As many of you may be aware we have access to the Speed Ratings from the folks at Inform Racing and we have been using these with decent success to provide daily selections for the OCP Platinum Members. In fact, at the time of writing (14th Dec’21) the Daily Picks as they are referred to in the Members area are a shade over +50pts in profit since the start of October.
Alongside the daily speed ratings and informative race-cards the Inform Racing package also includes a nifty System Builder which can be used to filter and interrogate past results to help uncover potentially profitable strategies. With this in mind we decided to fire up the System Builder and take a look at Handicap Chases to see if we could find any gems that would help us in the coming months of the National Hunt campaign.
To keep the research fresh and relevant we are going to be using the Handicap Chases that have been run since the start of 2018 and whilst the jumps does go pretty much all year round, we consider the spring/summer/autumn months of less significance in the overall scheme of things, so we will omit the period from May-Oct inclusive.
There has been plenty written on the topic of getting into a steady rhythm over the obstacles and the stats bear out the notion that leaders of such races often fare better than those that are held up behind the pace.
A very recent example is the one published in the Sporting Life regarding the apparent bias towards front-runners in races over fences on the New Course at Cheltenham following Coole Cody’s victory in the Racing Post Gold Cup.
The System Builder has a vast array of sections and categories and the one we are interested in for this piece is the Run Style of the horse and in particular in its most recent race. For information this is how the Inform Racing describes their own categories: –
1 = Led, 2 = Prominent or just behind leaders, 3 = Midfield, 4 = Slow to start or held up.
We added the first category for our research to home in on horses that led last time out.
Days Since last Run
Horses come in and out of form throughout their careers, but it is generally accepted that a recent run can be a guide to fitness, and we have chosen to focus on those that last ran within 31 days. This hopefully gives a balance of recent form coupled with sufficient time to recover from those exertions at the track.
In most normal circumstances horses bred for the National Hunt game either start out in Bumper Races or over Hurdles, often progressing from one to the other. This allows the trainer and connections to introduce the horse to a racing environment whilst gaining valuable experience. Lightly framed horses may well stay over hurdles but most stoutly bred animals will come into their own when faced with the bigger obstacles.
With the above in mind, we wanted to focus on the horses that had some experience under their belts and were aged 6 and above but equally still with the potential to improve so we capped the upper age limit at 9 year olds.
Mares do win races but are often up against it if they are competing against their male counterparts, so we chose to focus on Geldings.
Horse number of Runs
Similar to the Age category we wanted a balance of some experience coupled with not being overly raced in their career to date so we opted for the range of 4 to a total of 20 runs in their career to date.
Rather than get bogged down with the intricacies of the form book we felt we could rely on the accuracy of the tissue prices detailed in the Betting Forecast of the Racing Post which is generally considered a decent guide within the industry.
We chose a sensible upper threshold of 10/1 or 11.00 in the decimal format.
Day of the Week
Many of the most prestigious races are run on a Saturday as the levels of prize money attract the top end of the class of runners with the owners of such horses naturally wanting to bag a big race win with their charges. Because of this the races on a Saturday and in particular the Handicap Races are usually more competitive than those run at the lesser tracks during the midweek. We therefore chose to leave Saturday out of the equation for our research into Handicap Chases.
Our research piece considered relatively young male horses with some experience prior to tackling a Handicap Chase, coupled with a position to the fore of the Betting Forecast and having shown a potential to lead by having done so in its most recent race that would have taken place within a month at most.
No further form study such was undertaken such as where the horses finished in its last race or is the stable in form etc.
So how did the categories chosen pan out since the start of 2018?
Could such a simple premise turn out to be profitable?
What about the individual years since 2018?
All four years made a profit although to be fair only a modest one during 2019, but a close to 1 in 4 winning Strike Rate couple with and overall, +26% Return on Investment after allowing for 5% Betfair Exchange commission is quite a promising result.
The next logical step is to put the criteria through its paces in a live trial in the OCP Platinum Members area. With that in mind from the 1st of January we intend to post the selections each day and also collect data such as the in-running prices to see if there are further profit opportunities such as back to lay or Dobbing etc.
Stay safe and always bet within your means, until next time…
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