National Hunt Jockeys: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

The autumn equinox has come and gone and the National Hunt season is well underway, so it’s time to take a look at the leading contenders for the British Jump Jockeys’ Championship and, specifically, when, where and for whom they do best during the season.

At the time of writing, since the 2012/13 National Hunt season began on 29 April, A. P. McCoy has ridden 81 winners from 343 rides, with an overall strike rate of 24%. However, he’s also recorded a level stakes loss of 49.24 points in that period, so it’s worth digging a little deeper into his historical statistics to see if we can unearth any pointers towards profitable betting opportunities.

The 17-times champion jockey obviously rides a high proportion of winners throughout the season, so his monthly statistics aren’t that revealing. However, over the last five seasons it’s interesting to note that, percentage-wise, he’s ridden more winners, on average, in February (28%) and June (28%) than in the other months of the year.

A. P. McCoy has a 67% strike rate at Kelso over the last five seasons, but has only had three rides at the Roxburghshire venue in that period. Perhaps more meaningfully, he has a strike rate of 46% at both Leicester, where’s he had 41 rides, and Wetherby, where he’s had 50 rides, in the same period. By contrast, he has a relatively poor record at Cheltenham, where he’s ridden 23 winners from 213 rides, at a strike rate of just 11%.

A.P. McCoy obviously rides more for Jonjo O’Neill than anyone else, but his overall strike rate for the Cheltenham trainer (20%) is nothing out of the ordinary. He has a much higher strike rate for Nicky Henderson (34%), but still shows a level stakes loss over the last five seasons. For the other trainers who’ve provided him with 10 or more rides in that period, he has his highest strike rates for Steve Gollings (45%) and Gary Brown (42%) and his lowest for Charles Egerton (12%), Shaun Lycett (10%) and Alan King (5%).

According to the Professional Jockeys’ Association, Richard Johnson currently trails A.P. McCoy by 16 winners in the British Jump Jockeys’ Championship and has an inferior overall strike rate of 19%, but has nonetheless recorded a small level stakes profit of 0.54 points. He, too, rides a healthy proportion of winners all year round, but, on average, he’s ridden more winners in August (24%) and May (23%).

Richard Johnson is another jockey worth looking out for at Wetherby and Fakeham, where he has strike rates of 43% and 40%, respectively, and has recorded healthy level stakes profits over the last five seasons. On the other side of the coin, he may be one to avoid at Cheltenham, Worcester and Sandown, where he has strike rates of just 14%, 13% and 10%, on average, and has recorded correspondingly unhealthy level stakes losses, in the same period.

He has respectable strike rates for Philip Hobbs (19%) and Tim Vaughan (22%), who provide most of his rides, but, in terms of level stakes, is well into the red with both trainers. This is particularly true of Philip Hobbs, for whom he has recorded a level stakes loss of 165.95 points. He has his best record, percentage-wise, for David Rees (31%) and, in terms of level stakes, for Alison Thorpe, for whom he’s recorded a level stakes profit of 41.5 points at a strike rate of 21%. It’s also worth noting that he’s never ridden a winner for either Neil Mulholland or Steve Gollings, from 13 and 10 attempts, respectively.

Donald McCain’s stable jockey Jason Maguire currently trails Richard Johnson by 8 winners in the British Jump Jockeys’ Championship and, despite a slightly superior strike rate of 22%, has recorded a level stakes loss of 34.84 points since the start of the season. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on before Christmas because, in the last five seasons, he’s ridden his highest proportion of winners in November (24%) and December (22%). The closest he’s comes to that in the rest of the year is in the month of June, when he has a strike rate of 21%, on average, in the last five years.

Jason Maguire has excellent strike rates at Fontwell (40%), Haydock (30%), Perth (29%) and Bangor-on-Dee (28%), all of which have translated into excellent level stakes profits in the last five seasons. His strike rates at Worcester (5%), Taunton (5%), Cheltenham (4%) and Sandown make grim reading by comparison and he’s in arrears by 17.00 points or more at all these venues.

Over the last five seasons, he’s ridden mainly for Kim Bailey, Gordon Elliot, Jim Old and, of course, Donald McCain. Of that quartet, he has the best strike rate for Gordon Elliott (27%), but has only recorded a level stakes profit for Jim Old (20.01 points) at a strike rate of 15%. Of the other trainers for whom he’s had more than 10 rides, he has his best strike rate for Charlie Mann, David Arbuthnot, Micky Hammond and Nigel Twiston-Davies (all 23%) and has recorded level stakes profits for all four trainers. He’s never ridden a winner for Richard Phillips in 16 attempts.

As you’ve probably read many times in relation to financial products, past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance. Nevertheless, monthly average, course and trainer statistics like these do provide an insight into where, when and for whom you can expect the leading National Hunt jockeys to record their best results. Of course, they don’t directly influence the chances of individual horses in individual races, but, used wisely, they can be a useful betting tool all the same.

Statistical information is available free of charge from several sources, including the Racing Post website, so the next time you’re weighing up a race it’s worth having a look to see if it can help you to finalise your selection(s). Of course, if you have any thoughts or comments on using statistics to find profitable betting angles we’d love to hear from you.

Race Advisor

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  1. The problem with horses ridden by AP they are
    often over bet by punters, therefore giving no value.

    With a little effort you can research profitable combo’s of
    Jock/Trainer and more importantly, swerve the negative

    The info is out there.

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