Tag Archive for: Dr Richard Newland

Enqarde books Tommy Whittle ticket at Warwick

Enqarde has a date with Haydock’s Betfred Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase after getting back to winning ways at Warwick on Wednesday.

Trained by Dr Richard Newland, the nine-year-old gave David Pipe’s Remastered a 10-length beating in the well-known staying handicap in 2021 but has struggled to hit the same heights since.

However, he booked a return to the Merseyside contest on December 23 when making a long-awaited return to the winner’s enclosure in the Ignite Incentives Handicap Chase – with the 10-1 shot showing plenty of guts to get the better of Docpickedme in a pulsating finish.

Charlie Skinner, member of joint owners Off The Clock Partners, said: “He had a wind operation over the summer and he has come right again. He had not been right since winning the Tommy Whittle, so that is why he had his third wind operation. 

“First time out he is not normally so good, so we didn’t have thousands on him! Jumping the last we thought at least he has got third, but he is a really tough horse and he was given a peach of a ride (by Charlie Hammond). 

“Haydock Park suits him, and I think the plan will be to go back to the Tommy Whittle after that.”

The future could be bright for Alan King’s Helnwein (10-11 favourite), who put his bumper experience to good use to oblige favourite backers in the Watch On Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle.

King said: “He is a horse that we like and he has done everything so easily at home. He does everything on the bridle at home and it would have been no surprise if he got beat today as a lot of mine have needed a run.

Trainer Alan King saddled a smart winner at Warwick
Trainer Alan King saddled a smart winner at Warwick (David Davies/PA)

“He has done a lot of strengthening through the summer and the boys did a great job last season in only letting me run him in bumpers.

“There is a lot more to come from him and he is very much a work in progress. Hopefully he will build on that.

“I think we will stick at two miles for the time being, but he will get further in time. We could look to see if we can find one of those valuable introductory hurdles, but he will need between three and four weeks between his races.

“I needed to find some good horses, but last season’s bumper horses are the best I’ve had for a long time and he is one of the nicer ones.”

Johnny Burke enjoyed a double on the card, steering Henry Daly’s Rockinastorm (4-1) to victory in the Visit racingtv.com Novices’ Handicap Chase before adding to his tally aboard Ben Case’s Annie Day (7-1) in the Visit racingtv.com Novices’ Handicap Chase.

There was also a sighting of the Grand National-winning colours of Earth Summit as Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Supasunrise (4-1) claimed the 100% Racing TV Profits Back To Racing Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase in the hands of Finn Lambert.

“That was good as he really kept on plugging away,” said Twiston-Davies.

“The last day at Southwell everything just went wrong and he was jumping out to the right. We gave him a bit of physiotherapy and here we are. 

“I think we could step him up to three miles back on better ground, so we have options with him going forward.”

Trainer Profiles: Fry, Lacey, Newland, O’Brien, Snowden

In this the final Trainer Profiles article for the time being, I am examining the training record of five trainers that I have yet to study in the series. I will be looking at ten years of UK racing data from 1st January 2013 to 31st December 2022, the majority of which can be sourced by members using from the Geegeez Query Tool. All profits / losses have been calculated to Industry Starting Price and Betfair SP data will be shared where meaningful, also.

As I will be looking at several different trainers, each individual piece will focus on what I perceive to be their most important areas – highlighting where possible key positives and negatives. Let’s get cracking...

Harry Fry

Harry has been training in Dorset for just over a decade having taken out his license in October 2012.

Harry Fry Yearly Breakdown

Let’s look at Fry's yearly breakdown by win strike rate first:

 

 

The trend as a rule is downward, although 2022 did see a bounce back, perhaps as a result of settling in to his new training premises. Below are the combined strike rates and BSP returns comparing the first five years with the second five years.

 

 

2023 will be quite informative in terms of whether the 2022 improvement can be replicated.

