In this article, our senior contributor E.J. Minnis replies to queries sent in by PPMreaders. Please send any questions to: The Editor, PPM, PO Box 551, Dee Why, NSW 2099.

The publication of the in-running position tables in the May edition of PPM has prompted a follow-up question from Sam Murphy, a Brisbane-based reader, who writes: "Thanks so much for compiling and publishing the in-running tables. However, I wonder if you could also supply similar tables for the major metropolitan tracks, as while on-pacers may win 54 per cent of races overall, obviously some tracks will favour this type of runner more than other tracks.

Sam is correct in his assumption that some tracks, Moonee Valley for instance, favour on-pace runners more than others, for example Flemington.

The first table below, based on 17,766 races over the past few years, is for all the metropolitan racetracks in Australia. It shows that overall the winners are split up into 60.9 per cent of on-pacers, 29.6 per cent of midfield runners and 9.5 per cent of backmarkers.

Interestingly, although the actual percentage of winners within the three categories may differ, the Relevant Frequency Factors are consistent with other research I have done in the past.

The tables below relate to metropolitan tracks in Melbourne, being similar to those published in May and based on the in-running positions at the 400m. To enable sufficient data to be collated for each track and for the tables to be meaningful, some have had to be combined.

Distance ranges have been split into two (less than 1600m and 1600m or longer), likewise the track conditions statistics have been split into dry (fast/good) and wet (dead/ slow/heavy) - a total of five tables per track.

The first of the Melbourne tracks we look at is Moonee Valley.

Clearly, Moonee Valley favours on-pace runners but, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, races at 1600m or longer tend to favour them more than the sprint races, with one exception: in 308 races over 1000m, 235 winners were in the first four at the 400m - 76 per cent the highest at any given distance in the metropolitan areas of Australia.

One thing is for certain, a punter wouldn't want to be on a chronic backmarker at the Valley. They have a terrible record there and punters would be better off keeping their hands in their pockets if they fancied that type of runner.

Next, a look at the statistics for Flemington.

Before the analysis, my gut feeling was that the on-pacers would not be as advantaged in races down the Flemington straight. But this was not the case. From 452 races, 307 of the winners (69 per cent, RF Factor 1.9) were positioned in the first four at the 400m.

While the strike rate of the on-pace winners is less than at Moonee Valley, there is little difference in the RF Factors, as the lower strike rate is compensated by the additional runners in the midfield and backmarker categories.

Caulfield also comes up with very similar statistics, with the on-pacers being dominant yet again, returning an overall RF Factor of 1.8.

The last of the tracks in Melbourne is Sandown, which has just recently gone through a revamp with the creation of two tracks, Lakeside and Hillside. The former is 1851m in circumference, the latter being 2087m with a 491m straight, one of the longest of all the metropolitan tracks in Australia.

Unfortunately, because Lakeside only commenced racing in late January, there is very limited data to work with, so only an overall inrunning table for that track has been created at this stage.

While it is still very early days (the above table is based on only 62 races), a similar pattern to the other Melbourne tracks is already emerging - on-pace runners continue to dominate.

The final table is one for all-the-way leaders at the main Melbourne tracks: Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley.

While over 26 per cent of all-the  way leaders win in Melbourne, at Moonee Valley they have close to a one-in-three winning record, and 15 per cent of all winners at that track are race leaders.

It's a punter's paradise. A $10 bet on each of those 800 runners would have returned 8,035 a net profit of over $10,000!!

Unbelievable but true, so long as those runners had been identified prior to their respective races.
However, even if in some races there were more than one likely leader identified, a substantial profit would have still been obtained by backing them all.

More in-running tables will be published in the future covering the other metropolitan areas.

(Note: For the purpose of this analysis, at the 400m on-pacers are runners positioned 1st to 4th; midfield runners are positioned 5th to 8th; and backmarkers are positioned 9th or worse.)


By EJ Minnis