Willie Mullins is an incredible horse racing trainer, winning black type National Hunt races in the UK and Ireland with regularity. The public is obviously very aware of his talents and one would expect his horses to be priced accordingly. Can there be any long term profitable angles backing horses from his stable? FormBet's Race Database (FRED) has the answers.
Our first step is to select W P Mullins from the trainers list on the Conditions tab. Simply start typing his surname and the list automatically adjusts itself to those matching trainers. Then select the only W P Mullins from this shortlist. Out of interest, clicking the Profit! button will return all of Willie's runners since January 1st, 2014.
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This chart is actually quite encouraging, showing a decent Strike Rate of 28.38% and a positive Yield of 4.96%. Perhaps his runners aren't quite so exposed after all. However, it's best to be a little cautious and look carefully at that chart. Since the start of 2015 there are at least two pretty big priced winners, shown by the long vertical lines. Whereas, in 2014, backing all of Mullins' runners blindly would have resulted in a significant lost. Date ranges can be adjusted using the calendar available in the Display tab.
The outlying high priced winners may be removed from results by using an upper BSP limit, found on the Prices tab. Setting this to 25 BSP changes the chart somewhat, increasing Strike Rate to 31.69% and reducing Yield to 3.66%. Unfortunately, again, 2014 would be a losing year, and all profit derived from 2015. Hardly a consistent approach. All returns include a 5% Betfair commission deduction. Again this setting may be altered under the Prices tab, if your commission is lower.
However, we're really looking for something profitable over the next few months, to coincide with the start of the new National Hunt season. Logically, many horses will be having their first run after a break. Let's limit W P Mullins' runners to those returning after a break of 86 days or more. Under the Conditions tab again, select the Show More Conditions Filters check box and a collection of additional filters appear. The Days Since Last Run slider should have the left hand side set to 86. Simply click and drag the end across to the desired number. The right hand end of the slider may be left at 365, which also includes any runner returning to the track after breaks longer than one year. If you're finished with these filters, the Show More Conditions Filters box may be unchecked to save screen space, and Profit! again selected.
The new chart doesn't look quite so healthy, with Yield now slightly negative at -0.29%, but the Strike Rate is up to a healthy 38.43%. While we've slipped out of profit, it's key to remember that the results are now targeting runners we're most likely to see over the next two or three months. That is, those returning to the track after a break. The BSP upper price limit is also still set to 25 BSP.
How can we improve these returns? Being the clever trainer that he is, it is quite likely that Willie Mullins targets certain races and perhaps certain courses for horses' return runs. Let's look at how we can filter results for every course he's sent a runner to, since January 1st, 2014. Select the Details tab, next to the Chart tab.
By default, results are now broken down by Race Type. Mullins clearly does very well with fresh runners in Bumpers (National Hunt Flat races), showing a Yield of 32.01% and a Strike Rate of 41.24%. Can we do better? Using the detailed report breakdown dropdown list, select Courses. Now, click Yield in the table header twice, to sort results from highest to lowest.
He certainly does very well at Listowel, but with a very small sample size. Fairyhouse also might be one to avoid for Mullins' runners returning after a break. In order to keep things reasonably statistically significant, we'll select the tracks Punchestown, Thurles, Gowran Park, Sligo, Tramore, Kilbeggan and Clonmel. Select all the tracks with a positive return if you wish, but keep in mind those with less than five runners may be just down to luck and a small sample size. The choice of tracks can be made in the Course box under the Conditions tab. Just start typing each course's name, then select it when it appears. Finally, once again, click the Profit! button to run the query.
Now things are really looking interesting! Steady profits for 18 months, with a 51.04% Strike Rate, a 36.66% Yield, an A/E ratio of 1.23 and a Confidence figure of 93.9. The sample size is slightly on the low side with just 96 runners, but keep in mind we're only looking at one trainer over seven tracks, with specifically runners returning from a spell. Chase returns are still just negative, but Hurdles are now strongly positive
This has just been one example of how FRED can be used to drill down into results to further refine returns, in a reasonably logical manner. We could have stopped after the first step, backing all of W P Mullins' runners blindly, for a 4.96% Yield. However, with some select filters and a focus on the next three months, both Yield and Strike rate have improved dramatically. There is potentially even further improvement possible by filtering with some of FormBet's unique ratings, such as setting an FBR ranking filter between one and five. Be careful not to let the sample size reduce too far.
Are there other trainers exhibiting similar characteristics? Using knowledge gleaned from sensible use of FormBet's Race Database could see your 2015/16 National Hunt season off to a fantastic start.