Horse Running Style In National Hunt Racing

Most horses tend to exhibit a preference for a certain style of running.

You may for example have heard of horses being referred to as front runners or hold up horses.

Traditionally such thinking is applied more so to flat racing than National Hunt Racing. A classic good bet for example might be a front runner or a horse with proven early pace in a good draw at a highly biased sprint track where the bias is due to a tight bend. ie the horse has the early pace ability to maximise its draw advantage.

Such thinking of pace or running style is not often considered on National Hunt horses however.

Horse Racing Researcher Dave Renham from Racing Trends has put his nose to the grindstone and carried out some research.

Findings may surprise many.

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Pace / Running Styles in National Hunt Racing

Over the past year or two I have explored pace and running styles in much greater depth than I used to. The reason for this is simple – I believe this is an area where hard work and research can still gain you a betting edge over the majority of punters. Let me explain this in more detail:

For this piece I am going to split all the winners of the races studied into three distinct categories – horses that ran from the front early on in the race (front runners); horses that ran close to the pace early in the race (prominent runners); and horses that raced in midfield or at the back early in the race (hold up horses). Essentially, the position a horse takes up early in the race, tends to remain virtually the same for a good proportion of that race. For example, if a horse takes up a prominent position just behind the pace in the first two furlongs of say a 1m2f race, there is a strong chance that the horse will still be in a very similar position after 6-7f. In contrast, you don’t often see a horse lead for 2 furlongs, then drop back to the middle of the pack for 2 furlongs, then race just off the pace for 2 furlongs, then drop back to the middle again, etc, etc. Hence from a research point of view, the fact that a horses’ running style tends to stay consistent for around 75% of the race makes life much easier.

Taking the year 2008 as an example there were just over 6000 races on the flat in this country – the winning splits for the three pace categories were as follows:

Front runners won 20.2% of all races;

Prominent runners won 45% of all races;

Hold up horses won 34.8% of all races.

At first glance, one might be thinking therefore that prominent runners have an advantage. Well they have won more races than every other group right? However, to give more meaning to these figures we need to know what percentage of all the runners were a) front runners; b) prominent runners and c) hold up horses. Here are the percentages:

Front runners accounted for 11% of all runners;

Prominent runners accounted for 39.4% of all runners;

Hold up horses accounted for 49.6% of all runners.

These figures now reveal a powerful statistic – that front runners win nearly twice as many races as they statistically should do. In this particular year, they won 20.2% of all races having provided just 11% of all the total runners. Being more precise, they have won 1.84 times more often than their expected probability – their expected probability being 11%. Hence, taking a very general view, the best value in flat racing in terms of running styles/pace clearly lies with front runners. I could have chosen any year in the last 10 and you would have seen similar results.

Conversely, although hold up horses win nearly 35% of all races, they provide roughly 50% of the total runners. Hence, once again taking a very general view, hold up horses are clearly poor value from a pace/running styles perspective.

When looking in much greater depth at these ideas, one will find that an even greater edge can be found when looking at certain distances, and also at certain courses. All of my research, and hence all of my articles for that matter, have looked at this in flat racing only. However, the main focus for this article is pace/running styles in National hunt racing so let me move onto National Hunt racing.

Let us take the year 2008 again as my example, and as before, let me split all the winners of the races studied into the three distinct categories – front runners; prominent runners; hold up horses. In 2008 there were 3368 National hunt races in this country – the winning splits for the three pace categories were as follows:

Front runners won 17% of all races;

Prominent runners won 45.7% of all races;

Hold up horses won 37.3% of all races.

As before, we need to know what percentage of all the runners were a) front runners; b) prominent runners and c) hold up horses. Here are the percentages:

Front runners accounted for 10.2% of all runners;

Prominent runners accounted for 38% of all runners;

Hold up horses accounted for 51.8% of all runners.

Once again we can see that front runners seem to be the best value – there advantage may not be a strong as it is on the flat but essentially front runners in National hunt racing win 1.67 times more often than they statistically should. In addition, as with their flat counterparts, hold up horses perform relatively poorly when judged from this pace perspective.

