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Article 05_012_1
16th December, 2005.
B2yoR Ratings and spotting potential from debut runs
  1. Introduction
  2. John L. Dunlop's approach to 2yo debut runs
  3. JL Dunlop's 2005 season debut runs
  4. Conclusions
  5. Appendix A - 2005 Debut Ratings for JL Dunlop 2yos


B2yoR publishes performance ratings for all 2yo runs during the turf season and these are referred to as [Estimates]. The columns titled [Est] in the tables of the trainer, sire and horse pages gives the performance figure for each individual run. In addition each trainer and sire page has a table detailing the debut runs listed in date order.

If you are used to other ratings then the B2yoR [Est] figures will probably seem a little peculiar. Amongst other points they are generally lower and do not increase for performances in better races at important courses unless the the time for the race warrants it. These differences are by design and to implement a different model of the 2yos performances which will address specific problems.

We already have a range of organisations producing figures which are very similar and are minor variations on the model which the Official Handicapper uses. There is no point reproducing this model again especially if, as B2yoR believes, it is incorrect in a number of ways and fails to provide sensible answers to certain questions. In this respect the process has been similar to the Paddock Review development, with a niggling dissatisfaction with existing information becoming a fuller understanding of the problems and trying alternative approaches to address these issues.

Two of the interesting questions which could be asked relating to trainer's performance with 2yo racing are :-

Answering these questions using most available ratings will give misleading results. The key problem is that many of the debut ratings given will be incorrect because of 'race standardisation', ignoring the fact the race was run in a slow time, clobbering expensively purchased 2yos owned by Godolphin, etc., etc.

The key to improving the position is therefore to try to produce ratings for debuts runs which reflect actual performance and not the type of model the official handicapper is using. The remainder of this article takes trainer JL Dunlop's 2005 runners as an example of the B2yoR ratings for debut runners and how they can be used to spot potential.

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2. John L. Dunlop's approach to 2yo debut runs

The next section in the article will compare the debut ratings given to JL Dunlop's 2yos in 2005 and assess how well correlated they were with overall ability and performance. However, it is useful to consider how Mr Dunlop approaches 2yo racing and debut runs because this will certainly affect the debut ratings.

The following points summarise Mr Dunlop's 2yo preparation :-

This is useful background because we can use these points to identify a number of features we should expect to see in a (correct) set of debut ratings for Mr Dunlop's 2yos. In summary :- With the outline in place we can now move on to the actual figures recorded in 2005 to see how well they accorded with the expectations.

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3. JL Dunlop's 2005 season debut runs

Mr Dunlop was chosen for this article because he has a clearly definable, and interesting, approach to 2yo racing. Therefore it would be expected that if the approach to assigning ratings was correct then a solid correlation should be found. He also has a large enough pool of 2yos to give a big enough sample to hope that any 'oddities' will not distort the expected patterns.

Appendix A below shows the 54 debut runs in 2005 for JL Dunlop's 2yos ranked by the debut rating given by B2yoR (i.e. the [Est] column). The table is quite large so it is recommended that you open a COPY of it in a separate window while you read the remainder of the article.

These are the ratings given at the time of the run and no later adjustments have been made. Each run is colour coded to give a simple visual guideline to the subsequent performances associated with the debut performance level. The colour coding is :-

Winner on Debut
Winner after debut (non winner on debut)
Placed showing 70+ rated form after debut
Placed showing less than 70 rated form after debut
Unplaced on all runs (rated below 70 at best)
Only ran once

Thinking back to the summary in the previous section we would expect the colours in the table to show some pattern. In an ideal world we would expect to see the 'Greens' grouped at the top with the 'Yellow' lines close behind and slightly overlapping, 'Red' at the bottom and the 'Orange' in between with overlap into the red.

This ideal is never going to occur fully because of the variability in horses, conditions, race quality, definitions and so forth. However, if you look at the table just as a colour chart pattern I hope you would agree that there is enough evidence of the expected patter to make further investigation worthwhile. The following 'Conclusion' section will make a range of suggestions on using the debut ratings in 2006. The remainder of this section will look at the obvious anomalies in the colour pattern (Greens/Yellows too low in the table, Orange/Red too high) to see what we can learn to improve the future performance.

Let us start by looking at the four Orange/Red lines which were rated above 55 on debut. Zamala was rated 66 on her first run, then 69 for her second outing before a poor effort over 8f on her final outing. Therefore, she came within one rating point of of gaining a yellow colour coding so was not a 'bad' anomaly. However, her debut run was almost certainly over-rated. The seven fillies in that maiden race did not win another race between them during the season and were probably a moderate group other then the winner. The race was also noted as being a '3f Sprint' in that it had a slow pace for 4 furlongs before the fillies raced harder in the straight. The figure of 66 given to Zamala on debut was too high and the lesson to (re-)learn is not to trust the value of close up finishes in slow races.

