Posts

**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.

 

Sign up today and get your first month for just £1 >>>

#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.

Your first 30 days for just £1

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!

 

Sign up today and get your first month for just £1 >>>

#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...

 

Sign up today and get your first month for just £1 >>>

#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!

****

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.

 

Your first 30 days for just £1

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

Your first 30 days for just £1

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.

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.

New and Improved: Draw / Pace Display

We're at the start of a busy period of development within Geegeez Gold just now, and an early part of this work is to bring a couple of rather clunky elements of the visuals into the 21st century.

Specifically, we've smoothed our draw and pace chart curves; and we've made the pace heat map a bit less 'blocky'.

There is also a new view on the Pace tab - and a very interesting one at that.

Gold users can now see which parts of the draw are favoured by the respective run styles, as well as which horses sit where against that draw / run style underlay. It's quite difficult to explain, so have a look at the short video below and see what you think.

Plenty more coming soon!

Matt

p.s. the user guide has been updated accordingly and you can download the latest version from your My Geegeez page.

Clock Watcher: Rise for National Anthem

Welcome to a new weekly feature, Clock Watcher, where we'll shine a light on a few horses that might be interesting to follow from a speed and/or sectional perspective. It is my hope that this column will also serve to introduce, embed and reinforce various concepts which may be unfamiliar at this stage.

Generally speaking, a run considered of sufficient merit to appear here will have two components: the horse will have recorded a time which is at least reasonably quick for the conditions; and the horse will have recorded a noteworthy upgrade on that performance.

The first component is fairly self-explanatory even if defining what is "at least reasonably quick" is highly subjective. Geegeez.co.uk doesn't currently produce its own speed ratings (and there is no plan for that to change at this stage), so for our purposes we will use Racing Post's Topspeed figures, which are published under license on this site.

The second component requires a bit more introduction. What is an 'upgrade', how does a horse achieve one, and how is this quantified?

What is an upgrade?

Track and field athletes run at their most efficient level - enabling them to produce their fastest times - when they travel at a constant speed. For instance, when Kenenisa Bekele broke the 5000m world record in 2004, a record which still stands today, his 1000m split times - or sectional times - were as follows:

12:37.35 (2:33.24, 2:32.23, 2:31.87, 2:30.59, 2:29.42)

Let's tabulate that:

A few months later, in the Olympic 5000m final, they covered the first 4 kilometres in 648.62 seconds, almost 41 seconds slower than the world record pace. Bekele, overwhelming favourite for gold, was readily out-sprinted and had to settle for silver, the winner recording a final time of 794.39 seconds, 37 seconds slower than the world record.

In a race where they crawled (relatively) and then sprinted, Bekele was unable to produce his best form. He could not run inefficiently to the same effect as his vanquisher, the Olympic 1500m champion Hicham El Guerrouj, whose superior kick facilitated his victory.

We know what is 'efficient' based on the body of similar historical races, and we call this par.

In simple terms, any deviation from efficiency - or par - whether fast early then fading, or slow early with a rapid finish, earns an upgrade. Thus, in this case, both the winner and second - as well, indeed, as the third through to sixth placed finishers - would have received upgrade figures.

An upgrade, then, is a recognition of the degree to which a horse raced inefficiently.

It should be noted that racing inefficiently will not necessarily prevent a horse, or an athlete, from winning. Indeed, El Guerrouj 'got the run of the race' back in 2004, that slow time suiting his questionable stamina but stronger kick. The primary objective is, after all, not to break records but to win the race.

What about par?

There is more detail in the User Guide around what may be new terms to some readers, and I'd encourage you to check that document (page 63 onwards in the current version, click here).

However, for the purposes of expediency, a quick line on par here. Par is the threshold against which all subsequent races over a course and distance are measured. From the User Guide,

Par is an assessment of the optimal energy distribution – based on relative time – between the sections of a race. It is not an average of all sectional times. Rather, it follows a fairly complex formula which uses an ‘nth percentile’ race as par. Further information can be found in Simon Rowlands’ excellent Sectional Timing Introduction report, available at this link. Indeed, that document is highly recommended for anyone keen to get a head start with the applications of sectional information.

