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Researching Pace Ideas
Researching Pace Ideas by David Renham
This week is going to be slightly different in terms of my normal “style” of article. Each week I come up with various ideas or angles in an attempt to find profitable betting avenues. Some hit the jackpot, or at least show promise! Others are consigned to the bin. Over the last week I have noted down some of the ideas I have had and I will share with you my findings. All the ideas discussed in this article are connected with pace or the running styles of horses.
Idea 1 – Winning Front runners at Lingfield are worth following next time out
As I have written about before, it is very difficult to make all the running (lead all the way) at Lingfield on the all weather, especially at 7 furlongs or more. My idea was to see if I could profit from horses that have won at Lingfield at 7f or more by making all or most of the running. My starting point was to see if a profit could be made by backing them on their next start. The results going back to 2005 were as follows:
Last time out winners generally lose around 15% so it was a fairly encouraging start. However, I thought that it may be worth looking at the courses these results were achieved on. My guess was to avoid Lingfield again – to win once from the front is hard enough, let alone twice in a row. Here are the results without including returns to Lingfield:
A satisfactory profit, but not one you are going to get rich on due to the limited number of qualifiers per year (around 25 on average). It should be noted that any horse returning to Lingfield should be avoided – 10 wins from 75 for a loss of £33.46 (ROI -44.6%). So a potential laying angle into the bargain.
As my initial query had only gone back to 2005, I decided to widen the research to look at 2002 to 2004 to see if there was similar pattern. I would have gone back further, but in 2001 the Lingfield all weather surface changed from equisand to Polytrack which is a totally different surface. Using data from a different surface would not be valid.
Let us look at all qualifiers (won at 7f+ at Lingfield LTO making most or all of the running) from 2002 to 2004:
Ouch … this does not look good. The only hope now was that horses returning to Lingfield next time had an equally poor record, or preferably an even worse one. Then at least we would have a laying system that had proved itself over 7 seasons. Unfortunately horses that raced again at Lingfield next time almost broke even during this 3-year period – a loss of just 88 pence (ROI -1.7%) thanks to 11 wins from 52.
The problem of course with many ideas is that you often end up with inconclusive results, not enough data, or in this case an idea that does not prove profitable. The only thing you can do is move onto the next theory!
Idea 2 – Front runners that win in small fields find it harder to `repeat` a win next time than front runners that win in big fields
There is definite logic to this idea. Horses that make all the running in small fields are often allowed to dictate their own pace – get an easy lead as it were. In bigger fields, a front runner not only has more horses to beat, but also has more potential rivals for the lead during the whole race. Hence, any horse that wins in a small field from the front, may well struggle to `repeat` a win next time, as they might not get it as easy again. At least they should find it harder to win again than a horse that has succeeded in winning from the front in a big field.
My starting point was to concentrate on handicaps on the flat and to see how horses that won in small fields fared on their next run. I chose races of 7 runners or less. As with the first idea I concentrated on 2005 to 2008. This is how the winning front runners fared next time out:
These figures look promising as the 21% loss is higher than you would expect for LTO winners (see above). Next I looked at horses that won from the front last time out in bigger fields – for this I chose handicaps with 13 or more runners:
Strike rates next time out are virtually the same but the difference in return on investment is around 25% or 25 pence in the pound. That is firstly quite a difference and secondly, it seems to suggest that my theory was correct. However, time to look at another time period before deciding that this is an idea that can be used to my advantage in my future betting. I looked at 2001 to 2004 and focused once again on LTO winners who had won in small handicap fields of 7 or fewer runners. Their performances next time out produced the following results:
The figures are slightly worse, which all in all is not a bad result. Let us hope the winners LTO in bigger fields performed much better. As before I now looked at LTO winners in handicaps of 13 or more runners (2001 to 2004) to see how they performed next out:
This is what I wanted to see! The stats are very similar to the 2005 to 2008 ones. The idea, which seemed logical originally, had proved to be correct. Hence, in the future any horse that has won LTO from the front in a small field handicap I will be very wary of. Horses that won from the front LTO in bigger fields are not necessarily ‘blind’ betting propositions, but they are worth further examination.
Idea 3 – Horses that won a 5f handicap LTO having been held up off the pace are poor investments to follow up and win next time
5 furlong handicaps are generally won by horses that race close to, or up with the pace. Horses that come from mid-pack or the back of the field win only a small percentage of races. The reason for this is that over the minimum distance over 5 furlongs horses can keep up a strong gallop for longer and it is hard to make up too much headway in a short time. The idea revolves simply around the fact that it is hard enough for a hold up horse to win once, let alone twice in a row. Of course, just because the horse was held up off the pace last time out does not mean they will be held up again. However, sprinters tend to stick to a particular running style, so the chances are that they will be held up again. Let us look at the results – again I have started by looking at 2005 to 2008:
The results suggest that my theory is correct – a loss of 28% is very poor for last time winners. However, as with my previous research I wanted to cross check results for earlier years. Once again I chose the 4-year period of 2001 to 2004. Here are the findings:
Bingo! This is a very similar set of figures, which gives credence to the initial findings. Hence, it seems worth opposing last time out winners in 5 furlong handicaps that were held up off the pace.
Of the three ideas discussed in this article, two turned out to produce some worthwhile information for the future, while the other was consigned to my ever growing scrapheap!
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