Hello. Today I spent some time recording a video of my lap top screen as I went through the Coral Cup (a Cheltenham Festival Handicap) from a Trends/Stats perspective, using HorseRaceBase.

Below the video you can find a checklist of the trends/stats that I go through, which I also posted a few days ago. 

I am not the most technical of people, despite my age :), and I did not think the webcam was working. As it happens, it was, so you get to see me all the way through! It is the first take, and a bit rough and ready in places. But, it is me, and that’s the way it is! 

I hope some of you find it useful/interesting. As always comments and questions are welcome. 

Now, it is 55 minutes long and after the intro etc it is then just a case of me going through the checklist, discovering stats/trends for the first time for this particular race. I conclude at the end, briefly chat about the pros and cons of this approach and then finish up. 

So, that is enough from me, enjoy…




  1. Open up the ‘big race concerned’. Found in Horse Race Base using the ‘Research’ tab, ‘Big Race Trends’ .
  2. Click ‘Profiler’ (work out how many renewals there have been, how many runners in total, and how many places have been available. This information gives vital context to the stats)


  1. Previous Place
  2. Horse Age
  3. Days Since Run
  4. Horse Weight
  5. Horse Official Rating
  6. Season Runs
  7. Wins (Distance)
  8. Maximum Distance Winners Had RUN Over
  9. Maximum Distance Winners Had WON Over
  10. Position In Market
  11. Odds


  1. Click ‘Query’ Tab, once open, bottom right click ‘V4 beta’. Click ‘Breakdown’ and a whole new world opens!



  1. Origin of Horse
  2. Headgear
  3. Weight (excl J-Claim)
  4. Pos Wgts (ex Clm) – ordered position of weight carried by horse compared to competitors, excluding jockey claims.
  1. H (Horse) -Run (90 days)
  2. H – Run (career)
  3. H- Run (Hncp/Non Hncp)
  4. H-Run (NH Race Type)
  5. H- RUN (Hncp NH Race Type) 
  6. H- Run (track)
  7. H- Run (Track-NH Code)
  8. H-Run (Season)
  9. H-Run (Fences)
  1. H-Win (Career)
  2. H-Win (NH Race Type)
  3. H-Win (Hncp/Non)
  4. H-Win (Hcap NH)
  5. H-Win (Class)
  6. H-Win (Grp/Grd/Lst)
  7. H-Win (Season)
  8. H-Win (Track)
  9. H-Win (Track/NH Code)
  10. H-Win (Festival) – Just for Cheltenham
  1. Best In Three Runs
  2. Best In Five Runs
  3. H-Run (Last Win) (how many times horse has run since last winning or placing as below)
  4. H-Run (Last Placing)
  5. Class Move
  6. Distance Move
  7. Highest Class Run
  8. Highest Class Win
  1. H-Places (NH Race type)

(Horse Last Race Data)

  1. (LR)-last run – NH Race Type (ie in a chase ,how well do those that ran over hurdles last time out do)
  2. (LR) Hcap/Non
  3. (LR) Race Class (inc Irish)
  4. (LR) Grp/Grd/Lst
  5. (LR) No. of Runners
  6. (LR) Track

(Trainer Data)

  1. Trainer


I think that covers all of the factors that I go through with any ‘Big Race’ that has some kind of history. Thankfully not all factors, for every race, have any significance about them. But, collectively they help build up a profile. Once I have done that initial sift, I will look through to see what the handful of ‘killer stats’ are that I can start to use to draw up a shortlist.



Post Comments

Do join in the conversation below, we're a friendly bunch.. all questions welcome, and do share your selections or thoughts

15 responses

  1. Thanks for the video Josh (Very well presented by the way, I like the cold approach, it works well, easy to follow too), don’t be shy on doing more. Really interesting to see a fellow HRB’ er explaining how they use it. Plenty of similarities and plenty of slight differences.
    I always reduce the field with SP, <=33 in most cases, not necessarily as a starting point but usually somewhere along the line. If something bigger comes in good luck to it. The market is always a good rough guide IMO. I look for value not miracles!

    1. Thanks Chris – I wont be shy in doing more. Interesting point about the odds. As you may, or may not know, that is very much my approach to micro system – starting off with some sort of odds cap, usually around 16/1 – I then focus in on a trainer, remove the odds and go back and look again etc if that makes sense. In truth I have not thought about that with the trends, and esp when I drill down with the query tool. I would be wary of doing this as I have had success at finding big priced winners over the last 18 months or so – certainly with the coral cup given winners up to 22/1 -40/1 range I maybe wouldnt’t introduce a cut off – or maybe exclude those sent off 50/1+. That has given me something to ponder! I am guilty of looking for the odd miracle every now and then!!

      1. I think you’re right in a race such as the Coral Cup to not disregard prices as I don’t disregard prices in the National and last year was the first time I’ve missed the winner in 6 years by covering around 3 to 5 runners a year. I also like to isolate stats that are distanced from the main bulk of the winners as sometimes they’ve only occurred 10 years ago which suggests to me its worth discounting. I agree with you that price caps are far more important in micro systems and I generally remove and replace most of the criteria as I go along, it helps me understand the logic of what I’m doing and to see if the value is likely to continue or tail off soon.

  2. Very interesting Josh and you have pointed me towards a couple of HRB boxes that i never thought of using. Personally i prefer to go back no more than 10 years but as usual it is still a matter of deciding what is a significant trend/stat and what isn’t. I like your way though of converting things into percentage terms but not sure where your cut off point is.

