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# UK All Weather Speed Ratings

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• #12382
Anonymous
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• Total Posts 55

For those interested here is Nick Mordins reply to my question regarding figs for beaten horses.

Shouldn’t the lengths beaten by formula be relative to the time the race was run opposed to the distance of the race?

For some reason beyond my comprehension there appears to be an unwritten rule that dictates we conform to the lbs per length applied by the official handicapper or a closely linked permutation.

What I feel most uncomfortable about with this formula is the results appear to be upside down. e.g. the penalty applied to a horse beaten 1 length in a sprint is greater than the penalty applied to the horse beaten 1 length in a middle distance race but from a speed perspective the horse in the sprint is obviously travelling faster than the middle distance horse.

<b>Dear Mark,

You are of course right. But actually in Britain this is exactly what happens nowadays because lengths are now measured by time rather than distance. The photo finish drum spins at a set speed, so it’s easy to tell exactly how far behind the winner a horse finished. On the flat a length is now counted as a fifth of a second (as measured off on the photo finish drum). Over jumps 0.25 of a second is used. What this means is that in a mile race run in 1m 40 a length is longer than it is in a mile race run in 1m 35.

Beaten lengths are a vexing issue though. I am still wrestling with how to cope with the massive increase in beaten lengths caused by a very slow surface compared to a very fast one. For example times on Germany’s sand track at Neuss are only about 10% slower than they are on Lingfield’s Polytrack. But the average beaten lengths are three times as much.
The trouble is if you adjust your speed ratings to take account of this you can end up giving a bigger speed rating to a horse that gets beat ten lengths in a mile race run in 1.40 (and therefore runs around 1m 42) than you do to a horse that won another mile race on the same card in 1m 41.

I plan on doing some research on this. I once took part in a discussion with a couple of Aussie handicappers and they called this phenomena ‘drag’ but I can’t find any reference to this on the internet. However it’s clearly real. For example, the only way I could make sense of the beaten lengths on Irish 1000 Guineas day at the Curragh was to count them as double what they should have been. The going was really slow that day and seemed to massively amplify the beaten lengths. Perhaps it also amplifies the difference in times between races. I need to look at this to try and understand it. It’s not easy. It’s probably related to pace more than final time. Sectional times show that jockeys go off pretty much the same speed in the early stages whatever the going. So if it’s really slow and testing the horses tire more and the beaten lengths get amplified. That’s my best current theory.

Regards

Nick</b>

Although Nick’s reply is less than conclusive after posting a length explanation of my theory to racing forums I am yet to find anyone who can argue their case for why they apply their variations on the example I posted. In fact I received several more variation along the same lines with a length in a 5f sprint given a numerical value of 2.5 at the lowest to a high of 4.2.

Paul Mostert Ph.D. of Equix Biomechanics found in extensive research that the approximate length of a mature thoroughbred is 9ft

1) There are 660ft in a furlong or 73.33 lengths (660 divided by 9)
In a 5 furlong race run in 60 seconds 1 length therefore equals 0.1636
60 seconds divided by 366.67 (number of lengths in 5f) = 0.1636

2) There are 660ft in a furlong or 73.33 lengths (660 divided by 9)
In a 1 mile race run in 1minute 40 seconds 1 length therefore equals 0.1705
100 seconds divided by 586.67 (number of lengths in 1 mile) = 0.1705

The above two examples are as close to fact as you can get! There is no personal interpretation or corruption. Purely based on time, IMO isn’t this what speed figures should be based upon?

Referring back to Nick’s reply it is interesting to note that even with his years of experience he is looking to adjust and improve his ratings and I am mindful of the fact that as I strive for perfection with my speed figures it is a labour of love which is never likely to reach a definitive conclusion.

#243796
Withnail
Member
• Total Posts 28

Can’t speak for anyone else but I’d appreciate it if you’d stop trying to use the forum to promote yourself.

#243814
Anonymous
Inactive
• Total Posts 55

It looks OTT but unfortunately I put the links in when I first joined the forum unaware that they would appear in every post. I assumed they would be in my profile only.

Tried to take them out and I can not edit my profile!

Emailed to make them aware and got no response so I am stuck with it for the moment.

#243931
Gerald
Member
• Total Posts 4293

Hi Actuary, I see that you have also posted this on the Speed handicapping thread in the Systems section, but I thought I’d reply here instead, in the hope of drumming up more business, in terms of other people contributing to the thread.

What I’ll write will mainly concern turf racing, as that is the data I was looking at in December.

I was interested in what pounds per length scale to use at different distances, or for different race times.

Prufrock suggested I look at the spread of horses in h’caps at various distances.

As usual, I didn’t finish what I started. What I did was look at 14-20 runner handicaps, but only covered March-July 2007. Another 1 and a half seasons’ work would have been useful. [Had doubts about where to put the apostrophe – is 1.5 singular or plural??] I excluded races which had a going correction of 0.30 seconds or more (generally, genuine Gd to Sft or worse). (Racing Post (and now Raceform) have a + where they should have a -. This is actually a going correction of -0.30 seconds per furlong or less in my brain.)

