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Early NH Season, Part 2

A few weeks ago, my last article focused on National Hunt trainers who fly out of the gates in the autumn, writes Jon Shenton.   When compiling data and researching angles for that edition there were a few other areas of interest which I’d like to touch on today.

A key aspect that was considered for the aforementioned piece was evaluating where trainers had a runner returning to the track after an absence of more than 180 days, or about 6 months.  The thinking is that some trainers will have horses wound up and ready to go after a summer absence, while others’ animals generally come on for a run, taking a long-term view of the season ahead.

The below graph shows the total volume of runners returning to the track after a layoff of that magnitude.  Clearly, now is a good time to dive into which trainers are ready to go or otherwise.  As can be seen, we are in peak season for long absence returners.

Graph illustrating number of horses returning to the track after a break of 181+ days, since 2010, by month

 

Bargepoles and Scary data

My general approach is to always try and provide a few pointers to find a reasonable return over the medium to long term.  However, there is definite value in identifying horses through which to strike a line: data for those inclined to lay in other words.

The first stop is what I’d uncharitably term a ‘bargepole list’. The table below comprises of trainer records in terms of horses making a reappearance after more than 180 days off the track.  50 runs is the minimum level for inclusion and I have sorted in reverse A/E, accounting for all runs from the start of 2010 onwards.

 

Trainer performance for all runners from 2010 where the horse last ran 181+ days previously

Trainer Runs Wins Win% P/L(SP) Place% ROI(SP) A/E
Jewell, Mrs L C 51 0 0.0 -51.0 5.9 -100.0 0
Menzies, Rebecca 52 0 0.0 -52.0 11.5 -100.0 0
Young, Mrs L J 62 0 0.0 -62.0 11.3 -100.0 0
Carroll, A W 81 1 1.2 -72.0 11.1 -88.9 0.17
Stephens, Robert 56 1 1.8 -39.0 17.9 -69.6 0.24
Newton-Smith, A M 51 1 2.0 -40.0 11.8 -78.4 0.25
Dennis, David 73 2 2.7 -61.8 12.3 -84.7 0.3
Wintle, A 57 1 1.8 -48.0 10.5 -84.2 0.31
Brennan, F J 55 1 1.8 -26.0 10.9 -47.3 0.34
Henderson, P 79 2 2.5 -63.0 12.7 -79.8 0.37
Dyson, Miss C 99 2 2.0 -71.0 9.1 -71.7 0.37
Easterby, T D 62 3 4.8 -36.3 22.6 -58.5 0.37
Thompson, V 53 1 1.9 -44.0 11.3 -83.0 0.38
Davison, Miss Z C 57 1 1.8 -36.0 10.5 -63.2 0.41
Normile, Mrs L B 67 1 1.5 -54.0 9.0 -80.6 0.43
Goldie, J S 68 3 4.4 -42.0 19.1 -61.8 0.44
Candlish, Jennie 129 5 3.9 -90.5 22.5 -70.2 0.47
Frost, J D 76 2 2.6 -37.0 7.9 -48.7 0.47
Bewley, G T 62 3 4.8 -42.8 27.4 -69.0 0.49

 

That’s a combined 30 wins from 1290 attempts with a A/E performance on average of 0.30.  Ordinarily I’d like to keep table data to a top 10 or so, but in this case, it felt a bit like a civic duty to share it all!

It goes without saying that if you’re backing a runner from these stables under these conditions that you need a very compelling reason to argue against the data. Obviously, it doesn’t mean that they can’t win – and horse can win any race – and, as ever, sample sizes are sub-optimal. Treating all of these stable runners with caution under these circumstances is advised.

The yards contained on the bargepole list are generally of the small/mid-range in terms of size.  Of greater interest may be to evaluate some of the household names of the game with the same conditions applied.  The table below contains larger outfits (100+ runs and not included in the first list above).  All have A/E rates of 0.8 or lower for horses where they are absent from competitive racing beyond the 180 days limit.

