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'Class Figures'

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  • #1649
    davidjohnson
    Member
    • Total Posts 4491

    Just browsing on amazon and came across this nook called ‘Class Figures’. Anyone read it, familiar with it and have anytihng to say about it?

    The synopsis from amazon reads,

    <br>‘"Class Figures" is a brand new way of looking at horseracing, and perhaps the most important aspect of picking a winner: the class horse in the field. This method will do for measuring class what Andrew Beyer did for measuring speed over two decades ago. This new book gets to the heart of a horse race and allows you to isolate the live contenders quickly and accurately. In the future, "Class Figures" will have the same impact that "Speed Figures" have had within both the racing media and in the mind of the punter when making daily selections. The author is a lifelong racing fan, with a passion for a systematic approach to betting and horse selection. His work with horse selection strategies is strongly influenced by American handicapping techniques. ‘

    #58992
    carlislecarlisle
    Member
    • Total Posts 772

    <br>I am a sucker for a horse racing book, mind you getting in and out of the house is a bit of a struggle!

    #58993
    Artemis
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1736

    Sounds interesting. Class has been discussed recently on the Systems section of the forum, in particular the methods used by the Dutchman, Van Der Wheil, who had a lot to say on the subject about thirty years ago. I’m sure it has also been the subject of many posts on the main forum over the last few years.

    It is probably easier to identify class today than it ever used to be. Every race has the slide rule run over it. Form ratings, speed ratings and sectional times are calculated by several organisations as well as privately by perhaps dozens of enthusiasts. Using such figures, it is relatively straightforward to slot horses into various levels of ability or classes.

    For what it’s worth, my idea of a top class performance is where a horse achieves a rating of about 120+ on the scale of 0 – 140 used by the Official Handicap(OH), Timeform, Superform and The Racing Post, supported by a speed rating which is very close to this form figure or evidence from sectional timing that the horse was able to produce a decisive peice of running at a crucial pont in the race. This is the pinnacle – all other lower divisions of class follow from it and can be approximated on the 0-140 scale.

    120+ Top Class<br>110 to 120 Group Class<br>100 to 110 Listed Class<br>90 to 105 Top Handicapper<br>80 to 90 Useful Handicapper    <br>70 to 80 Fair Handicapper<br>50 to 70 Moderate<br>Below 50 Poor

    The idea of class can be useful because many horses seem to perform very well in their particular grouping but are unable to make any impact at a higher level even when seemingly very well handicapped.

    #58994
    Maurice
    Participant
    • Total Posts 355

    I used to follow VDW with varying success. I wonder who the author is and if it’s someone I used to be in regular touch with on the matter. He certainly knew how to make it work!

    I’m a bit more demanding than Artemis in what constitutes class on the 140 scale.

    To me, I’m not happy if a G1 winner fails to achieve 126 or more and 130+ denotes a horse worthy of hype. All time greats tend to hit 135+.

    I’m uncomfortable with terms like ‘useful’ and ‘smart’ as applied to handicappers. Horses win valuable handicaps when they’re well-handicapped, not when they hit a certain level. If a horse is genuinely worth a rating of 105 and the handicapper also rates it 105, believe me, it will never win another handicap! (Until the handicapper drops it by at least 10lbs.)

    #58995
    seabird
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2924

    Maurice, I believe the author’s name is Simon Eaton.

    Colin

    #58996
    Maurice
    Participant
    • Total Posts 355

    Thanks S/b. Stuart Eaton, according to Amazon, but it might be a pseudonym. If not, it’s not the same guy (who might well be kicking himself for not writing the book himself).

    #58997
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17727

    Quote: from Maurice on 12:41 pm on May 13, 2007[br]

    I’m uncomfortable with terms like ‘useful’ and ‘smart’ as applied to handicappers. Horses win valuable handicaps when they’re well-handicapped, not when they hit a certain level. If a horse is genuinely worth a rating of 105 and the handicapper also rates it 105, believe me, it will never win another handicap! (Until the handicapper drops it by at least 10lbs.)<br>

    <br>Maurice

    Not sure what you’re saying here, but the premise is surely questionable?<br>Although it is difficult to win a handicap off 105+, as there aren’t all that many races available, plenty of horses have.<br>If your saying it’s impossible, unless they’re dropped 10lbs or more, that just isn’t true?

