Early-season angles

October 24th, 2023

By Andrew Mount

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My Proform database contains almost 1500 individual systems and I want to share several of them in this article to assist you in finding value bets, lays and trades in the early months of the peak jumps season. I also want to demonstrate the power and versatility of the Proform software, a smart piece of kit that I could not do without.


Why a systems approach to betting?

There is so much racing in Britain and Ireland (the two jurisdictions covered by the Proform software) that it’s virtually impossible to keep track of the action without using computers. When I first became interested in racing and betting, I would specialise in the classier jumps races, but I soon realised that I needed a broader approach, especially when employed as a pundit for William Hill racing radio as I might have to give an informed opinion on a 5f all-weather sprint and a hunter chase in the course of a few minutes.


The Welcome Screen

Once the final declarations are known, any qualifiers on my various systems will appear on Proform’s Welcome Screen. Here’s the first handful from Monday, October 23rd…


Each day I transfer these into a spreadsheet and add my tracker horses (another feature available in Proform) before studying the qualifiers in more detail. Some of my systems might be related to just one event in the racing calendar such as the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. I have a few systems for this race but one of my favourites is to side with horses who finished fourth or worse last time out. This simple angle has found eight winners from 89 qualifiers since 2011 for a huge profit of £190.00 to a £1 level stake at SP. The systems results are shown below. The expected number of winners (Ex Wins) was only 2.55 given a WAX (winners against expected score) of 5.45…

As well as showing the profit/loss at SP, Proform also gives Betfair SP details (after commission).

However, we’ve got to wait until March 2024 before this system becomes useful, so let’s kick on with some more general systems for the coming jumps season based on trainers, jockeys and breeding.


Willie Mullins, maiden hurdles, October to December

Opposing Willie Mullins runners blind in maiden hurdles might seem like folly but they have tended to underperform in the early months of the season. Since 2019, he’s won with 59 of the 223 qualifiers (26.5% strike-rate) for a loss of £93.83 to a £1 level stake at SP…

Laying these runners at Betfair SP (after 2% commission) would have returned a profit of 32.44% on turnover…


Jamie Snowden, handicap chase system

Jamie Snowden has a good record with his young (aged four, five or six) handicap chasers, scoring with 40 of the 176 qualifiers (22.7%) since the beginning of 2014 for a profit of £38.46 to a £1 level stake at SP…

…plenty of the winners were making their chase debuts so don’t be put off if he runs one under a big weight in a handicap rather than take the novice or beginners chase route.


Richard J Bandey, chase debutants

Trainer Richard Bandey has a fine record with chase debutants, scoring with seven of the 16 qualifiers for a profit of £101.25 to a £1 level stake at SP. This is obviously a small sample size, but the market has started to cotton on to the trainer’s ability and the qualifiers often provide good trading opportunities if you can get on at a price the night before.


Sean Bowen, chases at Ffos Las

Jockey Sean Bowen is especially effective over fences, scoring on approximately one in every five rides for a profit of £97.30 to a £1 level stake at SP. Here’s the breakdown of all his jumps rides…

He seems especially adept at judging the pace in chases at Ffos Las – often run on very soft ground. His strike-rate over fences at the Welsh venue improves to 27.1% for a profit of £56.74…


Fame And Glory, jumps, 8yo+

Jumps progeny of sire Fame And Glory show a tendency to improve with age and backing all the eight and nine-year-olds (the sire’s oldest crop) would have found 52 winners from 415 runners (12.5%) for a profit of £82.38 to a £1 level stake at SP (prior to racing on Saturday October 21st).

Ardera Ru provides a good example – Eoin Doyle’s mare blanked in all 15 starts aged five, six or seven but scored at odds of 9-2 at Tramore on New Year’s Day 2023 – her eighth Birthday – and has since added wins at 14-1 and 11-2.


Territories, soft or heavy going

One sire I’ve been following closely on the Flat this year is Territories, whose progeny do well on soft or heavy going. It’s early days where his jump progeny are concerned but four of his 14 hurdlers have won for a small profit…

Those who started at odds of 8-1 or shorter were four from seven for a profit of £9.86 and, though

this is a dangerously small sample size, his progeny could be worth siding with when the mud’s flying.


Milan, first run after a wind operation

Since late January 2018, wind operations, like headgear, have had to be declared when a horse is entered for a race in Britain. Certain trainers have done exceptionally well with runners on their first start back after undergoing wind surgery though beware of small sample sizes. This is the record of David Pipe, split by year…

It might have been tempting to lay these runners after Pipe went 0-37 in 2018 but his wind-op recipients did much better the following year.

The progeny of certain sires often improve for wind surgery with the record of Milan being of particular interest…


by Andrew Mount

Racing pundit/journalists with daily tipping/analysis columns for GG.co.ukSportsLens.com and Tote.co.uk. I also write a weekly column for Racing & Football Outlook.

Past lives include racecourse bookmaker, author of the Trend Horses books for Raceform, full-time pro punter and racehorse owner.