Posts Tagged ‘Smartform’

Lincoln Trends

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Some thoughts on the first big handicap of the Flat season, using Smartform for trends analysis.

First, find the previous winners of the race and look at some of their attributes to establish a likely winner profile..

This was trickier than anticipated, since in the first query (limited to race_name LIKE “%Lincoln%” and course=”Doncaster”) the 2006 and 2007 runnings of the race appeared to have gone missing!  Stripping off the course condition reminds us that the 2006 running was at Redcar and the 2007 running was at Newcastle.  Nothing is ever simple in horseracing 🙂

So, here we have the basic trends:

Of course we can look at a lot more trending information for each runner, but let’s start with some things we can easily gather from the racecard – especially as this seems to whittle down the field considerably.

In recent years this is a 4 year-olds’ race.  This is quite striking.  Last year, only 5 of the 21 runners were 4 year olds, the year before 7 out of 20, and in 2008, 8 out of 21.  In the last 8 years (the timespan for Smartform), a 4 year old has won 6 out of 8 runnings.

Looking at this year’s 4 year olds we can use a one line Smartform query (with the simple condition “age=4”) to give us the following table:

We’ve added in the draw, since we’re going to look at the best place for pace in the race to help us make a decision.

So, is there a pace advantage where any of these are drawn?  Well, Gunner Lindley looks one of the likeliest to make a strong pace in his own right, along with Eton Rifles.  However, there are horses with good early pace in many places on the track today, so it’s hard to say in advance that any of these will be inconvenienced – it all depends how their jockeys ride it and where they split.

If we add in recent trainer form, Richard Hannon has by far the best recent (ie. 14 day) strike rate coming into today’s race, so Fremont may be worth a second look at a double figure price, and, along with the market leader, Taqleed, has to be of interest.

Today’s feature race according to Smartform

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

In case anyone hadn’t noticed, the weather has disrupted the racing schedule and all the feature races we might have been assessing today on National Hunt cards at Chepstow, Sandown and Wetherby have fallen victim to the Big Freeze.

In the circumstances, UK racing has done well to stage 3 meetings today (with one in Ireland at Dundalk), but it’s all low level All Weather stuff.  Is there a feature race among this lot?  Not really, but we can use the Smartform database to rank prize money from all the races and see at least which is the most valuable.

A simple query as follows (taking under a second to run) shows us all the races scheduled to go ahead today, together with their prize money

>select scheduled_time, course, penalty_value from daily_races where meeting_date=CURDATE();

There are 29 in total.  If we want to see the top 3, ordered by their value, from the highest to the lowest, we can extend our query as follows.

>select scheduled_time, course, penalty_value from daily_races where meeting_date=CURDATE() order by penalty_value DESC limit 3;

What are they?

So, the 2.55 at Southwell has become our feature race.  Wow, the weather really is bad!

What will win?  A different question.  A race I’d prefer to swerve, though an interesting exchange play –  from a back-before-the-race to a lay-in-running perspective – is Cape Vale, who, according to our Leader and Lagger statistics, should set the pace.

Scoop 6 outsiders

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Due to the £1 million carry over bonus, today’s Scoop 6 is a bit more interesting than usual – but only if you have sufficient permutations (and are prepared to risk a sufficient pot) to give yourself an interesting chance of winning.  Otherwise, let’s say by applying horseracing judgement and skill we improve our chances against the odds tenfold – effectively betting on a 60,000/1 shot (assuming the minimum £2 stake).   That’s not a fantastic chance of winning for improving your odds tenfold.   Far better to spot one 10/1 shot that has a real Even chance, and stick something affordable on that.

Anyway, for those who want to have some fun with the Scoop 6, here are a few outsiders we’ve spotted through a Smartform analysis of today’s races, all of whom we think have better chances of winning than their odds imply, so as to give your permutations a change from the favourite:

Leg 1:  Doncaster 1.55:  Duchess Dora (interesting speed figures in a 5 furlong sprint)

Leg 2:  Newbury 2.05:  Surrey Star (more exposed than some but has recorded form at decent level)

Leg 3: Newbury 2.40: Poet (a very tricky race despite a small field with the favourite a worthy contender but Poet could improve for the step up in trip)

Leg 4: Doncaster 2.55: Seville (wouldn’t be the first time the supposed O’Brien second string comes good, but Casamento is another worthy favourite)

Leg 5: Newbury 3.10: Pretty Bonnie (it’s a rank outsider with lots of potential holes, but we like its recent Smartform speed rating, albeit over 6 furlongs)

Leg 6: Newbury 3.40:  Blessed Biata (ok, hardly an outsider since there seems to be money around for it today, but not the favourite and may go very well).

