UK All Weather Speed Rating Systems - Part 2 - Turf Versus Track - The Birth of Speed

UK All Weather Speed Rating Systems - Part 2 -

Turf Versus Track - The Birth of Speed


Speed Ratings - A Brief History.

The ideas behind speed ratings were born on the American racetracks.

Andrew Beyers is the recognized godfather of work on speed ratings.

The reason that speed ratings are highly regarded in American racing is because the racetracks are made of fibresand.

This means that climactic conditions have little effect on the outcome of the race in terms of the going.

Whatever the weather, the tracks pretty much run at the same speed.

We can see similar speed rating analysis in the Emirates where some of the finest thoroughbreds race on the fastest and most consistent tracks in the world.

Also the layout of American tracks means that they have fewer undulations and inclines and tend to conform to quite standard layouts. They tend to be oval and flat.

This tends to take draw bias out of the equation, to a certain extent.

In the UK of course the situation is completely different in that most of our tracks are Turf:


  • The going changes dramatically from day to day.
  • The going can change between the going being announced the night before and the afternoon of the race.
  • The tracks are uneven with inclines and draw bias can in some cases practically determine the winner of a race.


Some horses however fast will stick in the mud and others with stamina but no speed will get nowhere on firm ground.

In the UK there are dozens of racetracks and not one of them conforms to a particular pattern or layout.

This means that a horses results at one course, in truth, cannot be effectively transferred as performance predictors to another.

What this means is that top speeds for Turf in the UK are notoriously unreliable and must be combined with mountains of other evidence, particularly in relation to:


  • The going.
  • The draw bias.
  • The course layout.
  • The distance.


Also, the nature of Turf racing in the UK is such that to a large extent the race is won and lost in the last couple of furlongs.

Horses are by nature pack animals which are quite happy to canter along behind other horses till a point where the jockey suddenly decides to add a little encouragement.

Turf versus All Weather Racing:

Let's examine two recognized facts:


  • Question - How often do front runners start at the front and win the race on Turf. Answer - not often.
  • Question - How often do front runners start at the front and win the race on All Weather courses. Answer - very often.


Why is this important?

Well at first you may consider that it isn't but in fact it is an incredibly important piece of data.

What it means is that horses running on All Weather courses tend to run the entire race at an even pace.

This, in turn, means that if the favourites pace is 1 point faster than the next horse and both horses run to their speed par ability then the faster horse will win the race.

In the UK there are now All Weather racecourses at:


  • Kempton Park.
  • Wolverhampton.
  • Lingfield.
  • Southwell.
  • Great Leighs.


This means there is an All Weather meet most days of the week, particularly in the winter.

These courses are the nearest we will ever get to the American dustbowls and it is at these courses that I propose you start your testing with speed pars.

The excellent Racing Post as always does a great deal of the work for you and produces a TopSpeed speed rating for each horse in each race.

The question has always been to some extent: "How should we use speed ratings?" and Andrew Beyer the American speed rating expert gives some crucial indicators.

In the rest of this series I outline:


  • The 3 major factors which in combination give you the blueprint for your UK All Weather Speed Rating System.
  • The Post Data minor factors that when added to the major factors create a profitable speed system for UK All Weather Racing.
  • The critical rules that must be applied to your All Weather speed system.
  • Strategies for using the results of the speed system data to pinpoint final selections.



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