Horse
racing form angles
On this page we
intend to examine all sorts of horse racing form "angles"
that are regarded as interesting by punters for all sorts of reasons.
They may be beneficial to your own considerations and ideas.
Improvement suggestions
may be made if it is obvious from the figures that they may be beneficial
"add ons" but they are not intended as financial advice
in any way at all and should not be interpreted in that way  they
are merely observations on past horse racing events.
If there are horse
racing form angles that interest you and you'd like them explored,
drop us a line an we'll try to get around to looking at them on your
behalf.
Ian asked:
"You obviously have the most amazing database and I was hoping
that there may have been an article on compiling your own databases."
TIME CONSUMING
DATA BASES
As to databases, many years ago I came
to the conclusion that as a “sole operator” I simply did
not have the time to spend compiling my own data sets  oh I tried
– had great aspirations as to how fabulous it would be to generate
my own data but quickly realised what a terrible waste of time that
would be for what extra return? If any extra!
And
working by yourself, the time needed to keep data on all horses racing
even in little old Tasmania where we have a maximum of two meetings
a week is absolutely overwhelming. It is a full time job. So when
do you get to punt?
I use BetSelector.
No – I don’ have any financial interest in them at all.
I just like them . But for the $55 a month I pay (<$2 a day), I’d
have to have rocks on my head not to see this is a good deal.
And yes, there
are the usual what if questions – what if they go out of business?
– what if they put their charges up astronomically? –
all that stuff. If all that stuff were to pass, so what? There will
always be alternatives. And for $2 a day bring it on!
Back in the bad
old days when I used to partake of the evil tobacco (15 years ago
now) I used to smoke 2 packs of Longbeach cigarettes a day –
I note they are now over $22 a packet – or $44 a day. $2 doesn’t
seem a big deal!
Cathy asked:
Ever since
I became interested in racing I keep getting told 'don't back that,
it's second up' .....what sort of record do horses second up after
a spell really have compared to others?
THE OLD DON'T
BET ON SECOND UP RUNNERS ADAGE
Well Cathy that's a very good question.
In the period 1.1.2013 to 15.9.2013 there were 7621 races in Australia
that featured at least one horse that was second up
from a spell. In fact there were 18481 of the pesky things.
Between them they won 21.8% of the races in which they they
competed but their strike rate per selection was just 9.0%. If you
had had $1 on every one of them to win you would have lost $5865.30
or 31.7%. Here are the figures in detail compliments of BetSelector:
Meetings considered :
1810
Win Strike Rate/Seln. : 9.0%
Plc Strike Rate/Seln. : 26.2%
Average Win Dividend : $7.59
Average Plc Dividend : $2.83
WIN
PLACE
Races Bet: 7621
7603
Races Won: 1662
3904
S.R./Race: 21.8%
51.3%
Outlay($): 18481.00
18458.00
Return : 12615.70
13726.10
$ Profit : 5865.30
4731.90
% P.O.T. : 31.7%
25.6%
Average runners per race:
2.42
So by way of comparison let's contrast
that against horses having their THIRD run back from
a spell. In the same period (1.1.2013  15.9.2013) there were 6889
races in Australia that featured at least one horse that was third
up from a spell. In fact there were 13773 of them. Between
them they won 21.0% of the races in which they competed but
their strike rate per selection was just 10.5%. If you had had $1
on every one of them to win you would have lost $3112.60 or 22.6%.
Here are the figures in detail compliments of BetSelector:
Meetings considered : 1810
Win Strike Rate/Seln. : 10.5%
Plc Strike Rate/Seln. : 29.7%
Average Win Dividend : $7.38
Average Plc Dividend : $2.67
WIN
PLACE
Races Bet: 6889 6873
Races Won: 1445 3458
S.R./Race: 21.0% 50.3%
Outlay($): 13773.00 13750.00
Return : 10660.40 10917.30
$ Profit : 3112.60 2832.70
% P.O.T. : 22.6% 20.6%
Average runners per race:
1.99
Conclusion: Based on this limited sample
size and given the disparity between number of runners per race between
2nd uppers and 3rd uppers leading to a better p.o.t. figure for 3rd
uppers, I would think most people would say the second upstay away
theory is a load of old cods wallop!
