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Tipsters' trainers - a route to profit?

One of the most useful features of Napchecker’s Advanced Option facility is the chance to forensically examine tipster’s records when tipping or napping runners ridden by a particular jockey or from a named stable. I was particularly interested in the trainer function as I’ve long believed that certain tipsters show a bias towards particular trainers. Would this theory be supported by the facts?

To keep things simple, I restricted my research to the top ten trainers in the jumps championship on 26 January 2018, and threw in a few wild cards such as Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins along with Jonjo O’Neill and Philip Hobbs – two trainers who often come good in the spring. I looked at the period between 1 January and 31 December 2017, considering both the naps and all-tips tables.

Starting with the reigning champion jumps trainer – and pacesetter this time around – Nicky Henderson, the only tipster to make a solid profit from napping Henderson runners last year was Kevin Richardson of the Oldham Evening Chronicle. Three of his four Henderson-trained naps prevailed, including 10/1 Aintree winner, Rather Be. When I considered the all-tips table, a different picture emerged: Robin Goodfellow (Daily Mail) and Marlborough (Daily Telegraph) both posted 21-point profits on the year.

Of the tipsters who napped Paul Nicholls’ runners, Racing Post Ratings and Garry Owen (Daily Record) showed healthy profits of 10 points and 8 points respectively, while Postdata of the Racing Post made a 26-point yield from Nicholls-trained tips.

Nigel Twiston-Davies was a great friend to The Guardian last year. All five of the paper’s Twiston-Davies-trained naps prevailed, producing a staggering return on investment (ROI) of 326%. The overall profit from backing all The Guardian endorsed tips from the Naunton, Gloucestershire, handler amounted to more than 32 points. This included a sequence of 8 winning tips on the run between 8 and 14 December. Postdata (21.3 points), Robin Goodfellow (14.2 points), Marlborough (12 points) and Patrick Weaver of the Daily Star (10.3 points) all made healthy profits as well.

Harry Fry was another popular trainer to follow; Captain John of The Irish Times (28.6 points) headed a long list of tipsters who profited from selecting Fry’s runners. A further 13 tipsters made profits from advising Fry-trained runners. They were headed by The Scout of the Express (25.7 points), Captain Keen of The Irish Independent, Postdata, Rob Wright of The Times and Garry Owen, all of whom posted profits of more than 20 points.

The figures for Welsh trainer Evan Williams also make interesting reading. Although few tipsters trust Williams’ runners with their sacred nap selection, they are more than happy to endorse Williams runners as tips. And, in the case of Racing Post Ratings, this support ended with a 40.4-point 2017 profit with 69 selections producing 20 winners, which included two 16/1 shots, Tornado in Milan (Wincanton, 2 February) and Present Times (Exeter, 15 November), in addition to winners at 14s and 11/1.

The Post’s Ratings also made good money following Donald McCain’s runners, registering 15.7 points. Rob Wright and Patrick Weaver also posted profits of more than 10 points from the Cheshire handler’s runners.

Ratings were also the best at picking their way through the Jonjo O’Neill minefield, posting a 21.6-point 2017 profit on all tips. Robin Goodfellow (19.8 points) Spotlight (16.9 points) and Newsboy of the Daily Mirror (10.2 points) also showed good returns when supporting O’Neill’s runners.

Of the remaining British-based trainers examined, I noted the following: Captain Keen and Postdata made small profits from Alan King-trained tips in 2017, while 61% of The Guardian’s 31 Philip Hobbs-trained selections were successful, producing an 8.1-point profit. Farringdon (Morning Star) won with three of five Dan Skelton-trained naps. Rob Wright’s 2017 record with Colin Tizzard-trained selections reads: 16 winners from 53 selections. Tipsters who made money from Tom George were Robin Goodfellow, Templegate (The Sun) and Captain Keen; ditto Captain John with David Pipe’s runners.

And what of the two big Irish stables which are likely to have a big say in what happens over the next couple of months? For tipsters, there was little incentive to follow Mullins’ or Elliott’s runners. Stingy odds, unpredictable reversals of form, misinformation, multiple runners … the list could probably be added to. Only Racing Post Ratings made any kind of profit from napping runners from the big two, and no tipster made an overall 2017 profit from tipping their runners as general selections.

Finally, a word of caution. Yes, many of the figures quoted above are impressive, but they refer to events that have passed. The form of trainers (and tipsters) can fluctuate dramatically for a variety of reasons. What worked last year may be a busted flush this, while last year’s duds may now be the money spinners. I don’t want this to be an exercise in egg-sucking for grannies, but do take care. With a little patience, thanks to Napchecker, it is possible to uncover current trends; the real skill is judging at what point a trend has run its course.

Date Published: 06/02/2018