Wizard Daily Report and Research - Friday, 15 December 2023.
Weight Handicapping and Ratings (part 5)
You might recall from an earlier Wizard Daily article which dealt with fitness, that horses can be expected to progress through a form cycle during a normal preparation:
- improving form
- peak or plateau form
- declining form
As you evaluate the form of a horse, adjustments can be made to run-specific and/or base ratings to reflect your judgement about not only the form cycle aspect of its form history, but other key factors as well.
Other factors which can be reflected in the final figure used as the run-specific or base run rating include:
- weight carrying ability
- class of race
- track condition
- jockey change
- running style
Briefly, a couple of examples:
Form Bonus Fitness
Arguably, the most important adjustment to the rating chosen for predictive purposes relates to expected improvement in fitness.
How much improvement should be allowed is a matter of judgement and depends on the horse and race conditions.
Some horses are close to peak form when they resume and therefore do not improve very much during a campaign, while others take two or three runs before reaching full race fitness and registering their best form.
When allocating fitness/condition improvement bonuses it is recommended that note be taken of an expected peak rating, normally from its previous preparation, and use this figure as a frame of reference.
Form Penalty - Fitness
Horses on the decline cycle receive penalties. A drop off in form can be detected by a descending rating pattern which occurs despite the horse racing under favourable race conditions.
Form Penalty - Distance
A horse racing outside its preferred distance range, or at a longer distance for the first time may incur a penalty, depending on the circumstances.
For example, if a runner has failed at 2000m previously (especially if it was in the market, say 10/1 or less) then it may be penalized when attempting the distance again.
A rule of thumb is to subtract 1.5kg for every 200 metres in distance above its best distance. So, if a 1600m winner is attempting 2000m, a distance at which it has failed previously, then subtract around 3kg from the 1600m rating. If the horse is untried at this 2000m but had run a strong 1600m then the penalty may be zero or only 1.5kg.
Other factors can similarly suggest a bonus or penalty. This topic will be developed in coming Wizard Daily articles.
Warren - Wiz-Ed
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