Monday, 20 July 2015

How to Test Ratings and Rankings

The most common test you are likely to want to do is to test for top rated horses. All ratings have ranking variables available in Expert Mode so the rule to test for the top rated is simply to require the ranking equals one.

To date there have been 3 sets of ratings, namely Main , Better and Plus. Better is a variation of the main predictive rating that emphasizes class and Plus is a variation of the main predictive rating that emphasizes consistency.

Now with the Ultimate Professional upgrade we have 3 more sets, namely avBase based variations of Main, Better and Plus.  These are based on the avBase class values compared to the original 3 sets of ratings which are based on  par-times. The benefits of using avBase figures is that they class a race based on the recent ratings of all horses in the race (mathematically weighted towards the higher ratings). The best way to think of the difference is that the original ratings are time based and the avBase ones class based.

In this post we will look at how you test rating rankings and also look at testing other rankings for things like pre-post markets, AAP ratings, TAB markets and more.

Testing Bet Selector Ratings by Ranking


The original "Main" rating rank is saved in the variable H:POS so the rule to test for the top rated is as follows:

H:POS=1

Note the "H:" prefix indicates this ranking is actually saved in the horse data file for each meeting. This is the only ranking saved in this way as it was the original ranking back in the days when the program only had one rating (of course it has been improved along the way but it is still saved in the horse data files).

All other ratings are calculated on the fly so to speak and have variable names as follows:

  • BRRANK - Better Ratings Rank
  • PRRANK - Plus Ratings Rank
  • AVB1R - AVB Main Ratings Rank
  • AVB2R - AVB Better Ratings Rank
  • AVB3R - AVB Plus Ratings Rank

So to test for the original Better Ratings top horse the rule is as follows:

BRRANK =1

Note that in Expert Mode it is preferable to use the above rather than the old way of putting BR$1 in your system name. Note also you can use the special "Within" functions to test for rankings within a range like in the following rule:

Within(BRRANK,1,3)

To test for the new avBase Better ratings top horse the rule is:

AVB2R=1

You may wish to remember that AVB stand for avBase based, the letter R on the end stands for ranking and the number refers to the rating type (1 for Main, 2 for Better and 3 for Plus).

In total there are six rating ranking variables you can use as outlined above. Please note that the avBase ones will only work correctly if you regularly download form each day from Bestform and regularly update your TAB results (downloading the master TAB result files after the end of each month and running a test over all the past months races with "force results checking" ticked is important in this regard).

Important: Make sure you never delete meetings.

Tip: The avBase ratings for each past race used to formulate the avBase ratings can be viewed in the AB column in Extra Form. The only past runs that should be missing AB figures are barrier trials and non-Bet Selector meetings (eg international races). If you find any recent Australian or New Zealand runs without AB figures then you may have to re-download these meetings or at least refresh their results.

Finally there are three more Bet Selector rating related rankings you might like to test for, namely if you want to pick the horse with the top base rating before bonuses and penalties, the horse with the top peak distance rating or the horse with the highest last start rating. Variables for these are as follows:

  • BSRANK - Base Rating Rank
  • PKRANK - Peak Rating Rank
  • LSRANK - Last Start Rating Rank

Testing Bet Selector Ratings by Value


Testing rankings is the easiest way to pick selected rated positions but there are also rated margin and/or price variables for most ratings. For example associated withe Main rating rank H:POS there are the following additional variables:

  • H:PRICE - Rated Price
  • H:LEN - Predicted Lengths

Note that H:PRICE is a text variable (as it used to display in bookie format like 5/2) so to convert it to a rated dividend you must use BOOK2DIV(H:PRICE).

Rated value/price variables for the other ratings are as follows:

  • BRVAL - Better Ratings Value
  • PRVAL - Plus Ratings Value
  • BRDIV - Better Ratings Rated Price
  • PRDIV - Plus Ratings Rated Price
  • AVB1V - AVB Main Ratings Value
  • AVB2V - AVB Better Ratings Value
  • AVB3V - AVB Plus Ratings Value

Remember when using a value variable you must compare it to a number to create a rule or use it inside the Within function. Here are some example rules that require rating values to be above a certain number:

BRVAL>95
PRVAL>55

The first example above tests for Better Rating values above 95 while the second example tests for Plus Ratings values above 55.

You normally would not test for an exact value as rating values are usually (real) decimal point numbers. The exception are Better Ratings which are (integer) whole number values up to 100. Following are some examples of exact value tests:

BRVAL=100
BRVAL=99

The first example above tests for Better Rating values of exactly 100 while the second example tests for Better Rating values of exactly 99. Note that testing for 100 is not quite the same as testing for the top rated horse as sometimes there is more than one horse rated 100 in a race.

Finally you can use the Within function to test for ranges as in teh following examples:

Within(BRVAL,95,99)
Within(AVB2V,97,99)

The first example above tests for Better Rating values between 95 and 99 (inclusive) while the second example tests for avBase based Better Rating values of between 97 and  99 (inclusive).

Testing Other Ratings and Rankings


Bestform downloads include two additional ratings namely the AAP 100 point ratings like you see in many newspaper form guides and the official handicapper ratings that can be found on Racing Australia's web site.

