Serious 2yo racing usually kicks off in late September/ early October every season. It’s when we get the first look at the juveniles who may turn out to be the superstars of the future.

Just check back to October 4 last year (2003) and the first 2yo race at a Sydney Saturday meeting saw the emergence of Dance Hero and Charge Forward, both of whom went on to dominate the Golden Slipper.

 But, with no form to help us, how do we sort out which of the new arrivals to back? It can be hard, especially when many of the newcomers are from minor provincial and country stables and have not been spotted at barrier trials or in trackwork.

The form chart we’ve drawn up will help you sort out an early winner or two, and also help you as the formlines become exposed as the season progresses.

(Give a tick to any question that can be answered. If not move to next factor.)

  1. Is the horse from a top stable? We like a horse to be in the hands of trainers who have a proven record with 2yo winners, especially early in the season, so make sure that if you give a tick that the horse really does come from one of the TOP stables, and not a second-run stable. This is very important.
  2. Is the horse to be ridden by a top jockey? Once again, we are seeking out the cream of the crop riders. We all know who they are. If you are not sure, just glance at the premiership ladder for the jockeys in your State, and there you will find them. Always remember, they must be TOP jockeys, not just below the best.
  3. Is the horse on the first two lines of betting? The betting is very often a tremendously important guide for 2yo racing, and more so in the early months of the season. Trackwork gallopers, stable information, breed­ing, are all taken into account by the market framers and they are not usually too far off the mark. So give a tick if a runner is on the first two lines of the pre-post market. This can be a most positive sign.
  4. If the horse has raced, was it in the first three last start? This factor will not apply to unraced 2yos, so early in the season it will not need to be answered, but as the season progresses it will form an important part of the Form Chart scenario. Horses that run a placing or who won last start can be relied on to do well again, because they will often have an experience edge over their rivals.
  5. Is the horse tipped “on top” by any of the tipsters in the Sportsman or Best Bets? The 2yo races give the tipsters a good chance to be right on the mark, so if they tip a horse as their #1 selection it is worth taking note of. You can use the Sportsman plus the Best Bets, or use just one of them. Remember, a horse must be tipped on top by any tipster to earn a tick.
  6. Was the horse’s last start within the last 21 days? This rule applies only to those horses which have already had race experience. Ignore it if a horse is unraced. This is an important rule and will be more so as the season unfolds. Recency of last start outing is always a key factor as far as form is concerned, because a high proportion of winners will have had their previous start within the last three weeks.
  7. Is the horse drawn between barriers 1 and 6? The barrier draw can be important in 2yo racing. Remember, the fields will mostly comprise inexperi­enced gallopers and the ability to be able to take up a nice position will always be helped by being drawn well. In most races, the inside gates are the best ones to draw.
  8. If unplaced last time, did the horse finish 4 lengths or less from the winner? With this angle we are trying to pick up any youngster who is on the improvement streak, and although beaten last start was not beaten by too much. This factor applies only to those horses which have already raced and does not apply to unraced horses.
  9. Is the horse at 6/4 or under in the pre-post betting? This rule gives us a second look at the betting market, which we regard as of supreme importance. Any runner gets a tick if it is priced at 6/4 or under in the betting market. This is an indicator that it is very strongly fancied and may have an edge on its rivals.
  10. Is the horse trained by Jack Denham, John Hawkes, Lee Freedman or Bruce McLachlan? Any horse from these stables is given a tick. They are very powerful stables where 2yos are concerned and deserve to be given a tick that reflects the dominance of their stables. These stables can be relied on to produce many 2yo winners and placegetters.


By Jon Hudson