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Live Now: New Card / Full Form Components

Our first upgrades of 2021 are now live!

We've added:

- Dam data

- PRB by Race Code on Full Form

- Prize Money (win and total)

- Season Date search on Full Form (due imminently)

All of these can be seen in the five minute video below; and they are, of course, explained in more detail in our comprehensive User Guide (click here for that).

I very much hope you'll find them useful!

Matt

 

New Metric on Geegeez Gold: PRB

We're constantly striving to improve Geegeez Gold, our flagship racecards and form tool service. After a few quieter months - lots going on in the background - we're about to inject a new metric into Gold.

We've deliberately kept it away from the more commonly used numbers, simply because if you don't want to engage with this, we don't want it in your way. At the same time, I very much believe you should take heed of the new number and that's why I've put this post together.

So, what is the new number? Well, it's not exactly brand new as we already display Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB) within our draw content. But we're now extending it calculation and display to trainer, jockey and sire data. Here is some more information on Percentage of Rivals Beaten...

What is PRB?

Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB) is a calculation based on a horse's finishing position in relation to field size. It makes key distinctions between a horse finishing, say, third in a five-horse race (PRB 50%, two rivals beaten, beaten by two rivals) and finishing third in an eleven-horse race (PRB 80%, eight rivals beaten, beaten by two rivals).

For a collection of results - for example, a trainer's record over the last year - we take an average of all the individual PRB scores.

On geegeez.co.uk, we express PRB as a number between 0 and 1. So, in the examples above, 50% is 0.5 and 80% is 0.8.

What is convenient about PRB is that a par score is always 50% of rivals beaten, or 0.5. This means that a trainer with a one-year PRB of 0.55, 55% of rivals beaten, is doing very well; conversely, a trainer with 0.45 as his PRB is under-performing in finishing position terms.

It is always important to remember that finishing position is not the only number in town and, as with all numbers, it should be used sensibly and in concert with other metrics.

Why is PRB useful?

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PRB is useful because it helps to make small datasets bigger. In racing we are almost always hamstrung by small datasets, relative to what general statistics would consider so at any rate. And when we then try to discern knowledge from the data by looking only at wins we ignore seven-eighths of the information we have (assuming an average field size of eight, one winner, seven losers).

If we had 1,000,000 wins to consider, that wouldn't be much of an issue. But we don't. We have much smaller groups of wins and runs with which to work.

Historically I've used place percentages to enlarge the positive to negative comparison: using our eight-runner average, we now have three 'wins' (placed horses) for five losses (unplaced horses). That's much better but still lacking in nuance.

PRB awards 'score' to every runner except tail end Charlie in every race (ignoring non-completions which are dealt with separately - an explanation of how we've accounted for them will appear in the user guide as it will add little value here). This has some challenges of its own; for instance, a horse that went hard from the front and is still battling for third place will be ridden right to the line, whereas that same horse may be eased off if/when four others have already passed it: it has given its running already and there is little be gained from finishing fifth or ninth.

Such issues are accommodated up to a point by squaring the PRB figure, and you can see how that manages the curve in the post linked to at the bottom of this one if you're that way inclined.

The crux is this: PRB is useful because it helps us understand the totality of performance of a dataset rather than just a fraction (win or place, for instance).

How should I use PRB?

PRB has utility in isolation because every score can be compared to 0.5 to understand whether the thing being measured - trainer, jockey or sire performance in our case - is better or worse than what might be expected.

But, of course, we should expect that, for example, Paul Nicholls will have a far higher one-year National Hunt handicap PRB figure than Jimmy Moffatt. He does, 0.62 vs 0.5 at time of writing. But knowing that is unlikely to add to our bottom line; at least not in or of itself.

As it happens, both have been profitable to follow blindly in handicaps in the past twelve months: Nicholls has an A/E of 1.05 (and an SP win profit of +16.70) while Moffatt has 1.26 / +21.50.

If anything, Nicholls' figures are more impressive, for all that Moffatt's may be more sustainable.

What PRB tells us is the amount of merit in unplaced runs. It should be used to support understanding of an entity, rather than as an end in itself. And it is especially helpful in rendering the inference of small samples sizes slightly less of an act of folly.

Where does PRB live?

Regular Gold users will know that PRB - and its close relatives, PRB^2 and PRB3 - have been happily adding value to our draw content for some time.

And now (next week), PRB appears within trainer, jockey and sire data on the racecards and in reports. It is on the far right, out of trouble for those not (yet) interested in its utility.

On reports, it can be found in the same rightmost column location:

Use it or don't use it, but I'd suggest you make yourself aware, as a minimum, of what Percentage of Rivals Beaten is; and when it might pay to keep it in mind.

You can read more about all of our key metrics - A/E, IV and PRB - in this post.

Matt

p.s. more new features coming soon!

Winter Webinar #1: Setting Up To Succeed

On Wednesday evening, I went live (gulp) for the first of four webinars covering betting on horse racing, and doing it with Geegeez Gold.

In this initial broadcast, the general subject was 'setting up to succeed'. It's a subject that most losers overlook, and no winners overlook!

