Beverley 5f – the most sprint biased trip in the country

by David Renham (Novemeber 2005)

MANY racecourses are “biased” in some way or other. These biases have become more understood in recent years with mass coverage from satellite TV and detailed reporting in newspapers and racing magazines. Some courses help front-runners, some favour galloping types, while others produce course specialists. Knowing which courses suit which type of horse is obviously a big help, and one bias that has been influential for many years is the draw. However, it needs to be pointed out that many of the draw biases that were around 6 or 7 years ago are either not as strong as they were, or have disappeared completely. “Draw bias is not what it used to be” - this is a comment I hear on a regular basis. For many punters draw bias has provided some money spinning wins in recent times, but as with many things, when a good source of highlighting winners is found, within a few years the edge starts to disappear. This is very much a horse racing trait - good ideas gain an initial edge because the majority of people do not use that “winner finding” approach. As time goes on however, the betting public and the bookmakers catch up, and as a result the prices tend to contract and the value begins to disappear. This has happened with the draw, but to confound the problem course officials have been using other means of negating potential draw bias. Running rails are often moved in order to keep horses off the fastest strip of ground, and watering can also make a difference.

Before we begin to write off the draw completely though, I still believe there is an “edge” for the educated “draw punter”. I maintain that at certain tracks a poor draw can still all but wipe out the chance of a horse, while a good draw increases one’s chances considerably. One such track is our old friend Beverley, and the most biased trip at this course is over 5 furlongs. Essentially, the fastest strip of ground is next to the far rail, and higher draws are positioned nearest to that rail at the start of the race. Hence high draws have a considerable advantage, while very low draws find it very difficult to win.

My findings in this article are based on results from the past six seasons (2000 to 2005), and in races of 10 or more runners. When analysing each race, I divide the draw into thirds - those drawn in the bottom third (low), those in the middle third, and those in the top third (high). On a completely fair course the winning percentages for each third should be around 33% and, while some courses hover around that figure, others clearly do not. Beverley is a case in point.

All races

To begin with I looked at all races over the 5f trip at Beverley with the required number of runners. There were 147 qualifying races and the percentages for each “third” were as follows :

Top third

Middle third

Bottom third

Winning %




Placed %




Statistical conclusion: high draws have a massive advantage, and it is extremely difficult to win from a low stall.

Points to note

1. The highest stall has accounted for 24 of the 147 winners (16.3%). The second highest stall did even better with 30 wins (20.4%). In contrast the lowest stall accounted for just 3 winners (2%), as did the second lowest stall.

2. If, in every race, you’d placed a 1pt reverse forecast on the horses drawn in the top two stalls, you would have made a 163pt profit (56% profit on turnover).

Conclusion for all races

Clearly the stats are massively favouring high draws here. The top “third” are roughly six times more likely to win than the bottom “third”. Narrowing that down, the two highest numbered stalls are 9 times more likely to win than the lowest two numbered stalls.

Handicap races only

Traditionally, any draw bias tends to be stronger and more reliable in handicap races. The reason being that handicaps are races that theoretically give each horse the same percentage chance of winning. Better horses are penalised by having to carry more weight in an attempt to slow them down. In practice it is does not quite work like that, but handicaps are still by far the most reliable type of race for this type of study.

In the six-year period there were 58 handicaps giving the following statistics:

Top third

Middle third

Bottom third

Winning %




Placed %




Points to note

1. 22 of the 58 handicaps (37.9%) went to a runner drawn in one of the top two stalls. Statistically these draw positions have performed three times better than they should have. The two lowest stalls produced just 2 winners.

2. 11 of the 58 handicaps went to a horse from the top stall. If, in every handicap, you had placed 1pt on the highest stall, you’d have made just over 8pts profit. Not a massive profit, but a profit nonetheless. Backing solely the second highest stall in handicaps would have produced a profit of 15pts.

3 If, in every handicap, you had permed the top three stalls in six 1pt tricasts, you would have made a massive 322pt profit (92% profit on turnover). Be warned though, only 3 of the 58 handicaps produced winning tricasts and hence on average a tricast like this is likely to come up once every two years. Having said that, this could be a profitable strategy for the patient punter.

More detailed summary of Beverley (5f)
The five-furlong course here is well known to be one of the most biased in the country, not only due to a faster strip of ground, and also because a kink in the track at about the three-furlong point makes it hard for horses drawn out wide (low) to get close to that favoured far rail.

Clearly the draw punter has a good opportunity to make a profit, but it still pays to tread carefully, as there is a wide variety in terms race-class, ranging from Listed events through to sellers. The races to concentrate on are usually the handicaps, as this is definitely a specialists’ track:

Beyond The Clouds won in 00, 01 and 02, and has been poorly drawn on most occasions since. A good example of this is when he ran a blinder to finish 6th (beaten 3 lengths) when drawn 3 of 19 in August ’04.

Sir Sandrovitch won in 01 and 03 (from stall 5 of 20, five days after an amazing second from stall 1). He was also beaten a neck into 2nd in 2005 from another poor draw (8) in a 19 runner race.

Catch The Cat won in 02 and 03, and also finished third twice in June 2003 from low draws. He has raced at Beverley only twice in the last two years with a best finishing position of 2nd.

Le Meridien won one apiece in 01, 02 and 03.

It is clear that high draws have a massive advantage in handicaps, with 50 of the 58 such races in the period under review having been won by something drawn in the top half.

The advent of betting exchanges means runners drawn low in handicaps can be laid (only 6 of the 348 runners drawn in the lowest six stalls from the aforementioned examples won. If you were able to lay at SP, your profit would have amounted to 257 points). However, one knows that laying at SP is almost impossible and my estimate would be that a profit of nearer 180 points would more realistic. A word of caution, though, many of the horses drawn 1 to 6 trade at big prices, and I would advise not laying anything at 25-1+ just in case a 33-1 shot or bigger springs an upset. There have been two 33-1 winners drawn between 1 and 6 and they could well have traded at around the 60-1 to 70-1 mark. Hence my adjusted profit figures!

Conclusion for handicap races

In big-field handicaps, concentrate on the top four or five stalls, giving preference to the highest stall, over the second highest, etc. For the exotic punters, the tricast perming method could be the one for you.

horse racing uk
Copyright 2005

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