First time geldings make a level stakes profit over the long term.Below you will find a list of horses running today who are having their first run since being gelded, along with an article that researches winning angles following gelded horses.
Over the long term gelded horses on their first run after the cut make a small profit if bet without further research.
Gelded Horses Running Today – Having First Run since Gelded (06-06-2023)
15:30 Leicester 1. Maxi Boy Jockey:
Murphy, Oisin Trainer:
Bell, M L W
17:45 Wetherby 1. Al Najada (IRE) Jockey:
Lee, Clifford Trainer:
Burke, K R
17:45 Wetherby 5. Arnie Angell Jockey:
Dennis, Phil Trainer:
Griffiths, D C
19:55 Wetherby 5. Zivaniya Jockey:
Mulrennan, Paul Trainer:
20:10 Lingfield 12. Fadi (FR) Jockey:
Marsh, Finley Trainer:
Geldings: The Unkindest Cut of All?
It's well-accepted that gelding or castrating a colt has benefits, but does it actually result in an improved performance? So, this month I am looking at Gelding Horses. Are there any angles we can exploit?
Before I move onto the interesting bit. It would be remiss not to take a brief look at what is meant by gelding a horse and why the procedure takes place.
The gelding of a male horse has been happening ever since man domesticated the horse, with the Greek philosopher Aristotle mentioning the word some 2300 years ago.
It’s generally accepted that unless a male horse is going to be used for breeding it will be gelded at some time in its life.
What is a gelding Operation? Well It’s a very simple procedure and the male horse doesn’t feel anything. In Britain the procedure has to be carried out by a qualified vet and it usually happens under anaesthetic.
Very simply, the operation involves the removal of the testes, which will prevent the colt from developing further stallion-like characteristics.
The procedure can either be carried out whilst colt is standing – when the anaesthetic is injected deep into the testis – a bit like a local anaesthetic in humans or it can be done whilst the colt is laying down under a general anaesthetic.
The wound takes about two weeks to heal. The newly gelded horse can remain fertile for some weeks after the operation. In most newly castrated horses the remaining testosterone in their body can take six weeks to get out of the system. So, the benefits of the operation for behavioural reasons are not seen straight away.
As in all operations there can be complications but in the main the castration of a horse is carried out without complications, with the end result being a healthy and well-adjusted gelding.Gelding a horse doesn’t always turn him into a ‘happy chappy’. Each horse is an individual. His mental attitude can be influenced by the age he was gelded. A horse gelded as a foal may have a different mindset than a horse that’s gelded later in life or that one who has already been breeding mares.
“In most cases, gelding is used as an attitude adjuster”
Firstly, it is done to deal with behavioural problems. The colt is beginning to show off his stallion like qualities, which can include screaming and fighting with other horses, or showing aggressive behaviour to humans.
Whilst most colts can’t successfully breed a mare until they are a two-year-old, they begin to reach sexual maturity at about 12 to 14 months. It’s at this time when they begin to show interest in fillies which becomes more pronounced as they get older.
The legendary American Racehorse John Henry, the first racehorse to surpass $4 million in career earnings and one of the richest racehorses in history, was gelded due to such a bad temper that led to him suffering seriously injury. Although gelding, calmed him down, he still wasn’t the most amenable horse in training.
Other reason why the procedure is carried out include helping a colt to recover form a long-term injury and help keep them sound. If the colt has been injured and requires a long period of rest, a gelding operation maybe the best way to help him recover and allow him to resume his racing career.
It can also help to keep a colt sound. Testosterone in the horse’s system helps them to build extra muscle mass and retain more fat as they develop the body build of a stallion. But for some colts, that growth can outstrip the maturity of their joints. A gelding operation means they will lose weight which means they are more likely to stay sound.
When to Geld?
Most horsemen accept that the gelding procedure only works to improve behaviour if the horse is fairly young at the time of the procedure.
If a horse is gelded at three, four, five or older they already have learned behaviour. Testosterone may have reduced and with it their interest in the females. But they still have behaviour that they have learned.
Most veterinarians will agree that castrating horses at a young age is the best. For example, the yearling colts have smaller testicles that are easier to remove. However, most castrate their horses when they become a training problem, which is normally around two to three years of age. There a differing opinion’s as to why this happens. But the most plausible is that the colt will have attained a thicker neck and heavier build. So, at least give off the appearance of being a male horse.
First Time Out Geldings: The Stats
Let’s move onto the Statistics for the performances of first-time geldings. As ever for the research I am relying on the excellent www.horseracebase.com.
At this point it’s worth noting that accurate information on the newly gelded horses hasn’t always been as readily available to punters as it is now.
On this occasion some of the stats would need to be double checked to make sure of as much accuracy as possible.
