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    Ark Royal
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A newbie's shopping list


In the spirit of this site I thought I would start this thread/blog to document some of my thought processes as I spend the next couple of days going over the information on this site and creating a “shopping list for noobs” which may or may not develop into a useful resource for others about to go down this path! (NOTE – a couple of days is something of an underestimate I would imagine after the first 4 pages of posts reading/scanning taking hours and I already have a headache lol)

My starter for 10:

Speed Ratings

It has not escaped my notice that handicapping a race is a mystery, or more specifically, even the most cursory glance of a number of race results shows that speed ratings simply do not make sense sometimes, and I already knew that being able to “amend” ratings for horses according to conditions, pace run etc and applying that to form an opinion of true handicap would be of some considerable benefit.

So my first foray on this site was to the speed ratings area

@TheBluesBrother in particular has made a ton of really useful posts on the subject (many others too of course) and it is clear to me that for this item anyway I may have to wait as I need to gain both experience and knowledge of more of the basics first – his thoughts on weight for age for example I found most interesting.

So for the moment I am going to add a list of some of the links/references I have come across so far reading this section - for me to look further into as below:

ArkRoyal ArkRoyal – I assume it is OK to do things this way – but if not please let me know/delete as appropriate!

(BB’s going allowance vid)


Book – Mordin on time (although noted some comments about goalposts being moved)



http://tinyurl.com/aupt4ub (Standard times list)

Book - Sprint Handicaps Explainedby Jim Adams



That’s it for now! I will probably edit this post to add more reference materials assuming I can do that.


A few more links/resources to add for further research – by the way – if anyone has a valid reason why any of these resources should be avoided please feel free to let me know – or indeed to add anything you feel I have missed.

www dot speedratings dot com

http://www.attheraces.com/article.aspx?hlid=387590&lid=nav - default sub&raceid=&title=Speed Ratings - Tuesday&ref=Nav - Default Sub&nav=&sub=Speed Ratings&day=

www dot racingbuzz dot co dot uk


That’s probably enough for now as this is something I will be “doing my homework on” at a later stage.

My next read is VDW

I must admit I had no idea what that was – my first thought was some sort of misspelt family car – then google enlightened me to it being the Van Der Wheil method which I have seen described as the Marmite of the racing world – should be interesting – next few days in the VDW thread.

Happy hunting all.
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Thanks ArkRoyal ArkRoyal - I did read the rules but in my haste to record stuff I didn't think that through - I see how you have edited the post and will bear that in mind going forward - never adverse to you or anyone else correcting any future unintentional errors though




OK so spent the last few days reading all the posts in the VDW forum – interesting stuff indeed! I have seldom had the pleasure of reading forums in any other field of interst with such a variety of willing contributors – it is such a refreshing thing to see.

Reading the forum entries was quite amazing – a kind of magical mystery tour – little hints and nudges from the more experienced writers, revelations of past lives and alter egos – the clear “pedigree” of some of the contributors and their wealth and depth of knowledge to the strong, passionate and divergent opinions expressed which was in some cases quite staggering. The only troll I have come across so far was efficiently ejected and with a particularly amusing shot from AR (big thumbs up for that line). I thought it was all summed up neatly by hayzee hayzee who replied to one post by saying “The art of finding a true VDW selection seems the easy part Wizard, in comparison to getting 3 followers of the method to agree on the selection ...”

Not for the first time I have a headache – but not in a negative way – my head is buzzing with positive energy and a ton of questions for myself to fathom out - which undoubtedly means another sleepless night and a heavy weekend of reading ahead!

I just want to thank all the contributors to those threads for the time and effort each and every one of them put in. I can see why VDW courts controversy and the cryptic nature of some of it is perhaps only cryptic because as humans we have a desire to be right and tweak and “improve” concepts. This is after all how humans evolve. BUT sometimes keep it simple can be an effective tool. I don’t know which way I will turn yet and I need to research more – I am a detail kind of guy!! In the meantime here are a few notable quotes and resources that again I will be going back over in time:

"A horse when raised in class has to improve upon its known ability and form.
A horse in the same class has to reproduce form equivalent at least to what it has shown in that class
A horse lowered in class has merely to repeat its normal level of ability as shown in the higher class
to have a winning chance.
Class, therefore, in the selection assumes a negative, neutral or positive character."

