Weight Handicapping and Ratings (part 3)

Wizard Daily Report and Research - Wednesday, 13 December 2023.

  • Weight handicapping and ratings (part 3)

Relative weight ratings - The Wizard ratings

So far in this series we have looked at the theory of relative weight handicapping and the practical application of that theory as it is applied to the calculation of Wizard's relative weight ratings.

In this article we will look at how these relative weight ratings form the basis of the Wizard Formguide's quantitative approach to race analysis.

The Wizard Ratings

The Wizard provides its relative weight ratings assessments in two ways.

First, there is the final Wizard Rating (Wrat) assessment that is found in the Wizard header (and elsewhere in Wizard Plus).

The Wrat assessment is built on the foundation of relative weight handicapping and then the base rating of each runner is adjusted to reflect a number of factors, the major ones being:

  • form cycle (improvement, plateau, deterioration)
  • distance ability
  • recency (days since last run)
  • form pattern (runs from spell)
  • consistency
  • trainer
  • jockey

(Note: Wizard Plus has three additional ratings assessments. These will be covered in a later article.)

Second, in its detailed Wizard Formguide, the Wizard provides ratings for the last 8 starts for each horse, its previous wins, and a range of peak performances.

The Wizard rating for each run is based on the horses performance in that race, and is referred to as a run-specific rating.

To make it easier to use, rather than just publishing the raw run-specific rating, the Wizard adjusts each of these ratings to account for the horses allocated weight in the forthcoming race.

All of these ratings are directly comparable, from run to run, and from horse to horse. 

This makes it easy to see where a horse might be in the improving phase of a form cycle, as its ratings increase, or decrease if it is training off. Also, favourable racing circumstances will see higher ratings than those recorded when the race conditions did not suit the horse.

Weight for Age adjustment

The race results formline in the Wizard also includes the Weight For Age (WFA) adjusted rating for a horses past eight runs. This WFA adjusted rating is found to the immediate right of the Wizard run-specific rating.

Generally, a horses most recent runs this preparation will have minimal or no WFA improvement and only the run-specific rating is included. Similarly, once a horse has turned 5yo there is no WFA improvement to be made so that runs recorded at this age and older will reflect no WFA improvement.

However, as the younger horse matures the Wizard WFA adjusted rating will change in order to reflect the additional improvement made possible over time. So a rating run three weeks ago might today have a 0.5kg WFA improvement, but in six months time the WFA adjusted rating for that same run could be 1.5kg higher. WFA is a dynamic and this is reflected in the Wizard WFA adjusted rating.

For the previous six winning runs in the Wizard formguide, space has meant the the full WFA adjusted rating cannot be included. In this case to provide you with a horses WFA adjustment we have added an alpha character alongside each of the ratings where some WFA improvement can be expected.

With Wizard Plus we do not have that space limitation; on the Plus formguide details screen the WFA adjusted rating can be found to the right of the Wizard run-specific rating.

Peak Ratings

It is important to appreciate how well a horse can perform in different situations. The Wizard peak ratings are fundamental to this investigation.

The reason recorded peak ratings are so important to the keen race handicapper is that they place in context the horses current form.

For example, a horse is having its fourth run from a spell and last start rated 47. The vital question confronting the form analyst is whether or not there is any evidence in the horses past form that suggests it can improve on this rating. 

Now, if we know that the horse ran a weight for age adjusted peak rating last preparation of 50, then there is every reason to believe that the horse could improve on its current rating of 47, if the conditions are suitable/similar.

On the other hand, if the best WFA adjusted rating from its last prep was 45 and the peak before that was 44, then there must be an element of doubt surrounding its ability to improve on the 47. 

These peak ratings flesh out the ratings history of the runner being examined, and can help raise your understanding of a horses capabilities and potential to a new level.

The peak ratings line in the Wizard formguide shows the ratings and dates of peak runs in the horses previous form.

Current Peak is the horses best rating recorded in the current preparation, adjusted for weight for age improvement.

  • Younger horses, 2yo and 3yo gallopers, can make natural WFA improvement amounting to several kilograms during a single preparation so it's worth noting their potential by looking not only at the actual ratings run this prep but also at the potential figure that could be recorded if the effort was repeated in the coming race, with the predicted natural WFA improvement also taking place.

Last Peak is the best run (WFA adjusted) in the previous preparation.

  • Once a horse has returned from a break of 63 days or more, we then have a last preparation with which to work, and from this we can calculate a Last Peak rating.
  • To determine the Last Peak rating we take each of the race ratings run last preparation and to each we add the appropriate WFA adjustment. The highest gross figure becomes the horses Last Peak rating for this current campaign.

Previous Peak is the highest gross rating (run-specific rating + WFA improvement) that was recorded by the horse two preparations ago. 

  • If the horse is in its third preparation, then we have two past preparations that have the potential to throw more light on the horses prospects in the current campaign.
  • The Previous Peak rating is the highest gross rating (run-specific rating + WFA improvement) that was recorded by the horse two preps ago.
  • Race form from two preparations ago should not be ignored. Even with younger horses, the ratings earned some time ago can predict with remarkable accuracy the ratings that horses are capable of producing in the current campaign

Distance Peak is the best rating at the distance +/- 10% in the current and two previous preparations.

  • This Distance Peak rating is calculated in the same manner as the above peaks, but in this case only those ratings earned in a race within 10% of the distance of the forthcoming race, and from the current and two previous preps, are taken into account. 
  • Distance ability is a key factor determining the outcome of many races, and it is very useful indeed if you have an insight into the rating that a horse might be able to produce, on its best form, in the distance range of the coming race.

Wet Peak is the best rating on soft and heavy tracks in the current and two previous preparations.

  • The Wet Track Peak rating is also based on a three preparation time horizon and is calculated in the same manner as all of the other peak ratings. Only form on soft and heavy tracks is taken into account when calculating this peak rating.

Using the Wizard relative weight ratings, the Wizard, through the Wrat focuses on current form and takes a multi-factor approach, and through its run-specific ratings covers the runners latest form (last 8 starts), prior winning form (6 starts), and previous peak form.

(to be continued)

Warren - Wiz-Ed

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