Posts Tagged ‘Masamah’

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.

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.