There are 60 licensed racecourses in Great Britain and not two of them are alike. With the exception of Chelmsford and Ffos Las all the courses date back to 1927 or earlier maturating their own characteristics, shape, size, cambers, gradients, undulations, right and left-hand travel (including ambidexterity), altitude and various surface-types. No other country in the racing world has our course diversity, but has this certitude been truly factored/translated into our betting decisions?
Scant consideration for the course title
We would suggest not, personal experience confirms a serious lack of learning in this regard. Winning or losing in professional sport often comes down to the smallest of margins - a bet is often determined by those small margins. Seasoned bettors to pundits tend to focus on the form of the horse, trainer, jockey and the price, mistakenly there is scant consideration for the the course title. If accepting the opening premise we must classify the course or its inherent nature into help or hindrance categories, if the course negatively impacts upon the bet, we stand down and wait for another opportunity.
Catterick v Beverley
For example, a small nimble speedy juvenile suited to a fast 5f has two entries, one at Beverley and the other at Catterick - which race gives the best percentage chance of success? We do not need an opinion, mathematics and common sense gives us the answer. The Beverley 5f is uphill all the way and takes a lot of getting particularly if the word soft is in the going title. In total contrast the Catterick 5f is downhill all the way but with an extreme downhill first furlong, this clearly enables the small nimble type and not the large galloping sort. These two courses could not be more different but how many of us actually know that?
Every racehorse has optimum conditions
The configuration of a racecourse should be a prime consideration before wagering. Every racehorse that has ever been born has its own optimum conditions that have been genetically predetermined, our job is to marry a bet to the racecourse and surface whenever possible, failing that we seek conditions to suit.
To hone our betting we set up a composite antechamber and incorporated the course/surface the horse would race on, with other critical features including trainer form, distance, class and jockey competence. Each element receives different weighting but more of that in another post. To assist, we developed templates of most of the UK Racecourses for reference and periodically refer to it when considering compatibility of horse to course to surface. Updating the template is very simple as the information is readily available and once done makes for a most persuasive overview. So what form does this template take?
Overview and some key elements
Primarily, we are most interested in recent form so use statistics for the current year, when starting a new year we refer to the previous quarter until we have a large enough sample to replace them. The template is made up of an overview containing four key elements. Rather than explain it we would like to walk the reader through the first example then show details of another three. The four elements highlight how the favourites perform in both handicap and non-handicap races for the different age groups, then the trainer, jockey and owner statistics at that particular course. Even a cursory look will give the reader a switched-on feel for the course and we promise its pertinence will be of significant value.
Tomorrow we are going racing at Chepstow, so what must we know before thinking about placing a bet? We need a betting landscape that reflects what is happening at that particular course and suggest there are two essential actions before looking at the runners and riders.
The first is to look at the 5 year results of favourites in the different disciplines, the second is to find out who are the major players at the course. This must help filtration even if it does not find the winner. We have already prepared for our visit to Chepstow tomorrow and offer the following information for our friends within Owners Group who hope to see Blackjack Kentucky win his first race:
Suffice it to say The Racing Horse never considers wagering until we have understood what has been happening at our RACECOURSE TEMPLATES!
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