Understanding harness racing form can be a tricky task - all those mile rates and class changes.

My point is, don't concern yourself too much with the intricacies but concentrate on some plain but powerful form factors.

I've rounded them off to a neat 10. Use these, with the aid of the special Form Analysis Chart on page 41, and I assure you winners will flow your way. (Make as many copies of the Form Analysis Chart as you like.)

Now, let's go through the form factors to see how each fits into the picture.

  1. IN TOP THREE IN BETTING: This one is as useful for harness racing as it is for the dogs and the gallops.

    The statistics tell us quite clearly that a large percentage of winners come from those horses on the first three lines of betting (remember, it's lines of betting, so you may end up with more than three horses to get the tick).
  2. MUST HAVE 30 PER CENT+ WIN STRIKE: We all like a consistent horse and this factor enables us to give a tick in the Form Chart to those runners who have proven they can achieve at least three wins every 10 starts. The higher the win strike and the higher the number of starts the better the horse is as far as consistency is concerned.

    Remember that it's easier to get a high strike rate in a few races.
  3. IS THE DRIVER RELIABLE: just as with jockeys at the gallops, a good and reliable driver is essential in harness racing. A majority of drivers possess all the skills, but there are some who are so good they are in champion class. I suggest you restrict your ticks for this factor to only the very, very best drivers, as decided by yourself or the statistics.
  4. AT LEAST ONE WIN IN LAST THREE STARTS: Good form means a lot. In fact, good form in the right class is 90 per cent of the battle most times.

    Ensuring that a horse has at least one win in its last three starts is a positive approach that will give that little "edge" in the score if it's needed.
  5. LAST THREE FINISHES ADD TO EIGHT OR LESS: This is another way we try to pin down the form runners. An example is: Say a runner has finished 2-3-5 at its last three starts.

    This adds to 10, so it doesn't get a tick. If it had run, say, 2-3-3 at its last three runs then it gets a tick because the placings add up to eight. Count a zero as nine.
  6. LAST START WITHIN 10 DAYS: Pacers do a lot of racing, and it usually works out that winners will come from those that raced within the last 10 days. This is an easy factor to check out and it's well worthwhile.

    The further off a horse's last run the more there will be a fitness doubt.
  7. DRAWN IN NUMBER ONE TO NUMBER FOUR: Gate position at all tracks is most important. My findings show that, overall, it's a positive factor most times to have a horse starting from the positions of number one through to number four. From these ""gates" they get every chance to take up a nice position in the running.

    All other positions have some risks attached.
  8. BETTER DRAW THAN LAST START: Check only the horses now in positions number one through to number four, and look to see where they were drawn last start.

    If they were drawn in positions number five outwards then they get a tick. If not, no tick. This factor looks at taking some advantage of a horse that was drawn not-so-good last start but better today.
  9. WINNER AT THE TRACK: Speaks for itself. A horse with winning form at the track where it is to currently race is a horse with an advantage.

    A horse coming in for the first time to the track, or a horse that has failed there before, brings something of a disadvantage with it.
  10. SUITED BY DISTANCE: We look here for sound form at the distance either winning form or good placed form, or a close-up un-placed run.

Satisfy yourself the horse is a good risk at the trip and if you think so then give it a tick.

By Rick Roberts