Pedigree Handicapping – What is it?

There isn’t a day that goes past that an email doesn’t hit your inbox purporting to have a brand new incredible technique for making a fortune from horse racing. The truth is that there is very little which is totally new. There are new techniques, angles and methods but these are most often based on old techniques that have been re-worked and renewed to be successful with modern day racing.

One thing however always remains true, the more work a method requires from the user then the less people will use it. Some of the most profitable techniques are used by very few people because they require a lot of work.

With so many possible methods of finding selections, if you use a number of processes that take a lot of work then you very quickly find that the whole day has gone in analysis and betting.

For most people this is simply not something that is possible to do around other jobs and commitments.

So is the answer to ignore those methods which take time and focus on a lot of quicker methods, or to choose a single method which is more time consuming and focus on that?

Generally speaking it will be the latter. Focusing on a single method which is more time consuming and becoming an expert in it is, 99% of the time, the better route to choose. But, 99% of punters choose to focus on a lot of quicker methods.

If you want to focus on one more time consuming method then one which is massively underused by punters is pedigree handicapping.

Pedigree handicapping is the process of looking at a horses breeding and seeing what traits may have been handed down to it. It is possible to get a good edge using this technique in a number of races, but specifically in maiden races where little is known about the performance of the horse and most of the markets are formed based on stable feelings and what is written in the press rather than hard facts. The same is also true for a horse debuting on a new surface.

The usual method of pedigree handicapping is done using something known as the Dosage Method which was invented in the 20th century by a French researcher. This method uses a Dosage Profile, Dosage Index and Centre Of Distribution rating to determine what conditions are likely to be most suitable for a horse.

The Dosage Profile puts the horse in a category which indicates how strong it’s preference is going to be for speed or stamina.

The Dosage Index tells us how much more a speed is going to have a preference to either speed or stamina. For example it may indicate that a horse is four times as many speed points as stamina and so is going to be a faster horse and prefer a sprint race.

The Centre Of Distribution is like a scale, and tells us how far either side, speed or stamina, the balance point for this horse is. This is demonstrated in the image below.


As you can see above, if a horse has more speed than stamina then the balance point needs to be closer to the speed in order for it to maintain balance. It is this balance point position that the CDI tells us.

As a general rule a horse with a high Dosage Index are more likely to sprinter horses who will have a preference for short races and those with high Dosage Points are generally better bred horses. The opposites are also true.

Those who want to take pedigree handicapping one level further can also use ratings known as GSV and COI. These stand for Genetic Strength Value (GSV) and Coefficient Of Inbreeding (COI).

The GSV is used to find horses that are better bred than other horses and is particularly useful when analysing maiden races. This should ideally be used with a sire and broodmare rating as well. The higher the GSV the better bred a horse, unless they have a sire or broodmare with a low rating, in which case this is one to be wary of.

The COI value is not used very often but when it indicates more than 5% you need to be aware of it as this indicates that the inbreeding for the horse is getting high (most horses have 2%-3%). If it goes above 10% then the horse is most likely to inbred to run well and statistically these horses generally perform poorly.

Pedigree handicapping can be a very effective and profitable method of finding selections. It is a fairly methodical process which suits most punters, including beginners, as it doesn’t require much expertise and opinion.

If you would like to find out more about how to use the Dosage Method then you can do so in two brilliantly written articles by Dosage expert Ben Aitken. These are available at:

The Dosage Method – The Alternative Analysis Tool

The Dosage Method – The Alternative Analysis Tool Part 2

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.
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