Archive for June, 2010

From front runners to the draw – Chester races today

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Today is the last of our series of Saturday posts looking at probable front runners using the Smartform model that we outlined in this month’s edition of Racing Ahead.¬† Not to say that we won’t be looking at front runners again, but not in every post ūüėȬ† Selected front runner ratings will also start appearing in the Betwise Members’ area (for free) from next Saturday – this analysis has predicted a few good winners as well as front runners in each of the past 5 Saturdays.

Our upcoming July article in Racing Ahead looks at using Smartform to calculate the effects of the draw at every track.¬† In fact, as we have discussed before, an advantageous draw combined with a front running style is a powerful winning combination, nowhere moreso than Chester, one of today’s meetings.

Not that we need a sophisticated model to assess the effects of the draw at Chester Рlow is best, period.  In sprint races with larger fields, the advantage is even more pronounced, since many of the runners are forced to race wide.

At Chester today there are 3 races under a mile, 2 sprints at 5 furlongs and one at the awkward “sprint” distance of 7 furlongs.¬† The first two races have smaller field sizes, so it’s possible that the plum running positions on the inside rail may be more easily occupied by horses that are not drawn lowest.¬† Where there are smaller field sizes, it always raises an interesting question of how much importance we should attach to the draw versus running style in terms of predicting leaders.¬† The last race is 10 runners over the minimum distance – typically horses drawn 1 and 2 (today this is Ryan Style and Hoh Hoh Hoh) in such races can carry all before them – even though these do not come in our top 3 predicted front runners judged on pure running style alone.¬† For all today’s races, you can be the judge – below are the front runner ratings coupled with the draw position of every horse for each of the sprint races at Chester:

RACE: 2010-06-26, Chester, 14:05:00, 1116 Yds

HORSE, % LEADING CHANCE, DRAW, SMARTFORM FORECAST SP:
Lord Avon, 0.31, 5, 7/2
Coconut Ice, 0.21, 7, 7/1
Fred Willetts, 0.21, 4, 10/1
Scarlet Rocks, 0.14, 9, 11/4
Triple Agent, 0.14, 6, 25/1
Lexi’s Hero, 0.00, 3, 7/1
Leiba Leiba, 0.00, 2, 8/1
The Thrill Is Gone, 0.00, 1, 5/1

RACE: 2010-06-26, Chester, 15:45:00, 1542 Yds

HORSE, % LEADING CHANCE, DRAW, SMARTFORM FORECAST SP:
Rule Breaker, 0.41, 1, 7/2
Cansili Star, 0.23, 2, 11/8
Below Zero, 0.17, 7, 12/1
William Morgan, 0.15, 4, 10/1
Tiradito, 0.04, 6, 14/1
Layla’s Hero, 0.00, 5, 6/1
Hunting Tartan, 0.00, 3, 7/1

RACE: 2010-06-26, Chester, 16:20:00, 1116 Yds

HORSE, % LEADING CHANCE, DRAW, SMARTFORM FORECAST SP:
Falasteen, 0.32, 7, 8/1
Bertoliver, 0.23, 4, 5/2
Lost In Paris, 0.17, 9, 4/1
Hoh Hoh Hoh, 0.11, 2, 16/1
Ryan Style, 0.08, 1, 6/1
Grissom, 0.04, 10, 14/1
Lucky Dan, 0.03, 8, 6/1
Memphis Man, 0.01, 5, 10/1
Green Park, 0.01, 3, 14/1
Dancing Red Devil, 0.00, 6, 25/1

Making the running in the Golden Jubilee and the Wokingham

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Today’s big sprint races at Ascot over 6 furlongs present an interesting challenge for our Smartform front runner ratings.

The first thing to notice about both races is the enormous field size, with 24 runners in the Golden Jubilee due off at 3.50, and 27 runners in the Wokingham, due off at 4.25.  When there are so many runners lined up across the track, not only can sprint races look like a cavalry charge, but the chances of successfully predicting the relative behaviour of any one contender is of course less.  Fortunately, the prices on offer are that much bigger, too.

