Last week I received an email that was just asking a question but, felt more like a challenge.
The question was…
“Is it possible to find strong contenders using only a horses lifetime earnings, finish position last time out, performance in last three starts and the horses age”
You can see why I thought it was a challenge, and it was one I decided to accept.
I spent the week brainstorming and considering a bunch of different angles, but I kept coming back to one.
One that found very similar runners to a number of my other strategies.
So without further ado, let’s look at how I would tackle race analysis using just this information…
The first thing I did was to create a simple scoring system in Excel. It looks like this:
As you can see, it’s very simple but it allows me to record the information that I want. Next to each horse, in each column, I give the horses a score from -5 to 5 depending on how strong I feel they are for the information.
Although I allowed myself to go from -5 to 5, the two extremes are very seldom used. They’re there for exceptional circumstances and most ranges would stay between -4 and 4.
I started with the horses age because I very seldom use the age of a runner in my analysis, due to it generally having a very low impact on results, I wanted to find a good way to use this information and then move on.
So, I took the average age of the runners in the race and if any horse was more than two years above the average it went into negative numbers. The further it was past the two years over the average then the worse the score. The closer to the average then the better the score.
Next to check out is the Last Finish Position. But, rather than use this exactly as it sounded, I chose to interpret this as the horses exact last finish position and how far behind the winner it was.
If the horse won then depending on how much it won by would depend on how strongly it would be scored in comparison to other runners.
The scoring is done in the same you would analyse a race, based on your knowledge and experience but with one major proviso… you do it fast.
This approach is designed to be a way to find strong runners quickly.
I can assure you that you could be a great form reader. There is only one thing that is stopping you.
It’s our nature as humans to second guess everything. How many times have you analsyed a race, spent hours pouring over the form only to find that at the last minute you second guessed yourself and changed your selection only to watch your original selection come flying in!
In order to stop that we need to stop you thinking about things for too long. Doing that hinders rather than helps a lot of the time.
Using this process you should be spending no longer than 15 or 20 seconds on each horse for each of the criteria we are considering.
After the Last Finish Position we move onto the Lifetime Earnings. This works exactly the same way, the more money a horse has earned the better but…
…I also consider how long ago this money was won.
To do this manually would take a lot of time, unless you have the Racing Dossier which has a rating in it for exactly that, and in order to prevent that we do it very simply by glancing down the horses historical races to see if it’s been winning and placing recently or not.
If it has then we can assume that the horse is still earning prize money and it gets a higher score. If it hasn’t then we can assume the horses earnings are from a while ago and the score gets reduced.
I would also take into account the prize money available in the race they’re about to run in. If it’s a race with £250,000 in prize money then a runner with 0 earnings would get a worse score than in a race where there was £5000 in prize money.
Finally we come to the last three races and here I’m looking, quickly, for how far behind the winner the horse was (or how far it won by) and the conditions of the race.
The more races it’s performed well in and the more similar those races are to today’s races then the better score the horse will get.
If there is a trend of the horses performance getting worse over the last three races then the worst the score is and an improving trend will improve the score.
Once I’ve done this I put a Total column at the end and added up the score for each runner to give me the strongest horses.
Based on this analysis Grosmont looked to be the strongest by quite a way from Blhadawa and Play Nicely. Then there was another small gap to Show Boat and Hell Of A Lord.
Don’t forget this approach is designed to help you find the strongest contenders in a race very quickly and efficiently.
Let’s take a look at the results for this race.
Two out of the first three in this race were in our strongest contenders and as it happened this time our strongest contender won the race.
Although this process is simple it is very powerful and it works because you are forcing yourself to make judgements very quickly. And horse racing is, generally speaking, logical. If we allow our brain to process the information logically without getting in the way of it then it sorts the information out very effectively.
If you try to get in the way of your brain processing the information and allow yourself more than 15 or 20 seconds considering each horses criteria, then your results are almost certain to get worse because you’ll be allowing your self-doubt to creep in.
With a bit of practice each criteria for a horse should only take you 5 to 10 seconds to check. You should be speeding up not slowing down.
Try this out and if you’d like me to record a video showing you how I do this on a race then let me know by leaving a comment below.