Kevin asked:
I was
wondering if you have class rating numbers similar to Don Scott’s….Open
sprint 66 etc. I am interested in using your self rating program but
would have difficulty without being able to work out class.
CLASS CONUNDRUM
Unfortunately the DS approach has been
somewhat defeated by the new benchmark classes of racing which were
introduced purely to keep horses racing older and fill in fields for
seven day a week racing 24 hour a day gambling to keep feeding the
TABs with sucker money.
That being said, I am coming to the conclusion
that, after years of experimenting and despite all the analytics of
benchmarking and differences between states, the easiest assessment
is the good old cold hard cash yardstick.
Try this as an idea using these race prize money levels to assess
if a horse is going up or down in class:
Under 10K
10k to 12k
13k to 17k
18k to 22k
23k to 30k
31k to 45k
46k to 65k
66k to 80k
81k to 99k
100k to 130k
131k to 150k
151k to 175k
176k to 195k
196k to 250k
251k to 350k
351k to 450k
451k to 750k
Over 751k
Now that is a really rough and ready
approach but you know what? I don’t reckon you’d go too
far wrong over the long term and save a whole heap of “mucking
around” and time. Just my ideas so don’t blame me if it’s
wrong.
Frank
asked: "In this day and age of greater mobility, is it any big
deal that a horse has won at the track before?"
TRACK
WINNERS
Not all that sure either Frank. Here's
a few examples for you to consider.
Track 
Races
/ runners qualifying last 12 months 
Per
Race strike rate 
Per
Selection strike rate 
Turnover
profit / loss at level stakes 
Moonee
Valley 
174
/ 486 
37.4% 
13.4% 

20.0% 
Caulfield 
150
/ 508 
36.0% 
10.6% 

35.5% 
Doomben 
249 / 974 
44.6% 
11.4% 

38.7% 
Eagle Farm 
285 / 1202 
46.3% 
11.0% 
38.5% 
Warwick
Farm 
126 /
318 
21.4% 
8.5% 
39.3% 
Rosehill 
178 /
678 
42.7% 
11.2% 
29.1% 
Gold Coast 
273 / 972 
47.3% 
12.4% 
6.5% 
Geelong (syn) 
186 / 671 
34.4% 
9.5% 
37.2% 
Newcastle 
128 / 380 
37.5% 
12.6% 
10.7% 
Nigel
asked: "My old man reckoned anyone that punted horses longer
than tens was mad..........what are the figures?"
ROUGH
AND READY
Well Nigel here are the exact figures
from January 1 2013 through to August 31 2013:
In that period, there were 10351 races
in which horses started at $10 or greater according to the NSW TAB
on which these figures are based. The win strike rate PER RACE was
21.5% but here's the "trap"/"trick" for level
stakes bettors. There were a total of 63018 horses
that started at these prices and the strike rate PER SELECTION was
only 3.5%.
Now assuming you were to have gone completely
mad and taken leave of your senses and had just $1 on every horse
over tens, your net loss for the eight months was around $20000 
I'm guessing the local council would need to be very patient in getting
the rates money off you! The trick then is to "narrow down"
the number of horses over tens that you want to put your hard earned
one dollar on  and that is a different ball game altogether.
Heath
asked: "Is it true that favourites win one third of all races?"
GOOD
OLD FAVOURITES
Heath, you are
almost spot on. Actually I can tell you that in the period 19.6.2012
to 21.08.13 there were 16228 TAB races in Australia and, of those,
5358, or 33% were won by favourites. Overall, favourites also collected
a place getters cheque 10204 times or 63.2%. The bad news is that
betting at level stakes your win betting bank would be down 12.0%
from twelve months ago with the average win dividend 2.66 and average
place dividend 1.45. That also means your place betting bank would
also be down but only by 8.4%. (There were about 100 races where no
place pool operated due to a lack of starters)
Gordon
asked: "How many horses at around even money win over a space
of time?"
THE
SHORTIES
Interesting question
Gordon and an answer that may lead you to ponder more on this:
We looked at the
last 12 months from August 21, 2012 to August 21, 2013 for all Australian
races, all states, all distances.
The price factor
we used was all winners that paid between $1.40 and $2.40 on the NSW
TAB. You will of course realise that there MAY have been equal favourites
or even a second favourite or two that just fell within the $2.40
price cap during the year but I don't know for sure.
