Archive for September, 2010

Pace analysis for key sprints today

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Last week we picked the winning side for the Ayr Silver and Gold Cup (far side group for Silver and stands side group for Gold) – surely debunking the myth that there was a track or intrinsic “draw” bias to the near side.  Whilst track bias is always possible through iniquitous watering or course conformation, for flat galloping tracks knowing where the strongest pace is often key to knowing which draw position may be advantageous.

All the pace statistics for today’s sprints are online for free perusal in the Betwise Members’ Area.  Reader Alan has also produced a nice visual representation of some of today’s key sprints using the ratings as follows:

Haydock 3.10:
Ascot 3.40:
Haydock 3.45:

Using early pace as a predictor of where it makes sense to be drawn, we can see that We Have A Dream, Flying Statesman and Waveband, in stalls 12, 14 and 16 create the strongest pace bias towards the stands rail.   Also, the rail is a useful guide for runners at Haydock, than being stuck out in the centre of the course.  It may pay to concentrate on runners drawn 10 and above in this case.

In the 3.45 at haydock, the pace is again in the top half of the draw, but concentrated in the centre, in stalls 8, 10 and 11, with Foxy Music, in the plum rail draw in 17 also having shown early pace before.   Of course, there’s nothing to say that these fast paced horses can’t also make all and win, though on the straight at Haydock and Ascot that is a rarer feat than at turning tracks.

Finally, in a mammoth field of 29 the pace bias may be most informative at Ascot.   Here we can see a cluster of fast early paced horses drawn in the centre to far side (so high numbers).  Though over a 7 furlong trip on ground with a bit of cut in it this will take some getting, so looking for horses that will get the trip is key.  On the basis of the pace bias and therefore the possibility of racing with the right group, St Moritz looks very interesting, as does Suruor.  Wannabe King on the stands side is the only horse that shows some pace there, so is likely to be going slower than the far side group.  However, if the winner is to come from that side, then Acrostic, drawn next to him in stall 3 and with a high recent speed figure, may be best placed.

Leaders and laggers up for Saturday’s racing

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Leaders and laggers – so you can assess the relative pace in the race – are now up for all Saturday’s sub-mile races in the Betwise members’ area.

Ayr Gold Cup and Silver Cup post mortem

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Well, we were right about the best place to be for both the Silver and Gold Cup.  Low numbers had it for the Silver Cup, and high numbers for the Gold Cup.  That’s an overall victory for Betwise pace analysis and a defeat for track bias theories.   On the other hand we didn’t pick the right horse on the far side in the Silver Cup, or the right horse on the stands side in the Gold Cup 😉  You can’t win ’em all…

Ayr Gold and Silver Cup pace prognosis

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

We posted the leader and lagger stats for the Ayr Gold and Silver Cups (as well as all the other sprints for Saturday racing, and leaders and laggers for the Ayr Bronze Cup) a day early yesterday.   This leaves us free to concentrate on how to use those stats to determine how the race may unfold from a pace perspective today.

First, the post mortem on the Bronze Cup.  The general consensus seems to be that being with the high numbers, that is the stands side draw, is the place to be this year.  Is there better ground on the stands side, or has there simply been stronger pace on the stands side draw?  With 27 runners across the track, we have to take a view.  If you take out the first three in yesterday’s Bronze Cup, who were towed by a strong early pace on the stands side (helped along by our strongest predicted front runner, Amenable), the rest finished more or less in parallel.  That’s still 23 runners, with draw numbers interwoven completely.  Can we be sure that the stands side is the place to be?

One reader, Alan, produced a nice drawsheet plot for the Silver Cup based on the net effect of Leaders and Laggers, shown here:

Whilst there are more front runners (as an overall percentage) than laggers in the higher part of the draw, the strongest two leaders are drawn 1 and 2 – both Mark Johnston trained horses, who often lead early.  So there should be good early tow on that part of the course.  If there is no intrinsic ground advantage being drawn high, who is to say the winner can’t come from the low part of the draw?  The biggest issue may be that too few runners decide to stay with them – if the jockeys all believe that high is the place to be and a large number tack across to the stands rail, that may become a self fulfilling prophesy.