 

Harry Fry Time of Year Breakdown

Sticking with the ‘time’ theme, Fry’s record has been much better in the main months of the National Hunt Season (November to March) as the table below shows:

 

 

There is a definite edge in strike rate, return on investment, Actual/Expected and Impact Values for the November to March period.

 

Harry Fry Performance by Market Rank

A look at some market data now, and here are the Fry figures for market position:

 

 

We can see a clear drop off once we get to 5th or bigger in the betting market, part of which is the fact that this group incorporates fifth and 15th in the markets depending on field size. Meanwhile, focusing on the top four of the betting, returns have been a solid 8 pence in the £ when betting to BSP. It looks best therefore to concentrate on Fry runners that are near the head of the betting market.

 

Harry Fry Performance by Run Style

In terms of run style Fry tends to the follow the pattern of the average trainer as this chart shows:

 

 

Roughly 52% of his runners race front rank early (led/prominent); 48% for mid/back pack runners. Not surprisingly though, the win percentages play out as we have seen in every previous piece:

 

 

If we had been able to predict when a Fry horse would take the early lead we would have been quids in. If... Note also the very poor returns for hold up horses.

 

Harry Fry Individual Stats (positive/negative)

Here are some of the strongest stand-alone stats that I have found for Fry:

  1. Four courses have seen a strike rate of 25% or more (minimum 50 runs) – these are Exeter, Newton Abbot, Uttoxeter and Kempton. All four courses have made profits to BSP; Kempton and Exeter have significant profits to both SP and BSP, the former returning 98p in the £ to BSP, the latter 52p. Conversely, Chepstow has not been a happy hunting ground with just 7 wins from 65 (SR 10.8%)
  1. Horses making their debut have won 39 races from 184 (SR 21.2%) for an SP profit of £30.07 (ROI +16.3%). To BSP this increases to +£59.04 (ROI +32.1%)
  1. Horses switching to NH racing from the ‘level’ are rare from this stable. However 35 horses have come from turf or all weather flat races last time, with only three winning
  1. Last time out winners have scored an impressive 32.4% of the time (133 winners from 410) returning 5p in the £ to SP, increasing to 12p to BSP
  1. Horses returning to the track after a break of nine weeks or more have a decent record – 136 wins from 635 (SR 21.4%). A 17p return to BSP

 

Tom Lacey

Tom started training in 2012 but it was not until 2017 that he sent out more than 100 runners. In the past three years that number has been over 200 each year. He has been profitable to BSP in five of the last seven years going back to 2016.

 

Tom Lacey Performance by Course

A look at some course data first and, specifically, at the win percentages / strike rates across all tracks where Lacey has sent at least 40 runners.

 

 

Huntingdon stands out, with 13 wins from 44 for an SP profit of £32.32 (ROI +73.45%). To BSP this increases to £41.81 (ROI +95.0%). For the record, in handicap hurdles at the course, he is an impressive 7 from 21 (SR 33.3%) with winners at 9/4, 7/2, 9/2 (twice), 7/1, 9/1 and 16/1.

 

Tom Lacey Performance by Distance

Distance splits next for Lacey:

 

 

These figures suggest that his record in shorter races is slightly worse. Profits in the 2m2f to 2m6f group are decent especially as the biggest priced winner was 25/1 and not something massively outlying. The 3m+ runners would have snuck into profit if using BSP. In terms of strike rates, the 2m2f+ runners as a whole are at or around 20% which is notably better than performance at the shortest distances.

 

Tom Lacey Performance by Jockey

 Jockey wise, here is a comparison of Lacey's use of professionals versus claiming riders:

 

 

There are virtually identical strike rates and the profit/loss figures are fairly similar. Hence, there is no need to put off if a claiming jockey is on board; indeed, it is possible the market slightly undervalues that angle.