During the 12
months there were 4889 races from 2641 meetings that had 4979 horses
priced between these figures. 2250 of them were successful at an average
price of $1.95 for win and 3667 ran a " place" at an average$1.24.
Race winning strike
rates were 46.0% for a win and 76.2% for a place.
LOSS on turnover
was 11.8% if level stakes win betting and 5.7% if level stakes place
betting.
As
far as sequence of winners / losers was concerned, the best I noticed
was 6 out of 6 at Morphettville on 20.10.12, 5 out of 5 at Toowoomba
on 2.2.13, 5 out of 6 Sunshine Coast 16.12.12 and Balaklava on 5.12.12,
4 out of 4 at Sandown on 21.8.13, Rockhampton 15.6.13, Belmont 5.6.13
while the worst I saw was 1/7 on 9.6.13, at the Sunshine Coast on
23.6.13, 0 / 6 Ballarat 21.2.13 and 1 / 6 at Terang on 3.2.13 and
Scone on 26.11.12.
What
was interesting to note was that when one track had an "extreme"
of results, the other tracks on those days seemed to "balance
things out"  but rather than blame that on the gambling Gods
and so called law of averages, it is probably more a case of recognising
that the long term overall figures are 46% so one would expect that.
Eric
wrote: "what percentage of beaten favourites win at their
next start?"
"MAYBE
THIS TIME?"
The
raw figures are simply these Eric: We analysed from 1.1.2012 to 25.7.2013
and the results were about what we expected.
During
the 19 months there were 16516 races run where there was at least
one horse that was beaten as favourite at its last start. These beaten
favourites won 4913 of these races at a race strike rate of 29.7%.
The
bad news that with the multiplicity of qualifying entrants per race,
the strike rate per selection was a lean 17.6% at an average win dividend
of $4.64.
This
of course led to a loss on turnover at level stakes of 18.5%. Here
are the results in full for second up runners, courtesy of BetSelector:
Meetings considered
: 4236
Win Strike Rate/Seln. : 17.6%
Plc Strike Rate/Seln. : 41.8%
Average Win Dividend : $4.64
Average Plc Dividend : $2.00
WIN PLACE
Races Bet: 16516 16442
Races Won: 4913 9871
S.R./Race: 29.7%
60.0%
Outlay($): 27957.00
27872.00
Return : 22794.22
23378.22
$ Profit : 5162.78
4493.78
% P.O.T. : 18.5%
16.1%
James
wrote: "With increasing weight scales, how many horses win
carrying 61 kgs or more"
"TOO
MUCH OF A GOOD THING"
Good question. The answer is more than
you probably think.
In the 12 months
to July 21, 2103 there were (surprisingly to me
but I guess these days there are a lot more high weight handicaps
then there used to be) 1113 races up to 2600
metres in distance and there were 1748 horses
in the 1113 races that were carrying more than 61 kgs. Why limit it
to 2600m? So we don't get entangled with the jumping events.
The strike rate per race was a VERY pedestrian
19.2% with a level stakes LOSS on turnover of 11.6% with an average
win dividend of $7.22. Place loss on turnover was a considerably worse
MINUS 16.1% at level stakes.
The most successful grouping were in
races worth less than $40K, in races for 2yo and 3yo horses, and last
start winners  BUT definitely not for ours!
Tony
wrote: "What % of horses do win first up after a spell"
"THE
OLD FIRST UPPERS ROUTINE"
Well
let's split it up a bit and see. I mostly work on the principle that
a fully fit 2nd grade horse will mostly beat a half fit champion and
have seen plenty examples of that over the years. However, here are
the raw figures for the first seven months of
2013 for you to consider.
