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Stat of the Day, 14th February 2020

Thursday's pick was...

3.00 Leicester : Troubled Soul @ 10/3 BOG 6th at 7/1 (Not always fluent, in rear on outside, some headway 9th, hit 12th, soon well beaten)

Friday's pick runs in the...

3.50 Fakenham :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour of going "live".

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?

Penny Mallow @ 5/2 BOG

...in a 5-runner, Class 4, Novices Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m on Soft ground worth £6,433 to the winner...

Why?...

Well, one of the benefits of posting the picks just after 8.00am means we've avoided a non-runner today, after my first choice was scheduled to run at Sandown, hence me going with one slightly shorter in price than I'd normally put up for you (hopefully, there'll be a bit of an early-morning drift). That doesn't, of course, mean that I don't expect to have a winner!

So, why this 6 yr old mare? Well, she's lightly (just 5 starts to date) raced, but has 3 wins and a runner-up finish (odds-on defeat by just a neck at Carlisle LTO 11 days ago) to her name already and aside from her own suitability to the task ahead, I've a few other strands of data that suggest a good run is due here, so I'll try to keep it as brief as I can, starting with...

..the horse, whose 17112 form line includes...

  • 1711 going left handed
  • 112 at Class 4
  • 112 on Soft or softer
  • 112 under jockey Gavin Sheehan (more on him in a moment)
  • and 1 from 1 here at Fakenham

After her narrow defeat at odds-on LTO, she'll look to bounce back quickly and the omens are good as since the start of 2017 in UK NH handicaps, horses turned back out within 30 days of an odds-on defeat of 2 lengths or shorter are 19 from 59 (32.2% SR) for 25.8pts (+43.8% ROI) profit, including the following at play today...

  • 16/30 (53.3%) for 31.8pts (+106%) at odds of evens to 5/1
  • 12/22 (54.6%) for 23pts (+104.5%) at Class 4
  • 11/34 (32.4%) for 13.1pts (+38.6%) over hurdles
  • and 7/13 (53.9%) for 21.7pts (+167.1%) over trips of 2m7.5f to 3m1.5f

...with Class 4 runners sent off at evens to 5/1 winning 11 of 16 (68.75% SR) for 20.95pts (+168.4% ROI) profit.

...and now to the jockey. Gavin Sheehan is in good touch right now, having won 5 of 19 (26.3% SR) for 13.5pts (+71.1% ROI) already this month, including of relevance today...

  • 5/10 (50%) for 22.5pts (+225%) at evens to 8/1
  • 3/10 (30%) for 5.43pts (+54.3%) in novice races
  • 3/9 (33.3%) for 11.2pts (+124.3%) in handicaps
  • and 2/5 (40%) for 10.9pts (+218%) on soft ground

and finally our trainer today is Miss Venetia Williams, about whom I have many profitable angles, but we'll just quickly look at two for today, starting with an angle I loosely label "Winter 3m+". Basically some trainers fare better than others with stayers in the main NH season. In Venetia's case, backing her runners during October to April at evens to 8/1 is very successful.

Since the start of 2017, this approach has generated 32 winners from 120 (26.7% SR) for 73.6pts (+61.4% ROI) profit, broken down under today's conditions as follows...

  • 16/49 (32.7%) for 47.9pts (+97.8%) on soft ground
  • 11/41 (26.8%) for 20.7pts (+50.4%) at Class 4
  • 6/17 (35.3%) for 20.4pts (+119.9%) in February
  • 6/17 (35.3%) for 14.5pts (+85.5%) 11-15 days after their last run
  • 6/16 (37.5%) for 15.3pts (+95.8%) with female runners
  • and 4/9 (44.4%) for 12pts (+133.3%) in novice contests

The other angle I want to touch on before eventually (I didn't want you all to think that second choice meant I'd put less effort in!) signing off on this one is Miss Williams' record in Class 4 handicap hurdles, because at odds of evens to 9/1 since the start of 2017 she has definitely been worth following with 14 winners from 57 (24.6% SR) producing profits of 24.3pts at a decent ROI of 42.6% including...

  • 10/44 (22.7%) for 10.14pts (+23.1%) on soft or softer ground
  • 7/18 (38.9%) for 17.4pts (+96.7%) from her 6 yr olds
  • and 2/3 (66.6%) for 5.04pts (+168%) over trips of 2m7.5f to 3m1.5f

...all of which has steered me towards...a 1pt win bet on Penny Mallow @ 5/2 BOG as was widely available at 8.00am Friday (with plenty of 11/4 appearing from 8.30 onwards!), but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.50 Fakenham

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, 30th December 2019

Saturday's pick was...

3.35 Newbury : Tidal Flow @ 7/2 BOG 2nd at 5/2 (Chased leaders, led 11th, pushed along and headed 3 out, chased winner, one pace and well held)

Monday's pick runs in the...

12.25 Haydock :

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?

Your first 30 days for just £1

Longhousesignora @ 4/1

...in an 11-runner, Class 4, Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle for 3yo+ over 3m½f on soft ground worth £6,498 to the winner...

Why?...

This 7 yr old mare won a Class 2 chase by 15 lengths last time out, at Hereford over 3m1½f on soft ground, so this should be well within her capabilities reverting back to hurldes in a lower grade and sporting the blinkers she successful wore for the first time for that win. She'll be seeking to add to trainer Venetia Williams' good run of form, which has seen the yard land 15 winners from 45 (33.33% SR) and 19.62pts (+43.6% ROI) over the last 21 racing days.

Mind you, this run of form comes as no surprise to me, as one of my saved angles tells me to back all of her Class 2 to 4 handicappers during November/December, because the last six of those pairs of months have produced 89 winners from 420 (21.2% SR) for a profit of some 164.7pts (+39.2% ROI), including of relevance today...

  • 5-8 yr olds are 74/310 (23.9%) for 187.5pts (+60.5%)
  • those racing over 2m3f to 3m4½f are 74/308 (24%) for 201.4pts (+65.4%)
  • those racing on soft or "worse" ground are 70/294 (23.8%) for 121.3pts (+41.2%)
  • those racing at Class 4 are 38/177 (29.9%) for 77.4pts (+60.9%)
  • since the start of November 2018, they are 28/115 (24.3%) for 84.8pts (+73.7%)
  • hurdlers have won 22 of 108 (20.4%) for 30.2pts (+28%)
  • LTO Winners are 19/65 (29.2%) for 30.6pts (+47.1%)
  • whilst those sent here to Haydock are 8/26 (30.8%) for 25.5pts (+98%)

...all of which then leads us to a secondary saved micro-system of mine, where from the above 420 runners, we back 5-8 yr olds racing over 2m3f to 3m4½f on soft or worse ground. This gives us over 84% of the original profit from just 39% of the bets as 49 winners from 164 (29.9% SR) have generated 138.6pts at an ROI of 84.5% and that's the basis for the bet today.

If you wanted to filter down as before then you'd get...

  • 22/55 (40%) for 62.1pts (+112.8%) at Class 4
  • 18/50 (36%) for 64pts (+128%) in 2018/19
  • 11/43 (25.6%) for 41pts (+95.3%) over hurdles
  • 8/35 (22.9%) for 4.4pts (+12.5%) from LTO winners
  • and 5/12 (41.7%) for 25.8pts (+215.2%) here at Haydock (our racecard icons are already alerting you to the yard's overall success at this track)...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Longhousesignora @ 4/1 as was offered by both BetVictor & SkyBet at 10.10pm on Sunday, with plenty of 7/2 elsewhere. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 12.25 Haydock

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, 30th December 2019

Saturday's pick was...

3.35 Newbury : Tidal Flow @ 7/2 BOG 2nd at 5/2 (Chased leaders, led 11th, pushed along and headed 3 out, chased winner, one pace and well held)

Monday's pick runs in the...

12.25 Haydock :

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?

