Last week’s Cox Plate controversy involving Gai Waterhouse and John Singleton prompted plenty of discussion about barrier draws, both before and after the great race. Choosing barrier 11 for More Joyous quite obviously backfired, but as form analysts we don’t draw all encompassing conclusions from a single race. Instead we will look at all Melbourne and Sydney metropolitan meetings since 2007 from a punting perspective, rather than what trainers focus on which is purely the horses winning chance. So how does the market factor in the relative importance of barrier positions? The answer is that inside barriers are over-rated and over-bet. Individual tracks will be covered later, but would you believe there is a not a single metropolitan NSW or Victorian track where the barrier 1-4 bracket was the best performer? Let’s start with the overall numbers:
Compelling numbers and with a clear progression from inside out. And since we are dealing with a sample size of close to 100,000 runners we can have a lot of confidence regarding the validity of these results. Now let’s break it down by each track, starting with the barrier 1-4 bracket where you can see a double digit loss on turnover at every venue except for Canterbury and Moonee Valley:
Moving on to the middle barrier bracket and these draws were better betting propositions than the inside at all but two tracks:
Then we have outside barriers:
So at 7 of the 10 tracks the best bracket was outside barriers. At the other 3 tracks middle barriers were best, while there was not a single venue where inside barriers were the most profitable for punters. Before finishing off with the barrier brackets side-by-side here is a quick summary of each track: Canterbury: Bucks the trend since outside barriers perform worse. Caulfield: Outside barriers are clearly better value. Flemington: Not a huge differential other than inside barriers are overbet. Moonee Valley: Outside barriers perform well, but the poor profitability of middle gates adds an element of doubt. Randwick: Avoid inside barriers. Randwick Kensington: Clear profit from the more than 1100 runners drawn wide. Rosehill: Middle barriers performed the best. Sandown Hillside: Outside barriers clearly the best value. Sandown Lakeside: Ditto. Warwick Farm: The runaway #1 track for the betting advantage of outside barriers.