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Identifying a well handicapped horse

Discussion in 'Handicappers Blog' started by Jamie, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Jamie

    Jamie Colt

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    I'm kind of thinking aloud here, looking for some confirmation and I'm under no illusions that there are many more accomplished bettors than I on this forum, but isn't one of the basic premises of being considered a well handicapped horse if a runner's chase and hurdle ratings differ?

    For instance, let's take a look at Zerachiel in today's 4:50.

    He runs in a chase today and is rated 107, while his hurdle rating is 7lbs higher at 114 (edit at 5:25: hurdle rating is 112, so 5lbs higher). Not taking any other factors into account, would this make him well handicapped?

    If we do take another factor into account, the race is 0 - 105, so he just sneaks in. Would this make him handicapped even better for this particular race?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
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  2. Jamie

    Jamie Colt

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    I will take that as a yes :)
     
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  3. tractorboy

    tractorboy Mare

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    I thought a well handicapped horse was one that was in form and running off a lower mark than it had previously won with.
     
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  4. markfinn

    markfinn Mare

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    It's a No you cannot just mix ratings if you want common ratings you need ? I don't know perhaps Newspaper ratings or similar
     
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  5. Jamie

    Jamie Colt

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    I agree that's the traditional way of considering a well handicapped horse, but wondered if the steps that I described above are an alternative method?o

    I'm sure that I recall a couple of weeks ago, an ITV racing presenter highlighted a winner who ran off a much lower hurdle mark than their chase rating. Wish I could remember the horse!
     
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  6. OnTheNod

    OnTheNod Colt

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    Sometimes @Jamie in spotting a well H'capped horse it can be even out of form, i find on the flat it is best to rate them of the courses they have run on and see what weights they have carried before as well. But checking the going and sometimes the size of the field can be relevant also, so as a horse can get his favourite running postion and still maybe win, and of course the draw which on some courses and with large fields is hard to figure out.

    So yes as above try and get like for like.
     
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  7. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    Hi @Jamie

    There are various ways of deciding that a horse is well handicapped. Sometimes a Chaser will have improved over the larger obstacles and then drop back into a Hurdle off its last Hurdle Mark.

    Sometimes a Horse has moved Yards and that will bring about improvement

    Robin Of Locksley runs in the Haydock 3.40 and was previously with Dan Skelton who had if I remember correctly had his horse vaccinated against Equine Flu. Sometimes it will affect the hires performance. Switched to Caroline Bailey in March and won first time out for her. Will be racing off 8 lbs higher from Saturday and will not be able to even race in this class ceiling. The gamble that the Trainer has to take is will the horse have goten over its exertions with a quick return
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
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  8. wolfetone

    wolfetone Colt

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    Good points, as ever, @Chesham . Paul Nicholls once said that his string were inoculated in January each year and were sometimes off colour for a short while after. I suspect the Skeltons do the same and the same effect occurs.

    There is some sort of tie up between the Skeltons and Caroline Bailey. Harry rides her chasers with some success and Robin of Locksley has been moved to her. Perhaps some family connection.? Robin ought to win today but is naturally very short.
     
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  9. dlinbgrove

    dlinbgrove Gelding

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    I know Richard Hannon had his inoculated late Dec or early Jan, so I'd assume it is probably widespread, hopefully unlike the flu.
     
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  10. Jamie

    Jamie Colt

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    I've just watched the full race as my stream was playing up yesterday and have only just looked at Zerachiel's past record. Three modest non handicap hurdle attempts before being switched to fences. Two previous 0 - 120 chase races (rated 115 & 112) and then yesterday's 0 - 105 off 107.

    From that evidence I'd consider it fair to say that he was well treated yesterday when compared to his two other chase races and it's something that I will be looking more in depth into in future and perhaps look into past races.
     
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  11. OnTheNod

    OnTheNod Colt

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    Hi @Chesham i know i use to follow the jumps years ago, and then found alot of the times when a horse was put over fences and won sometimes high class events, then switched back to hurdles even off a lower weight they could not tackle the change in many cases, i dont know about nowadays. Because it is about 1990 since i last looked at any serious jump form so with new training methods does it work now i wonder.

