UK Horse Racing's Ratings

Case Study: A Simple Manual Approach to Selecting Horses


This is my approach to manual selecting horses or, as it's often called, 'Cherry Picking'.

Until I started this method in July 2015 I used to do everything via systems but I was never as happy as I am with doing the selections this way. There's a number of reasons for this one being that I am now looking at the race as a whole so what may have been accepted as selection system may not be selected now because within the context of the race I may not find the selection strong enough.

The other reason why I am doing this is that I am getting to read the ratings once more and, as a result, I am enjoying myself a lot more because I am finding the names of the trainers and jockeys going past my eye rather than just the names of the horses that I wouldn't even see anyway as the xml files were being imported directly into my bot.

And, thirdly, it may not be a co-incidence but my profits have improved considerably.

First Things First...

Please download the Summary Ratings for July 30th, 2015 and the Summary Ratings for July 27th, 2015.

The Method

The method is rather straightforward. All I do is to look at each race and see which horses stand out in terms of their scores in each of the fields. So I am looking at the underscored fields in the race and compare the underscored value with the emboldened, i.e. ranked, fields.

At the moment I am only looking at plain handicaps though I expect that I may expand into other categories later on.

30th July - Ffos Las 7.45

Top rated Zenafire was clear by thirteen pounds and had a good stall position. Furthermore it had a good Distance Regression of 3.4 when nothing else in the race had any other regression values at all and it was expected to go off at a good price at around 12/1.

Not all of these can be expected to win as in this case as Zenafire came in ninth at 25/1. Nonetheless it was a good value bet in my eyes and I had no qualms backing it.

30th July - Ffos Las 8.55

Little was top rated and I liked the high HCP value of 36 compared to the rest of the field which had 13 as the next best value. The WinF was interesting; the value of 6.9 was a little low but since that the nearest was only 1.8 this was another positive, though slight. In the end Little came in third at 7/1, a little over a length and a half behind the winner.

30th July - Galway 3.30

Yes, a stakes race. I did look at this one and I am glad that I did. Look at the top rated Laviniad and one can see that the horse was rated nine pounds ahead of the second rated horse.

But that isn't what struck me it was the value of the Lst field (14.4) which was the best in the race, hence the underscore, and the next strongest was 6.8. This meant that Laviniad had a good Lst rating which was over twice the second strongest in that field. The Distance Regression was a very strong 4.1 (not many go that high) and that score was made even more significant given that the next best was 1.6.

Even though this was a stakes race, a category I don't normally touch this was one that I felt was a good selection. Laviniad won at 5/1.

30th July - Nottingham 4.00

Salabeh was another top rated and what drew me to this one was the Spd rating of 13.7 which was good compared to the nearest other Spd rating in the race of 0.2. Unfortunately it could only mange fourth at 3/1.

30th July - Nottingham 5.45

At the same meeting Alboretat was top rated in this race and the Spd rating of 22.5 was stronger than Salabeh's that had run earlier. Not only that but the next strongest Spd rating in the race was actually negative. Happily Alboretta won at 7/2.

30th July - Stratford 3.20

In this hurdle handicap I noted that Stand To Reason had a good Cls figure as well as an HCP of 50 (though it wasn't that clear compared to others in the race with Bigindie having an HCP of 43. But what was good was that Stand To Reason had a WinF value of 16.9 which was far better than the next best of 1.0. It was, of course, top rated.

I am pleased to report that it won at 5/1.

30th July - Stratford 5.05

The top rated horse, Mayhayogin was expected to go off at a decent price and it was noted that it had a good Cls value of 36.4 compared to the next best of 13.3. It didn't win but coming in 5th at 40/1 wasn't too bad.

27th July - Ayr 5.10

To show that I don't always select the top rated I went for Gwarn in this race. Now, I tend to mostly only go for the top rated as notes show that top rated do far better as selections than if I go through the field. I let the ratings do the filtering for me.

Now and then something else appears in the ratings, usually in the top half, that I can't ignore and Gwarn is a good example of this and in cases like these I will back them though for every horse that I back that isn't top rated I will perhaps back ten or more that are.

Gwarn has four underscores, of which three interested me. The Cls had a value of 17.5 which was double the next best at 8.4, the WinF was a solid 14.0 compared to a rival's 9.0 and the HCP of 38 was nearly three time a second best of 14.

Gwarn repaid me by winning at 16/1.

The Outcome

On the 30th I had nine selections, all of which ran. Of these nine two won at 5/1 and a third won at 7/2 making a total of nine and a half points profit to Industry SP. On the 27th I had ten selections that ran (I had an eleventh which didn't run) and I had winners at 16/1, 7/2 and 11/10 making around thirteen points to Industry SP.