Know the man behind Dynamic Ratings research
Prakash Gosavi is a renowned Indian horse race handicapper, researcher and writer who commands a phenomenal following thanks to his engaging writing style, original handicapping ideas and unique handicapping methods.
As writer, Gosavi started career with The Indian Thoroughbred (now defunct) in 1991 as Associate Editor. After a brief stint with The Times Of India, he joined MiD DAY in 1995, and has since been working as Racing Correspondent for the popular Mumbai newspaper.
Gosavi was bitten by the racing bug when he was still studying Master Of Science (Physics) from Mumbai University (then University of Bombay), a course he never finished because his attendance in the lecture halls at the University campus in Kalina was seriously compromised due to his excellent attendance record at the Mahalaxmi racecourse.
However, he brought all the training he had in physics and mathematics and applied it to his favourite topic—horse race handicapping.
What started as a scientific quest of an inquiring mind that was obsessed with the idea of wanting to have answers to all questions, the researcher in Prakash Gosavi took quite a tortuous and desultory path—jumping from one thing to another, but conducting thorough investigation before accepting or discarding any idea.
In the early 1980s, two decades before the era of digital cameras and timings, Gosavi invented the formula for accurate timing up to one-hundredth of a second, which is still being used by hundreds of handicappers around the world, especially at racetracks where each horse's finishing time is not supplied.
In 1991, he published the theory of Objective Ratings as a series of articles in The Indian Thoroughbred to explain how—and by what margin—a galloping horse's speed is affected over different trips.
Gosavi also formulated the concepts of his pet theory, Dynamic Handicapping, proposing the view that the effect of each single factor affecting the speed generating ability of a galloping horse—like trip distance, weight, underfoot condition, jockey skill—even the wind speed and direction—is independent of all other factors; and introduced the novel concept of Mother Chart as a near-accurate track variant-measuring tool.
Through the MiD DAY Race Guide, he undertook public testing of his Dynamic Handicapping concepts first in 1998-99, and later in 2001-2002 Mumbai racing season, recording profits of 125% and 37% respectively.
In 2008, after many of his friends who dabbled in the Indian stock market burnt their fingers, Gosavi devised a money management system for managing stock market investments which he later adapted for horse racing.
However, despite such body of extensive research the goal of consistent, sizable, long term and near-certain profits from horse racing mainly remained elusive.
All that changed in 2009 when Prakash Gosavi discovered a strange fact.
While charting horse race videos with his home-made video software, he noticed that some horses which were doing a peculiar striding pattern, irrespective of where they finished in that race, were coming out and winning their next start—sometimes at such lucrative odds that made clear not even their connections had fancied them to win!
For want of a better word Gosavi termed this strange phenomenon FINOO, an acronym for Follow In Next Outing Only. The last word, "only", was used deliberately because most of these horses either easily won in next start—or rarely won again, at least not for a long time.
Gosavi shared this strange finding on his popular blog and announced he would check out the performance of FINOO horses in a transparent public test. He laid down rigid parameters for this open experiment before the testing began, and called them ‘filter’ rules.
The FINOO trial began on April 18, 2009. However, due to the restrictive nature of the pre-condition, horses doing the FINOO pattern were so few and far between that it took six racetracks and four-and-a-half months to isolate 100 bets.
However, the results were quite encouraging.
The method registered a decent 33% flat-bet ROI. Such was the money-making power of FINOO during this small, 100-bet test that only Rs 1,800 was risked to generate profit of Rs 33,000.
And while doing it, FINOO set some other records too.
It outperformed other standard market investments and indices (they were monitored on a daily basis during the test) by incredible margins and thousands of percentage points.
FINOO outperformed MCX Gold index by 27,180% (272 times);
MCX Silver index by 11,053% (110 times);
US Dollar by 8,362% (83 times);
BSE Sensex by 4,445% (44 times);
Nifty by 4,969% (49 times);
NASDAQ (US stocks index) by 10,269% (102 times).
Hundreds of blog visitors who had witnessed this remarkable testing phase and benefited from it clamoured for more. However, because of the very small sample size Prakash Gosavi felt that though it was true the method possessed great merit, it still required more detailed investigation before any dependable conclusions could be formed.
For a man who swore all his life by the math and its usefulness to solve the puzzle of handicapping, the new method, which consisted nothing else but watching race video and jotting down notes in the result chart, was too unsettling in the beginning. Gosavi almost went into denial for some time (his blog posts during that period bear testimony to his dilemma) before the records he had kept left him no alternative but to undertake deeper investigation of what was staring in his face.
He then incorporated the lessons of the trial run, and refined the system. More important, he kept on monitoring the future runs of all the FINOO horses and noticed another interesting pattern: the failed bets (horses), after many more runs—sometimes even after a year—won a race under conditions that were entirely different from the conditions of the race in which they first exhibited the FINOO striding pattern!
It soon became clear that these late strikers’ sudden return to form could be predicted with remarkable accuracy, based on the way they had responded to the pace scenario of their original FINOO race.
This promised to open up a whole new world of opportunities. All one needed was to spot a FINOO striding pattern, note the pace scenario of the race, and then create a proper “grid” (race conditions under which the horse will be able to "strike"), and then simply ‘wait and watch’ until the horse was entered in a race with conditions that matched the ones spelled out in the "grid" prepared many days, weeks or months ago.
Two years of intense study of FINOO patterns convinced Prakash Gosavi that he had stumbled onto something really precious, and in one of the articles he claimed it may finally be possible for anyone with a little training and a lot of patience to make sizable, consistent, long term and near-certain profits by focusing on only few horses (about 3-5% of the horse population at a racetrack) without undertaking rigorous study of all horses or burning midnight oil.
For a world sold on the idea of horse racing being the most difficult game to beat, this claim sounded idiotic. For Gosavi's own students and followers who regarded him as some kind of a math whiz, this was nothing short of heresy. If what Gosavi said was true, then all one needed to beat the races was a little training in how to watch the races, a small notebook and a pen. The method's utter simplicity forbade anyone to take it seriously.
Gosavi felt it was important to showcase the power of this method, and what better way to do so than conducting another transparent test in full public view? But there was no platform available.
Horse racing, like all other sports, was struggling to retain space in the mainstream media (including MiD DAY) who were all busy selling cricket to a nation that was crazy enough to follow the willow game like a religion, despite scandals and allegations of fixing.
In a lucky break, just then Gosavi received an offer from the Royal Western India Turf Club to contribute a column to their website. He was given complete freedom to design the product that he wished to offer, and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
The Prakash Gosavi Column thus started life on the RWITC website in the 2011-12 Mahalaxmi racing season at Mumbai.
On December 1, 2011, sticking his neck out as usual, Gosavi announced a trial-by-fire when, in The Prakash Gosavi column at the RWITC site, he wrote:
I believe a public tipster should be judged by what he says before the race—and with how much conviction, and whether the results reflect those opinions to be true in a reasonable percentage of races.
The only way to do that with transparency is to keep records. There is no substitute for accountability.
A step has been taken in this direction with regard to this tipping column, and you can now see a link on the right hand side on the home page of this site, titled, "The Prakash Gosavi Column", which will take you to the archives of all articles written by me for each race day.
Please feel free to send your feedback using the bottom link in the same column.
The results were so sensational—they not only silenced the critics, but also surpassed Gosavi’s own wildest expectations. The disbelievers were silenced in the first season itself, as 49 winners from 117 recommended bets managed to yield a healthy flat-bet return (ROI) of 48%, while Gosavi’s money management formula enhanced the same profit to more than 11 times the starting bankroll.
Due to such extra-ordinary results, the tipping column’s popularity increased by leaps and bounds, and Prakash Gosavi’s recommended bets routinely started getting hammered, sometimes to half of the morning price. Still, by the end of the fourth racing season, The Prakash Gosavi Column had logged in 25.6% ROI from 149 winners out of 385 recommended bets at a healthy strike rate of 38.7%.
More impressive was the fact that as a public handicapper who limited discussion and tipping of a race only to his small list of short-listed horses without analyzing all contenders, Prakash Gosavi managed to show a NET POSITIVE RoI even on FIRST CHOICES of all the 1,545 races during this testing phase, of 5 consecutive racing seasons spread over three years, a record generally thought extremely unlikely for a public tipster.
Gosavi then added another 5 winning seasons to take his tally to 10 winning seasons on the trot before encountering a losing season in his 11th attempt. Since then, he has won 5 of the last 6 seasons, taking his overall tally to 15 winning seasons out of 17.
The superlative performance speaks volumes about Prakash Gosavi's confidence and reliance on an approach that is not just contrarian, but highly counter-intuitive as every precept he preaches runs contrary to the established thinking in the horse racing world.
The Power of Money Management
Gosavi’s money management formula pulled off another unbelievable feat, when starting with 1k bet from a bankroll of 10,000 it raked in profits of over one million (1,060,138 to be precise). (check this link)
If you thought the formula may be based on some reckless geometric progression, kindly be informed that is not the case. All along the ride, the formula bet average of 6% on a single bet, the maximum bet, only once in 380 bets, being 14%, and that too when it had already multiplied the starting bankroll to over 30 times!