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Thoughts and selections

Thank you mick mick, idea behind this is to try and find out where I am going wrong in backing loser after loser, and I feel I can do this more objectively without the stress of being involved financially. If after a period of time, I find that my shortlisted horses are not doing as well as they should then I will know that my whole approach of using stats to shortlist is wrong and in that case there will be no point continuing with that approach. But if, as I suspect, it is something else then hopefully I will be able to pinpoint it, whether it’s my form reading or my perception of market or something else. For instance, if one of my two shortlisted horses win today then I will know it was only the market that would have stopped me betting as everything else was a positive. Of course, I can’t draw any conclusions after 1 or 2 races but if after a month or so I find there is one area that is consistently causing me to make wrong calls then it will have been a useful exercise.
Thanks mick mick

Not a lot to say about that race as the winner was not on my shortlist. I think I read the market right on this occasion, although Miquelon came back in to 7/1 before the off and traded 2.00 in running, he was well held in 2nd in end, so the early drift to 16/1 was a negative sign. Dinoo did not run anything like an odds on shot, so turned out to be poor value as I thought, despite the many positives.
Looked at 7:25 at Newcastle today, 2yo Novice Stakes, 8 runners (2 non runners)

Stats give me just the one runner, Robasta, so that’s the only one I have looked at in detail. Finished 2nd of 5 on debut at Yarmouth in April, and ran to a similar level when 3rd of 6 in class 3 novice at Ascot 18 days later. Having his 3rd run today, after a similar break of 17 days.

Form - form has taken a couple of knocks so looks a negative, Dashing Rat who was behind him at Yarmouth a beaten fav at Brighton yesterday, and more disappointing was the Ascot runner up Fall Of Rome getting turned over at very short odds at Goodwood next time. Problem with looking at form for 2yo races this early in season is that often there is nothing to compare it with. Only other with experience in this race was beaten 30 lengths on debut and is 125/1 so is easily ignored. In these cases, I try to guess the strength of race by looking at any market confidence about the newcomers - in this race although Richard Fahey newcomer is strong in betting, absence of Gosden runner does weaken the race, so maybe Robasta doesn’t need to improve a lot.

Possible improvement - although he didn’t improve much from 1st to 2nd run, I think the switch to all weather could bring about improvement judged on pedigree. It’s early days, but his sire Mehmas’s progeny has done well on all weather, 19% strike rate on A/W compared to 13% on turf, backing his all weather runners in first year showed 31% ROI, this year it’s only breaking even but strike rate has remained about same.

Other stats - Andrew Balding doesn’t send many 2yo’s to Newcastle but has a very good record with them with 5 winners from 8, all those were much later in season though.


Another positive trainer stat that is a bit difficult to explain is that with his early 2yo’s he tries to get a win from them within first 3 runs before June. So I think they will be trying, it’s down to the horse whether he is good enough or not.

One thing that always creates doubts for me is when a trainer or owner has more than one runner in race. In this race, Robasta’s owner also runs newcomer Royal Aclaim from a stable that can get winners on debut.

Market - no negatives so far, but maybe it’s too early.

If I was betting, it would have been a difficult decision for me whether to bet or not. There are negatives in form, but positives in stats and likely improvement, I would have probably leaned towards having a bet.
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8:00 Warwick - amateur riders handicap hurdle over 3 and quarter miles, 12 runners

Applying stats to my sample races gives me a shortlist of Starsky, Royal Hall, Eureu Du Boulay, Laugharne, Samtara

Filtering them by form

Starsky - yet to win from 9 starts, I will ignore the last run as it came after a year’s absence and he was 40/1. Earlier placed efforts give him a place chance again, and with improvement (there are few areas for possible improvement, still lightly raced, new trainer, step up in distance) a win is possible, so I will keep him on the list for now.

Royal Hall - 3 times winner over hurdles (g, g, g/f), but last of those wins was in Oct 2018, returns after 611 days absence, beaten over 20 lengths (4th/8) here when last seen, 6 lbs lower now but I think he has a place chance at best even if fit, so he is dropped from list.

Eureu Du Boulay - won over fences last time (his first win in over 2 years), reverts to hurdles now but he is 0 from 10 over hurdles, and although he has mostly run in higher class races his overall profile is quite inconsistent so I have dropped him too.

Laugharne - was good enough to win a maiden at Goodwood on flat for Roger Charlton, so he does have ability, recent form is not very good but I won’t rule him out completely yet.

Samtara - has kept creeping up the handicap without winning, but he is still lightly raced after 11 starts, and latest 2nd in a stronger race gives him a place chance again at least. He was no match for winner, but the 3rd horse has won next time out.

From the above, I have decided to drop Laugharne too as he hasn’t won for over 3 years now, and also as both his jumps wins came on different going to today.

So it leaves me just Starsky and Samtara. Samtara has the better form, so Starsky needs to show greater potential for improvement.

