How To Use Horse Racing Form With A Unique Points Based Method
It’s always been one of my key principles to delve deeper into the form lines. That is, don’t be too guided by a horses last start performance.
You need to delve deeper. There is usually much more to consider than where a horse finished at its last outing. And this applies very much so when a horse has raced poorly, or at least seemed to have raced poorly.
Often, when you dig deeper, you find that there was a reason, or reasons, for the horse’s failure. That’s why, when you see a “0” next to a horses name don’t let it always be a danger signal.
Psychologically, we are all mesmerized by those 1st 2nd and 3rd in a horses form, especially when they are listed for the latest run. That’s fair enough, but don’t let it become a habit! You owe it to yourself to ask questions about each runner and each performance, whether a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or an unplaced performance.
Most handicapping methods concern themselves with good rather than poor performances. This is a positive approach, I grant you, and I can’t really take issue with it except to issue the warning that thousands of races are won every season by horses who seem to have performed badly at their latest starts.
In most instances, the wins are regarded as “surprises” and the dividends can be large.
Because there are so many winners in this category, the entire subject of a horses last start effort is always worthy of assessment.
In the process of this thinking, I’m going to take you through my own set of Golden Rules. Theses are factors you need to look at to satisfy yourself you have a strong “handle” on the race.
By the time you have gone through the Golden Rules, I can assure you that you’ll be aware of every facet of every runner’s form. It takes time, yes, but where money is concerned time should not be a concern. Put in the work, you will get the right results.
The Golden Rules
With the following Golden Rules, give “ticks” for each factor as recommended
1) Is the horse the pre-post favourite? If so, 2 ticks. Is the horse on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th favourite in the betting? If so, 1 tick
2) If the horse is trained by one of the leading trainers, 1 tick
3) If you regard the jockey as being a good and reliable rider then 1 tick
4) If the horse is being ridden today by a BETTER jockey than at its previous start, or by SENIOR rider replacing an apprentice, then 1 tick
5) If the horse won its last start, 2 ticks
6) If the horse was a winner last start, if it won very easily (by 2 or more lengths) then 1 tick
7) If the horse was beaten last start but picked up significant ground in the final 200m, then 1 tick
8) If the horse began badly at its latest start and then made up good ground past at least half then field in the home straight, then 1 tick
9) If you think the horse is capable of racing in the first four or five to the turn, then 1 tick
10) Did the horse finish closer to the winner at its last start than at its second-last start — if so, 1 tick
11) If you have seen favourable comments about the horse in the media, 1 tick
12) If the horse ran an even race last start, never more than 5 lengths from the leader, give 1 tick
13) If the horse had run very well before at the current track (winner, or close-up place getter), 1 tick
14) If you consider the horse’s form is tapering off (worsening) over its last three starts, deduct 2 ticks
15) Was there a valid and reasonable excuse for the horse’s last start beaten performance? If so, 1 tick
16) If the horse’s last start was between 15 and 21 days ago, 1 tick
17) If the horse’s last start performance was between eight and 14 days ago, 2 ticks
18) If the hose’s last start was within the previous seven days, 3 ticks
19) If the horse has had three or more runs since a spell, 1 tick
20) If you think the horse is capable of successfully carrying the weight it has been given in the current race, 1 tick
21) If the horse is a winner over the distance of the current race (allow 50m to 75m either side), 1 tick
22) Has the horse run 2nd, 3rd or 4th over today’s distance and WITHIN 3 lengths of the winner? If yes, 1 tick
23) Is the horse racing in the same class of races at its previous start? If so, 1 tick
24) Is the horse down in class? If so, 2 ticks
25) If the horse has previously won in the same class, or higher class, then 2 ticks
26) If the horse has run 2nd, 3rd or 4th (within 3 length of the winner) in the same or higher class, then 1 tick
27) If the horse has a win strike rate of 25 per cent or more, 1 tick.
28) If the horse has run placings in 60 per cent or more of its career starts, 1 tick
29) If the horse can handle prevailing tack conditions, 1 tick for good to dead, 2 ticks for slow or heavy.
30) If the horse is starting from what you consider is a good draw position, 1 tick
Feel daunted by the prospect of putting so much energy into form analysis? I suppose some of you will but it’s not as big a task as it might seem.
You are not going to be checking every race on the card, are you? I would not recommend such an approach. Usually, I find only three races, on average, are worth betting on.
Throw out those races where the form is a bit of a jumble, and races with lots of first starters. Ignore the weaker races, Concentrate on the best races on the card.
If you want to cut corners (not really advisable) you could limit your analysis to six or seven starters only, perhaps those at the top of the betting market. Most winners come from this range of runners.
However, the risk you run in cutting corners is that just might miss a big prices winner who could’ve been found had you done the full analysis. But that’s up to you. You may feel the time saved is worth the risk.
Once you have tested a field of runners using my Golden Rules you should be completely satisfied you have gone a long way to correctly analysing the race. Add up those ticks to see which runners have the most. Concentrate on them. Look at their form again. Think about it. Weigh up the options.
Don’t forget that the higher number of ticks a horse has the better its prospects should be. That’s why you put the field through such a rigorous examination.
Of course, you have the choice of simply accepting what the Golden Rules analysis throws up. If a horse has, say 22 ticks, and has the biggest total of ticks, then it becomes the #1 pick in the race. Simple as that.
Also, remember that the better the class of race the more likely it is you will secure a consistent and winning outcome. Class is all important.
Many old-time professionals were great believers in the ticks and crosses approach. They knew what they were doing. And even in today’s computerised world, the simple “tick, tick” can prove just as effective a winner finder as any other approach!