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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Tuesday 1 December 2015

Another case of ratings inflation?

As is usual after a major race meeting, we have a lull in the quality of horseracing.  It is something I appreciate, as it gives me time to review the results and take stock of the performances.

I employ my own ratings system which isn't based on any particular formula or comparison – it is based upon my own intuition and knowledge gained over the past 5 decades of watching horses race. Generally, I work on the principle that horses show their inherent ability early-on in their career and then either plateau or, if they are particularly talented, improve as their jumping technique and stamina develops.  This is the case with a horse like Wakanda who has already shown himself to be capable of running to 150+ and who will likely test the upper 150’s before the season ends next April.

You have to be confident about your selections when placing wagers on horseracing, and having confidence in your own ability to rate a performance – especially when that rating is contrary to other “experts” – is the key to finding value in my opinion.  For instance, with Smad Place my “before race” assumption was that he would run a performance in-excess of 160; and he did.  However, while I have rated the winning performance at 163, the Official handicapper has re-rated him to OR168 (up 13lb from OR155), Timeform have rated the performance at 165, and RPR (Racing Post Ratings) have rated it at 175.  So then – who is right?

Let’s consider the beaten horses in the Hennessy: this was a poor renewal, and that was evident even before the race started. Watch a replay of the race and, for the final 3 fences, Smad Place had every one of the following group of 6 being ridden – and they were not making any impression.  To arrive at 175, in my opinion RPR has used the 4th placed Fingal Bay (with an OR144 rating) as the benchmark. However, Fingal Bay does not stay this 3m2f trip as a chaser, and he pulled-up in the Hennessy last year after jumping the 3rd-last fence.  I simply cannot use Fingal Bay as the benchmark for the race.  In 3rd came First Lieutenant, who hasn’t won a race since April 2013 and has run 15 times since.  He was found wanting on the run-in when contesting the race in 2012 (when 3rd to Bobs Worth) and has been on the decline since running 2nd to Boston Bob in the April 2014 Punchestown Gold Cup.  I cannot see how First Lieutenant could run any better than his official rating of OR147.  As such, I’ve used the runner-up Theatre Guide as my benchmark for the race.  The horse spent last season on my alert list, so I know him well. He is a horse who is best caught fresh, having won on his seasonal debut (or off a very long break) in Feb’12; Nov’12; and Nov’14 (he’s only won 5 times from 22 starts).  He’d already run this season, when 3rd to Wakanda at Wetherby in October so, while he’d appreciate the longer trip in the Hennessy, I wasn’t expecting a massive improvement in performance, given his history.  Theatre Guide was out with the washing before 3-out and merely plodded-on past tired horses to take 2nd so it is very hard for me to think he ran any better than his OR139 rating.  There is no way he ran a performance comparable with his 2013 effort, when 3rd to Triolo D’Alene, as he had some seriously good stayers behind him in that race. I'm, therefore, fairly confident that in giving Theatre Guide a rating of 135 and using that as the benchmark for the race is near enough without being silly. At a 1lb per length, that puts SMAD PLACE on 163. It also ties in fairly well with some other horses in the race (Bobs Worth and the beaten-fav Saphir Du Rheu).

Saphir Du Rheu appears to have plateaued at about 150 in my book, and connections have decided to continue with hurdling for the remainder of the season (tho' he may go chasing after the Cheltenham Festival). He is only a 6yo, and another season may see him mature into a 160+ chaser. 

I'm having a bit of a think over the blog at the moment as the performance of my selections this autumn has been spectacular.  I want to give the donators a bigger “edge”, and I’m considering options on what I post online “on-the-day” and what I provide to donators; and staking plans which better secure profits when the winners come.  Not only that but, with Christmas on the horizon, it is time for me to start considering putting together the Cheltenham Festival Bulletin for 2016.  There was no bulletin last year (due to time constraints) and, if circumstances dictate, it may be difficult to issue a bulletin next February – but I am hopeful of pulling it together.  The bulletin is a considerable effort on my part, about 60 hours of study and writing, and I don’t want to start something that I may not be able to finish or produce something that isn’t up to the same quality as the blog and previous bulletins.

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