It’s time for the fourth course in this all-weather series, this time focusing on Lingfield Park. I have used data from 1st January 2017 to 31st August 2022 which gives us a decent chunk of races to get stuck into. As with the previous pieces my data collection has been solely from the Geegeez Query Tool and therefore all profits / losses have been calculated to Industry Starting Price. We know that we can improve upon those baseline figures with exchange prices or Best Odds Guaranteed and, where appropriate, I will share any useful Betfair SP data.
Running Style at Lingfield
I have written before about Lingfield in regards to running style, so I will be sharing the new data from the past 11 months as well as looking at the long term figures. I have also touched upon the draw at Lingfield in two general AW articles around 2½ years ago, but this article will give a more detailed analysis. For both sections on running style and the draw my focus will be handicaps of eight or more runners only. This is in line with previous research in those areas.
Lingfield 5f Run Style Bias
Let’s start with the minimum trip of 5f. Here are the run style splits in 8+ runner handicaps covering the time since my last article (that is, from 1st Oct ’21 to 31st Aug ’22):
In this recent time frame there have been only 22 qualifying races so this is a limited sample. The front running stats (L) are not as strong as were the long term figures: from 1st Jan 2017 to 30th Sept 2021 front runners were successful around 24% of the time. However, with a small sample size it is easy to see this type of variance. If we compare the each way stats for front runners over the two time frames we see near identical percentages:
I am confident the run style picture in 5f handicaps at Lingfield is the same as ever in that the data points to the 5f trip at Lingfield giving front runners the edge; prominent racers are next best, while horses that take a mid pack or further back position early, are at a disadvantage. If you had your crystal ball working in tip top order and had predicted all the front runners going back to 2017, you would have made a profit of £121.88 to £1 level stakes. This equates to a remarkable return of 77p in the £. If on the other hand you had backed all mid div and hold up horses you would have lost £285.42. For every £1 bet on these runners you would have lost 48p. Ouch.
Lingfield 6f Run Style Bias
When writing about this course and distance previously, I noted the following ’dip’ in front running performance in 8+ runner handicaps:
*up to 30th Sept 2021 only
Prior to 2017, the front runners' win percentage had been consistently over 20% (2014 – 28%; 2015 – 22%; 2016 – 23%). That seems to be quite a staggering change from the start of 2018. So how do the last 11 months stack up for front runners in 6f handicaps (8+ runners)?
These data are much more in tune with the pre-2018 findings, certainly in terms of win percentage. But where does that leave us? To be honest, I’m not sure. Essentially we need to take a longer term view so let me share all run style data stretching from 1/1/17 to 31/8/22:
Looking over this longer time frame, there does seem to be a run style bias in play here, specifically that front runners and prominent racers have a combined edge over horses that race mid pack, who in turn have the advantage over held up horses. However, the old front running bias that was potent a few years back seems to have dissipated.
Lingfield 7f Run Style Bias
Looking firstly at 7f handicap run style data going back to 2017 (8+ runners), the graph below shows win and win & placed (each way) strike rate:
The win and each way lines correlate neatly adding confidence to a perception of bias towards the front rank of runners early. Front runners edge it over prominent runners in a pattern we are generally used to seeing at shortish trips. If we look at the more recent data from only the past 11 months we get this:
The sample size is 42 races and, although the front running win stats are below the long-term norm, the each way figures suggest that nothing has really changed.
In essence, this is a track and trip where the closer to the pace a runner is, the better. Hold up horses really do struggle, and in bigger fields they struggle even more so. In 7f handicaps with 12 or more runners (going back to 2017), hold up horses have a win rate of under 3% and and a win & placed (EW) rate of under 15%.
Once we hit races of 1 mile the bias levels out and, from 1m2f upwards, front runners as well as hold up horses are at a disadvantage compared with prominent and midfield racers.
Draw at Lingfield
If we look at the racecourse map for Lingfield, with its sweeping downhill home bend and relatively short straight, one may expect lower draws (those drawn on the inside) to hold an edge over the shorter distances:
Let's see if that is the case.
Lingfield 5f Draw Bias
A look at the minimum trip first. It should be noted that field sizes for this distance have a maximum of just 10 runners. Here are the draw splits going back to 2017 for 8+ runner handicaps (124 races):
Essentially, this is very even and, clearly, lower draws have not had more success from a winning perspective. Bizarrely horses from the highest third of the draw have come out on top here. Looking again at the course map, perhaps those drawn highest are able to run at a tangent to the crown of the bend. If we look at the win and placed stats (EW) we do get a slightly different picture:
This maybe is a better indicator that in fact a lower draw is preferable, and these stats also correlate with the percentage of rivals beaten (PRB) data. These figures are as follows:
Taking these three ‘measures’ into account I would say that the draw here is not crucial to the outcome of the race. However, if pushed I would prefer a lower draw given the option.
Lingfield 6f Draw Bias
Over this extra furlong the maximum field size increases to 12 and this trip sees horses encounter two left turns. There have been 180 races since 2017 so a strong sample size, relatively at least. Here are the draw splits in terms of win percentage:
Very level figures once again. So let’s examine the win and placed (EW) data to see if that sheds any more light on proceedings:
Lower draws are now edging ahead as we saw with the 5f stats. How about the PRB figures?
A similar pattern to 5f it seems. Nothing mind blowing, but essentially a lower draw is almost certainly a small advantage.
If we combine draw and run style we get the following 6f handicap heat map when looking at PRB figures:
This shows the difficulty hold up horses have from any draw and also, for horses that race mid-division, a wide draw is a definite negative. This is a key take away in terms of both run style and draw over this trip.
Lingfield 7f+ Draw Bias
As we have seen at the shorter distances, draw bias is not going to be a defining feature like it can be at somewhere like Chester, or even some of the other all-weather course/distance combinations. Once we get to 7f and beyond the draw becomes even less of a factor. Hence it’s time to move on and check out some other areas.
For the remainder of this article I will be looking at data for all races (from 1st Jan 2017), not just 8+ runner handicaps.
Trainers at Lingfield
Top Lingfield Trainers
With data going back nearly six seasons we have a good amount of info into which to drill down on the performance of trainers at Lingfield. Below are those handlers who secured a win strike rate of 15% or more from a minimum of 100 runs (all race types included):
Just one trainer has recorded an SP profit: step forward, Roger Varian. Varian has had one winner at 33/1, however, so taking that away he has essentially broken even to SP. To BSP his overall record is +£65.31, while even without the outsider winner this drops to +£15.26. All in all, his record is very solid. Let’s look at some positive angles (none of which include this 33/1 winner which would skew the stats somewhat):
- Results when Andrea Atzeni has been Varian’s jockey have been excellent. 12 wins and 5 placed from just 26 runners in total for a profit of £27.70 (ROI +106.5%)
- With very short priced runners (evens or less), Varian is 14 wins from 16 (SR 87.5%) for a profit of £6.46 (ROI +40.4%)
- His 3yo fillies have secured 11 wins from 39 (SR 28.2%) for a profit of £21.73 (ROI +55.7%)
- His 2yo runners have won around 27% of the time returning 15p in the £
- He has 9 wins from 16 runners (SR 56.3%) when his runners are top rated by Peter May’s Speed Ratings. These runners have returned just over 38p in the £
Onto A/E indices now – looking for trainers who have exceeded the magic figure of 1.00 which suggests their horses as a whole have been value to follow:
Four of these trainers appeared in the original table, nine others have joined them. As a general rule, I would suggest these 13 trainers are worth close scrutiny when they send runners to the track.
Caution Advised Lingfield Trainers
A look now at the trainers who have struggled at Lingfield in terms of win percentage:
These trainers are probably worth swerving at Lingfield unless you have a compelling reason to think otherwise. Indeed, looking at all 14 together, their combined record with favourites at Lingfield is a middling 20 wins from 104 (SR 19.23%) for a hefty loss of £41.17 (ROI +39.6%).
Lingfield Gender Bias
I have noted a gender bias at each of the all-weather courses I have studied to date. Here are Lingfield’s figures:
These figures are very similar to those we have seen before. However, a pattern we saw at Chelmsford and Kempton where the gender bias levelled out as horses reached the age of five is not repeated here. What I did notice, however, was that there seems to be a market bias in play at Lingfield. The graph below uses A/E indices to help show this.
As you can see, female runners from the top three in the betting are very competitive with their male counterparts (F 0.91; M 0.89). However, males start to outperform their female counterparts when we get to 4th to 6th in the betting market (F 0.74; M 0.86), and this continues to 7th or bigger in the market (F 0.61; M 0.71).
It made sense for me to back check Chelmsford and Kempton to see if there were similar findings for this angle, and this is what I discovered.
And Chelmsford’s stats were:
Essentially both courses followed a similar pattern to Lingfield. Looking at all three in a chart may make the pattern easier to view so below I've created an A/E ratio of female performance against male performance (dividing the female A/E figure by the male A/E figure in each segment).
