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Posted By
: Bala S
Balas@yahoo.co.in
30/12/2015

Effect of Weights on horses in Handicap Races and Revision of Form Weight Ratings

   

The individual ratings of all the horses that ran in race are revised post race based on the assessment of their individual performances as is perceived by the handicapper in order to equalize the chances of all horses in their next.

The fundamental basis of form is focused around weight. Weight Ratings are precisely designed to represent a horse’s potential ability. These ratings do not take into account a horses ability on the ground at any particular race but are reflections of overall recent form of the horses. 

And one must admit that young horses grows from the age of two to five every month with age and their ability to run faster with more speed at shorter distances grows but the abilities to carry the weights with the same speed diminishes as distances gets longer and longer even if their stamina improves to run at such distances.

Therefore the scale of weight for age distance and class must be taken into consideration while fixing the ratings for various age groups in the Rating Related Scale of weights for Handicap races, even if the transparent conditions and the rules of racing fails to explicitly specify so, and thereafter while assessing the performance of the horses post race and equalizing their chances in their next because the rating related scale of weights itself is framed based on that hidden scale. 

Scale of Weights for Age, Distance and Class for Indian Horses is the base scale of individual Ratings of all horses and the Scale of Rating Related Weights for Handicap Races

For Distances of 1200 Metres and (-) Under

Age      Jan     Feb     Mar     April    May   June    July    Aug   Sept     Oct     Nov     Dec 

6yrs     58.5    58.5    58.5     58.5      58.5   58.5    58.5    58.5   58.5     58.5     58.5    58.5

5yrs     57.5    57.5    57.5     57.5      57.5   57.5    58.0    58.0   58.0     58.0     58.5    58.5 

4yrs     54.5    55.0    55.0     55.5      56.0   56.0    56.0    56.0   56.5     56.5     57.0    57.5

3yrs     44.5    45.5    46.5     47.0      47.5   48.0    49.0    50.0   50.5     51.0     51.5    52.0  

For Distances over (+) 1200+ Metres and not more than Distances of 1600

Age      Jan     Feb     Mar     April    May   June    July    Aug   Sept     Oct     Nov     Dec 

6yrs     58.5    58.5    58.5     58.5      58.5   58.5    58.5    58.5   58.5     58.5     58.5    58.5

5yrs     57.0    57.0    57.0     57.0      57.0   57.5    57.5    57.5   57.5     58.0     58.0    58.5 

4yrs     51.5    53.0    54.0     54.5      54.5   55.0    55.0    55.0   55.5     56.0     56.0    56.5

3yrs     41.5    42.5    43.5     44.5      45.5   46.5    47.0    47.5   48.0     48.5     49.5    51.0

For Distances over (+)1600+ Metres and less than (-)2400 Metres (-)

Age      Jan     Feb     Mar     April    May   June    July    Aug   Sept     Oct     Nov     Dec 

6yrs     58.5    58.5    58.5     58.5      58.5   58.5    58.5    58.5   58.5     58.5     58.5    58.5

5yrs     56.5    56.5    56.5     57.0      57.0   57.0    57.5    57.5   57.5     57.5     58.0    58.5 

4yrs     51.0    51.5    52.5     53.0      53.5   54.0    54.0    54.0   54.5     54.5     55.5    56.0

3yrs     39.5    40.5    41.5     42.0      43.0   44.0    45.0    46.0   46.5     47.5     48.5    50.0 

  
For Distances of 2400 Metres and  less than (-) 3200 Metres

Age      Jan     Feb     Mar     April    May   June    July    Aug   Sept     Oct     Nov     Dec 

6yrs     58.5    58.5    58.5     58.5      58.5   58.5    58.5    58.5   58.5     58.5     58.5    58.5

5yrs     55.0    55.5    56.0     56.0      56.0   56.0    56.5    56.5   56.5     56.5     57.0    58.0 

4yrs     47.5    48.5    49.5     50.5      51.0   51.0    51.5    52.0   52.5     53.0     53.5    54.5

3yrs     36.0    37.0    38.0     39.0      41.0   41.0    41.5    42.5   43.5     44.5     45.5    46.5  

                                    
For Distances of 3200 Metres and over

Age      Jan     Feb     Mar     April    May   June    July    Aug   Sept     Oct     Nov     Dec 

6yrs     58.5    58.5    58.5     58.5      58.5   58.5    58.5    58.5   58.5     58.5     58.5    58.5

5yrs     53.5    54.0    54.5     55.0      55.5   55.5    56.0    56.0   56.0     56.0     57.0    58.0 

4yrs     44.0    45.0    46.0     46.5      47.5   48.0    48.5    49.5   50.5     51.0     52.0    53.0

3yrs     32.0    33.5    34.5     35.5      36.5   37.0    38.0    39.0   40.0     41.0     41.5    43.0  


Handicap races revolve around weights carried by the horses in relation to their individual ratings which represent their potential abilities and the weight differences between the horses on a constant scale of rating related class and weights for handicap races that which is adjusted by the handicapper on receipt of entries for a handicap race as is specified in the rules of racing in all handicap races.

