Doncaster article based on 6 years results 1976 - 1981

This article was written in January 1982 and was published on the first day of the flat season 1982 in the readers letter’s section of The Sporting Chronicle Handicap Book.
The equivalent publication today is the weekly racing paper Raceform Update.

The article was written to promote my first publication of draw advantage information in this chart format and was timed to coincide with the “Lincoln” meeting at Doncaster in March.1982.
The article contains an analysis of draw advantages at Doncaster, based on a simple count up of the winning stall numbers taken from the racing results of the previous 6 years, 1976 – 1981.

Following publication of this article, drainage improvements were made on the straight course at Doncaster during the 1980’s.
Although I cannot claim any credit for the implementation of this improved drainage, it does seem something of a coincidence that it took place at this time.

As few as only 2, 4 and 5 adjacent stalls, were identified in the article as having produced most wins, in some cases more wins than all the other stalls put together.
The observations described in the articles were proved to be very accurate by the results that followed that year.
During the 1982 season, these very few starting stalls continued these amazing sequences of results with

Winners priced 50/1, 14/1, 10/1 etc. starting from these 2, 4 or 5 starting stalls.

20th March 1982. Sporting Chronicle Handicap Book.


Many short cuts have been introduced or expanded on in “Forum” in recent months, to assist in winner finding or reducing the field to a manageable size, notably betting forecasts, previous form placings and race values. Combinations of these have been shown to be effective as processes of elimination, but it is my view that none of these factors actually affect the outcome of any race in any way. The effect of the draw, in my opinion, stands head and shoulders above all other information as an effective aid to winner finding, and I am sure most people will agree that it has a definite effect on the outcome of many races, especially over short distances or possibly where a bend is to be negotiated.
Why is it then that in the past few years in “Forum” this subject has been virtually cast aside with very little information forthcoming?
Could it be that everyone is highly satisfied with the situation at present, or is it that few possess the necessary information required to discuss the subject in any detail?
In the following advice, which if any is correct?
Does any correspondent, contributor or reader know EXACTLY what is meant by the terms “HIGH” and “LOW” used commonly in most advice? Is it half the runners; a quarter; or a percentage perhaps?
Sporting Chronicle ……….. High over 5F when soft.
Sun ………. High 5F to 6F, especially on soft going.
Star ……….. Low best except soft when high best in sprints.
Mirror …………. 5f, 7f, 8f, low best.
Express ………… 5f, 7f, 8f, low.
Not exactly unanimous are they?
The true effect of the draw can only be assessed by analyzing past results. A simple study of the patterns produced by winning stalls gives a picture of exactly which sector of the draw has produced the winners. Any bias towards any particular group of stalls becomes blatantly obvious with a little study.
If a strong pattern of results has occurred over past seasons, it can be assessed on its merits. Where a weak pattern of no particular bias has formed i.e. an even spread of results over all stalls, obviously there is probably no overall advantage.
Let’s take a look at Doncaster: races for 3 year olds and older of 8 to 20 runners, six seasons results 1976 – 1981. 2 year olds in my opinion judging by the patterns of results at all courses are more able to defy the handicap of a poor stalls position.
Sporting Chronicle ………. High were best, but now low in big fields.
Sun …….. Little effect recently.
Star ……… High best straight course.
Mirror ………. High straight, low 8f round.
Express ………. 5f to 8f high, 8f round low.
As would be expected the most reliable pattern which has emerged is that of the 5f and 5f 140 yds races. Here only five horses have succeeded from stalls numbered 1 to 5, whereas horses from the top four stalls have succeeded 21 times (63%) from a total of 33 races. The TOP TWO STALLS have provided more winners (17 of these 21 or 51.5%), than all the other stalls put together.
( Note: I made a mistake here when I wrote the article. There were in fact 40 races, 18 of which had been won from the top 2 stalls – 45% ).
As the distance of the races increases, the patterns of results decline accordingly.
6f Bottom 5 stalls 5 wins
Top 5 stalls 14 wins (56%)
Total races 25.
7f Bottom 4 stalls 12 wins
Bottom half of stalls 21 wins
Top half of stalls 22 wins (51%)
Total races 43.
8f straight. Only nine races had 20 runners or less. There have been nine races with 26 runners and these are the winning stall numbers: 6-9-11-14-16-19-22-24. Do not be deceived by the fact that the majority of these races have been won from the top half of the draw. Compared to the 5f and 6f races, there is not a regular pattern of any worth over this course and distance.
8f round.
Bottom half of stalls 25 wins (50%)
Top half of stalls 25 wins (50%)
Total races 50.
As over the 7f course there is a pretty even spread of results. Can we assume that strong patterns of results disappear as distance increases? After all jockey’s tactics will have more effect. Judge for yourself.
Doncaster 1m 2f 50yds 1977 – 1981. (A few results are missing).
Bottom 4 stalls …….. 23 wins (52%)
All other stalls ……….21 wins
Coincidence perhaps? These results have formed a regular pattern each season.
Taking the bottom 4 stalls against the field gives some idea of the pattern.
1977 6 wins 2 losers
1978 7 wins 6 losers
1979 4 wins 5 losers
1980 3 wins 4 losers
1981 3 wins 4 losers
Totals 23 wins 21 losers
These are the 1981 winning stall numbers.
3 – 30 ran 11/2
2 – 15 7/1
7 – 14 lost
2 – 11 5/1
2 – 22 11/1
8 – 8 lost
4 – 8 9/2
5 – 8 lost
12 – 18 lost
4 – 7 11/8
11 – 26 2 yr old
4 – 24 33/1
7 winners 5 losers
Anyone who bets on the horses needs to know EXACTLY where strong patterns of results such as I have outlined have occurred. The effect of the going must then be tackled. Only by researching the facts of past results can a reliable assessment be made. Only then will you know:-
1. Exactly what is meant by the terms “HIGH” and “LOW”.
2. Where a strong rails or other advantage may be anticipated.
3. That you can bet confidently with the knowledge that your selections have the all important advantage of being WELL DRAWN.
H. Hutchinson.