Longhousesignora @ 4/1

...in an 11-runner, Class 4, Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle for 3yo+ over 3m½f on soft ground worth £6,498 to the winner...

Why?...

This 7 yr old mare won a Class 2 chase by 15 lengths last time out, at Hereford over 3m1½f on soft ground, so this should be well within her capabilities reverting back to hurldes in a lower grade and sporting the blinkers she successful wore for the first time for that win. She'll be seeking to add to trainer Venetia Williams' good run of form, which has seen the yard land 15 winners from 45 (33.33% SR) and 19.62pts (+43.6% ROI) over the last 21 racing days.

Mind you, this run of form comes as no surprise to me, as one of my saved angles tells me to back all of her Class 2 to 4 handicappers during November/December, because the last six of those pairs of months have produced 89 winners from 420 (21.2% SR) for a profit of some 164.7pts (+39.2% ROI), including of relevance today...

  • 5-8 yr olds are 74/310 (23.9%) for 187.5pts (+60.5%)
  • those racing over 2m3f to 3m4½f are 74/308 (24%) for 201.4pts (+65.4%)
  • those racing on soft or "worse" ground are 70/294 (23.8%) for 121.3pts (+41.2%)
  • those racing at Class 4 are 38/177 (29.9%) for 77.4pts (+60.9%)
  • since the start of November 2018, they are 28/115 (24.3%) for 84.8pts (+73.7%)
  • hurdlers have won 22 of 108 (20.4%) for 30.2pts (+28%)
  • LTO Winners are 19/65 (29.2%) for 30.6pts (+47.1%)
  • whilst those sent here to Haydock are 8/26 (30.8%) for 25.5pts (+98%)

...all of which then leads us to a secondary saved micro-system of mine, where from the above 420 runners, we back 5-8 yr olds racing over 2m3f to 3m4½f on soft or worse ground. This gives us over 84% of the original profit from just 39% of the bets as 49 winners from 164 (29.9% SR) have generated 138.6pts at an ROI of 84.5% and that's the basis for the bet today.

If you wanted to filter down as before then you'd get...

  • 22/55 (40%) for 62.1pts (+112.8%) at Class 4
  • 18/50 (36%) for 64pts (+128%) in 2018/19
  • 11/43 (25.6%) for 41pts (+95.3%) over hurdles
  • 8/35 (22.9%) for 4.4pts (+12.5%) from LTO winners
  • and 5/12 (41.7%) for 25.8pts (+215.2%) here at Haydock (our racecard icons are already alerting you to the yard's overall success at this track)...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Longhousesignora @ 4/1 as was offered by both BetVictor & SkyBet at 10.10pm on Sunday, with plenty of 7/2 elsewhere. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 12.25 Haydock

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, 26th December 2019

Saturday's pick was...

1.40 Newcastle : Glittering Love @ 7/2 BOG fell at 7/2 (Tracked leaders, close up on inside when fell 5 out)

Boxing Day's pick runs in the...

1.20 Kempton :

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?

Roll Again @ 3/1 BOG

...in a 12-runner, Class 3, Novices Limited Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m4½f on Soft ground worth £16,245 to the winner...

Why?...

This 5yr old gelding was a winner LTO, 8 days ago, triumphant on similarly soft ground at Ludlow in another Class 3 handicap chase under today's jockey, Charlie Deutsch.

He's by Walk In The Park, whose soft ground handicap chasers are 6 from 19 (31.6%) SR) for 26.4pts (+138.9% ROI) over the last four years, including...

  • 6/15 (40%) for 30.4pts (+202.6%) at 2m1.5f to 3m2f
  • 6/13 (46.2%) for 32.4pts (+249.1%) at 2/1 to 10/1
  • 3/7 (42.9%) for 5.05pts (+72.2%) at Class 3
  • and 3 from 4 (75%) for 8.05pts (+201.3%) when all three of the above are in play as they are today.

This horse hails from the in-form Venetia Williams yard, one that thrives at this time of year and does well in poorer conditions. In fact, Venetia's runners are 13 from 26 (50% SR) for 31.6pts (+121.6% ROI) since the morning of the 11th December, whilst more generally over the last five Decembers, her Class 2 to 4 handicappers are 41/160 (25.6% SR) for 101.9pts (+63.7% ROI), including...

  • 38/141 (27%) for 108.9pts (+77.3%) from male runners
  • 35/102 (34.3%) for 121.7pts (+119.3%) with 4-7 yr olds
  • 34/120 (28.3%) for 103.9pts (+86.6%) in races worth £4k to £17k to the winner
  • 28/85 (32.9%) for 108.7pts (+127.9%) over 2m3f to 2m7.5f
  • 28/71 (39.4%) for 62.2pts (+87.6%) at 2/1 to 5/1
  • 20/73 (27.4%) for 54.4pts (+74.5%) on Soft ground
  • 17/60 (28.3%) for 25.1pts (+41.9%) under Charlie Deutsch
  • and 16/73 (21.9%) for 38.9pts (+53.3%) at Class 3...

...whilst 4-7 yr old males sent off at 2/1 to 5/1 over 2m3f to 2m7.5f chasing pots of £4 to 17k are 14/22 (63.6% SR) for 44.8pts (+203.6% ROI) and these include 8/13 (61.5%) for Charlie Deutsch, 7/13 (53.9%) at Class 3, 7/10 (70%) on soft ground and 3 from 4 (75%) with Charlie riding a Class 3 runner on soft ground...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Roll Again @ 3/1 BOG as was widely available at 6.50pm on Christmas Day. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting later...

...click here for the betting on the 1.20 Kempton

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, 3rd December 2019

Monday's pick was...

4.45 Wolverhampton : Arabic Culture @ 5/2 BOG WON at 5/4 (Raced wide close up, pushed along and headway 2f out, soon chased leader, ridden and every chance inside final furlong, led close home, winning by a nose!)

Tuesday's pick runs in the...

3.15 Lingfield :

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?

Uhlan Bute @ 10/3 or 3/1 BOG

...in a 6-runner, Class 3, Conditional Jockeys Veterans Handicap Chase for 10yo+ over 2m4f on Heavy ground worth £7,018 to the winner...

Why?...

It has been almost 11 months and nine defeats since this 11 yr old gelding last ran off a mark (OR) lower than 120 (my 50th birthday to be precise, but that's another matter!) and that was also his last win, so I'm glad to see him back off a winnable mark and not having any younger, fitter runners to deal with.

He's never been prolific (5/46 = 10.9% SR), but a quick look a this wins/best runs would suggest he's more likely to win any/some/all of the following are present...

  • a run in the previous 7 weeks (ran 19 days ago)
  • sent off at 5/1 or shorter (we're on at 10/3)
  • going left handed (tick)
  • handicap chases (tick)
  • soft or worse (heavy today)
  • OR lower than 120 (119 here)
  • wearing cheekpieces (tick)
  • running at Class 3/4 (C3 today)

...and when going left handed at 5/1 or shorter after 6 weeks rest or less, he is 3 from 5 (60% SR) for 7.41pts (+148.1% ROI) including 2 from 2 on soft or worse and 1/1 on heavy.

He is trained by Venetia Williams, one of my trainers to watch in the closing stages of the year (and also one of the trainers that switched me on to the statistical side of betting, but again that's another story for another day), as her chasers are 104 from 567 (18.3% SR) for 227.2pts (+40.1% ROI) during the closing two months of the year over the past nine years, with every year bar 2017 showing healthy strike rates and ROI figures.

And from the 567 November/December chasers since 2011...

  • 99/514 (19.3%) for 218.9pts (+42.6%) in handicaps
  • 98/515 (19%) for 237.9pts (+46.2%) from male runners
  • 94/474 (19.8%) for 204.5pts (+43.2%) at Classes 2 to 4
  • 71/361 (19.7%) for 116.5pts (+32.3%) on soft/heavy (the stat probably most well known)
  • 49/233 (21%) for 106.1pts (+45.5%) within 25 days of their last run
  • 29/134 (21.6%) for 63.6pts (+47.5%) off marks of 110-120
  • and 13/72 (18.1%) for 42pts (+58.3%) since the start of 2018 (so we're not using old data as a crutch!)