Despite the highly competitive nature of the race, the Golden Jubilee throws up quite some discrepancy between front running attributes.  In such a big field, we would expect the variation between the top ranked contenders to be marginal, but this is not the case.  Here are the rankings for the top 3 Рshowing the relative percentage chance of each leading in the first half of the race, followed by its draw.

Sayif, 0.30, 6
War Artist, 0.16, 23
Showcasing, 0.11, 7

So, Sayif is almost twice as likely to lead as the nearest contender.¬† However, it’s not so straightforward with these rankings, since both Sayif and Showcasing are also horses that exhibit some lagging tendencies in some of their previous races, earning them a high score on both fronts (the lagging percentages are not shown here).¬† War Artist does not score any lagging points, but falls some way behind the raw score of Sayif.

With Sayif drawn towards the stands rail, and War Artist drawn on the far rail, they would be the two picks, with the stands rail pick slightly favoured, also at a bigger price of 48.0 on Betfair at the time of writing.  With a good chance that Sayif will race prominently (and even if he does not, he is a quality colt with a winning chance), a price of 48.0 in a liquid market presents definite back to lay possibilities.

On to the Wokingham at 4.25, there is less disparity between the leading contenders in terms of ratings – here is how they fall:

Masamah, 0.10, 7
Edge Closer, 0.08, 1
Evens And Odds, 0.07, 16

Masamah is passed over in terms of converting an early lead to a winning advantage, since it has shown most promise to date over 5 furlongs.¬† However, we think it is likely to race prominently and will show well towards the stands rail for the first few furlongs, so may show some odds reduction in running from its current price of 85.0.¬† The other two contenders are preferred in terms of horses that may race prominently and convert that edge into a winning chance.¬†¬† Edge Closer’s chance is probably reflected in its odds of 23.0 for the time being, but Evens and Odds, ridden by William Buick, who guided last week’s front running pick, Burning Thread, to win the front in the big sprint at Sandown, is an interesting contender who may race prominently at a big price, currently at 44.0 on Betfair.

Who will make the running in the big sprint at Sandown?

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Today’s front runner analysis using our Smartform model focuses on the richest race on the card at Sandown – the listed Scurry Stakes over 5 furlongs, due off at 3.30 and worth over 22K to the winner alone.

Without further ado, here are the results of today’s leader analysis for this race (percentage ranked chance of leading early, followed by stall positions):

Burning Thread, 0.27, 9
Above Limits, 0.21, 2
Red Avalanche, 0.16, 6
Duchess Dora, 0.12, 3
Reignier, 0.12, 1
Lady Brickhouse, 0.06, 5
Tawaabb, 0.06, 8
Duplicity, 0.00, 7
Diamond Johnny G, 0.00, 4

The usual caveats apply to the raw numbers – there is no measure of ability, suitability to conditions, or any individual measure of form (other than analysis of the previous running style of each contender) used in the production of the ratings.

Another caveat is that today’s race includes runners with little historic form, being limited to 3 year old competitors.¬† This last observation applies especially to our top ranked leading contender¬† – Burning Thread.¬† He’s had only 3 runs in total and was slowly away on the first of them, meaning he also scores as a potential lagger.¬† However, we’re prepared to forgive his debut run last year, since his last 2 outings show him to be a useful, pacey sort.

As we look at the next factor of interest from a pace perspective – the draw – another positive for Burning Thread emerges, in that he is drawn in stall 9 (of 9).¬† Traditionally the draw at Sandown on the 5 furlong track in the middle of the course favours those drawn against the far running rail.¬† Relying on a so-called “known” draw bias can be suspect (unless the reason such bias is hard to counter as at our favoured example of the inside rail at Chester) especially as clerks of the course may seek to mitigate such advantage on straight courses through watering policies and the like.¬† In such cases it pays to look at recent evidence in the draw, something we’ll be focusing on as a topic in its own right over the coming months.¬† For the case in hand at Sandown today, we will assume that the rail draw is no negative, and may well provide extra assistance, despite the field size being relatively small.

