Our “form chart” series has proved to be a popular one. So far we’ve covered all three racing codes, and in this article we are switching back to the gallops.

What we’re after is a simple method of determining “true favourites” or, at least, those favourites with as many positive factors in their favour as possible.

I decided to limit the factors to 10, as you’ll see from the chart on page 41. You can photocopy the chart and use it for any number of races.

All we’re doing with this particular chart is checking out the worth of pre-post favourites.  Use your morning newspaper’s betting market and then put the favourite through the form chart testing.

If a favourite gets eight, nine or 10 ticks on the form chart then we regard it as a true favourite, a top chance to win or run a placing. If a favourite gets six or seven ticks it can be regarded as a bit suspect but still an each way chance.

Finally, any favourite with five or fewer ticks is regarded as fully suspect.

Now for the various factors:

IS IT A LAST START WINNER: This is an important factor as far as favourites are concerned because last start winners have proven to have a high success rate when sent out as the top betting chance next time out. If you are betting in the city, then a last start city win only is acceptable. If betting at other tracks, any win will do.

RACING AGAIN WITHIN 21 DAYS: It’s always good to have a horse coming in for a run within three weeks of it having its latest start. Most times, this is an indication the horse is fit and has maintained its sharpness. The closer the break between today’s start and a horse’s last start the better.

WINNER AT THE DISTANCE: As we have pointed out before, winning ability at the distance of a race is an all-important factor. With this factor you can accept a distance 50m either side of today’s distance. If it’s a 1200m race and the favourite has won up to 1250m or back to 1150m, then you can accept it as a distance winner. This should work out in your favour over a period of time.

WINNER AT THE TRACK: Some horses go well at certain tracks, for whatever reasons. We are trying to latch on to positive factors and there is no doubt that if a horse has already won at today’s track then it has something in its favour, especially against rivals who might have failed many times there. Track winners usually win and win at the track.

PRE-POST PRICE 3/1 OR BETTER: We don’t want to shoot too much for short-priced favourites, and this factor allows for a tick for those favourites at 3s and better. This is a value area. And long-term we want to try to be on these value favourites that win. This is only one tick in 10 but we feel it’s a positive one.

WIN STRIKE 33 PER CENT OR HIGHER: Consistency is always welcomed in a galloper. Punters like to think they are backing horses on which they can rely, and very much so with favourites. So we decided on a 33 per cent strike rate, almost in line with the average win strike rate overall for favourites. Any horse that can win one in three is very consistent.

PLACE STRIKE 50 PER CENT OR HIGHER: The same sort of thinking applies with this factor. Again it is all about consistency. If a horse can get into the money every other start, or more, then it’s to be regarded as a reliable conveyance, and especially so when it is listed as the raceday favourite.

WEIGHT IS 56KG OR UNDER: Weight can stop a train, goes the old saying. As far as our favourites are concerned, we don’t want them to be carrying big weights. Once they get to 57kg and higher their task becomes that much harder. Preferably, a good favourite will have 56kg or less and that enables it to get every chance. Treat this rule very seriously, even in wfa races.

HORSE HAS A GOOD TRAINER: It can be hard to say which trainer is good and which is not so good. We all have our favourite trainers. This rule calls on you to determine whether the trainer factor deserves a tick or not. Be careful and act with commonsense and you’ll get it right more times than not.

HORSE HAS A GOOD JOCKEY: The same thinking applies as with trainers. We each have differing views about the relative abilities of jockeys. Some of you might not like an apprentice rider aboard; others may be okay with this. Then there’s your view of the various senior jockeys.

Once again, the call is yours. Decide carefully.

By Jon Hudson

PRACTICAL PUNTING - AUGUST 2008

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