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Two-year-old A/W Debutants, Part 2

In my initial look at trainers to follow with juvenile debutants on the All-Weather, I suggested that anyone thinking of blindly backing such runners should be focusing this season on two yards, those of Hugo Palmer and Archie Watson, writes Chris Worrall.

As with my delve into flat trainers, I went on to mention in that piece that we may be able to eliminate some bad bets by focusing more on each trainer's runners based on a series of factors: track location, actual track, race class/distance/surface, jockeys used, time of year and sex of horse.

So, with that in mind, let's look at each of our two trainers individually to see if we can find an angle for future use, starting with...

Hugo Palmer

As a recap of Palmer's overall figures, we can see that his results with 2yo all-weather debutants from 2015-19 were as follows:

When I looked at each of those 81 runs in more detail, I discovered that they included...

  • 14/67 (20.9%) for 73.89pts (+110.3%) away from Lingfield (where he is 0 from 15)
  • 11/58 (19%) for 45pts (+77.6%) at Class 5
  • 11/56 (19.6%) for 73.99pts (+132.1%) over trips of 7 or 8 furlongs
  • 10/41 (24.4%) for 76.68pts (+187%) from male runners
  • 8/33 (24.2%) for 45.13pts (+136.8%) at Chelmsford, Newcastle & Wolverhampton
  • 8/29 (27.6%) for 42.69pts (+147.2%) during September & October
  • 6/18 (33.3%) for 37.31pts (+207.3%) on Tapeta

I would propose to initially combine the first three filters to give us just the Class 5 runners in races of 7 or 8 furlongs away from Lingfield for a combined record of...

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...from which, males were 6 from 13 (46.2%) for 61.79pts (+475.3%) and those running on Tapeta won 3 of 7 (42.9%) for 37.4pts (+534.3%).

Suggestion: back all Hugo Palmer 2yo A/W debutants over 7 or 8 furlongs in Class 5 races away from Lingfield, paying closer attention to male runners and also not being afraid of backing one "at a price" on the Tapeta.

Archie Watson

And now onto Archie Watson, whose first AW runner was saddled on 1st October 2016, his 2016-19 stats were...

From which (in order of winners)...

  • 18/61 (29.5%) for 26.7pts (+43.8%) over trips no further than a mile
  • 18/48 (37.5%) for 39.7pts (+82.7%) were sent off at SPs of 10/1 and shorter
  • 17/53 (32.1%) for 30.98pts (+58.5%) no further north than Wolverhampton (1/10 @ Newcastle)
  • 13/42 (31%) for 25.46pts (+60.6%) on Polytrack (Chelmsford, Kempton, Lingfield)
  • 13/38 (34.2%) for 14.29pts (+37.6%) at Class 5
  • 8/19 (42.1%) for 15.56pts (+81.9%) with Hollie Doyle in the saddle

and if we took the first five of those filters, that is Class 5 on Polytrack over trips up to a mile and just considered those sent off shorter than a 7/1 ISP (as the market seems to have a good handle of these runners), we'd end up with the following...

...from which, both Oisin Murphy (3 from 5) and Hollie Doyle (3 from 6) seem to be the jockeys to have most success on these runners with a combined record of...

Suggestion: back all Archie Watson 2yo A/W debutants sent off shorter than 7/1 at up to a mile in Class 5 races on polytrack, paying closer attention to those ridden by either Oisin Murphy or Hollie Doyle.

*

Rather than the blanket approach, if we just followed the runners highlighted in the above two suggestions, we'd be looking at 17 winners from 44 runners (38.64% SR) generating 83.85pts profit at Betfair SP, the equivalent of making almost £1.91 profit for every pound invested and that's before adopting the final considerations for each trainer.

Obviously we're dealing with small datasets here, so some caution is advised, but the approaches make good sense in the context of the respective trainers' modi operandi so there is cause for optimism.

Hopefully, we'll soon be able to "live trial" these angles. Fingers crossed and all that, but for now, thanks for reading and I'll be back with more soon.

 - CW

 

 

 

Two-year-old A/W Debutants, Part 1: Trainers

A couple of weeks ago (seems much longer, doesn't it?), I kicked off a series of research pieces with a fairly simple analysis of trainers to follow on the flat with their two-year-old debutants, writes Chris Worrall.

Now I'm going to look at whether the same approach can be taken on the All-Weather here in the UK. The way I've approached this ahead of the resumption of racing, which will hopefully be here as soon as it's deemed safe to do so, is to look back over the previous five full calendar years to get a list of trainers to potentially follow in 2020. With that in mind, I then applied the following criteria to the long list of trainers with such runners since January 1st 2015:

  • a minimum of 30 2yo debutants
  • a minimum strike rate of 10%
  • profit over the five years at Betfair SP
  • and profitable in at least three of the five years

Applying those filters reduces the list to a far more manageable five trainers:

Ralph Beckett, Hugo Palmer, Sir Michael Stoute, Roger Varian and Archie Watson.

