We’re lucky to have a host of great contributors at Punting Stars. Today we’ll learn more about one of our Greyhound punters, Ricky Leonard.
Ricky provides his thoughts on Victorian greyhound meetings for Punting Stars. He’s passionate about the industry and promoting it to fellow greyhound punters and prospective greyhound punters.
Let’s find out a little bit more about him and how he came to become a greyhound punter!
When did you first become interested in the greyhound industry?
Around 5 years ago I purchased my first greyhounds with a few friends from work as a social experiment. We figured that if we had a few pups running around here at Warrnambool on a Thursday night then it would be a great excuse for our families to catch up.
My mate Frank had been in greyhounds before and had quite a few local contacts so we decided to purchase two pups and try our luck. I had always been really keen on the racing industry as a whole but other than watching the feature greyhound races or having a bet on the greyhounds late at night to try and get out of jail on the punt, I was much more familiar with the harness and thoroughbred industry.
So you have always been interested in the racing industry?
That’s right. My dad has always been a harness trainer and I grew up at the trots. Dad initially worked for Graeme and Gavin Lang who are legends in the harness racing circles before going out to train in his own right.
I was introduced to the industry at a young age and have spent time with some amazing characters in the harness racing circles. Dad is friends with people from all walks of life- wealthy owners, the best trainers and drivers all the way to the degenerate gamblers. You learn a lot from them all.
You focus your energy now on the greyhound industry, is there a reason why?
I bet on the greyhounds because that is where I spend my time. The trots have changed a lot and I am a bit disenchanted with where it has gone so I spend the majority of my energy on the greyhounds and a little on the gallops.
I love the fact that the Greyhounds don’t have a jockey on their back to blame and I love the greyhound as an animal. We have been lucky enough to buy a pup that has turned out to be a super race dog and have been able to travel around the countryside following him.
Who is the dog?
The dog is Lightning Frank. We purchased him as a pup quite cheap and he has gone on to win two group 1’s and almost $300,000 in the past year.
What is next for Lightning Frank?
He is just recovering from an Achilles injury at the moment and will start to free gallop this week. We are very hopeful that he will make it back to the track for a tilt at this years Topgun and Melbourne Cup.
If that doesn’t work out how we planned then we have already secured him at Meticulous Lodge with amazing stud master Paul Westerveld.
He will be there alongside greyhound royalty in Fernando Bale and Barcia Bale- so hopefully we can start to see a lot of young Lightning Franks winning on Australian tracks in the years to come
The Betting? How deep and often do you analyse race meetings?
I would say at the moment it is very intermittent. Mainly because I have two young girls and a full-time job but as time goes on, I expect that I will spend a great deal more time to do form.
I am really lucky to have a lot of people here in Warrnambool who are very good at their craft. I have quite a few friends who work in the Thoroughbred industry that I will continue to learn from and try and introduce the level of analysis that they use in the gallops here in the Greyhounds.
I probably look at meetings in a bit more depth than most of the greyhound punters I know but time will tell if that level of depth is for the greater good or not
What things do you consider when analysing races?
If you are going to do it properly then there are many variables to consider, for example:
What are the dogs splits like and where is it likely to map in the race
This is significant because a lot of dogs splits are significantly different depending on what box draw they have ie: bigger dogs quite often like it wide to get the room they require.
The recent addition of the hoop arm in Victoria has reduced the impact of slower/bigger dogs drawing the inside but that’s another detailed topic
Has the dog raced and just as importantly trialled here? Tracks can obviously be one turn or two turn tracks, which suit different dogs.
Wentworth Park in Sydney, for instance, is really flat on the turns in comparison to The Meadows or Sandown in Melbourne which are fairly cambered.
I find dogs that draw wide at Wentworth Park that haven’t seen the track before quite often run off on the first turn and struggle to get back in the race.
There are many variations I look at in this regard but I study the dogs track history pretty deeply.
You just have to watch tapes and go off recent form with dogs.
Dogs come in and out of form often due to many factors ie: injury, change in diet, the time of year and even travel times to race meetings.
We have found with some of our dogs that they can really struggle with long road trips in the middle of the summer
Who has been trialling well and how do those times stack up against opposition times
Comparing times alone is simply not worth its effort if you can’t give the track a rating for the day. I do this by analysing a spread of greyhounds that raced that day who have been to track on quite a few occasions and raced without interference for the day.
You basically compare these times with their best/recent times and can gather an average time difference across the consistency of that pool. From that I can usually establish how the track played that day and make adjusted times for the greyhounds that raced without interference.
There are many contributing factors to how I analyse greyhound racing and I would be happy to discuss with punters further.
How many meetings a week would you study?
Traditionally 2 or 3. I usually do Warrnambool Thursday nights and the Meadows or Sandown on the weekend. If there are group races interstate then I will look at the feature races but as far as doing an entire meeting, probably twice a week.
Are you a conservative or aggressive punter?
This has probably been the biggest shift in my punting over the past few years. I was always a traditional gambler- I went home with a pocket full or nothing.
I started share trading around 5 years ago and have been lucky enough to have a super successful mentor who taught me so much about money management that I believe I am now ultra conservative.
I have learnt so much about probability and hedging that my punting results are significantly better than ever before.
The mentor tell me about him?
His name is Assad Tannous and he runs a company called Asenna Wealth Solutions
Assad is considered a very successful and experienced share trader here in Australia and I have been very lucky to have him as a mentor and friend over the past few years.
The correlation between successful betting and successful trading are a lot more aligned than most people would think and I have been lucky to get someone as respected as Assad to help guide me through this.
How important is money management?
It is everything in my opinion. Hedging positions, laying off and not swinging for home runs are all things that gamblers have trouble with but the only true score is the money in your account.
If you can continue to take smaller wins then the compounding results will continue to build and you will become more successful in your punting. There are many articles on your Punting Stars website that can help people develop these skills.
I also think the Chat with Traders episode you have linked to your website is a must for anyone looking to improve their probability of winning.
Last of all, we hear a lot of greyhound punters complaining about being restricted with their betting by the corporates- do you encounter this?
Yes this is probably the most annoying thing about the industry. The pools are low and so any significant bet you want to have usually significantly affects the price of the dog you have backed.
The big difference in the greyhounds, as opposed to the gallops, is that the corporates either don’t let you bet fixed odds too far out from the event or limit your betting to ridiculously low limits.
I hope that this starts to change as other corporates such as TopBetta come into the fold and start offering global tote odds with less take out than the others.
Thanks for your time Ricky, where can punters catch you?
Your welcome, I am always available on Twitter @chattleonard