By Trevor Morris
Stable information. Is there any?
You see it advertised all the time. "Our staff of secret informants, track watchers etc. " or "We spent years infiltrating all the top stables and now our secrets are yours." The truth is that these days you’re lucky to find officials taking track times, luckier still if you find it in the papers. And if such information is available no one’s going to reveal it to you for what they can make out of a few lousy 1900 phone calls.
As the former steward Michael Beattie told me " they don’t need to worry too much about what allegedly "goes on" in races, because there is so much video tape, every incident is noticed by someone and that reflects itself in the prices. It’s just too hard for anything to get past the stewards let alone the punters." And as one of our top riders told me " these days the stewards can just about tell what you’re thinking, they’ve got so many angles covered." You see everybody knows just about everything.
So if Racing is so "clean" where’s the "information" coming from? Well that’s another story. There are no secret informants because everybody at the track, the stable hands, the trainers, the work riders, the farriers. All of them know the horses that work at their particular track and there are no secrets.
The problem is that everybody’s got a tip, a tip for every horse in the race. It just depends who you talk to.
One fellow in the betting ring at Newcastle watches a relative of one of that track’s most astute trainers. If mom-in-law backs the stable horse, then that ones "going" and he claims that his system works because they’ all thieving mongrels" but he can’t afford to cross his mother in law.
Well, I can tell you that there is sometimes some good information but it not the sort you would think. Instead, imagine you have found a horse that you feel is in the right race at the right time. You want to know if the horse itself is right. How’s it been eating, what’s its blood count like, how has it been working? If you could find those things out then you might be on a really good chance. Now is a trainer going to appreciate you calling him up and asking? Why should he tell you?
There are a few people who frequent the major training centres. They have horses themselves and they know the people. They do get to know the answers to these questions and unlike most people who work around the track, they are good form analysts. They can talk to the stable hands who, after all, are the ones who do the work. They chat to the vets, the track riders and so on. And they do do very, very well but they don’t put any money on themselves.
You see, the truth is that some people are proud of the horses they work with and they want to talk about them. The trick is in separating the talk from the "chalk". This is why there are so few people who succeed.
Ask yourself this? "If I was getting "confidential information" and using that information to make myself a fortune, would I keep getting this information." No I would not. Instead, here’s how these operators work.
They talk to you and ask you to put money on the horse for them. If the horse wins you pay them a commission. This way, no one knows who backed the horse. It will be maybe a few people each putting on a moderate sum, not too much to upset the odds.
Do such people exist, yes they do. Do we know who they are, well one or two perhaps. Do we use local sources of information, well yes we do but probably not in the way that you may think. Each Saturday we do have clients who pass on details of what track conditions are really like at their local track. We also do sometimes talk to trainers, track riders or stable hands to get an insight into what races a horse might be set for and how well they’re going. We have even been known to talk to jockeys and get an insight into their tactics. We also know which riders act on instinct and which ones succeed because they not only ride well but they also think.