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Know Your AW Race Types

Know Your AW Race Types by David Renham

This is the second article in a series of three all weather articles – the first being on southwell Sires In this piece I am going to look at specific race types in attempt to help you, the reader, gain that important edge over “the crowd”. Many punters are put off the all weather due to the general standard of racing – low grade handicaps, claimers and sellers are regular events on the all weather circuit, but there are plenty of positive and negative angles that once appreciated can improve your chances of making a profit. The focus of this article is these lower grade contests.

The data for this article is taken from last six years; ROI stands for return on investment; SR stands for strike rate and LTO stands for last time out. Unless otherwise stated, all profit and losses are quoted to industry starting price.

Claiming races

Market – the top three in the betting have provided just under 74% of the winners. Favourites have an especially good record in all weather claimers scoring 35.6% of the time. Indeed backing all favourites “blind” would have yielded very small losses of 4%. Indeed backing all favourites since the inception of Betfair SP would have seen you break even and that is taking commission into account. Longer priced horses have a poor record and runners priced 16/1 or bigger show significant losses. Their record reads 73 wins from 3570 qualifiers (SR 2%) showing losses of £1473.00 to (ROI -41.3%). At the completely rank outsider stage – horses priced 80/1 or bigger have produced 425 consecutive losers with just 8 of them managing a place.

Last time out – horses that won LTO go on to win again just over 25% of the time in claimers, and backing all such runners would have produced losses of around 11%. Horses that won on the all weather LTO are much better betting propositions that horses that won on the turf LTO – strike rates of 26% against 15% confirm this. Indeed, regardless of LTO position, it is an advantage to have raced on the all weather LTO rather than on the turf LTO.

Age – interestingly older horses have a better strike rate than younger ones in all age claimers. Horses aged 3 to 5 have a combined strike rate of 8.7%, whereas horses aged 6 or older have a combined strike rate of 14.4%.

Sex of horse – In claimers colts, geldings and horses are 1.62 times more likely to win than fillies and mares.

Miscellaneous stats:

1. Horses that are racing for a new stable in all weather claiming races score around 9% of the time, but backing all runners would have lost you about 46% (46p for every £1 wagered);

2. Maiden runners have a poor record in claimers scoring just 6% of the time and losing around 37%;

3. Horses that have recorded 2 or more course successes have a decent strike rate of 17% and backing all runners would have yielded very small losses of 2.2%;

4. Horses having their first ever racecourse outing are worth avoiding with only 7 wins from 229 qualifiers (SR 3.1%). Backing all debutants would have produced significant losses of £149.50 (ROI -65.3%);

5. Horses that raced in a claiming race last time have a strike rate of 15%; compare this to horses that raced in a selling race last time whose strike rate is under 8%;

6. The following trainers secured a strike rate of 20% or better during the 6-year study (from at least 60 runners) – Tom Dascombe, Dandy Nicholls, Kevin Ryan, Jim Boyle, Jack Pearce, Gary Moore.

Selling races

Market – the top three in the betting have provided 71.7% of the winners with favourites winning a third of all races. Backing all selling favourites would have yielded a loss of 6.8%. There are two favourite stats worth noting; firstly horses priced 8/11 or shorter have scored over 70% of the time and backing them all would have produced a profit of 10%; secondly favourites returning to the track less than 10 days since their last run have provided 89 winners from 227 (SR 39.2%) for a profit of £19.55 (ROI +8.6%). Runners priced 25/1 or bigger have an extremely poor record - just 20 wins from 1887 qualifiers (SR 1.1%) showing huge losses of £1164.00 to (ROI -61.7%). Horses priced 50/1 or bigger have produced just 3 winners from 890 runners for losses of over 81%.

Last time out – horses that won LTO are not good propositions in selling races. They win roughly 1 time in 5 but backing all runners would have yielded losses of around 19%. One area worth noting is that horses that ran LTO in 3yo or all age maidens have a dreadful strike rate - they have provided just 14 winners from 317 qualifiers (SR 4.4%).

Age – as with claiming races, older horses have a better strike rate than younger ones in all age claimers. However, the bias is less pronounced. Horses aged 3 to 5 have a combined strike rate of 9%, whereas horses aged 6 or older have a combined strike rate of 12.2%.

Sex of horse – in sellers once again colts, geldings and horses have an edge over fillies and mares. However, it is not quite as clear cut as it was in claimers with the male to female success ratio in sellers standing at 1.4.

Miscellaneous stats:

1. Horses upped in class have won just 4.5% of the time; horses racing in the same class as LTO have won 10.3% of the time; horses dropping in class have won 11.4% of the time;

2. Trainers Peter Evans, Jim Boyle, Gary Moore and George Baker are trainers who have good records in selling races on the all weather;

3. Horses carrying high weights in sellers have a better strike rate than those carrying low weights. Horses carrying 9st or more have a strike rate of 12.6%; horses carrying under 9st have a strike rate of 8.8%;

4. For “in running” punters it should be noted that the early leader of a 5f seller goes on to win over 25% of the time.

Handicap races (class 6 or lower)

Market – the top three in the betting have provided just over 54% of the winners. Favourites win around 1 race in 4 (26% to be precise) for losses of under 7%. The most successful favourites in handicaps have been in 2yo nurseries - a strike rate of 30.4% and profits of 6%. 3yo only handicaps see favourites perform solidly thanks to a strike rate of 30.9% with losses amounting to less than 2%. Lingfield has been most successful track for low grade handicap favourites producing a break even situation to SP.

Last time out – LTO winners score 16.6% of the time, with losses standing at 19%. However, if the LTO winners return to the track within 7 days their strike rate increases to 24%. These quick returns score 37% of the time and reach a break even situation if they start favourite. However, beware of LTO winners that start 10/1 or bigger in the betting – they have won just 4.4% of the time with steep losses of 38%.

Horses that ran in handicaps LTO are better betting propositions that horses that ran in non handicaps LTO – strike rates of 9% against 6.5% confirm this. The returns for each category though do not totally mirror the strike rates with losses of 21% for runners that ran in handicaps LTO, compared with losses of 25% for runners who ran LTO in non handicaps.

Sex of horse – the male to female success ratio is 1.3 in low grade handicaps open to both sexes. Percentage losses for male runners stand at only 17% compared with 28% for females. It is also should be noted that female runners have really struggled at Lingfield – their strike rate at the Surrey track is just 5.6% and losses are over 40%. Male runners have a definite advantage over female runners in these handicaps.

Miscellaneous stats:

1. Female runners returning to the track after a break of 57 or more days have a poor record – just 92 wins from 1967 runners (SR 4.7%) for a loss of £788.17 (ROI -40.1%);

2. Colts when starting favourites have been fairly rare (around 40 per year). However, of the 225 qualifiers over the past 6 seasons, 86 have won (SR 38.2%) for a profit of £50.05 (ROI +22.2%);

3. Runners priced 25/1 or bigger have won 2.1% of the time for losses to SP of 25%. However, since Betfair Starting Price was introduced in 2008 you could have made a profit by backing them all at BSP. Despite having only 70 winners from 3717 runners, you would have made a profit of £730.88 (ROI +19.7%).


I hope this article has shown you that the all weather offers betting opportunities in all race types – you just need to do some digging!

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