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Gary Crispe’s Fundamental Form Analysis – Fitness Part 6

The perceived advantage of barrier trials varies between trainers, each trainer having different attitudes towards how best they should be used. In this article Gary Crispe examines trainers views on Barrier Trials.

Gary Crispe’s Fundamental Form Analysis – Fitness Part 6

What are the perceived advantage of barrier trials? This week I will investigate trainers attitudes towards trials.

In my last article I tried to make some conclusions about the benefit of barrier trials for first up horses and debutantes comparing statistics in NSW and Victoria which I believe did make a case that trials do make a difference.

However the perceived advantage of barrier trials varies between trainers, each trainer having different attitudes towards how best they should be used.


I have spoken to many trainers re the benefits of barrier trials and they all seem to agree on one point – if you have a horse that is a first up specialist it should have a very easy trial rather than try to win and make them do their best.

Team Hawkes is one stable that is very good at producing horses first up off trial runs.

If you take the opportunity to study Kaepernick’s trials prior to his first up win at Scone you will see a very good example of a horse who has trialled very well but at the same time not let over exert itself – the ideal barrier trial scenario for a first up win. (Also see comments about first up strike rates for trainers and Team Hawkes later in this series.)

Patience is paramount in preparing horses for a return to the track especially for a first up winning performance. Trainers need to take the horse along gently so as to not lose the advantage of the first up effort and Team Hawkes do this better than most.

Riders are also very important in trials as their role is to educate the younger horses and report back to the trainer an accurate picture of how the horse is progressing. Some track work riders are invaluable for trainers as their feedback is vital.

Some trainers even ride their horses in track work when they are close to resuming just to get a “feel” for how well the horse is travelling.

Remember though in the final wash-up the actual race performance is the only real test of ability for all horses and the race track on race day is the only venue where they must perform.

The Free Trainers look up facility on the Racing and sports website contains a lot of valuable information when it comes to assessing the overall capacity of a horse to perform well first up and the trainer that prepares it.

Generally the information you will have at your fingertips to make this decision is as follows;

• Time horse has spent away from the race track

• Previous first up form of the horse, looking for patterns

• First up strike rate of trainer

• Age of runner

• Distance of race

• Class of race horse is resuming in

• Any change of trainer

• Jockey selected for first up run

• State of the going

• Betting trends on race day

By systematically working through the list, you will soon get a feel for whether a horse has been set for a first up win or expected to race well.

Next week I will now deal briefly with each.

Racing And Sports




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