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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:
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)
Novice Chases – positive courses for favourites (ordered alphabetically)
Handicap Chases – positive courses for favourites (ordered alphabetically)
Handicap Hurdles– positive courses for favourites (ordered alphabetically)
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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