It probably goes without saying that thoroughbred horse racing is all about winning, but it’s especially true for wealthy owners who may spend tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds on the initial purchase, training and upkeep of their horses. Ideally, what these owners are looking for is “black type” or, in other words, for their horses to win or at least be placed in a Pattern or Listed race, to improve their value as stallions or broodmares.
However, in terms of Stud Book value, it’s also important for horses to have won at least one race, of any description, during their racing careers. This is why even the best horses, including Frankel and Sea The Stars, start their careers in lowly maiden races. The search for winners goes on all year round and some trainers are particularly adept at finding the right races for their 3-year-old maidens on the all-weather courses at Kempton, Lingfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton.
In terms of overall strike rate, Goldolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor has a very healthy record of 19 winners from 54 runners (35%) in 3-year-old maiden races on Fibresand or Polytrack in the last five seasons. Of course, Saeed bin Suroor is backed by the Maktoum family, headed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, so his stable is well known as a source of classy, well bred horses, which may account for a relatively modest level stakes profit of 4.23 points in that period.
Tom Dascombe, who has operated out of Manor House Stables, Cheshire, since 2009, may train for lower profile owners, but also does well on the all-weather, with a record of 14 winners from 50 runners (28%) and, again, a modest level stakes profit of 4.08 points in the last five seasons. It’s worth noting that his record in the 2011/12 season was substantially better than previous seasons, with 5 winners from 11 runners (45%), for a level stakes profit of £16.18.
Other trainers who’ve done well, historically, with inexperienced 3-year-olds on the all-weather include Newmarket trainer John Gosden and Lambourn trainer Charles Hills. John Gosden is clearly a fan of this type of race, if his 121 runners in the last five seasons are anything to go by. Of that 121, 23 (19%) were winners, for a level stakes profit of 3.11 points. Charles Hills has had far fewer runners in that period, but even so his record of 8 winners from 33 runners (24%), for a level stakes profit of 1.46, is still fairly respectable.
All the trainers mentioned so far have shown a profit with their runners in 3-year-old maidens on the all-weather in the last five seasons. However, what we’re really looking to latch onto are trainers who’ve had plenty of runners at a high strike rate and generated sufficiently high level stakes profits to make following them worthwhile.
Two trainers who fit the bill are Newmarket trainer Sir Henry Cecil and, perhaps surprisingly, Yorkshire trainer David “Dandy” Nicholls, who’s generally better known as a trainer of older sprinters. Sir Henry Cecil has a record of 17 winners from 60 runners (23%) for an excellent level stakes profit of 26.98 points, while David Nicholls has a record of 7 winners from 39 runners (18%) for a level stakes profit of 14.65 points.
The statistics above are based on overall strike rates and level stakes profits on all four all-weather tracks in Britain. All these statistics, and more, are publicly available, so you may find that by concentrating on a particular all-weather venue you’re able to come up with more profitable betting angles. If you have any comments or thoughts on using historical statistics to guide you towards future betting opportunities, please let us know.