Speed Ratings In Horse Racing

Looking At Races Differently Can Make A Profit

When reading articles about analyzing horse racing you will always find the writers saying that you ‘mustn’t follow the crowd’ or to ‘do things differently’ or something similar. They then go on to outline a method that is not particularly different to anything else that you have ever read!

What they are saying is correct. You do want to do things differently. It is by doing things differently that you will find your edge and by finding your edge you will also find your profit.

Over the course of this article I want to plant some seeds for ways of analyzing a race that you may have never of thought of before. It is these ideas that will ultimately help you to look at a horse race differently to everyone else betting on it and find your long-term profit.

All races have different conditions and they also have different types of runners. This is what determines how you should analyse them. There is less point focusing on speed in a race that is 3 miles long, you would be better off focusing on pace and stamina (for example).

I would like to focus on sprint races as it is something I have been teaching quite a lot recently and with increasing all-weather racing I feel that it is going to be something that you can use in the future.

With sprint races we can focus on speed as our analysis. This in itself is not different but there are many ways to look at a horse from a speed perspective. Some of these can include:

Speed class based on speed figures of winners in previous races

Projected speed

Speed ratings

Collateral speed form

Speed improvements

These are just a few possibilities and I can guarantee that out of the list above, speed ratings will be the only one that has a lot of people using it and even with this you can look at the actual speed ratings in different ways to other people.

However the perspective I would like to focus on here is Speed Improvements. It stands to reason that a runner that is improving in speed has every chance of improving its speed in the race it is about to run.

All you now need to do is simply to find out if the horse has the required speed to compete in the race to make your final selections, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let me go back a bit and investigate how I do this.

First of all I look at each runners last 8 speed figures. I am looking for horses who have a general trend of improvement. This does not mean that I expect them to increase in every single race but that the overall trend of the last 8 races is upwards.

You are now already ahead of most punters because you are focusing on runners who have shown a recent improvement rather than just narrowing your search down to those with the highest figure. A horse that has shown recent improvement would have every reason to continue this trend.

Speed figures, although normally adjusted for these factors, can change for a runner depending on the distance and going. This makes it better for us just to consider the last 8 races that match a similar distance and going condition as the race we are analyzing.

Already in the last 2 paragraphs you have learned how you can identify runners that are improving over the same conditions as the race you are analyzing in a matter of minutes. This on its own is incredibly powerful and can result in profits on its own. However we want to target our selections even more accurately.

We have a shortlist of runners that are improving in speed over the distance and going of todays race. It makes sense to now look at whether or not these runners are fast enough to win the race. While they may be improving it is no use if they do not have the raw speed to win.

Assessing the raw speed of a horse can be very difficult and, contrary to popular belief, cannot be done by just looking for the runner with the highest speed figure. Just using the highest speed figure or the average speed figures of all runners does not work because no rating is 100% accurate. To get around this we use something called confidence intervals. A confidence interval will allow you to assess, with a 90% confidence, the likelihood of a speed rating being between a high and low figure. The actual figure recorded will sit in the middle of these two numbers.

We calculate this figure by:

1)      Calculate the average of the last 8 speed figures

2)      Calculate the standard deviation for these figures

3)      Calculate the standard error for these figures using the result of step 2

4)      Multiply the standard error from step 3 by 1.397

5)      For the lower confidence level subtract the result of step 4 to each of your eight speed figures

6)      For the upper confidence level add the result of step 4 to each of your eight speed figures

For each of your speed ratings from the last eight races you will now have 3 figures. The lower confidence level, the speed rating and the upper confidence level.

How does this help us?

This helps us because we now know, with a 90% confidence, that the slowest the horse ran was the lowest figure and the fastest the horse ran is the highest figure. If we work this out for each of our 8 past speed ratings we can begin to see which of our selections actually have the speed to win the race.

You do this by following these rules:

Find the winner with the highest speed figure in the last 8 races.

Record the lower confidence interval for this speed figure.

Make sure that all of our selections have had a race in their last 8 races where the highest confidence interval is above this figure.

