How To Measure Class…Differently

Last week I wrote about understanding the classes in horse racing. It is important to understand the classes because once you understand how they work then you will be able to use this knowledge to find a profit. You can check out that article here. Today I want to look at how we can measure class differently and use this extra knowledge to gain an edge.

The secret ingredient to all profitable betting is to be different. You have to look at a race in a different way to the majority of the betting public, otherwise you will never be able to profit.

But we have some great news here…

  • Most of the betting public don’t try very hard when they find their selections and…that is why they lose!

What does this mean for us?

It means, that if we are prepared to spend a little bit of time, then the results can be incredible.

You don’t need to come up with crazily complex methods, sometimes the simplest concepts work wonders.

We know that the official class ratings of races are based on the official rating a horse has, and this means that while we have a race class, it is with a very broad sweep of the brush. The quality of the runners in one Class 3 race can be very different to another Class 3 race. If we can identify the true class of the runners in the race, then we can determine if it is likely to be competitive or not and who the best runners are.

So how do we measure class?

In order to decide that, we need to define what class actually is…

  • Is it the quality of a horse’s breeding?
  • Is it the the amount of money a horse has won?
  • Is it how strongly it has raced?

These are just a few possible ways, I am sure that you can come up with many more.

There are many ways that we can define class, and this means…that there are many ways we can rate the class of a horse.

In fact the more ways we can find to rate a race, the more ways we can find to make a profit.

Let’s take just one of the definitions above…the amount of money a horse has won. If we keep track of the class of a horse by recording its winnings (win and place separately) over different race conditions, then we will start to build a good record of where horses perform well.

We could take this a stage further by making the most recent winnings worth more than the winnings it gained a year or more ago. After all, as a horse goes through its career it has high points and low points. It never stands still. The more recent results are far more relevant to how a horse will perform today than results from a long time ago!

To do this, we may decide that any winnings a horse won more than a year ago we only count 50% of, more than 2 years ago 25% of them etc…

Now you are starting to get some useful figures. But, there is still more we can do!

A horse that won a race by a nose is not as impressive as a horse that won the same race by 5 lengths. So…

…maybe we should also include a weighting on our class rating that allows for this difference!

After all, at the moment both runners would get the same prize money and we wouldn’t known that one was better than the other.

If we multiplied a horses winnings by the distance they won by, or in the case of a place divided them by the distance behind the winner, then we are now adjusting them to take account of how well the horse actually ran in each race as well!

That is just one possible way of accounting for how a horse performed in each race, I am sure that you can come up with many more.

And where does all this leave us?

With a rating for each runner that looks at the class based on…

  • How much a horse has earned
  • Allowing for more recent races to be more important
  • Taking into account how well a horse performed in each race

Now, you have a completely different way of monitoring the class of horses, compare these to the official classes and you will begin to see some different horses highlighted as being the best in a race!

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. Except for the at pattern levles, I can’t see that your 1st and 3rd suggestions woking out as well as might be expected because:

    1. How much a lower grade horse has won is imaterial if the connections are big backers. Then what matters is how big its odds are when it wins.

    2. Even if connections aren’t big backers, there is a penalty for winning by too much when taking part in Handicap races.

    Thus at all but the very top levels there are plenty of incentives fror connections to try and disguise the true capability of their horse (assuming it is a decent horse).

    1. To add to my previous comment:

      Whilst there are some trainers and owners who talk up their runners chances, the majority are either more cicumspect or more canny. Hunt Ball’s owner is just obviouly crazy.

      Also why take too much out of a horse by having it win by a larger margin than for safety? I t just means that it will take longer to recover.

      Today we will get an indication of how canny J Gosden and W Buick were with Nathaniel 2 weeks ago. If he had as hard a race as reported by many journalists then he is a no-hoper for the King George.
      However the King George was always the target so I expect him to run well, especially giveb the current for of the trainer/jocky combination.

      1. There are many ways of looking at this and the above are just some examples. The majority of my betting is done through database handicapping which means that I try not to take into account data that cannot be easily quantified, such as whether connections are big backers and on what conditions they place bets, when etc…

        The above concept can be very effective, and is one of a number of ways I look at class myself. Having said that, you are also very much right in that connections do go to different levels to try and disguise the true capability of their hoses. They are just different ways of looking at the racing puzzle.

        I agree that it will be interesting to see how Nathaniel runs today.

  2. Michael, The video that you did a demo on FLsoftware, does this demo not
    show the class horses in those races ?


    1. I actually haven’t used FL Software for a while but it did show the class, and there was some kind of class rating in it.

  3. This is a very interesting article but where can I find all this information on the winnings earned and recently placed horses. On which site?

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