These were the recommendations or observations in the article :-

5f 3 year olds & older Top 2 stalls
6f 3 year olds & older Top 5 stalls
1m 2f Bottom 4 stalls
7f, 1m straight, 1m round No advantage.

All results are for horses aged 3 years or older except where stated. No races have been missed out and starting prices are shown where relevant. All results are shown in the form : Winner drawn 9 of 14 runners (See first 6f result).

Doncaster 1982 results. 3 year olds and older.
Races of 8 to 20 runners recommended in the article are highlighted in red.
There is no indication here of the going.

5F6F7F8F Straight8F round1M 2F
9-9 7/19-145-123-913-2224-30
11-11 9/26-7 7/26-112-1813-172-6 5/4
9-10 11/45-7 13/83-622-262-103-4 13/8
7-7 7/414-14 50/15-112-261-72-7 11/8
6-7 5/44-1013-136-75-71-20 14/1
3-4 8/114-209-146-164-19 9/2
11-151-69-141-12 10/1
Top 2 stalls.Top 5 stalls15-199-112-6 20/1
8 to 20 ran.8 to 20 ran8-161-132-16 11/1(2yo)
16-26Stalls 1 to 4
No advantageNo advantageNo advantage8 to 20 ran

In races with 8 to 20 runners, the recommended stalls in 5f, 6f, and 1m 2f races produced
7 winners, from 12 races ( 58 % )

All the other stalls put together produced just 5 winners.

Extensive drainage work was carried out during the eighties, at Doncaster, presumably to rectify the very significant draw advantage enjoyed by horses drawn in high numbered stalls in sprint races.
Do you recall Willie Carson taking a terrible fall in the straight at Doncaster?
It was pointed out at the time that his mount had put its foot in a pothole, caused by subsidence following this drainage work. Willie also had a nasty fall at York.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy.