25th April, 2017

I missed out yesterday’s Portfolio posting but here’s eight which are worth looking at today.
Ludlow 2.35 Henllan Harri (non-runner)
Ludlow 3.05 Leith Hill Lad
Hexham 4.00 I Know The Code
Yarmouth 4.25 Used To Be
Hexham 4.30 Ardea
Brighton 5.50 Lyfka
Wolverhampton 7.05 Percys Princess
Punchestown 7.15 Cornelius Sulla
Currently we’re standing at 1 winner from 2 selections and showing a profit of 3 points.

23rd April, 2017

This is the first of an occasional series where a small number of selections are posted each day on the blog. These are generally horses in or around the top of the ratings and do show an overall profit. Of course, the trick is to get the best price available as it’s all about price.
Wetherby 3.45 – Frampton
Navan 4.25 – Torcedor
Frampton was pulled up at 11/4, whereas Torcedor won at 4/1 beating the odds-on favourite who was unable to catch up. Early birds could have had Torcedor at 11/2.

Koulds Dam: Navan 2.15

In the previous posting I mentioned looking at Koulds Score horses in races with little or no form.
This race qualifies for sure but the trouble is that the horse with a massive Koulds Score of 16 isn’t really good value available at about 9/2.

Certainly it does stand out in this race in terms of Koulds Scoring and when it comes to the normal form there certainly isn’t much of it and, perhaps, the Koulds Score is the better way in which to approach this race.

Newbury 4.45

This is something which was pointed out to me well after the event and is worth a post-mortem. This is the 4.45 at Newbury yesterday.
It was what could be described as a dreadful little maiden with little fear of contradiction. Ten horses were declared and only a handful had ever been on a racecourse before and only two, Magellan and Tango Fire, had ever raced on the flat previously: the same race type as this race.
Normally in years gone by I would look at the race to see if anything with a decent Koulds Score was running.

Koulds Scores, for those who are unaware, is a scoring system which looks at the prodigeny of the horses’ sires and dams and to compare how each group of offspring compare over going, distance, race-type, race class, race type and age.
A score is given to each horse in the race according to the rules of the scoring system (which are explained here) and I have found that in the past that going on the Sire/Dam data is about the only worthwhile angle to look at these races.
In this race the horse with the best Koulds Score is Duke Of Bronte (the horses are sorted in Koulds Dam order) and with a score of 11 is worth looking at. In such races I would normally have looked at horses with a score of ten or higher but, for one reason or another, the start of the flat season and the maidens have caught me out this year. Anyway, with the Koulds Score being clear by a good five points from the next horses I would have been interested in Duke of Bronte.
I have no idea of what the price was like on the exchanges but Duke Of Bronte won by two lengths, running well in the last hundred yards, to win at 100/1.
When one has a race with little or no form then cast an eye over the Koulds Scores, sometimes one can find something pop out.
Update: The Befair SP for Duke of Bronte was 880.