What I looked at was the finishing distance between 3rd and 6th. Although there is roughly a diagonal line between 5f and 8f, it then flattens out. Now the big question is, should people use a lbs per length scale that reflects this?

Race Distance

Distance in lengths between 3rd & 6th

5f 1.59
6f 2.35
7f 2.56
8f 3.09
9f 2.06
10f 2.79
11f 3.04
12f 3.11
14f 3.00
16f 3.69

Just to give you some idea, there are 25 races in the 10f sample, and 18 races in the 12f sample.

We need to have some kind of peg to hang this data on. If we accept that 2 lbs per length at 1m is actually correct rather than just a convenient simplification, then this works out at

5f 3.9 lbs per length
6f 2.65
7f 2.4
8f 2
10f 2.2!
12f 2

Should we take 8f and 12f races having the same spread between horses to mean that they should both be the same number of lbs per length? People might argue that further back the 12f races are more spread out that 8f races, but honestly, we are not interested in giving ratings to horses that finished down the field, just in the first half-dozen or so.

People might want some kind of intellectual justification as to why to treat 8f and 12f turf races the same. Well, I came across one in an American book a few years ago. When American h’cappers started looking at turf races, and in particular turf routes, they came to the conclusion that they couldn’t be treated in the same way as dirt races. Instead of going hell for leather from the bell, they gallop at a steadyish pace and then try to sprint at the end. This led at least one writer to primarily concentrate on the time that the horses took to cover the final 2f, adjusted by the pace of the race.

#243953
Anonymous
Inactive
• Total Posts 84

Guys,

Please don’t think I’m being flippant, but I was impressed some years ago when I either read about or heard about what the maker of the statement in question called "capitalism’s obsession with measurement" and that quote has stuck with me ever since. This quest for the holy grail of speed measurement seems to me to be a similar species.

My first objection, if you like, to such an approach would be that even those I’ve read who describe its use, such as David Bellingham and Alan Potts, seem to concede its limited usefulness. Secondly, more often than not, it doesn’t seem to work at all. Thirdly, I’m not convinced that anyone yet has come up with a reliable way of calculating such figures.

Any takers?

Bri

#243965
Slowly Away
Participant
• Total Posts 401

Hi guys……..haven’t posted much lately, living up to my username.

Anyway, I’ve just started compiling my own AW speed ratings

I started off with similar calculations as in the OP based on length of a horse as 3 yards………

Bit of rounding up and rounding down and I settled on 1 second = 6 lengths.

I decided to keep it simple…………

I adjust all race times to a mile……….so if a 5f race is ‘slow by 0.5 seconds’ that equates to 0.8 seconds per mile and that’s the basis for the rating. Beaten horses are just rated in lengths……….beaten 3L, take 3 off the winners rating.

You might well say that it doesn’t take into account the fact that 5F sprinters and 12F horses are travelling at different speeds, but I reckon that doesn’t matter as they’re never gonna run against each other. All the sprint races will have ‘lengths beaten’ based on sprint times and middle distance horses will have them based on middle distance times.

#243976
Gerald
Member
• Total Posts 4293

Hi Bcsim, I admit I’m obsessed with measurement, but not necessarily speed measurement. It has numerous deficiencies, which it is too late (at night) for me to go into. But if things aren’t measured or quantified what is the alternative? I’m not worried that capitalism also relies upon measurement. I think it is either the business guru Crosby or the business guru Tom Peters who wrote that what gets measured gets done.

Slowly Away, what you are doing seems to be similar to what Mordibn is doing. Aren’t his measurements that 1 = 1 length per mile?

See you all later.

Gerald

#243980
Slowly Away
Participant
• Total Posts 401

Slowly Away, what you are doing seems to be similar to what Mordibn is doing. Aren’t his measurements that 1 = 1 length per mile?

Gerald

Yes, I think so……….I guess I’m also using his scale as when i decided to use lengths instead of pounds i equated a rating of 120 in pounds to 40 lengths at 3lb per length………so i based my scale on 40 being a roughly 120 rated horse.

So far the best rating I have on the AW in the last month or two is for Prescription at 35 – the only race since July 1st run faster than ‘standard’

The best 2 year old rating is for Piccadilly Filly at 30. I note she was withdrawn from the Listed race at Newbury today.

I did read Mordin’s book about 15 years ago ………….his method must have sunk in !

Geez, this forum is difficult to post in – the reply box keeps jumping up and down………..

#243981
Gerald
Member
• Total Posts 4293

Just in case there ends up with too much time devoted to how long a horse is, or how fast they are passing the finishing post, NONE OF THIS MATTERS IN BRITAIN ANYMORE.

