How can underrated trainers help to inform our betting proposition?
In recent years, for me personally it has become so important to assess the trainer (and jockey) when understanding and assessing as to whether a horse represents a value bet. Where the horse is trained can swing a horses’ price (that a bookmaker will give it) hugely. As a very clear example, a horse trained by John Gosden would of course be several points shorter than a horse trained by Charlie Fellowes even if their form was very similar. It is therefore vital to a) ensure that we are analysing trainer performance rather than simply looking for horses trained by big yards, and b) to make sure that we are tracking underrated trainers and their horses as more often than not they will be representing value.
I give four examples below and all four of these yards are worth following closely in the long term, and given their win % (strike rate) as well as their ROI if you placed level stakes bets on them and recorded the results at industry SP.
ROGER CHARLTON – 16.7% win. -0.13% ROI.
I have always said that if I woke up one day with enough cash to become acquainted with Saudi and Qatari billionaires, I would send the majority of my horses to this man. Roger Charlton is exceptional at placing his horses and getting the most out of them. He has trained some absolutely first class horses over the years, with one of my personal favourites being Al Kazeem, and he like so many of his string have an attitude that meant as a punter you knew you would be at the very least seeing your horse giving everything he had during the race. What I think Roger really excels at is getting the most out of his 3 year old handicappers, whom often improve a huge amount from 2 to 3. This is shown in his strike rate of the two age groups increasing from 15% at 2 to 19% at 3.
He has already had Group 1 success this year with Decorated Knight and with a number of high profile group horses and handicappers he is certainly not to be underestimated.
MARTYN MEADE – 14.2% win. -0.06% ROI.
I wanted to include this man in here as I think he has a great habit of getting his horses to progress in a quick period of time, with plenty winning multiple times in succession. A good example of this is Aclaim, who won 3 races on the bounce in just over 2 months last year, from a handicap, to a Listed race, finally taking Group 2 glory at Newmarket in October. The numbers also back this up – if you backed all of Meade’s last time out winners over the past 3 years at level stakes you would have made £7.50 profit at SP – which may not sound like much but anything showing level stakes profit is not to be ignored.
He has an exceptional record at Newmarket and also has a live contender in The Derby this weekend in the form of Eminent. A very talented trainer who should be given the utmost respect.
NEIL KING – 16.5% win. 0.53% ROI.
I love using this example of how analysing betting stats as opposed to your opinion of a trainer can really turn your perspective on things. Neil King has a relatively small flat racing operation, as he mainly trains National Hunt horses, and has had approximately 100 runners on the flat in the past 4 or so years. However, the fact he runs a smaller operation and isn’t known for training winners on the flat means his horses are often overlooked in the market and are genuine value. As you can see above, he operates across the flat and all weather at a 16.5% win strike rate and a 0.53% ROI (assuming backing at level stakes with results at SP). That is highly significant. Horses such as Petite Jack this year give punters a genuine chance to beat the bookmaker and it is trainers like this that punters really should be taking note of.
CHARLIE FELLOWES – 15% win. 4% ROI.
This is another example of a smaller yard being overlooked. Charlie Fellowes is a fantastic trainer based in Newmarket who has endued tremendous success over the past few years. Last year, if you had put £1 to win on all of his 137 runners, you would have ended up at £34 in profit, and that again is to SP. A record that any trainer would be proud of. He does particularly well with what you would class as well-handicapped horses but are out of form and switching to his yard.
Just to put this into perspective, many would assume that backing a John Gosden runner over a Charlie Fellowes horse would be an obvious move to make when assessing a race. But, I should change your mind by saying that if you backed all of John Gosden’s horses at level stakes, just as we mentioned above for Charlie Fellowes, you would have a negative ROI of -5%. That is despite having a much improved strike rate of 20.2%. That is not to say we should never be backing John Gosden runners! The key is understanding how these stats can fit into the larger picture, as it is just 1 variable we need to consider when placing a bet.