Advice

POWER HORSE RACING RATINGS: Winning With Your Own In 5 Simple Steps

(Last Updated On: August 12, 2020)

I first wrote this blog post nearly a decade ago based on an experience I had with Dave Schwarz, someone who had a profound impact on the way I look at horse racing, and who’s advice and ideas I’ve often taken into my own approaches.

It began with this blog post about making a power rating using a fuzzy logic method.

In this blog post I’m going to use the same four factors of Speed, Race Preference, Class and Form that was used in the first blog post.

It doesn’t matter whether these are raw factors, rankings, difference from top, impact values or some other method of measuring a horses performance, the following method will work for them all.


Power Horse Racing Ratings: The Different Ways To Create Them

Let’s start with a five horse race. Using a race with just a few runners makes it super clear to see the process of creating power ratings.

Here our are imagined runners using a ranking for each of our criteria

HorseSpeedRace PreferenceClassForm
13411
24532
31243
42354
55135

Our next job is to assign weights.


WTF ARE WEIGHTS?

When we talk about weights in relation to horse racing ratings, we don’t mean the weight a horse is carrying. We mean the importance of each of the ratings we are using.

The more important we consider a rating in predicting the outcome of a race, the bigger the value we give it’s weighting.

In order to calculate this weight, there are a number of methods we can use. These are:

LINEAR REGRESSION

Linear regression is one of the most well-known methods for calculating weights amongst stats folk.

If you’re not a stats person it’s kinda confusing (at least I think it is), and there’s no need to know exactly how it works.

What’s important to know, is that it’s not a good solution for horse racing.

MULTINOMIAL LINEAR REGRESSION

Say whaaaat!

Yeah, I know, it’s a mouthful.

I like to say this is an improved method of linear regression, but a stats person would almost certainly tell me that it’s just different and they each have their place.

This is the method that Bill Benter famously used to make millions in profit on Hong Kong racing, and it has huge popularity in horse racing because of that.

OTHER METHODS

As well as the two methods we’ve already looked at, there are a number of other methods for calculating the weight, or importance, of a horse racing rating.

These include Decision Trees, Random Forests, Genetic Programming, Neural Networks and more.

The problem?

They’re all pretty complicated.

They all require a lot of knowledge of maths and statistics.

They all can only be done using computer programs that need a fair amount of coding.

In other words, they’re not very friendly towards horse racing fans who are looking to improve the performance of their betting but don’t have a maths or statistical background!


SO THIS IS WHAT WE DO…

We use the thing that separates us from the maths experts…. our experience of horse racing.

You already know what factors are likely to be most important, because you look at racing every day.

We can use that knowledge, and combine it with basic weights, to give us a starting point. And then we test.

Start by using the weights 1, 0.75, 0.50 and 0.25 for the four horse racing ratings the most important rating gets the weight of 1 and the least important gets the weight of 0.25.

Ideally you want to keep the range of your weights between 0 and 1, but you could go up as high as 3 if you wanted to.

Here’s the table from above, but with weights assigned to each horse racing rating at the top.

Weight10.750.50.25
HorseSpeedRace PreferenceClassForm
13411
24532
31243
42354
55135

All we now need to do is raise each rating to the power of the weight. You can do this on a calculate or in a spreadsheet using the =power() function.

Doing this would change the above scores to:

Weight10.750.50.25
HorseSpeedRace PreferenceClassFormPower Rating
132.83118.49
243.341.731.1927.55
311.6821.324.43
422.282.241.4114.42
5511.731.512.95

You’ll notice the Speed column has stayed the same because we are raising the rating to the power of 1. The other columns have all reduced because their weights are less than 1.

It’s very important to remember whether your horse racing ratings have the highest number as the best or the lowest number as the best. Because we’re using rankings in this example, it means the lower the number the better.

In the above table, you’ll also notice that there is an extra column on the far right called Power Rating. I’ve already made the power rating for these horses.

And I’ve done that because once you’ve used the weights to adjust each rating, making the power rating is very easy.

To create your power rating multiply all the weighted ratings for each horse together.

In our example, we would calculate the power horse racing rating for horse one with this sum:

3 x 2.83 x 1 x 1 = 8.49

Giving the horse a power horse racing rating of 8.49.


ADJUSTING YOUR WEIGHTS

The final step is find the best weights for your ratings. To do this perform this power rating calculation on your ratings across a number of races. I’d suggest using at least three months of ratings, but ideally a year or more.

