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3/12/2004 edition

Winning Form is Good Form

Should you ignore that very bad run?
Here's an example of a bad run by a top horse that was ignored. Many bad runs since then have also been ignored by punters, with similar results.

"On Derby Day 2000, at Flemington racetrack, Sky Heights was sent out as the $3.50 favourite in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes run over 2000 metres. One week earlier in the W.S.Cox Plate at Moonee Valley racetrack over 2040 metres Sky Heights started second favourite at $5.00 and finished a dismal 26 lengths behind champion mare Sunline. You might recall  the pre-race publicity. That was the race where Sky Heights was really going to apply the pressure to Sunline, really test her out and make sure she didn't have a cosy run in the lead. Well, Sky Heights missed the start and never got into the race, putting in an absolutely appalling run.

All sorts of theories were put forward. We even heard that the poor horse had a dizzy spell. Did the horse tell his connections that after the race? But come Derby Day there was one consistent theme from tipsters everywhere. Forget Sky Heights went around only seven days earlier. The true Sky Heights' form was shown by his brilliant win the start before. 

We were discussing that theory with a very successful punter named David. Basically David couldn't help laughing. Here is a rough summary of some of the points he made.

"Isn't it amazing what theories people come up with? When a horse considered to be a champion by many  is beaten by 26 lengths then something is probably seriously amiss. It will take much more than one week for the horse to recover. You cannot possibly ignore such a terrible run. It goes against all sensible form analysis. 

Consider a horse with ordinary form that comes out and wins absolutely brilliantly. Would those same tipsters who were telling you to forgive Sky Heights' 26 lengths defeat only seven days earlier also tell you to forget that horse's brilliant last start win? Would they tell you to look for its true form the start before? Of course not. They'd all be pushing it next start as an absolute certainty. Well, you can't have it both ways.

If you want to give yourself a chance at the punt you don't go around taking short odds on horses beaten 26 lengths."

On Derby Day Sky Heights finished twelfth in the field of 16, beaten by eight lengths. But that was an 18 lengths improvement!" 
The best of Punt to Win, 10th. November, 2000

"Bad runs" can be ignored some times, when they are not as bad as appear at first sight. For example:

1. A horse may be well beaten because it didn't it get a clear run in the straight, or it was shuffled back right through the field.

2. A horse may be well beaten because it raced on a Heavy track and didn't handle the conditions.

3. A horse may have been racing right out of its class and then is dropped right back to its proper class. It could have been racing at Weight for Age or in Group Handicaps or Listed Handicaps and then entered in an Open Handicap or even a restricted race. This is a ploy used by some trainers to get good odds about the horse when it is racing in its right class because of its previous "poor form."

This edition of Punt to Win:
Horse racing betting and form analysis - should bad runs be ignored?
Get those betting odds
Betting favourites in small fields
Betting tips from the track - Randwick and Moonee Valley
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 26/11/2004
Punt to Win index

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