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Using Graphs to Simplify Racing Analysis

(Last Updated On: June 20, 2016)

If you’re an avid RaceAdvisor reader or else you simply enjoy sports betting, you’ll know the importance of statistical data when it comes to making your selections (or at least you should). Horse racing happens to be a statto’s paradise but can be a nightmare for those lacking a head for numbers. There are so many criteria to consider and this immense amount of data can lead to a case of paralysis by analysis.

Have you ever looked at a list of figures related to horse racing, tried to analyse them only to decide you can’t be bothered and would rather have a pint instead? What if I were to tell you it was possible to transform seemingly complicated data in a form that could be easily read and digested?

All you need is an Excel spreadsheet and you can create graphs from the labyrinthine level of information at your fingertips. For the purposes of this article, I’ll keep it simple and stick to the Speed Rating figures from the Race Advisor. You can read more about Speed Ratings here.

They are derived from the RacingPost TopSpeed ratings and I would advise you to request a copy of Betting Speed Evolution. This software does everything that I’ll be showing you below in terms of graph creation for you!

Okay, blatant plugging aside, let’s move onto the juicy stuff!

The Criteria

The ultimate goal is to find winning bets; this means you won’t be betting on every single race, only ones where there is an obvious selection. The aim is to eliminate horses that don’t meet set criteria and focus on a small group of likely winners.

Variety is the very thing that makes UK racing great but it also makes things harder for punters. Rather than trying to analyse thousands of races and horses, it’s best to tighten up the selection process. Speed Ratings work best on:

  • Flat and AW tracks
  • 5f and 6f races as these are events where speed is the determining factor
  • Races with no more than 12 horses until you become better at creating graphs.
  • The last 6 races of each horse; ideally all races will take place in the same calendar year. This won’t always be possible as I show below.

The Race

The whole idea behind graphs is to turn daunting figures into a more palatable set of data. I’m focusing on the 2016 Commonwealth Stakes at Royal Ascot for this article. It is a 6f event with 11 runners which makes it fit for purpose.

First of all, let’s place the Speed Figures of each horse in typical numerical form. The Speed Figure is abbreviated (SF) and SF1 is the most recent figure.

Horse SF 1 SF 2 SF3 SF4 SF5 SF6
Buratino 136.52 104.23 138.7 127.1 137.24 125.42
La Rioja 118.85 132.73 125.01 71.35
Illuminate 60.38 142.06 129.73 131.94 138.13
Waterloo Bridge 104.88 115.28 125.73 122.49 115.46 30.42
Washington Dc 122.84 135.85 116.31 168.07 129.38 118.61
Log Out Island 145.3 147.18 139.66 134.61 87.63 125.77
Kachy 145.34 80.87 147.84 133.76
Dream Dubai 93.65 138.08 153.92
Donjuan Triumphant 138.86 132.31 127.61 119.54 111.32 99.77
Quiet Reflection 150.44 139.86 127.42 115.47 122.2

 

Incidentally, Cheikeljack has never raced in the UK before so there is no suitable data available to include this horse. Also, some of the horses have not raced 6 times going back as far as May 2016. Despite these limitations, it’s still possible to find good bets.

As you can see, the above data can give you a bit of a headache and that’s just from Speed Ratings; imagine seeing 5 times as many figures! Fortunately, we can now take steps to create easy to read graphs.

What Am I Supposed To Do With This Information?

If you try to create a normal line graph using the information above, it still looks pretty messy:

image 1

Good luck trying to decipher all that although you can just about see that Dream Dubai has a couple of numbers standing out above everyone else. After trying several different graphs, I discovered that an area graph offers as clear a picture as any. Once again, Dream Dubai stands out while Quiet Reflection is also prominent.

image 2

 

While the above graphs eventually turn the data into something semi-coherent, it still doesn’t bring you any closer to finding worthwhile bets. Fortunately, the Confidence Levels Calculator developed by Michael makes things much easier with pretty easy to understand graphs.

As you see from the screenshot, I have entered all of the above data in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet shows the numbers of the horses (Buratino is 1, Quiet Reflection is 10), the Speed Figures (1-6),UC (Upper Confidence level) and LC (Lower Confidence level).

image 3

 

Narrowing Down the Field

Now I’ve done the above, the next step is to get rid of non-contenders. We do this by clicking on the ‘Graph’ tab on the bottom of the spreadsheet.

image 4

You should see a graph for every horse in the race. You’ll also notice a ‘Minimum for Race Contenders’ tab. For this particular race, only horses with a Speed Rating of 152 or over can be deemed Contenders. Horses that don’t have 152 or more at the top of at least one of the lines will be eliminated from contention. We can see that Buratino does not meet the criteria so this horse can be removed.

image 5

In contrast, La Rioja surpasses 152 in 3 of its last 4 runs including the last 3:

image 6

In fact, going through the horses, a total of 8 have posted figures at or above 152 with Buratino and Donjuan Triumphant the only exceptions. Obviously, this makes things a little tricky since we would ideally have no more than 3 contenders. In reality, if you come across a race with more than 3 contenders you shouldn’t bet using Speed Figures alone but for the purposes of the article, I will persevere because we can narrow the runners down further.

