Ideas from the formguides ... winning ideas! That's what this series is all about.

The premise is that, apart from the tips and the formlines, our formguides (a la Sportsman, Winning Post, Best Bets, etc.) contain lots more nuggets of information that can give a pep-up to a punter's betting activities.

As I've stated before, and others as well, finding an angle that few others know about is one way to give yourself an edge against the betting crowd. It's a way of helping you land a big-priced winner when everyone about you has missed it.

Last issue, I talked about the ideas you might latch onto in Sportsman.

This time, I've taken a look at Winning Post. This formguide has been the success story of the past 10 years. Its circulation now is well in excess of 20,000.

WP is full of information that keen punters can use to their advantage. And the two 'key' areas are the trackwork gallops reports, under the heading Our Trackmen Report, and an exciting recent innovation, the Weekend Sire Index.

This index has been crying out for publication for years, yet WP is the first publication to get to grips with it. The index is an ABC listing of all the sires of runners at the weekend meetings.

Maybe you like to follow horses sired by, say, Cold Carat. Normally, you'd face the onerous task of wading through the formguides to try to find such runners. WP's index does all the work for you.

For example, Cold Carat had 10 runners on the weekend of August 4 and 5. Imagine how long it would have taken you to track them all down race by race?!

There's an angle in all this: Why not follow the top 10 sires? Make a note of them, then refer to the index and check off all their runners at the Saturday and Sunday meetings. From there, you can weed out the no-hopers and leave yourself with some prime 'top sires' bets.

WP's Weekend Sire Index takes up two pages of the formguide but this is space well used. It's information that can HELP rank-and-file punters.

It's always going to be difficult to find a flow of winners from trackwork reports. In Sydney, there are only a handful of professional clockers remaining, and the task of clocking each and every horse is way beyond their means, especially given that the raceclubs offer little or no support financially.

Melbourne seems to be a little different and Winning Post is certainly making use of the information that's available. Keen punters should be able to grab some good winners from their trackwork reports.

The clockers are Gavan Spain (son of the late Des Spain) at Flemington, George Venn at Caulfield, Les O'Brien at Mornington and Brian Watson at Cranbourne. These are major racing centres.

Unlike Sportsman, which lists only the distance and times, WPs reports go much further, though obviously they don't record hundreds of gallops as Sportsman does.

A typical WP trackwork report goes like this: "Russell Cameron is targeting APACHE KING towards the big Cups this spring and the Adelaide Cup winner looks to have done a treat during his break. He had little trouble with his work on Thursday morning. He completed 1000m in 1:11s, last 400m in 25.5s, on the Viscoride."

Here's another example: "CHAKOTAY pulled up in good shape after his Maiden win at Moe. He ran 600m in evens on Thursday and is ready to run well again."

The 'angle' with these informative trackwork reports is to keep a list of them in a notebook, or on your computer, and then check them out whenever they run. It won't be any use backing all of them automatically. What you'll need to do is to analyse the form to see if they are worth a buck or two of your money.

At least you'll know that their trackwork has been up to the mark. Tie that in with good form, and you have a solid bet.

Another useful feature of the WP guide is its 'snippets' of information that accompany each raceday formguide. These come under various headings, like 'Can Win Again', 'Goes Well Fresh', 'Freshened' and 'Down In Weight'.

A horse is highlighted under each heading. Once again, you can use these tips as another piece of weaponry in your armoury. Don't rush in and back them all, but DO consider them carefully.

Click here to read Part 1.

By Jon Hudson