Less than a week to the Derby and for the first time, certainly that I can remember we have potentially the first two in the betting yet to be entered. Both colts will need supplementing into the race after connections had presumed their horses either not mature enough or perhaps not good enough. Both horses proved them wrong by winning their trials.

Where do we start when looking at past running’s of the Derby for clues about what could win this years race. Probably the most talked about feature will be whether each horse will get the trip. In plain English, will it be suited to running over 12 furlongs. It is kind of like asking whether Usain Bolt will get 400m. Some have already answered the question by running over 12 furlongs but others have not and for these horses breeding, confirmation and a bit of guess work is all we have.

Let us take a look at the previous 10 Derby’s in terms of the race distance each horse ran over in it prior race. the data is for UK races only so the odd French or Irish based raider is not accounted for unless they trialed in England. The Profit or loss by distance is to Betfair SP before commission and to 1 point stake.

Last Race dist 8f Bets = 19 PL = +8.6 VarPL = +1.19
LRD = 9f Bets 1 PL = -1 Varpl = -0.02
LRD = 10f Bets 42 PL = -31.95 VarPl = -0.98
LRD = 11f Bets = 21 PL = -21 VarPL = -0.81
LRD = 12f Bets = 22 PL = +51.25 VarPL = +1.08

The best race distance trials have been 8f and 12f although quite why the distance inbetween should be so poor is questionable. What it does show is that we should not be put off an 8f horse simply because it has not run over something approaching 12f.

What about sifting out those that did not run close in their last race?. Checking all those who ran above 4th place gave the following.

8f bets = 7 PL = -7 VarPL = -.053
10f bets = 4 PL = -4 VarPL = -0.06
11f Bets = 3 PL = -3 VarPL = -0.005
12f Bets = 1 PL = -1 VarPL = -0.008

Clearly unplaced horses have done poorly over the last 10 years and we could unless with really good reason throw these horses out of 2019 calculations.

The figures with these horses removed reads.

8f bets = 12 PL = +15.6 VarPL = +1.72
10f bets = 38 PL = -27.95 VarPL = -0.917
11f Bets = 18 PL = -18 VarPL = -0.807
12f Bets = 21 PL = +52.25 VarPL = +1.08

Is it important that the horse won last time out ?. Not particularly, only 8f horse PL held up for those that won last time out.

I will look at some other features during the week but in terms of this single distance criteria it would appear that the value lies with 8f win and placed horse or horses that ran but did not win last time over 12f.