Are Trainer Track Stats Useless?
Since I last posted my various updates and sorted out my initial admin/business issues I’ve spent some time pondering ‘Section 2’ of the Daily Members Posts, the Trainer Track Profiles qualifiers. (last year’s Flat report HERE>>>)
I’ve concluded my current approach to these reports is generally a waste of time and serves very little punting purpose. They certainly don’t work as ‘micro systems’ and I’ve struggled to find ‘advised strategies’ of note. (they also make Section 2 over complicated and must look like another language to new members – or even to existing ones!) What’s more they drain hours of research time (30-40 hours) and are a daily admin headache/drain as I have to find all the qualifiers manually etc. And post every day. I’ve had some help for a while with that initial sifting and were it not for that I’d have self-combusted some time ago. On many days there have been an unmanageable number of qualifiers which even made using them as ‘starting points’ challenging.
Such stats are not an ‘edge’, (you can find trainer stats like that in many places and some of the sample sizes are too small) and I’ve actually been questioning their logic, which I’ll get onto in a moment. (why do trainers do well at certain tracks?)
There is also a practical point for this Flat season in particular in that I still don’t know when racing will return, whether racing will be limited to a few ‘hubs/tracks’ (I think it will initially) and what the programme book will look like; to name just a few issues/changes. Another ‘new normal’ awaits, and that could well be the case for ‘trainer behaviour’ also.
So, what comes next?
Trainer Profiles: Flat 2020
I’ve decided to take a different approach and have researched a collection of handicap micro angles for 12 Flat trainers. (21 angles in total) They are non-track based (well, the track wasn’t the starting point/way in) This research/report isn’t quite complete, but I’ll aim to share it by the end of the week. In it I’ll explain the logic for each angle and why I’ve focussed on these 12. Collectively they’ve averaged around 350 qualifiers per calendar year but if looking at the core flat season (May-September say) that’s an average of 2 qualifiers per day. And there will be the odd multiple qualifier.
These angles will complement the other ‘micro angles’ section, (I’m intrigued/excited to see how the ‘breeding’ angles perform) the ‘horses to follow’ (eye-catchers/hot form) and the Big Race Trends/Festival work. I may well take a look at some jockeys also, but I’ll get the trainers report out first.
I also thought I could do with some ‘Flat focus’ and I may home in on these 12 trainers, especially for further research – when it comes to ‘knowing their horses’, a focus for replay watching, hot form analysis and ‘stable tours’.
Time will tell whether this approach works as both a ‘systematic system’ and also as a ‘way in’ for tipping purposes. However, this more focussed approach allows me to save the angles into HorseRaceBase, which will make posting the next day’s qualifiers far more convenient, given the ‘qualifiers’ will be highlighted.
Trainer Track Records: Where is the logic?
‘Trainer: Aims to find a race that fits the character of the horse’
This note is from my Nick Mordin post (READ HERE>>>) and it got me thinking about my existing approach to trainer track stats/profiles, and whether the logic holds. Or even whether there is any logic at all for my approach. (logic is essential to any trainer angle when anticipating that history may be repeated)
I don’t think there can be much of an edge with some of my trainer stats as previously researched, as the information is in the wider domain, and is likely built into the prices – especially top-level handicap stats. And some of the numbers may be insignificant and no indication of ‘behaviour’ at all. It really isn’t a good use of my research time highlighting who does well at track X in handicaps.
The performance of the stats would indicate as much. They don’t work as a systematic profit-making method. Even the ‘Elite Squad’ angles – (those that had at least 10 winners in the research period/25%+ win SR) haven’t performed that well as a collective. In short, a trainer’s past record at a track (certainly with the angles I focussed on) doesn’t appear to be an indication of the future.
When pondering Nick Mordin’s words above, that makes some sense. The trainer is obviously thinking about their horse and finding a suitable race. (I know that’s obvious, but when you’ve predominantly been thinking about the track, it’s good to reflect on the basics)
They don’t ‘back fit’ their track record to such a task. As I muse aloud, I don’t think any trainer is pondering ‘well, I’ve a decent record in 8f handicaps at Ayr, what horse do I have for such a race?’ . Or ‘ I do well in C4s at Pontefract, what do I have in the yard in that ratings band?’ – That’s warped thinking. The same with going, jockey, even handicaps more generally.
That’s not to say trainer track records are not important, they are – but maybe when looking at their overall SR/profitability. And more so as tracks to avoid for certain trainers? Trainers may know their track records or which ones they like having runners at, and which ones they don’t. They will remember certain winners or success. That will influence their thinking but primarily the driver will be what race and what track suits their horse. Rather than starting with the track record and working backwards.
There are many reasons why a trainer will have runners at a certain track, on any given day…
There will be tracks that some trainers deem as ‘lucky’ and where they like having runners, especially if the horse is primed to run their race. (this could be linked to class/prize money/competitiveness) Equally there will be tracks where they don’t like having runners, for whatever reason. Or tracks where their horses do not get competitive, even when intended to. There will be the influence of owners also, and where they may want to run their horses. (especially if they’ve sponsored a race)
There will be certain races that the trainer has a good record in, and obviously they can be targeted. (that’s arguably more important than the trainer’s ‘track record’)
Some trainers’ methods and facilities may dictate where they run them, along with their assessment of the horse – as an example, whether a speedier type with a turn of foot (flatter track, poss tighter) or a grinder/galloper (long straight with time to get rolling/stiffer finish may be required). Their methods may dictate that their horses in general do not handle or perform well at ‘track X’. And indeed, the type of horse they buy etc.
And of course, there will be ‘horses for courses’ – if a horse has performed well at a certain track it makes sense for them to return there. For example, there’s a reason Really Super has run 5 times for us at Worcester. As soon as she finished 2nd there in July 18, she was pencilled in to return the following month. And the month after that.
They are some positive reasons…
On the negative side… there may/will be tracks where trainers run their handicappers to get their marks down. (what I call ‘legitimate’ handicapping – not race fit/ wrong distance /class /ground /tactics/crap jockey etc – as opposed to illegitimate handicapping, eg ‘stopping’ ) This may include tracks they know are unsuitable for the horse to show their best and could be more local to them – to save on fuel costs. They may have a horse who’s nervous/inexperienced and doesn’t like travelling. Those ‘negative’ record stats may be more important than the positive ones, especially for shortlisting.
There will be many other factors I haven’t mentioned. But I think all of those ideas will have some influence and lead me to conclude my current approach to Trainer Track Profiles reports is a bit naff/redundant.
So, that’s that! I could be talking nonsense, but it’s time for me to mix things up a bit in ‘Section 2’.
I’ll be back in a few days with my ‘Trainer Profiles: Flat 2020’ report.
As always, any thoughts, questions or comments are welcome.