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Are Barriers an Important Factor? by Garry Robinson

There is no doubt in the average punters mind that the barrier draw affects a horse's chances in a race. One of the aspects of barrier draws that few punters realise is the effect it has on the price of the horse. Let's put it another way. Does the price of a horse become badly affected if it has an inside barrier draw? In my book "My Favourite Book" which was published in 2003 and featured the results of betting favourites in 54,000 races, the following results applied.

Strike Rate
Average Dividend

Now in reading the above table you should realise that an inside barrier draw can be one of the reasons that a horse is the favourite. In other words, had the horse drawn poorly, it would not have been favourite. Realise, also, that the 7% of horses that were still favourite in spite of a wide barrier draw, are better bets because of the fact that although their strike rate is up to 10% less, the dividends obtained are 20% better.

It is even possible that you could make a level stakes profit by doing no more then backing the favourite when it is drawn barrier 11 or worse at best fluctuation with bookmakers.

Now let's look at the possibilities revealed by this analysis which is restricted to favourites. If favourite prices are affected as above by this one important factor, how is a non favourite going to be affected? The answer to this one is simply "more so". Quite often you will find that a horse is not favourite simply because of the barrier draw. Even worse (or better of you are a punter) the price may be several points better because of this.

Let's look at just one example.

In fields of 13 in sprint races the chances of finding the winner by picking with a pin is 7.6%. By restricting our pin to selections that start in barriers 1-7, we get an 8% strike rate. By using our pin on runners drawn wider than this we get a strike rate of just 6% or 25% less. Now let's look at the extreme examples of starters in barrier one and barrier 13, remembering that we are only looking at random selections.

Horses that started in barrier one had a strike rate of 8% and lost 20 cents for every dollar invested.

Horses that started from barrier 13 had a strike rate of just 6% but lost just 2 cents for every dollar invested.

Imagine what can happen when we start to back horses drawn wide only when they have strong form lines?

In sprint races where we chose only the fastest horse in the race, horses drawn outside barrier 10 produced lower strike rates but actually made level stakes profits.

Barriers are important, make no mistake about that. The smart punter though, knows when to use information like the above to their own advantage. Many punters simply refuse to bet their selections if they are drawn wide. Clearly, when you view the above information, their strategy is flawed. Although when you consider one individual race, your chances of winning that one race will be diminished, in the long term, you will be far better off by including these selections in.

In my new "Barrier Book" I consider fields of 5-8, where you would think that the barrier bias would have little effect, fields of 9-12 where a wide draw would be expected to be a negative factor, to fields of 13+ where the public believes that horses drawn wide have little to no hope. In addition to this I consider three sets for distances. Sprints to 1250 metres, middle distance to 1670 metres and staying events of ay distance beyond this.

The public belives that wide barier draws are of little consequence in staying events. My new book reveals the facts. In essence I believe that winning punters are the ones who use facts, not fiction, to make their investment decisions.

Garry Robinson's The Winform Barrier Book is now available from Winform for just $99 for Non-Members or $89 for Members. Order Now!

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