 

Trainer performance for all runners since 2010 where the horse last ran over 180 days previously (min. 100 runs at A/E less than 0.8)

Trainer Runs Wins Win% P/L(SP) Place% ROI(SP) A/E
Gordon, C 110 5 4.6 -48.1 18.2 -43.8 0.51
Webber, P R 188 8 4.3 -104.5 17.6 -55.6 0.51
Keighley, M 145 9 6.2 -61.6 22.1 -42.5 0.51
Dobbin, Mrs R 127 7 5.5 -83.0 21.3 -65.4 0.58
Williams, Ian 180 13 7.2 -72.5 25.0 -40.3 0.59
Hammond, Micky 110 5 4.6 -75.2 14.6 -68.3 0.59
Smith, Mrs S J 308 24 7.8 -104.2 26.3 -33.8 0.65
Russell, Lucinda V 332 27 8.1 -147.5 27.4 -44.4 0.66
Richards, N G 220 24 10.9 -68.5 35.0 -31.2 0.67
Hill, Lawney 120 10 8.3 -41.1 24.2 -34.3 0.67
Down, C J 106 4 3.8 3.5 17.9 3.3 0.67
Case, B I 102 6 5.9 -34.2 22.6 -33.5 0.7
Phillips, R T 115 5 4.4 -53.0 19.1 -46.1 0.71
Wade, J 166 10 6.0 -76.3 22.9 -45.9 0.72
Alexander, N W 169 12 7.1 -84.1 20.1 -49.7 0.73
Greatrex, W J 250 40 16.0 -106.7 37.2 -42.7 0.73
Wadham, Mrs L 118 13 11.0 -6.3 31.4 -5.3 0.74
Jefferson, J M* 163 20 12.3 -63.5 33.7 -39.0 0.75
Mullins, J W 175 11 6.3 -70.5 19.4 -40.3 0.76
Bailey, Caroline 100 7 7.0 -34.8 22.0 -34.8 0.77
Moore, G L 317 32 10.1 -144.1 24.6 -45.5 0.79
Dickin, R 116 7 6.0 -41.3 17.2 -35.6 0.79

*J M Jefferson yard now overseen by daughter, Ruth. It remains to be seen whether she adopts the same patient approach

 

A lot of these are undoubtedly considered elite level exponents of the training game.  They all will have short priced horses making their seasonal reappearance right about now.   Across the board the win strike rate is a moderate 8%.

On a personal level, awareness of this data has resulted in a modification of my betting habits over the last few weeks.  Sure, sometimes using intel such as this will leave you kicking yourself as you leave a winner out but it’s all about getting a few more right than wrong in the long-term.

 

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Winter Sunshine

Enough with the negativity. Let’s find a few rays of winter sunshine. Using the same 180 days off the track criteria with the addition of only considering runners at an SP of 20/1 or less (to prevent one or two big winners skewing the data) I’ve curated the following, more optimistic, data set.  This time I’ve sorted by ROI: bottom line profit is the ultimate goal after all. To qualify for the winter sunshine list at least 50 runs are required, a minimum of a 10% ROI at SP and a minimum of a 10%-win rate.

 

Trainer performance for all runners since 2010, 180+ days layoff, SP 20/1 or shorter

Trainers Runs Wins Win% P/L(SP) Place% ROI(SP) A/E
Bridgwater, D G 98 21 21.4 53.7 41.8 54.8 1.47
Easterby, M W 51 11 21.6 24.9 35.3 48.8 1.65
Hales, A M 74 12 16.2 34.0 35.1 46.0 1.42
Pauling, Ben 100 25 25.0 37.6 45.0 37.6 1.24
Honeyball, A J 119 26 21.9 41.2 43.7 34.6 1.14
Walford, Robert 59 10 17.0 18.9 30.5 32.0 1.33
Scott, J 118 20 17.0 30.4 39.8 25.8 1.23
Symonds, Tom 64 10 15.6 13.6 43.8 21.2 1.09
Williams, Evan 339 60 17.7 64.0 39.2 18.9 1.07
Scudamore, M J 74 11 14.9 13.3 35.1 17.9 1.27
Leech, Mrs S 74 10 13.5 12.8 27.0 17.2 1.14
OBrien, Fergal 189 38 20.1 29.7 42.3 15.7 1.12
Dartnall, V R A 119 19 16.0 15.8 40.3 13.2 1.09

 

A much more interesting set of results for backers, all pretty positive and all worth further investigation.  As usual it’d be remiss not to have a quick dive into the most profitable on the list, in this case the Cotswolds-based trainer, David Bridgwater.

