Something of Interest: Horse Profiling/Video

Hello, 

As you may or may not know I write a monthly article for the Betting Insiders Club Members’ Report. I started contributing in October last year and I have permission to reproduce these reports on this blog, as long as 2 months has passed from initial publication to their members. 

The first of these articles looked at some track stats from my jumps guide so I won’t repeat that. 

The second article looked at ‘Horse Profiling’ and I have repeated this below. To start with there is the intro from my first article which you may find of interest. The profiling article then follows. Below this there is a video. Now, I recorded this just under a year ago I believe. My approach to ‘profiling’ has developed a bit since then (I put much more emphasis on class droppers and ratings droppers) but it gives you an over-the-shoulder look at me using HorseRaceBase for this purpose. Much of it is still of some interest I think, but as always you will be the best judge of that!…

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So, the intro from my first article

Hello and welcome to my first article for the Betting Insiders Club Members Report. My aim in this article is to share with you some practical trainer stats that you can start using straight away, and throughout the rest of the jumps season. But first I suppose I should introduce myself and explain a bit about my background and approach to betting. I will try and keep this brief… (albeit I think this important)

My name is Josh Wright, I am 26 and live about 15 minutes away from Newmarket. I first got into racing aged 18 when studying Modern History/Politics at the University of Liverpool. It was trips to Aintree that autumn (2007) which first sparked my interest. Watching Monet’s Garden bowl around in the Old Roan Chase was brilliant. He beat a 7 year old by the name of Kauto Star into second that year.

My initial approach to betting was very much profit driven and, not really knowing what I was doing, I swiftly signed up to a ‘tipster service’ that I’d found via Google. No use of review sites here  – what were they? Over the course of the next 9 months or so I lost £2650. Whilst that experience left me emotionally and financially scarred I learnt some valuable lessons. From then on I threw myself into the sport properly and spent a good while learning about the game. I bought a load of books, found a few decent blogs that I still read to this day, and signed up to some better services that would all help towards my education. Of course I am still learning today (you never stop)

Following University (this isn’t a life story, don’t worry!) I was elected President of the Students Union for a couple of years and then went to write a few speeches (one of the more glamorous tasks) for the Vice Chancellor. In August 2014 I packed it all in to pursue my passion for horse racing.

With the help/guidance/advice of Matt Bisogno of geegeez.co.uk I have brought a couple of products to market which have done ok, and have been profitable – albeit in truth they have underperformed against my expectations to date – but that is a discussion for another day. (editor’s note – they refer to OneTrackTrainers -of which I still need to complete a final review having finished at the end of 2015, and Flat Profiles 2015 – the best aspects of both will be/are amalgamated into my Members’ Club Reports)

Over the last year I have been developing my blog over at www.racingtoprofit.co.uk. My aim is to make it one of the best sources of free and useful information around, as well as offering my opinion on certain races and racing in general.  I do need to update my results again but the blog has made over 80 points since last November to ‘advised’ stakes,(usually 1 or 2 point win bets) as well as highlighting plenty more winners in the daily posts. (editor’s note – those results were as of the end of October I think)

I am not a professional punter as my main income is not derived or dependent on betting. However I like to think I have an increasingly professional mind-set and I do make a decent second income from betting. I have a portfolio approach. The two main cores of my betting are trainer angles/stats/micro systems and ‘horse profiling’. No doubt I will write about both in the future, albeit I know the trainer stats side is well covered in this report already. I subscribe to both HorseRaceBase and Geegeez Gold – I forget the last time I looked at the RacingPost and gave up my subscription some time ago. I do like ‘attacking’ a race cold to so speak with preference for 3m+ handicap chases. I also like sprint handicaps and using trends/stats as a ‘way in’ for big races.

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And then onto November’s article…

Horse Profiling (+horses to follow)

My approach to horseracing is made up of a few different elements. Trainer stats play a big part, as do micro systems and big race trends/stats. (I’m not quite up to Dr Nick’s level though!) (editor’s note: refers to one of their regular contributors who sets the bar for big race trends analysis, and has made a silly amount of profit in past 12 months, +400 points or so I believe – I am trying to get to his level 🙂 ) The other core of my betting is what I call ‘horse profiling’. In this article I will discuss my approach and also share a few horses that you can start tracking straight away.

