Accuracy, the good, the bad and the robotic.

Michael Kruse 16 July 2019 Last Updated: 28 December 2022

The great ride and what robots avoid!

OAK DOOR won the main race at Caulfield on Saturday paying $47 best tote and of it pre-race I wrote:

Oak Door Ben Melham • John Sadler(11)59kg

$26:00 Good talent as a 3yo, but hasn’t come up in 4 runs in two preps for Sadler, with his last win when trained by Robert Smerdon August 2017.

Very solid in three jump outs here suggesting he’s coming to play, but obviously still has to put it together race day.

Not definitive his wet track ability, but the sire generally throws wet trackers.

Market/parade will be interesting, but from a win perspective prefer to risk him being able to immediately bring his A-game which he’ll need.

I ended up sitting the race out, but the avalanche came for veteran iron horse JUNGLE EDGE after early favourite SOOTHING had savage Betfairitis (then couldn’t get out of her own road running 13th of 13) and others like Sydney visitor HEART CONQUERED and BANDIPUR – having his first start for the new stable – were also easy and subsequently plain.

Market knew. Again.

But they got OAK DOOR wrong and there were two stand out reasons worth keeping in mind on-going:

1/ “Robots” or the big punting teams that follow their own algorithms and then build museums clearly pay little or no attention to jump out form.

That both tells you that jump out form is overrated given how smart these ppl are, but also they’ll occasionally be one that slips through the net and what it shows you is very, real.

Noise v signal conundrum.

The positive is if you like chipping away with some small bets on big odds runners – and you are insane if you aren’t at least looking at Betfair if you do – then you’ll get a super result like you did on Saturday as OAK DOORS three jump outs were all excellent as you can see for yourself.

2/ Brilliant Melham ride.

The data says the difference between OAK DOOR winning a losing to JUNGLE EDGE was Ben Melham ride which by extension equated to a brilliant judgement of pace.

At the 800 he was going -0.4 lengths below benchmark (Vince’s IVR data) which was 2 lengths from JE then -0.5 from the 800 to 400 as the leader went from +1.5 to -1.2.


His last 400 was -4.7 and broken down was -2.2 from the 400 to 200 then -2.5 over the last 200.

Again this means OAK DOOR was getting tired as slowly as possible.

The best jockeys have the innate skill of “riding to the numbers” and Melham at his best is certainly that.

The race to race difference of speed that cost a horse winning.

The preface is the usual that any criticism of rides is not personal nor disrespectful to the dangers they face and the spartan lifestyle they’re forced to lead, and in this case is simply presenting Vince’s IVR IVR data to back the argument.

And with Lachie King on SMART ELISSIM the argument is if he led the $201 odds co-leader who was over-racing cross him he would have won race 4 instead of running 2nd.

The confidence in the assertion is simply that on wet ground SMART ELISSIM at the 800 was going +1.6 lengths above benchmark, and at the same track/distance a fortnight earlier was going -9.0.

That means he was asked to go 10.6 lengths faster over the first 600 metres!

Reckon that told late? Bloody oath.

I note in that race which he won he was ridden by Luke Nolen, but on Saturday taking 2kgs off a 500kg+ animal was considered more important, than an elite experienced multi Group 1 winning hoop.

Repeating the best jockeys “ride to the numbers” and reckon the bloke who steered BLACK CAVIAR would be a fair judge of speed…

“Racetrack” Ralphy Horowitz provides independent form analysis via He uses Vince Accardi’s IVR benchmarking service and together they do the Year Round Carnival podcast review of the weekend’s main races every Monday”

Michael Kruse
Michael loves all things all horse racing and has been in the game for quite some time. His knowledge in the betting space is second... [Read full bio]

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