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What is the value of sectional timing?

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  • #19272
    SteeplechasingSteeplechasing
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    Can someone explain to me the value of having accurate sectional times available?

    I’ve had a couple of debates on twitter and ended up generally just getting abuse; there must be something I’m missing.

    I rarely bet on the Flat – perhaps that is key to me ‘not getting it’.

    Ta

    Joe

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #366091
    TuffersTuffers
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    • Total Posts 1402

    Beyer On Speed is probably a good starting point.

    #366094
    Miss WoodfordMiss Woodford
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    • Total Posts 1352

    It’s probably more useful in American flat racing where tracks are mostly flat and uniform.

    #366095
    SteeplechasingSteeplechasing
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    • Total Posts 5767

    Thanks Tuffers, but a quick web trawl suggests Beyer awarded speed ratings based on a race’s final time. I can understand that this would have some value in the US where tracks are much more uniform and surfaces mostly consistent.

    My ‘problem’ is that I believe the majority of UK races of say 1m+ are not truly run – (not to mention layout and surface differences) what therefore is the value of knowing at what exact speed any horse covered a certain section of that race?

    Joe

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #366105
    TuffersTuffers
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    • Total Posts 1402

    Thanks Tuffers, but a quick web trawl suggests Beyer awarded speed ratings based on a race’s final time. I can understand that this would have some value in the US where tracks are much more uniform and surfaces mostly consistent.

    My ‘problem’ is that I believe the majority of UK races of say 1m+ are not truly run – (not to mention layout and surface differences) what therefore is the value of knowing at what exact speed any horse covered a certain section of that race?

    Joe

    Andy Beyer certainly uses sectional times but I agree that they are most useful where there is a strong pace. AW races in this country would be most conducive to sectional time analysis.

    #366116
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17722

    SC
    They are an adjunct to pace – which is a useful tool in itself (even in many NH races), moreso when one can judge just where that pace is applied.

    #366129
    racinglover
    Member
    • Total Posts 32

    Australian racing is all about the turn of foot, because pretty much every race is run at a canter more or less. So in aussie sectional times are certainly helpful.

    #366157
    SteeplechasingSteeplechasing
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5767

    SC
    They are an adjunct to pace – which is a useful tool in itself (even in many NH races), moreso when one can judge just where that pace is applied.

    Thanks. In what way does that give them value in form analysis? Let’s suppose a race is run at a muddling pace for the first third of a race – at maximum pace for the middle third – then at whatever pace the horses can muster for the final third?

    If we assume only half the field could go with the pack in the middle third but the winner came from those who could not go that hot middle-section pace, what have we learned from sectional timing?

    Cheers
    Joe

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #366178
    Anonymous
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    • Total Posts 17722

    Joe
    Not an easy quesion to answer without knowing the horses involved, and how they performed individually. The overall time of the race has a direct bearing, too.
    Any chance you could highlight a specific race to analyse?

    Edit; failing that, I could give you a precis of an actual race, where sectionals were indeed useful.

    #366182
    robert99robert99
    Participant
    • Total Posts 897

    SC
    They are an adjunct to pace – which is a useful tool in itself (even in many NH races), moreso when one can judge just where that pace is applied.

    Thanks. In what way does that give them value in form analysis? Let’s suppose a race is run at a muddling pace for the first third of a race – at maximum pace for the middle third – then at whatever pace the horses can muster for the final third?

    If we assume only half the field could go with the pack in the middle third but the winner came from those who could not go that hot middle-section pace, what have we learned from sectional timing?

    Cheers
    Joe

    Joe,

    If you change your question to what would happen to individual horses of that field if they all were capable, in theory, of an equal performance, provided the pace profile suited that horse. Sectionals help reveal that every actual race finish order is effected by the race pace profile for the individual horses – not the pack. A winner may have a lower top speed, say, than a runner up but is able to maintain a higher cruise speed for longer and grinds down the opposition.

    Horses are not like cars – if a horse goes one unit slightly above its cruise pace for a section, it may lose, say, 4 units of speed at the finish and loses "badly". If it goes one unit slower (for the individual horse) mid race it may not lose any of of its optimum finishing speed and wins "well". The horse and the competition are no different in overall ability but the result is. It is not an equal equation of plus and minus which traditional ratings imply.

    You have to build up a pace profile history of the horse to determine if whatever pace happened in a particular race helped or hindered its chances. When it races next, you have to estimate what the pace might be and the effect of the going and course layout on that pace shape – will it help or hinder?
    The help / hinder effect is greater than any weight carried, class rating on the race and you can get surprise winners at good prices or avoid over-rated horse at short prices. That is the pay-off.

    Sectional times are far more important where the tracks vary. You can slow down on a hilly section or where the going might be soggy but still go above the cruise speed for that hill / wet patch and finish exhausted.

    As has been correctly pointed out they are the only realistic way to rate stop-start races such as Lingfield AW where the minor jockeys cannot pace the race for the surface and follow the crowd for a bunched finish as no horse has been over tested earlier in the race. The horse starting to finish from the front or with the fastest finish speed wins, irrespective of rating or weight carried.

