The effect of the draw.
I decided to have a little look at the effect of the wide gate as many times i have spoken about it in write ups and have noticed certain trends. I didn’t however want to speak without some evidence so i decided to try and find some.
I started off on the weekend and looked at 4 different tracks concentrating on races of 4.5 furlongs or more and with at least 5 runners.
Starting off with the big races this is where the widest gate ended up after 2 furlongs.
Giants Causeway : 6 of 6, led at the 2 furlong pole
Coolmore Lexington: 12 of 12, led at the 2 furlong pole
Ali: 8 of 8, led at the 2 furlong pole
Wiley: 9 of 9, last at the 2 furlong pole.
Fleet Sprint Handicap: 11 of 11, led at the 2 furlong pole
AR Derby: 14 of 14, last at the 2 furlong pole
This was very much in keeping with what i had been noticing so i looked at the cards at SA and SUN as well on that day and came up with the following figures which included those races from OP and KEE:
5 led at the 2 furlong pole, 7 trailed at the 2 furlong pole out of 15 races sampled.
This seemed damming evidence that the widest gate, a vast majority of the time followed exactly the same path in the races sampled, that being leading or trailing. However i wanted to check a midweek card just to see if my evidence could possibly be consistent.
So, on the 15th of April i sampled all the qualifying races from 3 meetings all different to the 4 i had already sampled but following the same guidelines.
The meetings were PRX, TAM and TUP. In this survey of 22 races i found 10 of the widest drawn runners fell back to last in the first 2 furlongs and 5 went to the lead. A total of 15 of the 22 races following the same trend as the weekends races.
Adding these up it seems that 27 of the 37 races sampled followed that the widest drawn horse either led or trailed last through the first 2 furlongs.
Now i am not entirely sure whether that follows real life racing or not but it does seem that in a large majority of cases the wide gate follows a very similar pattern. In fact if you added in those wide gates that were in second last and those that were in second through the first quarter the number goes up to 32 out of 37.
This evidence certainly seemed to bear out what i was seeing in races so i began to wonder how these could be so similar and what effect that had on a horses chances.
Of course i understand real life racing enough to know that a wide gate can be troublesome to overcome for a horse and jockey and sometimes indeed a horse can be forced to go to the front or drop to the rear. However the frequency that that occurs at HRP seems unrealistic. I watched some real life racing today and noted that in the ten races i watched the widest gate only led once and trailed twice which seems about consistent with what i would expect. In most cases the wide gate went into a midfield position and ‘slotted’ in as the field spaced out a little.
So on this admittedly small sample i can certainly conclude that either a vast percentage of owners are setting lead or trail instructions or as i suspect the AI of the race engine replaces the instructions with its own when a horse is drawn in the wide gate.
Now we are told by HRP that our digital horses have likes and dislikes when it comes to being pushed or held back and that choosing an instruction that causes this can be detrimental to their chances. If that is the case then it seems many of our horses are having their chances of winning ruined by an AI that has taken a large part of the skill out of our hands.
The question has been asked many times by players about this phenomenon but as yet there has only been one explanation from support which was that being wide is a disadvantage and that the AI will do what it can to find an inside route that saves the most ground. That makes perfect sense, however when that decision does not negate the disadvantage but in fact makes it worse i have to question the validity of the AI.