Trainer in Focus – George Baker

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George Baker is a former city trader turned racehorse trainer, and he has made a pretty successful transition. With less than ten years’ experience under his name, Baker has amassed a reputation as a shrewd operator who definitely doesn’t mind a tilt at the betting ring. He trains both Flat and National Hunt runners and has a very solid overall strike rate of 13.3%. In this article we take a look at how Baker’s runners perform based on a range of variables – course, class, race types break between runs etc.

2 Year Olds

Baker hasn’t had a huge amount of 2 year old debutants in his fledging career. His strike rate is modest too – just 4/106 (3.77%) for loss of £-77.25, giving an A/E of 0.73. He seems to leave plenty to work on with his juveniles as they do much better second time up; 12/88 (13.64%) for a loss of £-32.50. When fancied in the betting, his second time out juveniles have a great record; 12/36 (33.33%) for £19.50 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.69

Baker hasn’t cut much ice in nurseries, but has done exceptionally well with his small number of runners in 2 year old sellers; 6/17 with a further 6 places for £2 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.55

3 Year Olds

Baker has had just the solitary success from his 33 3 year old debutant runners. His second time out performers don’t do much better; 2/35 (5.71%) for loss of £-27.25, although the A/E is positive (1.34)

Baker’s 3 year old handicappers do much better later in the year:

3 Year Old Runners in 3 Year Old+ Handicaps

3 year old runners

*A/E denotes actual number of winners divided by expected number of winners. A figure over 1 represents good value, anything under 1 is poor value.

They have a higher strike rate, and produce a positive A/E. Admittedly he doesn’t have many 3 year old runners in all age handicaps before July, but when he has only had 2 winners and 5 places from 46 runners in that time.

A similar story can be found with Baker’s older horses in handicap company:

4 Year Old+ Runners in Handicaps

4 year old runners

In the first half of the year, Baker’s older handicappers win at a solid 13.92% rate, but marginally underperform market expectations, producing an A/E of 0.95. However, from July onwards, they really get into full swing, producing positive A/E’s in 5 of the 6 months, giving overall figures of 63/378 (16.67%) for £125.55 LSP, A/E 1.39 from July-December.

3 Year Old+

There are a few courses where Baker does especially well at with his handicappers:

3 Year Old+ Handicappers By Course

3 year old by course

His strike rate at Goodwood, Brighton and Nottingham is especially good. There is no surprise that his record at Salisbury, Doncaster and Sandown is poor, as races at the tracks are usually very competitive.

3 Year Old+ Handicappers By Class

3 year old by class

Baker has the majority of his runners in the lower grades, with most coming in Class 6 company. His strike rate is good in the lower grades and he produces a positive A/E. When his runners go higher than Class 4, their strike rate naturally dips, and their A/E is below 1. Lower grade races are typically easier to win, and Baker is a good placer of horses, so it figures that he does well in the uncompetitive races.

Claimers & Sellers

Two race types where George Baker does especially well in, are claimers and sellers. In these races, horses regularly move owners and yards, and they generally lower grade affairs, with connections often having different motives for running their horses in the contests. In claimers, where the trainer can determine the weight of his runner, Baker is 26/117 (22.22%) for a loss of £-18.21, giving an A/E of 1.15. When his runners are favourite, they are a very impressive 16/29 (55.17%) for £8.79 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.35

Similarly in sellers, Baker has a very good record – 31/98 (31.63%) for £16.90 LSP A/E 1.21. This further reinforces the view that he has a good idea of the form book and where he needs to place his horses so they can get a win under their belt.

Beaten Favourite Last Time Out

Baker’s last time out beaten favourites have a good record when returning to the track; 41/198 (20.71%) for loss of £-5.13, giving an A/E of 1.19. When they turn out within 2 weeks of reversal, their record gets better; 18/59 (£30.51) for an A/E of 1.44. He rarely leaves the money behind twice.

National Hunt

Although his primary focus is the flat, George Baker does also have runners under National Hunt rules. There is a performance bias with his runners based on the time of year:

national hunt

While his flat runners tend to do better in the second half of the year, the opposite is true with his runners over timber. They do better in January-June, and produce a profit and a positive A/E. The strike rate and returns dip from July onwards. Baker’s forte under National Hunt rules appears to be bumper races where he is 11/73 (15.1%) for £9.76 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.51

Review

  • Baker has a modest strike rate with his 2 year old debutants, but most go off at big prices. They improve significantly for their first start and when fancied next time out are very profitable.
  • His 2 year olds do very well in sellers.
  • 3 year old maidens aren’t really Baker’s forte, and he only has a handful of newcomers each season.
  • His 3 year old handicappers in 3 year old+ company do much better from July onwards.
  • His older horses also better in handicaps during the second half of the year.
  • Goodwood and Brighton are where Baker’s 3 year old+ handicappers do best. Both of these courses are undulating in nature.
  • He has a higher strike rate and better A/E in the lower grades, with most of his runners competing in Class 6 handicap company.
  • Baker has a very good strike rate in both sellers and claimers, especially when his runners are fancied.
  • When a beaten favourite last time out, Baker’s runners do well. They have an especially good record when turned out within 2 weeks of their previous reversal.
  • While his flat runners do better in the second half of the year, the opposite is true of Baker’s National Hunt runners. They do best in January-June.

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