Sean Trivass, better know as "Sir Ivor" in the racing world is a respected and well know horse racing journalist who has written for the likes of Alan Brazil Racing, Victor Chandler, SportList, Yorkshire Post etc, and is considered the horse racing guru at the Sports Journalists Association of Great Britain. He currently writes for Antepost magazine as well as Betting Banter and has his own daily e-mail subscriber service covering each days racing for a sensible and affordable £25 a month. A tru
Why be a layer? (rather than a punter?)
The advantage of playing both sides (there is little point in shutting any profitable doors so I play both markets) is that negative form assessment can be put to good use. The amount of times I have intended to tip or back a particular horse only to decide that conditions are totally inappropriate are too many to count but with the advent of laying, that time and form study is far from wasted and can be turned around to profit.
Do you remember your first lay?
I have been investing (I don’t see it as gambling) for more years than I care to remember and am old enough to have had to pay 10% tax back in the bad old days.? We all know the bookmakers always held the edge as they priced the product and you either played or didn’t but with the exchanges you can name your price and see if you can get what you need. With bookmakers hardened professionals they were always going to be tough to take on but in all honestly, and with no insult intended, I don’t look to make money from the professionals on the exchanges but from the mug punters who will let their heart rule their head. Obviously I have to lay on the exchanges but still bet with bookmakers when the prices are better (it does happen), though I have been with Betfair and BetDaq since day one. They can offer opportunities to lock in profit when the market fluctuates sufficiently but then that is an avenue for the mathematicians and not horse racing analysts such as myself.? Personally, I think the exchanges are getting a little too complicated and I prefer the simple approach of straight back or lay (no accumulators, SP, or Tote for me thanks)? as your time is better spent looking at the events themselves and nothing else.
What was your best ever lay?
Sometimes they just jump out at you and they give me the most satisfaction. The name escapes me but it was a colt stepping up in trip after winning a particularly poor maiden when only scrambling home. Trained in Newmarket by one of the big guns he was sent off odds on in a handicap on a softer surface and was clearly a ridiculous price in the circumstances so I filled my boots and paid towards a very nice holiday thank you very much.
…and what was your worst?
As I never lay at prices above 3/1 I do not honestly have a bad example to give you. I have of course got it wrong on more occasions than I care to count when laying odds on shots especially but as I always bet within my means I am sorry but I do not have a scare story for you to laugh at!
Would you lay anything?
Well horse racing is my area of expertise so that is my focus but I look for false favourites in any sport. I am as patriotic as the next man but often find the heart rules punters heads so, for example, a British boxer will invariably be a shorter price than he should be over here against a top class “foreign” opponent, while I am gutted Tiger Woods is injured as he is always a ridiculous price and I am happy to lay him in any event he contests at the right price. I do think you need to know your sport (so tennis is a no no for me, for instance), and like any business or hobby, you need to put the work in to understand good and bad lays and the likeliest winners/losers.? On occasions I do take the locked in profit if things go well -? for example, I recently advised my clients to back Rainbow View at 20/1 for the 1000 Guineas and she is now trading at about 6/1 so I would have no hesitation in laying that back off to take the profit rather than risk her participation let alone victory at Newmarket next Spring.
What is your Golden rule of laying?
Same as any sensible punter – never risk more than you can afford to lose. I have never subscribed to the view that a bet is not a bet unless it hurts if you lose and always limit my stakes accordingly. The trick is to have (or think you have) the ability to price up an event yourself BEFORE looking at the actual prices. You will suffer originally which certainly focuses the mind believe me, but in the end, you will soon spot the value bets and the value lays as well by comparing actual prices to your own tissue.? I also like to lay early in the in the day before the markets have settled as there is often more value to be had especially with false favourites. That said, the money talks later on and if you like riskier lays at larger prices ten you can soon see horses on the drift worth opposing.
And finally, have you any advice for Donkeyites?
It’s a big and exciting world on the internet with plenty of tools at your disposal. I use Raceform Update which is not cheap but you can input any search you define to look for how favourites, second favourites, top weights etc do over certain distances at certain tracks and it does help enormously.? I also like Oddschecker as they make finding drifters simple to find and that can be a significant pointer to a horse’s likelihood of success or failure.
If I had to give one piece of advice then lay odds on shots in races of five or less runners. That has served me well as a false pace is inevitable which can turn the form book on its head which is basically the result we are looking for each and every time.