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VDW Just a few thoughts VDW or otherwise.

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mtoto

Gelding
First thank you Ark for setting this up. As explained I thought perhaps it would be better if I kept my opinions off the open threads as for some reason I do seem to be causing offense. To be fair this does seem to be on the VDW threads but I do have some strong views on other aspects of horse racing that many seem to think are a little "left" field or just plain crazy.

Example (s)
I don't look at weight in any shape or form be it in a race, or when formulating speed figures.
I don't look at or take any notice of trends and or stats apart from the basic in or out of the forecast and the basic consistency rating. Even then they can be over ruled by class they play a minor part.
I don't look at the live market for any reason apart from liking to see my opinion has been taken up and the horse is shortening in price. I don't bet in the type of races I think the market can play an active part in bumpers, novice, maidens, or races for two year old's. I'm truly fascinated why anyone would think a horse position in the market improves the worth of the form. Are they saying form wise my 20/1 shot form is getting stronger because it is dropping in price? Surely the shortening only shows others have grasped the original/true worth of the form, the actual form hasn't changed??

As I have said in the past I think many of the racing pundits are trying to over complicate things and I honestly believe it is to try to make themselves look clever. It's all about the HORSE and the class.

Thoughts anyone?

Be Lucky
 
Mtoto
Well stated case for your way of looking at things from outside of the box. I agree that a horses odds don't mean anything in relation to form evaluation. They can be used as an inference to future entries but only in a limited way. For example Thunderball yesterday! The evening before he opened at odds of 14/1 but by the time of the race had touched odds of 5/1. He eventually ran a solid race and finished a credible third. The reasoning for the dramatic cut in his odds were several but the fact the going had changed in his favour was the catalyst. How many of his supporters would then take a second look at the race and ask the question why did two other horses beat him?
For myself I look at a handicap race as if it is in layers. Class- form- current well being- intention- future. Strip each layer away until you have the individual components. As Sherlock Holmes often said - "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"
 

mtoto

Gelding
A couple of times I have been asked why do VDW followers/fans seem to go out of their way to perpetuate the mystery. While I can only agree some do appear to do this there are a few who have gone out of their way toexplain their thinking. The problems then begin with folks who respond with that's not right your doing it all wrong. How that is fair enough, but when it comes to showing why/how it is all wrong the response is I'm not putting it on a plate for you. To an extent I can go along with that, nobody in their right mind would give away a well thought out "edge" but then it is followed up with read the literature usually followed by the hint/suggestion it is easy to follow if you are clever enough!!

I have said in the past if it is so easy why are so many folk are coming up with different ideas on what the words say and mean? We are seeing someone who has written about VDW and even helped Mr Peach gather the VDW postings put up VDW selections. My problem with this is he is trying to make the method work by using the instructions shown in SIAO and those instructions don't find many of the selections. Fair play he is at least trying to show how he thinks it works, and I have no doubt he will find some winners but shouldn't we be asking what was VDW doing to find the selection that DON'T fit with the basics shown in SIAO? I find it hard to believe either of the ratings he is using would have shown Beacon Light well out of it. .

Over the years I have tried to explain my thinking and the reasons for it, in fact I think I have said enough that anyone interested enough could follow my thinking and reason. Now I accept there are those who disagree with me but there very seldom ever seems to be a discussion about it, just you’re wrong.

I don’t profess to know it all there are a few of the example I still can’t work out Son Of Love and Pipsted being two. I happy with SOL being part of a book, I’m happy Pipsted would be one of the two but I can’t find a reason that matches up with other example s that explains the selection.

Be Lucky
 

mick

Sire
Hi mtoto The truth of it being that there is no right or wrong way using the vdw methods or any other approach.The bottom line being is it right for the person using it ? ,does he have confidence in his approach and the profits banked to substantiate this.

I have posted material on forums which works for myself some could be deemed original and lateral thinking,much of it took me many years to discover and learn how to use.Yet the avg price i obtain to my money has not reduced.I have spent 40yrs attempting to read form and my conclusion is that there is no holy grail.Long term profitable punting is about bringing together a lot of small individual elements in the correct way to enable a worthwhile return on investment.

