I want to mention a tactic I use for research and form analysis which at first you may find odd and that is why I watch racing with the volume down.
Many years ago when I started to really take a serious interest in racing (I wish it was a few years ago but time marches on) somebody set to me on track “ You should do your form study in utter silence and you should also do it with the volume turned off on your tv set so you cannot hear the commentator). Now he never elaborated and I was just a bit wet behind the ears and at the time I did not take it on board. But I have since then over the last few years started to realise what he meant.
This is a fascinating game and you learn all the time in it and years ago when I started out people said stuff to me, which I can now see what the relevance is. One such thing was the volume down and I suppose it is a good clue isn’t it that we have one mouth but two ears. The idea is clearly to listen more than we talk !
Now when I do my form study and due to the business and the busy lives we all lead it is not easy but I do try and turn the phone off and work in silence. Most of my work though is done from video because the formbook will only tell you so much in terms of pounds for lengths etc. So video work is paramount for me to get the full picture. I get a very strong feel from watching video and that helps me formulate my selections.
I did use to listen to the commentaries but after musing on what the very wise man told me I realised that a commentators job is actually to make a race seem exciting. Some of them make a selling race seem like it is the Champion Hurdle and they are primed to entertain the audience. That gives the serious racing form only the perspective of that commentator trying to entertain and quite often you hear many people hang on the commentators every word. Quite often and this goes for other sports too I will hear that commentators word/view being relayed by viewers. If however you turn them off and like the old silent movies watch the racing in complete silence then you almost feel it is deafening!
What will start to happen is you will look purely with your eyes and form a true picture with no other opinions or interference about how a horse is really travelling. We will hear a commentator say ‘look he is travelling well” but is it really? or is just because you think it is. It is not helpful to you to hear their view as it may complicate what you as an individual form reader are seeing.
So that very wise man who may not even be alive now was correct and I now fully understand what he meant.
One such commentator who needs to be avoided from a form reading point of view who may be good for the sport but I can’t stand is Mark Johnston. Have you ever heard anything like it as he puts incredible excitement into everything, bigging it up. We must look at it cold and not get drawn in and possibly misled by a commentator. I am not having a dig at him his job is to big it up but we must be careful.
So try it turn your TV down turn your phone off and watch it describing it as you go ! You will get a new perspective and you may see races in a different light and that is never a bad thing!
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