There is roughly parity when looking at the top 3 in the market; then a strong edge for males as we move away from the sharp end of the betting lists. This is something to check out with other courses in future articles.
Lingfield Market Factors
Keeping with the market it is time for a look at the win strike rates for different market ranks, starting with favourites and moving down to position 7th or more:
This pattern is what we would expect. Favourites have lost around 8p in the £ to SP (a 4p loss to BSP), second favourites have lost 10p in the £ (just 1.3p loss to BSP). As a side note, favourites have actually broken even in non-handicap races which is interesting (+4.6% if using BSP).
A look at market rank A/E indices next:
Lingfield is not a course for outsiders it seems. Horses 7th or bigger in the betting would have lost you 45p for every £ bet to SP; and around 21p at BSP.
Therefore I would personally focus on the front end of the market, more especially the top four in the betting.
Before moving away from the market I thought it would be interesting to see which jockeys have ridden the course well when riding a horse near the top end of the betting. Hence if focusing solely on the top four in the betting, here are the jockeys with an A/E index of 0.95 or more (100 runs minimum to qualify):
Five jockeys were in profit to SP - Messrs. Keenan, Fanning, Levey, Probert and Marquand - which is impressive considering only three of the winners from all jockeys combined were a bigger price than 10/1. All five are jockeys I would be happy to see on board one of my horses at the track.
Darragh Keenan’s figures are particularly impressive and, of the 29 trainers he has ridden for under these circumstances, he has won for 16 different ones. Of the 13 trainers he has yet to win for, he has ridden just once for eight of them and no more than three times for any of them. Of all the other jockeys in the table, only Ryan Moore has managed to win for more than half the trainers he has ridden for (24 from 44).
Keenan had just one qualifying ride at the track in 2017 and only four in 2018 (2 wins); since then here are his win / win & placed (EW) percentages:
These are very decent looking figures and his A/E indices for each year are equally impressive:
To have achieved an Actual vs Expected figure in excess of 1.20 for each of the past four years is a record not to be sniffed at. I feel Keenan is definitely a jockey to keep on the right side of at Lingfield, especially when riding a horse near the head of the market.
Sire Performance at Lingfield
In this section we'll examine some sire data. Here are the top 15 sires in terms of strike rate since 2017. (To qualify - 150 runs or more or more; and must have had runners somewhere in the UK during 2022):
Some of the usual suspects as one would expect. Dansili, Sharmardal and Dubawi all appeared near the top of the Kempton strike rates as well. Frankel did not make the cut due to having only 108 runners in total but with a strike rate of over 19% he, too, should be mentioned.
In terms of damsires I am going to share just the top four performers in terms of strike rate (you’ll see why):
Dansili, Sharmardal and Dubawi are right to the fore once again – as punters, we should keep an eye out at Lingfield when a horse or its dam is sired by one of that top trio.
Lingfield Horses for Courses
My final port of call is, as always in this series, to look at some horses that have excelled at the course since 2017. To qualify for the list a horse must have won at least four races at the track with a strike rate of 25% or more. Also, each must have raced somewhere in the UK in 2022. Here are the horses that qualify, listed alphabetically. I have included a PRB column too (Percentage of rivals beaten):
18 horses make the list so keep an eye out for any of these horses over the coming months - perhaps add them to your Query Tool Angles (Horse Name = [these 18], Course = Lingfield, Race Code = Flat AW). They clearly like the track and if some other factors are in their favour they should be regarded as potentially good betting propositions.
Lingfield All-Weather Conclusions
There is plenty to take from this article as we have covered several different areas. The main takeaways for me are:
- There is a run style bias at distances ranging from 5f to 7f. Over 5f, front runners have a fair edge; at 6f and 7f, front runners and prominent racers combined have a decent advantage
- There is little in the draw at any distance. Low may have a tiny edge at 5f and 6f
- Roger Varian is a trainer to keep an eye on
- Jockey Darragh Keenan has an excellent record when riding a horse from the top four in the betting; also look out for Fanning, Levey, Probert and Marquand under these conditions
- Male horses have the edge over female ones; it seems this is much stronger as we get beyond the first three in the market
- Market wise, favourites and second favourites are worth a second look; generally speaking, this is a course to stick to the front end of the betting lists
- Look out for Dansili, Sharmardal and Dubawi both in terms of being a sire or a damsire
So there we are. There will be plenty of meetings at Lingfield over the coming months and I hope this piece has given you some useful pointers.