...whilst from the above, Class 2-4 male handicappers on soft or worse are 59/265 (22.3% SR) for 108.6pts (+41% ROI), a handy little micro for 30-ish bets a year, but if 15 or so bets in a month from one angle is too much, then you could re-filter using the initial parameters to get...

  • 31/109 (28.4%) for 90.4pts (+83%) within 25 days of their last run
  • 19/78 (24.4%) for 25.1pts (+32.2%) off an OR of 110-120
  • 11/35 (31.4%) for 18.65pts (+53.3%) off 110-120 at 1-25 dslr
  • 8/35 (22.9%) for 17.67pts (+50.5%) in 2018/19
  • 5/9 (55.6%) for 25.5pts (+283.3%) at 1-25 dslr in 2018/19
  • 3/8 (37.5%) for 7.82pts (+97.7%) off 110-120 in 2018/19
  • and 2/4 (50%) for 4.27pts (+106.8%) off 110-120 at 1-25 dslr in 2018/19...

...and this possible over-dilution points to...a 1pt win bet on Uhlan Bute @ 10/3 or 3/1 BOG as was offered by Bet365 (10/3)  or Coral/Ladbrokes (3/1) or Betfair/PaddyPower/Hills (3/1) respectively (third grouping not BOG until raceday, mind) at 5.20pm on Monday. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.15 Lingfield

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!

NH Season Fast Starters

As I’ve alluded to in previous articles I would consider myself more of a flat game specialist, writes Jon Shenton.  However, with the onset of winter and the monumental battle of wills around when to put the heating on, perhaps you could argue that my timing is less than impeccable in terms of becoming a contributor to Geegeez.

Data are data, though – and in some ways the fact that I’m not invested so much in the history, the characters and the equine stars of the show arguably means I can be more objective about what I’m looking at.  In other words, the data can speak for themselves.  Every day is a school day and I’m hopeful that I can build some profitable and interesting angles to keep things ticking over during the cold, dark months when I’m wrapped in a blanket because I’m too tight to fire up the boiler!

In this article, I will try to unearth a bit of early season value with regard to the winter game.  That said, and as a starter concession, I still can’t work out officially when the National Hunt season starts.

As ever a reminder that analysing past performance is no guarantee of future spoils; but, as a minimum, it should help in generating ideas and approaches for evolve our knowledge and therefore our betting skill.

Let’s start with a broad-brush approach evaluating National Hunt runners by trainer during the months of October and November.  This time all the data have been crunched using the Query Tool on this very site, any runners on or after 7th October 2018 are not included.

All National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter by trainer in October and November from 2012 onwards

The table above displays trainers ordered by the best return on investment (ROI) at starting price (SP).  Encouragingly, there are nine of them returning over 10% without diving any deeper.

Top of the tree and first cab off the rank is Henry Oliver, the Worcestershire-based trainer who is returning a very substantial 61% over the period in question: it’s stating the completely obvious but that’s worth more than a quick glance.   First stop is to check the context of this apparent seasonal bounty, it may be that Mr Oliver is an all year-round cash cow.

All Henry Oliver National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or less from 2012 onwards

If you backed every Oliver NH runner from January 2012 you would have a neat 5% return to SP with 90 winners from 534 bets.  Not quite ‘cash cow’ status but there are certainly worse ways to put your money on the line.  The below graph shows how the 26.7 points of profit is split by month.

Monthly P&L to a £1 level stake for all National Hunt runners at 20/1 or shorter from the Henry Oliver stable from 2012 onwards

 

First thing to note is that, like a number of NH trainers, the summer months are fallow for Oliver’s charges.  December aside, Oliver is operating at a profitable level over the winter months and I wouldn’t put you off tracking all stable runners over the core NH season so certainly a trainer to follow.

However, we started searching for early season value and clearly November sticks out like Brian Blessed playing hide and seek, returning 94% profit to ROI.  The 20% October ROI is worth noting, too.

Trying to dive deeper into those autumnal runners, evaluating variables such as obstacle type, race class, horse age or date of recent run doesn’t generate anything of real material value.   If you’re nit-picking, Oliver’s horses are 0/11 for runs greater in distance than 2m 6f in those months and 5/58 overall, something to keep an eye on.

The last metaphoric hurdle is to understand the consistency aspect of the performance.

The table below shows Oliver’s October/November runs by year.  Maybe a little streaky but scintillating performance in 2013, 2015, and in particular 2017, with a bit of a washout in 2016.  Only one losing year though (excluding 2018 thus far for hopefully obvious reasons) means that this is solid enough to go on the list!

All Henry Oliver National Hunt Oct/Nov runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards

Suggestion: Back all Henry Oliver runners in October/November at 20/1 or less

 

Your first 30 days for just £1

The second luminary of the list is Fergal O’Brien, who quite simply has the best (in my opinion) and most entertaining twitter profile of all of the trainers, well worth a follow (@FOBracing) if you’re active on that medium. The stable contains relative household names such as Chase The Spud, Cap Soleil, and their first Grade 1 winner Poetic Rhythm to name but three of them.

There is no doubt the yard has impressive credentials and performance has been very strong over recent years.  If you backed every single stable runner at SP from January 2012 you’d walk away with 3.7% more cash than you invested.

I think there are angles aplenty when it comes to O’Brien, most of which are for another day but with specific reference to the early season view there are a couple of options to home in on for profit. The first is National Hunt race code

All Fergal O’Brien Oct/Nov National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race type

All profitable, which is nice. The pertinent angle for me though is his performance in bumpers, where O’Brien has nearly double the volume of winners than expected with a 186% return to boot.  Yes, the sample size is small, but within the data there are ten winners from horses making their debut (from 22), indicating that the yard gears up to get quality horses (or horses ready to win) out on the track in the months of October and November. Generally speaking, the later in October, the better as the record is 1/11 from the 1st-16th.

Profit in relation to hurdles and fences is quite small over those two months; however, if we zoom in a little closer there is a quite telling split in monthly performance, again it looks like the stable is peaking in November.

All Fergal O’Brien Oct/Nov Hurdle & Chase runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race type

It’s not an absolute rule, and certainly doesn’t mean that a horse on the track on the 1st November is in different shape to one on 31st October, but it does indicate generally that as we start heading towards the big November Cheltenham meeting, the O’Brien yard picks up pace and is a definite one to follow closely.

Suggestion 1: Back all O’Brien NHF runners in late October/November at less than 20/1 SP

Suggestion 2: Back all O’Brien Chase and Hurdle runners in November at less than 20/1 SP

 

Moving to the trainer in the bronze medal position in the opening table, Harry Whittington: the Lambourn-based outfit is growing rapidly, currently housing nearly 50 horses with an increasing number of runners per year. I like these yards that are growing, it often means they’re on an upwards trajectory and are worth closer review.

First port of call is checking the race type in the table below, a small number of runners but the bumper aspect doesn’t look entirely compelling so I’m happy enough to exclude and keep a watching brief.

All Harry Whittington Oct/Nov National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race type

Again, evaluating the profile of Whittington’s hurdle and chase runners across the whole year gives an interesting picture in terms of P&L.  The graph below shows that very same P&L by month to a £1 level stake, it’s fair to say that Q4 looks quite compelling – another yard that’s fast out of the blocks for the new season.

Monthly P&L to a £1 level stake for all National Hunt runners at 20/1 or less from the Harry Whittington stable from 2012 onwards

 

If we analyse the October to December runs in terms of race class as a differentiator there is a further shard of light to assist profitable punting.

