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Pace : The Final Frontier : 2
In part 1, I looked at the advantage front runners had over 5f at Wolverhampton. It was noted in races of 10 or more runners 44 of the 183 winners had made most or all of the running to win. The stats show therefore that front runners win roughly 1 in 4 of every 5f race at Wolverhampton. In this article I am going to discuss a way to best exploit this knowledge.
Firstly let us look at the horses that have won at Wolverhampton making most, or all of the running:
Perhaps the first important fact to notice is that several of the winners have been decent prices – indeed 11 of the winners were double figure prices. Hence, with such a smattering of big priced winners, there clearly would have potential to make money using a front running pace angle. Of course past performance is no guarantee of future performance, but here is one idea that may well have worked in the past three years:
Backing the early leader ‘in-running’
This is arguably the simplest betting strategy,but it is a strategy that can only be employed if a) you are sitting at a computer for every race, and b) you have a TV screen in front of you also. However, if you were in a position to back in-running then there is every chance you would have made a profit employing the tactic of backing the early leader. Now for readers who do not “play in-running”, basically the idea is that you back or lay horses after the race starts. On the betting exchanges (eg. Betfair) a race is turned “in-running” once the race has started. The market then can fluctuate massively as punters try to back and lay runners as the race unfolds.
It takes about 10 to 15 seconds for the “in-running market” to sort itself out and hence for 5f races the first furlong is essentially a write off. However, the basic idea would be this – back the horse that was leading after 2 furlongs. In the case of the period of study, all 44 winners noted in the above table were leading at this stage of the race. Of course making this bet sounds simple in practice, but in reality it is much harder than it sounds. The main problem is that an “in-running market” is constantly changing every second and getting bets matched is not always that easy. This becomes more acute when dealing with front runners as punters watching the race tend to latch onto a front runner and their prices start to contract (shorten) almost immediately. How much they shorten is dependent on a variety of factors – initially price, how well the horse seems to be “going”, whether he has a comfortably lead or whether he is being pressed for the lead, etc, etc.
Hence, let us assume the leader after 2 furlongs started the race at 10/1 (decimal price 11.0); the chances are that if the horse was leading after 2 furlongs of a 5f sprint his/her price would now be nearer 6 or 7/1 (7.0 / 8.0). Now if you then tried to be quick and grab the current in-running price, by the time you click the button and enter your stake there is a good chance that the horse would have shortened further and hence you would have missed the price. Therefore as an in-running punter you need to be ‘cuter’ than that. Arguably the safest method is to use betting software that is readily available to back horses “in-running”. These programs allow you to set your stake beforehand, have virtually no time delay, and thus with one click of a button you have a good chance of obtaining the price you are attempting to take with your desired stake. Of course there is no guarantee that the price will be matched and the best advice is to cancel the bet immediately if it is not matched. The last thing you want is the leader to be passed at some point later in the race as your price will then be matched by the layers trying to get the horse beaten.
The big question is would this strategy have worked with the results from the last three years? Unfortunately it is impossible to answer that question, but let us look at a likely scenario. My estimate is that the price of the leader after 2 furlongs of a 5f sprint is going to trade around 30 to 40% lower than its initial starting price on Betfair. With Betfair prices, on average say 10% higher than SP, (when taking commission into account), it should be safe to assume that the price after 2f will be 30% lower than the final SP. I do not want to get too heavily involved with the mathematics here but suffice to say that if this was the case and one managed to match “in running” all 44 winners at 30% below final SP, they would have yielded a healthy profit of £937.40 to £10 level stakes – this equates to an excellent profit of 51.2%. Indeed, I feel 30% is a fairly conservative estimate and hence profits may well have been even bigger. For the record, looking at a much worst case scenario, even if you were only able to match prices at 50% of final SP you still would have made a profit of £270.To clarify these profit figures also take into account backing the 139 horses that lost having led after 2 furlongs.
The sceptics among you might say, it is all very well in theory, but can this kind of return occur in real life? My belief is that using this method it is definitely a strong possibility – you would need the latest software though as mentioned earlier, and of course in reality not every leader is going to be matched even using this software. However, assuming that there is a similar proportion of missed winners and missed losers, it is likely that things will even out.
An alternative is to do some research before the race and determine which horse or horses are likely to be vying for the early lead. Quite often there will be only one or two candidates and even if there are more, you will then be in a position to prepare potential bets on the exchanges before the race. Say there are three candidates – enter your stake for all three runners and as the last few runners enter the stalls work out what price you intend to try and back each horse assuming they lead. Using the 30-40% idea you will be able set your three prices just before the off. Once the race has started you watch the first furlong carefully while keeping on eye on whether the market is now “in-running”. Once it becomes an “in-play market” the race would have started to take shape, and there is a strong chance that one of your three horses is leading. Simply cancel the bets on the other two horses and click the bet button for the leader around 2 furlongs into the race. Assuming your “set” price is lower than the horse is currently trading “in-running” the bet will be matched – indeed it could be matched at a higher price which of course would be a bonus. If the price is lower already, then as before it is best to cancel immediately to be on the safe side. If none of the three horses are leading then simply cancel all three bets and wait for the next race. However, if you do your homework carefully then one of three horses chosen is likely to be leading in around 90% of races.
Next time, I will continue to look at potentially profitable pace angles.
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