UK Horse Racing's Ratings

Case Study: York 3.40 - 22nd August 2014


This is the first of these for a while and this is a quick analysis of the Coolmore Nunthorpe stakes, which is a Group 1 race held during the Ebor Meeting.

The detailed ratings file for this race is available here from the Archive section of UK Horse Racing.

This is a fifteen runner sprint which looks to be a hard race to unravel. However, an attempt is going to be made here before the race starts. In such a race like this I would notmally not even contemplate looking for a winner in a race like this unless either a system bet was flagged for the race or that I was at the meeting and I wanted to have a go.

So whilst I am not convinced that the winner can be easily found it will still be instructive to have a go.


In a Group Race the first thing I always look for is a high value HCP rating. Three or four stand out. The top rated, Sole Power, has an HCP value of 34, second rated Take Cover has one of 31, fourth rated Rangali has one of 82 and further down the listing we have Pearl Secret with 44. This value of 82 makes Rangali stand out for this field and it immediately goes into the notebook for the race.

Apart from Borderlessscot, which is adrift of the other horses, every other horse is closely rated with less than eight pounds between the remaining fourteen runners. This indicates that this is going to be a tight race and in these races I tend to look away from the favourite simply because the value is going to be elsewhere. The favourite is the top rated Sole Power at a forecast price of 11/4 but really is too low a price so it does pay to look elsewhere.

Perhaps it may be useful to see if there are any reasons why the favourite won't win. Of course it has a chance, as every horse has, but at such a low price it may be worth looking elsewhere. The thing to jote is that that Sole Power has only one underscore, Spd. This, admittadly, is an important field in a flat race and given that the value of over 10s is almost double the next best this is a strong positive for the horse. The draw is to the high side of the middle and that draw isn't too bad as we can see on page 84. The place to be is clearly from a high stall and certainly not from a low draw. The draw for this one isn't too bad but it could be better.

If we look at the Differentials tables on page 95 we can see that Sole Power has a positive Class Differential and also Winning Class Differential. For flat races it's generally better to look at the one year Differential table as five years is a long time to consider in a flat horse's career. Sole Power has a negative set of Weight Differentials but nothing too bad. Looking at the rest of the horses in these tables it's clear that there others are no better at all here.

So, it's starting to look as if this top rated Sole Power is the most likely horse even though the issue is going to be the price.

If we look at how the trainers have been doing lately then over the last two and four weeks three trainers are showing a profit on page 75. One of these is the trainer of Sole Power. But if we look at the trainers who have made a profit overall then two names crop up; one is for the trainer of Rangali, H Pantall, who has made a massive profit and the other is for AP O'Brein whose record isn't unknown.

If we go to the front page of the race's ratings (page 74) and look at the underscores we can see that they're mostly at the foot of the ratings. Well, this is a tight race so this isn't unexpected but it's not helping either. Second rated Take Cover as a couple in Frm and Lst but it's hard to get a picture from these.

So let's look at the horse form for a couple of these. The top three are always worth looking at and let's also look at Rangali, the fourth rated, as the name has cropped up a few times already.

Sole Power

The race class today is 121 and apart from a recent race at Maydan, four races ago, all of the races entered have been higher class races than today's. Last time out he won be 1.3 lengths and the time before that he won by less than half a length. Looking at these figures in the Race column (this is the one which gives the horse's race rating for that race) it's clear that when the horse runs well he really does run well.

When he does run poorly he seems to still be there or thereabouts and clearly has it in him to win today.

Take Cover

Second rated and has won its two previous races at Goodwood and here at York. Both of these two races were of the same race class as today. However, he ran badly at Ascot earlier this year and Doncaster last year. Looking at this list it could be argued that when he's running at this race class things start to fall apart. Yes, he has the ability to win today but he doesn't look as likely as Sole Power. So, a pencil line is drawn through this horse.


Not won for just over a year and since then he's run in races of the same quality as today. Again, we're going to have to be tough here and say that this horse has the ability but there's nothing shown in recent races that's sufficient to take the prize today. Yes, the last race as a well run one for Moviesta as his race rating was 138 but that wasn't enough to get over the line.

When a horse has put in a strong performance and has just lost (or won by an equally small margin) and is coming out again within a few weeks I tend to put a black mark against it because I feel that that defeat (or victory) would have taken too much out of this. This is one of the principles that I have taken from Beyer's Speed Ratings which seems to translate to the Race form figures. Anyway, a pencil line is drawn through this horse.


Unraced before on these shores and all form is from the French racing circuit. If we look four races ago we can see that he just lost by half a length. Next time out, six months later, he ran into fourth. Then two more races where he won quite nicely. The last race was of a considerably higher class than today's race and there's not a lot to suggest that he can't succeed today at all.


I believe that the most likely winner is going to be the top rated Sole Power however at the forecast price he was looking too skinny. But a quick look on the exchanges and higher than 4/1 is available. In other words the horse is going to be almost value price. Because of this I would take more interest in the horse as a betting proposition. The other horse which does interest me is Rangali, but the price is now down to 9/1 which is, I think, too low.

As a betting proposition I would leave this race along unless either one of these two horses reach 9/2 or 12/1, respectively. Of course other horses could be in it but there isn't time to explore here all the other runners.

So, in conclusion: leave the race alone unless the prices on Sole Power or Rangali improves.

The Result

Sole Power did indeed win. The price at the off was 11/4. Rangali came in mid-field at a poor 8/1.