There are a few different approaches to creating a ‘horses to follow list’. In general I don’t have time for all of these books and lists that get banded around, especially at this time of year. They tend to focus on unexposed horses and their potential – what they ‘could’ become. I rarely bet in non-handicaps and races for unexposed horses (unless following a specific micro angle or trainer stat)

I also like to see evidence of a horse’s suitability for race conditions and like to keep the amount of educated ‘guessing’ down to a minimum. Of course there are always exceptions to these general principles and analysing any unexposed horses in any given race is essential.

But, tracking a novice hurdler that hacked up last season, or an impressive bumper winner or indeed a decent novice chaser simply doesn’t excite me too much – not from a betting perspective. Trainer comments and stable tours can be valuable – especially when a few targets are identified for exciting horses or stable stars – that information can be useful. But, as I said, tracking horses on what they could become doesn’t really interest me, especially when their form is at novice level.  

I prefer to track horses on what they have done – more exposed types. Waiting, waiting and waiting some more for certain horses to race in their ‘ideal’ conditions.

In general I bet in handicaps and this ‘profiling’ approach can be a great ‘way in’, especially for handicap chasers but also for Flat Handicappers.

Before going into what I look for, let’s start with a real life example…

HORSE LOST LEGEND (8yo)
TRAINER Jonjo O’Neill
POSITIVES 5/8, 6 places over 20-20.5f; 5/8, 6 places 1-11 runners; 5/11, 6 places C2<
NEGATIVES 0/10, 1 place 21F+ ; 0/8, 1 place 12+ runners ; 0/7, 1 place Listed/Gr3. 0/4, 0 places OR141+
IDEAL COND. 20f -20.5f / C2< / 1-11 runners / OR 140<               
FORM IN COND. 1,4,6,1,1,2,1,1
NOTES He is ‘only’ 8 still and has had 19 chase starts. It is possible he improves to win beyond his apparent ceiling of 140.

 

These stats refer to his record in handicap chases. The ‘1’ refers to his latest win which was a few weeks ago at Bangor. I, and anyone else who followed my blog post that day, was on. I wasn’t tracking him before that day but when looking through the runners a clear ‘profile’ appeared to emerge. Following some further research it looked like he had his ‘ideal/favoured’ conditions. He went on to win well at 9/1 – and in that sense his job is done.

 

What factors am I looking for?

My analysis of racing has been greatly improved by use of the ‘profiler’ tool in HorseRaceBase – a brilliant piece of kit I would advise anyone to use if you are not already.

When looking at more exposed horses it can become apparent if they have a clear preference. Of course there are the usual factors – such as course record, going preference, distance and class. These used to be the main factors I considered although viewing this information in an accessible way was difficult before using HRB.

The use of this profiler tool opened my eyes to other factors that I had never really considered…

Official Ratings Range – I had never really thought about horses being campaigned to perform when dropping to/below a certain mark – or the fact they always struggled above a certain mark. This may sound obvious I suppose but until visualising it with this tool it wasn’t something I actively considered, not as a clear ‘profile’ anyway.

Ingleby Angel would be an interesting example from this flat season. I was tracking him due to his record at Redcar which is now 5/7 following a win this season. However, following his latest win he could be classed as a ratings/class dropper. His last turf run of 2013 saw him rated OR96. His form since then, in C2 rated OR91 or above (including any jockey claims) now reads… 5,2,9,27,13,2,7,5,7,12,5,5,9,13,10,6,14.

This season he dropped to OR90 or below (inc jock claims) and into Class 3 on two occasions. He won both times. (11/2, 8/1). He is ‘only’ 6 and given he is trained by O’Meara could well be placed to win of a mark above OR90. But, when including jockey claims, this isn’t something he has managed to do as yet. One to keep an eye out for next season, albeit his mark will now need to come down again.

Odds Range/Fav Status – Again I had never really thought about ‘money horses’ before but it is remarkable how many you can spot that only perform when below a certain odds ceiling or have a great record when Favourite.

