March 29, 2021

April Acorns

Last month a reader kindly took the time to drop us an email with a couple of suggestions for us to research here in the acorns corner.

The first was to look at Paul Nicholls runners in Maidens.

Since 2016 to date (9th March) Nicholls has had 214 runners in Maiden races.

With a strike rate of 28.50% which is certainly healthy, however backing those runners blindly would have seen you sitting with a loss of 35 points to Industry SP.

It may be that 2020 prompted the reader to ask us to look further as 2020 did produce a profit from an almost 40% strike rate but backing Nicholls Maiden runners blindly for the 4 previous years wouldn’t have added to the wallet.

The chances are, as with many of the Nicholls runners, punters are already aware of any angles, and although the strike rate, in general, is a healthy one, the selections as such are heavily backed forcing shorter prices.

The Betfair SP however shows only a minimal loss over those 214 bets so maybe there is an angle in there somewhere?

The bulk of the runners are in Maiden Hurdles so we will concentrate there.

With over an 50% place strike rate we can see why the maidens grabbed our readers attention but there is no advantage in backing his runners each way. The prices make sure of that.

Since 2018 only 1 of the 35 winners has had a price larger than 9.00.

Restricting with a BFSP of 9.00 or less does eliminate a significant number of losing selections and tips us into a small profit since 2018, but still nothing worth writing home about.

There are not many runners during the summer jump season and avoiding these helps to further improve the profits, but of the total profits most have arisen during 2020.

In fact, the only way we have managed to extract a profit other than in 2020 is to restrict to those selections running in races where there are between 6-14 runners.

The success in races with more than 14 runners over the past 3 ¼ years has been poor with just 2 selections from 19 winning in the races with 15 or more runners in the race, and just 1 from 3 in small fields.

Another viewpoint may be to back his Maiden Hurdle runners when wearing a tongue tie and going off at 5.50 (9/2) or less.

Of the 44 runners during the months of September-March since 2014 only 1 of those has gone off at greater than 5.50 on Betfair.

We are confident that the strike rate will be consistent going forward but whether the prices of Nicholls runners will allow us to make a profit remains to be seen.

We’ll leave these here for you to decide.

A second question raised was the performance of David Pipe’s runners in first time headgear.

Looking at the figures since 2018.

Since 2018 David Pipe has had 1138 National Hunt runners of which 709 ran in some form of headgear and produced 56% of the winners.

Of the 95 winners 15 have come wearing first time headgear but the strike rate is just over 12%, although the place strike rate offers hope at almost 38% (backing each way offers no improvement on the returns interestingly).

We took a look all the way back to 2010 to see if there was any consistency over the years with first time headgear, but the figures don’t suggest this:

Backing his runners when they are wearing visors is one to avoid with just 1 winner from 36 runners.

2021 has got off to a good start for the first time headgear runners but in general we feel backing David Pipe runners in first time headgear is unlikely to offer much of a return in the long run.

2021 Results to date (15th March 2021) of Acorn Systems.

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Steve Carter

Steve Carter is the Associate Editor of On Course Profits magazine. He has relied on his betting skills and knowledge for his income for the past 15+ years. He specialises in horse racing and football betting & trading and knows what it takes to make a living from betting. He is always looking for new angles for himself and On Course Profits readers.

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