BOZmail – 24th MAY – the 2020 home of the BOZmail

Welcome to the BOZmail service including the daily LESS IS MORE bet. 

SUNDAY MAY 24th  2020 



Currently standing at 21.927 points 



Currently standing at 10.4606 points



Currently standing at 4.90 points


BOZmail 2020 cycle current overall profit = +4.2876 points




Disappointed with myself for getting sucked into non UK stuff again and well done those who told me not to bother. Better discipline than I showed.

I do need to keep in practice but there is also protecting profits and the bank and the practising can be done without staking for a bit now until the UK stuff starts again.

Been a very frustrating time. Good job I’ve got my paddock watching and trading systems. Have dug that article out as promised and publish below. See yer back when the UK stuff starts again.


LIM 2020 Strike Rates: Lays: 25/41 = 60.97%  Backs: 9/29 = 31.03%

THE BOZ’s LIM record for May:

16th:  +0.1156  (+0.1156) Lay @ 1.96 : Back @ 8.0 

17th:  – 0.59      (-0.4744) Lay @ 3.7 : Back @ 7.0

18th – 20th:  NO BET

21st:   +0.98     (-0.3944) Lay @ 3.8

22nd:  -0.1665 (-0.5609) Lay @ 1.37

23rd:   -0.275   (-0.8359) Lay @ 2.5 : Back @ 21.0

24th – onwards: NO FURTHER BETS


LIM Monthly Scores:

February: + 1.3496 points

March      : + 1.5866 points

April         : –  0.1733 points

May          :  – 0.8359 points   



To my mind, there are three elements to researching a horse’s chances in any given race on any given day. The first is the obvious one – the study of the formbook. That’s all the horses running in the race being approached. Learning to interpret the formbook is something available to us all and is mandatory really. Never bet without that one. If you haven’t read any of the many books available to learn it from, get one now. More to it than this column can handle and the two writers who were most influential in teaching me to understand the reading of form were Tony Braddock and Dave Nevison. There are plenty of other good ones.

The other two elements are related and I’ve written about the first – Getting to know your horse – in these pages before. That is getting to know your horse as represented in the formbook but also getting to know your horse personally. This can come from simply watching it perform in races on the telly and certainly if that kind of getting to know is all that is available to you, it is certainly a help. Behavioral indicators like sweating up and irritation affect a horse’s performance. As do things like tongue ties and shoe fittings (horses with hot shod feet are an optimum. That is shoes moulded to the shape of the feet whilst still hot. Cold shod feet are more ill fitting and easy to spot in a paddock watch) and getting to know how your horse copes with these elements is all part of getting towards knowing when is the optimum time to bet on him or her. I also advocate face to face getting to know your horses also wherever this is possible and paddock watching and stable tours, watching gallops and ultimately ownership are all positive parts of that. Practice them whenever you can.

The third element is paddock watching.The relationship between paddock watching and betting is well touted although the rules and what you are looking for do vary. Paddock watching is as much an art as a science and different people have different emphasises. What you’ll get here is the Boz’s own take which tends toward a blend of the two plus a few offbeat stroke semi superstitious elements thrown in. It wouldn’t be The Boz if it was all boring science would it?

Before I begin with my list of aspects to look for when paddock watching, two things to state first. Second and third elements are related because paddock watching becomes a whole different ball game if you already know your horse and what to look for. So there is the sort of general paddock watching that you can do when you are at a racetrack and don’t know any of the horses (apart from having studied their form) and are just fancying a casual bet just because you happen to be at the course. The word casual is important because the other thing to state in the world according to Boz is that you should probably never have a serious bet on any racehorse without first doing your paddock watching exercise and ideally also never bet seriously on any horse that you don’t already know and therefore know what to look for in the paddock watch. You can then apply the general paddock watching principles to all the other animals in the race to see which, if any, are looking likely to pose a threat to your serious selection – based on what the formbook is telling you and what the paddock watch is showing you.

The simple example to give of why I advocate getting to know your horse is the one you hear racing pundits discussing a lot in race preambles if a runner is sweating up before a race. Is that a reason to cancel your bet? Hedge quick or don’t bother if not already on? Sweating up is not always a bad thing. Sweating up is sometimes a sign of a horse preparing to run its optimum race. Only if you know your horse are you going to know which is which and how much sweating is needed for it to become an offputting sign. And worth saying here that taking a racing commentator or pundit’s word on which is which is never wise. No pundit can ever know every horse in racing in this respect and nor can you. Have your small stable of horses that you have gotten to know and only ever bet seriously on those trusting your individual knowledge to give you the edge over the others in the game. 

So now to the basic fundamentals of paddock watching that most professional punters and horse selection writers agree upon before contemplating betting seriously on their horse. The first two are really about requisite fitness and the third more accurately concerned with requisite temperament. So these are the big three general fundamentals that you can apply to the whole field of any race you are considering playing in and obviously any knowledge that you have on top of these three having gotten to know a specific runner is going to be a bonus.

