Draw Bias on UK Racecourses
We’re often asked about the importance of draw bias and we use a lot of this information when making our tracker selections so the following is a summary of what we feel is useful information in making your selections.
Not all UK racecourses have a draw advantage, but most do at certain trips. Knowing which ones, and in which types of race, can greatly improve your chances of making your horse racing betting more profitable.
A draw bias exists if there is a distinct advantage to horses drawn in certain stall positions. This usually happens if the surface the horses run on is different on one part of the course compared to another.
It can also happen if the shape of the course provides a shorter route to the winning post (such as on the inside of a bend).
All courses should have natural draw biases due to the shape of the circuit. Whether a course is left handed or right handed those drawn closest to the rail should have more of an advantage than those drawn the widest.
When using draw bias figures, don’t just concentrate on using the figures where the draw is shown to be favourable but also look at unfavourable draws as well – we often look to see how a horse has performed from a statistically ‘poor draw’ as they often go under the radar next time out.
Best Tools for assessing draw bias
By far the best draw tool analyser we have come across is operated by geegeez that used in combination with their pace maps can give you a great guide to how a race may be ran.
Check out the visuals below, where you can easily filter out:
- Overall Draw: View performance of high, middle and low drawn horses by field size and going; filter by win/place %, win/place PL or A/E (Average/Expected) or IV (Impact Value)
- Specific Draw: View performance of individual starting stalls by field size and going; filter by win/place %, win/place PL or A/E or IV
- Draw / Pace Heat Map: Colour coded view of how draw/ run style combinations have performed over course/distance
- Draw / Pace Table: Tabular view of how draw/ run style combinations have performed over course/distance
The pace map show the probable number of front runners in a race, helping to visualise how it will be run before it’s been run
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Draw Bias At The Racecourses
The straight course at Ascot sees races from 5f through to 1m. In very big fields you occasionally see one side of the course favoured although it can be difficult to predict which side they split.
In medium sized fields, low draws occasionally hold the whip hand and traditionally on soft or heavy ground there used to be a very strong high draw bias on the straight courses, especially in big fields.
However, it’s best to check where the pace is predicted to come from as to which side of the draw to go with?
On the straight course at Ayr they vary the position of the stalls, but regardless of stall position, high draws have the advantage. It seems that the bias is slightly stronger when the stalls are placed high as would be expected.
On the round course there is a slight advantage to low draws over 7f, but the bias is traditionally stronger over 1m. Since 2005 14 of the 32 handicaps of 10+ runners over 1m have been won by one of the lowest three draws.
Over 5f11yds there have been twenty 10+ runner handicaps in the past four seasons of which 10 were won by the top third of the draw. Low draws can go off too quickly and get picked off late by higher drawn horses coming fast and late. Over 5f161yds there seems little in the draw.
On the round course there seems little bias of real significance.
The 5f trip at Beverley has long been regarded as arguably the strongest draw bias C&D in the country. Along with the 5 furlongs at Chester, the 5 furlongs at Beverley is probably the biggest and best known draw bias in the country. Quite simply low drawn runners at Beverley over 5 furlongs have a massive advantage.
The only problem with this is that everybody knows it, and therefore this fact will already be built into the price of a specific horse and so its very hard for knowledge of this particular draw bias to make you any money. The bias is not just due to being drawn on the inside of a tight turn, but also the nature of the 5 furlong course at Beverley means that due to the undulations of the course, the wider drawn runners are actually starting lower down the hill than the inside runners. Which is obviously a disadvantage.
Low draws are perceived to have the advantage over 5f, but middle to high draws have more than held their own in recent years in fields of 10 or more runners. Too often front-runners go off far too quickly in the first two furlongs and hence tire and get collared late on. It is rare to get genuinely soft ground at Brighton, but if there is jockeys tend to bring their runners near side which can give high draws the advantage.
Over 6f very low draws have had a slight edge in recent years, but it is not significant enough to make money following them. As with 5f races, on genuinely soft ground a high draw bias can occur if the horses come near side.
