Doing the form??

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***I thought with a lot of new members it would be worth re-hashing this article…

Last year Shane Anderson and his crew had a discussion on guides available to punters that caught my attention, and with a few people asking me for a few pointers when doing the form I thought it would be worth while in doing a little article to try and help punters where possible. There may be a lot of stuff to help some punters, and others will already have the steps I take in their form ritual. I will keep it as simple as possible so all can understand.

(May be worth printing off and grabbing a beer or a coffee)

You have to keep in mind that there are many different people I am trying to help here, the $5 punters through to the much larger, and trying to give some hints that may help. What works for one, may not work for another. Also some people have all day to do their form and others have an hour of a Friday night. So I will go through some steps- The way I do form- And some tips to save time if you are short of it, and you can take on board which ever bits and pieces you think would help you.

You also have to remember that there is no exact science! Anyone telling you they are the best is kidding! It’s like boxing, there is always someone better. Some guys have massive databases with every horse in Australia in it, yet ‘Joe Blow’ who can read a race and the pace perfect still backs more winners.

I don’t bother too much until acceptances are final, and then I will have a first glance at the fields. Also starting points (how far to first turn etc) and rail movements (If rail is out a long way, it can be difficult-sometimes impossible to win at some tracks)

About the most important thing in any race is to work out what the PACE will be like? Also known as SPEEDMAPS. It is extremely important in nearly every race. Those who have a lot of racing knowledge can do these on paper or even in their heads. (If you get the pace wrong, your money can be a donation after 400m)Speed Map

For the people out there wondering how they can learn this, the simplest way to learn is get the formguide you use (Best bets-Superform in courier mail-Winning post-Sportsman) whatever it is usually has where the horse settled and where it was at the turn for each of it’s previous runs. If you do this it will give you a guide as to how many horses are likely to push forward, and how many will settle back. Without trying to complicate it, from there you need to look at BARRIERS because if a few speed horses are drawn bad barriers they will work overtime to get across and inject huge amounts of speed, especially if there are others underneath trying to keep them posted wide, which in turns sets it up for the backmarkers! And on the other hand a race may have no leaders and you can therefore have more confidence on something getting a cheap lead and running home in a quick sectional to pinch the race. They also allow you to find the horses you think will get the gun runs behind the pace with cover in an even run race.(Again Jockeys can have brain explosions and ruin the best of speed maps- It’s not an exact science, but they are a help)

As I said, I don’t have a big flash computerised system for speed maps as I have the knowledge of the horses in my ‘racing brain’. (There are places that sell speed maps etc. But if you have the time you can learn the ropes over time) Which brings me to what I see as the most important part of doing form— REPLAYS.

REPLAYS are crucial, and in my setup are the major emphasis of doing the form. As I have mentioned on the site before, you need to teach your head to register what you are seeing in a race, and to be able to trust your own views on the race. At the end of the day video’s don’t lie. For mine, you can not get enough visual footage. You can watch and learn so much about some horses, such as their pattern and traits that is priceless when assessing a race. (Some are always slow out, others ping the gates etc)

A lot of big punters love using SECTIONAL TIMES when going through races, and yes it can help in a lot of cases but can be time consuming. Where they can be very handy is just too know what pace they went early, and the last 600m of a race, as that can add merit to some horses run if the tempo was misleading on tv. Going through each runner after each race is something in my practice that I don’t often do as I’d rather spend my time on replays. Horses may have been held up or checked and you don’t get the right reference when looking at times on paper, but when you watch a race you get to see every incident, and how each horse performed. —SEEING IS BELIEVEING—

**Sectional times for Sydney and Melbourne racing can be found on the TVN website  for FREE

**Replays for all Sydney and Melbourne racing can be found at Bigpond Racing  for FREE. Simply go to the site and click on race archive, then on the calendar (RH side)  (THIS IS NOT THE CASE ANYMORE I DONT BELIEVE)

**Replays of all races are available by subscribing to Sky Racing at a cost of around $20 a month.

**Or for those who have Austar/Foxtel and a recording box, you can simply record the 30 minute review of the days racing that night on your planner and keep it on record. Can be frustrating though as shows can be thrown out and you tape the wrong schedule!

BLACKBOOK: Once you do your replays, you can start your own little blackbook.

NOTE: Just because you blackbooked it doesn’t mean you have to back it. If you feel the race doesn’t suit (e.g Rain affected track- Drawn wide in race where pace won’t suit) Just let it go around without you. But that is a good way to start. Replays, blackbooks and then you may want to re-do some replays in the lead up to the weekend.

PATIENCE: I also think a big mistake with the average punter out there is wanting to bet on every race! If you are fair dinkum about improving on the punt you need to be patient. Do your form, be confident, but only back the horses you really want to back on the day. If you do your form properly and find your best bets, be patient and base your day around them instead of getting trigger happy and spending your money before your specials are even in the mounting yard!

WET TRACKS- I avoid them like the plague, and I think it’s a winning move. Sure every now and then you may be following a horse and are just waiting for it get a drop of rain, that’s when it’s ok to have a go. Too often punters don’t do form and simply look for a past winner in the wet. Sounds good, but more often then not you are betting in small fields because of scratching’s and the value in having a bet is gone. Again, just my opinion but when it gets wet I feel it’s best to either have a couple your keen on or just let them go around without you. (it’s better in the long run)

**There are a lot of other little things such as gear changes- Rising or dropping in weight and class of race etc. But we might look into that stuff another day as it changes from race to race and horse to horse.. We could be here all day!



*Replays are key.

*Speedmaps allow you to work out the way a race should be run, which is the most important thing in racing. (You don’t have to do your own maps, but if you want to improve your strike rate, spend a bit more time on learning horses racing patterns + know where the pace is drawn (barrier) to see what the pace should be like early.

*Sectionals are a handy guide, but for those on time restrictions I’d lean towards replays.

*Have patience when betting. Don’t bet for the sake of it! And avoid wet tracks where possible.



*Radio- 4Tab- In QLD, NT and SA. 1008am is a must for all punters. Steve Hewlett and Tony Clements host the raceday program from 8am-12pm each day. Punters should listen from 6.30am of a Saturday when Mark Oberhardt starts off and regulars are David Fowler and Nathan Excelby. The market movers that Steve and David go through during the morning can be very important! You can listen to 4TAB through the Tattsbet website

*Another handy guide for the serious punters can be Queensland trial review. This website is run by best bet’s analyst Chris Nelson and is around $49.50 a month. This is a help for me with so many to go over.

*For acceptances and free form- The first place they will go up is RISA.

**Another really good website that helps find winners during the carnivals is the New Zealand racing website. It is free registration. You sign in, can go to horse search and watch all that horses runs. That is very handy when you want to learn about them leading into one of our big races. (Scarlett Lady and others will kick their Spring campaigns off over there, so it will have those race replays.)

If you think a mate may like the guide feel free to send them a link. And you may want to print it off to keep the details of the sites I have mentioned, and remember if you have a bet, do it responsibly.

Form can be far more complicated as many would know, but I hope I have put it in a form that many will understand. I hope this at least helps a few people out who are looking for new ways of doing form and finding winners, and at the very least put a few people onto some sites/guides they may not have known about like the free replays/sectionals etc.

It can take time to learn some of these things but they do help. I hope you take something out of it, and if so feel free to drop me an e-mail if you enjoyed the article and think it will help you in some way.

Friday is “The Punt” day, so I have to go and start getting into it to help find some winners for the loyal members!