has. He begins to notice that he vastly over emphasises the step up in trip element. It could be because he's putting too much faith in the breeding or the previous run but either way he's placing too much stock in it. He then goes back through his results to see other instances where he's made this mistake and unearths another layer of information. He's only making this mistake in races over 1m2f+ and he's getting this wrong 75% of the time at this distance and the losers he's backing based on this criteria are costing him money.
Now the very good punter can adapt again. He knows this and the next time he's analysing a race over 1m2f+ he pays little attention to any thought that the horse he's betting on will appreciate the step up in trip as he knows that on his P&L sheet that this assertion is costing him money.
This is a good way to become a better punter. The more in information you have at your hands the better. You can even make broader observations from this kind of data. You might find you are very good at picking winners at a certain track or distance, or that you have a great handle on certain ground types. Sooner rather than later you'll begin to build up a profile of the races you yourself have proven you're better at backing in. From there your strike rate and ROI can only improve for the better!
Richard runs a public Google Group called Racing Bulletin where he shares more info like this as well as race previews, eye catchers and opinion pieces from UK and Irish racing (as well as the odd International race).
Join his Google Group by clicking here.