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Handicap Debutants Part 1
Handicap Debutants Part 1
This is the first of two articles based on flat horses making their handicap debuts. I am writing this piece in the middle of October 2011 and I have gone back to the start of 2005 in terms of the data I am using. Profits and losses are shown to £1 level win stakes at SP; SR% stands for strike rate percentage; ROI% stands for return on investment percentage.
Firstly let us look at the overall performances of all horses making their handicap debuts:
These figures should come as no surprise – handicap debutants have not got a reputation for being gilt-edged betting opportunities. However, let us breakdown this data and see what we can find.
Age – let us breakdown the stats by age:
The first point to note is that once a horse gets 5 or older their first ever run in a handicap becomes quite poor. Combining horses aged 5 and older we get just 29 winners from 707 runners (SR 4.1%) for a hefty loss of £344.55 (ROI -48.7%). 2yos have the best record although it is still fairly moderate.
Sex – now a breakdown by sex of the horse:
Females on handicap debut struggle in comparison to their male counterparts.
Price – now a breakdown by the SP price of the horses:
Clearly the price makes a difference with handicap debutants. Runners priced 10/1 or shorter are worth a second glance, while those 22/1 or bigger look worth avoiding, almost at all costs.
Market position – this should give similar results to the price stats, but it is always worth checking their position in the betting as a 5/1 shot could be 4th favourite in one race, and favourite in another:
The cut off point here seems 5th in the betting; anything lower than that and the strike rates and ROIs start to drop significantly.
Official rating – for a horse to run in a handicap they need an official handicap rating. Here is a breakdown of results by the horse’s official handicap ratings:
Horses rated 54 or lower have performed very poorly. The 75-84 official rating bracket has the best strike rate, where as those rated 95 or higher have nearly broken even. However, this figure is skewed strongly by two big priced winners at 66/1 and 50/1.
Weight rank – now a look at their position in the weights:
A sliding scale in terms of strike rate, but in terms of the returns horses 3rd to 10th in the weights have produced similar returns. The top two in the weights have performed best, whereas those weighted 11th or higher have a poor record in terms of both strike rate and returns.
Horse wins – next stop was to look at whether previous career wins made a difference:
Horses that are still maidens (0 career wins) have a poor looking record. Horses with 2 or 3 wins have the best records albeit from a relatively small sample.
Position LTO – now a look at their last run and where they finished:
Horses that finished 2nd LTO have actually made a profit, while overall it is clear that a finish in the first three LTO is far better than a fourth or worse finishing position.
So far I have looked in eight different areas and here is a summary of the main findings:
All in all, I feel I have uncovered some interesting angles and I will expand / go into more detail in the second article. Indeed, in the second article I will show you how combining just 3 of these filters we can virtually break even across around 4000 races. I will also show you that this basic idea has produced a 1 in 4 strike rate on the all weather showing an ROI of 10% to SP.
Part 2 of this research may be found here ==> Handicap Debutants Part 2
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