Why bother studying festival form? Should we just back Ruby and Mullins, lay AP and PFN for a fat profit?

Figures for the past five festivals suggest a cold-blooded approach to profit might well be best served by backing certain jockeys and trainers and laying others. But is it as straightforward as it seems?

Listed below are the records for jockeys, trainers and Ruby/trainer combinations over the past 5 festivals.

In order the list reads:

number of runners/rides

number of winners

strike rate

return on investment at Betfair odds where 100% = break even

cash profit/loss at £100 unit stakes (Betfair commission omitted)


Ruby Walsh

99

21

21.2%

121.1%

£2,088

…………………………………………

AP McCoy

91

7

7.7%

65.3

£3,158 loss

…………………………………………

Barry Geraghty

79

9

11.4%

138.6%

£3,050

………………………………………….

R Johnson

62

5

8.1%

142.7%

£2,649

……………………………………………

R Thornton

74

8

10.8%

101.7%

£126

…………………………………………….

Willie Mullins

100

12

12%

178.2%

£7,815

…………………………………………….

PF Nicholls

162

17

10.5

73.4%

£4,301 loss

……………………………………………….

NJ Henderson

156

8

5.1%

77.4%

£3,530 loss

………………………………………………..

Alan King

103

8

7.8%

65.9%

£3,512 loss

……………………………………………….

D Pipe

128

7

5.5%

80%

£2,559 loss

……………………………………………….

Walsh/Mullins

30

8

26.7%

135.3%

£1.059

NB this combination ran at a slight loss before the victory of Final Approach last week

…………………………………………………….

Walsh/Nicholls

62

13

21%

127.9%

£1,729

Interesting that the 100 non-Walsh ridden runners for PFN produced just 4 winners and a substantial loss for backers. Also, the 70 (from 100) non-Walsh ridden Mullins horses also managed just 4 winners.

Ruby’s 7 ‘outside rides didn’t provide a winner. Following Ruby when riding for his two main ‘suppliers’ brings this result:

92

21

22.8%

130%

£2,788

Building a ‘system’ on betting Ruby’s mounts would need to be a long-term strategy.  Had you begun following Ruby on day one of the 2007 festival, you would not have gone into profit until he rode American Trilogy (returned at 22.2 on Betfair) to win the County Hurdle in 2009.

Also, layers will be a shade wiser come next March and Ruby’s mounts will get tighter in price though whether they are ‘overbet’ to the extent that AP’s are (on the basis of these figures) is debatable.

Still, AP backers since 2007 would never have reached profit at any time; the bottom of their punting pit, at £100 stakes, being as low as £4,351 in losses.

A judicious combination of backing Ruby and laying AP might prove the best solution.

Good luck

1 reply »

  1. Great work as ever Joe..You’ll know that form is one of the ‘also rans’ in my book, even at the highest level.

    If form was the byword for gambling, bookmakers would not be around pure and simple, whilst ‘media experts’ would not have to work for a living.

    For all that Tom Segal appears a genius, he is a humble working man who obviously doesn’t make enough from gambling to stop him having to ‘work’.

    I was hosting a function back in 1988 with John Francome who suggested that his media work was just there to “pass the time”. Time has proved that the work is too good to resist and keeps John’s finances on the right road, which his punting would not, for all his inside knowledge of how to read form.

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