Assessing horses making their racecourse debut
It can be difficult for the novice or professional punter in assessing horses that have yet to run with limited information available.
There are, however, a few ways we can induce some useful information which can be put together to get an overall picture of what may be expected from a newcomer.
My personal breakdown is as follows;
1) Assess the breed of the horse from both sides of the family. This would entail checking if the Sire has a good record with horses first time out and this applies to the dam as well.
2) Did the Sire or Dam themselves win first time out? If so what is the win percentage of doing so in relation to those it is competing against? Has the dam got a good record with its progeny on its racecourse debut, what are the general requirement of her progeny to date if available, specifically is there a pattern of specific traits in term of optimum conditions, ie ground and possible track suitability, again what is the win percentage?. All of these factors should be cross referenced with the Sire as well.
3) View the dosage index, to see what is likely to be the ideal distance for the progeny in question. So for example, If the Sire has a median trip index of 12.5f and the dam herself was only a winner at a mile and a half then their offspring may not be able to show its best first time out if the race is over the minimum trip of five furlongs, unless of course, both sets of parent managed to win first time out over such a distance. These are just simple ideas but can go a long way in making better-informed decisions via educational guess work.
4) I would also look at the record of both sets of parents for the specific age in question, as some Sires and dams have a very good record with two year olds but not older or vice versa, the more you question a situation the better the chance you have in working out the answer.
5) I would analyse the betting market throughout the day when it comes to newcomers, and ask the question should its breeding profile warrant the current odds available in relation to the other runners. If it’s shorter in the market than expected why is this so, conversely if a horse has the right breeding profile why is it a bigger price than expected?
6) Does the horse in question have any fancy entries in the future? If so what is the trainer’s record with those running first time out that do hold high profile engagements?
7) What is the trainer’s record with debutants for that age group and by the track is due to take part on?