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How I Shared £15,100 Amongst Geegeez Readers

Yesterday, myself and a bunch of readers embarked upon an ambitious project. It was an uphill struggle but there were sound reasons to take it on and, ultimately, we were rewarded to the tune of over fifteen thousand pounds between us.

 

The Opportunity

As regular readers will know, I'm always on the lookout for a rollover pool to tilt at. A rollover, lest you're not familiar, is when a previous version of the pool (normally a jackpot - pick six winners - type bet) has not been won meaning there is an amount of cash in the pot before anybody has placed a bet. Sunday was one such occasion and, with two very short favourites, it looked a four - or at least four-and-a-half - leg bet, with £40,000 in 'free money' in the rollover.

Naturally, such opportunities are not lost on the general public, and this was by far the best-supported pool of Colossus Bet's embryonic racing offering, some 23,000 £2 units staked on top of the rollover. That made for a £55,134 jackpot to aim at, with consolations for five or four out of six.

Having gone close last week with five out of six, the miss being in a race where I'd noted the very strong support in the morning for the winner, I was determined - perhaps overly determined - to make amends this week.

One of the benefits of the multi-day festival meetings in Ireland is that casual players of Irish racing like myself can get a feel for how tracks ride, the level of horses that compete, and any nuances in the constitution. In the case of Tramore, the tight right-handed track favours horses who can be close to the pace on the final circuit; it has moderate fare when compared with the Grade A tracks; and I've yet to see a horse beaten when leading from the turn in to the second last!

One of my Colossus syndicates had copped a few quid on the Friday evening Tramore placepot, which helped confidence if nothing else, and I loaded up on an aggressive part-permutation. I use an approach called ABCX, about which I've written here, and I had a basic tool built to facilitate the ticket calculations, which you can check out here.

 

The Bet

The upshot of all that was a 24 ticket perm which cost £1,874.50 in total. Now, before you go thinking, "Well that's just ridiculous, I could never afford that", I wouldn't make a bet like that on my own either. As a syndicate captain, I'm obliged to take 10%. In this case, I was tempted to take 20% - ah, wonderful hindsight - but didn't, and geegeez readers took up the other 90% of the perm, which is shown in full below.

Our Tramore Pick 6 perm

Now, before I go on, I just want to say that, because of the nature of this bet - across many tickets - and the Colossus platform, which only allows 'investors' to buy into a single ticket at a time, there will be some people reading this and feeling a little miffed as a result of getting in on losing tickets rather than the 'golden ticket'.

A while ago I suggested to the team at Colossus that they make a multi-ticket syndicate option available, but the reality is that the development overhead is probably bigger than the general market appetite for such a feature, which in short means it's unlikely to happen.

But I did want to flag this point, and to say hard luck to those who were left or right of the winning ticket.

The flip side of that coin is that I know of at least a couple of people, who take a few pennies/percent of all the tickets, and were rewarded accordingly. It's a bit of a faff, but then one of us had to work out the perm, and enter all of those tickets without making a mistake! (And that one is fairly prone to making such mistakes!!)

 

How It Played Out

Syndicates filled, then, and it was time for the opening race, a maiden hurdle. Wullie Millins had a hotpot with Wuby Ralsh widing, and Karl Der Grosse obliged, returning 8/15. As you can see from my tickets, I bottled the chance to bank on this one - it's a long afternoon for a syndicate watching the rest of the bet win after fluffing the first - but I was smart enough to include both racecard number and 'fav' on my 'A' lines, essentially giving double stakes going forwards. (That is, both horse number 11 and FAV were winning selections on the tickets on which they appeared).

22,939 units went into the pot, and 13,601 units emerged from the opener still breathing.

Race two was a trickier affair - much trickier. It was a 16-runner 0-95 handicap hurdle, where obvious form was a serious rarity. I'd watched a couple of market moves, and had noted a couple of things, one positive and one negative, which helped to frame the play in the race, sub-optimally as it transpired.

The positive note was a move for Every Chance, an Irish-trained horse which had qualified for a mark by unusually running four times in British maiden and novice hurdles. Job job, thought I, until I saw it drift like the proverbial canal boat to 16/1 in the pre-race market. As it happened, he ran a corker and, but for horlicksing the last would have been at least second - as opposed to third.

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The winner was a Gavin Cromwell-trained handicap debutant, the sort of horse I love and generally make top table material in such dire heats as this. But, ol' GC has been having a lamentable time of it. He had the red 14 and 30 indicators by his name, and closer inspection revealed zero winners from more than 30 runners in August. That put me off - and put me away to some degree - as Moonball, the lad in question, was downgraded to B status.

Moonball was a fair winner of a bad race, with fellow B ticketer and 16/1 shot, Desertmore Dreamer, rounding out the exacta. What with Every Chance completing the tricast - not that I'd play such a bet in such a race in a billion years - it was a two grand trio of 8/1, 16/1, 16/1. We had the 10/1 fourth on B tickets as well. Academic.

This made a big dent in the surviving tickets, the pool truncating from 13,601 to 1,283. Still plenty of opposition, though, even if there were four legs to go. All four had solid looking tops to their markets but, as I've discovered this week, what looks solid at Tramore is often somewhat more flaccid than first meets the eye.

Leg three would bring us to half way, and it was a second maiden hurdle and an open goal for Willie's Getareason, sent off at 1/5. I was spineless here, in truth. It was an obvious 'single' (i.e. banker), but I put B tickets in with the only credible market rival, Zaofu. He was 4/1, and it was 16/1 bar them. About a sixth of the total bet stake was lost on Zaofu, and that probably wasn't smart: in such bets as these you have to 'go narrow' where the opportunity lends itself and this was such a prospect. Whilst it wouldn't have changed my overall unit staking of the bet, it would have reduced the number losers and may have allowed the promotion of a horse such as Moonball back to 'A'. That said, I doubt it: I was happy to field against Cromwell's conqueror in the trainer form circumstances.

1,283 went into that race and 1,038 emerged unscathed as the half time whistle was metaphorically blown.

The second half kicked off with a beginners' chase where the market, and I, made it pretty much a two horse race. But I've seen this film before, earlier in the week, where Tramore has something of a 'Fakenham effect' on some form horses. One of the pair, Osco Mosco, was never at the races, looking somewhere between working towards a mark and horribly unsuited to the track - probably both. The other, Conduct Yourself, who looked the more likely play and was sent off at 6/4 in the end, resented the track and did fairly well to run second in my view. Of course, that has to be taken in the context of the yaks he faced, least yakky of which was Dawn In The Park, a horse I didn't especially fancy (actually, I really didn't fancy it, but it was shorter in the morning and nibbled at which was enough to scrape onto B, where I thought Holly Flight was the most likely to get the upset). Dawn In The Park made all, at 10/1.

It obviously wasn't lucky because the horse was on the tickets, but DITP certainly wasn't my idea of a form winner. Nor, it seemed, was it many other people's, as the remaining units shrunk from 1,038 to just 64.7.

If that was the good news, the bad news was that our permutation was seriously short-stacked: down to just one ticket, number 16.

Just one ticket left, and a banker in leg five....

 

A banker in leg five, a handicap chase, seems a very brave play given I'd adding company to the 8/15 poke in the opening maiden hurdle. But Mill Quest was lobbed in old hurdle form where he'd won three of his last five and elevated from a mark in the 90's to one in the 120's in the process. Here he raced off 105. True, his prior chase form was not great, but then neither had his prior hurdle form. Long and short, he won well and gave us few moments of concern.

64.7 arrived at leg five, and now just 20 units would scrap it out in the final race for a share of the £55,134 spoils. As you can see above, ticket 16 was a 50p unit stake ticket, but that double line in leg 1 meant we had £1 (equivalent to half of the declared dividend) running on to three horses.

The breakdown in the pool looked like this:

Tramore Pick 6 final leg breakdown

Tramore Pick 6 final leg breakdown

 

Icelip was a well supported favourite in the morning, and there had also been plenty of money for Bellgrove, second in the race last year, with Dark Outsider looking like a form play to my eye. I'd taken a raft of others on B tickets but had already used up my two 'B' lives in races two and four, so we were all in on these three.

Confidence pre-race was not high: Icelip was usurped for favouritism by Native Lass, and both Bellgrove and Dark Outsider slid alarmingly in price on course. But I recalled the Optionality experience at the Curragh a week earlier and wasn't about to press the panic cashout button now.

Icelip carried 5.47 units, which was worth just north of £10,000 per winning ticket. Our half a ticket would have scooped £5,000. The other pair both had 1.87 units riding, 0.5 of which was ours in each case. Those less likely outcomes were worth £14,741.71 plus consolation bits and pieces to us. Crikey and, erm, yum!

Icelip, our main hope, was given a waiting ride out back. This, I'd noted, had not been a percentage play all week at Tramore and with a few tumblers hampering his progress, he never really threatened prior to departing at the second last himself.

Dark Outsider and Bellgrove were both ridden more prominently. But the former was never really going that well and dropped out tamely in the final third of the race. So it was down to the sweet-travelling Bellgrove under the best handicap chase jockey riding, Davy Russell, to bring it home. He had alternated the lead with a few others from the outset and, as they approached the home turn, Russell scooted up the inner on his agile conveyance in what was a race-winning manoeuvre. He still had to jump the last and he still had to repel the gallant but ultimately futile rally of favourite, Native Lass. Those he did, and the bunce was ours!

The winning ticket - my 10% of it anyway...

But wait, we need to wait for the weigh in. Although this happened within the usual fifteen minutes post-race, its reporting took almost an hour and, thus, the final result remained unofficial for that same duration. I'd calmed my nerves by noting that Tote Ireland had paid out their (measly €5,800 no rollover) Pick 6 dividend some time earlier so figured we were safe. But, all the same, I wouldn't have minded an earlier confirmation of the same!

We copped £15,100 for a £1,875 bet. Some will say that it's hardly a huge return on investment, and I have no truck with that. But my £187.45 stake returned £1,510 and loads of others picked up sums ranging from a hundred to a thousand quid: there were 18 of us on that £67.50 ticket.

As importantly, it didn't half brighten an otherwise uninspiring afternoon's punting!

