Here are some handy hints for those who wish to be in handicap hurdles.
1. First and foremost keep stakes to a minimum if betting in handicap hurdles however good a horse's chance seems to be. Appearances can be deceptive in races of this kind.
2. In races over shorter distances up to 2m 2f (2 miles is the in-between distance) the ability to quicken at the end of a hurdle race is an important ability, far more so than in chasing. Any evidence of such speed in a horse's racing record is a great sign and when it is combined with either good or improving form last time out, demonstrates that it may have what it takes to win.
3. There is a significant, statistically favoured weight range in handicap hurdles beginning somewhere just below top weight. This means that horses near the bottom of the weights in these races are not likely to win because they are usually outclassed.
4. When a horse is competing against seasoned animals of roughly equal ability, it will need experience and plenty of it. Few hurdlers, whatever their natural talent, realise their potential without this prerequisite. The best way to establish whether a horse has such experience is to check whether it has already won a handicap hurdle race. Irrespective of how it performed last time out and no matter what the grade of a race, no bet should be laid on a handicap hurdler which has only won, so far, in novice company.
5. A few horses are able to run up a sequence of wins in handicap hurdles since extra weight does not easily stop a horse with a measure of hurdling talent at the top of its form. A winner of a handicap hurdle may survive a quite steep rise in its official rating and still win again in the not-too-distant future, if not immediately.
6. However weight makes a significant difference in hurdle races over the longer distances, particularly when the ground is soft or heavy. Therefore, one’s approach to weight should be modified in races of 2m 6f or more.

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