Over 7f and 1m there is no significant draw bias, and this is also the case at all longer distances at the course.
Over the two sprints there is usually an advantage to higher draws, especially on better ground. An example of this occurred on 16th June 2008 in the Lakeland Willow Water handicap where three of the top four draws filled the first three places. The very highest drawn horse has performed extremely well in the last 4 seasons winning 8 of the 41 handicaps with 10+ runners.
At 7f or more there is no apparent draw bias.
Very low draws have a decent advantage especially on good or firmer. The 4 lowest draws have provided 17 of the 38 winners in 10+ runner handicaps over the past four years. Indeed, you could have made a profit by simply backing the four lowest draws in every qualifying race. For punters who like the straight forecast bet, then it may be worth considering perming the three lowest draws in 5f handicaps of 10 or more runners. In soft ground the bias can turn around with high draws having an edge, but this has been less apparent more recently.
Over 6f low draws do have an advantage, but recent results show that you can actually win from any part of the draw. Over 7f there is a perceived low draw bias, but one does not actually exist. At 1m4f or more there is no draw bias.
Chepstow is a specialists track. Its undulations have to be seen in the flesh to be believed and they tend to unbalance the big long striding horse. These undulations appear to favour front running horses at the course, who with a clever jockey on board can change the tempo throughout the race.
The 5f trip has long been one of the strongest draw biases.
Over half of the races went to stalls 1 or 2. Not surprisingly A blind profit would have been made by backing both draws 1 and 2.
Over 6f low draws continue to have the advantage although there are far fewer 6f races per season at the course.
The extended 7f trip (7f122yds) sees a more even playing field in terms of the draw. Indeed low draws have actually performed marginally worse than middle / high draws in recent years.
Over 1m2f or more one would prefer to be drawn lower rather than high, but there is essentially not much in it.
Over 5f there used to be a strong high draw bias. High draws still have an edge although it is not as strong as in the past. The high draw bias though remains over 6f.
Over 7f there is often little in the draw, although when a big field lines up higher draws tend to come out best. Over 1m there used to be a low draw bias in big fields but more recently it seems you can win from anywhere, although you would still prefer to be close to either rail rather than a more central berth.
Over 1m2f on the round course low draws traditionally have been best.
There have only been 9 handicaps with 10+ runners over 5f in the past four seasons and hence it is difficult to come to any concrete draw conclusions. Traditionally a higher draw has been preferred, but the recent stats indicate there is not much in it. The same limited data sample occurs over 6f, but low draws seem to have an edge here, which again has traditionally been the case.
Over 7f low to middle draws hold sway, but there seems to be little in the draw at distances of 1m114yds or more.
On the straight course (5/6f) middle to high draws have an advantage in big fields, but the bias is not as strong as it used to be. The big sprint at the course the Stewards Cup used to be totally dominated by high draws, but this has not been the case in the last two years.
Over 7f there used to be a very strong high draw bias but Goodwood spent most of 2008 moving the far rail meaning that the fastest strip of ground was not used. Indeed, in 2008, only two of the fifteen 7f races with 10+ runners were won by horses from double figure draws.
Over 1m it has been a similar story although the one race where a high draw bias continues to be strong is in the Totesport mile (formerly known as the Golden Mile). The race is run on the Friday of the Glorious 5 day meeting and the far rail is pushed back out to its old position.
Over 1m1f or more there is no draw bias.
For many years there’s been a high draw bias on the straight course which strengthened in softer conditions.
Over 1m high draws have a slight advantage, while over 1m1f the high draw bias seems stronger. Indeed 10 of the last 14 handicaps with 10+ runners over 1m1f have been won by the top third of the draw.
On the straight course (5/6f) middle to high draws have a slight advantage. There are not many races over 7f, but low draws definitely have the edge. At 1m+ there is no draw bias.
Kempton AW uses a polytrack surface that is deeper and not as quick as Lingfield or Wolves.
