UK Horse Racing's Systems Indicators

What do these columns, "a b c ch d dd e f", mean on the summary page of the ratings?

The above image comes from the Market Rasen 2.55, a handicap chase, on the 9th of July 2017 which hasn't set off yet and won't do so for a few hours. So it gives me a little while to talk about this race without knowledge of the result.

The first thing is that the name is slightly misleading; there are no system or alarm indicators here. This needs to be changed and may well do so within the next few days. But what we do have a handy table of a horse's previous Class, Weight and Race figures.

Column 'a'
This is the last run's class according to the BHA's classification figures. This is only included because it may indicate how a horse may appear in the betting as a horse 'rising in class' (pinch of salt applied for) may have a good price in the markets. Those accustomed to the UKHR ratings will know that the BHA class figures have no impact nor input into our handicapping procedures whatsoever.

Column 'b'
This is the horse's Five Year Class Differential.

Column 'c'
This is the horse's Five Year Weight Differential.

Column 'ch'
This is the horse's One Year Class Differential.

Column 'd'
This is the horse's One Year Weight Differential.

Column 'dd'
This is the horse's One Race Class Differential, in other words the rise/drop in class compared to its previous race.

Column 'e'
This is the horse's One Race Weight Differential.

Column 'f'
This gives the Race figure of the horse's last run. This Race figure is awarded to how well a horse ran last time; the bigger the Race value the better it ran. This field, therefore, is a handy and quick way to compare how each of them ran last time out.

What on earth is this column naming scheme?
It's the Welsh alphabet.

A quick look at the race.
The race, according the BHA classification is a class 4 race. But look at the figures for the top rated horse, Brody Bleu. Its last race was, supposedly, a class 6 race but look at the class differentials: the five year class differential has it dropping in class and if we go to column dd it's rising in class by only six points since its last race and yet it's going up two BHA bands. Little wonder the price looks to be good.

Sixth rated Vic's Last Stand has three idential pairs of differentials. This will be because it's run only the one chase before and this was within the last twelve months. Compare that to bottom rated Viking Ridge which has the middle pair of differentials given as zero. Viking Ridge, therefore, hasn't raced in the past year.

Vick's Last Stand does have an interesting set of figures though. A massive drop in class but an almighty rise in weights. If the handicapper has this wrong and the weight increase is too lenient then this could be the race for him, especially as his Race figure in the last column is 94 and there's only three other horses with a higher last Race figure.

These three horses are within the top four rated in the race: Brody Bleu, Gold Ingot and Minella Forfitness.

One could look at this table and try to fashion a story of how each horse has been handicapped more ruthlessly than others. For example, Highbury High is dropping in both class and weight since last time but didn't run too well in that previous race. Will today's drop in both class and weight (which is certainly not reflected in the BHA class figures) be beneficial to him and at a price which is 'value' at the time of writing it's certainly going to be of interest.

Something similar could be said for Chankilo whose drop in class last time is almost five pounds better than the overall rise in class over the last year and its previous Race figure is better than Highbury High's.

This is the sort of thing that one could see when one is looking at this table and, of course, this is where we tend to look for the Blinding Obvious Selections.