For me, these figures open up a new world of possibilities in terms of my National hunt betting. Up to now, as I have already intimated, 99.9% of my pace research has been on the flat. However, although the ‘edge’ looks less strong in National hunt racing, it still looks a strong enough edge to research in considerable depth. Indeed, for the record, if you had managed to predict the front runner in every National hunt race of 2008, you would have made a profit of £35,000 to £100 level stakes to SP. Of course, this would have been impossible, unless you are Mystic Meg … lol, but what if you had bet ‘in running’ on every front runner, placing your bet within the first 10 seconds of each race? My educated guess is that you probably would still have made a profit and my reasoning is thus: although front runners often shorten in price at the beginning of a race, this contraction is offset by the fact that the Betfair price at the off is likely to be 10 to 25% bigger than the eventual SP. Hence even if the price contracts 10 to 25% in the first ten seconds, then you are still effectively getting SP, or near as damn it, on the horse in question. I appreciate that there is commission to be taken into account, and that the contraction in price for each horse will vary in percentage terms, but hopefully you see my point.

Dave Renham

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Dave Renham is a leading researcher into uk horse racing.

His RacingTrends service attracts thinking punters who can see the benefit of knowing more about horse racing cold hard facts and figures than the general crowds populating the betting Exchanges.

Stats For Saturdays Horse Racing

The below comes from Dave Renhams blog see horse racing blog

The favourites stats are based on many years historical research.

( his members get much more detail including strike rate and return on investment etc )

As for the In running notes.

The rough idea with these is to back them pre race and lay them back in running. The rough logic behind them is that these horses are assessed by Dave’s research as prominant front runners and are therfore likely to trade at lower when betting in running compared to pre off prices.

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Best races for favourites:

Newmarket  1.55

Newbury 2.45, 5.05

Haydock 6.40

Lingfield 6.50, 7.20, 7.50

In running notes

Horses I expect to trade lower “in running” – offering either free bets nothing or arbing opportunities to win money whatever the result:

3.25 Ripon Templetuohy Max

5.15 Newmarket Sutton Veny

6.50 Lingfield Sermons Mount

8.10 Haydock Welsh Emperor

Saturday Horse Racing Stats

Saturday Horse Racing Stats

The below was provided by RacingTrends

for more info click here ==> Horse Racing Blog

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Sat May 1st 2010

Best races for favourites

2.55 Thirsk

4.15, 5.25 Newmarket

6.45 Doncaster

Trainer stat to note

W Haggas has a good record with horses off track for 8+ weeks assuming they start in the top 3 of the betting. His strike rate is around 30% with profits of just under 30%. He runs Shamali in the 1.55 Newmarket and he is currently 3rd favourite.

Best race for front runners

5.15; 5.45 Thirsk

Strong course trainer stats

Doncaster trainer stats

Trainer Wins Runs Strike Rate (%) Profit ROI (%) Engagements
M P Tregoning 5 13 38.5 +£3.30 +25.4 8.20
H R A Cecil 7 34 20.6 +£12.00 +35.3 7.15

Newmarket trainer stats

Trainer Wins Runs Strike Rate (%) Profit ROI (%) Engagements
J H M Gosden 80 416 19.2 +£115.79 +27.8 5.25
J R Best 10 56 17.9 +£56.75 +101.3 3.05, 3.05, 4.15
H Candy 14 85 16.5 +£33.25 +39.1 3.40
A P O’Brien 16 98 16.3 +£21.89 +22.3 3.05, 3.05, 3.05

