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Where Do I Begin?

Hi, even though I have been a member of this forum site for months, i still do not feel my horse racing systems have progressed. I started by using HorseRaceBase (HRB) to create systems that, whilst offering good Win/Loss ratios, didn’t offer great profits.

I tried to use the Ratings system on HRB to create some Speed ratings, but i have struggled to create a decent win/loss percentage.

Having done some reading, i have noticed some people create their own speed ratings, based on the course average times, course difficulties and an individual horse’s best time at a given distance.

To be honest, i don’t even know where to begin creating my own speed ratings.

Here are some questions i have come up with:

1. Where do i obtain the UK/Ireland Course Average track times from? Do i need the average times or the record winning time for each track?
2. How do i calculate the adjustments based on the difficulty of each track?
3. Do i need to factor in any adjustments for the going at each track? For example, if the ground is heavy?
4. Are there additional adjustments to consider for the class of each race? If so, i assume these need to be calculated shen a horse is going up/down in class?
5. Where can i source the necessary data to allow me to generate my own speed ratings as cheaply and as quickly as possible? As i am a full time carer for my elderly father who recently suffered a stroke, i only have limited time each day to work out any speed ratings, update spreadsheets etc.

I would really appreciate any help/advice that could be given.

Kind Regards
 
Where do i obtain the UK/Ireland Course Average track times from? Do i need the average times or the record winning time for each track?

I was amazed to read this, there is so much information available on the forum regarding speed figures.
The most difficult aspect of compiling speed figures is the ability to calculate going allowances.

Here are my own flat turf speed figures, you can scroll the list.
FlatTurf2018.xlsx

Mike.
 

Attachments

  • StandardTimes.xls
    420 KB · Views: 44
  • Speed figures.txt
    2.2 KB · Views: 54
  • Going allowance tables.txt
    368 bytes · Views: 49
I was amazed to read this, there is so much information available on the forum regarding speed figures.
The most difficult aspect of compiling speed figures is the ability to calculate going allowances.

Here are my own flat turf speed figures, you can scroll the list.
FlatTurf2018.xlsx

Mike.

I appreciate your reply. Thankyou. I agree about the information being there, however sometimes the more you read, the more complicated things seem.

I will see what i can come up with as a starting point and post my findings on the forum.
 
I was amazed to read this, there is so much information available on the forum regarding speed figures.
The most difficult aspect of compiling speed figures is the ability to calculate going allowances.

Here are my own flat turf speed figures, you can scroll the list.
FlatTurf2018.xlsx

Mike.

Sorry if this sounds a silly question, but for the Going Allowances, there is a range, for example:

Good -0.25s/f to +0.18s/f

Do you have any logic on the value you apply for Good going in this example, or do you choose any value within the range of -0.25s/f to +0.18s/f?

Thanks again
 

The Hare

Filly
Hello Giuseppe
It's great that you are taking an interest in compiling a set of speed figures/ ratings for horses.
There are though so many ways to produce them and of course none are perfect.
What you need to realise though, there is no easy fix to this job and as you are looking for a method of rating horses quickly yo ushould be certain this is for you. Whilst the process itself is relatively straightforward. The excellent post from @ TheBluesBrother TheBluesBrother above basically gives you the kind of method you need. It makes it seem easy but if you read other posts by Mike on the subject you will realise it can become an all consuming task. If you really don't have much time and are looking for a system to make a guaranteed profit I would look elsewhere. There is unlikely to be any rating system that can sustain a long term profit.

As for your question on how to determine good going. This is just the range that Mike uses for correcting race times. So if you read his method of producing the figures you will end up with a "going correction", maybe more than one for a meeting and if it is in this range then the going can be considered good.

If you really are serious the best guide is to read all the posts by Mike or on the ratings section the early Days thread. This will give you a guide on how to calculate speed figures and the complexity of something that appears so simple. Then decide if you want to devote the time to it. It can be so rewarding, but it is no easy fix I promise!
 
