27.07.2019, Ascot, Enable with Frankie Dettori up wins the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot racecourse, GB. Photo GALOPPFOTO/Racingfotos.com

Comparing Exacta and Computer Straight Forecast: Part 2

In recent weeks, I have been looking at ‘exotic’ bets, writing two articles on the trifecta/tricast and one on the Exacta/Computer Straight Forecast (CSF), writes Dave Renham. This is the second part of looking at the two 1-2 bets of the Exacta and Straight Forecast.

In the first article, Exacta looked like the better option, coming out on top nearly 62% of the time. In addition, the average payout was bigger for the Tote bet, and virtually every course saw the Exacta outperform the CSF. It was also noted that the edge for the Exacta increased as the field size grew. For example, races of 17 or more runners saw a 57% edge for the Exacta based on average payouts. In this article, I will continue my research with the same six-month data set to determine other valuable facts.


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Courses Revisited

In the first article, I compared individual courses in terms of which of the two bets came out on top more often. I did this for races at both National Hunt courses and Flat ones. This time, I will compare the average payouts of the two bets, starting with the flat. There must be at least 30 qualifying races to be considered:



The Exacta ‘beat’ the CSF 34-3 – the three ‘wins’ for the CSF are highlighted in red (Brighton, Chester, and Hamilton).

In the first article, it was noted that the edge at Irish courses in terms of average payouts/dividends was nearly double that of UK ones, and this is borne out again with some significant differentials in qualifying Irish courses. Of the six that made the list, five of them – Cork, the Curragh, Dundalk, Gowran Park and Leopardstown all saw the Exacta’s edge standing at over 25%. On the UK side, Ascot had a considerable edge over the Exacta, which was expected considering the Royal Ascot stats I shared last time. York, Doncaster and Newbury were the next best three.

To the NH course averages now. As before, to qualify, a course must have had 30+ qualifying races:



The Exacta has come out well on top again, with just three courses (in red) seeing a ‘win’ for the CSF. There are very positive Exacta figures at Punchestown and Cheltenham, while 15 courses saw an edge for the Exacta of over 20%.

The Kilbeggan stats caught my eye immediately, where the CSF average was nearly double the Exacta. However, digging into the course results, I noticed a race I had not previously noted where the Exacta had not won. It is the only race of 6000 odd races I’ve analysed where no punter chose the correct 1-2 combo. The CSF paid a massive £3206.34 as a 66/1 horse beat a 200/1 shot into second place. That explains it!


Day of the Week

While researching this, I speculated whether the day of the week made a difference. For example, I wondered if Saturday, as generally the busiest day, would potentially offer the Exacta more of an edge. I also wondered if the reverse was true on Sundays. On average, Sunday is the quietest day regarding the number of meetings, so I hypothesised that the Exacta edge would be less. Therefore, let me compare the seven days of the week to which of the two bets came out on top more often. Here is what the numbers told me:



So, my Sunday theory proved correct, but not the Saturday one. Indeed, Saturday was only the 6th ‘best’ day for the Exacta. Monday and Tuesday saw the Exacta ‘beat’ the CSF more often, albeit there is not a massive difference between the best day of Tuesday and the worst of Sunday.


Price of winner

I wanted to see the effect of the winner's price on which of the two bets came out on top more often. This is graphed below using Industry SP price bands:



The graph shows that the shorter the winner's price, the more competitive the CSF was. Indeed, the CSF edged it for horses priced Evens (2.0) or shorter. However, once the price got to 100/30 (4.33) or bigger, there was only one winner, and it was a comfortable one at that. For those who prefer looking at these comparisons in a table, here are the same figures from the graph.



Once the winner's price hits 17/2 (9.5) or bigger, then the Exacta has ‘won’ more than three times as often as the CSF.


Strongest ways to utilise the Exacta edge

In the two articles, Exacta has had the edge over the CSF in most circumstances. We have just seen that this edge is very strong when the winning price hits 17/2 (9.5) or bigger, and in the first article, I shared the fact that the bigger the field, the better as far as the Exacta goes. What about combining the two? Hence, what were the results when the winning SP was 9.5 or bigger, and the number of runners was 17 or more? Well, I can share that with you now. There were 108 races where both parameters were met, and firstly, here are the results in terms of which of the two bets came out on top more often.



The Exacta beat the CSF in 102 of the 108 races, equating to a percentage of close to 95. That is somewhat one-sided!

A look at the average payouts now over these 108 races and, as expected, the Exacta’s figure is much higher:



Under these circumstances, the Exacta has had a 67% edge in payouts/dividends.

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Hence, if you fancy a horse destined to start around 17/2 or bigger in a big field race and want to predict a 1-2, you’d be mad to choose the CSF based on this evidence.

Cutting the number of runners to 14 or more plus a winning SP of 9.5+ still gives you a massive edge, with the Exacta beating the CSF in 254 of these 285 qualifying races. That equates to 89.1% of races where the Exacta prevailed.

I did one more tweak to this runner/SP combo, looking at 14+ runner races where the winner was priced 6/1 (7.0) or bigger. Thanks to 366 wins from 410 races, the Exacta win percentage over its counterpart is maintained at 89%, with the CSF prevailing on just 44 occasions.

Before finishing, let me share one more useful nugget about utilising the Exacta edge. This comes when examining the results in terms of where the favourite finished. The table below shows which of the two bets came out on top more often.



Clearly, having the favourite in second in an Exacta is a good strategy, especially when attempting to beat the CSF. The percentage edge for Exacta over the CSF when the favourite places second is just under 30%.




The second article confirms the findings from the first: that is, the Tote option, the Exacta, has a solid overall edge over the CSF. Considering both articles, this edge increases most in races with bigger fields and when the winner’s SP is bigger (specifically 14+ runners, 6/1+ winning SP gives an 89% 'win' for Exacta over CSF).

The Exacta's edge is also stronger in Irish races and when the favourite finishes second.

Finally, the eagle-eyed may have noticed that no data was shared for Haydock or Sandown. This was, unfortunately, due to an issue with my databases and spreadsheets. I need to manually add the data for both of these courses when I have time, and when I do, I’ll report back in the comments. Looking at the results I have (about 35% of them), both Sandown and Haydock offer a decent edge for the Exacta in line with other courses of a similar profile.


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2 replies
  1. wattyk14
    wattyk14 says:

    Brilliant article. Thankyou.If the Tote takeout 25% on Exactas, the bookie takeout on CSFis substancially more. I think my decision to bet on Betfair and Tote only is probably vindicated.

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