Respectful and constructive debate is a positive as by sharing our views and experiences members can learn from each other and in this business you should never stop attempting to learn and improve.The down side is that often a tiny minority who want it all on a plate react in a negative way when it is not served up as such.

Often the net result of this is that the original poster who has much more of interest to offer understandably thinks what's the point ? and stops. Some of the most interesting interactions i now enjoy are with people i have met on forums who now chose to talk off forum because they have suffered the above.

A lesson perhaps for all of us.? So please keep posting your thoughts mate as you do not need to defend or justify them,and imo you have started what could prove to be a most interesting thread.
 

Jackform

Gelding
Mtoto,
It appears that I give the impression that I a VDW enthusiast and it's definitely not the case, it's just that there is still interest in the correspondence and I happen to have most of the original information published in the handicap book. My guru, from the same year 1978, is Professor Frank George (sadly passed away). Here is an extract from a letter I wrote in 2009:

I bought a book ‘A Better Bet’ by Professor Frank George in 1978 when computing for the masses was in its infancy. At the time he was head of the Cybernetics department at Brunel University. My thinking being that if anyone should be capable of crunching numbers he was the man.
Some 5 years ago I used to do form research for a professional backer and he loaned me a manuscript copy of a follow on from ‘A Better Bet’ (these are the photocopies in this zip file). I do not know whether this information was ever published for sale.
It does fit in very well with the method of calculating fair odds from ratings, which is from a letter published in SCHB Sports Forum in 1979 (incidentally I have a copy of that letter but not on file that I could scan if anyone is interested).
The prof. wrote, 'The Most Significant Factor in Selecting Horses'.
1. Class of horse.
2. Weight
3' Time.
4. Recent Form.
5. Distance.
6. The odds.
7. The Going.
8. The Jockey.
9. The Draw.
10. Stable strategy.
I chart the above and rate each factor to arrive at an overall rating. This is then converted to a percentage chance and on into my independent fair odds. Take the St Leger:

1. 12/1
2. 7/1
3. 11/2
4. 9/2
5. 10/1
6. 300/1
7. 5/1
8. 8/1
9. 300/1
10. 50/1
11. 10/1

I omitted the weight, time, draw and stable strategy for the race. So my four for consideration are:
Galileo Rock, Leading Light, Excess Knowledge, Foundry.
Completely different to your approach, but it suits my temperament.
 

mtoto

Gelding
Jackform,

We had a brief conversation a few year ago and it was oblivious that while you knew a lot about VDW's methods you hadn't studied them or followed then with any great conviction. Have to say I did find that a little strange as you had gone into print about them. In fact I'm sure it was you that said/hinted the first seven examples were the important ones, if I'm wrong on that I apologise. Can I ask as you were interested enough to keep the VDW posting what is it that makes you not want to use the methods/ideas?

Looking at your list of factors used to analise a race they don't seem to differ that much from VDW's so is it the emphasis VDW put on the elements? Actually while you have a few factors I don't consider important or use, all of the main ones I use are there apart from considerations about the courses. Also could I ask are you willing to go into any detail, like how recent is recent form, do you give any leeway about distance if it is being tried for the first time? Don't you trust the trainer about the going etc?

My list starts with class. For me there are two measurements I'm looking for. The best is proven form in the same or higher class, the next best is proven class that shows the horse can compete with the competition. These are the main stays and all the other factors revolve around those two elements, points are awarded for consistency, in the forecast , strength of the probables, ranking of the ability for the consistent horse, ranking of ability of the field. All this does is narrow the field to the most likely 3 sometimes 4 for further study. This then brings in race conditions, trainer intent.

Often the net result of this is that the original poster who has much more of interest to offer understandably thinks what's the point ? and stops. Some of the most interesting interactions i now enjoy are with people i have met on forums who now chose to talk off forum because they have suffered the above.

Mike,

I'm afraid the above is true in many cases, but have to say in a few cases it is done so the wider range of contributors don't/can't see what is being said doesn't hold water.