Cloudy Too is a possible money horse, 5/8, 6 places when 6/1 or below.(all chases) Grandads Horse is a perfect 4/4 when favourite. (all handicaps)

Number of Runners – There are many factors that can affect how or why a horse performs in races with a certain field size. The safest ‘way in’ I have found to date is to look at the extremes. Some horses only appear to perform in single figure fields, 1-7 runners. This could be because they like to front run and in such races there is less competition for the lead. Some may just not like being crowded and like to have lots of space around them. Jumpers may like more time/space to measure fences for example. Or, it could be none of those factors and simply how they are campaigned – with trainers finding weaker small field races for them to perform in.

At the other end some horses never really perform with 16+ runners. This may be due to how competitive these races are, an aversion to being crowded, or how these races are run not suiting. I have yet to find any horses that only perform in larger fields, but I dare say there are some out there – these types may just require a strong gallop over certain trips for example.

 

Days Since Run – ‘Rest Pattern’ is now firmly on my radar although just focussing on this alone can be dangerous. Some of these patterns can be coincidence – but, there are those that have a stand out record when returning within 1-7 days, or 1-15 days, and likewise after a break of 121+ days.

Month/Time of Year – again, another tricky one as this can be linked to what the going is (ie a horse only performs on Good to Firm, and therefore has a decent record in July/August for example) and it can just be coincidence again. In general there are some horses who only perform in certain months, or seasons. Of course some trainers just peak at certain times of year and it may not be a preference of the horse.

Course Direction – Right Handed/Left Handed/Straight course can be an important factor, especially for chasers. Many of us will see horses jumping one way or the other. It is important to check whether this is a result of the tracks they have run at or the type/class of race. For example a right-handed preference could just be coincidence if they are a C3 animal and have only raced LH in C2 or above. Going LH may not be the issue.

Weight – This is more about absolute weight, rather than relative weight. Some horses are just not big enough to carry 11-12, regardless of whether they have the ability. Again these are hard to spot but checking whether a horse can carry a big weight can be important. Likewise some horses will only perform when carrying top weight – indicating they may have dropped down to a level where they outclass the opposition.

‘Surface’ – in HRB this highlights a horse’s record on flat through to very undulating tracks. Again, especially with jumpers, some horses simply do not like undulating tracks – maybe this puts too much stress on their limbs – and likewise some don’t perform on flat tracks – maybe finding the pace too quick if they are a grinder that likes a stiff finish and needs horses to come back to them.

Headgear – an interesting angle as some horses will only perform with certain headgear on and this is useful information to have on your side.

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Some Observations…

‘Profiling’ isn’t an exact science and a ‘profile’ horse can make you look stupid when bolting up in conditions that looked far from ideal, but in general this approach is a great addition to any punting armoury.

There are a few dangers with this approach (other than getting the research wrong).

  • I’m normally dealing with more exposed horses and clearly they are susceptible to being beaten by younger/more progressive rivals. If the profile is strong and you like the price you can ignore other runners but if you have time I would always advise glancing at other runners.
  • Every horse reaches a drop off point when they appear to regress. Judging whether a horse has had enough and whether to sop following them is always challenging. ‘Just one more go’ syndrome can be hard to shake off!
  • It is best to have one or two ‘stand out’ factors, rather than trying to cobble together a profile out of many different/weaker factors.
  • The ‘trainer change’ is one to be wary of. A profile can mean nothing when a horse is switched to a new trainer. Their methods etc can render any previous pattern irrelevant.

So, that is a whistle stop tour of the factors I look at when trying to establish whether a horse has a profile worth tracking. Of course the majority do not have a clear pattern but when you find one they can be very profitable to follow.

Three to keep an eye on and add to your trackers… (Handicap Chases unless stated)

HORSE RAAJIH (7yo)
TRAINER R M Woollacot
POSITIVES 3/5, 5 places C3</IRE<£10k;
NEGATIVES 0/6, 2 places C2+
IDEAL COND. C3 or below
FORM IN COND. 3,1,3,1,1
NOTES He is only a 7yo and is open to improvement and has left Gordon Elliot for this yard, where he is yet to race over fences in C3. It is possible he has lost his way, it is possible he could win above this level. His wins have been over 24/25F. OR135 his highest winning chase mark to date. Performed on variety of going.