There are three main jockeys Lacey currently uses and here are their stats:

 

 

The figures for Burke, certainly in terms of returns, are very poor - and well below the other two. It is worth noting that, like Dunne, Sheppard has been profitable to BSP. Sticking with Sheppard, his record in handicaps is excellent (strike rate of just above 20%). These races would have generated a 14p in the £ return to SP, 33p to BSP. In non-handicaps, his strike rate has been just 12.4%.

 

Tom Lacey Individual Stats (positive/negative)

Some further statistical nuggets for Tom Lacey are below:

  1. Horses priced 28/1 or bigger from the yard are 0 from 120, with just 11 placed
  1. Horses from the top five in the betting have combined to break even at starting price
  1. Horses making their debut have won 22 races from 141 (SR 15.6%) for a minimal SP profit of £3.31 (ROI +2.4%). To BSP this increases to +£36.07 (ROI +25.6%)
  1. Horses running less than three weeks since their last run have provided 58 wins from 259 (SR 22.4%) for an SP profit of £79.64 (ROI +30.8%); BSP +£121.24 (ROI +46.8%)

 

Dr Richard Newland

Richard Newland was a GP before he switched to training horses in 2006/07.

 

Dr Richard Newland Yearly Breakdown

Dr Newland has had plenty of success but this graphic shows a clear recent downturn in fortunes:

 

 

As we can see, in six of the first seven years (2013 to 2019) he managed a win percentage of over 20%. However, the last three years have seen strike rates between 15.9% and 12.8%. I have looked at various profitable angles in a bid to find ones that have held up OK in the past three years, but I could find only one.

 

Dr Richard Newland Last Run

The one area where he has continued to be profitable is with runners who failed to complete the course last time out. That is, horses whose previous form figure is a letter not a number; for example horses that fell (F), were pulled up (P), etc. Splitting up and comparing 2013 to 2019 with 2020 to 2022 we get the following results:

 

 

The strike rate has dropped but Newland has produced similar profits in the last three years to the previous seven. Whether this is a type of runner that punters should continue to follow is up for debate, but clearly Newland has been quite adept at getting these horses to bounce back.

As a rule I would be wary of backing Newland runners at the moment. Hopefully 2023 will see a resurgence.

 

Fergal O’Brien

Irish-born O’Brien started training in 2011 and in 2019 he moved to his current stables near Cheltenham. In October 2021, he joined forces with Graeme McPherson and, in 2022, finished 6th in the trainer’s championship, his highest position to date. O'Brien has one of the more interesting twitter accounts, and you can follow the team here. [Incidentally, you can - and should! - follow geegeez on twitter here]

 

Fergal O’Brien Yearly Breakdown

Let me start by looking at O’Brien’s yearly breakdown by win strike rate:

 

 

From 2016 to 2022, six of the seven years have seen very similar figures (only 2018 saw a dip); hence there is a good chance the yard will hit around the 17-19% mark again in 2023.

 

Fergal O’Brien Performance by Course

Racecourse data is next on the list to examine. Here are the tracks where he sent at least 100 runners. I have ordered by win strike rate:

 

 

There is quite a range of results here, with five courses managing a blind SP profit. A further five courses are in profit to BSP (Bangor, Market Rasen, Uttoxeter, Worcester and Southwell). Kempton has the lowest strike rate, not helped by a National Hunt Flat race record of just 1 win in 25.

Perth heads the list from a strike rate perspective, and if you combine all Scottish courses together (Ayr, Kelso, Musselburgh and Perth) they have combined to produce 57 winners from 201 runners (SR 28.4%) for an SP profit of £41.51 (ROI +20.7%); to BSP this edges up to £52.16 (ROI +26.00%). Any O’Brien runner heading that far north is worth at least a second glance. His biggest priced winner in Scotland has been 10/1 so this means there have been no huge prices skewing the stats. The trainer's twitter account is fond of "Perth pints" - and we punters should be fond of Perth punts, too!

