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The Changing Face of Draw Bias

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

This Article was provided by Racing Author and Betting Researcher David Renham.

David has offered all Racing-Systems visitors a free trial of his Drawn2Win service.

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THE CHANGING FACE OF DRAW BIAS - is it the end of using the draw to help win that battle with the bookies?

by David Renham

“Draw bias is not what it used to be” - this is a comment I got from a friend of mine who e mailed me the other day. He went on to say, “why is it when a good source of highlighting winners is found, within a few years it no longer works”. This is very much a horse racing trait - good ideas gain an initial edge because the majority of people do not use that “winner finding” approach. As time goes on however, the betting public and the bookmakers catch up, and as a result the prices tend to contract and the value begins to disappear.

So is this really happening with draw bias? I think many people believe it is. Not only are the bookmakers clued up to the traditional draw biases, course officials are spending more and more time trying to eliminate the bias by “recreational” watering, or moving running rails. All in all, on the surface it looks a worrying picture for the draw punter.

Let us examine a traditionally strong draw bias course and see what has happened in the last eight years :

Hamilton 5 & 6f - for many years, the sprint course at Hamilton has favoured high draws. If we examine the 1996 to 1999 statistics, we see that high draws did have a significant edge. In this period there were 64 races with 10 or more runners - the results are shown below :

 

Top “third” of

the draw

Middle “third” of the draw

Bottom “third” of the draw

       

Winning percentage

54.7

28.1

17.2

The top “third” of the draw produced an impact value of 1.64 which demonstrates a strong bias. Indeed, you were over three times more likely to win if you were drawn in the top “third” of the draw than if you were drawn in the bottom “third”.

From 2000 to 2003 there has been more qualifying races - 95 in total and they have produced the following stats :

 

Top “third” of

the draw

Middle “third” of the draw

Bottom “third” of the draw

       

Winning percentage

42.1

29.5

28.4

Although high draws still have the advantage, the statistics show clearly that the high draw bias has diminished. During this period, horses from the top “third” of the draw are only 1.48 times more likely to win that those drawn in the bottom “third”.

Why has this happened? Well I believe there are two reasons - firstly I think Hamilton have over watered the far rail (high) from time to time. This would help even the bias out. Secondly, the bias at Hamilton is well documented and jockeys are starting to get clued up to the fact. Hence, there is much more crowding over the far side than there was a few years ago, and it is quite common to see the whole field trying to get as close to the far rail as possible. With a maximum 18 runner field this can create traffic problems for the higher drawn horses and those with no real early pace end up stuck behind a wall of horses.

This changing trend has happened this season at other courses - Thirsk being a prime example. The old high draw bias was not in evidence all season and there were plenty of sprint races where the lower draws definitely had the advantage.

HOWEVER, before we all hang up our “draw bias boots” and look for something else to research and use, it should be stressed that draw bias is alive and well at many courses. Some newer biases are coming to light and below I have illustrated a few course and distances where a strong bias exists. I am still trolling through the stats for 2003 and I still have over half the courses to collate, so this is not an extensive list! The stats below come from the last four seasons (2000 to 2003) :

Ayr (1 mile)

Top “third” of

the draw

Middle “third” of the draw

Bottom “third” of the draw

       

Winning percentage

24

24

52

Conclusion : low draws have a decent edge at Ayr over a mile.

Beverley (1 mile)

Top “third” of

the draw

Middle “third” of the draw

Bottom “third” of the draw

       

Winning percentage

53.7

34.1

12.2

Conclusion : Strong high draw bias over the extended mile at Beverley.

Epsom

(1 mile 114yds)

Top “third” of

the draw

Middle “third” of the draw

Bottom “third” of the draw

       

Winning percentage

28

12

60

Conclusion : low draws have a significant advantage over this extended mile trip. The bias is strengthened if you concentrate on handicaps only with the bottom “third” providing 66.7% of the winners.

Folkestone

(7 furlongs)

Top “third” of

the draw

Middle “third” of the draw

Bottom “third” of the draw

       

Winning percentage

50

32.5

17.5

Conclusion : high draws have a decent edge. 17 of the 40 races were won by horses drawn in one of the three highest stalls.

Goodwood

(5 furlongs)

Top “third” of

the draw

Middle “third” of the draw

Bottom “third” of the draw

       

Winning percentage

50

23.3

26.7

Conclusion : High draws have a clear edge. The bias is extremely strong in races of 15 or more runners with 12 of the 18 races (66.7%) going to horses drawn in the top “third”.

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So it is not all bad news! There are still plenty of courses that offer the draw punter an edge, and some courses are still misunderstood by the majority of the betting public. Draw biases come and go, but what we must do is keep close tabs on it. If we do, we can still maintain that winning edge.

 
 

 
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