The Great St Wilfrid Sprint

3.55 Ripon – The Great St Wilfrid
Long term members will know I love the big sprints and today instead of looking through each runner one by one, I thought it may be interesting for me to discuss how I have analysed the race. Basically I am thinking out loud here …..
This race is complicated slightly by the fact the going is likely to be good to firm. This gives lower draws more of a chance; if it was good or softer then it would be high all the way. I am torn as all the best pace is low, but the specific race stats point strongly to high. I think the way to go is to back more than one runner – a method I often use in big sprints.
OK – let’s look at the favourite. Markab was definitely unlucky in the Wokingham when 4th and best of the stands side runners. He also was arguably unlucky at Goodwood in the Stewards Cup when 4th again. He is a worthy favourite, but the middle draw in 10 is not ideal and at the prices he looks a little tight. Don’t get me wrong – he is a worthy favourite and the most likely winner, but successful betting is about getting value and I’m not convinced he is value.
2nd favourite Excusez Moi won this race in 2006 and has been in decent form all year. Could be perfectly drawn in 19, but my biggest concern is that he tends to be held up and this is a pace track – a track that favours front runners / prominent racers. Of course people will argue that he won in 2006 so what is the problem  – however at around 7/1 I’m not going to be backing a hold up horse in this race. I may be wrong but that is my thinking.
Outside the top 2, most betting firms go 12/1 and I am hoping that we will find some value amongst the double figure prices.
Advanced – a definite for my shortlist. Has form in these big field handicaps (won Ayr Gold Cup); decent 6th in Wokingham this year; could have a good high draw. Does not race right up with the pace, but recently has only been held up once in last five starts. Amy Ryan is decent for 5lb claimer.
Hitchens – has good speed figures and is looking well handicapped after some recent modest efforts. Concern is that since switching stables to Barron the hold is being held up; he needs to be closer to the pace today and if he is ridden quite handy then he may be worth getting on ‘in running’.
Joseph Henry – could have the plum draw in 20 and I think David Allen is a good jockey booking as he rides his mounts prominently in sprints which is a plus. Not sure Joseph Henry is quite good enough to win here but looks an each way bet to me. Last run over a distance that was not ideal can be ignored.
Of the low draws I like Striking Spirit best – drawn 1 which could prove better than the pundits predict. Expect him to track Tamagin down that rail and looks overpriced to me. Ran well enough in the Stewards Cup (best finish of any horse drawn in the 20s).
Of the remainder I could not rule out Jimmy Styles, Judge ‘N’ Jury, Fullandby, Kostar and Ishetoo – so as you can see this is not easy!
All in all I think I will back one either side(each way) – those being Joseph Henry and Striking Spirit. I may well have covers on Hitchens and Advanced – just a couple of quid on each to balance the main bets.
Joseph Henry 14/1 with Sportingbet ; Striking Spirit 20/1 with Skybet – both are offering 1st five for each way
If you are punting good luck!

Dave Renham

www.RacingTrends.co.uk

Horse Racing Tip For Ripon

RIPON 2.45

EUROPEAN BREEDERS´ FUND FILLIES´
HANDICAP(CLASS 4)(3yo+ 0-80)1m1f170y

7/2 Antigua Sunrise, 7/2 Cascata, 9/2 Atabaas Allure,
9/2 Cwm Rhondda, 7/1 Kaloni, 8/1 Sparkling Crystal,
10/1 Island Music, 20/1 Tres Froide, 33/1 Shosolosa.

This is a Fillies Handicap just short of 10 furlongs. I have looked at the 12 renewals of this race and all 44 similar races in August. My negatives are these. CASCATA has to go with 3 runs and just a couple this year. I couldnt find a winner who had a similar profile.  CWM RHONDDA wouldnt be my first  choice as older horses with absences struggled and I didnt like  her profile. ISLAND MUSIC and TRES FROIDE would also  be negatives as well as no 4 year old came up in trip from an  8f race last time out. SHOSOLOSA is outclassed and I would  avoid these five horses in this race. This leaves a shortlist of Four. I felt they were all interesting in one way or another
without being exceptional but if I had to pick two it would be ANTIGUA SUNRISE and ATABAAS ALLURE

ATABAAS ALLURE has just come from Goodwood when
she couldnt dominate a Class 2 handicap. I dont mind that
as she was hardly beaten far and its a race that has provided a past winner of this race before and her form stands up to scrutiny. I see her trying to make all here and on a front runners track she may be able to run these into the ground.

I think ANTIGUA SUNRISE is a slightly better horse but
is she a better horse at short of 10 furlongs ? She won two on the bounce in May and June and looked progressive. It  was no surprise she lost two runs ago stepped up in trip when  statistically weak and running over a trip thats beyond her.  She ran very well last time out considering she was a big negative coming down half a mile in trip. Her runs at this  trip all came before her improvement and whilst its probably a bit on the short side I think she will cope with it but its not a front runners track and ATABAAS ALLURE could well have flown and could be hard to catch.

SELECTION

ATABAAS ALLURE 5/1 each way

Guy Ward

To Visit Guy’s site click here ==> Horse Racing Tip