Thursday 22 November 2012

Laying AP by Full Time Betting Blog

As regular readers of Full Time Betting Blog know Geoff's not really one for betting on horses as it's not something he had any real passion. He said: ''I didn’t really understand it to be honest. In fact it's probably only in the last year or so I attended a few race meetings with the good people from Hambet that I begun to understand what it meant by “he’s got handfuls there” (I’ve only ever heard that previously  in relation to my ever increasing “love handles”). And I will never understand why people who go racing insist on wearing various shades  of green/brown tweed and yellow ties but that's another story.

It was about a 18 months ago when I was sponsoring a race at my local course Uttoxeter (which incidentally if you haven’t been it is  superb as is the  hospitality in Silks restaurant)  and a horse called Red not Blue was priced at something like 7/1 , which as a United fan  was an obvious mug punter choice for my £20. The horse duly obliged and the rest of the afternoon I was about level . At the start of the day the Commercial manager had had a chat with me  that went something along the lines of ” If you only have one bet today then make sure you get on Ap McCoy in the last , hes flying in especially by helicopter to ride only in that race and he wouldn’t do that if it was a no hoper”. These words came back to me by the time of the last race  and with £140 of the earlier winnings burning a hole in my pocket and against the better judgement of Mrs Blogger (who was at that point in time visualising a new pair of shoes)  I  wandered off to the rails and put the bet on the “absolute certainty” at  something like 2/1. My rationale was that I wasn’t  actually spending any of my own money and why not go out with a final hurrah and ensure a good night at the pub that evening.
You can guess the rest. The AP McCoy ride is still plodding around Uttoxeter racetrack as I write this and I was left cursing the “absolute certainty” and having terrible thoughts about AP and his helicopter ride home!
So what? We all have backed losers. Well the reason for the trip down down memory lane ( and believe me it was painful  trip) was that its probably pretty typical of what happens up and down the land when un-informed race goers like me decide to try and part the bookmakers with  their hard earned cash. If its not an “absolute certainty “  that  has prompted the selection of McCoy it will be the “I’ve heard of him” or even being swayed by so called experts talking up the chances of the champion jockey.  Here are some interesting stats (courtesy of the Racing post site) that show you what would have happened if   you had backed the AP to level stakes in the last 5 years. I’ll use £100 stakes as that what people who are punting their services tend to do to make the winnings look fantastic.
So that’s a loss of 499 points . So the much loved “backing to £100 stakes ” will have cost you £49,900 . Mind you that is over 5 years so its not that bad as only £10k a year!!!
So if you lost that much backing him then surely there is a money to be made laying him? Surely given the circumstances outlined above where the weight of money drives down the price the real value is to be found taking him on or “laying”  him?. My thought process on this is that if his horse is genuinely a 6/1 shot but because of sentiment/whatever is backed into 3/1 then it no longer represents value to back (assuming the bookmakers have got their prices broadly right in the first place which one assumes with any of McCoys  rides they are likely to have done).
Its something that I dabbled in a couple of years ago but stopped on January 2011 after what looks like a months worth of activity- rather  annoyingly I cant find the records however I suspect that I hit a patch of winners  and bottled out. This time around I’ve tried to be a touch more selective in terms of courses to avoid and have found four that his has a decent record at which I’m going to avoid ( one of which was Leicester where he had for rides on Monday and a winner.)
So if you avoided the tracks that he has a decent record at that should improve your chances of avoiding his winners? You would hope so yes but as always whats happened in the past isn’t necessarily an accurate reflection of whats going to happen in the  future.
At this point I’d just like to  add some quotes on statistics that I found on the false favourites blog in an article by Paul Moon.
Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything – Gregg Easterbrook.
    98% of all statistics are made up – Author Unknown
    Statistics are like bikinis.  What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital – Aaron Levenstein
    Statistics can be made to prove anything, even the truth – Author Unknown
    The average human has one breast and one testicle-Des McHale
Anyway I digress…..
At this point can I just say I’m indebted to Herbie Fogg of Key Racing News who after seeing my last post where I asked for further information was kind enough to point me in the direction of a huge spreadsheet with more detail about AP McCoy over the last 4 years then I could ever hope to use.The link to the spreadsheet is in the comments section of the previous blog post.
Having then enlisted the help of Cardiff’s finest spreadsheet expert (cheers mate you know who you are )  we have played around with it and found the following interesting numbers
mccoy overall win % is 23 %
win % at evens or less is 58%
win % at 1.5 or less is 70%
using a lay £200 liability per race strategy over the last 4 years, you would be looking at £62,593 profit, £51,200 loss – over all profit of 11.3k
So what next? Well I’m still deciding exactly how to play it although the first few days have been encouraging with 14 losers so far. I’m not entirely sure why I decided to start on the 16th November when he had two winners out of three rides on the 15th and I’m  fully aware that a bad run can very easily set the bank back considerably although that early success has given me a nice cushion. Yesterday was a cracker with a 1.26 shot getting  turned over although annoyingly I had scaled down my stakes on this  as at this point I wasn’t in possession of the full stats and the hindsight app on my PC  wasn’t working correctly
I’m also really unsure of whether to lay to a set amount (ie fixed stake) or to a fixed liability and will probably need to play about with spreadsheets a bit more or take some advice from some better educated people then myself  to decide which way to play it.
So there you have it- some outline thoughts on a taking on a champion. I hope you have found it useful and if anyone has any ideas/thoughts /comments please do leave them so everyone can benefit even if you think that the above is a load of horseshit!!