Caption: The breeding barn may be beckoning for Jack Smith’s super race bitch Miss Ezmae, but she is a classic example of astute futures betting with ‘The 715’ at The Gardens in mind

Betting analyst MATT McCANN offers advice on successfully navigating Puntersland

Betting into any greyhound futures market is a double-edged sword, as genuine value may be identified but the realization that you are also wagering on an ‘all-in’ product with no refund possible should your selection fail to make the final field, naturally causes apprehension.

This feeling is exacerbated by the knowledge that box draws and behavioral traits do not always align, meaning that the risk of elimination can increase dramatically if you draw the wrong side of the track at any stage of qualification.

Suddenly the temptation for punters to get involved in these books is subdued unless the ‘overs’ totally outweigh the risks involved.

Personally, I scan the futures markets on the dogs religiously, but I specifically target the feature staying races because the danger of doing my cash cold is significantly diminished. This firstly is because of the obvious fact that you are dealing with a much smaller category, which makes race structure much easier to determine with box draws not as vital to the outcome as they are in sprint races because racing styles within the staying ranks are clearly defined and emerge shortly after box-rise, akin to a thoroughbred race with on-pacers stringing the field out while ‘backmarkers’ try to stay in touch before hopefully swamping rivals late when the stamina component really counts.

There is also insurance in the margin gaps that exist between these two distinct in-run profiles as there is normally plenty of room for dogs that are possibly drawn upside down to forge a path to their preferred zone or lane, which is a scenario that rarely unfolds over lesser distances due to compact and often complex speed maps.

Currently, the country’s elite staying bracket are undergoing a ‘changing of the guard’ with proven performers Stanley Road, Line Of Quality and Mepunga Ruby now under siege from the likes of Zipping Kansas and WA’s Mambo Monelli with the Sydney Cup, ‘Top Gun Stayers’ and the ‘Bold Trease’ all prestigious events on the horizon that will eventually determine the new order. In the meantime, the primary focus for any class stayer is ‘The 715’ at The Gardens with phenomenal prizemoney of $500,000 on offer.

I have settled on the resurgent ‘Miss Ezmae’ as my main play regarding any upcoming futures market for the stayers. I was greatly impressed with her first campaign as stayer; winning her first 4 starts over an extended trip. She then travelled to Victoria, but her form suffered due to seasonal issues and injury before resuming with two comprehensive victories at Dubbo. Such is the respect for her talents, Miss Ezmae then started $2.8 favorite in a heat of the MDC, finishing hard along the fence for 3rd behind Coast Model.

Her preparation has been aimed squarely at the big Newcastle event and I see similarities between Miss Ezmae and former champion stayer Kirsty’s Charity. Both prodigious in their long-distance capabilities with imposing strike rates and a level of adaptability that frequently sees them assume a prime stalking position, hot on the heels of the leaders with the determination and class to finish the job.

I believe she is on the verge of dominating the staying scene over the next 12 months starting with The Garden’s flagship race, the track profile a seemingly perfect fit given her amazing railing ability.