Be Lucky
 

mick

Sire
Often the net result of this is that the original poster who has much more of interest to offer understandably thinks what's the point ? and stops. Some of the most interesting interactions i now enjoy are with people i have met on forums who now chose to talk off forum because they have suffered the above.

Mike,

I'm afraid the above is true in many cases, but have to say in a few cases it is done so the wider range of contributors don't/can't see what is being said doesn't hold water.

Be Lucky

Agree your above does not hold water but i was not inferring this. The guys i am referring to no longer post on forums because of the rude and non substantiated criticism they have received from a few who were not willing to put in some effort to fully understand what they were sharing.

I suspect that vdw may have decided to withhold further valuable insights to his methods because he was subjected to similar.
 

Jackform

Gelding
Mtoto,
'Oblivious' probably described me to a T nowadays o_O

In response to your queries:
I wrote about VDW at the request of Tony peach. I also probably said that he first few letter were important, particularly with regard to the 'elementary mechanical procedure.'
The ideas don't appeal to me as just considering high grade races with a preponderence of winning form is too restricting, and I never went down his stable strategy avenue at all, probably to my detriment.
By recent form I am usually considering the last two outings from the current season, but could be the previous season around official changeover dates.
As for the distance I follow the prof's advice: same D is best or a difference of no more than one furlong either way is acceptable on the Flat (two furlongs over middle-distance or for stayers).
The going filter can be fraught with difficulty so I don't rate it highly on my charts even though it can be a critical factor and I am more likely in the final event to just note negative info, the same with the draw. It is mainly the track linear going that is reported when the lateral side-to-side going may be of more interest. The there is watering, movement of running rails, even the direction the grass is mown, never mind weather changes - all very difficult when it is not constant over a sustained period.
With my chart rating I am hoping that I will be on the money weight most filters, which will help to negate those that I get wrong.
Just for interest I have rated and priced the Irish St Leger, although I don't usually attempt Irish racing - being an old stick-in-th-mud:
Irish St Leger (my independent fair odds to compare with others).
1. 9/1
2. 13/1
3. 40/1
4. 5/1
5. 6/1
6. 5/1
7. 40/1
8. 250/1
9. 4/1
10. 7/1

My four for consideration have to be: Pale Mimosa, Ernest Hemmingway, Royal Diamond, Red Cadeaux.
 

mtoto

Gelding
Jackform,

Oblivious was a typo it meant to say obvious, I hope you understood that :eek:

Any thanks for your reply. When these letters were first printed in the SCHB/RFUK I was busy starting my business and didn't have time to take more than a passing interest. So can I ask when you read the Erin example and it stated VDW had Beacon Light well out of it on two different rating methods did that puzzle you or did you see no problem with it? I haven't seen any rating that agree with that had you at that time?

The ideas don't appeal to me as just considering high grade races with a preponderence of winning form is too restricting

Interesting it just goes to show racing really is about opinions these are the very reasons it did appeal to me and I find them far from restricting. More than enough racing to work on, and for me a lot of the guess work taken out of the equation. Good horses in good races, I find they run to their profiles and in the main are trying for the money or prestige.

I asked about your view on recent form because many place far to much emphasis on just the last run, not taking prep races into account. This is a little like discounting a horse just because it isn't in the first three in the forecast, or having one of the lowest C/R's. It isn't a system and was never meant to be it is just a quick easy way of cutting down a field for some serious studying.

Serious studying, I notice you don't seem to place much importance to the course. While I'm often happy to go along with the trainer re going and/or distance for me the course is a different matter. After class I think it is very important, and something that is often ignored. It seems to me many trainer take the view a good horse can act on any course while to an extent that maybe true can it perform to it's best on this type of course is the question that should be being asked. Now even with classifying a course type there are going to be differences of opinion, I'm basically only interested in the final few furlongs when I decide about a course the business end where the class really kicks in . For me they break down into two distinct types, power and speed, power are stiff, speed is flat or downhill, of course theses basics types can be further graded, undulating, sharp, etc

Mick

I know a few who have been driven off some of the more public forums, and as you say that is a great pity as we could all learn from them.

I suspect that vdw may have decided to withhold further valuable insights to his methods because he was subjected to similar.