1/ Carrying Fat:

Not a good thing for an athlete to be carrying fat obviously and you might have thought this was something that didn’t need to be checked but you would be wrong. Plenty of horses enter races carrying fat especially if they’ve been off the course for a prolonged spell. Check those in particular but quick enough and easy enough to check all the runners in a race when you know what to look for. In my early days, I assumed it was belly fat I was looking for and although that is something you see on occasion, it was a trainer who put me on where best to look for lack of condition. And that’s in the hindquarters. The horse’s powerbase. A simple visual of a fit horse from behind should present you with an upside down U shape. Excess weight creates what they call a guttering effect which means each side of the hindquarter will be higher thus presenting an upside down W shape. Simple as that. Horses carrying fat do win on occasion but it is a genuine rarity. See it and you are safe to lay.

2/ Taut hamstrings:

The biceps femoris to be absolutely precise. The horse toned to the optimum will be displaying these. No wobble. No flab as it walks round the paddock. Another quick and easy check that you can apply to every runner but especially the one who stands out in the formbook. An absence of taut hamstrings there gives you a decided edge over those betting on formbook alone who are likely to make the price of such a horse very short indeed and imminently layable! 

3/ Irritability:

This is the key temperament one and is harder to categorise. But backing or shying way or having to be dragged round the paddock are the most obvious signs. It is the difference between an irritated horse and one bouncing with racing spirit that you are seeking here. If you saw Waiting Patiently in his stable and round the paddock before that run in the King George on Boxing Day you would have been thinking that he couldn’t be beaten (and he wouldn’t have been but for tripping over Bristol de Mai which does at least keep the price out a bit for next time!). Full of beans and bouncing. Patently in love with the game and life in general as opposed to those that display a profound dislike sometimes better described as disinterest. Be wary of the horse plodding round the paddock with the gait of an old man with Parkinson’s Disease. Relaxed is fine but that shuffle of despair indicating that you’d rather be anywhere else is a form of irritation in horses. Obviously wild antics like unshipping the jockey or refusing to go into stalls at the start are clear and obvious signs for worry but any working against the handler walking round the paddock is not a good thing to see in a horse you are considering betting seriously. Unless again you know your horse and those signs of irritation are what makes the run faster. Is in the temperament of some. The run gets the bad feeling out of the system. You really need to know your horse on this one though. In general, signs of irritation are a negative.

You hear pricking of ears and shine or dullness of coats touted as indicators of wellbeing in horses. The former is a more general sign of alertness in a horse but in truth, a horse not pricking its ears is probably doped! A natural instinct in all horses and part of their survival code. And pricking of ears does also come in degrees. Some horses are very subtle about it and the pricking is not visually obvious. As to shiny and dull coats, there probably is something in this but I have always found the weather of the day a big distorter. Sunshine makes most coats shine and dull grey skies similarly bring uniform dullness to the paddock. Those who work with horses will have a keener sense of this I think and I got to know a lass a while back who was adamant the state of her charge’s coat was the deciding factor on whether or not to expect an optimum run. After I’d seen one of her charges win with what I saw as a dull coat on a grey sky day, I asked for explanation to be told ‘shiniest his coat ever gets and I told you he’d win’. Which was true. She had. So dull and shiny coats and the difference therein is a bit beyond me. Try asking lads and lasses to get a clearer indication. 

I have and am often told if you brush them everyday you get to see the difference. Haven’t had chance to practise that so tend for now to simply exercise caution whenever I see a dull coat on a horse I’m considering betting seriously. There is a horse I know very well and inside out and backwards from a racing perspective who has always had a dull coat every time I’ve ever seen him. He wins often enough. My inability to see the shine on his coat when it is there is presumed. I don’t know his lad or lass well enough to ask! 

Two other aspects I wanted to end with. Staking preferences in relation to paddock watching and those less scientific elements that The Boz has tendency to practice and believe in. Some would say eccentricities or downright absurdities and I don’t disagree but include them here because I’ve carried them with me all my life and despite being one of life’s genuine sceptics, have seen no evidence to dismiss them as old wives’ tales.Explanations for why they work are harder to provide but the second of the big three is why I was asked to write this piece and all three constituted part of a stand up comedy routine I used to perform which always got mixed reaction.Plenty of laughs but often at me rather than with me and also those disturbing faces I often clocked in an audience who seemed to think I was poking fun at their beliefs. They worry me those people. I include them here because I believe in them as Boz lifelong rules and like I say, never seen reason to dismiss them as tosh. They are in no particular order.

1/ Always check the first horse you see when you arrive at a racecourse for the above three general rules of paddock watching and if all three are passed, bet the horse.

Superstition obviously but one of my Dad’s old bugbears (a very unsuperstitious bookmaker) & one I’ve carried since childhood and simply cannot disprove. Statistically if they are fit and ready, they have a tendency to win for you. Like you assume some form of cosmic connection with them when you arrive to your place of worship (and let’s face it, all we betting nuts treat the racecourse as our shrine). The process of knowing which horse it is you’ve seen first can be tricky but rugs or horsebox monikers can be the first clue. The ultimate test though is recognising the horse again when you see it walking round the paddock. If you are unable to recognise a horse’s face once you have seen it, you seriously don’t do enough paddock watching!! My grandmother held this practice as sacred as her lucky bingo numbers but let’s face it, bingo is just betting bollocks!