Matt

p.s. If you're not playing Colossus pools, you don't know what you're missing. There is value in these pools daily, and I offer syndicates most days in the place pools, and occasionally in the win pools when the rollover looks worth it. Click here and quote GEEGEEZ to join the fun. (They'll even match your bet value in the first 72 hours of your account if you mention us in the Refer A Friend box, up to the value of £100 - which is nice).

The Importance of Pace in 5f Handicaps: Part 5

This is the fifth instalment in a series of articles looking at pace bias in 5f handicaps, writes Dave Renham. In previous articles (the first of which is at this link, subsequent ones linked to from there) I have looked at a variety of angles including examining courses, as some offer a stronger front running bias than others; I have looked at the Geegeez pace ratings and how top rated pace horses have performed in terms of win percentages and profit/losses; I have also looked at predicting pace.

The Actual Front Runner

In this article I am going to focus solely on the actual early leader (front runner) of each race to see whether there are any patterns or decent angles that can be gleaned from the data. I have looked at 200 races once again focusing on handicap races with 6 or more runners. I have not used races where it was unclear who led early (this happens roughly 3 times in every 100 races). At this juncture, it is important for me to note that I term the front runner or early leader to be the horse that takes the lead within the first furlong. If a horse has led for 50yds and then is overtaken I assume the front runner to be the horse that took the lead after 50yds, not the horse that led just for 50yds. For the record in most sprint handicaps the horse that takes the lead in the opening strides is still leading after 1 furlong.

My first idea was to look at the leaders and what their position had been in the Geegeez pace ratings. To recap, horses on the Geegeez pace-card have their last four runs highlighted with the most recent run to the left and each horse has an individual total for their last four runs. 16 is the maximum score and 4 the minimum (this is assuming they have had at least 4 career runs).

To begin with I decided to split the runners into “thirds” like I have done in the past for draw bias. Hence in a 12-runner race, pace rated 1 to 4 would lie in the top “third” of the pace ratings, those rated 5 to 8 in the middle “third”, and those rated 9 to 12 in the bottom “third”. It should also be noted that I also adjust the pace positions when there are non-runners – for example in a 10 runner race if the 3rd highest pace rated horse is a non-runner, then the horse rated 4th becomes 3rd, 5th rated becomes 4th rated, etc. Here then are the figures where the leaders/front runners came from in the pace ratings broken into ‘thirds’:

Top third of pace ratings Middle third of pace ratings Bottom third of pace ratings
69.5% 24% 6.5%

 

As you can see the early leader came from the top ‘third’ of the pace ratings roughly 7 races in 10; in addition horses from the bottom third of the pace ratings took the early lead just once in every 15 races on average. This is a positive result – perhaps the result we might expect, but it is good to see that the Geegeez pace ratings clearly help in terms of pinpointing the area where we are most likely to find the actual front runner. It is also interesting to note that in races of 12 or more runners the early leader came from the top third of the pace ratings just under 75% of the time; in races of 8 runners or less this figure dropped to 64%. This suggests, albeit with relatively limited data that using the pace ratings to try and find the front runner works best in bigger fields.

To add some more ‘meat to the bones’ I have split the pace ratings into halves rather than thirds and the table below shows the breakdown:

Top half of pace ratings Bottom half of pace ratings
85.5% 14.5%

 

Hence, when you are trying to predict the front runner in a 5f handicap, the Geegeez pace ratings look the best starting point. If you can essentially narrow the potential front running candidates down to 50% of the field or less, you are giving yourself a much better chance of predicting the early leader.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, front runners in sprints over this minimum trip do have a huge edge – in this sample 22.5% of all races were won by the early leader and 51.5% of front runners made the first three. Hence the more often we can successfully predict the front runner the better.

In terms of the 200 early leaders in this sample, I next looked at their last two races and combining these last two pace figures (maximum of 8). Here are the findings:

Pace total (last two runs) Number of races ‘led’
8 47
7 44
6 50
5 37
4 16
3 2
2 4

 

Thus, 70.5% of all leaders had scored 6, 7 or 8 points in total when combining their last two pace scores. This data has a similar pattern to the top ‘third’ data for the last four races, as one would expect.

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Just imagine if you were able to predict the front runner in every race - you would make a huge profit. Indeed if you could achieve this correct prediction around 70% of the time I would estimate you would still make very healthy profit; remembering even if the horse you picked as the front runner does not actually lead, it can still win!

In my fourth pace article I noted that just under 40% of top pace rated horses did actually lead; I did not though look at horses that were 2nd or 3rd pace rated. This time I have, and in 146 of the 200 races (73%) the early leader had been in the top three of the Geegeez pace ratings.

As I hope you can see, the Geegeez pace ratings do give an excellent indication of pace set up in a race. Whether you use the top third method; the last two runs method, or the top 3 in the ratings method.

 

In Play Options

There are of course other punting options in terms of front running ideas. One such idea is to trade the front runner ‘in play’. The argument for this approach is logical – front runners lose around 3 and a half times more often than they win so why not trade? Horses that lead in 5f handicaps generally contract in price so why not try to make the most of this fact? Now you could trade to achieve a free bet – eg back the horse at 11.0 pre-race and lay in play at 6.0. If the horses loses you get your stake back; if it wins you have a winning bet at 5/1.

Another option for traders is ‘dobbing’ - dobbing is a term I came across a few years back – I am not sure where it originates from, but basically ‘DOB’ means ‘double or bust’. Essentially if our bet/trade is successful, we double our original stake, if it is not successful we ‘bust’ or lose our stake. It may be easier to explain by giving you an example:

Let us imagine you back a horse pre-race at 8.0 for £10; in order to create a potential DOB you try and lay at half the odds for double the stake – so a lay at 4.0 for £20. If the horse hits 4.0 or lower in running, your lay bet will be matched and regardless of the result you will win £10 (less commission). Here is the simple maths behind the two potential winning outcomes - if the horse goes onto win the race you get £70 returned from the ‘back’ part of the bet; you lose £60 on the ‘lay’ part of the bet giving you that £10 profit; if the horse does not go onto win, you lose your £10 stake from the ‘back’ bet, but gain £20 from the lay stake – again giving you a £10 profit. Naturally, if the lay part of the bet is not matched you will lose your £10.

There are other ‘in play’ trading methods/options/ideas when it comes to front runners, but I don’t want to get bogged down looking at too many of these. Suffice to say, front runners tend to contract in price; some see their price drop dramatically.

In relation to this, one thing I wanted to look at was at what point was the early front runner overtaken? The longer a leader leads over 5f, in general the shorter the price will become ‘in play’. Here are my findings:

 

At what point was the front runner overtaken? % of leaders
Not overtaken (led all the way) 22.5
Overtaken in final half furlong (within 110 yds of the finish) 14
Overtaken between the furlong pole and half a furlong from the finish 19
Overtaken 1.5f from the finish to the furlong pole 23
Overtaken between the 2 furlong pole and 1 and half a furlongs from the finish 13
Overtaken before the 2 furlong pole 8.5

 

This should make pleasing reading for would be ‘in play traders’ – over 55% of front runners are still leading at the furlong pole; nearly 80% are leading 1.5 furlongs from the finish. There will be many of you reading this who have seen your horse lead at the furlong pole only to get swallowed up or beaten close home; perhaps now you have a trading option/idea which could potentially take away some of that pain in the future!

 

Actual front runners by odds

Finally, I looked at the prices of the horses that led early. Here is a breakdown:

  • There were 61 leaders that started 5/1 or less;
  • There were 52 leaders that started between 11/2 and 9/1;
  • There were 51 leaders that started between 10/1 and 16/1;
  • There were 36 leaders that started 18/1 or bigger.

So a relatively even split. Again this is almost certainly good news for ‘in play’ traders as there is excellent scope for trading front runners that start big prices. Indeed of those bigger priced runners (18/1 or bigger) 17 of the 36 were still leading at the furlong pole (a handful of these went onto win).

I hope you have found this article interesting and given you further food for thought. Maybe there should be a Geegeez competition next flat season to see who can pick pre-race the highest percentage of front runners in 5f handicaps. In fact it doesn’t have to be restricted to 5f races – maybe 5 to 7f races. Anyway, one for Matt to think about perhaps!

- Dave Renham

Monday Musings: Doolan Seizes Her Opportunity

When you watch racing on television, it is not unusual to disagree with the comments of some presenters, writes Tony Stafford. On Saturday afternoon, a few minutes after 5.15 p.m., the always contentious James Willoughby came out with to my mind the most preposterous statement of his televisual career in company with Nick Luck on Racing UK.

Leading up to the lady riders’ Flat handicap which concluded matters at the end of Newbury’s Hungerford Stakes and Ladies Day card, he extolled the claims of the David Pipe-trained Dell’Arca, at the same time disbelieving that he started at 7-1, having drifted alarmingly in the betting from an opening 4-1.

The nine-year-old, successful in his previous hurdle race by half a dozen lengths off 142 at Uttoxeter and now rated 149, lined up in the mile and a half contest off 76, 73lb less than the hurdles figure when the normally-accepted difference is between 40lb and 50lb.

Like me, Willoughby believed that to be a winning mark and so it proved. The difference between us, though, was that while I judged that rider Siobhan Doolan had done well to bring the gelding through in the closing stages for a length and a bit win, Willoughby thought otherwise.

His judgment was that had Ms Doolan been a “little more experienced”, Dell’Arca “would have won by 20 lengths”. Certainly if she had been a little better-known, the market might have been less pessimistic. In between the acknowledged Willoughby analytical expertise of many racing matters over the years, there’s also been an occasional hint of controversy in his utterings, but this was one of the more ridiculous statements I’ve heard.

The ten-strong field had gone off at a fast pace, with half the line-up pushing towards the front and Siobhan taking her time two from the back. The field tightened up around the three furlong pole, and as the back pair moved up towards his outside, Dell’Arca could easily have found it difficult to get a clear run.

First his rider made a quick, diagonal move through an initial space to tag onto the front half of the field, and then, coming to the last furlong, switched him through another narrow gap in between the three leaders before clinching victory under a strong ride.

