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National Hunt Favourites Who Failed To Finish In Previous Race


National Hunt Favourites who failed to finish – how do they perform next time out?

By David Renham

Having researched and written around 500 articles in the past few years, I am going to revisit an area I explored a few years ago. I will be looking into horses that were favourites last time out in a National Hunt race, but failed to finish the course. Hence they either fell, were unseated, pulled up, refused to race etc.

The data for this article was collected from the beginning of 2002. All profits and losses have been calculated to £1 level stakes.

Let us firstly look at the overall statistics – so all horses in their next race that had in their most recent race started favourite, but failed to finish:

Bets 3190

Wins 506

Strike rate 15.9%

Profit / loss –£402.85

ROI –12.6%

A loss of 12.6% is not a bad starting point, especially as this could improved upon using Betfair, Betfair SP or BOG (Best Odds Guaranteed) which is available from many uk bookmakers . Comparing a loss of 12% to the figure for ALL NH beaten favourites LTO is interesting, as the overall figure for beaten favs is around –14%. Therefore, beaten favourites that failed to finish LTO are slightly better investments than your ‘average’ beaten favourite.

Let us breakdown the races LTO into chases, hurdle races and bumpers for favourites that failed to complete. The figures for their next run make interesting reading:

Race type LTO Wins Runs Strike Rate% Profit / loss ROI%
Chase 340 2050 16.6 -£89.31 -4.4
Hurdle 163 1121 14.5 -£315.64 -28.2
NHF 3 19 15.8 +£2.10 +11.1

 

Not surprisingly there were very few bumper favourites that failed to finish last time out. The interesting comparison is with the non-finishers in chases and hurdle races last time. Horses that failed to complete the course in a chase last time out have lost just 4.4% if backing all such runners on their next start. Last time favourites in hurdle races that failed to finish look laying potential, or at the very least eliminated for win betting purposes.

With over 2000 qualifiers from LTO chases, it seemed likely to me that we may be able to push this into profit using some other logical filters. For the rest of the article I will focusing solely on the LTO chase qualifiers as they look to have the best potential in terms of profitable angles. I decided to see starting price next time out made any difference:

Price Wins Runs Strike Rate% Profit / loss ROI%
Evens or less 43 76 55.6 -£6.75 -8.9
11/10 – 2/1 58 178 32.6 -£24.38 -13.7
9/4 – 7/2 78 350 22.3 -£48.20 -13.8
4/1 – 11/2 62 396 15.7 -£45.50 -11.5
6/1 – 9/1 65 433 15.0 +£104.50 +24.1
19/2 – 16/1 27 383 7.0 -£15.00 -3.9
18/1+ 7 234 3.0 -£54.00 -23.1

 

Looking at the prices, the stats seem to suggest to look for horses that are priced between 6/1 and 9/1 in their next race. In fact from 6/1 to 16/1 the results have been much better than one would expect.

The next factor I decided to look at was age:

Age Wins Runs Strike Rate Profit / loss ROI
4 2 15 13.3 -£11.47 -76.5
5 29 119 24.4 +£29.88 +25.1
6 65 305 21.3 +£40.38 +13.2
7 80 510 15.7 -£87.16 -17.1
8 75 446 16.8 +£13.90 +3.1
9 47 325 14.5 +£0.40 +0.1
10 28 194 14.4 -£19.10 -9.9
11+ 14 136 10.3 -£56.14 -41.3

 

Younger horses (aged 5 to 6) have the best strike rate and they have combined to make a profit. At the other end of the age scale, it seems best to avoid horses aged 11 or older. Their strike rate is much poorer at roughly 1 win in 10, with losses of over 40%.

Next stop for the LTO Chase runners – days off the course since that losing run when favourite:

Days off track Wins Runs Strike Rate Profit / loss ROI
0-7 25 121 20.7 -£26.31 -21.7
8-14 46 302 15.2 -£101.77 -33.7
15-21 47 294 16.0 -£47.46 -16.1
22-49 107 596 18.0 +£70.16 +11.8
50-99 42 246 17.1 +£61.81 +25.1
100+ 73 491 14.9 -£45.74 -9.3

 

This is very interesting – horses that return to the track fairly quickly (21 days or less) do quite poorly. Conversely, combining all horses off the track for more than 3 weeks would have actually yielded a profit of £86.24.

My next area of research was to look at the LTO chase splitting into more specific race types:

LTO Race Wins Runs Strike Rate Profit / loss ROI
Handicap 202 1411 14.3 -£110.84 -7.9
Non handicap 138 639 21.6 +£21.53 +3.4
Maiden chase 3 33 9.1 -£22.13 -67.1
Novice chase 94 555 16.9 -£91.07 -16.4
Graded/Listed chase 28 122 23.0 +£6.05 +5.0

 

Horses that raced in Class 1 company LTO (Graded/Listed events) produced a small profit; as did ALL non handicap races. Horses that were favourite LTO and failed to finish in a Novice Chase have under-performed compared with the overall figures.

So what can be gleaned from this research? What I would say is that beaten favourites last time out that failed to finish in a chase, cannot be dismissed from calculations next time out. Using the other variables / filters has helped to pinpoint profitable areas so there should be some value when finding horses that match the ‘positives’.

For the system players out there you may want to consider this system which uses some of the positive factors noted:

Rules:

1. LTO favourite in a chase

2. Failed to finish LTO

3. Days since last run 22 to 99

4. Age 5yo to 9yo

5. Raced in Non handicap LTO

The results for this ‘system’ would have produced the following results:

Bets 218

Wins 51

Strike rate 23.4%

Profit +£56.09

ROI +25.7%

 

Hence a very decent return on investment, although an average of 25 qualifiers per year is likely to put many punters off.








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