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horses that win on debut in a 2yo maiden
Research into horses that win on debut in a 2yo maiden
As the title suggests, this article looks into horses that make a winning debut in a 2yo maiden race. I have taken data from 2008 to 2011 for UK racing, and my findings look into not only their 2nd career start, but their third and 4th career starts as well.
Overall – firstly then the results for all 2yo maiden debut winners on their next three starts:
As we can see, as each race passes the strike rate decreases and the returns get poorer. The second start figures are not too bad with a decent enough strike rate at 22%, but this still has produced losses of around 14p in the £. However, I would expect to be able to improve these figures over the course of my research.
Winning debut at Grade 1 track – let us look at horses that made that winning debut at a Grade 1 track. My theory is that a winning debut at a top track would be harder achieve due to the likely higher class of the competition, hence their follow-up runs are likely to be better than the norm. Of course, the bookmakers are likely to have taken this into account, but let’s see:
Certainly the theory has worked for the 2nd career start – an excellent strike rate of over 30% and a profit to boot. Performances drop off from there although this could be down to the fact that these runners tend to get raised in class fairly quickly making their task harder.
Winning debut at Newmarket – in previous research horses that debut at Newmarket tend to perform well above average on their next few starts. Let’s see if that hold true here:
Certainly in terms of their 2nd career start it does. I would guess that as with Grade 1 debutants, the third and 4th career starts are poor due to a good proportion of runners being raised in class.
I wanted to see if the distance of their debut win made any difference. So let me start with the minimum trip of 5 furlongs.
Winning debut over 5f – here are the results for their subsequent three runs:
The second start figures are very solid with a loss of only 8p in the £. Strike rates though dip markedly again on third and fourth starts.
Winning debut over 6f – onto debutants over 6f:
A disappointing set of results more especially in terms of ROI with significant losses on career runs 2, 3 and 4. The strike rates are not too dissimilar to 5f so maybe it is simply a case of too many short priced winners.
Winning debut over 7f – up a furlong to 7f now:
Fairly decent figures for runners on their 2nd career start. I had expected slightly better figures for 7f as in general classier 2yos appear later in the year when maiden distances tend to increase.
Winning debut over 1m or more – finally in terms of distance I look at 1 mile+:
There is a very decent strike for second time starters, but still there are losses equating to about 10p in the £.
In terms of distance on debut, it is difficult to make any firm conclusions. Maybe 6f winners should be treated with slightly more caution on their 2nd career starts.
I now wanted to use some market data from the debut win.
Favourite on debut – I wondered whether a horse winning on debut when favourite performs above expectations on their next three starts. This is what I found:
A profit on their 3rd career start, but not sure how that is explained!
Outsider on debut – now a look at horses that won on debut when priced 20/1 or bigger:
Poor returns on runs 2 and 3 – a profit on run 4 but a low strike rate suggests a big priced winner or two have skewed the returns somewhat.
For the final area of research I have looked at the class of the maiden race when making their winning debut.
Class 2/3 on debut – the classier maidens first:
Some fairly positive figures here overall, but the sample is limited as there are not many class 2/3 maidens each season.
Class 4 on debut – onto class 4 maidens:
The second start results are promising. A 28% strike rate plus a small profit is pleasing.
Class 5/6 on debut – Finally the debut winners from the lower grade maidens:
These figures seem to show that the class of race on debut really does make a difference. Winners in class 4 events or higher have made a profit next time out from a good strike rate, while class 5/6 winners have a strike rate of around 10% lower and have made significant losses.
Summary - I am not sure exactly what I had expected from this research, although I am pleased that there seem to be a couple of potentially profitable avenues worth exploring. The class of debut does seem to make a big difference, with horses winning in class 4 or higher worth close scrutiny next time out. Also horses winning at a Grade 1 track, especially Newmarket, have a good record on their second start. The other interesting part for me is that performance level generally drops after each run so on career run four most of these debutant winners are worth avoiding, or indeed laying.
David Renham www.racingtrends.co.uk
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