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Draw Bias On The Sand Revisited
For this article, I am revisiting the subject that essentially got me interested in racing 15 or so years ago - draw bias. As we are in the middle of the all weather season it seems prudent to concentrate on the all weather courses and the focus is the sprint trips of 5 and 6 furlongs. For this piece I am looking at my two favourite all weather tracks - Kempton and Southwell.
As usual with type of research, I am going to concentrate on races of 10 runners or more. The 10 runner figure has always been the cut off point for my draw bias research as you need a reasonable number of runners in order for any biases to note-worthy.
I have split the draw positions into three – the top ‘third’, the middle ‘third’ and the bottom ‘third’. Hence, in a standard 12 runner contest draws 1 to 4 will be in the bottom ‘third’, 5 to 8 in the middle ‘third’ and 9 to 12 in the top ‘third’. I am also going to focus on handicaps as traditionally any draw bias tends to be stronger and more reliable in handicap races. The reason for this is that handicaps are races that theoretically give each horse the same percentage chance of winning. Better horses are penalised by having to carry more weight in an attempt to slow them down. In practice it is does not quite work like that, but handicaps are still by far the most reliable type of race for this type of study.
The stats for this course are taken from when the course opened on 25th March 2006 to 30th November 2008.
The Kempton all weather track is right handed, which is the only all weather track in this country that is.
5 furlongs – the perception is that the higher draw, the better, as horses drawn high are positioned next to the inside rail – hence assuming they stick close to the rail, they should travel the shortest distance giving them an advantage. Firstly let us take a look at the stats for all 5f handicap races (10 or more runners). There have been 35 handicaps over 5 furlongs during this period and the draw bias split has been as follows:
19 wins from 35 for the top “third” of the draw and it is clear that there is a significant advantage to horses drawn high at this trip. Indeed the highest two draws have provided 13 of the 35 winners which equates to 37.1% of the races.
There have been numerous ways of profiting from the draw bias:
1. Backing the highest drawn horse “blind” would have yielded a profit of £29.50 (ROI +84.3%).
2. Laying stall 1 in all 35 races for just £2 units per race would have yielded a profit of £27.36 (ROI +39.1%) – this is assuming 20% above starting price + 5% commission.
3. Laying stall 2 in all 35 races for just £2 units per race would have yielded a profit of £58.90 (ROI +84.1%) – once again this is assuming 20% above starting price + 5% commission.
4. Perming the highest four draws in twelve £1 straight forecasts in every race would have yielded a profit of £265.50 (ROI +63.2%).
5. Perming the highest four draws in twenty four £1 straight tricasts in every race would have yielded a profit of £694.21 (ROI +82.6%).
Several draw bias strategies in 5f handicaps would have produced some excellent profits over the past 32 months. Just for the record, in the other 21 non handicaps with 10 or more runners, 11 were won by the top third of the draw (52.4%). So the bias has been prevalent in all types of race.
6 furlongs – moving up a furlong, it seems likely that a high draw bias would prevail here also. Let us see what the stats show. This distance is raced much more often than the 5f one with 116 handicaps during the period of study. The draw bias split has been as follows:
116 races is an excellent sample size and once again the highest draws have an edge. It is not as strong as the 5f one, but it is still significant. As with 5f handicaps, there have been some profitable angles worth noting, although backing the top stall has shown a loss at SP; albeit just 20 pence in 116 bets. With best prices you almost certainly would have still made a profit backing them blind. Here are the areas where you would have profited:
1. Backing the second highest drawn horse “blind” would have yielded a profit of £24.58 (ROI +21.2%).
2. Perming the highest four draws in twelve £1 straight forecasts in every race would have yielded a profit of £496.77 (ROI +35.7%). For the record the forecast showed a return in 22.4% of races.
3. Perming the highest three draws in six £1 straight forecasts in every race would have yielded a profit of £130.48 (ROI +18.7%).
4. Perming the highest four draws in twenty four £1 straight tricasts in every race would have yielded an amazing profit of £4368.37 (ROI +156.9%).
The profits for these exotic forecast and tricast bets show that these are wagers that you should consider to use in the future. Even to smaller stakes than indicated above, you would have made a tidy sum of cash by following them. Of course the key question is, will these draw based bets continue to make money in the future? At this juncture I cannot see why they will not – the bias is still stronger than the public / bookmakers perceive which is good from a price perspective. The only reason it might not, is if the course try to make the ground on the inside slower.
It should be noted however, that over 6 furlongs, the general high draw bias was not as strong in 2008 as it was in 2006 and 2007. However, over 5 and 7 furlongs it was just as strong, which makes me confident that nothing is really changing. The 7 furlongs stats have not been discussed in this article, but as I am writing (on 3rd January 2009) a 7 furlong handicap at Kempton has just finished with three of the top four draws filling the first three places. Indeed, all runners were big prices and tricast paid a remarkable £4000!!! Was I ‘on’ you may be asking? Unfortunately not. However, I was ‘on’ the forecast which is something, but again it shows how draw bias courses can offer the occasional magical payout.
Let us see if Southwell offers us more potential money making opportunities.
The stats for this course are taken from 1st January 2006 to November 30th 2008. The course was flooded in 2007 but the draw stats do not seem to have been affected in 2008.
5 furlongs – there have been 46 qualifying races with the draw splits as follows:
There is a definite bias AGAINST high draws, while in addition middle draws seem to have had a decent edge. The ground against the near rail (high) is definitely slower than the middle of the course (where low to middle draws tend to run). There are some profitable draw angles as shown below:
1. The lowest drawn stall has provided 6 winners for a profit of £19.25 (ROI +41.8%).
2. Perming the three lowest draws in six £1 straight forecasts in every race would have yielded a profit of £48.18 (ROI +17.5%).
3. Laying the highest drawn horse in all 46 races for just £2 units per race would have yielded a profit of £87.40 (ROI +95%). It should be noted that all 46 horses have lost. The profits are shown after 5% commission. It should also be noted that only two of the horses managed to get placed.
6 furlongs – there have been 68 qualifying races with the draw splits as follows:
There is no significant draw bias at this trip even though low have provided slightly more winners. The placed figures are virtually the same which confirms a level playing field in terms of the draw. The interesting thing for me is that everyone bangs on about the ground under the inside rail in the straight being slower than the centre. One would therefore expect lower draws to be at a disadvantage, but the stats indicate they are not. The reason for this I would imagine is that the lower draws tend to move out as they come round the final bend with very few sticking to the inside rail. All jockeys tend to come wide in the straight thus negating any bias connected with the far rail.
Being able to profit from draw based bets at a C & D that does not offer any draw bias is obvious unlikely. However, with no general draw bias, you can get “lucky” mainly due to the fact that the highest or the lowest draws will be bigger prices than they would generally be at a draw biased course. A case in point is if you permed the three highest draws at Southwell in six £1 forecasts in these 68 handicap races. You would have been successful just 5 times, but you would have made a fair profit of £80.38 (ROI +19.7%). I would not advocate this as an idea to pursue, but it was worth pointing out.
So there you have it – there are some useful pointers in this article so please keep them under your hat……..
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