As one wag (I hope he was joking!) said in the comments, I've a face made for radio - and this is largely a 'talking head' production - but I think/hope there will be some useful takeaways.

Referenced were:

- The art of the possible
- Limitations: Time and Overwhelm
- Odds and the Market
- Discipline
- Staking and Value

Matt

p.s. beneath the video box is an image referred to in the staking section, which is useful when working out bank size.

 

10 Minute Preview: Cheltenham, Friday 23rd October

In this very quick (11 minute) video, I highlight a couple of horses I'm interested in at Cheltenham's Showcase meeting this afternoon. Both are proven in conditions and have a good chance to outrun their odds. Both are easy to find using Geegeez Gold's Instant Expert tool.

See what you think...

And don't forget our special Winter Season Ticket offer, which will give you access to all of these brilliant tools for the entire National Hunt season for just £149.

 

Check that out here

 

**NEW** Profiler Tab: Video Explainer

We've added a new tab to the racecards called PROFILER and, in this video, I explain what it is, what it does and how it works. It's an exciting new development that looks sure to throw up some great insights, especially in terms of trainer and sire angles.

Watch the video and then have a play with Profiler!

Matt

A Sectional Refresher

We are hopefully going to be hearing a lot more about sectional timing - more importantly, what sectional timing tells us about how horses performed and races were run - this season and beyond. With that in mind, I thought I'd offer a little refresher... to myself as much as anyone!

I, and Tony Keenan before me, have written about the subject and I'd encourage you to read those articles:

Why Sectionals Matter

What Is The Point of Sectional Timing in Horse Racing

For those who want to get stuck into the mechanics, I highly recommend Simon Rowlands' Introduction to Sectional Timing, which you can download here.

If you favour speaky over reading, the video below is part 'why sectionals' and part 'how it works round here' and includes the answer to the crucial question, "How do I switch it on in my geegeez setup?"

Secure a beverage and give it a peruse if you fancy...

Oh, and any questions, leave a comment below. If I don't know the answer (quite possible), I will try to find someone who does.

Matt

5th June Video Preview: Bringing it together

In this fifth and final video preview of the week, I use the racecards, form tools and reports to isolate a few interesting horses in the seven older-horse handicaps taking place on Friday.

This series has been about process rather than desperately trying to pick winners. Happily, it has illustrated the process with numerous scores including 22/1 Zodiakos on the very first day. Whether you backed any of them or not, I hope you've gained some insights into the kit we have here and what it can do for YOU.

Most importantly, I hope you've seen that fun and profit are not mutually exclusive and that winning from betting on horses is possible.

Here's my final episode of the weekend. With luck there will be something of value within...

4th June Preview: 2yo Races, and Laying

In today's video, I cover a few points which have been raised this week, specifically:

- why don't my Report Angles show straight after I've set them up?

- how can I use reports for the purpose of laying horses?

And I gaze through the fog of unraced two-year-old races in the vain hope of trying to find a bet...

3rd June Preview: Gold Trainer Reports

In tonight's video preview of tomorrow's racing, I get all evangelical about one particular component of the Gold setup that you absolutely MUST use. It is golden. It really is. Honestly. Watch the video to see what, and why. And please, please, please take action with it: it will improve your betting literally overnight.

Important Note:

The report jobs run twice daily so anything you configure as per the video will not instantly populate. However, once you've set things up they'll be in place from the next report run onwards. (The reports run at 4.30 am/pm daily, and I'm triggering a few extras at the moment to pick things up a little more in real time).

Here's the video...

June 2nd (Very Short!) Video Preview

Tonight's video has had to give second best to some urgent things I need to attend to, alas.

Do have a look at the short explanation below, and then check out this post which I'm very hopeful will point out some features about which you're either not aware or had forgotten...

10 things you didn't know about Geegeez Gold racecards

Matt

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Geegeez Racecards

Many of you have used Geegeez Gold racecards to look at the day's racing for quite a while. But still, lots of racing fans remain unaware of the reasons why our cards are regarded as just about the most powerful on the webz. Let me explain...

The Geegeez racecard is a highly effective "information processor", interpreting reams of trainer, sire, jockey, and of course, horse, data into insightful visual form that you can use to make better choices in less time.

For many, though, a number of the key features - and their associated benefits in terms of knowledge, and value edge - have gone undetected... until now.

Below I list 10 things you may not have known were there, and show you how you can put them to work for you. We start with one of the original features, and still easily the most popular, Instant Expert.

#1 Instant Expert

If you want to know which horses in a race are best suited to conditions, this rather boldly titled view is the first port of call for a majority of our users. The reason? It cuts right to the heart of the matter in just a few seconds. If you've ever looked at Instant Expert, you'll be familiar with its traffic light ranking system and how that can immediately shine a light on a potential value play; or, just as useful, highlight a fancied runner with plenty to prove.

But two aspects that you may not have known about are:

i. you can review the relevant form history of trainers, jockeys and sires as well as horses
ii. you can view the form detail by clicking on the summary in question

To look at non-horse form, just select the entity you want from the dropdown menu top left. This helpful moving image shows both of these 'hidden gems' in action.

