Doh, just when I get all motivated and excited and start gathering data for my neural network app I find there’s a bit of a problem that needs to be sorted before I carry on.
I was busy transferring race data to my Excel spreadsheet when I ran into an issue that required a phone call to try and sort it out. If you’ve read my previous posts on this subject you’ll know that I’m in the process of building a neural network for race prediction based on US horse racing as the UK flat season is some way off yet. Race cards are available online in PDF format that look like the cards you’d find in the Racing Post or up on the wall at the bookies. Normally US race cards are so packed with different stats you need a month’s course just to figure it all out so some kind soul has produced these UK friendly PDF’s to help out UK punters that want to bet in US horse races.
My first hurdle to overcome was that there was info on the race card that I didn’t understand. Each horse had a letter or a couple of letters just below the line that showed the weight carried and I had no idea what that letter represented. I had to make a phone call to find out what this meant as it may or may not be a key piece of data that needed to be recorded. I had a very pleasant chat with someone in the States and it turned out that the letters showed what drugs the horse was using. L meant Lasix, L inside a circle meant first time Lasix, and there were other letters for another drug (which I can’t quite recall but you get the drift). So, problem solved and I moved on.
I considered that acting on the going underfoot was a worthwhile inclusion in the data that I eventually will present to the network so I set about recording that piece of info for the races I had selected. Then came the stopper. There is a guide at the end of the PDF that tells you how to read the detailed form for each horse in the race. The guide shows that Line 14 gives the info for how the horse has handled the going in previous races plus how it fared over the course and distance. Key pieces of info in my book. I looked at the first horse in the first race at Tampa for the race card for the 9th Feb and I couldn’t decypher Line 14. It just didn’t make perfect sense to me so that prompted yet another call to Brisnet. This time round I got a different guy but he looked after me just as well. I emailed him the PDF so that he could see exactly what I was trying to point out and he came to the conclusion that the way the info was represented didn’t make sense to him either. So the next step is to get the guy who created the PDF’s involved and bring it to his attention. All of this took place last Friday (10th Feb) and so far no word back but the upshot is I’m temporarily suspending my data gathering until this has been cleared up as I don’t want to be using flawed information (if that is what it is) as that would be plain useless and a waste of time and effort. I could of course just not include that info and be done with it but omitting course and distance info and whether the horse acts on the ground? I think not. More on this when I get it.
Moving swiftly on I have to say that I’m getting more and more pissed off with the chappies at TSEG who run the forums for Betfair and I’m sure they aren’t that fond of me if you take into account that I’ve been waiting since Wednesday last week for an answer to an email I sent them. Apparently there’s been ‘some weather’ in the UK that’s prevented a lot of people from getting to work (or so I’m led to believe by listening to the automated messages at Betfair). That said you can’t tell me that they don’t have people looking at the emails that are sent to them who are able either to repond or forward on to those who may be better placed to respond. Maybe when you become IP banned you just don’t count any more but then again maybe the weather really is to blame…it’ll all come out in the end.
That’s it for now. My next task for today is to rekindle some old alliances…I have many links to other blogs on here but most of the reciprocal arrangements that used to be in place are no longer in force so exposure to my ramblings is limited somewhat. I’ll be contacting a few bloggers out there to see about getting my link back up on their sites as I know from my stats there is some interest in what I write. Have a good day readers and be lucky.