Kempton All Weather Analysis- Pic Steven Cargill / Racingfotos.com

All-Weather Analysis: Kempton Racecourse

After looking at Chelmsford and Dundalk, it’s time to go to Kempton Park, to the west of London. I will be using all-weather data from 1st January 2017 to 31st August 2022 when analysing the Surrey track, giving us the opportunity to examine over 2500 races. I have used the Geegeez Query Tool for all the data collection, and hence all profits / losses have been calculated to Industry Starting Price. However, as I have mentioned numerous times before we will be able to improve upon these figures by using either BOG, early prices or the exchanges.

I have written about Kempton before in regards to running style and also I have shared draw data too. I will look again at both of these here, but there are plenty of other areas that I will be covering in this piece as well. However, let's start with running style.

Running Style at Kempton

When looking at run style, my focus is handicaps, and specifically handicaps with fields of eight or more runners. In an article published on Kempton early this year I looked at run style data up to 30th September 2021. Hence I will be sharing the latest data from the intervening eleven months.

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There has only been one qualifying race over 5f so nothing new to share there. Front runners traditionally have a big edge over this minimum distance and, on the rare occasions 5f handicaps are run, this is worth knowing. Time therefore to move to 6f handicaps.

Kempton 6f Run Style Bias

Here are the run style splits in 8+ runner handicaps (1st Oct ’21 to 31st Aug ’22):

 

The sample size of 41 races is reasonable and these recent figures correlate well with the long term data, as this graphical comparison below confirms:

 

This gives us confidence that in 6f handicaps at Kempton front runners do have a good edge; prominent racers in turn have a small edge over horses that race further back early. For any remaining sceptics, let us look at the win and placed percentages across both time frames:

 

The front running stats for both time frames have virtually identical win & placed percentages standing at 47.83% and 47.9% respectively. Likewise, the other three groups have virtually identical percentage figures. This data implies therefore that we can expect roughly half of all front runners over six furlongs will hit the frame.

 

Kempton 7f Run Style Bias

Long-term past results had seen front runners enjoying an edge at this trip also, with a win strike rate of 16.8% from 1/1/17 to 30/9/21. The more recent data (47 races since then) has actually seen this figure drop markedly to 12.1%. Is this is a shift in bias to a more even playing field in terms of run style over 7f at Kempton? I personally don’t think so. A couple of near misses in modest samples can easily see this type of percentage drop.

Also, there are two more numbers to share that suggest the front running bias is essentially the same as it has always been. Firstly, the win & placed percentages for both time frames are very similar at 38.8% and 37.9%. And secondly, I looked at the PRB figures (Percentage of Rivals beaten) – these again were virtually the same over the two time frames:

 

PRB figures are generally a good indicator to see if certain biases exist. Figures on or above 0.55 tend to suggest there is a bias in play.

Traditionally, once we get past 7f, the run style bias at Kempton starts to even out, although even at a mile a front runner is a better betting proposition than a hold up horse.

 

The Draw at Kempton

Onto to draw now. For this area, I will again be sticking to 8+ runner handicaps, I have split all initial data into three equal thirds in order to compare the win percentages within each group. I will dig deeper from there where appropriate. The racecourse map below shows the course is right-handed and that there is an inner and an outer course. Only 5f and 1m2f races are raced on the inner course; all other distances are raced on the outer one.

 

 

Kempton 5f Draw Bias

It was noted earlier in the article that there has been just one 5f handicap with 8+ runners in the past year. There seems to be a general policy at the track to move away from 5f races with the tight inner loop making it very difficult for later running types. I will share the third of the draw splits going back to 1/1/17:

 

 

There is a small edge to lower drawn horses according to these figures. Another measure of draw bias is to look at the percentage of rivals beaten (PRB). These figures are as follows:

 

 

These figures suggest the bias may be stronger than first thought. However, with so few races these days we will need to be patient to try and utilise any bias, if indeed we can at all. [Editor's note: this is a 5f handicap carded next Tuesday, 18th October]

 

Kempton 6f Draw Bias

Six furlong handicaps are abundant at Kempton. We can expect around fifty 8+ runner handicaps a year so we have plenty of data to play with. Detailed draw bias stats at this course and distance appeared in an article I wrote earlier this year, where in it I placed Kempton over 6f as being the 6th strongest draw bias in the UK/Ireland. What I did not do in that piece though was look at the actual draw splits by thirds so here they are now:

 

 

Low draws are definitely best here and higher drawn runners struggle. The PRB figures correlate strongly as we can see:

 

 

These 6f races are ones I often get involved in as we have potential draw and a run style biases to utilise.

Before moving on I thought it prudent to look at the 2022 data to check the low draw bias is still in play. It certainly seems that way with the PRB figure for the bottom 'third' at 0.58 with 12 of the 22 races (54.5%) going to that section. A final stat to share is that, in 2022, horses drawn 9 or higher are 0 from 44 with just 5 placed runs.

