Looking for Punting Angles using Sires / Damsires (Article 4)
This is the fourth in a series of articles looking at sires and damdires. In this article I will dig deeper into damsires and their performances, writes Dave Renham.
Damsires are the fathers of dams (mothers) of the respective horses: the maternal grandfather is another way to understand it.
The data for this piece, as with the previous three, covers 1st January 2011 through to 31st December 2020 – ten years – and all profits/losses have been calculated to Industry Starting Price. I am using a longer time frame because certain sires now coming to the end of their stud career will still be influential as a damsire for several more years to come.
In my previous article on damsires (article 3 linked to above) I looked at some general data to begin with and then focused on a few key players in that context to try and find useful angles, both positive and negative. For the first part of this study, I am going to focus on 2yo race data.
Races involving 2yos are the types of race where pedigree research is probably used the most and can still present one punter with an edge over another. The reason punters use pedigree data in 2yo races is that 2yos have little or no form to go on, and hence they need an alternative direction or starting point.
Last time, I shared the top 25 damsires in terms of strike rate in 2yo races. This time I am going extend the list to all damsires who have had a least 200 runs (in 2yo races) – 125 damsires to be precise!
As can be seen, the strike rate varies from a top performing 18%+ to below 6% which is a significant range; hence I felt despite the ‘enormity’ of the table it was worth sharing it all. Too often when sharing horse racing data, writers focus solely on the better-performing components rather than giving a broader overall context of the subject.
Arguably one of the hardest types of race to unpick is an early season 2yo contest where most or all of the runners are yet to race. As punters we have a few pointers such as looking at the trainers and, in some of the more high profile 2yo races, there will be useful press snippets giving some quotes and possible gallops reports. Some will also look at foaling dates, how much the horse cost as a yearling, and whether it has any big future race entries. However, pedigree analysis (analysing sire and damsire data) is an integral weapon in the armoury when trying to unravel the 2yo puzzle.
So before jumping further into the 2yo damsire data let's compare the overall strike rates of 2yos on debut, on their second start, and on their third start.
As can be seen, 2yos making their debut win just under 8% of the time (7.8%), whereas this increases to just under 13% (12.9%) on their second career run, before edging down a little to 11.9% on their third career start. This means juvenile runners are roughly 1.66 times more likely to win on their second start compared with their debut. That is a stat worth keeping in mind.
2yo on debut
Time to drill down into the 2yo debut data in terms of individual damsires.
Any damsire with a strike rate considerably above the baseline figure of 7.8% is worth noting from a positive perspective; likewise any damsire with a strike rate well below the baseline is worth noting from a negative standpoint. Here are 2yo debut stats for all damsires in the time period (100 runs minimum):
Street Cry as a Damsire
Street Cry heads the list in terms of strike rate with an impressive debut winning percentage of 17.5%. The table below compares Street Cry’s damsire strike rate for 2yo debut runs through to a 4th start or more (as a 2yo).
This profile is very unusual with a much better debut record than second career run record. As you can also see, 3rd career start figures are particularly impressive with Street Cry grand-progeny scoring once from every four runs.
Reverting to 2yo debuts for horses that have Street Cry as their damsire, it should be noted they win more than twice as often over sprint trips compared with races of 7f or more:
A 26% hit rate over 5f and 6f has unsurprisingly produced a tidy profit of 28p in the £.
Pivotal as a Damsire
Switching to Pivotal we have a really good number of debut races to analyse – nearly 600 in fact. Pivotal proves to be very consistent as a damsire with his 2yo debutants.
There is no significant edge in any of three areas shown above.
Pivotal progeny on debut seem to act on any going but they may have a slight preference for softer turf. On soft or heavy they have won around 16.5% of the time; on good to soft through to firm they have won just under 12% of the time.
I noted previously that normally 2yo strike rate improves considerably from first to second career start. Street Cry bucked the trend and below are all of the damsires from our long list to have produced a higher debut win strike rate compared to their descendants' second 2yo run.
This is a small but exclusive list and, I feel, one punters should be aware of.
Of course at the other end of the scale it is useful to see which damsires produce a much higher strike rate on their second 2yo start.
These 18 damsires combined would have only lost 4p in the £ at SP if you had backed every single juvenile runner on their second career start. That amounts to over 2100 runners; I estimate that using Best Odds Guaranteed / Early Prices / the exchanges you would have made a profit of between 10p and 30p in the £.