The ranking variables for these are as follows:

  • HCRANK - Official Hcp Rating Rank
  • RDRANK - AAP Dry Rating Rank
  • RWRANK - AAP Wet Rating Rank

Note there are additional variables for the actual ratings themselves as follows:

  • HCP - Official Handicapper Rating
  • RTGDRY - AAP 100 Point Dry Rating
  • RTGWET - AAP 100 Point Wet Rating

Note that where possible you should use the AAP 100 point rankings in rules as they are adjusted for scratchings whereas the ratings are not. Rules to pick the top AAP rated horse on dry and wet tracks respectively are as follows:

RDRANK=1
RWRANK=1

If you want a rule to pick the top AAP rated horse using the dry ratings for dry tracks and wet ratings for wet tracks then the rule is as follows:

IF(GCODE$"SH",RWRANK,RDRANK)=1

Note the above treats slow/soft and heavy tracks as wet and others as dry.

Ranking variables exist for lots of other things too like the early newspaper market in the Bestform downloads, early/final TAB prices, Sportsbet fixed prices, win and place strike rates and more.

  • MPRANK - Early Market Price Rank
  • APRANK - API Rank
  • WPRANK - Win % Rank
  • PPRANK - Plc % Rank
  • SPRANK - Starting Price Rank

Testing Fixed Prices and Rankings


Sportsbet fixed price market rankings and prices can also be tested but only if collected each day via the Sportsbet option in the Race DayLive part of the program. The available variables are as follows:

  • SB1W - Sportsbet 1st Market Win Price
  • SB1P - Sportsbet 1st Market Place Price
  • SB2W - Sportsbet 2nd Market Win Price
  • SB2P - Sportsbet 2nd Market Place Price
  • SB1WR - Sportsbet 1st Market Win Rank
  • SB1PR - Sportsbet 1st Market Place Rank
  • SB2WR - Sportsbet 2nd Market Win Rank
  • SB2PR - Sportsbet 2nd Market Place Rank

Similarly Tattsbet fixed price market rankings and prices can also be tested but only if collected each day via the Tattsbet option in the Race Day Live part of the program. The available variables are as follows:

  • TB1W - Tattsbet 1st Market Win Price
  • TB1P - Tattsbet 1st Market Place Price
  • TB2W - Tattsbet 2nd Market Win Price
  • TB2P - Tattsbet 2nd Market Place Price
  • TB1WR - Tattsbet 1st Market Win Rank
  • TB1PR - Tattsbet 1st Market Place Rank
  • TB2WR - Tattsbet 2nd Market Win Rank
  • TB2PR - Tattsbet 2nd Market Place Rank

In addition to the above we have TBWIN (Tattsbet Tote Win Price) and TBPLC (Tattsbet Tote Plc Price). All this data is saved when you run Race Day Live and also when you collect TAB data via the AUTO TAB scheduler option. TBPLC will be of particular interest to those of you who want to access the place div for every horse in a race but remember it will only be available if you have collected the data.

You will note the numbers 1 and 2 above which refer to the "first" and "second" Sportsbet market. These are collected and displayed in Race Day Live and the way it works is that the SB1 price variables are set the first time you collect data for the day and then on subsequent use the SB2 prices are set. Note however the SB1 market is automatically set regardless if not previously set plus after the first collection of prices you get prompted if you really want to collect a second set (normally you answer Yes but you could answer No if you wanted all "first" prices to be reset).

Typically you would collect your first set of prices after scratchings and track conditions are known say around 10am. Then during the day you could update the second set of prices or you could just leave things until after the races when the results are in so you can then test morning markets against final markets.

Note that during the day you may see a warning pop up indicating if any races don’t have fixed prices available. Note also that final prices can only be collected on the day or the very next day. After that they are no longer available so you need to remember to collect them each day or use the new scheduling features to collect them automatically each night.

Concluding Remarks


All the above variables are available in the drop down lists in the Expert Mode editor so you do not have to remember them all. The Main Rating ones saved in the horse data files are in the "Horse File Data" drop down list while the remainder are in the "More Horse Data" drop down list which is split into sections to make it easier to read (eg strike rates, ratings and rankings, Bestform data and Sportsbet data).

Note: There is a "List All Items" button on the far right of the Expert Mode editor that you can use to view and/or print out a full list of all available variables (not just horse ones but also the meeting, race and form ones).

As rating variables are either rankings (eg 1-24), ratings (eg points of kgs) or rated prices (eg dollar amounts), they all return numbers which are easy to use in rules. Just think of it as you would in plain English. For example if you want a ranking to equal one your rule is simply the ranking variable followed by an equals sign followed by the number 1 (eg H:POS=1 or AVB2R=1). If you want the top 3 rankings then this is the same as saying you want the ranking to be less than 4 so you would use the ranking variable followed by a less than sign followed by the number 4 (eg H:POS<4 or AVB2R<4).

Keep in mind there is a special "Within" function for testing ranges where you need to set both a minimum and maximum value for a ranking, rating or price. It has three arguments namely the variable you want to test followed by the minimum bound followed by the maximum bound. For example to test for Main Rating rankings of 2 or 3 you would use Within(H:POS,2,3) as your rule.

Remember you can have as many rules as you like one line after the other. Two you will most likely use are as follows for picking Saturdays and metrops receptively:

1.DAYCODE$"7"
1.LOCATION$"SMBAW"

Note the above rules are character based not number based. The DAYCODE variable is a character representation of the day of the week (eg 7 for Saturday) while the LOCATION variable is a character representation of the city code (eg S for Sydney). The dollar sign is an operator (a bit like an equals sign) that in English translation means "is contained in" - so the above rules test if the contents of the variable on the left is contained in the character string on the right.

Another special variable you might often use is GNUM that represents the track condition grading (eg 1-10). Note it is a number so it needs to be compared to numbers like in the following examples:

2.GNUM<5
2.Within(GNUM,3,4)

Note meeting rules can be prefixed with "1." and race rules with "2." to speed up testing. For more details on this and other rule writing examples please check out the earlier Expert Mode blog posts via the right hand menu.