Strike rate and losing runs, a cut out and keep table

I have ‘borrowed’ the  quote below from a recent blog by Kieran at Make Your Betting Pay. I will put the link at the bottom of this blog for the full article. It is so useful, especially the table, and uses such a scientific approach, that i have used about half the blog below.

Keiran says:

“We need to strike the right balance between leveraging our profits and protecting the integrity of our bank.

My usual starting point when carrying out this kind of analysis would be to calculate the longest expected losing run over 1000 bets. There is a formula for calculating this (mail me if you’re interested) but I tend to use a table which makes life a lot easier. I’ve reproduced the table below (it’s accurate enough for our purposes)

The important thing to remember here is that the larger the number of bets you look at, the longer the likely losing run will be. As an example with a 15% strike rate looked at over 1000 bets you are likely to hit a maximum losing run of 43 bets. However, if you were to have 10,000 bets with a similar strike rate, at some point you are likely to hit a losing run of 57 bets. That being the case, it’s useful to have a reasonable idea of the number of bets your selection method is going to throw up over a period of time. If you are looking at a method that throws up 300 bets a year then calculating your longest likely losing run over 1000 bets is ample. If you are looking at a method that throws up 10,000 bets a year, you need to dig a bit deeper than that.

Let’s assume the method we are analysing has 1000 bets a year with a strike rate of 60%. We can see from the table that we are likely to hit 8 consecutive losers at some point during year 1.

You can see that if we were to choose a 10% staking plan on such a method, we are almost certain to hit trouble and quite possibly decimate our bank at some point.

We therefore need our bank to be several times the size of our longest likely losing run – it is well within the realms of statistical possibility that we could get 2 such runs in quick succession!

For safety, I would say it is best to work with your bank broken down into a number of points that equates to 5 times your longest likely losing sequence.”


I think 5  times the maximum losing run is on the conservative side. A lot depends on what sort of start you get. If you’re off to a flyer, by the time the inevitable ‘crippler’ comes along you should have taken out more than enough profit  to set up a new bank  and won’t care. If you start on the bad run your faith in the system/method/tipster etc is shaken and you would probably abandon what may be a good thing. What is often forgotten though is that with percentage staking the stakes go down during losing runs so a losing run of ten wouldn’t be ten points lost but considerably less.

I heartily agree with everything else though. There is no doubt that basing your staking on avoiding one long  losing run is folly as it is more common that a series of losing  runs is the bank breaker. Therefore it is wise to allow for this.

The debate will rage on but, in the end, we are back to another grossly underestimated factor in betting – psychology. Some thrive on risk others prefer the more softly softly ” I don’t need the stress as  I would like to live to spend the winnings” approach. There is no “wrong” nor “right” way, (try telling the Frankie Dettori backers that day at Ascot that they were throwing their money away backing 7 horse accas!). Granted, the same people could do a £1 acca 7  every day  for the rest  of their lives and lose every day. But  they wouldn’t be complaining as the stakes would come out of the massive interest on their winnings!

There again though, if you are backing seriously, you have to work on the basis of probability and not possibility so it is a question of finding the optimum. For those who shun risk it will be five times the max or more. For those who thrive on it, maybe twice the max and for those who are trying to strike a happy medium, 2-4 times the max.
Whatever your appetite for risk, the  table above offers a  basis for making an informed choice. You can’t say you weren’t warned!

Here’s the link to Kieran’s site:  . You will find the whole blog on there dated 18/1/12.

Weatherby’s Super Sprint – race trends & trainer stats





Considering the  big fields and the number of unexposed horses, there have been surprisingly few shocks in the 17 runnings since 1997. A 100/1 shot of Hannon's won, but other than that, one 25/1 and a 20/1 won with the next longest priced winner being returned at 14/1.

14 were returned at 10/1 or less.

Average race for favs with 5 of the 17 winnings and below average for second favs with just 2 winning.

The first 5 in the betting won 14.


ALL are within the weight range but:-

17 carried 9-1 or less and 16 hauled 8-11 or lighter.

At the other end, 17 carried 8-1 plus, while 16 carried 8-5 +


Only 2 of the last 17 winners had a handicap rating and they were rated 85 and 104

Form profile

ALL had run between 1 and 5 times.

16 had already won

7 of them won last time

16 made the first 8 in their last run

14 were distance winners  and the other 2 had won over 6 furlongs (of 5 to try)

16 won between 8 and 60 days ago


The Hannon family have won this 5 times in the last 17 runnings and Tim Easterby won it twice.

Hannon has 6 of the 25 runners tomorrow  and Easterby has 4.

