Archive for May, 2012

Chester lowly drawn today

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

We’ve discussed the low draw advantage at Chester a number of times in this blog. Comprehensive analysis of the advantage afforded by a low draw at Chester is also one of the examples covered in the Smartform User Manual.

Despite the number of times the low draw advantage is mentioned, it continues to produce a blind level stakes profit in certain circumstances (in particular sprints over the minimum distance with a decent field size on decent going). Now that the worst of the bad weather is over (and the Chester May meeting is behind us) we can hopefully look forward to decent ground and a return to the rich seam of potential winners that can be discovered by concentrating on those drawn low around the tight Chester circuit.

A useful Smartform query in order to whittle down fields on this basis can be produced as follows:

select course, scheduled_time, distance_yards AS ‘distance’, name, stall_number AS ‘draw’, forecast_price from daily_races join daily_runners using (race_id) where course=”Chester” and meeting_date=CURDATE() and stall_number < 3 order by scheduled_time, stall_number;

course scheduled_time distance name draw forecast_price
Chester 2012-05-26 14:25:00 1338 Tyson The Byson 1 33/1
Chester 2012-05-26 14:25:00 1338 Sojoum 2 5/1
Chester 2012-05-26 14:55:00 1338 Asian Trader 1 7/4
Chester 2012-05-26 14:55:00 1338 Red All Over 2 66/1
Chester 2012-05-26 15:25:00 2499 Gabrial’s King 1 6/1
Chester 2012-05-26 15:25:00 2499 Singalat 2 9/2
Chester 2012-05-26 16:00:00 1542 Hot Rod Mamma 1 33/1
Chester 2012-05-26 16:00:00 1542 Viva Ronaldo 2 5/1
Chester 2012-05-26 16:35:00 2275 Watered Silk 1 12/1
Chester 2012-05-26 16:35:00 2275 Look Left 2 16/1
Chester 2012-05-26 17:10:00 2949 Silk Drum 1 12/1
Chester 2012-05-26 17:10:00 2949 Cape Express 2 6/1
Chester 2012-05-26 17:45:00 1338 Waking Warrior 1 13/2
Chester 2012-05-26 17:45:00 1338 Rutterkin 2 16/1
Chester 2012-05-26 18:15:00 1338 Blown It 1 7/1
Chester 2012-05-26 18:15:00 1338 Lucky Dan 2 20/1

16 rows in set (0.10 sec)

Of course, we may take the view that those we wish to look more closely at a wider range of criteria (say the lowest half of the field), or an even narrower set of criteria.  In this regard, one of the keys to using draw advantage effectively is filtering by the number of runners in any race, so let’s discover that data as follows:

select count(name) AS ‘runners’, course, scheduled_time, distance_yards from daily_races join daily_runners using (race_id) where course=”Chester” and meeting_date=CURDATE() group by scheduled_time;

runners course scheduled_time distance_yards
6 Chester 2012-05-26 14:25:00 1338
10 Chester 2012-05-26 14:55:00 1338
7 Chester 2012-05-26 15:25:00 2499
12 Chester 2012-05-26 16:00:00 1542
11 Chester 2012-05-26 16:35:00 2275
9 Chester 2012-05-26 17:10:00 2949
12 Chester 2012-05-26 17:45:00 1338
11 Chester 2012-05-26 18:15:00 1338

8 rows in set (0.10 sec)

Generally speaking, races with fewer than 10 runners declared are less compelling from a draw advantage perspective.  Notice we’ve also included the distance of each race – again, races over distances beyond a mile are also less interesting (with some exceptions) from a draw perspective.

Thus, the 2.55, 4.0, 4.35, 5.45 and 6 pm races are the most interesting from a draw perspective today, so that may be the richest seam to concentrate on using the first query above.  Let’s hope the bias shows through again, since there are some juicy prices on offer about low drawn runners, as you can see from the forecast prices displayed above.

Hello again Frankel

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

It’s not very often you get an equine superstar, certainly not every year (though the racing media would have you believe there is), but Frankel is one.

Not much to say that hasn’t been said – surely if the real Frankel turns up then the only question is what will finish second? Strong Suit would have been a very interesting contender, but alas does not appear. Excelebration is obviously the form pick for second, though not many Exceed and Excel’s progeny do well over a mile, and we’d normally be looking to oppose Excelebration for second spot if the opposition weren’t so inferior by comparison. Not sure what with in this year’s field – it may be that there is better to come from Dubawi Gold. But with any luck we won’t be talking about the “also rans” later this afternoon.