So, in simple terms, par is a baseline, a means by which we may better understand the context of a performance.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Let's look at some examples.

 

An obvious one...

We'll start with a sore thumb, a horse on everyone's radar regardless of whether via visuals, sectionals or form. The very well related Waldkonig made his debut in a run-of-the-mill Wolverhampton novice stakes for two-year-olds on 7th December. A Kingman half-brother to Arc winner Waldgeist, he was sent off 6/4 favourite over the extended mile trip.

In the end, he won by nine widening lengths; the data offer some interesting footnotes to that emphatic victory.

 

There is a lot going on in this image, so let's take it step by step. First up, note that I have selected 'Call Points' (a five section breakdown) top left and I have clicked the 'Show Chart' button, which then changes colour and displays 'Hide Chart', the action that would happen upon a further click. So those are my selected parameters. (I also have the data view selected from my My Geegeez page, check the User Guide for more on that).

Beneath the blue buttons is a line of five coloured rectangles. These are the Call Points sectionals for the race. That is, they relate to the race leader at five points during the race, specifically the six-furlong, four-furlong, three-furlong, two-furlong and finishing posts.

The colour of the rectangles indicates the relative speed of each section, on a cold/slow/blue to hot/fast/red scale. Thus, this race was even (green) early, slow (blue) in the middle, and fast (orange) late. The OMC (Opening, Midrace, Closing) view below captures this more succinctly and is a better place for newbies to start, due to there being fewer data points.

Getting back to the main image, and the main part of it, we see a chart. This chart is highly configurable but the image shows the default, which is the sectional percentage data, by furlong, for the winner - and with the black par line also displayed. Any/all runners can be added or removed to/from the chart by clicking their name underneath or using the 'toggle' button top left.

Next to the toggle button is a statement of how many races comprise the par calculations and, therefore, the degree of confidence in par. In this case - indeed in the vast majority of all-weather race cases - confidence is high. At this stage, confidence is more limited elsewhere while the body of data grows as more races are run over various courses and distances.

The chart reflects what the coloured rectangles are saying: that the leader went even-ish (slightly above par) early, slowed up notably in the middle of the race, before finishing very strongly - well above the black par line.

Beneath the chart is the full result table, which has a familiar look to it. I have clicked on the winner's finishing position (i.e. on the text that says '1st') to reveal his sectional data - coloured rectangles for Call Points (including split times, aggregates time, and sectional time as a percentage of overall time, i.e. sectional percentage), running lines (the horse's position in the field and distance behind the leader, or in front if the race leader) - and in-running comment.

The rightmost column in the result table is 'UP', and it contains the upgrade figure. In this example, Waldkonig was calculated as having an upgrade of 29 by our algorithm. Again, in terms of quantifying ability, this tells us little more than that, like his father, Waldkonig is able to quicken impressively off a steady pace.

Waldkonig was given a Topspeed rating of 47 for his time performance in the race. That is far from a standout rating and would not highlight the horse's effort as noteworthy, though of course the nine length winning margin would be missed by nobody. By applying the upgrade figure to a representation of the time performance we get closer to an understanding of the merit of the effort: clearly it takes more ability to quicken off a fast pace than a slow one, with the degree to which a horse quickens also worthy of note.

We've been playing with combining various numbers to produce some sort of 'composite' time/performance rating, though I must declare at this stage that I'm not 100% certain that adding upgrades to Topspeed is a sensible thing to do.

We are currently trying to establish whether it improves the predictive ability of the raw speed figure: they are calculated on different scales so it is probably not entirely sensible to simply add the two together.

Nevertheless, there is some indication in the work done to date that this somewhat contrived 'combo' number has merit. In the case of Waldkonig, his 47 gets an extra 29 for a 76 overall. That is a better reflection of his performance, though probably not of his ability given this was a debut on a track that was likely not ideal. In any case, what it tells us unequivocally is that, in a race where the pace scenario looks muddling, Waldkonig is capable of a searing turn of foot.

 

A (slightly) less obvious one...

