How To Calculate Going Allowance

I was recently browsing through some of the posts on the Race Advisor and I came across this one.

In it I take a look at what exactly a going allowance is and why you would want to use one. It’s a pretty good read if I do say so myself 😉

If you create, or have been thinking of creating, your own speed figures then it’s a mus tread. In fact… if you use somebody else’s speed figures then you should read it as well just to understand how a going allowance works.

In brief, the going allowance is a figure that tells you how much to adjust your speed ratings by to take account of the condition of the ground.

A horse running on heavy ground is going to run a lot slower than a horse on firm ground. The going allowance takes that into account so that you can compare a speed rating between both of these horses on a fair basis.

So today… I’m going to show you a simple way to calculate your going allowance.

This requires a few steps, and the first one is to find the Standard Time for your race. A number of websites create their own standard times, and of course you can create your own. In this example I’m going to use the Racing Post.

Since the Racing post started charging for elements of their website, the standard times are no longer available for free. However somebody over on The Racing Forum compiled a list a few years back.

Yes, they’re going to be slightly out of date. But they are good enough to understand how to calculate a going allowance. If you’re seriously going to want to create your own speed ratings then you should be calculating your own standard times. Let me know if you’d like to learn how by leaving a comment at the end of this post.

For now…

[button color=”blue” size=”big” link=”” icon=”” target=”true”]Download Standard Times[/button]

Once you’ve downloaded this file open it up and find the course that you are wanted to calculate your going allowance for, find the distance and type of the race and look across to the RP Standard column.

I’m going to use Perth over the distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs which has a standard time of 4m44s or 284 seconds.

My preference is always to work in seconds only as there is just one single number that relates to the time and is easier to do calculations on.

Now that you know the standard time for the race you are working on, you need to compare the time the race took with the standard time. Here is the race I am using:

The time of the race was 5 minutes and 11.70 seconds. That’s the same as 311.70 seconds. The standard time is 284 seconds so the difference is 27.70 seconds.

We now need to work out the difference on per mile basis. The race was 2 miles 4 furlongs. Again I like to change this into a single figure, since we need the distance in miles we convert 2 miles 4 furlongs into 2.5 miles.

The conversion is easily done on Google by typing in:

2 miles 4 furlongs in miles

Google will then automatically do the conversion for you.

To work out the difference in time on a per mile basis we take our 27.70 seconds difference and divide it by 2.5:

27.70 ÷ 2.5 = 11.08

The difference is 11.08 seconds per mile. Repeat this process for every race at the course on the day and you will end up with a table like this:

Races At Perth Standard Time Actual Time Difference Difference Per Mile
17:10 284 311.7 27.7 11.08
17:40 220 232 12 6
18:10 340 369.6 29.6 9.87
18:40 220 233.5 13.5 6.75
19:10 284 299.4 15.4 6.16
19:40 340 365.5 25.5 8.5

*Please note that a distance of 3 miles doesn’t exist in the spreadsheet as that distance wasn’t raced at Perth when it was created. For the purposes of this example I took an estimate of what the standard time would be.

All of these races were run slower than the standard time. Next we need to remove the outliers. These are the races with the highest and lowest difference per mile figure. We do this because we don’t want to put exceptionally fast or slow times into our calculates to try and stop them from being biased.

That means we remove the 11.08 and the 6 from the following calculations.

Now all you need to do is take the four remaining difference per mile figures:





And… calculate the average of them. The average of these numbers is: 7.82

Convert this back to the average time for the distance of the race, in this case we multiply it by 2.5, the same as we divided it earlier, for 7.82 x 2.5 = 19.55

You can now remove this number from the Actual Time figure to get the winner’s time with the going allowance taken into account:

Actual Time Actual Time With Going Allowance
311.7 292.15
232 212.45
369.6 350.06
233.5 214
299.4 279.85
365.5 346

Congratulations, you’ve just calculated a going allowance for a day’s racing at a course and adjusted the winning time of the races to take account of this going allowance.

You can now go ahead and calculate your speed ratings.
If you’re not sure how to calculate speed ratings and would be interested to know, then leave me a comment below this post.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. If you’re seriously going to want to create your own speed ratings then you should be calculating your own standard times. Let me know if you’d like to learn how by leaving a comment at the end of this post.

    Yes Michael, this is something I would like to know a lot more about, its something that I have never learned much about, much to my shame.

    So, I will look forward to your lessons.

    Kindest regards


    ps I have been trying to find a link to purchase your book that you have mentioned recently.

    Can you post details please.

  2. Would this not be another thing to work out and cause even more confusion. I am interested but would love to know what you think are the order of importance to create a suitable method of trying to find winners in races.
    Also what is more suitable for the small backer not those betting £10 plus per bet as a lot of the profits are shown to large stakes and when broken down look poor.
    I enjoy your articles and appreciate you taking the time as well.

  3. Hello Michael.
    Its always been something i would like to know a lot more about because in the past i have found the subject much too complex for me.Perhaps you can help me.

  4. Sorry but you’ve lost me here. So according to you, I just need to pick any day at random at Perth and then re-calculate based on the times for the going that day?

    How about if I pick a different day, same going, same racecourse and the times are completely different? Are you saying that the difference in times for the same going, same racecourse on different days don’t vary?

    1. Thanks for the comment Chris. It’s not for any day, it’s for the day you’re analysing. If you’re looking to create speed figures for yesterdays racing then the going allowance would only be relevant to that day at each course.

      1. Sorry but I still don’t understand this.

        If I take every race for the day that I’m analysing and calculate the difference then what use will it be to me as the racing will be over for the day by then?

        “Repeat this process for every race at the course on the day and you will end up with a table like this:”

        1. You calculate the going allowance when you’re creating speed figures. Speed figures are calculated after a race, adjusting for conditions such as going, so that next time the horse runs you can look at their speed and directly compare them to the other runners in the race. Hope that clears it up.

  5. Thanks again for an interesting article and yes I would like to learn how to create a standard time

  6. Hi Michael. When will you write about compiling speed figures will it be soon, looking forward to it

  7. hi mike the going allowance was good i would like to try doing the speed ratings not top speed ,and what is the essence of weights adjustment?

    1. This is to adjust the speed for the weight the horse carried so that a horse running slower because of heavy weight carried will not have it’s speed figures penalised for it and a faster horse with no weight will be slightly penalised, so you can see them on a level playing field.

  8. I don’t think your calculation is correct as you are subtracting seconds per mile units from seconds units. You need to multiply the average by the distance beforehand.

  9. Having read your article on how to construct a going allowance not quite sure what the next steps should be in creating a comparative speed figure Is there an article available to read from thereon? Many Thanks

  10. This article does not provide a clearly defined process, its difficult to follow, no mention of any distinction between times above or below standard, part of the process is “typing into google” when it should be be (furlongs / 8) or (metres divided by 1609) etc. Its all over the shop and not succinct, should be rewritten as there are very few articles on the topic and this one must get most of the traffic.

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