Our methods man brought home the bacon this Flat season
Systems man explains how his RAF method has taken off
At the end of the Flat season we had made a profit with the Racing Ahead Form (RAF) selections. If I may be permitted to say so, this is no mean feat in the ante-post world even if the profits did not appear spectacular. Although some might argue that a 127% Return on Investment (ROI) is reasonable enough. The last meaningful race of the season from our perspective was the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
The RAF figures had Roaring Lion on top and John Gosden’s colt finished second to SAXONWARRIOR who was with a bunch of others on 20 points going into the race.
In last month’s article I wrote:“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.”History shows that the world’s best jockey chose to ride Saxon Warrior who won as an 11/8 favourite should and gave us a nice onetwo in reverse to end the season with even if the result did not score with the results only given to the top-rated horse being backedWIN only.
The following Saturday saw the Breeders’ Cup Championships at Del Mar.It is a completely different ball-game nowadays with the European horses able to complete pretty much on level terms and the second day of the meeting televised on ATR is one I make the effort to wrestle the TV buttons from the rest of the family. ‘Strictly’ and the ‘X-Factor’ can take a backseat for one weekend in the Larkspur household.
I had posted some selections for the main races of interest onWordPress.Using the Larkspur Method (incredibly the book is still available from Racing Post) I found three winners: ROY H,WORLD APROVAL and GUN RUNNER, together with CAMBODIA chipping in at a tasty 16/1 each-way. I’m quite happy to back each way when it’s a quarter-the-odds a place and a horse is priced at 8/1 or more. But how should you adjust your stakes? One point each-way i.e. two points on the longer-priced horses, or 0.5 points eachway to keep your one point per selection stake uniform?
It could be argued that if you back a horse at 8/1 0.5 points each-way then you are sacrificing a decent profit margin if the horse wins: 0.5 x 8 = 4.5 + 1.5 (place returns) = 6 points in total. If you back the horse at one point each-way: 1 x 8 = 9 + 3 = 12 points in total.If the horse places you return 1.5 points for a 0.5 points each-way stake, a return of 150% ROI. At 1 point each-way the return is 3 points, again the ROI is 150%.
The shrewd punter might ask: Even though the percentage returns are iden- tical why limit your stakes when the potential return is that much greater? After all, you could have punted larger stakes on short-priced fancies like Unique Bella and Bold D’oro, and the returns – if the horses had won – would not have been so great.That old word ‘value’ appears to be creeping into my racing lexicon again.
The returns on all the horses highlighted in my blog were 18 points to 15 staked for an ROI of 120% - if you backed the each-way shouts 1 point each way and the lower priced selections at 1 point each. Decreasing the each-way stakes to 1 point i.e. 0.5 points each-way meant stakes of 13 points and a return of 15 points, or 119% ROI. Not much difference there.
However, the argument for upping the stakes on the longer priced horses is better evidenced if we look at the RAF selections on the night which produced longer-odds placed horse.
You’ll have to take my word that these were the ‘winning’ selections from two in each of the last seven races on the card: ROY H won at 9/2,AMI’S MESA and CAM-
BODIA both placed at 16/1, and BLACKJACKCAT placed at 28/1. Just one winner and 14 points staked on the selections with 0.5 points each-way on the horses priced at 8/1 and above and 1 point on those below these odds would have resulted in stakes of 14 points and a return of 14.5 points or 104% ROI.
If you upped the each-way stakes to 1 point each way (and 1 point win still) you would have returned 23.5 points to 20 points stakes, which is an improved ROI of 118%.Interesting,but more important is the ability of the RAF score to produce consistent returns. It seems that by stripping out any consideration of form ratings or the betting market that you can profit from horses in good form and suited to the conditions.
It has not been an auspicious start to the AWC Tipster Game for yours truly. A strike rate of 33% and a loss of -4.84 to level stakes at the time of writing require much improvement. It is early days after all.
RAF NATIONAL HUNT SELECTIONS Newcastle 2 Dec:Fighting Fifth Hurdle
At the time of writing APPLE’S JADE, BUVEUR D’AIR and DEFI DU SEUIL all share top-rating with 23 points. Official ratings suggest that Nicky Henderson’s Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air is a far superior horse to the other two contenders for the top hurdling honours this term and the trainer rates him as good as any of his previous Cheltenham winners.
NEWBURY 2 DEC: LADBROKES TROPHY CHASE
COGRY and PRESENT MAN share topspot with 20 points. The former finished off last season with a marginal second in the Scottish Grand National and kicked off the new campaign by winning the randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.Present Man won the Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase atWincanton last time out under Bryony Frost and that made it two narrow wins on the bounce for the duo. AMERICAN is on 18 points and Harry Fry’s gelding won all three of his novices’events last term and would prefer a bit of cut in the ground.
FAIRYHOUSE 3 DEC: HATTON GRACE HURDLE
APPLE’S JADE, who also holds an entry in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, scores the maximum 30 here and Gordon Elliott’s Cheltenham Mares’ Hurdle and Punchestown Mares’ Champion Hurdle winner is a class act. There are plenty of decent horses in opposition but I would expect Apple’s Jade to add to her haul of five Grade 1 wins to date if she runs here. YORKHILL (22pts) is entered here and as well as the John Durkan Chase, it may be that Willie Mullins will run him if the mighty FAUGHEEN (23pts) is not over his exertions in the Morgiana Hurdle run at Punchestown on Sunday 19 November where he smashed the field on his belated but welcome return.
PUNCHESTOWN10DEC:JOHNDURKAN MEMORIAL PUNCHESTOWN CHASE
Noel Meade’s DISKO is top-rated on 28 points. The 6 year-old won the Growise Champion Novice Chase at the Pun-
chestown Festival having been beaten into third byYORKHILL in the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham. Willie Mullins’ is also entered in the Hatton Grace Hurdle but doesn’t feature at the top of the RAF ratings here. SIZING JOHN (25pts) was entered in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on 25 November, but withdrawn because of soft ground. The dual Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cup winner runs in the colours of Alan Potts who sadly died earlier this week.WAITING PATIENTLY (23pts) is described as a ‘very good horse’ by trainer Malcom Jefferson; he has won his last five races and has not been beaten since November 2015.
KEMPTON 26 DEC: 32RED KING GEORGE VI CHASE
THISTLECRACK (27pts) is due to make his return to the track after suffering an injury in January. Colin Tizzard says he is ‘on track’ and he may have a prep run over hurdles prior to this (he doesn’t hold any other entries at the time of writing). MIGHT BITE (25pts) kicked off with a win in a Listed Chase at Sandown on 12 November and is entered in the Betfair Chase. The Haydock race is the first leg of the Jockey Club Racecourses Chase Triple Crown but his trainer is reported in the Racing Post Guide to the Jumps as favouring an easier prep race before Kempton. The Triple Crown series explains the earlier presence of SIZING JOHN (23pts) among the entries for the Haydock race, although he was withdrawn because of soft ground, as well as the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.
Plenty of action there for a busy Happy Christmas and Prosperous NewYear! Don’t forget you can follow all the #RAFPick and #TOPRacingSystem action on Twitter: @LarkspurRacing