 

Kempton 7f Draw Bias

The 7f distance also appeared in the same top 10 biases article, in 8th place. However, in 2022 the bias has appeared less potent for whatever reason. In the 33 qualifying races so far in 2022, only ten have been won by the bottom third of the draw, with 12 wins for middle and 11 for high, en extremely even split. The PRB figures are also more even at 0.51 (low), 0.52 (middle) and 0.47 (high). The long term PRB figure for lowest drawn horses is 0.55 so the question is, has there been a slight change going on? I am guessing probably not: race samples of 33 are relatively modest when digging into the draw. It will be interesting to see how things pan out over 7f in the run up to Christmas, but I would suggest a little caution for the time being, just in case a change is afoot.

 

Kempton 1 Mile Draw Bias

Here are the draw splits for mile trip (2017-2022):

 

 

Higher drawn horses look to be at a very slight disadvantage. The PRB figures suggest this disadvantage is definitely there, and maybe stronger than the win% draw splits imply:

 

 

All in all, this is not a Kempton distance where the draw plays a big part for me personally when analysing a race. However, there is a red flag over any horse I’m keen on when it is drawn in double figures.

Kempton Draw Conclusions

As far as draw conclusions go, the 6f trip is one to get stuck into draw-wise with low draws best; hopefully the 7f one will revert to ‘type’ also this winter. Keep an eye out for any of those rare 5f handicaps where low draws should be advantageous, and over a mile be a little wary of very high drawn horses.

For the remainder of the article I will be using ALL race data, not just 8+ runner handicaps. Time now to look at trainers.

 

Trainers at Kempton

With data going back to 2017 we have an excellent bucket into which to drill down on the performance of trainers at Kempton. This first table shows the trainers who have secured a win strike rate of 15% or more from a minimum of 100 runs (ALL race types included):

 

 

Charlie Appleby tops the list but, despite his outstanding win rate - better than one in three - he has still made a loss to SP of over 18 pence in the £. Ouch.

Three yards are in profit and I want to look at the record of one of those, namely that of the Charltons'. Their record at Kempton is excellent; only one big priced winner (33/1) and looking at their bigger priced runners as a whole, those priced 16/1 or bigger have secured that solitary win from 92 attempts. This equates to a loss of £58.00 (ROI -63%). At the pointy end, Charlton runners priced 14/1 or shorter have provided 57 winners from 212 bets (SR 26.9%) for a healthy profit of £90.19 (ROI +42.5%).

The stable has been relatively consistent over the years, too, as these next two graphs show. Firstly a look at winning data:

 

 

Other than the blip in 2018, the remaining years have been very solid in terms of win strike rate. The A/E indices for each year correlate well too:

 

 

Five of the six years are above the magic 1.00 Actual vs Expected (A/E), suggesting Charlton runners have been good value in every year bar 2018.

Here are some additional Kempton facts for Harry and Roger Charlton:

  1. The handicap win strike rate is over 24%; their non handicap figure stands at just under 15%.
  2. His male runners have comfortably outperformed females with a win rate of 22.2% compared with 14.3%. Males have secured returns of 21p in the £, while fillies/mares have lost just under 6p in the £.
  3. Charlton favourites have won 51% of races (25 wins from 49) for a profit of £14.06 (ROI +28.7%). Second favourites have also been profitable to the tune of 14p in the £.
  4. From a run style perspective 31% of front runners have won, 29% of prominent runners have won, but there has been just 7.6% success for hold up horses. (Mid div horses won 15.6%).

 

All Charlton stable runners deserve close attention, especially those who race in handicaps. Look out for male runners, too, and steer clear of any big prices: they do occasionally win but have been expensive to follow overall. One final Charlton fact to share is that 24 different jockeys have had at least two rides for the stable at Kempton and 19 of them have registered at least one win.

Before moving on let us focus on horses from the top three in the betting and the trainers who have had the best A/E indices with those fancied runners (50 runs or more to qualify):

 

 

It's good to see Mick Appleby, John Butler, Simon Dow and William Knight in there amongst some bigger names; and it is worth noting that eight of the ten trainers from the group above made a profit to SP.

This type of article can only scratch the surface when it comes to trainer angles so for readers interested in digging further into Kempton trainer performance, the Geegeez Query Tool that I have used here is simple to use and very powerful. Not only that, you can test numerous angles very quickly. It is accessible from the menu link under the 'tools' menu item at the top of this - and almost every - page.

 

Kempton Gender bias

Research I undertook for the Chelmsford and Dundalk articles pointed towards a slight bias toward male runners over females. We know this bias tends to be slightly stronger on the all-weather, but it does exist on the turf, too. Here are the splits for Kempton:

 

 

Again, there is a definite edge here to male horses, similar to what we have seen at previous all-weather tracks.

