How to Profit from Speed Ratings

How to Profit from Speed Ratings  Speed ratings, such as those produced by Timeform, or under the Topspeed banner in the Racing Post, are a popular method of assessing horse racing form.

 

What are Speed Ratings?

 

Speed ratings are numerical figures, based on the winning time of each race, corrected for class, distance and going, which indicate the ability of a horse. A sequence of speed ratings can also indicate if a horse is progressive or regressive and its level of fitness throughout the sequence.

 

How are Speed Ratings Calculated?

 

Calculating your own speed ratings is a complex, time-consuming activity so, before you start, you may want to ask yourself if you want to devote time and effort to what is, essentially, ‘reinventing the wheel’. Obviously, every time a horse runs it will generate a different speed rating, so there are also the questions of how to keep your ratings and, more importantly, how often you’re prepared to update them

 

However, if you’re still interested in producing your own speed ratings, you’ll find that Paul Whelan’s article, ‘How to Calculate Speed Ratings’, is an excellent starting point.

 

How to use Speed Ratings

 

The most obvious way of using speed ratings is to take the speed rating for each horse in a race, adjust it for the weight carried, by adding or subtracting the appropriate number of pounds below or above, say, 9st 0lbs (on the Flat) or 12st 0lbs (over Jumps) and use it to represent the chance of each horse.

 

Regardless of the official class of any race, as defined by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), if the winner records a particularly high speed rating, it is usually a sign that the form is strong and the race may throw up several future winners. If you’re in possession of this information, you don’t need to rely on collateral form lines to judge the quality of the race in question and, as a result, hold an advantage over the bookmakers.

 

Furthermore, if a horse records an exceptionally high speed rating in what appears, otherwise, to be ‘ordinary’ company, it may be possible to obtain generous ante-post odds on that horse for future engagements, such as the following season’s Classics, Royal Ascot or the Cheltenham Festival.

 

Where to Find Speed Ratings

 

If you don’t have the time or inclination to produce your own speed ratings, but would still like to benefit from the insight they provide, we suggest you investigate the Racing Dossier or Patternform sites.

Key Aspects of a Betting Portfolio

Key Aspects of a Betting Portfolio  As portfolio betting, especially cross sports portfolio betting, becomes increasing popular, we’re often asked how to distill the vast number of betting systems and tipping services available into a manageable betting portfolio. Another question that we’re asked over and over again is how to actively manage a betting portfolio once it’s established.

 

There are no hard and fast rules about which systems and services to include in your betting portfolio provided:

 

 

They’re all proven, by virtue of proofed results, to be profitable in the long-term.

They’re sufficiently diverse that a sequence of adverse results affects only a small proportion of the bets that you place.

They reflect your attitude to risk.

Collectively, they generate an acceptable number of bets per week.

 

The chances are that you’ll want to get your betting portfolio off the ground at the earliest possible opportunity so, realistically, you may not want to invest time in proofing selections from various systems and services on your own. If that’s the case, you’ll need to rely on a reputable, independent proofing service to do the job for you. I can personally recommend the proofing service provided by Michael Wilding at Race Advisor, which provides comprehensive statistics for nearly a hundred of the leading tipsters in the country. This is the service that I use to proof my own ‘Willy Weasel’s Nap of the Day’ tips, with which you may already be familiar.

 

If you need proofed results for other systems and services, you’ll find numerous websites that review betting systems and proof tips from tipsters, not just for horse racing, but for various other sports as well.

 

The purpose of a betting portfolio is to minimise risk across the portfolio as a whole and prevent you from losing your entire betting bank. However, if you’re betting bank isn’t sufficiently large, you may end up using too much leverage or, in other words, investing too much of your initial capital on an everyday basis, and still run the risk of losing it all.

 

If you have proofed results for each of the systems and/or services in your betting portfolio, you can estimate the size of betting bank you’ll need by looking at the longest losing run, historically, for each system or service. If a service that advises 1 point stakes has a longest losing run of, say, 20 points, you can safely assume that a betting bank of 40 points should ensure that you don’t lose more than 50% of your capital if you’re unlucky to join the service at the start of a similar losing run. Repeat the process for all the systems and/or services in your portfolio and you’ll have a good idea of how big your betting bank should be.

 

Of course, 1 point can represent any amount of money that you want it to but, realistically, you want to be betting in amounts large enough to make operating a betting portfolio worthwhile in the first place. If you need time to put money aside for your betting bank, you can use that time to record the results of the systems and/or services in your portfolio and you may discover that, by concentrating on selections in a certain price range, you can increase the return on investment. If you can, your time’s been well spent!

 

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results, so you’ll need to review and manage your initial portfolio choices from time to time. That doesn’t mean that you should immediately jettison any system or service that fails to generate a profit in the first month of operation, especially if the portfolio as a whole is in the black, but if the losing run continues for, say, three months, you might like to think about reducing your stakes or removing the system or service from the portfolio altogether. On the other hand, if you discover that, after a similar period, a system or service is performing particularly well, you may have grounds for increasing your stakes.

Probability of Negative Return

Probability of Negative Return  In our earlier article, ‘What is a Nap?’, we briefly mentioned the probability of negative return but, at that stage, we didn’t expound on what it is, how it’s calculated or how to use it in relation to horseracing results.

 

However, what we did say in the earlier article was that to properly analyse a series of horseracing selections, such as those supplied by a tipster, you need a large number of selections. The reason for this is that, when the number of selections is large, the distribution of horseracing data looks the normal, or Gaussian, distribution for a random variable.

 

The probability of negative return is a simple statistic to calculate and understand. The figure calculated represents the probability of a series of selections producing a negative return or, in other words, a level stakes loss. The higher the figure calculated the higher the probability of incurring such as loss.

 

In order to calculate the probability of negative return for a series of selections, you need to:

 

Calculate the theoretical percentage profit from each selection, to level stakes. A winner at even money would generate a profit of 100%, a winner at 2/1 would generate a profit of 200% and so on, while any loser would generate a profit of -100%.

 

Calculate the average, or mean, percentage profit. The easiest way to do this (and the subsequent steps in the calculation) is to create a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel – which can be as simple as a single column containing the percentage profit for each selection – and use the AVERAGE function.

 

Calculate the standard deviation of the data in your spreadsheet using the STDEV function. Algebraically, standard deviation, S, is calculated according to the formula below, but if you use Microsoft Excel you don’t need to worry about the mathematics.

 

If your percentage profit data is contained in, say, cells A1 to A8 of your spreadsheet, simply use the STDEV function in the form STDEV(A1:A8).

 

Divide the result by the square root of the number of selections, using the SQRT function, to give the standard error.

 

Assuming that horse racing results are at least approximately normally distributed, you can use the NORMDIST function in Excel, in the form = NORMDIST (0, mean, stderr, 1), where mean and stderr are the mean percentage profit and standard error of the percentage profit, which you calculated in the steps 2. and 4. above.

 

The result should be a figure between 0 and 1 and, as mentioned above, the higher the figure the higher the probability of negative return and versa. A probability of 0.10 represents a 10% chance of making a loss, or a 90% chance of making a profit, from a series of selections and is typically the maximum value that you’d want to accept if you’re going to back future selections with real money.

 

We hope you enjoyed ‘Probability of Negative Return’ and we will be back soon with another advanced betting guide. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on ‘Probability of Negative Return’ in the comments section below.