That is something well worth knowing, and here are nine more killer 'form hacks' lurking within our UK and Irish racecards.

Pro Tip: Look for races where there is a strong contrast between one, perhaps two, horses with a lot of green and amber, and the remainder of the field which are largely red. This everyday occurrence can indicate a lack of depth to the race, in form profiling terms at least, and offers some great value play opportunities.

#2 Trainer Form

Horse form is super important, especially when there is lots of it to review. But what about when a horse is making its debut, or has run only a few times, or is doing something new and different for the first time today? Our trainer form cuts right to the chase by not only showing recent - and longer-term course - form; but also by isolating those contextual aspects of this horse in this race.

Like most things in life, it's easier to explain if we use an example.

As you can see, the trainer form is broken into two parts. The first half is fairly common or garden, standard intel, though not without its uses by any means. In fact, simply comparing a trainer's recent form with his or her longer-term course record is more than enough to add a point - or a knock - to a runner's credentials.

But the real power is in the second section, where users are presented with the trainer's two-year record in a variety of relevant scenarios. In this instance, we can see that Mick Appleby's general two-year figures are not especially exciting in the context of this race... with one very notable exception: horses having their first run for the yard. Edraak, on first start for Appleby, won by three lengths at 16/1.

This is the real power hidden under the bonnet of our trainer form icon, and you can harness it daily for yourself.

Pro Tip: Look for trainers whose performance in the specific context of today's race is better than their overall two-year record.

#3 Report Angles

If the first two of our 'top ten' under the radar racecard features are point and shoot, number three, Report Angles, offers you all the flexibility you could want. It works in two parts: first, you choose which of our suite of 15+ reports you are interested in, and on what basis; and second, qualifying runners appear as a red number against the horse in question.

Let's say you'd selected our brilliant Trainer Jockey Combination report as one of those you wanted to know about, but only when the combo had at least a 20% hit rate and an A/E (positive market expectation) of 1.5 or more in the past year.

Set that up in your Report Angles settings, along with any other parameters you're interested in:

Report Angles qualifiers appear in the racecard

Once defined, Report Angles qualifiers appear directly in the racecard

 

And bingo, there's a little red '1' against this horse. When I click on it, the specific Report Angle detail makes itself known.

This 'no name' trainer was running a horse with moderate form that was eventually sent off at 12/1. Although he didn't win on this occasion, he finished a fine second of 16, rewarding each way support. These are the kind of horses that most punters wouldn't look twice at; Report Angles forces us to give them a second glance.

Oh, and regarding the setting up bit, it's a one time five minute job which rewards that micro-effort over and over again.

Pro tip: Be selective! Less is more with Report Angles: that way, you know every highlighted horse is worth taking a moment to review.

 

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#4 Draw Tab

Flat races are anything but with Geegeez racecards, with our industry-leading draw information. Not only do we have more - more metrics, more configurability, more insight - but it's two-click easy to discover exactly what you want to know. Which part of the draw, if any, is favoured in big field mile handicaps at York?

Head straight to the draw tab and you'll see it pre-populated with going, field size and handicap races. In this example, I've also selected the 'Actual Draw' button to exclude non-runners' stalls.

There seems to be a fairly strong advantage for low drawn runners, and those drawn highest - and therefore widest - appear to be somewhat compromised by their stall position.

Sure enough, this 16-runner race was won by a horse drawn in stall 3 at an SP of 12/1. Nice.

As well as simple High/Middle/Low draw thirds, the draw tab also includes individual stall breakdowns in table and chart form.

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And, as a further power feature, we overlay historical run style to draw thirds to show which combination of draw and early race position is optimal. It looks like this, displayed in very easy-to-digest colour code. We call it our heat map:

 

Pro Tip: We've included some more advanced metrics like A/E, IV and PRB (and derivatives of them). They're not as complicated as they perhaps sound and keeping them in mind will definitely add another level to your understanding of draw biases. You can read more on our metrics here.

#5 Pace Tab

"Pace wins the race", or so the adage goes. In fact, pace is a massive factor in determining the outcome of races and, in Britain and Ireland at least, remains significantly overlooked. This presents clued in bettors with one of the best - if not the best - opportunity to profit from betting on horseracing.

You may or may not be familiar with the pace tab within Gold racecards. It looks like the image below and I want to pick a few things out for you.

Firstly, check out the four coloured 'blobs' at the top. These show the performance of different run styles over this course and distance, and in this field size/on this going. If selected, the data are filtered for handicap runs only (as in this case).

In this example, it is clear that horses coming from the back of the field have an almost impossible task (held up runners are 1 from 107 !), and those racing midfield don't fare much better. Prominent racers and especially front-runners have virtually monopolised 5f handicaps at Kempton since the all-weather was laid.

Below the blobs and the going/field size/race selection variables, we have a pace prediction - 'possible contested speed'. There are also two more variables for users to select: number of previous runs to include, and display type. Here I've chosen last three runs and 'heat map'.