Let's look at whether the age of horse has any relevance when it comes to the gender of the horse:

 

 

What is interesting is that we have a virtually identical age bias pattern to the one we saw at Chelmsford. There, males outperformed females at 2, 3 and 4 years old, but as the horses got older it seemed to level out. It happens, or at least has happened, at Kempton too.

The A/E indices react in the same way as the graph below shows:

 

 

Just because two courses portray a similar looking age/gender bias we cannot be sure this is a pattern that will repeated at other all weather courses. Indeed Dundalk’s stats did not really correlate with these two UK tracks. However, maybe the exact nature of the individual surface is the important factor here. Unfortunately, as with some research findings, I currently cannot give you an answer that I’m fully satisfied with. I will be keeping an eye on the results over the next few months to see whether same pattern continues or dissipates.

 

Market factors at Kempton

It's time for a look at the win strike rates for different positions in the betting, starting with favourites and moving down to position 8th or lower in the market:

 

 

The chart shows the kind of sliding scale we'd expect to see, and the win percentage for favourites is around the average for all UK courses. Favourites have lost roughly 8p in the £ to SP which equates to a loss of 3p in the £ to BSP; second favourites have lost around 10p in the £ to SP which reduces to a 2p in the £ loss to BSP. The top two in the betting therefore have a pretty decent record at Kempton and this is reflected in the A/E indices:

 

 

Favourites have the highest A/E index at 0.94; second favourites the joint second best at 0.90.

All favourites that were also top rated on the Peter May speed ratings (published in the 'SR' column on geegeez racecards) actually made a profit to SP, recording 256 wins from 654 runners (SR 39.1%) for a profit of £1.85 (ROI +0.28%). OK, essentially this is a breakeven situation but, even so, that is still very impressive from a ratings set. One definitely needs to note horses top rated by the SR figures when they happen to be favourite at Kempton.

 

Sire performance at Kempton

Here are the top 20 sires in terms of strike rate at Kempton since 2017 (150 runs or more to qualify; and must have had runners in 2022):

 

 

Dubawi led the Chelmsford stats in terms of sire strike rates, and has repeated the feat here; but, despite winning over 20% of races, losses have been steep at 44p in the £.

Two sires that I am immediately drawn to in the table above are Lethal Force and Dutch Art. Both sires had good A/E indices at Chelmsford and they have repeated the dose here with Lethal Force at 1.20 and Dutch Art at 1.02. Not only that, both have edged into SP profit. There are nine other sires in the table that have A/E indices of 1.00 or more and these sires are also worth keeping an eye on.

I did look briefly at damsire data and noted that Singspiel currently has the best win strike rate at 15.5% and with an A/E index of 1.13. Only three other damsires have A/E indices of 1.00 or above: Royal Applause (1.04), Red Ransom (1.00) and Selkirk (1.00).

 

Kempton 'Horses for courses'

My final port of call was to look at some horses that have excelled at Kempton since 2017. To qualify for the list they must have won at least four races at the track with an overall course strike rate of 25% or more. Further, they must have raced somewhere in the UK in 2022. Here are the horses that qualified. I have included a PRB column too (Percentage of rivals beaten):

 

 

Eight-time course winner Soar Above is an interesting horse because he clearly loves Kempton, but away from the Sunbury track his record is poor. Kempton is a right-handed track and we can see how successful he has been there – he has also been placed five times along with those eight wins. Away from Kempton, he has raced only on left-handed or straight tracks and, combining these results, he's had just one win and two placed efforts from 18 starts. This includes 0 from 7 on other all-weather tracks (all left-handed). Perhaps Soar Above is an example of a horse that simply prefers running right-handed. Some horses definitely are more suited to turning one way than the other, though I have generally seen it more in National Hunt racing: probably the most famous example was Desert Orchid, who also had a preference for right-handed turns.

So there we have it. Kempton is a course with betting possibilities across the board:

- Favourites have quite a solid record, especially when top rated by Peter May’s SR figures.

- There are also a few stables to potentially keep on the right side of, perhaps notably the Charlton yard.

- Male horses should generally take preference over female ones as is the norm on the sand.

- There are some distances with an edge to lower draws (6f especially).

- There are some distances where front runners have a good edge (5f-7f).

- The 6f trip is the main one to concentrate on from a draw and run style perspective.

 

Let me finish then by sharing a PRB heat map overlaying draw thirds and run styles for 8+ runner 6f handicaps at Kempton since 2017:

 

 

 

This neatly demonstrates the strength of both biases. A low drawn horse has a definite edge unless it is held up; front runners enjoy huge success regardless of draw position. These heat maps can be found in the Draw Analyser and for each individual race in the daily racecards. It is a really useful tool to get a feel for any such biases. (Be careful, though, when looking at the Draw Analyser with all-weather courses – you need to change the going setting to incorporate not just ‘standard’ but cover all required going options).

- DR

 

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2 replies
  1. Monsieurbernie
    Monsieurbernie says:

    thanks for this, kempton is a course i focus on and im playing tonight…this may help sway on a few picks!

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