Australian Horse Racing



The Edge

We all want to be competitive in everything we do. And no more so that with punting on horse racing.

Success in punting on horses, in fact most things reduces down to an information war - the people with the best information make the smart moves.

Books have been and still are the best source of general information, and this applies at least as much in the art of racehorse selection and staking as in any other field.

Author Paul Segar has produced textbooks which cover all aspects of punting. The books alone stand as a complete reference but also provide 'food for thought'. You can develop / improve your own ideas as well as learn some new techniques.

Each book is written in plain English with plenty of practical examples in each chapter. Browse the contents of each book or email for further information, if required.

Improve your punting knowledge today - buy one or all of these books.

Read the books but want more? It's time to do a course.

The Pureform Introduction Course uses a computer program to show you how and when to bet and how to do it successfully. Check out the details


The Benchmark Handicapper Course continues from the Introduction Course and gives you further weapons to apply when making quality value selections. More...


The Introduction to Dutch Betting using the Ratings Calculator Course gives you an introduction to betting using the Ratings Calculator computer software. More...



Buy all three books now:

$70 posted

Weight For Age Scale


By Paul Segar


Pureform Ratings Calculator


The weight for Age (WFA) scale has been in use for many years now. Here is the basic scale brought to you by Pureform.


The weight for age scale on thoroughbred horse racing has been in existence since the 19th century and was devised originally by  Admiral Rous, a handicapper with the English Jockey Club.

The theory goes that by the age of two a horse has achieved 95% of its mature height and weight, and by the end of its third year will be fully mature. During this time the horse has gained its size but in terms of galloping speed and endurance is not truly matured completely until perhaps five years of age.

So the weight for age (WFA) scale makes some kind of allowance for younger horses.

Now the big difference for weight for age races compared to a normal handicap race is that the weight carried by any galloper has no bearing on the success or failure of the horse leading into the race. So the mighty Winx for example with so many wins carries the same weight as a same aged mare that may not have even won a single race.

Clearly the best performing horse is extremely well handicapped in a WFA race compared to a normal handicap race that uses benchmark or other figures to determine the weight to be carried. The benchmark figure on the official website is shown for most races and from this number you can see the advantage/disadvantage for some runners.

Interested in finding out more? Try the Introduction Course.

The benchmark handicapping system is loosely based on the WFA scale and you can see the well handicapped runner, eg Winx when comparing her benchmark rating against her rating using the WFA scale

Of $250,000 GROUP 2  Standard WFA 3yo+
No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Penalty Hcp Rating Adjusted Wt
1 4x12x3361x SENSE OF OCCASION Kris Lees Corey Brown 2 59kg   113 62
2 13311255x4 RED EXCITEMENT Gerald Ryan Joshua Parr 5 59kg   108 59.5
3 7255x3642x WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ) Chris Waller Christian Reith 1 59kg   108 59.5
4 112x8746Px LIBRAN (IRE) Chris Waller Glyn Schofield 8 59kg   107 59
5 x5543321x8 ALLERGIC James Cummings Tim Clark 12 59kg   106 58.5
6 112x1240x5 ANTONIO GIUSEPPE (NZ) Chris Waller Tye Angland 10 59kg   103 57
7 121x37301x CHOCANTE (NZ) Stephen Marsh Rory Hutchings 9 59kg   101 56
8 3x1412x3x5 SARRASIN (GB) Chris Waller Michael Walker 4 59kg   98 54.5
9 1841x122x2 LIFE LESS ORDINARY (IRE) Chris Waller Kerrin McEvoy 11 59kg   92 51.5
10 1212652x57 HARPER’S CHOICE Gerald Ryan Brenton Avdulla 6 58.5kg   89 50
11 111x1111x1 WINX Chris Waller Hugh Bowman 3 57kg   132 71.5
12 1x027530x0 LASQUETI SPIRIT Lee Curtis Jay Ford 7 56.5kg   102 56.5

The previous table shows a WFA race with the champion mare Winx. Her weight as shown in the following tables is 57kg. If she were to carry her weight according to her benchmark rating. she would have carried 71.5kg!

Red Excitement, actually gave her 2kg and was run down after leading fast, in a handicap race he would receive more than 10kg. Pretty clear Winx would not be winning with that weight and in fact if it was a set weight race (all carrying say 57kg) probably would have been beaten as well. The top trainers place their horses to best advantage which is why they are the top trainers and why they have short priced runners, that often win.

So from this example, clearly some horses have a huge advantage in set weight events. Winx in this race had over 10kg.


(May need to widen the screen or scroll for the complete table)

WFA Scale (Australia)

2yo           44.0 45.0 46.0 47.0 48.0 49.0 50.0
3yo 50.5 51.0 52.0 52.5 53.5 54.0 54.5 55.0 55.5 56.0 56.5 57.0
4yo 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5
5yo 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5 57.5
2yo           43.0 44.0 45.0 46.0 47.0 48.0 49.0
3yo 49.5 50.0 51.0 52.0 53.0 53.5 54.5 55 55.5 56.0 56.5 57.0
4yo 57.5 57.5 57.5 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58
5yo 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58
2yo           42.5 43.5 44.5 45.5 46.5 47.5 48.5
3yo 49 49.5 50.0 51.0 52.0 53.0 54.0 55.0 55.5 56.0 56.5 57.0
4yo 57.5 57.5 57.5 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58
5yo 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58
2yo           41.5 42.5 43.5 44.5 45.5 46.5 47.5
3yo 48 48.5 49 50.0 51.0 52.0 53.0 53.5 54.5 55.5 56 56.5
4yo 57 57 57 57.5 57.5 57.5 58 58 58 58 58 58
5yo 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58 58
Fillies and Mares allowed 2.5kg from 1 August - 31 July          

Weight For Age racing as run at the major carnivals is for most people the highest level of horse racing with only the best horses capable of winning this racetype. The WFA scale grades weight carried according to the age and sex of each performer with no regard for number of races won or prize money.

A true weight for age event is run at reasonably high speed but typically climaxes with a breakneck sprint home leaving only the strongest and fastest "standing" at race end.

From the table, a 2yo is handicapped to carry 44kg in January over 1200m compared to a 4yo or older male horse set to carry 57.5kg.

Essentially the scale suggests that the equivalent older horse is over 13kg better than the early 2yo. The exact figure may not be so accurate but the level of weight difference appears correct with the baby 2yo's being totally outclassed at this time of year.
By July, the 2yo has, according to the scale made 6 kg improvement up to a 50kg weight 'rating'. Any 2yo can pretty much be eliminated in a WFA event when running against older horses.


Mares receive an allowance compared to their male counterpart which is why many a top mare has performed well at WFA, eg Winx, Black Caviar and Makybe Diva.

3yo's can and do improve greatly during the racing season and in WFA races get a significant weight advantage. It is interesting to note that perhaps two of the best 3yo's to race recently, All Too Hard and Pierro were both unable to win the Cox Plate of 2012 with the older Ocean Park giving both 3yo's 8kg weight advantage and a beating. This race was a great example supporting the validity of the scale.

The WFA scale is useful when considering younger horses competing in better class races (and the advantage afforded to some older horses compared to the scale). Refer to the scale to see when horses are well/badly handicapped. Often that big weight drop from a WFA race back to a major handicap is enough to snare that elusive long shot winner.

There are very few modern day horses capable of weight carrying records of yesteryear with weight being, as always, the great equaliser.

If you want to learn more about weights, WFA and betting on horse racing try the Introduction to Dutch Betting, Introduction or Benchmark Courses

Next Articles: The Punter's Boot Camp