Main area I am looking for improvement is from the distance, Starsky has run only once at around this distance and Samtara only twice. Judging by pedigrees, Samtara has more stamina in there and so he should be suited better by return to this longer trip.

Other thing to consider is Starsky is having his first run for a new trainer, and Dan Skelton’s record on first run with horses joining him is very good. It gets even better with those that were aged 7 or under and had run no more than 20 times is their career, as shown below.


So if I was betting, it would still be a difficult decision between the two, there are slight negatives in form and pedigree for Starsky, and the market drift is also a bit of negative, but those numbers for the trainer are very difficult to ignore. Samtara looks safer of the two options as there are really no negatives and he is the bigger price and can even be backed for just a place. I really don’t know which one of the two I would have ended up backing or maybe even left the race alone as the favourite is very strong in betting.


I see my posts are getting really long, considering I am not even betting on these at the moment, but I am just putting my thoughts on here exactly as I am looking at the race.
I like your long posts and hopefully they will also prove a good future reference point for yourself. One of the many positives of this forum is that when things are not going to plan and you post about this, members who have been there experienced it but are still here will offer genuine support and encouragement.

My take on your MO is that it includes some unique or at least minority thinking and i view this as a positive. You are sharing a different and interesting way of working a race with some worthwhile learning for anyone who ponders it. :clap:


I see my posts are getting really long, considering I am not even betting on these at the moment, but I am just putting my thoughts on here exactly as I am looking at the race.
Hi Frontrunner Why did you pick this race out as a matter of interest , As im more of a form rather than ratings man i tend to look only at races that have a horse running in that i have noted and can take a view on . Dont take this as a criticism im just thinking if you concentrate on races you have a feeling for before you get too involved in it may save you doing the research and ending up with no bet
Hi Frontrunner Why did you pick this race out as a matter of interest , As im more of a form rather than ratings man i tend to look only at races that have a horse running in that i have noted and can take a view on . Dont take this as a criticism im just thinking if you concentrate on races you have a feeling for before you get too involved in it may save you doing the research and ending up with no bet
Hi C Coseleymon , it is a good question, and tbh I am not sure why I picked this particular race. Sometimes I will start looking at a race and decide it’s not worth it as I can’t find an angle on it. Maybe I decided to continue with this race was because one of the fancied runners (who also happened to be RP nap, this wasn’t the reason but I don’t mind taking on their naps) did not make the short list on my initial stats, so I felt it was a race where some value could be found. Now I may have got it completely wrong with the stats I chose, and currently the market is suggesting that I have got it wrong, but I like to stick with the shortlist as it saves me from looking at every runner.

You make some good points, and after assessing my methods for a month or so, who knows I may end up specialising in one type of race or as you suggest only concentrate in races I have a feel for. As I have already decided that I won’t be having a bet before July at the earliest, I am just using this time to look at the races the way I do and hopefully I will discover where I am going wrong, and any input from you and other members is helpful, so thank you. Whatever happens, I don’t think it will have been wasted time as I will learn something at the end of it.


Pre FOBT it was the Bookmakers who pushed for ever more racing, and many punters have come to view this as a negative. I feel the opposite but with conditions attached because i only look at Flat Hcaps for older horses over 5 - 10 fur. I have unlimited time to study and use it but even so i believe that attempting to learn more about less is a positive.

I arrived at the above a few years back after an in depth audit of my past 20yrs bets. With some of the significant negative findings being longer distance races and surprisingly the female only Hcaps and both are now swerved. Some of the lesser but still less profitable finds are now used as flexible but flagged up negative filters. As an example i found my bets on lto winners where less profitable but i will sometimes still back them.

In recent years imo the big positive for us punters is the ready availability of the 4 day and 48 hr Decs. Working off the former can prove frustrating but also informative when the 48 hr ones become known. Utilizing this advanced info can occasionally make you feel part of the plan and this can buy the all important market edge.
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Excellent post mick mick, and it shows the benefit of keeping long term records. A question if I may, when you started to specialise in 5-10f handicaps, did it result in you working fewer races/having fewer bets or did you still have about same workload/had same number of bets as before? The reason I ask is when I tried specialising for a brief period of time in past, I was still having about same number of bets as before but only in my chosen race type, now I am not sure if that was the right thing to do.

I am still open to this idea of specialising even though it hasn’t worked for me in past, and have been testing a few things in this regard. If results are positive over a period of time, then that is something I could do.


F Frontrunner Re your question (s) above yes it resulted in fewer bets but i have never found this to be a problem and maintained a realistic annual turnover by increasing my unit stake. When i started getting serious about the game ( > 40yrs ago ) we had the off course tax to beat before moving into profit and during this period i did so by being very selective and used to avg 30 bets a year.

