Posts Tagged ‘back to lay’

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 – firstly, 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.

Bank Holiday Front Runner analysis

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Saturday’s front running analysis went as expected, with the top prediction Masta Plasta breaking early and making most of the running from the front.  He finished second, but traded solidly at lower prices (as low as 2.3, having been available at 6.0+ before the off) in running on Betfair.

Today we will look at a couple of the top ratings for two of today’s earlier sprints, the opener at Goodwood over 5 furlongs and the 6 furlong 2.40 at Leicester.  These races were chosen because they are sprints where our probability rating for the horse leading from the front exceeds 40%.

Goodwood 2.00, 5f:
Crazy In Love, 0.43, 4
Mini Bon Bon, 0.29, 7

Leicester 2.40, 6f:
London Gold, 0.46, 4
Dancing Freddy, 0.16, 5

As before, the numbers after each horse represent an estimation of its percentage chance (where the chances of all runners add to 100%) of leading from the front today, followed by the horse’s draw today.  All of the caveats and other angles to consider from Saturday’s post still apply; in other words, this is a useful starting point for considering the shape of a sprint race, but other metrics are of course needed.

In terms of considering a solid back to lay proposition, we want to see some other credentials that suggest a likely front runner will be in contention for some way in the race (as well as at the start).  On that basis we are not so crazy about Crazy in Love (we would have preferred Mini Bon Bon, but this has now been declared a non-runner) in the first at Goodwood.   There is good price margin for Crazy in Love’s price to reduce from the 9.2 currently available if she leads from the front, but with few runs on which to base our prediction about each runner, and lack of confidence about this horse’s ability, the right course of action is to swerve the race.

The top rated front running candidate London Gold in the 2.40 at Leicester is more interesting, but (unfortunately) seems to be well fancied by connections and feared by bookmakers already.  Tissue prices for today’s race had London Gold rated at a 9/2 + chance (the Racing Post site shows 9/2, the Sporting Life 8/1), but it is currently available at a general 7/2 only.  This price doesn’t leave much margin for odds reduction in early running, so it is passed over from a back to lay point of view.  However, its potential win chances in the race, especially if it races prominently throughout as we expect, merit further inspection, since there is no reason to suppose it cannot win if it is still in contention in the final furlong.