•
900 metre races (where all horses have had at least one career start
 why? Rules out most maiden and 2 year old races): 45 races, s/r
44.48%, NOTE 172 qualifiers, av win div 6.05, loss
on turnover 29.7%
•
1000 metre races (where all horses have had at least one career start
 why? Rules out most maiden and 2 year old races): 471 races, s/r
33.8%, NOTE 1524 qualifiers, av win div 8.39, loss
on turnover 12.5%
•
1100 metre races (where all horses have had at least one career start
 why? Rules out most maiden and 2 year old races): 448 races, s/r
24.1%, NOTE 1285 qualifiers, av win div 6.90, loss
on turnover 42.0%
•
1200 metre races (where all horses have had at least one career start
 why? Rules out most maiden and 2 year old races): 1002 races, s/r
20.0%, NOTE 2511 qualifiers, av win div 8.61, loss
on turnover 31.4%
•
1300 metre races (where all horses have had at least one career start
 why? Rules out most maiden and 2 year old races): 301 races, s/r
18.3%, NOTE 686 qualifiers, av win div 10.60, loss
on turnover 15.0%
•
1400 metre races (where all horses have had at least one career start
 why? Rules out most maiden and 2 year old races): 510 races, s/r
11.6%, NOTE 960 qualifiers, av win div 8.67, loss
on turnover 46.7%
To
state the bleeding obvious: if you were lay betting, you'd certainly
be focussing on 1400 metre first uppers!
Robin
wrote: "What about horses that are trained at the track and
have won at the track"
"HOME
TRACK ADVANTAGE?"
Some
validity in this  with qualifications (as is always the case!) From
the 9th of May through 9th of June 2013 there were 567 horses in this
category Australia wide. 161 of those went on to win representing
a strike rate of 28.4% with a level stakes loss on turnover of 21.0%
if you backed all of them. However the percentages markedly improve
if you restrict the analysis to non metropolitan tracks only and only
in races between 1000m and 1300m for horses with a winning strike
rate of at least 10%. The figures then become 82 out of 241 races
with a strike rate of 34.0% and a profit on turnover of 11.1% for
the same period.
Scott
wrote: "My dad always used to say, when in doubt back number
one. Is there any truth in that?"
"HANDICAPPER'S
PICK"
Well let's have
a look Scott. Firstly there are a couple of variables to identify.
All number 1's are not necessarily carrying top weight and not necessarily
handicapped to do so. For example, an apprentice may well be engaged
to ride it or the race itself will quite often be a set weight race
where there could be 10 equal top weights. From January 1 through
to May 31, 2013, Australia wide, there were 5847 races that featured
#1 which duly won 861 of them at a fairly constant rate of 14.7%.
A one unit investment on each of them would result in a loss on turnover
of 11.8% at an average dividend (NSWtab) of 5.99.
Andrew
wrote: "I always look twice at non metropolitan races where
a runner started last time in the city. What are the real percentages?"
LAST
START METROPOLITAN IN COUNTRY RACES
Yes
there is some merit in this Andrew as basically you are taking a raw
measure of the old "dropping in class" approach and class
IS the key in many races. In raw figures, we looked at 30.3.13 to
30.5.13. This encompassed 997 races where this occurred and resulted
in a race winning strike rate of 32.0%. Unfortunately there were 2279
qualifying horses in the category so the win betting LOSS on turnover
at level stakes was 18.5%. Hardly encouraging. However, if you then
limit your interest in this to races where there is just one or two
qualifiers, you should find the percentages improve. Over to you!
Murray
wrote: "There must be an overwhelming number of races won
by horses that are less than $4.00 when they jump?"
BETTING
SIMPLY BY PRICE
Good
observation Murray and can be used to your advantage and is often
used by many who simply don't have the time to do otherwise. It is
euphemistically called "letting the market do all the work".
Obviously though you have a couple of disadvantages to start with.
Horses tend to firm from those displayed on the outdated totes and
their broadcast odds after they jump and horses then either become
a "qualifier" or stop being a "qualifier" so our
% returns can be really upset by this way too common occurrence. You
would have to accept this anomaly right from the start or the frustration
would drive you crazy. Or, use Betfair where you know the price you
have accepted before they jump and remove all that frustration. Again,
there will be occasions where you back horses that end up not being
"qualifiers" when SP prices are confirmed by the boring
old fashioned totes. Here's a quick snap shot of how this method worked
out in the two months to May 24, 2013.