 

David Bridgwater runners after a break of 180+ days, SP 20/1 or shorter by year

Year Runs Wins Win% P/L(SP) Place% ROI(SP) A/E
ALL 98 21 21.4 53.7 41.8 54.8 1.47
2018 7 2 28.6 19.0 71.4 271.4 2.41
2017 3 1 33.3 2.0 66.7 66.7 1.18
2016 13 1 7.7 -7.0 23.1 -53.9 0.71
2015 25 8 32.0 15.0 44.0 59.9 1.65
2014 15 2 13.3 0.5 40.0 3.3 1
2013 20 3 15.0 20.0 35.0 100.0 1.4
2012 6 1 16.7 -2.0 16.7 -33.3 1.23
2011 6 2 33.3 5.8 66.7 95.8 2.27
2010 3 1 33.3 0.5 66.7 16.7 1.89

 

Judged on this criterion, “Bridgie” has clearly peaked between 2013-2015 in terms of volume. However, he still appears to get his horses primed after a layoff these days, just in lower numbers.   Perhaps the increased activity during the peak years were as a result of his stable star The Giant Bolster finishing 2nd, 4th and 3rd in consecutive Gold Cup’s at Prestbury Park, thus raising the profile of the operation.  Delving slightly deeper into the data the performance is strong in the rank and file classes of NH racing (4 and 5), with 19 winners from 70 runs, ROI of 106% at SP. That’s probably an angle to keep in the back of your mind I suspect, rather than to follow blindly.

Picking another yard in a semi-random way (as I have an affinity for them) let’s check the Ben Pauling outfit. Willoughby Court signalled a change in fortunes with regard to my woeful Cheltenham Festival record back in 2017 and I’ve been following them ever since that momentous occasion.  The expanding yard is coming off the back of its most successful season and is clearly going in the right direction.

The beauty (or one of them) of evaluating data such as this is that it can act as a gateway into a deeper understanding of a trainer, generating a different angle or view to what was initially expected.  Let me illustrate:

Pauling’s 25 wins from 100 with a 37% ROI looks overwhelmingly positive (and it is), however, here is the breakdown by month 

Ben Pauling runners with 180+ off the track at SP of 20/1 or shorter by month

Month Runs Wins Win% P/L(SP) Place% ROI(SP) A/E
January 4 1 25.0 9.0 50.0 225.0 2.08
February 4 0 0.0 -4.0 0.0 -100.0 0
May 5 2 40.0 -1.0 40.0 -20.0 1.3
June 3 0 0.0 -3.0 66.7 -100.0 0
July 1 0 0.0 -1.0 0.0 -100.0 0
October 20 1 5.0 -14.0 35.0 -70.0 0.27
November 46 13 28.3 11.2 50.0 24.4 1.31
December 17 8 47.1 40.4 52.9 237.5 2.31

 

Look at October in relation to November and December.  They are pretty powerful numbers (small sample small-print applies).  In fact, they’re so powerful I have the strong inclination to check all of Pauling’s runners, irrespective of whether they’ve had over 180 days rest or not.  The graph below shows the split of profit and loss by month for all of the stable’s runners at 20/1 or shorter.

 

Ben Pauling P&L performance by month for all NH runners at 20/1 or shorter from 2010 onwards

 

The first thing to say is that the trend from the 180+ data is very much a representation of the whole yard’s performance.  Backing every Pauling entry during November and December appears to be a very promising area in which to potentially invest the kid’s university funds.  The whole stable appears to go into overdrive as we get towards the dying embers of the calendar year.

As a final and potentially arbitrary step, the Pauling record in Nov/Dec with fillies and mares is very poor with just one win from 28 runs.   Checking the overall year-round performance with the fairer sex there have been a skinny 5 wins from 68 runs, losing over 70% of funds invested.  As a result, I’ll happily exclude fillies and mares from the angle: training these has unique and different challenges, so exclusion can, I feel, be justified. That leaves the overall angle performance as per the table below.

