Speed Ratings are still a relatively new science in Australian racing and I want to briefly touch on some recent findings with regard to the effect of weight on a horse’s Speed Ratings.

Racing traditionally has always been about weight. The whole game is based upon it. Handicappers grade a horse’s ability to carry it and bookmakers frame betting markets around a system of grading a horse’s performance by using it.

Here, there are two streams of thought . . .
(A) Weight will stop a train and the more weight you put on the quicker the train will stop; this is the traditional view; and
(B) the weight  of 1kg or 2kg is, to an animal that weighs over 500kg, tiny and any negative effect it may have on performance is likely to be less in impact than luck in running or a ride of poor tactical judgement.

I can certainly see the merit in both schools of thought, although the followers of the 2nd group are often likened to the World Is Flat League!

The basic results of my research were of no surprise. A rise in weight did definitely have an effect on the rating of a horse at its next run. Of the 40,000 records evaluated it appeared that the speed rating of a horse going up in weight was to the negative effect of 1kg = 1 speed rating point.

This was no different to what Andrew Beyer discovered for his US based Ratings.

Stick with me as now it gets interesting. What I also discovered  was that  going up 1kg or less in weight had a much bigger negative impact on speed ratings than horses going up 4-5kg.

Now this piece of information goes against all the modern theories, as what we are basically saying is that, yes, there is an impact but it is not compounding. To me it makes perfect sense and it confirms a couple of theories of mine.

If a horse is gradually going up in weight it is generally going up through the grades; hence, carrying more weight against better opposition and eventually it finds the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Now horses that are going up four or 5kg are generally dropping way back in class and deserve to be carrying more weight against inferior opposition. Their class in this instance will carry them a long way  towards victory and so weight becomes less of a factor.

The second piece of research I did was about horses rising in weight and distance. The results here were extraordinary, but more on that next month.  Let the weight debate begin!

Horses of note this month include GALLOPIN 95, IT’S THE ONE 95, JUMAANA 97, PERUSEN 93, CAN LAGO 94, FULLTA 92, PRICE FIX 88, ARC NATON 95 and QUIZ TIME 97.


It Pays To Know the Fast Ones!

By Gavin Haynes