Hello Giuseppe
It's great that you are taking an interest in compiling a set of speed figures/ ratings for horses.
There are though so many ways to produce them and of course none are perfect.
What you need to realise though, there is no easy fix to this job and as you are looking for a method of rating horses quickly yo ushould be certain this is for you. Whilst the process itself is relatively straightforward. The excellent post from @ TheBluesBrother TheBluesBrother above basically gives you the kind of method you need. It makes it seem easy but if you read other posts by Mike on the subject you will realise it can become an all consuming task. If you really don't have much time and are looking for a system to make a guaranteed profit I would look elsewhere. There is unlikely to be any rating system that can sustain a long term profit.

As for your question on how to determine good going. This is just the range that Mike uses for correcting race times. So if you read his method of producing the figures you will end up with a "going correction", maybe more than one for a meeting and if it is in this range then the going can be considered good.

If you really are serious the best guide is to read all the posts by Mike or on the ratings section the early Days thread. This will give you a guide on how to calculate speed figures and the complexity of something that appears so simple. Then decide if you want to devote the time to it. It can be so rewarding, but it is no easy fix I promise!

Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

Regards
Giuseppe
 
Good -0.25s/f to +0.18s/f

You have to have a range, this was from the table I worked out years ago, to make it simple.

Firm +0.50s/f
Good to Firm +0.25s/f
Good 0.00s/f
Good to Soft -0.25s/f
Soft -0.50s/f
Soft to Heavy -0.75s/f
Heavy -1.00s/f

With regards to the going description of heavy there really isn't a limit, myself and Dave Edwards "Top Speed" of the Racing Post,
have recorded very heavy going allowances of up to -3.20s/f, the worst racecourse and record holder is Cork (IRE), and in this country Ffos Las.

Here is an example of the going allowance I had for Brighton yesterday, my going allowance was +0.32s/f (good to firm).

Brighton.png

Mike.
 
Last edited:
You have to have a range, this was from the table I worked out years ago, to make it simple.

Firm +0.50s/f
Good to Firm +0.25s/f
Good 0.00s/f
Good to Soft -0.25s/f
Soft -0.50s/f
Soft to Heavy -0.75s/f
Heavy -1.00s/f

With regards to the going description of heavy there really isn't a limit, myself and Dave Edwards "Top Speed" of the Racing Post,
have recorded very heavy going allowances of up to -3.20s/f, the worst racecourse and record holder is Cork (IRE), and in this country Ffos Las.

Here is an example of the going allowance I had for Brighton yesterday, my going allowance was +0.32s/f (good to firm).

View attachment 62455

Mike.

Thanks again. I gather this is a science, something that you have studied for many years, not something you pick up over night.

I suppose i now need to find an easy source to get the winning times from every day. As i work with the SQL server database, i would love to be able to import a file in every day with the race, winning horse and winning time, then running a script to calculate the speed rating for that horse/race.

At present i am only a member of HorseRaceBase, so i could manually input the result of each race, horse snd winning time from there.
 
giuseppe_esq giuseppe_esq

I maintain an Excel file compressed with WinRaR, that has every meeting I have worked on going back to Jan 2013.
If I am not happy with a speed figure I can re-visit a meeting to see if any changes are needed, in column "H" you will
see my going allowances and see that column "N" is hidden.

I work to a base rate of 100 and a weight of 9-0 on the flat, and a base rate of 130 and a weight of 11-0 over the jumps.
If you do not have WinRaR you can use the free utility 7-zip to uncompress the file.

Speed figures2: Speed figures2 - Google Drive

Nottingham racecourse is one of the most difficult to rate due to the fact that they race on 2 courses, yesterday they raced on the outer, note
that I used 2 going allowances.