    #366189
    tbracingtbracing
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    • Total Posts 1407

    Some notes I’ve just dug out from when doing some analysis in the winter on the AW, sectionals taking by hand so not entirely accurate but as near as I could. (sectionals recorded by the first horse past the post and leading at the markers) In the Waveband/Norville analysis both horses made all.

    Racing Timing

    28 February 2011
    12:18

    Buona Sarah sectional time analysis

    Race run 25/2

    First 6f
    1 minute 21 seconds
    4f-2f
    23.74 seconds
    2f-wp
    22.5 seconds

    Result, Buona Sarah, dropped in out back never was able to reach an optimum early speed, as the pace lifted going to 4 out the horse struggled to change gear whilst others were able to, final 2f the horse stayed on one paced having never reach her optimum speed.

    Race run 09/02

    First 6f
    1 minute 17 seconds
    4f-2f
    24 seconds
    2f-wp
    24.7 seconds

    In this race the early pace was very solid, horses had to reach a decent early speed to stay in contention and then would be about who stayed on the best, Buona Sarah won this day under the same tactics as above, first 6f was run 4+ seconds faster 4-2 slightly slower and the final furlong 2+seconds slower. She was still staying on strongly at the close also, further displaying perhaps she could race over further as she clearly has stamina and lacks the ability to quicken in slow run races.

    26/2

    Norvile sectional time analysis v waveband – sectionals are not completely accurate but do give an indication

    Norville
    6-4
    24.69
    4-2
    22.26
    2-wp
    23.44

    Waveband

    6-4
    24.94
    4-2
    23.23
    2-wp
    22.25

    The overall time was slightly faster in the class 5 handicap of Norville than the listed 6f sprint involving waveband. This because, although the early sections were quite similar the middle section was signficantly faster as the pace was pressed through out in the handicap where as in the listed sprint wave band was allowed an easy lead and set the pace to her liking, saving plenty for the finish she quickened up, has 5f speed anyway and went for home sprinting to a finish, those held up were disadvantaged. Norville if continues to improve could well be up to listed class

    The time analysis was quite rough given I had to do it by hand and can’t exactly do it for every race run this was just an interesting race given the time comparisons on the day.

    Norville has now won 3 times since and is rated 98

    #366212
    SteeplechasingSteeplechasing
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5767

    reet hard, Robert99 and tbracing, firstly many thanks for the responses, especially the detailed ones which must have taken some time to put together – I’m grateful.

    I’m beginning to grasp the theory I think, thanks to the detail. I had assumed that ST fans used them in isolation – the point about building a pace profile for individual horses makes much more sense.

    It must take quite some time to build these profiles, assuming you must allow not only for pace, but also for ground, track, trip, jockeyship, trouble in running, the wellbeing on the day of the horse and, not least, its preferred racing style.

    You then must try to estimate if the race you intend betting on will meet the pace characteristics that will suit the horse. For example, in the King George last week, it was not unreasonable to expect a sound pace from the outset but the stable pacemaker confounded expectations by dawdling.

    Although I can see the attraction of it from a value viewpoint, it strikes me that the work needed and the element of luck necessary in correctly predicting the pace of your ‘target’ race, make it a system where the return on investment (of time & work) holds little appeal, for me at least. Those who pursue it successfully have my full admiration for doggedness and tenacity.

    Given that the pace needs of a horse in any given race can best be utilised effectively by a very good jockey, I wonder if simply backing uncomplicated horses (those who don’t need a raft of conditions to do their best) ridden by top jocks might not be a more efficient system than ST study? Prices would be shorter and bets probably fewer but the work would be substantially less.

    Further thoughts on ST most welcome.

    Thanks

    Joe

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #366219
    robert99robert99
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    • Total Posts 897

    Joe,

    Glad to read that it is starting to make sense and might even convince.
    Could be a first for the Forum. :)

    Yes the workload is enormous and unrelenting. I was hoping that Turftrax would survive and be sponsored for all UK racing. I have gradually automated all the analysis over the last 25 years but it is still several hours work every day.

    Nothing is certain in racing but attempting to close out the no hopers and the over- hyped pays for itself in saving wasted bets.
    You soon learn, if you had not already, that near 100% of media spouting about this and that on horses and jockeys is garbage. The sectional data makes that very clear.

    It is tempting to hope to believe the "pundits" that jockeys control the pace of horses to a fine degree. That jockies continually swop their abilities up and down and produce "good and bad rides" – they don’t. They do not and I am only convinced by the actual data that 3 on the flat can get anywhere near that level of the art. I can’t follow NH racing due to the time flat racing takes up.

    What would help jockeys is if they did have sectional times so that they could themselves look back on the ride and see what could be changed. At the moment most UK horses do not even have stopwatch timing in training – so it is the blind leading the blind. Compare Australia, for example, where Gai Waterhouse instructs her jockeys to pace each horse in training to the nearest half second per "furlong" otherwise, tongue pie.

    #366222
    SteeplechasingSteeplechasing
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    • Total Posts 5767

    Thanks Robert99 – I can certainly see now that once hooked on ST analysis it becomes fascinating.

    Do you think simply betting – non-selectively – on the mounts of the 3 jockeys you rate (who are they?!)might pay off?

    Or even betting selectively on their mounts on the basis I mentioned – the uncomplicated horses?

    Thanks again

    Joe

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

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