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Bumpers Is It Possible To Make A Profit


Bumpers – Is It Possible To Make A Profit?

Bumper races or National hunt flat races are possibly the races that have the least amount of betting activity. The reason for this is probably due to the fact that there are too many unknowns – lightly raced horses whose careers will be shaped more in future races. A good proportion of bumper runners will simply be gaining experience, especially if their trainers perceive them to be ‘chasing-types’. Also they are pretty low grade affairs with not that much prize money on offer. At this juncture I feel I am almost talking myself out of investigating these races in more detail, so before I do, let me crunch some stats. I have taken data from 1st January 2006 to 30th September 2011 and to help me with this article I have used Proform Professional to cross check my figures.

Market factors – let me look at whether there are any market clues:

Market rank Wins Runs SR% Profit/loss ROI %
Favourite 540 1572 34.4 -£137.13 -8.7
2nd favourite 307 1515 20.3 -£174.94 -11.6
3rd favourite 176 1502 11.7 -£386.76 -25.8
4th in betting 142 1518 9.4 -£317.50 -20.9
5th in betting 93 1505 6.2 -£356.00 -23.7
6th in betting 73 1520 4.8 -£324.50 -21.4
7th+ 148 8372 1.8 -£3619.00 -43.2

 

The market does get these races right more often than not and clearly favourites and second favourites require close scrutiny. However, turning their losses of 8.7% and 11.6% into profit is not going to be easy. I will revisit market factors later in the piece.

Country of Breeding – the country of breeding is something I feel is always worth looking at and this is what I found:

Country of breeding Wins Runs SR% Profit/loss ROI %
FR 135 1182 11.4 -£178.48 -15.1
GB 534 8704 6.1 -£3472.67 -39.9
GER 18 124 14.5 -£23.87 -19.3
IRE 778 7312 10.6 -£1725.82 -23.6
USA 11 133 8.3 -£2.98 -2.2
Others 3 49 6.1 +£88.00 +179.6

 

The ‘others’ section has had 2 big priced winners, which has skewed the profits somewhat! However, the most interesting point to note is the poor strike rate and subsequent returns of British bred runners – much poorer than French and Irish bred runners. It is such a decent sample that one must assume there will be an edge in avoiding the vast majority of British bred runners in bumpers.

Sires – sticking with the breeding theme I decided to look at the sires that had performed the best in bumpers – to qualify they needed to have a strike rate of over 14% and have had at least 50 runs:

Sire Wins Runs SR% Profit/loss ROI %
King's Theatre 44 211 20.9 +£55.41 +26.3
Old Vic 36 198 18.2 +£109.87 +55.5
Kahyasi 10 55 18.2 +£4.48 +8.1
Accordion 33 186 17.7 +£1.80 +1.0
Pistolet Bleu 12 70 17.1 -£5.25 -7.5
Muhtarram 9 54 16.7 -£17.10 -31.7
Hernando 13 82 15.9 -£8.55 -10.4
Heron Island 11 70 15.7 +£44.98 +64.3
Sadler's Wells 8 51 15.7 -£24.36 -47.8
Deploy 9 58 15.5 +£32.38 +55.8
Bob Back 31 203 15.3 -£68.85 -33.9
Milan 19 128 14.8 +£26.37 +20.6
Oscar 43 305 14.1 -£41.80 -13.7

 

There are some fairly well known sires in the list here, but the most interesting fact is that the majority of them were flat horses. When I get some time I think this is an area that is worth further investigation.

Days off track – I wanted to see if there were any patterns connected with days off the track.

Days off track Wins Runs SR% Profit/loss ROI %
Making debut 702 8384 8.4 -£1884.25 -22.5
1-14 57 764 7.5 -£475.69 -63.6
15-21 102 1190 8.6 -£514.13 -43.2
22-28 108 1286 8.4 -£511.29 -39.8
29-60 253 2791 9.1 -£966.94 -34.6
61 or more 105 1596 6.6 -£638.54 -40.0

 

The two figures that stand out are the respective returns for debutants which turns out to be the best, and the returns for horses coming back to the track quickly (14 days or less) which turns out to be the worst. Loss of over 60p in the £ for ‘quick’ returners is extremely poor. The losses of 22p in the £ for debutants is not great, but compared with the rest it actually looks pretty good.

Trainers – let us see which trainers have the best record in bumpers – to qualify they must have had at least 50 runners and achieved a strike rate of 18% or more:

Trainer Wins Runs SR% Profit/loss ROI %
Rebecca Curtis 20 60 33.3 +£5.13 +8.6
Nicky Henderson 110 366 30.1 -£4.76 -1.3
Alan Swinbank 72 263 27.4 -£2.13 -0.8
Paul Nicholls 68 263 25.9 -£33.74 -12.8
Karen McLintock 13 57 22.8 +£8.82 +15.5
Anthony Honeyball 12 53 22.6 +£88.25 +166.5
David Pipe 25 121 20.7 +£39.95 +33.0
David Arbuthnot 11 54 20.4 +£5.25 +9.7
Nick Gifford 13 69 18.8 +£5.38 +7.8
Peter Bowen 32 172 18.6 +£36.98 +21.5
Victor Dartnall 14 77 18.2 +£13.23 +17.2

 

These trainers are definitely worth keeping an eye on in bumpers and here are some additional stats worth noting:

  • Rebecca Curtis has a very good record with favourites scoring 14 times from 23 (SR 60.9%) for a profit of £11.63 (ROI +50.6%); she has also had 7 winners from 10 at Hereford (all prices);

 

  • Nicky Henderson’s debutants have a good record – 67 winners from 183 (SR 36.6%) for a profit of £38.79 (ROI +21.2%);

 

  • Alan Swinbank seems to target certain tracks – he is 6 from 14 (SR 42.9%) at Carlisle, 9 from 22 (SR 40.9%) at Catterick and 7 from 14 (SR 50%) at Southwell;

 

  • David Pipe is another trainer who does well with his bumper debutants – 17 wins from 69 (SR 24.6%) for a profit of £66.53 (ROI +96.4%).

 

Last time out performance – let me look to see if LTO position makes a difference or not:

Position LTO Wins Runs SR% Profit/loss ROI %
1st 179 917 19.5 -£75.63 -8.3
2nd 161 967 16.7 -£260.84 -27.0
3rd 124 963 12.9 -£278.81 -29.0
4th 94 859 10.9 -£219.55 -25.6
5th 57 773 7.4 -£204.51 -26.5
6th or worse 162 4641 3.5 -£2392.23 -51.5

 

LTO winners have a fair record with limited losses; however horses that were runner-up LTO have produced poor returns despite a decent enough strike rate. This must be down to punters driving the price of these runners down. Indeed you do no worse in terms of returns if backing horses that finished 3rd to 5th instead as compared to those finishing 2nd.

So let me finish by combining two ideas utilizing some of the stats we have uncovered. Firstly I am looking for a potential backing method; secondly a potential laying method – so in my search for some positive returns let us look at LTO winners that raced again in a bumper, started first or second favourite, and were NOT British bred. The results show 102 winners from 290 runners (SR 35.2%) for a small profit of £6.42 (ROI +2.2%). OK, not returns to retire on, but a profit is a profit. Now my idea for a potential laying method – let us look for British bred runners that finished 6th or worse LTO and that are returning to the track within 14 days. I had expected the results to be poor, but not quite as poor – just 2 wins from 248 runners (SR 0.8%) for a loss of £237.25 (ROI -95.7%).








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