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Is form study worth it?

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  • #12232
    • Total Posts 100

    Although I swear by looking at the form, more and more I wonder if it’s really worth it? The Epsom 7.30 being a good example of a race where imagination was a better guide.

    Anyone do good at Goodwood today? Race number two sunk my placepot. <!– s:roll: –>:roll:<!– s:roll: –>

    • Total Posts 4293

    7.30 Epsom

    Fillies, so beware.

    Winner was 5/1.

    1 lb higher than when winning a h’cap last September.

    Ran well penultimate start.

    • Total Posts 472

    Yes it is. In Group races. Particularly G1s. Otherwise….hmmm.

    Irish Stamp
    • Total Posts 3177

    Look for an edge and you’ll win, be disciplined and study hard and you’ll be fine.

    dave jay
    • Total Posts 3386

    Form study is a bit of a navel gazing exercise IMO, I don’t bother with it personally.

    • Total Posts 419

    +1 Dave Jay

    Common sense dictates that you cannot outsmart the public if you are handicapping with the same information and methods as the public

    If the majority of the public is basing their selection methods on form study and the public overall is a loser then … … … .. … … {fill in the gap here} :shock:

    • Total Posts 1387

    98% of the time, no, but then it all becomes so clear when some goat gets up by a nose at Hamilton eh?

    Group races only for the wise, kill joy, pragmatists – every day for the rest! :D

    • Total Posts 1708

    What are the other options?

    Listen to Claude Duval’s selections in your local bookies?

    Look for names?

    I see The Happy Hammer is running today and as I support West Ham I will do that one.

    winner 14/1)

    I note Candy Ride is running the jockey (Ryan Moore) has an aunt called Candy so thats that race done and dusted.

    (winner 15/8)

    As I went to the doctors last month I will bet on Whats Up Doc at Epsom

    winner 7/2


    No there is no getting away from it but studying form overall is the only option.

    • Total Posts 17716

    I’d always understood


    to be a shortened version of in


    ation, and who needs that before making a decision???

    "The task is not to see what has never been seen before, but to think
    what has never been thought before about what you see everyday."
    – Erwin Schrodinger

    • Total Posts 6226

    Of course form study is worth it. You just have to make sure you are analysing the form in a different way from the majority of punters.


    • Total Posts 1046

    Form study is essential for long term success in my book. A lucky streak can be hit based on names etc but only short term. But form study could simply come in the form of keeping an eye on racing everyday of the year.

    The question of how much study is more interesting. For example, ask two punters if they study form and both may say Yes. Ask each how long that study took them and one might say 30 mins per race, the other might say 5 mins per race. Does it follow that the punter studying longer will win? No it does not. It might mean they have spent 6 times longer in reaching the same conclusion.

    In my mind, some races require lots of study, some require little study and others I dont waste my time with. I tend to make many selections based on a base knowledge of previous racing. Today I know Driven is running in the 4.00 at Brighton. Without form study I know he won over course and distance and was fancied when beaten last time out at Newmarket a long time ago. I did not need to research that.

    Ultimately, everyone is different. Some peoples form study methods would drive others to drink! Some people’s viewpoints would have others running for cover. It just depends how an individual sees things…and how quickly!

    • Total Posts 419

    Each to their own I guess, however how can the form book help you in a 0-50 handicap on the All Weather when most of the runners have more duck eggs against their name than there are Chins in the Hong Kong Telephone directory?

    “Avoid the race” I hear you say! “Check out the odds of the majority of the winners” I reply. There is more value in these races than meets the eye, especially exactas, why?

    Frankly in certain circumstances the form book IMHO should be avoided as there are no hidden clues in the past performances of any of the contenders. In the 0-50 example above usually the crowd selects the horse with the least negatives (based on the form book) which usually points everyone toward the favourite and we all know their record in these events.

    I subscribe to the horses for courses theory. I also believe that punters would do well in adapting their handicapping method based on the race in question.

