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Flat Trainers to follow in the Autumn
As we move into September a fair percentage of punters are starting to slow down their betting operations and limit bets accordingly. Many see the “summer months” of June to August as the time to take advantage of the better weather and better ground. Of course this year, the form and ground conditions have rarely settled down due to a particularly wet summer, so for many this year has probably been more difficult than most. However, all is not lost as it is my belief there are good betting opportunities all the year round and the Autumn months are no exception.
For this article I have delved into trainer records from September to November spanning the last 10 years (1997 to 2006). The data is for turf racing only and all profits/losses are quoted to £1 level stakes (ROI stands for return on investment; SR stands for strike rate).
Firstly, let us at all trainers who have achieved a strike rate of 14% or more over this 10-year period. Figure 1 displays the results and Saeed Bin Suroor takes top billing with an impressive 1 in 4 strike rate coupled with a small profit. Two other trainers worth noting are John Gosden and Alan Swinbank. Gosden has produced a profit of £103.15 to £1 level stakes, while Swinbank has shown an impressive return on investment of nearly 23%.
As we move into September, 2yo races often seem to become more competitive as big fields often line up at some of the grade A courses such as Newmarket and Doncaster. Hence, many punters steer clear of such contests, but as Figure 2 shows, there are some trainers that do exceptionally well in 2yo races at this time of year. Saeed Bin Suroor and Henry Cecil both have excellent strike rates, while John Gosden shows a decent return on investment of 12%. Henry Candy is a trainer worth noting thanks to a near 1 in 5 strike rate and profits of nearly 27%.
End of season handicaps are arguably more difficult to solve than 2yo maidens. Figure 3 shows the trainers who have performed well in such contests in the Autumn. Sir Mark Prescott heads the list in terms of strike rate and he has also made a small profit. It is interesting to note however, that backing his runners in all races from September to November would have produced a significant loss of £255.64 (see fig 1). Hence, if we look at Prescott’s runners in non handicaps from September to November, he has saddled 48 winners from 458 runners (SR 10.5%) for a significant loss of £271.86 (ROI -59.4%). Prescott is clearly worth noting in handicaps at this time of year, but definitely not in non handicaps!!
As the stats to date have shown, several trainers require close consideration during these Autumn months. However, only a few of them would have yielded profits by backing all their mounts. Hence, to maximise returns we need to dig much deeper and look more closely at individual records. Here are some trainers I have looked at in more detail:
Saeed Bin Suroor – topped the overall table and the 2yo table in terms of strike rate, but profits are limited due to the fact that many of his winners have been short prices. However, there are two angles worth following. Backing all 2yo maidens that finished 2nd or 3rd last time out would have produced 21 winners from 43 runners (SR 48.8%) for a profit of £10.66 (ROI +24.8%). Another worthwhile strategy with his 2yo maidens would have been to focus on horses priced 3/1 to 11/2. They produced 16 winners from 59 runners (SR 27.1%) for a profit of £22.33 (ROI +37.9%).
Henry Cecil – after his successes this season with horses such as Light Shift, it will be interesting to see how Cecil performs in the closing months of the season. The stable has traditionally done well with their 2yos in the Autumn as the following stats indicate. If we focus on 2yo maiden races Cecil has performed best with horses that have run previously – 15 wins from 56 runners (SR 26.8%) for a profit of £22.85 (ROI +40.8%). From here to maximise profits it is best to look for horses that are stepping up in distance. Of the 26 maidens who have tackled longer distances, 9 have won (SR 34.6%) and they have shown a profit of £32.86 (ROI +126.4%). One final point worth noting is that Cecil does best in September – 18 wins from 54 runners (SR 33.3%) for a profit of £29.30 (ROI +54.3%).
John Gosden – as the 2yo table shows (Fig 2) Gosden does particularly well with his juveniles later in the season. His 2yo maidens are especially worth noting when running at Newmarket – 19 wins from 95 runners (SR 20%) for a profit of £111.56 (ROI +117.4%). He also has an excellent record with favourites in 2yo maidens – 43 wins from 83 runners (SR 51.8%) for a profit of £18.65 (ROI +22.5%). Another 2yo maiden stat worth bearing in mind is his record with 2yo maidens who have been off the track for more than 4 weeks. They have produced 22 winners from 72 runners (SR 30.6%) for a healthy profit of £84.27 (ROI +117.0%).
Alan Swinbank – perhaps a surprise inclusion in the top trainer table, but Swinbank has excelled in late season handicap races. He rarely runs horses in nurseries (2yo handicaps), but with 4 wins from 16 (SR 25%) for a profit of £33.00 (ROI +206.2%), he should be noted whenever he does. His record in all handicap races is impressive also – 16 wins from 115 runners (SR 13.9%) for a profit of £61.75 (ROI +53.7%).
Neville Callaghan – has performed extremely well with his handicappers in the Autumn with 36 winners from 242 runners (SR 14.9%) for a profit of £58.51 (ROI +24.2%). His handicappers should be noted in particular at Brighton – 5 wins from 14 (SR 35.7%) for a profit of £15.88 (ROI +113.4%), and at Yarmouth – 6 wins from 23 (SR 26.1%) for a profit of £28.00 (ROI +121.7%). Callaghan seems to target 2yo handicaps (nurseries) with two-thirds of his winners coming from that sphere. These runners have won 24 races from 123 runners (SR 19.5%) for a profit of £56.51 (ROI +45.9%).
Gerald Butler – as with Callaghan, Gerald Butler’s handicappers run well in the Autumn – he has produced 36 winners from 217 runners (SR 14.7%) for a profit of £69.25 (ROI +31.9%). His raiders have done well when travelling to Scottish courses with 7 wins from 18 (SR 38.9%) for a profit of £30.00 (ROI +166.7%). His 3yo handicappers are worth keeping on the right side of thanks to 24 wins from 121 (SR 19.8%) for a profit of £66.75 (ROI +55.2%).
Mark Johnston – although Mark Johnston’s overall strike rate in handicaps has been below 13% in the Autumn, there has been a very profitable avenue to follow with his 3yo handicappers. Focusing on his 3yo runners in all age handicaps would have produced a small profit, but if you concentrated on all age handicaps at a distance of 1½ miles or more, you would have had 26 wins from 117 runners (SR 22.2%) for a profit of £97.75 (ROI +83.5%). Indeed he has had 5 wins from just 9 runners at Ascot and 7 from 20 at Doncaster.
These profitable angles merely scratch the surface – the research is worth the effort I can assure you!
Fig 1 - September to November – all races 1997 to 2006 (SR 14%+)
Fig 2 - September to November – all 2yo races 1997 to 2006 (SR 14%+)
Fig 3 - September to November – all handicap races 1997 to 2006 (SR 13%+)
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