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Graham Wheldon answers your questions

Home Forums Archive Topics Celebrity Q&A’s Graham Wheldon answers your questions

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    Attila<br>What are your views on courses ‘watering’, and do you think that this can seriously alter the effects of the draw?<br><br>Hi Attila, this is one subject that has never been looked into deeply enough in my opinion. For the first time, I did some research for Backing the Draw for Profit, and it became clear that watering has a huge effect. Remember the year York watered before the Ebor meeting, only for rain to arrive, and dead going to prevail? Low numbers, who raced nearest the inside rail, had a huge advantage. I know Thirsk got a new system last year, which they thought would provide a more even spread of water, and it seemed to level things out somewhat. Also, Yarmouth used to employ pop-up sprinklers, which were badly hit by the wind coming off the sea. The new system changed things, but the bias towards high numbers on the straight course looked to be returning late season. What this space…<br>

    Jay Torbitt<br>Have you ever instigated a major plunge on any horse based on your advice, and what is the longest priced winner you have been on?<br><br>Hi Jay, Indian Bazaar was one from last year sent off shorter than he otherwise might, when winning at 3-1 at Beverley (top stall over 5f). Luvbet were 15-2 early – some of the SprintLine sharks got on, but I’m of the opinion that Luvbet are a waste of time – you just can’t get on.<br>My biggest-priced winner came at Newmarket last summer, a certain Premier Baron at 33-1. They don’t come along very often, but when they do they make it all worthwhile. And didn’t he run a cracker up the slower far rail at Nottingham over five furlongs on Tuesday? He had no chance on those terms and let’s hope the Handicapper doesn’t take the result literally – I’ll be looking for him soon at Ascot.<br>

    Jez<br>Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. <br>Are you going to be a part of Raceform On Saturday just for the flat season. Can you explain what is happening at Raceform On Saturday as there seems to be so many changes going on. A few weeks ago I started following Mark Nelson who had for quite a while been given a lot of press and generally hailed as the best Tipster etc. I had a few losers. No problem as everone has a losing run and was going to carry on following but all of a sudden last week 24th March Mark was not in the paper and instead gave more space to Formsires columnist Lawrence Taylor who had given a few winners lately and proclaimed him as Raceform On Saturday`s new top tipster instead. <br><br>Hi Jez. I’m not really the man to be asking about Raceform On Saturday matters – I was sports / deputy editor until last autumn but now just contribute occasionally. But I can tell you that SprintLine won’t be appearing in there this season.<br>

    Don<br>do you think that the draw is only important over the minimum trips of 5 and 6 furlongs, the further the distance up to a mile the less part it plays as there is more time for a horse to get into it? <br><br>Hi Don. The draw can be more important at longer distances on some courses than it is in sprints, the perfect example being the extended 1m2f John Smith’s at York. Medicean just could not win last season from stall 21, yet was sent off 5-2 favourite. The first eight home all came from the bottom half in the draw. The draw is also important in races like the 2m2f Chester Cup and the Cesarewitch. Don’t believe me? Just go and check out past results!<br>

    Sir Tristram<br>Whats more important to you class or draw bias? <br>thanx for your time. <br><br>You’re welcome. Obviously class is important, but not so much in sprint handicaps, which is where most of my betting is done. However, thinking back to the Temple Stakes at Sandown a few years ago, the only factor playing a part on the outcome was the draw, with stalls 9, 10 and 11 finishing first, second and third at big prices – class had nothing to do with it. Draw biases also played a major role in the Royal Ascot sprints last season, and by my reckoning Bertolini would have gone very close to winning the King’s Stand had he been drawn high.

