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Jockeys for courses at the Newbury Trophy meeting

Racing is replete with idioms, cliches, and received wisdom that get repeated ad nauseam, often without any quantifiable evidence to back them up. One such idiom is ‘horses for courses’, which suggests a certain horse performs better at one particular course than another, or on a certain type of course, such as a flat sharp track like Haydock as opposed to an undulating, galloping track such as Newbury.

However, it can also be said that some jockeys, whether it be due to their riding style, the type of horses they get on as a result of being retained by (or closely associated to) a stable, or just their edge over most of the other jockeys in the field, can also be said to perform better at certain tracks more so than others.

With this in mind we take a look at a few jockeys who consistently outperform their weighing room colleagues at Newbury, but also outperform the betting markets and can hopefully provide some value for betting or trading purposes over the next two days.

The following table covers all National Hunt races run at Newbury since January 2013.

The ‘Random’ column represents the number of winners that could have been expected due to random chance - (the sum of 1/(number of runners) - and so takes into account field size. ‘Win IV’ is the number of winners achieved divided by the number of winners expected at random. And ‘A/E’ (actual over expected) is how much better those winners performed than market expectations predicted.

Anything above an A/E of 1.00 is an overachievement and all three jockeys highlighted - Richard Johnson, Nico de Boinville, and Tom Scudamore - have all exceeded that threshold.

Reigning Jockeys Champion, Johnson, rides an impressive 66% more winners than can be expected by random chance, at the Berkshire course, as well as outperforming market expectations by 25%.

Nicky Henderson’s number one stable jockey, de Boinville, rides more than twice as many winners here than can be randomly expected, while his winners return at an outstanding 39% better than market expectation.

Scudamore, while not quite matching the same numbers as either of his two colleagues, still performs very well given he has ridden almost 50 more horses than de Boinville in the same time period.      

The numbers above suggest that these three jockeys present excellent value for betting purposes when lining up at Newbury.

As has previously been mentioned in this space, if there is a positive statistical effect in favour of winners then it should surely apply to placed horses too.

The table below has the breakdown for the same trio, and the numbers again come out very favourably.

The ‘%RB’ (percentage of rivals beat) column takes the place of A/E and adds further weight to the place values as it takes into account exactly where each horse finished in the field.

50% is seen as par; de Boinville and Scudamore are in the low 50s percentage-wise, which combined with their other overall stats is very positive. Johnson, who has ridden the most horses, the most winners, and been placed the most times comes out way ahead in %RB with 61.5%, an impressive number, and one which is not that surprising given his aggressive riding style.

The above numbers are by no means a hard and fast rule to finding winners when betting at Newbury this weekend, but can hopefully help highlight a few horses - with the right jockey - that could represent an angle into some of the races on offer.


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