All Harry Whittington Oct-Dec Hurdle and Chase runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race class

 

The basement C5 races are easy enough to ignore in punting terms, most of them crossing over with the NHF group we already discounted; the Class 1 & 2 are less straightforward, particularly if the yard’s expansion means they may be knocking on the door of the higher echelons of the racing ladder. Here and now I’d be inclined to back the C3 & C4 horses and track the C1/2 runners for signs of improvement or add to a shortlist to back on their relative merits.

Suggestion: Back all Harry Whittington’s October, November and December Chase/Hurdle runners at less than 20/1 in Class 3 or 4 races.

 

The final trainer I’m going to run through from the initial table is Venetia Williams, largely due to her volume of runners: to deliver a 17% ROI across 440 runners in the months of October/November from 2012 onwards is impressive and merits closer scrutiny.  That’s not to say all of the other trainers are not worthy of further investigation and I’d definitely be inclined to sharpen the focus on Messrs Pauling and Keighley in particular.  Have a play on QT yourself and maybe post anything of interest (or otherwise) in the comments below.

Returning to Venetia Williams, the Grand National-winning trainer has a profitable record during the months in question, but the below table tells a stark tale.  Clearly, Williams has a knack for getting her cavalry of chasers ready early in the season

All Venetia Williams Oct/Nov National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race type

 

Again, if we look specifically at the month, the record in November is much stronger than that of October.

Perusing the “Venetia” page at her website www.venetiawilliams.com the following sentence caught my eye:

“Since then Venetia's career has flourished. Never one to expose her horses to the high risk of summer ground, each year Venetia can be seen with the big Saturday winners during the core NH season”

There is a common belief that Williams’ runners love soft turf, and the statement above also seems to indicate a preference to avoiding the risks associated with summer ground.  On Geegeez we like facts to back up a theory, so the table below shows Venetia’s chase runners in November by official going.

All Venetia Williams Chase runners in November with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by official going

 

While there is confirmation that Williams’ runners prefer a softer surface, it is worth noting that the stereotyped ‘hock deep’ runner from this yard fares less well than those encountering merely ‘winter ground’, i.e. good to soft or soft.

There is one mild concern with the overall angle though, namely 2017 performance, showing a loss of 28%, this is also on the back of a moderate 2016.  It could be this angle has run its natural course, albeit I will be adding it to my own armoury this November.  Williams had a very quiet spell last winter, alluding to a potential problem in the yard so I’m just about happy enough to strike a line through 2017.  This is one for keen observation though.

All Venetia Williams Chase runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards on good to soft, soft or heavy ground by year

Oh, and incidentally the Saturday assertion in the quoted sentence does have a degree of credence too.

Suggestion: Back all Venetia Williams November Chasers on Good to soft or softer ground with a 20/1 or less SP (with caution)

- Jon Shenton

Stat of the Day, 8th March 2016

Monday's Result :

2.40 Lingfield : Bawden Rocks @ 11/4 BOG 2nd at 3/1 (Tracked leaders, went 2nd 3rd, led 6th, headed 3 out, stayed on same pace)

Tuesday's runner goes in the...

4.10 Exeter:

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?

Renard @ 11/4 BOG

Why?

This 11 yr old gelding was a runner-up when last seen 11 days ago and should be competitive having had the recent effort and especially now eased 2lbs and dropped two classes to a grade where he is currently 2 from 2 and he comes to Exeter where his trainer Venetia Williams' handicap chasers (all male!) are 4/14 (28.6% SR) for 26.5pts (+189.6% ROI) profit since the start of 2015.

Of those 14 'capper chasing males...

  • those running on soft/heavy are 3/12 for 19.1pts
  • class 4 runners are 2/5 for 20.4pts
  • Aidan Coleman has ridden 2 winners from 5 for 16.5pts
  • and at 2m3f/2m3.5f, they are 2 from 2 for 19.1pts

In addition to the above, Venetia's handicap chasers dropping down in class are 39/231 (16.9% SR) for 12.3pts (+5.3% ROI) profit since the start of 2012, with the following angles prevalent here...

  • soft ground runners are 18/86 for 11.6pts
  • class 4 runners are 14/67 for 8.13pts
  • those priced at 5/4 to 7/2 are 20/53 for 13.5pts
  • those racing over 2m1f to 2m3.5f are 8/33 for 25.8pts
  • and here at Exeter, they are 2 from 10 for 15.4pts

Plus, Ms Williams' handicap jumpers running after a string of 5 or more successive defeats and are now rated lower than their last jumps win have won 21 of 74 (28.4% SR) races for profits of 34.3pts (+46.3% ROI) when sent off in the 13/8 to 13/2 price range since the start of 2012. Of particular interest to me today, are the following facts...

  • males are 19/68 for 31.7pts
  • chasers are 17/62 for 19.4pts
  • soft ground runners are 12/39 for 27.8pts
  • class 4 runners are 10/36 for 13.5pts
  • those ridden by Aidan Coleman are 8/27 for 12.5pts
  • in races of 2m0.5f to 2,4.5f, they are 10/23 for 26pts
  • and here at Exeter, they are 1 from 2 for 4.33pts

So today's play is...a 1pt win bet on Renard at 11/4 BOG, a price available with Betbright, BetVictor, Coral & Hills at 5.40pm, so to take your pick of the pack, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 4.10 Exeter

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REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard...

Stat of the Day, 22nd January 2016

Thursday's Result :

4.05 Southwell : Ziggys Star @ 7/2 BOG 6th at 15/8 (In touch, pushed along halfway, ridden 2f out, no impression)

Friday's runner goes in the...

3.15 Chepstow :

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?

Waldorf Salad @ 11/4 BOG

Why?

Horse : This 8 yr old gelding comes here on a hat-trick after wins at Towcester (2m 5.5f, soft) five weeks ago and then by 5 lengths at Taunton (2m 7f, heavy) just over three weeks ago, taking his record on heavy ground to 3 from 5 and he's also 3 from 5 when running within 25 days of his last outing.

All his four career victories have come from the 13 races he has contested in fields of 7 to 11 runners, with 2 wins from 5 over fences and January has been a good month for him in the past, yielding 2 wins and a place from 4 efforts.

Trainer : Venetia Williams has an excellent record over the last four years with her heavy ground handicap chasers, who since the start of 2012, have won 48 of 223 (21.5% SR) races for level stakes profits of 37.2pts at an ROI of 16.7%. Based on today's race conditions, those 223 heavy ground chasers are...

  • 47/209 (22.5% SR) for 47.5pts (+22.7% ROI) for male runners
  • 38/180 (21.1% SR) for 43.8pts (+24.3% ROI) at trips of 2m3.5f to 3m5.5f
  • 40/172 (23.3% SR) for 62.pts (+36.4% ROI) at the ages of 7 to 11
  • 30/115 (26.1% SR) for 35.3pts (+30.7% ROI) 6 to 25 days after their last run
  • 16/75 (21.3% SR) for 12.7pts (+16.9% ROI) at Class 3
  • 13/40 (32.5% SR) for 15.1pts (+37.6% ROI) from LTO winners
  • 5/18 (27.8% SR) for 19pts (+105.3% ROI) here at Chepstow

And a micro? Male / 7 to 11 yr olds / 2m3.5f to 3.5.5f / 6 to 25 days since last run = 21/68 (30.9% SR) for 53.8pts (+79.1% ROI), from which LTO winners are 6/15 (40% SR) for 13.1pts (+87.2% ROI) and Chepstow runners are 4/9 (44.4% SR) for 25.8pts (+286.4% ROI).

The fact that this 8 yr old now competes in a Class 3 hcp chase off the back of an LTO win sets us up for the following...

General Stat : Class 3/4 male chasers aged 6 to 9 yrs old who won a handciap chase by 2 to 10 lengths LTO, 11 to 150 days ago are 280/1246 (22.5% SR) for 255pts (+20.5% ROI) profit since the start of 2008.

