Saturday, 23 April 2011

When 'Second Best' Wins

Horse racing. At times it can seem illogical. Ever feel like tearing up the form book? It's a perfect substitute for blotting paper. Screwed up it makes a ball to thrown in a bin.

Trainers can be a canny, crafty bunch. Being cunning doesn't get you a ban from the BHA. There is room to maneuver in this racing game. Trainers know the rules - start to finish. Unless something is blatant and willfully wrong it can be manipulated. All is fair in love and horses.

One such area can be seen with a trainer's second or third strings.

The interesting point being that quite often these 'other' runners are far from second best.

It is hardly surprising if Richard Hannon has two juveniles in a race. It's half expected. No surprise to see Richard Hughes on the favourite, especially if it has proven form. However, it is worth noting the betting of second and third string horses because they are often overlooked. The more fancied runner is the focus of our attention. Often, second string is second best. But not always. At times 'second best' has the aim of being first. It's a cunning plan to increase the odds of talented horses, often debutantes. The key pointer to these favourites in outsiders clothing is to watch the betting. If a second or third string horse is substantially backed - take note. If it seems illogical pay even greater attention. This money rarely originates from the everyday punter: it comes from stables or connections who go into the race knowing full well the reasoning behind such a plan.

Here are the top five pointers

1) Always note Richard Hannon, John Gosden, Richard Fahey & David Evans (in fact all trainers with second/third string juveniles).

2) If any are substantially backed take note and try to anticipate these gambles when they start because they often continue to be well supported

3) Don't be worried by seemingly lesser jockey bookings - they are either part of the plan or the 'first string' is withdrawn late on and surprise surprise the top jockey switches rides.

4) If the gamble seems illogical - it's not

5) The money comes from either the stable or connections and it is wise to follow suit. Not all of these juveniles will win but many do.