Gambling yards - the 2yos

Which trainers should you follow?

A 2yo runner (Juvenile) making its debut will be racing for the first time and the racing post Spotlight comments will often say a market move will be informative.

There is no previous form to gauge how good the horse is but the big trainers in particular will have raced it against their other juveniles at home and have a good idea where the horse stands in the pecking order. If he’s a good’un, what usually happens is that the yard will keep the information under their hat, wait for the price to drift and then steam into the horse shortening its price.

The problem is gambles on juveniles often develop with no substance behind them; an enthusiastic trainer or owner can often overestimate just how good a horse is, a stable lad may have told the locals down the pub that a distinctly average animal is the next Frankel in waiting and before you know it your 20/1 shot is trading as the 2nd or 3rd favourite.

Therefore, that oft heard statement “The market will tell us a lot” is meaningless unless the market is reliable and when you consider that approximately 80% of market springers fail to win there is a good chance that the market will get it wrong. The most important thing is to know which trainers can justify a gamble on their juveniles and once the money starts to come in for a horse being able to get your money on early enough before the value has disappeared.

As we leave May behind I decided to look at the gambles on Juveniles since the start of the 2013 season and regarded a gamble as a move of at least six contractions in the odds from the opening show compared to SP. This isn’t ideal of course as it doesn’t include early market movers, but the problem with including the early springers is that the contraction in price is often due to a non runner. If a long odds on shot is declared a non runner then a horse that was trading at 10/1 early doors could be returned as short as 3/1, but the price contraction is not due to a gamble by the connections but the fact that a horse that was considered a sure thing is now a non runner.

Another reason I don’t trust the early markets is that a steamer is often not actually a fancied horse. Pricing up the day’s racing early is a modern phenomenom, even ten years ago only the major races were priced up in the morning. Someone looking at a steamers page may see that a horse was available at 14/1 first thing in the morning and has now shortened to 8/1 but that does not necessarily mean it has been well supported. Say Oddschecker for instance are using 16 firms to give them their price comparisons and all of the 16 bookies except one priced up the same horse at between 8/1 and 10/1, the problem is our one exception priced the horse at 16/1. The standout firm will see a handful of tenner EW bets come their way and quickly realise they have screwed up. They will cut the horse to an even shorter price than their rivals and all of a sudden a horse that was available at 16/1 is now as low as say 13/2 on the back of a small number of nominal EW bets. Yet the horse isn’t any more fancied than it was an hour ago, it is a steamer because one bookie screwed up with his tissue prices.

Since the beginning of last season there were 401 such instances of a horse shortening by six points or more and 82 of them won. This fits in nicely with our 20% figure mentioned earlier and following every gamble though would have seen you lose 15% of your stake money to SP.

Considering the winners were all springers in the market it makes sense that your losses would have been minimised and even turned into profits it you could have got a far better piece than SP. Russian Prince won a maiden at Redcar a couple of days ago at Redcar, returning an SP of 9/2, yet the horse was as big as 14/1 on the early show, if you realised that James Given was a reliable trainer when the money was down on one of his 2yo debutants then the chances are you would have taken an early price of say 9/1 and doubled your winnings to SP.

The problem is knowing which trainers are reliable when the money is down and which trainers should be avoided with the proverbial bargepole. One trainer who does well when the money is down on his juveniles is Tom Dascombe.

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Tom Dascombe:

Four of the six gambles on the juveniles were successful and even allowing for the prices shortening markedly, following all six runners to SP would still have seen your bank increase by a whopping 147%

Bounty Hunter was backed in from 20/1 early doors and halved in price from an opening show of 14/1. She was obviously fancied on her 2nd run at York but despite a good strike found the step up in Class too much and could only finish 6th at 7/1.

Captain Whoosh certainly lived up to his name when he landed a Class 5 maiden at Ffos Las last July on his 2nd run. Having finished 3rd on debut he was supported all day and the opening 100/30 didn’t last long with sustained support seeing the horse backed down to 6/4. The result was never in much doubt and he ran out an easy 2l winner.

Andy Dandy had been available at an early 4/1 on his 2nd run and opened up at 100/30. Sustained support saw the horse driven into 2/1 favouritism and despite running green Andy Dandy held on to win.

Larsen Bay was having his 5th run as a juvenile when he was backed in from 12/1 to 7/1 but was unable to justify the faith shown in him and could only finish a well beaten 5th.

Roudee was available at 11/1 early doors on debut and opened up at 7/1 before being smashed into 4/1. He justified the market support running home a comfortable winner at Ripon.

Snapshots was available at a best priced 7/2 and was well supported into 2nd favourite at 15/8 and asserted strongly at the finish.

Tom Dascombe summary:

Since 2012 the stable have landed half of the ten gambles on their juveniles, for a 68% ROI.

All but one of the 5 gambles in 5f races were successful compared to only 1 from 5 over further.

All five runners to end up at 5/1 or shorter won, all 5 runners to go off bigger than 15/2 lost and only one made the frame.

The three runners that finished as favourites all won.

Stable number one Richard Kingscote won on 4 of his 6 rides for the stable and rode all bar one of the winning gambles, for a surprisingly profitable 134% ROI.

It would appear that the Dascombe juveniles that go off at 5/1 or shorter in 5 furlong races, especially if they are ridden by Richard Kingscote would be the ones to follow.

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