Tag Archive for: Sire research

National Hunt Sire Data: An Edge? Part 2

This is the second part of a double header where I am examining sire data in National Hunt racing to see if we can gain any type of edge. You can read part 1 here. Once again I am using UK data from 1st January 2018 through to 31st December 2022 and the profits/losses shown in all tables have been calculated to Industry Starting Price. I will also quote Betfair SP if appropriate. Virtually all of the data shared in this piece has been sourced using the Geegeez Query Tool.

At the beginning of the first article I shared a table with the top 50 sires in terms of number of runs, and I looked at Authorized, Shantou, Ask, Presenting and Yeats, highlighting some interesting facts and figures. To begin part 2, I am going to highlight two more noteworthy sires before looking in detail at a pair of specific racing angles.

Individual sire analysis

Fame and Glory

Fame and Glory is a relatively new sire having had his first runners back in 2017. The sad thing to report is that Fame and Glory died five years ago, so the current group of horses in training will not be added to. On the plus side there are around 100 still in training all aged 9 or younger. Hence he will be of interest as a sire for four or five more years, which is why I am sharing some of his data.

His overall strike rate over the five years stands at 14.9% and his yearly figures have been unbelievably consistent as the graph below indicates:

 

 

There is less than one percentage point between the highest and the lowest yearly win strike rates (SR%) - 0.79% to be precise. It is highly unusual to see this type of uniformity, something many punters would love to embrace as so many angles or systems incur wild swings of variance.

If we examine Fame and Glory’s record as a sire there are several angles that underscore this consistency. For example, male runners have won 15.3% of the time, females 14% - almost exactly what we would expect the figures to be. Likewise, strike rates in chases and hurdle races fit the overall average pattern with his chase win% at 16.7 and his hurdle one at 14.2. This gives him a chase to hurdle C.S.R. (comparison strike rate) of 1.17 where the average for all runners is 1.25 (see table in previous article).

However, indications suggest they may be a slight distance bias, certainly in terms of success rate. Here are the splits:

 

 

Horses racing at 3 miles or more have a poorer strike rate as you can see. There are potentially two logical reasons why this is the case:

  1. Fame and Glory was a flat horse who was bred as a flat horse. It may be that distances of 3 miles-plus are stretching the stamina of his progeny;
  2. Up to the end of the 2022 season the oldest runner sired by Fame and Glory was 8. We know as a rule that some older horses do step up in distance so maybe we have not got enough overall age data yet.

As I have mentioned several times in the past, it is so important when doing this type of research to appreciate that there is often no right or wrong answer. One of these reasons may be a contributing factor, both of them may contribute in some way. And neither may actually have anything to do with it! Unfortunately, with research we are often having to guess a bit; logically where possible, of course. Indeed, the first reason I gave could be contested with some validity because Fame and Glory won at 2m4f on the flat, hence it makes sense that his progeny would ‘get further’ over the sticks. For most arguments there is often a counter argument. Suffice it to say it will be interesting to see what happens in the next year or two.

Kapgarde

Kapgarde was a successful French hurdler and chaser in the early 2000s, as an entire (obviously), which is rare in UK but less so across the Channel. His offspring seem to prefer chases to hurdles as the table below shows:

 

 

The chase stats become even more interesting when we look at chase results by age. Horses aged 8 or younger have won 19.5% of the time; for those aged 9 or older this drops to 10.5%. Now it should be noted that there have been far more qualifiers for the younger age bracket, so we need to be careful not to be too judgmental here. However, the each way stats correlate strongly (37.1% v 24.6%), as do the A/E indices (1.01 v 0.73), which gives me at least more confidence that there is something in this. It is often the case the French-bred NH runners show precocity rather than longevity, so Kapgarde aligns with an overall trend.

I would also like to share that Kapgarde chasers priced 12/1 or shorter would have secured you a 14p in the £ return to BSP from just under a 22% strike rate.

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It is now time to home in on possibly the most important area as far as sire research in NH racing goes and that is the ground conditions / going.

