Inspired by a chapter in Nick Mordin’s book ‘Winning Without Thinking’ on pedigrees I thought I’d take a different look at ‘the Flat’ (turf) – well, different for me anyway. Long term success in this game generally depends on thinking outside the box or in any case looking at races/horses in a contrarian way, different to the general mass of punters. I/we need an edge when it comes to our methods, including looking at angles / stats/’ways in’ that are as yet not in the mainstream. Every angle has a shelf life (and maybe more so with pedigrees) but with any luck some of those that follow below will keep ticking over for the next season or two. This isn’t a mindset i’ve adopted often enough at times and there’s a case that I should flip some of my more established thinking on it’s head.
What follows is a look at a handful of trainers who do well with the offspring of certain sires. There are also a few ‘non trainer’ angles. I’ll explain the logic as I go through each angle below. I’ve used Horse Race Base for this research and have looked at the previous 10 calendar years.
- Sex: Filly
- Going: Good to Firm
- Any odds
32 bets / 18 wins / 23p / 56% sr / +69 SP / +96 BFSP / AE 1.76
The first of a handful of angles that focus on fillies and there’s plenty of logic for doing so, especially from a pedigree perspective. A well bred filly can be worth plenty as a broodmare, especially to any owner-breeders. (checking the ownership of ‘qualifiers’ as they appear could be another ‘edge’) Obviously they’re worth more to potential breeders if they’ve won races and shown a winning attitude – it makes sense for trainers to want to get wins on the board with such types, asap. All thoroughbreds can be tricky but arguably fillies can be harder to handle and getting the best out of them is a skill in itself. Some trainers will be better with the ladies than others. Often they may lack ‘form’ in the book, which is to our advantage, if we have other information at hand that it may take longer for the market to cotton onto. Arguably angles such as this could be far more valuable to us than those that may focus on races packed with exposed handicappers, where information on what horses are well handicapped and suited to the race conditions is more widespread, and often already built into the odds.
I’ve no idea whether betting on fillies (and for example in filly only races) is less attractive to the punting public (that used to be the case with female riders, some of whom offered great value before the market, and punting men, realised that a few could hold their own, and the sex of rider was no reason to be put off a wager etc – well some offered great value when Mr Mordin was writing in 2002 but I suspect the market has long since adjusted)
Anyway, John Gosden clearly knows what he’s doing with Dubawi fillies and they seem best on Good to Firm ground – well certainly the ones he gets. These stats actually cover the last 5 seasons and 2019 was his best year yet with them – as a trainer has more success with certain types of horses/ pedigrees etc it makes sense that they may try and buy more for future seasons. Of course the best Flat trainers, such as John Gosden, rarely get poorly bred horses to train which is a decent starting point in itself. All trainers can be creatures of habit and that can included the blood-lines/families they like to train, the agents they use and the sales they target. And also their relationships with owner X, who will send them horses. There’s clear ‘trainer behaviour logic‘ when it comes to pedigrees yet this is an area that isn’t widely discussed from what I can see (you certainly won’t find stats like that above in that day’s Racing Post I doubt) and maybe that can give us an ‘edge’ moving forwards.
Racing Post Sire comment: unbeaten 2yo, inc National Stakes; won Irish Guineas & Jacques le Marois at 3; exceptional sire
Another John Gosden angle….
- Stallion: Galileo
- Sex: Colt
- Horse Runs Career: 0
23 bets / 8 wins / 11p / 36% sr / +13 SP / +20 BFSP / AE 1.67
Racing Post Sire comment: champion 3yo colt, inc Derby, Irish Derby & King George; from outstanding family; phenomenal sire
- Sex: Filly
- 0 runs this season
- 25/1< SP (guide, 0/13,0p bigger)
52 bets / 10 wins / 14p / 19% sr / +92 SP / +163 BFSP / AE 2.35
Jim Bolger is an excellent trainer and breeder (Redmondstown Stud). He knows Vocalised well, having trained him to Group 3 success. Now he breeds/trains his kids. As you can see he’s got a decent record with his filly offspring, having their first run of the season (or making their debut). All bar one of these winners had 3 or fewer career runs and those making seasonal debut (with a run already in their career) were returning after at least 151+ days off. Bar the trainers MO/recent form, there often won’t be much information to go on with horses like this, given how lightly raced they are. This is where angles such as this can help I think, trying to act before any money talks. Many of these winners were sent off at double figure prices, indicating the general punting public didn’t see it coming. Good news. Given Bolger’s breeding operation it makes sense that he’d want to get wins with these fillies asap and this is the time to catch his Vocalised daughters, systematically at least – racecourse debut and/or seasonal debut.
Racing Post Sire comment:$560k yearling, winning 2yo and very smart 7f 3yo, inc dual Group 3; top-class US pedigree
Dam Stallion: Pivotal
- Sex: Filly
- 20/1< SP (guide, 0/11,0p above)
105 bets / 35 wins / 58p / 33% sr / +79 SP / +120 BFSP / AE 1.33
I can’t say I started this research exercise expecting to find a pedigree ‘way in’ for Aidan O’Brien – but he does well with the daughters of mares who were sired by Pivotal. Coolmore appear to have clocked onto Pivotal’s success with his broodmare daughters and within this angle, as you can see from the table in the main report – 2019 had the most ‘qualifiers’. I suspect this is the sort of angle that may have a shorter shelf life than some given the connections involved but then again, like with all these angles, I don’t think it’s something the wider betting public will be aware of yet, or take much interest in. There is always breeding method to Coolmore’s madness.