So that's around 150 bets per year, manageable for some, too many for others. With such a large sample size, there are many ways to approach it, but I'm just going to give you four, very logical, profitable filters...

  • those who last ran 11 to 45 days ago are 256/1084 (23.6% SR) for 267.8pts (+24.7% ROI)
  • those who won by 5 to 10 lengths LTO are 160/670 (23.9% SR) for 175.5pts (+26.2% ROI)
  • Class 3 chasers are 132/637 (20.7% SR) for 162.4pts (+25.5% ROI)
  • 8 yr olds are 77/347 (22.2% SR) for 78.9pts (+22.7% ROI)

And your second free micro of the day? Class 3 chasers running 11 to 45 days after a win by 5 to 10 lengths LTO are 56/233 (24% SR) for 118.6pts (50.9% ROI), of which 8yr olds are 14/64 (21.9% SR) for 37.1pts (+58% ROI).

And my recommended bet, based on my data and prices available at 5.15pm is...

A 1pt win bet on Waldorf Salad and that's at 11/4 BOG with Bet365, who are currently the standout price for this one. To see the rest of the market, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.15 Chepstow

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...

Trainers Report: January 2016

Trainers Report January

January is a funny month in terms of the jumps calendar, with some of the big yards taking things particularly easy at a time when racing is either under threat from the weather, or the ground is particularly testing, writes Rory Delargy.

Running class horses now with the big spring festivals looming on the horizon is a dangerous business, with a punishing race taking time to get over. On the other hand, there are plenty who also need to gain much-needed experience if they are to deliver the goods on the big stage, so a total hiatus is not ideal either. The figures discussed below are for the 4-week period up to and including Wednesday 20th January, so do include the tail end of December.

Venetia Williams:

Runs 57 Wins 11 IV 1.67 A/E 1.20

It’s well established that Venetia Williams tends to thrive when the mud is flying, and while that is due in part to weight of numbers rather than an exceptionally high strike rate, she does certainly have something in her regime which bears fruit at times when endurance is at a premium. Unlike November, when she had plenty of winners after a lengthy absence but few with race fitness on their side, things have settled down now, and Venetia’s team are pretty much all running to form.

What is notable is that in the last four weeks she has had eleven wins from 57 runners over obstacles for a modest profit; and, moreover, of a dozen to have started at 3/1 or shorter, only one has finished out of the first three. There aren’t any fat profits to be had this year (so far), but the picture painted is one of a healthy yard producing consistent results, and now that the pattern has been established, it should continue until such times as the spring arrives and brings with it warm sunshine to dry the turf. That may be some time!

The worry with the stable is that with the horses providing the returns in the past few weeks now in the lap of the handicapper, the immediate future may be bleak for followers, and it seems best to stick with those making their seasonal returns, particularly those handicappers who may have gone off the boil last season.

 

Paul Nicholls:

Runs 39 Wins 5 IV 1.0 A/E 0.62

Your first 30 days for just £1

We looked at the modest performance of the Nicholls yard last month and asked whether his mantle might be in danger of slipping, although the conclusion was that the stable’s current strength was insufficient to compete at the usual high level. That is partly due to injuries to key horses as well as underperformance from some of the top chasers, with Nicholls rerouting big guns Silviniaco Conti, Saphir du Rheu and Ptit Zig to hurdles after the trio disappointed to varying degrees in their big tests over fences.

The fact that some talented chasers have either been sidelined (Dodging Bullets) or have failed to go on as expected is a worry, but we covered that in detail last month, and Nicholls has always shown his ability to produce something special from his youngsters, so there are bound to be bright spots in the months ahead.

Worth noting is that Nicholls has a strong team of young horses being prepared for a spring campaign, and I’d recommend looking at Harry Derham’s blog if you haven’t already done so – as well as unraced hurdlers such as Whispering Storm (fifth in a bumper for Adrian Maguire), there is also an update on Coral Cup winner Aux Ptits Soins, who could be yet another for Nicholls in the World Hurdle having had his chasing career delayed by sinus issues.

It’s been a stop-start season for the Ditcheat team, and the figures still don’t read well if taken over the last month. On the other hand, five winners from just eighteen runners over obstacles in January puts a fair bit of gloss on the overall figures, and February promises to be a rewarding month for the novices in particular, as a patient approach combines with a period when maiden hurdles are less competitive on the whole.

 

Philip Hobbs:

Runs 35 Wins 11 IV 2.44 A/E 1.38

Minehead-based Hobbs has benefited particularly from the patronage of Grahame and Diana Whateley, whose two-tone blue colours have been sported by the likes of Menorah, Captain Chris and Wishfull Thinking in recent seasons, and they have had a dozen horses in action this season for their main trainer, in addition to a few others with Anabel Murphy and Oliver Sherwood.  For his part, Hobbs has garnered eleven wins from those he trains for the Whateleys, and it looks a relationship sure to endure.

Numerically speaking, Hobbs is the season’s leading trainer, ahead of John Ferguson, and he sits second in the prizemoney table behind Paul Nicholls. He’s not been sitting on his laurels of late, either, with eleven winners from 35 runners in the last four weeks at a healthy strike rate of more than 31%. The yard’s rate of conversion is regularly around this mark, and Hobbs is rightly lauded as a shrewd placer of his horses.

Despite that, he can still produce winners at a considerably better rate than the market expects. Many of his best horses will be forced into top competition in the months ahead, which will see his tally suffer, but he should be followed over the next month or so while competition is thinner on the ground.

 

Nicky Henderson:

Runs 29 Wins 11 IV 2.95 A/E 1.33

It’s no surprise to see Nicky Henderson providing the highest strike rate of those sending out more than a dozen runners since the festive period, and the Seven Barrows handler is all about domination, boasting some of the wealthiest owners in the land, and able to cherry pick when and if his stars run. As a result, he’s no more than twelfth if the table was viewed in terms of number of runners, but the selective approach puts him joint top in terms of winners.

The highlight was probably the victory of Sprinter Sacre at Kempton, but he’s paraded a number of other Cheltenham contenders, with Altior, Polly Peachum, Ma Filleule, L’ami Serge and Vaniteux all strutting their stuff. That’s helped to bolster the strike rate, and while he does have a reputation for being frugal with his chasers, those jumping fences are hitting the mark more often than not. Unlike one or two excelling in the winter mud, Henderson’s record doesn’t tail off when the ground dries up, so he needs to be taken seriously whatever the weather brings.

 

Dan Skelton

Runs 29 Wins 2 IV 0.54 A/E 0.41

If there’s one trainer who has not enjoyed the holiday season, it’s Dan Skelton. He had a tremendous time of things in November, saddling eighteen winners from 81 runners to prove he was a growing force; but it’s possible that getting his team ready earlier than some of the big guns enabled him to steal a march.

Since then, the strike-rate has plummeted. Indeed, he’s had eleven horses sent off at 7/2 or shorter, but only one has emerged triumphant, and that as much as anything is a reason to tread carefully, for all his future prospects continue to look bright in the longer term.

 

**The data used above is for the period 26/12/2015 to 20/01/2016, and is for races over hurdles and fences only**

Stat of the Day, 20th November 2015

Stat of the Day, 20th November 2015

Thursday's Result :

3.30 Wincanton : Whataknight @ 4/1 BOG : 3rd at 7/2 (Mid-division, headway approaching 2 out, went modest 3rd run-in, beaten by 14 lengths)

Friday's selection runs in the...

2.40 Ascot :

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?

Tenor Nivernais @ 7/2 BOG

Why?

Fairly short and sweet this time...

Venetia Williams' string has been in cracking form of late, particularly her handicap chasers (and even more so, those returning from a break). And since the start of 2009, her handicap chasers are 182 from 1279 (14.2% SR) for modest level stakes profits of 69.4pts at an ROI of 5.42% and although this isn't going to make us rich, any trainer who is profitable to follow blindly is worth closer examination.

