Follow The Winners
This is an idea that can really pay dividends with some exceptional winners throughout the season and one that you can start using anytime throughout the year.
What you are looking for are horses that have won recently or in the current season proving that they have at least shown some sort of form and have a better chance than some of winning again.
There are two ways that you can use this method and the first is the simplest of the two.
Firstly you need to check the days race cards looking at just handicap races for 3YO+ and 4YO+ and look for any horse that has won a race in it’s last four runs but not last time out. Ideally you want a horse that won either it’s fourth last race or it’s third last race.
Next you want to check that the horse is forecast at 10/1 or bigger in the betting forecast and if it is then you have a possible bet. From here, a little bit of form reading is required, however with the amount of data easily available on the internet these days with sites such as www.sportinglife.com and www.racingpost.co.uk it is not a difficult task at all.
As we are betting in a handicap race, we want to make sure that the horses earlier win was in a handicap, or that it has previously won a handicap race so it should already have a winning handicap mark or official rating. A horse that just won a seller or a maiden race for example cannot be guaranteed to run well in a handicap as the weights and terms of each race type can differ quite a lot.
Without making it too difficult to find a bet I would suggest only that the horse has decent enough form on the predicted going of today’s race and that the horse is not running too much further or shorter in distance than its previous win or than it has won at in the past. So, say a furlong or two maximum difference on the flat and maybe 4 furlongs over the jumps would be acceptable. If you can see that the horse has course and or distance winning form already then this will be an extra positive, just check the going is ok for the horse.
If the horse has won on Good ground before, I would suggest that Good to Firm or even Good to Soft would be ok, a win on Good to Firm would be ok if running now on Firm or Good and a previous win on Soft would be ok if now running on Good to Soft or even Heavy but it may be best to see previous form on Heavy going to be sure as this can be difficult conditions for many horses who have even won on Soft going before. This decision will be up to you but the going is one of the most important form factors and is one of the main reasons why many fancied horses don’t run as expected.
If you feel that the going and the distance are ok then one final check is required before placing your bet and that is that the horse is not too high in the weights from its previous win to the mark that it is now running on. Personally I think that if the horse is 4lb’s higher than its last win or less, then this is ideal however, in some races you will have the only horse that has won a race in its last four or five races and on these occasions I am happy to back the horse even if it is 6 or 7lb’s higher than it’s last win as this winning form compared to it’s rivals can be worth 2 or 3lb’s in my mind anyway.
The Racing Post and Sporting Life web sites show previous winning official ratings and today’s official rating, (the handicap mark), as OR or BHA.
When looking at races over the jumps, you will find horses are given much more weight for a win so you will find that many runners are still 10lb’s or more higher than their last win. This is too much for me so I will always try and bet them when only up to 7lb’s higher and is why most bets for me using this method are on the flat.
Having said that my last bet was three days before writing this article on 24th July and was a winner at 20/1 (BSP 40.0). The horse was Ironical running at Stratford and was forecast at 16/1, the outsider of 7. His last win was off a handicap mark of 95 and was today running off the same handicap mark. The previous win three runs ago was over two miles and four furlongs and this race was over two miles, six and a half furlongs. The previous week I also backed Classic Punch at 14/1 (just 1lb higher than a win three runs ago and already won at the distance and on the going).
I have to admit I was not too confident about Ironical, although carrying bottom weight and on the same mark as its last handicap win, maybe I should have been, however I loved the profile of Classic Punch as only three other runners had recent winning form and one of them was running after a very long lay off, plus the horse was also being ridden by top Jockey Paul Hanagan and was joint top rated on Racing Post ratings. In a nine runner field and at the price I got (20.0 on Betfair), this was to me the perfect each way bet.
This is a simple method which only requires looking at the racing on the day to find any qualifiers and while I suggest you don’t back everything blind even if you may have a qualifier, let your instinct guide you little as to the profile of a horse and of the race, I do recomend that you get at least 10/1 on your selections to cover any losing bets and also that you watch how many runners there are in a race too. I don’t think you want to be looking at races with more than fourteen runners, ideally no more than twelve.
Wait for the ones with a real chance, each way in smallish fields at a decent price and I am sure you will back quite a few like those above throughout the year.
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4.30 Catterick yesterday. Almaty Express Won 22/1. (BSP 30.0)
Won 4 races ago, now with a handicap mark of 46 having won before off 52. Despite most of his wins being on the all weather, this horse has won twice on turf before and the ground was Good to Firm for both it’s win and the same yesterday. The horse was a course and distance winner and was the only runner in the race of just twelve runners to have won in it’s last six races. Again, an ideal each way betting opportunity.
The second way of betting on these horses requires a little record keeping but can be very worthwhile in the long run. For this method I suggest waiting until after May for the flat turf season, after November for the jump turf season and after December for the flat all weather season for best results.
Firstly, check out all of the previous days results, looking for all hanicap races for 3YO+ or 4YO+ and write down all the horses that won by under one length. Also write down the distance of the race, the going and the course, with its main characteristics if you can, (left handed, tight track, stiff uphill finish etc.) Now you either neeed to look in the index of the days runners every day to see if any of your horses are running or use one of the ‘Horse Tracker’ services that will email you when one of your noted horses is running such as the My Stable function on www.sportinglife.com
You will want to keep a written record for each horse as well to track it’s runs, either in a note pad or in a document on your computer.
When you have a horse that is running next time out after winning, make a note of the fact but don’t back them this time as the odds are likely to be short enough but when it runs for a second time after winning, check all the conditions of the race and if the distance and going are the same as the previous win and the course is deemed suitable, then back the horse with half a unit stake.
If the horse loses then double the stake each time for the horses next four runs, making sure that all the conditions suit each time. If the horse wins any of these four races then start again by ignoring it’s next run and backing it in the next four again where conditions suit.
This method ensures that at least you are backing a horse who has recently won a race and knows how to win and there are a lot of these horses who win at double figure prices, more than once or twice in a season.
By backing the ones who only won by a small distance, should ensure that the horse is a fighter who can grind out a result in a tightish finish and that also won’t be given too much extra weight for winning in it’s next run(s). (If you wish to ignore this part of the method you can, or make up your own idea about the winning distances).
Following the horse for only four races before stopping puts a limit on the amount of money you could lose if the horse fails to repeat its success but each time the horse loses it is likely that the odds on it next time out will increase as it gets further away from its last success and it races against more supposedly in form animals, who will be put in at the shorter prices.
An excellent example of a horse that keeps on winning is Lord Of The Dance running this season (2013). He first won on March 25th, then on his fourth race after this win won again at 20/1. Four races after this win he won again at 16/1 and amazingly then won again just two races later at 25/1!
Quite how he was allowed to go off at these prices, especially for the third and fourth wins goodness knows. He was obviously given more weight each time but this is a horse that was improving, in form and unlike many other horses, loved winning. Horses like Lord Of The Dance are well worth noting as are many more using this Follow The Winners method.