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2yo maiden debuts does the course make a difference
2yo maiden debuts – does the course make a difference? By David Renham
This month I have been investigating data for 2yo maiden debuts. I had a simple idea to test – does the course where the horse begins its career make a difference in subsequent races? Instead of simply looking at the next race performance, I have looked at their next three starts – so in this case their 2nd, 3rd and 4th career starts.
I decided to compare six courses – three top Grade 1 courses Newmarket, Newbury and Goodwood; and three lower grade courses – Brighton, Hamilton and Chepstow. Here are the findings:
Made debut at Newmarket in 2yo maiden – results of next 3 runs:
Newmarket is known as the Headquarters of British flat racing so one would expect that a good proportion of best 2yos make their debut there and the results of their subsequent three starts seems to back this theory up. Although they make losses, they are not too steep and the strike rates are very acceptable.
Made debut at Newbury in 2yo maiden – results of next 3 runs:
The results for Newbury are not quite as good as Newmarket, but with an overall strike rate of around 14% these runners have an above average success rate on their next three runs. Newbury sees some of best Lambourn trained 2yos on debut so these results are pretty much as expected.
Made debut at Goodwood in 2yo maiden – results of next 3 runs:
Goodwood is one of the top tracks in the country and it is interesting to see a blind profit made on second career starts. Having said that with winners at 100/1 and 66/1 (three times) one can see how this profit was achieved. Overall though when we look at the strike rates the Goodwood debutants are probably not as good as those that either Newmarket or Newbury.
Let us look at three lower Grade tracks now and their results.
Made debut at Brighton in 2yo maiden – results of next 3 runs:
Quite a significant difference can be seen in comparison with the Grade 1 tracks – much lower striker rates and significant losses; especially for the second and third runs.
Made debut at Hamilton in 2yo maiden – results of next 3 runs:
Even worse returns from Hamilton debutants and I would be wary of backing any Hamilton 2yo maiden debutant in subsequent races – well the next three anyway.
Made debut at Chepstow in 2yo maiden – results of next 3 runs:
Chepstow sees some good quality National Hunt racing, but the flat fare is decidedly modest. The results for horses that make their 2yo debuts at Chepstow in maidens mirror the poor Brighton and Hamilton results.
For the next table I have combined the results for the 2 ‘groups’ to give us an overview:
This table shows even more clearly that it can be very significant where a horse makes its 2yo maiden debut.
With the strike rates for Newmarket debutants on their next three runs, being the highest, I feel it is worth investigating these runners in more detail/
Focus on Newmarket debutants – next 3 runs
Firstly let us look at the trainers who have the best records from these runners. I have used 40 runs as a minimum:
Michael Jarvis has now retired so it will be interesting to see whether Roger Varian will achieve similarly good results. Some of the most prominent trainers in the country are in this list – Saeed Bin Suroor, Sir Michael Stoute, Henry Cecil are all high up in the list.
Let us look at the results of the Newmarket debutants in terms of course Grade:
Horses that go on to run at a Grade 1 track on their second, third or fourth career starts have the lowest strike rate, coupled with the poorest returns. Arguably one should expect this as the competition should be stronger. Those running at Grade 2 tracks have achieved a close to break-even situation. However, there is no clear pattern emerging here so I have the split the courses simply into Northern courses and Southern courses:
This is much more illuminating – horses that go on to run at a Northern course produce better results than those running in the Southern half of the country. This is almost certainly due to the fact that the racing tends to be less competitive at more Northern tracks. The good news from our perspective, is that the market has yet to adjust to this fact under these circumstances.
Finally for “in running” punters, horses that made their debut in a 2yo Newmarket maiden are worth noting if they take an early lead in any of their subsequent three starts – over 27% of these early leaders have managed to go on to win.
I hope this article has shown you where a 2yo runner makes its debut (in a maiden) has a real relevance and is worth taking into account in their early careers.
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