The course is generally a fair track with a cut away in the straight however, the 5f, 9 & 10f are run off the inner loop with a very short run-in that definitely favour’s the front running types.
Over 5f there is a strong draw bias with the 5 furlong course at Kempton probably the tightest 5 furlong course in the country and therefore not surprisingly it is a massive advantage to be drawn low. A lot of the 5 furlong races are won at the start, when a low drawn runner breaks quickly and makes all. With the very short straight it is very hard for front runners who have gone the pace to be pegged back. The 6 & 7f course’s on the outer loop displays similar traits
Over 1m+ there is no significant draw bias.
In general Leicester’s straight course is a fair test in terms of the draw, although occasionally one side does seem strongly favoured.
Over 1m on the round course middle to high draws seem to have a slight advantage. At 1m2f or more there is no draw bias.
The turf course is used a lot less often than the AW course and is a left handed course of around a mile and a quarter in distance. Their is also a straight 7 furlong course. The straight course is very much a course for speed horses. It is steeply downhill for the first 3 furlongs and then still downhill but not quite as steeply for the rest of the straight.
A strong bias appears towards those drawn high on the far rail in front of the grandstand that is a lot quicker than other parts of the course. This fact means that in longer races front runners are favoured as they are able to bag that far rail, and any challengers have to come round them on the slower ground.
Over the sprint distances at Lingfield on the straight course; 5, 6 & 7f there is a massive draw bias favouring horses that can get to the stand-side rail. Horses who can front run and get the stands rail have a big advantage, whilst on the round course there is no draw bias.
As Kempton, they use ‘polytrack’ and probably the fastest of all the AW racecourses in the UK.
The believe is that front runners cannot win at Lingfield and because of this you often get falsely run races as nobody wants to lead. It is actually possible to win from the front if a horse gets given a soft lead. Otherwise the final turn which is preceded by a downhill section appears to act as a kind of slingshot similar to that in cycling, and the lead can change many times in the last furlong as horses shoot from the pack.
Middle to low draws have a slight advantage over 5/6f but it is not particularly significant. Over 7f very low draws have statistically been at a slight disadvantage.
Over 1m+ there is no draw bias.
It is perceived that low draws have the advantage over 5f, but the recent draw statistics do not back this up. The perceived low draw bias is also supposed to strengthen on good to soft or softer. They do seem to perform better under such conditions, but any low draw bias is minimal.
On the round course over 7f/1m there can be a slight advantage to higher draws, and low draws do tend to struggle a little over the 1m trip.
There are very few 10+ runner handicaps at Newbury each year and there seems little in the draw. Having said that, high draws have performed below par recently. There is nothing in the draw from 6f to 1m — races that are also run on the straight course, although as with many tracks you occasionally an unexplained draw bias. Indeed twice in the past 3 years there were 7f handicaps that saw the first three home drawn in the top three stalls. However, it seems more a course to look for outliers (horses that have run well from a poor draw).
On the round course there is no draw bias.
Rowley Mile Course
There can be a bias on the straight course, especially in big fields, but as with any wide straight track the bias is unpredictable. Also they have been known to move rails which can have an affect. Interesting the 2m2f Cesarewitch run in October usually gives high to middle draws the advantage. Of the last 16 winners, 14 were drawn 15 or higher.
The July course is divided into two and hence they vary which straight part of the course they race on. In recent years there has been very little in the draw. Some years ago, especially at the July meeting, high draws occasionally had a significant advantage. It is a course worth keeping an eye on as if a bias does appear at the start of the meeting it could pay dividends if you are quick to notice it.
Low numbers are best on the straight course in soft or heavy ground.
Over 5f , low draws had the best of it, and over the past four seasons low draws have definitely had the advantage in soft / heavy ground.
Over 6f there’s not too much in the draw and overall this extra furlong seems to balance things out. Occasionally individual meetings can have a strong rail bias and if there is more than one sprint on the card then you should be able to take advantage of it in later races.
Over 1m very high draws are at a slight disadvantage, especially when the field size gets to 15 or more. There is no draw bias at longer distances.