By the same token, if punters all believe that high is the only place to be, there will be good prices on offer about low drawn runners.  This may make the risk of plumping for a low drawn runner worthwhile.

Sticking with the same principle, that predicting the best draw is all about predicting where the pace is, the Ayr Gold Cup has the opposite characteristics.  By some margin the highest ranked front runner is Jonny Mudball, drawn in one of the plum stands rail positions, 25.  Even more compelling, the top 5 leaders including Jonny Mudball are ranked 25, 18, 4, 21, 24, 27.  A very high bias towards early pace on the stands rail.  So the winner should come from there, in theory.

But will the winner even be the early front runner?  Let’s look at the results of previous winner comments for the Ayr Gold Cup, generated using a one line query in Smartform:

| Year | stall | in_race_comment
| 2003 |    10 | in touch far side, effort over 1f out, stayed on under pressure inside final furlong to lead close home
| 2004 |     8 | made all, ridden 2f out, kept on well
| 2005 |     2 | held up far side group, headway from 1f out, disputed lead final furlong, all out to lead close home
| 2006 |     6 | chased leaders far side group, ridden over 2f out, led that group 1f out, kept on well
| 2007 |    22 | chased leaders stands side, ridden and headway to lead group inside final furlong, edged right and stayed on to lead  near finish
| 2008 |    20 | held up stands side group, headway 2f out, led that group inside final furlong, stayed on
| 2009 |    15 | held up far side group, ridden and headway on outer of that group over 1f out, stayed on to lead towards finish

So only one runner has made all – for the most part winners are held up or chasing the early lead.  There’s a pack of runners who may do that towards the stands side, so we won’t list all of them here.  However, with the ground drying out and Jonny Mudball’s most impressive win to date coming on good to firm, he may well be the one to side with.  It will be a surprise if he is not up with the pace or making it for most of the race.

In the Silver Cup, previous winner profiles are similar as follows:

| Year | stall | in_race_comment
| 2003 |     2 | held up far side, headway over 2f out, soon ridden, led well inside final furlong, stayed on
| 2004 |    22 | tracked leaders stands’ side, ridden over 2f out, headway approaching final furlong, to lead outright inside final furlong, kept on well
| 2005 |     1 | tracked leaders far side group, ridden to lead approaching final furlong, ran on well
| 2006 |    28 | in rear stand side group, effort and not much room over 3f out, stayed on inside final furlong, led post
| 2007 |    15 | tracked leaders stand side group, led stand side group and overall leader over 1f out, pushed out readily
| 2008 |     7 | close up far side group, led that group over 1f out, stayed on well
| 2009 |     2 | chased leaders far side group, led that group and overall leader over 1f out, hard ridden and kept on under pressure inside final furlong

Again it seems to pay to be up with the pace, though no early leader has won.  If we take a risk on there being no particular track bias but go with the pace bias on the far side, there are some very rewarding odds on offer.   Sea of Leaves is one of a number of contenders who could come off the pace to take the race in the later stages, and is currently 29.0 to back on Betfair.

5 in a row, 2 to go

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Smart Markets, our selection system based on early market movements, is doing rather well today.  Often candidates for early and in-running trading rather than just backing to win, system picks are selected based on significant interest from sufficient interested parties “early doors”, against the rest of the market.  As the record shows, even blind backing at Betfair SP produces a level stakes profit over the past 6 months.  Today, there were 8 selections, reprinted below, of which the first, in a maiden, lost (coming 4th after leading early), and the subsequent 5 have all won at a bookmaker SP of 11/4, 9/1, 3/1, Evens and 3/1.  With 2 more to go in the 5:50 and 8:20 at Wolverhampton.  For your interest, all today’s selections follow:

Date Course Time Name Min Price*
2010-09-17 Newbury 13:30:00 Proper Charlie 7.4
2010-09-17 Newmarket 13:50:00 State Of Mind 5.0
2010-09-17 Ayr 14:10:00 Well Sharp 5.0
2010-09-17 Newbury 14:35:00 Delegator 3.2
2010-09-17 Ayr 14:45:00 Alben Star 1.9
2010-09-17 Newbury 15:45:00 Moriarty 3.4
2010-09-17 Wolverhampton 17:50:00 Celtic Sixpence 1.7
2010-09-17 Wolverhampton 20:20:00 Sula Two 5.8

*Min price is a minimum guide price based upon market conditions at the time that the selection was posted

Perhaps this is the season to be following shrewd money?  Something has to pay for connections’ turkeys, after all.

