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Understanding Horse Ratings


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You may have read my post from yesterday and noticed that I talked about race cards, well on race cards there is a lot of info and some of those numbers on a race card refer to the horses rating. Horses are given a rating out of 140 for flat racing and 170 for national hunt races over fences  by the BHA the British Horse Association. The horses earn this rating by winning races or placing in the top 6 of any race they enter. The BHA takes a look at every horses rating every week and changes accordingly, the horses rating determines how much or how little weight they should carry in a handicap race.


The difference between horses that run on the flat or horses that run over fences is indicated in their rating and horses that run on flat ground are rated out of a maximum of 140 points. Horses that run over fences are rated on a bigger scale and the top horses can get up to 170. The BHA calculates each horses rating prior to races to ensure that horses of roughly the same ability compete in the same races. Some people think this system can be abused though, trainers and jockeys can sometimes deliberately keep a horse from winning so that their rating drops, this can also effect odds and when the odds are right the horse is bet upon heavily and the people in the know cash in.

The (OR) is the horses official rating and looking at this info on race cards can be crucial to finding a winning horse, following form of not just the horse you are betting on but also the horses they are racing against can be a good tactic to find winners, this can be time consuming though and can turn into a full time job/hobby. The (OR) is calculated by the BHA as I have mentioned but many factors go into calculating the (OR) the main is how many races the horse has won, the second is how many top 6 finishes the horse has managed but also taken into account is:

  • the racecourse
  • the distance
  • the ground
  • the draw
  • the relative weights carried
  • the tempo at which the race was run

At the end of the day though it is just calculated by people that know a lot about the sport and have mostly grown up alongside it. This gives them enough knowledge to safely grade the horses so that punters and spectators can enjoy good racing.


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