When we look at statistics in horseracing, we are really looking at what the 'past' has created - a set of figures based on many years' racing, which are so levelled out as to be considered a realistic guide to what will happen in the future.

In this series of articles, I am looking at all the various aspects of statistics which may help us determining our selections. Last month, I discussed tipsters' polls; in this article I am looking at the finish position of winners at their last start and their last two starts.

Let's examine the latest up-to-date figures I have in these two important areas of form research.


1st 23.8 23.8
2nd 16.6 40.4
3rd 11.9 52.3
4th 9.0 61.3
5th etc 38.7 100.0
1st in at least 1 of 2 previous 29.8 29.8
2nd in at least 1 of 2 previous 29.7 59.5
3rd in at least 1 of 2 previous 13.0 72.5
4th in at least 1 of 2 previous 5.8 78.3
5th or worse in at least 1 of 2 previous 21.7 100.0
Let's look at the recent results (weekend of August 28):
Rosehill winners:
43 Rock A Hula
12x1The Perfume Garden
11x Rouslan
11x5 March Hare
150 Glenpost
128 O'Hara
434 Deposition
003 Direct Sale
The statistics tell us that a horse with a win or 2nd in its last 2 starts is more likely to be a winner than a horse without that form factor. Horses with at least one win and one 2nd at their latest 2 starts account for close to 60 per cent of winners.

In itself, this particular statistic is not the be-all and end-all of things, but it is a guide to the sort of form you should be looking at.

If we look at last-start winners, we see they win around 24 per cent of all races. Simplified this means a laststart winner will win 24 out of every 100 races. If you look at the Rosehill winners' list from August 28, you'll see that 2 of the 8 winners were laststart winners, which ties in with the statistics.

Although last-start 2nds figure around 16.6 per cent of the time as winners next start, the Rosehill winners produced a zero in this area, though the strike rate for last-start 3rds was two wins (25 per cent), more than double the average.

Deposition was the only last-start 4th placegetter to win, and this one win on an 8-race card fits in with the statistical scenario of a 9 per cent strike rate (9 winners per 100 races or 1 winner every 1.3 meetings (8-race cards).

The horses, then, you should be putting more faith in are those with the good formline figures - the wins, the 2nds, the 3rds and the 4ths. Just looking at 2nds and 3rds, and ignoring last-start winners, you can be assured that these horses will win around 28 per cent of races.

Add to these the last-start winners and you have a group of horses which will win, season after season, more than HALF of all races.

Isolated, these figures might not mean a great deal in terms of winnerfinding, but they become crucial when used in conjunction with other statistical data relating to:

(a) Barrier position
(b) Tipsters' polls
(c) Days since last start
(d) TAB number
(e) Position in pre-poll betting.

If you 'play around' with all the stats, and then apply the results to the various runners, you can emerge with ideal selections - runners which appear to have 'history' in their favour. This is how many professional bettors operate; they weigh up the 'positive aspects to each horse's formlines and, applying the strength of history, they make their selections in the knowledge that the percentages are well in their favour.

NEXT MONTH: A look at the importance of recent starts to a horse's chance of winning. How many winners had their last start within the previous 14 days? How many win after a month or more layoff?

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

By Statsman