T Understanding Horse Racing Track Bias

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4/3/2005 edition

Track Bias

How do you know whether a track is going to show a certain bias? Does a particular track itself always show the same bias? Or does it depend on the day? For example, could I evaluate what the track bias is going to be tomorrow at Caulfied now or do you have to see a couple of races first?

The above question was posted in our Forum.


"...I think you might have been sucked into one of those numerous punting myths, not to mention every race commentators' catch cry (along with how an apprentice beat a seasoned rider to the line because of the 'weight', or vice versa because of 'experience'.).

...It is the PACE of the race that DICTATES the SHAPE of the RACE (and therefore, any "bias"). For example, if the pace setter sets an easy pace in each race of an eight card programme and the winner comes from the first one third of the 'pack', does that constitute a front running bias? Not on your nelly. On average, those horses in the first third of the field win 1.8 times MORE than back runners.

...I don't think you can factor in a bias. It's not a handicappable factor because it is essentially intangible. Some may say different and that's up to them to post to the contrary. I suggest you know who the pace setter is in each race, who the handy/midfield and back runners are, the barrier draw in relation to the first turn, competency of the rider, etc. Get these right right and then find some value about the horse you like.

PS Even in the winter on a bog track front runners win more frequently than back runners.

PPS. Very loose rule of thumb: Slow pace until the last 600 to 800 metres suits front runners; average pace throughout suits most runners but particularly the first half of the field; and a fast pace to the last 600 to 800 metres suits back runners. (But not always, for example, the great Might And Power had a stunning ability to set a very high pace and still win. A true champion!)"

("Fast Eddy" posted the above excellent on the 27th. February. We have made a few minor editorial changes.)

Our comment:
At times small rail movements can create some bias. Particularly when a track has been overraced in the wet. If the rail is then moved out from say the True to six metres you might find the rails could be no good because when the True position was used plenty of horses may have raced six metres wide. However it is impossible to handicap for this. It may not even eventuate. You also cannot make a .valid judgement on the basis of just a few races. Do you also avoid good bets because you want to try and work out whether any bias or not exists? It's best to keep things reasonably simple. The more complicated you make things, the less likely you will do well.

This edition of Punt to Win:
Undoubtedly - Blue Diamond Stakes upset winner
Get those betting odds
Understanding track bias
Betting favourites in small fields
Betting tips from the track - Caulfield and Eagle Farm
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 25/2/2005
Punt to Win index

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