# Has My Horse Been Improving?

(Last Updated On: October 9, 2013)

It is not so much whether our selections have been improving, but more whether they have not been in significant decline. It is going to be a rare occasion that we want to bet on a horse who has been showing significant decline. After all, horses in a significant decline seldom win!

Today I’m going to show you how you can use the ratings that you used to find the selections to give you an indication of whether a horse is in decline or not. To do this I am going to use the official ratings (OR) because everyone has access to them, but you can use any ratings where you can some of the past ratings for a runner.

I have chosen a 3 mile handicap hurdle race where all runners have past form. While you don’t need to have all races with past form to use this method, I strongly suggest it because the more experience a horse has the more accurate our assessment can be. I will also be using just the last 10 races, however you can use more or less. If you use more you should be aware that something which happened a long-time ago may have very little or no relevance to todays race. There are ways to compensate for this but that is outside the focus of todays article.

The runner I have chosen is called Catch Me and the OR for it’s last ten races are…

140

140

140

133

135

138

143

145

141

141

The rating at the top of the above list is for the most recent race going down to the race that took place longest ago. We can start by simply looking for improvements in these figures and there are a number of ways we can do this. The simplest is to compare the last rating with the most recent rating. In this example the last rating is 141 and the most recent is 140, so there is no real movement. But that doesn’t tell us the whole story. We can see that this runner declined to 133 and then improved and has been consistent at 140.

Instead let’s add up all the declining points and all the positive points separately.

Declining points = -2, -5, -3, -2 for a total of -12.

Positive points = 0, 4, 7, 0, 0 for a total of +11

This shows us the same total result as the simplest method but we have more information. We can see that the horse did a couple of big improvements and then stayed level and only improves in spurts. Now lets put them in order of races from longest ago race to the most recent.

0, 4, -2, -5, -3, -2, 7, 0, 0

Doing this we get even more information. We can see the horse started off as level 10 races ago, saw an improvement and then declined before seeing another improvement and then staying level again.

Now if we remove the ratings that are not for Hurdle races we get the following ratings…

140

140

133

135

138

143

145

We now have declining/improving points showing as…

-2, -5, -3, -2, 7, 0

This is an overall decline but recently we can see that the performance has improved dramatically and then managed to stay level for the last race. Due to the dramatic improvement we can consider this horse as likely to put in a similar performance in this race. But, we all know that performance over ground is crucial in long distance hurdle races so let’s only look at those ratings which match todays ground of soft to heavy.

133

135

Suddenly we not only have a runner who is in decline but also who has put in their worst ratings under similar conditions to today!

Would you still want to bet on this selection?

Almost certainly not, at least not unless these lowest ratings were still better than the majority of runner in the race!

Using this process you can now see whether your selections are improving/declining and this can confirm them or indicate that it may be worth going back to take a second look before placing your bets.

### 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.

1. brett says:

this is something that 99% of punters would not even think about including me thanks for the insight cheers bj.

2. Chris Tyler says:

Hi Michael,

Surely the OR reflects the history of the horse not how it coped with the conditions on the day. The next OR may be a truer reflection of how it ran under the days conditions.
Interesting use of the OR though.
Regards
Chris

1. RA Admin says:

The OR is a combination of both, it is adjusted after each race to reflect the horses performance in that race and the level it should be at in the next race. It isn’t strictly conditions though. However I may have also had some confusing phrasing.

3. Seems to me that you should only be looking at a horse who has got previous history for running on the given going. At the Distance and same type of Race i.e. hurdles. If he is so much better than the others?
Take the last three races on that going, if he has done 3 on that going?
If he has not, then he is not a contender. if he has and the placings show he does not do well then he is not a contender. But it is not just the going that effects the places.
After all, 3 attempts without a place. means he does not do well in this race. be it going, distance, type or left handed track.

what I mean is all things are the same, left handed or right handed track, same type and class, same going, same distance?
3 months is not such a long time to be off the track but lots can happen in that time.
If he was placed, he is still a contender. Unless one or two of those three runs, were over 90 days ago. Then, he has to have an upward trend over all of those 3, to make it into the contenders. Perhaps I have missed something but it seems that straight forward to me?

1. RA Admin says:

Some very good advice Liam. We do need to do a trade off between amount of data/races and how specific we are with our conditions. We don’t want to be too broad, but we also don’t want to be basing our judgement on 1 race. Getting a good balance is crucial.

4. hi mike
i am like brett a novice thanks for the info food for thought.

1. RA Admin says:

Hi Nick, pleased to be able to help and provide some new ideas.

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