That’s it! Just three simple steps and you have made sure that all your runners actually have the speed to win the race.

What have we actually achieved?

By looking at races from a slightly different perspective we have managed to shortlist the runners that have been improving on the current conditions of the race. We have then narrowed our shortlist down into the final selections by only keeping those that have shown they have the speed to win using a statistical approach.

To make this even easier the Race Advisor features RA Graphs which displays all the information you need to find these selections in easy to read graphs provided for racing every single day.

Michael Wilding
www.RaceAdvisor.co.uk

Author Bio

The Race Advisor was started by Michael Wilding and is aimed at the new and semi-experienced bettor.
We are the leading online resource for learning how to bet profitably providing unique features that are
unavailable elsewhere. There are also over 200 articles on the site looking at different sports and how to profit from them.

Horse Running Style In National Hunt Racing

Most horses tend to exhibit a preference for a certain style of running.

You may for example have heard of horses being referred to as front runners or hold up horses.

Traditionally such thinking is applied more so to flat racing than National Hunt Racing. A classic good bet for example might be a front runner or a horse with proven early pace in a good draw at a highly biased sprint track where the bias is due to a tight bend. ie the horse has the early pace ability to maximise its draw advantage.

Such thinking of pace or running style is not often considered on National Hunt horses however.

Horse Racing Researcher Dave Renham from Racing Trends has put his nose to the grindstone and carried out some research.

Findings may surprise many.

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Pace / Running Styles in National Hunt Racing

Over the past year or two I have explored pace and running styles in much greater depth than I used to. The reason for this is simple – I believe this is an area where hard work and research can still gain you a betting edge over the majority of punters. Let me explain this in more detail:

For this piece I am going to split all the winners of the races studied into three distinct categories – horses that ran from the front early on in the race (front runners); horses that ran close to the pace early in the race (prominent runners); and horses that raced in midfield or at the back early in the race (hold up horses). Essentially, the position a horse takes up early in the race, tends to remain virtually the same for a good proportion of that race. For example, if a horse takes up a prominent position just behind the pace in the first two furlongs of say a 1m2f race, there is a strong chance that the horse will still be in a very similar position after 6-7f. In contrast, you don’t often see a horse lead for 2 furlongs, then drop back to the middle of the pack for 2 furlongs, then race just off the pace for 2 furlongs, then drop back to the middle again, etc, etc. Hence from a research point of view, the fact that a horses’ running style tends to stay consistent for around 75% of the race makes life much easier.

Taking the year 2008 as an example there were just over 6000 races on the flat in this country – the winning splits for the three pace categories were as follows:

Front runners won 20.2% of all races;

Prominent runners won 45% of all races;

Hold up horses won 34.8% of all races.

At first glance, one might be thinking therefore that prominent runners have an advantage. Well they have won more races than every other group right? However, to give more meaning to these figures we need to know what percentage of all the runners were a) front runners; b) prominent runners and c) hold up horses. Here are the percentages:

Front runners accounted for 11% of all runners;

Prominent runners accounted for 39.4% of all runners;

Hold up horses accounted for 49.6% of all runners.

These figures now reveal a powerful statistic – that front runners win nearly twice as many races as they statistically should do. In this particular year, they won 20.2% of all races having provided just 11% of all the total runners. Being more precise, they have won 1.84 times more often than their expected probability – their expected probability being 11%. Hence, taking a very general view, the best value in flat racing in terms of running styles/pace clearly lies with front runners. I could have chosen any year in the last 10 and you would have seen similar results.

Conversely, although hold up horses win nearly 35% of all races, they provide roughly 50% of the total runners. Hence, once again taking a very general view, hold up horses are clearly poor value from a pace/running styles perspective.

When looking in much greater depth at these ideas, one will find that an even greater edge can be found when looking at certain distances, and also at certain courses. All of my research, and hence all of my articles for that matter, have looked at this in flat racing only. However, the main focus for this article is pace/running styles in National hunt racing so let me move onto National Hunt racing.