From April 1,
2013 to May 24, 2013 there were 1886 races where 2525 horses started
at less than $4. (Obviously in about 40% of the races there were at
least two horses less than $4). These horses won 825 of the 1886 races
at 43.7% strike rate. If you had had $1 on each of them for a total
invest of $2525 your return would have been $2229.30 or a loss of
$295.70 or 11.7% LOSS on turnover. (The average dividend is $2.70)
Obviously if you
can get back to just one horse in a race the outlay is reduced by
nearly 700 units. A casual observation seems to bear
out that there is % advantage in taking the qualifier closest to number
1 (e.g. handicapper's pick in non set weight races) but that is only
a casual observation. You may perhaps like to follow through on this
thought for yourself. Of course the flip side to that idea (and there's
always a flip side) is that horses at the top of the list are generally
over bet by "Joe Public" as compared to those at the bottom
as people scan the fields top to bottom, never bottom to top.
Colin
wrote "In metropolitan races, what % of winners in sprint
races come from the three inside barriers?"
SPRINT
RACES  METRO  INSIDE BARRIERS:
Good
question Cool  from January 1 2013 through to May 7 2013 there were
504 races between 800 metres and 1200 metres around Australian metro
courses which were won on 172 occasions by horses starting from the
inside three barriers  that's an overall percentage of 34.1%. A $1
win investment on all of them would have resulted in an outlay of
$1512 for a return of $1347.10 (NSW TAB for simplicity) or a loss
on turnover of 10.9%. A $1 place investment
on all of them would have resulted in a loss on turnover of 11.0%.
If
you give the flick to all horses over the age of 7, the figures become
a win percentage of 34.1% but the loss on turnover drops to 8.5%
But
here's a bit of a clincher  consider ONLY horses that started at
a metro track last start and here's the results  from 435 qualifying
races there are 844 selections, the overall percentage strike rate
drops to 26.4% BUT, importantly, the profit on turnover rises to a
positive 6.6%.
Now you may be
heading down the correct path!
Gav wrote
"Would love you to have ago at only horse in the field to
finish 2nd"
ONLY
LAST START 2ND IN THE FIELD:
Okay, well let's
start with the basics: there are lots of races in the following info
as you can see where there were obviously more than one horse that
ran second in the field. We looked at the period 7th April to 21st
April 2013. The figures are:
449 races containing
at least ONE horse that ran second BUT there were 743 qualifiers so
in about three quarters of cases there was more than one qualifier
per race.
The winning strike rate per race was 23.6% with the individual strike
rate per selection at 14.3%. Level stakes profit on turnover in betting
on all last start 2nd runners was MINUS 32.2% at an average winning
dividend of $4.75. So let's eliminate a few of the least successful
categories. Not one horse over the age of 7 was successful, only a
couple with a place career strike rate of less than 18% were successful,
no horse drawn wider than barrier 13 won, and very few horses that
didn't run that last start second within the last 25 days won at all
either. So there are four very basic "form rules" that we
can happily apply. Incidentally, the strike rate in Adelaide was truly
pathetic (2 from 36) but we left them in anyway for the sake of simplicity.
The results: The
winning strike rates remain about the same on a reduced number of
qualifiers (556 from 374 races) but your loss on turnover (backing
them all at level stakes) drops to MINUS 24.2%. Interestingly, the
average dividend increases to $4.96.
Using those modified
rules it ends up there are 236 qualifying races all states, all days
where there is just ONE last start second placegetter that qualifies.
Of these 236 runners, 30 were successful in winning returning just
$115.00  or about a 50% loss on turnover. However, betting for a
place there were 109 instances where they ran 1st, 2nd or 3rd returning
$214.60 at 1 unit level stakes. Note"
test period was just three weeks so plus or minus discrepancy error
could be large, could be small, who knows? These are NSW TAB dividends
so yes, you would do better on Betfair.
The
pdf workout for the above test is available for downloading by "right
clicking" here
ONLY
LAST START WINNER IN THE FIELD:
This popular "angle"
makes for good research. From April 1 2012 through to March 31 2013,
there were 3992 races where this circumstance arose. Of the 3992 starters,
789 of them won at a rock solid 19.8%. The average
win dividend for these was $4.11, not enough to make a level stakes
profit on  the year end result was
18.8% or, expressed in another way, if you'd had
$1 on each of them, at the end of the 12 months your bank would be
$751.06 lighter. For place betters the result was only marginally
better, with a strike rate of 44.4% and a loss on turnover of 15.6%
with an average place dividend of $1.90.