Of those 10 (or 40% of the field!) the ones from the first 5 in the betting are , in betting order: the Easterby trained 3/1 fav, Excessable, the Hannon trained 5/1 third fav (which have won 4 of the last 17,  nearly as good as the record of favs), Great Page, and the joint 4th fav, 10/1 shot ,Receding Waves. All three have excellent trends profiles.

Also, Tim Easterby has a 4-14 strike rate at the course over the past 5 seasons.

Karl Burke has a 1-3 strike rate with his 2yo's here and he runs the unexposed Moondyne Joe who, at around the 14's to 16's mark, may well be backed and any market move should be noted.


With the dominance of Hannon and the fact he has 2 of the first 5 in the betting, this must surely be the first port of call.

The horse with the form in the book Great Page, who has experience with 4 runs to date, the latest when close up in  a Group 3 at the Curragh. Jockey arrangements and the betting would also suggest this is the best Hannon horse. He also has the statistical advantage of not having a handicap mark.

However, RECEDING WAVES has improved 11 lbs on the Racing Post Ratings (RPR), in each of his two runs since his debut, swooping late and fast at Chepstow over this trip for his second win, having previously scored over 6F.

His profile of 3 runs and a win last time clinch it from a trends point of view. Though having a handicap mark of 91 wouldn't be typical.

The other that shouldn't be overlooked is Tim Easterby's Excessable, given the trainers record at the course and in this race. Also he is fav in a race that is ok for favs. Another with no handicap rating.

But, no hedging, my bet is:-






The Old Newton Cup trends

SAT 4/7/15

HAY 2.50




Other than a maverick 40/1 winner, all the other 17 of the last 18 runnings were returned 16/1 or less.

16 came from the first 8 in the betting

Favs won just twice, as did second favs.


ALL carried 9-8 or less and 17 carried 8-6  or more

Handicap Ratings

None won off a mark higher than 101

Only one won off 96 or higher.


Dominated by 4yo's in terms of numbers and strike rate, providing 12 of the last  18 winners from 113 runners (11%)

3 yo's haven't won, but that is from just 14 runners;

5, 6 and 7 yo's have around the same strike rate of 5% and no horse older has won in the time under consideration.

Form Profile

15 Ran 2 – 8 times in the last year

17 had between 1 to 5 runs that season. None were making their debut

ALL won over a minimum of 10.5 furlongs

13 won over one and a half miles and two.

All ran between 8 – 90 days, no more, no less

6 won their latest run, 3 were second and 15 had finished in the first 9 last time


Luca Cumani has won this race 3 times in the last 18 years and twice in the last 10. He runs the 4 yo Penhill which has a great trends profile.

William Knight's yard is in top form, with 4 winners from 12 runners over the last 14 days and 2 out of 6 at the course. He runs Saoi who is an 8yo who ran  just 7 days ago. Not a trends profile for this race.


If we look for a 4 yo from the first 8 in the betting and priced 16/1 or less, rated 96 or less, that had already won over at least one and a half miles and finished in the first 9 in its last run between 7 and 90 days ago, we have a shortlist of 3;

The record of favs is poor but the record of Luca Cumani's runners aren't. PENHILL ticks all the boxes and i will take him as my win bet atr 4/1 as i write.

Of the other two ELPERETH has the stats  advantage of having won last time, (though hasn't won over further than 10F on turf) as did a third of all the previous 18 winners but FARQUHAR  put up a great performance in a 62K Newmarket handicap on similar ground in a fast time last October over the trip. He finished 13l ahead of Penhill that day but the latter improved 19 lbs on that performance according to RPR on his seasonal and trainer debut when winning at Ascot in May. There is just a 1 lb weight pull in it between them and they are my two against the field:

PENHILL to win @ 4/1 generally

FARQUHAR E/W @ 14/1 generally

Northumberland Plate trends & stats

SATURDAY 27/6/15




Two 33/1 shots  and a 25/1 have taken this in the last 18 runnings. A 16/1 winner and three at 14/1  have won too.  So, while a few horses neglected in the market have sprung a few surprises, 14/18 were returned 14/1 or less.

This is borne out by the fact that 14 winners came from the first 8 in the betting.

Favs are at a below par 4 wins with second favs drawing a blank (and this includes joints and co's). Two lessons from this. Don't be afraid to take the fav on and, if you are going to back one of the first two, make sure it is the fav as the market tends to get it right between the first two in this race. Also bear in mind that the fav has won  2 of the last 3 runnings


No horse carried more than 9-10 and 16 carried 9-3 or less.