Royal Ascot Etiquette Guide

Attracting approximately 300,000 visitors a year, the Royal Ascot is easily the most valuable racing competitions in Britain; with a £6.5million prize available for many of the world’s finest racehorses.
However, if you are planning to attend this highly glamorous and prestigious event in 2017, it is important your party is well prepared for the occasion, for there are certain behaviours and general rules to follow, that are applicable, no matter which enclosure you intend to visit.
If you are aspiring to attend Royal Ascot, then going there to experience what the Royal meeting has to offer first hand, simply must be crossed off your bucket list.
Of course, the event is centred on the racing, but it has evolved into so much more than that. With a very strict dress code in place, every year we see fashionistas pushing the boundaries with elaborate dresses, and more importantly, hats. Seeing all of the attendees in their finery has come to be a spectacle and has moulded Royal Ascot into the glamorous event that many fans know and love.
The ‘Royal’ Aspect of the meeting is delivered by senior members of the Royal Family and indeed by The Queen herself who is notoriously recognised as a massive fan of the races. Her Royal Majesty, the Queen will attend the event every year to watch her own horse’s race. She arrives in style, in a delicately adorned carriage, pulled by Winsor Greys. The carriage travels along the race course, through the grandstand and into the parade ring, where she addresses spectators and officially begins the days racing. As she passes the grandstand, gentlemen will remove their hats out of respect to Her Royal Majesty.
Each day at Royal Ascot is dedicated to six specific races, and every one of these days hosts at least one group one race. The most famous day is considered to be Ladies day, which traditionally falls on a Thursday.
Gates Open at Royal Ascot from 10.30 am and visitors are encouraged to arrive as near to this time as possible, in order to be able to fully enjoy everything that this prolific event has to offer.
Within the various hospitality restaurants and facilities, Visitors are greeted with either a champagne or Pimms reception followed by morning tea and coffee. Lunch is served from 12pm, with a full two hours service so that you are able to relax and enjoy the fine selection of food that is on offer.
The Queen traditionally arrives each day at 14.00, before the first race begins at 14.30. The final race takes place at 17.35.
The Royal Enclosure:
One of the most highly prestigious and privileged ways, to attend Royal Ascot is as a member of The Royal Enclosure. Holding a membership to the Royal Enclosure is very exclusive. Those that are members become members by nomination from someone that is, and has been a member for four or more years.
If you are fortunate enough to have been invited into The Royal Enclosure then there are many conducts that must be adhered to. The way that you deport yourself, for example, is very important if you are to be accepted into the fold. Swearing or any anti-social behaviours will never be tolerated.
Dress Code:
Whether your party is visiting Royal Ascot as members of the Royal Enclosure, guests within a corporate hospitality facility, or simply with Queen Anne Enclosure badges, there are specific codes of conduct and dress that must be followed. You are required to be appropriately dressed at all times.
Gentlemen are required to present themselves in a full, three piece morning suit, with top hat and tie. Cravats are not permitted. Shoes must be pristine, polished and black.
The Ladies dress code is even more specific. Dresses and skirts must be, what is considered to be, of moderate length, nothing shorter than just above the knee. Dresses and tops must have straps or sleeves that are greater than one inch wide. Halter necks and spaghetti straps are not permitted at any time. Jackets, wraps and shawls may be worn, but dresses or tops underneath have to comply with the one inch rule. Midriffs must not be exposed at any time. Ladies may wear a trouser suit but it has to be matching, in both colour and in material and must be full length. Ladies are required to wear a hat, although as an alternative to a hat, a head piece with a solid diameter of more than 4 inches is acceptable.
Royal Ascot Hospitality Facilities & the Queen Anne Enclosure:
When you are attending Royal Ascot as part of a hospitality package, or if you hold a badge for the Queen Anne Enclosure, you should regard your attendance as a formal occasion. The usual behaviours that you would display if you were to go to a wedding, for example, would be applicable within the racecourses hospitality facilities, bars, restaurants, and within the grandstand.
The dress code is similar for ladies, as it is within the Royal Enclosure, however, a fascinator may be worn as an alternative to a hat. Strapless or sheer straps on any dress or top will not be permitted in any case. Trousers can be worn as part of a suit or simply with a top that complies with the rules regarding straps. Midriffs must be covered at all times and shorts may not be worn.
Gentlemen are required to wear a suit and tie. They do not need to wear a morning suit or top hat unless they wish to do so.

Why are there are different IDs in the CSV Results?

When one looks within the CSV files, particularly the monthly Results CSV files, one can see that there are two sets of IDs. Both sets more or less mirror each other but they can be slightly different.
So, why are there two sets of, for example, the HorseID and, more importantly, what the heck is going on?
Okay, the best thing is to look at an example. This below are from the March 2017 Results CSV file and the first example shows the two races as being RaceID 294704 and 294705.

But within the same rows, which means the same race, we have a different set of RaceIDs.

So, as asked previously; what the heck is going on?
The first set of IDs that we can see, these have the substring ‘Cards’ in the column title, are the values in the UK Horse Racing database when the cards are being processed. At the time of data production we don’t know if the race is going to be run and we don’t even know if the meeting is even running nor do we know if the horse itself is running. But, at the time of producing the ratings these are our IDs for these items within our database.
When we produce the ratings each day the thing we do as a part of the process is to import any results which need to be added. At the same time any cards data (i.e. entries without results) are removed from the database and then only when we get that data for that race, which may take a few days to gather is it added in.
This can’t be changed it’s the way that the Model’s database was designed. The reasons why isn’t pertinent to the discussion but this is how the data is handled within the database.
Not only does it take a day or so to get the full data for results into the database because we start the ratings run before the day’s racing has finished but we have races that don’t happen, we have horses which don’t run and we get important overseas results coming in.
So this means then that the RaceID for the cards is going to nearly always different to the final set of RaceIDs when we come to the results. Which is why column FJ is going to be different to column QS. And unless it’s a new trainer or a new course then we could expect that the early IDs for trainers and courses will be the same as the result IDs.
It can be seen that the data within FJ to FN are temporary values and have no long term validity. Why are they placed into the CSV file then if they can cause confusion? Simply because members asked for this data even though there could be confusion. I have to state that, in my defence, that I didn’t want to add the ‘early’ data because of the potential for confusion and that we could, and would, end up with two entries with the same unique Entry ID. However, the requests were made and this data was added.
The data that comes in the columns QS to QX is the data that’s in the UKHR database here and this will be set in stone. So in our database course 561 will be Ffos Las, Jockey 10791 will be Mr Sheehan and so on. This is the data that should be used if one imports the Results CSV into one’s database.
I hope that this clarifies the situation and explains why there’s two set of IDs and if one wishes to use our ID values then please use the data within columns QS to QX which, of course, will only be found in the Results CSV files.

Post Mortem.

