This article explains what the data consists of and how you can use it to your advantage when betting on racing in Europe.

Timeform Shortlists

For major UK racing carnivals and events, Timeform provide ‘Shortlists.’ These Shortlists offer an in-depth look at each race on a selected card by delving into a handful of key factors, including top rated runners, betting forecast and Analyst’s verdict.

Timeform Master Rating

A Timeform Master Rating is a measure of the form the horse is considered to be capable of showing currently under its optimum conditions (to which reference can be found in its Timeform comment) and is under continuous review.

For all racing in Britain, Ireland, the USA and Canada, Timeform receives the official result of the race on its database shortly after the event. A computerised assessment of the ‘difference at the weights’ is made, based on the distance of the race, the time the race takes to be run, the surface being raced on, the weight carried by the participants and their age, the margins separating the runners and a few other factors.

Effectively, these various factors establish, in terms of pounds, how much better or worse a horse’s performance is than others in the race and a series of complex algorithms calculate an initial guide to the value of the performance. Thereafter it is the handicapper’s job to confirm the precise level of this form in the context of a universal handicap, theoretically including all horses that have run or will ever run.

Great care has always been taken to keep the level of Timeform ratings consistent from one season to the next so that comparisons can meaningfully be made between different generations. That has helped to earn Timeform ratings a long-held reputation as the definitive expression of a horse’s merit historically and throughout the world.

Timeform Flags

The aim of Timeform is to supply accurate information as to the merit and racing character of every runner, and to present it in a form in which it may be of greatest practical use in assessing the prospects in a race. Timeform Flags, which quickly illustrate a reason to be interested in a particular horse, appear in a number of places, including our bespoke Betfair Australia Shortlists which are a handy at-a-glance guide to a race meeting and include the top three horses on Timeform Weight-Adjusted Ratings, the ratings of previous winners, a betting forecast and our Analyst’s Verdict.

The Analyst’s Verdict

The Analyst’s Verdict is a one-horse selection for each race. Using all of the information available to them, a Timeform Analyst assesses the merit of each horse’s form, considers how likely it is to reproduce or improve upon that rating under the prevailing conditions and then balances those conclusions against the likely odds of the horse, thus arriving at a Verdict. If you want a one-stop shop for every race, and one which takes the hard work out of finding a winner, then the Analyst Verdict is your best bet.

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Timeform Timefigures

Here at Timeform, we record times for every single race. Timefigures measure the performance of horses not on their form one against another but in terms of time, in seconds (per five furlongs) faster or slower than a certain fixed standard, and the Sectional Timing Flag highlights horses that were better than the bare result in a recent performance.

Although a good timefigure definitely establishes a horse as a good one, a poor timefigure does not imply that the horse responsible for it is necessarily a bad one. A good horse may register a modest timefigure for all sorts of reasons; it may not be fit; it may be running over an unsuitable distance or on unsuitable going; or it may have won very easily from weak opposition.

Alongside the Pace Map, “General hints” take in-play betting data from the course in question, identifying significant examples of predictability or unpredictability over a sizeable length of time and large number of cases.

“Specific pace hints” identify horses that may be suited or unsuited by the forecast pace scenario, while “Individual price hints”identify horses that have a recent record of trading low in-play and losing, or trading high in-play and winning. “Short-priced hints” identify horses forecast as likely to go off at low odds (in the context of the field size) and display pertinent price and run-style information about their recent efforts.

Timeform Pace Maps

Furthermore, the timefigures recorded in a race depend largely upon what sort of pace there is in the early stages of the race. If the horses only canter for much of the way, as happens frequently in long-distance races, they won’t return fast timefigures no matter how good they may be. Timeform’s Pace Maps, generated for every race, forecast the likely position of a runner in that race, given their past performances, jockey, draw and also their rivals. The pace map coupled with the pace forecast can help identify horses who may be vulnerable or favoured by the likely and their position. It’s clearly much harder for jockeys to put pre-race expectations into practice given how much can happen in the first 50 yards let alone the first and second furlongs, but armed with a Pace Map you can take a lot of the guesswork out of how a race is likely to be run.

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