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Horse Racing Guide: Following the Stats

Course, Horse, Jockey and Trainer

Following and understanding statistics relating to the history or current form of horses, jockeys, and trainers, can be an essential tool in finding winners that might otherwise pass you by.  

At Bet365.com you can check the history of the horse, jockey and trainer, including performance on various courses under the “horse form” window that you can access by clicking this icon bet365 ground conditions history   toward the top right side of the Bet365 page. From this window, you can click on the various tabs along the top menu to view various stats.

how to read jockey, horse and trainer stats on Bet365When it comes to betting on horses there are so many different pieces of information that when pieced together can offer a very different impression of a horse’s chance than you might otherwise gain at first glance. The following aspects all contribute towards a better appreciation of the chance of each horse and should be considered when betting on horse racing from India.  

Course Statistics

There is a long-standing saying in racing that you should always consider, “horses for courses”. It was advice worth following 100 years ago and is no less relevant today. There is no doubt that certain horses simply take a liking to a particular track and perform better there than at other racecourses. When you are looking for horses for your short-list in a race it is worth scanning back into the previous form of your fancy to see how it has run at the course in question on previous attempts.

It may very soon become clear that the horse has never run well at that track, or, on the other hand, has tended to run better there than elsewhere.

There can be many reasons for horses favoring a particular circuit. It could be that they prefer an undulating track or a track where they race right-handed, a course with a steep uphill finish that might bring their stamina into play, or a course that is close to their home stable as they don’t like travelling!

Horse / Jockey Statistics

Time and time again it has been proved that certain horses run better for a particular jockey.

There is an often unspoken connection between horses and rider and just as with human beings, there are those you instantly take a liking to and those with whom you simply have nothing in common. It is well worth taking the time to look back into the form of a horse you are considering betting on to see how it has run in the past for the jockey who has been booked to ride.

If you see that the jockey has tended to get better results than others riding this horse, it is a statistic well worth noting and can often provide a pointer to winners at decent odds.

Trainer Statistics

handicapping-horseracing-trainers-in-the-uk

Not only horses are known to take a liking to a particular racetrack, but trainers are also known to favor certain tracks over others resulting in them having a better record at these tracks than on average.

It might be that the trainer in question prefers to run his better horses at a particular track so it is worth checking the statistics of the trainer of a horse you are considering betting on to see if he/she has an above-average strike rate at the track in question.

If they do, when combining that statistics with others relating to the horse’s course record and any previous combination of today’s horse and jockey, you are building up a picture that may well point you in the direction of finding a winner.

When data mining for horse racing stats make a Betting Line or check list of all these aspects to see if you got a hore, jockey and trainer in the best possible condition. For example: A speed horse running on a short turf, a turf that horse has won before, weather conditions that favor him (muddy horse), a jockey that has ended win/place or in the money many time with that same horse and an experienced trainer that dominates the track and horse well.

Stable Jockeys and Ground Conditions

Trainer / Jockey relationship  

Many of the bigger, more successful racehorse trainers have their own stable jockey, a rider with whom they have an agreement to be available to ride the trainer’s horses before all others.

It can often prove very useful to note the current statistics relating to the success rate of stable jockeys, but even more so to note other jockeys that the trainer might turn to when his stable jockey is unavailable.

For example, if the trainer has runners at two afternoon racetracks his stable jockey will almost certainly go to one, but the yard’s other horses at the second meeting will be available to other riders. As such, it is very often important to know which jockeys have the best strike-rate for the trainer, giving an indication of him preferring certain riders for those horses he feels might have a decent chance of winning.

Seabiscuit, The Perfect Match: Jockey, Horse and Trainer

There is no better example in horse racing history than the story of Seabiscuit, jockey Red Pollard and their trainer. All of them were broken and weak before meeting each other, once that happened they became legends by  beating War Admiral, the best horse at that time, on a 1 to 1 race.

The reason why we bring this story up is because this is the perfect example of a value bet. Seabiscuit was a horrible horse, but thanks to a trainer ´s eye he paired the horse with the right jockey and made them an unbeatable duo. Below is the Hollywood trailer from the Seabiscuit film, watch it to understand this concept fully.

Ground Conditions (‘The Going’)

 It doesn’t matter how talented a horse might be or how fit and well it is for a targeted race, if the ground conditions are not suitable then it is almost certain that the horse will not perform to its full potential.

Especially for British & Irish racing it really pays to keep a close eye on ground conditions as the notoriously unpredictable weather can rapidly change conditions either for or against your chosen selection.

Using the Bet365 racecards as a working example, if you click on the name of the horse to reveal his career performances you will see that in every race he has competed there will be a going description that will range from heavy (muddy) to hard ground on turf.

 Bet365 racecard to evaluate track conditions for a horseracing bet

*If you want to learn  more on  how to place  horse bets at Bet365 see our online horse racing betting  guide.

It is also worth noting that racing in Britain & Ireland also takes place on Polytrack and Fibresand all-weather surfaces on which certain horses have a far better record than they produce on turf, and vice versa. On the USA is the other way around, horses perform better on turf and horrible on fibresand.

