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By Garry Robinson

The pre post market and its influence is one of the most intriguing questions ever asked. It is a question that inspires continual debate and one I personally get asked at least once or twice a month by punters looking for an angle.

Before Christmas, Brett Craig, one of our regulars, noticed that when our Winform Top Rated horses were also in the top three in the prepost market, the strike rate was exceptionally high. In the light of our subsequent investigations, we found out some interesting information.

The most important information we discovered is that today's prepost markets are not what they used to be and therefore, they may not necessarily be reliable in the future as an indicator of racehorse performance.

Firstly, what is the prepost market? We are referring to the prices quoted in the newspapers around the country on the morning of the event. For weekend races there are often two markets. One is produced for Friday's Newspapers and another one for Saturday.

In the past, Friday's markets would influence some early interest in the runners and by Saturday a.m., those prices may have changed. I recall a good winner in 1987. The horse was Lucky Rass, which was trained by Max Lees. In Friday's market the horse was listed at 20/1. On Saturday it was 16/1, the price it won at. On other times, I have noted horses at 20/1 Friday and 14/1 Saturday before winning at say 8/1 on Saturday afternoon. Those days may have gone.

Bookmakers often prepared the prepost market, either present or past. Bookmakers once had an army of "spies" which passed on information about fitness "secret" gallops and so on. These days, there is little if any "secret" information to be passed on. Trials are filmed on video and sold. Computers can accurately analyse form. Stewards information is readily attainable and there are fewer betting coups for the simple reason that it is almost impossible to get set for the huge amounts that were possible in the past.

These days, prizemoney is all you need and owners and trainers need a constant flow of prizemoney to keep going and so there are fewer "cheat" runs. In this modern day scenario, the prepost market is devised in most cases from a study of past runs.

Will this horse be backed? Who is likely to ride, who is the owner and trainer. If the horse is from a stable which backs its own horses it is more likely to be "in the market" than a horse from a non-betting stable. A city runner is more likely to be "in the market" than a country or provincial horse.

I have no doubt that Catbird, the winner of the 1999 Golden Slipper, would have been shorter odds if raced and trained in the city rather than Canberra, where her wins were very "soft". Today's computer produced pre post markets are pure conjecture, yet they continue to have an influence on the actual betting market because of their previous history.

Listen to the commentators on raceday morning. Horses are "talked" into the market. It is not uncommon to hear them say " such and such is listed at 3/1 this morning and you'll be lucky to get that." And it happens that the punters are influenced by both the price and the comments and that horse does indeed start favourite and at much less than 3/1 and even less on the TAB.

How can we use the prepost market to effect now? Surprisingly, we still can. The morning price line heavily sways the punting publics. Even though the markets are usually inaccurate to begin with, the public often makes it real by following the market and the pre post favourite is usually the starting price favourite or very near to it.

We have found that betting our selections that are Pre post favourite is very poor value because of this. Yes the strike rate is there, but where is the value?? A better bet is found when our top a rated horse is the second favourite. Strangely enough, this second mentioned horse is rarely overbet and can provide enormous value.

Recently, one horse paid $25.90 and on April 3rd a second prepost favourite paid $10.50. Why? Because the favourite in those races was too heavily bet which left our selections out of favour. Well that suits us.

For those of you who are spending hours going back over the last few year's pre post markets looking for clues to setting up a mechanical system based on statistics, I say, "don't waste your time." It's like researching statistics for a racetrack that no longer exists. The old prepost market is gone forever.

It's like when somebody discovers the perfect winning system. Not long after some new exciting winner finding factor is found, there are so many people following it that the loss of value is so bad that it no longer makes a profit.

Our Power Play selection service would soon fall into the same rut if we did not have a limit on the number of persons subscribing. A few of our subscribers are already betting up to $6,000 on each selection now that the method has proven itself. If it weren't for a few subscribers who, for business reasons, are currently overseas, we would not be able to take any more subscribers on at all. Even so, there are only about 20 places left.

Our Grand Slam method is a case in point. 1998 was not the best year for Grand Slam with only about 30 selections all year and only about 8 of those won. Many subscribers simply dropped out. This year there have been only a dozen or so selections but all but one or two of them have won. Unfortunately, one aspect of this plan, the quinellas and trifecta strategy, are based on prepost markets. While that has not effected the results to date (recently a $71 quinella and last weekend a $54 trifecta plus the quinella 6 times) it must surely be something to watch for the future.

The lesson we have learned from all this is to stick to selection methods based solely on revealed form.

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