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About Horse Racing Ratings

Different ratings methodologies have been around for many years and have proved successful, in some cases, for just as long.

But why do things change? Why does "the rot set in"?

A variety of reasons - not the least of which is the new classification system for the changing classes in Australia together with the increases in minimum weights, seven day a week racing, racecourses being re-developed and rebuilt and the effect of new betting exchanges.

The overwhelming factor in a horses price is it's most recent form. The masses up and down the country will be backing this horse either from looking at the form figures, or being influenced by a the newspaper columnist, a tv media pundit, or a leading mainstream tipster. All of those influences would tend to base their selections on form in some way.

So it stands to reason that to get real long term "value" you can't always be betting with the masses - you have to "stand out" and go in a slightly different direction from 'the norm" or, like most punters, you will, in the long run, end up on the wrong side of the books.

Why Ratings Fail

What are ratings? They are just an opinion of which horse is the most likely to win in a race. This doesn't mean that they have to be profitable. Even if the ratings are generally right and the most likely winner in the race does win then this is not a sign of profitable success.

You could just not bother with ratings at all if you are looking for the most likely winner: You may as well just look who the favourite is and back that as you'll get more winners than backing any other horse and you didn't even need to look up any ratings figures.

Of course, backing just the favourite will return a loss, as will backing the top rated horse of any rated method.

So why bother with ratings if they don't make a profit?

The answer is you have to be more selective.

The ratings services will no doubt provide ratings for most races on the card. This would include 16+ runner handicaps, weight for age classics, open class sprints and maiden races. It's very unlikely that any ratings service would be effective in all those races so you need to find out where and when they are best at.

It may be a profitable venture to work out a few over-riding rules from your own observations and overlay those rules on to any ratings service you subscribe to to achieve maximum benefit from having someone else do the initial handicapping work on your behalf.

The Punter

Another reason why ratings fail is that the punter does not use them effectively. He should not think it is so easy and back the top rated horse without taking into consideration the opposition.

What if the top rated is 20 points clear of the field? What if the top rated is tied for first place?

The masses of punters are lazy. They just want to 'pick the best' and back it regardless. They haven't a clue about value, risk or price and just pick, bet and hope.

Those who read the newspapers and follow the resident ratings expert will just look for the black dot next to the rating, or see the summary box at the bottom of the race field and back the top rated.

What the punter should do is look at all the ratings and see if there are dangers to the top rated, and see how well the favourite is rated to determine if that danger can be eliminated.

Punters will tend to look at the top rated horse only as this is perceived to have the best chance of winning.

But of course, this doesn't mean the horse is the best value in the race. You may find that the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th rated is the better value.