    The other one if a horse has moved yards how is one to tell, you do say sometimes though, but in a few cases it will but depending how a horse settles and likes its new surroundings i suppose similar to ourselves just things to consider. Maybe is just me but i have always prefered to go on what a horse has shown upfront with any new conditions or returning to older ones.
     
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  12. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    I run a Thread on The Blog called Well In

    Same horse two wins in quick succession one over Chase and then dropped to Hurdles

    First race (Won)

    Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 14.40.09.png

    Next Race (Won) Points to Note, won a Handicap Chase but escaped the Penalty as the next race was a Hurdle Race

    Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 14.40.32.png Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 14.40.47.png
     
  13. OnTheNod

    OnTheNod Colt

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    Thanks @Chesham yes i suppose i should keep my mouth shut i know very little about the jumps now, i still love the flat though! Good Luck with your methods i know you put loads of hard work in.
     
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  14. GLYCERINE

    GLYCERINE Foal

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    I seem to remember Brian Ellison saying that he expected all his chasers should better their hurdling mark. By a substantial margin too. Maybe that's because horse patently suited to hurdles aren't going to try chasing seriously or horses that are going to make good chasers are marking time hurdling. Then you have French horses who are schooled earlier and more intensively so they might have less improvement. Of course sires and dams might tell you more as would conformation as to that likelihood. It would also be affected by the actual fences and hurdles some are easier or more difficult than others.

    Generally speaking, from my own experience, a well handicapped horse is usually spotted after the event.

    The biggest problem I usually have is to do with field size. Its much easier to gauge form with more yardsticks, knowing the worth or lack of it, of a small field race is much trickier. Do you take it literally or with a pinch of salt? Sunnytahgliatehian beat a small field of trees last time out so how do you assess its chances today? Riddlestown can be a well handicapped horse at Southwell and useless somewhere else. And of course a horse can be well handicapped in the context of a field but not per se. ie, a horse 14lbs out of the handicap is well handicapped compared to a horse 28lbs out of the handicap, especially if the top weight hasn't run for a year, hates the ground, is ridden by a 10lb claimer and can't act on the course. Extreme example but illustrates the point. If you really do have a well handicapped horse, you won't want to waste it, wherever they send it should tell you all they know about the horses preferences, unless their hand is forced by an imminent rise or a change of ground looming. And........ Unless of course that horse might be Irish trained or by Jonjo, in which case knowing it's well handicapped wont stop them trying to get a few more pounds off before the money is down. Oh the glorious uncertainty of horse racing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  15. Jamie

    Jamie Colt

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    Thanks for the reply @GLYCERINE

    Your comment about the glorious uncertainty of horse racing really made me smile. It's a wonder that there are so many of us still trying to chase the rewards, when there are so few who reap the spoils!
     
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  16. Swordfish

    Swordfish Foal

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    Excuse me interrupting gentlemen, but I'm more into pedigrees today at Ayr in the 2:45...CHESTERFIELD won at 12/1 the sire Pivotal dam sire Dubai Millennium, not until you look at the form and distance travelled....Salisbury to Ayr and reading the blog on the trainers site, stating that the trainer was traveling up, would I even consider betting on it.
     
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  17. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    Not to mention finding a Bookmaker who takes bets after the race has been run
     
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  18. Swordfish

    Swordfish Foal

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    :punish:@Chesham my post was an observation not a tip.
     
