Tuesday, 19th November 2019
I’ve often made the point that stats do not make for a particularly effective standalone method of selection in horse races….
But it is something that bears repeating….
I know a lot of punters coming into the game – and a fair few who have been playing for a long time – are seduced by the notion that there is some winning formula out there which, once discovered, will provide an infallible turnkey source of betting profits: A + B + C + D + E = Winner.
I can see the appeal. And I understand the attraction....
At one time or another we have all fantasised about uncovering the race-betting equivalent of the Holy Grail….
Personally, though, I don’t think the winning formula exists.
Every race is different – containing multiple unique variables. I don’t believe one rigid approach – formulaic, statistical or otherwise – can solve the singular problem each race represents….
But that’s just my view. And if you’re engaged on the search for that elusive winning formula, I wish you good luck. There’s no harm in looking – if that’s how you want to spend your time....
And, if you nail the job, be sure to let me know. Instead of you reading my service, I’ll shut up shop and read your service instead. Until then, I’ll plug away with my own endeavours....
But just because I don’t think stats represent a strong standalone selection method, that doesn’t mean I don’t think stats have their uses. Far from it….
Long-term readers will know that stats and profiles have always played a part in my deliberations. Just not in the way that most people use them….
I pay attention to the stats. Ahead of any big race I use the stats in the historic record to establish what type of horse tends to win and/or run well in that specific event….
I want to identify key attributes, characteristics, achievements and qualifications that those horses had in common heading into the race….
But not because I necessarily want to back horses that best-fit the profile this time round. A lot of the time that would lead to backing horses already short in the betting….
I’m much more interested in horses that fit the key trends, but which aren’t being backed and are available at interesting prices….
Take the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase which will be run at Newbury on Saturday 30th November, for example....
Horses that win the race frequently tick a series of specific boxes….
They tend to have a very strong winning strike rate over fences – just 7 winners since 1994 went into the race with a chase strike-rate lower than 40%....
They tend to have conformed to a specific yardstick on the RPR scale – 13 of the last 15 winners had produced a chase performance worth at least 156….
They tend to have produced a specific level of performance on the clock – 13 of the last 15 winners had already scored a Topspeed figure of 134+ over fences….
And they tend to have specific levels of experience over fences. 21 of the last 22 winners had raced at least 4 times over fences whilst 18 had run in no more than a dozen chase events….
Clearly any horse ticking those specific boxes this time around has solid claims of going well….
The historic record also provides a bit of guidance on features of specific horses that might otherwise prove troublesome….
Should you trust a horse that is yet to win a chase at 3-miles and beyond? The stats say no….
Twenty of the previous 22 race winners had already won at trips between 24f and 26f. The suggestion is that a Ladbrokes Trophy Chase is no place for a horse with stamina unproven. This high-quality test regularly finds such horses out….
Is an experienced handicapper that has already declared its hand in the handicap chase sphere a good bet?
There are no hard-and-fast rules. There are situations in which I’d happily back such a horse. But the stats say it is unwise to do so in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase....
Nineteen of the last 22 winners had won just a single handicap chase or none. They were most likely to be ahead of the handicapper ahead of the race – and proved to be so on the day….
Take the stats produced by the race over the last two decades as your guide and you might happily split the field on age – scratching all horses younger than 6 and all those participants older than 8….
Nineteen of the last 22 winners fell into that specific age-band….
And you might give some consideration to previous form produced at Newbury. A run at the track – be it over hurdles or fences – has been a significant pointer in renewals over the last two decades….
Sixteen of the last 22 winners had already appeared at the track. And clearly, the better the performance produced, the more significant that form might turn out to be….
Finally, for today at least, the stats can provide a perspective that is different than the one most of the market is likely to use….
And that’s useful because you’re betting against those people and doing so from a fresh perspective can deliver value-price betting opportunities – which is what we are always on the lookout for here at ATC….
Not too many people look at the record of specific sires in individual races. But sometimes (admittedly not all the time) it is worthwhile to do so….
The Ladbrokes Trophy Chase presents horses with a unique test. It is a classy contest run at pace (you also must jump well at speed) and one that also demands stamina at the back end of the race….
It stands to reason some horses are not going to stand up to the test. And that others might just be better cut-out for it – might even relish it….
The historic record tells us that progeny of leading jumps sire Presenting might fall into that last group. At the very least, the numbers tell us his runners are worthy of scrutiny and thought….
The last 14 runners sired by presenting that ran in a Ladbrokes Trophy Chase produced 2 winners and 4 additional placed horses. Another runner finished 5th….
You might not consider those stats anything special. But in the contest of a top chase handicap that always attracts a big field, those figures are outstanding. They suggest any Presenting-sired runner is worthy of inspection in the run up to the race….
That’s all from me for today.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a mixed bag of goodies – including details of ante-post bet I’ve placed at a big price in the Ladbrokes Trophy and all the reasons why....
Until then. Stay tuned.