Re reducing the work load ? probably not on balance but this is by choice. Identifying and then profiling a horse of interest then yes because there are fewer races worked so less incidents of this, but all in which includes researching new ideas and extensive post mortems etc then i spend the same amounts of time because despite all of my many years involvement i still find fascination in attempting to understand why the buggers win or lose. A few years ago as my interest in the AW increased i did decide to stop working the NH racing and this gives a reduced work load which was welcome.

I think i wrote somewhere on the forum recently about going full cycle and currently this appears to be occurring for myself because i am also experiencing a rotten run. My take on this is you get out or get on with it, and i am not yet ready to get out so my compromise has been to revert to being even more selective than my recent years norm. Even this is not working at present, but lets be positive by saying while waiting for the over due up swing at least i am doing my money at a slower rate. :eek:
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Maybe I decided to continue with this race was because one of the fancied runners (who also happened to be RP nap, this wasn’t the reason but I don’t mind taking on their naps) did not make the short list on my initial stats, so I felt it was a race where some value could be found.

Good enough reason for me. Any race where you can poke holes in the favorite is a good race to go at :) great post F Frontrunner , thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks pete pete

Thanks mick mick for detailed reply. I understand now, you cut out the bets from races that weren’t as profitable for you but didn’t try to replace them by having more bets in your preferred race types, that is a good thing. I went at it very differently when I tried to specialise, in hindsight my choice of race type (nurseries) was a wrong one as they are only run for 6 months in year, what I did was that I tried to find a winner of just about every nursery handicap in order to compensate for lack of opportunities, which was the wrong approach looking back now.


No worries F Frontrunner its a reap and sow job so ask away at any time and i will answer if able. When i first became involved then 2yo races inc the nurserys where a big deal with the betting public ( although not kind to myself ). I suspect less so now which is a standalone good enough reason to get involved. In recent years and after a long absence i returned to having a few ante post bets and have done well from these on balance........same difference.?


Any race where you can poke holes in the favourite is a good race to go at
That's my favoured approach overall. Keeping to manageable Handicap races, say 8 runners, can keep your confidence up as you shouldn't be too far away from a winner. This, of course, is for my main bets, but for interest, I like taking on any race type and size ( from a stats angle ) when time permits.


Hi Frontrunner,
Not long a member of this forum but enjoy your thread and a few others. You have provided everybody with some nice winners and when posted its up to the forum members own judgement whether they follow you or not.....Whatever its always a good read and I appreciate you providing us with your reasoning and stats that you provide us with.

Like Mick has said I remember the days of paying 10% betting tax where your bookies was a room with an speaker no pictures a guy marking the board and have known many Punters along the road many who u meet down the line and no longer have a bet , nobody finds it fun losing money.

We all have different ways of operating but Mick is correct in that keeping good records is absolutely pivotal for punters I know im stating the obvious. I bet horses and golf mostly, Moreso with golf then horses losing runs can be longer so you need to know your exact P/L and identify your strenghts.

I find it interesting that Mick posted above at the moment hes not having the best of runs and has adjusted his punting to compensate and keep loses to a minimum , Ryanwe on his thread has said that he having a tough time.I dont know Ryanwe personnally but have followedhis selections for 10 odd years from another site and know he is a serious judge of horses but everyone has good and bad runs.

Personally I have lost money since April but this is due to a bad run on the Golf after an exceptional start to the year.

As this is a horse racing forum I will stick to the horses personally I prefer the better class NH as i find with the flat you can have backed the best horse but can lose being in the wrong track position, a hesitation from a jockey not taking a gap etc.

No the reason I am posting is have you considered that the months of April / May is the transition from NH to Flat we are dealing with the unknown factors of how forward a stable is. 2021 the problem is exasperated by the weather . You hear trainers saying they,re horses are slow to come into their coats. Not able to train horses on their grass gallops as they normally would do. Personally I keep my horse punting to a minimum these few months until after the Derby and by Royal Ascot I am back to full stakes and confidence.

Basically what I am saying judging from your past selections and the hard work you obviously put into your studying unfavourable circumstances could be conspirying to your bad run a and losses and there may be nothing wrong with your reasoning. I have been getting a small bit of info and havent been posting as mostly gluggers and would not be profitable and am not backing myself or staking my minimum and would not post something I am not confident or having a good bet myself.

Keep the faith as I have no doubt you will be a punter to test ...time.....Regards
Thank you for your support and encouragement, N Nijinsky , it’s really appreciated. I always enjoy reading your posts too.

I can’t really use this time of year as an excuse, as in past I have done well in these months, I usually struggle in January, February, this year I did well in those months and I am struggling now, so this year is going a bit differently. Confidence is important in this game, and I admit mine gets a bit low during the losing runs, but I have never been one to give up on anything in life, I will always find a way. I am still confident in my methods in main, just taking this time to assess if I need to tweak some things, hopefully it will have a positive outcome.