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  19. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    It was the Trainers first winner when he has sent a Hurdler to Scotland, so the Distance Travelled is irrelevant pre race, in fact prior to yesterday, if the Trainer has sent a Hurdler further than 117 miles, he has had 7 winners from 92 runners
     
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  20. Swordfish

    Swordfish Foal

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    Afternoon All - well it’s a big week ahead for Team Mullins, off to Ayr to land some decent prizes but back to that in a moment as I must not forget to mention, regrettably, the Annual Charity race at Larkhill this Saturday has been cancelled due to the lack of rain resulting already in the ground being too firm.
    Great shame as it's always well supported from people at the yard. This year Philippa Downing was making her 100th appearance, Tracey Keeping was intending to make a virgin debut whilst Ronnie Ridout obviously had no intention of turning up - despite horse and colours etc all being arranged – he buggered off to Cape Verde with Michelle to avoid his overweight being announced over the speaker system (1 stone overweight I understand, more than that when he returns back to this country!).
    Never mind Ronnie, there is always next year – plenty of time to prepare and even Kevin Watson from Caloona Racing is in training after threatening to take part. – just 5 stone to go Kev, plenty of time to lay off those pies.

    Right, I digress, back to the week ahead.

    Stable going well, Romeo Americo won for the Racing Club last Sunday at Plumpton and we’ve had a couple of seconds this week with Flugzeug (yes I know there were only two runners but they all count!) and I See You Well.

    Reg called me this week in his excitement once he heard from the Boss that he was off to Ayr on another jolly boys outing with James.

    I did have to tell him that Ayr was in Scotland so take some warm clothes; I think he had just packed his Speedos thinking he was off to a warmer climate!

    I spoke to Steph in the office earlier in the week and she said she was going to be the brains in the office, Mission Control she called it!, as the Boss was going up North via saddling a few winners at Southwell. God help the rest of us but I was assured as I heard Ali rustling in the biscuit tin so she was not alone!

    Steph said she had just booked the accommodation for Reg and James, a twin room above a pub? All sounded a bit rough and ready, a bit seedy? At least that’s better than last time they went to Aintree because they had to share a double bed on that occasion!

    When I told Reg this he said it will be ok this time as he would be taking a cork for his bottom! I presumed then all the food and champagne must have upset his stomach at Aintree but I didn’t want to ask.

    Dan was cracked up laughing because they will have to share a twin room – he thinks he ‘s sorted because him and Seamus are travelling up to Ayr together after Southwell – again, finding accommodation en route and he was happy to tell me that Seamus always stays in a decent place.

    I was quick to agree with him, Yes Seamus does always stay in a decent place but when I spoke to him this week the only four poster bed you have in mind Dan will be an upturned park bench somewhere on Southwell High Street!

    Dan quipped back that was untrue because he had his passport packed to get into Scotland!

    I told him the Boss also added that he hoped you liked Scotland because if you don’t ride a double on Saturday on both Chesterfield and Somchine you won’t be getting a lift home and it’s a damn long walk!

    All good fun and looking forward to a memorable weekend ahead. We are a professional yard! Good luck Reg and if I don’t see you again Dan please send us down some shortbread!

    Regards to all, Paul
     
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  21. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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  22. Swordfish

    Swordfish Foal

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  23. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    Posted Earlier today on the Inner Sanctum Blogs 'Well In Thread"

    Another example of how a Trainer exploits the Handicap Rules

    Backed in from 2/1

    Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 14.38.55.png Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 14.39.18.png
     
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  24. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    This Thread asked how to identify Well Handicapped Horse and I have shown one method see quotes. There are others, but if the response is abuse like Post 24, then why bother, as it hardly encourages contributions to the OS, from some of the long standing members of UKBF


     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
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  25. dave58

    dave58 Administrator

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    I have to admit your comment was not exactly helpful, @Swordfish
    It's disappointing as we are actively encouraging senior members to contribute towards threads made here, and remarks like yours are hardly going to help.
     
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  26. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    I run a Thread called Pedigree Handicapping

    Backed in from 7/2

    Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 20.03.50.png

    http://www.tattersalls.com/cat/october2/2015/1351.pdf

    Lets see some of your Pre race Selections then @Swordfish if you want credibility as a pedigree analysts. It is more elitist if you claim to be a Pedigree Expert, but never post anything Pre Race
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
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  27. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    Another from the Well In Thread

    (Won 5/1)

    Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 20.14.26.png Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 20.14.42.png
     
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  28. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    I think that you will find that it was me who discovered Godlphin Arabian in the first place

    Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 20.32.03.png
     
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  29. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 20.35.21.png
     
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  30. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    Not sure what you mean by "Do you still have Kanga doing your leg work?" Kanga had a Coder who produced all my Apps, which I paid for and I helped him with some of the data input for a Neural Network Tool that he produced.

