In today’s ever evolving technological environment, the letters “www” are better known as the world wide web and quite rightly so. So, when going through one of my many notepads that include tissues, horses to follow and possible betting strategies, I often see the letters www next to a horses name. It’s not that they're part of this massively growing technological takeover, far from it. The letters www for me stand for winning with weight.
As I specialise in handicaps, weights are up there in terms of importance, along with my wife, beer and taking regular holidays. When looking at a race that a horse may have a chance in, I’ll assess the weights and see if it’s on a suitable mark. There's a lot of value to be found in finding horses that are under-estimated by the market but could win under a lower or similar mark than what they’ve recently had to endure.
So, back to the winning with weight. I've outlined an example below of how I look at a race and how I lay it out in a spreadsheet.
In the image below you'll see that I've listed all the runners in the 2.40 at Fontwell on Sunday. In the table I've shown their previous five runs and then averaged them out. The difference column is whether they're above or below their current official rating. We need to be looking at the difference column and finding horses that are running very close to their current official rating.
The two qualifiers for this race are Kingcora and Itoldyou. Once we've found them, we need to go through their form to see if the horse is likely to be capable off its current mark. Of course, form reading can be subjective but this small angle can help you make a better decision around your selections in handicaps.
Looking closely at Kingcora's form...
I couldn't help but think that he was worth opposing despite being the 10/11 favourite. He'd not displayed any liking in shorter or similar distances, seemed to struggle on the heavy ground in his previous race and was having the same ground underfoot in this race.
Moving on to Itoldyou's form...
there seemed to be a bit more of a case to build for this runner. My only concern was the ground, as it looked like he'd prefer it firmer. This was reflected in the price, and at 10/1 he offered good value.
Itoldyou went on to win by 8 lengths at 8/1 and Kingcora struggled and finally un-seated his jockey.
So, when looking at a handicap race we need to...
- Look for horses that have proven to be competitive off a mark that's close to their average
- Assess whether they've gone close when running on a mark similar to their average
- Check the conditions of the race and see if they're likely to be comfortable running in them
Next week I'm going to show you how I bet my selections and look ahead to Cheltenham!