Picking Up or Packing In? Who and what does well in the late season?

October 7th, 2019

Picking Up or Packing In? Who and what does well in the late season?

The end of season vibe will well and truly be alive now the Arc has concluded. Sad to see Enable not managing the ‘Threepeat’. But the show must go on and despite many including myself being wary when punting at the end of the turf season, the power of Proform means we can find opportunity most anywhere if we look properly.

In this article we will take a look at the yards that fare well or poorly in October and November and if there is any trends for the horse population as a whole and what may dictate a strong or poor end to a season.

All figures from 01/01/2014 unless stated.

[Filters: October and November, Turf Only, Filters Tab: Runners >=80,Expected wins >=6, Chi Score >=2.0, by trainer]

Before we take a look deeper into some of those ranking at the extremities of that list, let’s first look at trainers by handicap and non-handicap contests.

[Filters: October and November Turf Hcaps Runners >=80,Expected wins >=6, Chi Score >=2.0, by trainer]

[Filters: October and November Turf Non Hcap Runners >=80,Expected wins >=6, Chi Score >=2.0 ,by trainer]

Sir Michael Stoute

There are lot of big names on the above lists. Sir Michael Stoute is one that surprised me slightly, I had a feeling from anecdotal evidence that the yard usually has a good run in the autumn. However on examination of the data it turns out the perception was due to the fact he has regularly had good strike rate in the month of September and often a good few winners on the All-weather as the season reaches its conclusion.

Turf races though show a strike rate of 11% in October/November when the yard regularly operates at north of 20% for much of the year.

In the end of the season Stoute has only managed a 7.3% strike rate in Handicaps and 12.7% win ratio on non-handicap contests.

Across the age groups this is how it breaks down:

Last time out finishing position can often be a useful metric in system building due to it being correlated with market expectation, we see that his last time out winners and runners up operate at a combined strike rate of 7% and show colossal losses in the Autumn. While it is not a profitable angle for the stable turf runners at any time, comparing these 2 months with the rest of the season where it shows a c.24% win rate for that category of last time out 1-2 finishes.

Michael Appleby

Mick Appleby has soared up the training ranks over the course of the past decade and regularly finds himself in the top dozen by winners saddled at the year’s conclusion.

In the higher class handicaps the Appleby runners are best avoided it appears, although the WAX figure is not as bad as the 1/41 strike rate suggests:

[Filters: Oct and Nov, Turf Hcap, Trainer Michael Appleby, Present by Class]

The yard makes the most of claiming jockey allowances, making up over 40% of the winners in the year end period, managing a 21% win strike rate and 9 winners above market expectation. Compare this with a general turf record for the other months of 11% win rate and about expected.

[Filters: Oct and Nov, Turf Hcap, Trainer Michael Appleby, Present by Jockey Claim]


Debutants slow to get out on track

The late starters of the 2yo and 3yo generation have a number of opportunities available even at the tail end of the season. Racecourse experience is always favourable to its absence, the strike rate of 2yo runners first time out declines steadily as the season progresses. The 3yo generation shows a less predictable path but Oct/Nov shows a decline from preceding months.

 Late debutants by trainer is broken down below.

[Filters: Career Runs 0, Filter >=20 Runs, >=2.0 Chi Score, by Trainer]

Not enough runners to make any significant system from but interesting for further observation. Interesting that there is no yard showing significantly below expected, may be by the fact that debutants at this time of year have a generally low performance expectation.

Over the years I have heard another “old wives tale” that those with a less busy season will have an advantage of being fresh compared to rivals as the year end approaches. The data certainly doesn’t bear this out as a consistent trend, it is a case by case basis as with many things racing, but as a general rule the opposite appears to be the case when looking at PRB and WAX scores that with those who are kept busy over the course of the year generally have more to give.

[Filters: Turf Handicaps, by Number of runs last 1 year]

There we have some nuggets for this difficult time of year. The yards that do well and not as well as expected and a quick start on the horse population at a high level.

Let’s hope for a perfect start to the end of the season.