Handicap Rating

All were rated 104  or less and 17 ran off a mark of 102 or less which near perfectly ties in with the  weight range


Of those ages represented today, 6 yo's have by far the best record with 6  wins from 63 runners (10%%)

Next best are 4yo's who have scored 6 – 133 or 5%, ie, less than half the wins to runs record than the 6yo's.

There are only a couple of 7yo's in the race and that age has a 1/36, or 3%, strike rate.

5yo's have an abysmal record with just 1 win from 74 tries.

Form Profile

13 ran between 3 and 9 times in the preceding year.

14 ran between 1 – 3 times that season

4 won their last run, 5 were second and 4 were third, so 13 posted a first three finish last time and 15 had finished in the first 5 last time.

17 Had won over at least 12 furlongs  and  15 had won over 14F plus.

Trainer Stats

Willie Mullins yard is bang in form with 2 winners from 6 runners the last 2 weeks. He runs Max Dynamite who has too much weight and is to high in the handicap for a trends selection  Also a 5yo.

Roger Charlton has only sent one here the past 5 years, and that won. He saddles the  fav, Quest for More. Another 5 yo a little too high in the weights but, given the recent record of favs not to be lightly dismissed.


A 6yo, not too lightly raced over the past year, but not over cooked either, rated 102 or less, from the first 8 in the betting and with a first 3 run last time narrows it down to just two; BLUE SURF and TOTALISE (who has a 6 lbs pull for a length and a half  beating  at the trip, by stable mate, Seamour last time) 

I will be  backing both but preference is for the latter who has already won over 14 furlongs and proven he stays this trip well




Wokingham race trends and trainer stats

Saturday 5.00 ASCOT



No major shocks over the last 18 runnings since 1997. One 25/1 and a couple of 20/1 shots won, which is what you would expect in such a large field, competitive handicap.

The other 15 winners were returned 16/1 or less.

4 favs won and 2 second favs

The first 8 in the betting won 15


The range covers all todays field but 17 carried 9-7 or less.


All were rated 107 or less, which ties in exactly with the latter stat.


No 3 yo, nor horse older than 6, has won this over the period.

5 yo's have done, proportionaltely, about twice as well as other ages with 8 winners from 116 runners (a 7% wins to runs record)

4 yo's and 5 yo's have done roughly the same, percentage – wise with the former scoring 7-164 (4%) and the latter 3-97 (3%) .

Form Profile

ALL the last 18 winners ran between 1 and 11 times in the past year

ALL ran between 1 – 4 times that season

17 finished in the first 4 in their last race

7 won at a maximum of 6 furlongs

10 won at a maximum of 7 furlong – but no further

14 were distance winners


Tom Dascombe's yard seems to be the one whose strike rate has survived the week best – probably through discretion being the better part of valour! 5 of his 18 runners in the last 14 days have won and he runs Huntsmans Close, who, at his current forecast odds, would be the longest priced winner of this in 19 seasons. However, it may be worth watching the market as this 5 yo ticks the other boxes.

Chris Dwyer has sent just two out the past fortnight and one has won. He saddles Basil Berry who has run too may times this season to be anywhere near a typical winner.


If we start with the first 8 in the betting, all those, at present, 16/1 or under in the current betting, and look for horses that have run between one and four times and posted a first 4 finish last time, the field is immediately narrowed down to two: ROBERT LE DIABLE and KICKBOXER. I will make them my two against the field with preference for the former as it has won over 7 furlongs and was second (2L receiving a pound) to the well fancied – but withdrawn here earlier this week, Mecca's Angel. He was staying on well that day and the time was very fast at 1.56 secs faster than standard.

On that evidence, there should be no worries about the ground, plus French Good (which he has won on over 6F) is the equivalent to UK Good to Firm. This is a very versatile horse who has been in with somewhere near the best, won on a wide variety of goings  and over 5, 6 and 7 furlongs.

As you can probably tell, i am keen on this one, but, in a big field handicap, and with the French not having won this in the period i have looked at, i  have put the other in as insurance.





KING’S STAND STAKES race trends and trainers stats


ASCOT 3.40


This is a remarkably cosmopolitan race in that no less than half of the last 18 winners have come from outside the British Isles.

Much as this adds to the prestige of, and interest in,  the race, it skews the trends somewhat as, before 2010, they didn't have a proper international handicapping system. So, non UK or Irish winners before then were counted as not having a rating.

Also, using HorseRaceBase, as i always do for the facts that enable me to assemble these posts and come up with selections, all these overseas winners are counted as not having a run – debutants effectively – and are treated as  such in the days since run stats.

