Whyte reflects on winning ways and costly fishing trips

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By David Brasch

STEVE Whyte went fishing one day, set up his computer system to ‘put on a few bets’ for him while he was away, and proceeded to lose $49,000.

No, it was not a good day, but Steve has righted that wrong since then … in a big way.

Victoria-based Steve is a professional punter on greyhound racing, has been since the mid-1990s. While he has seen bad days, like that just mentioned, he says the good days have been really good to the stage where he lives a life admired by most.

But, he has also seen his ‘job’ taken up by an ever-increasing army of young punters all armed with computer programs, ratings, video watchers, form analysts all ready to pounce on an over the odds runner anywhere around the country.

\”It is getting harder and harder though,\” says Steve. \”There was a time when about 30 of use were in the business. These days the number is up to about 300 or even 400.

\”In the early days, those 30 of us could spot a 12-1 chance and get on. Now, there are 400 of use spotting the same 12-1 chance which drops its price down instantly.\”

Steve says there are many, many ‘mug’ punters out there in greyhound betting land and he sees them make the same mistakes over and over again.

Steve\’s family had a little to do with greyhounds back in the 1980s when he was a youngster. He moved to Brisbane in 1993 and owned two video stores when that business had a life.

\”I became great friends with Russell Albion and Peter Fitch, both of who were bookies at Albion Park when the ring was great and everyone could get a bet on,\” said Steve. \”It was Russell and Peter who had started betting on dogs in a really professional way and they are the best there ever has been at it.

\”They taught me the ropes.\”

In his first year on the punt, backed with the advice of Albion and Fitch, he won $64,000. The biggest bet he had on a dog that year was $60 each way. It didn\’t take him long to realise each way betting was a waste of time.

\”But, it took me a long time to get up enough confidence to back my judgement,\” he said. \”I was betting one-sixth of what I should have been betting.\”

He had some low days, but remembers turning $3 into $18,000 in one week.

\”A $7 chance was a moral and it won by 10 lengths,\” he said. \”My great mate Mick Zammit trained the dog. But, I never bet on tips or take any info from trainers and the like.\”

By 2005 he had created a work ethic in the business doing form and the tapes on each and every race that stood him in good stead and was turning over $350,000 a week. He had five staff working for him. A computer glitch cost him $185,000 in one day.

\”We recovered and in four months had won $460,000 and we were off and going again,\” he said.

Turnover rose to $50 million a year and commissions from betting agencies kept rising.

These days Steve turns over about $8 million a year and is part of a ‘high rollers’ club from TABcorp the perks of which have included numerous AFL and NRL grand final visits, Boxing Day Test cricket functions and Brownlow Medal galas.

In all those years, Steve Whyte has learned a thing or two about punting and what makes a winner.

\”The biggest mug punters are not disciplined,\” he said.

\”Take for instance, the punter who picks out his special for the night and has $100 on it. The dog loses, so what does the mug do? He goes right back in and has $100 on something he might not have even known was running that night.

\”I guarantee that is what that mug will do.

\”For instance, I might have a stake of $800 to bet with on any particular night. If I win $5000, the next night my stake will still be $800.\”

He says the unsuccessful punters will see all the wrong things in a race.

\’In my business, we are always looking for early sectionals,\” he said. \”It is always relevant to how a dog begins in a race. A dog might be able to run lightning fast first sections in a solo trial, but that means nought if the dog cannot do it in a race.

\”I always want to be on the faultless beginner. Left and right beginners can make a race for other dogs. But, not many dogs go hard left.\”

He says so many mug punters will be taken in by the flashing finish of a dog in a race.

\”That\’s not the dog I want to be on ever,\” said Steve. \”Because, next week that same dog will still be looking for all the lucky breaks through the field and odds are it will not get them.\”

He says the Covid-19 situation had impacted betting as well.

While turnover is up around the country, especially on greyhound racing, the mug money at pubs and clubs each night is not there.

Yes, professional punters do take into account who is training a dog. \”We know very well some trainers are no good at all,\” he said.

Steve spent $330,000 on a computer program to simplify his punting process.

\”So much information goes into the program,\” he said. \”For instance, we will monitor just what interference cost each individual dog in each race. If it lost six and a half lengths in a race and was beaten, say five lengths, then it should have won that race by a length and a half.

\”When next that dog races, it will have a rating based on that performance. But that does not necessarily mean Steve will instantly bet on that dog. Box draws come into the equation and early sectionals once again are vital.

\”And, we never cop a tip from anyone. Too many of them get beaten.\”

He says punting on thoroughbred racing is also done, but via algorithms built into the computer program. \”They are all based on maths equations,\” he said.

Part of the success of Steve\’s punting career has been that he and his wife now live comfortably and Steve gets to dabble in his hobby of training greyhounds. He\’s done that with great success as well winning the Darwin Cup twice in recent years with litter brothers and now regularly winning city races in Melbourne.

He knows just when to have a bet on his own dogs … or not.

\”Genuine leaders … that\’s the secret,\” he says. \”The old stats of 70 percent of the dogs in one, two or three around the first turn will win the race still holds true today.\”

More than likely Steve Whyte will be on the one in front.

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