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Re-capturing old form

How oftenhave you heard it said? "If it was able to recapture its old form it would beat this field by 10 lengths" and so that sounds reasonable and logical so you stick your $50 on the things and guess what? They don't magically recapture their old form and again run 6th or 7th ater lookng a chance at the turn.

A horse trainer friend of mine reckons a lot of owners are just as guilty of this mistake and race their horses for one year more than they should hoping they recover that form - and they never do.

Here are some examples:

Master O'Reilly won the caulfield Cup in 2007 and then raced on for four more years (29 more starts) without tasting success

Lachlan River won the Queensland Derby in 2005 and then raced on for three more years (24 more starts after its last win) unsuccessfully

Mr Baritone won the Stradboke Handicap in 2008 and was then sent around and around for two more years(33 more starts) without even gong close to winning - (last start was 11h of 16 in a very ordinary 1400m field at Flemington at $17)

and you can bet that on every occassion they ran that people were punting them in the belief that "if only they could recapture that old form" they'd bolt in.

Well here's a flash - they rarely do recapture that old form for all sorts of reasons - but punters keep falling in.

Truisms that are true:

—Current form beats old form hands down.

—Fit average horses will almost always beat unfit champions.

If owners want to keep sending their horses around and around at $1500+ amonth in training fees well that's fine - but why would you want to send your punting money after them in the vain  hope that "they'll come good again"?

They rarely do. In fact I would reckon that if a horse hasn't won or placed in the previous six months, there are probably better bets in the race. ( I have no stats on that but I would believe that to be the case)