Posts Tagged ‘front runners’

Why stall 1 wins at Chester – even when it’s stall 9

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Yesterday’s City Wall Stakes was a fascinating race to watch from many perspectives, and well worth a second look for as long as the video link here holds good.  We wrote beforehand about the draw statistics at Chester, which were completely against the eventual winner, Blue Jack, drawn in stall 9.  Our favoured runners were drawn 1 and 2, with Glamorous Spirit, in stall 2, the best previous front runner in the race and therefore predicted to lead early.

The prediction was right – Glamorous Spirit set off at a furious pace and quickly led towards the inside rail.  However, the pace was indeed furious.   Glamorous Spirit must be one of the fastest breaking horses in training.  She was also our front-running prediction in the Epsom Dash a few weeks back, when drawn on the unfavoured inside rail there – indeed she did break best, but her poor draw meant her race was quickly over.

In the context of yesterday’s race at Chester, she effectively burned herself out early on, and faded to be last – though even with this explanation, her run was still some way below her best form.  (She may be seen to better effect on a straighter track where her early speed will not be blunted, as when winning a valuable race at the Curragh prior to yesterday’s outing – though the trainer seems to think otherwise.)

However, from the perspective of the Chester draw, Blue Jack, the winner, provides us with the most interesting run from this race.  There’s no better use for the cliche “the exception that proves the rule” than his run.  Blue Jack broke slowly, as indeed our lagger statistics over at the Betwise Members’ area (available until next Saturday) also correctly predicted.  Blue Jack was given over a 50% chance of starting the slowest in the race before it began.  As the commentator noted, Blue Jack was indeed slowest out of the stalls and “lost a few lengths at the start” – at least in relation to the rest of the field being carted along by Glamorous Spirit.  However, Blue Jack’s jockey, Richard Kingscote, used that negative to good advantage and rode a very shrewd race, dropping her in behind the field early and hugging the inside rail position around the Roodee’s tight bends.  It’s this position that produces the strong bias to stall 1, with any runner that sticks to the inside rail covering far less ground than those racing wide.  The fact that R Kingscote managed to obtain it from stall 9 was a nice bonus.  With the pace at which the leaders set off, he was able to let Blue Jack gain momentum in his own time – but the crucial point is that this was done on the inside rail.  So “stall 1” wins at Chester, even when it’s stall 9…

From front runners to the draw – Chester races today

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Today is the last of our series of Saturday posts looking at probable front runners using the Smartform model that we outlined in this month’s edition of Racing Ahead.  Not to say that we won’t be looking at front runners again, but not in every post 😉  Selected front runner ratings will also start appearing in the Betwise Members’ area (for free) from next Saturday – this analysis has predicted a few good winners as well as front runners in each of the past 5 Saturdays.

Our upcoming July article in Racing Ahead looks at using Smartform to calculate the effects of the draw at every track.  In fact, as we have discussed before, an advantageous draw combined with a front running style is a powerful winning combination, nowhere moreso than Chester, one of today’s meetings.

Not that we need a sophisticated model to assess the effects of the draw at Chester – low is best, period.  In sprint races with larger fields, the advantage is even more pronounced, since many of the runners are forced to race wide.

At Chester today there are 3 races under a mile, 2 sprints at 5 furlongs and one at the awkward “sprint” distance of 7 furlongs.  The first two races have smaller field sizes, so it’s possible that the plum running positions on the inside rail may be more easily occupied by horses that are not drawn lowest.  Where there are smaller field sizes, it always raises an interesting question of how much importance we should attach to the draw versus running style in terms of predicting leaders.  The last race is 10 runners over the minimum distance – typically horses drawn 1 and 2 (today this is Ryan Style and Hoh Hoh Hoh) in such races can carry all before them – even though these do not come in our top 3 predicted front runners judged on pure running style alone.  For all today’s races, you can be the judge – below are the front runner ratings coupled with the draw position of every horse for each of the sprint races at Chester:

RACE: 2010-06-26, Chester, 14:05:00, 1116 Yds

Lord Avon, 0.31, 5, 7/2
Coconut Ice, 0.21, 7, 7/1
Fred Willetts, 0.21, 4, 10/1
Scarlet Rocks, 0.14, 9, 11/4
Triple Agent, 0.14, 6, 25/1
Lexi’s Hero, 0.00, 3, 7/1
Leiba Leiba, 0.00, 2, 8/1
The Thrill Is Gone, 0.00, 1, 5/1

RACE: 2010-06-26, Chester, 15:45:00, 1542 Yds

Rule Breaker, 0.41, 1, 7/2
Cansili Star, 0.23, 2, 11/8
Below Zero, 0.17, 7, 12/1
William Morgan, 0.15, 4, 10/1
Tiradito, 0.04, 6, 14/1
Layla’s Hero, 0.00, 5, 6/1
Hunting Tartan, 0.00, 3, 7/1

RACE: 2010-06-26, Chester, 16:20:00, 1116 Yds

Falasteen, 0.32, 7, 8/1
Bertoliver, 0.23, 4, 5/2
Lost In Paris, 0.17, 9, 4/1
Hoh Hoh Hoh, 0.11, 2, 16/1
Ryan Style, 0.08, 1, 6/1
Grissom, 0.04, 10, 14/1
Lucky Dan, 0.03, 8, 6/1
Memphis Man, 0.01, 5, 10/1
Green Park, 0.01, 3, 14/1
Dancing Red Devil, 0.00, 6, 25/1

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.

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.

Front Runner analysis: 4.15 Beverley today

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

As promised in this month’s Racing Ahead article, Betwise are previewing different races here every week to shortlist each contender’s probability of being the front runner in the race.

The first question a good cynic should ask is: What’s the point of trying to predict front runners?  Here are a few reasons:

  1. In races under a mile, any runner that is prominent early has a c. 30% chance of winning the race.
  2. It is often possible to back probable front runners before the race and lay them off in running at a profit.
  3. Predicting the likeliest front runners is key to pace handicapping, and working out draw advantage.

All our front runner rankings are produced automatically, using the Smartform Database, looking into every runners’ previous history and assessing their running styles against each other for the race in question.  We’ve found that the method has the best record of success in smaller fields over sprint distances – so we’re picking out the 4.15 at Beverley as today’s race.

Below are the list of likely slowly starters (LAGGERS), followed by the list of faster starters (LEADERS) that we would expect to front run today.  The first figure after the horse’s name shows the chance that we think that runner has of leading (or being a lagger) today; the figure after the horse’s name indicates its stall position today.  So, for the list below, we think that Fullanby and Fitz Flyer each have an approx. 30% chance of starting slowest today, and we think it is 46% likely that Masta Plasta will be prominent and/or lead from the start.

Fullandby, 0.31, 4
Fitz Flyer, 0.27, 3
Look Busy, 0.20, 1
Kaldoun Kingdom, 0.17, 6
Tombi, 0.06, 2
Masta Plasta, 0.00, 5
Masta Plasta, 0.46, 5
Tombi, 0.28, 2
Look Busy, 0.21, 1
Fullandby, 0.05, 4
Kaldoun Kingdom, 0.00, 6
Fitz Flyer, 0.00, 3

As with using any tool for race analysis, the analysis does not stop on one rating, and it’s important to interpret these figures in the context of today’s race.  Concentrating purely on who will front run for a second, we also note that our second ranked front runner, Tombi, is wearing first time cheekpieces, which it’s possible may bring about earlier speed.

On the race itself, it’s a decent quality race, as we can tell from the Class (2) and prize money on offer, so running styles alone are unlikely to tell us which horse will win (in a lower class race where all horses are exposed, stealing a lead on an average field can be a bigger advantage).  On this score, Masta Plasta is well rated, but has less potential for improvement than the rest of these, at age 7.  Plus, he has not won since 2008.  Furthermore, a 46% chance of being the front runner, still means a 54% chance against.  Even so, he’s our likeliest contender, some way ahead of the rest, and very unlikely to start slowly.  Tehrefore, at 6.0 + he is worth considering as a back to lay bet (but not on this evidence alone to win) since he should be well in contention until the closing stages of the race.