Now, let's split the course stats into hurdle and chase output. The table below compares strike rates and A/E indices. With a ‘par’ A/E index for all trainers at around 0.87, I have highlighted A/E indices of 0.95 or higher (in green) – these are essentially positive. A/E indices of 0.79 or lower (in red) are essentially negative:

 

 

Bangor, Huntingdon and Perth are the three courses that have both A/E indices above 1. Huntingdon chase results are particularly strong, as are Bangor’s. On the negative side, Stratford chase performance has been very poor from a win perspective at least (2 wins from 52).

 

Fergal O’Brien Performance by Distance

Let's look at the distance data next:

 

There seems to be a bias against the longer races of three miles or more. For the record, chase and hurdle results of 3m+ have been very similarly flatter than shorter trips.

 

Fergal O’Brien Performance by Jockey

Here are the five jockeys who had 50 or more rides in the past ten years, and rode for the stable in 2022:

 

 

Paddy Brennan stands apart, edging into an SP profit from nigh on 2000 rides. To BSP you would have secured a ten-year profit of £357.05 (ROI +17.9%). The last two seasons, though, have seen small losses to BSP, despite solid strike rates of 21.1% and 23.1% respectively. Clearly, the market is cottoning on.

 

Fergal O’Brien Individual Stats (positive/negative)

  1. Horses wearing a tongue tie only (no other headgear) have secured a strike rate of just over 20% for SP returns of 3.5p in the £. This increases to nearer 20p in the £ to BSP
  1. Horses making their debut have won 52 races from 279 (SR 18.6%) for a SP profit of £39.87 (ROI +14.3%). To BSP this increases to +£121.84 (ROI +43.7%)
  1. On front runners Paddy Brennan has won 88 races from 247 runners (SR 35.6%). Backing all such runners would have made a huge profit to both SP and BSP
  1. Front runners who were in the top three in the betting have won 34.4% of races; hold up horses from the top three in the betting have won just 19.7% of their races

 

Jamie Snowden

Jamie Snowden worked with Nicky Henderson for three years before going it alone in 2008. Despite having a relatively small, but growing, yard Jamie has had a steady stream of winners in recent years.

 

Jamie Snowden Yearly Breakdown

Win percentage by year kicks off the Snowden analysis:

 

 

Despite the 2020 blip (Covid may be part of the reason), in general we see a sound improvement after the first three seasons (2013-2015). Time to dig deeper:

 

Jamie Snowden Breakdown by Race Type

Race type is the first port of call:

 

 

Runners in Hunter Chases are extremely rare, but maybe he should have more! Joking aside, the main race types have similar strike rates (and Impact Values, to mitigate for field size differential), though hurdle races have seen quite significant losses. This similar strike rate pattern is seen in numerous areas for Snowden, who appears to be an extremely consistent trainer; so let’s look at the more niche area of run style.

 

Jamie Snowden Performance by Run Style

Snowden appears to have an appreciation of the importance of early pace with nearly 23% of his runners taking or contesting the lead, while nearly 42% of his runners track the pace. The pie chart below shows his full breakdown:

 

 

The Held Up percentage is well below the norm for most trainers, again demonstrating that Snowden understands the significance of run style.

The win percentages for each run style group are shown in the following bar chart:

 

 

These figures are even more pronounced than normal. Hold up horses have a quite appalling record. Clearly these runners must be avoided unless there is very compelling evidence to the contrary. Front runners win a shade better than one race in every four, which is very impressive.

 

Jamie Snowden Individual Stats (positive/negative)

As I mentioned earlier, Snowden has very ‘even’ looking stats – there are only a few ‘stand out’ snippets (mainly negative) and these are listed below:

  1. Class 1 races have proved difficult. Just 6 wins from 129 with steep losses of 68p in the £ to SP, 64p to BSP
  1. 3yos have won just 1 in 43 races
  1. Female runners have had a slightly higher win percentage than male runners and they would have made a small profit of 3p in the £ if betting to BSP
  1. Horses upped in class by two class levels or more (e.g. Class 5 to Class 3) have a poor record, winning just 4.3% of the time (7 wins from 162 runs)

 

Summary: Main Takeaways

Here are the key positives and negatives that this article has uncovered across the quintet of trainers analysed:

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed the articles in this trainer series. If there is anything you would like me to research and write about, please leave your suggestions in the comments. I will do my best to accommodate you.