Nottingham.png

Another problem we have, is that there were rail movements at Nottingham, so I adjust for that using my "15 Method" and adjust the times in the comparison per furlong column.

https://www.britishhorseracing.com/racing/results/

Nottingham:
Rails: Outer track. Rail is set out 6 yards on the home bend and 4 yards on the stands bend, adding approximately 18 yards to Races 3, 4 and 5, and approximately 30 yards to race 6.

As the race distances were increased we have to subtract from the race times in the comparison per furlong column, if the race distance were minus, we add to the times.

18yds/15 = 1.2s
30yds/15 = 2.0s

With regards to the standard times list I use, most days I am updating them.

StandardTimes.xls

Mike.
 
Last edited:
giuseppe_esq giuseppe_esq

I maintain an Excel file compressed with WinRaR, that has every meeting I have worked on going back to Jan 2013.
If I am not happy with a speed figure I can re-visit a meeting to see if any changes are needed, in column "H" you will
see my going allowances and see that column "N" is hidden.

I work to a base rate of 100 and a weight of 9-0 on the flat, and a base rate of 130 and a weight of 11-0 over the jumps.
If you do not have WinRaR you can use the free utility 7-zip to uncompress the file.

Speed figures2: Speed figures2 - Google Drive

Nottingham racecourse is one of the most difficult to rate due to the fact that they race on 2 courses, yesterday they raced on the outer, note
that I used 2 going allowances.

View attachment 62480

Another problem we have, is that there were rail movements at Nottingham, so I adjust for that using my "15 Method" and adjust the times in the comparison per furlong column.

https://www.britishhorseracing.com/racing/results/

Nottingham:
Rails: Outer track. Rail is set out 6 yards on the home bend and 4 yards on the stands bend, adding approximately 18 yards to Races 3, 4 and 5, and approximately 30 yards to race 6.

As the race distances were increased we have to subtract from the race times in the comparison per furlong column, if the race distance were minus, we add to the times.

18yds/15 = 1.2s
30yds/15 = 2.0s

With regards to the standard times list I use, most days I am updating them.

StandardTimes.xls

Mike.

Thanks Mike.

I will look through these then work out how i can maintain my own figures.
 

davejb

Mare
Hi giuseppe_esq giuseppe_esq
I've only just noticed your thread, so apologies for being a bit late to join in.
You say you have used HRB - under the 'Research' tab in HRB there is a results option that will allow you to download a complete set of results for any date you wish, it can also download the past week's worth of results in one file if you wish.

Because I write computer programs to calculate my ratings and other statistics I find the HRB results download a convenient starting point, but it is quite possible to use the data from other sources, such as Mike (TheBluesBrother) pointed out earlier. If you have 'essential' or 'ultimate' membership on the Racing Post site you can store your ratings for each race and call them back up when looking at race cards in the future - this isn't ideal as you are quite limited how you use the stored ratings, but it's okay to use while learning more about what you can and can;t do. Mike's approach is more like this than my programming method, both are workable.

The manual 'do it all in spreadsheets' way of rating can be quite time consuming to do it well, writing programs to do it is also time intensive because the programs can get quite involved - which way you choose to do it is up to personal preference, but I would say that however you want to do it will take a lot of work, and is not a job to take on unless you have quite a lot of spare time.

Dave
 
Hi giuseppe_esq giuseppe_esq
I've only just noticed your thread, so apologies for being a bit late to join in.
You say you have used HRB - under the 'Research' tab in HRB there is a results option that will allow you to download a complete set of results for any date you wish, it can also download the past week's worth of results in one file if you wish.

Because I write computer programs to calculate my ratings and other statistics I find the HRB results download a convenient starting point, but it is quite possible to use the data from other sources, such as Mike (TheBluesBrother) pointed out earlier. If you have 'essential' or 'ultimate' membership on the Racing Post site you can store your ratings for each race and call them back up when looking at race cards in the future - this isn't ideal as you are quite limited how you use the stored ratings, but it's okay to use while learning more about what you can and can;t do. Mike's approach is more like this than my programming method, both are workable.

The manual 'do it all in spreadsheets' way of rating can be quite time consuming to do it well, writing programs to do it is also time intensive because the programs can get quite involved - which way you choose to do it is up to personal preference, but I would say that however you want to do it will take a lot of work, and is not a job to take on unless you have quite a lot of spare time.

Dave


Hi Dave,

Thanks for your reply. I agree with what you are saying. I appreciate Mike sending me his historical speed ratings. They will give me a great foundation to build upon.

I work with SQL Server so ideally i would like to utilise that and import any foat files in, then run some scripts to do the calculations.

Regards
Giuseppe
 
giuseppe_esq giuseppe_esq

I maintain an Excel file compressed with WinRaR, that has every meeting I have worked on going back to Jan 2013.
If I am not happy with a speed figure I can re-visit a meeting to see if any changes are needed, in column "H" you will
see my going allowances and see that column "N" is hidden.

I work to a base rate of 100 and a weight of 9-0 on the flat, and a base rate of 130 and a weight of 11-0 over the jumps.
If you do not have WinRaR you can use the free utility 7-zip to uncompress the file.

Speed figures2: Speed figures2 - Google Drive

Nottingham racecourse is one of the most difficult to rate due to the fact that they race on 2 courses, yesterday they raced on the outer, note
that I used 2 going allowances.

View attachment 62480

Another problem we have, is that there were rail movements at Nottingham, so I adjust for that using my "15 Method" and adjust the times in the comparison per furlong column.

https://www.britishhorseracing.com/racing/results/

Nottingham:
Rails: Outer track. Rail is set out 6 yards on the home bend and 4 yards on the stands bend, adding approximately 18 yards to Races 3, 4 and 5, and approximately 30 yards to race 6.

As the race distances were increased we have to subtract from the race times in the comparison per furlong column, if the race distance were minus, we add to the times.

18yds/15 = 1.2s
30yds/15 = 2.0s

With regards to the standard times list I use, most days I am updating them.

StandardTimes.xls

Mike.

Hi Mike,

So do you only store the speed ratings for the winners of each race, then calculate the times for the other horses in that race, based on the distance beaten, as and when required or do you also have these speed ratings (for the non-winning horses) stored?

If you wanted to compare the speed ratings for all the horses in a specific UK 5F flat race tomorrow, do you use the race each horse ran in last time out and work out the relevant speed ratings (if a horse didn’t win)?

Sorry if this sounds a silly question.

Cheers Giuseppe
 

davejb

Mare
giuseppe_esq giuseppe_esq
If you are prepared to run up a suitable SQL database (or several) and write routines to query it when you want, for example, to produce a race card for your 5f race tomorrow, you'll find it a very versatile tool if done well. It will also take you quite a lot of time, as the race results data you will download will tend to need rather more correction and careful editing than you might expect.

If you use a database for this you'll be doing similar to myself, I store data on trainers, jockeys, races, runners, courses primarily, then run various computer programs to analyse the data and to produce a series of racecard type files in Excel format for each day. This is labour intensive, especially if like myself you keep thinking of new ways to look at things, but I have to admit that the basic routine of storing data and producing racecards from it is now largely a simple and fairly quick process... it still takes at least say an hour to process results on even the simplest day, and another hour later on to produce tomorrow's information, and I suspect Mike spends longer than I do on the job.

A big job, one that Mike has already mentioned, is to calculate the going allowance (what US handicappers would call the track variant) - Mike doesn't just read it off that list he posted for you, he calculates an allowance from the race times, the standard times for the race distances run, and the official handicap ratings and weight of the winners. His list of allowances is more a sort of checklist, to see if his calculated allowance suggests the same going as the official results - it is not unknown to calculate a very slow allowance that indicates heavy, almost bottomless going, and yet the official going report says 'soft'.

