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The Winning Edge - Janice Crawford
To use Winning Edge you first need to have a copy of Neale Yardley’s Price Predictor program and as this is one of Australia’s most popular form analysis tools there are many hundreds in use. For information on Neale Yardley’s program go to our links page and CIS ratings. You can also go to http://www.equinedge.com.au for information.

In standard use Price Predictor performs as well as the user will allow it. It is, as is the case with all computer programs, a much better product when in the hands of a skilled user. What Janice Crawford has attempted to do is to allow the less skilled user the benefit of her experience to steer the user in the direction which to date has yielded up to 31% winners instead of around 20% winners. Which is the normal strike rate of most rating programs before adjustment.

She does this by reducing the number of rated runners per race to around three or four. From this point she explains her method of determining distance suitability, the qualifying run and so on. In particular, the right races to bet on and in what conditions.

The aim of the workbook is to allow every user to arrive at the same result and if they do they would be pleased with the final figures. Janice has compared three sources of base ratings, The Wizard, CIS (Neale Yardley's service) and Formline from the Rating Bureau. Each method achieved better than 40% profit on turnover with similar results backing one or two horses per race.

The drawback, if any, is the lack of action with just on three bets per week on average but this does suit many "weekend warriors". There is no indication of how successful the method would be if operated every day but no doubt this is food for thought for a second book perhaps.

The surprising thing about the Winning Edge is just how simple it is as it comes down to just three or four basic factors.

To get started you will need a computer program (costs vary check with Neale) and the book, which sells for $169.95. If you’re a small punter the costs may be all too much but for the $50 to $100 punter the effort should be worthwhile if the results achieved to date can be maintained.

Handicapping for 21C - Roger Biggs
Roger Biggs book, Handicapping for 21C is an enigma. I say this because there is a wealth of information in the book but it is poorly explained in parts. The second part which explains quite clearly, the formulas Biggs uses to analyse form, tells us that it is almost impossible to achieve a result without extensive database work. So much work in fact that it might be better to let Biggs Speed Handicapping Services business do it all for you.

Is the book therefore a book in its own right, or is it a lengthy sell for SHS? Fortunately, there is enough interesting information in part one, the statistical analysis, to justify the price of the book, which is $45, postage paid, and available now from the Winform Bookshop.

Biggs is at pains to explain his analysis and from what we know about racing data he has got it right where many others have got it wrong. A lot of people analyse the data of winners only or the first four favourites only. Clearly this is wrong. Those horses may have common form pointers but what about the horses with similar form pointers that finished unplaced?

Biggs first determines how many starters have each factor and then compares that to the number of wins. This gives a variation, and I’ll give but one example from the book.

There is always an argument about horses being first up from a spell. Barry Blakemore’s Fitness books highlighted the fact that the majority of winners in sprint races were first up or second up and that is so. Of more interest is the fact that the majority of horses engaged in these short sprints are also first up. Biggs figures confirm this.

The effect is that horses with three or more runs from a spell are much more likely to win (in relation to the number of runners) than either first or second up horses.

In Roger Biggs chapter on fitness he "blasts" Blakemore’s research without naming him as such but by many oblique references. For example he refers to a sample horse as Barry’s Bonanza when comparing fitness tables. He seems to quote directly from Blakemore’s book when comparing horse’s fitness over the last seven days.

To be fair, Biggs has the advantage of using modern computers to analyse fitness compared to Barry Blakemore’s ten years of painstaking research. In Bigg’s book there are three fitness tables contained in nine pages altogether. Barry Blakemore explained his fitness theories in a series of whole books and I for one would have preferred a more intense look than what Biggs has offered.

Nevertheless, Bigg’s analysis appeals as being more "correct" but one thing I have learnt is that each horse is an individual and you would do well to consider a horse’s past performances over similar fitness periods between runs rather than any arbitrary table.

In Malcolm Knowles excellent series of books, there are plenty of clear explanations of the many tables and graphs presented. Roger Biggs has the statistics we need and the tables are well presented but a more detailed explanation along with his own personal "rationale" would be preferred to the minimum of supporting notes presented. Nevertheless, I do recommend the average punter take a look at the many interesting figures supplied.

We now have "Handicapping For 21c" in the Winform Bookshop, ready to order online.

Our copy was supplied by the Horseman’s Bookshop (Sydney and Melbourne).

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