Posts Tagged ‘Ascot’

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!

Shamardal at Ascot

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Shamardal is of course at stud, but his progeny have a decent strike rate, as such some decently priced winners can be thrown up when they are racing under the right conditions.

How to find progeny of Shamardal racing at Ascot today, where their sire won the St James Palace stakes (well, it was run at York that year, to be exact)…?

It’s a simple query in Smartform, as follows:

>select name, course, scheduled_time from daily_races join daily_runners using (race_id) where meeting_date=CURDATE() and sire_name = “Shamardal”;

The results, returned in less than a second, are:

Alnashmy | Ascot     | 2011-07-23 15:15:00
Below Zero | Ascot     | 2011-07-23 15:50:00

Both are decent prices, both racing over 1 mile and 7 furlongs respectively (good trips for their sire), so good luck to them.

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.

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 – showing 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.