Because I've selected 'Heat Map' view, the display underlays colour to identify which parts of the track are favoured from a draw/pace perspective. Again, this is a pretty open and shut case with horses that lead or race prominently being favoured regardless of draw.

Being able to visualise how a race is likely to be run, and having the historical context, is hugely powerful in isolating those runners whose chance is improved or reduced by their run style.

Quite simply, I wouldn't bet without checking this first. And nor should you!

Pro Tip: Look for horses matching the historically favoured run style - especially when they might be 'uncontested leaders'.

#6 Full Form

Arguably the most under-rated aspect of the entire Geegeez Gold offering is Full Form, a place where it is possible to drill down on a horse's (or trainer's or sire's or jockey's) form to any number of form elements relevant to today's race.

Full Form is comprised of a series of content blocks, each one collapsible so you can keep your view neat and tidy if you're not interested in some components. In the example below, I've collapsed the Runner Details, Race Record and Race Entries blocks, leaving only what I'm interested in: the Filters and Race Form blocks.

In this, granted extreme, example Halling's Comet has a phenomenal record at Worcester (I've filtered by 'course') where he almost always leads.

 

I have also selected the 'Proximity Form' filter. When selected, a traffic light appears to the left of each form line, based on how far, per furlong, the horse was beaten. On the 14th August 2019, for instance, Halling's Comet was beaten 12 1/4 lengths over two and a half miles (20 furlongs). That averaged to 0.61 lengths per furlong and an amber traffic light.

This is very useful for understanding when horses may have run better (or worse) than their finishing position implies.

One final point to note on Full Form is that it is not just for horse form; by selecting Trainer or Jockey or Sire from the buttons top right, it is easy to drill down and establish how those actors performed against various form filters appropriate to today's contest.

Pro Tip: Experiment with the Filters. Discovering that a horse has won three times from four runs within 10 days, or for today's jockey, etc., can be very rewarding!

 

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#7 Sectional Data

One of the new frontiers of horseracing information in Britain in the last couple of years is the publication of sectional timing data. After a few false dawns down the years, this staple of international racing has begun to make its way into the form book here. The problem, like many things in racing, is that divisions in ownership and media have meant that the information is not available for all race tracks. At least not yet.

Geegeez publishes data from a company called Total Performance Data (TPD), and we've tried to make it as versatile as users could wish for. There is much more information on sectional timing data here, but I wanted to pick out a couple of aspects with which you may not be familiar.

To the untrained eye, there is a lot going on with a presentation of sectional timing. Those who like to get knee deep will find satisfaction in the Geegeez sectional content but, for most, a toehold into this new realm will be enough, so let's try to address that here.

The most generally-discussed metric is 'finishing speed percentage' and it tells us a lot about not just the finish but the race overall. We break the race into either five or three sections - the display below showing five - and each section is colour-coded red to blue.

The top colour row is the 'race speed', based on the leader throughout the race. In this case, the race leader was the same horse throughout, National Anthem. He went hard - very hard (see the orange/red) - early and finished commensurately slowly.

Compare his colour bars with second-placed Mabre, who ran almost an opposite race. Very slow at the start (15 lengths back after two furlongs!), he closed to within four lengths of the winner by the line.

National Anthem had a finishing speed of 88% which means he went very fast early; Mabre had a finishing speed of 96.6%, which means he ran a more measured race overall in spite of his slow start.

Below the colour bars for each runner is a sequence of numbers that we call 'running lines'. These five numbers, and their associated superscript, outline the race position and the distance behind the leader at different 'call points' during the race.

In the example race above, National Anthem was 1st, seven lengths clear, at the second call. We can see that the second race section, the end of which is the second 'call', was 5-4 (i.e. from the five furlong to the four furlong pole). So National Anthem was seven lengths clear at the four furlongs from home point.

Conversely, Mabre was 15 lengths sixth (of six) at the same point.

This is invaluable information for understanding how much ground a horse has made up during a race. Those who like their visuals might also have a look at the chart representation of this (from the 'Chart' button at the top).

In this chart image, I've highlighted the second horse, Mabre, by hovering over the 5-4 point on this 'behind leader' view. The winner led all the way and, therefore, is the red line at the bottom of the chart: he was 0 lengths behind the leader (because he was the leader!) throughout.

Sectional data is more in-depth than a lot of bettors wish to get, and if that's you, don't worry - there's plenty else to go at!

Pro Tip: Do not get too bogged down in sectional data if it's all new. But know that, if a race looks likely to be steadily/falsely run (our pace prediction will help here), a horse with fast finishing speed percentage figures will be of interest, all other things being equal.

#8 QT Angles

If you're one of those people who likes to ask, and find answers to, your own questions then our Query Tool is for you. Query Tool, or QT for short, allows users to build angles or systems from our extensive racing database. Crucially, it allows them to save those angles and have qualifying horses highlighted right within the racecard.

This information is unique to a user and means the card is your own, and as powerful/insightful as you want to make it.

The legwork is done elsewhere, within Query Tool; but once done users reap the benefit over and over again. There is much more information on Query Tool here.

