Today we look at two more:
(1) Read Stewards reports
My guestimate would be less than 1% of punters take the time to read these reports and that would be
overstating it I would suggest. I can understand “recreational” punters not having the application to
watch the replays I get through each week, but a good shortcut or “cheat sheet” comes in the form of
Stewards reports. They won’t necessarily identify poor rides or pace related failures etc, but they
do cover interference and indiscretions and it takes very little effort to find them and even less to
Listed below are three winners from Saturday and the stewards comments in regard to their previous
Scottish Border: Randwick 10/7/2010
Hampered badly on jumping then bumped on the Hindquarter after passing the 200m. Was then forced to
race tightly on the inside of heels for some considerable distance.
Princess Natural: Canterbury 2/6/2010
Badly crowded on jumping then approaching the 600m was steadied when crowded for room.
Kimberley Kid: Warwick Farm 14/7/2010
After being held up was steadied when crowded passing the 200m. After this incident was unable to
obtain clear running and was not fully tested.
All of these horses were undervalued by the market but not by myself. I can only assume two things.
Few punters or Bookmakers do sufficient video replay homework or they fail to read Stewards
(2) Identifying Improvers
Whether you believe it or not, proven horses just don’t and can’t improve their rating by 6 lengths
in two weeks. I have certainly seen it happen though. Seems an odd statement but the fact is the
horse didn’t improve 6 lengths, it actually underperformed by 6 lengths prior. There are always
reasons for previous poor performances when a horse failed to run to its capability. As a form
student you have to predict the improvement before it occurs and not be the punter who looks at the
form after the race and finds reasoning then. For the most part there will be an occurence or a
series of occurences over time that has caused a horse to underate. The big improvers and long priced
winners come from the latter. Here are a few things to look for:
The barrier has significant effect on performance but moreso over the sprint distances. There is a
misconception however that wide barriers have the same detrimental effect on all horses and that’s not the case.
horses that have above average early speed who under the right conditions in a 14 horse field will
position 4th-5th in the run. When these types draw poorly there are only two possible scenarios. Go
forward and race wide or go back and race against its usual pattern. In both cases you dont need to
be a genius to predict that this horse wont perform to its peak rating. Look for these types who have
drawn poorly at their past four or five runs and then finally draw a barrier.
old Class racing and if you don’t understand it, you need to or there is no possible way you can do
the form. Here is a brief synopsis. The class system went as follows.Maiden Horses who have not won a race
Class 1 Horses who have 1x win
Class 2 Horses who have 2x wins
Class 3 Horses who have 3x wins
Class 4 Horses who have 4x wins
Class 5 Horses who have 5x wins
Class 6 Horses who have 6x wins
Listed Open (conditional)
Group Open (conditional)
Under the class system lets say a horse win 3 races. That horse is compelled to race in Class 3 or
higher for the rest of it’s career. The problem was many horses did reach a level where they were no
longer competitive and so either had to stop racing or be sold to Darwin etc. So the Benchmark system
came into play and this system of classifying horses enabled lots more adaptability and to a lesser
degree “rorts”. Horses can race outside their Benchmark but they are severely weighted when doing
so. This has enabled better and bigger fields and also created a lot more opportunities for
apprentices. But one of the best parts of this system is that horses who fail in higher Benchmark
events, can (over time) have their Benchmark reduced incrementally and therefore drop back
significantly in class.
Look for them. Significant grade or class drops mean horses will not only compete better, but
generally will have no problem altering their racing patterns. These are the improvers you need to
find before the race…. as you cant make money after its over!
* Track Condition
Some horses simply cant compete on Slow/Heavy tracks. Generally trainers won’t/don’t run them but beware the unfit horse who has resumed and had two runs on unsuitable wet tracks. Often, (especially over Winter) trainers have no choice but to run a horse to get it fit. The lead up runs particularly on unsuitable track conditions often short of a horses ideal distance range, are well hidden. Third up the same horse appears on a good track over a more suitable distance and wins.
Happens… and over winter it happens frequently.
Senior Form Analyst