5 Things We Would Like To See-Aussieraces.com
5 Things We Would Like To
See In Modern Form GuidesYears ago I was travelling through the FlindersRanges in South Australia and stopped by my motherís old home town of Quorn. Like many Australian country towns it was not short of a hotel or two. One of the pubs on the main street had long been closed and had fallen into disrepair, the first floor had collapsed and every window in the building was broken. If those walls could talk what stories they could tell. I ventured into the run down building and walked across crooked and creaking timber floorboards when something caught my eye.
Visible through a hole in the floorboards was an old newspaper. I pulled it out and found the pages to contain a horse racing form guide. The form guide looked pretty similar to the newspaper form guides of today. Only it wasnít from 2014 - it was dated 1938. It would appear that there has been little change or progress made in the area of newspaper horse racing form guides in the intervening years.
Newspaper form guides still include horsesí numbers, names, positions finished at recent starts, weights carried, the track conditions and so on Ė all the information that they included all those years ago. In today's form guides, at the bottom of each horseís form there is also usually a short, basic, summary comment such as 'Has a chance'.
Well if any newspaper moguls out there are reading this (Hello Rupert) Iíd like to offer a few suggestions on how their form guides could be improved and become more relevant and useful to their readers. Iíve highlighted five things that Iíd love to see included in modern day newspaper racing form guides. Of course it would also be great to see these things included in internet form guides -
1. The Class Differential
A horse may be racing in a Group One Handicap today but itís best win to date may have been be in a Saturday Metro Handicap. Thatís a full four classes below. Would it be up to winning the Group One? Most likely not. Last Saturday at Caulfield the Group One Blue Diamond winning filly Earthquake lined up in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes. At her best she was clearly two classes better than the horses she was competing against - none of which had won a Group One or Two race. It was therefore no surprise that she scored a comfortable victory in the event.
Include in the form guide : Class Differential, Earthquake + 2 classes.
2. Weight Carrying Ability
Some horses carry big weights well and other donít. Giving punters an idea of how well a horse carries weight could be as simple as identifying the highest weight that the galloper has won with. For example, in a recent race at MooneeValley one of the favoured runners Sacred Flyer was to carry an impost of 60 kilograms. The highest weight that heíd carried to victory previously was just 57 kgs. Six times heíd carried more than 57 kgs on his back and had been beaten on each occasion. He was again well beaten in the Moonee Valley event.
Include in the form guide : Weight Carrying Ability, Sacred Flyer 57 kgs.
3. Starts Since Last Win
A horseís good effort at itís last start may mask the fact that itís a non winner. A recent example is the stayer Zabeelionaire. He can put in an eye catching finish in his races that says Ďget on me next startí. Zabeelionaire often starts as one of the favoured runners in his races - however, at the time of writing this article he hadnít won a race for 22 starts since his victory in the Group One South Australian Derby in May 2012. Chief racing writer at the Herald Sun Matt Stewart refers to such horses as 'Money munchers'. At his latest outing in a six horse field at Coleraine, Zabeelionaire was beaten again - this time as the long odds on favourite. No disrespect to the horse and his connections - I just donít like my money riding on horses like him that havenít won for so many starts. There is a real difference between how longit's been since a horse's last win versus how many starts itís been since a horse last won. The more relevant is the latter stat as it shows how many times the horse has failed since it last tasted success.
Include in the form guide : Starts Since Last Win, Zabeelionaire 22
4. Racing Style
Horses often repeat the same racing style in each of their races. This racing style or pattern is usually the one that best suits their physical make up and demeanour. Usually horses can be categorised as being either ĎLeaders, on pacers, mid fielders or backmarkersí. This kind of information is well worth knowing because as we know horses with an on pace racing style have much better strike rates than horses with say a backmarker style. The filly Eloping which won at Caulfield on Wednesday has led in 7 of her 11 career starts and that racing style obviously suits her because sheís won five of those races.
Include in the form guide : Racing Style, Eloping - Leader.
5. Best Performed Sibling
Young horses often havenít had enough race starts to give us an indication of where their true abilities lie. This is when knowing about their well performed relatives can come in handy. Itís not full proof, but if a horse was debuting in a maiden event at Werribee and it was a full brother to Black Caviar youíd want to know - right? A less extreme example occurred at Caulfield on Wednesday. A very lightly raced galloper named Royal Standing was lining up in a Benchmark 78 race over a mile and was paying top double figure odds of around $30.00 on the tote. He put in a good run and was beaten by a margin of just a nose at the finish. Whatís so special about the 3 year old? Well heís bred to be good being a half brother to the Group One 2013 WFA Darley Australian Cup winner Super Cool thatís what. Wouldnít it be Ďcoolí to see that kind of information shown in the form guide?
Include in the form guide: Best Performed Sibling Royal Standing - Half brother Super Cool Group One WFA Australian Cup winner.
There are plenty of other things that I'd also like to see included in horse racing form guides - but the above suggestions will give Rupert and his fellow newspaper moguls a starting point from which they could take form guides from the dark ages into the modern age.
Aussieraces.com October 2014