Which Flat Trainers Can You Really Rely On?

We recently published a guide on choosing the right jockeys on the Flat to help you get one over on the bookies. Today, I am doing something similar. Only this time, I will look at whether you can rely on the top Flat trainers in the business to get you over the profit line.

The truth is, we never know what is on the mind of a world-class trainer. Are they merely giving a horse a ‘run out’ or have they secretly geared the horse up for a surprisingly good run? Bear in mind that their goal is always to land the big prizes at places like Ascot and Newmarket but is there value in lower level races that fly under the radar? Let’s find out.

Note: Today’s post will be looking at how much money you would have earned betting on horses managed by these trainers at Betfair.com. Betfair is one of our top racing betting sites because it allows you to bet against other punters rather than against the bookie. You can follow along at www.betfair.com.

Betfair does not accept customers from the United States, however. If you live in the USA, your best bet is www.betamerica.com. BetAmerica is legal and licensed in the United States with a perfect reputation for fairness and fast payouts.

Does Big Money for Them Mean Big Winnings for You?

The top trainers work incredibly hard, but they know the rewards for their efforts are considerable. Let’s take a look at Flat trainers that make a fortune to find out if it translates into something good for the punter.

Aidan O’Brien

O’Brien is the king of Flat trainers regarding earnings even though he has far fewer entries than everyone else on the list. In 2017 so far, O’Brien has won over £4.4 million from just 81 entries. Clearly, he saves his steeds for the major events… so can we make money off O’Brien’ efforts?

The simple answer is yes, but you’ll need patience because O’Brien likes to keep a relatively small stable and ensure his entries are at a premium. Since the beginning of the 2013 season, O’Brien has had fewer entries than the likes of Richard Fahey and Mark Johnston have had in 2017 alone! However, his quality over quantity approach works well for the punter as you’ll see in this table.

Bets WinsWin Rate%ROI (BF)
4538518.76%49.69%

The above table represents all of O’Brien’s entries since 2013 on Flat, and although the win rate is fairly low, the punter’s Betfair ROI is almost 50%! Even at SP prices, you’re looking at almost 13% profit.

Furthermore, O’Brien has been on fire since 2015, and so far in 2017, you would be looking at a Betfair ROI of over 68%.

Clearly, O’Brien is all about the big races. In fact, 415 of his 453 entries have been in Class 1 events. If you backed all of his horses in these events, your Betfair ROI increases to 52.15%.

Finally, keep your eye on O’Brien trained horses that are not favourites because although they only win 8.59% of the time, they give the punter a 66.23% profit. The only problem is that you have to wait a long time for O’Brien to appear and most of his winners are high priced so prepare for lots of losses before landing a few big ones.

Richard Fahey

In Richard Fahey, we have a trainer that is at the completely opposite end of the spectrum to O’Brien in terms of how many horses he enters. For example, he has had almost 800 runners so far this year! However, backing all of his entries since the beginning of the 2013 season would tell a less than cheerful tale.

Bets WinsWin Rate%ROI (BF)
570373512.89%-2.64%

To be fair, a loss of just over 2.6% is not that bad, especially with such a low win ratio. The other good news is that there are plenty of chances to filter Fahey’s entries into something approaching a profitable system.

While O’Brien is the king of the major events, Fahey tends to fare well in Class 5 and 6 events.

Bets WinsWin Rate%ROI (BF)
194132916.957.81%

With a win percentage increase of over 4%, Fahey’s Class 5 and 6 entries since 2013 yield an ROI of almost 8%. While he would provide you with a loss of almost 12% this season so far, he has provided profit in the previous four seasons including almost 20% in 2014 and almost 16% in 2018.

Although Fahey isn’t one to rush his horses into action within a few days of a race, he has a good record when his horses have a relatively short layoff. Here is how he fares with horses in Class 5 & 6 events that last ran 8-15 days before the race.

Bets WinsWin Rate%ROI (BF)
4137016.95%24.36%

This looks good on paper, but in 2017, your ROI loss would be 46%!

Fahey also does well with non-favourites in Class 5 & 6 races with an ROI of 12.29% since 2013, but once again, you would experience a loss in 2017 so far. In fact, while there are several ways in which Fahey has provided profit for punters over the last few years, you shouldn’t build any system around him in 2017 as he is only doing well for the bookies.

William Haggas

The final trainer I am looking at in this article is William Haggas, primarily because he has had plenty of entries this season and a high win percentage. In fact, only 5 trainers have a higher win ratio, and none of them have had more than 12 runners. However, has Haggas consistently provided winners since the 2013 season?

Bets WinsWin Rate%ROI (BF)
188541722.12%1.41%

The answer is yes and no. His win rate hasn’t dipped below 21% in the last 5 seasons, but he had poor seasons in 2015 and 2016 from the punter’s perspective with 20% and 10% losses respectively. This season his win rate is 23.83% for an ROI of 3.71%, but so far, there is nothing to get the pulses racing.

I took the liberty of delving deeper into Haggas’ statistics in Flat racing since 2013 and came up with the following.

Class 4

Bets WinsWin Rate%ROI (BF)
45610823.68%22.08%

Good on paper; but the main wins were in 2013 and 2014. In 2017, Class 3 events are Haggas’ specialty with a profit of 107% so far this season compared to losses last year.

1-10 Runners

Bets WinsWin Rate%ROI (BF)
114332828.7%13.35%

Also looks good on the surface but again, the stats are masked by an exceptional 2014 and little else of note.

Final Words

Of the three trainers I reviewed, only Aidan O’Brien offers reliable profit over the last few years. If nothing else, I hope this particular guide revealed that you have to dig beneath the surface of stats to find out whether you’re getting gold or iron pyrites. While Fahey and Haggas offer profit across several different criteria in specific years, neither provides you with regular wins.

There are dozens of trainers plying their trade in UK racing, and at the time of writing, 30 of them had 200+ runners this season. This means there is lots of scope for finding profitable trainers. You just have to find their specialty. I recommend focusing on trainers with win ratios of over 20% as they give you more chances to filter down selections for profit.