Early Prices Forum Discussion

By | 7th December 2017

On the forum yesterday, Rob brought up an interesting question along with some facts about the top rated horses within UK Horse Racing.

I`m hoping for a bit of input from the experts among you. As part of my record keeping, I`m keeping a track on whether the odds on a horse shorten, lengthen or stay the same between when I put my bets on and when the race starts.

Using top rated only as an example, since I started keeping detailed records, there have been 1,298 runners. For 471, the odds have lengthened and that population shows a strike rate of 18% and an ROI of 74.8% (so only returning three quarters of the stakes).

For 680, the odds have shortened and that population shows a 30.7% strike rate and an ROI of 125.4%.

My question is how does this happen? I realise in some cases there will be inside info that sees large amounts placed on a horse which in itself will bring the odds down but are there any other reasons this would happen.

My reply was:

First of all, your data matches what I have found exactly. More top rated horses win after the prices contract. The top rated in the 12.50, Pop Rockstar, was value at 3/1 and I backed it last night at just over 4/1 on the exchanges (after commission) and it went off and won at 5/2.

This one horse illustrates your point exactly and reinforces what I have been saying all the time.

As to why? Well, trainers do talk to owners in the morning who put bets on and they talk to their mates who do the same. That is for horses which are likely to win. Horses that don`t look as likely are told as such by their trainers who tell the owners not to bother putting anything on, or it`s there for a bit of a practise run. So the odds drift out on that one a little.

And then there`s the other punters who seem to know stuff. How, I don`t know. But the fact is that bookmakers do pick up on these ebbs and flows of money and adjust accordingly.

This is why I have stopped backing things after 9am because sometime in the day all real value goes. Yes, overall we may say that a horse valued at 3/1 wins 25% of the time but I want to be on it when it`s 4/1 and not 5/2, like Pop Rocjstar.

So this is why I am finding it hard to push the usage of the DA Tool as I once did as the strike rate is still there overall but the ROI is shot because of the markets. If I could only populate the DA Tool`s data with early price data then it would be something and this is something that I need to consider.

But, at the moment, I do far better if I back the value selections the night before and then leave the drifters to (mostly) lose and be happy when the 10/1 that I backed last night comes in at 7/2.

Everyone who joins UKHR gets told the same thing: back the prices early. That`s all that I do, I just go for what seems to be value the night before if the horse is top rated or near top rated. The only time I back late is when I want to go for a Blindingly Obvious selection that looks as if it`s about to drift because it`s off people`s radars.

That was yesterday’s reply. Today I posted a pile of selections on the forum. The number of second and thirds that I had was outstanding, i.e. frustrating, but in view of Rob’s question it is interesting to note that to Official SP they would have made a loss.

However, because I got on early doors I turned a profit on the day. All of the four winners of the posted selections shortened in price which is a common situation and why, as I have said before, if it’s past nine o’clock in the morning then my day’s backing is over.

So it’s important for me, either late at night or early in the morning, to go and look at the prices on offer.

That got me thinking back to, a few months back, when I struck up an aquaintance with a bloodstock agent from the Houghton-Le-Spring area. He would tell of how the word would come out from the yards each morning, either positive or negative, and how this news would spread like wildfire through the connections and then through their friends. All these would get their bets on first thing in the morning (even if the trainer tried to get them not to put anything on until after a certain time) and the price would contract. Of course, this would only apply to those horses whose news was coming out with positives.

Of course, horses which aren’t thought to be able to win do win. Quite simply a horse that a trainer thinks isn’t up to scratch that morning may still be better than the others in the race. So having a horse drifting doesn’t mean that it’s one to lay one’s mortage on it.