5 things a professional looks at before placing a bet

By on January 10, 2020

What factors should you consider when reading form?

I decided to ask Phil Griffiths AKA Snowy to go into detail about his process.

If we can’t learn from a professional who can we possibly learn from?

Here’s what he had to say…

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“The way I now approach having a bet is totally based on form but every punter must be able to act on instinct too – and be able to quickly adapt to changes in race conditions etc. 

I have found this has bought me some success over the years too. 

Instinct is a thing that only you can decide upon. Horses don’t run up to their optimum / best very often, in-fact they rarely do.

It’s up to you to form the reason why a horse will produce a peak performance in a certain race at a certain time and a lot of factors can come into that like, current form, ground, strength of opposition, trip, track, trainer form, jockey etc etc. 


But mainly I look for ground conditions, pace, track suitability & form of current connections. 

The horse’s handicap mark is also very relevant in such races too, as well as is the value and price of the horse. Horses should have feasible marks really in such races.

Regarding the prices, I tend to look for value and if I then think the horse is – in my opinion – under -priced, then I may choose not to bet. 


If I think it’s over-priced, then it’s possible I might even have more on. 

The average punters tendency is have more on short-priced horses and less on the bigger-priced ones – why? 

For me, it’s a bit like a sale when you go shopping, 2 for 1 or happy hour maybe.

We humans are suckers for bargains and I think when the bookies are generous, you should take advantage too. 


Never be put off by a price, if larger than you think and I don’t think you should have more on if it’s a lot shorter. 

I would rather have say 10 goes at 10/1 chances, believing I will get at least one winner, plus some placed, than bet everything at evens. You have to find 6 out of 10 all the time to be in profit betting on Even money shots!!

The below factors are the ones I consider before virtually every bet I have nowadays…


1. Freshness can be crucial as number of horses are best when making a return to the track after a break and also late in the season, I will try to avoid those that have had a lengthy campaign. 


Though some horses are an exception as they are improving at the time.

2. Ground is key. All horses have a preference. 


I find that my best and strongest picks tend to be on, or as near to, good ground. 

I have a saying, “the better the ground, the more reliable the form is”. 

 All tracks have varying types of turf and in the winter the soft / heavy ground can be so varied from track- to-track – meaning any punter can be misled when reading the form. 

A quick example to make it easy, soft at Chepstow (my local track), will ride a lot softer than say Ludlow.

Anyone should realise that but a lot of punters probably don’t if I’m honest. 


Add to that, it’s been raining for 2 or 3 days ahead of a meeting and the going is given as soft. But in those days leading up it’s dry at the track. The track will obviously dry but it never dries properly, especially in the winter, and it rides very dead – tacky according to the jockeys. 

At this time of the season I feel vulnerable. It’s a matter of which horses cope with conditions best rather than the best horses in the race!

Indeed a lot of horses get detached and tired in these conditions and punting is almost guesswork. I tend to tread a little more carefully around this time – that’s for sure!!


3. Pace is one that most punters don’t assess. This is a bad mistake to make. 


You should check to see whether your selection needs a well run pace or not. Then check the form of every other runner and build-up a mental picture of how that race is likely to be run. 

Should your pick need a good gallop, then make sure there is at least one that likes to get on with it from the front.

Sometimes it’s best that there are actually 2, 3 or even 4 that need to get on with it, thus covering all bases and ensuring at least one horse in the race makes this a true test. 


If there is only one front runner, then on the flip-side you may need to bet that horse too as often, a sole leader can get a soft and easy lead and go very deep into the race, sometimes making all – these front runners can often be good back-to-lay in-running options.

4. The track suitability is also a factor, being that a lot of horses return to a place that they have been successful before so they can enjoy the surroundings and have happy memories. 


They will know, hence the saying horses-for-courses. 

Some horses only produce their best form on flat tracks or stiff finishes and it pays to check all of its past form to see a pattern – a classic example of this is Cheltenham, a track that previous course winners often do very well at when returning to Prestbury Park.

5. I tend to give every trainer and jockey a chance when placing a bet and have no particular favourites, but the form of any stable can be very relevant. 


If they are amongst the winners at the time it pays to give all (most) of their runners, a closer look. 

If anything there are 1 or 2 trainers I prefer to leave alone – but I won’t mention names, but I can assure you they aren’t really household names! 

I have a preference with the southern racing scene for sure but can have a stab up North when the time is right.

Finally – watch as much racing as you possibly can and listen/learn from those with experience in the game. 


There is nothing wrong with being totally reliant on your own opinion and don’t be put off your fancy by others – no one can be right ALL the time and even those with years and years of experience often end up with egg on their face at some stage! 

YOUR EYES ARE YOUR BEST FORM GUIDE, SO TRUST WHAT YOU SEE, NOT ALWAYS WHAT OTHERS TELL YOU AND REMEMBER YOUR JUDGEMENT IS FINAL AS ITS YOUR MONEY YOU ARE PLAYING WITH, NOT SOMEBODY ELSE’S.”

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Phew that’s a lot of information to study! No wonder Phil can spend a few hours on a single race.

Thankfully for us we can let Phil do all the hard work and just bank the profits.

If you’d like to see what he can do then it will cost you just £1.99 for a month’s worth of tips here.

Take care,
Kris Jackman | Founder Tipster Supermarket