Stat of the Day, 20th December 2012
Another case of "close, but no cigar" yesterday as Pastoral Jet finished in third position. Unfortunately, the odds were too prohibitive at 4/1 to allow an E/W bet, despite him drifting a point from my advised 3/1 price. A blank day for us, but it highlights the merits of using a BOG bookie, I suppose! I see these recent near-misses as a sign we're on the right path and I use them as motivation, rather than bemoaning my luck.
We're going back over the jumps again today and we're staying in the South for a Class 4 Handicap Chase at the country's only free-to-enter racecourse. The ground is officially soft (8.6 on the stick) and may yet get softer for the eleven runners set to tackle 3 miles and half a furlong in the.…
Jim Old doesn't send many runners to Towcester nowadays, just 16 in total in the last two years. However, the horses he does send there seem to pay their way. A good strike rate of 31.25% (5/16) has given his followers a profit of some 19.5pts at SP (+122%), whilst more cautious E/W backers have been rewarded with a 33pts (+110%) return, courtesy of a 60% place strike rate.
Obviously, the above figures are based on both handicap and non-handicap events, but if we look at Jim's record here in handicap contests alone, the figures are even more impressive, as we remove the two unplaced non-handicappers from the original sixteen runners, leaving us with a 5/14 (35.7% SR) record for +21.5pts (+154% ROI) and a near 70% place strike rate generating a further 35pts profit (+135%)
All these fourteen events have taken place since 27/2/11, when today's runner Round The Horn started the sequence with a 7/4 win over today's trip on heavy ground. It will come as little/no surprise to regular readers of this column to discover that Round The Horn is Jim Old's only runner anywhere today either.
The horse has only raced here that one time before, securing the afore-mentioned Course & Distance victory and will be looking to protect that unbeaten record here. He's a consistent enough sort, having won four of his thirteen starts to date and has made the frame six times in total.
He has admittedly only ran here the once, but he handles the course well enough to win that day in testing conditions and despite the going being pretty soft today with a prospect of worsening, I don't think he'll have any stamina issues. In fact, nine of his thirteen races have been on ground declared as soft or heavy and his record in those races reads 13P661131, four wins from nine for a profit of 8.25pts and the six place finishes have rewarded E/W punters to the tune of 7.5pts.
In short, the trainer's horses go well here, the horse has gone well here before and he seems to relish testing conditions. I don't expect the trip to be of concern either, he's 131 at the distance and today's jockey Mark Grant has previous experience on board him, winning at Uttoxeter last time out (3 miles on soft!).
Under normal conditions, I'd expect an E/W bet to be the prudent option, but based on all the stats we'd be unlikely to get a suitable price. However a lay off of 229 days is the potential fly in the ointment and this has been reflected in the prices available. He's generally a 7/1 shot today, but there's an extra point available with Paddy Power (or at least there was when I typed this at 0900).
All things considered, I think the sensible option is an E/W bet, so my play today is 0.5pts E/W on Round The Horn at 8/1 BOG with Paddy Power. I'd expect that price to shorten by a couple of points as the day progresses, so for the latest prices, simply...
P.S. At the time of writing 9.4 was available on Betfair with 3.2 on offer for the place.