Spadework - assessing the effects of the draw in Ayr's sprint handicap trilogy....

Last Updated: 15.09.2020

Tuesday, 15th September 2020

Spadework - assessing the effects of the draw in Ayr’s sprint handicap trilogy….

The Bronze Cup (Friday), the Silver Cup and the Gold Cup are all run up the same 6f straight at Ayr this weekend....

We did a bit of spadework for these races yesterday. Catch up here….

Connections of all the runners will be giving a lot of thought to where they would like their horses to start from – a low, a high or a middle stall....

Punters will be considering much the same thing – trying to figure out which side of the track might prove advantageous....

Many will use Friday’s Bronze Cup as a reconnaissance mission for Saturday – hoping to secure some advance intelligence....

They’ll be watching closely as the race unfolds – hoping to identify favoured parts of the track...

  • Crunching the numbers....

Without having any clear idea of what is to be found, I thought it might be interesting to take all three races collectively and then look at how individual stalls and parts of the track performed in that specific context in recent times....

Part of our contrarian approach at ATC is to do the spadework and look at information other punters aren’t looking at – or at least to look at the same information from a different angle....

The exercise might bear fruit and tell us something. It might not. But we won’t know until we look....

There are have been 10 renewals of the Bronze Cup at Ayr between 2009 and 2019 – the 2017 edition was rained off....

There have been 16 editions of the Silver Cup between 2003 and 2019....

And there have been 17 Ayr-run editions of the Gold Cup between 2002 and 2019....

Those are the races for which I have the figures readily to hand. That makes 43 races in total up the 6f strip during September at Ayr – and there have been 44 winners with the 2018 edition of the Gold Cup going the way of a dead heat....

The table below shows us how the individual stalls have performed in those races – in terms of wins and placers per runner....

Be aware, for the purposes of this study I have included the 5th horse home as a placer. I think that’s reasonable in a race with such a big field – and one where plenty of firms will be offering Enhanced Place Terms....

  • How the individual stalls performed....

The performance of the individual stalls within our 40 races breaks down like this....

Draw Record

  • Instant observations....

If you’re looking for a ‘magic stall’, then stall 8 is a strong contender having produced 5 of our winners....

If you were looking for the ‘most-competitive’ stall, then stall 15 would be the one to note – producing 2 winners and 12 placers from 39 runners at a place strike rate of 35.8%. Stall 20 has been pretty good too....

But that’s just fun and games. More statistical anomaly than something you can rely on happening again this weekend....

Better to look at the stall numbers in blocks – low, middle, and high. But we’re going to do this a little differently….

There was a time you got 28 runners in these Ayr sprints. But not now. The maximum field size these days is 25 and we’re going to look at the figures like this: low (stalls 1 to 8), middle (stalls 9 to 17) and high (stalls 18 to 25).

And what that looks like is this....

Stall Record Low - High

In terms of wins and places, horses produce those kinds of performances from all parts of the track. There is no obvious stall advantage making itself felt in the figures....

Having produced 17 actual race winners – and winners being the name of the game – you might take the view that the low side of the draw is the favoured place to be....

I wouldn’t argue you with you. But here’s something else to consider….

The table below highlights the performances of stalls 1 to 4 and stalls 22 to 25 – the top- and bottom-4 stalls on the 6f track….

Stall Record 1-4 & 22-25

Those 8 stalls produced 12 of our 41 winners – and plenty of placers. What this tells us is that being drawn on a wing – close to a rail – is no bad thing at Ayr….

Taken together, the Low-4 stalls and the High-4 stalls produce these figures….

Stall Record L4&H4

The total place strike rate is just that little bit better than if you were focusing solely on the horses drawn lowest....

  • What does all the prove?

I’m not sure what – if anything at all – I have proved or unproven with these figures....

Probably not much at all, truth be told....

But that is how it is with these kinds of number-crunching exercises. You put the pan in the water and see what you bring out....

Sometimes you find a few nuggets you can use. Occasionally you are not much wiser for the experience.

Most times you just get bits and pieces of intelligence that don’t point directly to winners but do give you information to factor into your thinking....

That’s probably where we are today....

  • The final word….

That’s all from me for now....

I’ll be back with more tomorrow....

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd