Our meth­ods man looks back at a prof­itable Flat sea­son

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Our sys­tems guru checks out the suc­cess of his RAF method


EN­ABLE is still un­beaten when rid­den by Frankie Det­tori. There re­ally can be no doubt­ing that she is a high-class filly. What she has achieved this sea­son is in­cred­i­ble and when Frankie kicked for home at the 300-me­tre mark Europe’s premier mid­dle dis­tance race was all over. DSCHING IS SE­CRET ran with credit but when it came to the busi­ness end of the race the Ger­man raider had no an­swer to the in­jec­tion of pace that saw En­able burst into the lead. Our third rated horse CLOTH OF STARS fin­ished sec­ond. So, we had the first two home in the Arc and ef­fec­tively come to the end of the Flat sea­son.

It would be pru­dent to see how our toprated RAF picks fared over the sum­mer months. Be­low is the full list of horses high­lighted as top-rated ac­cord­ing to the Rac­ing Ahead Form score in this mag­a­zine.

De­spite not scor­ing since early July we still man­aged to re­turn a rea­son­able profit.We will see how we get on over the course of the All-Weather Cham­pi­onships.We may on oc­ca­sions also take a look at some of the graded Na­tional Hunt races too.


The TOP Rac­ing Sys­tem re­sults to date are en­cour­ag­ing. From 2 Septem­ber to 14 Oc­to­ber there were 32 Satur­day selections giv­ing 12 win­ners for a Re­turn on In­vest­ment (ROI) of 49.25 points or 154%. The star sys­tem at the time of writ­ing is the TOP Weight which has found two winning selections for a 100% strike rate and an ROI of 12 points or 600%.

The De­whurst Stakes (New­mar­ket 14 Oc­to­ber) was a race that threw up a nice lit­tle co­nun­drum in that two sep­a­rate sys­tem selections high­lighted. With six winning favourites in the past decade the race was one in which ac­cord­ing to the TOP 10 sys­tem rules we back the fore­cast favourite. It also hap­pened to throw up a TOP Jockey se­lec­tion too. My thoughts on the race were recorded in my Word Press blog:

“In­cred­i­bly, the morn­ing race­cards only throw up two selections courtesy of the TOP Rac­ing Sys­tems and they both hap­pen to be con­test­ing the same race. The De­whurst has been won by some pretty de­cent horses over the years in­clud­ing: Frankel, New Ap­proach, Air Force Blue and Churchill to name but four. It is an im­pres­sive roll call and the race tends to go to the mar­ket leader with six winning favourites in the past ten years.

Sir Michael Stoute does not fea­ture on the hon­ours board over the past decade but the Freema­son Lodge han­dler is re­spon­si­ble for odds-on favourite EX­PERT EYE (TOP10 Sys­tem). The Ac­cla­ma­tion colt has won both his starts, the lat­est be­ing a tidy vic­tory in the Vin­tage Stakes at Good­wood back in Au­gust and runs in the Frankel colours.

How­ever, Ai­dan O'Brien and Jim Bolger have won this race four times each in the past decade and both have run­ners to­day. US NAVY FLAG won the Mid­dle Park Stakes here a fort­night ago and is a TOP Jockey pick un­der Ryan Moore. He is the only course win­ner in the field and at 8/1 of­fers a de­cent bet­ting propo­si­tion. Churchill, Air Force Blue, War Com­mand... US Navy Flag is ap­pro­pri­ately named to add to the Bal­ly­doyle roll of hon­our.”

Amaz­ingly, Ai­dan O’Brien trained the first four home in the De­whurst.The man is a ge­nius. I had taken odds of 13/2 with Coral in the morn­ing about US Navy Flag and his S.P. was 5/1. That brought a wel­come boost to the TOP Rac­ing Sys­tem prof­its.The ‘co­nun­drum’ that I men­tioned ear­lier is the punter’s ul­ti­mate dilemma: which horse to back when your pre­ferred meth­ods throw up two or more selections. When the odds are right there is no prob­lem in back­ing more than one horse in a race in or­der to re­turn a profit. When a horse is 4/7 favourite like Ex­pert Eye, then you can­not back two horses. I have pre­vi­ously recorded my thoughts on the con­cept of ‘value’ else­where. How­ever, as I get older I find my­self warm­ing to the idea, although I don’t know if ‘value’ is the cor­rect word to de­scribe a ‘de­cent bet’.

I would not have backed US Navy Flag if it hadn’t con­formed to any of my sys­tems, re­gard­less of his price. In other words, I wouldn’t have struck a ‘value’ bet just be­cause he was trad­ing at 8/1 in places at morn­ing-line prices. As it was it was, the horse was both a TOP Jockey and Lark­spur Method pick. For the Fen­man fans among read­ers he was the only course win­ner in the field too.Sam Turner writ­ing in the Daily Mail sug­gested that if Ex­pert Eye had won then we would be look­ing

at the best Bri­tish trained two-year-old since Frankel. Was that sim­plis­tic view enough to back him at odds-on? Sim­ple an­swer: no.

