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National Hunt Right-Handed Sire System
National Hunt Right-Handed Sire System
Certain sires produce offspring that have marked preferences for right or left handed tracks. Although this is known by many, it is not something that is immediately apparent on race cards and so may not be reflected in the market. A system that identifies horses that prefer right or left handed tracks therefore has the potential for selecting horses whose chances of winning (or losing) are not adequately reflected in the market.
If the premise is correct, it ought to be possible to produce systems for backing and laying at right and left handed tracks. This particular system is aimed at identifying horses to back at right handed tracks.
The first task is to identify if particular sires do indeed produce horses with preferences for right handed tracks. I use the Horseracebase (HRB) system. Using HRB for all NH races since 2003 at RH Tracks at odds of 10/1 or under the following data is produced:
I prefer to look at odds of 10/1 or below to ensure that long priced winners don’t skew the performance. I’ve also used a minimum sample size of 75 to try to ensure reliability. From the table it would seem that there is definitely something here. Midnight Legend stands out as a horse with a big sample (329) and a big level stakes profit (£148), but all of the horses listed seem to show a strong ROI. This looks like a strong starting point, and definitely worthy of further study.
On the face of it, it would now seem simple to run a system that identifies runners, with the sires listed above, running at RH tracks. Indeed the historical performance data for this system is:
However, the raw statistics require further examination. In any random sample there will be variations. A first check is to compare the performance of these sires on LH tracks to see if there is a definite difference in performance between RH and LH tracks. Looking at the comparative performance of these sires on RH and LH tracks reveals the following:
The three sires in red actually perform better on RH tacks than LH tracks. Interestingly they show a level stakes profit in either direction and as such are worthy of further study. For the purposes of this system though they are eliminated. The other sires show a R/L win ratio of between 1.10 and 2.15 and it is clear that the majority of these exhibit a marked preference for RH tracks. However, a case could be made for the removal of some of the sires at the lower end of the R/L ratio. Rather than do that at this at this stage, I chose to examine their performance in more detail on a year-by-year basis to get a fuller picture (see Tables 1 & 2 on last page). The other standout statistic is Midnight Legend. Clearly this sire’s progeny favour RH tracks (27% winners vs 21%, and right/left ratio of 1.29) but there is still a healthy level stakes profit on LH tracks and this sire is definitely worth a detailed examination.
Looking at the sire’s year-by-year record it was quickly apparent that Mujadil, Strong Gale, Lute Antique, Victory Note and Passing Sale could be removed from the system as they no longer have enough horses (if any) running to justify inclusion. The data for these horses is not included in the tables. Table 1 shows those horses that I have selected for inclusion in the trial system. At the moment, this is a matter of judgment and not a precise science. The two most borderline cases are Lahib and Rossini. Lahib’s overall profile looks strong. It had two negative years but is strongly positive in the other years. The last two years have shown an increased number of runners with a very solid performance and so Lahib is included. Rossini has few runners but overall looks positive – probably it wouldn’t make much difference to the system either way.
I have excluded three sires at this stage: Karinga Bay, Rudimentary and Fruits of Love. Each of these decisions are borderline, but overall there is too much inconsistency in their profiles, combined with lower ROI, for inclusion in the system.
The preceding analysis leads to the following system:
NH Racing. Right handed track. Odds 10/1 or less. Sired by: Midnight Legend; Alhaarth; Tiraaz, Kingmambo; Sakhee & Rossini.
As Table 2 shows backing all such horses would have resulted in the following results since 2003:
As we all know, past performance is no guarantee of future success. Although the figures look good, the figures for 2008 worry me. If the system is sound, how do we account for this blip? It could be that the system actually depends on a small number of successful winners that happen to have a preference for RH tracks. I’d like to do further analysis on this angle.
On a more positive note, might the system be honed further still? One aspect that I would like to investigate is how different track characteristics affect the performance. For example, do these horses prefer say tight tracks or more undulating tracks?
Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I will be trialing the system on the forum. I hope that by doing so I can stimulate discussion on this topic and in this way refine the system through our collective insight. If it is shown to have potential, then it will be worth looking into similar systems for laying, LH tracks and flat racing.
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