At a slightly less 'could be anything' level, trainer David Brown rewarded his and connections' patience when National Anthem, off the track for 417 days since running poorly at the same venue, blasted home in a six-furlong novice event at Southwell. Brown is the horse's third trainer in three career starts spanning 821 days and a wind operation!

Sent off at 15/2, fifth favourite of six but not completely unfancied, his performance was very different in sectional terms to that of Waldkonig, as the image below illustrates:

 

Here we see from the running line that National Anthem jumped very alertly and maintained that advantage, albeit that it was diminishing in the final furlong. He was better than four lengths in front after a furlong and fully nine lengths clear with an eighth to go. Little wonder that he tired close home. Also little wonder that he's entered over five furlongs at the same track on Monday where it will be very interesting to see how he goes in a handicap off a mark of 75, if taking up his engagement.

 

Far more speculatively...

Meanwhile, down in the basement, a horse called Disruptor might pop up at a price some time soon. He ran on 30th December at Lingfield, finishing third, and as can be seen from the below he ran an almost polar opposite race to par - based on the five Call Point sections:

 

This lad has had a few goes - twelve, including one since, to be precise - and has showed much improved form when leading or racing prominently recently. Prior to his run on Monday, where his inexperienced (14 rides) jockey shot up in the air as the stalls opened and then got sandwiched between two no-hopers for most of a furlong, he'd run his three best races from the front.

If/when he can get a slightly softer advantage - note the undesirable red zone section from five to four in his running data above - he has a chance to see his race out more effectively, albeit very likely in low grade company and with a more experienced pilot on top.

That said, looking more closely at the draw (DR) column below, it is worth noting that he has been consistently fortunate with his stall position in recent starts.

[NB note also that, in 'Show Sectionals' mode, races without sectionals have blanks. Hovering over the running lines segment displays details of the performance, including comments, position, distance beaten and jockey].

 

That's all for this inaugural edition of Clock Watcher. I hope it has provided food for thought and that, over time, it will support your understanding of the new data we are beginning to provide and how you might best take advantage of it for yourself.

Until next time...

Matt

p.s. as of Wednesday 8th January, sectional data is now live for Gold subscribers on geegeez.co.uk. You will need to enable it from the Race Card Options section of your My Geegeez page. On that page, you will also find a link to the most recent version of the User Guide, in which there is a comprehensive outline of sectional timing and how it is published on this site.

The current coverage comprises Total Performance Data tracks, as it is from them that we license our data. We hope to be able to integrate both Ascot and RTV (UK) tracks in due course. To be clear, we have no in house sectional aggregation function. Rather, we license 3rd party data as a publisher and aim to add value in the visualisation of that data. I very much hope by mid-year we have a far more comprehensive provision in terms of track coverage.

Video: Sectional Data Overview

In today's video, you can catch a first glimpse of not one, but two, new things!

First off, want to know where geegeez.co.uk is now based? The introduction to this video reveals all - fancy Italian coffee shop included 🙂

More importantly (perhaps, what is more important than coffee?!), today I reveal for the first time how Gold subscribers will be able to interact with the sectional data we're soon to publish.

Please don't worry if you're new to sectional content, and/or if it doesn't really make sense at this stage. Over the next year and beyond I/we will be doing lots to bring certain sectional scenarios to life so that you not only understand what the data are saying, but also when they're saying something notable in the context of today's race.

I'm not a sectional expert; rather, I'm a publisher and a student of (old style) form looking to cut my teeth in this new time-based world. It will be an interesting journey for all of us, and it starts for you - if you want it to - with the video below...

 

Silly Question Friday: The Gold Edition

In the third part of Silly Question Friday, where the only silly questions are the ones you didn't ask, I cover your unknowns in relation to Geegeez Gold.

Parts 1 and 2 can be found here.

This is in a video format and covers, amongst other things:

- Tips on using the Tracker tool
- Things you can (and can't) do with Query Tool
- Geegeez Gold vs Proform
- How to use the ratings features
- How draw 'thirds' are calculated
- Overcoming small draw/pace sample sizes
- and much more

I hope you find something of value in it.

Matt