None, admittedly, achieved five profitable years - in fact all bar Beckett scored three from five - giving us some cause for caution. Ralph Beckett did manage to make profit in four years, but his success also carries a cautionary note as his runners went 0 from 19 last year!

Archie Watson has been profitable in 2017, 2018 and 2019, after only having one runner in 2016, so he couldn't really have done any better.

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Their collective figures, pulled from the excellent horseracebase.com, over the last five completed years look like this...

A near one-in-six strike rate and an ROI at Betfair SP in excess of 45p in the pound is something about which to sit up and take notice, even allowing for earlier caveats and a relatively small sample size. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority (almost 75%) of juveniles make their debuts on turf, so we're always going to be working with smaller numbers.

The yearly breakdown since 2015 is as follows...

The first thing I noticed was that 2018 wasn't as strong as the other years and this was replicated in my study on the Flat, so there may well be something to look at regarding 2018's two-year-old crop as a whole.

And here's how the runners were broken down by trainer...

The smaller sample sizes involved make me reluctant to draw down trainer by trainer and I think I'd either cautiously follow all five in a blanket portfolio approach or I'd have to be ruthless and discard Messrs Beckett and Stoute, because their strike rate doesn't appeal. I'd also jettison Roger Varian, because a 17% ROI at Betfair SP might well be steady, but it's not exciting and it did actually reflect a loss at Industry SP, not that any of us use that, surely?

That means I'm left with Hugo Palmer & Archie Watson going forward, whose numbers read as follows...

It's not an angle that is going to keep you busy, but if you're looking for 2 yr old debutants to back on the UK All-Weather scene, then my two go-to trainers are going to be Hugo Palmer & Archie Watson this year with a near two-in-nine strike rate generating more than 55% ROI over the last five years.

I intend to back up this starter piece with a more detailed analysis of each of my five originally highlighted trainers to analyse which of their two-year-old debutants to back based on criteria such as track/track location, surface, distance, jockey, time of year and so on.

- CW

Two-year-old Flat Debutants, Part 2

In part 1 of this series, here, I suggested that if we were looking to blindly back two-year-olds on their flat debut this season, our starting point should initially be those juveniles trained by Richard Fahey, Jessica Harrington and Ger Lyons, writes Chris Worrall. As well as that standout trio, I was also interested in those trained by Paul Cole, Eve Johnson Houghton and David Simcock, notwithstanding the reservations I highlighted about those three.

I went on to highlight in that opening piece that we may be able to eliminate some bad bets by focusing more on each trainer's runners based on a series of factors: track location, actual track, race class/distance/going, jockeys used, time of year and sex of horse.

Richard Fahey

So, if we start with our three headline acts, we can see that Richard Fahey's results with 2yo flat debutants from 2016-19 were as follows:

Closer inspection of those 381 runners showed no real bias towards either gender or for any particular reported ground conditions, but of the other five tested variables, I found (in sample size order) that those numbers included:

  • 55/363 (15.15%) for 135.66pts (+37.37%) over trips of 5 to 7 furlongs
  • 53/359 (14.76%) for 125.13pts (+34.85%) during April to September
  • 51/339 (15.04%) for 122.82pts (+36.24%) in Yorkshire, NW & Central England
  • 47/314 (14.97%) for 132.07pts (+42.06%) at Classes 4 & 5
  • 38/236 (16.10%) for 92.88pts (+39.36%) ridden by Tony Hamilton or Paul Hanagan

(all profit quoted is to Betfair Starting Price, BSP)

And when combine all those filters, we are left with...

Suggestion: back all Richard Fahey 2yo Flat debutants ridden by Tony Hamilton or Paul Hanagan at up to 7 furlongs in Class 4 or 5 races in Yorkshire, the North West or Central England during April to September.

Jessica Harrington

And now onto Jessica Harrington, whose 2016-19 stats were...

From which (in order of winners)...

  • 18/114 (15.79%) for 81.5pts (+71.49%) over trips of 5 to 7 furlongs
  • 15/122 (12.3%) for 23.28pts (+19.08%) in Leinster
  • 15/104 (14.42%) for 56.85pts (+54.67%) on ground declared as Good to Yielding or firmer
  • 15/80 (18.75%) for 80.7pts (+100.88%) during May to July
  • 13/95 (13.68%) for 26.94pts (+28.35%) with female runners

And combining trip, track location, going and time of year gives us...

             

of which the gender spilt is as follows....

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The females win more often, but the males generate more profit, so I'm not really convinced we should narrow it down either way.

