Horse ratings really are all about form, but it’s important to understand what goes into these ratings, and when to interpret them as important, and when to interpret them as not important. After all, on a spreadsheet, it’s just a number. In reality…

How do you read form ratings?

OK, so in RateThatHorse, and in many other ratings systems, you have a form rating for each of the horse’s last 10 races. We do this, and we depreciate the value of the rating over time, so that the Last Race (we say ‘LR’) carries the most weight.

Here’s an example from the spreadsheet view:

You can see here that Zabeel Champion is top-rated overall, but has a LR form rating that is only 68. This is compared to Group One Power whose form rating is 83.352, which is quite high.

You can also see that many of these horses have got what we’d call ‘bare form’. Only Goddess of Fire has raced more than 6 times, and the majority have raced either two or three times.

In many UK handicaps, you’ll find that the form ratings on the spreadsheet are completely full – handicapping horses are often relatively low quality and will race frequently, especially in the summer.

So what is a good form rating?

What a question.

Well, a good form rating is in relation to the rest of the field. In the context of the race above, the horses that rated above 80 in the LR column probably have the best form, and a form rating of over 80 is generally quite good.

However, when you come to a Group 1 race like the 2,000 Guineas, a form rating of 80 is shite.

In this Group 1 race, anything below 100 in the LR column perhaps equates to bad form.

But that’s not the full picture!

What goes into the form ratings?

The form ratings are like a magic brew. They’ve been tinkered with so much over the years that we now have form ratings we’re confident in. They include so many things, including:

  • The value of the race they participated in
  • The quality of the opposition (any subsequent wins will boost the value)
  • The distance they won or lost by
  • The recency of the race (we depreciate after 365 days)
  • Etc.

And all of these figures are then churned into an algorithm which produces the form ratings.

Why do you weight towards Last Race?

The Last Race is the most recent indicator of a horse’s form. Therefore, we weight more towards this. However, it doesn’t always turn out to be the biggest value.

The 2LR is almost always lower than the LR rating. This is because we take the full value of each race and we depreciate race-by-race so that the weighting is towards LR.

If the 2LR value is GREATER THAN the LR value, then you have a horse that has either regressed, or the horse deserves to be forgiven.

In the Guineas race above, Juan Elcarno is an interesting selection. His LR figure is lower than his 2LR figure, but there are many reasons here to discard the form. Firstly, his speed rating is very high – anything above 70 in the speed column is useful, but anything around the 90 mark should get you salivating. Secondly, his regressive figure came in a small field at Doncaster.

Why might you want to forgive this result?

  • Perhaps he was impeded (OK, he wasn’t, but it happens)
  • Perhaps the going wasn’t right
  • Perhaps the course wasn’t his favourite type of course
  • His previous performance at Newmarket was more impressive, so maybe he didn’t like Doncaster at all
  • Perhaps he was penalised, and now he is not – or in a handicap, perhaps his mark was too high

There are many reasons to forgive a horse – but it’s your job to work out whether you should or not.

What is Form Analysis?

So there’s a Form Analysis score within RateThatHorse, and we’ve kept it in the Data section for you. Simply hover over the Data tab at the top and you’ll see the Form Analysis page in the drop-down.

I wanted a quick view of the horses that are the most consistent. Therefore, I gave a score of 1 to the top horse in the Last Race, 2nd Last Race and 3rd Last Races. A score of 2 to the 2nd-best form score, and so on.

This results in a Form Analysis score and the best you can possibly get is 3.

Looking at all of our historic data, horses with a Form Analysis score of 3 have around a 35% strike rate, and if you restrict the conditions further (good speed, jockey, trainer, suitability), then you start to see strike rates around the 40% – 50% mark. Prices are short, of course.

So Form Analysis is another, more simple way of looking at the form figures.


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