Buffer Micro Ltd
Alan Pritchard
1984
Gambling: Utilities
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

136
Chris Passey
Chris Bourne

Chris 'The Tipster' Passey takes a look at a program to help you win lots of money on the gee-gees...

I've just about lost count of the number of times that people have asked if my computer will 'pick horses'. Well here's a program that claims to do just that.

The program makes its predictions from SPEED FIGURE DATA (SFD), published by Sporting Life. Basically, this is what the required inputs are: First enter the name of the course and the going, ie. Soft, Hard etc. The courses are graded which is significant as different grades attract different classes of horse.

Next, the distance in furlongs is entered. After this each horse running is entered with its age, weight and SFD. The Speed Figure Data is information about the horse's best performance in the current season, taking into account the course, ground conditions and distance behind the winner. An example of SFD is shown below:

Horse's name
Crash Smash

speed figure
97
course (eg. Ludlow)
LUD

distance
25f

going, eg. Good
G

date (not input)
Dec 10

And before anyone says anything - yes, here is a race course at Ludlow as all serious punters know!

After all the information has been entered, the program sorts the fist. It then produces a list, with numbers alongside the entries representing a horse's chance of winning. Typical values would be between 1 and 300. I tried quite a few races, but I could only use the 'flat' program because at the time of reviewing, the National Hunt (jumps) season was not sufficiently established to give any reasonably reliable SFD.

I personally feel that speed in general has a greater bearing on the flat because compared to NH, it is more of a sprint. NH, which is over longer distances, may have any sort of pace until the last few furlongs.

Enough digressions, back to the results. On average I found that when correctly interpreted, the results were rather useful. Interpretation is required because the program does not take into account recent positions (form) or the betting. A horse with good SFD may have gone off the boil, and if a horse gets, say, 25 points above the others in the field but is at 50-1, then it's not to be recommended for betting on. Some rather unexpected outcomes and ratings lead me to doubt the program's abilities, but on average over quite a few races the horses in the highest finishing positions did have significantly higher ratings given.

The system has its limitations, but if used sensibly as an aid to a decision, is useful. Consider the ratings as another factor when picking a horse. This program (or any other) is not able to pick winners like magic. And it's worth remembering that horse racing is hardly logical. Accept Racing Predictions for what it is, with its limitations, and you may keep your shirt on!

CRITICISM

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