Over the last few years I have created a number of different ratings for our own use and clients but these have all be form related.
So I guess it was only a matter of time before the question of speed ratings came up.
Some people argue that speed is the only real way to judge a horses chance of winning a race…
But as with all things racing, it is never quite that simple.
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Speed of course is related to distance.
It is the time it took the horse to run the race divided by the distance that gives us the speed at which the horse travelled.
But we will come back to that…
…First we need to talk about distances.
Races are measured in Miles, Furlongs and yards.
In fact we actually get all our race distances in Yards and have to use 220 to convert then to furlong which is what people are used to reading.
Just so you know there are 220 yards to a furlong, 8 furlongs to a mile or 1760 yards.
We only get the winning time for the “winner”, all other runners are given a distance behind the runner in front.
You have probably seen this on a race card.
NS = Nose SH = Short Head HD = Head NK = Neck
And you will also see number like
These are all based on what is known as a “length” of a horse.
A length is around 8 feet
You notice how approximates are now creeping in?
A nose is about 0.1 lengths
A short head about 0.2 lengths
So here were my first thoughts about creating the ratings.
Instead of the distance behind the horse in front… I needed to get the distance behind the winner.
I then needed to use that information to work out how slower they were than the winner.
I needed a unit of measurement to give me the race pace.
I decided to calculate all speeds based on a length.
Now I know yards would probably be more accurate…
But I decided that as long as I used the same calculation on every race then it wouldn’t matter.
I don’t suppose a head, shoulder or nose is that accurate and at the speeds a horse runs at it…It probably doesn’t mean a great deal anyway.
So far I have ran my calculations across 14 months of data and have been quite pleased with how close my “Expected Race Times” are to the actuals.
Although they do tend to me more accurate at shorter distances, which you would probably expect as shorter races are probably run at more constant speeds.
Creating the average speed of each runner in the race as I have so far is a simplified version of “Speed Ratings”.
In next week’s article we can discuss how you could improve the accuracy and how to use them to pick potential winners.
I would love to hear what you think about speed ratings and any ideas you have on them.
Please use the comments boxes below.
The Grey horse Bot.
15:55 Doncaster Rathlin Rose – win bet – 4/1 Bet Victor