Make sure you are quick on the draw

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.

Put York Races on your Bucket List

York Racecourse is the premier location for Flat racing in the north of England and a venue that attracts upwards of 350,000 spectators per year.

The picturesque Knavesmire course ticks all the boxes, with excellent facilities, a beautiful setting and top-class racing at its various meetings.

There is usually about 18 days of racing at the north Yorkshire track, with May’s three-day Dante Festival kicking off proceedings.

There are meetings in June, while July sees the prestigious John Smith’s Cup, run over one mile two furlongs and open to horses aged three years or older.

However, when speaking about York races, it is all about the four-day Ebor Meeting, which is held in late August and plays host to three of the UK’s 31 Group One races.

The Juddmonte International Stakes takes centre stage on the opening Wednesday of the showpiece meeting, a race won five times by both the legendary Lester Piggott and by Frankie Dettori.

Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien have both trained five winners of the contest and it looks set to be another cracking renewal this time around as the likes of Barney Roy, Churchill, Highland Reel and Ulysses have been slated for an outing.
As the race draws nearer connections will show their hand and make sure you check out the latest racing news from Bethut for all the best information, previews and tips.

The second Group One on the card is the Yorkshire Oaks, usually run on the Thursday over a distance of one mile and four furlongs.

It to open to fillies and mares aged three years or older and will again attract the good and great of Flat racing.

The incredible Enable is likely to head the market for this one and will be looking for a fifth win of the year and fourth Group One after taking Epsom’s Investec Oaks, the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh and Royal Ascot’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

It will need a monumental performance to beat her and those in line to try include Rhododendron, Winter and So Mi Dar, whose father Dar Re Mi took the race under Jimmy Fortune back in 2009.

For punters who prefer the sprinters then Friday’s Nunthorpe Stakes, for two-year-olds or older, will be unmissable as it is the proverbial cavalry charge over just five furlongs.

Paul Mulrennan guided Mecca’s Angel to glory for the past two years and the likes of Lady Aurelia, Battaash and possibly The Tin Man may well line up for what is one of the most popular sprint races of the season.

The Ebor Handicap is held on the final day, with Heartbreak City scoring under Adam McNamara 12 months ago and Flymetothestars set to be prominent in the market this time around.

Ascot is rightfully thought of as the pinnacle of Flat racing and York has often been likened to the Berkshire venue, proving that it is worth of the title ‘Ascot of the North’ when hosting the 2005 Royal Ascot meeting when the southern venue was undergoing a major redevelopment.

Understanding Drawdown

This is a copy of the article at


When people look at the results of a system or a method they usually look at the profit/loss figure and the strike rate as a minimum. Most of the time they will look at the ROI percentage (that’s the Return on Investment) and that’s usually it when it comes to determining whether something that they’ve been investigating is worth following, modifying or abandoning altogether.

But that shouldn’t be the whole picture. I like to look at how ‘lumpy’ a system is before going ahead with it. By that I mean are there going to be any terrifying runs which seem to go on forever or is the trend, if one were to put it into a graph, smooth?

As a general rule the smoother the profit curve the better, as this is what we want because it means that the profits will keep on coming in and we’re not laying awake at nights wondering if our bank is going to bust. And this is the prime consideration for any punter: to protect one’s bank.

This is because, quite simply, without a bank we can’t invest in any method or system.

And this is where we need to look at what’s called the Drawdown because when we know what the drawdown has been in the past we can make a good estimate on how many points our betting bank needs to be. And, furthermore, if we are in the middle of a losing run and we have seen the bank recover from a much larger drawdown in the past then it makes it easier to carry on.

So, what is the drawdown? Let’s look a little further.


First of all, look at this Profit/Loss chart for something that I have been following for the past year. There’s only one axis labelled (the vertical one) which gives the profit and loss in terms of points staked. The horizontal axis is, as expected, the history of this bank over about four hundred selections.

That’s a good little graph and it’s going up nicely making about 80 points in a year, but it has periods of lulls and a few downturns here and there but, on the whole, it’s going in the right direction and, if I am honest, I am pleased with this method that I am using.

So let’s look at the drawdown. What a drawdown is is quite simple and can be defined by a simple rule.

The Drawdown is the fall between a previous highest high and today’s value on the chart.

So, if in our records we can see that our current profit/loss is standing at, say, +20 points since we started but sometime previously our profit/loss had once reached 30 points then our drawdown is currently at 10 points.

Time to add some lines to that chart to illustrate this further.

There are two sets of parallel lines on this chart; the first set are in red and the second set are in green.

Look at the first red pair of parallel lines. The profit/loss line went to just over 20 points which became a Highest High (which replaced the previous Highest High which was at around +8pts). There would have been a small number of losing selections, as is expected when one betting odds against, a low priced winner which brought the profit/loss up again to nearly to the level of the Highest High, a loser or two, a very low priced winner, another low priced winner which would have taken the account up to almost the Highest High and then a losing run which kicked in for about fourteen runners with a small low priced winner in the middle of that sequence.

Nothing unusual there at all, this is after all, the nature of betting.

At the point of the bottom red line is the drawdown to date. That is the difference between the top red line and the bottom one. Until that point in time the drawdown had never been so big.