2yos – second career start
We have seen some comparisons above between debut performance and second career starts. Let us next consider the impact of damsire in terms of two-year-olds' second career race. Below are the top 25 damsires in terms of strike rate on their second run as a 2yo (80 runs or more to qualify).
There are some very healthy strike rates and, in some cases, a decent profit to SP combined with reassuring A/E figures. The other end of the spectrum looks like this:
In general I would suggest that bettors should be wary of backing horses who have damsires from this list on their second 2yo start.
2yos – third career start
We have already seen that 2yos on their third career start win at a slightly lower strike rate than on their second start, so here are the damsires whose SR% on their third career start is at least 1.5 times higher than their SR% on their second start. I have also included their debut SR%:
These are a handful of damsires to note when their progeny have their third career start as a 2yo. Looking at the likes of Montjeu, Azamour and High Chapparal - all Group 1 winners at a mile and a half - it is probable that their grandchildren may be benefiting from stretching out to more suitable trips.
Individual damsires in 2yo races
To close, let us focus on ten individual damsires with associated potentially useful angles:
Acclamation – similar SR% at 5, 6 and 7f (all around the 13% mark); this drops to 5.7% at distances of a mile or more. Male runners have been more than twice as successful as female runners (16.2% versus 7.4%). Excellent strike rate of over 16% for 2yos that are racing for the fourth or subsequent times.
Averti – females (fillies) have scored 15.1% of the time compared with 9.9% for male runners. Blind profit made on 2yo second career starts of nearly 35p in the £ (SR 17.5%).
Bertolini – poor overall SR% at 7%; just 1 win from 47 on soft or heavy going; just 1 win from 56 at 1 mile or more; in 2yo maidens the strike rate drops below 4%.
Cadeaux Genereux – much better over sprint trips (5-6f) with a SR% of 14.2%; at longer trips this drops to under 8%. Slightly better on the turf to all weather but not significant; likewise males slightly outperform females but again not too significant.
Cape Cross – male runners have made a blind profit and scored 14.5% of the time compared with females at 10.9%. Higher strike rate over sprint trips (5-6f) at 14.2%; at longer trips this drops to 10.5%. 2yos that have previously raced and finished 2nd, 3rd or 4th last time out have produced an impressive SR% of 23.1% from over 250 runners. They have secured a healthy profit to SP of 26p in the £.
Dansili – 2yos with Dansili as the damsire have made a blind profit of 21p in the £ on the all weather thanks to an excellent strike rate of 16.1%. 5 of the 6 all weather tracks have overall SR%s in excess of 15%, the exception being Wolverhampton whose figure stands at just under 10%. Seems effective at all distances.
Dubawi – males have a higher SR% than females but beware of horses that have been gelded as they have won less than 5% of races they have contested. It looks best to avoid 2yos contesting 5f contests with just 7 wins from 111 (SR 6.3%); compare this to races of 7f or more where the strike rate improves to 14.9%, with a close to break-even situation (a loss of just 4p in the £ to SP).
Exceed and Excel – the strongest stat here relates to going. On good or firmer ground the SR% has been 12.6%; on good to soft or softer this drops to under 8%. One other interesting stat is that when his runners race at the same distance as LTO the strike rate hits an impressive 17.6% (compared with the overall 2yo SR% of 11.8).
Giant's Causeway – backing all 2yos would have secured a profit which is unusual. Performs best over 5 to 7f (SR 17.9%); compare this with 1 mile or more (SR 12.4%). Looks slightly more effective on firmer ground – on good or firmer the strike rate stands at 17.7%; on good to soft or softer this drops to 13%.
Royal Applause – consistent across the board. Effective on turf and all weather and on all types of going (possibly marginally better on soft/heavy). The Hannon stable have a particularly impressive record with an overall strike rate of 21.1% (23 winners from 108 runners). Over 5f they had 10 winners from 32 producing a profit to SP of £31.53 (ROI +98.5%). It seems they understand how to get the best out of Royal applause progeny.
This article has hopefully highlighted some useful stats and angles in relation to the influence of damsires on juvenile flat performers. I also hope I have planted the seeds that encourage readers to do further research in this area. The Geegeez Query Tool includes a 'damsire' research parameter.