Lots more work can be done on the analysis of this or any other race using these ratings – bringing into play speed figures and relative ability for example.  One of the nice features of Betwise’s leader/lagger ratings is that you can use and interpret them as you wish as an input for your own analysis, whatever betting angle you are looking at – from laying slow starters, backing to lay front runners, to predicting pace and win strategies.

Draw and Pace: Chester 2.55, Saturday

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Today’s Lambs Navy Rum Handicap at Chester is an inauspicious affair – a class 5 handicap worth £4047 to the winner.

However, it’s of particular interest to us because the race throws up a chance to apply the analysis we’ve been looking at recently with regard to draw and pace in sprint races.

Chester is our favourite example for draw bias, and we’ve done lots of research which shows the continued profitability of backing stalls 1 and 2 blind in larger fields over 5 furlongs.   In fact, it’s a trend you can make an automatic profit with over the long run, since it is usually underbet – though of course the prices that make this true can change in future.

What will not change is the natural advantage handed to horses drawn low.   As we saw earlier in the month at the May festival, an analysis of front runners can also help determine who will get to the rail early and stay there.   Speedy sorts can overcome the natural advantage of stalls 1 and 2 by beating those runners to the rail – as in the case of Masamah who made all to win from stall 3 in a 5 furlong sprint at the May festival – though we won’t bother to look at anything drawn higher than halfway in this 12-runner field, so we discount anything higher than 6.

Betwise use a front runner prediction method derived from in-running comments in the Smartform database, that we will be describing in detail in the June edition of Racing Ahead.   Applying this method to the 2.55 today, our top 6 (in order) for those most likely to break early and lead from the front are:

Front Runner Ranking Draw Today Betfair Price*
Harry Up 5 8.80
Legal Eagle 3 5.70
Sir Geoffrey 4 3.25
Red Rosanna 11 50.00
Not My Choice 1 7.60
Baby Queen 8 40.00
*Price at time of blog post

Of those drawn in the top 6, only Memphis Man (drawn 2) and Radiator Rooney (drawn 6) do not make the cut as previous front runners that rank as likely to lead, though no doubt their jockeys will/ should do everything to encourage them. Red Rosanna and Baby Queen, despite being in our top 6 ranked front runners, will be discounted since they are both drawn higher than 6.  Which leaves us with a shortlist of 4 – Not My Choice, Harry Up, Legal Eagle and Sir Geoffrey in the 12 runner field, before looking at any individual horse’s recent form or ability.

We still think that draw is the most important factor at Chester (meaning we’d be reluctant to go against Not My Choice in stall 1), though the top ranked front running ability of Harry Up may be enough to overcome his poorer draw in stall 5.   At this point in the game it’s time for individual choice and weighing up each horse’s potential to win against its price (at prices of 7.6 and 8.8 for the two horses mentioned, you can make a reasonable argument for value already).   Whatever the individual bettor’s view, discounting over 60% of the field makes that task much easier.

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.

Analysing in-running comments

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

In the May edition of  Racing Ahead, Betwise take an in-depth look at analysing in- race comments in order to spot profitable betting angles – using the Smartform Racing Database.

Lots of handicappers will look up previous in-race comments for horses that they are interested in betting on.  However, using these comments is not a recognized starting point in form analysis or standardized as a way of comparing form between one horse and another.

Each race is a unique event, after all, so the story of one race is different from the story of another, and the abilities of the horses will vary.  Any number of race by race factors will also affect the way a race may be run – such as the race conditions, the going, the draw, pace in the race, how the jockeys decided to ride their mounts, how the trainers and owners instructed each jockey, to name a few.  Therefore an argument could be made that comments can’t be compared meaningfully across different events, still less as a means of measuring horses of different abilities.

Leaving aside these concerns, the sheer magnitude of the task should be enough to deter any further manual investigation.  A modest sprint handicap of 12 runners where each runner has had an average of 20 previous runs would be 240 comments to examine for one race alone, with no standard model to work towards.

So, in the Racing Ahead article we  discuss the results of analysis achieved using the flexibility and power of a programmable computer database which includes full in-race comments for each runner.  In total, we examined over 7 years’ of  in-running comments from Smartform for different race types in UK and Irish Flat racing – over 492,000 comments in total, representing over 45,000 individual races, for over 48,000 different runners.