For what it's worth and this is only a personal opinion I think VDW fell out with Mr Peach, most probably over money and that is why he stopped. What have I to base this on nothing really but Mr Peach did fall out with Jock Bingham, and Sad Ken decided for what ever reason to publish his own work when Mr Peach already had an established operation.

Be Lucky
 

mtoto

Gelding
Further to my thoughts on courses a couple of points I do think maybe worth considering.
1 form your own views don't automatically accept other peoples ideas, Example I had Newcastle down as a stiff course because that is what the form books said but many of the horses winning didn't back that up and I have now classified it as a stiff speed course.
Mick Fitz classifies Cheltenham as a speed course etc.
2) Just because a horse wins a race on a course doesn't automatically mean the horse can perform to its best on it. When deciding about a course I look at all the performances the horse has shown form good enough to to warrant recording on the d/base, and will give these preference over wins that are not included.

In the past I have been given some stick because I think this is one if not the main reason VDW said Burrough Hill Lad was not a form/horse. The general consensus was I couldn't be right as he had won the race the year before, There is no arguing with that but how good a performance was it, was it anywhere near his best? My answer to that is a resounding no. I remembered this when Chesham pointed out VDW said Kempton wasn't the course for Forgive N' Forget and I don't think that horse had run there before.

This brings me to an e-mail I had forgotten about until I was looking at Jackform's list for assessing form It did then cross my mind did VDW use something like this and that is why he said there was a difference between rating and ratings? The e-mail was asking did I think Beacon Light was well out of it because of the course as I had pointed out that many had made reference to the weight he carried when the course was also mentioned . Why mention the course if the weight was the only important factor. When it comes to several of the items on Jackform's list I use them but don't put figures/scores against them so I have never actually looked on the results as ratings but I am rating them.

I still can't make Beacon Light an out of form horse, but when I assess the individual elements, course, going, trainer intent etc I do come up with enough doubts I would not consider him a bet, here I'm not looking at price not being good enough.

Be Lucky
 

mick

Sire
Good post mtoto,when we put a fig to a horses performance in a past race and then view those figs for all of its past races they frequently tell a different tale particularly when matched against what appear to be the positive or negative conditions required to win today's race .We know the end product is a win yet often a horses best figs will be in defeat.

Even with very basic form requirements IE suitability of dist course and going i used to take the easy option of requiring a previous win on all to qualify the bet but i come to understand years ago that this was wrong and costing me money and these days take a more flexible view.

Taking obvious form at face value can be misleading,how often have we seen the press experts writing that their pick for a good class race has won on today's soft ground and this is a positive yet closer examination shows that the race was a far easier task which the horse won despite not because of the going and future performances show that in fact today's soft ground can be deemed a negative.
 

Chesham

Sire
I found it interesting that Amanda Perett uses an American Bend to teach her horses to change foot for certain racecourses

Good Luck

Chesham
 

mick

Sire
I found it interesting that Amanda Perett uses an American Bend to teach her horses to change foot for certain racecourses

Good Luck

Chesham

Yes another good point which is very relevant to my take on most stats.As to be of real use we need to try and find a racing reason why.? If one can be found this can often allow you to view what the market perceives as a negative to in fact be a positive.

When a trainers S/r at a few courses is well above his avg then having an idea why this may be so can be very helpful.If you progress this to individual horses then even more so.? One stat shown by the racing press as a positive "longest distance travelled" can be so misleading because some horses will run best at certain courses less so because of the track confirmation but more likely because its the closest to home and they are poor travellers.?
 

mtoto

Gelding
Reading back through some of the older posts on this forum I noticed Chesham hinted/suggested that if VDW himself was on the forum I would argue with him as well. That well could be true as there are a few statements he(VDW) made that I find hard to agree with, but as VDW said don't take his word for it prove it to yourself, I don't really think he would be bothered.

One of the things he said that I would ask him to explain is his take on weight, he said................From this readers may deduce that horses have INDIVIDUAL weight limits beyond which THEY do not perform. If a horse is set to carry more than they have previously performed well with, it is reasonable to assume the day will not be theirs, irrespective of other factors. Week after week I see folk eliminate horse because they work to this rule/idea, I also see others saying ok he can carry that weight. For me anyway it ISN'T a weight limit that stops them it is the CLASS limit I have seen horses go up in the official ratings from 54 to 90 and win carrying weights up to and including 10st this stopped the minute he started running in class 2 hcps.