You can only do this with a degree of accuracy if you have accurate track distances and race times, both Mike and I spend time each day adjusting distances to account for rail movements that alter the race distance, and checking that the recorded race time is actually correct - for example in two races yesterday Timeform and the Racing Post published race times that were 10 seconds different to each other, which means you spend time watching videos to find out who has got it right. I probably spend an hour each day checking the data before I can even start to actually process it - on a bad day both Mike and I have spent maybe 3 or 4 hours sorting the mess out.

Having calculated the rating for the winner we use the distance the other horses were beaten by, the difference in weights that they carried (this is why Mike told you his flat figures are based on a weight of 9-0), and a figure referred to as 'lbs (pounds) per length' where for every length a horse is beaten by it is assessed as being that many pounds inferior to the winner - the pounds per length figure is calculated as a fraction of the standard time for that race distance, so it is a different figure for every distance at each racecourse.

I think Mike stores his ratings using the 'my ratings' facility on the Racing Post website, no doubt he'll be along about 5 in the morning to confirm or deny that, he's often online early on just before going off to torment fish.

Good luck with your efforts,
Dave
 
giuseppe_esq giuseppe_esq
If you are prepared to run up a suitable SQL database (or several) and write routines to query it when you want, for example, to produce a race card for your 5f race tomorrow, you'll find it a very versatile tool if done well. It will also take you quite a lot of time, as the race results data you will download will tend to need rather more correction and careful editing than you might expect.

If you use a database for this you'll be doing similar to myself, I store data on trainers, jockeys, races, runners, courses primarily, then run various computer programs to analyse the data and to produce a series of racecard type files in Excel format for each day. This is labour intensive, especially if like myself you keep thinking of new ways to look at things, but I have to admit that the basic routine of storing data and producing racecards from it is now largely a simple and fairly quick process... it still takes at least say an hour to process results on even the simplest day, and another hour later on to produce tomorrow's information, and I suspect Mike spends longer than I do on the job.

A big job, one that Mike has already mentioned, is to calculate the going allowance (what US handicappers would call the track variant) - Mike doesn't just read it off that list he posted for you, he calculates an allowance from the race times, the standard times for the race distances run, and the official handicap ratings and weight of the winners. His list of allowances is more a sort of checklist, to see if his calculated allowance suggests the same going as the official results - it is not unknown to calculate a very slow allowance that indicates heavy, almost bottomless going, and yet the official going report says 'soft'.

You can only do this with a degree of accuracy if you have accurate track distances and race times, both Mike and I spend time each day adjusting distances to account for rail movements that alter the race distance, and checking that the recorded race time is actually correct - for example in two races yesterday Timeform and the Racing Post published race times that were 10 seconds different to each other, which means you spend time watching videos to find out who has got it right. I probably spend an hour each day checking the data before I can even start to actually process it - on a bad day both Mike and I have spent maybe 3 or 4 hours sorting the mess out.

Having calculated the rating for the winner we use the distance the other horses were beaten by, the difference in weights that they carried (this is why Mike told you his flat figures are based on a weight of 9-0), and a figure referred to as 'lbs (pounds) per length' where for every length a horse is beaten by it is assessed as being that many pounds inferior to the winner - the pounds per length figure is calculated as a fraction of the standard time for that race distance, so it is a different figure for every distance at each racecourse.

I think Mike stores his ratings using the 'my ratings' facility on the Racing Post website, no doubt he'll be along about 5 in the morning to confirm or deny that, he's often online early on just before going off to torment fish.

Good luck with your efforts,
Dave

Thanks again for your very detailed reply. I really appreciate the great feedback and helpfulness the people on this forum provide.

The big question is, for the time invested, is it worth it in terms of profitability?

Kind regards
Giuseppe
 
So do you only store the speed ratings for the winners of each race, then calculate the times for the other horses in that race, based on the distance beaten, as and when required or do you also have these speed ratings (for the non-winning horses) stored?

Firstly I calculate the winners of each race, then use the rating tool in the members section of the Racing Post, every runner is then rated and stored on their server.

