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Long Distance Travellers – Do They Make Money?

Guest post by David Renham from Racing Trends

Each day the Racing Post and most daily newspapers highlight horses that have travelled a long distance to race. Why are these horses noted each day? The reasoning behind it is almost certainly this – if a trainer and/or owner are keen to travel a long way to race their horse(s) then the perception is why would they waste their time travelling so far if the horse or horses had little or no chance of winning? Hence, long travellers are perceived to be better value than the “norm”. There is definitely some logic behind it, but is there a profitable angle here?

For this article I have taken data from a recent 5 year period and my focus has been on runners that have travelled 185 miles or more.

To begin with let us look at all results for the 5 years of study:

RunnersWinnersStrike rateProfit/lossROI

A strike rate of around 1 win in 9 and losses of 22% is not the most impressive starting point, especially when we compare these figures to horses that have travelled less than 185 miles – the strike rate for these runners was 9.2% and losses were 25%. The improvement for long travellers is minimal.

What next? Well I decided the best option was to look at individual trainers – I hoped that this would offer a few profitable avenues. I focused on trainers that have secured at least 20 winners with their runners travelling 185+ days:

TrainerRunnersWinnersStrike rateProfit/lossROI
M Johnston175623213.2%-£287.62-16.4%
M Channon7249913.7%-£165.95-22.9%
K R Burke6957010.1%-£166.75-24.0%
J Dunlop3636618.2%-£3.63-1.0%
I Semple4626514.1%+£64.20+13.9%
K Ryan5746110.6%-£156.58-27.3%
Sir M Prescott1956030.8%-£13.10-6.7%
R Fahey4744910.3%-£119.16-25.1%
D Nicholls512458.8%-£117.29-22.9%
B Millman3704311.6%-£21.12-5.7%
B Smart2764315.6%+£50.76+18.4%
B Hills1573924.8%+£11.05+7.0%
W Brisbourne405368.9%-£121.92-30.1%
M Bell1663420.5%-£16.53-10.0%
P Evans2692810.4%-£56.31-20.9%
W Haggas1212621.5%-£17.91-14.8%
M Tompkins2052512.2%-£93.77-45.7%
E Dunlop902527.8%-£5.91-6.6%
S Bin Suroor862529.1%-£10.98-12.8%
I McInnes313237.3%-£60.17-19.2%
J Goldie272238.5%-£72.67-26.7%
P Blockley2092311.0%+£37.73+18.1%
W Turner1812312.7%-£16.18-8.9%
M Easterby1422215.5%+£9.18+6.5%
J Bradley368215.7%-£221.16-60.1%
Sir M Stoute522140.4%+£4.02+7.7%
P Grayson290206.9%-£97.19-33.5%

Of the 27 trainers in the table, only 6 have shown a profit. Ian Semple, Paul Blockley and Bryan Smart have performed particularly well in terms of returns; Sir Michael Stoute’s strike rate of over 40% is exceptional, but clearly punters have latched onto his runners as the prices have cleared affected the profit margin.

I also looked at the performances of Irish trainers and French trainers – it made sense to combine them as there were not many individual trainers that secured enough wins:

CountryRunnersWinnersStrike rateProfit/lossROI
Irish runners199821110.6%-£525.47-26.3%
French runners1572214.0%-£73.52-46.8%

Again these are very disappointing returns.

Where to go from here was the next question as I was crashing towards a complete dead end! I came back to trainers once again but this time looking at long distance travellers when the stable sent just one runner to the meeting. The idea being that if they were prepared to send just one runner all that way, then there must be a good reason to. Let us all look at all the runners first:

RunnersWinnersStrike rateProfit/lossROI

A slight improvement on the initial all runners figures (see start of article) but still nothing to get remotely excited about. Maybe there were any changes in trainer patterns – preferably positive ones! I focused on trainers that secured at least 10 winners with their only runner at a meeting when travelling 185+ days:

TrainerRunnersWinnersStrike rateProfit/lossROI
M Johnston4186816.3%-£88.40-21.1%
K Burke2993712.4%-£0.61-0.2%
Sir M Prescott1123632.1%-£0.84-0.8%
B Millman1913015.7%+£56.24+29.4%
I Semple1652615.8%+£69.79+42.3%
J Dunlop1242621.0%-8.03-6.5%
M Channon982626.5%+£2.21+2.3%
K Ryan1992512.6%-£57.11-28.7%
M Bell982323.5%-£2.03-2.1%
E Dunlop521834.6%+£9.75+18.8%
Sir M Stoute421740.5%+£5.16+12.3%
S Bin Suroor401742.5%+£2.65+6.6%
B Hills591627.1%-£1.42-2.4%
J Noseda501530.0%-£11.23-22.5%
W Haggas541324.1%-£8.91-16.5%
A Newcombe1141210.5%-£40.50-35.5%
W Turner871213.8%-£30.68-35.3%
M Jarvis521121.2%-£15.08-29%
P Cole381128.9%+£16.32+42.9%
B Smart651015.4%-£13.42-20.6%
D Nicholls791012.7%-£15.87-20.1%

7 of the 21 trainers showed a profit, while four more showed losses of less than 3%. So all in all, these figures are slightly more promising. The stats for all Irish runners also improved considerably thanks to 61 wins from 468 runners (SR 13%) for a loss of £28.77 (ROI -6.1%).

Looking at the research to this point, it is clear that long distance travellers highlighted daily in the press are not great betting investments. However, using the trainer approach and/or the sole runner at a meeting approach will help identify better potential bets. The next stage of my research will focus on the best four or five trainers noted from this article – any really positive angles noted will be discussed at a later date.

Dave Renham is a leading uk horse racing researcher. He has worked in the past for the RacingPost and the Racing and Football Outlook newspaper. His own website at www.racingtrends.co.uk is a great spot for finding out about profitable angles for your UK horse racing betting.

About Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help punters improve their betting profits and think outside the box with their betting strategies. To date he has written over 450 articles on the site and recently started UK Racing News which has become a leading news site for horse racing in the UK and IRE. Check out my personal blog or my Google+

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  1. What these statistic can’t show is the reason why a particular trainer takes a horse over 185 miles. What about owners who fancy having their horse run at a certain track or on a certain day? This has nothing to do with finding winners and everything to do with owners have a nice day out!

  2. ive been looking at these over the last year or so. on and off. managed to pick up a nice 150/1 double at kempton. There will always be certain things to keep in mind. firstly as you have pointed out, how many horses has the trainer sent? Also, how long is the meeting on for? if its a meeting like the ledger, then the trainer may have taken 5-6 for the a 3 day meeting? How big is the trainer, and how many horses do they train? what race is the horse entered into, with what prize money. Most importantly, read the form and make a decision based on that.

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