Stat of the Day, 19th January 2014
Luke’s Benefit’s run on Saturday was as disappointing as my own personal recent run of form, but that’s not major cause for concern just yet. I’m too long in the tooth to get worried about a few losing bets, when we’re all aware of the cyclical nature of this sport.
And with the vast amount of racing on offer to us nowadays, I instantly get another shot at getting back amongst the winners. A 2m5f, Class 3, Handicap awaits us on Sunday afternoon as we tackle the……
Venetia Williams has got her horses in fine form at the moment, as a return of 11 winners in the last fortnight will testify. She’s also a trainer you could back blindly here at Towcester, since she has a career 20.4% strike rate (49/240 here) yielding level stakes profits of some 88.44pts (+36.85% ROI).
Her hurdlers here at Towcester are 20/107 (18.7% SR) for 60.35pts (+56.4% ROI) and although she sends three hurdlers here today, the one that interests me most is Astigos, who caught my eye when I selected him for the Double Dutch just three days ago.
Here’s what I wrote about him that day…“I find Astigos very interesting and possibly overpriced. He made his UK debut on New Years’ Day at Cheltenham and was pulled up before completing the 3m trip he was asked to attempt. The assessor seems to have taken pity on him and dropped him 6lbs, as he comes here for a race some 3 furlongs shorter than last time.
I think a lack of knowledge about this horse must be the main reason for him being available as long as 4/1 BOG, because that does seem rather generous about a horse twice placed in Listed handicaps in France over 2m4f on heavy ground at a higher weight than the featherweight he carries today…”
As it happens, he ran very creditably in defeat and stayed on well to finish just two lengths behind the impressive Lamps at Market Rasen.
Venetia Williams turns him back out very quickly here off the same mark, a tactic that has served her well in the past.
In the last four years, she has sent out 26 runners priced below 5/1 in NH Handicap races within 3 to 6 days of their last run. From these 26 runners, she has been rewarded with 14 visits to the winners’ enclosure with a strike rate of 53.85%, which in turn has generated level stakes profits of 20.2pts, an impressive return over stakes invested of some 77.7%
I think Astigos will not only come on for that run, but will be aided by competing in what looks a weaker contest and one that he’s likely to be sent off as favourite for. Now I’m not a big fan of backing favourites, but let’s face facts here, 1 in every 3 of them wins and they can be profitable, if you back the right ones!
I know that’s no simple task, but we are assisted in our selection process when we see that Miss Williams’ figures from NH Handicap favourites priced below 5/1 are as follows in the last three years:
Overall: 90 winners from 253 = 35.6% SR for level stakes profits of 66.61pts = ROI of 26.3%
Hurdles: 28 winners from 80 = 35.0% SR for level stakes profits of 23.38pts = ROI of 29.2%
Mid to high twenties returns from favourites is very impressive and when allied to the trainer’s track stats and her record with horses turned out quickly after a run, this makes Astigos a very viable proposition indeed. If he shows any sign of progression from that last outing or any traces of his French form, then I’ve no reason to see why we wouldn’t be happy with a 1pt bet on Astigos at 7/2 BOG. I’ve got more money in my SkyBet account than any other, so I’ve used them for this one and the 7/2 is widely available, but you can always…