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15/1/2011 edition

Should You Pretend that Horse's Shocking Run Never Happened?
Winning Form is Good Form

How often have you been told to ignore a horse's last run because that wasn't its true form?

We suggest you do that with a lot of caution, particularly if the run was an absolute shocker.

The following example is a great lesson. Don't ever forget it. So let's have a look at what happened at Flemington racetrack on Derby Day, 2000 where Sky Heights was sent out as the $3.50 favourite in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes 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. That's right. 26 lengths!

There was a huge amount of pre race publicity about that Cox Plate. That was the race where Sky Heights was really going to apply the pressure to Sunline, was reallygoing to test out the champion mare and make sure she didn't have a cosy run in the lead. So what happened? Sky Heights missed the start, never got into the race and put in an absolutely appalling run. Punters were shocked and angry at the way they lost their money.

In the aftermath of the race all sorts of ridiculous theories were put forward. We were even told the poor horse might have had a dizzy spell. How did anyone know that? Did the horse tell his connections that after the race? Was Sky Heights, like Mr. Ed, a talking horse?

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 by many to be a champion is beaten by 26 lengths then something is 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 terrible form that comes out and wins brilliantly. Would those same tipsters who were telling you to forgive Sky Heights' 26 lengths defeat only seven days earlier also be consistent and tell you to forget that horses'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."

By the way on Derby Day Sky Heights finished twelfth in the field of 16, beaten by eight lengths. But at least that was an 18 lengths improvement!  
Based on Punt to Win, November 10, 2000


Footnote: These days a top horse sent around at $3.50 in a big race the week after being beaten by 26 lengths would be a great lay on Betfair.

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This edition of Punt to Win:
Winning form is good form - should you dismiss a horse's shocking race run?
The Professional Punter's horse racing news
The Prize Money Winners horse racing betting system
Horse racing form analysis and betting system tips
Horse Watch betting system - future winners
Free horse racing betting tips package membership!
Get those betting odds
Future winners - unlucky horses
Betting favourites in small fields: 8/1/2011
Betting favourites in small fields: 1/1/2011
Betting favourites in small fields: 26/12/2010
Betting favourites in small fields: 18/12/2010
Best odds for well bet winners - bookmaker or tote?
Betting top weights - horses carrying a weight handicap of 59kg.
Punt to Win 18/12/2010
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