Archive for April, 2011

Frankel again value at odds-on?

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

In last October’s newsletter, in the aftermath of Frankel’s Dewhurst victory, we discussed how and when betting at odds-on could be value.

A blog post before the Dewhurst also suggested Frankel was value at odds-on for that race.

Likewise, it’s hard to look anywhere else in today’s 2000 Guineas.  Most pundits will say that the race is not interesting for betting purposes, but they can’t see anything beating Frankel.  How can those statements be reconciled?  If nothing will beat Frankel, then surely he is value?

Of course, horseracing is never that simple.  Anything can happen.  Many punters, myself included, like to see a price above odds-on on any horse, purely as insurance against random acts of god that occur in racing from time to time.

But neither does simply asking for odds against accurately quantify how much insurance is needed before a bet is value.  The stats show, as per the newsletter article, that betting at odds-on can be profitable, even with a few simple rules applied about race types and field sizes.  How much more profitable can it be when we consider the individual horse in question and the race itself?

In the case of Frankel, we can quickly run out of superlatives about his performances to date.   There is an element of tension in the build up to the race – Frankel pulls so strongly early on, there is a worry about settling him, and as he is drawn widest on the track, there will not be immediate cover in the early part of the race.

Personally, I think Frankel is such a superior colt it would be interesting to see him get his lead early and win his races from the front.  Instead, in most of his races he’s shown he’s faster than everything else early on and has to be heavily restrained.

Then there’s the opposition.  Most are unexposed as 3 year olds.  It’s also a classic mistake (no pun intended) to overemphasise the quality of 2 year old form for 3 year old classic horses – the leap in development between 2 and 3 years is so great that horses can frequently reverse form with each other as one develops more or less.

But the Greenham proved Frankel is no back number.  He ran it just like his 2 year old races.  No doubt the performance of one of the other contenders today will surprise, but it’s still impossible to look further than Frankel for the winner.

If we had to name one to chase home, it would be Casamento, though it’s not very encouraging that Frankie Dettori says “Frankel can’t be beaten”.  Maybe some small stakes each way money, or the forecast with Frankel is interesting.

It’s not much fun betting at odds-on, and this race doesn’t need a bet in order to be compelling.  It would also be mad to risk much with the rewards being so paltry to the stake.  Having said that, I think at approximately 2/1 on it’s a bit like buying some extra Saturday beer money – so why not?

Clean sweep

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Today was a clean sweep of winners for the selected market movers spotted every day by Smart Markets:

Date Course Time Name Min Price*
2011-04-10 Ascot 14:00:00 Invictus 3.4
2011-04-10 Wincanton 14:10:00 Spanish Treasure 1.3
2011-04-10 Ludlow 14:55:00 Pepe Simo 1.6
2011-04-10 Wincanton 15:55:00 Russian Flag 5.8
2011-04-10 Wincanton 17:05:00 Mauritino 4.6

Lincoln Trends

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Some thoughts on the first big handicap of the Flat season, using Smartform for trends analysis.

First, find the previous winners of the race and look at some of their attributes to establish a likely winner profile..

This was trickier than anticipated, since in the first query (limited to race_name LIKE “%Lincoln%” and course=”Doncaster”) the 2006 and 2007 runnings of the race appeared to have gone missing!  Stripping off the course condition reminds us that the 2006 running was at Redcar and the 2007 running was at Newcastle.  Nothing is ever simple in horseracing 🙂

So, here we have the basic trends:

Of course we can look at a lot more trending information for each runner, but let’s start with some things we can easily gather from the racecard – especially as this seems to whittle down the field considerably.

In recent years this is a 4 year-olds’ race.  This is quite striking.  Last year, only 5 of the 21 runners were 4 year olds, the year before 7 out of 20, and in 2008, 8 out of 21.  In the last 8 years (the timespan for Smartform), a 4 year old has won 6 out of 8 runnings.

Looking at this year’s 4 year olds we can use a one line Smartform query (with the simple condition “age=4”) to give us the following table:

We’ve added in the draw, since we’re going to look at the best place for pace in the race to help us make a decision.

So, is there a pace advantage where any of these are drawn?  Well, Gunner Lindley looks one of the likeliest to make a strong pace in his own right, along with Eton Rifles.  However, there are horses with good early pace in many places on the track today, so it’s hard to say in advance that any of these will be inconvenienced – it all depends how their jockeys ride it and where they split.

If we add in recent trainer form, Richard Hannon has by far the best recent (ie. 14 day) strike rate coming into today’s race, so Fremont may be worth a second look at a double figure price, and, along with the market leader, Taqleed, has to be of interest.