The five things to watch for when reviewing the form

horse racing tips july 18, race replays
horse racing tips july 18, race replays

Many casual punters spend ten times as long looking at the form pre-race compared to after the race. Before the race they’re quite prepared to dig into the form on most of the runners to work out their bets. But after the event they spend little time on the all-important race replays.

Once the race has been run, most punters spend between 0 and 60 seconds taking a look at the form after the fact and reviewing the race replays. This strong bias towards spending time on the pre-race analysis doesn’t make a lot of sense when you have a good think about it. Yes, you can’t get any bets on after the fact. But you can still learn a lot by asking yourself any number of questions.

Race replays: Ask yourself
  • Did the winner come out of what now looks like a very strong form race?
  • Was a fancied runner disappointing enough to cast doubts on the future chances of horses it beat last start?
  • Did the placegetters ‘frank the form’ from a race where other runners are appearing later today?
  • Did I back a horse with a poor winning strike rate?
  • What was the pace of the race like? Did it suit the on-pace horses or the backmarkers? Is there any noticeable track bias today?
  • Were there any horses that should go straight into your blackbook or sack book?
  • Which jockeys are in form and riding well?
  • Which trainers have their stable firing right now?
  • Did I bet on the race just because I didn’t want to miss a potential winner?

Rather than the 10:1 (or higher) ratio of pre-race to post-race analysis employed by most punters, try to get into the habit of a 1:1 ratio instead.

If you spend 10 minutes doing the form and analysing the winning chances before the race, spend the same amount of time after the race looking at which horses ran well and why.

I think you’d be surprised how much you’ll learn. It’s also a great opportunity to (win or lose) wipe the slate clean and move on to the next meeting. Many professionals will watch race replays from each horse’s perspective and focus on just one runner each time. So a 16 horse field means they watch the replay 16 times to make specific notes on each runner.

The moral of the story is that detailed post-race analysis is a key factor in achieving our goal of long term punting profits.

Tips for watching race replays

So what should you look for when going over the race replays?

Many people blackbook horses that are storming home at the end of the race. But blindly following these types of horses at their next start tends to be unprofitable, for multiple reasons.

Firstly, if everyone blackbooks the same style of horse, they are likely to be at fairly short odds when they next run. Secondly, this strong finish may just be their natural racing pattern. Some horses have a tendency to drop out early and are saved for one late sprint that hopefully is good enough to finish over the top. So a run that might appear quite impressive at first glance is actually just a standard performance.

Thirdly, it’s also possible that the late finishing burst was assisted by a fast early pace that set up the race for the swoopers.Many of these seemingly impressive fast-finishers always find one or two better on the day, yet spend their entire career in everyone’s blackbook.

Finally, backmarkers need a lot to go right in terms of pace and luck in running. So they’re generally far worse betting propositions than on-pace types, who tend to make their own luck.

So if ‘barnstormers’ are unlikely to provide you with many profits, what else should you look for when doing your video analysis?

1. Horses that suffer interference

Video analysis of interference can be done in conjunction with stewards reports. Use these reports to identify the horses that were adversely affected, then use the video to see just how much influence this had on their finishing position. A check might cost a horse a length, or it might ruin any winning chance the horse had. It is very difficult for a horse to regain momentum if they are knocked off balance. Some studies have shown that horses that are unable to get a clear run in the straight conserve a lot of energy that can be of benefit when they next run. One caveat though is that a number of unlucky horses tend to be overbet next start. So many punters have identified these runners.

2. On-pace runners who show some fight

Leaders who show fight and a will to win are typically a far better future punting proposition than the barnstormers mentioned earlier. Look for a horse that is attacked for the lead throughout the race and forced to set a cracking pace. But then, it fights on strongly while the other on-pacers capitulate. That’s a far more impressive effort than a horse that sits back off a strong pace and then finishes well.

3. Horses that will be much fitter for the run

You might focus on horses that are early in their preparation or have had a substantial break between runs. Just like human athletes, horses can only perform at their best when they’re close to peak fitness.

4. Horses that were ridden upside down

It is very rare that a horse can be ridden against its normal pattern and perform well. For example, if you have an on-pace type that is forced to get back from a wide barrier, it is very unlikely to run well. It won’t have the ability to produce fast closing sectionals like backmarkers can. The opposite of this is when a backmarker races right up on the speed. This seldom works and by watching videos and understanding a horse’s traditional racing pattern you can highlight ‘forgive’ runs.

5. Horses that defy track bias

At the end of a day where there is a noted bias towards either swoopers or on-pace runners it’s worth noting horses who defied the day’s dominant racing pattern.

So there’s five suggestions to look at when doing the replays. But it’s also worth emphasising that a horse shouldn’t just be blackbooked for its next run. But rather, for its next suitable run.

It’s like so many other aspects of betting. If you’re prepared to put in the time, there’s no doubt that analysis of race replays can improve your punting success.

Pro-punter Cameron O’Brien knows how to find value winners at big prices. He’s done it time and time again for his Key Bets members. They get all of Cameron’s tips from right across Australia, including stake, recommended price and runner comments.