Let us take the year 2008 again as my example, and as before, let me split all the winners of the races studied into the three distinct categories – front runners; prominent runners; hold up horses. In 2008 there were 3368 National hunt races in this country – the winning splits for the three pace categories were as follows:

Front runners won 17% of all races;

Prominent runners won 45.7% of all races;

Hold up horses won 37.3% of all races.

As before, we need to know what percentage of all the runners were a) front runners; b) prominent runners and c) hold up horses. Here are the percentages:

Front runners accounted for 10.2% of all runners;

Prominent runners accounted for 38% of all runners;

Hold up horses accounted for 51.8% of all runners.

Once again we can see that front runners seem to be the best value – there advantage may not be a strong as it is on the flat but essentially front runners in National hunt racing win 1.67 times more often than they statistically should. In addition, as with their flat counterparts, hold up horses perform relatively poorly when judged from this pace perspective.

For me, these figures open up a new world of possibilities in terms of my National hunt betting. Up to now, as I have already intimated, 99.9% of my pace research has been on the flat. However, although the ‘edge’ looks less strong in National hunt racing, it still looks a strong enough edge to research in considerable depth. Indeed, for the record, if you had managed to predict the front runner in every National hunt race of 2008, you would have made a profit of £35,000 to £100 level stakes to SP. Of course, this would have been impossible, unless you are Mystic Meg … lol, but what if you had bet ‘in running’ on every front runner, placing your bet within the first 10 seconds of each race? My educated guess is that you probably would still have made a profit and my reasoning is thus: although front runners often shorten in price at the beginning of a race, this contraction is offset by the fact that the Betfair price at the off is likely to be 10 to 25% bigger than the eventual SP. Hence even if the price contracts 10 to 25% in the first ten seconds, then you are still effectively getting SP, or near as damn it, on the horse in question. I appreciate that there is commission to be taken into account, and that the contraction in price for each horse will vary in percentage terms, but hopefully you see my point.

Dave Renham

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Dave Renham is a leading researcher into uk horse racing.

His RacingTrends service attracts thinking punters who can see the benefit of knowing more about horse racing cold hard facts and figures than the general crowds populating the betting Exchanges.

The Great St Wilfrid Sprint

3.55 Ripon – The Great St Wilfrid
Long term members will know I love the big sprints and today instead of looking through each runner one by one, I thought it may be interesting for me to discuss how I have analysed the race. Basically I am thinking out loud here …..
This race is complicated slightly by the fact the going is likely to be good to firm. This gives lower draws more of a chance; if it was good or softer then it would be high all the way. I am torn as all the best pace is low, but the specific race stats point strongly to high. I think the way to go is to back more than one runner – a method I often use in big sprints.
OK – let’s look at the favourite. Markab was definitely unlucky in the Wokingham when 4th and best of the stands side runners. He also was arguably unlucky at Goodwood in the Stewards Cup when 4th again. He is a worthy favourite, but the middle draw in 10 is not ideal and at the prices he looks a little tight. Don’t get me wrong – he is a worthy favourite and the most likely winner, but successful betting is about getting value and I’m not convinced he is value.
2nd favourite Excusez Moi won this race in 2006 and has been in decent form all year. Could be perfectly drawn in 19, but my biggest concern is that he tends to be held up and this is a pace track – a track that favours front runners / prominent racers. Of course people will argue that he won in 2006 so what is the problem  – however at around 7/1 I’m not going to be backing a hold up horse in this race. I may be wrong but that is my thinking.
Outside the top 2, most betting firms go 12/1 and I am hoping that we will find some value amongst the double figure prices.
Advanced – a definite for my shortlist. Has form in these big field handicaps (won Ayr Gold Cup); decent 6th in Wokingham this year; could have a good high draw. Does not race right up with the pace, but recently has only been held up once in last five starts. Amy Ryan is decent for 5lb claimer.
Hitchens – has good speed figures and is looking well handicapped after some recent modest efforts. Concern is that since switching stables to Barron the hold is being held up; he needs to be closer to the pace today and if he is ridden quite handy then he may be worth getting on ‘in running’.
Joseph Henry – could have the plum draw in 20 and I think David Allen is a good jockey booking as he rides his mounts prominently in sprints which is a plus. Not sure Joseph Henry is quite good enough to win here but looks an each way bet to me. Last run over a distance that was not ideal can be ignored.
Of the low draws I like Striking Spirit best – drawn 1 which could prove better than the pundits predict. Expect him to track Tamagin down that rail and looks overpriced to me. Ran well enough in the Stewards Cup (best finish of any horse drawn in the 20s).
Of the remainder I could not rule out Jimmy Styles, Judge ‘N’ Jury, Fullandby, Kostar and Ishetoo – so as you can see this is not easy!
All in all I think I will back one either side(each way) – those being Joseph Henry and Striking Spirit. I may well have covers on Hitchens and Advanced – just a couple of quid on each to balance the main bets.
Joseph Henry 14/1 with Sportingbet ; Striking Spirit 20/1 with Skybet – both are offering 1st five for each way
If you are punting good luck!