As ever a post mortem on a result is worth having because something may come of it. And this is what this new blog category is about; it’s looking at reasons that perhaps explain why an unfavoured horse won.
Perhaps there may be something that could be taken from a post mortem, perhaps there isn’t. But, all the same it’s often interesting to look at a good priced winner (or a very low priced loser) and seeing if one could see if there is anything to look at in the future in case there’s a pattern.
Here’s one to start off with.
In the 5.10 Pontefrace Rockwood won at 40/1 (available at 125s on the exchanges) and looking through the ratings we can see the following on the Trainer Calendar.

Rockwood is near the foot of the ratings but we can see that the trainer, Karen McLintock, has an overall training history (over the last five years) of 46 winners from 360 runners, a strike rate of around 12%. These figures result a loss of £80 if £1 were staked on each runner. Such as loss isn’t uncommon and, indeed, its a rare trainer to show a profit over the last five years.
But come left to the Trainer Calendar part of the table and we see a different picture.
As a reminder, the Trainer Calendar looks at the fortunes of a trainer at this point of time over the last five years. So today’s date is the 11th of April and so we if we look at the interval of the 4th of April to the 17th of April over the last five years (the fifteen days centred on today’s date) we can see a different story.
McLintock has saddled only nine runners but has had four winners. Not only does this mean that she has a far better strike rate over this period but she’s profitable.
So we have something which could be looked for. Are there any other horses out there today which have the following trainer criteria.

  1. That overall, over the past five years, the trainer is unprofitable.
  2. That the period shown on the Trainer Calendar the trainer is profitable.
  3. That the strike rate of the Trainer Calendar period is twice that of the overall figure.

These are just arbitary starting points but it’s a start and it’s a good place to begin the analysis and, of course, let’s have a look at today’s racing for a start. It’s not quite 6.40 when this is being typed so there’s no results for the last few races but here’s the day’s runners which fit the above criteria.

So what of the earlier winner today, Arcadian Angel, which won at 10/1?

The trainer, JJ Quinn, has an impressive 254 winners from 1,941 runners giving an overall loss of £352 for £1 stakes and a strike rate of 13%. But the Trainer Calendar period shows a better story: 20 winners from 74 runners. A strike rate of 27% and a profit of £46.
This being a post mortem is just the first step of discovery. There may be nothing in this or this may be something that simple or it could be that a few tweaks are needed along the way. But it’s a start of a new angle to explore and, if nothing else, is interesting.

. The 6.45 Tipperary was run just after this post was published. Dasheen was the winner at 10/1.
This is something which clearly needs to be investigated.

Ffos Las 5.00

I had a sort-of wish-washy is-it-or-isn’t-it Blindingly Obvious selection, Welsh Designe, in the Ffos Las 5.00. However, my dilemma as to whether it was a good selection or not has been resolved by it not running.
So nothing doing on this front today.
Yesterday was topped off nicely by the top rated Steelyeyed in the 4.35 Leopardstown winning at 16/1. Eight pounds clear at the top and, again, positive differentials.

Blindingly Obvious Selections – Grand National Day

There are no such selections today but yesterday we had three.
As expected with this method of selection some win, some run decently enough, some dreadfully and some are still meandering out there on the back straight when the sun goes down.
Yesterday we had all but a winner but one really close call.
The first was in the Sedgefield 2.10 and one can see why Medal Of Freedom was selected here.

Medal Of Freedom was clearly the horse with the Class Differentials and also a positive Weight Differential. It was available at 20/1 with Paddy Power early doors and set off at 7/1. According to the reports it was a little clumsy early doors but three out was in with every chance.
The next of the three was Northern Emperor in the Wexford 6.05.

Looking back at this, in the cold light of day, this doesn’t look so impressive after all, does it? Whilst it is the best in terms of Differentials in this race it hardly knocks one’s socks off, does it?
Northern Emperor was in touch with the leaders when the horse was hampered and the rider was shoved off the saddle. We don’t know how it would have fared if it had continued but it was avaible readily enough at 33/1 in the morning but went off at 16/1.
In hindsight it wasn’t the strongest of selections.
The last of the three, in the Dundalk 7.55, was USA which opened at 33/1, available at 50s on the exchanges and went off at 20/1. This one was a clear enough selection.

The five year Differentials aren’t easy to pick through as the report generator skipped a tab-space in printing but the one year figures tell an interesting story.
The Class Differential was a good strong 11.2, the best in the race, but the Weight Differential was simply out of this world; 37. This means USA is running almost three stones in terms of class and weight lower than the average and available at around 50/1!
It didn’t win, but went to 1.11 in running and only just lost by a head. The report says Slowly away, raced towards rear until progress on inner under 2f out, went 3rd entering final furlong, stayed on strongly to press winner in 2nd close home, just held (op 33/1).
So, whilst there was no joy with these three selections yesterday the principle, it has to be said, remains sound.