Over 5f low draws tend to have a slight advantage on fast ground. However, it is rarely a very strong bias. Quite often over 6f very low draws go off too quickly and fail to last home on this stiff track. On good to soft or softer going, especially over 6f higher draws can have an advantage especially the wider they race in the straight.
Over 1m low draws have a slight advantage over middle draws that in turn have a slight advantage over higher draws. In the fifty one handicaps with 10+ runners in the past four seasons 13 were won by one of the two lowest drawn horses.
Over 1m2f or more there is no draw bias.
The straight course sees races from 5f to 1m and generally the runner tend to run down the centre of the course rather than against either rail. Hence middle draws can have a slight edge, more especially over 5 and 6f. However, any bias is minimal. Over 7f and 1m you can win from any draw position and it is rare for a race, let alone a meeting to display anything significant in terms of draw bias.
There is no draw bias on the round course.
Over 5 and 6f in very big fields it normally pays to be drawn close to either rail, although unusually in 2008 middle draws more than held their own. The usual rule of thumb is that on good to firm ground you want to be drawn low, while on good to soft or softer you want to be drawn high. The big sprint at the course is the 6f Great St Wilfrid and twice in the past four years very high draws have totally dominated.
Over 1m high draws have a decent advantage especially in big fields. There is no draw bias at longer distances.
There are very few handicaps over 5f at Salisbury but when there are it usually pays to be drawn high near to the far rail. Having said that it probably more down to pace than draw, as over 6f-1m there tends to be little in the draw.
There is no draw bias at longer distances of 1m2f+.
In the mid 1990s the 5f trip was one of the most biased in the country in terms of the draw. High draws totally dominated. However, since then the bias has been far less evident and it is usually due to the far rail being moved inwards from time to time.
Over 7f and 1m low draws are a slight disadvantage but it is not insurmountable by any means. At 1m1f or more there is no draw bias.
Over 5f on the straight course very high draws tend to be at a disadvantage. This is because they are often forced to rail under the near side rail where the ground is slower. From 6f upwards there is no draw bias. There are very few race meetings on the turf course, but over 6 and 7f low draws do have a slight advantage.
Over 5f high draws have a significant advantage. At present this C&D looks the most draw biased in the country. Interestingly the bias is far less strong over 6f, although a high draw is generally preferable.
In the past few seasons the bigger the field, the bigger the edge to higher draws over 6f. One point worth noting however, is although soft ground is rare, when it is genuinely soft, low draws become much more competitive and sometimes have the upper hand when the field is stretched right across the track.
Over 7f there is a perceived bias, the 7 furlongs at Thirsk is around one turn, and the draw stats seem to indicate a medium advantage in being drawn low when the ground is good or better. When the ground is soft it actually appears to be better to be drawn high, but generally you can win from anywhere. There is no draw bias at 1m or further.
Low draws have the advantage over 5f, 5½f and 6f, with the bias seemingly stronger over 6.
Over 7f and 1m low draws continue to hold the advantage, and draw 1 has a particular good record in 10+ runner handicaps (8 wins from 44).
Over 1m3f the low draw bias seems very strong and again draw 1 has proved very successful with 7 wins from 27 in 10+ runner handicaps.
In recent years the course has seen numerous rail movements and essentially there is nothing in the draw on good or firmer ground over 5/6f. However, on good to soft or softer low draws often have the edge as they swing wide and end up against the far rail. Over 1m or further there is no draw bias.
Over 5f low draws have traditionally had the advantage and although it may not be as strong as it used to be, you would definitely prefer a low draw over a high one. Over 6f, once again a lower draw is preferable but the advantage is slight. Over 7f or further there is no draw bias.
On the straight course there is usually little in the draw, although in 2008 over the two sprint trips (5/6f) high draws seemed to have the edge. It is worth keeping an eye on early next season to see if that trend continues. On the round course there is no draw bias.
