How do I pick a likely outsider?

Generally speaking, it is fair to say that a good horse does not become a bad horse overnight and vice versa. Many horses that are sent off at long prices have demonstrated that they are disappointing, regressive, temperamentally unsound or just plain poor and, consequently, have little or no realistic chance of winning. However, not all outsiders are the complete ‘no-hopers’ that their odds suggest, so the trick is to look beyond recent performances – which, with few exceptions, form the basis of the betting market – and consider, instead, the entire career form of each horse.

Of course, form that is more than, say, a season old needs to be treated with a degree of caution, but viewing the ‘bigger picture’ may reveal a disparity in class, course, distance, going or weight, or even something as simple as a change of headgear, which has a bearing on the outcome of the race under consideration. Most horse races are won by horses attempting little or nothing more than they have achieved in the past, but a horse that has recently won a similar race, under similar conditions, is likely to start at significantly shorter odds than one that did so some time ago. This is particularly true if the latter has raced under unfavourable conditions, for whatever reason, on recent starts. However, this does not mean the horse cannot win again if conditions are, once again, in its favour.