If you haven’t got ratings to use, register at the Race Advisor and use ours.

Create your stats to measure:

  • How often the first, second, third and fourth rated horses win
  • The ROI from betting on the first, second, third and fourth rated horses
  • The A/E of the first, second, third and fourth rated horses

Once you have this information setup, make a note of the results for the current weights, then change the order of weights and record the results.

There are 16 possible different ways you could have the weights across these four ratings, and go through all of them recording the results.

Pick the order that has the best results based on the three stats we’re measuring.

But don’t expect them to make a profit out of the box.

If you’re looking for them to find you contenders, then go for the highest strike rate, balanced with the best A/E.

This will give you the perfect jumping off point to take your contenders and then look at them in more detail to determine which are going to be the strongest to bet on.


A LOOK AT WHAT WE’VE DONE

In order to create our power horse racing ratings, this is what we’ve done…

  1. Choose the four most important ratings that we are measuring a horse race on
  2. Assign a weight of 1, 0.75, 0.50 or 0.25 to each rating, giving the most important rating 1 and the least important rating 0.25
  3. Checked the strike rate, return on investment (ROI) and A/E for the first, second, third and fourth best rated horses.
  4. Change the order of weights and repeat the process of all 16 possible combinations.
  5. Choose the best performing combination.

It’s taken us five steps to calculate a power horse racing rating. Having a lot of ratings can be confusing, and being able to combine them into a single rating which only you have the key to can give you a strong edge in the market.

Have you ever thought about using power horse racing ratings before? Let me know in the comments.

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.

9 Comments

  1. Hi Malcombe, I use something simular, the elemants are speed, form, & class. I have tried to bring other things but up till now no improvment in the strike rate from the 3 listed.

    The way i go about it is by taking 10pts off the highest rating making the top rated 10pts, what ever is over after taking off the 10pts i use this figure to take away from the other ratings to give me some ratings.

    Do this for all the elemants and find the best.

    I use 10 as a stater because i beleive anything under 10 is a bad rating any way

    I just wonderd what you think. Barry

    1. Hi Barry,

      I am not sure I follow exactly what you are doing. You are taking 10pts off the top rated and then making it 10pts? I am not sure where you are taking points from and giving them. What ratings are you using this for? Whether 10 pts is good or bad is completely dependant on the rating and how it works. If you don’t mind sharing your method then maybe an example would help clear things up.

      All the best,
      Michael

  2. Hi, sorry it has taken so long to reply,

    speed A 79
    B 76
    C 75
    D 70
    E 68

    A is toprated take 10 off rating = 69 so A=10
    B is 76-69 = 7
    C is 75-69= 6
    D is 70-69= 1
    E is 68-69=no rating

    Do this to all then add ratings = finish

    so form 85 so use 75 to take away from other form ratings

    I think i will need to change the 10 ie speed 10– form 7– class 12

    Hope that is clearer

    Barry

  3. Michael, I feel I should reply to the e-mails you have kindly sent me with regard to your power ratings. The offer of a free trial for 7 days was a very kind offer. The reason I have not taken up the offer is simply because I am a form addict and find that this is the way to find the winners (and I do). I suscribe to RACEFORM INTERACTIVE and find all my requirements within. I certainly love your site and read it daily has you like me are always looking for another angle into a race. I am sure that through your insight you have made a lot of novice punters better punters. Ii should add that I am 69yrs old and have been a punter before it was legal (ha ha ) I got the racing bug and when I left school in 1960 I went to be an apprentice jockey with the late great RON MASON, MONAWIN which won the 1963 Lincoln h’cap for Ron (and heavily backed to do so) was one of my horse’s and I led him in. I could tell you some stories about my time there 7yrs, but perhaps another time. Thanks once again Michael and keep up the great work. Regards Ed

  4. Michael
    Am interested in Building a Power rating differently but can’t for the life of me work out how you raised the rating by .75 etc and got the answers you did (apart from the first line Speed that is)multiplying by .75,.5 or .25 didn’t work. What does ?

    1. Hi Doug, in Excel you can do this by doing:

      =power(4,0.75)

      Or you can open your scientific calculator and…

      Press 4
      Press the Xy button
      Press 0.75
      Press Equals

      Raising to a power is different to multiplication. I hope that helps 🙂

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