 

HORSE BENNYS MIST (9yo)
TRAINER Miss Venetia Williams
POSITIVES 4/5, 4 places on Heavy; 4/9, 5 places C3<; 4/9, 5 places 1-11 runners; 3/5, 3 places in January
NEGATIVES 0/16, 4 places Good through to Soft; 0/12, 3 places C2+; 0/12, 3 places 12+ runners;
IDEAL COND. HEAVY
FORM IN COND. 1,PU,1,1,1
NOTES He has not raced on Heavy since Jan 2014 but ran with credit in some decent races last season on livelier ground. Wins from 21-24f to date. He appears hard to predict in all other conditions but if racing on Heavy I would be interested.

 

HORSE STANLEY BRIDGE (8yo) (HNCP HURDLES)
TRAINER Barry Murtagh
POSITIVES 4/10, 8 places Sedgefield 17f; 4/11, Good to Soft;
NEGATIVES 1/17, 7 places, Soft/Heavy; 0/28, 4 places 17/2+ ; 0/10, 2 places 12+ runners
IDEAL COND. Hncp Hurdle; Sedgefield; 17f; Good to Soft or better
FORM IN COND. 2,1,1,1,1,2,6
NOTES Doesn’t appear to like soft/heavy even at his fav track. The 6 was after a 151 day break. He is very well handicapped now after some moderate recent form, having won off OR101 and will be interesting when getting conditions again.

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And finally, the video…

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I hope you find that of some interest. As ever comments and questions are welcome. 

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Josh

 

About This Author

A community committed to making racing fun, enjoyable and profitable in the long term. Josh

21 Comments

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  • Great read Josh and as for the just one more go syndrome all I can say is Mission Complete!!!

    Tony 22/01/16 10:27 AM Reply


    • Cheers Tony – haha indeed…that is the main thing with this approach – when to give up, spotting when a horse is just regressive and/or just a monkey! We know he will win at decent odds again at some point,and that we wont be on!

      Josh Wright 22/01/16 10:35 AM Reply


  • So true Josh.I have a similar approach to my betting as I only bet in handicap hurdles and chase and my starting point is to only look at horses that have won off a 7lb higher mark previously and that it acts on the going and then look at other things including a price restriction of no bigger than 20/1

    Tony 22/01/16 10:44 AM Reply


  • Should of added I don’t consider any under 4/1 either.

    Tony 22/01/16 10:58 AM Reply


    • Sorry to butt in tony but the type of races you focus on mainly that you refer to do you mind if ask what you do when the dreaded flat season comes back around ?

      Aaron 22/01/16 11:14 AM Reply


  • Thanks Josh so much

    Pab 22/01/16 11:15 AM Reply


  • Aaron no worries about asking and only to glad to answer you (if Josh doesn’t mind) When the flat starts I just struggle through with whatever summer jumps that is on,I make good money on these races and nothing on the flat so I decided just over a year ago to just focus on the handicap jumps races and not to bet on the flat full stop.Dont enjoy flat racing and just can’t find any profit angles to it either

    Tony 22/01/16 11:28 AM Reply


    • All considered/reasoned thoughts are welcome on these pages Tony, fire away!

      Josh Wright 22/01/16 12:40 PM Reply


  • Thanks for a great read Josh.Certainly concentrated an old boy’s mind

    Bill Hawksworth 22/01/16 11:29 AM Reply


    • thanks Bill, glad you found it interesting.

      Josh Wright 22/01/16 12:40 PM Reply


  • hi josh,just had a quick read of your post,looks very interesting,I’ll have a good look at it later and watch the video (apology’s if my post seems rushed i have to rush off to work.)but i had a look at yesterdays race at gowran this morning.

