The 5 day extravaganza of Royal Ascot kicks off tomorrow with equine stars from all over the planet looking to strut their stuff in front of Her Maj.
I plan on covering 1 race a day here at BDH, in a similar fashion to the way I covered Epsom for you. Unfortunately I don’t have time this week to produce the full guide (usually I have a subscription based service for Royal Ascot) but the FREE 1 race a day guides should be excellent value for you all :). I have had plenty of you asking if there will be some sort of subscription service from myself for this flat season but as you have probably guessed the answer to that is no. This has also raised the question of will there be National Hunt service for 2013/14? The answer to that is a resounding YES! Don’t worry on this score, the NTF service will resume in October time with the usual full and in-depth race coverage as well as a number of new and exciting features for NTF members.
Now I have cleared that up, today I want to take a quick look at pace profiles at Ascot over the straight 5f and 6f tracks. Obviously at some tracks it can pay to be making the pace over the sprint trips (front-runners) and at other tracks the best option is to strike late from out the back (hold-up horses). There are a number of races over these sprint trips at Royal Ascot and they will all be well contested affairs with little room for maneuver, you not only want your horse drawn where the pace is but you will also want it in the correct position to strike and maximize it’s abilities.
So, are there any biases when it comes to running styles and pace positions over the sprint trips at Ascot?
To find out the answer I opened up my trusty Proform database and started digging. I looked at all races at the track from 2008 to present over both 5f & 6f and also filtered it to fields of 10 or more runners.
5 Furlongs races at Ascot – Pace Analysis
In the period analysed there were 47 races over the 5 furlong trip, contested by 725 runners. Here is the running-style breakdown…
Front runners – 11/58 | 19% S/R | +£111.50 BFLSP – W&P 17/58 | 29% S/R
Close to Pace – 25/350 | 7% S/R | +£34.96 BFLSP – W&P 87/350 | 25% S/R
Held-up – 11/315 | 3.5% S/R | -£65.05 BFLSP – W&P 45/315 | 14% S/R
Front runners win more than they should based on market expectations, Close to Pace runners win about what the market expects and Hold Up runners win less than expected.
Over the 5 furlong trip at Ascot the figures tell us that you ideally want to be sitting close to the pace. Hold-Up runners win their share of races but it isn’t as much as the market expects. The most interesting angle is undoubtedly the front runners over this minimum trip as they markedly out-perform market expectations, have provided huge profits to level stakes and have won as many races as the hold-up runners but from a massively smaller sample size.
6 Furlongs races at Ascot – Pace Analysis
In the period analysed there were 63 races over the 6 furlong trip, contested by 937 runners. Here is the running-style breakdown…
Front runners – 6/79 | 7.5% S/R | -£29.81 BFLSP – W&P 14/79 | 18% S/R
Close to Pace – 27/437 | 6% S/R | -£104.70 BFLSP – W&P 83/437 | 19% S/R
Held-up – 30/457 | 6.5% S/R | +£21.13 BFLSP – W&P 103/457 | 23% S/R
Interestingly all 3 running styles win roughly the amount of race the market expects them to.
So stepping up a furlong tells us there isn’t any real bias in terms of running styles although the drop off in winning front-runners compared to 5 furlongs is noticeable, it is clearly tougher to hang on out front over 6f than it is over 5f.
Whilst I was at it I also wanted to take a look to see if any jockey had a stand-out record over the sprint trips at Ascot, specifically in trying to negotiate the really big fields (16+ runners). Nothing stood out for me over 5f but there was one guy who’s record over 6f in large fields is particularly strong; Mr Johnny Murtagh…
J Murtagh record at Ascot in 6f races with 16 or more runners
5/13 | 38% S/R | +£19.70 BFLSP
It is a small enough sample size but nevertheless it is a fairly solid indication that he can place his horse in the perfect position to strike in these tricky contests.
Things improve if we only look at his runners that started at 10/1 or less…
5/8 | 63% S/R | +£24.83 BFLSP
Again it isn’t huge numbers we are dealing with here but nevertheless it is worth keeping in the think tank…
I will be back tomorrow with a FREE race analysis guide on day one of Royal Ascot 2013.
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