• Horses to follow for the 2017/18 NH season

    Autumn is in the air and it won’t be too long before the curtain falls on the flat season and attention will turn towards the winter game. It definitely pays to do some serious research on the form book, and to make a list of the top horses to follow ahead of the new season. My list of horses to follow for the 2016/17 National Hunt season turned in a good profit, including some juicy priced winners along the way. It might be too much to hope but I’m hoping to repeat the dose again this year.

    Here are our selections…

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  • Can the jockey stay on the horse? Unseated rider statistics for 2016/17

    In previous articles down the years I have written up plenty of my research on jockey’s. In all the research I have done – and some of it got fairly complex – there is one simple metric that seems to be a good discriminator of jockey ability. The statistic that seems to be matter, from a winner finding point of view, is the ability of a jockey in National Hunt racing to be able to stay in the saddle! Basically jockey’s that regularly unseat are bad bets. They might be riding the favourite but if they have a habit of falling off then you need to know this before placing a bet.

    Unfortunately, and to my surprise you can’t find statistics on the subject of unseated rides from the usual sources such as the Racing Post website. There is plenty of data about wins and rides over hurdles and fences, prize money won and the number of place finishes, and even minimum riding weight over the last twelve months, but nothing on how good a jockey was at actually staying on his mount. Of course this is a good thing for those prepared to bother with compiling their own statistics because it is a little bit of information that isn’t readily available to other punters and layers and therefore might not be reflected in the horses odds, giving a bit of value to those with the extra bit of data.I've compiled the latest statistics from the last NH season.

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  • It was a profitable 10 to follow over the jumps. Now for the flat...

    Our ten to follow for the National Hunt season proved to be a profitable one, with a 19 point profit to a 1 point stake at SP (a rate of return of nearly 56 per cent). It also recorded an impressive strike rate. Can we repeat the dose with our ten to follow on the flat?

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  • Cheltenham Festival 2017: How was it for you?

    Another Cheltenham festival has come and gone. I sincerely hope that it went well for you. Given the results it looked like a bookmakers benefit event, with punters making plenty of hefty contributions over the four days.

    On the run up to the festival plenty of big names horses went on the injury list, such as Annie Power, Faugheen and Thistlecrack to name but a few. This took a fair bit of gloss off the main events and I think the four-day format, which started in 2005, really diluted the quality of some of the races because there wasn’t much strength in depth to some of the races.

    On day one, Labaik caused a shock in the the opening race by winning the Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at 25-1. I hope you backed this one because I didn’t. How could you? Gordon Elliott must be some trainer because Labaik was long odds against to even start the race because he had refused or virtually refused on his previous three starts. However, this time he jumped off well with them when it mattered and he won nicely. The thing I took from the race was that Jack Kennedy is a young jockey going places because he managed to get a great tune out of the winner.

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  • Time for a change? The ability of horses to adapt to new conditions

    I’m not a big fan of change. Some might say that this is because I’m at a certain stage of life. You know the one. The balding, fat and post-forty phase. The fact is though I’ve never really liked change. The adventure of foreign travel to me has always been stressful. Why waste your precious holiday time by going somewhere new when you know the place you went last year will be hard to beat? For the same reasons I also like to eat at the same restaurants when I go out. The last time I tried anywhere new I got food poisoning. For these reasons I’m suspicious of change, and especially when the only reason for making a change is because someone tells you ‘it’s time for a change’. Racehorses appear to share my view on life. Unfortunately their trainers keep on insisting that they need to embrace change and keeping trying out for them new race classes, new going or new distances. The data suggests that change is seldom profitable when it comes to horses encountering new race conditions.

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