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Here's a racing plan devised some years ago. The sample race is dated but I expect the figures would still hold up today.

When assessing prospects in any race there are a number of aspects that have to be looked at. There's Form, State of the going, Riders, the Track itself, the weight and conditions of the race. In Addition, there are the Tipsters Polls (expert opinion) and the Prepost market (also expert's opinions) just to name a few.

In working out a Rating Formula we have to assess the value of each piece of information and weigh it accordingly.

The value of recent Form should never be underestimated, so Form has the highest Rating in my opinion. Form includes a number of factors which includes wins or placings, races within a certain number of days and as far as today's race goes, the ability to perform in the Class of today's race.

Now by Class I don't mean any subjective analysis of Class but merely the obvious Class differences perceivable by any punter, eg Last start was at the provincials in an Improvers, today is set to contest the Sydney Cup. Obviously, the reverse would indicate a drop in Class. On the other hand, a winner of the Caulfield Cup would not be out of place in the Melbourne Cup. This would be a horse racing in similar Class.

In most cases a look at the field and the Form guide will tell you the Class required.

Some experts tend to Rate the higher weighted horses in any event as the best and deduct Points for horses weighted under the maximum. Weight, as the saying goes, will stop a train, so in this Rating system we allot 10 Points for each kilogram over this. If the minimum weight is 49kg then allot 10 Points Ie 50 kgs = 9 51kg = 8 and so on.

Horses obviously Up in Class get a penalty of 8 Points while a Horse Down in Class will get a bonus 8 Points.

Each factor in the assessment has it's own Rating according to the Value of that Factor. Australia's leading jockey is the leader because of his High Strike Rate even though riders like Dye and co may actually rider more winners. The average Rider in the Top Five in each state has a strike rate of only 15%, so on that basis we can only allow a bonus of 5 Points for Senior (not an apprentice) rider and an extra 5 Points for a Rider whose Strike Rate exceeds the average Rate. (Strike Rate tables are regularly published in Sportsman). Similarly, whilst an apprentice is not entitled to any bonus you must allow 5 Points for any apprentice who is in the list (usually 15 or so) of Top Riders in their state.

Barriers have always been considered to be of major importance to me when assessing form no matter what the papers say about a particular starting point. Barrier 1-5 is worth a bonus of 10 Points. The further out the barrier, the less Points. (see Table)

A horse's ability to handle the Track or distance is important and you can see by the table that there are various allowances for horses with leanings to particular Tracks.

The Prepost favourite is at least 8 times as likely to win as is the seventh or subsequent favourite so we have allowed for this factor in our Ratings Points.

On wet Tracks it is important to be on a horse who has shown an ability to handle the conditions. A bonus (on wet days) of 5 Points applies. If you have no access to a specialised form guide, then an M in the Race card will suffice, but if possible look up the horse's ability and see if the horse can be trusted on the going. A close up placing indicates an ability to run well but only wins on wet Tracks are recorded with the M.

Because any Rating system relies of Consistent Form for it's values, we are unable to operate on any 2yo or 3yo races where the bulk (say two thirds) of the contestants have not had at least five starts. This information is found in most Form Guides.

Race fitness is of considerable importance so based on past experience I have made a deduction of 10 Points for horses first up from a spell and 15 Points for horses racing second up from a spell. A spell is indicated by an * in most race guides.

I have Added a bonus 10 Points for a horse who raced last within 14 days, 7 Points for 21 days and 5 Points for 28 days. Horses who have not raced for longer periods than this rarely win.

Looking at your Form guide, Add up the total placings of a horse's last 3 starts and deduct from 30. The answer is a horse's base Rating. Add a bonus 7 Points to any horse with a win in the last 3 starts and a further 3 Points for a last start win. Add a further 3 Points if the horse was also placed in those last 3 starts.

A bonus of 3 Points applies for a placing in the last 3 starts and an extra 2 Points for a last start placing. A horse with the form 422 would receive 30 - 8(4 + 2 + 2) = 22 as it's base Rating plus a bonus of 3 + 2 (a placing plus a last start placing). Had the form guide read 224 then the only bonus would have been the 3 Points for a placing achieved in the last 3 starts.

To be sure that your Ratings are correct I suggest that you check that the form is Metropolitan, particularly the last start which is generally the most important. A Non-Metropolitan win would be equal to a Metropolitan Placing, whilst a country placing would not qualify for a bonus at all.

The Rating system presented may seen at first a little complicated, but as you go on and become accustomed to it you will find that although there are a lot of factors to check for each horse, the majority of contenders will eliminate themselves very quickly. A horse with form of 789 will have very low base Rating and unless a top rider is listed and the horse is a course and distance specialist there is no chance of him being rated amongst the final selections.

Base Rating

Add the total of the last 3 starts and deduct from 30
Add 7 Points for a win in the last 3 starts
Add 3 Points for a place in the last 3 starts
Add 2 Points for a last start placing

Class Rating

Same class as last run - no change
Up in class on last run - deduct 8 Points
Down in class on last run - Add 8 Points

Jockey Rating Apprentice rider - no change
Apprentice rider listed - Add 5 Points
Senior rider - Add 5 Points
Senior rider superior strike - Add 10 Points
Wet Track Rating Proven wet Track ability - Add 5 Points
Track Rating Winning form on this Track - Add 5 Points
Distance Rating Winning form at this distance - Add 10 Points
Weight Rating Allow 10 Points for 51kg or less
Deduct 1 point for each kg more
Prepost Favourite Allow 10 Points (incl equals)
2nd/3rd Favourite Allow 5 Points (incl equals)
4th Favourite Allow 4 Points (incl equals)
5th/6th Favourite Allow 3 deduct1 point for each line down from here
Barrier Rating Barrier 1 - 5
Barrier 6 - 10
Barrier 11 - 15
Outside this
Recency Last 14 days or less
Last 21 days or less
Last 28 days or less
First up
Second up


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