Handicapping Information for International Races
If they don't know by now, US horse players need to come to the realization that horse racing in Australia and Europe is among some of the best horse racing in the world. While a great majority of the racing takes place on turf, these countries have time and again produced some of the best race horses in the world.
As a racing fan, you may ask why the U.S doesn't see more Australian imports coming in for major races in the U.S. There are two viable reasons for this phenomenon. First, the Southern Hemisphere's breeding season falls later in the year as compared with US breeding season, which falls earlier in the year. This creates substantial issues related to race conditions and the ages of Australian horses. The second reason is easier to understand. Given the vast popularity of horse racing in Australia, the purses are typically higher than in the US, which makes traveling financially less rewarding for Australian connections.
As far as European imports are concerned, US handicappers are much more familiar with many of that continent's major race venues, jockeys and trainers. That comes from the large number of European connections that are willing to ship horses in for major events. It should also be noted that European horses with bleeding problems will be sent to the US where the use of Lasix will help prolong their careers.
Based on the quality of racing in both these areas, let's take a look at some key handicapping factors that should be considered when betting on races from overseas.
One the most challenging aspects of handicapping overseas races for US handicappers is trying to determine a horse's true class, speed and running style. In the US, handicappers have access to Equibase figures, Beyer speed figures and Ragozin sheets. In Europe, horses are assigned a "timeform" rating for each race and overall. The higher the timeform number, the better the horse is considered to be. While it's near impossible to translate timeform numbers into Beyer or Rag numbers, the numbers do provide some insight to a horse's true class level. As prescribed by timeform administrators, the following scale could be used to a determine a horse's competence.
140 and above - Elite Group 1 (Spectacular Bid, Frankel, Secretariat)
130-139 - Above average Group 1 (Cigar, Silver Charm, American Pharaoh))
125-129 - Average Group 1
115-124 - Average Group 2 (
110-114 - Average Group 3
100-109 - Allowance Level
under 100 - Claimers
Much like in the US, racing venues throughout each country have a pecking order. Horses running at the most prestigious venues are generally considered to be better than horses running at minor venues. Here is a list of the top racing venues in Europe and Australia. Note: This list is a sampling and does not include all top venues.
Australia - Caulfield, Flemington, Randwick, Rosehill
England - Newmarket, Royal Ascot, Goodwood, York
France - Longchamp, Chantilly, Saint-Cloud
Ireland - The Curragh, Leopardstown
In the US, horses are bred for speed and shorter distances. In Europe and Australia, horses are bred for stamina. A typical race in the US generally favors horses that are on the lead or pressing the pace. European and Australian horses are taught to rate and use a good turn-of-foot to run through the stretch. In simple terms, US horses run fast early and slow late, while in other countries, they run slow early and fast late.
In order for handicappers to be successful playing horses in areas like Europe and Australia, a certain amount of focus has to be put on learning about the breeding industry in those areas. At times, US sires pop up in the bloodlines of horses overseas. US handicappers usually have some knowledge about the strength and weaknesses of those horses. Without the same level of knowledge about breeding in foreign countries, US handicappers are at a bit of a disadvantage.
In the US, all races are run counterclockwise around an oval on dirt, synthetic surfaces or turf as long as conditions permit. In Europe and Australia, 95% of the races are run on turf. They run clockwise, counter-clockwise, on straightaways, uphill and downhill. Also, races are run on turf no matter what the course conditions might be, except in extreme situations.
Before wagering on international races, here are a few racing tips to help you pick a few winners. For more information about gambling at Australian race tracks look for a local form guide and get a hot tip on the next jump.
1. Purchase a Form Guide (Racing Form) and compare time form numbers to identify contenders.
2. Don't wager on maiden races without some knowledge of breeding.
3. On races where you are contemplating making a wager, look for horses that perform well on that course and under the applicable course conditions.
4. Read trouble comments in the Form Guide
5. Have fun April 2016