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Sunday, 29 July 2018

3.50 Lingfield Outsider Tip, Monday, July 30

The vagaries of the British summer have even affected the Polytrack at Lingfield, where the going is currently standard to slow, but that shouldn’t unduly hinder Dorian Gray, who looks poised for a bold bid in the Exclusive Spread Betting Handicap (3.50) at the Surrey course during horse racing today. The son of Coral-Eclipse winner So You Think could find no extra in the closing stages when only third of six, beaten 7¼ lengths, behind Comrade In Arms at Wolverhampton four weeks ago, but that was in 0-80 company, so he should appreciate easing back in grade off a 1lb lower mark.

He should enjoy the return to Polytrack, too, having just been touched off, off a 1lb lower mark, in a 0-60 contest over course and distance on his last visit to Lingfield in April. The winner that day, Sauciehall Street, reopposes on 2lb worse terms for a neck and, in any case, has hardly covered himself in glory by beating just one of 18 rivals in two subsequent efforts on turf.

Dorian Gray is entitled to improve a little for his Wolverhampton run – his first for 79 days – and, even if he doesn’t, he looks handicapped well enough to take what is, at best, a modest contest by the scruff of the neck. Lingfield isn’t, generally, a course where horses who like to force the pace excel, but with no obvious front runner in opposition Dorian Gray could be gifted a soft lead and, if so, should be a tough nut to crack.

Selection: Lingfield 3.50 Dorian Gray to win 14/1

Monday, 16 July 2018

How to Pick a Winner

This is the $64,000 question in the sport of horse racing. Unsurprisingly, there’s no easy answer, but the most practical method of assessing horses’ chances of winning races is by reading the form book. Available online, or in the “Racing Post” – Britain’s only daily racing newspaper – the form book contains all you need to know about the public performance of a racehorse, its pedigree, the length of time since it last ran and much more besides. Unfortunately, even with all this information at your fingertips, you’re not guaranteed to pick a winner, but at least you’ll be in a position to make an informed decision.

Reading and assessing horse racing form requires some time and effort, but there are one or two shortcuts you can take to make the process less arduous. Tom Segal, a.k.a. Pricewise in the Racing Post, apparently takes no more than 20 minutes to assess major handicaps, such as the Wokingham Stakes and the Stewards’ Cup, so try to take a leaf out of his book.

Notwithstanding Tom Segal, the fact remains that roughly two-thirds of all horse races in Britain are won by one of the first three in the betting, so it would appear to make sense to focus on that segment of the market. Horses cannot be maintained at peak fitness indefinitely; they are trained gradually to peak fitness, where they remain for a short period, before being let down again. National Hunt horses are typically more robust than their Flat counterparts in this respect but, as a rule of thumb, avoid horses that have been off the course for 42 days – or, in other words, six weeks – or more. What you’re looking for, ideally, is a horse that is seeking to achieve nothing, or only a little, more than it has achieved in the past.

Of course, the form book is just one way of comparing the performance of one racehorse with another. Others include speed ratings – that is, numerical figures, usually in Imperial pounds, which indicate the ability of a horse – such as those published. However, once you discover a method that suits you, stick with it; losers are an inevitable part of betting on horse racing, but are easier to cope with if you know your underlying philosophy is sound.