Posts Tagged ‘draw’

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.

Chester May Festival – the draw revisited

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

The draw bias at Chester racecourse, particularly over sprint distances, is a favourite example trend, simply because it is so pronounced when analyzed quantitatively.

Blindly backing any horse drawn in stall 1 and stall 2 in sprint races (defined as being over 5 and 6 furlongs) in larger fields (over 10 runners) has produced a consistent profit at starting price (and even more at Betfair SP) over the past few years.  Even in smaller fields and over longer distances, the first starting point for analyzing races at Chester should be the draw, though it’s always worth revisiting any assumption, especially when there is new information.

Last week at Chester, there were only 2 races qualifying with a larger number of runners (10+) over minimum distances.   For stalls drawn 1 and 2 these fared as follows:

| scheduled_time      | winner         | stall | SP   | num_runners | result |
| 2010-05-05 15:15:00 | Look Busy      |     2 | 9.00 |          13 |      4 |
| 2010-05-05 15:15:00 | Royal Intruder |     1 | 8.00 |          13 |      7 |
| 2010-05-06 16:30:00 | Tasmeem        |     1 | 9.00 |          11 |      5 |
| 2010-05-06 16:30:00 | Rule Of Nature |     2 | 3.00 |          11 |      2 |

The best result any one of these could manage was second – and that was for the Michael Stoute trained Rule of Nature, which went off at a short price indeed and should have had a lot more going for its chances than the draw alone.

If we extend our survey to 7 furlong races, we find one more qualifier which produces a winner as follows:

| distance | scheduled_time      | winner          | stall | SP    | num_runners | result |
| 1100     | 2010-05-05 15:15:00 | Look Busy       | 2     | 9.00  | 13          | 4      |
| 1100     | 2010-05-05 15:15:00 | Royal Intruder  | 1     | 8.00  | 13          | 7      |
| 1320     | 2010-05-06 16:30:00 | Tasmeem         | 1     | 9.00  | 11          | 5      |
| 1320     | 2010-05-06 16:30:00 | Rule Of Nature  | 2     | 3.00  | 11          | 2      |
| 1540     | 2010-05-07 16:30:00 | Lucky Numbers   | 1     | 5.50  | 12          | 3      |
| 1540     | 2010-05-07 16:30:00 | Dance And Dance | 2     | 11.00 | 12          | 1      |

Just the one winner from the extra 7 furlong race produces sufficient returns, even at SP, to cover blind faith in the draw advantage alone, but clearly more analysis is needed, even at Chester.  Whilst it is obvious to anyone who has seen the Roodee that the draw advantage gives a significant edge to any runner racing on towards the inside rail, there are other factors as well as the draw at work to enable runners to get to the inside rail – and to secure that advantage.  Not least is the ability of a horse to break and lead early.  Whilst the effects of the draw are important, the proportion of front runners who win sprint races is equally compelling as we discuss in our analysis of front runners in this month’s Racing Ahead.  Combine a front runner at Chester with any stall position that gives it the ability to cross to the rail early, and you have a powerful combination to give that horse a winning edge – especially, in the case of stall position, if the horses drawn on the inside are less capable front runners.  So what did win the two larger field sprints at Chester last week?

| scheduled_time      | winner      | stall | SP    | num_runners | result |
| 2010-05-05 15:15:00 | Masamah     |     3 | 10.00 |          13 |      1 |
| 2010-05-06 16:30:00 | Horseradish |     6 |  3.75 |          11 |      1 |

Masamah still had an excellent draw in stall 3, a history of running from the front, and indeed ran as follows:
made all, ridden over 1f out, stayed on well final furlong

a running style that fits the hypothesis well.

In the case of Horseradish, he raced on softer ground than normal, and was able to track the leaders and still win, as follows:
tracked leaders, headway to lead over 1f out, ridden and stayed on well final furlong

Clearly relative ability will always enable horses to win races whatever their draw, though being drawn 6 of 11 on softer ground was not a huge disadvantage.

We’ll be using the Smartform database to produce more analyis of this sort over the coming months, which combines both in-running styles and draw analysis.

Finding winners automatically

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Automating the betting process was possible for some time before the emergence of the Betfair API and writing Automatic Exchange Betting, but making the process reliable was a challenge.  Betfair’s API created a robust way to programmatically access market data and place bets via the exchange (as opposed to a web scraping approach), but there was still no good way to automate the selection of bets themselves.  This required unreliable and/or manual processes to either export data from one of the traditional interactive racing databases, such as Raceform Interactive, or to write robots to scrape the web from online form sources (which was unsatisfactory for various reasons – grey area of site usage, changing page formats, incomplete data, to name a few).

So, to make the selections part of automating the betting process more robust, Betwise created the Smartform database before publication of the book by licensing copious racing data for Members’ personal use back in 2007, designing it for automated updates from original sources, and making it as easy as possible to create and run programs to do just about any aspect of form analysis and output selections for automated betting; no manual ‘data exports’ necessary.

Along with the Betfair API, the service completed the DIY betting automation picture.   For sure, programming is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if a bettor has a manual betting process that can be well described, it is a good candidate for automation since any good betting strategy, automated or otherwise, begins with data.

An example I used in a magazine article just before the book was published illustrated just how simple the principles of automated betting can be.  We looked at a straightforward case that can be considered at one particular racecourse to show how even analysis of a single variable could be turned into a useful automated strategy for certain types of races.  For a more general approach to all races, of course, it makes sense to look at more sophisticated models for predicting performance which use multiple factors.