    We lost touch some years back as he had an ongoing real life event that needed his full attention.

    The Class Ratings have moved on a bit and are produced by @ArkRoyal for Inner sanctum Members

    Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 21.13.20.png

    I must say you have confused me as you say "would I even consider betting on it." Then later say that you will not post Pre Race selections as you don't back these days and would post anything that you are not backing
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
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  31. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    The last five posts by me may seem a little strange, but @Swordfish has deleted his posts and they were in reply to the posts that he made, before deleting them
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
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  32. Broadbridge

    Broadbridge Newbie

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    Hello all, this is my first post.

    There are various methods of identifying a well handicapped horse, a lot of which have been touched on in this thread. The trick is how to identify when they are ready and being placed to win.

    The answer to this I would suggest is a combination of improvement in distance beaten (often while remaining unplaced), a drop in odds in the last or 2nd to last race as people (not neccessarily insiders) spot that the horse is well in and a potential improver and finally class movements-ideally a drop in class today but again not neccessarily.

    Individual trainers can have different methods for horses within the same stable but its all not as complicated as it sounds. If anyone has any specific questions I will do what I can to answer.

    The big spoiler to all this of course is that being fit, ready and placed to win only guarantees that the horse will run a big race, not that success is a definite.
     
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  33. GLYCERINE

    GLYCERINE Foal

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    Missing posts certainly made for a confusing read when doing catchup. Spotting a well handicapped horse simply means a horse better than its handicap mark. How you find it doesn't matter since there are umpteen ways and combinations of ways. Whatever you use will have to be based upon the most apt and reliable data and that's a judgement call. If you could reduce it to a formula you would shrink your losses but you still won't be profitable and you would just be following a well trodden path. Profit hardly lies that way. Since so many variables are involved it might help in the selection process but since in a handicap in theory chances are levelled out it would only be margins anyway unless something stood out in which case the price would remove any profit in the long run. In any case nuts and bolts of who beat what, where and how would not actually be the salient information. Look at Haggas's handicap improvers. How much of their chance is down to racecourse evidence as opposed to trainers methods, patterns and history? In any case you would be looking in the wrong place since the juiciest bets would be horses that are ahead of their mark because of their exploits, or lack of it in a race. The clue is in the title. Handicap. And how do you get a horse ahead of its mark at a price that brings a profit? Certainly not by letting everyone know. If you bet volume. Large stakes and small margins, reductionist methods might be a way forward and you might find what you seek in distances beaten, betting patterns, etc etc. But you would be jostled by the crowds of punters all looking in the same place and looking to get on too.
     
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  34. mick

    mick Dam

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    Horse racing appears full of contradictions,and this threads title offers plenty of scope in this respect.40yrs back the majority of press experts advised swerving hcaps i took the contrarian view at the time, because i wished to back "form" horses at a decent avg price and my journey ever since has involved focusing on these contests.

    Betting connections want a well hcapped horse but also at a price ,so when they have identified this they do not wish for others to have reached the same conclusion.These days there is much easy found information the OR being such and to make the best of it we need to discover ways of interpreting which go against the majority view yet still contain good racing reason.

    A very basic example being that when investigating the chance of one who has not won for a while my preference is now that it still remains a few pounds above its last winning mark.Why ? because the market will generally view this as a negative with the press puffing those who have dropped below same.What about stats to support your well hcapped find ,even the most complex are these days an easy find and the more overt, well the racing press is full of them.Connections will be aware of this and i think sometimes use them to put us away.............I would.