Profitability is not the reason I compile speed figures, over the years it has turned into an obsession, it keeps my brain active.

I do not look at the racing every day, I wait until one of my specials runs, this is usually a horse that jumps off the page at me, this could be one or two horses per week.

Mike.
 
Last edited:

davejb

Mare
For myself, no is the short answer probably. I'm quite similar to Mike, in that I'm doing this as an engaging hobby, it keeps my brain active in retirement, and by developing my programs to explore different ideas I learn more about the sport. I gamble very little frankly,although I might alter that a little if I find I'm improving my ability to pick winners noticeably.

To me racing is a puzzle, and I'd like to solve it, this gives me a great deal of entertainment in exchange for my efforts. Although my ratings will produce a selection for each race, and in my own thread on the topic I will provide daily totals to show how the number of top rated runners performed, I do not necessarily back the top rated on the occasions I do bet - speed ratings are, in my opinion, only part of the information you need to have if you want to predict the winner.

If I were primarily concerned with betting I would simply take form and speed ratings that already existed, such as Topspeed and the RPR from the racing post, and use them as the starting point for selection - along with some profiling and basics like checking the draw.

Dave
 

student

Yearling
Thanks again for your very detailed reply. I really appreciate the great feedback and helpfulness the people on this forum provide.

The big question is, for the time invested, is it worth it in terms of profitability?

Kind regards
Giuseppe

Hi Giusepee
I’m a newbie to this forum and as Mick will confirm I have difficulty in writing short postings. I’ll try and make my points simple and clear, but apologise in advance.
I’ve researched and used my own speed ratings since the early 60s. Not many punters used speed then and one could make profits in 2yo races and I got restricted and laid off by bookies on Merseyside.
With speed being considered by more people now, I use them to inform my collateral ratings and vice versa as just one way of identifying ‘false’ run races/ratings. For example, a low speed rating (compared to its collateral rating – on same scale) can result from a slow early pace or a ‘too fast’ early pace where a few horses battled for the early lead and quickly reached their exhaustion point & slowing to allow an ‘average’ hold up horse to continue past them at one pace in ff. The OH will have to uprate that winner probably by about 6lbs because its beaten better horses (on paper)– false rating?
If one calculates a going allowance based on all races on the card, a low speed rating could result from runners in the straight running into a head wind, whilst runners down the back straight get wind assisted for a few furlongs. Then one can calculate separate allowances for each wind strength and direction, etc etc.
My impression over the years is that most punters who base bets solely on speed ratings may make relatively small profits mainly by getting the occasional longshot winner (including specialists Phil Bull and Alex Bird).
Mike and Dave have given you good advice, so I’ll finish my bit on speed.
I was interested in was your ability to get good strike rate but not profits with HRB ratings, which I’ve no experience with. That’s a positive achievement in developing your methods. I’m guessing that the lack of profit could be the result of using ideas (good recent form etc) that the rest of the market uses. Any successful investor in anything has to be sufficiently ‘contrarian’ from the rest of the investors, to make a profit. For example, the market usually likes a winner last time out, they don’t like a bad recent run. But good trainers will take that horse home, work out any problem and put it right as quickly as possible. I think that’s why you hear a lot of good punters say they can’t get a certain trainer ‘right’; trainers like Clive Brittain, Mark Johnston.

Investigating a ‘bad’ run lto may reveal that it was excusable or much better than it seems on paper. That run could put the market away and offer value odds to you if they haven’t looked at the right details. All you have to do is find a few details that matter that don’t get the headlines. There are lots. One way is to listen to what the best jocks talk about; Johnny Murtagh and Dettori. Don’t judge them by their tips, its what they say about why horses run better or worse. They know about horses.
In summary, I suggest that you don’t give up on the use of collateral ratings. They are more consistent than speed ratings for reasons given above. You may like to consider balancing your research time between the two types of rating and linking your findings together that make horse sense.
Very best wishes
 
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