Gary Crispe’s Fundamental Form Analysis – The Major Factors

Thoroughbred form analysis, secret to picking winners on the track, extensive research into major horse racing factors.

Gary Crispe’s Fundamental Form Analysis – The Major Factors

I am often asked about what are the most important factors that need to be considered in thoroughbred pre-race form analysis.

While many of you will have developed your own methods of “doing the form” I have long held the view that the major factors of paramount importance are;

1. Fitness

2. Form

3. Class

4. Distance

5. Relative weight/ratings

Of course this does not mean other factors are not important such as rider, trainer, state of track, consistency etc but the five factors above represent the core of my pre-race analysis.

Every day literally thousands of dollars are lost on backing horses that are unfit. They might be progressing well in their preparation but they are not in race-winning condition.

Supporting this type of horse is not a prerogative of just the novice punter. Handicappers with many years of experience make this mistake more than they care to admit.

This problem has beset me personally throughout the period I have handicapped horses. I think it stems from the fear of missing a winner – more particularly missing a good horse which will improve sharply early in a preparation and win at relatively long odds.

None of us ever completely master the art of handicapping simply because in any horse race we have to make judgements involving so many variables – the late Don Scott used to tell me it was a “long apprenticeship!” I think he was right.

While I have been involved in handicapping races for a long period of time, I have continued to develop my analytical skills to be more demanding on these horses and am more and more reluctant to include them as qualifiers for the purpose of fining down a race to the winning chances.

I know of one successful professional that insists a horse must have finished within 5 lengths of the winner in any of its runs this campaign before it could become a potential bet. Unless of course it has a prior pattern from previous preparations that it can improve dramatically.

This professional tells me he has saved a significant amount of his betting capital from being fritted away on unworthy selections.

Other professionals I talk to regularly are even stricter and require a run with 3 lengths of the winner before the horse can be considered as a betting proposition and for a number 1 selection it must have finished within 1 length of the winner.

These guys don’t waste hard earned money on horses that statistically have a poor chance of success.

Of course this gets us back to one of our major factors – Fitness.

It is a factor of considerable complexity and one that I will do my best to explain in the coming weeks.

In the process of rating and doing the form each week my staff and I would assess the fitness of several thousand horses as we work through each meeting both in Australia and overseas.

This is where we consider the merit of the performance under review, the nature of its most recent starts, the expertise and training techniques of the trainer, trackwork and barrier trials.

And of course different jurisdictions will present different dilemmas for assessing fitness. For example horses in the UK often resume racing first up at staying trips and present in close to top form and fitness levels.

This would never happen in Australia in times gone by but now with the ever increasing influx of European horses, Australian trainers are now using similar practices. It is better to save a wasted run and present a horse at its preferable winning distance range.

In my next issue on this series I will start looking at the various aspects of fitness and how to apply it to your own pre-race form analysis to pick winners using the vast resources of the FREE online Racing and Sports data base that contains a treasure trove of useful information for all punters.

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