May 6, 2020

The Draw in UK Flat Racing – A Broad Overview

This is a hugely difficult time for you all, this country and indeed the world. For racing fans there is currently a huge void and I hope this article will in some small part fill that void albeit temporarily.

At the time of writing I have no idea about when racing will start again. My guess is sometime in June. If that is the case then at least we do have some great flat racing to look forward to.

In this article I am going to take a look at the draw over 5 and 6 furlongs across UK course and distances in an attempt to give you a comprehensive overview. Some potential biases will hopefully be highlighted and I will add some additional statistics to give more ‘meat on the bones’.

For new readers of On Course Profits and maybe some of the more seasoned readers too, I began my racing days as a draw aficionado back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I wrote 4 books on the subject and ran a tipping service ‘drawn2win’ for 6 years.

I dread to think how many draw articles I have written over the past 23 years, so let’s crack on with my latest offering ……

For this article I have taken data from 1st January 2015 to 31st December 2019 focusing on UK turf flat racing only. When studying the draw and potential biases there are numerous ways you can look at it. In the past I have often split the draw into thirds and looked at the relevant win and placed percentages for each section. Some pundits split into quartiles, others look at A/E values, some look at profit/losses, and others will combine more than one factor.

For this article I am going to split the draw into halves, bottom half of the draw (low) compared with top half (high), and also look at A/E values. For those who have not seen this term before, or have forgotten an A/E value or ‘index’ is, it is a type of impact value.

The A stands for ‘Actual’ and the E stands for ‘Expected’ so essentially the stat shows an index of actual winners compared to expected winners.

To give you a numerical explanation – imagine you had a system that generated 100 selections from horses that were priced up at Even money. Each horse would have a 50% chance of winning according to the price and hence in 100 runs you would expect 50 horses to win (50%). Imagine though that actually 60 of the horses won; that gives us:

A = 60 winners                                  

E = 50 winners

A/E index = 1.2 (6 divided by 5)

The higher the A/E index the better from a potential backing perspective; any figure over 1.00 gives us a potentially positive scenario.

The main advantage of looking at an A/E index is that it is useful for determining value selections as it takes into account the prices of all the runners. The slight downside is that it cannot take the over-round of bookmakers into account giving us very slightly ‘skewed’ results.

Personally when examining the draw and potential draw bias I focus on only handicaps. This is because they are the most competitive race-type; plus there are a decent number of handicaps on a yearly basis.

The number of runners is important too – I tend to use 10 or more runners where possible, but am happy to go to a minimum of 8.

For this article I am going to analyse 10 runner + handicaps only.

5f Handicaps – a look now at courses in the UK that have had at least twenty 5f handicap races with 10 or more runners.

Year on year there seems to be slightly fewer 5f handicaps which accounts for the relatively low cut off point I have chosen. The table will show the win percentages for the both halves of the draw as well as their A/E indices.

As readers will notice several courses do not make the list due to not having enough qualifying races.

Courses such as Brighton do have a decent number of 5f handicaps in a season – 75 in the last 5 seasons – but just 10 of those races featured 10 or more runners. Brighton is simply a course that generally attracts small fields in sprints.

Hopefully you can see from the table that there is still profit to be made from draw biases at UK race courses.

For Gold members I dig further into the detail to uncover some profitable angles. (You can upgrade to Gold here )

David Renham 

Featured Image - - Derek Dye / Pontefract races starting stalls

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Steve Carter

Steve Carter is the Associate Editor of On Course Profits magazine. He has relied on his betting skills and knowledge for his income for the past 15+ years. He specialises in horse racing and football betting & trading and knows what it takes to make a living from betting. He is always looking for new angles for himself and On Course Profits readers.

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    1. Hi Robert

      Just sign into the members area and the brand new magazine, Issue 67, can be found and one of the numerous articles is Dave Renhams coverage of the draw. The free version of the magazine also has plenty of useful content
      Steve C

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