How many Godolphin trainers can you name? For British race fans, it is likely to be Charlie Appleby or Saeed bin Suroor. I won't say too much about Mahmood Al Zarooni who was disgraced in 2013 when it was disclosed that 11 horses had tested positive for anabolic steroids. He was banned from racing for eight years and instantly dismissed from his lofty position.
Back to the present year.
Saeed bin Suroor is one of my favourite trainers as much for his professionalism in front of the camera as a hard-working trainer behind the scenes. I have seen him a number of times at Great Yarmouth and he is dignity personified.
I specialise within two-year-old horse racing. I follow each and every horse, which I have done since he started training in 1994. A list of over 60 major wins in Great Britain and over 100 across the world.
Every year, I update my horse trainer analysis, which helps me understand how each works regarding strength and weakness. This data regards the first and second races for two-year-olds. I stop before the third race because a couple of runs is usually enough to make a formative assessment.
This research is revealing.
In general, a two-year-old horse has a much greater chance of winning on its second start compared with its racecourse bow. For instance, I categorise each debutant by price. It is intriguing to note how this sample indicates the likely chance of winning.
On our recent day out to Great Yarmouth, six debutantes made for an intriguing contest. Archie Watson fielded the odds-on favourite, Endless Joy, whose starting price of 4/6 made for a tough competitor.
Saeed bin Suroor's two-year-old, Quiet Place, was priced 3/1 in the morning. So I was shocked to see the betting open on course at 8/1. I can only imagine what price was available on the exchanges. Certainly, the betting graph must have looked like Mount Everest. Punters must have been tempted, as the price reduced to 6/1 at the off.
From a statistical point of view, what did this starting price (SP) say about the chances of this daughter of Kodiac? It helped build a picture that told me Quiet Place would struggle to win. The statistics detailed his bay filly had just a 6% win rate. This came from a sample of almost 100 horses! My statistics suggested this filly should have been just over 16/1 (100/6).
So how did the race go?
It turned out the odds were correct. But in ways, it proves what a thin line there is between being a winner or loser. Quiet Place lost in a photo-finish to Mark Johnston's, Companion. It was on the nod and could have easily gone either way.
Were the stats correct?
I guess they were, although in this narrow defeat I would be foolish to say that with any authority. It proves the point that statistics do tell a story that the longterm may prove correct. Would you want to bet on a horse winning when it had proven to have a 16/1 chance when priced 6/1? But would you be surprised if the individual won?
Horses will always defy statistics, even though they may prove long term to be correct. On this day, a short head was the difference.
Jason Coote is a founder of many horse racing websites and known gambler in Great Britain.