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Novice Chases


 

Novice Chases by David Renham

 

In this article I am going to look in detail at novice chases. I have included novice hunter chases, but it should be noted that they have only accounted for about 12% of the all novice chases. The data taken from January 2004 to August 2009. All profits/losses have been calculated to £1 level stakes.

 

Areas I examine are the effect of

1- Market Rank  ( Fav,  2nd Fav etc )

2 - Age of The Horse

3 - Country of Breeding

4 - Best Jockeys

5 - Best Trainers

6 - Whether it is a horses first or second run in a novice chase

 

Market rank – let us look at the market first and where the winners have ‘fallen’:

 

Market rank

Wins

Runs

Strike Rate (%)

Profit

ROI (%)

Favourite

610

1380

44.2

-£73.40

-5.3

2nd fav

308

1283

24.0

-£131.84

-10.3

3rd fav

193

1288

15.0

-£99.79

-7.8

4th in betting

78

1216

6.4

-£469.50

-38.6

5th in betting

56

1024

5.5

-£300.50

-29.4

6th in betting

21

791

2.7

-£480.00

-60.7

7th+ in betting

23

1463

1.6

-£822.00

-56.0

 

From a betting perspective, novice chases tend to be fairly uncompetitive with the market leaders dominating. The table clearly demonstrates this. Indeed, 86.2% of all races have been won by the top three in the betting and for punters, it is clear that these races are not ones in which to find those big priced winners. To show this more clearly, of the 1289 races, only 10 were won by horses priced 33/1 or bigger.

 

Age – the next table looks at the age splits and where the winners have come from:

 

Age

Wins

Runs

Strike Rate (%)

Profit

ROI (%)

4

45

173

26.0

-£38.04

-22.0

5

172

952

18.1

-£187.12

-19.7

6

342

1922

17.8

-£309.65

-16.1

7

374

2206

17.0

-£502.12

-22.8

8

209

1507

13.9

-£584.00

-38.8

9

98

908

10.8

-£315.20

-34.7

10

36

473

7.6

-£233.75

-49.4

11+

13

304

4.3

-£207.13

-68.1

 

The cut-off point seems to be 7. Horses 8 or older clearly perform less well. This is the case even in novice hunter chases. Horses aged 8 or 9 should be avoided unless you can find a genuine reason to ignore the age stats. This could be a lightly raced horse that may have been injured early on in their career. Meanwhile, horses aged 10 or older are a definite ‘no no’.

 

Breeding – the country of breeding is an aspect of National hunt racing that only a few punters take note of. However, it is very important to appreciate that it can make a difference. The vast majority of runners in the UK in National hunt racing are either Irish bred, British bred or French bred. The table below shows their performance in novice chases as well as showing you the performance of American breds, German breds and all other countries combined (Others):

 

Country

Wins

Runs

Strike Rate (%)

Profit

ROI (%)

IRE

592

3933

15.1

-£1,076.86

-27.4

GB

352

2826

12.5

-£1,021.55

-36.2

FR

268

1216

22.0

-£160.23

-13.2

GER

39

173

22.5

+£30.68

+17.7

USA

25

193

13.0

-£85.84

-44.5

Others

13

104

12.5

-£63.32

-60.9

 

According to the figures, French breds seem to have an ‘edge’ in novice chases. This is almost certainly down to the fact French horses seem to mature quicker than horses from other countries. German breds are still fairly rare, but we are gradually seeing more of them racing in the UK. The signs are that they also have ‘an edge’ in novice chases, but the data is still fairly small so it is difficult to be fully confident that this is the case.

 

Jockeys (60 runs minimum) – can jockeys make a difference in novice chases? The table below shows jockey performance in these races:

 

Jockey

Wins

Runs

Strike Rate (%)

Profit

ROI (%)

R Walsh

60

153

39.2

-£2.76

-1.8

A McCoy

102

270

37.8

+£8.08

+3.0

S Thomas

47

148

31.8

-£9.27

-6.3

D O'Regan

19

63

30.2

+£3.71

+5.9

T Murphy

50

180

27.8

+£20.82

+11.6

R Johnson

71

256

27.7

-£34.58

-13.5

R Thornton

47

183

25.7

-£30.97

-16.9

P Brennan

46

185

24.9

-£4.00

-2.2

N Fehily

33

143

23.1

+£3.22

+2.3

G Lee

39

177

22.0

-£14.89

-8.4

D Elsworth

23

107

21.5

+25.27

+23.6

 

Not surprisingly, Ruby Walsh and Tony Mc Coy head the list in terms of strike rate. It should be noted that they tend to ride for the top stables so this should come as no surprise. Having said that, their overall records are still excellent.

 

Let me move onto trainers now.

