Any punter wishing to bring a sense of regulation to his selection activities could do worse than draw up a simple points-rating plan. Yes, that's what I said – a simple points-rating plan. Nothing too fussy, nothing too involved.

All you do is use your racing 'brain' to allot points for the various factors and then comb through the form and see which runner comes up with the highest totals. Success will depend on how clever you are with your ratings' points.

Okay, so how do you go about it? To do a competent job of comparison, certain known qualities must be present. Each field contains runners of demonstrated quality. Your task is to determine each horse's level of quality and to put a figure, a rating, on it that represents that quality.

This enables you to easily compare each runner by a glance at their ratings. Sometimes there is so little between horses that even exhaustive analysis will barely separate them. in other instances, you can easily spot the advantage that one or more runners has over the others.

My first piece of advice is that you should not be worried about the task itself. Most punters are up to the job of doing some ratings work, even if they feel a little overawed. It's all a matter of enjoying what you are doing and having the confidence to carry out the task.

Recently I got together with a professional punter friend to knock out a clear-cut approach to doing ratings. We both agreed that what we came up with would certainly be slick enough to bring most races, even the most difficult, down to size.

Find the true value of form and allot your points    

We decided that points could be awarded for race 'distances', a horse's 'odds', the 'weight' it carried and its 'consistency'. Our reasoning is that these factors are important and will give us a good guide to a horse's performance.

Obviously, the other factor we are interested in is where the horse finished, or more precisely its (a) winning margin or (b) its losing margin. The margin is more important than the actual finish position.

The following is a table we compiled. It is used for looking at each horse's last two starts. The ratings for each of those races are then added together and divided by two to get an overall interim rating.

900m or under 12
Under 4 / 626
4 / 7 to evens24
10/9 to 2/122
9/4 to 5/120
11/2 to 10/118
11/1 to 20/116
21/1 to 33/114
34/1 to 66/110
67/1 upwards6
Each kilo over 502
Over 80% win strike26
67 to 79%24
50 to 66%22
33 to 49%20
20 to 32%18
15 to 19%17
10 to 14%15
9 and under10

Now you can set about analysing each runner's last two starts. Naturally, the Consistency factor has only one application. Let's take a sample horse from a recent meeting:

MARBLE HALLS (win strike 37.5%).

May 10 WON Doomben 1615m +Neck 55.5kg 7 / 1
Apr 25 4th Flemington 1635m -2.8 54kg 9/10f
Marble Halls, then, for his last start gets the following points:
For his second-last start, he gets the following points:
Added together these come to 101. This figure is then divided by two to get an average rating of 50.5. Now we add the percentage win strike total (20) which lifts the rating to 70.5.

Now we come to the extra part of the rating approach. This takes into account beaten and winning margins. Use the following table to allot extra points to the rating, once again doing it for both races and then dividing by two. 

Won by 3 lengths or more8
Won by 1 to 2.9 lens7
Won by nose to 0.9 lens6
Lost by nose to 0.5 lens8
Lost by 0.75 to 1.5 lens7
Lost by 1.75 to 2.5 lens 6
Lost by 2.75 to 3.5 lens5
Lost by 3.75 to 4.5 lens3
Lost by 4.75 to 5.5 lens1
Lost by 5.75 or more0
As far as Marble Halls is concerned, he was a last-start winner by a neck so he gets six points for that effort. Two runs back he was beaten 2.8 lengths, so gets another five points. That's 11 points, divided by two equalling 5.5 points. Now his rating is 70.5 plus 5.5 equalling 76.0.

Now you could leave the rating at this juncture and not apply any more factors. What you have is a very clear numerical overview of the horse's ability as shown at its last two runs (and these are always the most important as far as form is concerned).

However, if you felt that each horse's rating should be adjusted for the current race, you could incorporate the  following rules:

Down in weight on laststart by 2kg or more =  +2
Up in weight by 2kg or more =  1

On top 3 lines of betting =  +1.5
On 4th or 5th line =  +0.5

Drawn between 1 and 5 =  +1.0

In Marble Hall's case, he was set to carry the same weight as at his last-start so there was nothing to be gained or lost on that factor. He was pre-race favourite, so got a 1.5 points boost. He was drawn in 11 so there was nothing from the barrier draw factor.

Marble Hall's final rating, then, ended up at 76.0 plus 1.5 equalling 77.5. All fair and square. A rating that reflects is last two runs, his overall consistency and his relative handicapping position in the current race.

For rank and file punters happy to handicap only two or three key races on a programme this is an excellent approach. Purists will say it doesn't cover enough territory to be effective but I would fight that claim.

It does cover a range of key factors that will enable you to pinpoint a horse's relative ability against other runners. It won't always be perfect, nothing is, but it will give you a pretty accurate overview of any race on which you choose to operate.

Now to a system that will provide you with plenty of action and is very easy to follow. I call it The Wonderful Plan, if you'll pardon the play on words. Once again a method of points allotment is used.


  1. Use a 'poll' of at least eight tipsters.
  2. Choose the top six selections of the combined tipsters in each race.
  3. Now eliminate all but the three horses carrying the highest weights.
  4. Cheek the form figures of each of the qualifiers' last three starts and allot points as follows:

    WIN  6
    2nd   5
    3rd    4
    4th    3
    5th    2
    6th    1
  5. Now do the same for each qualifier's last two starts.
  6. The two horses with the highest totals are the selections for the race.

    Example: A horse with the form figs 218 would have the following points allotted:

    LAST 3 STARTS  =  11

    LAST 2 STARTS  =   6

    TOTAL                =  17

This is a neat plan based on a simple points allocation for some of the best-fancied runners in a race. Use the selections in your exotics and I am confident you will do really well.

By Richard Hartley Jnr