Posts Tagged ‘Racing Ahead’

Draw analysis at Sandown today

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

As per last Saturday’s post we shift our attention in July to assessing the effect of the draw in upcoming races.  To do this we are using an automated model created with Smartform, applying the principles laid out in the Betwise article in this month’s Racing Ahead.

Focus today is on the first race at Sandown, which requires analysis of the 5 furlong straight course in the middle of the track.  As with front runners, draw bias tends to show up in results most strongly at races under a mile.  Although there are notable exceptions to this rule (as with the case of the Ebor draw bias over 1 mile 6 furlongs at York), it usually pays to concentrate on sprint distances.

Sandown exposes a weakness in some draw analysis you can find, which is to concentrate on strike rate per stall, without factoring in stall positions.  You can read a lot more about this in our article, but sticking with the case of Sandown, as any regular Sandown racegoer knows, the stalls are usually positioned with the highest number against the far rail and represent a position – though not necessarily a stall! – that has held a continuing advantage over the years.  The actual stall number drawn against the far rail varies according to the size of the field, making strike rate per stall statistics more or less redundant.  The way to overcome this is to use historic data to map the advantage of the position on the track which each stall occupied (though even here, there are always problems presented by rail movements).

Our Smartform model above maps the previous advantage of each course position onto all today’s stall numbers, as if you are looking overhead at the race about to start – stall 7 is drawn against the far rail.  The height of the bar represents stall advantage, with anything over 1 indicating higher than expected winners and under 1 a negative expectation.  (Stall 5 should be empty today due to the withdrawal of Wi Dud – draw 4 may be shifted one up as a result).

What conclusions to draw from this? Though we can see immediately that the draw advantage in small fields does not exclude the possibility of any runner winning, there is a distinct negative from being drawn in stalls 1, 2 and 3.  Combined with front runner analysis, we can also see which, if any, of these contenders are able to break early to secure a better position (front runner analysis for this race is posted in the Betwise Members’ area and freely available).  Going back to the commonly held belief that the highest stall is the place to be at Sandown, we can see that whilst this is born out by our Smartform model, it is very marginal for small fields, and there is, for example, almost as big an advantage being drawn in stall 4 today.  So is Bould Mover, in stall 4, better value than Triple Aspect, the hot favourite drawn on the far rail in stall 7?  Does Reignier, in stall 3, represent value at 14/1, given that stall 3 still produces a reasonable number of winners in small fields?  Of course, answering these questions relies on far more than knowing the runners’ stall position – we need to know more about the ability of the horses concerned, but at least we can now put the effect of the draw in its place.

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

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.