The fence by fence analysis explained

Plenty of questions have been put to me over the past few weeks about how I analyse jumps racing, and in particular, what is fence by fence analysis?

Now I should just state, that this is a method I have used for many years in jumps racing to profitable effect, touch wood. I will explain how it can benefit your punting and beating the market next time but without giving away all of the clues, as that would prove disadvantageous and outrageous for me to do so! However, the basics will be included below if you are willing to put the time and effort to review races and execute what needs to happen next.

The fence by fence analysis can show a whole different outcome of any given race rather than the 1,2,3 bare form guide which the masses of people will assume is the correct way a race “should or could” have finished and therefore assume the form should hold up. This includes the odds-compilers who, with all due respect, can be lazy with their own research which is an angle that you can look to exploit and its costs nothing but time and energy.


Ideal world Chase scenario

In an ideal world, every single horse competing in a Steeple Chase race would jump every fence over the race’s trip without making any ground losing errors at the obstacles to confirm who the best horse in that particular race is. In this scenario, it would, of course, be the winner. Now as any punter knows many factors still need to be considered to contribute to this “ideal world” scenario. Ground conditions, track, trip and is the horse race-fit? to name a few.

So let’s assume for this scenario that all 8 horses in the race are fit to run, are at their optimum trip, on a fair flat galloping track and are running on good to soft, soft in places, safe national hunt ground off level weights etc.

Now we have set the scene in the fairest way possible to determine the best horse on the day. Remember, all of the runners including the winner would have made no ground losing errors at their obstacles giving us a fair outcome of the race. We can rightly then determine the best horse in the race and in this case, there would be no arguments that the horse who crossed the line in first position is the rightful winner and the best horse on the day.

No such thing as an ideal world scenario

Now, as we are all fully aware there are no such things as “ideal world scenarios” hence the “ideal” part with horses favouring different extremes with ground conditions and trips etc.

But for the purpose of this post and example, let’s assume that Horse A and Horse B both have their ideal ground conditions and are running off level weights over their optimum trips.


Horse A– Finishes in first place after a fantastic round of jumping culminating in only ONE ground losing error over his obstacle’s running out a winner by 2 1/4 lengths over horse B.

Horse B – Finishes in second place after THREE ground losing errors but jumped well in the home straight to finish 2 1/4 lengths off the winner.

When analysing fence by fence the first thing question we need to ask ourselves is,

Has Horse B lost more than the winning margin at any one fence?

The answer in the example above is yes, at fence four he almost unseated costing him 3l.

The second question is,

How much ground has he lost at his other two fences?

The third question is,

In an ideal world scenario would Horse B have beaten Horse A?


Ever wondered how horses can reverse the form?


Why is the “ideal world scenario” so important and how to profit? 

Horse A and Horse B are both likely to meet again next month in a small field event with only 6 runners and you can bet your bottom dollar that the odds-compilers are going to have Horse A as a favourite at 6/4 with Horse B at 3/1. We’re ultimately looking for anything that the odds compilers or the general masses would have missed in any given race and in the above scenario and in real life 2 1/4l is a much more minuscule winning distance than the prices next time is likely to suggest. So should Horse B make one less mistake on his round, he will go much closer than his 3/1 price tag suggests. However, its much more likely that horse A would ADD to his one error rather than putting in an equal performance next time,  losing that winning margin he holds over Horse B.

The “ideal world” scenario allows you to see the race in an alternative way focusing on the best horse in the race, not the one who has jumped better on that particular day. Horse’s are prone to errors over steeplechases and you need to know which horses can GET AWAY WITH AN ERROR OR TWO AND STILL BEAT THEIR RIVAL.

Real-Life Example for 2018

An excellent real-life example of this happened in 2018 and involved Lalor and Dynamite Dollars. Now, this is no after time as you can read the in-depth post about that race here. In brief, Lalor jumped foot perfectly at Cheltenham to come away from Dynamite Dollars winning by 7l. Lalor shot to the head of the Arkle market for the Cheltenham Festival the following year.

The Pair met next time on soft ground at Sandown, ground in which Lalor had put in his most impressive performance over hurdles at Aintree so there were to be no excuses right? The bookmakers made Lalor 4/6f with Dynamite Dollars a 5/1 chance.

Now what the bookmakers focused on was how impressive Lalor was at Cheltenham, when what they should have focused on was how on earth Dynamite Dollars got to within 7L of Lalor finishing 2nd after making more than 8 mistakes on his way round including at the crucial downhill fence where he made an almost race-ending blunder.

Now, in theory, if Lalor jumped as well as he did at Cheltenham next time, there was no way Dynamite Dollars could get near him, could he?

A horse rarely puts two-foot perfect rounds together in one season and the bookmakers priced up the race as if that was the case, a mistake that I had already noticed and you can to going forward. Dynamite Dollar’s jumping inevitably improved next time they met with Lalor un-able to re-produce that foot perfect jumping which led to the reversing of the form.

Again we ask ourselves,

Did Dynamite Dollars loose 7l at one of his fences?

The answer – No.

How much ground did he loose at his other fences?

The answer – more than 10l. (fence by fence analysis)

In an ideal scenario would he have beaten Lalor?

The Answer – Yes

So yes, Dynamite Dollars would be able to beat Lalor next time out providing his jumping was to improve (many factors to be taken into consideration, track etc into why this can happen).

Fence By Fence Analysis

When reviewing a race and using fence by fence analysis you can find if the winner was value for more than the winning margin suggests by looking at the errors on the way round. You can look to see how the second-placed horse faired against the winner and so on and so forth going as deep as you like. If the front two finish a clear distance in front of the third, use the third’s jumping to determine how well the front two have performed. Has he jumped well throughout the race? Is the front two value for more?

There are plenty of factors to couple with a fence by fence analysis which should not be forgotten.

You can determine whether a horse needs a trip move or is worth another chance.

Ground Losing Errors  

It is extremely important when reviewing a race to ensure that the mistakes you note are that of ground-loosing errors. Plenty of horses can make slight errors or brush through the top of fences without losing ground, so remember you are looking for specific ground losing errors and how you determine that is up to you and will likely prove a trial and error process.


I hope this has explained a little about how form can be determined over fences and how fence by fence analysis can deliver a different view on Jumps racing. This is in a nutshell how I review and determine my bet’s going forward. My time consists of 90% reviewing races with the other 10% placing bet’s. It is staggeringly important to question everything about a race and a market.

And remember if everyone else fancies it, they’re probably wrong!





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