Willoughby’s assertion that Ms Doolan is inexperienced implies her to be incompetent, but this obscures the fact that she has been around and ridden racehorses all her life. Admittedly, in terms of race riding on the flat and over jumps she has found it difficult to get mounts and indeed was surprised when her call to David Pipe last week resulted in this fortuitous engagement. Over the years she has ridden out for many trainers but does not have the luxury of full-time stable work and available race-action unlike some of Saturday’s opponents.

Apparently on her enquiry, the trainer called the Mick Channon stable, where she has been a frequent work rider over the past couple of years since completing her degree course at Oxford Brooks University, and they were happy to recommend her.

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Now she works in the bloodstock insurance business, but in her late teens Siobhan was the leading novice female point-to-point rider in the north. In the interim, rides under both codes and also in points have been elusive, but Saturday’s success in the race was not her first. She won the corresponding race on the Sheena West-trained Hi Note with an all-the-way success five years ago. As she told me with a hint of embarrassment yesterday: “That was my last winner!”

Dell’Arca certainly has been a talented performer over the years and some of his best runs have been at Newbury. Following a three-race Flat career in France, and three more outings over hurdles there as a young horse, he joined the Pipe stable for the small matter of €280,000. Dell’Arca was successful in his first British run, winning the valuable Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham before finishing runner-up to Splash of Ginge in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. Later in his career, he was a creditable runner-up to subsequent Gold Cup hero Coneygree in a novice chase there and last winter ran home a six-length hurdle winner over Newbury’s three miles.

The snag with the Willoughby (and indeed my) expectation of victory was that on his only previous Flat-race run in the UK, assessed on those embryonic French runs three years earlier, Dell’Arca ran in a 14-furlong Salisbury handicap off 78 under Ryan Moore. He started 6-4 favourite and finished a 15-length sixth of seven, so 76 might not in retrospect have been such an obvious bargain.

Three years earlier, Ray Tooth’s Fair Trade, formerly tenth in the 2,000 Guineas behind Makfi  (just behind St Nicholas Abbey!) and then winner of a jumpers’ bumper for Alan King and two novice hurdle races, also ran off 78 in the same Salisbury race and finished miles behind.

The coincidence is that Fair Trade ended up in the ownership of Ms Doolan when trained by her grandfather Wilf Storey. Her father, Kevin Doolan, was based with Storey for much of the 1990’s. She rode Fair Trade on the Flat and over jumps as well as in point-to-points, but with no success. Since 2013 when Hi Note won, Siobhan had only seven Flat rides before Saturday, none in either 2014/15 and 15/16 and five the following season, including two on Fair Trade. Last year, the gelding found a new life as a riding horse in the Midlands.

Whatever Willoughby’s opinion, I reckon Ms Doolan should be proud of her efforts on Saturday. It took opportunism both to secure the mount and then to squeeze through two gaps without inconveniencing any of her rivals. It will be interesting to see what happens when Dell’Arca turns out again on the Flat because there is no doubt that a mile and a half should be nowhere near the limit of his stamina.

-

After a year of utter frustration for the Ray Tooth team, long-overdue rain at Newmarket enabled the Hughie Morison-trained Sod’s Law to make only his second run on turf on Friday night. He competed in a 0-75 all-aged handicap off the top figure, so conceded 11lb (less weight for age) to the twice previously winning favourite Little Jo and 19lb (again less wfa) to runner-up Gala Celebration.

He ran a good third, tiring late on after looking a possible winner at the furlong pole, with the rest of the 15-strong line-up strung out behind him. Before Friday, three of his four runs – one as a juvenile – had been at Kempton and the other at Windsor, where the track and fast ground were unsuitable. Fran Berry reported him as “not the finished article”.

His older half-brother Dutch Law secured his first career win as a three-year-old on the July Course and followed up with two more and some other good runs there the following summer. He also won a £50k handicap over Ascot’s straight mile. Sod’s Law has been entered for this Friday in a three-year-old race over course and distance, but it will probably be a case of his name having the last say as the ground may well dry out again. That said, he’ll probably be better next year anyway if his brother’s example means anything

At Newbury, I bumped into Best Mate’s trainer Henrietta Knight and asked her for the first time about Ray’s home-bred Apres Le Deluge, an easy bumper winner last December at Hereford for Morrison. Henrietta had him for his initial schooling over jumps before the gelding went off for his summer break, and hopes to welcome him back before Hughie launches him on a jumping career in the autumn.

“I absolutely loved him. He was such a natural and we called him Apple!” she said. What with him and Telltale, switched to Dan Skelton from Channon where Siobhan Doolan rode him quite often in the mornings, we’ll be hoping for some winter success. That’s not to suggest there’s another Punjabi waiting to appear, but you never know! Watch out Dan, Siobhan might be on the phone offering her services!

- Tony Stafford

Stat of the Day, 20th August 2018

Saturday's Pick was...

2.45 Newmarket : Staxton @ 5/1 BOG 3rd at 3/1 (Tracked leader, ridden to chase winner over 1f out, hung left under pressure entering final furlong, lost 2nd towards finish)

Monday's pick goes in the...

4.50 Leicester :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Ninjago 10/3 BOG

In a 9-runner, Class 5, Flat Handicap for 3yo+ over 6f on Good to Firm ground worth £3752 to the winner...

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Why?

Not entirely disgraced last time out when fourth in a far better contest, this gelding now drops 2 classes to run here off a mark a pound lower than LTO.

His trainer, Paul Midgely, is in good form right now with a record of 7 winners from 29 (24.1% SR) producing profits of 20pts at an ROI of 68.9% over the last fortnight, whilst the past 7 days have yielded 4 winners from 17 (23.5% SR) and 13.57pts (+79.8% ROI) profit.

This recent good form doesn't surprise me as Paul is one the trainers featured in my "Late Summer Handicaps" micro-system, which in Paul's case focuses on his record in Class 3-5, Flat handicaps in August/September.

Over the last 5 (including this one) seasons, such runners are 28 from 170 (16.47% SR) for 122pts (+71.8% ROI) profit, from which...

  • over 5/6 furlongs : 27/157 (17.2%) for 126.8pts (+80.7%)
  • males : 25/140 (17.9%) for 135.7pts (+96.9%)
  • with an OR of 70-95 : 25/130 (19.2%) for 141.2pts (+108.6%)
  • 4-10 yr olds : 24/126 (19.1%) for 140pts (+111.1%)
  • over 6f : 9/62 (14.5%) for 39.7pts (+64%)
  • at Class 5 : 11/58 (19%) for 38.9pts (+67.1%)
  • 9-15 days since last run : 14/67 (20.9%) for 98.9pts (+147.6%)
  • on Good to Firm : 7/45 (15.6%) for 45.9pts (+102%)
  • and off a mark 1lb lower than LTO : 6/30 (20%) for 27.5pts (+91.8%)

...AND from the above...it's clear that 4 to 10 yr old males racing over 5 to 6 furlongs off marks of 70 to 95 seem to do the best and such runners are 20 from 93 (21.5% SR) for profits of 147.6pts at an ROI of some 158.7%.

These 93 can be further broken down as before...

  • over 6f : 8/49 (16.3%) for 46.7pts (+95.2%)
  • at Class 5 : 6/15 (40%) for 46.3pts (+308.6%)
  • 9-15 days since last run : 10/40 (25%) for 102.6pts (+256.5%)
  • on Good to Firm : 7/27 (25.9%) for 63.9pts (+236.8%)
  • and off a mark 1lb lower than LTO : 3/17 (17.7%) for 19pts (+111.7%)

...all pointing to...a 1pt win bet on Ninjago 10/3 BOGa price offered by SkyBet, 10Bet and SportPesa (as at 6.05pm on Sunday). Those able to do so, should consider the 4/1 BOG or 7/2 BOG offered by Bet365/Betway respectively.To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 4.50 Leicester

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

SotD Update, 13th to 18th August 2018

It's a bit like groundhog day today, reporting on a second successive wipeout, I'm afraid. 3 placers from 6 runners, yet none of them could do enough to either hold on to the lead or have the pace in the closing stages to catch the leaders.

It's an incredibly frustrating and costly time right now, but I'm still confident things will come our way again. We've had poor runs before and we'll have them again in the future.

Selections & Results : 13/08/18 to 18/04/18

13/08 : Acadian Angel @ 11/4 BOG 3rd at 3/1
14/08 : Air of York @ 3/1 BOG 4th at 7/1 
15/08 : Pot Luck @ 3/1 BOG 5th at 7/2
16/08 : Kinglami @ 11/4 BOG 4th at 4/1
17/08 : Major Partnership @ 3/1 BOG 3rd at 3/1
18/08 : Staxton @ 5/1 BOG 3rd at 3/1

13/08/18 to 18/04/18 :
0 winning bet from 6 = 0.00% SR
P/L: -6.00pts

August 2018 :
0 winners from 15 = 0.00% SR
P/L: -15.00pts
ROI = -100.00%

2018 to date :
42 winners from 183 = 22.95% SR
P/L: +7.31pts
ROI = +3.99%

Overall:
565 winners from 2068 = 27.32% S.R
P/L: +495.10pts
ROI: +23.94%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

And here is the full story from 2017.

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take your £1, 30-day trial right now?

Click here for more details.

2018/19 Football Season Preview

It's started already, I know, and it's not on topic, I know... but it has become customary for me to share my season bets on these pages, for better or worse.

Two seasons ago, we 'got the lot' as a perm trixie landed all four elements (one relegation from Prem, one promotion from Championship, two promotion from League Two). Last season, we got nothing; a pretty poor start and the selected teams - Watford in the Prem for relegation, Boro for promotion from the Championship - never really threatened to do as wagered.

This season's bet has a similar look to it: a side to be relegated from the Premiership, one or both of two teams to be promoted from League Two, and a team to be promoted from League One (which is a deviation from the usual team to be promoted from the Championship, that division looking fiercely competitive this season - again, some may argue).

My team to be relegated from the Premiership is Huddersfield at 5/4. They started last season on fire which gave them enough of a head start to survive in 16th place. Not comfortable then, but certainly sufficient. This market is always about how you view the promoted sides, all three of which stayed up last term, and my take is that Cardiff will probably go back down but both Fulham and Wolves have enough about them to beat the drop.

