Watching form patterns
Horses will develop form patterns throughout their racing career which will keep repeating themselves year after year. They will have their favourite tracks where they win most of their races. At other tracks they run below their best form. It is the same with types of going and the distance.
Most punters are educated enough to take these factors into account, certainly the betting market reflects this.
A good example of this are horses which have a habit of winning first-up, second-up, or third-up after a spell. Many horses who win first-up, do not win second up because the effort of winning took its toll; this is sometimes described as second-up syndrome.
Those horses with a good record at their second start of their campaign will normally finish unplaced first time out which is usually at a distance which it has never won over, but second time out with the benefit of the run and at a distance with is a furlong or two longer then the horse produces a winning effort.
Many horses will win at the same time of the year, and on the odd occasion, the same race which they had won in the past. The weather and track conditions have a lot to do with because those true winter gallopers will have their training aimed at when the going is at its wettest.
Having said that, there is no guarantee of a dry track during summer. This is true of New Zealand and the United Kingdom which have similar climates.
In New Zealand, some horses are considered “change of season horses,” that is they seem to win their races in the Autumn or in the Spring. They do not handle the heavy winter going or the fast summer going. In New Zealand, such horses do have the option of racing at Ruakaka during the winter as this provides the country’s best winter going.
Trainers will often target the same races every year with the same horses so it is not uncommon to see them competing in the same race every year. These kinds of horses are regular visitors to the main meetings whether it be Flemington Melbourne Cup meeting in Australia, the New Zealand Cup meeting in Christchurch in New Zealand, or The Cheltenham festival in the UK.
Keep an eye out for change of season horses; these are horses who perform best in the Spring and Autumn. They find the mid-summer tracks too hard and the winter tracks too wet, but perform best in going in between the two extremes.