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19/1/2001 edition

Winning Handicapping Tips

Many media tipsters said Stutter was a good thing at Caulfield last Saturday in the Mares Open over 1400 metres. Their tips were based upon Stutter meeting Rulable two kilos better at the weights for having beaten her at their last start. Unfortunately selecting winners just by a comparison of weights when the horses last met is not as easy as it seems.

On December 26, 18 days earlier, over the same distance and at the same track Stutter had beaten Rulable by a half head. The handicapper had increased Stutter's weight from 56.5kg. from that race to 58kg. for last Saturday's race. Rulable's weight was increased from 54.5kg.to 55kg. for last Saturday's race.
That seems odd. Isn't Rulable meeting Stutter one kilo better at the weights? Then how can those media tipsters say Stutter is a good thing because she is meeting Rulable two kilos better at the weights for having beaten her last start? But hold on a minute. Stutter has had a significant jockey change. Instead of having  leading hoop Darren Gauci who has ridden her to victory at her last two starts there is an inexperienced three kilos claimer, Brendan Fenech aboard. So that is how  Stutter is meeting Rulable two kilos better at the weights for having beaten her last start.

With no disrespect intended to Brendan Fenech, at this stage of his career he is no Darren Gauci. It is simplistic to say that Stutter is a good thing simply because after the apprentice's claim she is meeting Rulable two kilos better at the weights for beating her last start by a half head. Those media tipsters are really saying that Stutter is a good thing because she has had a leading jockey like Darren Gauci replaced with an apprentice.

What else did those media tipsters overlook?

How did Stutter defeat Rulable on December 26? Well, Rulable, with leading hoop Damien Oliver aboard, was the best of good things beaten after being badly held up for a run in the straight. Yet for this coming race Rulable retained the services of Damien Oliver while Stutter had Darren Gauci  replaced with a three kilos claimer. 

That's not all. The 1400 metres at Caulfield only has a short run to a sweeping turn. Rulable was ideally drawn in barrier three. On the other hand in the nine horse field Stutter had the misfortune to have drawn barrier nine.

It was no surprise to see Rulable win the race, while all things considered Stutter put in a strong run for third. 


1. Always be wary of a last start winner, racing in the same class, dropping in weight because of an apprentice's claim.

2. In reality the horse may be worse off because a top jockey is replaced by a less skilled jockey.

Get the alarm bells going if other factors also worsen like having a poor barrier compared to its last start.  

Next: Punt to Win 12/1/2001

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