Making a Selection

You should give horses that have shown a steady improvement first preference although horses with sudden spikes shouldn’t be completely ignored. What’s apparent is that a couple of horses have UC figures far above the others. For instance, La Rioja actually has 3 figures at or above 197. Illuminate is also consistent with 4 UC figures of 187+ in a row with his last race the only bad run.

Image 7

For the record, Waterloo Bridge barely exceeds the minimum with a figure of 155 the highest so he can realistically be discounted. Likewise, Washington Dc has hit 152 on one occasion and exceeded it for one other race. Its top figure of 184 is well ahead of anything else it achieved and it happened 4 races back as you can see:

Image 8

While Log Out Island has been consistent, its top figure of 165 is still way behind its best rated rivals. Kachy on the other hand has 3 ratings of 223+:

Image 9

Dream Dubai stood out on our graphs above and it does so again here with all 3 of its ratings at 226 or above:

Image 10

While Quiet Reflection could be seen on previous graphs, its best rating is 206 although it is very consistent with all 5 runs seeing ratings of 171+. If you go solely by each horse’s Upper Confidence figure, it seems to be between Kachy and Dream Dubai if we go solely by the ratings; La Rioja appears to be a reasonable outsider.

Hold Your Horses!!!

By now you’re thinking, “What the hell is going on?” because the bookmakers have Dream Dubai as a 50/1 outsider, Kachy is 16/1 and La Rioja is 12/1. “Surely you’ve made a mess of these figures?” That would be the case if I completely ignored the other figures. While Dream Dubai’s top figures look impressive, its Lower Confidence figures are awful with -38 the worst of them and its last run was way below its previous rating.

Likewise, Kachy and La Rioja have fairly poor LC numbers. In other words, these 3 horses are all over the place and can’t be trusted.

Quiet Confidence posts very solid numbers every single time AND the horse has been improving by the race. As you can see below, Quiet Confidence must be respected in the race as he has improved 4 races in a row.

Image 11

 

Log Out Island is another horse worth considering as he is also quite consistent with recent improvements:

Image 12

If Donjuan Triumphant was at 152 or above, he would also need to be classified as a contender as his figures are solid across the board and he has improved in every single race so far as you’ll see below. As it stands however, Quiet Reflection is likely to have his number.

Image 13

 

More Graphs!

While you can clearly see there are only a couple of horses worth considering now, it’s a good idea to divide up the UC, LC and Speed Figures and place them in Bar Graph form.

Let’s take a look at the UC figures only:

Image 14

We can see that Dream Dubai is clearly ahead. Kachy is next with Quiet Reflection, La Rioja and Illuminate the best of the rest.

What about LC figures? While Illuminate fares well for both, its last performance was quite poor.

Image 15

Suddenly, we see a major difference and can discount Dream Dubai, Kachy and La Rioja.

Buratino, Washington Dc, Log Out Island, Donjuan Triumphant and Quiet Reflection all fare well here. However, Buratino and Donjuan Triumphant have not hit 152 for their UC max so they can also be discounted.

Waterloo Bridge also does okay but its performances seem to be on a downward slope and the same can be said for Washington Dc. As a result, we’re left with Quiet Reflection and Log Out Island as the chief contenders.

The final step is to put up the SpeedFigures themselves in graph form:

Image 16

The two main contenders (#6 and #10) only serve to further their claim with consistent improvement.

Conclusion

After what seems like forever, we have finally come to the conclusion that Quiet Reflection is the horse to beat with Log Out Island and possibly Donjuan Triumphant as the nearest contenders.

The lesson here is to analyse ALL the data and not just be fooled by one set. If you only look at the UC figures here you would believe a rank outsider such as Dream Dubai has a great chance of winning. Yet when you perform a more forensic analysis, it’s clear that its UC figures are a complete mirage.

You should look at the full picture when using graphs. Always look for horses that are constantly improving and be wary of horses that produce anomalous performances.

And if you’d like to get these graphs done for you, and have a one-click way of getting all the day’s strongest contenders. Check out this 😉

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.

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