Heaven Can Wait was rated 60 for a debut 5th in a Newmarket July course maiden fillies. In 6 later runs she managed one place and a best rating of 54. The 11 fillies in her debut maiden managed one later win in the entire season for the limited Chaski who finished second. A classic example of the debut race being over-rated because (even) B2yoR could not believe how weak the Newmarket maiden was.

Fear To Tread was rated 57 after finishing 7th on debut at Goodwood in what looked a strong fillies' maiden. Six of the 11 runners won during the season with the first two competing well in black type races. In this context Fear To Tread was 'disappointing' in showing little improvement in three later runs. Her debut run was probably over-rated by 5-8 points and her 25/1 debut price some indication that she was not seen to have great scope to improve.

Kolhalpur finished 7 of 14 in a mixed quality Lingfield AW race, missing the break and being well behind at halfway before plugging on into midfield. He was 33/1 along with the trainer's other runner (Manouche on STO who did not win in 2005). He was rated 55 for the debut run but given lesser ratings in two later runs in which he was 33/1 and 40/1. Again, the clear indication is that the first run was over-rated, in this case probably by more than 10 points.

The message that comes from each of the above runs is to be wary of slow run races and ratings where the runner was never competitive in the race. B2yoR tries to give debut runs ratings which reflect the actual performance and the above examples show how easy it is to get caught out and start drifting into unproven ratings. It is also interesting to think of the endless 'eyecatchers' that the dedicated racing TV channels talk about after maiden races in this context. The majority of these are not 'eyecatchers' in an absolute sense but just compared to what is (usually) a moderate to average group of runners in a particular race.

At the other end there were 5 horses that rated 56 of below on debut but won and/or rated over 70 later. Rosinka finished 2nd of 19 on debut in a mixed quality Newbury fillies' race. The race was a confusing affair with Becky Moss going 6 lengths clear and the second rank disorganised. The field also spread across the course to further complicate analysing it. Only 3 of the 19 fillies' won a race later, one was Rosinka and the other two finished 9th (later Supersprint winner Lady Livius) and 11th (later Listed winner Strut) and behind some poor to moderate fillies like Ridgeway Cross and Chessee.

Rosinka was rated 56 for that debut 2nd which was probably fair given the ragged nature of the race and the moderate time. Her paddock review showed an unusual type being tall, lengthy, leggy and lacking muscle overall. On the plus side were her size, maturity and good athleticism and movement. In light of the paddock report her improvement to rate 70+ was expected despite the relatively low debut rating.

Nawaqees was 11/2 and finished 7th of 10 on debut rating only 45. However, he lost 4 lengths at the start and showed notable inexperience which contributed to the low rating. He developed with racing to win on his fourth run on heavy going but rating only 64 which would have been an Orange colour code except for the fact he found a weak race to win. So, although an anomaly the debut rating was a fair indicator of his overall ability taking into account the ground he lost through lack of mental sharpness.

Three runners rated below 56 but then showed placed form rated over 70 later. Of these both Manouche and Pairumani's Girl were almost certainly over-rated, in error, for their placed runs and overall showed moderate form in line with their debut ratings. The third runner was Amwaal who was 4/1 3rd favourite (the 4th favourites were 20/1) but finished a moderate 6th rating 52. He ran well STO rating 74 before rating only 65 on his third run when he did best of those that had run close to a strong pace. The notes from the debut run recorded that he lost 2 lengths at the start and showed inexperience which would have been enough to explain why he rated below 60 FTO.

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If we take the results from 2005 as being a good indicator of Mr Dunlop's methods and results then we can make some some clear guidlines about the development we should expect from his debut runners. It should be noted that 2005 was not a good year for 2yo quality for Mr Dunlop although a better group of 2yos in 2006 would not change the basic 'rules'.

So, we now have a clear set of guidelines on how to assess the performances of Mr Dunlop's 2yos on debut and what we should expect from them on subsequent runs. If we were back in the days when there was no TV coverage of most races (and for younger readers that meant no coverage in the Betting Shops either) we could still have a fair chance of assessing his 2yos. Given that we now have TV coverage of all races and paddock reports (in B2yoR's case) we should be able to put this information together and Mr Dunlop should do very little that will surprise us during the season.

It can actually be better than this of course. Consider that the analysis in this article covers just one trainer. If we have the same analysis for all trainers we can take the result of any maiden race and assess it against the whole set of guidelines. How well it fits and what anomalies occur should enable the full picture of the race to crystallise.

