We all have had a mate who habitually tried to tip us a winner; you know the kind I am talking about: every tip is a “moral” and few if any ever salute the judge. It’s an amazing phenomenon that exists predominantly in Australia.
Maybe I’ve lost my sense of humour, but I don’t find this practice amusing and nor do I tolerate it. That might sound a bit pompous, but why should I? I have always seen very little reason to do something unless I am going to do it well, so I used to often challenge some of these “morals” by asking questions like ‘Who is riding it?’ Where do you expect it to be in the run? Or what is the Benchmark of that race? Naturally the questions are followed by a lengthy period of silence as these self professed great judges blushed, mumbled and stumbled to make an attempt to save face. It is ridiculous practice. I mean seriously would you steer a mate into a bad Business deal or a poor Real Estate opportunity.
If you are going to do something then do it well or not at all, which leads me to the point of this brief article. How well are you doing the form?
Here are a few suggestions which may assist you:
Be aware before you commence analysing the form of the Distance, Class and Track condition of the race you are about to assess. These three elements may seem elementary but you cannot do a worthy assessment without knowing them and applying the aptitude and suitability of each runner to them.
Formulate a Race Profile
Before you start doing any form have a brief look at the field and sort the horses into three categories. Early Pace/ Midfielders /Backmarkers. If you are not familiar with horses speed patterns, find a form guide that provides this information. After I conclude this article I will look for one and advise of the best available.
Draw up a Map
Forget the form for now. Sort the Race profile more specifically. Ascertain who will probably lead, who will be the next pair and so on. If you haven’t tried this before, you won’t ever be any good unless you practice so don’t push it aside. Get good at it! Use a piece of paper or better still an Excel spreadsheet and “draw the map”. Don’t get carried away with “perfectionism” as they are animals, things don’t always go to plan and there will be few times you will ever get the whole map 100% correct all the way from the lead to the last horse. Put the map aside for now and we will come back to it later.
Start at the bottom
I recommend doing this principally for one reason. Generally (but not always) the better horses are in the top half of the field, certainly in Handicaps and most Benchmark races. Starting at the top with the best horses can lead to you being a bit lazy (especially in big fields) and failing to give due respect to the lesser chances as you work through the race. Every horse occupies a percentage of the market so it is important that you ascertain where they all fit in. Doing form in reverse alleviates this problem and you will in fact “perk up” as you start hitting the better horses (generally) towards the top of the page.
Look for reasons why they can’t win
Many punters are very quick to tell you why a horse is a “moral” but I have found it’s a lot easier to invert that form of thinking and look for the opposite. I do it religiously albeit I do have the tools that make it easy. All I am searching for is weakness. That may come in the form of Map position, poor speed figures, Age, Handicap, Distance, Grade or Track condition.
Using Example 3 above. Assume 1250m Race at Canterbury, say 13 runners. Let’s say the best credentialed horse (also the anticipated favourite) is coming off successive wins over similar distance at Randwick and Rosehill. Both wins were in races containing 9 horses and it drew barriers (3) and (4) on each occasion and raced off midfield. Today it’s drawn (9) in a race devoid of pace and therefore expected to be run in a slow early tempo. That’s an opportunity. It will be forced to go back in this race, is inevitably up in grade having come off 2 successive wins, will be further back than usual and with the bigger field it has more trouble to negotiate a path through. Furthermore the tempo will be against backmarkers. Having the confidence now that this horse will be hard pressed to win has given you an edge.
There are 10 sections to the form process. I have briefly elaborated on four above and each Monday in the Newsletter I will do 2 more.
Senior Form Analyst
Champion Picks: Horse Racing Tips