Thus we're playing for two spots. While Watford, who have started well, may again be flirting with danger, and Burnley - if they get into the Europa League proper - will have a lot of games for a small squad, and Southampton's defensive frailties are likely to be exposed by Mark Hughes' inept and gung-ho style of 'management', and of course Bournemouth's similar trait for conceding poor goals, means it is an open enough race... I feel Udders may not have done enough recruitment-wise to freshen up what was a relegation squad in the second half of last season (15 points from 19 games, only Stoke's 14 mainly under the lamentable Hughes was poorer).

Huddersfield got whacked 3-0 on the opening day by Chelsea but, as coach Wagner correctly said afterwards, those are not the games they have to win. Nevertheless it was hardly a confidence booster going into Sunday's match away at... Manchester City! Oof. Of course, it gets easier thereafter, with home games against Cardiff and Crystal Palace before the end of September. Those will already be circled as 'must win' fixtures because with home games against Spurs and Liverpool as well as four more away fixtures comprising their opening ten Premier League games to the end of October, the die may already be cast by the end of that period.

In League One, I've pushed on an open door, hoping it doesn't lead to a haunted house. True, Sunderland at 19/20 have many skeletons in their closet, and the ghosts of past failures remain; but they've moved on most of the blood- (or cash-)sucking Carlos Kickabouts and have a young, hungry - and talented - squad under a similarly described manager in Jack Ross.

An early exit from the Carabao Cup last night supplemented a win and a draw in their opening league fixtures, in what has been a pretty moderate beginning. Of course, the fact they've taken four points from six while not playing well and while the team is meshing together is a positive: they will improve, and have a home game against Scunthorpe, whose record is exactly the same thus far, to get to seven from nine.

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It's an uninspiring choice, I grant you, but they look sure to be thereabouts come the end of the season and, if needing personnel to finish the job, will have their pick of the loan options in January. In spite of the price, I happen to think they offer a sliver of value.

Down to League Two where my two against the field are Lincoln City and Notts County, both at 2/1 for promotion. The key to League Two promotion betting is that there are three automatic spots, therefore playoff positions go down to seventh place. So, ideally, we're looking for both City and County to get into the top three, but there's a fairly broad safety net in that playoff quartet.

The case for Lincoln is easy enough to make: they were miles the best in the Conference two seasons back, and nearly did the double jump before being found out by a very good Exeter side in the playoffs last campaign. Since then, they've added more firepower in John Akinde and are blitzing teams just now. A good 1-0 away win at Northampton on the opening day has been followed by a 4-1 thumping of Swindon and a 4-0 away win at Port Vale in the Carablahblah Cup. True, I'd have preferred them to have gone out of that competition, but with fresh legs at this stage of the season, confidence will be stratospheric just now. Away to Grimsby is the next assignment in what is something of a local derby.

Notts County were a bit of a wise guy pick this season, my mate Gazza being one of the wiser guys and having invested accordingly. I admit that I largely followed him in blindly. They've started poorly - a draw and a loss - but nobody is pressing the panic button yet. They play Yeovil tonight where a focus on improving defensively is the obvious route to a better result, having conceded three against both Cambridge and Middlesbrough in their last two games.

Mine are £50 trixies - two of them, meaning I've duplicated the Huddersfield/Sunderland double - for a possible return of £3,015 (£400 staked). That Huddersfield/Sunderland double will return stakes, meaning either/or from League Two would be gravy, IF the first two get their respective jobs done.

Here's hoping!

Matt

p.s. what are your long-term footy season bets? Leave a comment and let us know...

And the winner is…

I recently invited geegeez.co.uk readers to submit an article by way of applying to write on the site on a more regular basis. The brief was that the article should be well-researched, cover an interesting angle, and have its rationale teased out. I received a dozen entries, and these were my top three. See if you agree...

3rd place: Adam Hills - 'No Name Trainer Track Angles'

Anyone who has ever dabbled in having a flutter on the geegeez (pun intended) will be familiar with the phrase “horses for courses” and there is merit in awarding mental ticks to horses who are able to demonstrate favorable (and profitable) form at any given course. What is perhaps less obvious is the idea of “trainers for courses”. 

The aim of this series would be to put a handful of trainers under the spotlight to investigate their historical trends in terms of the performance both on a course-by-course basis but also drilling much deeper into associated micro-angles. The basis for this article was derived using the pre-defined reports on the GeeGeez website.

These angles specifically focus on some of the perceived unfashionable trainers who I feel often fly under the radar and therefore offer significant value in the market.

Here is an example: Derek Shaw, running a handicapper at Chelmsford - boasts a record of 36 winners from 263 runners since 13th August 2013 (5 years). Those 36 winners returned a pleasing but not earth shattering +9.29 win PL to a pound stake. If you drill into that just a little deeper and remove any horse aged 2 or 3, then that win PL figure jumps up to +36.79 with 33 winners from 205 runners. Scratch at the surface just that little harder by adding a further condition of those horses who carried a higher weight (9-04+) and we see some quite astounding results:

  • 22 winners from 75 runners;
  • a strike rate of 29.3%;
  • a win PL of +84.79 (to £1 stake at SP);
  • an ROI of +113.1%;

The Derek Shaw’s of this world cannot compete with the powerhouse trainers of this world, but they have their place and they have their day.

 

2nd place: Richard Hunt - Jockey Performance by Distance

In horse racing, a lot of time is spent by so-called experts looking at a horse’s breeding. This will hopefully infer whether the horse will be a sprinter, middle distance runner, or need three and a half miles around Ffos Las in the mud.

In this article, I wanted to look at the person on top i.e. the jockey, and whether the jockey’s performance is related to the distance of a race. In many other sports, the competitor is good at a specific distance: for example, Usain Bolt is the world’s fastest over distances up to around 200 metres but wouldn’t stay four miles in the proverbial horsebox. Similarly, in cycling, some guys are all about sprints while others need the Tour de France to show their best form.

Hence I have looked at how jockeys perform by distance of a race. There are obviously a lot of variables involved and in order to reduce the variation as much as possible some restrictions have been used in the dataset.

I am only considering handicap flat races in the UK that were run on turf since the start of 2015. We are all aware that some novice and maiden races are often used for teaching a young or inexperienced horse and so might not have the cut and thrust of a handicap. Currently handicaps form the majority of races on a typical mid-week card so it is not a great restriction in terms of numbers. The other consideration is getting sufficient number of rides in a particular category and as such I have grouped races distances into three categories:

Sprint: up to 7.5 furlongs

Middle: from 7.5 furlongs to 10.5 furlongs

Long: anything above 10.5 furlongs.

The resulting analysis is shown in the table below. Jockeys in alphabetic order by first name.

 

  Long Middle Sprint Long Middle Sprint Long Middle Sprint
Jockey A/E A/E A/E Strike Rate(%) Strike Rate(%) Strike Rate(%) ROI to SP ROI to SP ROI to SP
Adam Kirby 0.8 1.2 1.1 11 16 14 -47 -2 -7
Andrew Mullen 1.2 1.0 1.0 11 7 8 -14 -6 -18
B A Curtis 1.0 0.8 1.1 13 9 13 -4 -49 -14
Daniel Tudhope 1.1 1.2 1.0 19 18 15 -6 10 8
David Allan 1.3 1.2 1.0 19 16 12 42 7 -15
David Probert 1.0 0.9 1.2 12 10 15 -44 -21 16
F M Berry 0.9 1.2 0.9 12 13 10 -24 -1 -23
Franny Norton 0.9 1.2 0.9 14 17 11 -49 9 -17
Graham Lee 1.0 1.0 0.8 10 10 8 18 -30 -39
James Sullivan 1.7 1.0 0.9 14 8 9 42 -13 -27
Jamie Spencer 1.0 1.0 1.2 18 14 16 -9 12 3
Jason Hart 1.0 0.9 1.1 11 8 12 -4 -31 -5
Jim Crowley 1.1 1.2 1.1 16 19 17 -12 -4 3
Joe Fanning 1.2 1.0 0.9 21 13 11 15 -20 -19
Josephine Gordon 1.4 0.9 0.9 15 10 9 21 -25 -38
Luke Morris 0.8 1.0 0.9 15 12 9 -35 -37 -21
Nathan Evans 0.5 1.2 1.4 4 13 12 -70 -11 -5
Oisin Murphy 0.8 1.0 0.9 13 14 10 -20 -10 -34
P J McDonald 1.1 1.4 1.2 13 14 13 -12 1 3
Paul Hanagan 0.9 1.0 1.0 10 13 13 -40 -14 -12
Paul Mulrennan 0.9 1.0 1.0 11 10 11 -36 -23 -29
Phillip Makin 0.8 1.0 0.9 12 11 10 -21 -18 -33
Richard Kingscote 1.3 1.4 0.9 18 19 12 14 18 -12
Silvestre De Sousa 1.1 1.2 1.1 22 21 18 -11 0 -4
Tom Eaves 1.0 0.9 1.0 8 7 7 -13 -14 -27
Tom Marquand 0.9 0.9 1.1 9 8 11 -39 -37 -26

 

I have restricted the table to jockeys with at least 100 rides in each distance band and overall at least 600 rides. Note this is rides in handicaps only and so certain top jockeys like Ryan Moore do not appear in list.

Familiar statistics such as A/E, strike rate and ROI to SP presented.

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Most jockeys have A/E in the range 0.8 to 1.2. The interesting ones are those with higher or lower figures.

James Sullivan has an A/E of 1.7 in long distance races with an ROI of 42% while average figures in the other distance groups.

On the other hand Nathan Evans only has an A/E of 0.5, a strike rate of 4% and a 70% loss on ROI in long distance races while in sprint distances has an A/E of 1.4 but still a small loss on ROI.

What does this mean for my investments? Synopsis ends here...

 

1st place: Jon Shenton: The Curious case of Paddy Mathers...

Often when I’m cycling through the countryside in a vain attempt to keep the sands of time at bay I think about racing angles, racing data and systems. Endlessly trying to find ways to beat the bookies. It’s not the money, it’s the numbers, the maths and the perfect combination of where cold hard facts collide with traditional sporting theatre.

