28th September 2015
Knowing if your horse is improving is important, but knowing if it's been in significant decline is even more so.
It's a rare occasion that we want to bet on a horse that’s shown recent significant decline.
After all... horses in a significant decline seldom win!
So today I’m going to look at how you can use whatever ratings you use to find your selections to give you an indication of whether a horse is in decline or not.
To do this I'm going to use the official ratings (OR) as everyone has access to them, but you can use any ratings where you can see the past ratings of a runner.
For the example in todays post I've chosen a 3 mile handicap hurdle race where all runners have past form.
While you don’t need to have all runners with past form to use this method, I strongly suggest it as the more experience a horse has the more accurate our assessment can be.
I'll also be using just the last 10 races for each runner. However, you can use more or less races than this depending on your time available.
If you use more you should be aware that something which happened a long-time ago may have very little or no relevance to todays race. There are ways to compensate for this but that is outside the focus of todays post.
The runner I have chosen has the following OR for it’s last ten races are…
The rating at the top of the above list is for the most recent race going down to the race that took place longest ago.
To start we want to look for improvements in these figures. There are a number of ways we can do this…
The simplest is to compare the last rating with the most recent rating.
The last rating is 141 and the most recent is 140, so there is no real movement. But that doesn’t tell us the whole story because we can see that this runner declined to 133 and then improved to a consistent 140.
Let’s try a different way instead… add up all the declining points and all the positive points separately.
Declining points = -2, -5, -3, -2 for a total of -12.
Positive points = 0, 4, 7, 0, 0 for a total of +11
This shows us the same total result as the simplest method but we have more information.
Now you can see that the horse did a couple of big improvements and then stayed level meaning that this runner has only improved in spurts.
Next let’s put these points above in order of races from longest ago race to the most recent.
0, 4, -2, -5, -3, -2, 7, 0, 0
Doing this we get even more information!
Now you can see the horse started off as level 10 races ago, saw an improvement and then declined before seeing another improvement and then staying level again.
So far so good. We’re starting to build up a picture of this runners declines and improvements and we’re doing it very quickly.
Next remove the ratings that are not for Hurdle races to allow us just to focus on the ratings that were achieved under similar conditions as the race we’re analysing and you get the following ratings…
We now have declining/improving points showing as…
-2, -5, -3, -2, 7, 0
Overall this shows a decline, but recently you can see that the performance has improved dramatically and crucially managed to stay level for the last race.
Due to the dramatic improvement we can consider this horse as likely to put in a similar performance in this race.
But a horses performance over ground is crucial in long distance hurdle races. With that in mind, let’s only look at those ratings which match todays ground of soft to heavy...
Now you can see that not only is the runner one who is in decline, but also one who has put in their worst ratings under similar conditions to today.
Would you still want to bet on this selection?
Almost certainly not, at least not unless these lowest ratings were still better than the majority of runners in the race.
Using this process you can quickly discover if your selections are improving or declining. With that knowledge you can confirm whether you want to bet on them or pass them by in this race.
Back next Monday.