Updated: 1933 Other

CHARGE !Picture the scenario, you are an outlaw making your last stand thecavalry is flying over the hill and hurtling towards you, the pulseis racing and it is game on. There are two options, you have tostand and fight and

Darren Brett Tipster Competition Manager

Horse Racing, greyhounds and snooker specialist with thirty years experience of writing about sport across multiple platforms. A QPR and Snooker fan


Picture the scenario, you are an outlaw making your last stand, the cavalry is flying over the hill and hurtling towards you, the pulse is racing and it is game on. 

There are two options:

You have to stand and fight and can do so with a Gatling gun and ammunition 


You have to stand and fight with a simple mid-range rifle.

Which one do you choose?

The Choice

If I choose the Gatling and the ammo, a blaze of glory no doubt, take as many as possible with me, but why do I choose to do so?

For starters, the Gatling has much the same range as a rifle but it will spew bullets out and cause general panic amongst the rank and file of the oncoming cavalry.

some risk

It will also make a lot of noise which will daze and confuse my enemy's and also they will see men either side of them falling to the ground. 

The downside is that to use it I leave myself exposed and vulnerable.

I cannot really take cover as the logistics of the weapon make me a sitting duck.

Therefore I will also be exposed as the charge towards me intensifies and the bullets whizz past my mullet, eventually I will have to retreat.

So I am more wasteful with my ammunition as I don't wish to leave any behind, when we bear in mind I won't be able to take the Gatling with me on such a retreat.

The rifle offers a different prospect, it severely limits the damage I can do and I cannot cause the widespread panic that I can with the Gatling,

It has a limited range and will fire single shots,

I will however have to make every shot count. 

The rifle also offers me the opportunity to take cover and pick shots from a different perspective as although the approaching cavalry are bearing down I am not waving a flag exposing myself saying “HERE”, 

I will also undoubtedly be more frugal with ammunition and there is a significant chance that I will be able to take out a few generals etc. as opposed to the grunts and cannon fodder on the front end 

When I do have to retreat I can throw the rifle over my shoulder and remain armed.

Which then is the sensible answer to this theoretical conundrum?

How about use the Gatling for a limited time to create a landscape where your enemy has to proceed with caution and then a tactical retreat using the time you have brought to a place of greater advantage, 

Ideally somewhere that you don't have to let another shot go and they give up the chase, effectively snatching victory from certain defeat.

The Approach

We are human beings and we look to categorize everything. 

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The brain looks to make a decision based on the problem presented and it is within our nature to be reactive to things, 

I have no doubt that in the situation above most, including myself would plant their feet and straddle the Gatling or flee to the hills. 

The sensible thing was the compromise but we look for an answer, a result.

Horse racing lends itself quite well to theory. 

There are literally hundreds of ways of approaching and assessing a horse race and the best medium is somewhere in between.

It is very hard to find the compromise that we found in our choice of gun and when trying to use past results, the conundrum becomes even harder, because seemingly every set of ratings has similar results and they can quite often polarise each other.

An example being Topspeed V Racing Post Ratings.

It is a regular occurrence to see these two figures at odds with each other.

This is understandable as they are a measure of a different thing and yet the same thing, namely the quickest horse in a race with the Racing Post Ratings measuring it in weight and Topspeed doing so in time.

I spent a lot of my youth trying to “pick” a set of ratings and stick with them as I was desperate to find systems that were consistent yet how could I do this with two sets of ratings that quite often (especially in those days!) contradicted each other.

Becoming older and a little more experienced I discovered that both sets of figures could be interpreted in different ways and indeed made some common sense observations, 

The most obvious being that it stands to reason that speed figures become much less effective over longer trips, especially on turf and that lead to a phase of using RPR over 1m2f and further and so on. 

You all recognise this phase, most punters go through it, every day you come up with what you consider at the time to be an “angle” but is in reality your latest recycling of age-old systems that revolve around top weights and favourites.

Flat Race On Dirt

Speed figures are the marmite of the punting world, some love them and some hate them, 

I would advise caution with raw figures especially on turf. 

I advise this on the basis of an article I read many years ago by ANDREW BEYER, who stipulated that the way turf races are run, figures are rendered next to useless. 

Those of you who don't know Beyer, he is an American punter who became so prolific that when Americans refer to speed figures, they simply say “the BEYER figure is 67”, 

Beyer's figures were purchased by Americas biggest horse racing newspaper and they now appear included on every racecard, when this guy talks speed you would do well to listen.


The crux of the matter comes down to a compromise about what a rating is, how it is achieved and how does one interpret its value in terms of relevance,

Personally I use a stack of ratings from various sources as I am pretty confident that they have more time and money than I do and therefore are able to give more accurate ratings of ability v conditions on any given day, than I could if trying to assign a numeric value to a horse myself.

Incredibly Racing Post Ratings managed a profit one season, which is a truly God-like performance. 

The requirement to assign a rating in every race on every day of the year and to be ahead at the end of it is a performance that will in all probability never happen again.

The reason that ratings and the selling of ratings is so popular is that they are so open to interpretation.

Even the likes of Timeform give no guarantees despite the cost to the punter in subscriptions etc.

A rating provider is providing you just that, the bulk of interpreting what this rating means in terms of today's race is still down to you.

I personally don't mind but many sign up to “services” mistakenly thinking they are in fact “tipping services”.

Stocks And Shares

Ratings provide an insight in the form of a number that mirrors the Gatling and the rifle. 

Some folks take the first approach and bash numbers in a scattergun way to drive some positives from the data and develop trends and patterns, 

Others will almost religiously back top rated horses in a similar manner to the more accurate rifle with the only trouble being that if you kill enough generals you tend to get burnt!

My advice with ratings would be to take the compromise approach, crunch lots of them, do the scattergun getting as much information and as many ratings as possible. 

The next stage is attaching relevance to either the ratings or the factors that make up the ratings and finally retreat with your rifle up a hillside and be selective about training your sights on too money things,

You want to back what you can see not what is making a lot of noise.

Be ultra-cautious about anybody quoting ratings alongside strike rates and profits combined with “our unique system”, 

If the above sentence were a crossword clue then the answer to 3 across would be SCAMMER.

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