In the final part of a two-part series, P.P.M. reader Sid Bowling, from Argenton, N.S.W., tells how his study of 'mudlark' breeding lines helped him collect last year's Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double.

After many months of research, I now believe that the best time to bet is when tracks are slow and heavy - the wetter the better!

With slow tracks, I find, after a check of breeding lines, that as many as 85 per cent of runners have virtually no chance of winning. On heavy tracks, 90 per cent of runners fall into a similar category.

One irrefutable point I have learned is this: The 'drier' they are bred means the wetter it is, and the further the distance, the further they get beaten.

A recent example of this was Heroicity's run in the Melbourne Cup. He is bred along very 'dry' lines and was beaten by something like 60 lengths in the cup. I did my homework on both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, and I landed the double.

The Caulfield Cup: I did my form on Friday morning, working to a good or dead track. On the Saturday morning radio racing programme I heard Lee Freedman state that it had rained overnight and was still raining quite strongly without much respite in sight. Freedman said he believed the track would be quite heavy by the time the Cup was run.

With this in mind, I re-examined the field, using my theories for wet-track bred horses. My conclusion was that the only possible chances were Veandercross, Mannerism, Aquidity and Subzero. I settled on the first two as the main prospects and was confident Aquidity could fill 3rd place. Subzero ' I worried, would find the distance (2400m) a touch short, but I knew that he was a 3200m stayer, a grinder, who would do well if the track was rain affected in the Melbourne Cup. That reasoning landed me the double.

The Caulfield Cup result was especially satisfying and rewarding for me - all first three placers! Another example of breeding knowledge helping out.

Aquidity is a classic example of the wet tracker theory. I believe he is one of the best wet-bred horses to have raced in Australia. Look back to February 8, 1992, a day that got wetter and wetter as the hours rolled by. Here was Aquidity, a New Zealander with 47 starts behind him who had never raced on a heavy track, but who was literally bred to swim!

He was second-up over the tough Randwick 'mile', carrying 57.5kg and the track was very heavy. The more the rain fell the greater confidence I felt because nothing else in the race could handle much more than a dead track.

Then came my biggest shock: The price of 33/1. I nearly fell over as I rushed to get on! Aquidity cantered in by 7 lengths. I got a lot of satisfaction from that success, I can tell you.

The beauty of this wet-bred knowledge is that there are many occasions when it is worth taking a risk like I did with Aquidity. On most occasions you will be getting tremendous odds.

One of the most rewarding times of the year is the dry season when we often get a sudden bout of wet tracks. Now, at these times, most of the wet-trackers have little or no good form to their names, thus ensuring the availability of big odds.

I recall such an occasion in Brisbane last year when one particular race was left with only four starters, and three of them couldn't compare with the fourth horse's wet-track breeding. The horse was the 7yo. Always Grand, who had started only twice on heavy tracks in 46 starts for one win. I got 16/1about him and home he went!

The other great thing about these wet-bred horses is that it doesn't matter if they are first-up or second-up, or how much weight they carry - they will invariably produce their peak runs in the right conditions.

The only time you will get a poor run from them in the right conditions is when they have gone 'over the top' in their form cycle. Basically, then, what my research shows is that there are very few real chances on wet tracks, and if you know your breeding then you'll find that many races are easier and quicker to assess than if they were run on firm going.

Another thing we all, as punters, have to remember is that it is getting harder and harder to win at racing, due to compressed odds and greater inconsistencies – but I maintain there is still value if you can understand why certain horses can only perform at their maximum on wet tracks.

I find it disturbing, then, to see so many of these wet-bred horses racing on hard going. I believe it is harmful to them and very difficult for them to produce their best form. If you were a boxer and you were consistently being hammered by a particular opponent, I am sure you would eventually lose spirit and the will to face him again. The same with a racehorse that is consistently poorly placed by his stable, whether it be against opposition that is much too good or conditions that do not suit.

I sometimes doubt if many trainers bother to check the breeding of their horses. It's one reason why so many horses race without consistency. Recently, I heard the head of a well known syndicate describe one of the syndicate's horses as being one of the best wet-bred horses in Victoria.

I was quite surprised by the statement, because the horse in question was by a sire whose lines are so dry I would swear he was born in the desert! Needless to say, the horse finished many lengths behind on the wet track.

I hope P.P.M. readers have enjoyed these two articles. I wanted to throw around some ideas for discussion, because they may inspire other readers to offer their contributions. One thing about racing that never ceases to impress me is that it contains an endless amount of variables which you can discuss for hours, and still end up disagreeing!

Click here to read Part 1.

By Sid Bowling