On a recent sojourn around the beautiful Leicestershire countryside (yes really), I was thinking about horses that had displayed differing levels of aptitude on left handed and right handed courses and how this could be used as an angle for more effective wagering.

I wondered whether the same might apply to the pilots we know and love (most of the time), gut feel being that is was a ridiculous notion and a jockey would be equally as competent riding around both left handed and right handed bends. I mean, I’m no horseman by any stretch of the imagination but I can’t think of a single logical reason why there should be any difference?

With curiosity piqued I fired up the excellent horseracebase to analyse the notion, using all flat turf or all weather races ran since 1st Jan 2013 around LH or RH bends. Races on straight tracks have been excluded from the number crunching (for now).

Using the Actual/Expected ratio we can carry out some quick high level comparisons of jockey’s performance between their runs around left and right handed bends. To mitigate irresponsible conclusions from small sample sizes only jockeys who have 100+ runs on both left and right handed bends have been considered.

The table below shows those with a stronger preference for the left hand bend, simply by evaluating the variance in their A/E performances across the respective directions.

Jockeys whose performance going left-handed is markedly superior to their right-handed performance

Jockeys whose performance going left-handed is markedly superior to their right-handed performance

A couple of immediate observations, if we look at the column RH A/E this shows the ratio of actual wins against expected for the named jockeys when riding right handed, we can see that on the face of it there is some serious underperformance, with eyewatering losses in terms ROI to match, a
whopping 80% of your stakes in the case of Paddy Mathers and Dougie Costello.

The column LH A/E given the comparison when these jockeys go left handed, we can see that the performance is generally much more in line with market expectations, although it doesn’t look (at first glance anyway) that use of this data is a launchpad to the private jet and riches. Interestingly
the aforementioned Paddy Mathers does outturn a small, tiny return of just over 1% if you backed him on all 733 of his left handed runs. Comparable to investing in a high street savings account over the same period, and tax free too.

I feel inclined at this stage to investigate Mr Mathers stats a bit more closely, the variances between LH and RH performance is so notable, impossibly large for my mind. Down to chance or an underlying trait in his riding ability?

One possible explanation may be that the trainers he rides for specialise at tracks with a LH turn, meaning the reason for the variance could be more associated with the trainer than the jockey. Looking at the table below it shows the stables that Paddy Mathers has ridden for most frequently
on turning tracks from the start of 2013, interesting to note that if you back him every time he jocks up for Richard Fahey you’d make a few pennies over nearly 300 runs.

Stables for whom Paddy Mathers has ridden most frequently since the start of 2013

Stables for whom Paddy Mathers has ridden most frequently since the start of 2013

So let’s look at their combined performance on turning tracks taking our Paddy out of the equation to see if there appears to be any bias to a particular direction.

Selected trainers combined performance for jockeys other than Paddy Mathers since the start of 2013

Selected trainers' combined performance for jockeys other than Paddy Mathers since the start of 2013

Not really is the answer. In fact looking at win percentage these trainers are more likely to have winners at RH tracks than the opposite direction.

So in the case of Paddy Mathers, Dougie Costello and the up-and-coming Charlie Bishop (to name but three) they appear to be either very unlucky in the rides they have secured around right handed bends or, perhaps more likely, they genuinely are not as competent at riding right-handed as they are left-handed.

To be honest, it still doesn’t make logical sense to me, though it’s now a factor I’ll look out for when trying to resolve punting puzzles.

**

I'd like to express my gratitude to all readers who took the time to send in an article - the standard was consistently high - and, with a following wind, we'll be hearing more from our winner in the near future.

Matt

p.s. which of the three articles did you enjoy the most? What sort of information would you like to see researched in future posts? Leave a comment and let us know!

Monday Musings: All About the A’s

This weekend for me was all about the A’s, writes Tony Stafford. Starting with Ascot and the Shergar Cup which - along with 31,000 other attendees - I thoroughly enjoyed, it progressed yesterday with Alpha Centauri and Advertise collecting the two Group 1 races in France and Ireland respectively.

In between, young Andrew Breslin was the focal point in a four-day Gordon Elliott plot for a Scottish Flat-race hat-trick with recent Perth hurdle winner, Kuiper Belt. Most enjoyably for me, though, Aegean Mist ended a long barren spell for her owner-breeder, Jack Panos, at Lingfield on Saturday night.

Five-year ownership records for Jack’s Theobalds Stud until Saturday morning showed only one place and no wins from 22 runners. That came just over a year ago at Lingfield when Aegean Legend, trained by John Bridger, finished third in a modest five-furlong juvenile affair. Her only subsequent start was a highly-creditable fifth in a much better contest at Ascot in the autumn, but she has yet to reappear.

Bridger was also the trainer when Panos’ home-bred full-sisters, the two-year-old Aegean Mist, in her first handicap after three runs from the Richard Hannon stable, and previously-unraced three-year-old Aegean Beauty, ran in two of the later races on Lingfield’s Saturday night card.

can declare a slight interest as when Aegean Mist previously appeared in the last of those Hannon-managed races at Chelmsford on June 21, I took the liberty of asking Jack whether he had any spare badges as a good friend was going there. He kindly said he did, also suggesting a small each-way bet might be a good idea.

I’d looked back at both her previous runs, having seen both of them live, promising enough on debut in a big field at Leicester and then, possibly unsuited by the track when a well-backed but never dangerous third at Brighton. We both came to the conclusion after Chelmsford when, quite well supported at 11-1, that she didn’t enjoy the kickback.

That still didn’t fully explain her last of ten finishing position all of 20 lengths behind the winner. For much of Saturday’s race, a similar eventuality looked likely for the 20-1 shot, but in the last 100 yards she passed at least half a dozen opponents, finishing strongly under Kieran O’Neill to win with a little in hand.

An hour later her inexperienced elder sister overcame a slow start initially to cut through her six rivals, strung out the width of the track, to lead inside the two furlong pole. Here she immediately darted left to the far rail, enabling the odds-on Invincible Spirit filly, Aaliya, to tackle and pass her. The favourite also showed slightly erratic tendencies, almost pinning her on the rail before O’Neill extricated his mount.

She still looked a certainty for another Theobalds Stud place until Petite Fleur, out of sight on the opposite side of the course, caught her on the line. I’ve no idea, as daylight was ending in deepest Surrey, whether the stewards took much of a look at the finish, but Kieran might have been lucky not to be made aware that he appeared to take things a little too easily late on.

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Aegean Mist’s win on turf should not have been too much of a shock. Nine years earlier, her dam Aegean Shadow won first time out, also on Lingfield’s turf at 33-1 from the Michael Wigham stable, before being beaten on Kempton’s all-weather. Panos moved her to Henry Cecil the following season, and she maintained her turf unbeaten record with wins at Lingfield again on May 22 and Brighton two weeks later, both under Tom Queally. She raced just twice more in a concerted seven-week campaign, again failing to fire on all-weather switched to that surface for her final Lingfield sortie, before finishing with a Doncaster fifth for her only turf defeat.

*

Ever since back in the early 1980’s when I suggested a quick-fire Saturday, Monday, Tuesday raid on English tracks for Jim Bolger for his three-year-old Lynconwise – he flopped at Doncaster before winning twice at Leicester in the mud over Whitsun - I’ve loved the concept.

I was made aware of a similar challenge late last week when Wilf Storey told me he’d been unable to get Andrew Breslin, a  young rider from the Mark Johnston stable we both admire, for Jan Smuts at Musselburgh on Friday. He was riding elsewhere, but that he’d also not be available should Wilf choose to run anything on Saturday or Monday as he’d be required for the Gordon Elliott-trained Kuiper Belt, as there was a family ownership connection.

Kuiper Belt was another of those questionable handicap beneficiaries that have been exercising, nay irritating, my equilibrium recently, Jan Smuts’ own rating of 56 a case in point. Kuiper Belt started out as a Niarchos family homebred with David Lanigan, running five times unplaced until his sale for 17,000gns five days after the fifth run, at Newmarket’s July sale just over a year ago.

Sent to Ireland, he raced four times over jumps for C P Donoghue, beaten in turn 47 lengths at 66-1; 42 at 50’s; 34 at 100-1 and 58 lengths at 100-1. It would appear that at this point the Mysterious Men Syndicate had enough, and the next stop was with trainer William (hope that’s right) Ross, when after pulling up at 50-1 and then finishing eighth of ten at 33-1 beaten 44 lengths, the penny seems to have dropped.

Running off 92, Kuiper Belt, now in the trainer’s ownership having previously been running under the executors of Cecil Ross, was a well-backed 100-30 favourite and finished a half-length second of 12 to Politeness in a competitive handicap hurdle.

Raised 5lb for that, he reappeared on the same track, but this time under the Elliott colours, in a novice hurdle on August 1 winning by 15 lengths in a canter under James Bowen. The latest official rating has gone up by what seems a lenient 6lb to 103. Wonder what will happen when he next comes to Perth?

When he signed off for David Lanigan, his 57 Flat rating had already been readjusted downwards to 53, and it was off this mark and under Jamie Spencer, who was hardly traipsing up to Musselburgh for his health, that he had the task of beating the ten-year-old Jan Smuts receiving 3lb to boot. The result was highly-predictable, Kuiper Belt winning with Jamie doing his statue impression, by a neck from another Elliott raider, Hurricane Volta, while Jan Smuts trailed home last.

Young master Breslin came in for Saturday night, when a 12-strong field melted away into a four-horse affair with excuses by the dozen, and another painless exercise, aided by the claim offsetting the laughable penalty, ensued.

Today at Ayr, with 12lb extra for the two wins, less Andrew’s 7lb, Kuiper Belt will be tested by dropping down in trip to a mile and a quarter. That said, 65 probably still underrates him markedly, and his pedigree is not that of a slogging stayer as he’s by Elusive Quality out of a Storm Cat mare – ideal for the distance.

