Crowd Report….

March 2019 --

A golden month....

March was a golden month for our notional racing punter who backs all the favourites....

The consensus horses were winning at a rate of knots – getting as close to breaching the 40% win-strike-rate ceiling for the first time since we began monitoring the overall figures six-months ago....

Crowd Report - March 2019

But let’s not get carried away....

Plenty of winners at short prices rarely translate into plenty of profit....

And that was the case in March. Damage was minimal for the betting industry. Our notional level-stakes fav-backing punters banked just over 3 points of profit – a miniscule return on investment of 0.5%....

It ain’t easy to beat the bookie when you play at the top of the market. This much we know for sure....

Of course, as some readers point out, nobody backs all the favourites. And, of course, we know that. We accept and acknowledge the point....

But the overall record does serve to illustrate how efficiently the betting markets work for the layers....

And plenty of punters do back plenty of favourites....

Unless such punters are exceedingly discriminating and very good at separating a winner at a short price from a loser at a short price, the overall record tells us that over time those punters too are likely to fall victim to rigid market efficiency....

The bookies have got it well sewn-up. Fav-backers are the bread and butter of the business. And even when the fav backers get it almost as good as they are ever going to get it  – like they did last month – they still can’t make it pay....

If you were going to try and make fav-backing pay – and I’m not necessarily advising you to do so – one way of discriminating between likely winners and losers at the top of the market is to focus on the success of top-of-the-market horses from individual yards....

A spike in interest in a yard’s horses from the consensus backers – that coincides with the yard delivering on expectation – is something to look out for....

It’s almost impossible to identify the start and the end of such cycles, but these sequences of top-of-the-market form are there to be identified and there will have been plenty of punters who latched onto to Philip Hobbs and his fancied runners during March....

The Somerset handler saddles 21 favs across the 4-week period – winning with 14 and producing a 12-point profit to level stakes....

Nobody would have backed them all of course. But the point is this: there was a period last month where plenty of horses from that yard were being heavily backed and plenty were backing up that faith by winning. There was money to be made somewhere along the way for folk who make a point of looking out for these things....

One trainer ‘on-streak’ right now is Charles Hills. His last 11 favs on the AW have produced 5 winners and 6 points of profit backed to level stakes. His string is going well. His favourites are paying. He could be one to latch onto – if you want to squeeze a bit of profit from the top of the market....

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd