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Speed Ratings – 5

focus-ratings-speed-ratingsI've finally compiled...

The Standard Times for the All Weather tracks.

If you want to see them, the spreadsheet (in CSV format) is available at Standard Times.

These Standard Times will be updated on the 1st of March and, on the first of each month thereafter. They will be based on data from the 8th of July 2013 and, from August 2015, will be then based upon the last 2 year's data.

Now, I do have to edit this file to change the Goings to take into account the surface.


Standard on Polytrack will become Standard PT (Kempton, Lingfield, Dundalk and pre-December 2014 Wolves),

Standard on Equitrack (Southwell) will become Standard EQ and

Standard on Tapeta (Wolves from late December 2014) will become Standard TP.

Once I've done that, I can then move on to the Horse Speed Ratings.

They should now be easy to compile but they will take a long time.

Many of you have sent me emails; here are some of the comments that I've received...


Going issues.

1). PW said... "The speed of the track, whilst definitely impacted by the weather when it's wet, is mostly impacted by the ground staff when it is dry. The staff are responsible for the depth the track is harrowed to; a slightly deeper harrow makes the surface lighter, the going deeper and, in theory, slower. The actual quality of preparation is something that will always be unknown to us mere punters, and I would suggest that the going deviation month-to-month is unreliable? Bear in mind also that the data you have for Wolverhampton may be inaccurate because there was a new surface (Tapeta - unique in UK) laid recently."

2). TG mentioned that... "Southwell plough their all-weather track before every race so it should not compact. It might ride ‘heavier’ if there is frost embedded but the actual compactness should never vary as such. This wouldn't apply for all surfaces though and you are dealing with 3 different AW surfaces don’t forget."

3). IM reflected that... "A slightly relevant thought I have had before. In the ratings, you essentially treat all the allweather surfaces as the same. But they are not: lingfield kempton and chelmsford are polytrack, southwell equitrack and wolver tapeta. different horses prefer different surfaces,eg, horses that prefer a softer surfce do better at southwell. maybe the 'going' column needs to become a 'surface' column? this may also affect comparative speed ratings?"

As I've explained above, we're now going to have new (and more sensible) Goings for the All Weather tracks.

I need to think about how to backfit that for the Builder and the daily ratings without breaking anything.

The Wolves Question.

4). Wolves, for some reason, runs consistently slower than other tracks. Now, I did mention to one member (based upon some research done by another member) that Wolves has an altitude of 170m above sea level whereas Southwell, Dundalk and Kempton are all below 20m above sea level.

PW suggested that... "Altitude can definitely have an effect - I used to live not far from Wolves (40 miles) and have also lived much higher (1,000m) in Spain, but to be honest I don't really think that is the case, rather there maybe a more straight forward answer.

Most horses running at Wolves are regulars to artificial surfaces, and the track stands well away from the others with similar surfaces (Southwell is totally different), and I suspect that the difference could be down to the effect of the horses traveling further to the course. I have seen cases on occasion of a horse arriving, being taken from it's box, running within an hour, straight back into the box and on the road again. I have to say that I'm not aware of that scenario being a regular occurrence, but you have to wonder about the effect it has on a horse when it is subject to such conditions. The majority of races at Wolves also tend to be lower class affairs which attract animals which in some cases perform so badly that the term 'race horse' has to be applied in the very loosest of terms.

I think you are going about this the right way Keith (maybe even a little too efficiently), and I'm sure that the resulting figures when they arrive will be of use; but don't over-think it, or worry about things that are beyond your control - just trust your data."


5). I mentioned that... "However, I am at a total and complete loss to understand why the longer handicap races run slower than the non-handicaps over the same distance."

JB was kind enough to explain that... "Handicap races are for stronger horses, but the longer the distance,the harder it is for them to overcome the handicap."

6). And, just when I thought that I was getting close to the end, JG reminded me that... "You may also need to consider the age brackets of races. So, a 2 year old race would have different speeds than an all-age (4yo +) race."

Aargh! How did I forget to think about that! It needs to be taken into consideration and I'll get onto that tomorrow.

Going Forward...

I'll need to come up with a few different ways of showing the computing of Horse Speeds.

1). The raw Average Speed per Furlong over the last 5 races.

2). The Average Speed per Furlong over the last 5 races in the code of today’s race.

3). The Average Speed per Furlong over the last 5 races over the going and surface of today’s race.

4). The lifetime Average Speed per Furlong over all races run in the code of today’s race.

And, then I'll test all of them over the last 2 year's results.

The one with the best strike rate will be the one to use.

Although I may have to merge 2 different ways together in order to get the best result.

The Daily ratings...

1). On the daily ratings PDFs I will be able to mark the horse with the highest Speed Rating in bold.

2). I'll also be able to show the Standard Time (Average Seconds per Furlong) for each race on the first line of each race (the line in bold.)

3). I'll also be able to squeeze in the actual ASF for each horse with a plus sign or a negative sign to show if the horse is getting faster or slowing down.

4). To avoid breaking the Builder, I'll probably add another column to show surface type. This will just be one letter, P for Polytrack, E for Equitrack and T for Tapeta.

5). I'll display a Speed Rank (just a number, 1 to 10 in a 10 horse race) which will show the relative speeds of each horse. In other words, the fastest horse will have a rank of 1, the second fastest a rank of 2 and so forth. To do this I'll have to abbreviate the names of the Trainers and Jockeys. Thus, James Joseph Mangan will become J.J. Mangam and A.P. McCoy will become A.P. McCoy.

Seriously, we all know that W.P. Mullins is Willie Mullins so this shouldn't cause too much confusion.


So, we're nearly at the end of the process.

Really, the last bits are easy to do but may take some time as there's a lot of processing to be done.

I'm going to be taking the weekend off (and Jill and I are going to the beach for a paddle in the sea) as I imagine that next week is going to be pretty intense. Actually, going for a paddle this time of year will probably be pretty intense as well!

I'll keep you all updated with progress and I'd like to thank you all for your patience and support thus far.

As always, your thoughts and comments are very welcome.

My kindest regards


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