A deeper inspection of her results show that certain areas are very stronger, especially in respect of today's chosen race, for those 1279 handicap chasers are...

  • 66 from 483 (13.7% SR) for 216.4pts (+44.8% ROI) aged 8 and 9
  • 34 from 165 *20.6% SR) when priced at 7/4 to 10/1 whilst dropping down a grade/class
  • 25 from 105 (23.8% SR) for 140.7pts (+134% ROI) when returning from a break of 150 to 240 days
  • 12 from 80 (15% SR) for 114.3pts (+142.9% ROI) over this 2m5f trip
  • 7 from 56 (12.5% SR) for 24.8pts (+44.3% ROI) here at Ascot

Venetia's 6 to 8 yr old handicap chasers priced at 7/4 to 10/1 dropping down a class 180 to 300 days after their last run are 7 from 19 (36.8% SR) for 35.7pts (+187.9% ROI) with a 2 from 3 record here at Ascot producing 10.65pts profit.

And my recommended bet?

A 1pt win bet on Tenor Nivernais at 7/2 BOG with Coral, who will offer us a refund, should he fall. Boylesports and Seanie Mac are at the same price, as are Betfred / Ladbrokes / Totesport, but neither of those last three go BOG until morning. To see what your preferred bookie is offering...

...click here for the betting on the 2.40 Ascot

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

just click here for more details.

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Trainers’ Report: November, Part 1

In the first in a new series, Rory Delargy - looks beyond the headline figures in search of trainers in - and out of - form.

Trainers Report November – Part 1

The first half of November is most notable for Cheltenham’s Open Meeting, which bestrides the month like a colossus. But it is dangerous to assume that relative success at that major fixture will be indicative of future trends at more everyday meetings.

On the other hand, it also represents a mini-Festival in itself, with a few of the bigger yards attempting to get their better animals there in top shape; so underperformance at Cheltenham can sound early alarms for the season as a whole.

We obviously want to look at the meeting closely, but not exclusively, as betting opportunities are equally prevalent on the bread-and-butter days, and identifying the yards which do well at a less public level is likely to be more rewarding financially.

 

Paul Nicholls:

It is not surprising that Paul Nicholls, who has the strongest team in the country, should emerge as the leading provider of winners in the first part of the month, but it’s perhaps more unusual to see that backing his runners blind produced a healthy profit in that time period, with Open Meeting wins for Vicente (16/1) and Old Guard (12/1) boosting the bottom line considerably.

Vicente was a notable market drifter, as was novice chase winner Silsol at Carlisle, and when it comes to proven performers, especially over fences, punters need not be perturbed by market weakness. The Ditcheat chasers are famously well schooled, and even the slow learners (as Silsol and Salubrious had been reported) tend to know their job better than most novices. As a result, backing runners from the yard on their first or second starts over the bigger obstacles tends to be a profitable strategy, even though the market tries to adjust for this phenomenon.

In fact, since 2008, backing all Nicholls’ runners on their first or second chase starts would have netted 175 winners from 447 runners (39.15%) and a profit at starting price of 40.39 units.

We would expect the traditional yards to have a better strike-rate over fences than hurdles based purely on implied chance, and that’s been true here with nine of Nicholls’ thirteen jumps winners coming over fences, but his win and place record with hurdlers indicates that a bare record of four wins from 21 runs over timber doesn’t reflect how well they have been performing. In short, we can see that the Champion Trainer has a healthy stable, with performance beating expectation at present. While that should continue, punters need to be a little wary in betting more exposed horses who will be better judged on their own merits, but who may be allowed to start shorter than they deserve due to the perceived “hot form” of the yard.

 

Venetia Williams:

Your first 30 days for just £1

Unlike the ultra-reliable Paul Nicholls, the Herefordshire stable of Venetia Williams is like quicksilver, with fortunes tending to wax and wane spectacularly, and while Venetia has had a profitable month on the figures, there is plenty in there to leave us scratching our heads. Nine winners from 35 runners was an excellent haul, but the most notable aspect of those figures was that the majority of them were handicap chasers returning from absence (150 days and more), showing that La Williams is one of the finest in the land at getting proven performers fit at home.

The longer term data support this, with VW having had 28 handicap chase winners returning from a break of 150 days or more from 118 runners since 2008 (23.73%), for a level stake profit of 116.13 units.

What is worrying, though, is that every runner she has turned out quickly has failed to make the frame, and there must be a concern that many of her first-time-out scorers are going to struggle subsequently off higher marks. There is also a reliance on soft ground performers within the yard, which is hardly an issue in the immediate future, but sounds a warning for the spring.

Backing handicap chasers from the stable at the Cheltenham Festival has proved profitable, but that is largely due to whopping SPs about Carrickboy and Something Wells, and she once again made no impact with her runners there last week, with all four running poorly. The worry with the stable is that with the horses providing the returns in the past few weeks now in the lap of the handicapper, the immediate future may be bleak for followers, and it seems best to stick with those making their seasonal returns, particularly those handicappers who may have gone off the boil last season.

[From the sample above, those who finished 4th or worse when last seen were 23 from 80 (28.75%) for 119.25 units at SP since 2008 – 149% ROI]

 

Neil Mulholland:

There is no doubt that Neil Mulholland is a growing force in the industry, and given what a busy month November is, it rather jumps off the page that he has sent out more National Hunt runners in November than all bar Messrs Nicholls and Hobbs. Of the 41 runners sent out from Conkwell Grange, only three were successful, which doesn’t sound promising at first; but that he should once again bolster his Cheltenham record with the stylish win of Shantou Village underlines the fact that he’s a trainer who is extremely capable of establishing the merit of his horses, and he has a strike-rate at Prestbury Park which makes hugely impressive reading.

Unlike Venetia Williams, Mulholland doesn’t look to do all his work on the home gallops, and he produces his runners to look big and well in the paddock. Many of those he has turned out of late have given the impression that they have needed a run or two for fitness, and while that militates against backing those whose fitness cannot be relied upon, it suggests that the yard’s runners will thrive over the next few weeks as they are brought to a peak.

There has also been a flurry of winners on the Flat for the stable, so there should be no worries in terms of well-being, but merely a caveat regarding the readiness of some of the less experienced inmates. All three of the November winners had raced within the previous five weeks and, of those, Ashcott Boy has been remarkably well placed to win three handicap chases this season. This is a yard which is expected to improve its strike-rate markedly in the coming weeks, and it would be folly to field against race-fit runners on the basis of a seemingly poor few weeks.

 

Harry Whittington:

Most of the yards featured thus far are powerful in terms of numbers and, while it is dangerous to extrapolate on limited data, I must give a big word for Harry Whittington, who has quickly made his mark with fairly limited ammunition. As a result, he is beginning to increase both the number and quality of the horses under his care. Three winners from just six runners in recent weeks is an impressive tally, and while such figures are easily skewed by sample size, it’s worth looking at the young handler’s impact in the short time he’s had a licence.

Whittington, based in Sparsholt, near Lambourn, first showed he had a certain knack when sending out 100/1 newcomer Dubai Kiss to land a bumper at Newbury in 2013, and has been operating a high percentage business in the last couple of seasons: 2014/15 ended with eight winners from just 42 runners.

He’s already surpassed that total and winning ratio this term, with a stunning score to date of ten winners from thirty runners. As I type this he has added to that tally through the win of Big Society in a handicap chase at Chepstow, a remarkable feat for any trainer given the horse has a tendency to jump as if at least three of his legs are tied together!

It won’t be long before the market adjusts to his talents, but the SP of 7/1 about his latest winner suggests that punters may have the edge for a while yet. Whittington is getting winners across all spheres of competition, and it’s particularly encouraging to note he’s maintaining an excellent record in handicap hurdles, one which even Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls struggle to match.

