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22/12/2000 edition

Winning Handicapping Rules

Weight is the great evener in racing. As a horse rises in weight its chances of winning decreases in handicaps. When horses in handicaps are asked to carry around 58kg. or more they are often risky bets. There is a typical media cliché, "The horse has the class,( form, wins, ) so it deserves the weight." The media tipster then selects the horse which goes on to lose!
Throw in the double whammy of a weight rise and a poor barrier compared to last start and you are looking at a very risky betting proposition. 

At Flemington racetrack last Saturday Make Mine Magic started as $2.00 favourite in the Open handicap and finished third in the field of seven, beaten by five lengths. Only two weeks earlier he convincingly won an Open handicap at Caulfield. He rose in weight from 56.5kg. to 58kg. Despite his class, when asked to accelerate by Darren Gauci, he didn't. Punters should not have been taking the $2.00. They should either have backed against him or left the race alone. 

Also at Flemington racetrack last Saturday Voile D'Or started as $3.00 favourite in a field of eight over 2563 metres. Her previous start one week earlier was a four lengths win over the Cox Plate distance of 2040 metres at Moonee Valley racetrack. She was tipped to bowl along in front and win easily at Flemington like she did at Moonee Valley. However she rose in weight from 56.5kg. to 58.5kg. The $3.00 was too short odds.  She did bowl along in front, but weakened badly in the straight and was beaten by five lengths. Give her 56.5kg. again and the result may well have been quite different.

There is a very common rule used by many computer programmes and form analysts. It assumes that 1.5kg equals one length.
Increase a horse's handicap weight by 1.5kg and it will perform one length worse, all other factors being equal.
Decrease a horse's handicap weight by 1.5kg and it will perform one length better, all other factors being equal.
This rule is not accurate.
Without going into all the complexities, the following guidelines are far more important. If followed you will back many more winners and avoid backing many losers.

The more weight a horse has to carry, the more significant a small weight rise is. 
The less weight a horse has to carry, the less significant a large weight rise is.   

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