The difference in strike rate in a Handicap compared to a Maiden race is a full 15 percentage points.

Favourites in Big Field Maiden Races

4th Oct 2011
sp / races

Favourites win one in three races and backing them returns a slight loss. Most punters accept that stat but assume that the stat is for all favourites in all races. This is actually not true. If you examine favourite stats for different types of races you will see that the fate of the favourite can vary quite considerably.

Using the FlatStats Favourites Stats page you can quickly see the big difference in performance of the favourite depending on the type of race. First here is the baseline figure for all flat turf races:

Backing All Favourites on the Flat Turf

All Flat Turf Favs 31.8% 0.94 -6.2%

Backing all favourites on the flat turf has hit a strike rate of 31.8% (just slightly short of one win in three) and has returned a loss of around 6%. Note too the A/E value figure of 0.94 this is not that bad and indicates that the favourite is only just over bet.

Looking at the Favourite Stats report shows that the type of race does produce different stats for the favourite:

Favourites for Different Race Types

Race TypeWin%A/EROI%
Handicap 25.8% 0.93 -7.6%
Stakes 38.7% 0.95 -4.5%
Group Races 33.7% 0.94 -5.0%
Selling Races 32.6% 1.01 1.8%
Maiden Races 40.8% 0.95 -4.2%

Notice the big difference in strike rates. The difference in strike rate in a Handicap compared to a Maiden race is a full 15 percentage points. Note too that in Selling races backing the favourite for the past 10 years has actually returned a profit.

Big Field Maiden Races System

If you dig deeper into the report (by examining just one type of race) you will uncover profitable betting angles for favourites. One such angle is the Big Field Maiden Races System. This is a simple system, which is based purely on backing the favourite in a big field maiden stakes race on the turf.

You can look at the results of the system using the Favourite Stats page. But in order to be alerted to any contenders each day you may want to use the FlatStats Racing System Builder as this has a built in horse / system alert feature.

The Rules of this System:

  • Maiden Stakes
  • 16 or more Runners
  • The Favourite

The Results of this System
250 wins from 674 bets, 37.1% strike rate, 1.09 A/E, £89.95 (13.3%) profit at SP.

Why does this System Work?
It relies on the basic favourite / longshot bias, which states that the majority of punters will underbet a favourite (because they perceive it to be low priced and low value), and overbet outsiders. In this type of race there will be many unexposed horses; horses that caused 'dogs to bark', and 'pigeons to be caught'. Punters would much rather put their money on these dark horses with the effect that the price of the favourite will be higher than it should be.

You can run the report through the System Builder here: Favourites in Big Field Maiden Races System.

Note that this system can be used all year round on the flat turf but it is in the autumn where the results are best, and where there are the most contenders. Presumably the favourite is taking on overbet, held back horses, which do not perform as expected.

Note too that the selection must be the favourite at the off. You cannot identify the favourite at 10:00am and assume that it will still be the favourite by race time! Let the tipsters and media pundits influence the market in the morning and then just before the off identify and back the favourite. Of course with bookies you could specify a win bet on '1st Favourite'.

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Article created 4-Oct-11. Stats may have changed since.

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