Drawn wide can mean drawn well

“Drawn well today” seems to be an automatic quote when racing commentators are assessing the chances of horses drawn in barrier one. But our job is to disregard opinions stated as fact. Instead we have to look at things from a different angle to the typical commentator or everyday punter. Before we get to how the betting markets assess barriers, let’s look purely at beaten margins relative to barrier position. A recent post on the Ausrace forum quoted the following stats: You can see that the inside barriers are of some advantage, but the difference between barrier 1 and barrier 12 or 13 is only half a length. And even that difference may be inflated a little because some horses trapped wide can be beaten a long way, thus blowing out the average beaten distance. So that table above covers barriers purely from a beaten margin perspective, but what about what we as punters really care about and that is the profitability of inside versus outside barriers. Let’s take a look at the statistics for a 24 month period (2009 and 2010) and compare barrier 1 with the extreme outside barrier in each field size to see which of those is a better betting proposition.  Just to clarify, we are looking at barrier 10 in a 10 horse field, barrier 11 in an 11 horse field and so on. Barriers two The extreme outside barrier is an 8% better punting proposition than barrier 1 and those stats show quite clearly that the betting market tends to over-rate the advantage of being drawn inside. So many punters avoid backing horses drawn wide that they actually become better betting propositions than those drawn inside. So what type of horse is particularly suited to a wide barrier? Contrary to popular opinion, the extreme outside actually suits on-pace runners because they are often overlooked by the market as being drawn poorly, when in fact they have the tactical speed to overcome this. Certain courses also suit outside barriers, whether that is because horses can run straight at the apex of the first bend rather than being on the inside and having to navigate around the turn, or because of a long straight giving every runner a chance, or the camber of the track, or many other reasons. While all the raw numbers above support backing horses from outside barriers, this is obviously a general rule and one that shouldn’t be followed in isolation. You should still analyse every race on an individual basis because the track, distance, jockey, race pace, horse’s racing pattern, weights and recent form are just a few of the other factors that also need to be considered before you place your bet.