Sys­tems

Ed­die Wood looks at how the al­ti­tude of race­courses can af­fect bet­ting pat­terns, start­ing with those in Ire­land

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

How race­course al­ti­tude can af­fect baet­ting pat­terns

My re­search on al­ti­tude and its ef­fects on race­horses will be bet­ter un­der­stood along­side the al­ti­tude fig­ures of our race­courses. Know­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tics and pe­cu­liar­i­ties of our race­courses is im­por­tant, es­pe­cially when com­par­ing the ef­fect of al­ti­tude in cer­tain races.

I am not far enough along the road yet to be con­clu­sive about this as­pect, but I have thought of some meth­ods where al­ti­tude could fig­ure strongly. I will share this in a fu­ture ar­ti­cle.

In this first part, I will in­tro­duce the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the Ir­ish cour­ses along with their al­ti­tude fig­ures. Ir­ish form is of­ten very dif­fi­cult to weigh up, es­pe­cially in hand­i­caps on Bri­tish soil. First, we will fo­cus on the Ir­ish Flat cour­ses. Their al­ti­tudes range from six me­tres for Lay­town to 139 me­tres for Bel­low­stown.

BALLINROBE (COUNTY MAYO) AL­TI­TUDE: 30 ME­TRES

COURSE-WISE: a right-handed track of 8f with sharp bends. DRAW-WISE: a high draw is ad­van­ta­geous, es­pe­cially in 6f races. The track has a sharp na­ture mean­ing top weights have a good ad­van­tage, es­pe­cially with the down­hill run to the fin­ish. GO­ING-WISE:the go­ing gets quite heavy here; it is one of the wettest parts of Ire­land. HORSE-WISE: the course favours those that race promi­nently.

BEL­LOW­STOWN (COUNTY MEATH) AL­TI­TUDE: 139 ME­TRES

COURSE-WISE:this is a 9f,round and left­handed track with sharped well-banked bends. DRAW-WISE: there ap­pears to be no ad­van­tage but I in­tend to do my own re­search in due course. GO­ING-WISE: the down­hill sur­face cou­pled with an ex­cel­lent wa­ter­ing sys­tem makes for good go­ing. HORSE-WISE: the sharp­ness of the track gives an ad­van­tage to the top weights.

CLON­MEL (COUNTY TIP­PER­ARY) AL­TI­TUDE: 30 ME­TRES

COURSE-WISE: a right-handed, 10f course with a steep down­hill to­wards the fi­nal turn. The last fur­long is up­hill to the fin­ish. DRAW-WISE: there ap­pears to be no ad­van­tage. GO­ING-WISE: noth­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary here. HORSE-WISE: this is a gal­lop­ing course with a test­ing fin­ish. En­sure your se­lec­tions can see out of any trip well.In fact,the 2m races are as tough as any course in Ire­land.

CORK (MAL­LOW, COUNTY CORK) AL­TI­TUDE: 50 ME­TRES

COURSE-WISE:this is a right-handed and level course with a gal­lop­ing na­ture. DRAW-WISE:there ap­pears to be a de­fin­i­tive ad­van­tage for high-drawn horses on the 6f track and for low drawn horses over 8f, es­pe­cially on good to firm ground. GO­ING-WISE: noth­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary here. HORSE-WISE: Der­mot Weld’s and Ai­dan O’Brien’s 3yo+ do well here.

CUR­RAGH (COUNTY KIL­DARE) AL­TI­TUDE: 105 ME­TRES

COURSE-WISE:a right-handed,16f round course. It has easy turns lead­ing to a straight 3f run-in and an up­hill fin­ish. All races up to 6f 63y are on a straight.The 7f and 8f races have a dog leg.A spur runs at an an­gle to the main course for all races run up to 8f. DRAW-WISE: on the straight course, low num­bers are favoured when the stalls are on the stand side. GO­ING-WISE: the springy turf is set on a lime­stone base and rarely gets firm enough in a hot Sum­mer.The go­ing can be quite heavy in the Spring and Au­tumn. HORSE-WISE: the straight mile rises by 29f mak­ing this the great­est rise on any Bri­tish or Ir­ish course. It is a thor­ough test of stamina and, com­bined with an up­hill fin­ish and a wide course, gives ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to the strong, late fin­isher.

DOWN ROYAL (LIS­BURN) AL­TI­TUDE: 34 ME­TRES

COURSE-WISE: a 15f, oval right-handed course with a climb to the fi­nal bend.The home straight runs down­hill and then rises grad­u­ally to the win­ning post. DRAW-WISE: no ad­van­tage. GO­ING-WISE: noth­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary here. HORSE-WISE: this is quite a gal­lop­ing course and suits the long-strid­ing types.

DUN­DALK (COUNTY LOUTH) AL­TI­TUDE: 8 ME­TRES

COURSE-WISE:an all-weather Polytrack, left-handed course with a cir­cum­fer­ence of 1m 2f. DRAW-WISE: there’s a def­i­nite bias to­wards low-drawn horses over seven fur­longs. GO­ING-WISE:this is an all-weather,Polytrack course and it rarely steers away from Stan­dard. HORSE-WISE:Ai­dan O’Brien does ex­cep­tion­ally well here with his horses rid­den by Seamie Hef­fer­man.

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