Following Up or Falling Flat, insights into last time out winners

February 4th, 2019

Cast your mind back to when you first were following racing, there was far more appeal to seeing a string of or at least a most recent “1” on the form figures. You often found it unfathomable how a horse with no recent win could be so fancied in the betting over one seeking a hat trick but of course we now know that a number without interpretation is in itself not very meaningful, although an unlikely example to occur if two horses were opposing each other a win in a class 5 race is almost never better than a fifth place in a class 1 contest.

What can we learn about last time out winners? Well in this article I aim to see if there is certain race types, intervals between wins, etc., that could be interesting to see when to follow and when to avoid or take on.

Given we are in mid-winter lets deal with the All Weather last time out winners for now, there is plenty there in itself, and for flat races that will need separate analysis that we can return to when the sun is high in the sky.

To the artificial surfaces of Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Lingfield, Kempton, Southwell, Chelmsford and Dundalk; after running a number of reports for last time out winners the most interesting notes to be picked out are:

(All from 01/01/2014 to 31/01/2019)

[Filter: AW only, LTO Position =1, Present by Age]

There is little insight to be gained by age alone younger horses have better strike rates but conversely fall further below market expectations than their older counterparts, but when combined with other filters age may illuminate potential angles.

In the winning of most Handicap races barring apprentice only ridden contests horses will receive penalties, the system is of course different for non-handicaps which varies race to race depending on the given conditions. There is no significance to be found in the chances of following up if the race is a handicap or non-handicap.

In handicap contests, those carrying a penalty follow up just ahead of expected but not enough to make it profitable, but there may be another factor at play there that is of course the time since their last run as penalties are normally only for those running within max 2 weeks of their win.

Therefore the time since the last run looks worth a deeper dig, those reappearing quickly win more than expected.

[Filter: AW only, LTO Position =1, Present by DSLR Ranges]


Of this subset reappearing within a week of their win, we see those coming from an AW win are the ones to focus on for potential angles with them winning almost 10% more than expected on their follow up attempts.

[Filter: AW only, LTO Position =1, DSLR <=7, present by Race Type LTO]

These last time out AW winners follow up in handicaps 29% of the time and 38% of the time in conditions races. And returning to investigate the penalty angle:

[Filter: AW only, Handicap only, LTO Race AW Only, LTO Position =1, DSLR <=7, present by Horse Penalty]

We see that those carrying the mandatory poundage win slightly more than those reassessed or escaping a penalty.

You may have noticed that some trainers seem to run up sequences of wins while others to have consecutive 1s beside their horses’ recent efforts is a rare sight.
Let’s see what the breakdown by trainer on the AW, firstly who have a positive record. We see a number of big stables are listed on the report.

[Filter: AW only, LTO Horse LTO Position =1, Filter tab - >=60 runners, Expected winners >=5, P/L SP >=0, Present by Trainer]


And those who have a negative record of follow up wins:

[Filter: AW only, LTO Position =1, Filter tab - >=60 runners, Expected winners >=5, P/L SP <=0, Chi Score >=1, Present by Trainer]

Some trainers who have good AW records such as O’Meara, Dalgleish and Fanshawe as well as the Hannon behemoth all featuring here was at first surprising given that anecdotally they would strike you as having a regular flow of winners and the fact their general AW strike rates are all in the 10-18% range in the 5 year period. But may be the case that market expectation matches the anecdotal hunch and they are under-priced as a consequence.


He tops the list above of those with a good AW record but upon running further analysis of his runners the lions share comes from his 3yo runners

[Filters: Race AW, LTO Horse - LTO Position = 1, Horse- Trainer = Andrew Balding, Present by Age]

What type of race are they trying to follow up a win in?

[Filters: Race AW, LTO Horse - LTO Position = 1, Horse- Trainer = Andrew Balding, Present by Race Type LTO]

[Filters: Race AW, LTO Horse - LTO Position = 1, Horse- Trainer = Andrew Balding, Present by Hcap/Non Hcap]

The record is far stronger in handicaps winning more than one in three and although you would not want to discount those who won on turf last time, it is a stronger angle for having run on the AW last time.

So one you may wish to add to your portfolio is as follows that gives us a very healthy 51% win record in the last 5 years is:

[System Filters: Race AW, Handicap Only, LTO Horse - LTO Position = 1, Horse- Trainer = Andrew Balding, LTO Race - AW only]



We have seen on the breakdown by trainer above that winners from the Scott Dixon yard only follow up c.7% of the time on the All Weather.

Dixon is associated with a lot of runners on the fibresand at Southwell and this is the venue that the 5 of those follow up wins occurred.

[Filter: Horse – Trainer = Scott Dixon, LTO Horse LTO Position =1, by Course]

He likes to keep his string busy, a number of his string running 10+ times in a season on the All Weather, and returning them on the quickly after a success is where you’ll find best chance of them following up

[Filter: Horse – Trainer = Scott Dixon, LTO Horse LTO Position =1, by DSLR ranges]

In general his runners regardless of their result last time have best success when running within 3 weeks (21 days) of their last appearance. Those winning 9%, and a PRB^2 of 33.7% compared with a 3.6% strike rate and PRB^2 of 28.4%

So taking away those who won last time out and are beyond the 7 days since their last run and they fall well below market expectation with only one winner from 50 in that category since 2014 that winner at odds of 8/13 in a claimer where she was top rated and best off at the weights. Infact, going back further and the yard is only 3/73 with last time out winners on the AW since taking out a licence in 2011.

[System Filters: Race AW Only, Horse – Trainer = Scott Dixon, DSLR >7, LTO Horse LTO Position = 1]

By Conrad Clancy (A Proform Member)