Suggestion: back Jessica Harrington's 2 year olds on debut in Leinster (Bellewstown, Curragh, Fairyhouse, Gowran Park, Leopardstown, Naas, Navan) during May to July at trips up to 7 furlongs and on ground described as Good to Yielding or firmer.

Ger Lyons

The final member of our top trio is Ger Lyons, who qualified on his record over the last three seasons of...

Once again, we'll subject those runners to the filtering system, where it can be noted:

  • 30/130 (23.08%) for 90.71pts (+69.78%) over trips of 6f to 1m
  • 30/125 (24%) for 95.71pts (+76.57%) during April to September
  • 29/137 (21.17%) for 76.78pts (+56.05%) on ground deemed Soft or better
  • 29/136 (21.32%) for 79.30pts (+58.31%) in Leinster and Munster
  • 28/116 (24.14%) for 79.07pts (+68.16%) when ridden by Colin Keane

and when we combine those five sets of data, we end up with a fantastic set of numbers reading...

Once again both sexes fare well as follows...

...so we'll not differentiate between the two.

Suggestion: back all Ger Lyons' 2 yo debutants ridden by Colin Keane over trips of 6f to a mile in Leinster (see above for tracks) and Munster (Cork, Killarney, Limerick, Listowel, Thurles, Tipperary) on Soft ground or better from April to September.

*

Those were the three main protagonists from part 1 of this series; combining their two-year-old flat debutants under the specified conditions brings us to 66 winners from 293 runners (22.53% SR) and 266.74pts of profit at an excellent ROI of some 91.04%.

Clearly it will be difficult to fully repeat those numbers but if they only do half as well in the next three or four years we'll still be looking at 130+ points.

*

So what of our 'second string' trio of Paul Cole, Eve Johnson Houghton and David Simcock? Are there conditions under which we might follow their juvenile debutants?

The easiest way to find out is to dive into the data, starting with...

Paul Cole

Cole's base figures with 2yo first-time starters are:

That's a small sample size so caution is advised, but they do include of note...

  • 6/35 (17.14%) for 68.1pts (+194.57%) in Classes 4 and 5
  • 6/30 (20%) for 73.1pts (+243.67%) over trips of 5 or 6 furlongs
  • 6/29 (20.69%) for 74.1pts (+255.52%) during April to July
  • 6/14 (42.86%) for 89.1pts (+636.43%) at Brighton, Leicester & Newbury
  • 5/28 (17.86%) for 31.35pts (+111.96%) in SE England
  • 3/10 (30%) for 60.92pts (+609.2%) with Raul Da Silva in the saddle

You probably don't need me to point out how Paul got all of his six original winners, but combining those first four filters gives...

Suggestion: keep an eye out for Paul Cole 2yo firsters in Class 4 or 5 races over 5 or 6 furlongs at Brighton, Leicester or Newbury from April to July, especially if Raul da Silva's on board, even if it's a big price.

Eve Johnson Houghton

Next up is Eve Johnson Houghton, whose own record during the last four seasons was...

...which, like Paul Cole previously, was a smaller than ideal sample size, but did include...

  • 8/52 (15.38%) for 141.35pts (+271.82%) excluding April and July
  • 7/62 (11.29%) for 98.02pts (+158.10%) in Classes 4 and 5
  • 7/46 (15.22%) for 106.94pts (+232.48%) over 6 or 7 furlongs
  • 6/47 (12.77%) for 120.04pts (+255.41%) in SE England
  • 6/41 (14.63%) for 88.22pts (+215.16%) ridden by Charles Bishop
  • 6/37 (16.22%) for 142.18pts (+384.26%) from female runners
  • and 5/21 (23.81%) for 42.74pts (+203.52%) on Good to Soft or Soft ground

Combining class, month, distance and going gives us...

...and despite this dozen qualifiers include 4 from 7 (57.1%) for 48.5pts (+392.7%) for Charles Bishop, 3 from 6 (50%) for 43.6pts (+726.2%) for females and 3 from 6 (50%) for 31.4pts (+524%) in the South East, there is an uneasy feel to the exclusion of April and July - I can't come up with a logical reason why the horses would fail to fire in that month. Instead, I've taken a more straightforward view...

Suggestion: Look out for Eve Johnson Houghton's Class 4 and 5 runners over 6 or 7 furlongs on Good to Soft or Soft ground. Add a bonus point if you see Charles Bishop down to ride.

David Simcock

And finally for this look at trainers who perform well with juvenile first time starters, we'll put David Simcock under the microscope, despite his sobering record last season (0 from 20). Even with that abject campaign, his four year score is...

and again we've only a small number of runners to consider, but they do include...

