Strategies

Class Movement… Does It Make A Difference?

(Last Updated On: September 7, 2015)

Do you think it makes a difference whether a horse is moving up or down in class?

Before you read on, place you vote on the poll below. Then continue reading.

[socialpoll id=”2292619″]

Now that you’ve voted, I won’t know if you haven’t but you really should to see if you were correct in your thinking, it’s time to look at the data on this.

Luckily inside the Racing Dossier we have a factor which is… Class Movement.

And it works exactly as you think it would!

If the horse previously raced in a Class 2 race and was now racing in a Class 1 race then the rating would be 1, as the horse has moved up one class.

If the horse previously raced in a Class 2 race and was now racing in a Class 4 race then the rating would -2, as the horse has dropped two classes.

I have pulled out all the data since 1st January 2014 and these are the results:

Class Movement Number Of Runners Winners Losers Avg Winning Odds Avg Winning BSP
-5 155 10 145 10.00 14.35
-4 499 26 473 8.49 11.06
-3 1437 145 1292 7.21 8.83
-2 5263 489 4774 7.31 10.24
-1 24059 2553 21506 6.94 9.36
0 72112 8573 63539 6.63 8.26
1 25080 3110 21970 6.30 7.74
2 4095 641 3454 5.28 6.41
3 1012 194 818 4.60 5.51
4 310 63 247 2.95 3.29
5 54 17 37 3.30 3.60
6 1 0 1

This represents the results of 134,077 runners.

But what does it actually mean?

Well the first thing we notice is that in the middle row, where the movement is 0, there are 72,112 runners who aren’t moving class.

This represents nearly 54% of all runners.

Over half of all runners that have raced since January 1st 2014 have not moved up in class.

Of those runners 8,573 have won, which is 11.89% winners.

Don’t forget that we’re not taking anything else into account here. Simply whether they have moved up or down in class.

This represents a loss of around -21% to SP.

You’re probably thinking, where’s the ROI on the above table. It’s not there because I wanted you to take a look at it without first of all.

Here is it with the ROI figure included:

Class Movement Number Of Runners Winners Losers Avg Winning Odds Avg Winning BSP ROI SP ROI BSP
-5 155 10 145 10.00 14.35 -35% -12%
-4 499 26 473 8.49 11.06 -56% -45%
-3 1437 145 1292 7.21 8.83 -27% -15%
-2 5263 489 4774 7.31 10.24 -32% -10%
-1 24059 2553 21506 6.94 9.36 -26% -6%
0 72112 8573 63539 6.63 8.26 -21% -7%
1 25080 3110 21970 6.30 7.74 -22% -9%
2 4095 641 3454 5.28 6.41 -17% -5%
3 1012 194 818 4.60 5.51 -12% 0%
4 310 63 247 2.95 3.29 -40% -37%
5 54 17 37 3.30 3.60 4% 8%

Looking at this table you can see immediately that as a horse drops in class so does it ROI, and this is the same for both SP and BSP.

That tells us that class drops are synonymous with a decrease in profitability. The only slight improvement is on -1 where the BSP ROI goes to -6% from -7% for horses that aren’t moving class.

But notice how on the SP ROI it decreases?

The most likely reason for this is that on Betfair horses which are only dropping by one class are less bet on than horses which aren’t moving class at all. This means that the odds will be slightly higher on them and the ROI better.

For horses moving up in class we see something very interesting.

If a runner is moving up by one class level then the ROI decreases slightly, but…

…once a horse is moving up two or more levels it looks like the ROI increases.

Now there is a massive -40% and -37% on horses who are jumping up by 4 class levels. However based on the trend I would say that this could be an outlier and would reduce when there was more data.

With that in mind you should also be cautious at accepting horses moving up by 5 class levels or more making such a strong ROI with a pinch of salt too. There is certainly not enough data there to make a judgement. The reality will most likely be somewhere between -40% and 4% for SP ROI and -37% and 8% for BSP ROI.

Based on experience I would say it would probably settle around -20%.

What does this tells us?

It tells us that:

  1. A horse moving up one class level is recognised by everyone in the market as being a potential good runner, the odds drop and they make a worse return.
  2. A horse moving up two or three class levels offers good value and make a significantly better return than any other category.
  3. A horse moving up four or more class levels in one go is recognised by everybody as being a superb horse, the average odds drop and the return drops with them.
  4. A horse moving down in class is generally going to make you less profits.

Now that’s not to say that a horse moving up four or more classes can’t make you a profit if you combine it with other information, or that a horse dropping in class can’t make you a profit if combined with other information.

But based purely on class movement, you want to focus on horses that are moving up by two or three classes.

In fact, if you start building a betting system to Betfair SP and begin  by only focusing on horses moving up three classes then you are achieving two things:

  1. Reducing possible selections you need to analyse to around 14 per week
  2. Starting at break-even

And that’s a pretty good place to be starting!

Take that as your starting point and let me know how you get on by leaving a comment below.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.

7 Comments

  1. Yes, most definitely, it is much harder for a horse to achieve a win in a higher grade if he or she has not done so before, the only exception to the rule imo is a lightly raced horse that is still improving or a last time out winner, they can deceive you with masses of improvement on there next run, a last time out lightly raced winner is one of the most difficult to fully rate as you just don’t know for sure how much he or she still has in the tank.

  2. Excellent article Michael. Do you have the same statistics for the different types of racing eg. Flat turf, All-weather, Hurdles and Chases. If so did it make any difference.

  3. From my 50 years observation, horses usually come 2nd in a higher grade race before they come first, unless they won their lower grade race very easily. They are a bit like children passing their exams, they gradually work up to university level passing lower grade exams on the way.

  4. ATR Predicting stats, Speed Rating stats, change in Market share, Marketing movements with recent performance of the runner are important to a certain extent to ascertain the final outcome. Handling tactics of the rider and capability of in-depth study of the Trainer go longways to the successful achievement. However, punters always have a missing link. As one seen riders Lesly Piggot, G.Lewis, Y.Saint Martin(FR) and down the line and the runners like ‘Nijinsky’ there’s hardly any stabilized ‘system’ or ‘method’.

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