2/ If a horse whinnies or snorts as it goes round the paddock, take this as a sign that it is trying to tell you something

And if it’s the same horse as the first you saw on the racecourse, double your stake! But seriously I’ve asked renowned horse whisperers about this after I’d noticed those at it in the paddock often ran better than my formbook study had suggested they would. Horses do communicate obviously and again, as someone who doesn’t live with or work with horses that closely, I can’t pretend to know what is being communicated most of the time but with

horses I’ve got to know well through living by a racing stable and in a racecourse town the past twenty years, I’ve watched religiously and learned some lingo that I can interpret. Not always audio lingo. Body language with horses is a big communicator also as per the plodding round the paddock with a Parkinsons shuffle earlier. The whinny and the snort can be signs of wellbeing. Or signs of discontent. Log them and then watch how they run as I have over the years. The reason I’ve included it is because there is something in it. I’m just not sure always what. But I never ignore it!

3/ Always bet a horse you see doing a dump in the lead up to its race (or a dog for that matter.Or a jockey!!)

That’s the one that got the laugh in the routine. Poo jokes work the world over but this is also the one I believe in most and don’t only have no evidence to disprove but have years of evidence to support. And it also does make sense scientifically of course. Who doesn’t feel better after a good opening of the bowels. Quite apart from the less weight you are going to be carrying. My heart sank just before Xmas this year when a horse I had recommended as a prime lay on my new tipping website was spotted on At The Races emptying himself at the start of the Novice Chase at Hexham (1-30 December 20th 2018 horse by the name of Niven). He’d drifted in the betting and form figures were clearly showing he was third best in the race but he duly bolted in. Laxatives come to mind aswell of course. Won’t just be me that knows the stats on this one. But is it recorded in the race review or results panel that the winner had a lessening of his burden before the off? Is it heck. Form figures thus corrupted also. Not a paddock watching aspect this as you rarely see it happening in the paddock (too obvious a sign to stewards of potential foul play??) but it is a measure of the seriousness with which I take this observation that I hedged out of my play on Niven in running (but still carry the scars in my website stats) and have horse and dog racing stats from years of observing that are as precious a guide to me on how I bet as any I possess. Part of getting to know an animal also of course. Doesn’t always (but very often does) signify a certainty of a good run. In different animals, different things. And I also note the trainer when I see it happening too. That list I do not publish for obvious reasons (Niven’s trainer was not on my list of previously observed and it has to have happened twice before you get on) but is absolute betting pointer gold I promise you. If you’ve learned anything worthwhile from reading this that you didn’t already know it will be that. Start keeping your own stats now!

Finally that staking relationship I alluded to. I’ve said get on most of the time in this article (back or lay) but my procedure these days is to stagger my staking. Like I also stagger my accas. I put some on after positive form study. Some after watching the market in an attempt to secure best possible price and some for after a positive paddock watch if I’ve been able to secure one (always for the serious bets). My recommended to self stake is therefore always achieved in stages and often not topped up to maximum if any of my stages have not been achieved or able to have been achieved.

And always I trade or hedge if I see anything that proves contrary to the way I have already played. Paddock watching is a seriously important part of that bit of getting my bet on these days whenever I am seriously going for one.

Gary Boswell  

The BOZmail golden rules:

1/ Try to look where others do not.

2/ Make sure your selections are as good as you can get them(the boz’s job here)

3/ Get your staking right (up when confident – down when less so or when managing bank)

4/ Do all in your power to get best price available(whether that be using price comparison sites or using partial staking techniques on the exchanges when unsure which way a price might go. Be careful not to take exchange ‘silly prices’ if you are going in early on a lay price or if a specified low lay tissue price goes on a significant drift. Always check bookmaker tissue prices first to get a guide on what to expect from the market if it is not yet properly formed on the exchanges. The recommendation is always to secure a price (if possible) when actually placing the lay bet. Your discretion based on personal form study and watching the markets develop also encouraged to ensure you maximise returns.The staking advices are a general rather than rigid dictate – mainly for the less experienced and those not able to spend time watching markets develop and practising the optimum betting time skill. Remember also that a lay price available at a significantly lower level than stated on the sheet offers opportunity to increase lay stake without increasing calculated safe lay liability. This can be a key profit optimising tool in the long term if your form study agrees with that published by The Boz.

5/ Always keep in mind the long term ‘importance of  breaking even’ philosophy and practice. This is very much used by The Boz in his staking advices and is recommended in your betting practices – especially during the down spells – in order to maintain a healthy and consistent bank.

6/ Always remember the BOZ does traditionally suffer from Murphys Law. If he expresses his opinion but states that he won’t be betting on it himself and isn’t making it an official tip, remember that historically these can be his best advices! The 2019 Grand National opinion expressed paid a £2,260-93 tricast for a £60 (£1×60) permed stake (five selections). 

7/ Never accept an overall loss. This has been the BOZ’s mantra for 22 years. The year the BOZmail posts an overall loss is the year he packs in.

“I play cautiously and strategically with bank management always in mind.”  Boz 

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