    They can game the system to get the animal well hcapped but the trick is to then place it to win at a price,and this peaches and cream will seldom be achieved by following the obvious or norm.?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
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  35. *tom*

    *tom* Gelding

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    :text-goodpost:
     
  36. markfinn

    markfinn Mare

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    Good posts today - All this sense - militates against system for handicaps - just to unpredictable - a race is race and every one is different
     
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  37. Broadbridge

    Broadbridge Newbie

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    There are only so many ways a horse can hide its improvement unless it belongs to a smaller stable with poor horses. When a 16/1 winner for a stable like this occurs, as nothing in its form gave any indication it was becoming ready the win is often put down to chance (and sometimes that is correct). The stewards won't trouble the trainer for an explanation as they assume a generally unsound animal has found a brief period of health/fitness. If it fails to win its next race that view appears to be confirmed.
    However, for a medium sized trainer even a few winners at long odds will mean several trips to the stewards to explain improvement in form. Similarly, a known "gambling stable" will not be allowed to pull off a string of 16/1 to single figure odds "plunges" because it looks bad for the image of racing if this is allowed to happen on a daily basis. So it follows then, that a horse that is ready to win a particular race can only have its form partially concealed to avoid accusations of cheating. Here are a couple of the more obvious examples.
    A certain type of horse might have won fairly recently and is then pushed up in class or has a distance change (or both) before being brought back to a distance or class it is happy in. We've all spotted those I hope because it is only marginally concealed.
    For horses without a recent win similar strategies are employed. A common one is simply to start a horse off running unsuccessfully in say, a class 2 h/c. Its OR will continually drop as it fails to make any impact in however many races it runs. Next it will drop it into a class 3 and its distance beaten will lessen, partly because of the class drop and partly because the horse is starting to improve-all the while not being placed and with a corresponding reduction in its OR.
    Finally we arrive in a class 4 h/c. It is now properly fit, is on a particularly good mark and so the stage may be set. A good indicator that the horse is ready will be a drop in its odds during its last couple of runs as a few punters will spot it as a likely improver. Odds changes are what I personally look for to confirm what the form book appears to be saying. Anyway, here we are in a class 4: if the odds are higher than its last run, today is obviously not the day but if they are lower its time to have a bet.
    For both types of horses mentioned the 3/1 to 6/1 odds range can be considered a good price. Any longer and it means that there are obviously similar types of horse in the race and any less means a lack of value as nothing can be considered a certainty. I'm convinced that a lot of "non" gambling stables land a hell of a lot of bets like this for connections, hidden in plain sight as they are.
    A look at each day's results will soon show winners that had formlines showing these two patterns or a variation on them. There are other patterns that are also fairly easy to spot-and of course some that show no particular pattern but are simply in form and running well.
    The main key is to follow class and odds movements as they will tell you where the horse has been and what it was expected to do when it was there, as well as what it is now expected to do today.
     
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  38. Chesham

    Chesham Sire

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    @Broadbridge RE "
    A common one is simply to start a horse off running unsuccessfully in say, a class 2 h/c. Its OR will continually drop as it fails to make any impact in however many races it runs. Next it will drop it into a class 3 and its distance beaten will lessen, partly because of the class drop and partly because the horse is starting to improve-all the while not being placed and with a corresponding reduction in its OR.
    Finally we arrive in a class 4 h/c. It is now properly fit, is on a particularly good mark and so the stage may be set. A good indicator that the horse is ready will be a drop in its odds during its last couple of runs as a few punters will spot it as a likely improver. Odds changes are what I personally look for to confirm what the form book appears to be saying. Anyway, here we are in a class 4: if the odds are higher than its last run, today is obviously not the day but if they are lower its time to have a bet."


    How can the horse start off in a Class 2 Handicap, it would need to have a sufficiently high BHA to be able to start off in a Class 2 as it would not make the cut.

    It is not that complicated. Posted Pre Race on The Blog Yesterday

    Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 15.59.35.png
     
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  39. Broadbridge

    Broadbridge Newbie

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    Yes, agreed. I should have made myself clearer. I was thinking of a mature handicapper making its seasonal return.
     
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  40. markfinn

    markfinn Mare

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    Does he means it's reached class 2 and then has to fall down - it would be quite a fall and how long / how many poor races before the the handicapper decides the the horse is in such a reversal to allow it back into class 4's
     
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