Thanks for reading!

- Dave Renham

Punting Angles: Uttoxeter

After a recent focus on some of the UK’s All-Weather courses it’s time to adjust the radar to a little bit of National Hunt racing (I’ll return to the remaining AW tracks of Wolves and Lingfield in due course), writes Jon Shenton. For this edition, I’ve chosen the Staffordshire venue of Uttoxeter to focus upon, the reason being that, based on a quick query (run in Query Tool), this course has hosted the most races in the last few years. More races equals more data, and more data sometimes equals better inferences.

Uttoxeter is probably best known for the second longest race in the UK calendar, the 4m2f Midlands National. The course offers a year-round jumping programme, with 25 scheduled meetings per annum. The summer jewel in the crown is the prestigious and valuable Listed race, the Summer Cup.

Course Map

The course is left-handed and relatively sharp in nature.  It is seemingly synonymous with punishing winter ground meaning the track has a reputation for suiting stamina-laden types. Although, given its relative sharpness, speed is possibly an undervalued commodity, especially on the typically firmer ground during the summer. A single circuit is approximately 1 mile 3 furlongs in length, with an unusual kink in the back straight.

 

Uttoxeter Trainers

We start, as usual, with a perusal of trainer performance as a way into developing betting opportunities at the track. The table below shows the record of each yard that has had 50 or more runners at the track since 2012, at a starting price of 20/1 or shorter, and with a minimum of 10 victories over that period.

 

There is some promise in these numbers, with the trio at the top of the list possessing phenomenal records at the track. The IV data confirm that runners from these stables are approximately 2.5 to 3 times more likely to prevail than the average at this venue, and all at a healthy margin, based on A/E or plain old profit and loss.

The Sue Smith, Evan Williams and Harry Fry data also would merit further investigation should time and word count permit, which it doesn’t for this edition, sadly! 

Warren Greatrex

For Warren Gretrex, things aren’t quite as rosy as they might seem from the headline figures, as will become clear below. Firstly, it is notable that his yard hasn’t had a single winner at the course at odds above 10/1. I haven’t shown workings but if you can take that on trust, of the remaining 78 runners we get the following profile by splitting the info by calendar year.

 

 

As can be seen, performance has dipped in 2018, and thus far in 2019. In fact, there was not even a solitary placed animal this year until Elleon won on the 16th November at a welcome SP of 15/2. [As was noted in this article, the Greatrex yard suffered a big dip in fortune last campaign, and will hopefully revert to type this term].

Any projected angle from this high-level data comes with a wealth warning then. Taking the overall data at face value, 24 winners from 78 runs, a strike rate of over 30% and a reasonable return all appears to be a rock-solid no-brainer. But two victories from 22 over the last couple of years removes some of the lustre of the overall picture.

Of course, it’s possibly attributable to the usual variance and randomness (as could the over-performance of earlier years be) given the acutely small sample size. It’s the beauty / challenge / pointlessness of using data such as this to base punting on depending on your viewpoint.  I’m firmly in the beauty & challenge camp if that’s not clear enough already.

Presenting the data differently gives an alternative view.  The graph below shows the cumulative return if you had put a £1 win single on every Greatrex runner with an SP of 10/1 or shorter at Uttoxeter since 2012.

It’s not a bad picture is it? In the context of the overall numbers the relative downturn in 2018/19 of 2/22 winners doesn’t look too damaging. The key question is, what is going to happen from today onwards? Clearly nobody knows for sure, but I’d be inclined to treat this data positively, at least for the time being, and especially in light of the recent winner.

However, if that’s not convincing enough, by looking a bit deeper under the surface there are opportunities to potentially improve the chances of success and lessen the risk based on historical data.

