Friday 19 January 2018

Alpha to come back for more at Beverley

Graham Lee: rides Alpha Delphini. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Graham Lee: rides Alpha Delphini. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Wayne Bailey

As a general rule in racing, higher-quality contests are more predictable. And although you have to bet at the shorter end of the market a lot of the time, Group and Graded races are the most reliable with regard to how well the fancied runners perform, and also how well the form stands up.

After Group and Graded races, Listed contests are next on the list in terms of quality - but there's quite a difference in reliability and I usually proceed with caution in those, especially when backing the favourite.

If we use the strike-rate of the market leader as a guide to how reliable or otherwise a type of race is for betting on, Listed contests don't fare too well, particularly on the Flat.

I don't want to bore readers with too many facts and figures but to illustrate the point, Flat Group One favourites have a strike-rate of 43pc and actually produced very slight profits in six of the last nine years if blindly backed.


Group Two and Group Three favourites have a strike-rate of 36pc and produce a loss over time but they are a good deal more reliable than flat Listed favourites, which have a strike-rate of just under 33pc.

A difference of a few per cent might not seem much but the Listed favourite losses are considerable; nearly 14 cent for every euro bet on average.

While I wouldn't recommend you lay any horse blindly, had you clicked pink for all Flat Listed favourites since 2008, you'd show a lay profit today of 68 points to Betfair SP.

The point I'm making here is that if you are betting in a Listed race, your approach should be different than a Group One, for example.

In Group Ones, you need a very good reason to oppose the favourites but in Listed races, you should have a very good reason to back them.

That brings me to today's Listed totescoop6 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes (3.15 Beverley) for which Kimberella is likely to go off favourite, priced 7/2 in the early markets.

Considering the above stats, that could be a little short and he was well out of his depth last time in a Group Three at the Curragh when letting down his backers at 4/1 by running out of gas and finishing eight of ten.

Previously, he won a Listed race at Chester but it was a weak enough contest and his form is up and down.

Instead, a chance is taken on Alpha Delphini which was priced at 6/1 yesterday evening.

Bryan Smart's gelding won this race last year and, although below form in a Group One last time out, his sixth place of 17 in the King's Stand at Ascot this summer is noteworthy.

Back racing at a realistic level, he can give favourite followers plenty to worry about here.

At Sandown, consider backing Masar, which is expected to go off around 7/4 in the Group Three BetBright Solario Stakes (2.25).

A son of New Approach, Charlie Appleby's two-year-old got his career off to the best possible start with a win in novice race at Goodwood in May, and wasn't disgraced when third to Aidan O'Brien's September in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He's definitely going in the right direction and deserves his place at the top of the market.

Ticks Boxes

Shortly afterwards on the same card, Aljazzi ticks the boxes for me in the Group Three Fillies' BetBright Casino Atalanta Stakes (3.0).

Marco Botti's filly is clear of the field here on ratings at 112 and despite going off unfancied at 50/1 in a good quality renewal of the Group Two Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, she traded below 11/8 in-running on the exchanges, eventually finishing second to Qemah. She sets the standard here and should prove hard to beat.

Across Dubai gets the nod around 4/1 in the BetBright Recall Handicap (3.35 Sandown). A mile and-a-half in a Group Three at Goodwood was a stretch too far last month, but this looks right up his street and a mark of 95 is fair.


Chalked up at 7/1 early doors, this week's each-way selection is not a massive price but I'll be hugely disappointed if Graceland can't place at the very least in the Listed Chester Stakes Handicap (2.10).

Rated 91, she's down 1lb since finishing third in a stayers' handicap at Ascot last time and although today's 1m5f might be a little on the short side, I'm impressed by her consistency and she finished in the top three in ten of her past 11 races, albeit in the occasional small field.


2.10 Chester: Graceland (e/w)

2.25 Sandown: Masar

2.40 Beverley: Equiano Springs

3.0 Sandown: Aljazzi

3.15 Beverley: Alpha Delphini

3.35 Sandown: Across Dubai

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