There are certain race types that many punters avoid and in general claiming races are one such race type. However, in my experience they are nowhere near as tricky as most punters think. It should be stated though that this type of race is getting rarer and rarer in this country, so we need to make the most of them when we can.
For this article I have looked at data in the UK going back to 2015 combining Turf Flat claimers with All Weather ones. Profits and losses are calculated to Betfair Starting Price (BSP).
Price – Let me start by examining the betting market factors first.
I am breaking the prices down by Industry SP, but as stated earlier, profit and loss column will be calculated to BSP.
Horses near the top of the market have been priced extremely accurately, which is why they essentially breakeven; (horses priced 9/4 or shorter actually made a small profit of around 0.9%). The most profitable runners have been bigger prices, but with such a low strike rate it is difficult for punters to have the patience to keep backing them. For the record, clear favourites made a fair profit of nearly 7p in the £ which is noteworthy. There were 206 winners from 476 runners (SR 43.3%) for a £l level stakes profit of £32.27.
Last win – in lower class races such as claimers I generally look for horses that have won relatively recently and this turns out to be a key point in claimers – or at least has been since 2015. Horses that have won at least one race in their last six starts have performed extremely well. 1393 horses running in claimers had won at least one race in their last six runs of which 259 won. This equates to a very decent strike rate of 18.6%, but more impressively you would have made a profit of £221.68 to £1 level stakes. This equates to a return of just roughly 16p in the £.
Now of course there are no guarantees that such good results will be replicated in the future, but it should be noted that between 2011 and 2014 this method was also profitable – not quite as much, but still 9p in the £ would have been made.
Run in claimer or seller before – horses that run in claimers often run in sellers as well. I thought it would be worth checking to see the performance of any horses that had never run in a seller or a claimer before. My theory was that such runners may be slightly better than your average claiming runner that was a regular on the claiming / seller merry go round.
The results were even better than I had hoped for – 205 winners from 1605 (SR 12.5%) for a profit of £331.91 (ROI +20.2%). Returns in excess of 20p in the £ is something that is always pleasing to see. Now in general it was the bigger priced runners that secured the main profits, so again there are no future guarantees here.
Headgear – a fair proportion of horses that run in low grade races will be tried in some sort of headgear in an attempt to improve their performance. For example blinkers, visors, cheekpieces etc. This is standard practice for many trainers.
The following table gives us this data for runners in claimers:
Generally negative results for runners in headgear; meanwhile those runners who did not wear any made a profit.
However, before getting carried away, I checked the 2011 to 2014 results and these runners without headgear made a loss. So maybe we should take these figures with a pinch of salt.
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If you are already a Gold or Platinum member you can read the full article in Issue 86 which you can find here.