Understanding the Ratings
How are the ratings compiled?
The Racing-Edge ratings are compiled by allocating a score and a weighting to a number of different form factors that we believe to have the most effect on a horses chance of winning a race. We are not a mainstream ratings site and do not use mainstream factors to rate horses. We aim to identify the weak favourites from the strong ones, and find the outsiders that are a lot stronger than the markets would lead you to believe. This usually means that we can find blue rated winners at good prices.
Our ratings provide you with a consistently good snapshot of which horses are the strongest in a race (blue) and which are the weakest (red), and makes your selection of winners far easier by narrowing down the field to the strongest few horses. As one of our users has said to us, "if it ain't blue, I don't back it."
The ratings table
The ratings aim for the race winner to come from the blue rated selections - it may not necessarily be the top rated horse as other factors can influence the selection process which we discuss further below. The ratings come into their own when used in conjunction with filters and other form reading, including such things as removing certain race types, jockey form, available market value, market trends, trainer comment etc.
Before using the ratings it is imperative that you understand the data you are looking at. It's not complicated, but does require explanation. The image above is an example of how the ratings are displayed and the following is an explanation of each aspect in turn:
The grey header bar at the top displays the race meeting, date and race time, distance and race type for each race.
The title bar lists the horse number and name; where its has been drawn (if applicable), a score rating and a therm rating, (these terms will be explained in more detail), the name of the trainer and the quoted jockey.
The horses and race data is then displayed beneath.
The first thing to note is that the horses are listed in reverse order, with the worst horses in red at the top of the list and the best horses being shown in blue towards the bottom of the list. Horses shown in purple are un-raced and have no rating. The remainder of the runners are shown in black.
Red horses are the worst rated horses in the race and more likely to lose than win.
Black horses are the horses that make up the field, they have a chance of winning or losing and could go either way. Sometimes a horse can be shown as black in amongst the red horses. This occurs when there is a certain aspect of the horse that makes it unpredictable and not necessarily worthy of a red rating. E.g. it goes well on a particular going, likes a particular track, or is erratic in its form.
Any horse shown in black below the blue horses is a known non-runner at the time of posting the ratings and will have a NR flag next to it.
Blue horses are the best rated horses in the race with "the" best horse(s) at the very bottom. The number of blue horses highlighted will depend on how many places are available in the race, and whether there are joint scored horses that would warrant more horses being highlighted than there are actual places. In the case of a blue horse becoming a non runner the next best horse should be regarded as blue.
Purple horses are horses that have very little relevant form or that have not raced before. Little is known about them, therefore it is difficult to ascertain on paper how the horse will run. Purple horses are not included in the ratings hierarchy, as we have found that these horses tend to be priced by word of mouth, opinion and trainers previous form, and therefore they are open to misinterpretation and subject to volatile results. When using the data, it should be born in mind that any horse that is shown in purple could win - they are unknown entities.
The draw is very relevant in flat racing and is shown in the 3rd column. Different courses have varying levels of advantage from the draw over different distances. Every serious punter should obtain the layout of each course and learn the varying levels of advantage from each draw at different distances.
The Score and Therm Ratings
The ratings are designed to simplify complicated form factors into something that literally anyone can understand.
The Score Rating tells you what each horse's theoretical percentage chance of losing the race is - the higher the % the more likely it is that the horse will lose.
The Therm Rating indicates the theoretical number of other runners in the race that could potentially beat the horse. A high therm rating indicates a lot of potentially better horses in the race, a low or zero therm rating indicates that the horse has a good chance of winning the race outright or being placed.
Both the score and therm ratings are theoretical ratings and therefore may sometimes show a score of 0% or 100%, the figures are a guide, as obviously no horse has a 100% chance of losing or winning a race.
Using the Ratings
The ratings give you an indication of each horse's strength and their chance of winning the race, however the top rated horses in two different races could also have very different chances of winning a race. For example, open this file showing two races at Wolves:
The 5.30pm has a top rated horse called Flaxen Lake
The 6.00pm has a top rated horse called Sommersturm
In their own individual races they are both the best rated horse, however in the 5.30pm, there is 1.67 horses in the race that could potentially beat Flaxen Lake and there is a 24.24% chance that Flaxen will lose the race. Athakeel is only one therm point away from Flaxen Lake with a rating of at 2.67.
Now look at the 6.00pm race, there is only 0.33 horses in the race that could potentially beat Sommersturm and the next best horse is two therm points away from Sommersturm, with a rating of 2.33. Sommursturm has only a 12.13% chance of losing the race.
It could therefore be interpreted that Sommersturm has a better chance of beating the field than Flaxen Lake as it has a better therm score and a greater margin to the next best horse.
