This is the 327th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.
A great day for followers of the blog yesterday.
I rated TWICE OVER a 9/4 chance in the Juddmonte International being by far the best value in the race at the (then) odds of 5/1. Well, he started at longer odds than that, 11/2 and was 6/1 in places, and won in convincing style. I didn’t put him up as a “solid” selection as I thought jockey Tom Queally had passed him over, but I learnt from twitter at about 1:30pm that in fact it was Sir Henry Cecil who selected the jockeys for the horses. That put a different light on the matter, and that’s what I tweeted reiterating that TWICE OVER should not be ignored and that (at the odds) TWICE OVER was the value punt.
The Great Voltigeur was always about whether Sea Moon was a talking horse or one that did his business on the track. He finally showed what he was capable of with an emphatic win and, in doing so, leapt to the head of the St Leger market. This season’s 3yo colts are developing into a decent bunch and as it’s likely several will be staying in training as 4yo’s then 2012 could be a good year for the sport.
This time last year I was deep into selecting and writing about my Horse’s to Follow for the coming 2010-11 ‘jumps’ season. While it provided me (and, I hope, you readers out there) with some entertainment, it did not provide me with an overwhelming amount of profit. I made a couple of schoolboy errors with the list (not surprising, given it was the 1st time I’d attempted the task) primarily they were:-
- Selecting a couple of horses that had progressed into another class bracket against which they could not compete; and
- Selecting a couple of horses that did not run throughout the entire period under review.
It was the first point above that made me take a closer look at the Nick Mordin column in yesterday’s Weekender. He writes that the average punter overlooks performances in lower class racing (ie, classes 4, 5 & 6) that are above average and, therefore, that creates value when they step-up on class to race. Now, I like Nick Mordin and I like the way he invites the reader to analyse and re-assess the way they look at racing. I’ve been looking at race-class for many years and it all started when I moved to live and work in Hong Kong in 1990 (I lived there from March 1990 till July 1997).
There were no English formbooks out there then, and the raceform in the local English newspaper (South China Morning Post) focused mainly on reporting facts (ie, race-time, position at finish, position at “quarters” in the race, etc) and had no ratings system. Using a basic spreadsheet computer programme, I set up a time-based ratings system with which I analysed and assessed the results to produce ratings. It started off fairly basic with me having to determine a “standard time” for each distance of HK’s two courses, from which I rated each performance. This race rating was adjusted by a ‘going’ allowance, but even that did not produce the results that I was hoping for. Why? Because lower class races often produced performances that seemed to merit a high rating but, when upped in class, the horses were not able to follow-thru’ and repeat the form. I had to delve into my betting experience and took on lessons learned when I was a regular at the Hove greyhound track between 1986-88 (I lived in Hove, less than half-a-mile from the track, between 1985-88) during which time I went dog racing at least twice a week.
You would think that if a greyhound can win a race in grade 7 at a time that would win a grade 5 then it should be capable of winning a grade 6 race – well, it can’t. This is not a universal law, there will be exceptions - but those exceptions prove the rule. Why is this? I put it down to the quality of the opposition (in the grade 7 race the dog is clearly the fastest in the race but, in the grade 6, its not) and also how the race is run. As you go up in grade, the dogs are not just faster, they break quicker, they are more track-wise and they have more stamina.
In my opinion, it’s the same with racehorses. The higher the class of race, the “better” the quality of horse in terms of pace, attitude, resolution, determination, stamina etc. So much so, that in order to make my ratings work in Hong Kong, I had to add 10lbs to each class of race up the scale. That is, if a horse won a race in Class 3 with the same weight and in the same time as a horse in Class 2 on the same day over the same trip, the horse that won the class 2 race was rated 10lbs better than the class 3 winner by me in my ratings.
I know it does not make sense, and “time” pundits will be falling over themselves to ridicule me – but it worked then in Hong Kong, and I reckon it works now here in the UK; tho’ I don’t use a 10lb “class factor” here!
If I’m putting-up a selection today you’ll find out via Betting League.
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