Tomorrow at Chelmsford, another “A”, Alexanderthegreat, runs off 68 in a 0-60, showing that William Haggas learned plenty in his time with Sir Mark Prescott. Raised to 62 from 53 after his Eureka win over a Prescott hotpot at Lingfield after three long-priced coconuts to get the initial mark of 55 and a modest Chepstow fourth to reduce it by 2lb, he sluiced past Twister after turning for home miles behind.

He followed up by six lengths in better company at Newbury and gets in here because of the newish rule which enables 61- and 62-rated horses to contest 0-60’s. In tomorrow night’s 14-furlong finale, the three-year-old, rated 68, still carries the same weight of 9st 11lb as the year-older Ginger Lady, thanks to the 11lb weight for age advantage at the distance. His new rating will hit the BHA web site at 7 a.m. tomorrow. How high will they dare to go, and also for Haggas’ Saturday Chelmsford winner Croque Monsieur, an easy well-backed first-time gelded scorer after previous form figures of 777?

Stat of the Day, 13th August 2018

Saturday's Pick was...

2.40 Chelmsford : Reckless Endeavour @ 11/2 BOG 3rd at 9/4 (Held up in touch, driven when not clear run inside final 2f and again 1f out, ridden and stayed on into 3rd inside final furlong, never threatened winner)

Monday's pick goes in the...

2.40 Ayr :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Acadian Angel 11/4 BOG

In a 10-runner, Class 6, Flat Handicap for 3yo+ over 7½f on Good To Firm ground worth £3493 to the winner... 

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Why?

This 4 yr old filly ran really well in a narrow defeat last time out, when a runner-up here over course and distance a fortnight ago, going down by just half a length. The form of that race has hopefully been franked by the fourth-placed horse, Zoravan (2.25 lengths further back that day), reappearing to win a Class 5 contest over this track and trip as recently as last Saturday.

Trainer JJ Quinn is in good form of late with 12 winners from 57 (21.1% SR) generating profits of 36.42pts (+63.9% ROI) for his followers over the last 30 days and these runners include of relevance today...

  • in handicaps : 11/46 (23.9%) for 34.6pts (+75.2%)
  • at odds of 7/4 to 10/1 : 12/43 (27.9%) for 50.4pts (+117.3%)
  • over trips of 5f to 1m : 12/40 (30%) for 53.4pts (+133.6%)
  • ridden by Jason Hart : 8/28 (28.6%) for 43.3pts (+154.5%)
  • on Good to Firm ground : 6/23 (26.1%) for 14.5pts (+62.9%)
  • at Class 6 : 5/19 (26.3%) for 25.1pts (+132.2%)

...AND...in handicaps over 5f to 1m at odds of 7/4 to 10/1 : 11/26 (42.3% SR) for 54.6pts (+210% ROI), from which...

  • Jason Hart : 7/15 (46.7%) for 43.43pts (+289.6%)
  • Good to Firm : 6/11 (54.6%) for 26.5pts (+240.5%)
  • Class 6 : 5/11 (45.5%) for 33.1pts (+301.1%)
  • Jason Hart & Class 6 : 5/9 (55.6%) for 35.1pts (+390.2%)
  • Jason Hart on Good to Firm : 3/6 (50%) for 17.7pts (+394.9%)
  • Class 6 on Good to Firm : 2/4 (50%) for 12.5pts (+313.4%)
  • Jason Hart / Class 6 / Good to Firm : 2/3 (66.6%) for 13.5pts (+451.2%)

Meanwhile, more longer-term than the above, Mr Quinn's handicappers are 23/117 (19.7% SR) for 63.8pts (+54.5% ROI) here at Ayr since the start of the 2013 campaign and from these runners and of relevance today...

  • those last seen 6 to 45 days ago : 20/86 (23.3%) for 83.5pts (+97.1%)
  • competing for £8,000 or less : 19/83 (22.9%) for 70.25pts (+84.6%)
  • at 5f to 1m : 17/77 (22.1%) for 59.3pts (+77%)
  • and 3 to 5 yr olds are 17/76 (22.4%) for 81.3pts (+106.9%)

...AND...3 to 5 yr olds racing over 5f to 1m for a prize of £8k or less, 6 to 25 days after last their last run are 9/27 (33.3% SR) for 77.84pts (+288.3% ROI) with a 4 from 12 (33.3%) record at Class 6 that has produced 28.49pts profit at an ROI of 237.4%.

Finally (!), a quick note about our jockey Jason Hart, as since the start of the 2014 season he has a 21/110 (19.1% SR) record in handicaps here at Ayr and backing all of them would have resulted in profits of 84.3pts (+76.6% ROI)...

...which all points to...a 1pt win bet on Acadian Angel 11/4 BOGa price offered by more than half a dozen firms at 6.00pm on Sunday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.40 Ayr

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

SotD Update, 6th to 11th August 2018

Hmmm well, that wasn't pretty, was it?

0 from 6 on the week and yet to find a winner in August isn't what I had in mind, but are there any positives to be gleaned from a mediocre week? Well 3 of the 6 made the frame, suggesting we're backing the right kind of horses and this is backed up by the way the general public have also been backing our runners, as I'm not having it that it is ourselves driving the SPs down.

We backed six horses at an average advised price of 3.6/1 and these runners were returned at an average SP of 2.33/1, so the only thing I'd add here is that when you're taking a price that is approximately 155% of SP, then you will be profitable in the long run, temporary downturns aside, of course.

Selections & Results : 06/08/18 to 11/04/18

06/08 : Sword of Fate @ 7/2 BOG 4th at 6/4 
07/08 : Stay Classy @ 9/2 BOG 2nd at 11/4 
08/08 : Swendab @ 10/3 BOG 3rd at 9/2 
09/08 : Miss Mumtaz @ 9/4 BOG 5th at 11/8
10/08 : Conkering Hero @ 5/2 BOG 4th at 13/8
11/08 : Reckless Endeavour @ 11/2 BOG 3rd at 9/4

06/08/18 to 11/04/18 :
0 winning bet from 6 = 0.00% SR
P/L: -6.00pts

August 2018 :
0 winners from 9 = 0.00% SR
P/L: -9.00pts
ROI = -100.00%

2018 to date :
42 winners from 177 = 23.73% SR
P/L: +13.31pts
ROI = +7.52%

Overall:
565 winners from 2062 = 27.40% S.R
P/L: +501.10pts
ROI: +24.30%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

And here is the full story from 2017.

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take your £1, 30-day trial right now?

Click here for more details.

Tony Keenan: Reserve-ations about the system

Galway rarely goes off without some sort of controversy and this year it was Ballycasey being declared a non-runner in the Plate, a decision which facilitated his stablemate and ante-post favourite, Patricks Park, getting into a race where he ultimately finished second, writes Tony Keenan. A high-profile withdrawal like this always brings the reserve system and its flaws/benefits into focus as does the Galway meeting generally; this is a fixture where everyone wants a runner and reserves are declared with the intent to run much more so than other times of the year. Per Horse Racing Ireland, there have been 136 reserves that have run in Ireland thus far in 2018 with an amazing 26 of them at Galway last week; one won, Rovetta first time round last Wednesday, though four (Davids Charm, Andratx, Bubbly Bellini and Athenry Boy) were successful at the meeting in 2017.

The reserve system is run by the IHRB rather than HRI and works as follows : trainers are typically required to confirm their non-runner by phone which opens at 9am on the day of the race; they can do this any time up to ninety minutes before the off of the first race. Per the IHRB, ‘where a trainer knows sufficiently early that a horse trained by him will not be a runner in a race in which reserves have been listed, he should take steps to so inform the trainers of any horses listed as reserves.’ After this, it is up to the trainer of the reserve to contact the non-runner line to confirm their participation. The opening hours of the phone line is the first issue here; if it only opens at 9am on the day of the race, there are 22 and half hours of dead time from declaration stage at 10.30am the previous day, or more in case of 48-hour declarations which is every Sunday in Ireland, where a trainer can do little. That it is only a phone number they can contact is backward too; perhaps it should be done via the online entry system all trainers use. At the other extreme, if someone is only declaring their non-participation the official 90 minutes before the first then the trainers of the reserves in most cases will get no opportunity to run; if the meeting is at Down Royal and your yard is in Tipperary then an hour and half notice is nowhere near enough. Few, if any, trainers are going to travel their horse with cost and hassle to have to turn around and come home without a run unless it is a meeting like Galway.

Then there are concerns about how well protocol is being followed, again to quote the IHRB: ‘trainers [are notified] that proper use of the reserve system can only be achieved with their full co-operation.’ Let’s take a situation where trainer A has a horse that is being declared a non-runner but he doesn’t get on with trainer B who has the first reserve; does he really want to help trainer B out? Furthermore, let’s say trainer X (or owner Y) has five runners in the race, hardly an outlandish situation in Irish national hunt racing currently, and one of theirs is coming out. Do they really want to let a reserve in at the bottom that could potentially be a danger to their other four runners or are they happy to let the field go to post less one runner? Perhaps they would hold off until the last possible moment to declare their non-participation. Protocol and etiquette may be one thing but the reality looks somewhat different.

Does this etiquette change with big yards and owners? When interviewed last Tuesday about the possibility of Patricks Park getting into the Plate, Willie Mullins commented that he would be the last to know if another yard was going to have a non-runner in the race. Perhaps this is a case of other, smaller yards maintaining some competitive advantage over the superpowers, minimal though it may be. The big operations have all sorts of other advantages, their multiple runners allowing them to control the pace and shape of races and they also have the facility to run horses that may not be ideally suited by race conditions in order to keep potentially dangerous rivals out of the field, a tactic used by Gordon Elliott in both the 2017 Thyestes and Irish Grand National. The Galway Hurdle saw JP McManus run nine horses, four of which finished in the last five when the likes of On The Go Again and Top Othe Ra (who fought out the finish of a race the following evening) just missed the cut.

For big trainers to contr0l the shape of the race they need co-operative owners who are willing to have their horses run in sub-optimal conditions for the greater good of the yard. We saw in the recent Tim Brennan BHA case that Willie Mullins makes basically all the decisions around the running of his horses though this was hardly in much doubt judging on the past few seasons. Perhaps Rich Ricci was devastated when Ballycasey was taken out of the Plate last Wednesday but I suspect he was hardly bothered by an out-of-form 33/1 shot coming out when his trainer had landed the Galway Mile for him with Riven Light and gotten Limini back to the track the previous two evenings. Taking one for the team has long been a feature of being an owner at Closutton which might be why Michael O’Leary no longer has horses there.

