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Has Anyone got any tips for me on this ? Just regular handicapping Basics don't seem to work !
I'm Not 100 percent sure I know what to look for
Their information is actually the best but if you are coming from the way we present our data you have to give yourself time to acclimate to their format.
Once you become accustomed to reading & interpreting their data (there's a whole more than is provided over here & it's free) then the primary rules of handicapping still apply.
If I were you, I would make paper bets (no real money) until I figured out what I was doing well or not doing well & refine my process. I'd also suggest to scan the card & look for a couple of races to really dig into rather than spread your focus too thin. Learn how to find value there.
Everything else is nuts & bolts & practice, IMO.
Brisnet international PPs have very little information. The only angles I use are to find a familiar sire or broodmare sire, bonus points for those best for the distance. Then, I compare past final times at the day's track, distance, and track condition. I also skim the company lines.
You can use the basics. handicapping is handicapping everywhere in the world, the difference is in how the data is collected and packaged. Case in point, for most European races they don't take fractional times and positions. You'll get the final time, finish position, beaten lengths, a "rating" (Timeform, RPR, etc), and a short verbal description that often sounds like "led, headed 1f out, tired". If you want Equibase style data, pretty much you're out of luck unless that track has Trakus (Ascot does, vast majority do not)
However, HKJC racing is arguably the best in the world in that the bettor should know everything he/she needs to know, and all drugs are illegal. So, none of this "let's gallop the horse at 5am under cover of darkness" BS that DWL and his disciples (Pletcher, McLaughlin, Stewart et al) do. You can go on their website, look up a horse, and you know what training was done every single day, whether it was timed work, jog, canter, gallop, walk the shedrow, or swim. And of course there's Trakus there.
HKJC also gives you free PP's. They're really not much different from Equibase but what might throw you off if it's backwards from what you're used to. The topmost race is the OLDEST race in the history and the bottommost one (in red) is the current one (that he hasn't run yet). When studying graded/group stakes races, note that if the grade is in round brackets (G1) that means it's an international race, but if it's in square brackets [G1] then it's local/restricted to Hong Kong horses (kind of like the old Canadian grades we used before 1998).
They only have 2 tracks, and both run clockwise only. Happy Valley is the smaller, older one on the Island surrounded by skyscrapers and apartment blocks. It's a tight 7 furlong turf bullring with tennis and basketball courts in the infield. Happy Valley is generally used on Wednesday nights. The big track is Sha Tin in the New Territories which is like Santa Anita, has beautiful mountains for the backdrop, palm trees, and it's used on Sundays (sometimes Saturday instead) and holidays. It hosts all their big events like the International Races in December... That's a 1 3/16 mile turf oval surrounding a 1 mile dirt track. HKJC calls it "all weather" but it is natural dirt, not Polytrack or Tapeta (something to keep in mind if you're using pedigree handicapping!). I believe they only use the dirt for winter racing and as a training track.
The turf course is rarely rated worse than "good" as it is a hybrid -- there's synthetic fiber which the grass blades grow through for durability, similar to what is used in English Premier League football pitches (that's why guys can slide on them with cleats down and never pull up divots, and the grass the goalkeepers stand on is usually in good shape...).
There is no breeding industry in Hong Kong; you won't find Chinese breds in the races. All their horses are imported, mostly from Australia and New Zealand but also Europe, and the vast majority are geldings (very few colts, horses, fillies, or mares). Also there is no juvenile racing, and because of this, the HK Triple Crown is restricted to FOUR year olds.
Like Dubai, Hong Kong pretty much follows Australian racing rules and traditions including how their stewards hand out disqualifications, fines, and suspensions.
Hope this helps!
Great post, Tex!
I have found that getting to know the jockey colonies really well there also helps.
You can keep a virtual stable at racenet for any aussie and HK and New Zealand races. They call it a blackbook, and will send you emails when your horse is running.
You can also do jockeys, trainers, but they also let you follow by SIRE and DAM, which equibase and drf do not have!