Starting with flat turf races and using 5-years’ worth of stats to ensure a decent sample size.
The results for first time out after a gelding operation are:
446 winners from 4531 runners 10% -1178.68 A/E 0.82
Backing all horses on their first run in the turf since being gelded is not profitable. On turf these horses hit a strike rate of 10%, have an A/E value stat of 0.82 and they return a loss of 26.01%.
Now breaking those results into non- handicaps & handicaps:
Non-Handicaps – 158 winners from 1548 runners 10% -556.13 A/E 1.79
Handicaps – 288 winners from 2983 runners 10% -612.55 A/E 0.84
So, no real difference in the performance of the newly gelded horse in handicap or non-handicap races.
Newly gelded horses do marginally better when making their handicap debut:
110 winners from 1031 runners 11% -146.92 A/E 0.87.
Still making a loss of 14.25% in the process. Betting to Betfair SP (BFSP) has returned a profit of +85.38.
Do the results improve on the all-weather? In the past five years newly, gelded horses have produced the following set of results:
323 winners from 2396 runners 13% -384.53 A/E 0.88
Once again breaking those results down into non-handicap & handicaps.
Non-Handicaps – 147 winners from 922 runners 16% -144.42 A/E 0.92
Handicaps – 176 winners from 1474 runners 12% -240.11 A/E 0.85
The more forgiving synthetic surfaces do help to provide better win-strike rate and A/E figure than on turf for the newly gelded horses. Still such runners are returning a loss of 16%.
Those making their handicap debut on the all-weather for the first time after gelding have produced:
63 winners from 470 runners 13% -24.33 A/E 0.87
and occurring a loss of 5.18%.
Like flat handicap debutants they have returned a profit to BFSP of +57.25.
Looking at the all-weather tracks:
And breaking down the tracks by non-handicap and handicap races;
Some interesting stats there some poor figures for Dundalk runners and slight profits at Southwell. The massive profit at Chelmsford is down to big priced winners at 33/1 x 2 and 40/1 x1.
I couldn’t really find any meaningfully profitable stats for flat runners and there are few on the all-weather.
The two most interesting from the latter code are:
So, first time out geldings on the all-weather that finished 1st or 2nd on their last start have a win-strike rate of almost 25% and returned a profit to both industry SP and BFSP.
The other profitable stat that could be worth further investigation, if you have access to HRB, by focusing on all-weather, non-handicap races and the top-rated runner using HRB standard ratings. The top-rated runner has produced the following results:
45 winners from 104 runners 43% +4.91
For those looking for a potentially profitable micro-angle. Then concentrate on newly gelded 3-year-olds, in all-weather Class 4 non-handicaps. They have produced the following set of results during the period under research:
Granted not many qualifiers and a smaller sample size then you would like but an interesting stat nonetheless.
Trainers and First Time Out Geldings
You would expect trainers to have an influence on newly gelded runners, they should know when the horse needs to be gelded and what sort of rest period is required for the horse to run to his best. As ever there should be trainers who are better with newly gelded horses than others.
Looking at both flat & turf.
My top five trainers (ten or more winners and a 45% + win & place strike rate) are:
Saeed Bin Suroor -30 winners from 95 runners 32% +35.06 A/E 1.29 51 placed 54%
William Haggas – 26 winners from 90 runners 29% +8.8 A/E 1,28 43 placed 48%
Roger Charlton – 16 winners from 62 runners 26% +22.46 A/E 1.45 30 placed 48%
Hugo Palmer – 14 winners from 56 runners 25% +42.95 A/E 1,58 26 placed 46%
Michael Appleby – 10 winners from 41 runners 24% +48.63 A/E 2.07 26 placed 46%
Here are a few micro-angles that could be worth investigating further.
- Favourites (Clear, Joint, & Co) – 40 winners from 87 runners 46% +28.35 A/E 1.28 59 placed 68%Hugo Palmer (non-handicaps) – 8 winners from 14 runners 57% +47.07 A/E 2.53
- Saeed Bin Suroor (Good to Firm) – 11 winners from 26 runners 42% +30.23 A/E 2.01 17 placed 65%
- Saeed Bin Suroor (Standard) – 13 winners from 31 runners 42% +16.17 A/E 1.32 19 placed 61%
- William Haggas (Standard) – 7 winners from 17 runners 41% +7.59 A/E 1.47 10 placed 59%
Their results with runners sent off at odds 9/1 & under are:
Looking at the class of the race:
The main profitable angles with newly gelded horses seem to lay with following certain trainers, under the right conditions.
As ever with these methods, the above figures are based on historical data and whilst history has a good habit of repeating itself, it often doesn’t.
Until next month.
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