Some further thoughts on this subject after a few hours this morning examining the data. Looking at 850 horses that have run in 2018 and registered a stride length/stride per second reading and finished placed, I first decided to examine stride length. Looking at the peak stride length per distance revealed the following averages
5f = 24.559375feet
6f = 24.54989691
7f = 24.28295238
8f = 24.31840336
9f = 24.04942857
10f = 24.52785714
11f = 23.91888889
12f = 24.42592593
Not a huge difference across distances so I decided to use the standard deviation of all the data rather than by distance so as to isolate longer striding horses. Those with a stride greater than one STD could be catagorised as long striders. I immediately ran into a problem here. The first on my list of long striders was a horse called Kelly’s Dino.
He had a peak stride length of 27.4 but his other two registered runs were much lower. Given that I had only gathered data on the latest run, assuming that with placed horses the peak stride length would not vary too much, it was clear that if you changed the order of these runs gathering the latest run would not have logged Kelly’s Dino as long striding. He clearly is as closer examination of each race shows that his PSL is greater than the other placed horses in the races. Other factors are clearly at play here, perhaps going, wind, pace etc. This immediately prompts a further thought, can this data be used to more accurately state the going, but lets park that for now.
The above problem might be solved by taking averages or examining the full placed horses in a race but what if they are all long striding ?, it is likely then that taking relative readings would mean none of the long striding placed horses would be picked up.
I decided to turn to stride per second. This seemed to not suffer from the same problem, Kellys Dino’s strides per second seemed fairly consistent even if his peak stride lengths varied. The first trap you can easily fall into as you get buried into a train line of thinking is that now we are looking at SPS we need to remember that we are looking for horses with less than not greater than one STDEV below the average. Long striding horses make fewer strides per second. I forgot this initially and was a little disappointed when the first couple of ‘big’ horses I looked at had won at Epsom and Newmarket, both undulating tracks.
The other factor with SPS is that it is probably wise to calculate STDEV’s per distance as the averages vary much more than stride length. With these figures now done for 5f horses I check a few to see if there was any obvious patterns before doing more automated and fuller analysis. Manual checks can often highlight logical errors as seen above.
The first highlighted horse was Born for Prosecco
Having not won yet it may be difficult to draw conclusions but if this kind of analysis was to prove fruitful he could be the ideal type to keep an eye on as he is fairly unexposed.
The second horse is Razin Hill
All his 8 wins bar 1 have come at Southwell, it may be that long striding horses do well at Southwell but this is a very tentative suggestion at the moment.
You may want to take a look at a few yourself so I will list a couple below. I also welcome all constructive comments and if you would like to see more on this topic then leave a comment or a like.
Jack The Truth (IRE)
Temple Road (IRE)