Don't think i am having a go at HRB. Their race stats are great and, if you fancy your chances of  analysing  the big races yourself, it is worth taking a look. However, it is a database for the UK and Ireland. There are often some small  anomolies due to foreign winners but i don't know of  any other race so dispropotionately represented in the winners enclosure from overseas as this race.

All that said, with a little discernment, their are some interesting trends and here they are:-


A mix. Not great for favs or second favs with 2 each winning in the last 18 runnings

However, 16 came from the first 8 in the betting, the biggest SP being 20/1.

The other two were returned 33/1 and 25/1


All between 9-1 and 9-4

The last 6 were all males carrying 9-4


Of the 9 to have a handicap rating, 7 were rated 111 plus

The last 6 winners were all rated 113 plus

Since 2003, all the 7 winners with a handicap rating were rated 112  or more.


5 ,6 and 7yo's have by far the best record in this with 13 wins between tham and each around 9% wins to runs ratios.

This seems a race for mature types, as only 5 out of 154 of the 3 and 4 yo's to try have won.

At the other end of the spectrum, 24  8yo's and older have tried and none have won. For Sole Power fans (including me) 8 yo's alone are 0-16

Form Profile

This is where it gets difficult viz the foreign winners. Here i will have to rely on the information to hand of the British and Irish winners.

All 9 were distance winners

Of these, 6 had  won over further – 5 at 6 furlongs and  1 at 7F

8 posted a first 3 finish in their previous race and all 9 had finished  in the first 5

4 won, 1 was second  and three finished third last time.


Top of the in form yards is William Haggas who  has saddled 11 winners fromm 33 runners. He runs Muthmir who ticks all my trends boxes.

Next best is William Muir who has Stepper Point who falls down on the first 5 last time out run trend.

Dean Ivory's yard is bang in form with 4 wins from 14 runs the past fortnight, and a 1-1 record with his older horses,  but his Lancelot Du Lac has both a duck egg for its last run and a rating of 108 to overcome trends wise.

As regards record at the course, no-one in this race can hold a candle to Edward Lynam whose Sole Power has won this the last twice. His runners have a 5-15 overall strike rate at the course and all in races for older horses. I am a huge fan of Sole Power and he has his conditions. But, firstly, he is an 8yo (the record of which was discussed above), and secondly only he and Equiano have won this twice. Sole Power is the only one to win back to back but, as far as i know, no horse has won this 3 times in the races history.

Jim Goldie doesn't send many all the way down from Scotland, but when he has in the past 5 years 1 of his 3 runners in races for older horses won. His Jack Dexter has a lot going for him but his official rating of 109 puts him just below the class needed since 2003.


From the first 8 in the betting, aged 5, 6 or 7, rated 111 plus and with a  first 5 run last time narrows it down to one – the bang in form Haggas yard's MUTHMIR, who has the bonus of having won over 6 furlongs as well as 5;

Those looking for an each way bet could do worse than take a chance on David Baron's Pearl Secret who falls down only on the ratings by one point.

Sole Power will raise the roof if he makes history by winning this a third time. Everything is in his favour – which is why he is fav – except the trends! He looked as good as ever when winning in Dubaii the time before last and his last run can safely be ignored, i think, as it now seems obvious that 6 furlongs is not his trip.







Oaks race trends and trainer stats



Overall, this has been a good race for favs with 7 of the last 18 winning. This has dropped to 3 of the past 10 if we look at the more recent trends.

Ditto with big priced winners. In the 11 runnings between 1997 and 2007 the biggest priced winner was 12/1 with the next highest SP of 13/2.

In the 7 years since, a 33/1 shot and three 20/1 winners have come in!

This has not been a good race for second favs either with just one winner in the period.

So, a mixed bag. The longer term trends say good race for the fav and those priced 9/1 or less (11 of the last 18 winners). The last 10 years say a so so race for favs, with 3 winning, and with 7 priced 5/1 or higher and 6 priced 13/2 or bigger up to 33/1.

The one abiding feature is that 17 of the last 18 winners came from the first 8 in the betting.

Weight and Ratings

All carry 9.00 as usual.

Of the 11 that had acquired an official handicap rating, an OR, the lowest rated was 94.

8 of those 11 were rated 103+

Form Profile

ALL had run between once and 13 times

13 had run between 2 and 5 times.

ALL had run between once and 3 times that season

12 won last time out

3 finished second

16 of the last 18 winners of this had posted a first 3 finish last time

ALL had won over at least a mile

11 had won over 10 furlongs

Curiously, only two had won at or beyond one mile three and a half.

