In part 3 of his series on analysing form, PPM editor Brian Blackwell assesses the impact of making choices on various aspects of form, and following your “subconscious” mind.

Last month I talked about asking questions of yourself when doing the form. Taking things a little bit further, let’s now look at how choices can be made, rightly and wrongly.

I’m a great believer in the “instinctive” aspect of horseracing selection; that is, when you get that funny feeling inside your head that you’ve struck gold!

It can take time sometimes. You sift through the form of a race several times and suddenly one particular aspect of a horse’s form will ring the bells. You may recall an in-race incident from many moons ago, you may see a clue in the form of a good effort behind a top horse. Any little factor can push that remote button in your subconscious and tell you to dig deeper.

This happened with me when doing the form for a Kilmore meeting on September 25. It was a run of the mill Class 1 race for fillies and mares and, at first glance, I could see nothing that stood out.

I was almost going to give the race a miss and move on when I noticed that the #1 runner, Trick Of Light, a Mick Kent entry, was a mare from England having her first start in Australia.

She hadn’t raced since making her debut over 2000m in a Maiden at the Nottingham UK track on August 17 last year. She won that race by a long neck. ?Ha-ha, I thought, it’s time to take a longer look at Trick Of Light.

I went to the UK Racing Post website to check on a video replay of her win at Nottingham. It was revealing. She got away well, took up a handy position, hit the front in the straight and fought on bravely when challenged strongly over the final 200m.

It was hard not to be impressed. I switched back then to the Kilmore race and it was over 1212m, a far cry from a debut 2000m win in England. But that’s when the old subconscious comes into play again. “Look for the tactic,” it told me.

What was Mick Kent up to? He had a middle-distance mare but he’s putting her over 1212m first-up. Obviously, I reason, he’s prepared her to come into the race nice and fresh and sharp enough to sprint well in what was a weak race.

It was enough for me to decide that Trick Of Light was a potential KO horse. Most punters wouldn’t give her much thought because they’d note the long break between runs, the fact that she was imported and had only a 2000m win to her name and here she was in a sprint.

This is what I told members of the PPD Club who subscribe to our seven days a week Internet service:

Although first-up for more than a year, the imported (1) Trick Of Light 8/1 may be good enough to dispose of her rivals in Race 7, a Class 1 F&M hdcp 1212m at Kilmore on Monday.

The 5yo mare, now with Mick Kent, has started only once, back on Aug 17 last year. She won over 2000m in Maiden class at Nottingham. Away well, she raced handily in 4th place until the 300m mark when she finally got into the clear. She then had a torrid neck and neck battle with Firesong and showed a lot of courage to prevail by a neck. Mick Kent has obviously trained her with the idea of getting her to show some zip over the sprint trip. She could go well.

What happened? Trick Of Light raced well back to the turn, came through the middle and dived through an inside gap in the final 50m to get up and score a narrow win. The TAB return was $6.90.

This, then, is an instance when I got it right. There are many, naturally, that I get wrong. Like the case of Field Hunter in the Ansett Classic 2000m at Mornington on September 30.

I have always liked this horse and I was impressed by his close-up 6th to Zipping in the Naturalism 2000m. Now here he was at Mornington, carrying top weight, in a field that I assessed was two to three lengths inferior to the Naturalism field.

The way I envisaged the race, Field Hunter would be around 5th or 6th to the 400m or so and would then sweep into the race and dominate from the 200m mark. I told PPD Club members the following:

Field Hunter 3/1 is coming along nicely and I’m confident he has the measure of the field in Race 6, the 2000m Ansett Classic at Mornington on Saturday.

Field Hunter, one of the most consistent gallopers around (eight wins, nine placings from 26 starts), turned in his usual excellent performance to finish 2.4 lens 6th to the current Caulfield Cup fav Zipping in the 2000m Naturalism Stks at Caulfield last Sat. He won his previous start at Flem 1700m on Sep 9, downing Gothic Marian (who was very unlucky at Moonee Valley on Friday night). Even with 58.5kg, Field Hunter only needs luck in the running to score.

Field Hunter didn’t win. Didn’t even run a place. He was 5th, the victim, in my opinion, of a “too pretty” ride. What he needed was a good hurry-up from the 600m mark. Instead he was tucked away and by the time a move was made the leaders had sprinted clear.

So, this race serves as a reminder that no matter how much you like a horse, and paint a scenario in your mind, you will be knocked for six plenty of times.

NEXT MONTH: The form analysis model you can use to pick winners at midweek and city meetings.

Click here to read Part 4.
Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 1.

By Brian Blackwell