A few days ago, I received a quite cheerful ‘Idiot’s Guide and preview to the Ladbrokes Gold Cup’, apparently written on the ABC forum by our good friend Garrick Bergh.
Garrick points out that following certain favourites can sometimes, as he puts it, be ‘Armageddon for Punters.’
While not intending to initiate a public debate of any kind, it may be of interest to Garrick and others to consider the issue of favourites from the position of professional racing stables like ours, who send these horses out.
For a start, many factors should determine who is favourite, including the form of the horse.
The pricing up of horses are not up to me. My job is to train horses and place them in races which I believe will suit them, depending on their abilities and fitness at the time. I am quite sure that my fellow trainers share these objectives.
In the past I have had many horses priced up favourite, even in the red at odds-on, which has surprised me as they were not even close to a price l would have estimated.
Horses ridden by popular jockeys are also often priced at odds that suggest a very high probability to win. People who back at these unlikely percentages are going to end up disappointed, no matter how high a strike rate is achieved. For instance even a 40% strike rate still requires the average odds (to cover 2 wins from 5) to be better than 15/10 after tax
With Garrick’s ‘Idiot’s preview’ in mind I extracted the following from the Sporting Post: up to 15 July. Dean Kannemeyer Racing has sent out 502 runners and of that 90 (18%) were favourites. 37% of those favourites won, which is the highest strike rate in South Africa .
Some of these favourites are young horses with improvement to make or older horses in difficult handicaps, and whoever made them favourite or backed them into favouritism was probably guessing at best. These prices are determined by bookmakers, the tote and the market.
It is the customer’s prerogative and choice to decide to buy or not, as the percentages are there for all to see.
Personally I would rather stick to what I do best and train them, choosing rather to leave the punting to the professionals .
At least Garrick had the foresight to mention In Writing and Blake in his Idiot’s Preview of the Ladbrokes Gold Cup, even though he did not suggest that either could win.
For once, I was quite happy to disappoint him!
via email – Dean Kannemeyer, MILNERTON