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Objectively, the use of the going as the reason for Ballycasey not running in the Plate rang very hollow. The ground was yielding when he was declared then was changed to good on the morning of the race before extensive rain brought it back to yielding before racing and it may have been softer than that. Still, this was a horse who had put a near career-best on soft-heavy when winning the Normans Grove in April 2017, had done likewise on soft at Killarney the following month, and was being taken out on summer yielding ground. A horse’s going preference may change as time passes but for national hunt racing this was basically no excuses ground. The issue of field size felt similarly weak; the horse had run in the 2016 Grand National, the race that attracts the biggest field in the sport, while he was considered well able to handle the hurly-burly of a 22-runner Plate field just the previous day. Despite this, the stewards did accept these reasons though there is a very rarely-used facility for them not do so in the case of races worth more than €60,000 as the Plate is; in these situations the trainer may be fined ‘not more than 1% of the advertised value’ as happened when Montjeu didn’t pitch up in the 1999 Irish Champion Stakes but ran in the Prix Niel the following day.

Of course, a trainer needs an excuse to take a horse out other than ‘we prefer a better-fancied runner’ and Mullins was doing nothing wrong strictly speaking within the rules; there is a rule where trainers can take a horse out with the ground as an excuse when it changes from declaration time though that was questionable in this case. But it looks like gamesmanship rather than sportsmanship and people generally don’t like to see the powerful throw their weight around like this. Mullins has a ruthless streak and perhaps the Galway Plate prizemoney could be the difference between winning and losing the trainers’ championship come next May but it is not good for the perception of the sport. Furthermore, the trainer’s tone in his comments about the stewards enquiring into why his horse didn’t run were all wrong, saying that ‘I was surprised to be called in and disappointed that we couldn’t take him out here on the track…I don’t understand where racing is going when we just can’t do things like that…When we saw all the rain we wanted to ask them to take him out and they couldn’t so we had to go and ring some central number.’ Aside from Mullins wanting to bypass the system that he and every other trainer uses, he seems to be questioning the right of the stewards to enquire about why his horse was a non-runner when the ground didn’t seem like a viable excuse. Had they not asked those questions, they would not have been doing their job.

All of this could have been avoided had Mullins simply made sure Patricks Park was in the top 20 the previous day when declarations were made as he had five runners in the race at that time; Alelchi Inois (beaten a combined 207 lengths on this two Galway outings this year) was an obvious one that could have run elsewhere. Instead we have a situation where no one knows if the ante-post favourite will get a run but many suspect he will though bizarrely this didn’t negatively impact the take with one major bookmaker; Paddy Power report that the race was in their top ten Irish races bet on to this point in the year in both 2017 and 2018, using volume and bet count as a measure and actually increased year-on-year. But this is hardly the first time a situation like this has unfolded in a feature race; Dun Doire got in the 2006 Thyestes after a non-runner, Beautiful Sound didn’t get into the 2011 Irish National when nothing came out, Carlingford Lough won the 2013 Plate after Like Your Style was taken out under the ‘unsuitable ground’ excuse.

Punters are the obvious losers in all these cases but it is hardly news that Irish racing is not run for them. The only time the reserves system will work in the favour of punters is when a reserve makes a race a full field for each-way betting, boosting a 15-runner field back up to 16. But in all other instances it works against them. There is the obvious confusion around studying form and if you’re a lazy punter like me, you give scant regard to horses’ numbers R21, R22 and R23 when you get that far. That said, I do wonder if odds compilers are similarly lazy in pricing them and make obvious form chance reserves too big and there could be a case for backing such horses, even if it might be a long time between drinks and lots of stakes returned. Further confusion is added by different bookmakers having different terms around reserves and non-runners; some bet without them, some apply rule 4s to them, some do neither. But the biggest problem is a case like last Wednesday’s Plate where the one that gets in has a leading chance and is replacing an outsider, in this case Patricks Park was around 9/2 while Ballycasey was 33/1, a 14% difference in implied probability, and if you placed a bet at early prices you were by definition on at a bad value price. There is almost a case for a reverse Rule 4, difficult though that may be to implement!

The question then comes down to whom the reserve system serves, with owners and trainers being the obvious answer. That is no bad thing with owners pumping so much money into the sport and if they want to have a runner in a certain race they should probably be given every chance to do so. The problem is the whole timing of the non-runner declaration; 90 minutes before the first is far too late and if the system is to work better the cut-off point needs to brought back. In almost all cases, trainers will know early on the morning of the race whether or not their horse is running and it is not unrealistic to have all fields confirmed by 10am for a day meeting or midday for an evening card. At the very least, it should be improved upon for these major races that attract so much attention and betting turnover. What we have now is a system that feels like racing from a bygone era where no one has any clue what is running until you get to the races: that is clearly not fit for purpose.

Monday Musings: A Lull in the Programme

Knowing that this coming Saturday is something of a non-event racing-wise – unless you enjoy the concept of the Shergar Cup and the delights of Ascot in midsummer – I’ve tried to make some sense of the seven Flat-race meetings on offer around the country, writes Tony Stafford.

Trainers and owners have become frustrated by the continuing hot weather, many being unwilling to risk their valuable assets on unsuitably fast ground. Inevitably, though, the wait for appreciable rain to alter underfoot conditions will lead to massive entries for all categories of races when it finally arrives.

From north to south, handicaps are the staple offering. There’s nothing new in that, but of the 48 races scheduled this weekend, 37 are handicaps. Ascot’s six races with ten runners in each and two reserves are contested by 12 jockeys, three each representing teams of Ladies, Great Britain/ Ireland, Europe and the Rest of the World.

In general terms, its success depends on whether Frankie Dettori can be steered away from more meaningful mounts elsewhere. With only the Rose of Lancaster (Group 3) and a two-year-old Group 3 race at Newmarket domestically as competition, the now veteran’s love of the Royal racecourse will only be challenged realistically by Arlington Park, Chicago, where the Arlington Million is just one of four valuable races regularly targeted by European stables.

If you are thinking surely the jockeys booked for Ascot will have been revealed some time ago, you are probably right, and I’m sure the Editor – him of unbounded knowledge – knows the dozen names. But at 5 a.m. it’s not possible to quiz him.

But along with many other matters which previously would have been at one’s fingertips in an Internet search, Ascot racecourse, BBC weather and airline arrival times all seem to have disappeared under a cloak of commercial interest.

So sorry Ascot if you have had an expensive press conference to reveal the names which will no doubt include the happily back-in-action Hayley Turner, the other perennial crowd pleaser of Shergar Cup day, but I simply could not find any mention anywhere. [They’re here – Ed.]

I do know that Rita Ora will be one of the post-racing attractions and the very much family-oriented crowd which as ever will pack the racecourse will have plenty to enjoy, especially as Ascot keeps its prices within reason. Plenty of owners would like to have a runner but the structure  - all six within the 0-95, 0-100 or 0-105 bands – will mean it will be hard to break past the Mark Johnston, Richard Fahey type of stables to be involved.

A few weeks back I was moved to write about the paucity of maiden as against novice races for two and three-year-olds. Of the 11 non-handicaps on Saturday, there are 2yo novice races at Ayr and Lingfield;  2yo maiden fillies’ races at Chelmsford and Newmarket, which also stages the Group 3 Sweet Solera, sponsored by the German breeding industry, and is for juvenile fillies.

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The only other non-handicaps on offer are Haydock’s Rose of Lancaster, supported by the Listed Dick Hern Stakes, both for three-plus fillies and mares.  Lingfield offers in addition to its two-year-old race, two novice events, one a median auction for three-, four- and five-year-olds and the other for three and up. Then there is Redcar, where there is a median auction maiden for three and four year olds only, and, praise the lord, a juvenile seller, the sole race of that category on the entire day.

The fall from grace of selling and claiming races has been marked, given that traditionally that type of race proved a potential outlet for owners and trainers to move out horses that had lost their form or whose handicap ratings made it impossible for them to remain competitive.

Last Thursday, Stratford had a selling hurdle race and the Olly Murphy-trained Royal Plaza, rated 125, started 1-2 and won in a canter. At the subsequent auction, conducted by my old friend Capt Nick Lees, famous as the founder of Newmarket Nights, he went for £11,500, producing an £8,500 surplus to the advertised selling price of £3,000.

That was a benefit both to the course and the owner, although in the weighing-up nature of such events, the trainer was wondering whether he had done the right thing, suggesting there was probably some potential for Royal Plaza as a chaser.

The BHA has managed to list only eight selling races and no claimers – with one intriguing exception – among the 222 Flat races scheduled to be contested in the week starting today. Three, including Redcar, were for juveniles, and four of the other five are low-level handicaps with a ceiling of 0-60. One conditions seller is staged at Leicester where Capt Lees is a key member of the course board.

I did read a couple of weeks back that Jamie Osborne was very much in favour of a ground-breaking innovation on Chelmsford’s as ever well-endowed weekend fixture. The race, run over six furlongs is snappily called The Bet totequadpot at Totesport.com Optional Claiming Handicap, a Class 2 affair with £40,000 guaranteed and a winner’s prize of £25,876.

For a £200 entry, owners and trainers have the option of making their horse available for claiming, a practise in the United States, where top-class animals can be entered for an optional claimer, but usually as NOT made available for a claim where lesser animals are in for a claim.

The race is designed to attract decent animals, as the generous prize would suggest, but search as I have, I’ve been unable to find either in the relevant (July 12) issue of the Racing Calendar, or on the BHA’s Racing Administration site, what the advertised claiming prices should be if connections wish  to avail themselves of that option.

There is a note which states: “An allowance of weight may be claimed up to a maximum of 7lb, provided that the horse is claimable at the advertised claiming price. Any horse competing off a rating higher than 105 <see what I mean about the possible level of the race?> i.e. the horse’s official handicap rating minus the allowance of weight to be claimed, shall initially be treated as having that rating and the highest weight shall be 10st. Subsequently the excess over 105 in any rating shall be added to the weight allotted without limitation to the highest weight to be carried (Only one allowance may be claimed).” Are we still paying attention?