While the official handicapper is given the free hand in his assessment of the performances of the horses and their potential abilities to equalize their chances in their next at his best, the quantum of increase and decrease in the weight ratings of the horses on a constant scale of rating related class and weight for handicap races, however, depends upon the policy and the guidelines prescribed by the stewards of the racing clubs, for they have to cater to the local needs.

Two year old horses that generally start racing in November of a calendar year and won at least once or ran at least thrice anywhere are allotted a rating based on their performances on the first of January next when they turn three year old horses every new calendar year. The starter ratings for un raced two year old horses that turn three year old horses are also fixed on the first of January every new calendar year which generally continues to be the same as in November last when they started racing as a two year old though such horses grow by three four kilos by then. 

And thereafter the same is revised at the beginning of every new racing season based on the time of the year or as and when the three year old maiden horses are permitted to run in handicap races. Sometimes handicap races for horses that turned three year olds in January last are framed from the month of March of a calendar year in their own age group and therefore their ratings are published prior to that.

The significance of raising the ratings and the rating related weights of the horses that won or finished close to the winner of a race is only to equalize the chances of all horses that ran in that race in their next with their comparative performances and  potential abilities shown in that race. 

Such additional weights may affect only the running time of the horses that are penalized for winning the race or running close to the winner of that race as good second, third or fourth gaining lengths but in no way nullify their class and condition. While other horses that ran in that race if they have reached their winning mark may show up in equal measure or better and that confirms how well they are handicapped.

In other words, the weight concessions given to inferior horses and the weight penalties imposed on better horses do not always cancel the more fundamental factors like pedigree, age, distance, class, condition, pace and jockey in the running of a race. It is more so when the actual weights carried by the horses in relation to their ratings on a handicap scale of rating related weights is more or less close to their pivotal weights on the scale. 

It is continuous exercise that attempts to eliminate the weight differentials as a decisive factor in the outcome of a race as the weights for handicap races are allotted as related to their ratings on a constant scale of rating related weights and adjusted by the handicapper as per the rules of racing.

The revised ratings of the horses are known after a run in a race and the likely weights that may be allotted to a horse in a given handicap scale is known instantly. It is very much helpful to trainers, owners and professionals in preparing their horses for a race and to enter them accordingly and it also helps in making the work of the handicappers easy. 

The dictum is higher the rating of a horse the better the horse on ratings and higher the figure on comparative weight ratings the better the  horse on weights on a constant scale of rating related weights and that shall help explain the success of comparative weight handicapping systems.

In other words, Pedigree, Age, Distance, class, condition, pace and jockey invariably are so decisive in the running of a race that the effects of small differences in weight become less and less exact in the final outcome of most races than that of the rating related handicap weight formulas that claims to attempt constantly to equalize the chances of all horses in a race. 

Also many times handicap races are framed both for the same age groups and for combined age groups like 3 years old & over, 4 years old & over 5 years old & over and six years and over and therein lies the exact weight differences between the age group of 3 year olds, 4 year olds, 5 year olds and 6 year olds and up on a constant scale of rating related weights for handicap races.

In such races the ratings related weights of all horses may generally be raised or lowered above the rating related weights specified in the constant scale of weights for all horses and that may be based on the scale of weights for age, class and the distances specified in the rules of racing before weights are adjusted to meet the criteria of lowest minimum top weight. 

Since the scale of weights for age distance and class for all the months of a calendar year is published in the rules of racing even if they are not published under every race in the race card which they must ordinarily do as a measure of transparency for the benefit of all racing patrons and also to avoid manipulation by vested interests, it is easy to find the base weights of all age groups and the differences between different age groups and the penalties of each horse as related to their age distance and class in every handicap race.

Take the assigned weights of each horse as related to their ratings for handicap races and deduct from that the specified weight of each horse in the monthly weights scale of age distance and class. 

If the assigned is more than the weight for the age and distance then deduct the difference in terms of ratings from the handicap rating  of each horse and if it is less add to the rating of each horse  and the figure you have derived is current base rating of each horse of their age group and the difference between the base rating and current rating is penalty in terms of ratings or drop in rating of each horse of that age group based on the weight scale for age distance and class on the that date of their racing and it is easy to compare their potential ability based on their past performances and the benefits will be enlightening and enormous if wisdom prevails.

As such everyone should have his own technique of assigning a rating to every horse and calculate the chances of every horse on weights on a constant scale of rating related weights in a race with a comparative weight handicapping system based on weights for age, class and distance even if it is just to know why the market at the book makers betting ring looks so wrong according to your figures. 

Also every one must be alert to the attitude of those who intentionally fails merit rating system horses and abhor the norm of why fight a battle to win when the winning brings no financial benefits or fame and ensures the victory of another chosen horse for the sake of money or fame.

An easy method for spot play will be to take the rating of the top weight in the current race and find the rating related weight of the highest rating of that rating related class band of that race and treat the same as the rating and rating related weight of all the horses in that race. 


Then find the difference between the individual rating of every horse of that race and that of the rating of their last race or the previous best race. And if the rating of the previous best race is more than the rating of the given race add the difference in rating to the individual ratings of the horses in today’s race and if the rating of its last race or the previous best race is less than that of the rating of the given race then deduct the difference in ratings from the individual ratings of the horses in today’s race.

This in effect eliminates the adjustment of the ratings by the handicapper in terms of ratings as the figures so arrived indicate the ratings of the horses in their previous best race. However, these days race cards prints and provides the same, as such ready information helps save the time of everyone in their spot calculations. 

Therefore, add to that rating of the previous best race, your own additional ratings or deduct the reduction of rating from that figure based on the assessment of the performances of the horses as is assessed by you and that gives you your own adjusted ratings of each horse in that race.

Thereafter add the weight differences in terms of rating points between the top weight of that class and the weights of all other horses down the line and the highest figure so arrived indicates the best horse on ratings on top and others in descending order in a comparative weight handicapping system. 

Such horses qualify for the best bet in that order on comparative weight ratings if they qualify on all other fundamentals of handicapping besides the hidden scale of weight for age and distance and class. Similarly same things can be done with weights carried today and the result of both will be the same. And in the case of a tie the horse with lighter rating related weights with lower ratings may get the weight advantage.

Another easy method for spot play will be to take the rating of the highest rated horse in the field in a race and treat the same as the rating of all the horses in that race. Then deduct the individual rating of every horse of that race from that rating and then add the rating of its last race or the previous best race, which in effect eliminates the adjustment of the ratings by the handicapper.

Thereafter add to that figure your own additional ratings or deduct the reduction of rating from that figure based on the assessment of the performances of the horses as assessed by you. That gives you your own adjusted ratings of each horse in that race.

Then add the weight differences in terms of rating points between the top weight of that class and the weights of all other horses down the line and the highest figure so arrived indicates the best horse on top and others in descending order in a comparative weight handicapping system.

Such horses qualify for best bets on weights in that order in a comparative weight handicapping system, if they qualify on all other fundamentals of handicapping besides the hidden scale of weight for age and distance andclass.                                                                                                                                 

Assume for instance A and B are rated the same in a race of four horses field and if A beat B gaining in the stretch run and at the finish in terms of lengths or running position passing over other horses or both and won easily or won going away A may be allowed to retain its former ratings and be given full credit for that win.

And B may be allowed to retain its former ratings for finishing second gaining in the stretch and at the finish in terms of lengths or in terms of running position passing over other horses or both and finishing close to the winner within certain lengths and beating other horses down the line at the finish because horses with same ratings are assumed to have the same ability. 

If A won gaining in the stretch run only because B finished tired in the stretch run, A may retain its former rating and be given full credit for winning the race and B may be dropped in the ratings for being beaten decisively or ran in such a way suggesting a decline in condition.

In a truly run race, by the same reasoning, if each of the first three finishers went into the race with the same rating in the field of eight horses, the winner would retain its former rating and get full credit for gaining in the stretch and at the finish and winning the race.

The ratings of second and third finishing horses are reevaluated and if it was a close finish and the two horses ran extremely well they might retain their ratings and be reevaluated on the basis of their performances. 

The horse that ran third may retain its ratings for finishing third within certain number of lengths of the winning horse and the horse that finished as second may be revaluated for gaining and finishing close to the winner for gains in the stretch and at the finish in terms lengths or in terms of running position passing over other horses or both and finishing within certain number of lengths from the winner but not on the basis of beaten lengths.

Other horses that ran true to their form and finished unplaced as fourth or worse than fourth may be dropped suitably by a few points. Sometimes the ratings of the horse that finished third is dropped depending upon the assessment of the kind of finish efforts made by that horse. 

A length of a horse, though it varies, is generally assumed to be equivalent to 16 parts of a second where a second is a measure of 100 equality divided parts of one second or 160 parts of a second where a second is a measure of 1000 equally divided parts of a second and one second in turn is considered as equivalent to 6 1/4 lengths of a horse.