Let’s say Burning Thread takes a prominent racing position from the rail draw – is he good enough to win?¬† That is more doubtful.¬† His ability ratings are not the best in the field, and in this class he may face stiff competition in the closing stages.¬† If the favourite, Duchess Dora, is close up (as befits her running style), he will be in danger.¬† There may be a back to lay opportunity, as his price currently stands at 5.3 on Betfair (as of the time of writing, at 9 am), which should be shorter if he is a genuine contender within the final furlong.¬† At a much bigger price, 12.0, Red Avalanche is also interesting in stall 6 – but we have to take on trust his comparative ability as a 3 yr old since he has been off the track for 245 days.¬† Whilst he also raced keenly as a juvenile, we cannot really predict what his running style may be without more recent evidence.¬† All in all, this a tricky affair with so many unknowns to factor – but, of course, that’s one of the things that makes racing fun.

Derby Day Front Runners

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

With the most interesting race of the day, the Epsom Derby, set to go off at 4 pm, we turn out attention to front runner analysis in a couple of the earlier sprints being run before the big race.¬† This continues June’s Saturday analysis theme using our Smartform model as outlined in this month’s Racing Ahead article and previous posts.

First up, the Epsom 2.10.  Not much evidence to go on, since this is listed race for 2 year olds, most of whom have raced only once or twice.  As a race type it ranks amongst the most unreliable for the ratings.  Two reasons for this Рfirstly, a higher class, non-handicap race means a potentially wide ability gulf between the runners rendering our predictions based on previous races redundant.  Second, each runner has had little chance to establish a real profile.   However, from the evidence we have seen, there may be an angle in the ratings.  Here are the top two (percentage leader prediction, followed by draw):

Dubawi Gold, 0.24, 8
Where’s Romeo, 0.24, 2

A tie for top ranked front runner does not look too promising, but the third rated, Singapore Lilly, rates only 12% likely to lead and likelier to start slowly, leaving Premier Clarets rated fourth, also at 12%.¬†¬† So as a starting point, we can say there is stronger than 50% chance that Dubawi Gold and Where’s Romeo will break and try to lead early.¬† Of the two, Where’s Romeo has raced twice over the minimum trip and led, whereas Dubawi Gold has raced once over 6 furlongs and led – so, Where’s Romeo’s early speed may be stronger.¬† Also, Where’s Romeo is drawn towards the inside rail, which is generally an advantage over 6 furlongs at Epsom.¬† Last but not least, there is better price margin in Where’s Romeo’s price for an in-running play.¬† Currently available at 8.2 on Betfair, we’d expect it to trade much lower if has been leading after the first few furlongs.¬†¬† Too many form and ability unknowns to try and call the winner, however.

Next up, the top two from the Musselburgh 2.35.  All the caveats on race type mentioned above apply, since it is also a 2 year old race with little previous form to go on.

Excel Bolt, 0.43, 4
Misty Morn, 0.22, 7

The ratings speak for themselves on this one, we should not look outside these two in order to try and predict the front runner.¬† However, Misty Morn has a rag’s chance and is rated just as likely to start slowly.¬† Excel Bolt has one run to his name and is also the favourite for the race.¬† Not much margin for an in-running play, with the price already at 2.12 on Betfair.¬† However, if Excel Bolt breaks from the front over 5 furlongs at Musselburgh, he will take all the beating.

Last but not least, we should say a word about the most valuable sprint of the day, the so-called  Dash or Epsom 3.15.  Here are the top two:

Le Toreador, 0.11, 3
Glamorous Spirit, 0.11, 1

We’ve left this to last, because these ratings are not the strongest. Basically the field is full of high class sprinters, most of whom are capable of breaking well. However, there are some nice prices on our top two, so whilst it could not be a strong fancy, Glamorous Spirit also has a hitherto spotless lagger record, and is therefore worthy of further consideration at 38.0 at the time of writing.