Pro Tip: Some of our savviest subscribers use QT to identify positive factors, which are not necessarily profitable by themselves but contribute to the case to be made for a horse. Having a range of these Angles saved in QT - and displaying right in the racecard - is dynamite!

#9 Sire Data

If a horse has had thirty runs, the primary consideration is always its own form. But, when there is less racecourse evidence from which to base a judgement, the form of a trainer or a sire can be instructive. We've discussed trainer form already and now it is the turn of the sire.

Geegeez racecards have a sire icon behind which is a raft of facts and figures.

As well as the basic breeding line, Geegeez Gold racecards also publish latest sales information, and notable relatives. But the real insight comes from the two-year Sire Snippets (highlighted in the box). The top line is always the overall two year form of the sire's progeny, while subsequent rows relate to the specific context of the race in question.

In this example, where Little Jo was running in a mile handiap at Newcastle (all-weather), we can see the sire's (Major Cadeaux) form in all-weather races and in middle distance races flagged this one as a live contender. With form in the bank, too, he was hardly a shock winner at an eventual SP of 9/1.

This can be very helpful, especially for horses either running in maiden and novice races, or trying something different for the first (or second) time.

Pro Tip: Compare contextual snippets with a sire's overall two-year form (the top row) to see if his progeny fare better or worse in today's circumstances.

#10 Form Indicators

There is a huge amount of information available via the racecards, and some of us don't have either the time or the inclination to sift through all of it. That, of course, is absolutely fine - nobody uses everything - and the Gold cards have lots of shortcuts and indicators.

With our trainer and jockey indicators you can see at a glance who is hot and who is not. They reveal recent (14 and 30 day) form, and longer-term (course one year and five year) form. Green is good, red is not good.

Also notice the numbered arrows next to Vaziani and Steel Native. These relate that, respectively, Vaziani is dropping one class and Steel Native is up one class bracket.

Most other indicators (C = course winner, CD = course and distance winner, etc) are fairly standard, but notice how Gold racecards deploy a 5+ notation for horses wearing a piece of apparatus, or running after wind surgery, for a fifth or greater time. By the same token, a W3 notation, for instance, would imply a horse was running for the third time after wind surgery; and h2 would be a second start wearing a hood, and so on.

Horses making their first start in a handicap are flagged by 'HC1' next to their name (and they also have trainer snippets to help users understand the trainer's record with such runners).

And horses running for the first time since a change of stable have 'TC' (trainer change) against their name on the card:

Trainer_Change_Indicator

In each case, these indicators provide valuable time-saving shortcuts to help you understand more information quicker; and there is always more detail a click away for those who are curious or wish to drill down.

Pro Tip: Although the indicators offer a snapshot flavour of noteworthy elements, it is always advisable to make the extra click required to see the related data. Knowing a horse is making its handicap debut is interesting; knowing that the trainer has a 30% strike rate with such horses is very, very interesting!

**

And those are ten things which perhaps you didn't know about Geegeez Gold racecards.

But wait, there's more. Ten items just isn't enough to share all of the hidden gems lurking in our cards, and I simply cannot fail to mention these two more...

 

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#11 Bet Tracker

How is your betting going? Well? Okay? Not so good? Chances are you have a hunch as to the general direction of your wagering travel but the specifics are a little harder to come by. Many Geegeez users have not only grabbed their P&L by the scruff of the neck, but are also now starting to understand where they do well and where they do less well thanks to our Bet Tracker tool.

It works very simply: click the BT icon on the card and enter your bet details.

When the results are confirmed your bets will be settled within the Bet Tracker tool. After you've accrued a history in Bet Tracker you will be able to perform detailed analysis to see where you're doing best... and worst!

For those who take just a minute or two a day to add their bet details, it is turning their entire game around. It can do the same for you, too.

Pro Tip: Add all of your single bets to Bet Tracker. When you've got 100+ bets recorded, start to review for pointers. When you've got 500+ bets recorded, you'll be able to make some highly targeted changes to your betting approach: cut out what's not working, do more of what is.

#12 Price / Rate A Race

If you really want to test your value edge, try pricing a few races up yourself. Our 'My Ratings' feature allows users to add notes about a race during the pre-race form study period (we also have a separate horse / race / meeting notes and rating facility within the results).

Most people don't price up races in this way, but for those who do, their judgement of value is sure to be improved. And everyone should do this at least once or twice a month.

Pro Tip: From your My Geegeez profile page, you can opt to turn off bookmaker odds. Pricing a race 'blind' is a Jedi Master trick for testing your feel for the market. Don't be discouraged if early attempts miss the mark somewhat; after all, you wouldn't expect to learn Slovak in an afternoon!

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So that's ten - sorry, twelve - things you perhaps didn't know you didn't know about Geegeez Racecards.

If you're not yet a Gold subscriber, you can put all of these - as well as our Query Tool, Draw and Pace Analysers, Stat of the Day picks, and so much more besides - to work for you. Sign up today and get your first month for just £1 >>>

Racing is Back! 1st June Video Preview

Racing is back! My, how we've missed it. And, to celebrate its return, as well as the return of plenty of subscribers old and new, I've recorded a video preview of the opening contest.