 

Ben Pauling November/December male runners by year with, SP of 20/1 or shorter

Year Runs Wins Win% P/L (SP) Place% ROI(SP) A/E
ALL 205 56 27.3 104.7 46.8 51.1 1.35
2018 5 1 20.0 0.0 40.0 0.0 1.75
2017 72 18 25.0 14.2 47.2 19.7 1.17
2016 56 13 23.2 2.1 41.1 3.8 1.17
2015 36 15 41.7 54.3 52.8 150.8 1.72
2014 31 8 25.8 35.1 51.6 113.3 1.57
2013 5 1 20.0 -1.0 40.0 -20.0 1.56

 

In summary, backing Pauling male runners in November and December at 20/1 or shorter returns 51% to SP with a healthy strike rate of over 27%.  Maybe the market is catching up and pickings have certainly been slimmer over the past year or two.   Having said that, the yard is definitely still one to keep close to your thoughts as soon as we move into November.

Another trainer from the Winter Sunshine list, this time entirely based on volume, is Evan Williams.  The Vale of Glamorgan handler has delivered 50+ National Hunt winners every year since 2010 and is on track to do so again in 2018.

There is little doubt that this is an operation that gear themselves to getting horses out fresh and ready in October and November.   Using the P&L graph again, below is the distribution.

Evan Williams P&L performance by month for all runners 180+ days off the track, 20/1 or shorter, since 2010

 

A nice profit has been gleaned in the focus months; unlike Pauling, however, there are other potential periods of interest. Also, whilst the Pauling yard is historically flying with all runners in months 10 and 11 there is a clear distinction in Williams’ stable between fresh and already active animals.

 

Evan Williams Oct & Nov runners by month from 2010 by days since last run, SP 20/1 or shorter

Days since LR Runs Wins Win% P/L(SP) ROI
180 days or less 456 78 17.1% -84.0 -18.4
181 days or more 190 45 23.7% 84.4 44.4

 

As a result, we only want to consider the fresh horses from the yard, even though performance for the other horses is far from terrible.

If we want to sharpen up further, the trainer hasn’t had a victorious horse at odds of greater than 16/1 from 11 runs in this dataset.  There might be a big one out there though, as always, it’s personal choice in terms of appetite for risk and reward.

In summary, backing all Williams charges with over 180 days off the track in Oct/Nov at 16/1 or less would yield 53% at SP, delivering £95 profit from a £1 level stake.

I’m fully aware that October is in the rear-view mirror in 2018.  However, this year the stable was exceptionally quiet during the month in terms of qualifiers, finishing with a record of 0/5.  My guess would be that the exceptionally dry summer and autumn may be pushing this (and other) yard’s general routines back a few weeks, patiently waiting for winter ground.  If that is the case, then Team Williams may burst into life as the squad start hitting the course over the next few weeks.

Obviously, it doesn’t always work like that, it’s just part of the evolving punting puzzle that we all know and love.

Good luck!

 - Jon Shenton

Stat of the Day, 2nd December 2017

Friday's Result :

2.10 Southwell : Tellovoi @ 11/4 BOG 6th at 3/1 Soon led, ridden and headed over 2f out, weakened final furlong.

We end a satisfactory week with Saturday's...

2.25 Newbury :

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?

High Bridge @ 10/3 BOG

A Listed Limited Handicap Hurdle over 2m 0.5f on Soft ground worth £28,475 to the winner.

This 6yr old gelding was a very creditable third in a similar contest to this at Ascot four weeks ago, when outpaced late on in a two length defeat on unsuitably good ground. He was also coming off an absence of 235 days, so the benefit of having had a run allied to a return to is preferred soft ground should see him fare today.

He has 5 wins and 3 places from 10 NH starts so far and the make-up of his racing history to date suggests he'll go well today, as from those 10 races, he has the following of relevance today...

  • 4 wins and a place from 7 going left handed (3/4 over hurdles)
  • 4 wins and a place from 6 when ridden by Alex Ferguson (3+1/5 over hurdles)
  • 3 wins and a place from 5 trained by Ben Pauling (3+1/5 over hurdles)
  • 2 wins and a place from 5 over 2m0.5f (2/3 over hurdles)
  • 4/4 after a break of 16-30 days (2/2 over hurdles)
  • 3/3 in fields of 5-10 runners (1/1 over hurdles)
  • 2 wins and a place from 3 soft ground runs (1/1 over hurdles)
  • 2/2 here at Newbury (both over hurdles)
  • 2/2 over course and distance (both over hurdles)
  • and 2/2 in December (1/1 over hurdles)

Ben Pauling's horses are in great form too, winning 8 of 24 (33.3%) over the last fortnight and 4/14 (28.6%) in the past week, whilst in his admittedly short career to date, he is 7/26 (26.9% SR) for 3.24pts (+12.5% ROI) here at Newbury, including...

