• Profitable systems for the festive period

    A couple of years ago we shared with you two simple systems for the big races run over the Christmas period, namely for the Christmas Hurdle and the King George VI Chase. The question is how have they done?

    The first thing to say is that as the systems have been previously published, and haven’t been changed then they aren’t simply systems that have been back fitted to past results. In a back fitted system the selection rules are manipulated to account for a sample of previous results. For instance if the system developer finds that his or her system picks a loser, the rules are then changed slightly to eliminate this selection. Similarly some rules are changed to accommodate a long-priced winner. This process is repeated until the system produces a respectable number of winners and a decent level of profitability on past results. These are the types of systems developed by either people who don’t know how to develop profitable systems or, if they are selling the systems commercially, are trying to take a few people in. The tell tale sign of a back fitted system is fantastic results, with plenty of long-priced winners. In the case of the King George and Christmas Hurdle systems we know they are definitely not back-fitted. Does this though mean that they haven’t worked? We’ll leave that question for now and for the benefit of new readers I’ll start by giving the details of the systems themselve.

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  • Is Nicky Henderson still the trainer to follow in December?

    Nicky Henderson has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. He has had a torrid time of late with first the forced retirement of the brilliant Sprinter Sacre and then, worse still, the death at Cheltenham of the talented chaser Simonsig. November has certainly been a cruel month for Henderson and the team at Seven Barrows stables. They must be sincerely hoping that December will be better, and that the stable will enjoy its usual good form in the festive month.

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  • Ten to follow for the jumps season

    The jump race season is starting to get into top gear and it is about this time when it pays to do some serious research on the form book, and to make a list of the top horses to follow. These can either be backed each time they race or backed ante-post for a big race target.

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  • Does the Efficient Market Hypothesis apply to horseracing? Hopefully not...

    In the early 1960s, Nobel Prize winning economist Eugene Fama put forth the theory of efficient markets called the Efficient Market Hypothesis. The theory is simple but powerful. It states that markets correctly price the value of a stock, or any other commodity, correctly. In other words, the price of a stock is not too high or too low. The price reflects all known information at a point in time.

    The theory has three versions: strong form, semi-strong form and weak form. I’ll focus on the strong and semi-strong forms of the theory. In strong form efficiency is where all information, public, personal and confidential, is instantly reflected in the prices. Therefore, punters are unable to achieve a competitive advantage. This degree of market efficiency implies that above average returns cannot be achieved regardless of a punters skill and access to information.

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  • Are some tipsters more consistent than others?

    At a recent trip to the races with friends I was asked if newspaper tipsters are any good, and were any in particular worth following. In reply I cited the basic statistic that all the main national newspaper tipsters make a loss overall because it is very hard to make a selection in every race, like the racing correspondents are asked to do, and to then to publish the tips in mass circulation newspapers. However, I did say that some do make a small profit from their naps. I was then asked “What is a nap?” I was getting a little tired of this conversation and lazily said that “it is just the tipsters best bet of the day, the one from all their tips that they think has the best chance of winning”. I didn’t add that sometimes the editor of the newspaper will insist that the nap is made for the big race, such as Derby, Grand National or a race that the newspaper is sponsoring or advertising. Nevertheless the statistics do show that tipsters do much better with their naps than for their daily selections.

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