Regardless of how long you've been a Gold subscriber - perhaps you're still not - I hope you'll find some value in the video, which is designed to highlight a process rather than a tip... though as you'll discover I found a few reasons to like a 20/1 shot!

In the video I refer to a post talking about our metrics, which you can find here.

And here's a quick link to the Newcastle Punting Pointers article.

And, finally, if you're not a Gold subscriber, here's the link to sign up. Get your first month for just £1.

 

Gold Updates: Cosmetics and PRB

As well as providing bundles of top class thought-provoking editorial during this interminable lockdown, we've also been beavering away on generating some new bells and whistles on our racecards. Actually, we've been mostly cosmetically enhancing our existing features. Let's start with those...

Blue is the new grey

First up, you'll see a lot more blue about the place and a lot less grey.

The card tab now looks like this:

 

Full Form, with its collapsible blocks, now looks like this:

In the above example, for a geegeez.co.uk syndicate horse, I've collapsed the Race Form and Race Entries blocks.

 

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Perhaps the biggest change is to Instant Expert where we've inverted the colour blocks. So, where previously the outlines and numbers were in the colour (green, amber, red), now the block is that colour with the number font in white. It looks like this:

 

 

Similar cosmetic amendments have been made to the result, pace, odds and draw tabs, which leads me nicely on to...

 

New Draw Metric

We've introduced a new metric on the Draw Analyser and in the draw tab, called Percentage of Rivals Beaten, or PRB. I've explained more about it in this post, which I very much recommend you read if you haven't already.

The value of PRB over, say, win or place percent is that every runner in every race receives a performance value, with only the last placed horse getting 0. So, for example, in a six horse race, there would be a winner, one additional placed horse (as well as the winner), and four unplaced horses.

In the win percentages, that race would produce a breakdown of 100/0/0/0/0/0 (100% win for the winner, 0% win for the rest of the field).

Place percentages would have 100/100/0/0/0/0 (two placed horses, four unplaced '0' horses).

But the third horse has performed better than the fourth, fifth and sixth horses; and the winner has performed better than all of its rivals. PRB aims to more accurately place a value against finishing position. So the percentage of rivals the winner beats will always be 100%, and the PRB of the last placed horse will always be 0%, but in between there will be a sliding scale. In this six-horse race example, the second horse has beaten 80% of its rivals (four out of five rivals), and the fourth placed horse has beaten two home, which is 40% of rivals.

In a fair draw each stall, or group of stalls, would see a PRB score of 50%, or 0.5. And many stalls are within one or two percentage points of that. If a draw location has a PRB of 55%+ (0.55+) it is probably favoured; the converse is also true: if a stall has a PRB of 45% or less it may be somewhat unfavoured. Here's how it looks on the draw tab:

The table columns to the right hand side list PRB and PRB2. In this case we can see that high is favoured to a small degree and low commensurately unfavoured.

PRB2 is simply the PRB score multiplied by itself. What this does is accentuate the percentages: in practical terms it rewards those finishing closer to the winner than those finishing further down the field, recognising that horses may not be ridden out for the best possible placing if that placing is going to be eighth of 20, whereas they virtually always will if that placing is third of 20. There is more on how that works in the horse racing metrics post.

When looking at individual draws, I've introduced a metric called PRB3. Similar to IV3, it takes a rolling three-stall average PRB of the stall in question and its immediate neighbours. So, for example, the PRB3 of stall six would be the average PRB of stalls five, six and seven. It is, in exactly the same way as IV3, a means of smoothing the curve and making sense of draw data distribution. Here it is in action:

 

PRB has lots of potential applications in horseracing datasets, and we've started our adoption in the draw space. It will be especially useful when, as in the examples above, there is not a lot to go on in terms of runs, wins and places. There is still not a great deal in the PRB dataset but, by scoring every horse in each race in the sample, there is more data depth in which to fish.

That's all for this update. Very soon we'll be able to get stuck back into one of our favourite pastimes: messing around with racing data! And Geegeez Gold will have it well covered.

Matt

Horse Racing Metrics: A/E, IV, PRB

Throughout this site, in editorial content and on our award-winning Gold reports and racecards, there are references to various measures of performance or utility: horse racing metrics. Although some of the concepts may be new, their application – and therefore your understanding of them – is generally straightforward.

This article offers a brief run down of the metrics used, notably Impact Value (IV), Actual vs Expected (A/E) and Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB). In the following, I explain how the metrics are arrived at; but if you’re not a geeky type, simply make a note of the ‘what to look for’ component for each one.

Impact Value (IV)

IV helps to understand how often something happens in a specific situation by comparing it against a more general set of information for the same situation.

For example, we can get the IV of a trainer’s strike rate by comparing it with the average strike rate for all trainers.

Let’s say a trainer saddled 36 winners from 126 runners, a strike rate of 28.57%, during the National Hunt season.

And let's further say that, overall in that season, there were 3118 winners from 26441 runners. That’s an average strike rate of 11.79%.