Dave Renham

www.RacingTrends.co.uk

Horse Bet For Saturday

NEWMARKET 3.25

SPORTINGBET.COM E B F FILLIES´ STAKES
(HANDICAP)(CLASS 2)(3yo+ 0-100) 7f

100/30 Pyrrha, 7/2 Lassarina, 9/2 Adoring, 5/1 Victoria Sponge, 8/1 Volochkova, 10/1 Oceana Blue, 12/1 Carcinetto, 16/1 Shaws Diamond, 25/1 Vitoria.

There has not been many Fillies handicaps at this time of
year in this sort of grade so statistically we dont have great angles.
What few there have been all went to unexposed horses.
I see OCEANA BLUE and CARCINETTO as far
too exposed and vulnerable. I dont see VITORIA defying
a nasty absence either. ADORING has had just one career
run. She also has a 62 day absence and races on soft ground.
Having one run looks something to be worried about.
I’ve looked at every fillies handicap that has ever been run at
any distance in Class 3 and better.
Only one horse has won one of these races and that horse (Tartouche)
did it at a different trip and won a muddling false pace race before
going on to win Group races. ADORING is trying to do something no
other horse has done. Given that she also has an absence and hasnt
been on the ground before I’d want to oppose her second time out in
a 0-97 handicap. I didnt think VOLOCHKOVA would have the class.
She scraped home in a triple photo on a Class 5 race on the sand
that was only a 0-75 class race and she now takes a 3 grade rise
into a Class 2 contest and I suspect that will find her out.
LASSARINA has just one run this season and all similar races show
you are much better off with at least 3 runs that season.
She could well be underraced especially with a 98 day absence as well.
I respect the fact she drops from a Group race but shes inexperienced
and far from  certain to be fit. She has a large weight for a 3 year old.
The fact she won a Conditions race on her debut and then ran in two Group
Races shows she has class but its done nothing for her handicap mark
and a mark of 97 wont be easy to overcome with all her other issues like
her absence and inexperience and just the one run this year. She may
win but she isnt for me. SHAWS DIAMOND may find this
a bit too warm. PYRRHA is lightly raced and open to some
improvement. She had a legitimate excuse last time out at
Newmarket when badly drawn. She is tempting each way
around 4/1 but I have a couple of reservations. She has no
form on ground softer than good and isnt sure to want the
soft ground. I also worry she has just two runs this year
and could be at a fitness disadvantage. VICTORIA SPONGE
looks interesting. She looked progressive recently as she
easily won two handicaps but came unstuck last time. It
was no surprise as she was a 3 year old giving weight and
a penalty to older horses when having to drop in distance
which didnt suit her. VICTORIA SPONGE will appreciate
this return to 7f today. I would rather she came from a 7f
race but that doesnt worry me as others have far more to
worry about in terms of fitness and experience and ground.
I think VICTORIA SPONGE is a decent each way bet.

SELECTION – VICTORIA SPONGE Each Way 6/1 at Bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes

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