    With the winners compared to the number of runners that is relatively straight forward it is the number of placed horses that can throw a spanner in the works. Sometimes there is a high number of placed horses but just wondered what kind of percentage you would find acceptable/unacceptable. So at first glance you can see for example that no horse has managed to carry 11st 7lbs or more to victory from 100 that have tried but you can see that 20 or 20% of them have placed, would this percentage be too high for you to completely dismiss.

    Sometimes horses will not pass all trends especially if you start throwing too many at them so just wondered if you award a points system for horses passing the key trends and horses passing the lesser trends. Regards Eric

    1. Hi Eric, thanks for comment-

      – I would not say there is a cut off point, it is more a rough guide for me to get a feel for the stats initially. The important % I suppose is the number of runners, that is what I then judge the winners and places against. So, a stats may be 0 from x, X places…no winners clearly, but this may be from say 20% of runners, producing 20% of places – that wouldn’t be a stat I would be eager to use initially to shortlist. I don’t have any strict rules when it comes to the numbers/%

      -and that is the main point – my initial approach is to get a manageable shortlist that I can then apply other tools/reasoning too. So, when I have compiled a long list of trends and stats, I will then go through and try and pick out a handful whereby I could confidently exclude runners – the weight trends in the Welsh National when Heavy would be one of those I think.

      Those ‘killer stats’ may still leave a long list so then I may look at other stats that look important, but where the win% is low and place % may be higher. There is no exact science in here, and different people may have different approaches. Your example of the weight stats – that may be something I would use further down the line, rather than straight away.

      -you will rarely find perfect trends profiles, and it is dangerous to start using too many. Ultimately you still have to look at the horse’s suitability to race conditions and make a judgement on price. I don’t do points systems or anything. Say with a race of 24 or so, I will try and get down to a shortlist of 6 say, using as many ‘killer stats’ as I call them, as possible.

  3. Hi Josh,
    Presumably you look at the Going on the day/day before the race and filter your final selections at that point.


    1. Hi Chris,
      Yes that is very much one part/aspect of my approach to any big race.. The aim is to get a manageable shortlist of likely contenders and then go through those with my own approach, looking at their ‘profile’ (ground,class,field size,days since run,time of year,hncp mark etc etc) and then pace of the race, trainer form etc.

  4. Hi Josh
    Excellent video and just what i asked for in the poll that I replied to,
    considering it was nearly an hour long it held my attention and it went very
    quickly.Many thanks for all the hard work you are putting in, it is much appreciated

    1. Hi Dave, many thanks for your kind words…yes I was surprised how quickly that went as I watched it back!! That was as long as I will make them, will attempt to do some shorter snappier ones as well if possible – but, they take as long as they take!

  5. Hi Josh

    Loved the video exactly what I was looking for.
    Do you have any quick way of cutting fields when applying the trends once found?
    Just curious as time is precious with 2 kids!

    1. hi Joe,

      Well – the shortlisting against trends/stats is probably the quickest aspect of the whole approach, depending on what stats you are using. So, once I have done the initial sift through of all those factors i try and build up a ‘winning profiles’ a handful of trends/stats which really stand out to me, that I hope will help narrow down the field.

      there is no easy way to do it. I then use a racecard in the RacingPost to go through each horse against those stats I have picked. Depending on what they are this can be quick (age say) or not so (no. of handicap wins). I like doing it this was as it starts to give me a feel for all of the horses as well. Once that is done I will then go back to my usual tools (HRB and Geegeez) for more in depth analysis etc.

      As the kids get older, maybe they can help haha.

    2. Joe H

      Although it’s a quick way of narrowing the field I would be just a little bit wary about eliminating a horse just because it fails a stat/trend. I personally prefer another negative to go with a negative but I always start with the approach of 3 strikes and your out.

      This will more often than not leave a long shortlist but as I tend to focus on the last 10 renewals I find the best way of reducing this to a final list of around 2-3 selections is to award points/give a rating where by I use 3 points for a horse that passes a key trend 10/10,
      2 points for 9/10 and 1 point for 8/10 and then total the points up.

      Any horse that comes out 2 points clear of the next is the selection but if an horse comes out only 1 point clear then I also take the next horse or horses. If, as in some cases there is still a long shortlist, I give more preference to the horse(s) that have passed the key trend.

      After trying different ways of interpreting the trends I have found this to be the best way of using them.

  6. Hi josh,good informative video,cheers for that.

    Think it was last years winner Aux Ptits Soins that’s coming up as no previous runs on HRB,in fact he had ran 3 times in France including 2 hurdle runs,winning twice and 3rd by a head so your bang on there,well worth keeping a eye out for horses bred outside the uk/ire.Aux Ptits Soins has yet to make a reappearance but has a possible entry world hurdle,wait and see what happens I guess.

    1. Hi Bob…yes it is something to be wary of for sure – I think he came up in a Nicholls micro system for Cheltenham which found him + another of his unexposed hurdlers, I will be digging that out again. I suspect he will fire a few ex frenchies at some of the hurdle races that may, or may not, have plenty in hand. Albeit, the form of the Nicholl’s yard this season makes Cheltenham even more fascinating!

      1. Just had a quick look at the nicholls yard form over the past 90 days and comes in as 44 wins from 227 runs (19.3% strike rate)which i was a little surprised about given the media attention recently,(i would have though it would be lower).He had a very poor December alright,but from January 1st he has 6 wins from 17 runners which suggests that at the least,there’s no sign of sickness or a bug in the yard,maybe when the ground dries up a little it might help with his current stock,time will tell but should be great to watch and you never know,might pick up an extra point or two on the price of a few of them along the way.

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