The table below shows track performance by the race code/type data for the yard at the course.

 

Did you spot it? One of those lines is very striking indeed! Chase numbers are fine; hurdle data are competitive, but not micro material. However, the National Hunt Flat race data is exceptional and irrefutably worth tracking. Sadly, for us, the aforementioned Elleon delivered the goods recently meaning a good betting opportunity was missed. The SP of 15/2 is the largest priced winner in the dataset just to add a little bit of salt to the wound!  It does mean that for angle purposes a cap of 8/1 on SP will be used for Uttoxeter runners.

The Greatrex bumper (NHF) record at Uttoxeter is particularly strong, so it is a sensible step to check if the yard performs well in such races generally, or particularly at the Staffordshire venue. Analysing results by course suggests there is some definite further interest.  The below table offers insight:

 

 

There is no doubt that performance is strong at the top four listed tracks, arguably five if including Ffos Las. A/E’s of the quartet at the head of the table are all above or equal to 1.22, a nice benchmark.

Is it interesting or coincidence that it could be argued that the top three are all geographically close to the trainer's base (in relative terms)?  Or is it interesting that all the high-performing tracks have similarities in being left-handed sharpish constitutions? Indeed, all of the top five are left-handed circuits.

The absolute, sacrosanct rule on angle building is that every filter used to compile the angle is explainable and must make at least some degree of sense. I am aware enough to recognise entirely that the above conjecture may be stretching that point, but I have the gut feel that there is something worth noting here. Probably more based on the track layout similarities than location; after all, Lambourn to Uttoxeter is a bit of a schlep.

However, I’ll be watching Greatrex bumper entries at these tracks with great (and probably financial) interest over the coming months.

Incidentally no winners have been delivered at SP’s of greater than 15/2 in this data. While that’s risky and arguably somewhat convenient, for pure angle building I’m only going to consider those runners at 8/1 or shorter (but will personally monitor all).

 

 

The bottom line is, as always, that it is your call how - and indeed if - to play:  the numbers presented are factual, but whether they are strong enough or reasoned enough for you to part with your hard earned is your choice. Caveat emptor!

Suggestions

  • Back Warren Greatrex horses at Uttoxeter in NHF races where the SP is 8/1 or shorter
  • Take note of all other Warren Greatrex runners at 10/1 or shorter at the course
  • If you feel so inclined, track or back Warren Greatrex runners in NHF at SP’s of 8/1 or shorter in races at Warwick, Stratford and Bangor in addition to Uttoxeter

Dan Skelton

It’s hardly new news that the Stratford-based operation has a prolific and rewarding record at the not-too-distant Staffordshire track; however, it’s always worth delving to establish if any deeper insights can be attained. The first port of call in this instance is by market price (it’s usually the first item I look at), and in the case of this intel there is some enthusiasm for a deeper dive.

 

 

The data tell us that  shorter-priced animals outperform the market in terms of A/E, IV and profit (look at that 5.3 IV for animals sent off shorter than 2/1!), whilst the entrants who start at prices of 11/2 or greater just about hold their own. Shorter priced the better, then.

If a lower SP is counter-intuitively a good thing then analysing performance based on market position is a sensible step.  There may be an angle containing the favourite, rather than just short priced animals.

 

An odds rank of 1 relates to the favourite, 2 is the second favourite and so on.  It is crystal clear that a Skelton jolly at Uttoxeter is a very serious contender, with over half of them delivering, and recording an A/E of 1.29 to boot. Impressive stuff at such apparently such short prices.  It proves that there can be value when fishing at the top of the market on occasion.

Obviously, knowing whether a horse is going to start at the top of the market is a bit of guesswork if you generally back the night before or early on the day of the race, but invariably you win some, you lose some and such things even themselves out over time.