NH Sires by Going

One area where I believe sires can pass on a trait or a preference is when it comes to handling the going. Ground conditions vary markedly depending on the weather, time of year and the drainage of the track. Some horses seem adept on any ground, others clearly do better on either softer or firmer.

To begin with, a couple of baseline figures are that the average horse/sire wins 12.57% of the time on good or firmer ground whereas on soft/heavy this drops slightly to 11.63%, a function of field size.

This is important because below I compare each sire’s record on fast ground (good or firmer) with their record on slower (soft or heavy). To be clear, in order to achieve a proper distinction, I have ignored good to soft going descriptions.

As with the first article I am going to divide the two percentages to give us a type of Impact Value which I call Comparison Strike Rate (CSR). The average CSR figure should be 1.08. Scores above this suggest the sire performs better on firmer ground than he does on softer ground. Conversely, scores below 1.08 imply the opposite. Here are the findings – they are ordered by highest CSR figure to lowest (the midpoint of 1.08 is highlighted in green):

 

 

Robin Des Champs tops the list with a CSR figure of 1.68. Sadly this sire died in December 2018 so his horses will only be active for possibly three or four more years. However, that still leaves some time to take advantage of the fact his progeny appear far better on good or firmer ground. Backing all runners on good or firmer would have yielded a 19p in the £ profit over the past five years; backing all his runners on soft or heavy would have yielded a loss of 35p in the £ to BSP.

Yeats lies second in the table and, in the first article, I highlighted this sires’ record on good or firmer. Yeats as a racehorse performed on good to firm ground nine times winning all nine races. He also raced once on firm once, winning that, too. He only raced on soft or heavy four times; he did win once but two of his losses saw him beaten 60 lengths and 32 lengths respectively. It should be noted that he was a long distance flat horse, but regardless of that, his going traits do seem to have been passed on to his offspring.

Presenting is third in the list showing a definite preference for sounder surfaces. However, as I mentioned in the preceding article, Presenting runners generally produce poor returns, and even on good or firmer ground backing all his runners would have seen a loss of 25p in the £ to BSP.

At the other end of the spectrum, Schiaparelli has the lowest CSR at 0.60 suggesting he is far better on easier going. Indeed his runners on soft or heavy ground have produced excellent returns of 61p in the £ to BSP. Further, you would have made a profit on these runners in four of the five years in review. Schiaparelli was highlighted last time as being more effective over fences than over hurdles, and if you combine chases on soft or heavy ground, his offspring have produced 17 wins from 64 runs (SR 26.6%) for an SP profit of £38.36 (ROI +59.9%); profit to BSP has been £53.76 (ROI +84.0%).

There are plenty of other sires here near the top, or the bottom, of the table that readers may want to investigate further using the Geegeez Query Tool, but for this article it’s time to look at A/E indices.

 

Actual vs Expected

A/E, or Actual vs Expected, is a measure of sustainable profitability where indices of 0.95 and above are generally considered good, with indices north of 1 suggesting good overall value. You can find more information on A/E, and other metrics used here on geegeez in this article.

First let's look at sire performance on good or firmer ground. The table below shows those whose A/E index is 0.95 or above. They are ordered left to right alphabetically:

 

 

Horses sired by any of the above are worth keeping an eye on when racing on good or firmer. Here are their full stats in terms of wins, runs, returns to SP etc.

 

 

Three of the thirteen have made a blind profit to SP, which increases to 11 of 13 if betting to BSP. Only Midnight Legend (BSP ROI -4.6%) and Sulamani (BSP ROI -0.6%) missed out at exchange starting price, albeit both marginally. Naturally, I am not suggesting you should bet all 13 sires blind on better ground, but they are definitely worth considering combined with other race reading factors.

Now let's take a look at the records of sires on soft or heavy whose A/E index is 0.95 or above. Once more they are ordered left to right alphabetically:

 

 

Ask, Dylan Thomas, King’s Theatre, Malinas and Sulamani appear in both this list and the good or firmer list showing real versatility in terms of going requirements. It should come as no surprise that all five of these sires are profitable to BSP with ALL runners on ALL goings. This quintet could be a bit of a blind spot in the betting markets currently.