Good luck if you’re playing!

Leaders and Laggers for Ayr Gold and Silver Cups

Friday, September 17th, 2010

We had a request to post the leaders and laggers for the famous Ayr sprints up a day early.  So, these are now available for all in the Betwise members area, along with all other sprint races for tomorrow (Saturday 18th), thanks to the availability of advance racecards in Smartform.

Now, whether leaders or laggers have more or less chance than any other contender in what is now a sequence of cavalry charges north of the border is another question entirely, and one which we’ll address in tomorrow’s blog.

Well-Handicapped Horses

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Just finished reading Jon Gibby’s (relatively) new book, Well-Handicapped Horses.  It’s to be thoroughly recommended, though anyone who’s read his previous Betting on Flat Handicaps will find it more like an update (on how best to use his methods in 2010 rather than 2002) than a new book.  He does include a couple of new chapters on betting 2 year olds and using speed ratings, however.  I won’t attempt a full review here, though a few points stand out.

Some of these points relate to the market in general and how the market is wise, or at least wiser, to many of the methods he previously advocated – in particular to draw bias.  Basically, the same biases are more or less in existence, but the runners coming from the bias-affected stalls are sent off at far shorter prices than they were a few years ago.  It’s not necessary to reproduce one of his examples from the book, since we can usually see a distinct correlation in known bias-affected tracks every day by comparing the ranking of the betting on Betfair (ie. favourite to least fancied) and the stalls positions of each.

Betwise produce these rankings every day – so, taking early prices today as an example, the current top 3 in the Betfair betting in the 5.20 at Chester (a 10 runner, 5 furlong race with a typically strong bias to low numbers) are drawn 1, 3 and 4 respectively.  In the Sandown 2.50 (a 12 runner, 5 furlong race with a typically strong bias to high numbers), the top 4 in the betting are drawn 8, 12, 2 and 10 respectively. (Incidentally, Hoh Hoh Hoh, who has run well at Sandown in the past, is drawn 11 and is out with the washing in the betting at 25/1 – backers take note).

Thus it’s harder to make a profit by following the draw alone. Gibby compensates for this by looking largely at draw anomalies (where one part of the track is favoured/ not favoured at particular meetings) as well as longer term trends.  He looks in particular to follow horses who were disadvantaged by the draw in their subsequent outings – as long as they have become well handicapped as a result.

One point that I should take issue with is when he concludes punters need to subscribe to The Racing Post and Raceform Interactive in order to spot and take advantage of these anomalies.  Fine tools though these are, there are many alternative (and sometimes better, depending on what you actually want to do) data sources available.  Not least of these is our own SmartForm, which adds the significant advantage of enabling you program directly with racing data.  Whilst programming is an obstacle for some, once you’re over it you can automate a number of derived variables (or have Betwise do it for you), such as draw bias assessments.  A type of analysis that Gibby also holds in high regard, which seems to be painstakingly manual for each race, is pace analysis.  Again, with SmartForm we can program pace bias automatically, both his method and most similar ones.  In fact, we use a slightly different method to Gibby and also calculate pace for likely laggers (ie. those horses who will break slowly) and hold up horses.  Speaking of which, free leader and lagger ratings are now up in the Betwise Members’ area for all today’s sprint races…

Saturday racing

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

The recent weather deluge is a reminder that the Flat turf season hasn’t so long to go – and at the same time we can expect results to become more unpredictable over the next couple of months.

A combination of horses that have been on the go too long, fresh horses entering races that are saved for this time of year, plus erratic ground conditions can lead to longer priced winners.

Still, there is no shortage of racing to accompany the impending randomness, with 6 cards in England alone today.   Saturday leaders and laggers for all today’s sprints are now up in the Betwise members’ area – clear leaders can often throw up a couple of longer priced winners.  Free racecard ratings for each of the cards are also up.  Both types of ratings methods are examples of what you can do with the Smartform Database – where the winner finding possibilities are literally limited by the imagination …. and, to be realistic, your coding skills – though we can be on hand to help with that, too.

Saturday leaders and laggers

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Today’s Saturday’s front runners are now up in the Betwise Members’ area.  Some interesting contenders today on the leaders front, with win chances as well as likely pace setters.

Victorian Bounty is the first up in the Chester 2.20 – interesting because not only is it top of the leader rankings, meaning it is likely to set the pace, but is some way clear of its rivals on that front.  And, as we’ve written many times before, he has the advantage of being drawn low, in stall 3.  Stalls 1 and 2 show far and away the biggest bias, but stall 3 with a better break than that of the inner runners can be just as advantageous.  Interesting that the Smartform tissue had this runner at 10/1, which is the same tissue price used on a number of online form guides, but the actual price being offered by many bookies is already a lot shorter, around 7/1.

