Following on from last weeks article, I thought we could continue down the path of ratings. Specifically why we shouldn’t use the same rating in all races!
It is very easy to get used to using just a single rating for all the races that you look at. In fact, the way the major online racing sites such as the Racing Post, Sporting Life, Timeform etc… display their data is actively encouraging this.
This is in part due to the fact that they are long standing establishments and in some cases they want to sell you their other information. But using one rating for all the races you handicap is not wise!
I should put in a disclaimer here and say that I have never used Timeform ratings. I hear they are very good but over-subscription now makes them less useful. I have nothing but respect for the founder Phil Bull and have learned a lot from the techniques he used. But the biggest problem with Timeform is that they are very quiet about how the figures are calculated and more importantly, their past data. But that is a different conversation for a different time.
Today we are looking at why you shouldn’t use the same rating for every race. In order to answer this question I want to put a thought into your mind.
If it was easy to have a single rating that was strong enough to find the winner in every race would multiple sites have it and offer it for free?
Having worked alongside some of the people who derive the figures for major teams around the world. I would have to say that the hundreds of thousands of dollars that are spent creating such figures would rule out any possibility of giving them away for free!
Even more importantly, these figures are what I would call dynamic. In other words it is not a fixed process to create them like the free figures you see on UK racing sites.
Single figures, which are usually in the form of an odds-line but occasionally are power ratings, are made from a combination of hundreds, if not thousands of ratings. These are combined in DIFFERENT ways for DIFFERENT races.
The word different is the key! The numbers are not put together in the same way for each race. Instead they are put together in such a way that is most effective for the race that is currently being rated. It is not a fixed process but changes dynamically based on the conditions of the race and the runners in it.
With that in mind, we need to look at our own handicapping and realise that all races are not made equal. There are a number of different conditions for the course and even more conditions for the horses. As well as the course conditions, the group of horses races will be a major factor in determining the type of race that is about to take place.
Looking at a race from this perspective shows that it is not sensible to use the same rating in the same way for every race. Instead we need to look at the conditions of the race and the types of runners in it and then determine which the best ratings are to analyse the race effectively.
For example, in a sprint you may want to put more emphasis on speed, front-runners, initial pace etc… for long distance chase races you may want to put more emphasis on ratings that look at pace, going preferences, stamina, likelihood of falling etc…
As always with racing, don’t follow the crowd. Spend a bit of time looking at what the winner of the race is going to need to achieve and then use this to determine which ratings you should be using.