I thought I would share with you my latest draw research and give you a
flavour of what you would find in a new book to be published by Sportsworld Publishing
(due out April 26th 2004).
I have collated data from 2000 to 2003, using races of 10 or more runners.
This article is not concerned with sprint distances, but looks at longer distances at the following three courses Hamilton, Haydock and Pontefract.
There are two longer distances at Hamilton that provide interest for the draw punter.
The distances in question are 1 mile & 65yds, and 1 mile 1 furlong & 36yds. Both distances
are round on the round course at Hamilton and higher draws are drawn next to the inside rail. Combining
the statistics for both distances in the past four seasons has produced the following percentages
(50 qualifying races) :

Top “third” of
the draw 
Middle “third” of the draw 
Bottom“third” of the draw 
Winning percentage 
48 
26 
26 
Placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd percentage 
38.7 
34 
27.3 
Higher draws enjoy a decent edge and this advantage is strengthened in handicaps.
The handicap statistics read as follows :

Top “third” of
the draw 
Middle “third” of the draw 
Bottom“third” of the draw 
Winning percentage 
51.9 
29.6 
18.5 
The 27 handicaps accentuated the high draw bias and made it more difficult for low draws. As the field size increases the bias seems to strengthen, as the results from handicap races with 15 or more runners indicate. There were only 11 qualifying races, and 9 of the winners (81%) were drawn in one of the five highest numbered stalls. In contrast the seven lowest numbered stalls provided no winners!
In 2003, there were 14 races, with the top "third" of the draw providing 8 of the winners, and there were two good examples of how strong the high draw bias can be. On the 18th June in the 16 runner Tote Bookmakers Handicap, Cyclonic Storm (drawn 18) beat runners drawn 12, 16, 11 and 15. These five horses ended up 9 lengths clear of the remainder of the field. That race was over 1 mile 1 furlong & 36yds, while the extended mile trip (1 mile & 65yds) saw a similar result on the 29th September. The Famous Grouse Alex Ferguson Final Fling Handicap saw Qualitair Wings (drawn 12) beat runners drawn 16, 13, 11, 15, 9 and 14 (16 ran). Seven of the eight highest drawn horses filled the first seven places.
To conclude, over 1 mile and 1 mile 1 furlong, it is a definite advantage being drawn high. This bias strengthens when the field size reaches 15 or more.
The round course at Haydock is lefthanded and hence lower draws are positioned closest to the inside rail. Looking at the overall statistics of 7 furlong races (37 in total), there seems little advantage to be had being drawn low :

Top “third” of
the draw 
Middle “third” of the draw 
Bottom“third” of the draw 
Winning percentage 
27 
37.8 
35.1 
Placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd percentage 
27 
37.8 
35.1 
Amazing correlation with the win and the win/placed percentages! High draws seem at a marginal disadvantage, but there is no indication of any real low draw bias. However, the handicap results suggest that a bias does exist. There were 18 handicap races giving the following percentages :

Top “third” of
the draw 
Middle “third” of the draw 
Bottom“third” of the draw 
Winning percentage 
16.7 
27.8 
55.6 
6 of the 18 handicaps (33.3%) were by one of the two lowest numbered stalls, whereas the two highest numbered stalls managed just 1 win between them.
Ground conditions seem to play a part with any low draw bias as on good to firm or firmer ground the bottom "third" of the draw provided 8 of the 16 winners (50%). There were only 6 handicaps on good to firm or firmer, but all 6 were won by horses drawn in one of the four lowest numbered stalls.
Over a mile, lower draws have a slight edge, but it is not particularly significant.
To conclude, over 7 furlongs lower draws have the advantage in handicaps. Having said that, there were only 3 qualifying races in 2003, all were won by horses drawn in the top "third" of the draw.
There are no 7 furlong races at Pontefract, but they do race over a mile. There have been 64 qualifying races during this fouryear period over a mile producing the following statistics :

Top “third” of
the draw 
Middle “third” of the draw 
Bottom“third” of the draw 
Winning percentage 
23.4 
26.6 
50 
Placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd percentage 
27.6 
30.7 
41.7 
Low draws have a useful advantage and clearly being drawn near to the inside rail is an advantage at this distance (not so at 5 or 6 furlongs). The two lowest numbered stalls have had good records winning 16 of the 64 races between them (25%).
There were 41 handicap races with 10 or more runners giving the following percentages :

Top “third” of
the draw 
Middle “third” of the draw 
Bottom“third” of the draw 
Winning percentage 
26.8 
26.8 
46.4 
2003 saw low draws continue to hold the advantage with the horses from the bottom "third" of the draw providing 9 of 16 winners. On the 30th April there was a good example of the low draw bias over a mile in the Ossett Selling Handicap. The 19 runner event saw horses drawn in single figures fill all of the first six places. Golden Fact (drawn 9) beat runners drawn 1, 8, 4, 6 and 2.
To conclude, lower draws have the advantage over 1 mile at Pontefract. It should be noted that the two lowest numbered stalls have particularly good records.
For those readers interested, if you contact me at daverenham@drawn2win.co.uk I will give you details of a new book that I have written with Andrew Mount (author of Trend Horses). 