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Pace Running Styles for Jockeys


 

Pace / Running Styles for Jockeys

 

This month I am going to revisit the whole question of pace or running styles. For the last four or five years the question of “pace” in a horse race is something that has become a much hotter topic. In the Racing Post for example, it is not unusual to read such comments as “I expect the far side to be favoured as that is where the best pace is or “there is plenty of pace in the race, which could set the race up for a finisher”; or “**** could get a soft lead in front and hence might be difficult to pass”. Knowing how a race is likely to “pan out” in terms of a “pace angle” can give punters a valuable insight, which in turn can lead to that all important “edge” over your fellow punters. I have used the “pace angle” more and more in my favoured betting medium – sprints. I have taken data from all sprint races over a recent 4-year period and have included all races that were run at less than 7 furlongs.

 

In the past my pace research has mainly focused on horses and / or courses. For this article I have focused on jockeys. The reason I have decided to look at jockeys is that I believe that a jockey can make a difference in sprint races – more often than not in sprints, it is important to race up with the pace, and hence I want to find jockeys that consistently do that. Ideally I want to find jockeys that not only consistently race up with the pace but do it successfully! Also the more insight I get into jockeys preferred running styles, the more it should help me in terms of predicting how a sprint will unravel in terms of which horses will be where early in the race. Of course there are other factors to take into account such as the draw, but for this article I have ignored the influence of the draw.

 

First port of call was to look at the percentage of sprinters that each jockey took out into the lead. I focused on jockeys that had raced at least 150 times and had won at least 10 races:

Jockey

Rides

Times led early

leading early %

P Robinson

442

102

23.1

N Callan

933

187

20.0

A Nicholls

728

141

19.4

L Dettori

468

87

18.6

R Hughes

868

158

18.2

C Catlin

874

145

16.6

Catherine Gannon

175

29

16.6

S Kelly

497

82

16.5

S Carson

382

63

16.5

M Fenton

614

100

16.3

A Quinn

163

26

16.0

P Cosgrave

511

80

15.7

J-P Guillambert

332

52

15.7

T Queally

540

83

15.4

F Lynch

434

67

15.4

R Winston

609

93

15.3

S De Sousa

300

46

15.3

G Fairley

351

53

15.1

T Dean

271

41

15.1

K Ghunowa

304

45

14.8

R Havlin

389

57

14.7

P Mulrennan

739

108

14.6

A Elliott

417

61

14.6

Darren Williams

201

29

14.4

D O'Donohoe

305

43

14.1

M Lawson

200

28

14.0

F Norton

775

108

13.9

D O'Neill

768

106

13.8

J Fanning

619

85

13.7

M Dwyer

631

86

13.6

J Crowley

460

62

13.5

D Holland

645

86

13.3

D Allan

975

129

13.2

R Mullen

505

66

13.1

R Kingscote

329

43

13.1

N De Souza

160

21

13.1

S Sanders

879

114

13.0

R Kennemore

154

20

13.0

T Eaves

963

122

12.7

R L Moore

1049

132

12.6

J Egan

704

87

12.4

P Doe

226

28

12.4

A Munro

473

58

12.3

S Donohoe

383

47

12.3

D Kinsella

173

21

12.1

J Spencer

852

102

12.0

A Mullen

416

50

12.0

P Dobbs

327

39

11.9

T Hamilton

704

83

11.8

A Culhane

501

58

11.6

Paul Eddery

233

27

11.6

Hayley Turner

540

62

11.5

E Creighton

304

35

11.5

N Brown

166

19

11.4

J Doyle

354

40

11.3

A McCarthy

272

30

11.0

G Gibbons

530

57

10.8

R Ffrench

875

94

10.7

W Buick

245

26

10.6

P Makin

560

59

10.5

Liam Jones

353

37

10.5

R Hills

343

36

10.5

Kirsty Milczarek

156

16

10.3

L Keniry

561

57

10.2

J Fortune

628

62

9.9

M Hills

486

48

9.9

L Enstone

161

16

9.9

A Kirby

400

39

9.8

S Hitchcott

265

26

9.8

J Murtagh

155

15

9.7

R Fitzpatrick

198

19

9.6

T McLaughlin

177

17

9.6

E Ahern

743

70

9.4

M Halford

213

20

9.4

D Sweeney

527

49

9.3

D Fentiman

460

43

9.3

P McDonald

192

17

8.9

D Gibson

534

47

8.8

M Stainton

213

18

8.5

G Baker

336

28

8.3

P Hanagan

1034

84

8.1

S Golam

370

30

8.1

Kim Tinkler

251

19

7.6

I Mongan

318

24

7.5

W Supple

213

16

7.5

D Tudhope

368

27

7.3

Kelly Harrison

197

14

7.1

S Drowne

806

54

6.7

N Mackay

289

19

6.6

R Thomas

274

18

6.6

T E Durcan

757

48

6.3

P Mathers

398

25

6.3

J Quinn

630

38

6.0

J Moriarty

272

16

5.9

T O'Shea

326

19

5.8

Luke Morris

226

13

5.8

T Block

155

9

5.8

P Fitzsimons

229

13

5.7

 

What this table seems to indicate is the major differences between certain jockeys. Of course one may argue that the class of horse is a major factor here, and you would be right. Some jockeys simply get the opportunity to ride moderate horses most of the time and hence for them to lead at any time of the race is more unlikely. Having said that, there is a big difference in the “led percentages” between some of the “top” jockeys. To illustrate this, I have taken the top 20 jockeys in terms of wins from 2008 (turf) and grouped them in one table:

