Weekly Diary: 01-06/03/16 (COMPLETE)




Big Race Previews: 0/3, 0 places = -3 points 

Other: 0/1, 0 place = -1.5 points 

Total: 0/4, 0 places = -4.5 points 

2016 Total To Date: 68 bets /17 wins / 27 w|p / +109.375 points 



March Trainers: 1/4 = +0.5 points 

Jumps Handicappers: 1/12 = +1 point 

Other: 1/6 = -3 points 

Week Total: 3/22 = -1.5 points 

2016 Total to date: 25/162 = -10.5 points 

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What Did I Learn Last Week…

Assumptions are a dangerous thing and should always be challenged…

In a race at Bangor last week where I tipped the disappointing Nalim, I didn’t want to back the NTD winner because he had yet to win a chase. I ‘didn’t like’ backing chasers, in handicap chases, that had yet to win a chase. Obvious I suppose – I am not comfortable backing horses that have yet to prove they can ‘do it’ so to speak.

Well, this view is a load of tosh, and should be consigned to the dustbin. The stats suggest it’s idiotic to rule out a horse just for that reason.

I have had a quick look at  the stats since the start of 2013. Firstly in all handicap chases. Those that had yet to win any sort of chase. From a large pool they perform at a 12.67% win strike rate, an Actual vs Expected (based on starting price) of 0.89. – so, 11% below market expectations. When comparing this to those that had 1 or more chase wins already, there is no material difference at all in how these runners perform. 

There is no difference between the stats for ‘Novice Handicap Chases’ (most of which may yet to have won a chase) and ‘normal’ Handicap Chases. 

Next, I have looked at handicap chases over 2m7.5f or further – which as you know is where my tipping tends to focus at this time of year. Again, those with 0 chase wins to their name…

3313 bets / 423 wins / 954 places / 12.77% win strike rate / AE 0.93 

That is 423 winners that with my old mindset I would probably have just put a line through. Idiotic, clearly. Just focussing on those priced 12/1 or shorter doesnt change too much. It pushed the win SR up to 16%, but the AE is the same, 0.93. 

I have had a look at some trainers (as you would expect!)…so, handicap chases (2013-), 2m7.5f or further, Horse 0 Chase Wins, 12/1 or shorter…

(of interest…)

  • O Sherwood: 6/9, 8 places…+30 points sp
  • W Greatrex: 6/23, 13 places…+16 points sp
  • Miss L Russell: 11/50, 16 places…+12 points 
  • David Dennis: 4/13, 5 places…+12 points 
  • M Keighley: 5/22, 12 places…+12 points 
  • Dan Skelton: 4/8, 5 places…+11.5 points 
  • J Scott: 7/24, 11 places…+9.21 points 
  • Nigel T-D: 11/49, 23 places…+7.71 points 
  • Jonjo O’Neill: 14/64, 22 places…+7 points 
  • A King: 6/29, 13 places…+5 points 
  • D Pipe: 10/46, 19 places…+4.25 points 


  • Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • Handicap Chases
  • Horse Chase Wins: 0  
  • 2m6f or further
  • NOT dropping in class or distance from last run
  • Any odds

since start 2013…

48 bets / 15 wins / 24 places / 31% winSR / +58 SP / +70 BFSP / AE 1.91 

That is useful to know for these types of races in future. There are a couple of 16/1 winners in there, those going off at 9/1 or shorter have a 35% win SR, worth +37 points SP. 


If I just look at all handicap chases since start of 2013, those with 0 wins…all of the ‘household names’ that you would expect have decent enough results, with 15%+ win strike rates. I include the likes of Fergal O’Brien, Neil Mulholland in that list. Even Emma Lavelle!!

Of those that could do better with such runners, 3 ‘bigger names’ caught the eye…

  • Jennie Candlish: 3/66, 21 places
  • A J Honeyball: 4/36, 11 places
  • B Ellison: 5/52, 13 places

In essence, I was wrong to be put off by non-chase winners running in handicap chases and that is NO reason at all, by itself, to be put off. As always price is king and if you like the odds, a lack of win over fences should not be the deciding factor.  There may well be plenty of other reasons to be put off, but that should not automatically be one of them. 


Given the complexities and challenges of this great sport there are always areas to improve. One of mine is judging how to play those that are near the head of the market but may still offer value, esp around the 3/1 mark. I know it is easy after they have hacked up but with both ‘Conti’ the other week, and The Last Samuri this weekend, those wins, and the way they did it, were not really a surprise – as hinted at in blog posts. The question is whether you back them,leave the race alone or convince yourself that something at a bigger price offers more value. When wins like that are not a surprise, and you have either left them (‘Conti’), or taken them on (TLS) you have to reflect. 

