All Weather AnglesJanuary 11th, 2024
By Andrew Mount
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With a cold snap approaching and the prospect of frost causing national hunt racing to be abandoned, I’ve taken a good look at some system-based all-weather punting angles…
Part 1 - TRACKS
CHELMSFORD, apprentice jockeys in handicaps
Chelmsford seems to be the trickiest all-weather track for apprentice jockeys to ride. Pre-Covid, I attended almost every meeting at the Essex venue and witnessed many inexperienced jockeys panic when looking for a clear run, switching wide in the straight rather than waiting for a gap to appear and ending up in No-Man’s Land down the middle of the track when it was advantageous to race close to the inside rail. Since May 1st (2023), backing any horse ridden by a jockey claiming an allowance (including amateur riders as well as apprentices) in a handicap at Chelmsford would have returned a loss of £193.47 to a £1 level stake at SP (-57.92% on turnover). Laying the same horses at Betfair SP (after 2% commission) would have yielded a profit of £162.10 (+48.53%).
Conversely, those horses beaten under claiming jockeys at Chelmsford often make good bets on their next outing, provided it’s away from Chelmsford and the jockey is again claiming an allowance, with 14 of the 86 qualifiers scoring (16.3%) for a profit of £51.50 to a £1 level stake at SP.
LINGFIELD, ‘dead’ rail
Lingfield’s Polytrack surface is often deeper/slower on the inside rail, making life difficult for those drawn very low. Since racing resumed after lockdown in June 2020, horses drawn in stalls 1, 2 and 3 have a combined record of 556 winners from 4858 runners (11.45% strike-rate) for a loss of £1485.96 to a £1 level stake at SP (-30.59% on turnover). Laying the same horses at Betfair SP (after 2% commission) would have returned a profit of £688.31 (+14.17% on turnover). Even those who started as SP favourite struggled, landing 198 of their 625 starts (31.7% strike-rate) for a loss of £144.35 (expected winners = 227.34, A/E = 0.87).
Poorly-drawn Lingfield winners are worth keeping a close eye on – since the beginning of December 2023, five of ten qualifiers won at the next time of asking for a profit of £25.00 to a £1 level stake at SP…
NEWCASTLE, low draws on the round course
Much has been written about the draw bias on the straight course (distances of 5f-1m) at Newcastle, but the round course (1m2f+) rarely merits a mention. However, like at Lingfield it can be difficult to overcome a low stall. Since the Tapeta surface was introduced in 2016, stalls 1, 2 and 3 have struggled in big-field (12 or more runners) handicaps over 1m2f or further, with just 25 winners from 591 runners (4.23%) for a loss of £307.63 to a £1 level stake at SP (-52.05% on turnover).
NEWCASTLE, round course pace bias
Front-runners have a poor record over distances of 1m2f or further on Newcastle’s Tapeta surface and, no matter how slow they go in the early stages, the pace horses almost always get picked off by the stalkers or late closers. Pacesetters who run well (defined as finishing in the top four) often make good bets on their next start. Using Proform we can set up a query to find horses who ran over 1m2f or further on the all-weather at Newcastle last time, who made the running and finished in the first four. Here’s how…
- In LTO (last time out) Race select ‘A/W’ and set LTO Distance to >=2180 (1m2f = 2200 yards) but I always shave a few yards off to future-proof the system in case distances are ever re-measured
- In LTO Horse type <=4 in LTO Finishing and untick all bar ‘L’ (led) in LTO Pace Abbreviation
- In LTO Course untick all bar Newcastle (the quick way of doing this is to right click the green area, click ‘select none’ and then just tick Newcastle.
This will produce the following results (as of 9th January 2024)…
Siding only with those who raced on the Flat (turf or all-weather) next time boosts the profit further…
Part 2 – TRAINERS
MARCO BOTTI, turf to Tapeta switchers
Horses often have two different handicap marks – one for turf and one for the all-weather – and there are plenty of trainers who seem to perform better on synthetics. Maco Botti is a good example – his career strike-rate is 13.92% on the all-weather, as opposed to 10.97% on turf…
Botti does especially well when switching a turf runner to Tapeta (I’ve just re-produced the Newcastle/Wolverhampton figures below as the sample size for Southwell is very small, 0-8 so far)…
By far the most interesting angle with Botti is what happens to his Tapeta winners when they’re switched to turf next time. In short, they usually run poorly, with all 35 of the Wolverhampton scorers losing, often at short prices…
HEATHER MAIN, 2yos at Newcastle
Small sample sizes are obviously very dangerous but there’s no harm in creating a system to track a particular angle out of curiosity. Heather Main is a name that often goes under the radar but she’s five from five with her 2yos on the all-weather at Newcastle for a profit of £47.58 to a £1 level stake at SP…
She hasn’t had a runner since November 2019 but if the next one was 16-1 and running tonight would you back it?
ANDREW SLATTERY, second run since gelded
Andrew Slattery has a good recent record (since the beginning of 2019) with his all-weather runners on their second start since gelded…
…again, it’s another small sample but often provides a good trading opportunity, with latest qualifier Badda Bing going off at 4-1 from the early 10-1 when third at Dundalk on December 22nd.
KEVIN RYAN, first run after a wind operation, 3yos only
Kevin Ryan has a five from ten record with 3yos on the all-weather who were returning from wind surgery for a profit of £26.50 to the usual £1 stake. Those who started at single-figure odds had form figures of 111113. Again, it’s a small sample size but it’s an angle worth being aware of if you’re thinking of having a bet in the race the next qualifier rocks up in.
Part 3 – SIRES
WAR COMMAND, Chelmsford
Progeny of War Command have a 15 from 73 record at Chelmsford for a profit of £94.00. Backing only those aged three or older increases the profits…
MEHMAS, 2yos, Polytrack
Juvenile progeny of the sire Mehmas have a cracking record on Polytrack (i.e. Chelmsford, Dundalk, Kempton or Lingfield)..
The results are especially impressive in nurseries (2yo handicaps)…
KODI BEAR, WOLVERHAMPTON
Progeny of the sire Kodi Bear have a useful record on Wolverhampton’s Tapeta surface, with 18 winners from 135 bets (13.3% strike-rate) for a profit of £35.48 to a £1 level stake at SP. In races over 5f-7f only the score is 16 from 92 (17.4%) for a profit of £63.48, improving again to 11 from 44 (+£83.88) for those drawn in stall 4 or lower.
by Andrew Mount
Past lives include racecourse bookmaker, author of the Trend Horses books for Raceform, full-time pro punter and racehorse owner.