Here are the complete soft/heavy stats for all 14 sires with an A/E index of 0.95 or above:

 

Seven of the sires have produced a blind profit to SP on these soft surfaces; 13 of the 14 are profitable to BSP. Only Winged Love is in the negative.

It is often worth checking profit and loss stats where bigger priced runners are ignored; this helps to avoid ‘skewed’ results. Below are the performances of these sires on soft/heavy ground at prices of 12/1 or shorter:

 

 

These are very positive when taken as a whole; all but four have made a blind profit to SP and three of these would have made a profit to BSP. When the going rides soft or heavy, horses sired by these runners should definitely be on our radar.

 

Age

Below are some data relating to age of the horse, looking for any sires which have different patterns to the norm. Age wise, I have split horses into three groups – those aged 3 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 and older. In terms of strike rate the average figures for ALL horses are as follows:

 

 

The 6 to 8yo age group win more often than the other two, while the older brigade have the poorest strike rate. In terms of A/E indices the figures are 0.85 for 3-5yos; 0.88 for 6 to 8yos; and 0.84 for horses aged 9 years-plus.

With these figures in mind here is a table with 40 of the leading sires comparing their strike rates and A/E indices across the age groups. With a ‘par’ A/E index for all sires at 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:

 

 

This should be useful table to use ‘at a glance’. Sires with green A/E indices within the specific age band are worth keeping an eye out for, as they are much more likely to offer some value. Likewise, red values are combinations of sire and age that we should perhaps avoid, or at least be wary around.

Here are some more age-based sire stats that I have uncovered – some positive, some negative:

  1. The offspring of Authorized aged 3 to 5 that started favourite or second favourite have provided 59 wins from 136 (SR 43.4%) for an SP profit of £26.28 (ROI +19.3%). To BSP returns increase around 10 pence to 29p in the £;
  2. Mahler with 3 to 5yos that started favourite also has an excellent record – 34 wins from 66 (SR 51.5%). Returns of 32p in the £ to SP; 40p to BSP. Splitting these results by race type we see that of the ten National Hunt Flat favourites eight went on to win (returns of 167p in the £); 24 wins from 45 for hurdling favourites and just 2 wins from 11 for chase favourites.
  3. Trans Island with runners aged 9 and older has a strike rate of below 5% as can be seen in the table above. Narrowing down these older runners to those priced 9/1 or shorter, this has seen just 4 winners from 51 (SR 7.8%) for loss of £26.50 (ROI -52.00%);
  4. Excluding horses that started favourite, Vinnie Roe has produced just 9 winners from 208 (SR 4.3%) with runners aged 9 or older. This equates to losses of over 45p in the £ to SP;
  5. Passing Glance has a decent record with older runners (aged 9+). They would have produced returns of 24p in the £ to SP if backing all runners blind (30p in the £ to BSP). Digging deeper and looking at performance by run style, older runners that raced close to or up with the pace (e.g. prominent or led) won 25.8% of the time; those who raced midfield or near the back early won just 3.6% of the time (2 wins from 56);
  6. Offspring of Ask have a moderate record once they get to the age of 9 or older. In fact if you exclude favourites or second favourites their record is dire – just 4 wins from 90 runners (SR 4.4%) equating to losses of 65 pence for every £1 staked.

 

MAIN TAKEAWAYS

Before winding this two-parter up, here are some positives and negatives to take away from this piece. I have chosen the sire stats that I feel are the strongest. Some I have highlighted in more detail already, others I have taken from the tables:

 

I guess sire research for some is like Marmite; but personally I think it is an under-researched area and that, under certain circumstances, can offer up a fair edge. The problem of course is that this type of data can be interpreted in so many different ways; we just have to interpret it better than most of your fellow/rival punters!

- Dave Renham



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