    The form book is extremely useful in graded races, for anything below Class 2 (possibly 3) I tend to stray away from the form book the lower the grade and race type and lean toward other methods not used by the general racing public.

    • Total Posts 29194

    Is form study worth it?

    Most punters believe they "study form" but in reality they do not. Just looking at the Racing Post and picking out one fact / stat, is NOT studying form (imo of course :wink: ).

    Also, many punters believe studying form is finding the horse with the best chance of winning. This is also (imo) NOT studying form. A punter who always backs the horse he believes has the best chance of winning, had just as well back the favourite every time.

    I need to know about every horse running in the race, to know if each individual horse is VALUE to win.

    If there are a couple of front runners amongst the outsiders, they could influence the chance of a front running favourite (and vise versa). Also; the combined chance of all the outsiders may add up, sometimes making the difference between a favourite being value or not value. Therefore, I need to look at all horses in a race.

    But what does "studying form" mean? If it means just who beat what and by how far. Then it means relatively little.
    Form study is worth it, but a punter needs to study all aspects of form thoroughly. The fact horse A may be 2lbs better off with horse B for a short-head defeat, from a race two weeks ago means little. If trainer form, pace, going, distance, etc, are not also taken in to account. In my opinion "form study" means these and many more things, indeed, anything that could influence a race should be studied.

    Often punters question whether it is worth studying form when outsiders win races. A 33/1 shot may not have an obvious chance of winning, but it only needs a better than 3% chance (in your or my opinion) of winning to be a good bet. Likewise, a 5/4 shot is a poor bet if (you or I) believe it has a less than 44% chance; even though it stands a much better chance of winning than the 33/1 shot.

    The number of outsiders that run over a long period of time; makes it 100% certain that now and again a 100/1 shot goes in. Hence Mon Mome.

    Sorry, quoting the table again, realise many or most know it on here. It’s just, the question is impossible to answer without it.

    Value Is Everything
    non vintage
    • Total Posts 1268

    Personally, I love studying form.

    I enjoy following horse-racing as a self-confessed amateur. Long-term I don’t make much of a profit, if any, and the amount of form study I put in looks ridiculous given my usual stake level, but I find it therapeutic and challenging!

    I think there is value in studying up to a point, but form is not the be-all-and-end-all of the story – there is a lot of almost invisible subtext, and it is just as important to think about the lines between the (form)lines. A few well-chosen ‘why’ questions can be enlightening…

    • Total Posts 13

    I’m only a novice when it comes to gambling, the Grand National being the only other race i have put money on until recently, and i have become completely miffed with form study. I do try to study form and the only time it has worked out right is when i backed Mon Mome in the National, otherwise form that seems so obvious to me just doesn’t work out.

    For example, i did a toteswinger on this one race at Hamilton, i think. I banked one horse called Tangerine Trees because he seemed the obvious one to win, having won off 9-7 last time out and being dropped down to 9-5 this time out, and another horse called Opitcal Illusion who having won off 9-5 earlier in the year had be dropped down to 8-9. Well i didn’t expect Optical Illusion to beat Tangrine Trees but i did think he had a good chance at placing. He didn’t place, he didn’t even come 4th, he came 7th of 7.

    Now i stick to Maidens, Sellers and Claimers because it’s anybodies race and the prices are better, and if all i can do is guess i might as well guess in races where the prices are bigger.

    Oh it never seemed this hard when i started gambling.

    • Total Posts 1046

    Hi Bonnie Filly,

    Remember the weight a horse carries in a race not only reflects past form, but also the class of race.

    Without looking back and checking, I suspect the reason tangerine trees and optical illusion were carrying less weight than earlier in the season is that each was running in a higher class of race against better class horses. Give it time and you will learn these things and only then should you go back to backing in handicaps.


    • Total Posts 13

    Hi Doug, thank you for the helpful advice.

    I hope you don’t mind me asking, but just to make sure i am clear about this, do the higher numbers denote higher class or lower class?

    I know i look really thick now, but in for a penny in for a pound. :lol:

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