We could simply divide the two strike rates:

28.57 / 11.79 = 2.42

Or we could do the long version, which at least helps understand the calculation. It goes like this:

('Thing' winners / All winners) / ('Thing' runners / All runners)

 

In this case,

(36 / 3118) / (126 / 26441)

= 0.011545 / 0.004765

= 2.42

 

What to look for with IV

An IV of 1 is the 'standard' for the total rate of incidence of something. A number greater than 1 relates that something happens more than standard, and a number less than 1 implies it happens less than standard.

The further above or below 1 the IV figure is, the more or less frequently than ‘standard’ something happens.

The example IV of 2.42 means our trainer won at a rate nearly two-and-a-half times the overall trainer seasonal average: 2.42 times, to be precise.

Note that very small data samples can produce misleading IV figures.

 

IV3

IV3 is a derivation of IV created by us here at geegeez.co.uk to help ‘smooth the curve’ on chart data. You can see examples of this when looking at draw data on this website.

IV3 simply adds the IV of a piece of data to the IV's of its closest neighbouring pieces of data, and divides the sum by three.

For example, the IV3 figure for stall five at a racecourse would be calculated as:

(IVs4 + IVs5 + IVs6) / 3

where IVs4 is the Impact Value of stall 4, the lower neighbour of stall 5, whose IV3 we are calculating, and IVs6 is the Impact Value of stall 6, the upper neighbour of the stall whose IV3 we are calculating.

Thus, in the below example which shows stalls 1-5, the IV3 figure for stall 2 is the average of the IV figures for stalls 1, 2 and 3:

(1.98 + 2.27 + 2.55) / 3 = 2.27

 

As with IV, the greater the value the better, with anything above 1 representing an outcome which occurs more frequently than standard.

N.B. For the lowest and highest stalls in a race, IV3 is calculated from an average of the stall and its sole neighbour (stall 2 in the case of stall 1, and stall H-1 in the case of the (H)ighest numbered stall).

 

What to look for with IV3

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Used on this site mainly in charts, IV3 shows a smoother, more representative curve when looking at the impact of stall position.

Example IV Chart:

Same data plotted by IV3:

 

Actual vs Expected (A/E)

Whereas IV tells us how frequently, relatively, something happens, as bettors we need to know what the implied profitability of that something is. In concert, they are a powerful partnership, with favourable figures denoting an event that happens more frequently than average and with a positive betting expectation.

A/E, or the ratio of Actual versus Expected, attempts to establish the value proposition (profitability in simple terms) of a statistic. The 'actual' and 'expected' are the number of winners.

The ‘actual’ number of winners is just that. In the case of the IV example above, the trainer had 36 winners from 126 runners. Actual then is 36.

But how do we calculate the 'expected' number of winners?

We use a formula based on the starting price (you could just as easily use Betfair Starting Price or even tote return if you were sufficiently minded - we've used SP), thus:

Actual number of winners / Sum of ALL [entity] runners' SP's (in percentage terms)

So far we know that to be 36 / Sum of ALL [entity] runners' SP's (in percentage terms)

 

To establish a runner's SP in percentage terms, we do the sum 1/([SP as a decimal] + 1).

For instance, 4/1 SP would be 1/(4 + 1), or 1/5, which is 0.20,

evens SP would be 1/(1 + 1), or 1/2, which is 0.5,

1-4 SP would be 1/(0.25 + 1), or 1/1.25, which is 0.8, and so on.

 

The sum of our trainer's 126 runners' starting prices, calculated in the above fashion, is 33.15.

Our A/E then is 36 / 33.15 which is 1.09.

We can then say that this trainer’s horses have a slightly positive market expectation, and in general terms her horses look worth following.

 

What to look for with A/E

As with IV, a score above 1 is good and below 1 is not good, though in this case the degree of goodness or not goodness pertains to market expectation, or what might be summed up as ‘likelihood of future profitability’.

A dataset that shows a profit but has an A/E below 1 is probably as a result of one or two big outsiders winning. Such runners have a low expectation associated with them and are far less likely to represent winners in the future.

Clearly, then, we’re looking for an A/E above 1. But we need also to be apprehensive around ostensibly exciting profit figures when the A/E doesn’t back that up. That is, when the A/E figure is below 1.

Note also that very small data samples can produce misleading A/E figures.

 

Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB)

One of the main problems with assessing horseracing statistics is that we’re often faced with very small amounts of information from which to try to form a conclusion.

For this reason, I personally prefer place percentages to win percentages, as there are more place positions in a small group of races than there are winners. Thus, it tends to lead to slightly more representative findings.

PRB tries to take this race hierarchy a step further and produce a sliding scale of performance for every runner in a race based on where they finished.

So, for example, in a twelve-horse race, the winner beats 100% of its rivals, and the last placed horse beats 0% of its rivals. But what about those finishing between first and last?

The calculation is:

(runners - position) / (runners - 1)

 

The 4th placed horse's PRB in a 12-runner race would be calculated as:

(12 – 4) / (12 – 1)

= 8 / 11

= 0.73 (or 73%)

 

The full table of PRB’s for a 12-horse race is below.

 

A word on non-completions

There are different interpretations of how to cater for a horse which fails to complete (refused to race, unseated rider, fell, pulled up, etc).