My form when ‘unloading’ on shorter priced horses, 3/1<, hasnt been great this season (from the few times I have tried), which always makes me wary. I’m much more comfortable when they are round 6/1 or bigger. When you are a ‘value’ hunter part of the challenge is working out which shorter priced horses to take on, or which actually offer value (a 3/1 shot can be very good value) and should be backed. 7/2 – 3/1 is probably as low as I like to go for tipping/betting purposes, but there is room for improvement there. 



A couple of you have commented on previous posts, or emailed, asking me to take a look at a couple of combos – which, time allowing, I am usually happy to do. 

The first was Brendan Powell Jnr and Colin Tizzard. Having had a look there isn’t really anything there. With combos like this you are looking at the jockey booking as an indication that the horse is there to run well – a jockey the trainer may not use too often and hence their booking may be significant. Also, there is the track combo – again a certain jockey booking at a track can be significant, for the same reasons above or if the trainer likes how the jockey rides the track. I remember Mark Johnston’s son, when he was on The Morning Line, at some point, saying that they use stats a lot, esp when deciding jockeys at certain tracks – and it isnt an accident that Fanning will be at one place, Franny Norton may be at another on the same day. (as an aside, I am sure I remember the great Willie Mullins saying he uses big race trends and stats to influence how he campaigns some of his horses, and what is required for certain big race targets – I think it was an interview on ART ages ago, but those words stuck in the mind. Unless I am imagining it!!) 

Anyway, Powell/Tizzard are 40/300+ or so- and there is no way to slice and dice to find a way in – in terms of his booking being significant. Of course, dont forget, he rides all of Brocade Racing’s horses that are with Tizzard. The Golden Chieftain colours. 


This was the other and it is much more interesting. All indications are that when he is booked, they mean business. 

Since start 2013…


National Hunt Handicaps (chases+hurdles): 24 bets / 8 wins / 14 places / 33% winSR / +12.63 SP / AE1.53 

National Hunt Flat Races: 18 bets / 7 wins / 11 places / 38% winSR / +21 SP / AE 1.96

I think money is usually a good sign for this yard and I suspect a lot of these get backed. The biggest priced winner with the  handicappers has been 9/1, with only 2 going off at bigger than this so far. 

In all non-handicap hurdles they are 3/20, 7 places, -7 SP to date. Small numbers but one to be wary of for now I think. They have yet to team up with a novice/non handicap chaser in that time. 


That is all for this week. No real eye-catchers (albeit NTDs Bangor winner and the second will be noted as clearly able to stay a trip now, in testing ground) 

Hopefully you found some of the above useful, and as always that information is there for you to use as you please. 

Have a great week, 




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10 Responses

  1. I need to ask you all a question as I don’t really know the racing calendar front to back

    I’ve got free tickets (by entering the William hill The Jumps competition) to go to Kempton Saturday 19th March, day after Cheltenham

    Now, being the day after the festival, is it really bad, bottom of the barrel racing not worth going to? Or is it actually a good day with a few decent Class 2s and a day we may have a tip or two for on here?

    1. I think, from memory, it is a cracking day (havent looked!) I believe this card has been put on (introduced last year?) for all those that got balloted out of races at Cheltenham, assuming the handicaps. So, I assume, in theory, it will be quite good. Racing at Kempton’s NH track is always decent to some level – dont get much dross there. And it is a free ticket, if you can get there, definitely go!

  2. And RE the NTD angle: may be worth coupling this with local tracks. For example, I know NTD is prolific with his chasers at Leicester, Uttoxeter and many other course in the Midlands and perhaps Wales too. I remember backing Ballyrath for his first chase win at Leicester.

    NTD is certainly not alone in this. Gary Moore mops up at the M25 tracks with horses that seem less able. Gold Carrot a few minutes ago at Lingfield just won easily having failed to win a race before, jumping poorly.

    The logic is clear I guess. Horses unlikely perturbed by the short journey to the track and perhaps benefit from training on similar ground.

      1. He is 6/12 in Wales (+25.88 SP) and 7/12 in Central England (+35.25 SP) and only 2/19 Elsewhere (+2.33 SP) so you’re definitely on to something there Ali.

  3. I think your “loser” analysis is even more impressive that your “winner” summaries…it indicates that you should stay profitable in the long-term. And, as you never tire of pointing out, that’s what it’s all about..

    1. Thanks Paul – yep, no one is more self critical of my performance than myself. Got to be that way if you want to improve and try and stay ahead of the game. Then just a case of trying not to repeat the same mistakes/thinking too often! Yea, I do have a habit of saying that, normally after I have tipped some losers haha.

  4. very interesting stats Josh, one question, when yu give the strike rate for the places does that include the winners. cheers.

    1. Hi Derek,good question… yep, all place stats I highlight,using Horseracebase,always include the winners as well,unless otherwise stated.

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