Leaders and laggers for Ayr Bronze Cup today

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Not forgetting today’s cavalry charge as a preliminary to tomorrow’s two, in-line are the leader and lagger ratings for the Bronze Cup – the 4:30 race from Ayr today.

The key to interpreting these:

Horse name, percent chance in race of leading or starting slowly (expressed as a decimal value, eg. 0.5 = 50%), today’s draw, and forecast SP.

2010-09-17, Ayr, 2010-09-17 16:30:00, 1320
Medici Time, 0.13, 24, 25/1
Barren Brook, 0.09, 15, 12/1

Mastership, 0.08, 12, 33/1
Ancient Cross, 0.07, 1, 14/1
Oldjoesaid, 0.07, 13, 12/1

Cheveton, 0.06, 25, 14/1
Ginger Ted, 0.05, 11, 20/1
Internationaldebut, 0.04, 5, 25/1
Everymanforhimself, 0.04, 26, 25/1
Marvellous Value, 0.04, 18, 25/1
Empirico, 0.04, 7, 14/1
Beat The Bell, 0.04, 8, 10/1
Amenable, 0.04, 21, 12/1
Northern Fling, 0.03, 16, 16/1
Great Charm, 0.03, 27, 25/1
Haajes, 0.03, 17, 20/1
Sunrise Safari, 0.03, 6, 20/1
Courageous, 0.03, 22, 10/1
Saucy Brown, 0.02, 20, 25/1
Tyfos, 0.02, 2, 20/1
Valery Borzov, 0.01, 9, 16/1
The Nifty Fox, 0.01, 3, 14/1
Jeannie Galloway, 0.00, 4, 12/1
Roker Park, 0.00, 14, 20/1
Eton Rifles, 0.00, 10, 25/1
Baldemar, 0.00, 19, 14/1
Coolminx, 0.00, 23, 14/1

Amenable, 0.20, 21, 12/1
Courageous, 0.09, 22, 10/1
Tyfos, 0.09, 2, 20/1
Eton Rifles, 0.08, 10, 25/1

Valery Borzov, 0.06, 9, 16/1
Saucy Brown, 0.05, 20, 25/1
Jeannie Galloway, 0.05, 4, 12/1
Cheveton, 0.05, 25, 14/1
Great Charm, 0.05, 27, 25/1
The Nifty Fox, 0.04, 3, 14/1
Ancient Cross, 0.03, 1, 14/1
Coolminx, 0.03, 23, 14/1
Internationaldebut, 0.03, 5, 25/1
Beat The Bell, 0.02, 8, 10/1
Sunrise Safari, 0.02, 6, 20/1
Haajes, 0.02, 17, 20/1
Oldjoesaid, 0.02, 13, 12/1
Ginger Ted, 0.01, 11, 20/1
Roker Park, 0.01, 14, 20/1
Medici Time, 0.01, 24, 25/1
Baldemar, 0.01, 19, 14/1
Northern Fling, 0.01, 16, 16/1
Mastership, 0.01, 12, 33/1
Everymanforhimself, 0.00, 26, 25/1
Marvellous Value, 0.00, 18, 25/1
Empirico, 0.00, 7, 14/1
Barren Brook, 0.00, 15, 12/1

Leaders and Laggers for Ayr Gold and Silver Cups

Friday, September 17th, 2010

We had a request to post the leaders and laggers for the famous Ayr sprints up a day early.  So, these are now available for all in the Betwise members area, along with all other sprint races for tomorrow (Saturday 18th), thanks to the availability of advance racecards in Smartform.

Now, whether leaders or laggers have more or less chance than any other contender in what is now a sequence of cavalry charges north of the border is another question entirely, and one which we’ll address in tomorrow’s blog.