Some
significant losing groups within the qualifiers:
There was only
1 winner (yes  in the whole year!) that had a career place strike
rate of less than 14%
There was only
1 winner that was lower than TAB number 14 (handicapper?)
There were only
a few winners out of 103 qualifiers that started at more than $21.00
(market decides the rise in class is too steep?)
There was not
single winner from the qualifiers that was rising in "weight
carried" by more than 6.5 kilograms
There were only
a handful of winners from 63 qualifiers here the race today was worth
$70k more in prize money than the last start (class)
(Some of course
occurred in more than one category)
So if you added
in this data to your considerations, where would that leave you? You
now have 3641 races to get excited about with 769 winners at a strike
rate of 21.1% with an average win dividend of $3.89
(notice how it drops once you leave out the couple of longer priced
winners?) for a year's loss of 17.7%
or minus $643.56. (All figures at boring old level
stakes!)
So
how do you drop down the number of losers from the remaining qualifiers
by looking at even more sub groups?
There were just
a handful of winners in races with more than 14 starters
Only one out of
20 starters over the age of 8 won and out of over 70 races, only 6
were won by horses that had had more than 57 lifetime starts (you
know  the ones that run around week after week after week)
Out of the 50+
original qualifiers that had started in the previous 7 days, just
a few were successful
So where does
this leave you in the great scheme of things if you use those filters
as well? The figures now magically become 3456 races with 748 winners
as a strike rate of 21.6% with an average win dividend
of $3.84 for year's loss of 16.9%
or minus $584.96 at level $1 bets. So we've cut out about 500 bets
in total but only "lost" 41 winners which is why the % returns
are getting better  in fact, even at the last "cut" the
return figures for the 2013 calendar year to date show a minus situation
of about 4%  well within the reach of a sensible, disciplined progressive
staking plan??
So
where do you stop? Well really that's up to you and how much time
you have to go down this path on a daily form analysis basis
(unless of course you have an automated software programme as we do
 and remember this is just ONE angle) because eventually you have
to pay for your time on a reasonable cost recovery basis  like any
good business  or at the end of the year, it will all look a little
skinny and pointless and in fact a waste of time. One of my favourite
sayings is that "only fools waste time because it is the very
fabric of which life is made"  I know  all very deep and philosophical
but there you go.
So make some BIG
cuts just for the hell of it!! Get rid of everything showing more
than $15 with a minute to go in the betting (will never be 100% accurate)
and perhaps any qualifiers not ranked in the top 6 of the field by
career place percentage  a pretty good guide to consistent performances,
"some" say  and you about that "some", don't
you?
Those
dramatic cuts do make quite a difference. Your strike
rate jumps up to 24.3%  remember we started at 19.8%
 but your r.o.i. is still in the minuses at 12.0%
for the year  mainly because this group of horses (last start winners)
will always be at the pointy end of the market as far as the general
public is concerned  that's just the way of it. Short prices at the
end of a year will nearly always prove to be a better "chase"
than the longer priced fancies  of this I have NO doubts. Interestingly
the place success% has only risen to 50.5% from our original 44.4%
 you may like to ask yourself why that is so? At this point
the average win dividend is $3.62 (see what's happening here?) and
average place dividend is $1.74. What a pity the "market"
is proving to be just as clever as we are trying to be!!
Eventually of
course you will end up in a year to year profit as you cut out the
losing subgroups within the subgroups but your number of bets will
decrease accordingly which NEVER suits the "traditional"
pool contributors. From this point onwards you really do need a software
programme to go further because the hours required / day on this just
one form angle gets too large.
Here is the BetSelector
read out to this stage:
Meetings considered
: 2723
Win Strike Rate/Seln. : 24.3%
Plc Strike Rate/Seln. : 49.9%
Average Win Dividend : $3.62
Average Plc Dividend : $1.74
WIN
PLACE
Races Bet: 2759 2727
Races Won: 670 1377
S.R./Race: 24.3% 50.5%
Outlay($): 2759.00 2727.00
Return : 2427.04 2398.92
$ Profit : 331.96
328.08
% P.O.T. : 12.0% 12.0%
Please note: I
have no financial interest whatsoever or arrangement with the folk
at BetSelector  I just like their software  simple as that!
Horse
racing systems and research