When a punter is going to have a bet and goes into the betting shop on a Saturday afternoon he has two choices in finding a selection. He could just look at the horse's names or jockey and make a selection or simply read the form pinned on the bookmaker's wall.
The evidence is limited to just three lines of form covering the horse's latest [three] runs. If the going on this day is soft and the form for the horse's last three runs was firm going this literature becomes useless! If a particular horse has run twenty times you are only reviewing 12% of its form. In essence, such information is only of use if the form shown relates to similar going, distance, race type and even idiosyncrasies of a given course.
There is - only from looking at sprint racing - three different types of course: undulating-and-galloping like Newmarket; flat-and-galloping like Haydock; undulating-and-sharp like Chester.
I wonder how many punters even know which courses fall into each of those three categories? If you are covering all distances you would need to take in left or right-handed course and then there would also be another group: flat and sharp courses.
So once again if the form shown is for one category will the horse run to the same form on a different category?
All interesting factors when making - what should be - an informed decision.
One of the biggest blunders with racing papers is that they put the all-weather courses into one category. Firstly, there are two different materials used, while Southwell's surface equates to a horse liking good to soft or even soft going. However, Lingfield equates to a horse liking good to firm or firm going. This may seems that I'm simply knocking the racing paper. If people like to read about behind the scene stories then it's good. I personally would prefer the paper to be a form book for the day's racing. Perhaps this maybe boring to some people but all I work with is facts.
The biggest problem for most people is they don't have the time to study form to any degree. The bookies wouldn't like to pin a complete form book for every race on their walls and I think people have been brainwashed into thinking when they read the limited form available [pinned to the wall] they are making an informed selection when it is obvious they are still guessing to a large extent. Reading the form pinned to the wall is better than betting just by following the name of the horse or following your favourite jockey but if that's all the time you can give to looking at the form my suggestion is simply bet for fun and expect to lose in the long run. Sadly for many punters that's exactly what the bookies want!
I will not knock anybody who thinks it is fun to lose money as long as they are not losing more than they can afford. For many gamblers it is all about the buzz you get when you find a big priced winner and you think your the greatest. But for those who want to make their betting pay you need to evaluate every scrap of information.