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A Review of Roger Biggs new book by Garry Robinson

For really thoughtful punters, the Roger Biggs series of books has been a boon. Handicapping for 21C revealed Bigg's own speed handicapping method as well as some interesting statistics relating to barriers, beaten distance, the effect of weight and other factors. That was in 1998. The ratings service he commenced, although long since sold to American interests, still operates and still finds numerous winners.

In 1999, Biggs released Thoroughbred Handicapping Tables. By this time Bigg's database had grown to 1.8 million horse runs and 185,000 races analysed. Such things as the effect of a weight change over various distances, change of distance on it's own, runs of outs and barrier advantages and disadvantages weer covered. It was chock full of interesting information.

In 2001 Bigg's release of Adventures In Handicapping introduced the possibility of a system that could find 56% winners. This was a statistics based system and used data that few , if any, other system sellers had tried. By now there were over 2 million horse runs in Bigg's database so conclusions reached would be hard to doubt. The basis is favourites. Take favourites and then apply some realistic elimination rules, and you will start to see better results. In the end Biggs's book led to 2 or 3 good bets being available each Saturday.

Finally, we saw the release of Handicapping By Numbers. This book is the one we felt was useful to really serious time handicapping punters as it included mode times for many of Australia's numerous tracks. To our knowledge, nobody had ever done this before and certainly not over a database containing eleven years of horse racing data. To guide you even better, the actual numbers of races on which the times were based is listed. An average time over 8 races is a lot less reliable than one taken from a sample of hundreds of races. With hundreds of races, we can be confident of the data. Of course, there were many other facts covered in Handicapping By Numbers as well.

In December 2003, Roger Bigg's latest book A Handicapping Miscellany has been released. Costing just $120 including postage it attempts to fill the gaps by including data on factors requested by many of Biggs's readers over the years. For those who don't know, Biggs explains dutch betting and covers
the results you can expect under various circumstances. His explanations are based on TAB dividends, which are generally the worst result but at least you can get an idea.

One section of the new book explains how system sellers work and why most systems don't work. Useful information in itself. And then there's the chapter devoted to Mares. Very useful. Another chapter studies the performance of horses as they have more starts. One segment that appealed to me was the one where the horse goes to a new trainer. It seems as though this often produces a positive result. The book tells us the facts after 20,575 separate horses were analysed.

An interesting section is Town and Country which looks at race times between City Country and Provincial races. How much improvement does a Country horse have to make to win in the City?

Biggs also covers the situation when you should bet more for the place than for the win. Is this a good idea? Biggs will tell you. All in all, the new book won't help you if you're a mug punter but if you, like most successful people, believe that you should never stop learning, then finding just one
extra winner or eliminating the occasional loser, will pay for this book.

All of Roger Bigg's books are available via our bookshop

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