06/11/2007 11:00PM

New tool to evaluate foreign imports


Beginning with races of Wednesday, June 13, Daily Racing Form will introduce Racing Post Ratings, a new feature designed to make the art of handicapping foreign imports that much easier.

Racing Post Ratings - the single most important handicapping tool provided by the British racing daily the Racing Post - replaces Timeform Ratings and will appear in the foreign past performance lines of horses who have raced in Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Dubai, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa, and Australia. The ratings will also be included in the foreign results section in the DRF Simulcast Weekly.

Founded in 1985 and with headquarters in London, the Racing Post is Britain's leading racing newspaper, and its past performance pages, including Racing Post Ratings, are displayed on the walls of bookmaking shops throughout both Britain and Ireland. Now, DRF readers will have access to the ratings that have helped make the Racing Post the most widely read racing publication in Europe.

In introducing this new feature, a few words of explanation might prove helpful.

Racing Post Ratings are not based on the same scale as Timeform Ratings - generally, they are a few pounds lower - nor are they comparable to Beyer Speed Figures. Racing Post Ratings are, like Timeform, a handicap rating. They are determined by a number of factors, the most important of which are the level of the race, the quality of the field, and the weight carried. While the time of the race is also taken into account, that element is used only as a general guide to the quality of a race. Keep in mind that the Racing Post Rating is not a speed figure, it is a handicap rating.

The rating is intended to represent the weight a horse would be required to carry in a handicap. For example, in races restricted to horses of the same age and sex, a horse with a Racing Post Rating of 120 would, in a handicap, carry three pounds more than a horse rated 117. In open races, sex and weight-for-age allowances are factored in. Thus, in a handicap, if a horse carrying 120 pounds defeats a horse carrying 128 by a length, the horse carrying 128 will generally receive a Racing Post Rating six or seven pounds higher than the horse who carried 120.

The following chart, provided by the Racing Post's chief handicapper, Paul Curtis, is a guide to typical Racing Post Ratings for good winners in each of five levels of competition.


Group 1120125130

Group 2115117120

Group 3105110115

Listed race95105110


If a horse earns anything higher than these ratings, the performance is considered outstanding. A recent example is Authorized, who was awarded a Racing Post Rating of 130 for his victory in the Group 1 Epsom Derby on June 2. That equals the rating given to 2002 Derby winner High Chaparral but is considerably higher than most other winners of the 1 1/2-mile Epsom Derby in the last 10 years.




2006Sir Percy120


2004North Light124

2003Kris Kin121

2002High Chaparral130





The Racing Post Rating for Authorized's Epsom Derby performance implies that he should go on to bigger and better things, as did the highly rated High Chaparral, who later won the Irish Derby, the Irish Champion Stakes, and two Breeders' Cup Turfs. As did Galileo, who would win the Irish Derby and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. And Sinndar, who would go on to win the Irish Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

By the same token, the ratings for the Derby performances of Oath, Kris Kin, and North Light did not imply such expectations, and none of them won again after their Derby triumphs. Similarly, in the case of the still active Sir Percy, he is winless in three starts since his Derby, and High-Rise won just once in nine tries following his Epsom Derby score.

Compared with Authorized, last Sunday's Group 1 French Derby winner Lawman received a ho-hum rating of just 118, suggesting he is not in the same league as the Epsom Derby winner. Midway between those two lies Cockney Rebel, who earned a 124+ rating for his victory in the Group 1 2000 Guineas, indicative of a 3-year-old who may yet prove to be absolutely first class.