There are so many different things for punters to consider before parting with their hard-earned cash with a bet on the horses.
Form, conditions of the track and the distance being raced should all be taken into consideration but the draw is often ignored and there is plenty of evidence that it should not be.
Which stall a horse is drawn in can have a huge influence on the outcome of a race and there are a few websites that help to separate fact from fiction in this regard.
The draw is extremely important in the shortest sprints but can still be a factor in races over six or seven furlongs and it will vary from track to track.
So why is it so important?
The nature of Flat racing on courses with many bends mean that those on the inside will run less distance than those draw wide and, while it is folly to suggest an animal will hold its position throughout the race, a wide stall will certainly disadvantage those who like to get in front early on.
On a track with only a small run to the first bend, it will be almost impossible for those drawn wide to hit the front before they turn, meaning they will have to weave their away past rivals later in the contest.
If the race involves negotiating several bends then those at the front early will enjoy an advantage as it is tougher to pass while sweeping round on the outside.
Therefore the shape of the track should be taken into consideration when deciding on whether the draw bias is significant for a particular race.
It is often thought that cavalry charges on a straight track are not affected by which stall a horse starts from but under-hoof conditions will also play a part.
Parts of the course may be wetter than other due to drainage and so there will be more give in the ground – something that is a major issue for some animals.
It is not uncommon to see a split from one side of the track to another and, quite often, the horses on one of the rails appear to be travelling easier.
The number of runners also needs to be factored in when trying to pick your winners.
The draw is far less important if there only a small number of entrants as they will all have decent chance to hug the rails and take the lead at the first bend while the reverse is obviously the case when a large number are strung out across the track.
While it seems clear that the draw bias is important, the individual horse and its foibles should also be entered into calculations before placing a wager.
A horse that likes to leave it late to make its charge will not necessarily benefit from being drawn low on the rails as it will likely have to make the running and may not feel comfortable doing so.
That is where the skill of the jockey will come into it to try and manoeuvre his/her mount into a position from where it can do its best work.
Picking a winner has and always will be tough and the more that punters can do to improve their odds is always going to be a bonus – so make sure you know all about the draw bias before putting down your cash.