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Fast Five with form analyst Nic Ashman

19 January 2023 Written by VRC

Nic Ashman is a renowned form analyst with a wealth of knowledge in the racing industry, His speed and sectional data insights are becoming an increasingly important part of his form analysis.

Ahead of Resimax Group Rapid Racing Race Day we ask Nic to talk through some of the key elements when it comes to speed, data and form.

What is a sectional?

A sectional is 200m. It is a unit of measurement used in racing to help determine the tempo of a race. It is especially useful post-race when analysing the tempo of the race and a horses finishing burst.

What would be considered a fast-run race and how does that affect the front runners and backmarkers?

The greatest myth in racing is that fast-run races suit backmarkers and slowly run races suit frontrunners. Fast-run races suit fit, high-pressure horses that can run fast overall time. Slow-run races suit horses with short, sharp sprints. The ones that can hit a higher top speed than their rivals.

How does a punter use sectional data to form an opinion on a race?

Time coupled with late splits relative to class expectation will tell you how a horse is progressing through the grades.

In your opinion, who are/were the best jockeys at rating a horse in front and knowing when to make the run at the right time to win the race?

The best frontrunning jockey I’ve seen is either Jim Cassidy or Kevin Moses, closely followed by Tim Clark.

How did you get into racing?

I was very close to my grandfather, Harry. He taught me the basics as a child and then by 12 I was doing my own form.

How did you end up in the analysis side of it?

I went looking for an edge in the late 2000s and found that sectional times can help produce a rating for a horse’s performance and that rating will help you ascertain whether a horse is over the odds.

Please explain your rating system and the use of technology to do so.

The overall time a horse runs coupled with bonuses for fast late splits will provide each horse with a rating for each performance. Then you look at all the different ratings leading into a race and decipher which horses are most likely to run to their peak and which ones won’t. This will allow you to nominate a projected rating for each horse in the upcoming race. The horses that rate on top should be favourites. You quickly see which ones are valued in the current marketplace.

What do you think of straight races? What makes them special?

Straight races can be quite the spectacle. They often are devoid of pace as jockeys aren’t rushing to get to the fence in a bid to save ground around the bend. Often we see the horse with the best acceleration win straight races.

Any tips for Rapid Racing Race Day, and why those?

Back frontrunners unless there’s a headwind up the straight.

Favorite racing moment?

Fields Of Omagh winning the 2006 Cox Plate. Some mates and I backed him at $51 in the August, flew down to watch the race and watched him come from last to win in a photo finish. Epic scenes.

Favourite horse?

Super Impose. He had 74 starts for 20 wins, 24 seconds and 8 thirds. He ran second as a 4YO in the 1989 Melbourne Cup when I was a young kid then won back-to-back Doncasters and Epsoms in the early 90s before winning the Cox Plate as an 8YO. I got to watch his exhilarating racing style for years and he was the horse that got me hooked on racing.

If you're interested in wanting to improve your form analysis, one easy way is to watch our Track Report ahead of each race day. Our track manager Liam O'Keefe talks about the Flemington Straight in the below video ahead of Resimax Group Rapid Racing Race Day.

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