Often proclaimed ‘the home of British racing’, Newmarket is about to host its famous annual event in what is now called the Moet and Chandon July Festival. The three-day event takes place from the 12-14 July and features several Group races including the Falmouth Stakes and the Darley July Cup. It is also the scene of the much-loved Bunbury Cup and pits a multitude of world class horses against one another.
As we are still days away from finalising the fields for most of the races, I have decided to try and dig up some useful information regarding trainer, jockey and horse performance during this prestigious festival. The main issue, as you will see, is the relatively small sample sizes. Trainers seldom have more than 10 runners in a Festival while jockeys rarely have more than 10-15 rides.
You probably know the names of the most successful trainers in recent times. The likes of Charlie Appleby, John Gosden, Aidan O’Brien and Saeed bin Suroor have all tasted success in the July Festival recently but are any of these trainers good for your bank balance? Let’s take a look at the records of five selected trainers at the Newmarket July Festival from 2013 – 2017.
Please note that these statistics relate to the July Festival only and not the other races that happen at Newmarket in July.
|Trainer||Bets||Wins||Strike Rate||ROI (BF)|
|Saeed Bin Suroor||42||8||19.05%||40.42%|
Given the quality of these races, it is no surprise to learn that a win rate of over 20% is unusual. Although three of our trainers offer a profit over the last five years, it is a bit of a mixed bag in every instance with at least two losing years apiece. The low strike rates are off-putting but it is offset by the promise of medium to long-priced winners.
It is interesting to note that while Saeed Bin Suroor’s record with 3yos at the festival is poor, he does pretty well with 2yo horses. In the last five years, he has managed 5 wins from 14 and would earn you a Betfair profit of 124.29%. However, he had no 2yo entries in 2017.
For the record, festival specialist Aiden O’Brien performs equally well with 2yo and 3yo horses with 4 wins from 12 apiece. Your ROI is higher with 3yos at 40.76% however.
Once again, you probably know the most successful jockeys at the July Festival so let’s look at five of the best known and their respective records since 2013.
|Jockey||Bets||Wins||Strike Rate||ROI (BF)|
|Silvestre De Sousa||25||3||12%||-2.23%|
As important as it is to have a world-class jockey on board during a Group race, all the best riders have low strike rates; primarily because they are racing against one another!
The hallowed trainer/jockey combination is the cornerstone of many successful betting strategies so are there any noteworthy duos at the July Festival? Again, I have selected a few combos with all data since 2013.
|Trainer/Jockey||Bets||Wins||Strike Rate||ROI (BF)|
|A.P O’Brien & Ryan Moore||19||7||36.84%||52.24%|
|Saeed Bin Suroor & Silvestre De Sousa||6||3||50%||307.36%|
|Mark Johnston & William Buick||6||2||33.33%||220.55%|
|John Gosden & William Buick||13||3||23.08%||-4.58%|
The Aiden O’Brien/Ryan Moore combination is a formidable one and the duo has won 6 out of 14 races in the last two festivals. An overall strike rate of almost 37% is exceptional by anyone’s standards and the profit of over 52% is also fantastic. However, despite 3 wins from 7 last year, you would only have made a profit of 0.26%.
Together, O’Brien and Moore have 3 wins from 10 on 2yo horses for a Betfair profit of 20.35% but perform better on 3yos with 4 wins from 9 races for a profit of 87.68%.
Bin Suroor and De Sousa look like a promising duo on paper until you realise that they haven’t been paired since 2014! It’s a similar story with Johnston and Buick. They were 0/2 last year and 2/4 in 2015 with no runs in 2016. The above just highlights the difficulties in finding good trainer/jockey pairings in major festivals although the O’Brien/Moore combination is clearly one to watch out for.
A horse’s pedigree can be measured in its sire, dam and damsire details and is often a good indicator of what to expect from a runner. You’ll often see the offspring of great horses such as Frankel and Galileo immediately moved towards the top of the betting market on their debut for example. As the data is available, I decided to look at the records of famous stallions’ progeny at the July Festival over the last five years.
|Stallion||Bets||Wins||Strike Rate||ROI (BF)|
War Front progeny had an exceptional 2016 with 3 wins from 7 but have been disappointing otherwise. While Frankel’s offspring have won 40% of their races at the Newmarket July course, only two have run at the July Festival, one in 2016 and one in 2017. Dubawi’s lineage is well represented in terms of runs, but not in performance with a very poor return.
Meanwhile, Cape Cross has produced some decent priced winners but had no representation in 2017. Finally, Makfi has drawn a blank in the last three years.
Final Thoughts on the Newmarket July Festival
The sheer level of quality on display means it is tough for any trainer, jockey, or stallion offspring to dominate. Aiden O’Brien has an outstanding record but doesn’t enter many horses each year and bookies are wise to his quality with O’Brien’s horses often setting off at short prices.
His partnership with Ryan Moore is one to watch and you earn more profit with 3yo horses. The offspring of War Front and Cape Cross do well on paper but that’s mainly due to one good year here and there. It is best to avoid the progeny of Makfi and Dubawi. Overall, the sample sizes are fairly small but it is possible, just about, to make a profit by focusing on the best jockeys and trainers at the July Festival.