Handicap racing forms more
than half of all races on the cards of
UK race meets.
For the racing specialist,
Handicaps frequently throw up excellent
betting opportunities that simply CANNOT
The secret with handicap
systems is to concentrate on very recent
form, and by this I mean the latest 2 or
An ideal handicapping
system will allow you to reduce the
field for handicap races and only
include the potential winners in a
profitable danger horse Dutch.
Fitness is one of the
great unpredictable's in handicap
racing. This is often by design.
Trainers and owners
can often attempt to blinker the
handicappers to a horses true potential
by running him "unfit" in several
handicaps to get the weight allocation
as low as possible.
Then by intensive
training on the gallops they can get him
right up to peak fitness while still
carrying a low weight.
At this point they
then enter him in a series of big prize
Guess where the owner
and trainers money will be?
As you can see this
correlates precisely with my earlier
assertion regarding very recent form
study for handicap horses.
A horse will so often
come out of nowhere to suddenly be
placed. Be ready for the next race. He
will have a high percentage chance of
Intensive training on
the gallops is of course perfectly
legal, and may well be spotted by more
vigilant press and naps experts.
Finding horses such as
this can be a great source of long odds
The trainers will
obviously talk about natural
fluctuations in form that happen at
different times of year and this is of
course also true.
With any type of
racing, form will fluctuate, horses
CANNOT be maintained at full fitness
throughout an entire season, usually
they peak for around a month, then
deteriorate and are rested, then they
begin training again.
If you follow key
horses and can spot these cycles then
you can use them and include these
horses in your field.
As already mentioned
what we are looking for to include a
horse in our field is:-
Solid form in very
A similar grade and
class of race.
Not yet been penalised
by the handicappers with massive weight
As outlined in the
fitness section there is a cyclical
pattern to the form of handicap horses.
This is due in part to
the nature of racing and horses
themselves, but also due to the trainers
desire to beat the handicapper.
As already mentioned
with betting on handicaps, the winner
can so often simply materialize out of
nowhere with no recent form and no
This confirms my
theory of cyclical form. Although this
is challenging for the punters there are
signs that point to these horses in
Usually a drop in
weights, or training on the gallops
results in a gradual increase in form
and a climb up the race placings, but
sometimes, these winners simply come out
of nowhere especially in lower grade
Signals - Steamers in Handicaps.
Without being at the
racecourse we can still identify these
horses via The Betting Exchanges and the
shops on race day.
You will see long odds
shortening very rapidly in the 15
minutes pre race.
News is very often
released about fitness and training only
as the horses come into Tattersalls.
The professionals will
then pick up on the news and spot the
potential change in form.
Note this horse in
your log and include it in the field for
the current race.
If it doesn't win this
particular race it will very likely be
placed and certainly one to watch for
its next outing.
Another pre race clue
you may pick up is the booking of a
winning "hot" jockey for a previously
handicapping is something that is
related to a relatively long history of
form, including the worst and the best
of a horses form.
Crucially, we can use
this fact to our advantage.
A horses very recent
form may not reflect its long term
handicap weight and so we can use this
data to exclude a horse from, or include
a horse in, our field.
It can be time
consuming to work through all these
rules, check all the weights and recent
form for large fields where there are so
many runners, so again I recommend
working with smaller fields of less than
10/12 runners to increase efficiency.
In the final part of
this series on handicaps I examine 4
more critical aspects of form, and
finally outline a quick and simple but
extremely effective handicapping system.