Plenty of other good opportunities in sprints today – the leader and lagger ratings are a great starting point to narrow the field before further analysis on draw and form.

Around the country, it’s tipping down, what to do?

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

It’s tipping down (how apt, for racing), it’s raining cats and dogs.

Your carefully thought out racing selections from yesterday evening have all been declared non-runners or you are unsure if they perform on the ever-worsening ground conditions.   What to do?

If ground really is that important to your selection process, use Smartform to program current and historic going as a variable with different numeric levels, however you feel it’s appropriate, for example:

1 = Hard

2 = Firm

3 = Good to Firm

and so on….

If you think that’s a little inflexible, widen your categories to be more forgiving of previously inaccurate going descriptions, so category 1 = Hard, Firm, and Good to Firm.  Category 2 can cover Good, Good to Soft and so on – right down to Heavy.

Keep your selections (or add the new going condition to your selection model), and run them against their previous historic performances on the prevailing going in Smartform.  For sure, you’re going to have to write a small program to do this (or get us to do it for you), but it’s not so hard.  There are a large number of methods you can use to evaluate performance on different types of going, but let’s say that any selection must have recorded a previous Smartform handicap rating on today’s prevailing going within N% of its best ever rating, in order to remain a selection.  As ground conditions continues to worsen, you may find today that you are running everything for a condition of Heavy going – but it is August in Britain, what do you expect?  😉

Newbury Super Sprint

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Newbury, 3.20.  Over 20 runners line up for a 5 furlong dash over Newbury’s wide, galloping 5 furlong course for ground on the soft side of good.  In case you were expecting one of Betwise’s super draw graphs to accompany the occasion, we’re sorry to disappoint.  There just aren’t enough occasions when anything like this many runners line up for a 5 furlong dash at Newbury, let alone on this ground, to make a graph meaningful.  In fact, it would likely mislead.  If there is any identifiable bias, it is towards the far rail (so with low numbers), but there’s not enough data to state this with certainty.  However, we’re somewhat encouraged by Blessed Place’s victory yesterday when it raced alone on the far rail, also.

Front runner statistics are also unlikely to help us much in this race.  With so many (fast) runners, it’s sure to be a true test of pace and unlikely that any runner can “steal” the race by getting an early lead.  In fact, early pacesetters are liable to set up the race for something with a turn of foot towards the end – especially given that today’s test on the ground may be quite stiff.

What to do in the case of a sprint without any obvious pace or draw angle?  Why, look for the fastest horse over the distance, of course.  What better statistics to use in this case than the best speed rating for each horse (which we can find in the previous form of each runner in the Smartform database).

There are a few contenders but with previous form on the ground, Ballista and Temple Meads stand out.  If indeed there is an advantage to being drawn on the far rail, then Temple Meads, in stall 1, is also well placed to take it.  But at 6/1 in a 25 runner field, Temple Meads will already be vying for favouritism with Richard Hannon’s leading hope, Reckless Reward.  Both are short enough in price, we think, so Ballista will be better value, especially on the exchanges.  However, the draw in 13 is something of an unknown and we have to forgive its last, somewhat below par, run.  Of the outsiders, the Smartform speed figures show that Golden Shine is making nice improvement, recording a significantly better rating last time out, and will be an even bigger price on the exchanges.

Today’s Chester draw bias for each runner

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Chester, our favourite course for demonstrating the effect of the draw, plays host to a nice listed contest over 5 furlongs today in the 3.20.

Some very nice sprinters on display here, but how well will they be able to show their ability?  At Chester, more than anywhere else, the inside rail is always the place to be.  We’ve written about this well known bias on a number of other occasions, especially in terms of spotting front runners whose superior early speed can get them to the inside rail spot early.

In Racing Ahead this month, we go further by quantifing the draw effect in general, to give punters a handle on exactly what advantage there is.  Combined with front runner ratings over at the Betwise members’ area, the draw often presents the best chance of understanding what will influence the race outcome most over the minimum distance – outside a horse’s natural ability and form.

However, the picture is not “one size fits all” – field size makes a difference.  So let’s have a look at the bias by stall, tailored for the field at Chester today using our Smartform draw model:

Whilst stall 1 (against the inside rail) comes out best over field sizes of 10, the advantage is not as pronounced as in larger fields, and, ability aside, does not reflect the current price differential between Borderlescott and Glamorous Spirit, drawn just to its outside.  Now, which of the two has a better chance of breaking early?  Head over to the Betwise Members’ area and find out.