Psychologists call it 'patterns of behaviour' and, of course, they're talking about human beings and the way that 99 per cent of us adopt a rational lifestyle with predictable behaviour.

But what about when this line of thinking is applied to racehorses? Is there a discernible pattern of behaviour? You might think that horses being horses, their behaviour would be, for the most part, pretty dam difficult to pin down.

After all, we've all gone through years and years of battling racehorse behaviour, haven't we? And how many times do we get it all wrong? Too many!

Frankly, I believe that a lack of information is very much to blame for many punters failing to nail down the form lines properly. If you don't have all the facts, as the police say, you can't solve the murder. And so it is with racing - a few missing facts about a horse and you make the wrong decision.

It was this particular angle of horseracing that led Statsman and our expert team at Equestrian Publishing to put our thinking caps on. How could we discover the 'key' to each racehorse? It was obvious that somewhere in their form lines we could unearth the clues.

And that's what we did. With Statsman leading the way, we found that by using a huge data-base going back on a horse's full form record we could analyse its racing pattern over its various racing campaigns.

What we discovered was quite astonishing, and the full results are now available in the new publication Blueprint (see Centre Pages), a complete dossier on some 200 racehorses who have displayed definitive patterns of racing behaviour during their careers.

This is not, of course, a system, and we're at pains to stress this. There are no 'secrets' as such to be disclosed when you buy the book - except the one dynamic form factor that until now has just not been available to the general punting public.

What we're saying, in fact, is that discovering a horse's racing pattern you can know exactly when to back it! And win!

Before I talk more about this revolutionary idea, just a few key points about Blueprint. The first is that it's a beautifully bound book of 120 pages, containing the full computerised details of some 200 horses, complete with special graphs of their racing campaigns to date. Secondly, from each horse's historical performance we have uncovered a racing pattern and we provide clear and precise betting instructions for every horse.

Thirdly, if you're the type of punter who doesn't have a lot of time, we provide a backup telephone service to let you know which Blueprint horses are racing on any major raceday.

Okay, so what's this pattern business all about? Well, to begin with, what is required is a database of form, and 99.9 per cent of punters in Australia don't have one. Your formguides, you see, provide only part of the story of each horse's racing career.

You simply cannot deduce from the formguides the 'pattern' that has dominated each horse's career. This is where Blueprint comes in. Let's use as an example the case of Famous Nick.

Our database shows Famous Nick having had 28 starts for a win strike of 17.86 per cent - certainly not very high, and you might even tend to write him off as a betting proposition. But wait a minute. A close examination of Famous Nick's form lines show that he is a 'pattern' racehorse.

Why is this so? Going back to December 1991, we see that Famous Nick kicked off that season's racing with a win over 1200m at Moe at 4/1. He then ran 4th, beaten three lengths, and then won at 9/4 at his third start. Now we move onto his next campaign, and what do we find?

We find that Famous Nick has kicked off a fresh campaign on August 18, 1992, after a break of 143 days, with a very close (0.6 lengths) 3rd placing over 1200m at Sale. He is ' then, continuing that first up 'good run' trait, even though he wasn't able to post a win on this second campaign.


But what about his third campaign?

This one was on February 16, 1993, and came after a spell of 90 days. What happened? Famous Nick, at 11/4, won over 1209m at Moonee Valley first-up! The pattern had been confirmed yet again.

You might think that by now punters would have grasped the lesson, but when Famous Nick began his fourth campaign, at Rosehill on November 20, after a 126-days' break, he was sent out at 11/2 and WON AGAIN!

Now perhaps you are beginning to understand what we mean about the 'pattern' that develops in a consistent racehorse. There are many, many more examples. Deposition is a case that clearly underlines the angle.

From his first two campaigns, Deposition won at his first two starts, and thus showed that he was a superb first-up and second-up performer. He then won first-up in August, 1993 at 6/1 and then again was a first-up winner in February this year - at 7/1! Yes, it's amazing but despite the pattern, horses like Deposition continue to be sent out at value odds.

Another example is Kapchat. She produces her best form in her first two runs back from a spell - and she resumed on February 11 as a Blueprint special and won at 12/1. The betting public, again, hadn't picked up the pattern, simply because they couldn't with the form available to them.

Of course, not all the pattern horses are first-uppers. There are horses that do NOT fire first-up or second-up but who strike form at their third and fourth runs - and each campaign they do the same! Campaign after campaign!

Punters cannot pick up these patterns for a very simple reason: it's all very well to know where and when a horse won going back a few years but what the average punter doesn't know is the exact placement of the wins.

At what stage of a horse's campaign did it win all its races? Did it win first-up, second-up, third-up, seventh up? The punter can well scratch his head. He doesn't know.

Only when the form lines for a horse's total career are laid out in front of him can the punter begin to understand the meaning of the patterns. Only then can he spot the way a horse behaves in campaign after campaign - only then can he see the flow of the chart.

Astute professionals have realised the importance of a horse's full form history for some time. The computer era has made it possible for keen-eyed punters with availability to complete form details to make use of the information.

The renowned American expert Tom Ainslie says: "The past-performance tables contain patterns of good form or bad and, happily for handicappers able to recognise them, signs of improving or declining form."

He is, of course, absolutely right. As our own Statsman says: "The discerning of a horse's winning pattern is an enormous breakthrough. It confirms what I have known for years - that racehorses, good ones that is, are creatures of habit. They do tend to run in the same sort of form pattern year in, year out.

When I looked at all the masses of information we collated for Blueprint I was excited about its implications, and I've been knocking around in the racing game for so long now that it.

By Martin Dowling