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Do Trainers Hold The Key To Horse Racing Profits?

(Last Updated On: August 22, 2016)

In a previous article we looked at ways to make profits from certain jockeys. Today, it’s time to put trainers under the microscope. As is the case with top jockeys, punters often make the mistake of backing a horse because it comes from a well-known stable. A basic rule of horse racing betting is to back a stable that’s in form above highly rated trainers.

In the jockeys piece I looked at the overall statistics of the best jockeys in the business and now I’ll do the same with the top trainers. These statistics are from 2003 to the present day.

  • Paul Nicholls: 22.64% strike rate, -1122.91 units & -13.74% ROI.
  • Willie Mullins: 23.33% strike rate, -961.08 units & -11.67% ROI.
  • Nicky Henderson: 22.63% strike rate, -439.46 units & -6.57% ROI.
  • Mark Johnston: 15.49% strike rate, -2588.66 units & -16.2% ROI.
  • Sir Michael Stoute: 20.22% strike rate, -774.24 units & -12.84% ROI.

All of these trainers are exceptionally good at what they do but as you can see, you won’t get rich by backing them blindly!

In this article, I will focus on Nicky Henderson & Sir Michael Stoute in a bid to find a way of making consistent profit from horses they have trained.

Nicky Henderson

While Henderson does occasionally train horses on the Flat, most of his work is over jumps so let’s first look at his National Hunt record from 2012-2016.

Bets WinsStrike Rate P/LROI
251358623.32%-208.3-8.29%

 

His strike rate of over 23% is pretty good but your bank balance would suffer if you were foolish enough to back all of his horses since 2012. However, I am confident that we can find some good betting angles from this world class trainer. The logical first step is to see how he fares over a handful of different courses in the UK in National Hunt races. Bear in mind that he is renowned for winning big races at Aintree and Cheltenham.

CourseBets WinsStrike RateP/LROI
Aintree1683319.64%42.4825.29%
Cheltenham3584011.17%-91.57-25.58%
Doncaster963435.42%32.3433.69%
Kempton 2286628.95%75.833.25%
Sandown1483523.65%22.7415.36%

As you can see, Henderson’s horses will net you a nice profit in 4 of the 5 courses above; the exception being Cheltenham. Perhaps the most interesting set of data is that of Doncaster where he enjoys a fantastic strike rate of over 35%.

When it comes to Race Type, you’re better off backing Henderson horses in National Hunt Hurdle races as this table shows.

CourseBets WinsStrike RateP/LROI
Aintree962222.92%41.6843.42%
Doncaster602440%40.7667.93%
Kempton 1213024.79%49.4740.88%
Sandown992727.27%36.5436.91%

 

The statistics speak for themselves really. Henderson absolutely excels in the 4 courses mentioned above and check out that Doncaster strike rate!

One final note on Henderson. Over the last 5 years, blindly backing his entries in Hurdle races in January would see a 24 unit profit and an ROI of over 15%! With just a bit more research you could increase that already impressive ROI still further.

Sir Michael Stoute

Stoute is another trainer that needs no introduction to race lovers. His overall record since 2012 reads as follows:

Bets WinsStrike RateP/LROI
195538319.59%-286.72-14.67%

 

As expected, blindly backing this top trainer would place a very large hole in your pocket. As was the case with Henderson however, research quickly revealed some ways to make money from Stoute’s hard work!

You probably know what I’m going to do here. That’s right… courses!

CourseBetsWinsStrike RateP/LROI
Doncaster671623.88%15.9223.76%
Goodwood1062220.75%-16.78-15.83%
Lingfield (A.W)842934.52%61.7973.56
Sandown1373021.9%-6.04-4.41%
Windsor951616.84%-23.79-25.04%

 

He does well at Doncaster but his record at Lingfield on the AW is absolutely fantastic with a fabulous ROI of 73% since 2012. You could focus on that alone but obviously it’s better to see if there are any other profitable angles.

