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Speed Ratings – 6

focus-ratings-speed-ratingsThe good news!

The Good News is that...

The first stage of the test run of the Horse Speed Ratings went well yesterday morning.

So well that, at 9am (after 6 hours work), I decided to pop out to the bank whilst the second stage was running, rather than just sit staring at a screen for three hours, worrying about it.

However, and there's always a however, isn't there...

Whilst driving the 20km to my nearest town I realised that I'd missed something really rather vital out.

You see, whilst I can work out the average speed (per furlong) for a horse for a race, the one thing I have just realised that I'm going to have trouble with is...

How long is a neck, in terms of milliseconds, (or a head or a length) during the last part of the final furlong.

And that's, unfortunately...

The Bad News!

You see, I really do know nothing (or very little) about horse racing!

But, at the same time, that isn't the obvious disadvantage that it might seem.

After all, it does force me to ask those questions that others might not think about asking.

However, it is my contention that the last furlong of a horse race is generally the fastest furlong.

Yes, I know that horses might come out of the stalls very fast but, they are accelerating from a standing start.

In longer races (mainly NH races) the front runner may be so far ahead that he slows down but, we are dealing with AW races at the moment so this shouldn't be an issue.

In the shorter races on the flat and AW I am sure that the jockey on the leading horse will find a way of getting an extra bit of speed from the horse over the last 50 yards or so, in order to ensure that he wins.

Equally, the 2nd and 3rd horses will also be encouraged to give that little bit more in order to give them a chance of winning.

It's not the speed of the final furlong that matters, it's the percentage increase in speed for the last portion of the final furlong which defines how long a head is, in terms of milliseconds.

So, for those of you who actually watch horse racing (most of you, I guess), I have two questions for you...

1). Does this make sense from a logic perspective?

2). Do you see this when watching horse racing?

I guess that my problem is working out how to quantify this.

Don't worry, I shall come up with a way to resolve this problem.

After all, a problem is just a solution waiting to be discovered.

Thinking back to my school days, I wasn't very athletic but I did enjoy Cross Country running.

I was probably the only boy at school who enjoyed running 3 miles along muddy paths whilst it was raining at the coldest time of the year.

Now, I wasn't particularly good at cross country running and I used to run at a pretty steady speed but...

I always found that little bit extra, at the end of the race, to ensure that I came 43rd rather than 44th.

Don't horses (or, more importantly, their jockeys) do the same - I would have thought so.

Yesterday Morning...

Obviously, yesterday morning we had a problem.

The process of producing the ratings is totally automated.

In theory, I could be abducted by aliens...

Or, run over by a number 9 bus, (not that buses have yet been invented in this part of rural Brittany, France) and the ratings will still go out.

The same script that automatically gave me the test ratings at 7am yesterday morning didn't, for some reason, work at 10.15am (French time.)

I'm not sure why that was but, as I was out at the time, I rushed back home and manually kicked off the script.

Now, bad things sometimes happen...

As it was, I went out, we had a problem, Jill handled the queries and phoned me, I came home and sorted it out and let people know about the problem.

If I'd had my Tablet with me, I could have popped into the restaurant of the Supermarket where I was and used their wifi to sort the problem out (and thus saved you guys 20 minutes.)

A lesson learned, I need to remember to take my tablet with me whenever I go out (and ensure that it's fully charged up.)

feliciteActually, driving home, I felt quite calm and happy. I'd received a ratings email on my phone and that meant that the server was up and running. I assumed that the problem was that BetFair was down (that happens from time to time) but I imagined that it would be back up by the time I got home which would mean that it would be an easy fix.

As it was, for once, it wasn't BetFair's fault but...

The one thing that I really learned is that...

Felicitié (my car) can actually do 110km/h...

And that's not bad for a 24 year old Fiesta!

Especially a 24 year old car where the rust is the only thing that is holding her together and her rear door flies open every time I go over a bump and where the windscreen wipers come on randomly (but, more worryingly, only come on randomly when I need them to come on!)

And, yes. She is the car in the photo but...

She does look a whole lot more grotty when you get up close!

Conclusion

Unfortunately, I am blocked from continuing with the Speed Ratings until I find a solution to the last 50 yards speed problem.

I'll be actually watching the racing on Sunday (assuming there is AW racing on Sunday) to see if I can see anything that stands out.

I've Googled the problem but no one else seems to have considered it.

In fact, most people just assume a certain fraction of a second for a head (sometimes varying it according to the distance)...

Which is plainly wrong.

I know that this issue only applies to the leading horses.

If I could get access to sectional timings I could come up with some mathematical rules that I could apply.

However, it is only the last 50 yards that matter, in my opinion.

I'm even willing to consider sectional timings for Greyhounds or Human Athletes and try to extrapolate some general rules from them.

As always, your thoughts and comments are very welcome.

My kindest regards

keith-eckstein1

2 Responses to “Speed Ratings – 6”

  1. Chris Tyler says:

    Hi Keith,

    Any horse finishing within a neck of the winner should be given the same time as the winner. The difference in time between the horses will be inconsequential. It’s not the horses fault that the jockey has mistimed his drive for the line.

    Regrds Chris

    • Keith Eckstein says:

      Hi Chris

      Agree – we talking about 22 inches in a 220 yard furlong. I’ll crunch the numbers anyway but I think that we’ll end up with something so small that it won’tmake sense to even consider it.

      All the best

      Keith

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