The RP Sire Comment for Pivotal: high-class sprinter, excellent sire, can get fast, high-class 2yos, progeny often progress well.
Stallions: Dream Ahead / Exceed And Excel / Invincible Spirit
- Sex: Colts
- Distance: 5-7 furlongs
- Race Type: Maidens / Novices / Handicaps (not nursery)
- Any odds
153 bets / 43 wins / 65p / 28% sr / +161 SP / +222 BFSP / AE 1.64
Within this angle…
- Making racecourse debut or Top 6 LTO:
- 120 bets / 38 wins/ 55p / 32% sr / +167 SP / +225 BFSP / AE 1.67
- Beaten more than 15L LTO: 1/17, 4p, -14
Not too much to say here really – Johnston does very well with Colts from these three sires and clearly knows how to get the best out of them, and generally early on in their careers over 5-7f. He will obviously know this and that will influence his buying/re-stocking activity. Success breeding success!
Racing Post Sire Comments :-
Dream Ahead: brilliant sprinter at 2-3, from fast family (dam won Flying Childers); good start with first 2yos
Exceed And Excel: bullet Australian sprinter; champion sire in Australia and top-class source in Europe
Invincible Spirit: won Haydock Sprint Cup; dam won French Oaks; closely related to sire Kodiac; top-class producer
One final trainer angle…
- Sex: Colts
- Distance: 5-7 furlongs
- All Race Types
- 10/1< SP (guide, 0/9, 1p above)
36 bets / 13 wins / 22p / 36% sr / +41 SP / +49 BFSP / AE 1.73
Given the success of Mum’s Tipple and Threat last season I suspect Richard Hannon wouldn’t mind training some more progeny of Footstepsinthesand – it’s that sort of behavioural logic which may ensure this sort of angle ticks along in the next few seasons – provided Hannon has the owners to source the horses/can compete on price – but i’d be surprised if he hasn’t been homing in on similar types in recent sales etc, and sales in the future.
Racing Post Sire Comments: lightly raced, smart 6-7f 2yo, won 2000 Guineas on only start at 3; smart family
Now for some non trainer based pedigree angles…
- Dam Stallion: PIVOTAL
- Sex: Filly
- Group Races: 1, 2, 3
- Age: 2 & 3
- Distance Move: NOT Up in distance from last start
- 20/1< SP (guide, 0/10, 0p bigger)
79 bets / 23 wins / 42p / 29% sr / +134 SP / +211 BFSP / AE 1.69
- Those NOT trained by Aidan O Brien : 10/42, 19p, +113 BFSP
Cheveley Park Stud certainly appear to be onto something with their star sire Pivotal. Again to my mind there’s plenty of logic to the above angle (and you always need logic) especially given the bloodlines and the growing influence of Pivotal, and the no doubt growing value of broodmares. If you’ve a Pivotal filly that can win at Group Level I suspect you’re in a good place. Those running at the same trip or moving down in distance from LTO appear to do best, and given their competing at C1 level, young, precocious, that makes logical sense to me. Again, it could be fillies are going under the radar when it comes to betting and which breeding angles to focus on. Let’s hope so anyway!
- Stallion: DUBAWI
- Sex: Filly
- Distance: 10-10.5f
- 1+ career wins
- Any odds
98 bets / 35 wins / 56p / 36% sr / +154 SP / +255 BFSP / AE 1.65
These fillies have some high class blood in them and those that have proven they can win do very well over 10-10.5f – these conditions seemingly bring the best out of them.
- Stallion: DUTCH ART
- Sex: Filly
- Distance: 5-5.5f
- Going: Good / Good to Soft / Soft
- Any Odds
83 bets / 24 wins / 36p / 29% sr / +84 SP / +107 BFSP / AE 1.75
Racing Post Sire Comment: top-class 2yo, inc Prix Morny & Middle Park; high-class 6-7f as 3yo; good source of sprinters/milers.
- Stallions: Champs Elysees / Monsun
- Distance: 2m or further
- Horse had 0-1 runs over today’s distance
- 14/1< SP (guide, 16/1+… 1/51, 8p, +16 SP, +67 BFSP – 66/1 winner)
100 bets / 32 wins / 50p / 32% sr/ +151 SP / +197 BFSP / AE 2.01
There’s plenty of logic behind this angle I feel and a reason for why such qualifiers may go under the radar, and offer us value. Here we are dealing with horses over an extreme distance but ones who may not have much form over said distance – unproven form over the distance is an automatic turn off for some punters, but such information is already built into the odds. (obviously looking for proven distance form is a valid approach, but there are many ways to look for value in this game) With these qualifiers we know that their sires are a good influence of stamina over extreme trips – that’s useful. Given Monsun died in 2012 it could be we have seen the last of his offspring. It could be there are plenty that have yet to step up to these trips but clearly this angle may well have run its course.
Racing Post Sire Comments:-
Champs Elysees : Smart 12f colt at 3-4 in Fr, later G1 winner in US/Canada, brother to Dansili; good young sire
Monsun :top-class 10-12f colt in Germany, outstanding source of top-class middle-distance runners; died 2012
That’s it for this research piece. With any luck there’s something of interest there and/or i’ve said something which may spark an idea or two. All angles are saved in one of my Horse Race Base accounts and I’ll look to post qualifiers, if/when flat racing returns this year. I’m certainly more excited about attacking qualifiers from those angles above as a ‘way in’ than I am a C5/6 handicap. Hopefully they may work as a systematic portfolio, but time will tell. There’s plenty of logical sense for why they might. (this post will live in the ‘Micro Monday’ tab)