Stat of the Day, 4th March 2014
They say that things come in threes and yesterday was our third consecutive 4th place finish at an SP of 5/1, exactly the same result as Friday & Saturday!
As for the race itself, our selection Dimitar finished like a train, but surely couldn't to expect to win, if sat stone last of 10 runners at the 2 pole. He managed to pass six rivals in the closing staged but the leading trio were already well gone by this time and the final margin of defeat was just under four lengths.
Liam Keniry isn't a bad jockey, but better riders than him on better horses have failed on many occasions to complete last to first runs inside the final quarter-mile. I really don't know why so many jocks try this approach. Poor riding decisions or ill-advised tactics, who knows?
Even finding an answer won't change the result, so let's attempt to break the cycle in Tuesday's...
aka The Devon National which, like most "Nationals", promises to be a bit of a slog: 3m 6.5 f over fences on heavy ground will be a true test of stamina here and the one I'm backing is Susan Gardner's Flying Award at 6/1 BOG.
Susan Gardner's recent record in chase contests here at Exeter is 3 wins and 2 places from 7 attempts in the last two years, so this is a positive for us.
Susan Gardner is also one of those rare cases, where you can back all her handicap runners blindly and still make a profit. For the 2011/14 period, if you put £10 on each of her 217 NH handicappers, you'd have made yourself a very healthy £689.80 profit, a return of 31.8% courtesy of a decent 15.5% strike rate (38/217).
The bulk of her success comes from those runners priced at 12/1 0r under, where the record reads 36/146 ( 24.7% SR) for 105.5pts (+72.3% ROI), whilst even at 6/1 or under, her runners are worth backing, as 27 winners from 76 (35.5% SR) for 77pts profit (+101.3% ROI) will testify.
And from the original 217 runners I mentioned earlier, the chasers came out best with an 11/41 (26.8% SR) record for 61.25pts (+149.4% ROI) profit with the sub-12/1 chasers winning 10 times from 29 attempts (34.5% SR) for 56pts (+193.1% ROI) profit, which is remarkable. Mind you, the 6/1 and under chasers more than held their own too with a record of 6/16 (37.50% SR) for 15.8pts (+98.6% ROI).
So we know we can back her handicap runners blindly over the long-term!
Flying Award drops down a grade to Class 3 after being outpaced/outclassed on the way to being pulled up at Ffos Las last time out (1st Feb) and Susan Gardner's horse have decent enough record dropping in class too! In the same 2011/14 timeframe, she has saddled up 7 winners from the 21 class droppers sent off at 8/1 or under. This one-in-three record has rewarded the backers with a very healthy 20.3pts or 96.6% profit (2/5 in chases).
A drop in class is also a positive sign!
Flying Award will, as is often the case, be ridden by Susan's daughter Lucy who, herself is 16/95 for 35.2pts in handicaps for 2011/14 with all 16 winners coming from the 88 rides for her mother for 42.2pts.
Lucy claims 5lbs today and her mother is a dab hand at getting results from 5lb claimers. Over the very same 2011/14 period her overall record with 5lb claimers is 17 wins from 72 (23.6% SR)for 68.3pts profit (+94.8% ROI), with daughter Lucy contributing heavily with 13 wins from 43 (30.2% SR) for 47.9pts (+11.4% ROI).
Those results are obviously at all odds, but just to show they're not skewed by one or two big winners, the figures based on a notional 8/1 cap ( I could list at 4's 6's 12's etc and show a profit, such is the consistency!) are 10/44 (22.7% SR) for 49.7pts (+112.9% ROI) and with Lucy in the saddle: 7/22 (31.8% SR) for 22.3pts (+101.4% ROI).
So, the stats look overwhelming, but is the horse any good?
Flying Award is currently 2 from 2 at 3m6f/3m 7f and has won twice and placed once from six attempts on heavy ground, although Timeform say his record is 3 wins and 2 places from 10. Either way, that's a decent record on testing ground. He has won two of his five starts at this level, including his last crack at Class 3 (Wincanton, 46 days ago).
He's a regular participant in these "National" races and is the current holder of the Highland National (Perth, last April over 3m7f) and the Somerset National (Wincanton, mid-January, 3m3.5f on heavy ground).
He was victorious on his last visit here to Exeter and as one of only two previous course winners in the field, that should also stand him in good stead. Just eight are set to go to post and Flying Award has won four of six races containing 8 to 11 runners to date in a decent career of seven wins and three places from 22 starts. ( 6/17 for 38.1pts with Lucy on board!)
At a current (7.45pm on Monday) best price of 6/1 BOG, I could possibly go E/W on this one, but just one non-runner would not only harm the price but would also reduce the places paid down to two and they do say that fortune favours the brave, don't they?
Therefore, the play for Tuesday is a 1pt win bet on Flying Award at 6/1 BOG. This price is readily available and I've placed my bet with Boylesports, because I had a win with them yesterday and I might as well use their money! To see what your usual bookie is offering...