Well-Handicapped Horses

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Just finished reading Jon Gibby’s (relatively) new book, Well-Handicapped Horses.  It’s to be thoroughly recommended, though anyone who’s read his previous Betting on Flat Handicaps will find it more like an update (on how best to use his methods in 2010 rather than 2002) than a new book.  He does include a couple of new chapters on betting 2 year olds and using speed ratings, however.  I won’t attempt a full review here, though a few points stand out.

Some of these points relate to the market in general and how the market is wise, or at least wiser, to many of the methods he previously advocated – in particular to draw bias.  Basically, the same biases are more or less in existence, but the runners coming from the bias-affected stalls are sent off at far shorter prices than they were a few years ago.  It’s not necessary to reproduce one of his examples from the book, since we can usually see a distinct correlation in known bias-affected tracks every day by comparing the ranking of the betting on Betfair (ie. favourite to least fancied) and the stalls positions of each.

Betwise produce these rankings every day – so, taking early prices today as an example, the current top 3 in the Betfair betting in the 5.20 at Chester (a 10 runner, 5 furlong race with a typically strong bias to low numbers) are drawn 1, 3 and 4 respectively.  In the Sandown 2.50 (a 12 runner, 5 furlong race with a typically strong bias to high numbers), the top 4 in the betting are drawn 8, 12, 2 and 10 respectively. (Incidentally, Hoh Hoh Hoh, who has run well at Sandown in the past, is drawn 11 and is out with the washing in the betting at 25/1 – backers take note).

Thus it’s harder to make a profit by following the draw alone. Gibby compensates for this by looking largely at draw anomalies (where one part of the track is favoured/ not favoured at particular meetings) as well as longer term trends.  He looks in particular to follow horses who were disadvantaged by the draw in their subsequent outings – as long as they have become well handicapped as a result.

One point that I should take issue with is when he concludes punters need to subscribe to The Racing Post and Raceform Interactive in order to spot and take advantage of these anomalies.  Fine tools though these are, there are many alternative (and sometimes better, depending on what you actually want to do) data sources available.  Not least of these is our own SmartForm, which adds the significant advantage of enabling you program directly with racing data.  Whilst programming is an obstacle for some, once you’re over it you can automate a number of derived variables (or have Betwise do it for you), such as draw bias assessments.  A type of analysis that Gibby also holds in high regard, which seems to be painstakingly manual for each race, is pace analysis.  Again, with SmartForm we can program pace bias automatically, both his method and most similar ones.  In fact, we use a slightly different method to Gibby and also calculate pace for likely laggers (ie. those horses who will break slowly) and hold up horses.  Speaking of which, free leader and lagger ratings are now up in the Betwise Members’ area for all today’s sprint races…

The Placepot – yes, it’s always trickier than it looks

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

We said yesterday we’d see how raw top racecard ratings fared as a play in the Placepot – and we got the result we might have expected.  Assuming a straight £1 line, no permutations, the top rated fared as follows:

Thirsk, placed leg 1, unplaced in leg 2…

Stratford, won leg 1, unplaced leg 2…

Kempton, won leg 1, won leg 2, unplaced leg 3…

Haydock, placed leg 1, unplaced leg 2

Wolverhampton, out first leg.

A few top rated were non-runners, so here we just allocated their selection to the next best in the ratings.  We could also have allocated to the favourite (where we would have fared better, as it turns out).

Still, no winning lines and no continuation beyond race 3 on any card…

This is not an unusual experience for the placepot.  The alluring draw of the Tote’s placepot is an interest in every race, with a potentially big payout at the end, for the simple task of selecting a placed horse in ever race.  It works as a great interest bet for the races, for the price of a £1 line.  But it’s always trickier than it looks.  Some maths can tell us why, but so can the experience of playing it.  No matter what the ratings used.

Leaders and laggers, racecard ratings up for today

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Saturday leaders and laggers for all today’s sprints (all races under one mile), plus racecards ratings for each meeting are now up in the Betwise members’ area.  A novel use of the leaders in the ratings was mooted as a possible Placepot play a few weeks ago.  We’ll report on how this does for each of the cards tomorrow.