Whatever others may try to tell you, ratings are only a general guide to the relative winning chances of a horse. Their real value is that they reduce the field to manageable numbers of possible winners. Armed with this information, you rarely waste form-reading time on no-hopers. Additionally, ratings point to the value bets - the horses apparently overpriced in the market that have an outstanding chance of either winning or at least placing at a big price. They also provide potential for forecast and permed tricast bets; and can also be used profitably for the placepot, the jackpot, and even the Channel 4 Tipster Competition. Used carefully, TowerForm Ratings will frequently offer such lucrative opportunities. (E-mail us if you need to know how to perm 3, 4, 5, or 6 horses in a tricast.)

We are firm believers in encouraging people to come to their own conclusions about the information they are given. If someone is given too much information about a horse's chance, the odds are likely that the phrase "I could have backed that" will be repeated almost daily. We can give you dozens of reasons why any one of six horses can win a handicap. But if we did it would only confuse. We see no cause for adding further information to the ratings we publish. It is not a science, it is an art. Take the ratings as they are, then act on instinct.

If you don't fancy a highly rated horse, don't back it just because it is a highly rated horse. All you need to do to find winners among the ratings is: check that a highly rated horse has performed well in similar company in the past; is the horse suited to the course; is the horse in its best form or coming to its best form; is the trainer in form or out of form; are ground conditions suitable; does the horse perform better at certain times of the year; does the horse like small fields or big fields. This is called form reading. No amount of scientific jiggery-pokery will alter the fact that the best form reader and the best tipster is your good self. Let no-one dissuade you otherwise. You are just as good a tipster as any in the country. All you probably need to make that an inherent fact is discipline - if you haven't already got it, obviously. But get that discipline and you'll be laughing all the way home from the bookies.

But back to the ratings...... To achieve the figures we first estimate a rating based on the overall form of a horse. Then we modify that overall rating (by evaluating recent form) to give a figure that indicates a horse's relative chance in the class of race it is contesting. Then we do a final adjustment with reference to the rivals it is facing. It's that simple!

The ratings are updated daily and normally available via email to subscribers around 9 pm on the night before racing.

Every horse in every race rated will have a handicap mark. Every subscriber can register to access the web version of the ratings. Also we send subscribers a back up ratings list in an Excel spreadsheet format attached to subscriber's emails. Each race is rated in descending order - highest at the top, lowest at the bottom. This will allow subscribers to play about with the ratings and also make it much easier to spot trends. All results quoted will be for the top two rated handicap marks (incl joints) but in the vast majority of races, the winners will come from the top four rated handicap marks (inc joints) - though to be truthful, even a monkey couldn't fail to include most winners given 4 shots a race !