Perhaps it’s time to throw in a second definition and one that we will be working with.

The Largest Drawdown is the biggest drawdown that has occured.

On our chart we can see that the profit/loss has recovered from the red line and then rose, after a couple of winners, to around 30 points which would have then made the chart’s new Highest High.

Another good winner and we’ve hit the forty point level (which is where I have drawn the upper green line).

Then a long run of losers with half a dozen winners in that period brings us to the bottom green line before fortunes turned and the profits recovered.

Now, do note that that the distance between the two red lines is smaller than the distance between the two green lines which, therefore makes the gap between the two green lines the Largest Drawdown to date. For the record it’s about thirty points deep.

The Drawdown Chart

The Largest Drawdown value would be easy to find with another chart.

This is the drawdown plotted for the initial profit/loss chart and it becomes easy to see that the largest drawdown is thirty points.

If we wanted to see how the two charts are related then we can look at this image. I have drawn a few vertical lines so that you can see the various highs on the upper chart (the profit/loss chart) with the drawdown chart (the lower).

I could have drawn dozens more vertical lines, seventeen to be exact, if I so wished but I only drew half a dozen to illustrate my point.

If you look at the bottom chart, each time the line rises and hits zero then you can see that the profit/loss line on the top chart has reached a new high.

Profit Point

Time for a new definition. This time this is one of my own making, so feel free to discard it if you wish.

A Profit Point is where the Drawdown chart reaches zero.

Profit Points are what it’s all about as far as I am concerned. Each time we hit a new Profit Point the bank has reached a new Higher High and this is what we want: increasing profits.

Anyway, this is an aside and it’s time to get back to the drawdown discussion.

Bank Size

In this example we can see that over the course of over 400 bets that the largest drawdown is 30 points.

So when we’re calculating what size bank we should have we can take it from here. Now, as far as I am concerned if we’re at a drawdown of thirty points then there’s nothing to stop a further fall of another thirty points.

Immediately, we’re looking at sixty points. But I would rather a little more of a cushion so I would round up that figure of thirty to, say, fifty and then double that to a hundred points. And that would be my minimum bank. Ideally, I would have more points, say 150 because, at the end of the day, I wish to sleep at nights.

I have seen one other web site which gave another example of bank size calculation which, frankly, frightens me. In their example their largest drawdown was over 78 points and then they suggested then that a good bank size would be 100 points. If I were such a punter and I was burning through eighty percent of my bank then I wouldn’t be comfortable at all.

If I had a system which gave me a drawdown of 78 points then I would round that up to one hundred, double that to two hundred and then perhaps round it again to about 250 points. No less and certainly not to one hundred points.

Drawdown Calculator

Rather than explain how to make a drawdown calculator it’ll be easier to present one.

There is an Excel sheet here called and all one has to do is to paste a column of results from your results sheet into Cell A8 downwards.

All you have to ensure is that a losing bet has a value of -1, a winning bet at evens is 1.0, a winning 6/4 is 1.5 and so on. And then the sheet will take care of the rest.

I hope that this article is useful and informative.

Grand National – War Years

Prior to the Second World War horse racing was a massive sport in Britain with around 90 recognised horse racing tracks dotted around the country and being one of the only placed you could place bets legally made it an even bigger draw for the public. On 3rd September 1939 it was announced that war had been declared between Britain and Germany, the start of World War II. This was to drag the sport of horse racing to its knees.

The beginnings of the onset of the Second World War did little to affect racing, although there were fears from inside racing that many of the horses would be taken to war, based upon the reliance of horses in battle from World War I. This didn’t happen in large numbers and racing carried on, albeit with less meetings, as normal around the country. This was until 1940 when the fall of France was declared and the outlawing of horse racing was proposed by Phillip Noel-Baker, the secretary to the Department of War Transport. Whilst the Jockey Club apposed this ban it was upheld and racing was banned.

The ban was quashed within the year but lots of restrictions were put upon horse racing which severely limited the amount of races that were permitted. As a result of this many of the racetracks around at the time struggled to stay running and fought for their right to hold races, most have since closed such as Gatwick Racecourse, which has now been replaced by Gatwick Airport. The ban and restrictions lead to a massive increase in illegal bookmakers and betting with the police raiding 134 suspected bookmakers’ premises in London alone in 1941.

Horses around during the ban and the restrictions were unfairly prevented from competing in some of the races that would, in normal times, have catapulted them to fame. One of the more notable examples of this was for the Blue Peter horse. This horse had already won the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby and was heavily fancied to win the St Leger at Doncaster. Sadly the meeting was abandoned and he was retired shortly after meaning he never got the chance to prove his Triple Crown achievements.

Hotspur, the Telegraph’s racing correspondent, wrote at the time:

“Blue Peter is the greatest three-year old I have ever seen and there has never been any doubt in my mind that he would have won the Triple Crown.”
Many years later after the war Blue Peter’s owner, Lord Rosebery, declared:

“He was the best horse I ever had and was the best I had ever seen and he had only half a career as a racehorse.”

Racecourses were used for all manner of things during the war with Ascot being used to house German prisoners of war. The Grand National was abandoned between 1941 and 1945 with what was supposed to be the replacement run at Gatwick in 1941 but the race was a disappointment and was soon forgotten.

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