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2 year old sire stats for Royal Ascot

By Nick Franks on Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Two year old races at Royal Ascot are some of the most exciting out there, but trying to find a winner based on their racing form alone is a difficult, if not impossible, task.

Why is this? At this stage of the season, most contenders have only had one, two or three runs; most of the form is from diverse courses in varying classes on different ground, with different form lines, and to cap it all the fields are typically large. Needles and haystacks spring to mind. Trainer strike rates can be useful, as we’ve covered in recent posts, as can their records for Royal Ascot in particular, but still don’t tell us much about the horse’s ability itself.

Fortunately there’s more than one way to look at assessing form and future potential, and it’s at times when runners’ form is unexposed that it generally pays to look at other factors in the horse’s profile as indicators of potential ability – especially when there is far more information available than the bare runs – such as the form of the horse’s sire.

This can be a particularly strong pointer at Royal Ascot and allows us, by a different means other than runner form alone, to use a powerful new angle for establishing the potential of the animal in question.

Today we’re going to look at measuring sire strike rates and ranking them, a method which has been doing quite well so far this Royal Ascot. Of the two 2 year old races so far, on Tuesday, the top contender by sire strike rate sire produced the winner of the Coventry Stakes in Calyx at 2/1.

Here’s a screenshot of the query results for the Coventry:

Yesterday, Wednesday, saw the joint top sire strike rate produce the second in Gossamer Wings at 25/1, and the fourth, So Perfect, at 8/1. Another screenshot of the query follows:

Sod’s law says that today will be the day that the two year old sires system fails, since that happens all the time in betting – and of course there is no such thing as a sure thing. But there is such a thing as gaining an “an edge” with a method or a combination of methods. The edge needs to be measured and weighed up against the prices on offer to see if there is value, but that’s not what today’s post is about – it’s about a method to generate a possible edge in the first place.

We can also pick holes in ranking anything by strike rate. The winner on day 1 included its own previous win in the very small sample size – because, as a sire, Kingman’s progency have not yet had many runs.

But given those warnings, there is usually little influence of the horse itself in this method, particularly when there is a large sample of previous runs. Also, on the question of sample size, it’s possible to overcome the problem of small samples by applying some simple Bayesian priors to augment the winner and runner ratios – but more about that as well on another day.

So without further ado, here is today’s ranking of horses by sire strike rate for the Norfolk Stakes. Only 10 runners, so not such a cavalry charge as the first two days, and also note very narrow variance between strike rates, with a low strike rate at 11%, as top.


And – since it’s better to teach a man to fish, here is the Smartform query that subscribers can run for themselves for the rest of Royal Ascot.


-- Select the flat turf races for 2yos today at Ascot with selected columns from the daily races and runers tables -- Note Database lists the course as Royal_Ascot so looking for all races with Ascot in the course hense using like with % DROP TABLE IF EXISTS today_2yoturf_races; CREATE TABLE today_2yoturf_races AS ( select race_id, meeting_date, scheduled_time, Course, cloth_number, name, foaling_date, sire_name , forecast_price_decimal, Trainer_Name Trainer, Jockey_Name Jockey, Stall_Number Draw from daily_races join daily_runners using (race_id) where meeting_date > curdate() and race_type = 'flat' and track_type = 'turf' and age_range = '2YO only' and course like '%Ascot%' ); -- Create history for 2yo turf sires -- DROP TABLE IF EXISTS hist_2yoturf_sires; CREATE TABLE hist_2yoturf_sires AS ( select z.sire_name , COUNT(*) AS Runners, SUM(winner) AS Winners, sum(WinProfit) as WinProfit, ROUND(((SUM(CASE WHEN z.finish_position = 1 THEN 1 ELSE 0 END) / COUNT(*)) * 100),2) AS WinPct, case when SUM(winner) = 0 then NULL else round((SUM(CASE WHEN z.winner = 1 THEN z.distance_yards ELSE 0 END)/220) / SUM( z.winner ),1) END AS AveWinDist, sum(Placer) as Placers, sum(PLaceProfit) as PlaceProfit, ROUND(((SUM(CASE WHEN z.Placer = 1 THEN 1 ELSE 0 END) / COUNT(*)) * 100),2) AS PlacePct, case when SUM(placer) = 0 then NULL else round((SUM(CASE WHEN z.Placer = 1 THEN z.distance_yards ELSE 0 END)/220) / SUM( z.Placer ),1) END AS AvePlaceDist from ( select hru.sire_name , hra.distance_yards,hru.starting_price_decimal,hru.days_since_ran , hra.class, hru.finish_position , case when hru.finish_position = 1 then 1 else 0 end as Winner, case when num_runners < 8 then case when finish_position in ( 2) then 1 else 0 end else case when num_runners < 16 then case when finish_position in ( 2,3) then 1 else 0 end else case when handicap = 1 then case when finish_position in (2,3,4) then 1 else 0 end else case when finish_position in ( 1,2,3) then 1 else 0 end end end end as Placer, round(CASE WHEN finish_position = 1 THEN (starting_price_decimal -1) ELSE -1 END,2) AS WinProfit, round(case when ( Case when num_runners < 5 then case when finish_position = 1 then 1 else 0 end else case when num_runners < 8 then case when finish_position in ( 1,2) then 1 else 0 end else case when num_runners < 16 then case when finish_position in ( 1,2,3) then 1 else 0 end else case when handicap = 1 then case when finish_position in (1,2,3,4) then 1 else 0 end else case when finish_position in ( 1,2,3) then 1 else 0 end end end end end ) = 1 then (starting_price_decimal -1) / Case when num_runners < 5 then 1 else case when num_runners < 8 then 4 else case when num_runners < 12 then 5 else case when handicap = 1 then 4 else 5 end end end end else -1 end,2) PlaceProfit from today_2yoturf_races join historic_runners hru using (sire_name) join historic_races hra on hru.race_id = hra.race_id where hra.race_type_Id = 12 and hra.max_age = 2 and in_race_comment <> 'Withdrawn' and starting_price_decimal IS NOT NULL ) z group by z.sire_name order by z.sire_name); -- -- Create current 2yo turf runners with sire stats select CONCAT(substr(tdr.scheduled_time, 9, 2),'-',substr(tdr.scheduled_time, 6, 2)) as Date, substr(tdr.scheduled_time, 11, 6) as Time, tdr.course as Course, tdr.cloth_number as 'No.', Draw, tdr.name as Name, case when tdr.forecast_price_decimal is NULL then 'Res' else tdr.forecast_price_decimal - 1 end as FSP, CONCAT(substr(tdr.foaling_date, 9, 2),'-',substr(tdr.foaling_date, 6, 2)) as DOB, Trainer, Jockey, tds.sire_name Sire, tds.Runners, tds.Winners, tds.WinProfit, tds.WinPct, IFNULL(tds.AveWinDist,'-') AveWinDist, tds.Placers, tds.PlaceProfit, tds.PlacePct, IFNULL(tds.AvePlaceDist,'-') AvePlaceDist from today_2yoturf_races tdr left join hist_2yoturf_sires tds using (sire_name) order by tdr.scheduled_time, tdr.course, tds.WinPct desc;

The notes in the query tell you what’s going on at every stage. Copy and paste this query into your favourite MySQL client – Heidi, MySQL Workbench, or Sequel Pro on Mac – and after a few seconds you’ll have the top contenders for tomorrow’s two year old racing, too.

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