I believe that one of the best recent advances in horse racing is the increase in all-weather tracks that can be used year-round.
Not only does it provide more racing, but it also provides a consistent surface that can be analysed on all year round.
But, there is always the same question:
“Can I use all-weather form on turf racing?”
If you head over to Google and search for information on this, you’re not in for much luck. The range of answers goes from yes to sometimes to no.
So what is the answer?
Or is it just something that nobody really knows.
Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that there is an answer. And that answer is… Sometimes.
But don’t worry, because I’m going to share with you exactly how you can determine whether it’s possible to use a horses all-weather form on turf (or vice-versa) right now.
It’s not rocket science, and once you get used to it then it will only take you a few minutes to quickly go through all your strongest runners in the race.
The first thing to do is go to the Sporting Life or Racing Post website. I’m going to sue the Sporting Life in this example, but it doesn’t matter which you use.
I am using the 17:50 at Wolverhampton as an example. This is an all-weather race so I will be looking for turf form that can be used on the all-weather. However the process is exactlythe same in reverse.
Next you want to click on the horses name that you’re interested in and open up their history of betting.
You will see something similar to this:
The first thing to do is make a quick note of how many times the horse has raced on all-weather in comparison to turf.
You don’t need to count them or make an exact figure. It’s just a rough idea. We can see here that Lucky Mark has predominantly raced on all-weather surfaces, so we wouldn’t need to use the turf form as there is enough history on all-weather to make a judgement.
However, we shall continue through to see if any of the turf form would be useable.
When looking for comparisons you only want to consider turf goings that are…
Soft going is very different to an all-weather surface and very unlikely to have any kind of relevance to all-weather racing.
This gives us five races.
The first thing to note is that the distances have all similar to the distance being raced today. Any that are significantly different should be ignored.
Now that we’ve got these we want to look at the horses combined win figures over all its races.
There have been three wins, not one of them was on turf. There has been one second place out of a total of six second places which is also not a strong indicator that the performance on turf is similar to all-weather.
There is a third place on turf but it was in a seven runner race and so wouldn’t be a paying place position.
Next we want to work out the average lengths behind the winner on turf. We do this by adding together all the lengths behind winner and dividing by the number of races.
12.5 + 16 + 4.75 + 0.50 + 9.50 = 43.25 divided by 5 = 8.65
The average lengths behind winner on the turf is 8.65.
If we do the same for all-weather races then the average lengths behind winner is 4.24. Over 50% better!
We have now discovered that this runner:
- Has not had similar wins on the turf as all-weather
- Has not had similar places on the turf as all-weather
- Has not got a similar average length behind the winner on the turf as all-weather
With this knowledge we would be uncomfortable using the turf form to assess an all-weather race for this horse.
Not every horse will have as much form as this runner, but you can use the same process to determine whether they the form is likely to be transferable if you have as little as two races on each surface.
Of course, the more races on each surface then the more accurate your assessment will be, but this is a quick and effective way of making a judgement very quickly for runners with only a couple of races on each surface.
But, what happens if the horse hasn’t run on one of the surfaces at all?
The process here is very simple… do not bet on this horse.
If a runner hasn’t previously raced on a surface then you don’t know how they’re going to react to it. You would sit out and wait until at least one or two runs on the surface have taken place.
This runner may be your strongest selection or the favourite in the market. However you will be rewarded in the long-term by skipping these races.