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Ian Barns, who sets himself up as the moral guardian of punter's rights with his annual publication Punters Choice, has done a turn around and published his own "System" book.

Punters Choice has been edited by Ian Barns and operated as a business for the past ten years or so. He takes delight in attacking any publication that does not meet his narrow criteria and indeed spends much time attacking any loose standards of English or printing rather than properly reviewing the products presented.

In one review he said that the publication was printed in "unjustified" type. To the lay man this would indicate that the publisher was somehow "ripping off the customer" when in actual fact it is merely a printing term to describe how the text is printed. Less than 1% of the general population would know this.

For another publication which was an analysis of three years of painstaking research, Ian Barns in his review stated that he had got quotes and discovered that the report would have cost $1.00 to print. Punters who purchase such publications, purchase the "ideas" or the "research" not the actual paper and cover.

How then, can this person purport to be an independent reviewer and at the same time publish his own system books???

The Winform Racing Club has over 1700 paid Members and is highly repected by bookmaking organisations Government bodies and TABs. When our Members put their point of view, they listen. In fact one TAB changed their information systems as a result of our requests. When we complained to the Victorian Government about how con men could hide behind 1900 numbers, they changed the law. A concerted push by a Queensland Member with our support and that of bookmkers was responsible for the legal phone bet being dropped in the Northern Territory to just $50.

We frequently receive reports form Members who have purchased books and programs and selection services that are on the market. These reviews or comments by our Members are normally only available in our Member's Newsletters. Because of the circumstances of Punters Choice publsihing their own system books, we publish this review for all to see.

Today we received the following from one of our Members.

28th March 2002

Mr G Robinson
PO Box 375

Dear Mr Robinson,


Ian Barns

I eagerly awaited the arrival of this $130 book confident that I would receive the definitive text on contemporary System Design.

What I got was something totally different.

The book is titled System Design (the “for 21C” bit indicated to me that it was produced in collaboration with respected author Roger Biggs who produced Handicapping For 21 C), but about half of its meagre (at the price and page size) 92 pages is taken up with Mr Barns’ various gripes with the TAB, racing clubs, and his view of staking plans, most of which have been trotted out year after year in every Punter’s Choice Annual since 1990. I wont be purchasing any more.

When you get (eventually) to the nitty-gritty of System Design (after all that’s what you paid for) what you get is a set of 17 statements which, Mr Barns opines, are the key factors and his opinion of them.

I stress the word opinion. There’s not one skerrick of independent, concrete research in the book supporting what he has to say, just a series of “reasons”, but there’s no evidence presented to back up the
“reasons”. At least one of these statements seems incorrect and the remainder can be found in any handicapping book at less than half the price.

There is a short discussion on factors to include/exclude. That’s it. That’s Mr Barns’ idea of “System Design”. No suggested rigourous back-testing over 5 –10 years, no Mid-Period Test for backward to forward effectiveness evaluation, no proof of it working, just a suggestion to run it on paper for a while to see how it goes …. in other words “suck it and see”.

The book concludes with 3 of Mr Barns’ own systems.

What a so called independent watchdog is doing going over to ‘the other side’ is beyond me, but I tested all 3 over the period 1995 – 2002 thorugh my own database. They are all in loss.

One of them (Strike 1) contains one of the silliest ‘rules’ I’ve ever seen allowing the ‘selection’ (under frequent circumstances) to depend on the horses name.

I expected a lot more from this respected race observer at the price and couldn’t possibly recommend it to other Winformers. (Winform Members).

By the way, we checked to see whether or not Roger Biggs had anything to do with Ian Barn's new system publication and we can confirm that in spite of the title perhaps leading you to believe that this is so, it is not. In fact, it appears Roger Biggs is more than a little upset about the title, himself.

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