Put another way, 16/18 had won between 1 mile and 10.5 furlongs.

Only 1 was already a distance winner.

Trainer Stats

There are two bang in form yards:

Michael Stoute's has had 29 runners in the past two weeks with 11 winning. He runs Crystal Zvezda who is the close forecast second fav. Other than that bad stat, she has a near perfect profile.

Andre Fabre's yard have won with 7 of their last 22 runners (including last Sundays French Derby) in the past fortnight. He runs forecast 16/1 chance Al Namah, who, but for her second last time, and the lack of a win beyond 7 furlongs (though only beaten a short neck over 10.5 furlongs in a Saint Cloud G3 last time) would have a good profile for this too.

It should also be noted that Fabre has had one winner at Epsom from just 3 runners over the past five years and is 1 from 2 with his 3yo's. Given the recent trend for surprises, this is one that interests me.


This is a tricky trends race with nine of them not completely excluded on trends.

Firstly, it is hard to know what will go off fav. Off past records, this could be important as the market generally gets it right between the first two in the betting.

At present, Newmarket 1000 Guinees winner, Legatissimo, is a 5/2 fav. Deservedly so having won that race after just a week off! Her win in a Gowran Listed race over 9.5 furlongs  is just half a furlong short of the 10 furlongs that 11 of the last 18 winners had won over.

The clear 3/1 second fav is Stoute's Crystal Sverda and, if it remains second fav, that would put me off.

So, I am going to apply the trends as follows: From the first 8 in the betting, that won last time, won over 10 furlongs or further, rated 103 plus and is not second fav.

Assuming the betting stays as it is, that leaves us with two: Musidora winner (provided one winner from the last 10 runnings of this), Star of Seville, who, despite having fitness and weight concessions just scraped home in the Musidora, I thought, by a head and, according to people who know about breeding, is not guaranteed to get this longer trip; and LADY OF DUBAI who, having been beaten just half a length in a Newmarket listed race by last years French Guinees runner up, Irish Rookie, in her last race over a mile last season, seemed to relish being upped in trip to 10 furlongs when winning a Goodwood (similar to Epsom but the other way round) Listed race “comfortably” last time out by four and a half lengths.

She posted an 11 lbs improved rating that day and can surely be expected to come on from that race. Again, knowing nothing about breeding, I am at the mercy of the Racing Post, who inform me that she is “bred to relish middle-distances “ you would expect the trip to bring some improvement as well.

In a competitive renewal of the Oaks, I make her my each way race trends selection at 12/1 with Hills and some of the smaller bookies.

Living in France, I can testify to the form of the Fabre yard and was taken with his Derby winner last Sunday. His record here is very encouraging and, given the recent spate of surprise winners, I take AL NAMAH as my each way trainer stats bet. Currently available at 18/1 with Paddy Power.


Lockinge Stakes 2015 race trends


This race has been dominated by 3 trainers in the past 18 years; Richard Hannon has won 3 of the last 5 runnings, Saed Bin Suroor 5 of the past 18 runnings and Michael Stoute 3.


Fav won 9 of the past 18 runnings and second favs 4 times

One 20/1 shot won but all the others were returned 9/1 or less

First 4 in betting won 16/18


The 12 that had a handicap ratings were all rated 116 plus


4 and 5yo's have completely dominated this with 17 winners between them and a wins to runs ratio of 13%. The only other winner was 6  with a strike rate of 6%.

Form Profile

ALL had between 1-6 runs in the last year

ALL were either making their seasonal debut or had just one run that season. 15 the former, 3 the latter.

16 won at 1 mile plus (10F max)

Distance winner x 15

6 won last time, 4 were second and ALL finished in the first 6 in their latest run

ALL ran between 8-30 or 121 -365days since their last run


Other than the trainers recods in this race listed at the start, the following are of note:

Willie Haggas has a 5/18 strike rate with his older horses here and he trains Yuftur who has plenty going for him trends-wise except he would be the joint longest priced winner of this in the last 18 runnings.

Michael Stoute has won with 4 of his 13 four yo plus runners here in the past 5 seasons and he runs second fav Integral, who has to overcome the stat that ALL the last 18 winners finished in the first 6 last time.


If we start with the 16 winners from the first 4 in the betting (9 of which were favs) then look at 4 or 5 yo's  with a rating of 114 plus and  a first 6 run last time plus a win at between a mile and a mile and a quarter, we are left with two horses from the yard who have farmed this over the past 5 years – the Hannon stable.

