Why do horses drift in the betting?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  moehat 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #1226195
    SirHarryLewis
    SirHarryLewis
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    I should probably be more specific. I was thinking of having a few bob on Solar Impulse today. He was hardly a sure thing but I figured he could run a nice race. I held back when I saw his price drifting alarmingly on Betfair. I feel that he ran way below form. Now, dont get me wrong.. I am not one of the great conspiracy theorists and everybody knows these horses are trying but the layers have spotted something. But assuming a horse doesnt sweat up, isnt having his first run of the season or (in the case of Mr Mole first time out this year) isnt just the wrong price to begin with, how do they know?

    To put it better, are the paddock judges seeing something they dont like on the day. Im just curious as I dont go racing enough and I am not who would be a good judge of how an animal is looking.

    SHL

    #1226205
    Gingertipster
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    I should probably be more specific. I was thinking of having a few bob on Solar Impulse today. He was hardly a sure thing but I figured he could run a nice race. I held back when I saw his price drifting alarmingly on Betfair. I feel that he ran way below form. Now, dont get me wrong.. I am not one of the great conspiracy theorists and everybody knows these horses are trying but the layers have spotted something. But assuming a horse doesnt sweat up, isnt having his first run of the season or (in the case of Mr Mole first time out this year) isnt just the wrong price to begin with, how do they know?

    To put it better, are the paddock judges seeing something they dont like on the day. Im just curious as I dont go racing enough and I am not who would be a good judge of how an animal is looking.

    As you rightly say SHL, horses drift for many reasons and you’ve touched on several reasons. As far as Solar Impulse goes I thought about starting a thread myself about his run/market drift today. Unfortunately wasn’t as lucky as you. I’d identified Solar Impulse as a good value bet at just short of 9/2. However, did see he’d been weak in the market last time before running poorly and had had a breathing operation before reappearance. So when (despite being “on form” a good bet) drifted out to around 5/1) I thought “someone somewhere knows something”. So laid it back. Then, it shortened again to 9/2, so once more changing my mind, “stop imagining things” and got on again! Only to see him drift right out to around 6/1 by the off. Too late, too big to lay it back! 😆 Fortunately, I had a saver on the winner so lost nothing on the race.

    Why the Solar Impulse drift? Market gets to know horses not showing what they used to at home. Wind op doesn’t look to have worked.

    I seldom get involved this late in the markets these days, much prefer Early Odds. imo By off time the market gets to know horses who may look “value” on “form”, but their actual chance (because of what has or has not happened at home/travelling to the races/in the paddock) is more like the odds available at off time. ie The very late market seems to be more accurate than it used to and is more accurate to the horses true chance.

    value is everything
    #1226213

    apracing
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    Stone me, talk about making it complicated. How about keeping it simple – the horse is a professional loser, has never won a race (in the UK) that took more than 4 minutes, has beaten a grand total of one finisher in his last four starts combined and ran at least a stone below his official handicap mark on his seasonal debut. And that’s all public knowledge – you don’t need inside info from the stable to think he had no chance against two fit and in form rivals.

    The only surprise is that he was as short as 5/1, a price that suggests the magic of the Nicholls name has yet to wear off for most punters.

    #1226214
    yeats
    yeats
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    Is a drift of half a point really significant? Like lots of the things eg breathing operations, horses in foal etc you only hear about the successful ones or in the cases of drifting in price the losing ones.

    Most horses drift from opening price but sometimes I despair at some pundits on tv who continuously express concern at only slight drifts in betting. Mark Howard & Sam Turner are regular culprits but they never produce any stats to back up their view. Sam Turner was at it most of the afternoon at Ludlow yesterday, expressing concern at the winner in the first drifting from 11/8 to only 6/4, only for it to bolt in. Why would anyone in their right mind express any concern over such a small drift from opening price?

    If I was backing it I’d prefer the 6/4 or 13/8 to the 11/8 any day.

    #1226226
    Gingertipster
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    Stone me, talk about making it complicated. How about keeping it simple – the horse is a professional loser, has never won a race (in the UK) that took more than 4 minutes, has beaten a grand total of one finisher in his last four starts combined and ran at least a stone below his official handicap mark on his seasonal debut. And that’s all public knowledge – you don’t need inside info from the stable to think he had no chance against two fit and in form rivals.

    The only surprise is that he was as short as 5/1, a price that suggests the magic of the Nicholls name has yet to wear off for most punters.

    Game’s all about opinions Alan, think you’re being a bit harsh on the horse, at least prior to this season’s two races.

    1st Nov: Won just a fair novices limited handicap.
    29th Nov: Improved to be 2nd, trying to give Monetaire 5 lbs on soft ground. 10 lengths clear of the rest.
    13th Dec: Chance ending mistake 4 out and pulled up.
    9th Jan: Did well. 2 1/4 lengths 2nd, trying to give the 4/11 fav (and then Arkle 2nd fav) Josses Hill 2 lbs, 16 lengths clear of the rest and running to exactly the same Timeform rating as on the 29th.
    24th Jan: Neck second to another odds-on fav (the 4/6 Three Kingdoms) again running to exactly the same rating.
    11th April: Chance ending mistake 4 out, finishing last of 6.
    18th April: Ruined chance with several mistakes.
    20th Nov: Couldn’t plenty of horses be 9 lbs below form on reappearance, especially considering the mistakes? But for Solar Impulse’s several errors – including a bad one at the first – could’ve been closer to form than 9 lbs.

    Lot of the time when a horse produces three seconds it is because of temperament. You say he’s a “professional loser”, but what race/s of those three seconds should Solar Impulse have realistically won? :unsure:
    Fact he only beat 1 home on last three starts more to do with jumping frailties than anything else and certainly needed to improve in that department today.
    Possibly unsuited by heavy ground, but ran well on soft against Monetaire.
    Today: Top rated on Timeform ratings and only a 4 horse race where others (apart from possibly the fav) had their problems too.
    I wanted to be against Cash And Go, his chase form suggested by some way not up to this grade and imo best chase form racing up with the pace over fences. Today there was one confirmed front runner in Dunraven Storm and Kylemore Lough showed markedly improved form last time when making all. So Cash And Go was unlikely to get the run of the race. Dunraven Storm wasn’t sure to either, his jumping can be worse than Solar Impulse’s when unable to lead, so wanted to be against him too at around 7/2. tbh Going through the form, Kylemore Lough was by far the most likely to show his form. Had I studied the race earlier would’ve taken the 2/1 Kylemore Lough as main bet and just saved on SI, but alas wasn’t to be. I chose to back SI @ 5/1 and save on KL @ 11/8.

    In hindsight, may be the slightly disappointing reappearance of Solar Impulse had far more to it than just “needing it” and – this season – temperament (or more accurately “soundness”) could well be a problem added to jumping.

    value is everything
    #1226233

    steveh31
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    My betting solely consists on drifting horses and I hope they always do.

    The morning odds compiled by experts at bookies trying to make money, the off odds created by drunk people at a racecourse, therefore horses drift and odds are good.

    #1226234
    Nathan Hughes
    Nathan Hughes
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    A horse will drift if it’s not being backed
    likewise a horse will shorten if TAPK is spotted placing a bet

    Don't Eat The Pie and Don't Buy The S*n
    #1226247
    Gingertipster
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    My betting solely consists on drifting horses and I hope they always do.

    The morning odds compiled by experts at bookies trying to make money, the off odds created by drunk people at a racecourse, therefore horses drift and odds are good.

    May have been the case 20 years ago Steve; but these days on course bookmakers are little more than traders. Backing them on Betfair at a slightly better price than they’re laying.

    value is everything
    #1226275

    Seasider
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    My betting solely consists on drifting horses and I hope they always do.

    This might interest you.

    Journalist Jack Houghton opines as follows:

    “The nearest I’ve come to following a betting system…was after studying the performance of “steamers” and “drifters” in a sample of over 65,000 horses who ran in 2006. Noting the price of all horses two hours before the off and their starting price, I categorised all “steamers” as those whose odds had shortened by five per cent of the book or more, and all “drifters” as those whose odds had lengthened the same.

    The categorisation was arbitrary, but showed compelling evidence as to the folly of blindly following market moves. To a £10 stake, you would have lost nearly £3,500 backing steamers, and won nearly £2,310 backing drifters.”

    I’ve got a problem with the 5% benchmark. A horse backed into 6/5 (45% of the book) from 6/4 (40% of the book) isn’t a steamer in my opinion. Similarly, a horse going the other way from 6/5 to 6/4 isn’t that much of a drifter. Nevertheless, despite the sample covering just one year, it seems you could do worse than back drifters.

    However, the author continues:

    “Unfortunately, the analysis cannot easily be turned into a profitable betting system. The analysis is retrospective, making it impossible to accurately implement in future races. In other words, it’s impossible to know whether a horse is a drifter or what price you are supposed to back it at until after the betting market has closed.”

    https://betting.betfair.com/horse-racing/general/steamers-and-drifters-a-myth-worth-busting-120708.html

    #1226285
    Gingertipster
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    My betting solely consists on drifting horses and I hope they always do.

    This might interest you.

    Journalist Jack Houghton opines as follows:

    “The nearest I’ve come to following a betting system…was after studying the performance of “steamers” and “drifters” in a sample of over 65,000 horses who ran in 2006. Noting the price of all horses two hours before the off and their starting price, I categorised all “steamers” as those whose odds had shortened by five per cent of the book or more, and all “drifters” as those whose odds had lengthened the same.

    The categorisation was arbitrary, but showed compelling evidence as to the folly of blindly following market moves. To a £10 stake, you would have lost nearly £3,500 backing steamers, and won nearly £2,310 backing drifters.”

    I’ve got a problem with the 5% benchmark. A horse backed into 6/5 (45% of the book) from 6/4 (40% of the book) isn’t a steamer in my opinion. Similarly, a horse going the other way from 6/5 to 6/4 isn’t that much of a drifter. Nevertheless, despite the sample covering just one year, it seems you could do worse than back drifters.

    However, the author continues:

    “Unfortunately, the analysis cannot easily be turned into a profitable betting system. The analysis is retrospective, making it impossible to accurately implement in future races. In other words, it’s impossible to know whether a horse is a drifter or what price you are supposed to back it at until after the betting market has closed.”

    https://betting.betfair.com/horse-racing/general/steamers-and-drifters-a-myth-worth-busting-120708.html

    Why 2 hours before the race? Why not 3 hours? why not 1 1/2 hours?
    A horse may have shortened from 8/1 Early Odds to 4/1 by 2 hours before the race, then going back from 4/1 to 6/1. An overall shortening of 8/1 to 6/1, yet according to this study it qualifies as a “drifter”. :scratch:

    Likewise, a horse could go from 4/1 to 8/1 by 2 hours before a race, then shorten to 6/1, an overall drifting of 4/1 to 6/1. Yet this study would qualify it as a “steamer”. :scratch:

    However, it is obvious “following the money” will end up with massive losses. If bookmakers lay a lot of money for a 4/1 shot, then to make an equal book they’ll deliberately offer a price much shorter, not because they think it now has a much bigger chance of winning, but because of liabilities – not wanting to lay it to lose much more. Although they’re happy for punters to back it at a price bookies know is – in all probability – too short.

    Object of the exercise is to identify the value and back the horse at near the best price available, before it shortens. By the time most horses have shortened it’s too late to get on.

    value is everything
    #1226287

    moehat
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    Who works out a horses price in the first place? And why do all of the bookies have pretty much the same price?

    #1226288
    Gingertipster
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    Who works out a horses price in the first place? And why do all of the bookies have pretty much the same price?

    Even if a punter does not “work out a horses price”/race to 100% – unless a punter has a good idea of the fair chance (fair odds) of horses he’she can not identify the value – therefore having very little chance of making an overall profit.

    As far as I understand it Moehat:
    A lot of bookies use Peter Martins, an odds compiling firm who work out what chance (fair odds) they believe each horse has of winning. Bookmakers own odds compilers then tweek those prices and add a mark up.
    Some bookies just rely on their own odds compilers but take more information from betfair.

    value is everything
    #1226292
    yeats
    yeats
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    Gutless, spineless. All of them.

    Look at Ladbrokes today – Priced up all the races at Ascot today in the Racing Post – thought I’d have a ton on one they had at 7/2 although it was 5/1 in the Racing Post forecast. Maximum bet they would allow in their shops was £10 lol. How pathetic is that? No wonder racing is struggling for levy. At least they saved me losing a tenner :good:

    #1226303

    moehat
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    Thanks Ginge; it’s one of those things I’ve long pondered on but never got round to asking. I was always in awe of a long departed friend of mine, a bookies runner who worked the tracks before electronic gadgets, who would place bets after photo finishes etc. Wish I’d asked him a lot more about his job when I had the chance. [there is, of course also the pure joy of seeing a horses price suddenly start coming in, backing it and seeing it win :yes: ]

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  moehat.
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