    #58998
    davidjohnson
    Member
    • Total Posts 4491

    Reet

    I think Maurice’s point was that a horse would need be to be capable of running to a figure higher than 105 to defy a handicap mark of 105.

    In essence I think that is correct. Almost all handicaps are won by horses that are better than their mark, either because they are improving, or they are leniently treated based on something they were capable of in the past.

    #58999
    Maurice
    Participant
    • Total Posts 355

    David is reading me correctly.

    Yes, plenty of horses have won handicaps off 105 but only because they’re really Listed/Group class (worth ratings of 115 or more) running in handicaps.

    At that level, horses really need to be a good 10lbs better than their OR to win. You need to go down to Class 6 maiden handicaps to get horses winning races when their ability is on a par with their OR. These are the types who can’t win in Class 5 and need to take on even poorer horses to have any chance of a win.

    #59000
    Prufrock
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2081

    Class does not make such a big difference in handicaps, somewhat to my surprise as well.

    The essential truth (that a horse winning a handicap is showing itself to be better than the handicap mark off which it ran) applies across the spectrum, though to slightly varying degrees.<br>

    (Edited by Prufrock at 9:20 pm on May 13, 2007)

    #59001
    empty walletempty wallet
    Member
    • Total Posts 1631

    Correct me if i’m wrong, but ain’t a person compiling a handicap actually compiling  "class figures"

    (Edited by empty wallet at 9:18 pm on May 13, 2007)

    #59003
    Prufrock
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2081

    I reckon you are right, empty. If your handicap ratings have to be adjusted separately for class swings then you are not doing the handicap ratings right in the first place, IMO.

    #59008
    Prufrock
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2081

    I thought better of posting negatively about the book mentioned in the title of this thread earlier, but for what it’s worth I think gets to the heart of a horse race and allows you to isolate the live contenders quickly gets to the heart of what is wrong with so much US racing analysis and wannabe-US racing analysis.

    If you want to educate people in the discipline you should seek to give them the tools to provide a fair odds line for each horse in a race, not to rule out half the field because they don’t meet some criteria.

    It sounds like a system under a different guise – just like so much else that is written on the subject over the pond – and as such I would not hold high hopes for it.

    #59009
    Artemis
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1736

    EW,

    I think that would be correct in 95% of cases.

    The only reservation I have can be illustrated by a simple example.

    Horse X, carrying 10st wins a 0-90 handicap, earning a RPR of 95 and Topspeed figure of 95.

    The horse next appears again in a Heritage Handicap, 0-105 carrying 9st.

    On the face of it, the horse appears well handicapped and the adjusted RPR and Topspeed ratings of 109 look good enough to win the better race. The assumption is that carrying 14lb less will enable the horse to be competitive at the higher level. But what if the horse has no improvement in it? Maybe it ran as fast as it could to win the lesser race and gave everything. Taking weight off will not enable the horse to run any faster, which it will need to do to compete at the higher level.

    Many horses like X, above, do actually have improvement in them, particularly younger horses. However, many disappoint despite being well supported on the strength of ratings that they can only achieve if they race in a lower class race.

    The underlying principle here is that weight can slow horses down, but the converse is not always true:

    Reducing weight carried is not certain to make a horse run any faster.

    This principle is one of the main drawbacks of speed handicapping and its effect can give rise to some disappointing results for horses who have high speed ratings but step up in grade.

    #59012
    seabird
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2924

    "The underlying principle here is that weight can slow horses down, but the converse is not always true:

    Reducing weight carried is not certain to make a horse run any faster."

    I’ve heard this before, Nick Mordin probably, but I’ve never quite believed or understood the logic.

    <br>…………….and the more I think about it the less I understand it!!!!!!:o

    Colin<br>

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