 

David Pipe & Nigel Twiston-Davies:

If there was one trainer mooted to do well at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting, it was David Pipe; but while admitting that expectations were unrealistic to some degree, and largely based on what Martin Pipe had achieved in bygone years, it was a week to forget for the Master of Nicholashayne, with a plethora of well backed runners performing below expectations.

The nightmare at Cheltenham wasn’t entirely without warning given the form the yard had been showing, and Pipe’s figures for November now read 3-42, with hurdlers in particular doing poorly (no winners from 25 runs). The question is how we approach the yard in the foreseeable future, and the conclusion must be that something, however minor, is amiss – a notion backed up by the fact that many of the recent representatives have travelled very well only to finish weakly.

Kings Palace was one such example, while La Vaticane, who was favourite for the opening race at the fixture, looked sure to win at the third last but ran out of steam completely. Fitness has always been first priority at Team Pipe, so it’s unlikely that the horses have been needing a run, and a low-grade infection/virus is a more likely reason for the pattern of performance.

On a similar note, we’re often told how Nigel Twiston-Davies loves to have his horses at their very best for Cheltenham’s big November highlight, but the figures don’t back that up, and the diffident Twiston-Davies has so far trained just two from 32 over jumps this month. This follows from a good October, and I don’t expect him to remain in the doldrums, but he does have a history of going very cold in mid-winter before a spring revival. One horse to be positive about is Listed bumper winner Ballyandy, who hails from a talented if quirky family, and impressed in terms of ability and attitude at the weekend.

With Bristol de Mai putting in a breathtaking display of jumping when winning at Warwick on Wednesday, it’s clearly not all doom and gloom in Naunton, but it may pay to tread carefully with the run-of-the-mill entries for the next few weeks, or until such times as the winners begin to flow with more regularity. 

**The data used above is for the period 01/11/2015 to 17/11/2015, and is for races over hurdles and fences only**

Rory is a regular guest on William Hill Radio, and has had stints at Betfair, Timeform and Ladbrokes in various guises. More recently, he writes a hugely popular weekly piece in the Irish Field and forms one half of the excellent Racing Consultants tipping service.

Rory can be followed on twitter at @helynsar

Six Trainers and the Cheltenham Open Meeting

It's the first big meeting of the National Hunt season, hosted... at Cheltenham, where else?

Headlined by the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday, the Open meeting runs over three days and offers trainers the chance to get some match practice in way ahead of the Festival next March. But which handlers have their team ready to go here, and which may be hanging fire for bigger battles down the line?

Looking at the handicaps at this meeting since 2010 - five years' worth of data - reveals some interesting performers... and under-performers. Let's start with those who command a second glance.

**

3 Open Meeting Trainers to Follow

 

David Pipe

David Pipe doesn't seem that much like his old man, Martin, who revolutionized the game a generation ago when he introduced interval training. He's more affable, more owner-focussed and, according to the record at least, less obsessed by winners. But not at Cheltenham and not in November.

Pipe Senior loved this meeting, and David is a chip off the old block in that regard at the very least. Indeed, since 2010, he's saddled ten handicap winners, from 52 runners, for a profit of 67.5 points at starting price. Moreover, he's peppered the target in that time, with 23 of his 52 runners making the frame.

One point to note is that the group included 40/1 hurdle winner, Home Run, which does rather skew the figures. Nevertheless, the overall profile demands focus.

Our Dave kicks the meeting off with La Vaticane, the favourite in the opening handicap chase, before saddling top weight, Baraka De Thaix (3rd in the G2 Triumph Hurdle Trial on this card a year ago) in the novices' handicap hurdle at 3.25, and latterly legging up the excellent value David Noonan in the amateurs' handicap chase that closes the card.

Noonan will be riding The Geegeez Geegee on Monday all other things being equal, and he's one of the best amateurs around.

Entries for later in the week are yet to be confirmed at this stage, so keep 'em peeled - a comment that applies to all entries in these lists if you're sufficiently moved to track their progress.

Philip Hobbs

Just me? Philips Hobbs and Wallace...

Just me? Philips Hobbs and Wallace...

Hobbs, the Minehead Maestro, has been in scintillating form in the early weeks of the season. In fact, he's been performing at a 25% clip over the past six months, which is phenomenal.

At this particular meeting, the perma-titfered Wallace lookalike has bagged a fairly unspectacular four handicap winners from 39 runners (10%), but has added another six placed horses to that tally (25%).

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In profitability terms, Hobbsy (as he's almost certainly known to nobody) has snaffled 15 points at SP and something closer to 40 at Betfair SP, courtesy of three nicely priced winners in the last two years.

Friday sees Allthekingshorses test the oppo for stable mate, Balthazar King, in the Cross Country Handicap Chase; Ink Master attempt to harness the power of the O-pen (certainly not the power of the pun after that crowbarred effort!) in the novices' handicap hurdle; and Return Spring bid for a return to the winners' enclosure at a meeting where he scored two years ago.

Neil Mulholland

Significantly lower profile than the first pair, Mulholland has had an affinity with Cheltenham since his Midnight Chase recorded a superb five wins at the track. Just five handicap starters since 2010 at this meeting have yielded form figures of 11002 and a profit of 12 units at SP.

He's represented by Minella Present, the type of progressive novice that does well here, in the opener; and may run Fingerontheswitch in the conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle on Sunday.

**

3 Open Meeting Trainers to Beware

 

Venetia Williams

The folly of nominating trainers with poor records off small sample sizes is franked repeatedly, so please don't go laying this trio for the mortgage. However, each has a far better record at the Festival in March than the Open Meeting in November, and that may be more than mere coincidence.

Venetia is in great form just now, with six winners in the last week. But her record in handicaps at this particular meeting is a lamentable zero from thirty. Or, as they say in the States, "o'fer" (as in O, or 0 more correctly, for x, where x is the number of losers!).

Worse still, La Williams has had just one horse from that score and ten hit the board, for a place lay profit of 25.05 units, according to horseracebase.com

8/1 chance, The Clock Leary, kicks V's 'cap team off in the opener, and she also saddles bottom weight, Eco Warrior, in the novices' handicap hurdle. Further possibles through the weekend include Rigadin de Beauchene and Bennys Mist on Saturday. Good luck if you like any of these - you may need it.

Jonjo O'Neill

Everyone knows about Jackdaws Jonjo's record at the Festival. But maybe not everyone knows how limited his success has been at the November gathering. He has actually had a pair of winners, which is two more than VW. But they've come at a cost of 26 losers, 24 of which were unplaced.

That equates to a place lay profit of 14.22 if Horseracebase.com's calculations are to be believed.

JP's trusted lieutenant is as wily as they come despite a demeanour of innocence presumably acquired from his little known convent days (not really), and there is usually another day for most of his beaten runners, such is the trainer's talent.

He won't trouble us during the first of the three sessions, but may have any of Upswing, Johns Spirit, Milan Bound, Fort Worth and Hedley Lamarr entered on Saturday; and Mad Jack Mytton and Don Padeja on Sunday.

Alan King

Alan King is another big gun who has hardly had the best of it in recent times at this particular fixture. Like Jonjo, he's managed to win two handicap races but, like Jonjo, they have come at the cost of fairly hefty collateral damage. Like Jonjo, he's managed but two further placed runners, this time from 26 saddled 'cappers since 2010.

The place lay kitty swelled by a satisfying 11.33 for those clairvoyant enough to envisage this half a decade ago. For the rest of us, there is a heavy note of caution in those data if tempted to side with a King runner, regardless of how things pan out this time around.

The Duke's apprentice (David Nicholson was his guv'nor when he was a mere best boy) has nothing for Chelters on day one, but a raft of possibles over the weekend, including Sego Success, Annacotty and Turn Over Sivola. Tread on eggshells. Eggshells I say...

**

So there you have it. A thousand words of trainer quack stats. Miniscule sample sizes mean the scope for looking daft seeps out of every one of the sextet. And yet it will come as no surprise whatsoever if the former group persistently trouble the judge, while the latter group trouble what's known affectionately in cycling as the broom wagon.

