Second up syndrome or myth?

My previous two articles focused on first up horses, so today it makes sense to follow that up with a close look at horses racing second up. The question of course is whether the ‘second up syndrome’ does actually exist, or is it just another punting myth?Profitability by runs from a spell Let’s start by looking at all runners in the first five in the market for the period 2009-2011.
A one per-cent difference in profit on turnover is not significant, but the fact is 2nd uppers were definitely not a bad betting proposition. Every horse and every race should be assessed on its merits, however as a very general rule the alleged 2nd up syndrome means nothing from a punting perspective. But let’s dig deeper and focus solely on second uppers and for the purposes of this exercise I have excluded horses with just one career start, because I wanted to only assess those racing second up from a spell.
Last start finishing position
How important was the horse’s first-up finishing position? It turns out that rather than a first-up win taking a lot out of the horse and possibly indicating a next start bounce, it was actually a positive.
Track condition What about today’s track condition? Is it better to be racing second up on a firm track or one with some give?
Well the answer is it doesn’t really make much difference. Some other factors I looked at where the results didn’t prove to be significant one way or another were the horse’s age and sex, today’s distance and the first up track condition. Trainers In our series on first uppers it was interesting to note just how much punters over-rate first up horses from some of the big stables. Some of the biggest names in the Australian training ranks had poor first-up records in terms of their results for punters, but does this carry through to second uppers as well?
A huge disparity there. Waller clearly gives his horses a couple of runs to reach peak fitness and from listening to his interviews at trackwork and pre-race he has made that strategy well known. Waterhouse runners improve a lot second up (from -19% POT to -2%). But the biggest standout was Peter Moody whose runners go from -12% first-up to +12% second up. Summary The stats show that the alleged second up syndrome is yet another punting myth, so don’t be put off if the horse you fancy has only had one run from a spell.