 

Trainers in all novice chases (60 runs minimum) – different trainers tend to excel in different race types. The table below looks at the trainers with the best strike rates in novice chases:

 

Trainer

Wins

Runs

Strike Rate (%)

Profit

ROI (%)

P Nicholls

119

347

34.3

-£47.78

-13.8

T George

27

85

31.8

+£43.93

+51.7

N Richards

24

78

30.8

-£10.12

-13.0

C Mann

19

62

30.6

+£18.79

+30.3

J O'Neill

51

169

30.2

+£6.81

+4.0

Miss V Williams

33

114

28.9

-£3.80

-3.3

P Hobbs

59

206

28.6

-£19.77

-9.6

A King

43

160

26.9

-£27.67

-17.3

D Pipe

20

77

26.0

-£22.44

-29.1

P Bowen

26

101

25.7

-£17.06

-16.9

G L Moore

21

87

24.1

+£20.75

+23.9

Howard Johnson

32

133

24.1

-£42.41

-31.9

N Twiston-Davies

37

154

24.0

-£38.37

-24.9

D McCain Jnr

14

66

21.2

-£17.29

-26.2

N Henderson

30

144

20.8

-£48.67

-33.8

Mrs S Smith

27

130

20.8

-£16.42

-12.6

R Alner

16

78

20.5

+£18.99

+24.3

Miss H Knight

22

113

19.5

-£20.44

-18.1

H Daly

20

103

19.4

-£12.16

-11.8

F Murphy

25

136

18.4

+£0.40

+0.3

 

I find these stats very interesting. Despite a strike rate better of 1 win in 3, backing all runners from champion trainer Paul Nicholls would have lost you over 13 pence for every £1 staked. In contrast, Tom George who is second in the table has shown a profit of over 50 pence for every £1 staked. One trainer who has surprisingly poor record is Nicky Henderson – losses of nearly 34 pence in the £ is something as a punter you must be aware of. Henderson may be an excellent trainer, but novice chases look best avoided.

 

I want to dig a little deeper into the trainer records, so I decided to look at horses making their debut over fences.

 

Making chase debut in novice chases – 20 runs minimum

 

Trainer

Wins

Runs

Strike Rate (%)

Profit

ROI (%)

P Nicholls

30

60

50.0

+£11.85

+19.8

N Richards

9

21

42.9

+£1.64

+7.8

A King

8

25

32.0

+£7.53

+30.1

N Twiston-Davies

8

27

29.6

+£1.02

+3.8

J O'Neill

7

26

26.9

+£0.21

+0.8

P Hobbs

9

36

25.0

-£6.30

-17.5

R Alner

5

21

23.8

+£19.00

+90.5

Howard Johnson

7

32

21.9

-£11.77

-36.8

H Daly

4

20

20.0

-£9.08

-45.4

E Williams

5

26

19.2

+£10.50

+40.4

N Henderson

7

38

18.4

-£16.86

-44.4

Miss H Knight

2

22

9.1

-£14.75

-67.0

F Murphy

2

28

7.1

-£8.00

-28.6

 

Paul Nicholls’ record is worth mentioning – to achieve a 50% strike rate with horses having their first run over fences is outstanding. They are clearly very well schooled and also fit enough to do themselves justice. From a negative perspective, Knight and Murphy chase debutants look as if they are only there for the experience.

 

Moving on, I decided to look at horses having their second run over fences.

 

2nd chase start (in novice chase) – 15 runs minimum

 

Trainer

Wins

Runs

Strike Rate (%)

Profit

ROI (%)

T George

9

17

52.9

+£17.48

+102.8

D Pipe

9

20

45.0

-£1.81

-9.1

J Howard Johnson

12

34

35.3

+£4.72

+13.9

N Richards

6

18

33.3

-£4.71

-26.2

Mrs S Smith

6

20

30.0

+£13.25

+66.3

J O'Neill

11

37

29.7

-£0.48

-1.3

P Hobbs

12

41

29.3

+£1.43

+3.5

F Murphy

5

18

27.8

+£11.73

+65.2

Miss H Knight

6

22

27.3

+£11.25

+51.1

N Henderson

11

42

26.2

-£8.51

-20.3

P Nicholls

18

76

23.7

-£24.74

-32.6

A King

7

33

21.2

-£11.35

-34.4

N Twiston-Davies

6

29

20.7

-£16.66

-57.4

P Bowen

3

17

17.6

+£8.38

+49.3

 

First thing to note is the improvement in the runners from the Knight and Murphy stables. In contrast, Paul Nicholls’ runners have gone from a 50% strike rate for debutants, to one of under 24%. In addition, they are now showing hefty losses of 32.6 pence in the £. Tom George heads the list and this is also worth noting.

 

There are other trainer areas worth looking at, but that is for another time. However, I hope you have found some vital nuggets which will help your betting this winter.

 

 








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