Suggestion: Back Dan Skelton horses at Uttoxeter when they are positioned as SP favourites

 

Dr Richard Newland

Third on the trainer table is Dr. Richard Newland. The former GP and Grand National-winning trainer (2014, Pineau De Re) has an impressive record at Uttoxeter. However, focusing on the time of year gives a lot of clarity regarding when the real spotlight on his runners should occur.

The graph illustrates the volume of Newland runners at Uttoxeter, as well as the number of winners.  There’s a pronounced focus on summer jumping at the track, particularly in the months of June and July.

This table shows the same data in more traditional format, with the usual supplementary info, as provided by geegeez.co.uk's Query Tool:

Admittedly, highlighting summer jumping prowess at this point in the year is terrible timing, but it’s worth keeping in cold storage until the warmer temperatures return to these lands. Again, Query Tool is your friend!

The summary version of all runners from May-Sep (inclusive) results in the below output.

That’s good enough but further optional sharpening could be attained as there is no runner that has won at odds of greater than 15/2 SP, albeit only from nine attempts (three of which placed).

I get a strong impression that there is more to find with this trainer. From a relatively small number of horses in training this is a yard worth tracking closely and getting to know in closer detail.

Suggestion: Back Dr Richard Newland horses at Uttoxeter over the summer months (May-September) at odds of 15/2 or shorter

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Distance nuggets

As ever, let's have a quick hack around some of the race dynamics at the course.

Hurdle races – 2 miles

I’ve concentrated on hurdles primarily due to the volume of data; the chases are a little sparser in frequency so harder from which to draw even moderate conclusions. Initially, then, let's pick up the two-mile distance for larger field sizes (nine or greater) the following profile is generated:

The table illustrates the Impact Value (IV) performance of horses by the various underfoot conditions and by pace profile. The column “races” simply contains the number of races that relate to those going descriptions. This is included primarily to demonstrate the sample size of each data set so you can draw your own conclusions to the relevance when assessing a race.

The data clearly shows that front end pace is important and it’s better to be at the head than biding time in the relative back positions. This is a general truism for all races on all goings at all courses.

There is a suggestion that racing prominently is of greater importance as the ground becomes more testing, with the strongest two numbers in terms of IV relating to leading in Soft (1.81) and Heavy (2.55) conditions, abeit on smaller sample sizes. Making up ground from the cheap seats is tough in all conditions, especially so in the sticky stamina-sapping Staffordshire mud.

 

Hurdle races – 2m 4furlongs

The data for the two-and-a-half-mile trip is reasonably similar to it’s shorter two-mile counterpart, namely that leaders and prominent racers are generally favoured. The green-tinged data is on the right-hand side of the table where the speed is, the redder/orange numbers relating to horses who are ridden patiently is towards the left. There isn’t the same profile in terms of front-running mudlarks getting an even better time of it, perhaps stamina becomes of greater importance than track position over the extra half-mile. Irrespective of reasons or rationale, backing a horse that is likely to be in the leading ranks seems a sensible approach when assessing a race at this distance.

 

Hurdles - 3 miles

Finally, a focus on the longer distance of the 3-mile trip. The first thing to say is that there are fewer races at this distance, but there is no doubt that based on the information available, the box seat seems to have shifted towards the prominent racers, not the horses who cut out the running.

Whilst the front runners perform perfectly well on average, it seems logical that to lead without cover for this longer distance is a more difficult proposition. The low sample sizes do not help, but there is a flavour of it becoming increasingly difficult to make all as the ground gets more testing.

Broadly speaking the optimum position is tucked in nicely behind the leaders; however, based on the overall sample sizes it is not a strong conclusion. Taking the good ground data (where there is the biggest sample, 71 races) the pace profile is relatively flat in comparison to some of the numbers we’ve seen on other tracks. However, caution is advised on likely leaders in deeper underfoot conditions.

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I hope that is of some use to you over the winter and beyond. Forget the Derby, I’m already looking forward to Dr. Newland at Uttoxeter next summer!

- JS