Data + stats + vision = a big odds winner.

Michael Kruse 26 July 2019Last Updated: 28 December 2022

As we’re slogging away with winter racing on genuinely wet tracks at present with thankfully glimpses of talented, fast horses starting to emerge, thought I’d do a case study on the last winner at Flemington PREZADO given he was such big odds on the how and why basis as this week’s newsletter theme.

Staying out of the race on the morning plan hurt given I rated him $9 and $21 was freely available, but was pleased to get the information right.

Prezado – the logic behind a big odds winner.

That PREZADO has talent is a proven fact.

At just his 4th career start he won on Melbourne Cup day with a blistering 1000 metre performance

over subsequent multiple city winner BANDIPUR and WILLIAM THOMAS and in Sizzlers we wrote:

He might have started $21 as a maiden when 2nd up at just his 4th career run off a luckless Echuca run, but there was no fluke about this win ranked 3rd on the day with +3.9 lengths above benchmark and the best last 800, 600, 400 and 200 of the day. That was a good 3 length improvement on anything he’s done previously, and should be able to at least hold this figure stepping up in trip. Anything above +4 should be winning at this time of year against fellow 3yos. Stick with him!

His next start was 74 days later and he bumped into NATURE STRIP who is now a Group 1 winner

Nature Strip Race.

and in Sizzlers we put in back in the frying pan:

We sizzled him in his Cup Day win when +3.9 lengths above benchmark and ranked 3rd on the day, well here he’s returned just below that figure with +3.2 and ranked 3rd on the day, but importantly stepping out of the “1000 metre world” to 1100 in 2nd to boom off-season sprinter NATURE STRIP. Good sustained chase with the 9th best last 800 of the day, the 10th best last 600 and 400 and the 11th best last 200. Should find 1-2 lengths and into the 5 range that would make him extremely hard to beat.

He tapered after that with two plain runs, but when resuming in August ran 2nd to BANDIPUR

and was back Sizzled:

He’s resumed with a sound +2.2 lengths above benchmark ranked 8th on the day, but note well below his first up run in January which was a $250,000 target race where he chased the flying NATURE STRIP over 1100 and was wound up to run when +3.2 and ranked 3rd on the day. So at least a length to come, but note Melbourne Cup Day ran +3.9 lengths above benchmark with the best last 800, 600, 400 and 200 of the day. Here the 6th best last 800 of the day, but just the 17th best last 200 of the day, and we’re equating that to being short of fitness. We expect him to improve 1-2 lengths next start and placed sensibly that can see him win again.

Horses only lose form three ways:

# Injury/health.
# Loss of tenacity.
# Circumstances against – luck, track conditions, race shapes – and his has generally been a combo of the latter.

What became clear after luckless Moonee Valley 955 runs, and then not running out 1200, was he was a genuine short course specialist with the straight best.

He did win on Pakenham Cup day on the big wide track with a solid 1000 time and the 2nd best last 800 of the day underlining what his strength is.

This time in, the market thought he was right off two good jump outs starting $3:80 Flemington 1000 metres 08/06 in his ideal set up, but watch how badly he over-raced on the very slow tempo – going just -3.1 lengths below benchmark to the 800 then EVEN SLOWER going -4.7 in the mid race – for the out of form Chris Symons who’d had 27 city rides this calendar year without a win and was clearly on viewing desperate to get the horse to settle with cover before some late traffic:

Next start up to 1100 at the end of his distance range on soft ground he doesn’t handle he again over-raced on a slow tempo looking for cover (even allowing for the conditions) going -6.9 to the 800, then -5.9 in the mid race, before the 6th best last 400 of the day, but as you can see visually again running out of room late and just the 19th best last 200 of the day. Again the rider was out of form with Steve Baster having just one win in 63 city rides since the 12th of January.

Before at Sandown asked to back up 4 days later at his favoured 1000, he found a heavy track which he doesn’t handle, and as you can see when under full pressure late, his action went matching the data which said he lost 3 lengths over just the last 200 metres.

So there was enough reasons to forgive him, and the better the price the easier it is.

For mine the missing puzzle was statistical and visual:

Statistically on went Linda Meech who leading into the meeting had ridden a double at Flemington a fortnight earlier, and all venues had ridden 15 winners in the previous month, and since 29/06 had 15 rides at $5 or shorter – dealing with pressure of market expectations – winning 8 of them! (53% v 33.7% market expectations.)

And visually after going -0.6 to the 800 – note 2.5 lengths faster over the first 200 metres to the resuming run – then as the leaders started to slow (as they often do up the straight) – Meech CHOSE to get away from forcing the horse to get cover and in going -1.8 from the 800 to 400 lost only a length, but note that meant that his first 600 metres while not overracing and clearly visually cruising was 5.4 lengths faster than his first run run. As such he hadn’t wasted effort and was able to produce a +2.7 last 400, so the 4th best last 400 and 200 of the day from the 2nd line made him unbeatable.

Officially $17 and $21+ on Betfair was a huge but importantly explainable outcome.

And just finally on the race, the heavily backed favourite was the first up USAIN BOWLER despite having no 1000 metre form in his 11 start career.

He still doesn’t.

Keep that in mind next time you hear about “market intelligence” as sometimes it can actually be “market lack of intelligence”.

We’ll keep trying to do out best!

“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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