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on 28 July 2013
Picking Big Priced WinnersThere is no doubt that the author , as the man who introduced Pricewise to the Racing Post, is well qualified to offer advice on value betting. However, this book was first published over twenty years ago and as far as I can gather has not been updated. Certainly my copy contains information which is entirely moribund, following the demise of most of the named trainers and racehorses. Much of the advice is now old and tired and, oddly, there is no meaty advice on how to actually select a horse which is a value bet.I would advance a simple selection method which pays off handsomely and on a regular basis : here it is.Find a horse which has been installed as the forecast favourite in your newspaper's betting forecast and then look at an odds comparison site and find a bookmaker offering double, treble, four times the odds shown in the forecast. That is a value bet. An odds compiler has looked at the form of all of the horses in the race, along with the race conditions and then assesses that particular horse as having the BEST chance of winning .It is by no means unusual to find such bets each day.
There is a lot of general advice on "the draw", "Recording bets""When to bet on the Tote" etc, sound enough but hardly earth shattering for anyone except the novice bettor.All in all, the book has not aged well.
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on 17 February 2014
A real gem of a book, as relevant today as back in the 1990s when it was first published. Simply put, Coton explains how it is only possible to win long term if you are getting paid over the odds. Like an art dealer, you assess the true price of an item and then make sure you sell it for more. Estimate skilfully and you cannot fail but to make a profit.

Coton not only explains this fundamental theory but then discusses practical aspects of form reading. Finally, he presents his 'Unique Form and Value' formula. This is priceless! He assigns a set of scores to the main areas of form such as class, conditions, trainer, etc, weighted according to importance. Having estimated the score for each factor the formula converts the total to value prices. Find the runner on offer at a higher price and you will make a medium to long term profit.

It works! However, there is no easy route to skilled form reading so you will likely have to practice and go through your own set of refinements. Eventually I find myself unable to have a bet unless I feel I have found a bargain.

For an American take on this, try 'Value Handicapping' by Mark Cramer. The two books complement each other though you have to account for the difference in US vs UK racing.

If you aspire to professional betting, I would suggest that Coton's book is a must.
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on 11 November 2013
Mark Coton is the originator of the Pricewise column that first introduced the racing public to the notion that in addition to picking a winner you needed to pick a winner that was well-priced. He laid it all out in this book. His thinking became part of the "common sense" of punting.

There is still value to be found in this text.

Make no mistake this is a seminal work.
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on 7 September 2010
This book has been a title I always wanted to read but the information which, when it was written, was so important and revolutionary now appears rather quaint and dare I say old hat.
However for its time it was a completely new style of book - both in terms of how it was written and for someone completely new to betting on horseracing it would still give useful advice.
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