  • on Soft ground : 6/14 (42.9%) for 11.72pts (+83.7%)
  • at odds shorter than 5/1 : 6/9 (66.6%) for 9.07pts (+100.7%)
  • after a break of 26-60 days : 3/8 (37.5%) for 6.67pts (+83.4%)
  • in December : 4/7 957.1%) for 6.07pts (+86.8%)
  • at Class 1 : 2/4 (50%) for 8.54pts (+213.4%)
  • beaten by no more than 4 lengths LTO : 2/3 (66.6%) for 5.13pts (+171%)
  • with jockey Alex Ferguson : 2/3 (66.6%) for 2.65pts (+88.3%)
  • and in Listed races : 1/2 (50%) for 9.17pts (+458.5%)

..giving us... a 1pt win bet on High Bridge @ 10/3 BOG which was available from BetVictor & Boylesports at 6.45pm on Friday, whilst Ladbrokes match this price, but don't/won't go BOG until the morning of the race. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.25 Newbury

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!

Stat of the Day, 24th November 2016

Wednesday's Result :

6.55 Kempton : Star Storm @ 9/2 BOG 7th at 9/4 (Held up, in mid-division, not clear run over 2f out, soon switched left, never on terms)

Thursday's pick goes in the...

2.10 Towcester :

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?

Markov @ 7/2 BOG

Why?

Jockey Tom Cannon is 3 from 7 (42.9% SR) for 4.25pts profit (+60.7% ROI) on Ben Pauling's horses so far this year and that our starting point, as they team up here with a 6 yr old gelding who was a runner-up in both PTPs that he contested before winning a bumper on his debut under Rules at Fontwell almost three weeks ago.

He needed every inch of the trip that day and I would suggest that with the stamina shown in those two heavy ground 3m PTP efforts, that the step up to 2m5f should be more to his liking.

And then we come to the trainer Ben Pauling himself. Ben has a record of 10 wins from 35 (28.6% SR) for profits of 13pts (+37.2%) here at Towcester since the start of 2014, whilst more generally over that same time frame, his LTO winners are 19/65 (29.2% SR) for 18.3pts (+28.1% ROI), from which...

  • non-handicap races : 12/31 (38.7%) for 29pts (+93.4%)
  • Class 4 contests : 8/19 (42.1%) for 20.4pts (+107.5%)

and with Class 4 non-handicappers winning 5 of 9 (55.6%) for 20pts (+222.2%)...

...we'll have a ...a 1pt win bet on Markov at 7/2 BOG available at 6.25pm on Tuesday from Bet365 and BetVictor, but to see your preferred bookies' odds, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.10 Towcester

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

SotD : Monday 11/05/2015

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 11th May 2015

Tadqeeq was a disappointing 4th of just five runners at Haydock on Saturday and I'm still not sure which peeved me the most between the jockey's antics and the lack of fight shown by the horse late on.

Jockey Dane O'Neill was partly culpable in a coming together with Graham Lee's mount Storm Rock. The latter went for a gap, which although tight, was a valid target, but our jockey chose to steer our horse into Storm Rock to deny him a clear passage.

Based on the way the two horses recovered/finished from the collision, it didn't affect our placing, but it quite possibly cost Graham Lee a winner and I didn't like that tactic. These are highly tuned, valuable livestock, not fairground bumper cars.

As for Tadqeeq, I'm not sure about him at all now. One win from six and rapidly gaining a reputation for not seeing races out, he's one I'd avoid for a while.

Anyway, rant over, on to Monday, where I'll aim to continue last week's excellent progress (3 from 6 for 7.17pts) with a selection running in the...

7.00 Towcester:

At the age of 31 and with just 215 runners to date (2 more today!) since taking a licence in mid-2013, Ben Pauling is emerging as another of the new breed of young, hungry trainers. To date, he has had 25 winners (13.5% SR) and whilst he's a new trainer, he's hardly wet behind the ears, having served as an assistant to the great Nicky Henderson for five years and if you can't pick up a trick or two from Hendo in five years, you're in the wrong game!

