Good points in this post - most people believe (erroneously) that horses that place have been unlucky not to win - in reality any trainer seeking to gain a mark will ensure that its either up in front or way out the back regardless of the market - appearance money only plays into their hands and makes it more difficult to assess intentions.Hi hedgehog . Some good advice on here so I will try not to overly repeat anything other than to express my view that you shouldn't get into a mindset that looks only for placers! I say this because most horses who place in handicaps run pretty much to their marks anyway so on balance are likely to have most conditions in their favour and therefore look like a winner in the race anyway. Best IMHO is to do as you are doing by going small with the win bet and loading the place portion or just do the place bet provided you are OK with gut wrenching feeling when a biggie goes in.
Good luck with your endeavors.
There is an angle that be can built around appearance money and those horses that have no intention of winning.