The length in the official results is not a measure of distance, it is a measure of

TIME

I’ve taken this from one of Prufrock’s webpages:

Between 1997 and early in 2008, the official conversion in place was five lengths-per-second on the Flat and 4 over jumps, regardless of the fact that horses will finish at vastly different speeds under different circumstances.

The following conversions have been in place since 15th June 2008:

* Good or quicker turf, and polytrack at Kempton, Lingfield and Wolverhampton = 6 lengths per second

* From good (good to soft in places) to Good to soft (Soft in places), and polytrack at Great Leighs = 5.5 lengths per second

* Soft (good to soft in places) and softer, and fibresand at Southwell = 5 lengths per second.

Simples.

#244046
robert99
Participant
• Total Posts 899

Gerald,

That is correct (apart from the falseness of the BHA imposed changes) and I developed the time-lengths concept for the Jockey Club in the early 80’s precisely to get rid of the problem of courses trying to calibrate the camera speeds for each race distance and going condition. Also the JC handicappers were fed up with having to sit it out in local betting shops watching SIS in case rogue judges insisted in trying to guess the beaten distances without using the camera. Resulting in regular wrong horse calls and bizarre distance beaten numbers.

Following the first accurate measurement of course distance (hence the peculiar odd yards data) it was then hoped as per Hong Kong, to complete the rating improvement, that horse body weight and sectional times would be soon coming along as these factors are far more important to ratings than additional weight carried. It almost happened and sadly our jockeys still cannot ride a set pace (without sectional data to test themselves against) unless, like Dettori, they have ridden extensively overseas.

#244057
Gerald
Member
• Total Posts 4293

Robert,

did anything in particular happen to stymie the plan to introduce the publishing of horse’s weights and the introduction/publication of sectional times?

I know sectional times were introduced at N’ket a few years ago, but I never got around to looking at them. I’d be able to get involved now, because I’m on the Internet.

The other pieces of info I’d like readily available are gelding and wind operations.

Gerald

#244072
dave jay
Member
• Total Posts 3386

if it’s really slow and testing the horses tire more and the beaten lengths get amplified

.. it’s all maths really, if you think about it.

#244079
robert99
Participant
• Total Posts 899

Robert,

did anything in particular happen to stymie the plan to introduce the publishing of horse’s weights and the introduction/publication of sectional times?

I know sectional times were introduced at N’ket a few years ago, but I never got around to looking at them. I’d be able to get involved now, because I’m on the Internet.

The other pieces of info I’d like readily available are gelding and wind operations.

Gerald

The most reactionary section of racing at the time were the trainers.
Such data would readily expose their shortcomings.
As today, there was no consultation of punters etc views who provide racing’s funds.
Unfortunately, once the majority of trainers stalled and advised the owners to do likewise (remember the partial refusal to allow horses to carry transponders and the horse data ownership rights flimflam) the JC knowing they were on the way out would not take on the next hurdle – the racecourse clerks. BHA considered body weights recently but took veterinary advice that such data would confuse punters and so was not worth the cost of collating – even though it eliminated one major source of cheating. BHA did not even know at the time that Turftrax did or did not not cover all courses or who the sectional data copyright belonged to – another loss of potential income to UK racing.

Gelding and wind op data could easily be put up on the BHA site. Worth submitting a question to the BHA site . You have to do your own sectionals now.

When are they going to fix this jumping about of text when posting on this forum?

#244127
dave jay
Member
• Total Posts 3386

BHA considered body weights recently but took veterinary advice that such data would confuse punters

.. it’s a shame that the BHA didn’t consult punters, over something as important as this, instead of trying to get us roped into a phoney PR exercise about nothing … as for sectionals, well, just don’t get me started.

Everything that would help the punter is blocked and stopped at every turn by vested interest and free lunches, no wonder the sport is in decline with such short sighted morons running it.

#244128
Cav
Participant
• Total Posts 4825

Wasn’t John Gosden one of the trainers who refused to let his horses carrry the Turftrax transponder?

Dont understand why the the racing channels cant put a white line across the track at the 2 furlong pole. Cant be that difficult in this day and age surely?

#244138
Gerald
Member
• Total Posts 4293

What a great idea.

#244147
robert99
Participant
• Total Posts 899

What a great idea.

It has been suggested at 2 furlong intervals after final grass cut. AW would require lines placed after each harrowing. The TV broadcasters can also superimpose these sectional lines on their screens as the French do (makes viewing far more exciting and indispensable to understand the race if runners spread out across the track). Ireland also has 50 yard interval finish markers.

Other suggestions made is clerks use hand held satnav devices to measure tracks as they walk around. BHA are investigating that.
They could also use track local retired race horses to do repeat timed gallops before racing and get a final accurate going allowance.

Point is that BHA are the most responsive body we have ever had.
Customers are always coming up with good ideas – seek their contributions.
Keep making suggestions to them and tell them why certain things are important. Aim for the moon and we might get as far as Folkestone.

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