Granular Ability

Ability rates the class of a horse, for Jumps or Flat racing, by dividing winnings by number of wins.

In the same way, we can drill down into more detail, and rate the class of a horse as evidenced at the course, the distance, the going, or at the weight (or more).

Although there is no suggestion that VDW used this level of detail, this would seem to be a logical extension, along with other factors*, in confirming, questioning, or eliminating probable winners.

“To confirm what the figures say it is necessary to study the form of all concerned, taking particular note of class in which they ran, the course they ran on, the pace and going of the respective races, distances won or beaten by and most important, how they performed in the later stages of each race.”

Before looking at each of the granular abilities, as well as showing relevant ability, it may be useful to note that a preferred course, distance, going or weight can be shown where that ability is higher than the overall ability.

Course: More often than not, a horse has not won at the course at which it is running.
It would likely be useful, but difficult to quantify, the course in terms of its characteristics.
That is direction of racing (left- or right-handed), running style (stiff, galloping, and tight), and ground (flat, undulating, or significant uphill or downhill stretches).

Distance: There is nothing to suggest that VDW considered this of particular relevance.
But this could be because of his frequent absences during the flat season.
Distances used here are to the rounded furlong. It may be more sensible to apply a sliding scale to distances so that sprints are to the furlong and the longer chases to the quarter mile or so.

Going: Specific goings are used here for the granular ability. And there are some (minor) complications with this.

  • Races at the same course on the same day may have different goings depending on the distance ran and the actual part of the course used. Here we take the primary going as the going for all races at that course for the day – for no other reason than simplicity.
  • Different “jurisdictions” use different goings. For example, UK racing has 2 types of going softer than good to soft, while Irish racing has 6. The French have a notion of Very Soft.

Grouping together similar goings could resolve some of these complications.

Weight: “…horses have INDIVIDUAL weight limits beyond which THEY do not perform…. If a horse is set to carry more than they have previously performed well with, it is reasonable to assume the day will not be theirs, irrespective of other factors.”
This granular ability is for all wins at the weight or higher.

With the exception of weight, it may seem that these granularities are too specific or have too many complications to be worthwhile.
Grouping or banding these other granularities does seem to be a viable option, but I wanted to invite discussion before doing this.

The release of this “granularity” was something I had been working on but was spurred by the request from jorton.
His original request was to see the going for LTOs and particularly in light of the first quote above this seems more than a good idea too.
I will also look to include distances won or beaten by. Pace of the race is a bit more effort to get to and to present in a simple but meaningful way.
Any ideas about the usefulness of this or how it can be presented are more than welcome.
I will open a topic on the forum for discussion of any points raised here.

Finally, just to outline some new features in the pipeline or being considered:

  • Two ratings, one inspired by possible hints from VDW and that do not draw on information used in the “stars” and is therefore useful as an independent guide; and another which draws indirectly on information used in the “stars”. Together these should be good for confirming selections as suitable bets.
  • A notepad for working with probables, selections and bets
  • Automatic (mechanical and subject to other considerations) selection of the day’s class-form horses.

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