The Effect of Weight in Handicaps  


Analysis of the Effect of Weight

Flat Racing 2014-2023

All Handicap Races

5f and 6f Handicap Races

7f and 1m Handicap Races

1m1f and 1m2f Handicap Races

1m3f+ Handicap Races

National Hunt Racing 2014-2023

All Handicap Chases

2m to 2m3f Handicap Chases

2m4f to 2m7f Handicap Chases

3m+ Handicap Chases

All Handicap Hurdles

2m to 2m3f Handicap Hurdles

2m4f to 2m7f Handicap Hurdles

3m+ Handicap Hurdles

In handicap races, the runners are allocated different weights in an attempt to make the race 'fair'. The better horses are allocated more weight than the poorer horses. The idea is to give all horses an equal chance of winning the race.

If weights were allocated correctly, horses with more weight would be just as likely to win as those with less weight.

Trainers often complain that horses are allocated too much weight following a good performance. This would imply that good horses penalised too severely and don't stand a chance against poorer horses which have less weight to carry.

I have analysed the effect of the weight in handicaps by comparing the performances of horses which carry more weight then the average weight for the race, to those that carry less weight. Click on the links on the left for details.


Example/Explanation :

All Handicap Chase Races  (11515 Races)

Weight compared to Average Weight in Race Percentage of Other Runners Beaten Percentage Return at SP
14lb (or more) More Weight than the Average for the Race55%86%
11lb-13lb More Weight than the Average for the Race53%83%
8lb-10lb More Weight than the Average for the Race53%85%
5lb-7lb More Weight than the Average for the Race52%83%
2lb-4lb More Weight than the Average for the Race51%83%
Within 1lb of the Average Weight for the Race51%88%
2lb-4lb Less Weight than the Average for the Race49%93%
5lb-7lb Less Weight than the Average for the Race47%94%
8lb-10lb Less Weight than the Average for the Race45%92%
11lb-13lb Less Weight than the Average for the Race44%107%
14lb (or more) Less Weight than the Average for the Race40%115%

This table contains the analysis of all Handicap Chase races. All of the runners in all of the races have been divided in to different categories depending on the weight carried compared to the average for the race.

The middle column indicates what percentage of the other horses are beaten by the horses in each of the weight categories. If the weight was allocated correctly, this column would contain 50% for each category. A number above 50% indicates horses which perform better than average. In this case, the data indicates that the horses with more weight (the better horses) perform better than the horses with less weight. So, the Official Handicapper appears to be too lenient on the better horses. They are not allocated enough weight to make the races fair.

The right hand column indicates how much money you would have made or lost by backing all of the runners in each category at SP. A return of 100% indicates breaking even. Remember that you want a high return if you are backing horses or a low return if you are laying horses (on betting exchanges). In this case, the returns are higher for horses carrying less weight (the poorer horses).

So, for Handicap Chases, horses with more weight win more than their share of races, but punters get better returns by betting on horses with less weight. This is because the odds offered on low weight horses are generally much higher than those on horses with more weight.

Click on the links on the left for the more tables plus graphs.