This is the third article in a series where I am looking at run style bias at individual all weather tracks. Today, Lingfield Park run style bias is coming under scrutiny.
To view other all-weather track run style biases, choose from the below:
Chelmsford Racecourse Run Style Bias
Kempton Park Racecourse (AW) Run Style Bias
Lingfield Racecourse (AW) Run Style Bias
Newcastle Racecourse (AW) Run Style Bias
Wolverhampton Racecourse Run Style Bias
What I mean by run style is the position a horse takes up within the first furlong or so of the race. There are two powerful resources to investigate run style in the Tools tab of Geegeez. The first is the Pace Analyser which looks solely at run style / pace, and secondly the Query Tool which can also be used to extend this type of research. I tend to use the Query Tool simply because I can examine a few more angles in relation to running style.
Running style is often linked with the word pace because the early pace shown by horses in a race determines their early position.
The stats I am using with you here are based on this site’s pace / run style data. This data is split into four sections; each section is assigned a numerical value:
Led (4) – horses that lead early, horses that dispute the early lead. I refer to the early leader as the front runner;
Prominent (3) – horses that lie up close to the pace just behind the leader(s);
Mid Division (2) – horses that race mid pack or just behind the mid-point;
Held up (1) – horses that are held up at, or near the back of the field.
For this piece I will be looking at individual distances – mainly the shorter ones with the focus being 8+ runner handicaps.
The data has been taken from 1st January 2016 up until 30th September 2021.
Lingfield 5 furlong Run Style Bias
A look at the shortest trip first. Let us look at the run style (pace) figures:
These figures virtually mirror those for Chelmsford 5f run style with a clear advantage to front runners. It should also be noted that front runners have reached the frame nearly 58% of the time. Prominent runners are next best; meanwhile horses that were held up or raced mid pack early have been at a big disadvantage.
The front running bias has been consistent at this track for many years and if we look back further into the past, from 2012 to 2015, I can tell you the front running record was virtually identical – strike rate during that period was 23.42%; A/E value was 1.60 and the IV stood at 2.11.
As far as the draw is concerned front runners prefer a middle to lower draw as the graph below shows. Having said that wide drawn front runners still perform well above the expected norm.
Let me now share the data of 5f handicap favourites at Lingfield with you across all running styles:
These stats are not as potent as the Chelmsford 5f equivalent, but even so, as a favourite backer it is clear you would prefer your horse to lead early.
As regular readers will know I prefer to stick to handicap stats for things like run style or draw bias, but it is sometimes worth sharing non-handicap data, too. Over 5f at Lingfield in 8+ runner non-handicaps, the run style bias is extremely potent as the graphs below show. Firstly a look at strike rate across the four categories:
The front running bias is stronger in non-handicaps – probably down to the fact that some non-handicap races lack the depth of competition that handicaps typically possess.
A quick look next at the A/E comparisons for run style in non-handicap 5f events:
There is clear correlation between strike rate and A/E values. All in all, then, front runners have a strong edge in 5f races at Lingfield, be it handicaps or non-handicaps. Prominent racers do pretty well, too, and it is clear that horses that race midfield or at the back early are putting themselves at a significant disadvantage.
Lingfield 6 furlong Run Style Bias
Onto 6f handicaps with 8+ runners. The run style (pace) figures are as follows:
The overall stats suggest a front running bias, with hold up horses continuing to struggle. However, if we look at year by year records for front runners, a significant change seems to have occurred in recent years:
2016 and 2017 saw a huge front running edge, but from 2018 onwards front runners have started to actually look to be at a disadvantage. The more recent stats (last two seasons) are favouring prominent racers with horses that race mid-division outperforming front runners. Strike rate data shown in the graph below shows this latest pattern neatly:
What is equally as quirky is that in the last two seasons in 6f non-handicap races (8+ runners), the front running bias has been enormous:
During this time frame in non-handicaps, 9 of the 21 races were won by the early leader / front runner, while horses that raced mid division or were held up combined to produce just one winner from 136 runners!
There are times when you cannot explain certain anomalies and this recent conflicting 6f data is one such occasion. Perhaps is simply a weird function of a small dataset: I can only recommend a watching brief this winter.
Lingfield 7 furlong Run Style Bias
Up to 7f now and the run style splits for this distance at Lingfield (8+ runner handicaps):
Again the overall six year stats give front runners a solid edge, with the performance of prominent runners much stronger than those running mid division or near/at the back early. However, as with the 6f stats, the front running performance was much better in 2016 and 2017. The ‘drop off’ has not been anywhere as bad over 7f as it was over 6f, but looking at the 2018 – 2021 data possibly gives a more accurate run style / pace picture.
I can say with some confidence that over 7f there is definite advantage to run in the front half of the field in the early part of the race. Front runners and prominent runners clearly outperform mid division/held up runners.
Moving on, I want to look again solely at favourites and their run style over the past six years or so. We can see that front running favourites outperform every other type of favourite in terms of run style:
A very impressive set of figures for front running favourites; once again favourites that race off the pace early tend to underperform. For the record, from 2018 onwards the front running win percentage was just under 40% and is still clearly better than the rest.
Now, it's time to study more market data – let's look at front runners in terms of their market rank. We have already seen that favourites have done well but what about the rest? At Chelmsford we noticed a strong market bias pattern, which is replicated over 7f here at Lingfield:
Second favourites (or joint-/co- second favourites) who lead early manage to win roughly 1 in every 3 races which is impressive. As we can see once we get to 6th or bigger in the betting, front runners simply do not generally have the class or ability to win. This shows once again that racing is not just about one aspect, we have to combine factors to give us a clearer picture. Run style is often one of the key factors, but we cannot rely solely on this regardless of how the strong the bias may seem.
Looking at the draw, front runners have struggled a little from middle draws. Not sure why this may be the case, especially as wide drawn front runners have actually done the best of any draw section. Perhaps it is due to the distance to the first bend in the race, about two furlongs, which may enable those wider drawn that want to lead to get across their middle-drawn counterparts; but it's unclear, to be honest.
The graph below shows the strike rates for the draw (max field size of 14):
Overall the 7f trip does offer an edge from a run style perspective – I would definitely prefer to be backing a horse that is going to race up with or close to the pace early.
Lingfield 1 mile Run Style Bias
This is where the run style stats start to even up at Lingfield. Below are the splits for 1 mile at Lingfield (8+ runner handicaps):
Hold up horses continue to struggle although their record is better at this distance compared with the three shorter trips. Front runners still score more often than they statistically should but it is becoming more marginal; prominent racers and horses that race mid division have virtually identical records.
Lingfield 1m2f+ Run Style Bias
Lingfield has a few distances of 1m2f or further and I have lumped the data together as it is very similar across each race trip. As you would expect, front runners are now not favoured and have become only the third most successful run style:
Preference therefore at longer distances is for prominent racers / mid pack runners. Having said that, I would not be personally using run style as a key ingredient to try and sort out races beyond a mile.
Lingfield All Weather Run Style Bias Conclusions
Over 5 furlongs at Lingfield on the all weather, front runners have a very strong edge and prominent racers perform well too.
I would keep a watching brief over 6f for the time being as the data appears somewhat contradictory in recent seasons.
At 7 furlongs I definitely want my horse to be nearer the front than the back early, while the mile trip is not one I personally play very often, but in general my advice would still be to avoid hold up horses unless you have some compelling form data to the contrary.