Sectional-timing analysis considers how an overall time was achieved, and not just what that overall time was, by using times for sections of the race along the way. Some of these sectional times are provided electronically, but Timeform augments these extensively with times taken from video analysis and live at the course.
Horses which run close to efficiently, or totally efficiently, get little or no upgrade to the ability implied by their overall time. But horses which run inefficiently will get marked up greater or lesser amounts according to the degree to which they differed from par.
The Sectional Flag is attributed to a select number of horses which have been identified, through sectionals, as of particular interest. Over and above having shaped better than the result in a recent race, such horses are likely to have sectional ratings (their timefigure upgraded as a result of sectionals) which suggest they are potential winners in the future.
Day in, day out in racing there are any number of noteworthy performances, for various reasons, all logged by Timeform – but only the bet-compelling ones qualify as a Horse In Focus.
Think of it as the Timeform hit list, compiled by Timeform's team of race-readers, whose duty involves distinguishing between an interesting horse, as conveyed in the report, and the more betting-centric Horse In Focus, selected at the time as a high-priority case and flagged up in its next race by the ‘Notebook’ icon.
For the purpose of identifying - and even pre-empting – the suitability of a track for a horse, Timeform analyse a horse’s lifetime record against our unique digital data for each course, and the ones that fit are flagged up, as are those that don’t fit. So, essentially, a Horses For Courses tick means the horse has a history of performing well on the type of track it’s facing that day, while a poor record is expressed through the Horses For Courses cross.
When a horse switches to a trainer who, at that time, has a significantly higher ranking on the Timeform scale than the one it has left, then it qualifies as a Trainer Uplift.
The same goes for jockeys. Timeform measure the performance of riders using an identical methodology to that by which we assess trainers. Timeform jockey ratings compare the riding population by the regularity with which they get horses running to form or better, expressed as lbs +/- the average rider. This method, unique to Timeform, is a truer barometer of a jockey’s skill than tallies and strike rates, which only account for wins.
The trainers on a roll, firing in the winners, are easily identifiable by all, but the edge comes in pinpointing the in-form stables that are perhaps under the radar, whose horses are hitting their ratings mark a high percentage of that particular time, which is where Timeform’s version of trainer form comes into its own. So look out for the suns and snow-flakes on a racecard, as behind those simple symbols is an array of sophisticated algorithms that take trainer analysis to a new level.
Essentially, it’s the opposite of Timeform’s established ‘Horse In Focus’ signifier. Both do the same highlighting job, but where a Horse In Focus is a positive indicator suggesting it could pay to bet on the horse in question next time, a Warning Horse is something to bet against.