find out which races trainers target best
More invaluable research from Eddie Wood and his team
Understanding the modus operandi of trainers can be a difficult task. A good starting point is to examine their good performing race categories at any course and then identifying their negative statistics, particularly those who send ten or more runners to a track and lose with them all.
Jess and I will be seriously researching this subject before we produce the Winning At series in March next year. The series will provide a comprehensive study of the races at each course using old and new statistical analysis.
We now wish to give you statistics from a five-season research period ending in December 2017. We have chosen several Flat courses and we will give significant positive and negative data for certain trainers at each track.
Our first trainer, Charlie Appleby, sent 29 horses to Ascot in 2yo non-handicaps and won with eight of them for a strike-rate of 27.6%. Appleby clearly targets this race category at this course as his overall strike-rate is just 13.6%. Aiden O’Brien achieved a comparable strike-rate with his 2yo non-handicappers of 25% after sending 32 horses to the course and winning with eight of them. This is 8.7% above his overall strike-rate at the course and is clearly another good example of a trainer specifically targeting race categories at certain racecourses.
However, some trainers failed to achieve a win in the 2yo non-handicap category at Ascot. They include Richard Fahey who lost with all of his 25 runners and Ralph Beckett who did not win with any of the 20 horses he sent to contest in this discipline. These two trainers are excellent at what they do but in this case I would suggest that two factors are at play: one, most of their horses were learning their trade in these outings and, two, the trainer was assessing their ability and finding their true Class level.
Our next point of call is Chester. Form does not traditionally work out well at this course and a low draw is often essential for a win, particularly in 5f and 6f races. But our examples are given in 2yo handicaps.
Our first trainer is Tom Dascombe who had an overall strike-rate of 13%. However, he sent out 23 runners in nurseries and won with six of them for a strike-rate of 26.1%. This is over double his overall strike-rate at the course and is certainly a targeted race category. As many of you will know, Dascombe trains at Malpas in Cheshire which is not far from Chester racecourse. The journey is an educational trip for these young horses and may increase their performance level in their upcoming racecourse appearances.
Our next positive example is supplied by the Andrew Balding stable. His horses travelled many miles from their base in Kingsclere, Berkshire during our research period. The horses often act as tutors in the Apprentice race category. Many inexperienced riders receive valuable lessons on different course configurations and more confidence from the vital knowledge they receive. Balding sent nine horses here and won with six of them for a 66.7% strike-rate. Clearly this is a targeted race category par excellence.
Negatives are a misnomer in some cases because trainers may race some of their horses over the wrong distance, on unsuitable ground conditions and sometimes on course configurations which do not suit the conformation of the horses they are sending there. These horses are usually handicappers and the trainer is trying to get them down to a handicap mark they can win off. So there are likely benefits for some horses in future races. All courses will have ‘true’ negative statistics and it is inevitable that some horses have insufficient ability to win a race of any description.
This brings us to negative trainer statistics for Chester and we are back with our equine friends contesting in nursery handicaps. David Evans, who trains in Pandy in Monmouthshire, sent 17 horses to the course in this category and lost with them all. Charlie Hills lost with all 11 of his 4yo+ handicappers here, as did Brian Ellison during our research period.
The important thing with trainer target methods is to seriously look at their overall strike-rate which must equal or exceed our 20% benchmark. Only select categories which are at least 15% above the trainers overall strike-rate at the given course. Using this higher strike-rate level is likely to increase your profitability level.