Posts Tagged ‘pace’

Pace in the Coral Sprint Trophy, Newmarket

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Following on from last week’s post about visualising pace in the race, here’s another pace chart painstakingly crafted for today’s big sprint at Newmarket.

As with Ascot last week, you can see that at Newmarket the horses run from right to left if we are looking from the stands side (the usual television angle) of the course.  Thus Hasopop is in stall 16 and BlueGrass Blues, running towards the far (or “inside”) rail, is in stall 1.

Non-runners Lewisham and Heaven’s Guest (at the time of posting) have been removed.

So the pace in the race is definitely with Bapak Sayang towards the stands rail.  This colt has a great draw for a front runner in stall 15 in that he may be able to bag the rail early to run against and dictate the pace of the race.  The bad news is that Newmarket’s wide, straight galloping course has not got the best strike rate for front runners with ambitions to win.  There also has to be a caveat that this horse has only had 5 runs so it might be a little early in his career to label him a persistent front runner.

If you like the graph, or anything needs clarifying, please let us know in the comments section.

Pace in the Victoria Cup – because a picture is worth a thousand words…

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Check out this pace graphic (just one of the things it’s possible to do with Smartform and a little programming).

Every day we produce leader and lagger statistics in the Betwise Members’ area – this graphic shows the difference between the two as “net lead” – if a horse is in the negative part of the graph, we expect them to start slowly, a horse in the positive part of the graph shows a probable early leader, and the extent to which they will lead.  Everything else is as you will expect to see in the race – horses are ordered according to the draw, from Solar Deity on the stands rail in stall 1 to Born to Surprise racing in stall 29 on the near side rail.   Ascot’s a right handed course, so the horses are racing from right to left if you look at the course from above.  Therefore this is like an aerial view of the racecourse and shows us which horse(s) we might expect to be leading after the first furlong of the race, where the horse’s position is represented by the blue dot.  Of course, the dynamics of the race mean that the horses will start to bunch and will not stay in “lanes” once they have started, also it’s usually the horse that actually gets the lead that matters most (our prediction is Dream Tune in this case).

If you like this graphic or would like to see anything else explained or added to it, please let us know in the comments section.

You can draw your own conclusions from the graphic but here are my thoughts on inplay bets:

The early pace looks to be towards the stands side, with Dream Tune looking highly likely to secure an early lead.  A good back to lay candidate?

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!

Pace in the race at York and Ascot today

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Where’s the pace in the race?

Leader and lagger ratings for Saturday are now up in the Betwise members’ area.  Look at the key stats and decide for yourself…

Ascot and York are two courses where being drawn with the pace is often more important than the draw per se – meaning it is important to be drawn with the pace rather than on a particular part of the track.  True, there can be marginal biases at 7 and 8 furlongs at York and Ascot (for example a negative in large fields where high drawn runners can be forced wide, as around the turn at York), but pace is always important over the straight courses.

In the 6 furlong Group 3 race at Ascot (3:05), for example, although the first two in the market (with Redford a very warm order drawn 16, and Genki as second favourite drawn 17), the leader and lagger stats suggest that the early pace in the race is towards the stands side, with Taajub, in stall 2 expected to be prominent early.  Bewitched and Doncaster Rover may benefit most from his early tow.

Pace bias at Newmarket today

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Today’s leader and lagger statistics for all today’s races under one mile are now up in the Betwise Members’ Area.

Looking down the card at Newmarket, it’s notable how many of the early pace runners are drawn high today.  In the 2.25, State Opera and Fury are drawn 26 and 24, respectively.   With a large number of runners, being drawn with the pace can be hugely important – moreover, with the stalls being on the far side today, high drawn runners also have the assistance of the rail.

So, whilst drawing a line under anything drawn less than 20 here may be a radical strategy, it is useful to narrow the field.   The same comment applies to the Cambridgeshire, and even though this is a 9 furlong race, the sheer number of runners across the track means that being drawn with the pace is hugely  important.  Assuming there is no intrinsic track bias elsewhere, the best strategy again may be to draw a line under anything coming out of a draw under 20 – which would, in this case,  eliminate the market leader.

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.

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.