It probably would be easy enough if the buggers would tell us somewhere what the claimable prices are and indeed, why when mentioning the possible weight allowance, it states a maximum of 7lb rather than simply 7lb. Presumably it means the less money you put your horse in to be claimed for, the greater the allowance, So your 105 rated horse will get the maximum if you put him in to be claimed for 10k? BHA please clear it up for we dunderheads. [Details are here – Ed.]

One thing is certain, US racing revolves around and flourishes under claiming, rather than selling races, and the claims have to be made before the race. French racing also has a healthy number of claiming races and without them the highly-successful Stan Moore’s business model would be a lot less commercially viable.

Who doesn’t enjoy the post-race action of an auction, especially when somebody has had a bit of a touch and then has to try to keep the winner, having calculated how far he needs to go so as not to absorb the excess over the nominated sale price? The preponderance of handicaps and the sheer necessity of trainers’ having to conceal horses’ true ability in their early races, makes for an unsatisfactory structure.

More claimers and extra winners-of-one, two, three and even four races would lessen the need for the “three runs at the wrong trip” game played with such aplomb by a number of major trainers. Smaller stables simply do not have the resources to play that game, though they may try, but then it’s by no means a level playing field. Never was: never will be.

Stat of the Day, 6th August 2018

Saturday's Pick was...

7.35 Lingfield : Dr Doro @ 7/2 BOG 3rd at 5/2 (Tracked leader centre, led this group over 2f out, ridden and every chance over 1f out, kept on one pace)

Monday's pick goes in the...

3.50 Newton Abbot :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Sword of Fate 7/2 BOG

In a 4-runner, Class 3 Novices Chase for 5yo+ over 2m5f on Good ground worth £9115 to the winner... 

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Why?

This 5 yr old gelding comes here in fine form, having won three of his last four starts and is 3 from 3 over fences, including a course and distance win here last time out a month ago.

That race was a similar Class 3 one to today's and 5lb claimer Tommie O'Brien retains the ride on the horse that has won 6 of 11 races so far, including...

  • 5/8 going left handed (3/3 over fences)
  • 4/6 on Good ground (2/2 over fences)
  • 5/5 in fields of 1-7 runners (3/3 over fences)
  • 3/5 at the age of 5 (3/3 over fences)
  • 3/4 in non-handicaps
  • 2/4 at Class 3 (2/2 over fences)
  • 2/4 under Tommie O'Brien (1/1 over fences)
  • 3/3 in chases
  • 1/1 here at Newton Abbot (in a chase)
  • 1/1 over 2m5f (in a chase)
  • and 1 from 1 over course and distance (in a chase)

His trainer Tom Lacey has been a revelation over the last couple of years or so and is one of the rare breed of trainers who have been profitable to back blindly in recent years. In fact since the start of 2016, his runners are 72/326 (22.1%) for 246.7pts (+75.7% ROI) and these include of relevance today...

  • make runners at 58/257 (22.6%) for 224.2pts (+87.2%)
  • within 75 days of their last run = 54/235 (23%) for 146.5pts (+62.4%)
  • 5 yr olds are 33/141 (23.4%) for 152.6pts (+108.2%)
  • with Tommie O'Brien : 13/62 (21%) for 71.2pts (+114.9%)
  • at Class 3 : 13/57 (22.8%) for 47pts (+82.4%)
  • and over fences : 15/49 (30.6%) for 13.4pts (+27.2%)

AND...from the above : 5 yr old males running within 60 days of their last run are 23/86 (26.7% SR) for 118.3pts (+137.5% ROI)...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Sword of Fate 7/2 BOGa price available from Betfair & Paddy Power at 5.50pm on Sunday whilst there was plenty of 10/3 BOG elsewhere and to see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.50 Newton Abbot

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

SotD Update, 30th July to 4th August

The thing about a daily "tipping" service is that there's nowhere to hide in a bad spell, so it's a good job that we neither seek refuge in a storm, nor do we make excuses for poor results.

The bottom line is that recent results haven't been good and last week was terrible. No excuses, no extended analysis, just a renewed commitment to get it right.

The MO is still as it always as been, there will always be peaks and troughs in form/results, long standing members are well used to this, so the way we operate will NOT change.

There WILL however be some temporary changes to the service over the next month, but more delivery-based than anything else, as I'm out of the country from Thursday (9th) morning until Monday 3rd September, so here's what's happening...

  • Monday (6th) to Thursday (9th) : normal service from me : selections in the evening
  • Friday (10th) to Friday (24th) : delayed service from me due to time zones : selections likely to be after 10pm or even overnight.
  • Saturday (25th) to Saturday (2nd Sept) : I'm taking a week off to recharge the batteries and Matt will be providing the service.
  • Sunday (3rd Sept) : I'll be posting the selection for Monday and then it's normal service.

Selections & Results : 30/07/18 to 04/04/18

30/07 : Mecca's Spirit @ 11/4 BOG 5th at 3/1
31/07 : Emily Goldfinch @ 9/2 BOG 9th at 5/2 
01/08 : Soldier's Call @ 11/4 BOG 3rd at 6/4 
02/08 : Toy Theatre @ 4/1 BOG non-runner
03/08 : Threading @ 5/2 BOG 6th at 9/4
04/08 : Dr Doro @ 7/2 BOG 3rd at 5/2

Your first 30 days for just £1

30/07/18 to 04/08/18 :
0 winning bet from 5 = 0.00% SR
P/L: -5.00pts

July 2018 :
7 winners from 26 = 26.92% SR
P/L: +1.50pts
ROI = +5.77%

August 2018 :
0 winners from 3 = 0.00% SR
P/L: -3.00pts
ROI = -100.00%

2018 to date :
42 winners from 171 = 24.56% SR
P/L: +19.31pts
ROI = +11.29%

Overall:
565 winners from 2056 = 27.48% S.R
P/L: +507.10pts
ROI: +24.66%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

And here is the full story from 2017.

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take your £1, 30-day trial right now?

Click here for more details.

An Even Split…

...is the story unfolding from the post-July roundup of the Geegeez Systems Reviews, as 5 of our 10 active services lost money, with the other five going on to secure profit in the four weeks since my last update.

The five money-makers managed to amass £2219.01 between them, of which one service was a big winner accounting for some 78.5% of all the profit, as the Horse Racing Network took top billing.

The Horse Racing Network found 27 winners from just 119 selections and this 22.7% strike rate yielded profits of £1741.11 at an ROI of 126.2% 30 selections per week isn't a massive amount to deal with, especially if they continue to provide winners & profits as they have done so far!

For a full breakdown of every selection/result, Ray Pearce's review is right here. If however, you've already decided that Horse Racing Network is right for you, you can sign up via this link for either £29.99 per month or £74.99 per quarter.

We should also give honourable mentions to both The Press Man and the RL Rated Racing services, who both had excellent strike rates and ROIs over the past four weeks...

  • The Press Man hit 10 winners from 25 (40% SR) for £146.25 (+39.6% ROI) : full details here and a subscription is priced at either £45.00 per month or £99.99 per quarter (25.9% discount from monthly price) : more details/signup opportunities available via this link.
  • RL Rated Racing found even more winners with 17 of their 39 (43.6% SR) selections hitting the target with their profits of £138.20 equating to 29.4% of all stakes invested. Each bet is listed right here and if you fancied taking RL Rated Racing into your portfolio, standard subs are set at £1 for 7 days followed by... £27.99 per month or £69.99 per quarter (16.66% discount) or best value at £189.99 per year (less than 7 x monthly fee) :  all available via this link.

It wasn't all good news, though, as I intimated at the top of the piece. Five services lost a combined £1796.96 between, meaning that the overall profit over four weeks from the 10 reviews stands at £422.05. And just like the five profitable reviews, the bulk of the losses were incurred by one service...

...as Rod's Runners endured a pretty turbulent time (details here), hitting just 87 winners from 1102 selections (7.9% SR : yes, you read that right : 1102 selections in 4 weeks!) for a loss of some £1336.75 which equates to 9.5% of the total amount staked on the service's selections and is also some 74.4% of the total incurred by the five reviews who failed to show profit over the last four weeks.

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In all fairness, a 9.5% loss of stakes isn't horrific, but the sheer number of bets means that (a) they lost almost £1350 at £10 per point and (b) somewhat more alarmingly, they've now lost 84.35% of the advised bank in 36 betting days. At the current rate, this one will break its bank in a week's time.

And here's how all this comes together...

System Profit/Loss Service Days Trial days 4-weekly P/L Full Review ROI
Horse Racing Network £1,741.11 (at day 15) 15 £1,741.11 Click Here 126.17%
The Press Man £142.65 (at day 17) 17 £142.65 Click Here 39.63%
RL Rated Racing £150.70 (at day 23) 23 £138.20 Click Here 29.55%
Loves Racing £304.55 (at day 35) 35 £116.80 Click Here 12.99%
Racing Expert £80.25 (at day 12) 12 £80.25 Click Here 28.66%
The VIP Service -£17.96 (at day 15) 15 -£29.62 Click Here -11.98%
Master Racing Tipster -£65.37 (at day 25) 25 -£90.37 Click Here -13.03%
Rod's US Runners -£386.00 (at day 27) 27 -£112.00 Click Here -13.99%
Racing Excellence 5f Lays -£116.62 (at day 40) 40 -£228.22 Click Here n/a
Rod's Runners -£2,108.75 (at day 36) 36 -£1,336.75 Click Here -12.27%
Recently Completed
JB Racing Tips £266.77 (at day 60) 60 £0.00 Click Here

13.94%

As is normally the case, clicking a service's name will direct you to their homepage, where you'll find more info and no doubt be offered the opportunity to take out a subscription.

The above is pretty self explanatory, but if you've any queries about this, simply drop me an email at the usual address(es) or leave a comment below.

Similarly this applies to any queries you may have about other products we've reviewed or you'd like us to review.

And that's about it for today, so until next time (5th September), thanks for reading and good luck!

Chris

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