Field Strength, after race reports, NSW Trainers report

Wizard Daily Report and Research Tue, 31 October 2023 R&R posted at noon daily

  • Wizard Field Strength measuring strength of competition.
  • Wizard and Wizard Plus Enhanced after-race reports.
  • Research - Australian Trainers examining the top trainers around Australia and how they perform in different locations and under different conditions continued.

Wizard Field Strength - measuring strength of competition

One of the most useful metrics developed by the Wizard more than two decades ago is the Field Strength number.

The Field Strength (FS) figure measures the difference between the quality of the field against which the horse previously raced and that it will confront in the forthcoming race. 

Bear in mind that races of same class can vary in strength. This means the level of competition the horse is meeting in a Weight For Age Group 2 tomorrow could be 1.5kg tougher than the WFA Group 2 field it raced against at its last start and so on.

In the FS column +1.5 means tomorrows field is 1.5kg (one length) stronger than the field the horse met last start. On the other hand, -2.0 means tomorrows race is 2kg weaker than its last start, thereby making the task of the horse somewhat easier than might be expected given that it might appear to be running racing in the same class of race.

Tomorrow I will discuss using the Field Strength figure to indicate whether or not a horse is moving up or down in class in the most commonly run ratings-based races in Sydney and Melbourne.

Wizard and Wizard Plus - Enhanced after-race reports

The Wizard formguide has always included abridged Stewards Reports in its formguide. The current Wizard upgrade and has now extended this reporting to include finer detail. For example, we now specify just where a horse has been held up in the home straight (held up from the 400m to the 100m) rather than just reporting held up in the straight; in this case, in terms of judging whether a horse has had sufficient time to regain momentum this finer detail is invaluable.

Wizard Plus now takes this after-race reporting to a new level. In the Wizard Plus enhanced formguide we now include the observations of the jockey and trainer when they have reported to Stewards on the performance of the horse. This information can be extremely useful when assessing the actual run of the horse.

There are literally dozens of different jockey and trainer observations we now record in Wizard Plus. Just a few of the jockey observations we report prefers softer going, did not handle the tight track, backed-up too quickly, better over longer/shorter distance, better racing with cover, suggest adding blinkers, not suited by race tempo, horse resented kickback, raced one paced, resented racing inside other horses, etc etc. The same range of comments are coming from the trainers.

Wizard Research - Australian trainers analysed

In this series of articles, we report on and discuss the best performing trainers in Australia on metropolitan, provincial, and country tracks. Many of the names will be familiar to you, but there are others who are just as successful (in terms of strike rate) who simply fly under the radar. 

Today we look at the top 20 trainers on New South Wales racetracks, in terms of race wins, for the 2022-2023 racing season.

One of the interesting things about this table is the relatively low win strike rate for Sydneys winningest trainer, Chris Waller. There is no doubting his consummate skill as a trainer, but his strike rate is bedevilled by the fact that he invariably has multiple runners in a race.

I mentioned yesterday how it is possible for a trainer to out-perform his average under certain conditions. One of the country-based trainers about whom I have a very good opinion is Brett Robb from Dubbo. Below you can see he was 7th in the 2022-2023 country trainers table with a win strike rate 14.7%. However, there are situations where he improves that strike rate into the 30s; even over 40% when the horse is rated to win the race. This he did over the 2021-2023 seasons. One of the key factors to look for with his horses is the backing. Watch especially when the late odds are shorter than the odds offered earlier in the day. The special situation horses from the stable have delivered a 30%+ return on investment over an extended period.


 NSW Trainers 2022-2023           
 Metropolitan   Provincial   Country   
1Chris Waller139119511.60James Cummings4617126.9Kris Lees8548517.5
2G Waterhouse, A Bott7136619.4Peter, Paul Snowden3925515.3Clint Lundholm7447615.5
3James Cummings7039317.8John O'Shea3820518.5Brett Cavanough6242314.7
4C Maher, D Eustace4328415.1Brad Widdup3726214.1Connie Greig5834916.6
5Bjorn Baker4036311.0Nathan Doyle3618219.8Cody Morgan5725722.2
6Annabell Neasham3827813.7Chris Waller3426912.6Keith Dryden4827017.8
7Joseph Pride3629712.1Matthew Smith3430011.3Brett Robb4832714.7
8M, W, J Hawkes3224013.3G Ryan, S Alexiou3216419.5Matthew Dunn4620522.4
9Mark Newnham2915219.1Bjorn Baker2918915.3Annabell Neasham4515728.7
10G Ryan, S Alexiou2724411.1John Thompson2816916.6Matthew Smith3921318.3
11John O'Shea262839.2Michael Freedman2611023.6Mitchell Beer3930312.9
12Peter, Paul Snowden263028.6Kris Lees2618713.9Bjorn Baker3617320.8
13Kris Lees212628.0G Waterhouse, A Bott2512520.0Andrew Dale3628912.5
14Matthew Smith172138.0Richard, Will Freedman2514117.7B Joseph, P, M Jones3630611.8
15Brad Widdup1613711.7Annabell Neasham2519113.1Paul Messara359337.6
16John Sargent1614613.5Mark Newnham2311619.8Paul Shailer3518019.4
17David Payne1413510.4Kim Waugh2319611.7Michael Mulholland3421016.2
18Michael Freedman138814.8Anthony Cummings2212517.6Stephen Lee3422215.3
19John Thompson131787.3Joseph Pride2212717.3Rod Northam3219016.8
20Nathan Doyle111149.6M, W, J Hawkes199420.2Paul Perry3027510.9