BetHorses.co.uk  Interesting Stuff about Betting on Horses 

Advert A Good First Run In A Bumper
It is at this time of year
my research begins to switch from flat racing to National Hunt. By the
time you read this article, we will be starting to see the flat season
slowing up a little and the National Hunt season gathering a bit of pace.
For many the National Hunt season really gets going in October, but it
is always good to be well prepared!
In this article I am looking
at horses that finished in the first three on their debut in a bumper
(National Hunt flat race). The data is taken from the last full five years
2007 to 2011. From this initial starting point I will be looking at their
subsequent performances, up to a maximum of 12 runs (career runs 2 to
13).
So to begin with let us look
at what happens on subsequent career starts for these runners:
Combining all runs their record
reads 790 wins from 4814 runs (SR 16.4%) for a loss of £568.02 (ROI
11.8%). Clearly there are several runners in the study that have yet
to run a further 12 times, but we still have a decent data set for runners
who have reached at least 13 career starts. The figures are extremely
interesting and perhaps can be seen more clearly when I group the data
thus:
Career runs
8 to 13 have comfortably outperformed runs 2 to 7 – not just in
terms of strike rate, but in terms of returns as well. Why is this? Well,
a possible theory is that horses that perform well on their bumper debut
are subsequently pitched in at a better level too early and it takes the
trainer a few runs to find its actual level. Another theory is that punters
latch onto good performances and hence are prepared to stick with such
runners for a few runs at least. Hence the prices of these horses contract
due to the punter support and offer poor value and produce bigger losses
as a result. Whatever the reason, the data is worth further exploration
and I intend to look at pre 2007 data when I get the time.
Moving on,
let me look at overall trainer performance next and from there see if
there are any trainer angles worth pursuing (I have only used trainers
who have had 60+ runs) :
Four familiar
names at the top of the list – Nicky Henderson, Donald McCain, Paul
Nicholls and Nigel TwistonDavies – and all four showing a profit
with their runners. It makes sense therefore to look at their runners
in a bit more detail.
Nicky
Henderson
– it is interesting to note that Henderson’s
record is in complete contrast with the overall figures. His best stats
come from career runs 2, 3 and 4:
Overall his
stats for these next three runs combine to give 48 wins from 135 runs
(SR 35.6%) for a profit of £52.81 (ROI +39.1%). Indeed, he is no
averse to taking his runners to the top tracks on these next three starts
– his record when going to Grade 1 tracks on career start 2, 3 or
4 reads a tidy 17 wins from 51 (SR 33.3%) for a profit of £34.84
(ROI +68.3%).
It also should
be noted that 36 of the 49 Henderson
runners have gone on to win at least one race after their initial good
debut run. This equates to over 73%.
Donald
McCain – only 3 winners in total behind Henderson,
although he has had more runs overall. He has a similar record to Henderson in terms of the fact that 72% of his runners have gone on to win
after their good debut run – 31 from 43 runners to be precise. Having
said that a few of his runners were not originally in his care for the
debut run – he seems a trainer that is popular in terms of switching
to early in their career. Another point worth noting (for in running punters)
is that his front runners have a far superior record to those runners
that are held up – 34% of his front runners go on to win their race,
while just 11% of his hold up horses eventually prevail.
Paul
Nicholls – a good overall record but I would be wary of backing
his runners on their second career start as only 2 of 17 have won for
a loss of £13.27 (ROI 78.1%). Admittedly this is a small sample
but a trainer of Nicholls’ stature rarely has figures this poor
even from a limited data set. Nicholls also has a poor record when sending
runners to Grade 1 tracks – just 4 wins from 36 (SR 11.1%) for a
loss of £16.13 (ROI 44.8%). Hence it looks best to concentrate
on runners that do NOT race at a Grade 1 track as their record reads a
far more pleasing 20 wins from 68 (SR 29.4%) for a profit of £36.58
(ROI +53.8%).
Nigel
TwistonDavies
– the figures look excellent on the face of it, but a 50/1 has skewed
things rather. However, he would have still made an overall profit without
that winner. It seems to be a positive when Sam TwistonDavies is on board
for his father – 13 wins from 45 (SR 27.9%) for a profit of £28.42
(ROI +63.2%). TwistonDavies is another trainer where in running punters
can gain an edge  14 from his 37 front runners have gone onto win (37.8%)
while of his 18 horses that were held up, none have gone onto win.
Let me now
look at the courses where the horses made their debut to see if there
are any tracks worth noting. I have combined the results of all subsequent
starts from the debut course. Firstly a look at the initial courses that
have produced the best strike rates:
A mix of
tracks in the list, but it is interesting to note that four of the eight
Grade 1 tracks appear on the list, although it should be stressed that
Ascot’s data is limited. Let
me look at courses that have fared less well:
Somewhat
surprising to see Cheltenham with a low striker rate, whereas it is less
of a surprise to see some of the lowest grade tracks such as Hereford,
Plumpton, Sedgefield and Towcester in the list. So despite the Cheltenham
figures, and looking at both tables as a whole, it seems that the quality
of track in terms of debut does make a difference, with generally the
better courses producing better subsequent performances.
All in all the research has been interesting and some patterns certainly seemed to have emerged.


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