Further research on Race Distance showed that Stoute fares quite well in races of 1m 3f – 1m 4f:

Bets WinsStrike RateP/LROI
3497922.64%12.733.65%

 

Things get better when you focus solely on his 4YO+ horses over this distance range:

Bets WinsStrike RateP/LROI
802430%39.9749.96%

 

That’s another brilliant set of statistics for the punter. Once again, this shows that profitable criteria can be found with a bit of patience.

Jockey/Trainer Combinations

For some punters, a specific jockey/trainer pairing causes their eyes to light up and results in them losing track of their senses. Yet if you were to back famed pairings without research, the results could be disappointing. For example, backing the Walsh & Mullins combo since 2003 would see a 30.29% strike rate, -245.5 unit loss & -10.32% ROI.

With this in mind I looked at three jockey/trainer combos with statistics from 2012-2016.

 

ComboBets WinsStrike RateP/LROI
Nico De Boinville/Nicky Henderson3139129.07%62.8920.09%
Silvestre De Sousa/Mark Johnston75613718.12%-51.05-6.75%
Sam Twiston Davies/Paul Nicholls75116922.5%-98.12-13.07

 

As you can see, the De Boinville/Henderson partnership is a real boon for punters. Even blind backing would give you a handsome 20% ROI. While their record in Chases together is far from stellar (you would lose money), they are a dynamite combination in Hurdle races with an ROI of 31.93%.

The De Sousa/Johnston partnership isn’t a money spinner unless you focus on races where their horse was a 4YO+. Suddenly, things look a lot better as you would end up with a ROI of 37%. Now admittedly, the strike rate is low at 14.29% which means the duo has combined for some high priced winners.

Likewise, the Twiston-Davies/Nicholls partnership doesn’t do much for you at first glance. However, if you focused only on National Hunt Flat races, you would be rewarded with a 48% ROI though they have only raced in 33 of these events since 2012 and only 2 so far this season (the combo won both).

Conclusion

The data I uncovered clearly shows that you can make a substantial profit from trainers once you know what to look for. In addition, the fabled jockey/trainer combination can win you money. Partnerships such as De Boinville and Henderson require less research than ones such as Davies and Nicholls where you need to delve into different race types, age groups and more if you want to get the edge on the bookie. Make no mistake though, it can be done!

Patrick Lynch

Patrick graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway with an MA in Literature and Publishing but decided he would rather have the freedom of a freelance writer than be stuck in a publishing house all day. He has enjoyed this freedom since 2009 and has written thousands of articles on a variety of topics but sports betting is his passion. While his specialty is finding mismatches in obscure football leagues, he also likes to use his research skills to provide punters with detailed winning strategies in horse racing. You can check out his personal blog on www.lynchthewriter.com or Twitter @pl1982 where he writes content to help small businesses achieve success.

5 Comments

  1. Hi Patrick,
    Very interesting article which has me curious to delve more into trainers stats. If you don’t mind me asking, I would be very interested to know where you source this very valuable information?
    Regards
    Tony

    1. Hi Tony,

      Thanks for reading!

      I use http://www.horseracebase.com/ which is a phenomenal resource. It allows you to enter seemingly limitless criteria and come up with relevant stats. However, while there is a free trial offer you do have to make donations to continue using it.

      You can actually get some great trainer data from the Racing Post free. I just typed in ‘Nicky Henderson trainer stats’ and got a link to the RP right near the top. http://www.racingpost.com/horses/trainer_home.sd?trainer_id=311#topTrainerTabs=trainer_record_race_form&bottomTrainerTabs=trainer_big_race_wins

      You can then filter the data as you see fit and get your results. I use both during the course of my articles. Racing Post sorts data by season while I often use Horseracebase to look at calendar year stats.

      I hope this helps!

  2. Thanks Patrick,
    I’ve looked at the sites you’ve posted and decided that in today’s race cards none of the horses can win. I obviously don’t have your talent for sifting through data and coming up with positive outcomes.
    Appreciate you taking the time to reply,
    Regards
    Tony

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