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

Author Bio

The Race Advisor was started by Michael Wilding and is aimed at the new and semi-experienced bettor.
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