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Racing Journalists’ Seminar 2003 - Friday, 22 August 2003 Track Bias The facts and how punters can use this to their advantage Speaker : Mr J P Ridley.

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Presentation on theme: "Racing Journalists’ Seminar 2003 - Friday, 22 August 2003 Track Bias The facts and how punters can use this to their advantage Speaker : Mr J P Ridley."— Presentation transcript:


2 Racing Journalists’ Seminar Friday, 22 August 2003 Track Bias The facts and how punters can use this to their advantage Speaker : Mr J P Ridley Head of Racing Operations & Equestrian

3 Does track bias exist and it is a feature of Hong Kong racing? Track bias is a feature of racing around the world, but has become a much more widely discussed topic over the last 10 to 15 years in racing circles.

4 What causes track bias? There are three major factors that cause track bias.

5 1.The design and nature of the track 2.Usage of the track 3.Weather

6 1. The Design and Nature of the Track There are many design factors which will cause a pattern of racing which can advantage or disadvantage horses.

7 Some of these examples are : Small tight turning trackFavours front runners Location of starting point Starting points close to a turn favour inside drawn horse Radius of turns and design of turnSmall tight turns favour on-pace runners

8 Track camber (crossfalls on turns) and in the straight Causes bias in wet weather The longer the straight, it changes from an on-pace bias to an off- pace bias This has a major impact Length of straight run to winning post Type of surface, including type of grass

9 2. The usage pattern on a track will influence the performance of the track The amount of racing in many countries has increased considerably over the last 30 years and to help overcome some of the issues associated with the increase, the movable rail was introduced.

10 Racing usage last 10 seasons at Happy Valley (racedays only)

11 Racing usage last 10 seasons, Sha Tin

12 Examples of usage affecting track bias 1. Location of movable rail, affects track design and the pattern of racing 2. Track conditions in regard to track wear When the track shows signs of wear it favors back markers Horse racing away from wear near the rail will be advantaged

13 3. Kick-back When there is excess kick-back it can favour front runners 4. Track maintenance procedures eg. use of vertidrain Straight after track renovation, the track favours front runners for the first part of the programme

14 3. Weather condition will influence track performance Can favour on-pace horses- Very dry track - Rain affectedWill often favour off-pace horses - Racing during rainWhen a grass track dries out quickly after rain, it will often favour leaders or on-pace runners

15 Track Bias Assessment in Hong Kong The more obvious bias occurring in Hong Kong racing is at Happy Valley followed by the all- weather surface at Sha Tin while the Sha Tin turf track is less biased.

16 Happy Valley It is a small tight turning track which means it is best suited to front runners or “on the pace” horses for the majority of times. The location of the rail in the C and C+3 positions make this more pronounced due to the track design. The location of the starting points also affects the bias and this is even more pronounced with the 1000m and 1200m starting positions and favours horses drawn close to the inside rail.

17 The rail configuration at Happy Valley was changed commencing February 2000 to incorporate the worked back design. The following chart shows the comparison of winning runners before and after the introduction of the worked back rail.


19 Happy Valley Grass Track Happy Valley is a typical old style city venue track and as such the size of the venue has not allowed the incorporation of transitional bends before the main bend. This again helps favor front-runners or on-pace horses.

20 Sha Tin All-weather Track Most dirt or sand based all-weather tracks favour front runners - this is more evident if the race tempo is moderate. When the track is sealed during wet weather, these tracks become very favourable for front runners.

21 The track exhibits a small amount of bias, except Sha Tin Grass Track Fresh ground on the A track usually favours front runners for the first race programmed that meeting 1000 metres on the C and C+3 favour outside starting positions due to track design End of season when the track is showing wear due to the loss of the rye grass and is rain affected, it favours off-pace horses

22 Track bias does occur and can even change during a meeting as the ground changes Conclusion While there are general indicators as discussed, there are not always hard and fast rules and these predictions can be wrong

23 Track bias is a worldwide occurrence Understanding track design and track bias is an important part of race form analysis

24 Questions & Answers

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