Some exclude those runners from the calculation sample, others use a 50% of rivals beaten figure. The traditional way of dealing with non-completions - the way its creator, Simon Rowlands, has managed them since introducing %RB  around 15 years ago - is to recode pulled ups as joint-last (so will be >0% if more than one), and fell etc as neutral (50% of rivals beaten).

Whilst I can see the rationale behind both of those, the approach we have taken is more literal: we assume a non-completing horse to have beaten 0% of its rivals. This is unfair on the leader who falls at the last but nor does it upgrade a tiring faller or a horse pulling up at the back of the field.

There is not really a perfect way to represent non-completions in PRB terms; this is at least a consistent interpretation which is of little consequence in larger datasets or where non-completions are rare (for example, in flat races).

 

What to look for with PRB

PRB is helpful when attempting to establish the merit of unplaced runs; for example, a horse finishing 5th of 24 in a big field handicap has fared a good bit better than a horse finishing 5th of 6.

A PRB figure of 55% or more can be considered a positive; by the same token, a PRB figure below 45% should be taken as a negative, all other things being equal.

The problem with PRB is that it assumes, as per the rules of racing, that every horse is ridden out to achieve its best possible placing. In reality that frequently fails to happen: horses whose chances have gone are eased off and allowed to come home in their own time.

Thus, the further from the winner you get, the less reliable is the PRB figure.

PRB2

As the name suggests, this is the PRB figure, expressed as a decimal, times itself. This is also sometimes written as PRB^2, which means the same as PRB2.

So, for example, if the percentage of rivals beaten was 80%, or 0.8, the PRB2 figure would be 0.8 x 0.8 = 0.64

The reason this is useful is that it rewards those finishing nearer to first exponentially, as the table and chart for an 11-runner race below illustrates.

 

The chart lines start and end in the same place but, in between, they are divergent.

The difference in the values is greater the further down the top half of the field a horse finishes, and then gravitates back towards the PRB line in the latter half of the field (where PRB2 scores are lowest).

This is significant when looking at, for example, trainer statistics. Let’s take an example where two trainers have the following finishes from three horses, all in eleven-runner races (for ease of calculation):

Using our reference table above for eleven-runner races, we could calculate the PRB’s, using decimals rather than fractions, as follows:

Trainer A: 1.0 + 0.5 + 0.0 = 1.5

Trainer B: 0.5 + 0.5 + 0.5 = 1.5

Both have a score of 1.5 which, when divided by the three runs, gives a PRB rating of 0.5.

But Trainer A had a winner and Trainer B failed to secure a finish better than 6th, so should we afford them the same merit?

Some will argue yes, but I prefer – and PRB^2 offers – to recognise all that has happened but to reward the trainer with the ‘meaningful’ placing to a greater degree than her perma-midfield counterpart.

Here’s how PRB^2 views the same trio of performances:

Trainer A: 1.0 + 0.25 + 0.00 = 1.25             / 3 = 0.42

Trainer B: 0.25 + 0.25 + 0.25 = 0.75           / 3 = 0.25

This time we see the preference towards Trainer A, who had the same average finishing position but the more worthy finish in that one of his runners won.

That, in my view, is a more meaningful statistic for all that it is not straightforward to know what a ‘good’ PRB^2 figure is.

What to look for with PRB^2

Anything above 0.4 on a reasonable sample size implies ‘good’ performance whereas anything below 0.3 on a reasonable sample implies ‘poor’ performance, though there is some scope for different interpretations between 0.3 and 0.4.

 

PRB3

PRB3, not to be confused with PRB^2, is used in the same way as IV3 when there is a logical and linear relationship between a data point and its closest neighbours. The example we used in IV3 was stall position and that holds equally for PRB3: it would be the average percentage of rivals beaten of a stall and its closest neighbours. Another example might be the rolling monthly percentage of rivals beaten for a trainer, although this will always be historical in its outlook (we cannot know next month's PRB).

As with IV3, its primary utility is one of smoothing the curve to make patterns in the data easier to spot.

 

Horse Racing Metrics Summary

Throughout the site, figures relating to Impact Value, Actual vs Expected, and Percentage of Rivals Beaten are referenced. There is nothing to be afraid of; rather, each metric simply provides an appropriate way of easily understanding the data (and, crucially, its utility), and comparing it within the context of the entity under investigation.

Horse Racing Betting Angles: Part 3b, Bonus Module

In this bonus module, Part 3b, you'll learn about something I call 'mark up' angles. These are snippets of information which are not necessarily worthy of a bet in their own right, but will help me to form a view on a horse in the context of a race.

Again, if you've not seen the previous episodes, I urge you to start here.

In this bonus recording, we'll look at mark up angles for:

- Sires

- Wind surgery runners

And we'll also look at horse profiling within Query Tool. Adding a few of these to your Tracker for the upcoming flat season will be a VERY good use of an hour or two during this downtime!

Here's the video - I hope you like it.

Matt

p.s. If anybody has any questions, I will be happy to record a QT Q&A session to help you get you out of the blocks as quickly as possible.