Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Betting Strategies: Early Season Pointers for Two-Year-old Horse Racing

In many ways, this post is a little bit out of time with the season. We are coming into autumn while this post considers the early season.  

That's what happens when I have a slightly quieter day. Always thinking, planning and trying to find ways to improve my understanding of this complex niche. I like to use the maxim: ''Knowledge is power''. 

You don't find much data beyond the pages of the Racing Post or one of a myriad of publications which do a fine job of keeping you informed at a very basic level. 

In truth, that level is satisfactory for the general racing needs, which I use myself quite adequately. 

However, what if you want to investigate a little deeper, below the surface structure and get into the nitty-gritty. I have done a little bit of research to show you what can be discovered and how this knowledge can help you look in the right direction when it comes to winners and losers. Both are equally important. Winners for putting money in your pocket and finding losers to lay (if that is your thing) or save you betting and wishing you really hadn't bothered. I'm sure we can all appreciate the latter. 

So I wanted to have a better understanding of the first month or so of the two-year-old season. It can be a tricky time for punters. Starting the season with field after field of debutantes, limited form, trying to assess the merit of form, appreciating the betting (or not) and, as we do here, making use of significant entries, which, again, are few and far between early season. 

Anyway, I took an hour of my time to investigate. 

This season started at the end of March, the Brocklesby Stakes being the only two-year-old horse race in that month, followed by just 36 2yo horse races in April. 

You can see from these numbers that the early season is very much a slow burner. It gives horses and trainers time to get into the swing of the season and assess. This is what we, as punters, should be doing, too. 

From a betting point of view, early-season punts are either music to your ears or a terrible red-faced mistake. 

That is why I am particularly careful. I would even consider it prudent to wait until the start of June before betting. It gives time to appreciate form and even horse trainers need time to appreciate the level of ability within the two-year-old ranks. 

So what did this first month or so reveal? 

It is quite interesting. 

From 37 races we saw 25 winners come from just 7 stables. It proves the dominance of the early-season yards who know their job. 

It will come as little surprise to see that Archie Watson led the way with 8 winners, many of these horses being the better throughout the season such as Lamberth Walk, Lady Kermit and Electric Ladyland. True, we saw better horses later season, but this is hardly surprising. 

Other top stables included David Evans (4), Richard Fahey (3), Mark Johnston (3), David O'Meara (3), Charlie Appleby (2) and Paul Cole (2). 

Twelve over stables found one winner apiece. [Michael Bell, George Scott, Tom Dascombe, Robert Cowell, Clive Cox, Richard Hannon, Tim Easterby, Jamie Osborne, Bryan Smart, Mick Channon, Jeremy Noseda & Joseph Tuite]. 

Winners came from a pretty restricted betting guide. 

Almost 80% of winners (29) were priced 13/2 & less sp. In fact, 21 (56%) of the winners were priced 7/2 & less sp. 

15 of the winners had previously raced. 13 were priced 11/2 & less sp. 

So much for searching for big priced winners. However, there were half a dozen which won priced 10/1 or greater. It's interesting to consider that these were all debutantes. 

This is just one of any number of years. I haven't done a study to appreciate whether past years had similar statistics. I would imagine they follow a similar path. Trainer statistics have a way of repeating themselves. So what have we gathered from this information? Basically, early-season winners come from the dominant trainers. This may vary from year to year, as the ebb and flow of ability go from one yard to the next. This has much to do with the intention of the given stables. It is no fluke that Archie Watson or David Evans feature high on the leaderboard. 

The starting price of winners is revealing. Basically, the chance of you betting a winner priced over 13/2 starting price (SP) is slim. In fact, well over half of all winners were priced 7/2 & less sp. 

Hopefully, this basic understanding will help you appreciate what it takes to be a successful punter early season. 

I will continue this study up to the start of June to see if it follows a similar pattern.