The so-called bounce factor is one of the biggest problems that many people face when they handicap a horse race. What it means when it is said that a horse bounced is that the horse had a race in which it raced hard and had a very high speed figure and then, in its next race, ran a lousy race. After extending itself and expending a lot of energy in a difficult race, a horse often needs a race or two to recover. It is very hard to know, however, when a horse will bounce or when it will continue its winning ways.
No one wants to bet against a horse that just won a race with a high speed figure. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense, at first glance. The winner of most horse races is one of the top four horses who had a high speed figure in its last race. Therefore, if you are using speed figures as one of the factors you consider when you handicap a horse race, you should also look for the bounce factor and try to avoid betting on a horse who is a likely candidate to bounce.
Here are a few things to look for to help you avoid losing on a bouncer…
First of all, if you are using extended past performances, the easiest thing to do is to look back through all the runner’s races and see if it ever bounced before. If you see that the horse has fully extended itself before and came right back with a good race, then it may not bounce this time around. On the other hand, if it fully extended itself and then bounced in the past, it may well do so again if it is coming out of a tough race where it fought hard for the win.
Even if you can’t see that it ever bounced before, you may have access to the horse’s highest speed figure on the surface that it is running on in today’s race. Many past performances do supply them. If you see that the horse earned a 101 in its last race and that is also the highest speed figure in its life, beware. It should have had adequate rest and it is also nice to see a good solid workout since that race. One or more works indicate the trainer thinks the horse is fit.
The trainer may work the horse to see how it performs and then enter it in a race. If he or she thought the horse was ready to compete after that workout, then it may not be ready to bounce.
A final way to check for the bounce factor is by looking at the horse. If you can watch it in the paddock and post parade and it displays the attitude of a horse that is ready to run, if it is on its, toes and on the muscle, then it may be okay. On the other hand, if it looks too skinny, perhaps even what they call, “tucked up,” then you may want to find another candidate in the race or just pass the entirely.