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Draw bias?

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  • #1975
    heffo
    Member
    • Total Posts 319

    When I first got interested in racing I had never heard of ‘draw bias’.<br>It’s courses like Chester and Beverley that bring it to your attention no matter how unobservent you are.<br>Sahara Silk’s win today from box1 in the 4.20, coming up the near (to camera) rail is mind boggling. Pick A Nice Name, from box5 finished 3rd following a similar route.<br>I try my best to factor the draw into my selections.<br>It’s not the only course where this has been happening.<br>Am I the only one who thinks that it whiffs a bit?

    #64629
    Artemis
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1736

    On some straight courses, the draw bias can change from day to day depending mainly on the weather, where the stalls are placed, and how the ground staff prepare the surface. It shouldn’t make too much difference on round courses where the natural bias is fairly constant in favour of those horses drawn near to the inside rail.

    These changes are familiar to most regulars at each course and also most trainers and jockeys will have some idea about where the best ground is on any particular day.

    I don’t believe there are any short cuts with trying to work out where the draw bias will be. You have to watch the first few races and take it from there.

    Beverley has had a fairly constant high draw bias over the last few years in big fields over 5f when the stalls are placed on the far side.  Perhaps one of the Beverley regulars can explain why some jockeys are showing a preference for the stands side rail.

    #64630
    DroneDrone
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5112

    Haven’t seen the previous races this season in which the long-standing high bias has been reversed so can’t comment on them but saw todays and would be of the opinion that a) the winner was ahead of it’s turf mark hence its ‘poor draw’ was negated b) it was an enterprising ride from the jockey c)  a case of ‘some lead others follow’ and once she had decided to stay stands’ side other jocks (no doubt influenced by the recent reverse in bias too) decided to go that way as well d) it was a near maximum field so stall 1 was relatively close to the near rail anyway.

    Whilst the usual time-honoured high bias is undoubtedly due to the dog-leg course configuration, over time it has probably been over-emphasised by the jockeys believing the far side is the ‘only place to be’ to stand a chance of winning hence a bee-line has always been made for that side and those on the low drawn horses believing they have next to no chance will – subconciously or otherwise – not be particularly busy..

    And of course now the stands’ rail is the ‘only place to be’ they will be eager to head that way, over-emphasising the change – if any – in bias.

    So the basic cause of a draw-bias may be course topography but is exaggerated by the way jockeys ride to it: it in some ways becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The only way too see the ‘true’ effect of a topgraphic bias would be if the horses ran to their draws in ‘lanes’.

    All that said, having once been a semi-regular at Beverley, I haven’t been there for a couple of years nor have I followed the racing so there’s quite likely more to it than that: possibly any or all of drainage work, differential watering, differential turf husbandry (spiking, rolling, mowing)or soil/turf replacement. The course authorities have long been scratching their heads as how to best resolve the bias so perhaps drastic remedial work has taken place over the winter that has actually worked. As was discussed here recently, the moving of the stalls to stands’ side only resulted in the advantage being transferred to those drawn low.

    If anyone fancies visting Beverley it’s well worth making the effort to walk up from the town centre as the road runs parallel to the 5f course. Gives a much better idea just what it’s like than TV or a book could ever do; and the sweat generated by the climb will make that first pint of over-priced fizz taste almost pleasant.

    #64633
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17718

    Quote: from heffo on 4:39 pm on June 13, 2007

    It’s not the only course where this has been happening.<br>Am I the only one who thinks that it whiffs a bit?<br>

    Heffo<br>As conspiracy theories go, one involving 15 horses and all their connections ought to qualify for some sort of award?:)

    Looking at the RP video, this result is purely down to following thepace.<br>While the winner matched the early pace down the stand side, and kept a straight line throughout, the far side group followed Violet’s Pride for a couple of furlongs.<br>VP’s saddle then slipped, causing here to veer toward the centre of the course, and the majority of those behind her on the far side followed her errant course. This resulted in just 3 horses remaining far side, 2 of whom eventually drifted in to the centre.<br>It is noticeable from the head-on replay that the only horse to actually remain on the far rail, Gap Princess, improved her position late on from next last to 6th at the finish, which suggests the bias is still there in all its glory.<br>Bet the Betfair forum had a field day with this one?:biggrin:

    #64635
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17718

    The Beverley CoC has denied any change in the watering policy at the track.

    article here

    In the other race where the draw bias was supposedly reversed, the Hilary Needler Trophy, it is also worth noting that again none of the horses raced down the favoured far side.

    #64636
    heffo
    Member
    • Total Posts 319

    By the way reet, I wasn’t suggesting a conspiracy theory involving 15 runners…I was fond of the X-files but even Fox Mulder couldn’t have that one.<br>I was just thinking along the lines of, as has been mentioned above, the ground was being treated differently, watering etc., on each side.

    #64637
    carvillshill
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2778

    Will be interesting to see how the reduction in safety limits affects the normal bias in races such as the Ascot Stakes this week-only 20 instead of the usual 29.

    #64638
    sberrysberry
    Member
    • Total Posts 1801

    low drawn horses never win at beverley – thats what everyone told me the racing post said, when i told them i had backed miss meggy

    they never heard the last of it and it still gets mentioned in the pub every now and then :)

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