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Dobbing


 

Dobbing

 

About 12 months ago I wrote an article on dobbing. In this article I am going to share with you some more data which hopefully will help you if you trade in running in horse races.

 

For those of you who did not read my original article, or indeed cannot remember see the link to it at base of this article. In short however.dobbing is a term I came across a few years back – I am not sure where it originates from, but essentially a ‘DOB’ means ‘double or bust’. Essentially if we win, we double our original stake, if we lose we ‘bust’ or lose our stake. I am concentrating on the idea of dobbing ‘in running’. It may be easier to explain by giving you an example:

 

Let us imagine you back a horse pre race at 10.0 for £10; in order to create a potential DOB you try and lay at half the odds for double the stake – so a lay at 5.0 for £20. If the horse hits 5.0 or lower in running, your lay bet will be matched and regardless of the result you will win £10 (less commission). Here is the simple maths behind the two potential winning outcomes - if the horse goes onto win the race you get £90 returned from the ‘back’ part of the bet; you lose £80 on the ‘lay’ part of the bet  - this gives you that £10 profit; if the horse does not go onto win, you lose your £10 stake from the ‘back’ bet, but gain £20 from the lay stake – again giving you a £10 profit. Of course if the lay part of the bet is not matched you will lose your £10.

 

So that is the basic idea. In this article my focus will be flat handicaps (3yo+/4yo+) and the data is taken over 3 years.

 

To start with let us look at the running styles of horses (essentially looking at early pace). I am going to split these into 3 groups - front runners; pace trackers and hold up horses. Here are the figures:

 

Running styler

Dobbing percentage

Front runners

69.7

Pace trackers

50.8

Hold up horses

36.9

 

These are the very important stats for punters who play in running – as you can see front runners have a high dob success rate pushing 70% whereas as hold up horses are far less successful. This makes sense I suppose as in running punters have to  react to how the race unfolds - horses that get a soft lead for example contract quickly in running, whereas most hold up horses only start to contract in price if they move up the field later in the race.

 

Clearly being able to predict the front runner successfully would be a license to print money from a dobbing perpsective. Unfortunately this is not an exact science although you can give yourself a much better chance by doing some research in past running styles of horses. Experienced handicappers tend to be suited to a certain running style so that helps in the prediction process. Clearly if there are 3 or 4 potential front runners in the race, it is probably best swerved in terms of trying to predict the front runner. However, if the race is made up of horses that tend to be held up and there is one stand-out front runner in the field then that is a race that is worth considering in terms of trying to land a successful dob with the likely front runner. Watching the race live or as close to live as possible is really important. I tend to back the potential runner at Betfair SP and then see how the first furlong or two unfolds - if the horse leads I set the dob at half BSP, if it does not lead I try and trade out as best I can. Most of the time you can trade out for a break even situation or at worst a very small loss.

 

Now different courses do make a difference in terms of dobbing percentages for front runners. This can be simply down to camera angles and/or it can be down to where certain bends especially the final bend. Essentially though, we don't really need to know why, we just need to look at the stats and see which courses are best when it comes to front runners dobbing.

 

Course

Dobbing percentage

Musselburgh

80.3

Pontefract

80.1

Catterick

77.6

Salisbury

77.3

Windsor

76.2

Chepstow

76.2

Warwick

75.9

Carlisle

75.8

Beverley

75.6

York

75.5

Chester

75.4

Newmarket

75.2

Nottingham

75.0

Redcar

74.6

Newcastle

74.5

Hamilton

74.3

Newbury

73.8

Thirsk

73.5

Ascot

72.5

Epsom

72.4

Ripon

71.4

Haydock

71.4

Sandown

71.1

Goodwood

70.9

Ayr

70.8

Brighton

70.7

Yarmouth

68.8

Southwell

68.6

Doncaster

68.4

Leicester

68.2

Kempton

67.3

Lingfield

67.1

Ffos Las

66.6

Bath

61.4

Wolverhampton

58.9

 

There is a huge difference between the top course and the bottom course - a difference of over 20% - which is going to make a huge difference. I am quite surprised to see Wolverhampton at the bottom - I would have expected it to be much higher up. Bath, on the other hand, does not surprise me. Firstly the camera angle is horrendous as it tends to front on for most of the home straight which often makes it difficult to clearly see the position of the leading horses, and secondly Bath is traditionally a poor course for front runners in terms of actually going on to win a race.

 

I am going to breakdown the top three front running dobbing courses by distance to give myself a clearer picture. First Musselburgh:

 

Distance

Dobbing percentage

5f

89.2

7f

86.9

1m-1m1f

72.5

1m4f-1m5f

82.3

1m6f+

66.8

 

Very high figures over 5f and also 7f. Being able to predict the front runner over these distances at Musselburgh could really pay dividends!! However, once we get to 1m6f+ the figures start to drop off.

 

Now Pontefract:

 

Distance

Dobbing percentage

5f

81.5

6f

80.4

1m

81.4

1m2f

81.5

1m4f

87.7

2m1f+

67.2

 

Consistent figures all the way from 5f through to 1m2f. The 1m4f come from a smallish sample so that may explain their higher figure. Once again when we get to the longest distances the percentages drop markedly.

A look now at the Catterick breakdown:

 

Distance

Dobbing percentage

5f

93.2

6f

75.8

7f

71.7

1m4f

76.4

1m6f

85.3

2m

62.5

 

A huge dobbing percentage over the minimum trip of 5f. This clearly is a course and distance that in running traders should take a serious note of. The 1m6f figures are possibly skewed as they come from a small sample, whilst once the again the longest trip produces much poorer figures.

 

What these three courses seem to suggest is that very short distances are good for front running dobs, while the longest distances are not. Hence it makes sense to test this theory over all courses.

 

Distance

Dobbing percentage

5f

76.4

6f

74.4

7f

71.2

1m

70.6

1m1f-1m2f

67.1

1m3f-1m4f

64.4

1m5f+

60.9

 

There is a neat correlation here - the shorter the distance the more likely the front runner will dob. I suppose this makes sense as one would assume a front runner over 5f stays in the lead for a greater proportion of the race than a leader over 2 miles. Or at least more 5f leaders will be still be leading with 2f to go compared with leaders over 2 miles. Obviously the closer to the finish the leader is still leading, the more likely it is to dob.

 

Dobbing is not the only option when trading potential front runners - you can be as conservative or greedy as you like. Front runners do make a decent profit to Betfair SP on the flat so you may wish to simply back them and hope they lead all the way. Whatever you decide, the more research you do into trading the better. If you have an idea that you feel will work, test it out - either by crunching past data or doing a paper trial yourself. Alternatively, play to very small stakes to give yourself a 'feel' for it. One of the advantages of the exchanges such as Betfair is that you can bet in running and there are numerous ways of doing it.

 

David Renham   

 

Older dobbing article To Dob or Not to Dob








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