A few years ago I took two sep­a­rate snap­shots of 100 races where fore­cast favourites at odds-against were backed into odds-on favouritism come post-time and recorded the re­sults in these pages. On each oc­ca­sion the ROI was ap­prox­i­mately 9% for a 66% wins-to-runs strike rate. Now, if you’re a Satur­day ITV Seven punter like me then you are not go­ing to be back­ing odds-on horses in­di­vid­u­ally, but they may form part of your ‘Acca’. There­fore, in de­cid­ing which horse to back in the De­whurst the knowl­edge that Ai­dan O’Brien had trained four pre­vi­ous win­ners in the past decade and Sir Michael Stoute had trained just two Group 1 ju­ve­nile win­ners through­out his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer might as­sist the thought process.The fact that US Navy Flag had won the Mid­dle Park Stakes and was the only course

win­ner may also swing you to the O’Brien horse. More im­por­tantly, you may have come to US Navy Flag as a se­lec­tion via one of your pre­ferred meth­ods or sys­tems. Ques­tion: odds-on about a horse that hadn’t raced for 74 days, or 13/2 about a Bal­ly­doyle run­ner rid­den by Ryan Moore? Now, if that is what is meant by ‘value’ then I’ve fi­nally grasped the con­cept!


An­drea Atzeni has won the last four re­newals of this Group 1 race for twoyear-olds run over one mile at Don­caster: 2016 Rivet, 2015 Mar­cel, 2014 Elm Park, and 2013 Kingston Hill. Sig­nif­i­cantly, those wins have all come for dif­fer­ent trainers. Who­ever seeks Atzeni’s ser­vices would hope to be on to a win­ner. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the winning-most trainer over the past decade is Ai­dan O’Brien: 2012 Kings­barns, 2011 Camelot and 2009 St Nicholas Abbey.

ROAR­ING LION (23 points) rep­re­sents John Gos­den.The Kit­ten’s Joy colt is three-from-three and low­ered the colours of Ai­dan O’Brien’s NEL­SON in the Jud­dmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at New­mar­ket on his lat­est start. The Bal­ly­doyle colt seeks to do bat­tle again and is of­fi­cially rated 19lb bet­ter than the Gos­den horse, he is one of a host of en­trants on 20 points, in­clud­ing: CHILEAN, GABR, and sta­ble­mate SAXON WAR­RIOR.

CHILEAN won his maiden at Chelms­ford be­fore draw­ing clear of the field to win the listed As­cen­dant Stakes at Hay­dock in Septem­ber.

GABR won a novices’s takes at Yar­mouth when odds-on to get off the mark at the third time of ask­ing for Sir Michael Stoute who, as men­tioned ear­lier, has only had two Group 1 winning two-year-olds through­out his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

SAXON WAR­RIOR heads the Bal­ly­doyle bri­gade and made it two wins from two runs when winning the Beres­ford Stakes at Naas un­der Ryan Moore. Ai­dan O’Brien’s en­tries at the time of writ­ing are well into dou­ble fig­ures and Saxon War­rior just shades NEL­SON on Rac­ing Post Form Fig­ures. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see who Ryan Moore rides at Don­caster.


I am look­ing for­ward to Sea­son 5 of the All-Weather Cham­pi­onships which kicks off at New­cas­tle on 24 Oc­to­ber. I have been a great fan of the se­ries since its in­cep­tion and Arena Rac­ing have truly de­liv­ered on this ini­tia­tive that took All­Weather rac­ing from also-ran to pioneer sta­tus. Per­son­ally, I think it’s about time that the Na­tional Hunt or­gan­is­ers took proper note and fash­ioned the Jumps cam­paign along sim­i­lar lines with a se­ries of fix­tures and qual­i­fy­ing races so that all roads truly lead to Prest­bury Park.

The of­fi­cial All-Weather Cham­pi­onship web­site is gold­mine of in­for­ma­tion and the in­for­ma­tion pack down­load sets the scene nicely. There is also the All-Weather Cham­pi­onships Game where you can win £10,000 cash and be­come the Cham­pion Tipster. I will utilise the TOP Rac­ing Sys­tems to­gether with the Rac­ing Ahead Form and Lark­spur Method picks in an at­tempt to get amongst the lead­ers some­thing which I have not man­aged to do to date de­spite a rea­son­able strike rate. I think I may need to look for a bit more ‘value’ – Happy Rac­ing!

Un­for­tu­nately, the dead­line date for the Novem­ber ar­ti­cle does not af­ford op­por­tu­nity to of­fer the RAF Pick selections for ei­ther QIPCO Cham­pi­ons Day or the Breed­ers Cup, but don’t for­get you can fol­low all the #RAFPick and #TOPRac­ingSys­tem ac­tion on Twitter: @Lark­spurRac­ing and the blog ev­ery Satur­day at:tony­lark­spur.word­

Cloth Of Stars

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