What you might not know about Ben Pauling is that he actually won Britain’s Young Engineer of the Year Award while still at school for inventing a pallet-wrapping device that did not involve a fork lift, conjured up in his A-level design classes.

As a direct result of the award he was offered a commission in the Royal Engineers and places to read engineering at three different universities, but ecioded to do things his own way and went to Reading!

There he studied land management and successfully ran the student union before starting riding in point to pojnt races, but his riding career was sadly curtailed when he lost an eye. So he spent a year breaking in yearlings before joining the Henderson team.

And now as a trainer, he is quickly making name for himself in handicap contests. 17 of his 25 winners to date have come from just 50 NH handicappers sent off at odds of evens to 7/1, with the resultant 34% strike rate yielding level stakes profits of 28.6pts at an ROI of 57.2%.

His chasers in the Evens to 10/1 odds range are 11/29 (37.9% SR) for 18.6pts (+64% ROI), which sets up nicely for today, as does the booking of David Bass to take the reins. When David has ridden Ben's sub-10/1 chasers in the past he has won 5 of 167 (31.25% SR) races, producing profits of 8.91pts (+55.7% ROI) and quite remarkably the team is 4 from 4 here at Towcester, all over today's course and distance!

Two of those C&D wins were with Newton Thistle and the other two with today's selection, the 4/1 BOG Cosway Spirit, who...

...is 3/5 here at Towcester having finished 11451 all over this track and trip.
...is 2/5 under David Bass
...has won 3 times and been runner-up twice from 8 starts at 11/2 or shorter
...is 115122 below 7/2 (where I think we'll end up!)
...has finished 05115122 when running after 11 to 25 days since his last run
...has finished 41164512 in races of 7 to 11 runners

You could also take some confidence from a run of results reading 11512 when priced at 7/2 or shorter in fields of 7 to 11 runners after a break of 11 to 25 since his last run (ie today's conditions!).

Cosway Spirit looks a good bet here to me and the 4/1 BOG on offer from Boylesports looks big. If that's all gone, then 7/2 BOG is widely available and that's still a decent price (in my opinion,. of course!). Please do check the odds are still there, though : do this by...

...clicking here for the betting on the 7.00 Towcester

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

just click here for more details.

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard.

Stat of the Day, 11th May 2015

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 11th May 2015

Tadqeeq was a disappointing 4th of just five runners at Haydock on Saturday and I'm still not sure which peeved me the most between the jockey's antics and the lack of fight shown by the horse late on.

Jockey Dane O'Neill was partly culpable in a coming together with Graham Lee's mount Storm Rock. The latter went for a gap, which although tight, was a valid target, but our jockey chose to steer our horse into Storm Rock to deny him a clear passage.

Based on the way the two horses recovered/finished from the collision, it didn't affect our placing, but it quite possibly cost Graham Lee a winner and I didn't like that tactic. These are highly tuned, valuable livestock, not fairground bumper cars.

As for Tadqeeq, I'm not sure about him at all now. One win from six and rapidly gaining a reputation for not seeing races out, he's one I'd avoid for a while.

Anyway, rant over, on to Monday, where I'll aim to continue last week's excellent progress (3 from 6 for 7.17pts) with a selection running in the...

Your first 30 days for just £1

7.00 Towcester:

At the age of 31 and with just 215 runners to date (2 more today!) since taking a licence in mid-2013, Ben Pauling is emerging as another of the new breed of young, hungry trainers. To date, he has had 25 winners (13.5% SR) and whilst he's a new trainer, he's hardly wet behind the ears, having served as an assistant to the great Nicky Henderson for five years and if you can't pick up a trick or two from Hendo in five years, you're in the wrong game!

What you might not know about Ben Pauling is that he actually won Britain’s Young Engineer of the Year Award while still at school for inventing a pallet-wrapping device that did not involve a fork lift, conjured up in his A-level design classes.

As a direct result of the award he was offered a commission in the Royal Engineers and places to read engineering at three different universities, but ecioded to do things his own way and went to Reading!

There he studied land management and successfully ran the student union before starting riding in point to pojnt races, but his riding career was sadly curtailed when he lost an eye. So he spent a year breaking in yearlings before joining the Henderson team.