Pace in Victoria Cup

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

The big handicap race of the day is the Victoria Cup at Ascot, worth over 50k to the winner, with a massive field of 24 in contention.

The jury is out on draw bias at Ascot – supposedly high numbers are favoured, to the stands side of the course, but with the stalls being positioned in the centre of the course over a straight 7 furlongs, this is just the sort of race where the way the race unfolds, via pace, should be more important than draw.

Typically in these situations we will want to look for the paciest runners in order to predict how the race will unfold and which horses will lead the pace in the race, then narrow the field down to those horses that are drawn near the pace.

In order to predict the pace, we’ll use past in-race comments for each of the contenders, as found in Smartform.  There are various programmatic ways of parsing previous comments to come up with those contenders that show the highest probability of racing prominently, as we’ve discussed before in this blog.

Today, the percentage likelihood of leading throws up the following shortlist (shown for each runner alongside the draw, with stall position and forecast SP):

White Frost, 0.11, 7, 12/1
Nasri, 0.11, 21, 20/1
Rodrigo De Torres, 0.10, 18, 14/1
Cool Marble, 0.10, 3, 25/1
Benandonner, 0.09, 9, 20/1
Brae Hill, 0.06, 8, 12/1
Pravda Street, 0.06, 16, 33/1
Kakatosi, 0.06, 24, 20/1
King Of Jazz, 0.06, 5, 10/1

This is a tricky prognosis – the fact is there is no clear side of the track where pacier runners are gathered, with those likeliest to race prominently (based on past performance) racing from stalls 3, 7, 18 and 21.  It’s therefore possible in a field of 24 that two groups may develop towards the stands rail and the far rail, based on this.

The question then becomes which group will have the most pace, and possibly which part of the track is riding quickest.  Unfortunately, yesterday’s results at Ascot offer no clues since the fields were so small.   With regard to where the greatest pace is, a further look down the front runners list seems to indicate the strongest pace will indeed be on the near side (ie. high numbers), though it’s a marginal call.

As such, we’ll be looking at runners drawn 13 to 24 inclusive and ignoring the half of the field drawn low on the inside rail.  Additionally, on soft to heavy ground, whilst the pace of the race might come from front runners, it’s unlikely the winner will be leading from pillar to post over 7 furlongs, so hold up horses that can come from off a strong pace may be favoured.  Fortunately there’s a similar program that we can run from Smartform to show hold up horses in the race.  Many horses have raced with varying characteristics, but Fathsta and Lightning Cloud and Space Station catch the eye as hold up horses in stalls 14, 15 and 17 respectively, along with New Leyf in stall 23.

Nasri is also interesting, 3rd in this last year having disputed the lead for most of the way, but now 2 lbs lower.

With a few of the bookmakers paying 5 places, the shortlisted horses are Fathsta, Space Station and Nasri, largely based on the fact that they should all go on the ground (backed up by reasonable speed figures) and the larger prices available on these in such a cavalry charge.

Whilst trying to solve the puzzle is part of the fun of horseracing, betting strength should be based on degree of confidence in having solved the puzzle.  As should be clear from this blog post, with so many variables and marginal calls going in to this conclusion, stakes will be small on this particular occasion!

2000 Guineas by sire

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

No specific Smartform queries for today but we will share some analysis of the 2000 guineas which uses Smartform.

The subject of the analysis is the race of the day, the first classic of the 2012 Flat season for colts over 1 mile at Newmarket, the 2000 Guineas.

The logic behind the analysis is that form is often a difficult measure when it comes to assessing likely improvement in lightly raced colts who are improving dramatically and who are often unraced over the exact conditions of today.

So, given the horses themselves may be showing us less from their form than we would like to see, we can corroborate their credentials for today’s race by looking at the performance of their sire’s other progeny – data which is all available in Sireform. In this case we are looking to 3 factors – the improvement rate in 3 year olds, performance over 1 mile, and performances on soft going.

And the winner is…

Well, the 3 horses that rank highest by taking an average of these measures are:

1. Caspar Netscher
2. Red Duke
3. Hermival

Red Duke’s average is skewed by high scores for improvement and going, but since there is a poor distance score we should exclude it from the list.

That still leaves us with a 25/1 shot and a 20/1 shot.

Preference is for Caspar Netscher, each way or on the spread index which pays out on fourth place.