Frank Hickey believes some jockeys may try to turn a high draw to their advantage on Champions Day at Ascot by avoiding the softest of ground.
Paddy Power’s expert trader says the position of the starting stalls on the far side of the track for this year’s Flat season curtain-closer presents a slight opportunity for those willing to take a risk.
Horses drawn in low numbers will be right next to the inside running rail but on softer ground, while those drawn higher up will find firmer going if they are able to cross over to the stand-side rail.
Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s twice-weekly From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Frank explained how those drawn low next to the rail would usually be best-placed – but it could be a different story this year.
There is always talk about draw bias at Ascot, particularly in the handicaps with bigger fields as opposed to the Group 1 races.
For this meeting, the stalls will be on the far side of the track so the low numbers will be nearer the inside rail.
You could therefore say that there is going to be a small advantage drawn low, but then you look at the going stick and the far side is 5.3, the centre is 5.2 and the stand side is 5.6 (a reading of 5 is considered heavy ground, with higher numbers representing firmer going).
It will be interesting to see if anyone takes a chance and makes a beeline for the stands side rail, having been drawn in a higher number. There might be an advantage, if someone takes that on.
They will concede a little bit at the start but they’ll be on the best bit of ground from there on in.
But I was looking at former winners, and you have horses winning from all sorts of numbers previously on all types of ground so I don’t think there is a massive bias.
Ordinarily when the high numbers are on the stand-side rail, I would always prefer to pick a high number but I think it’s a little bit fairer where the stalls are going to be tomorrow.
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