Chesham,

Once I realised you were class/form I went back through some of my old folders and found a few of your posts/clippings. It was way back in August 98 when you had your run in with Philip Close have to say that is his one of the few booklets I never got around to reading. What I did find and I know you will find this hard to believe, a hand writen note saying this bloke knows what he is talking about but where the bloody hell does he get the weight angle from, VDW wasn't worried by a by a 7lb turn around for a neck beating when he put up Braashee over Cossack Guard.

Be Lucky
 

mick

Sire
Hi mtoto,i think VDW would have enjoyed forum debate,even constructive criticism of his methods providing it was presented in a polite and well reasoned way.During his time on the sports forum page of the SCHB this was not always the case and i still suspect that this was the reason he did not offer even more.

RE your thoughts on horses and weight i tend to agree.Most of the horses i back are towards the top of the hcap as they are the class horses in the race on the day.What i tend to look for is previous evidence of weight carrying ability.Often there is none for or against and in these circumstances if i still wish to move forward with the bet i will factor this unknown into my min price.

Sometimes you can see a pattern which supports a drop in class with a higher weight or the opposite a raise in class with a low weight as a positive requirement.For myself the former is a preferable aspect of the gamble.

Another thing i do which is a great help when faced with an unknown is reacquainting myself with similar past circumstances involving previous bets i have placed.I have always felt one of the biggest edges us backers can give ourselves is good record keeping ,not just a profit loss and expenses tally but why we backed the horse.

Perhaps many do so via excel but i am of an age where bye i still prefer long hand !. Before backing any horse i will have made extensive notes as to why which i keep but have also developed my own form of abbreviated short hand to condense the salient points so i might have a situation for a possible bet.......9-11 to hump over 7fur Catt soft ground negative draw no proven weight carrying ability.So although i think the horse could win i do not like the "look" of the bet.

Now i have to sort this from memory but often i can find a past winning bet under similar circumstances to support this and get the extra confidence needed to place the wager.Sounds like a lot of fuss over nothing and yet over the years doing this has both made and sometimes saved me very worthwhile amounts of money.
 

Chesham

Sire
Hi Mtoto

First thing, you may have notcied in some posts that I mention Class Ceilings, so yes I think weight and class are very much a marriage. Racing within their class some horses are big creatures compared to their counterparts and have no problem carring big weights providing they are within their Class Ceiling

Braashee

Note the breeding Angle A C Stewart (Trainer had trained Ghariba out of the same dam, winning a grp 3. The Breeder used Sadlers Wells the dam for Braashee, a Sire with a better stamina Progeny

Now onto the Form of Braashee

Won a maiden 8/13 Fav Carried 8-11 and then pushed up in class where he met Cossack Gaurd on Level Weights, this was the first time that the Official Handicapper had chance to see if he had got his mark correct, remember that the Official Handicapper only had maiden form and the average OR of winners of previous type maiden races at that course etc

Cossack Gaurd was dropping in class from 0-115 to 0-110 and up in weight, but level with Braashee


What the horse does at the 2f from home marker
Held up, headway over 2f out, led over 1f out, pushed out

Indicates that Braashee was having to close the Gap and took over as pace leader 1f from home (Note having an easy lead from the front, effort was needed to get to the lead, pushed out also indicates that the horse was not suffering from a build up of lactic acid for the effort and could have more in the locker.


3rd straight, led over 3f out until over 1f out, ran on well

indicates that CG was already in the lead at the 3 F marker and held that lead until passed by Braashee 1 F out, the energy reserves had run out and managed to run on behind Braashee but not enough energy to mount a challenge.

To me Coassack Guard was unable to beat Braashee in a lower class ceiling so why would he turn the form around in a higher class ceiling at Ascot. even with a weight advantage. The higher the class the more sustained pace there usually is within the race, no hiding place to get a breather in before making the effort to maintain the pace for a long as possible, remembering that all horses are slowing down over the final furlong, some less than others.