  • 6/31 (19.4%) for 18.65pts (+60.17%) when ridden by Jamie Spencer
  • 4/20 (20%) for 49.15pts (+245.76%) over a mile
  • 4/15 (26.7%) for 27.4pts (+182.66%) at Yarmouth
  • 3/14 (21.4%) for 23.6pts (+168.6%) for Jamie Spencer over a mile
  • 3/9 (33.3%) for 28.6pts (+317.8%) for Jamie Spencer at Yarmouth
  • 3/7 (42.9%) for 30.6pts (+437.1%) over a mile at Yarmouth
  • and 3/6 (50%) for 32.69pts Jamie Spencer over a mile at Yarmouth

Obviously the Jamie Spencer angle is interesting, especially over a mile at Yarmouth, but I feel that particular stat lends more to the excellent record the jockey and trainer have together at that venue (a story for another day, perhaps?), but as for this piece...

Suggestion: Note, but don't necessarily back, David Simcock two-year-old flat debutants.

*

All of which second team deliberation leaves us with just the Paul Cole and Eve Johnson Houghton runners, whose suggested angles combine for 11 winners from 22 runners (50% SR) and 144.84 pts (+658.6% ROI) as a juicy-looking - but less reliable based on sample size - supplement to our top trio's 66 winners from 293 runners (22.53% SR, +266.74 BSP, ROI of 91.04%).

Hopefully, we'll soon be able to "live trial" these angles. Fingers crossed and all that, but for now, thanks for reading and I'll be back with more soon.

 - CW

Two-year-old Flat Debutants, Part 1: Trainers

After reading the responses from last week's SotD overview and also checking that I wasn't duplicating anyone else's work, I'm going to kick off my series of research pieces with a fairly simple analysis of trainers to follow on the Flat with their 2 yr old debutants, writes Chris Worrall.

And the way I've approached this ahead of the 2020 season, which will hopefully be here as soon as it's safe to do so, is to look back over the previous four seasons to get a five year overview by the end of this season. With that in mind, I then applied the following criteria to the long list of trainers with such runners since 2016...

  • a minimum of 30 2yo debutants
  • a minimum strike rate of 10%
  • an A/E above 1.00
  • profit over the four years at Betfair SP
  • and profitable in at least three of the four years

Applying those filters reduces the list to a far more manageable six trainers:

Paul Cole, Richard Fahey, Jessica Harrington, Eve Johnson Houghton, Ger Lyons and David Simcock

Their collective figures, pulled from the excellent horseracebase.com, over the last four seasons look like this...

A near 15% strike rate and an ROI at Betfair SP in excess of 50% is something we can really work with, even if replicating that stratospheric level may be nigh on impossible.

The yearly breakdown since 2016 looks something (well, exactly) like this...

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As you can see, 2018 wasn't quite as good for our highlighted trainers, but still profitable nonetheless. That said, the strike rate, which dipped below 10%, would have tested confidence.

We can further break down the data so see which trainers performed best in each year or, conversely, which years were best for each trainer which would lead us ultimately to the same end point.

What I can tell you from that breakdown is that runners trained by Cole, Fahey and Harrington were profitable at Betfair SP [the P/L(BF) column in the tables] in each of the four seasons.

Ger Lyons had a tough 2016, but has shown three years of unbroken profit since; and Eve Johnson Houghton's numbers dipped in 2018, when she went 0 from 15 with juvenile first-timers, but are otherwise solid.

But I'd have reservations about David Simcock in this context after he went 0 from 20 in 2019: if we were to drop one of our six trainers, it would likely be him.

Figures for 2016...

And 2017...

With 2018 producing...

And finally 2019 gave us...

From the above annual break down figures, Paul Cole's failure to hit the 10% SR in both 2017 & 2018, and Eve Johnson Houghton's similar strike rate deficiency in 2018 and 2019 ought to preclude them from our final angle; and if we also decided that David Simcock's 2019 performance was too unsettling for inclusion, we'd then take just three trainers forward: Fahey, Harrington and Lyons.

I'm happy to overlook Ger Lyons' failure to make profit in 2016, as a near 16% strike rate suggests his winners were simply too short-priced to cover the losers. If we set 2016 aside for now, our three final trainers' collective record over the past three seasons stands at a combined...

...which is not too dissimilar to our opening set of figures. The strike rate has risen slightly from 14.56% to 15.38% whilst the ROI has dropped from 50.13% to a still very respectable 43.29% and, importantly, I think the final numbers are likely to be more stable with less scope for variance.

 

So, if you're looking to blindly back 2 yr olds on their Flat debut this season I'd suggest your starting point should be those trained by Richard Fahey, Jessica Harrington and Ger Lyons.

 

I intend to back up this starter piece with a more detailed analysis of each of my six originally highlighted trainers to analyse which of their two-year-old debutants to back based on criteria such as track/track location, going, distance, jockey, time of year and so on.

- CW