Last year's 2000 Guinees winner on his seasonal debut,  NIGHT OF THUNDER, conqueror of Kingman and Australia in that race will surely get the pace he needs in this 18 runner race and is the fav (9 of the last 18 won) and deservedly so. Though it is interesting that Richard Hughes (who i presume had the choice) has opted for third fav Toormore who may be more tot he taste of each way backers



WHITBREAD race trends and trainer stats 2015

SAN 3.50 BET 365 CHASE (THE WHITBREAD) – last 18 runnings


A mixture. 9 were returned between 14/1 & 25/1 (twice).

Yet 14 came from the first 8 in the betting, which would mean 14/1 or less today.


17 carried 11-5 or less


ALl  ran off handicap marks of 154 or less (which ties in exactly with the weight stat)


6, 7, 8 & 11 yo's have the best record with 1 win from 13 runners (8%), 4-41 ((10%), 6-89 (9%) and 3-34 (9%) respectively.

9 yo's have won 3 times from 78 runners (4%) but 10 yo's scored just 1-69 and 7 of the 20 runners are 10 yo's!

Form Profile

ALL had won over at least two and a half miles with 15 winning over at least 3 miles

15 had run between 3 and 5 times that season

Just 2 were last time out winners but 5 finished second last time. 11 posted a first 6 finish last time.

NONE fell last time, (from 34 last time out fallers to try) though two unseated and one pulled up.

All ran within the last 60 days.

Trainer Stats

The bang in form (12 winners from 34 runners the last 14 days) yard is that of Philip Hobbs.He runs three, two of which are 10 yo's,  who have a terrible record in this. The other one is the 8 yo Record Spring who ticks a lot of boxes except his lack of a first 6 run last timeand is shortlisted.

Paul Nicholls is the top trainer at the course and his chasers here are 27/94. He saddles the highly rated (and weighted) Unioniste who, as well as his weight, has the last time out fall to overcome stats wise.

His other runner Has a near perfect trends profile but is very quirky. Just A Par doesn't wear blinkers for nothing but he is definitely one for the shortlist.

Henry de Bromhead doesn't send many over to Sandown but they are to be watched when he does. He has sent 2 chasers over the past few years and 1 has won. This is not a great race for the Irish but they have won 2 of the last 10 runnings. He trains Grand Jesture who, though he has the negative of no 3 miles win,  was second at the Cheltenham Festival in a valuable 3m 1f handicap. Another for the shortlist.


Looking for a horse from the first 8 in the betting, aged 6, 7, 8 & 10, that had 3 to 5 runs this season,  won over 3 miles plus and preferably with a first 6 place last time out, within the last 60 days leads us to no qualifier. The nearest are Grand Jesture And Lost Legend (6 runs this season) who finished 2nd and 6th in the 51K handicap at Cheltenhham referred to above won by susequent strongly fancied Grand National faller, the Druid's Nephew.

Grand Jesture was beaten only three and three quarter lengths that day with Lost Legend a further 12 lengths back. However, the latter gave the former a pound that day but receives 6 lbs tomorrow, so it could be closer this time. Also, Jonjo has a good record in these staying handicaps, though not this particular race.

Neither have won over the required 3 miles though, as had 15 of the last 18 winners.

To find one that has, you have to go outside the first 8 in the betting, right up to equalling the 25/1 biggest SP for this race during the past 18 renewals.

With Paul Nicholls record in big races throughout the season, it would be folly to dismiss a horse that ticks  all the trends boxes. Just A Par beat the smart Third Intention by 14 lengths in a 3 mile Grade 2 in November 2013, gettingan RPR of 155 (runs off 140 tomorrow). However, having followed up with a decent 7th in the Sun Alliance Chase at the 2014 Festival, he seems to have gone backwards and has had an assortment of headgear on and off for his last 7 races. He achieved his best RPR since his defeat of Third Intention last time when third in a £7K handicap, but here is what the write  up says: "Never travelling and pushed along throughout, in last trio, in touch 13th, driven before next, stayed on same pace from 3 out, went 3rd nearing finish, never threatened "

Blinkers are back on tomorrow and it wouldn't be the  biggest shock if Nicholls worked the oracle as he has so often this season on the big days. This horse doesn't look in love with the game though and, on what i know, i couldn't be having him.

Next is Return Spring who finished 9th in the Cheltenham race where Grand Jesture and Lost Legend finished 3rd and 6th, but he was beaten 41L. He has proven stamina in that he has won over 3 miles one and a half furlong and some decent form going back to his close third to King's Palace last December. Raced prominently and was on the premises until weakening before clobbering the second last in the above Cheltenham race but all his best form has been on ground easier than tomorrows.