Good Luck

Chehsam

PS under the name Class Form I did send a letter to the RFU Forum about a horse pre race (Can't remember the horse, but it was one that was bred for Sprints and had been running over a distance to far. For the named horse, was dropping to a sprint. The Letter Title was a A Dosage Of VDW (Taking the Michael out of Phillip Close and his CLose Encounters of VDW) The reason for the title was that it was a breeding angle.

The good news was that the horse won and the Bad news was that the Letter was never published by Tony Peach, even though the race would have been run before the next Forum Publication the letter was sent before the day of the race.

So I have always wondered how many others may have sent in pre race selections but never had them published.
 
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*tom*

Gelding
So I have always wondered how many others may have sent in pre race selections but never had them published.

Many years ago, 1982 I think it was, a guy had a letter published under the pen name of Scaramouche. His was the only letter published and took up half the back page of of the Handicap Book or was it the RFU by then? He talked about using a BBC computer to show graphically the speedfigure progression of the horses in a race. He used to specialise in 6f races only and only had a few bets a season, but with a high strike rate that was all that was needed.

I tried to make contact and to my surprise, he did phone once. He gave me the name of a Jack Berry sprinter, found using his method, which duly won at 11/2.

I think his points were specialisation and graphical representation were the key to horse racing profits.

I never did follow it up as it all seemed like a lot of hard work in them days, and we all know that HARD WORK means NOT INTERESTED!

Nowadays with software that can be made to do stuff automatically, it is probably a lot a lot easier to impliment.

Maybe oneday.
 

mick

Sire
The good news was that the horse won and the Bad news was that the Letter was never published by Tony Peach, even though the race would have been run before the next Forum Publication the letter was sent before the day of the race.

So I have always wondered how many others may have sent in pre race selections but never had them published.

An interesting thought but if correct what purpose would this serve.? Tony was unable to get VDW to proof his picks pre race(just a phone call would have done it) so other readers doing so would have proved the next best thing to help maintain readers interest.

Has anyone ever achieved the type of S/r claimed by vdw and have they proved this on a forum over a reasonable period of time or number of bets.? It would be great if this was so,as if nothing else proving the pudding would validate the guys methods and inspire others to keep up the hard work.

I am still very much a forum novice but have so far not seen the above being done.?
 

Chesham

Sire
An interesting thought but if correct what purpose would this serve.? Tony was unable to get VDW to proof his picks pre race(just a phone call would have done it) so other readers doing so would have proved the next best thing to help maintain readers interest.

Has anyone ever achieved the type of S/r claimed by vdw and have they proved this on a forum over a reasonable period of time or number of bets.? It would be great if this was so,as if nothing else proving the pudding would validate the guys methods and inspire others to keep up the hard work.

I am still very much a forum novice but have so far not seen the above being done.?

Hi Mick I managed pre race, 11/14 (AW Tracks) on a non VDW forum.

Neardown Beauty Won 2/1

Bo McGinty Won 15/8

Dudley Docker Lost

Bel Cantor Won 15/8

Godfrey Street won 2/1

Samarinda Won 4/1

Mogok Ruby 3rd 5/2

Rock Anthem Lost

Princess Cocoa Won 3/1

Highland Harvest won 7/4

Benllech Won 15/8

They All Laughed Won 6/4

Wicked Daze Won 11/4

Kasumi won 1/2




The above were posted pre race on Flatstats, using Class Ratings as a Basis (Not A VDW Rating) plus Form Study, but stopped well short of the 29 winning bets from 32 that VDW claimed within the time period he said those bets were made. Also AW is easier than the Turf Tracks and VDW probably included a mixture of Flat & NH Racing. ( I have not bothered with NH Racing for many years, and do not enjoy watching a horse out on its knees being slapped with the whip to jump a fence that it is too knackered to jump, VDW was correct in saying that NH horses were being bred lighter framed)

Personally I could not achieve the Strike Rate that VDW claimed in that short Time period and as he said at all odds. As you can see my SP's were anything like 'At All sorts of odds'

Good Luck

Chehsam
 
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