Form Analysis

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This section will include information and articles to help you with form analysis.

Last start Winners

There is a tried and true saying in racing, "Winners keep on winning, losers keep on losing."
Horses which won at their previous starts provide a rich source of winners.

Here are some key points to consider when doing form. They are not in any particular order:

Was the win within the last four weeks?
2. Is the horse early in its preparation when you can expect further improvement?
3. Is the horse rising or dropping in weight? If a weight increase can it handle the increased weight? If the weight is dropping will this compensate for the rise (if any) in class?
4. Did the horse have to overcome any difficulties to win or did it get a very soft run?
5. Was the horse eased down near the line or did it have to work very hard to win?
6. Does the horse have the same jockey? If not, why not?
7. Does the horse have a good strike rate? Low strike rate horses every so often fluke a win but don't often repeat.
8. Did the horse run a good time?
9. What are the main differences, for example, pace, between this race and the race the horse won?
10. Do not concern yourself with how the horses it beat have performed since. That is unnecessary and an irrelevant distraction. It prevents punters from backing many winners. If you are betting on for example the footy and considering backing Melbourne you do not reason: Melbourne beat the Western Bulldogs, the Western Bulldogs have just beaten Essendon so Melbourne will beat Essendon. Nor would you reason that Melbourne's win was no good because the Western Bulldogs have just come out next week and got thrashed. So don't do it with horses!


In racing, knowledge is power.
Accurate ratings enable you to compare the ability of one horse with another when they are fit enough to win and racing over a suitable distance. Here are some key factors which need to be considered.

Time and Distance
This is the absolute key. You must know what time a horse is capable of running and over what distance.

Track Variations
For time and distance to be of any use you must devise a method to allow for time variations at different tracks. For example the 1000 metres at Sandown on a downhill run is run at much faster times than 1000 metres at other tracks.

Horses are equine athletes. Just like humans, some possess far more natural ability than others. Some have the ability or potential to run a distance much faster than other horses. Also, just like humans there are some horses that will never realise their true potential while other horses will perform to their absolute maximum. The horse's ability on a racetrack can be affected by many factors such as age, fitness, training methods, barrier draw, weight to be carried, distance of the race, the ability of the jockey and so on.

Good Tracks
On Good tracks fast horses will win more races than slow horses. However rain affected surfaces are a big equalizer. That is where the plodder without the quick turn of foot can win races. It just keeps plodding away at the same pace.

Heavy weights on rain affected tracks bog down many class horses. On Good tracks weight is not so significant. However when a horse faces a weight rise in combination with a change from a good barrier draw to a very wide barrier draw there is a multipling affect of disadvantages.
A horse's ability to carry weight is a critical factor which cannot be ignored. It is like the weightlifter who lifts a heavy weight but fails at the next increased weight. Each horse has an individual weight level beyond which it cannot perform in races to anywhere near its natural ability.

Track Bias
Track bias can be caused by any number of factors such as the weather, wind, wear and tear of the track and changed rail positions. Invariably on rain affected tracks jockeys will ride very wide looking for the better going.

The Challenge of Ratings
The thrilling challenge of ratings is lining up the form, condition and ability over a particular distance of one horse with another and then putting it all together to frame a realistic, value market which long term makes profits. There is nothing more thrilling than occasionally obtaining absolutely massive overlays. On 12th. August 2000 I gave Addition a strong percentage chance of winning at Morphettville. It won and paid a massive $27.80 on the New South Wales tote.

Bookmakers and Punters
The best bookmakers are highly intelligent and successful businessmen. They work long hours, study the form thoroughly and are also quick thinking, able to react quickly without panic to changing circumstances. They enjoy a challenge but will not accept it if they believe the odds are poor value. They know that to win they must have an edge. This edge is having the ability to know when they have the advantage.

The average punter does not have the edge. It is impossible to have an edge betting from race to race on the spur of the moment. Just look at the number of punters now even betting on computerised phantom horse races at the TAB. It is impossible to get an edge. They must lose. There are punters who will go to casinos, play blackjack and count the cards. That is smart play. They have the edge. Then there are the majority of punters who will just sit down at the blackjack table and play. They will never have the edge and will be long term losers.

The important thing when you have the edge is the ability to use the information you have to predict the outcome more often than random chance will allow. That is what the bookie does who spends hours studying form. That is what the professional punter does. That is not what your average punter does.

You cannot dismiss the ability of the jockey engaged to ride the horse when trying to evaluate the horse's chances of winning a race. Statistically it is just about impossible to measure the difference between any number of leading jockeys: Brett Prebble, Damien Oliver, Darren Gauci, Jim Cassidy, Danny Beasley, Glenn Boss.

A good, experienced jockey more than compensates for an apprentice's weight allowance unless we are dealing with an exceptional talent. However there are also some senior jockeys who I would never back even if they were on Phar Lap or Tulloch. A chimpanzee could ride the horse better!!

Time and Distance
As I said earlier these are the absolute keys to ratings. You must know what times a horse can run and over what distance. On Good and Fast tracks a comparison can be made of the different times run by horses that day making allowances for many factors such as weight carried, distance of the race, class and a host of other factors like barrier draws, luck in running and so on. When you know what time a particular horse is capable of running on a particular track over a particular distance and you combine that with an assessment of the weight carrying capacity of the horse you are well on the way to creating powerful ratings.





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