Finally the 6 YO Algernon Pazham who ran an absolute screamer behind the classy Virak last time, gaining an RPR of 145, and, after having hit the last, being beaten just 7 lengths receiving just 9lbs. However, having just the four chase runs and having refused the time before last, i doubt his jumping will be good enough here. I could be wrong and if he jumps well he is thrown in here but on balance, not for me tomorrow.

You will have discerned from the length of this conclusion that this is by no means clear cut and that there is no perfect trends fit. So, we have to decide between those two from the first 8 in the betting who have top class recent form but fall down on the 3m plus win trend (although with stamina proven), and those with the requisite 3 miles win but from outside the first 8 and with doubts about recent form or experience.

I am going to discriminate in favour of the former. I think that the latest run of GRAND JESTURE has the best from on offer amongst the trends candidates and his shrewd trainer has selectively and successfully placed his chasers here.

With the weight pull and the longer trip, it wouldn't surprise me if LOST LEGEND didn't make a fight of it so i am going to take those two against the field (currently 15/2 – from 16's! – and 20/1 respectively.




SCOTTISH NATIONAL 2015 race trends and trainer/jockey stats

AYR 3.45 SCOTTISH NATIONAL – last 18 runnings


Just 2 favs won and the last one was in 2000

First 12 won 15. Today, that means 20/1 or less.


15 carried 10-9 or less


None won off a mark higher than 150

15 ran off 146 or below

All the last 10 were rated within 7 lbs of the top rated on Rcing Post Ratings (RPR)


8 yo's have by far the best record with 7 wins from 100 runners.

This 7% compares to a combined strike rate of the other winners, who were all aged between 7 and 11, of 4%.

No 6 yo won, though only 14 tried.

Form Profile

15 ran 3-6 times that season

17 posted a first 6 finish last run

17 had won over 3 miles plus

ALL completed last time


The in form yard is Peter Bowen with 7 winners from 22 runners in the last 14 days. He is the trainer of our unlucky, hampered, first fence unseated rider, Al Co, in last week's Grand National. He wouldn't be a trends selection here as he failed to complete last time. But that, and, to a much lesser degree, his age of 10, are the only filters that disqualify him. Otherwise he has decent stats and, with the tendency of recent winners and placed horses having run well in the race before, (Merigo winning in 2010 and 2012 and Godsmejudge second last year having won the year before), i think he will run a big race.

Two trainers with a good record at the course are Paul Nicholls and Tim Easterby with 10/27 and  2/6 respectively. Nicholls has a much better record here with his hurdlers but Easterby is 1/3 with his chasers over the past 5 years.

The former runs top weight Sam Winner who has a non completion last time and  trying to carry 12 lbs more than the weight carrying record over the last 18 runnings to overcome.

The latter trains the interesting Trustan Times who has a 7lbs pull with Al Co for the 2 lengths he was beaten into third in this last year. Given the recent trend i think i have discerned regarding horses that have run well in this previously, he too  could run well with the main trends drawback  being the lack of a first 6 run last time.


There is no runner with a perfect profile. The closest is  is SAMSTOWN who falls down (maybe not though, as he is 20/1 with Paddy Power) only on the first six in the betting filter. He is generally 25/1, with 28/1 in places, as i write. Seeing as there have been winners at 66/1  40/1  33/1  and  20/1 over the last 18 runnings, this is not too big a drawback.

The other 8 yo, who falls down on the same filter but also being rated 10lbs below the top on RPR, is David Pipe's Amigo.

However, mainly on the grounds that i think Peter Bowen had trained his horse for the National last week and it didn't have a race and  that i don't want to be kicking myself, i will make my saver AL CO. The only really important stat aginst him  is his unseat last week. Other than that, he has done it all before and is just 3lbs higher than when winning this last year, although none have won back to back renewals.





Before i go into the race trends and trainer/jockey stats, a word on the going.

The official going on the Mildmay Course is Good to Soft. The average time was 0.29 seconds per furlong slower than the Racing Post standard today (Friday). This would denote Good to Firm going.

They have the same going for the Grand National course which is riding even faster with the only race on that course today run in a time of 0.13 secs per furlong slower than standard. This would indicate Firm going.

Whichever label we want to use, this is fast ground that won't suit plodders – even over four and a half miles!


Odds Market

Not a terrible race for favs but well below par, winning 4 of the last 18 runnings.