Therefore the beaten length of a horse is considered as equivalent to 1 Kilo or 2 points of half of a kilo each and 6 1/4 lengths of a horse in turn is considered as equivalent to 6.25 kilos and in turn is equal to one second. 

For example, Horse A and Horse B ran in a race of 1600 meters both carrying the same weight. Horse A decisively beats Horse B by 2 lengths. Horse A therefore puts up a performance superior to Horse B by 2 lengths. The difference of 2 lengths is the equivalent of 2.00 kilos or roughly 4 points of 1/2 of a kilo each.

Now, if the ratings ‘before’ and ‘after’ the race were not the same, how should they be adjusted, if it is to be adjusted. To make that decision the handicapper looks at the ratings of ALL horses in the race and not just the ratings of A and B. The task of the handicapper is to adjust the ratings. 

For that the handicapper first looks at the Ratings as they were before the race. He checks was Horse A’s Rating beforehand also 4 points higher than the one of Horse B. Chances are it won’t be exactly the same, but it should be close.

And then normally he will look for the performance of a horse that finished within a few lengths or certain lengths of the winner and whose recent form has been consistent and reliable. That becomes his KEY LINE HORSE, the horse whose rating is used as a benchmark rating.

A good example of this is the performance of Horse A when he beat Horse B over 1600meters. In the panel discussion one member was highly vocal about the fact that he did not think that Horse A had been properly ‘penalised’ based on his potential abilities, and that he should have had his rating increased by eight points instead of the two points the handicapper raised his rating by. 

If the reasoning of taking a line through Horse B is used, then A’s rating should have been increased to at least the level of Horse B’s rating. That’s what the race showed. If Horse A’s rating is raised to that level, then the ratings for all other runners in the same race must follow suit because they are, after all, linked together through the lengths-behind-the-winner calculation.

In this case it meant that not only A’s rating would have gone up dramatically but most of the other runners in the race as well. Forget it. The only logical conclusion was that Horse B ran below the potential best and should not be used as the key HORSE. 

The handicapper therefore decided in this case, that the more likely candidate for the Key Line Horse honours was third finisher Horse C. If Horse C ran to his ‘normal’ form, then most of the horses in the field appeared to do the same. Horse ‘A’s rating increase was therefore based on beating Horse C, not on beating Horse B and it is a sound decision.

If Horse C also performed better and its ratings needs to be raised or retained then take the fourth finisher D whose rating may be dropped followed by other whose ratings may be retained or nominally dropped. 

This example illustrates what is probably the most common mistake made by us. We assume that when a horse wins a race it must have its rating automatically increased, be penalised. It is not correct. It all depends on the rating of the KEY BENCH MARK LINE HORSE.

The winning horse could well have won easily and run below his rating, in which case it would be wrong to increase its rating. If a penalty for winning was given automatically based on beaten lengths or final time recorded by the horses, then it could be that several of the beaten horses might also have to go up, because of their lengths-behind-the-winner relationship. That makes no sense. 

In handicapping there is no such thing as a penalty. It is only Re-assessment of the performances of the horses to achieve optimum competitiveness. The purpose of revision of ratings is to equalize the chances of all horses on a constant scale of weights and that is the name of the game.

But no one can be sure about the real effects of such weights on racehorses and whether such weights do really equalize the chances of all horses that run in a handicap race. If the handicapper is right all the horses running in a race should finish in a line at the winning post of the race. If he has got it wrong then there must be a way to work out their correct values from the beaten lengths of the horses or the extra weight carried by them. 

To find that, compare the actual performances of all horses carrying less weight than the weight of top weight horse against the actual performance of the top weight horse in a race. And if there is more than one horse with top weight one must choose the first in the line of horses top to down in that race.

A top weighted horse must be a true top weight after deduction of jockeys allowance if any and also after addition of penalties if any. Also one must throw out all those horses that carry overweight, horses that fail to compete and horses that are running out of handicap. 

And from among the others left in the field select the most weighted horse as the top weight or Bench mark horse for calculating the beaten lengths of the other horses from the top weight and then assign a weight value and a beaten length value for each horse.

Weight value of a horse is equal to the weight of each horse minus weight of top weight or the bench mark horse for calculating the weight value of other horses. Beaten lengths value of a horse is equal to beaten length of each horse minus beaten length of the top weight or the bench mark horse and it is positive if the bench mark horse is behind. 

In other words, weight rating of the horses that ran in a race will precisely show that the weight does matter in handicap races and the ratings and the revised ratings of the horses on a constant scale of rating related class and weights used by the handicapper for assigning rating related weights in all handicap races is pretty close to reality.

Also it will show that the weight advantages towards the high weight horses are pretty much less than the assumptions made by many players in the game. 

Courtesy: Spot The Winner With Success