Why Is The RPR Different From The OR In Horse Racing?
The British Horse Racing Authority employs a handicapper to assign ORs (official ratings) to horses. The main reason is that many races in the United Kingdom and Ireland are handicaps, in which the weights horses carry correlate with their BHA Rating.
As all horses that have raced three times or more are assigned an OR, these ratings are then also used to assess the ratings of other horses that run against them. The official BHA handicapper has the right to adjust ORs as he sees fit, be it after a horse has run or when collateral form suggests the horse should be rated higher or lower.
RPRs differ from ORs because the Racing Post is a publication that gives tips and is therefore always trying to find horses that they think should be rated higher or lower than their official ORs. This is one way that Racing Post tipsters can find value bets in a race.
RPRs also tend to consider the most recent performances of a horse, while the official handicapper may react more slowly to poor performances.
For example, a horse may have run-up to an official rating of 150 three starts ago but has only run up to 145 on his last two starts. The handicapper may not yet have shown any leniency and still has the horse on a mark of 150. However, the Racing Post may think that the horse should be rated 2lb lower, and so gives the horse an RPR of 148.
Should I Use RPRs Or ORs?
While any type of rating can be a useful guide to a horse’s ability, the fact that RPRs and ORs differ highlights that they are just someone’s opinion of that ability. ORs are the official handicapper’s opinion, while RPR’s are the opinion of the Racing Post handicapper.
Both are worth considering when trying to assess the chances of any horse winning a race. But one advantage of RPR’s is that the Racing Post often highlights the ratings a horse has run up to on its last few runs, so you have more chance of working out what rating it will run to when considering the conditions of those races and the conditions of the forthcoming race.
But when determining what rating horses in a race will run to, it is wise to consider several other factors that can influence what rating a horse will run to. Most horses will only run to their highest rating under their optimal conditions, so picking winners is all about working out which horses will be best suited by the conditions they face.
Achieving RPRs Over Different Distances
A horse with an OR rating of 150 may have, for example, achieved that rating three times over 12-furlongs. But what the OR doesn’t tell you is that its best performance over 10-furlongs is only 144. So, if this horse is being asked to drop in distance to 10-furlongs, there’s a fair chance that it won’t run to its best rating.
RPR’s sometimes take this change in distance into account and may rate the horse in question much nearer the official rating it has achieved over 10-furlongs when running over that distance.
Achieving RPRs On Different Going Descriptions
Not many horses run to their best rating on all types of going descriptions. For example, a horse that has achieved a rating of 150 on good-to-firm ground may only have achieved a rating of 140 on his previous runs on soft ground.
So, if this horse runs in a race on soft ground, in which he faces a 140-rated horse that achieved that rating on soft ground, there’s every reason to think that both horses have an equal chance of winning. So, while the OR of the first horse is 150 and its RPR 148, you still need to delve a lot deeper into the formbook to find these types of value bets.
Achieving RPRs At Different Courses
Many of the racecourses in the United Kingdom and Ireland are like chalk and cheese, with some being right-handed and some being left-handed. The gradients of different courses can also differ greatly, with some being as flat as a pancake and others requiring horses to run up hills that would leave most of us reaching for an oxygen mask.
That’s why it’s important to make a note of at which courses horses achieve their best ratings. A horse can run to 150 on a flat course like Kempton but may only be a 140-rated horse on a hilly course like Sandown. The OR and RPR don’t tell you whether a horse will run to that rating at the course in question, so you need to scrutinize the formbook objectively.
How Does The Draw Affect RPRs?
What stall a horse is drawn in for races in the UK and Ireland doesn’t affect their RPRs or ORs, but it can massively affect a horse’s ability to run to its best rating. Imagine a horse that is a front-runner has run its best rating from stall-one on a tight-left-handed course.
When this horse gets drawn in stall-10 next time, it’s probably going to have to use up a lot more energy to get to the front with nine horses on its inside. The fact the horse uses that energy early means it is unlikely to put up a performance that matches its best rating.
How Does The Pace Of Races Affect RPRs?
There’s no doubt that some races are run to suit some horses. Races in which there is only one confirmed front-runner will normally allow that horse to achieve a performance somewhere near his best. But front-runners often fail to perform to their best when there is lots of opposition for the lead.
Closers often benefit when races are run too fast too early, but closers can struggle to find racing room at the right time when races are slowly run. RPRs won’t tell you this, so bear it in mind when you’re trying to pick winners.
How Do Weights Carried Affect RPRs?
Horses carry different weights in handicaps, and these are assigned by their official ratings. RPRs are slightly different, with the Racing Post handicapper being able to adjust his ratings to suggest which horses he thinks are best handicapped.
But what RPRs don’t do is tell you what types of weight a horse has carried when posting its best ratings. Many horses win handicaps when given a chance to carry a lightweight for the first time, while others are better at carrying big weights against lower-class opponents.
What Else Don’t RPRs Tell You?
RPRs also won’t tell you when a trainer is in form or when a horse is reunited with a jockey that has won it before.
Using RPRs To Pick Horse Racing Winners
RPRs can be a good tool when it comes to picking horse racing winners. But they are just the opinion of the Racing Post handicapper. The ones on the racecard also don’t tell you whether a horse is likely to perform to that rating when faced with a variety of different factors.
Noting RPR’s of a horse’s performances when faced with similar conditions will give you a much better indication of what rating a horse will achieve. Other factors also need to be considered, such as trainer form, etc.
Using RPRs To Find Value Bets
A value bet is having a bet on a horse at bigger odds than you think they should be, and you can now see that considering a mix of RPRs and other factors gives you a better chance of finding value bets.
Finding value winners is rarely as easy as just looking at the ratings and picking the highest-rated horse. Don’t get me wrong, the highest-rated horses win races, but they seldom win at the type of value odds that will make it easy to make a profit from gambling. That’s why professional gamblers spend a lot of time studying more than RPRs.
But don’t worry if you can’t haven’t got the time to go that extra mile, you can still profit from horse racing by following the advice of professional tipsters.
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