    Daylight<br>As you know, racecourses make every effort to stop the effects of the draw if their course has a strong bias. Race courses officials counter act this by moving stalls, breaking up the ground and watering as a draw bias is bad for buisness. <br>Do you think that we will be discussing draw biases in 10 years time as all strong biases are cancelled out and no advantages will exsist? <br><br>Biases come and go, which is why it’s so important to keep up to date with what’s going on. At some courses, there’s nothing management can do to counter the problem – Chester and Beverley being two. And other biases just pop up from time to time, like the July Meeting at Newmarket last season. I take your point about moving stalls. It’s easy to forget, when you work in the sport, that some people just can’t spend the time on a daily basis checking out whether stalls are where they’re supposed to be. I do think we’ll still be talking draw biases in ten years (we were ten years ago) – they will change a lot in that period though.<br>

    telepromter<br>Graham, would you ever disregard the draw if the right man is on board. I remember backing King Darius two seasons ago (one of my biggest punts at that time) but was told I was mad as it was drawn 18 of 22 over 10f at Newbury. I thought R Hughes would know the score and sure enough as soon as he stalls opened, he took a tug and got himself to the inside and threaded his way through. Grinkov won the race but King Darius finished a creditable third, beaten only a length or so. Although I lost my money, I would make the bet again given the same circumstances, as I feel that certain jockeys are wise enough to be able to overcome the draw. <br>Your thoughts? <br><br>Alright, T.Prompter. I agree, but it’s hard to generalise, you just have to look at each race / jockey on its / his merits. For example, had Ripon gone ahead on Wednesday, I’d have been worried about Richard Hughes getting to the far rail from stall 15 of 23 on Cadeaux Cher, as Hughes is undoubtedly the best sprint handicap jockey around by a mile. As far as concerns your King Darius case, I see he went on to win his next two starts, having run well from a poor draw at Newbury, and that the runner-up, High And Mighty, from stall 20, went on to win two Festival races the same season.<br>

    Dave G<br>Besides the most obvious one that comes to mind ( Chester ), which course or courses do you think are most bias draw wise, and do you think you have more advantage punting wise on them? <br><br>Hi Dave G. I’m certain that simply by backing the two horses in stalls 1 and 2 in races up to 7f122yds at Chester, and the top two stalls over 5f at Beverley (apart from on soft ground), you’ll finish the season well in profit. My top five draw courses as things stand now would be; Beverley (5f), Chester (up to 7f122yds), Ripon (high in sprints when 16+ runners unless the ground is firm), Folkestone (the far rail (high) in straight races with 14+ runners on soft ground) and Sandown (5f, good to soft or softer). I’ve returned a profit every Flat season since backing solely on the draw, so I’d have to say it’s helped my punting.<br>

    Sir Tristram<br>Do you find yourself over emphasising the draw in pre-race analysis, if so, of the top of the head how many times does this happen out of 10? <br>Cheers, ST. <br><br>Alright, ST. I wrote in my books on this subject that the draw accounts for 75% of the thinking in my betting. Maybe that’s over-stating it a touch, as the handicap mark is almost as important, and the ground not far behind. I tend not to focus too much on jockeys in sprint handicaps, bar the obvious.

    Paul101<br>Hi Graham, I have read your latest book (Backing the draw for Profit) a must for every punter in my view, as well as the draw bias you seem to show as much interest in (Outliners) I decided to go back in the form book 1 year, to find out how all the outliners did, and found they had a brilliant record with their next two runs if the draw was not against them. <br><br>Hi Paul. That’s the system and it’s one that I can’t see anyone being able to fault. The whole logic behind Outliers (those horses who have run well from a bad draw without it being obvious in their finishing position) is that they’ll rarely be raised in the handicap, and more often dropped a pound or two. So you end up with a well-handicapped, in-form horse – how can you possibly go wrong?

    Sir Tristram<br>Would you give the forum your opinion on the Lincon, there has been a good discussion on this board on this subject, it was well known the class horse in the race was Nimello, my question to you Graham, is, if Nimello had been drawn on the farside do you think his class would of carried him on to victory? <br><br>I left the Lincoln alone, although it was good to see my original line of thinking (‘the far rail will be favoured the next time the Lincoln is run on really soft ground’) come good. And I left it alone because I can never bring myself to throw money at races run on such desperate ground. In my opinion, had Nimello been drawn on the stands’ rail he would not have made the first four, let alone won. And the only way to treat the race for future form analysis is to treat it as two separate contests, the stands’-side runners and the far-side runners.

    Sal<br>Do you ever spread-bet, such as match bets between badly drawn and well drawn horses, or buying and selling winning distances? <br>Thanks for your time. <br><br>Hi Sal, I must admit I tend not to. There was a time, a few years ago, when one of the spread firms started framing a double draw market, but they stopped after finding it unprofitable. Imagine, buying at Beverley on hard ground with capacity fields! Most of my punting tends to be done midweek, at the lesser courses, and I always try to leave Saturdays alone – my record shows they’re never as profitable due to competitiveness.

    Punter Ex C4<br>Do you think that with so much attention being made to the effects of the draw in the press, whether it be Racing Post, website or daily newspaper racing pages, that the horses drawn favourably become over bet and thus bad value ? <br>Can you see a swing round so that horses drawn on the "wrong side" are now being allowed to start at longer odds than there true chance, and thus they now represent value ? <br>Draw is obviously seen to greater significance in larger fields. Does it stand true that the draw is less of a hinderance in long distance races than short ? <br>Finally, I am concentrating on a ratings system on the All Weather at the moment, but as yet have not introduced draw as a deciding factor in my selection process. <br>On a scale of 1 – 10 how crucial would you say the draw is at the 3 All Weather courses and what is the distance/stall that this is seen to most effect in ? <br>Many thanks for your time if you manage to answer any of the above. <br><br>Alright Punter. As always, I still think it’s up to the individual to decide what prices they should be looking for in each race, although I do take your point. Then again, one of my biggest wins, in the old days when tricasts were worth doing, at Thirsk, came when all the well-drawn horses were shortened big time after the opening show. So it’s nothing new. I must admit I could never bring myself to back a horse knowing him to be drawn on the wrong side, whatever the price, and I don’t think that, on the whole, prices yet reflect biases as much as they should. The time you’ll know that day has arrived is when there’s no longer a profit to be made. As for the All-Weather courses, in my opinion Southwell shows no bias, Wolverhampton depends largely on harrowing (those racing wide have done best of late), while low numbers are a must over 6f and 1m2f at Lingfield.

    <br>Graham if you could change one thing about British racing what would it be?

    Just one? I’d like to move Derek Thompson to Live & Kicking where he belongs and switch him for red-headed temptress Sarah Cawood, but the real one would be to ban the movement of stalls away from what’s been advertised.

    Scoot<br>Graham Hi! <br>Draw Bias is a very interesting subject. Here in the U.S. Our grass courses have underground drainage systems to offset Draw Bias. It is effective but in a field of 13 to 15 horses I still won’t bet the last 4 to 5 ourside draws as it is proven that it’s just too much to overcome to win. Also most Trainers here that draw the post position outside the 10 slot will scratch their horses before the race goes off! So your Theory is a good and proven one I know! <br>My question for you is, would it be worthwhile to limit the number of horses entered in any given race to say 10, and then add a race to that days racing to make up for the excess of horses that are prepared to run that day? Or maybe add 2 races to compensate for it? Might this be an option for helping to reduce Post Bias? Thank’s for Your Time!! <br><br>Howdy Scoot, it’s always struck me that American punters are more switched on when it comes to draw biases than their British counterparts, even though biases are nothing like as great at US courses. Do I think racecourses should take steps to try and eliminate draw biases? Well, if that day should ever arrive, my punting days will be over! The beauty for me is that in races like the Stewards’ Cup, it’s usually possible to cross out 20 of the 30 runners straight away because of where they are drawn. And that’s a big help.

    Jay Torbitt
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    What a top guy. Cheers to Graham Wheldon for that piece, and to those involved in setting it up. Some great answers, even if he is part of the Anti-Tommo brigade!

    Cheers Graham! :wave:

    • Total Posts 369

    Maverick had a big part in setting this Q&A session up :clap:

    and Graham also said "that I’m happy to answer<br>any further questions?"

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    Top Guy, he knows his stuff, any flat punter that has not read his book, Backing The Draw For Profit,  should  invest a tenner in it, I think its well worth it!  

    • Total Posts 5857

    Many thanks everybody.

    Another thoroughly interesting "Q&A" session on the<br>forum.

    Regards  –  Matron<br>:cool:

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