I finished the Chocobo Catcher race up last night after about 5 hours of trying (I even got a time of 0.4 after about 3 hours using these tips.) Firstly, know that this is a luck based game, you do not have the opportunity to win every time :( I have seen it beaten in 15 minutes, and there are people like the author of the linked question who have tried much longer than me to no avail.
The fact it's luck based means that when you're trying to beat it, if you try something and it doesn't work, that doesn't necessarily mean it was a bad plan, it could have just been the right plan with bad luck. A key to identifying the right plan by section is to see if you could collect 4 balloons in each of the sections:
- The ramp from the start down where there are no birds
- The middle section, from the bottom of the ramp to the final turn
- The home straight away
But here are some tips that are consistent across every completion of this I have seen:
- You'll need 4 or preferably 5 balloons in Section 1 to win
- If getting the last balloon in Section 1 would cause you to fall behind the Chocobo Trainer going around the corner, ignore it, you must lead into Section 2
- There is typically a balloon just as you come out of the corner going into Section 2 practice not over-steering so you get that
- There are 4 birds in the 1st wave, 2 aimed at you and 2 aimed at the Chocobo Trainer; do not try to go outside of both of them it puts you too far off track, go outside the first one aimed at you and cut back inside of the second bird so you stay with the balloons
- There will now be 2 waves of 2 birds the first wave aimed at the leftmost rider and the second aimed at the rightmost rider, you'll need to be lucky here again cause if the Chocobo Trainer turns behind you he will pull his birds into you and there's simply nothing you can do to dodge them
- I went outside both birds in the second wave and tried to let that funnel me into a balloon in the last turn, if you were not hit yet in the run and you were running more or less directly to the turn you will not face another wave of birds in Section 2
- In Section 3 there will be a wave of 4 birds, and the same as the very first wave, go outside the first bird aimed at you then inside the second to stay more or less running directly toward the finish line
- If you have hit no birds and you've gone between at least two waves of birds the last wave of birds will appear, right in front of you but then disappear cause you are too close, so you will only face 3 waves of birds in a perfect and well directed run
- Don't give up when you don't have a lucky Section 1, instead use it as an opportunity to practice the perfect run on the Section 2 and 3.
- Do not go out of the way to get balloons, cause that will earn you a 4th wave of birds which you will simply be too close to dodge.
- And remember this is a luck game, you're waiting for the game to place the balloons in the perfect path and the Chocobo Catcher not to drag his waves across you.
If you're taking time to reach 0.0 enjoy the fact that Square personally gave people who cared as much as you "the bird". Also take heart in the fact that in my opinion this is the hardest part in the game, if you can beat this, platinum will be a breeze!
I just found that If you leave the Calm Lands after achieving a time of 0.0 the guy who blocks the path down to Caladbolg will return! When I saw this I panicked. But fear not, you just need to run the race again and he will move, independent of whether you get a time of 0.0.