 

Jockey

Rides

Times led early

leading early %

P Robinson

442

102

23.1

N Callan

933

187

20.0

L Dettori

468

87

18.6

R Hughes

868

158

18.2

P Mulrennan

739

108

14.6

D O'Neill

768

106

13.8

J Fanning

619

85

13.7

J Crowley

460

62

13.5

D Holland

645

86

13.3

D Allan

975

129

13.2

S Sanders

879

114

13.0

T Eaves

963

122

12.7

R L Moore

1049

132

12.6

A Munro

473

58

12.3

J Spencer

852

102

12.0

R Hills

343

36

10.5

J Fortune

628

62

9.9

P Hanagan

1034

84

8.1

S Drowne

806

54

6.7

T Durcan

757

48

6.3

 

Hence Phillip Robinson has taken the lead nearly 4 times as often as Ted Durcan (in percentage terms). Not surprisingly therefore when we compare their profit and loss figures on their sprint rides over the last 4 seasons, Robinson actually made a small profit of 3.5% whereas Durcan lost 26%. I strongly believe that putting your horse in the right place in sprints is key – I am not saying that you should lead every time, but you certainly should be much closer to the pace than not.

 

For the remainder of the article in order to save space, I will focus on those “top 20 jockeys” from 2008. My next area of research was to see what percentage of races were won when the respective jockeys took their mounts out into an early lead. Here are the findings:

 

Jockey

Times led early

led early wins

win% after leading early

P Robinson

102

30

29.4

L Dettori

87

25

28.7

S Sanders

114

31

27.2

R Hughes

158

42

26.6

J Fanning

85

22

25.9

T Eaves

122

31

25.4

A Munro

58

14

24.1

D Allan

129

31

24.0

R Hills

36

8

22.2

S Drowne

54

12

22.2

R L Moore

132

29

22.0

J Spencer

102

22

21.6

D Holland

86

17

19.8

J Fortune

62

12

19.4

J Crowley

62

10

16.1

N Callan

187

30

16.0

P Hanagan

84

12

14.3

D O'Neill

106

14

13.2

T E Durcan

48

6

12.5

P Mulrennan

108

13

12.0

 

More interesting findings – the first point to make is that Phillip Robinson is definitely a jockey I want on my side in sprints. Not only does he take the lead early in a race more often than most, he is also very good when he goes to the front. Dettori also is good from the front and my gut feeling is that both Robinson and Dettori are good judges of pace on front runners not only in sprints, but at all distances.

 

Seb Sanders is third on the list in terms of success rate on front runners, but the question must be asked why has he led on only 13% of all his sprinters, when his win percentage on such leaders is over 27%? Digging a bit deeper it should be noted that Sanders has held up his runners in sprints 40% of the time – that equates to 355 runners of which only 25 have won. That equates to a 7% success rate for hold up horses. 27.2% for leaders; 7% for hold up horses …. hmmmm. Ok, I would imagine several of his rides in sprints have been on horses that may be were not quick enough to get to the front, but even taking that in account, the differences in percentages are too big.

 

Sanders in not the only one – RichardHills is perceived to be a good jockey from the front at all distances. He may well be, and indeed his strike rate on front running sprinters was a respectable 22.2%. However looking at all his runners, he took only 10.5% of these sprinters into a lead. It is not much good being effective from the front if you hardly ever take your horses to the front! Indeed, backing all sprinters ridden by Hills would have seen you lose 44% in the four years of study; compare this to losses of 18% in races of 7f or more for the same jockey.

 

Finally let us see what would have happened if you had been able to back every front runner for these 20 jockeys. Obviously you would not have known this before the event, but it does show why jockeys and punters need to be aware why leading in sprints can be a real advantage:

 

Jockey

Runners

Winners

Strike rate

Profit / loss

ROI

S Sanders

114

31

27.19%

+87.86 pts

+77.07%

D Allan

129

31

24.03%

+96.04 pts

+74.45%

T Eaves

122

31

25.41%

+81.97 pts

+67.19%

P Robinson

102

30

29.41%

+63.67 pts

+62.43%

A Munro

58

14

24.14%

+32.13 pts

+55.39%

R Hughes

158

42

26.58%

+79.59 pts

+50.38%

L Dettori

87

25

28.74%

+27.57 pts

+31.69%

J Crowley

62

10

16.13%

+15.5 pts

+25%

D Holland

86

17

19.77%

+20.21 pts

+23.5%

S Drowne

54

12

22.22%

+5.55 pts

+10.28%

J Spencer

102

22

21.57%

+5.29 pts

+5.19%

J Fanning

85

22

25.88%

-0.18 pts

-0.21%

R L Moore

132

29

21.97%

-7.08 pts

-5.36%

N Callan

187

30

16.04%

-19.69 pts

-10.53%

P Mulrennan

108

13

12.04%

-11.54 pts

-10.69%

J Fortune

62

12

19.35%

-14.14 pts

-22.81%

D O'Neill

106

14

13.21%

-25.51 pts

-24.07%

R Hills

36

8

22.22%

-10.08 pts

-28.01%

T Durcan

48

6

12.5%

-14.77 pts

-30.78%

P Hanagan

84

12

14.29%

-43.93 pts

-52.29%

 

Hopefully some food for thought – I hope to revisit this area very soon ………….

 

  

  

 

                  

 








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