Top 3 ability
Top 3 form
Top 3 using another form method and speed ratings was suggested by VDW
First 5/6 in the betting forecast

http://www.theukbettingforum.co.uk/XenForo/threads/the-gummy-archive.512/ Looks like a ton of archive stuff I have yet to read


Book - Class of the field by James Quinn

Book - The Solidus: A completely new method of horseracing analysis by Dave Towey

Book - The racegoers Encyclopedia by John White

Book - Braddock's Complete Guide to Horse Race Selection and Betting by Peter Braddock



Hi Graeme Graeme
Not being one who knows much about VDW I'm afraid, but i often think that the key to the answers box is hidden in a treasure chest buried deep in the sands of a faraway paradise island.
I'm constantly amazed at how some members talk about near enough 40 year old races as if they had been run last week.
I'm sure if your persistent enough to get to know some of the key members on here then you may well find one or two answers...


Hi Graeme Graeme

The beauty of using the HRB as a tool is that that expertise isn't essential. I don't possess the racing knowledge of some of the experts on this forum but I have made a fair amount of money from HRB systems.

A good starting point is below (It's where I started):-



Hi Nige and thanks for the response - I have already subscribed to HRB and have a couple of basic trainer systems there - although no selections from them yet - the HRB threads are high on my reading list to come though


Graeme Graeme you will need some 200+ Bets to get it ticking, the higher the better for activity:-

Below is from the Chesham Chesham system which we created with a lot of help from him, it was very successful.




Graeme Graeme you will need some 200+ Bets to get it ticking, the higher the better for activity:-

Below is from the Chesham Chesham system which we created with a lot of help from him, it was very successful


NigelRG NigelRG Those are solid stats - part of my problem is I still don't know what I don't know - I have some basic ideas and basic knowledge which enables me to hold my own on basic form reading etc. And I have so little knowledge on which to base system ideas - time will help as I read and experience more - but essentially I have only been really "interested" in horse racing a couple of months if that - so very early days for me. I have traded on the ladder longer through Bet Angel, but that is based on knowledge of trading order flow and has nothing to do with picking a good horse - just following the order flow - so time will tell - but enjoying the journey so far.


A good start is to work thro' the approach Chesham Chesham set for Poz & I and ask lots of questions, lots of help is available on here for anyone who will help themselves. It gave me a very good start with the HRB.

You really only need to know which components of the top line (I displayed) are critical ie P/l ,A/E Chi etc.

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NigelRG NigelRG Just starting to go through said thread - wondered where everyone was getting those nice performance stats from - answer V4 System Builder Beta - As a rule I don't touch Betas, hence had not even explored this part of HRB. It appears much easier to chop and change criteria so happy man already!!

Thanks for the tip - now back to reading




Hi all

As suggested by NigelRG NigelRG my next learning experience will be HRB. Now in fact I had actually subscriber to HRB (Horseracebase) after I came across it via our good friend Mr Google. I immediately saw the potential but as I joined here I had not really been able to fathom out how best to use it. My first in depth read was the thread Nige suggested http://www.theukbettingforum.co.uk/XenForo/threads/hrb-for-novices.19351/ and I would strongly suggest anyone without knowledge of HRB starts there – very simple step by step example right at the start of the thread thanks to Chesham Chesham.

In fact there are many workable systems and ideas in this thread alone – and these are the ideas I have noted so far for further investigation:
Handicap debut
Firm Going - Fillies
Debutant NH Flat
Horses carrying penalty
Favourite status (SP) & Favourite status (F/C)
Stallion Stat Attack
Trends in V4
NH Soft
OR v Race High
Draw Bias as a filter?
New trainer no win FTO
Consider daily cards – shortcuts for system ideas
Consider horses 2 or 3 less than 1 length as a system

And this is just one thread!! I have deliberately not linked to these ideas - as anyone wanting to look into HRB really should read and understand this for themselves.

Here are a couple more threads I noted - but there are a ton more ahead



Now after a particularly schoolboy error on that thread - I am going to turn the pc off and think about something else before I go to bed and actually try and get some sleep!!

Good night all and happy hunting tomorrow!