    Not too sure if there’s anything in this but a interesting pattern with the winners of this over the past 10 years,where four have contested the paddy power chase lto but failed to finish.(as highlighted in the Previous Place part of the statistics)

    2016 my Murphy 16/1
    2012 on his own 10/1
    2009 priest leap 20/1
    2007 homer wells 16/1

    In 2013 jadanli was pulled up in the welsh national on his previous run and wins at 25/1

    All juicy prices and if you stick in those who had previous course form(my Murphy,priest leap & jadanli) they cant have been too many qualifiers over the years,what do you think,am i finally losing the blot or is there something behind this sort of thought process.

    robbie w 22/01/16 11:41 AM Reply


    • yep, plenty of logic there. As always it is working out whether a horse PU because of a physical ailment or they just couldnt get competitive in that race for whatever reason – Leop and Gowran are quite different tracks – Leop LH and more galloping I think, G RH and a bit tighter.

      With My Murphy his trainer said something revealing – another angle to front runners that i had not thought about – to do with psychology – his trainer said some time ago (haven’t looked) he suffered a really really heavy fall – ever since then he has hated being surrounded by horses (bad memories) and prefers to race prominently, with clear air in front of him. On his penultimate race it was a standing start and he couldnt get away near the front, surrounded by other horses. He was never happy, and never ran his race. Interesting.

      In hindsight a perfect case could be made for MM given that he was second in the race last year. In fact that probably should have been enough for some interest at those odds- as soon as that raced finished I should think they targeted a return to this race. When a horse is targeted at a race you have to take more recent form with a pinch of salt – you want them to show something but a trainer won’t want to ruin a mark etc.

      So, definitely something in that thought process, and it is the type of thinking that finds value bets, and profits, over time. You have to try and create ‘a story’ for some of the horses in some of these big races and think beyond the numbers of their recent form. We will have to remember this for next year’s race!

      Josh Wright 22/01/16 12:47 PM Reply


      • Thanks josh,will be interesting if mala beach or Ucello Conti follow a similar pattern next year,great article above and cheers again for the reply

        robbie w 22/01/16 9:45 PM Reply


  • Thanks Josh being a Horseracebase user myself I found the video very interesting,downloaded it so I can put it on my tablet.Cheers BoB

    BoB 22/01/16 12:18 PM Reply


    • Cheers Bob, good to hear.

      Josh Wright 22/01/16 12:49 PM Reply


  • Good read Josh. Interestingly enough Benny is out agian tomorrow and its been raining here all morning and I am 40 mins from Ascot so might end up close to heavy. I actually think he appears best over galloping tracks over 2m4-2m5f based on his performances in less than ideal ground. Just depends if he is on a high enough mark although the runner up has franked the form. I have taken to looking at the tracker/distance winners on the shortcuts in HRB to try and find some AW horses to profile however obviously its not as simple for the National Hunt horses. Is there any tricks to finding them or just a case of spotting them on a day by day basis. I guess looking at 8-10 yr olds in some of the bigger races is a start.

    Nick Mazur 22/01/16 12:35 PM Reply


    • Sorry forgot to add that I will take a look at the video later as at work (I wish there was a way to edit these posts)

      Nick Mazur 22/01/16 12:36 PM Reply


      • Yep will have a closer look at Benny’s later on – historically he is a bit too exposed for this race but if it is a bog – they are the conditions that can make more recent trends irrelevant , esp if not many renewals on heavy, and going with a more experienced one can be the way to go.

        Yep – all weather is a tricky one and in truth CD winners there are hard – you will find a lot running over the same CD numerous times which makes finding a pattern really hard. In truth, bar the micro systems, I don’t have much time for the all-weather!
        In terms of spotting them – the best way, other than finding them through general race research (so I have a good chance of spotting them in 3m chases for example) is to sit and have a ‘session’ – by that I mean create a micro system – all all weather runners at Lingfield, running in a handicap – you may want the horse to have had x number of runs/wins (so exposed) – you can then go on ‘qualifiers’ and just go through every horse, looking for a pattern. I will have a few of these ‘sessions’ before the flat season, esp to try and find some class/ratings droppers.

        Josh Wright 22/01/16 12:54 PM Reply


  • A lovely write up, very informative, thanks

    John 22/01/16 12:54 PM Reply


    • Thanks John, appreciated.

      Josh Wright 22/01/16 12:57 PM Reply


  • Excellent write up, loved the video, must get into HRB. Thanks Josh.

    Edward 22/01/16 2:50 PM Reply


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