However, where it is close at the head of the market, the market tends to get it right with the second fav winning just once over the same period.

For a while it seemed the higher class had led to greater predictability but there have been lots of long odds winners over the past 18 runnings. There have been winners at 100/1, 66/1, 33/1 twice, 20/1 and 16/1 twice. So 7 times the winner was returned 16/1 plus, and, 5 times, 20/1 or greater.

Indeed 4 of the last 7 runnings were won by a 100/1 shot, and the last three winners were returned at 33/1, 66/1 and 25/1.

So, i wouldn't be put off any horse because of the price or market position (except maybe the second favs who have won only around a third what they should have statistically).


No horse carried more than 11-8 over the period studied, 17 carried 11-4 or less, and 16 carried no more than 11-1.

Handicap Rating

The weights record is mirrored in the record of the ratings. No horse won off more than 158 in the last 18 runnings, only one was rated 153 or more. The 16 others all ran off a mark of 150 or less.

Just to give some idea of the class needed to win this off a big weight and a high handicap mark, the one that carried 11-8 and ran off 158 was Neptune Collonges. This horse had previously run a close third in the legendary Kauto vs Denman Gold Cup!


Young horses have a dire record in this. Not many 7 yo's have tried; it is true but the 36 who have couldn't manage a place, let alone a win and 8 yo's are 1 out of 104.

9,10 and 11 yo's have won 16 of the 18 renewals with 6/189, 6/171 & 4/119 respectively, ie, 3 or 4% strike rate for each age.

One horse aged 12 has won with no older winners and 3  placed, from the 75 12 yo's and older to try.

Form Profile

No horse has won this more than once  since the era of the great Red Rum who won this in 1973, 1974 and 1977, finishing second in the two intervening years. Consequently a distance win is not a plus! Nor is it good news for Pineau De Re fans.

No trainer has won back to backs other than Ginger McCain either which doesn't augur too well for Dr Newland's bottom weight Royale Knight (which is a shame as he has otherwise impeccable credentials).

No jockey since Red Rum's rider Brian Fletcher has won back to back Grand National either which goes against Many Clouds as his jockey, Leighton Aspell, won this last year.

16/18 had run between 3 and 7 times that season.

15/18 posted a first five finish in their last run.

ALL had won over at least 3 miles.

ALL last ran between 16-60 days ago.

Trainer / Jockey stats

The seemingly unstoppable Nicholls yard is bang in form with 13 wins from 37 runs this past fortnight. He runs four. Unioniste and Rocky Creek would have to be somewhere near the class of Kauto Star or Denman (using the guide of Neptune collonge's  win discussed  above). Too much weight and/or a too high handicap mark for horses nowhere near that  class for me.

His other two are interesting though with Rebel Rebellion having everything going for him bar a win over 3 miles or more.

Mon Parrain has a near perfect trends profile and is shortlisted.

Willie Mullins, with 15 of his last 45 runners in the last 14 days, has just the one; Ballycasey, who, as an 8 yo who pulled up last time, doesn't have the trends profile for this.

Peter Bowen's yard are in fine fettle with 5  winners from 15 runners over the  past  two weeks. He runs a very interesting one, last years Scottish National winner Al Co and this is very much one for the shortlist.

Ian Williams (2/7 last 14 days), runs the 9 yo Super Duty who has had only 2 runs this season and finished out of the top 5 last time.

Finally, Robert Waley-Cohen has a good record at Aintree from, admittedly, a small sample with 1/2 winners at the course,  both runs were chases. Despite the amazing record over these fences of his amateur jockey son, the horse, Oscar Time, is a 14 yo. No 14 yo has ever won this.


Taking 9, 10,& 11 yo's carrying 11-00,or less, rated 150 or lower, with between 3-7 runs, a first 5 finish  last time between 16 and 60 days ago, we have a shortlist of six: Mon Parrain, Night in Milan, Al Co, Portrait King, Soll and Royale Knight.

If you want to narrow it down further and take the two huge prices out then take out Portrait King (80/1) andMon Parrain (50/1), although i have left them in the shortlist.

In order to come up with a selection i  checked each  of the shortlisted for their record on fast ground. All except Soll, who is untried on fast ground, go well on good going but, as stated at the beginning of this blog, the clock says the ground is riding faster than Good (watering notwithstanding and no rain forecast).

In which case there are just two from the shortlist that have shown  a liking for fast ground; last years Scottish National Winner AL CO, who has the added advantage of coming from an in form yard, and the shrewd Dr Newland's ROYALE KNIGHT who i will back as a saver, despite the fact he will have to make history to do it.




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