The table below is sorted by win strike rate and shows the Northern tracks as having the best hit rates, as well as the best profit figures. That’s most likely due to a) their accessibility from the ferry, and b) the volume of relatively poor – and therefore plunder-able – races.
But the Northwest tracks – Chester, Haydock and Carlisle – have a lamentable record. A look at the detail reveals that Chester is responsible for 42 of the 58 NW runs, and just one win; while Haydock runners are 0 from 9. These tracks typically host better class racing and are close enough to justify a ‘social trip’. (I have a share in a horse trained in Ireland and it’s one of our ambitions to get it over for a race at Chester). Carlisle, the third NW course, is 1 from 7 (a 20/1 winner) and has a 43% place strike rate, which fits right in with the remainder of the lower class northern tracks.
So I’d be happy to exclude Chester and Haydock on the basis of the above ‘logic’ (in inverted commas because, while it makes sense to me, it could be argued by others to be illogical).
The other interesting line was the performance of Irish raiders at Southeastern tracks. It’s the furthest they can possibly travel, and the racing is often higher class there. The logic here might be that there’s no point traveling all that way if the horse hasn’t got a chance. Again, others may disagree with that line of reasoning – and it does start to feel like ‘cherry-picking’ – but I’d be happy enough with that.
However, for the purposes of system refinement, I’d be tempted to include only the northern tracks – except Haydock and Chester. The record at York, which I thought might also be poor, is actually very good. So the courses in the revision are:
Ayr Carlisle Catterick Chepstow Doncaster Ffos Las Hamilton
Musselburgh Pontefract Redcar Ripon Thirsk York
[Update 3rd September – removed AW from the rules, and therefore removed Newcastle from the list of courses]
Hope that all makes sense, and seems reasonable. Alongside the above, it will be interesting to track Irish runners in the southeast, and to be wary of them at Haydock and, especially, Chester.