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Draw Bias in UK horse races.

If we have some knowledge or a selection process that others don't have, we may have an edge.
In my opinion, Draw Advantages may offer a slight edge.
Newspaper draw advantage advice is, and always has been extremely poor.
Television presenters waffle on about draw advantages, but do these people really have the time to look at draw advantages in any detail ?   . . . . . . I don't thinks so.
It is my view that draw advantage advice in general is based on personal observation and "Running rail theory" rather than results on the racecourse.

To decide where a draw advantage might exist for a course and distance, all that is needed is a simple count up of the number of wins from each starting stall in past races.
We can then see which stalls have produced the winners, and which horses may have been at a disadvantage.
An accurate count up is a very big job, which may explain why popular draw advantage advice is extremely poor.

These links will take you to my old draw advantage web site.
Unfortunately, for economic reasons, I no longer update that information - - - -  - I couldn't sell the information.
This link shows a sample of Race Of The Week information that I used to publish every week.
The idea was to highlight extremely poor newspaper draw advantage advice whilst trying to tip well drawn horses.
Note the totally misleading newspaper advice for races at Warwick despite a very strong draw advantage over the previous 10 years in 6F races.
5 horses had been winning most of these races for the previous 10 years.
The result of that week's Race Of The Week that took place several days later is highlighted at the top in yellow.
None of the text has been altered since its original publication in 2007.

Follow this link for accurate Draw Advantage information from a few years back.
That information has not been updated for quite some time, but strong draw advantages don't disappear unless drainage work or other major changes are made to racecourses.
Watering of racecourses has been used since way back in the 1970's and maybe before, so the race results shown on that web site include all races on courses that were watered.

A list of the very best draw advantages at UK racecourses is supplied with purchase of some of my spreadsheets.
I would guess that many punters pay little attention the the draw, except maybe in big races or in races at Chester, Beverley and Sandown where draw advantages are well known.
There are plenty of other courses with a strong draw bias in some races.
Many of them are not emphasised by newspapers or television presenters.

Several factors affect draw bias :-

  • Drainage.  By far the most important factor.  Ignore running rails and think drainage, drainage, drainage.

  • Distance.  As distance of races increase, draw bias has less effect.

  • Bends.     Not as influential as you might think.  Only a few strong draw biases involve running round bends.

  • The going.  Wait for dry weather.  The best draw advantages occur on good or better going.
    As a general rule, wet conditions usually eliminate draw bias.

  • Number of runners.  We want our horses to run in one bunch.
    Draw bias in big fields that split can be unpredictable.

  • Stalls positioning.  Starting stalls can be positioned against either running rail or in the centre of the course.
    That can cock things up from a draw bias point of view.

The points above may state the b..... obvious, but newspaper and other draw advantage advice doesn't usually take them all into consideration.
If those factors are not built into the odds that we are trading, we might just have a small edge to work with.
Runners that are badly drawn may be worth laying, either as a target lay, or as a non-target lay to reduce liabilities on other badly drawn runners that we also lay.
Also an inexperienced jockey may not have the expertise to overcome a bad draw, so an apprentice or a lady jockey (excluding Hayley Turner) on a badly drawn horse riding against top professional jockeys might be worth considering.

These links show examples of draw bias that may be of interest.

Chester 5F We all know about this one.
That advantage deteriorates in longer races at Chester, but television presenters even suggest that there is a draw advantage in the Chester Cup, a race over 2 miles.
Doncaster 5F 2 horses were winning nearly 50% of races, so Doncaster laid new drains.
Epsom 5F. 3 horses were winning 60% of races, but not next to the running rail.
Maybe drainage had something to do with it.
Note that the starting stalls have been positioned next to the Stands Rail  at the "High" side of the course in all Epsom 5F races since the late 1980's.
I wonder why ?
Thirsk 6F Bigger fields often split into 2 groups.  Draw bias at Thisrk occurs in smaller field sizes
York 1m 2F If a television presenter ever advises a draw advantage on the strength of the results of one race from several previous seasons, he or she is giving advice using an extremely small sample size.
Why not quote all races of the past 10 years over that course and distance ?
In the past, The John Smith's Cup at York has been a classic example of such stupidity.
That happened again in 2011 with the results of the past 10 years for this one race being quoted in relation to the draw.
Don't be mislead by these "experts".
All UK course and distances up to a mile. Follow this link for descriptions of draw bias for all UK course and distances up to a mile.
Note that web site has not been updated for some time.