Once you have your horse’s career statistics in front of you it may well become clear that the horse prefers either a soft surface or a firm surface. Do be careful though not to discount a horse’s chance just because it hasn’t won on a particular type of ground conditions. It might be that the horse has run well without winning and can handle the surface, but just hasn’t been lucky to get his head in front. Once you figure out which underfoot conditions do and don’t suit your horse you are already on your way to homing in on a potential winning selection.

In particular on the all-weather tracks – in Britain at Kempton, Lingfield, Wolverhampton, and Southwell, and in Ireland at Dundalk – it has been noticeable just how well some horses run on the sand-based surface as opposed to their performances on turf. It can often be well worth following those horses who have a particularly good record at one of the all-weather tracks, but it should be noted that Southwell has a much deeper sand surface than the other British tracks making it even more of a specialist track for certain horses and the form from Southwell doesn’t always transfer well to the other three British all-weather tracks.

Handicapping the Racetrack  Weather

In this third and final part of our guide to following the stats we focus on the particularly interesting strike rates on the various all-weather tracks, as well as in the fascinating National Hunt Flat races [1], also known as Bumpers.

All-weather racing first came to Britain in 1989 after the betting industry realized it needed a product to bet on during the winters when spells of bad weather could often see all racing cancelled for up to a week – or even a fortnight in one case.

They’ve been racing on artificial surfaces in North America for decades, and it was Lingfield, Wolverhampton, and Southwell, who were the first to lay an all-weather surface; Lingfield began on Equitrack and now race on Polytrack, as do Wolverhampton, whilst Southwell laid the deeper Fibresand. Later on Kempton invested in a Polytrack circuit, Great Lees opened and closed within a year due to financial difficulties, but other tracks such as Newcastle are now expected to also offer an all-weather track.

Many horses like racing on the ‘sand’ whilst others are far less effective.

Specialist horses, trainers, and jockeys can be well worth following as punters learned quickly in the first season of 1989 when Thirsk-based trainer David Barron sent out a remarkable 23 winners from just 57 runners at an overall strike rate of 40%. Barron was known as ‘The King of the Sand’, but plenty of other handlers have joined the rush to all-weather racing, quick to spot horses who go particularly well on one or other of the surfaces.

*These are all the required elements to make a bet. On our how to place a bet on horse racing guide we explain how to properly set this up.

Best jockeys for all-weather tracks

Adam-Kirby-best-all-weather-jockey

Adam Kirby, Best UK jockey 2013-2014

Over the last five years jockeys such as Luke Morris, Joe Fanning, Adam Kirby, and George Baker have proved themselves particularly adept at riding the all-weather tracks and often battle sub-zero temperatures in the mid-winter to ride winners.

Kirby landed the 2013-14 championship with a tremendous total of 90 winners at an overall strike rate of 18%, but of the four winter tracks it is interesting to note he is less successful at Southwell, the only Fibresand circuit, where he has a moderate strike-rate of just 12%.

Luke Morris was second in the championship with 74 winners but at an overall strike rate of just 11%. What this tells us is that Morris has lots of rides but is pro-rata significantly less successful than Kirby. One hot stat relating to George Baker is that of the four tracks he clearly appears to excel at Wolverhampton with a 20% strike rate and a $94 level stakes profit over the last five seasons, whilst Joe Fanning is definitely the man to follow at Southwell where he has a fine 22% winning percentage.

Best UK horseracing trainers

best-horseracing-trainer-from-the-UK-Mark-Johnston

Mark Johnston, best UK trainer

Over the last year the top trainers to follow on the all-weather tracks include Mark Johnston who has sent out far and away the most winners with a total of 69 at a tremendous strike rate of 23%. Newmarket-based Marco Botti did next best in the prizemoney list with 32 winners at 19%, the same strike rate as David Simcock, who saddled 28 winners.

The other significant stats over the last 12 months surround Michael Appleby and Jeremy Noseda. Appleby has proved himself a very shrewd placer of his horses and saddled no less than 46 winners at a 21% strike rate, while classic-winning handler Noseda has been highly selective in the horses he runs on the artificial surfaces and posted a superb 14 winners from just 34 runners at an outstanding 41% winning strike rate.

National Hunt Flat Racing

National Hunt Flat racing   [2] is designed to give inexperienced young horses a taste of racing without having to jump hurdles or fences. They normally race over not less than two miles and must not have raced under rules on the Flat. Certain trainers target these races and have a particularly good success so can often prove profitable to follow.

The rising star of the sphere is undoubtedly Warren Greatrex who has teamed up with young jockey Gavin Sheehan to take the NHF races by storm. Over the last five years he has a superb 26% strike rate in NHF races, but in particular, in 2014, has been red hot in winning with no less than 7 of his 15 runners (47%) at the time of writing.

Former champion trainer Nicky Henderson has a fine 29% strike rate in these events over the last five years, whilst high-flying Donald McCain has a 22% winning ratio, as too does another top handler David Pipe.

*Another aspect to learn in horseracing is when to place a bet according to market signals.

References

[1] [2] wikipedia.org, National Hunt Flat Race, 2015