The closer the margins between the better rated horses, the harder it is to decide which of them is most likely to win the race.
Bringing some other factors to bear now on our two races, if you look closer at the 5.30pm you will see this race is an apprentice race where the jockeys have a lot less racing experience. This means that you could have the best horse in the race being ridden by a jockey who can not ride it to its full potential, this makes betting on a race like this a much riskier proposition.
An hour before the race, and in the 5.30pm Flaxen Lake is the 11/4 favourite. First Rebellion 7/2 is second favourite and Athaakeel jointly third favourite at 9/2 with Very First Blade.
In the 6.00pm, Sommurstrum is also favourite at 11/4, Party Palace is 4/1, Daring Damsel 9/2, the Blue Dog 5/1 and Mr Plod 8/1
The 6.00pm race has far better bets available. You can obtain the same price for Sommurstrum than you can Flaxen Lake, but Sommurstrum has a greater chance of winning and doesnt have the added worry and unpredictability of the race being an apprentice race. The Daring Damsel is potentially a lay bet at 9/2, it is red rated and has five horses better than it and Graham Gibbons hasn't won a race in 14 outings. Good value however can be found in Mr Plod as the second blue rated horse fetching a price of 9/1 at the bookmakers or 12-1 at Betfair. The Betfair place market (where the horse only need come anywhere in the top three) would give you 11/4.
More Factors to Consider
The size of the field. We do not recommend betting in races with less than 8 runners or more than 14 runners, where false pace and over crowding can cause problems.
Race type. We would not recommend betting on apprentice jockey races, female jockey races, low class or banded racing. Be wary of the large festivals, while great to attend in person, they can also be notoriously hard to find winners at due to the sheer amount of talent in one place. Better value can usually be found in smaller meetings where there is a larger talent differential between runners.
Jockeys. Jockeys are not factored into the ratings, we rate only the horse. The jockey can change right up to the off and different jockeys go through frequent good and bad patches and publicity. The jockeys will however have an impact on your selection process. For example, if you have a weak jockey (in the middle of a bad patch of results) riding the top rated horse and a strong jockey riding the second rated horse, you may find a better bet on the horse rated second.
The Pareto Principle states that the top 20% of jockeys will win 80% of the races. Always bear that in mind if you have a poor jockey on a top rated horse - the horse may be good, but if it's not ridden well it has little chance of winning the race. By checking jockey statistics regularly, you will know who is on the top 20% list - these are the jockeys that will win most of the races. If your jockey isn't on the list then the statistics are already against you.
Horse Strength and Market Movements
The ratings sort the horses into the strongest and weakest order from what we know about them on paper. It obviously doesn't mean that red horses will never win a race or that the best rated blue horse will win every race, however they should give you a good indication as to how good each horse is.
There is however, a lot of information about a horse that is not available to the general public but will most definitely affect the amount that is bet on it. Market movements can give you an indication about information that is perhaps not as widely known and should therefore be regarded as essential information to ascertain. Used in conjuntion with the ratings it will help you to identify which favourites really are weaker than they are perceived to be and which outsiders are stronger, and lead you towards the value bets within each race.
A favourite that is red rated will not automatically lose - but maybe it should not be the price that it is and scrutinised very closely to ascertain if there is value to be had in laying it.
The going has a big effect on how horses run. Try to avoid meetings where a sudden change in weather has occurred - horses are entered into races to run on a particular type of going - last minute changes to this will affect how the horse runs. Alternatively you will need to determine whether the going change helps or hinders a horse.
Soft going in Flat races and heavy going in National Hunt races produces unpredictable results, as does extreme weather conditions such as snow and high winds.
Unraced (purple) horses are not taken into account in the ratings hierarchy. Therefore be wary of backing in these type of races (especially if there are unraced horses in the top three in the betting). These horses are unknown entities - all that is known about them is their trainer, jockey, breeding etc. What you don't know is how the horse is going to run in a real race and whether the horse has a realistic chance of winning or just out to gain some race experience. Unraced horses that have a good jockey on them are more likely to have a chance than if they have an inexperienced jockey - if the horse is just out for a run to gain experience, the yard wont book a good jockey to ride it.
Obviously the presence of purple horses in a race like this should not impact you laying, as it wont matter if it is a purple horse that beats your selection - just so long as your selection loses.
General Points to Note
In theory, the ratings should become more and more accurate as each new season progresses and more current season data becomes available to analyse. The first few weeks and the last few weeks of each new season are notoriously erratic, so unless you have a well proven system please beware.....
When a yard has more than one runner in a race, look to see which horse the stable jockey chooses - he will know them both and will likely choose the better one.
All ratings have good and bad patches - use the historic data to view and analyse results over a longer period.