On the straight course over 5/6f they tend to race down the middle steering clear of either rail. Middle draws seem to have a very slight edge over 6f, but it is not that significant. On the round course low draws have a slight edge at all distances up to 1m4f, although it seems at its strongest at 1m. This bias over 1m becomes stronger on good to firm ground.
Most of the handicaps over 6f see 15 or 16 runners line up, but they have not raced over this trip for the past two seasons. In these big field handicaps middle to high draws have a definite advantage. Over 1m1f it is possible to win from any draw position. There is no draw bias over 1m4f and further.
There have been only 24 races over 5f over the past four seasons. Of these, 19 of them have had 10 or more runners, and the lowest four draws have combined to win just one race between them. This may come as a surprise as the 5f trip at Bellewstown turns left-handed with around 2f to go. Over 5f it seems that middle to high draws actually have the advantage, and it does pay to race up with or close to the pace.
Over 1 mile low draws do seem to hold the advantage. There is no draw bias over 1m4f and further.
Over the two sprint trips there seems very little in the draw. However, at 7f there is a strong bias with high draws having a definite advantage. In the past four seasons there have been 15 handicap races with 10 or more runners over 7f and draws 1 to 4 have failed to win a race between them.
From 1m to 1m2f low draws continue to struggle as high to middle draws have an advantage. There is no draw bias over 1m4f and further.
The sprint track sees races over 5 and 6f — it is a wide track and high draws tend to tack over to the centre, while low draws stay up the near side rail. 6f races tend to have very big fields — usually over 20 with the maximum number being 30. There seems to be no consistent draw bias over the two sprint trips, but occasionally one part of the draw is favoured over the other.
For punters who like the straight forecast bet, then it may be worth considering perming the three highest draws in 6f handicaps of 10 or more runners.
On the round course over 7f there has not been a noticeable draw bias in recent years, although over 1m high draws do seem to have a slight advantage. The slight advantage to high draws is evident also at 1m2f. Handicaps over 1m4f also have shown a very slight edge to higher draws.
Over 5f high to middle draws have the advantage. This is perhaps no surprise as higher draws drawn next to the inside rail. The 5f trip turns quite sharply right around two furlongs from home which further helps higher draws. Over 7f a similar draw bias exists, there is no draw bias over 1m2f and further.
The shortest distance at the course is 1m3f and at this distance and further there appears to be no draw bias.
Over 5f low to middle draws seem to hold a slight advantage, while over 6f the stats suggest the bias to low draws is stronger. Around 50 of 10+ runner 6f handicaps have been won by the bottom third of the draw.
Over 7f there seems to be no advantage in the draw, while at 1m low draws statistically have a very small edge. There is no draw bias over 1m3f and further.
Over 6f there is occasionally a high draw bias . The high draw bias has traditionally been at its strongest on yielding or softer going. There have only been five 10+ runner handicaps on this type of ground in the past four years, but 10 of the 15 top three positions have been secured by high draws.
Over 7f high draws once again have the edge. 15 of the 21 races with 10+ runners were won by horses drawn in a double figure stall. Once again it looks that this bias becomes slightly stronger on easy ground. Over 1m1f and 1m2f, low draws again struggle and a middle to high berth has been a definite advantage in recent years. There is no draw bias over 1m4f and further.
There are a good number of races over 7f over a season and the draw stats point to a middle to high draw bias. In 10+ runner handicaps the top five stalls have provided 13 wins compared with 5 wins for the bottom five stalls.
Over 1m, the stats seem to suggest the bias evens out, however the 1m4f trip has seen low draws really struggle in recent years. Whether this is simply an anomaly or not it is difficult to say. There is no draw bias over 1m6f and further.
A few years ago over 7f low draws did best on faster ground, while high draws did best on softer. However, there seems little in the draw these days at this distance. Indeed overall it is course that offers no real draw bias at any distance.
There are no races over sprint trips at Killarney and there is no draw bias at any of the trips of 1m+.
We hope that’s provided you with some useful starting points and food for thought…….don’t forget to check out the geegeez offer where you can trial it live for 30 days for just £1.00 at the link below 🙂