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National Hunt Favourites : a course approach


In general I have personally never been a fan of backing favourites, but I am sure many people do. Why people back favourites is probably down to the fact that by backing them, they will pick more winners than by using most other methods. For many punters strike rate seems to be more important profits and hence many resort to backing horses that head the market. However, very few people seem to be able to make money out of backing favourites. This could be down to the fact that the majority of punters find it difficult to distinguish easily between a favourite that is good value compared to one that is poor value. To gain an “edge” when betting, you need to obtain value odds for the selection you are backing – this is true regardless of price, and if you can get 11/8 about a horse whose true chance is Evens then you have obtained that necessary value. In this article my aim is give you a plethora of favourite statistics based on courses. The article focuses on National Hunt racing only and the first table looks at the record of all favourites at all courses over the past 16 years:

 

 Course

Bets

Wins

Strike Rate

Profit / loss (ROI)

Aintree

561

193

34.4%

-0.2%

Ascot

754

274

36.3%

 -5.2%

Ayr

1083

442

40.8%

 -5.8%

Bangor

1253

449

35.8%

 -12.9%

Carlisle

959

352

36.7%

-7.6% 

Cartmel

502

178

35.5%

 -15.9%

Catterick

860

279

32.4%

 -16.2%

Cheltenham

1440

522

36.3%

 +0.7%

Chepstow

1181

433

36.7%

 -8.1%

Doncaster

639

239

37.4%

 -7.5%

Exeter

1448

565

39.0%

 -7.2%

Fakenham

699

266

38.1%

 -4.8%

Folkestone

867

350

40.7%

 -2.8%

Fontwell

1637

635

38.8%

 -6.2%

Haydock

936

369

39.4%

 -5.9%

Hereford

1543

586

38.0%

 -6.8%

Hexham

1201

434

36.1%

 -8.2%

Huntingdon

1584

600

37.9%

 -5.9%

Kelso

1142

454

39.8%

 -7.4%

Kempton

831

309

37.2%

 -5.4%

Leicester

804

299

37.2%

 -12.5%

Lingfield

746

319

42.8%

 -4.7%

Ludlow

1385

496

35.8%

 -10.0%

Market Rasen

1796

631

35.1%

 -12.4%

Musselburgh

733

279

38.1%

 -9.7%

Newbury

1042

397

38.1%

 +0.2%

Newcastle

971

389

40.1%

 -3.9%

Newton Abbot

1793

699

39.0%

 -11.0%

Nottingham

279

103

36.9%

 -9.0%

Perth

1089

416

38.2%

 -10.2%

Plumpton

1399

546

39.0%

 -9.6%

Sandown

928

335

36.1%

 -9.7%

Sedgefield

1709

631

36.9%

 -5.7%

Southwell

1196

443

37.0%

 -8.3%

Stratford

1427

501

35.1%

 -8.8%

Taunton

1212

436

36.0%

 -9.9%

Towcester

1304

456

35.0%

 -13.4%

Uttoxeter

1914

710

37.1%

 -5.5%

Warwick

1091

426

39.0%

 +1.2%

Wetherby

1419

556

39.2%

 -4.8%

Wincanton

1345

502

37.3%

 -9.3%

Windsor

359

132

36.8%

 -4.4%

Wolverhampton

199

73

36.7%

 -12.8%

Worcester

1717

623

36.3%

 -8.0%

 

Not an inspirational start for profit seekers – only three courses have shown a “blind” profit – Cheltenham, Newbury and Warwick. Indeed the profits of 0.2%, 0.7% and 1.2% are not going to get you rich quick! So even in such a long period of time profits have been extremely hard to come by.

 

More recently, one could argue that the betting exchanges have had a positive effect on the prices of favourites as bookmakers have had to reduce margins in order to compete with the exchanges. Unfortunately, the more recent change in SP on-course calculation may have started to negate this, but for the purposes of more specific favourite research I have concentrated on the years where the exchanges have started to take effect – from 2000 onwards. I have broken down the record of course favourites into specific race types. I have noted ONLY the courses that have shown positive returns (with a minimum requirement of 30 races):

 

Novice Hurdles – positive courses for favourites (ordered alphabetically)

 

 Course

Bets

Wins

Strike Rate

Profit / loss (ROI)

Cartmel

48

26

54.2%

+25.0%

Doncaster

68

36

52.9%

+16.0%

Exeter

158

78

49.4%

+2.8%

Haydock

113

56

49.6%

+12.6%

Kelso

115

57

49.6%

+7.0%

Kempton

86

38

44.2%

+4.5%

Ludlow

108

52

48.1%

+2.1%

Musselburgh

59

33

55.9%

+7.2%

Perth

87

48

55.2%

+8.1%

Sandown

66

36

54.5%

+15.7%

Sedgefield

174

80

46.0%

+0.7%

Stratford

123

63

51.2%

+8.8%

Taunton

122

63

51.6%

+5.8%

Uttoxeter

204

99

48.5%

+1.6%

Worcester

108

61

56.5%

+14.8%

 

Novice Chases – positive courses for favourites (ordered alphabetically)

 

 Course

Bets

Wins

Strike Rate

Profit / loss (ROI)

Ascot

41

22

53.7%

+24.9%

Ayr

63

34

54.0%

+9.8%

Fakenham

58

31

53.4%

+2.1%

Folkestone

49

29

59.2%

+8.0%

Fontwell

111

60

54.1%

+5.2%

Haydock

45

24

53.3%

+10.8%

Hexham

55

28

50.9%

+15.3%

Kempton

66

33

50.0%

+3.4%

Newcastle

65

37

56.9%

+14.8%

Plumpton

84

52

61.9%

+24.7%

Sandown

39

23

59.0%

+23.6%

Uttoxeter

91

43

47.3%

+0.7%

Warwick

69

38

55.1%

+10.3%

Wetherby

90

54

60.0%

+14.0%

 

Handicap Chases – positive courses for favourites (ordered alphabetically)

 

 Course

Bets

Wins

Strike Rate

Profit / loss (ROI)

Aintree

73

23

31.5%

+24.4%

Ascot

73

25

34.2%

+4.7%

Ayr

136

45

33.1%

+2.8%

Catterick

70

22

31.4%

+0.4%

Cheltenham

144

36

25.0%

+1.1%

Kempton

88

34

38.6%

+31.0%

Newbury

130

39

30.0%

+2.9%

Uttoxeter

229

71

31.0%

+5.0%

Warwick

104

39

37.5%

+18.0%

Wincanton

186

66

35.5%

+6.2%

 

Handicap Hurdles– positive courses for favourites (ordered alphabetically)

 

 Course

Bets

Wins

Strike Rate

Profit / loss (ROI)

Ayr

115

41

35.7%

+4.0%

Cheltenham

136

42

30.9%

+8.8%

Folkestone

68

24

35.3%

+1.4%

Market Rasen

180

56

31.1%

+6.2%

Plumpton

128

42

32.8%

+2.2%

Sedgefield

186

59

31.7%

+2.0%

Warwick

104

37

35.6%

+20.9%

Wetherby

161

54

33.5%

+2.6%

 

Some profitable angles therefore in the past 7 years – however, whether these are courses to follow in terms of favourites in specific race types in the future is a question that is difficult to answer. Maybe we need to look back at data from pre 2000 to see if the C&Ds produced similar strike rates and returns. Something to revisit at a later date!

 








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