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Timeform Ratings

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  • #3165
    cormack15
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 8968

    A little research on George Washington led me to consider the all-time Timeform rankings. It is quite remarkable how biased the top rankings are towards middle distance horses.

    As barometers of merit you would expect there to be a fair spread of horses who’d excelled over a variety of distances. Not so.

    I used a list that appears here… http://www.chef-de-race.com/articles/timeform_highweights.htm so apologies if the information contained therein is incorrect (it does appear at odds in one or two places with a similar list in Wikipedia).

    Initially all appears well. The top 4 slots are filled by one middle distance horse, Sea Bird, a sprinter, Abernant, and two milers, Tudor Minstrel and Brigadier Gerard.

    However, the next 17 places (down to a rating of 138) are filled by one sprinter (Pappa Fourway), one stayer (Alycidon), one two year old (Celtic Swing, whose rating they would surely, surely take back now if they could) and no fewer than 14 middle distance horses.

    So top 21 =

    15 middle distance<br>2 milers<br>2 sprinters<br>1 stayer<br>1 two year old

    Anyone know the reasons for that and anyone agree that it seems to place those excelling at other distances (than 1m2f-1m4f) at a disadvantage?

    Not knocking those at Timeform House, they know more than I could ever hope to, just curious whether there was any valid reason for this apparent bias.

    (Oh, and by the way, was Royal Anthem really as good as Sir Ivor and The Minstrel?)

    #80051
    The Market Man
    Member
    • Total Posts 396

    I think you have a very good point. In Britain twelve furlongs is the distance everybody considers as the pinnacle. I’ve always felt that top milers are the best horses.

    Middle distance horses are slower horses than the best milers yet they’re generally considered to be better horses certainly they generally get rated higher, because twelve furlongs is the Derby. King George, Arc distance.

    Incidently I question Timeform’s scale of 2lb per length over ten furlongs, I find ten furlong horses can sometimes get a higher than earned rating because of this. I use 1 1/2lbs per length over ten furlongs and I find it more acurate.

    #80052
    robert99
    Participant
    • Total Posts 899

    A lot of the top rated horses have won the Dewhurst, 2000g etc on the way to Derby and Arc and their ratings have built on those shorter race successes. There are not all that many GR1 sprints for horses to win. Perhaps Timeform weight things more for their final ratings in favour of horses that have actually beaten older horses and those from overseas.

    It is a bit of an eye opener seeing in one list what the great horses of the past were able to achieve. A lot of weight raters seem to be still rating races (rather than horse performances) as if they were to the same standard as a decade or more ago.

    #80053
    davidjohnson
    Member
    • Total Posts 4491

    Quote: from The Market Man on 10:11 pm on Oct. 15, 2006[br]<br>Incidently I question Timeform’s scale of 2lb per length over ten furlongs, I find ten furlong horses can sometimes get a higher than earned rating because of this. I use 1 1/2lbs per length over ten furlongs and I find it more acurate.<br>

    Depending on the time of the race, for 10f Timeform use a poundage allowance between 2.46 and 1.5.

    #80054
    Prufrock
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2081

    Incidently I question Timeform’s scale of 2lb per length over ten furlongs, I find ten furlong horses can sometimes get a higher than earned rating because of this. I use 1 1/2lbs per length over ten furlongs and I find it more acurate.

    As you raise the matter, The Market Man, what poundage allowance do you use at other distances, and roughly what adjustment do you make for different times/conditions at those distances?

    #80055
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 438

    I wrote to Timeform some years ago to ask why a horse such as Ardross, who was simply unbeatable over 1m 6f or more once he had fully matured, was given a lower rating than a good, but far from invincible, classic winner like Generous. The answer I received was that Timeform‘s ratings are based on a level of form shown by a horse more than anything else.

    Seeing that the European racing world is centred upon the top middle-distance races, it would appear logical that strength is deepest in that area and that those horses which excel in that sphere are accorded the highest ratings simply because they have seen off opposition of a higher calibre than that witnessed in most events at the extremes of the stamina spectrum.

    I’m not saying that Timeform‘s ratings are perfect (far from it) but they do reflect that middle-distance racing is the most competitive in the European scheme.

    #80056
    Sal
    Member
    • Total Posts 562

    I think that is being a little disingeneous.

    ‘Miler’ is a very narrow category, and I’m intrigued as to why Corm has counted Brigadier Gerard as a miler but not Dubai Millennium?

    Dancing Brave won the Guineas, Mill Reef won at 7f as a 3yo as well as a very close up second in the Guineas; and those equally rated on 138 (you have counted 2, not the other 5) include another sprinter and two more Guineas winners.

    So the top 22 are actually a bit different to the figures laid out – if Brigadier Gerard can be classed as a miler then you could argue that it includes 7 milers.

    But I think the main point should be that specialist distance horses are not rated as highly as those that have shown versatility.  Many of those you have counted merely as middle distance horses have Group 1 form from a wide variety of distances – BG, DB, DM, MR, I have mentioned, also Daylami, Nijinsky (obviously).  A horse that can win the Guineas (or run close) and then win Group 1s over 10 and 12f probably will have shown to be better than a horse than can only win top races at one distance.

    Middle distance also covers a pretty big range in itself – and I think yquem makes a very good point.  The best horses are often tried at some point at middle distances – whether a miler attempting a step up or a stayer trying a mile and a half, so the overall level of competition is stronger in that area.<br>

    #80057
    Gareth Flynn
    Participant
    • Total Posts 583

    I think it’s pretty simple. Look at the list of Group 1s run in the UK, Ireland and France last year where the winner’s share of prize money was more than 200K:

    729K Arc (12f)<br>725K Derby (12f)<br>607K French Derby (10.5f)<br>537K Irish Derby (12f)<br>408K King George (12f)<br>396K Irish Champion (10f)<br>324K French Oaks (10.5f)<br>266K Juddmonte (10f)<br>261K Leger (14f)<br>251K Champion Stakes (10f)<br>232K Eclipse (10f)<br>222K Oaks (12f)<br>203K Prince Of Wales (10f)

    Not one race shorter than 10f, and only one longer than 12f (the Leger). It’s no surprise that the majority of the highest rated horses are those that have run in the most valuable and prestigious races, and that the breeding industry is geared up to aim it’s resources towards producing them.

    (Edited by Gareth Flynn at 11:04 am on Oct. 16, 2006)

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