In last month's issue of this magazine I outlined the 10 basic steps I use when analysing the form as published in  the Wizard.

Using the Wizard's ratings of the various horses' actual performances in past races (not someone's opinion of how they are likely to perform in their next), I can get a real handle on the relative chances in each race and then apply  my own criteria. 

Some of the study that I leave until Saturday morning could be done the day before, but I prefer to wait until I get  the final scratchings and track conditions before delving further. This way I save a lot of time and duplicated work.

My first Saturday job is to obtain the track conditions, then the scratchings. Cross off the latter in their respective Wizard 'header' panels and wherever they appear throughout the actual form, then in my copy of Best Bets which I  se as a race book at the track or the TAB, then in the list of rated runners that I compiled as one of the last of  Friday's steps.

Now, for the first time in this week's study, I have to consider some rules that reflect my opinions. 

I have a hard and fast rule. I delete from further consideration any horse drawn outside barrier 12, no matter where the race is being run or over what distance. At certain starts on certain tracks I become wary outside gate  8. 

For the purpose of reviewing some past results of my method in a future instalment, let's settle on barrier 12.

I never bet when the track is rated as heavy.  When it is rated as slow, I watch at least two races to verify that it  is genuinely so. This also helps me identify any track bias. I rely in the main on what my eyes see and back up that  information by paying attention to the times recorded. If I get the impression that conditions are worse than slow I do not bet.

It's time to return to the Wizard 'header'panels - the ones which list the full fields for each race ahead of the individual form details. I complete all the following actions for one race before going on to the next. I make all my  notations for this area of my study on the 'header' panels, NOT on my written list. 

Write the qualifying figure from your written list of rated horses (those within 3 points of the top rated horse/s)  against the respective horses' names.  From this point, only pay attention to the horses against which you've written their ratings on the header panel. If a top-rated horse is scratched, you may now have to add additional runners which have figures within 3 points of the new top-rater.

I work across the header panel, one horse at a  time, through the pieces of information which relate to the various factors. 

Making allowance for scratchings, I adjust the barriers (BP column) of the horses which have made it onto your ratings list. Put a cross against any drawn outside 12 on your list of revised barrier positions. 

I like a win percentage of 18 or more and I tend not to place much importance on the place percentages, as I'm  looking for winners. 

In the W% column put a cross against any qualifier whose figure is not 18 or higher.

Skip along the lines and look at the CRS column for each of your qualifiers. The Wizard list is made up of number of starts, number of wins, number of placings (excluding wins). Mentally allot 2 points for each win and I point for each placing and add them together. If your mental arithmetic gives you an answer that is less than half the total number of starts at the course, place a cross against its CRS figures.


Horse A's figures read 6-4-25. Multiply the wins (6) by 2 (= 12) and add the 4 placings, making 16. This is more than half of 25, so it qualifies.

Horse B has figures of 4-2-9. That gives it a total of 10 out of 9. Another qualifier.

Horse C fails to qualify when its figures read 2-2-13.

I also eliminate any horse which does not have a ratio of at least one win in every six starts at the track.

The same formula as used for course is used here. Go to the DIST column, multiply the wins by 2 and add the placings. Check that the answer is at least half of the total number of starts at the distance. If it's not, put a cross next to its DIST statistics.

It is wise to note that the distance figures in the Wizard are based on plus or minus 10 per cent, so, in essence, are not correct. For the moment they will suffice though.

As mentioned above, I never bet when the track is rated heavy.

When the track is good or fast, use the same formula as used for course and distance. Check out only your  qualifying horses. From the Good column, multiply the wins by 2 and add the placings. Check that the answer is at least half of the total number of starts in good going.

When the track is dead or slow I combine the figures for these conditions (believing that when we're told the going is dead, it is usually worse).

Hence for a horse whose stats read 3-0-8 in the Dead column and 2-3-10 in the Slow column, I go to the Dead column and multiply the 3 by 2 and add nothing (so my subtotal is 6), then go to the Slow column and multiply the 2 by 2 and add the 3, making that subtotal 7. I add the two subtotals, making 13 and cheek whether this at least equals half the number of starts in the combined conditions.

Such a horse as used in the example would qualify, with 13 being more than half of 18.

Put a cross against the appropriate Track Conditions statistics for any horse which does not meet the requirement.

Finally, one more piece of rigid work.

I find that this is a reasonably reliable guide to a horse's quality. If a horse is not in the top 5 on the average  prizemoney list, I am prepared to say it is probably outclassed, despite having a good rating.

The easiest way to make yourself easily aware of the order of prizemoney rating is to use the letters A, B, C, D and E on the lefthand side of the figures in the Av Prize column as the prizemoney descends.

Any of your qualifiers who are not listed A to E receive a cross.

Now your basic form study is complete and a picture will start to become very clear.

Go to your written list and write the word 'NO' against any previous qualifier which received 2 or more crosses anywhere in your header panel. Two strikes and they're out!

They are also out with just ONE strike if it is against a low win percentage or a barrier draw wider than 12.

Your original list will almost certainly now be greatly diminished and there has been nothing you have had to seriously think about insofar as forming a personal opinion.

But that is about to change!

NEXT MONTH.. A little bit of tidying up to do from am form aspect, some personal decisions to be made and a staking plan to be employed. Then we're off on the Track To Riches.


An example of how a race header might look at this stage of proceedings. Of the runners which qualified on the ratings only OVERTIME does not have two crosses, so it would be the only possible selection, although I feel so strongly about wide barriers that I would eliminate it too.

Click here to read Part 9.
Click here to read Part 10.
Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 3.
Click here to read Part 4.
Click here to read Part 5.
Click here to read Part 6.
Click here to read Part 7.

By Ben Richards