It's a deeply competitive three day affair, so good luck to all however you play. The season starts here!

Matt

p.s. If you're having a cut at the placepot there this afternoon, Mal Boyle's placepot pointers will surely assist...

p.p.s. I've just heard from the chaps at Cleeve Racing that they're offering a special discount for new subscribers this weekend. Cleeve has an unbroken six year record of National Hunt profit, and are already well in front this fledgling season (+£460 to £20 level stakes)

Use the below codes on the checkout page (where it says 'Have a coupon?') to claim your discount:

Full season membership - cleeve£40 (£199 reduced to £159)
One month trial - cleeve£15 (£40 to £25)

Here's the registration link - do take a look.

Stat of the Day, 5th February 2015

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 5th February 2015

My cold run continued on Wednesday as the 11/4 advised Squats drifted out to 7/2 before being beaten by 2.5 lengths to finish 6th of the 8 runners, but he deserved better.

As he began to make his challenge a furlong out, he was badly hampered and them sandwiched before running on again to try to close down the leaders and had he not encountered problems, it could have been a different story.

But the search now goes on to break this run and my quest now takes me to the...

3.45 Taunton:

Where Venetia Williams' Abundantly is best priced at 9/2 BOG with Coral for this Class 3 handicap hurdle over 2m 1f on soft ground.

Venetia's record here at Taunton is good at 28/128 (21.9% SR) for 37.5pts (+29.3% ROI) profit, from which we see that she is 17/72 (23.6% SR) in handicaps here for 28.4pts (+39.4% ROI) and she's 20/85 (23.5% SR) for 51.4pts (+60.4% ROI) with her Taunton hurdlers.

Venetia is 11/41 (26.8% SR) with handicap hurdlers here at Taunton for 35.1pts (+85.6% ROI) profit.

It's widely known that the Williams yard has a good record on soft ground, so I won't bore you with the details, aside from telling you that of the 11.41 record, the figures on soft ground are 5/10 for 28pts profit.

Abundantly comes here off the back of a comfortable win over course and distance 19 days ago and Venetia's handicap hurdlers who won last time out have gone on to win again on 21 of 48 (43.75% SR) for 11.8pts (+24.6% ROI) when priced at 5/1 or shorter in the past six years.

Meanwhile, runners in Taunton handicaps over the last three years who have CD next to to their name and who won lat time out are 12/28 (42.9% SR) for 14.3pts (+51.2% ROI) profit.

Abundantly ran and won over today's course and distance almost three weeks ago and although this race is tougher, the following should be noted...

...she won by 13 lengths last time out
...it was her first run for a year and only her second for the yard
...it was her first run here at Taunton
...it was on heavy ground

She's sure to come on for having had the run and with conditions looking better today, she looks dangerous down near the foot of the weights off a fairly lenient-looking opening mark of 110.

So, the call for Thursday is a 1pt win bet on Abundantly at 9/2 BOG with Coral. Alternatively, you can always...

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Stat of the Day, 19th January 2014

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 19th January 2014

Luke's Benefit's run on Saturday was as disappointing as my own personal recent run of form, but that's not major cause for concern just yet. I'm too long in the tooth to get worried about a few losing bets, when we're all aware of the cyclical nature of this sport.

And with the vast amount of racing on offer to us nowadays, I instantly get another shot at getting back amongst the winners. A 2m5f, Class 3, Handicap awaits us on Sunday afternoon as we tackle the......

2.10 Towcester:

Venetia Williams has got her horses in fine form at the moment, as a return of 11 winners in the last fortnight will testify. She's also a trainer you could back blindly here at Towcester, since she has a career 20.4% strike rate (49/240 here) yielding level stakes profits of some 88.44pts (+36.85% ROI).

Her hurdlers here at Towcester are 20/107 (18.7% SR) for 60.35pts (+56.4% ROI) and although she sends three hurdlers here today, the one that interests me most is Astigos, who caught my eye when I selected him for the Double Dutch just three days ago.

Here's what I wrote about him that day..."I find Astigos very interesting and possibly overpriced. He made his UK debut on New Years’ Day at Cheltenham and was pulled up before completing the 3m trip he was asked to attempt. The assessor seems to have taken pity on him and dropped him 6lbs, as he comes here for a race some 3 furlongs shorter than last time.

I think a lack of knowledge about this horse must be the main reason for him being available as long as 4/1 BOG, because that does seem rather generous about a horse twice placed in Listed handicaps in France over 2m4f on heavy ground at a higher weight than the featherweight he carries today..."

As it happens, he ran very creditably in defeat and stayed on well to finish just two lengths behind the impressive Lamps at Market Rasen.

Venetia Williams turns him back out very quickly here off the same mark, a tactic that has served her well in the past.

In the last four years, she has sent out 26 runners priced below 5/1 in NH Handicap races within 3 to 6 days of their last run. From these 26 runners, she has been rewarded with 14 visits to the winners' enclosure with a strike rate of 53.85%, which in turn has generated level stakes profits of 20.2pts, an impressive return over stakes invested of some 77.7%

I think Astigos will not only come on for that run, but will be aided by competing in what looks a weaker contest and one that he's likely to be sent off as favourite for. Now I'm not a big fan of backing favourites, but let's face facts here, 1 in every 3 of them wins and they can be profitable, if you back the right ones!

I know that's no simple task, but we are assisted in our selection process when we see that Miss Williams' figures from NH Handicap favourites priced below 5/1 are as follows in the last three years:

Overall: 90 winners from 253 = 35.6% SR for level stakes profits of 66.61pts = ROI of 26.3%
Hurdles: 28 winners from 80 = 35.0% SR for level stakes profits of 23.38pts = ROI of 29.2%

Mid to high twenties returns from favourites is very impressive and when allied to the trainer's track stats and her record with horses turned out quickly after a run, this makes Astigos a very viable proposition indeed. If he shows any sign of progression from that last outing or any traces of his French form, then I've no reason to see why we wouldn't be happy with a 1pt bet on Astigos at 7/2 BOG. I've got more money in my SkyBet account than any other, so I've used them for this one and the 7/2 is widely available, but you can always...

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Stat of the Day, 7th January 2014

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 7th January 2014

Silent Knight was very well backed yesterday, as our 10/1 E/W shot was sent off at 5/1 on course.

He ran well enough, I suppose, but tired and faded late on to finish two places and seven lengths outside the money in fifth place.

If you thought yesterday's racing was poor, today looks even worse, I'm afraid, but I might just have one for you in the...

1.50 Leicester:

Where I've just backed Renard Dirlande at 4/1 BOG with Boylesports and here's why...

1. He's trained by Venetia Williams, whose horses are in terrific form at the moment with 10 winners from 37 in the last fortnight and a place strike rate of over 43%.

2. Jockey Aidan Coleman has ridden 18 winners from 79 (22.8% SR) for over 25pts profit in the last month alone.

3. In 2012 & 2013, Miss Williams' record at Leicester is 6 winners from 19 with all six winners coming in chase contests, where the record reads 6 wins from 14 (42.9% SR) for 6.98pts (+49.9% ROI). of those 14 runners, there is a record of 6/12 for 8.98pts with chasers priced at 5/1 or shorter.

4. Her overall record in Leicester chases is 21/65 (32.3% SR) for 8.53pts (+13.1% ROI), and with the 5/1 odds cap imposed: 21/48 (43.75% SR) for 25.53pts (+53.2% ROI) profit.

5. Renard Dirlande loves the soft ground he'll face here today, on ground officially described as soft or heavy (or anywhere in between!) he has won twice and been placed four times from six efforts (412321) with a record of 2321 in chases.

All of which hopefully points to a successful 1pt win on Renard Dirlande at 4/1 BOG with Boylesports, but as always, you really should...

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