The Future Is Bright, The Future Is Green

Nothing lasts forever and that includes the basic web site structure that we have been using behind the scenes since Inform Racing began back in 2003.

Unfortunately, after over 21 years there are a few things now which are just starting to lag or creek a little and in a data fuelled sport such as Horse Racing, this is not a good thing.

One or two things are not running as efficiently as they should be and whilst I am well on top of anything that could affect the output regarding the form and the ratings on a daily basis, it is firstly unnecessary extra work and secondly, just not right.

You likely won't have noticed anything on the website itself and I am grateful to have a strong team of super subscribers who have made me aware of anything that doesn't look right, allowing me to correct any issues quickly.  

The one thing and most obvious to all presently is not being able to update the declarations 48 hours before the racing. I can understand the frustration and can only apologise of course. It is however just an example of why things need to change.

This particular issue is not the straw that broke the camels back, because that camels back was broken quite a few months ago. But it is among the reasons why, at the end of last year I decided we had to do something positive to future proof the site for it's subscribers.

The future is bright

Therefore, in the last week, after a few weeks of discussions and negotiations, we have signed a contract with the Racing Post to access their API.

For those of you who are unaware, an API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of rules and protocols that allows different software applications to communicate with each other. It specifies how software components should interact and makes it easier for developers to integrate different systems.

Basically, this means that we will receive regular updates from the Racing Post, right throughout the day, giving us details of the runners, the races, the form, the latest results, the latest non runners, the latest going updates and much, much more.

And when we receive this information, it will be added to the website, so that you will have all of the latest information and updates to hand, as quickly as possible.

It will also mean that we can add more to the race cards, such as the RPR (Racing Post Ratings), Racing Post statistics, Racing Post race comments and other stuff which will keep everyone much more well informed.

Development time

Unfortunately, this new API connection and data feed, cannot be re-coded overnight, but we are on it and have started the work already.

The developers' best estimate is that it will take about four months, so my 'hope' is that we can roll this out by about October or November 2024.

It sounds like a long time but there is a heck of a lot of work involved in re writing the incoming code and applying everything that is new to the website.

I would like to say we have a team of developers who are on this for us 24 hours a day but the fact is I have one superb guy who does it all for me and he has done so for the past eleven or twelve years now.

 It is better that we take our time to get the set up right from the start and let him do what he has to do.

So in the meantime, the site will be running just as it has done over the years and  you can continue to have confidence in the website and the speed ratings.

Talking of the speed ratings....

The future is green

At the same time last year we decided we had to move forward, I thought and thought very hard about what a lot of people have been requesting over the years.

Irish races and Irish speed ratings.

I have a very long term subscriber named Martin, who gets in touch a lot of the time, whose background is in Mathematics and Sciences.

Living in Cork himself he has suggested on more than a few occasions how much he would like to see Irish ratings on Inform Racing, suggesting that he would take on the job of doing these himself. Something he would love to do he said.

To be honest I have always considered my method of calculating the speed ratings to be quite complicated to understand, although is all fairly automatic to me nowadays of course but there a few variables that you can only learn through experience.

I thought against adding Irish ratings, not only for the extra time it would take to calculate these but the need to establish a solid set of standard times for all Irish courses. A huge task in itself I assure you!

Anyway, cutting a long story short, we agreed that he could try and learn my calculation process and between us we would take the time to set up a set of standard times for the Irish courses. He did all of this for free and I did tell him that if it didn't work out I would have to be honest and say, thanks but no thanks.

It's been an interesting project and to be fair, Martin has not only worked through the calculations a lot quicker than I thought he would but he also managed to do far more work on the Irish courses than I did.

By going the extra mile and clearly giving me confidence in his abilities, I am glad to say that I have now welcomed Martin on to the team and he is now on the payroll, in charge of calculating all of the speed ratings for the Irish courses.

I feel like we should let off some fireworks or have a party, as I never thought, even until quite recently, that we would have Irish speed ratings at Inform Racing. But with another brain and pair of hands on board, it looks like this now going to be possible.

It is best that you are aware.

That it has been or is going to be impossible to add all past Irish speed ratings. It would almost take forever so this I am afraid is something you need to be aware of.

We calculate the ratings manually, unlike most websites who pour out any sort of guestimates, all calculated by a computer programme that has no idea how to adjust for the trials and tribulations of the daily increasing or decreasing of race distances, multiple going changes that are rarely published and everything else that goes into getting an accurate speed rating.

Therefore we are having to do this from a set starting point and after all that has been put in place, Martin is going to start doing the ratings from today, June 1st 2024, for the meetings at Listowel and Tramore. 

This means there will at least be a few months of ratings that we can use when we go live with all of this.  

Wrapping it all up.

So there you have it.

We will be adding Irish race cards and Irish speed ratings, plus we are now signed up with the biggest name is UK and Irish horse racing data, the Racing Post, to get the best and most up to date race information to you, quickly and efficiently. This should sustain Inform Racing for a good number of years now going forward.

If there are any updates with any of this I will try and keep you all in the loop but worst case scenario is that by the end of the year, of course hopefully two or even three months earlier if possible, we will be running on rocket fuel, plus providing you with all of the racing from the UK and Ireland.

Ian Welch

Creator and owner of Inform since 2003, I have over 30 years of racing and betting experience to share. Speed ratings are my main passion whilst updating the website and writing the odd blog post keeps me busy and hopefully other users well informed.

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