One of the ways I locate possible bets is by the use of systems. There has been much written about system betting on horses; some of it valid and some a load of horsesh*t. Pardon my French!
Although I have numerous ‘alerts’ for system qualifiers appearing every day by email or on various horse trackers I use, it is very rare that I would back all qualifiers in a system blindly. I will usually look for corroborating evidence to back up the horse’s winning chance – e.g. trainer form, draw, going, pace profiles for the track / distance etc.
At this time of year as we enter September, we come to the time when the occasional ‘strange’ result starts to appear. Some cynics might say that a strange result for my Champagne Kid service would be a win of any kind! As I write, I have only just (in the 6.35 at Wolverhampton last night) come off a very lengthy losing run where absolutely nothing went right in the last week or so. This caused my monthly profit points count to drop from a high of 140 at the end of play on the 23rd August to a very disappointing 58 points for the whole of August. Losing runs happen though, and it is not the first long one I have suffered, nor will it be the last. I am more prone to them than many tipsters due to the average odds I tip at. Maintaining selection methods, confidence (sometimes not easy), staking plan, and belief in yourself if you have a proven profitable history will see these inevitable losing runs overcome.
Anyway, I digress. Back to those strange results. Many are actually not as strange as they might first appear to be. A large number are due to changes to the going caused by the rains arriving. It could well be that after the incredibly hot summer we have had this year, we may see more of these soft-ground horses finally getting their ground and winning at decent prices after being unconsidered in the market due to a string of 7’s, 8’s, 9’s or 0’s in their form-lines. Form which can turn around as soon as there is some juice in the ground.
The resource I use for systematic analysis for UK flat and AW racing is the excellent Flatstats website. Using their Racing System Builder, I looked at horses fitting the profile mentioned above. I looked at horses running on Good to Soft, Soft or Heavy ground in September having been unplaced on Good to Firm or Firm ground last time out. To ensure I was looking just at horses who were race-fit, I limited the process to those who had run in the last 4 weeks, and also to leave out those with little chance at all, looked at just the first 8 in the betting market. What I found was that in middle and long-distance races (i.e. anything of 1 mile or further), there was not much of interest. However, at sprint distances, there were winners to be found. The strike rate of 13.7% over the last 10 years was not the highest, but it was profitable every year bar one (2008 where a small loss was made). Trainers who did well under these circumstances were Mick Channon, Kevin Ryan and David O’Meara. For those three, the strike rate was 27.5% and the profit at Betfair SP was £109.76.
A possibly simpler method is to look at trainers’ handicap records in September. It is often said that trainers are creatures of habit, and I am sure there is much truth in that. Trainers usually try to replicate what has been successful for them in the past. That may be running at a particular course, running three times as a 2yo at 5f – 7f and then stepping up to 10f+ as a 3yo (Sir Mark Prescott) or having them ready for a certain festival, or, as we are looking at here, a certain time of year. So, let’s look then at trainers who appear to target, or who are in any event successful in non-apprentice turf handicaps in September.
I started with a very long list of all runners in handicaps in September over the last five years. I did a lot of whittling down by removing those with less than 30 such runners, those with an A/E (Actual over Expected according to SP) of less than 1.60, those with a win rate of less than 15%, those with a Chi figure (measure of reliability of a statistic) of less than 3.0, and those with an IV (Impact Value) of under 1.60. That left a list of 7 trainers who have done exceptionally well with September turf handicappers over the last 5 years: Ismail Mohammed, John Berry, John Flint, George Baker, B J Llewellyn, Simon Dow, and Alan Bailey.
The combined strike rate for these 7 trainers over the last 5 years has been in chronological order 18%, 17%, 20%, 19% and 30%. Profits at BSP in those 5 years have been £56, £30, £53, £57 and £36 to a £1 level stake.
Here’s what I intend to do with this. Unlike my normal MO with systems (see paragraph 2), I will be backing the non-apprentice handicappers of these 7 trainers blind to 1-point level stakes in September. The selections will be posted as official 1-point bets on my service and will all be noted as “September Handicap Trainers” system selections within the text of the message accompanying the tips. Based on the last 5 years, we should expect to see somewhere between approximately 40 and 60 bets for the month.
If there is a particularly good time to join a profitable racing advice system I would say it is at the end of a losing run. That is where we are at the moment. I truly hope I can make up to existing subscribers, particularly those who joined shortly before the York Ebor meeting at the start of my exceptionally bad run, and of course for any Betfan readers who’d like to try out the service. I remain confident going forward that profitability will continue. If you’d like to subscribe to my service to see how we go with these September Handicap Trainers selections, you’ll find the link below.