And now as a trainer, he is quickly making name for himself in handicap contests. 17 of his 25 winners to date have come from just 50 NH handicappers sent off at odds of evens to 7/1, with the resultant 34% strike rate yielding level stakes profits of 28.6pts at an ROI of 57.2%.

His chasers in the Evens to 10/1 odds range are 11/29 (37.9% SR) for 18.6pts (+64% ROI), which sets up nicely for today, as does the booking of David Bass to take the reins. When David has ridden Ben's sub-10/1 chasers in the past he has won 5 of 167 (31.25% SR) races, producing profits of 8.91pts (+55.7% ROI) and quite remarkably the team is 4 from 4 here at Towcester, all over today's course and distance!

Two of those C&D wins were with Newton Thistle and the other two with today's selection, the 4/1 BOG Cosway Spirit, who...

...is 3/5 here at Towcester having finished 11451 all over this track and trip.
...is 2/5 under David Bass
...has won 3 times and been runner-up twice from 8 starts at 11/2 or shorter
...is 115122 below 7/2 (where I think we'll end up!)
...has finished 05115122 when running after 11 to 25 days since his last run
...has finished 41164512 in races of 7 to 11 runners

You could also take some confidence from a run of results reading 11512 when priced at 7/2 or shorter in fields of 7 to 11 runners after a break of 11 to 25 since his last run (ie today's conditions!).

Cosway Spirit looks a good bet here to me and the 4/1 BOG on offer from Boylesports looks big. If that's all gone, then 7/2 BOG is widely available and that's still a decent price (in my opinion,. of course!). Please do check the odds are still there, though : do this by...

...clicking here for the betting on the 7.00 Towcester

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REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard.

Stat of the Day, 24th March 2014

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 24th March 2014

No joy with Newdane Dancer on Saturday up at Kelso and my day of rest has flown by, so it's back to the start of a new week for SotD, where the aim is always, to find you a good stat-based selection at a value price.

Long-term results suggest we find two winners from seven and we make over 20% ROI, so hopefully we'll head towards April under a head of steam, starting with today's...

3.30 Towcester:

And the trainer is Ben Pauling. Some of you might be asking who he is, so I'll tell you a little about him. He was an assistant to Nicky Henderson for five years before setting up training camp on his own, sending out his first runner last September.

Since then he has had 53 runners with what is best described as moderate success with five winners, but here's where it gets statistically of interest. 5/53 isn't great and certainly doesn't get you into SotD, However, in the last month alone his horses are 4/13, meaning the yard is in form.

Ben's 53 runners are split as follows: 29 in non-handicaps with just one winner, whilst the 24 handicaps have produced 4 winners. The fact that today's race is a handicap has to be a bonus.

Ben has sent his runners to 18 different tracks to date, but the one he has frequented most is here at Towcester, where he has been represented six times and his three winners here for 14.55pts profit is excellent stuff. In fact two of the three losers were priced at 16/1 and 66/1, so he's actually 3/4 here with horses in our price range.

Just the one runner for Ben today, Cosway Spirit, who comes here on the back of a course and distance win last time out just 11 days ago and that was the first time he had made the frame in his previous seven starts. The fact he  is turned out so quickly after finally hitting some form is of particular interest to me, as it reminds me of other similar runners ie...

Horses running in a UK handicap chase at odds of 12/1 or under, within 30 days of a win last time out, which was preceded by at least three unplaced runs, went on to record a back-to-back victory on 42 of 170 occasions (24.7% SR) since the start of 2013. This excellent strike rate has also yielded level stakes profits of 65.95pts (+38.8% ROI) in that time.

Also slightly more specifically, since 2009, horses running in UK handicap chases on the back of a win LTO within 30 days on the back of at least 3 unplaced efforts and where their penultimate run was between 15 to 30 days before that recent win have won 32 of 101 races when priced at 12/1 or under and were running within one class and within 1 furlong of their last run.

This 31.7% strike rate has produced level stakes profits of 80pts over the five years, a return of 79.2% above stakes invested.

Whilst Ben Pauling's own stats are impressive, the sample size is admittedly small, but the quick returning winner suggestion is the likely angle here today and such I think we've a very good chance with a 1pt win bet on Cosway Spirit at 9/2 BOG. I've gone with Bet365 for this one, but the same price is available at PP, as can be seen, if you just...

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