This will be explored further on this site during the 2006 season. But remember, all of this only becomes possible when you drop the existing 'models' in use for rating 2yo maidens and attempt to give a real rating to the race. If your model for rating races depends upon outmoded tenets like 'race standardisation' and your raison d'etre is to make sure no-one is getting one over on you then you are going to have to wait until everything has run 5 or 6 times before you get it right. If your interest is in getting at the truth and identifying as quickly as possible which horses have the ability to be worth supporting you do not have to put up with such contortions.

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Appendix A - 2005 Debut Ratings for JL Dunlop 2yos
Tell 27/08/2005 NMKJ 6 1/14 8 74
Morghim 26/08/2005 NMKJ 7 1/17 4.5 73
Layazaal 16/06/2005 NWBY 6 1/14 16 68
Spyglass 18/06/2005 LING 7 2/10 5.5 66
Zamala 27/07/2005 SDWN 7.1 3/7 10 66
Manbala 26/08/2005 NMKJ 7 1/12 8 66
Aamaaq 05/07/2005 NMKJ 7 3/20 25 65
Jaish 23/07/2005 NOTT 6.1 1/10 5 64
Bunood 20/09/2005 NMKT 8 1/17 40 64
Namoos 10/06/2005 GDWD 6 3/7 5.5 63
Estiqraar 12/08/2005 NMKJ 7 3/13 6 63
Qusoor 11/06/2005 LEIC 6 5/13 28 62
Mostaqeleh 22/07/2005 NWBY 6 3/9 4.5 62
Nudrah 31/07/2005 NWBY 6 3/12 12 62
Heaven Can Wait 24/06/2005 NMKJ 6 5/11 12 60
Alhaitham 05/08/2005 NMKJ 7 6/14 14 60
Fear To Tread 28/07/2005 GDWD 7 7/11 25 57
Rosinka 30/06/2005 NWBY 6 2/19 20 56
Kolhapur 16/07/2005 LING 7 7/14 33 55
Pairumani's Girl 11/06/2005 LEIC 6 6/13 40 54
Senor Dali 02/09/2005 NMKJ 8 5/11 10 54
Wannabe Posh 30/06/2005 NWBY 7 9/17 22 53
Spanish Rainbow 01/09/2005 SALS 7 8/14 20 53
Amwaal 30/07/2005 DON 7 6/11 4 52
Laqataat 17/09/2005 NWBY 7 9/12 12 52
Haneen 04/10/2005 LEIC 7 7/19 50 52
Lucky Token 27/10/2005 LNGA 7 4/13 16 52
Smart Gal 27/07/2005 SDWN 7.1 5/7 25 51
India Run 29/07/2005 NMKJ 7 7/11 20 50
Green Room 29/10/2005 NMKT 7 8/20 40 48
Kineta 12/08/2005 NWBY 6 8/15 50 47
Height Of Fury 13/08/2005 NWBY 7 6/9 12 47
Nawaqees 17/06/2005 NMKJ 6 7/10 5.5 45
Jamaahir 21/10/2005 DONC 7 7/14 11 45
Manouche 12/06/2005 DONC 6 10/13 20 44
Light Meter 16/06/2005 NWBY 6 6/14 25 40
Orphina 09/07/2005 NOTT 6 9/14 20 40
Good Companion 20/09/2005 NMKT 6 8/10 33 36
Benbrook 20/08/2005 LING 6 9/16 16 34
Lunar River 06/09/2005 LNGA 7 12/12 16 31
Nimrana Fort 06/09/2005 LEIC 7 13/14 100 31
Swan Queen 29/10/2005 NMKT 7 17/20 33 27
Picacho 07/10/2005 NWBY 7 16/19 50 25
Kristal's Queen 24/06/2005 FOLK 7 9/11 33 22
Alkhabar 30/07/2005 GDWD 7 12/12 16 22
Hope's Eternal 11/08/2005 SALS 7 15/15 40 18
Goodwood March 30/06/2005 NWBY 6 10/19 16 17
Persian Conqueror 02/09/2005 NMKJ 8 11/11 40 15
Xenophile 22/08/2005 LEIC 7 10/12 33 14
Barb 27/07/2005 LEIC 6 13/14 20 8
Madroos 18/06/2005 NMKJ 7 10/10 7 4
Time On 15/07/2005 NMKJ 7 18/18 14 0
Bamboo Banks 04/08/2005 FOLK 7 12/13 50 0
Pleasing 05/11/2005 DONC 6 7/18 20 0

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