This week I am going to look at one way in which I analyse races. System followers stick to rigid rules. People that analyse races are more fluid as they tend to take lots of factors into account and come to an informed decision. Here is how I analysed a sprint at Wolves on Monday 20th March 2006. It was 5f Banded race over 5f. In general, when analysing races, I tend to use an "elimination" method. Basically the idea is to eliminate horses that I perceive to have little or no chance due to different factors. Then I would look to eliminate horses that represented poor value. From there I should come to a shortlist and from that shortlist it is usually possible to come down to a selection or selections. I have no problem backing more than one horse in a race if the prices are right. This Wolves sprint contained the following 13 runners: Boanerges, College Queen, David’s Mark, Feminist, Global Achiever, Leah’s Pride, Muktasb, Music Teacher, New Options, On the Trail, Red Sovereign, Stagnite and Town House.
Elimination part 1 - the draw
The draw is very important at Wolves over 5f even in banded sprints, and the bias has been fairly strong all winter in favour of lower draws. In a better race I would probably eliminate nearly half the field and concentrate on draws 7 and below (unless there was an outstanding candidate drawn wider). However, being a banded sprint I tend to eliminate those drawn in double figures. So the following were eliminated: Boanerges, Leah’s Pride, Global Achiever, Music Teacher.
That left me with 9 candidates after elimination part 1. I am not saying these horses cannot win, but my belief is that they will win so rarely, they can be omitted from calculations. One pleasing aspect from this "cull" was that it eliminated 2 horses from the first 4 in the betting forecast.
Elimination part 2 – Race Conditons
Under race conditions I look at the factors regarding the course, the going, class, fitness and distance. The following horses were eliminated using this:
College Queen - never won over 5f, off the track since September, had been beaten a combined distance of 54 lengths in last 5 races.
Town House - only been placed once in last 13 runs. Admittedly that was over c & d recently, but had the plum draw in 1 that day and that race was no better than this one. Moderate draw in 8.
On the Trail - draw 9 for a front runner here with pace on the inside was the first negative. Had won here back in October but that was from the 1 draw in a weaker Banded contest. Last two runs had been poor so was eliminated.
Elimination method 3 - likely shape of race - how it might develop.
Down to six candidates. This elimination stage comes down to a prediction of how the race is likely to be run (who is likely to lead, which horses will be held up for a late run etc). It should be noted that horses that are held up at Wolves over 5f are usually at a disadvantage.
David's Mark - despite leading at Lingfield two runs ago, he tends to be a hold up horse and with plenty of pace in the race it looked like he would need luck in running in the final 2 furlongs. At a single figure price he did not represent value.
New Options - another horse that tends to be held up for a late run. The inside draw in 3 actually compounds the problem and added to that he almost was dismissed at elimination 2 having shown mixed recent form and being off the track since early December.
That left me with 4 horses for a shortlist:
A look at these four in more detail.
Stagnite - looked the most obvious in some ways. A good second last time and prominent in betting forecast. Also well drawn in 4, and has the assistance of a decent jockey in Holland. However, he had made the first 3 in just 6 of 24 all weather runs and at around the 5-1 mark the horse was not value.
Red Sovereign - this was the most interesting horse for me. Looking at recent form : Last run at Southwell - not relevant in my opinion being a different surface. Previous run to that was over 6f at Wolves in a seller - led until just before furlong pole. That was a better race than this Banded one, and the extra furlong that day stretched her stamina. Previous run again in seller over 6f at Wolves - again was with the leaders until furlong pole - a better race than this one, and again the distance too far. Before that was favourite in 5f race at Wolves - bit disappointing in 6th. Again this was a much better race though than this one. However, at this point she was racing off a handicap mark of 67!!! Remember this Banded sprint was a 0-50 event. Before that she was a good third at Wolves in a claimer that had 10 runners rated between 60 and 80. All these races were this winter - she had dropped significantly in the weights for not lasting home over 6f in sellers, as well as one poor run when favourite in a claimer. To me the forecast 12-1 from a good draw in a poor race looked decent odds. Remember only 4 months ago she was racing off a mark of 67. Add to that she had won twice in the summer on turf (off 71) and last winter had been placed at Lingfield (similar surface) off a mark of 72. So we have a horse that was rated a stone better than this field only 4 months ago, and gets her ideal conditions this time - 5f from a good draw in a poor race. She also had led or challenged for the lead in 4 of her last 5 runs and should be able to take advantage of her good draw. Main negative for me was her "sex" - aw fillies struggle in open races, but essentially this was a race full of strugglers!
Muktasb – is a big danger. Looked overpriced in betting forecast (was in double figures) and that shown when the horse was backed down to favourite. Main negative - he tends to race near the back early and from the rails draw I felt he might not get a run at the business end.
Feminist - good draw in 2. Has the early speed to make most of it. Both aw wins came over this course and distance, and last 3 runs over c&d had seen her drawn wide in double figures every time. Looked overpriced at the 20-1 forecast price.
Conclusion - Stagnite was not value. Muktasb was a danger, while Red Sovereign and Feminist represented value.
BETS - personally I made the following bets:
Red Sovereign £10.00 win - price 27.0 on Betfair
Feminist £12.00 win - price 17.8 on Betfair
Muktasb £5.00 win - price 7.8 on Betfair
Fairly small bets in the grand scheme of things, but this was a poor race. I placed a little more on Feminist due to the price, and I essentially had Muktasb as a cover. If Muktasb won then I would have been about a tenner ahead.
1st Red Sovereign 20-1
2nd Muktasb 4-1
Feminist finished 5th at 14-1.
A great result! Unfortunately not all races turn out as well as this. If they did, I would have retired long ago! However, it shows that with a bit of hard work you can achieve some decent paydays.
This race panned out perfectly - Red Sovereign led and kept on leading! Muktasb should have won, but got stopped in his run between the 2 and 1 furlong pole. That cost him the race. I was LUCKY that Muktasb had no luck in running, but on the other hand I had predicted that before the race (as drawn2win members can verify).
Please let's get this thread rolling with your thoughts and comments about my selection process.