The Efficiently Fast Lane – Damian Lane

Michael Kruse / 7 February 2019

Last Updated on 29 December 2022

The Efficiently Fast Lane – Damian Lane

After a frankly crap week for Victorian racing which most of us can only be hapless spectators to, it’s time to return the focus on the endlessly fascinating caper of trying to find the how and why of future outcomes that hopefully we can trust.

My mindset here was helped by the “pep talk” Vince Accardi gave me at the start of this week’s Year Round Carnival podcast before we went on to look at the best of Rosehill and Caulfield

The fast (Damian) Lane

*Picture of something going really fast. Could it be D.Lane?

One of the (many!) best things I’ve learnt from Vince Accardi ( has been how the best jockeys “ride to the numbers”

Do they go out intending to ride “X” above Vince’s IVR benchmark to the 800 metre mark, before “Y” in the mid-race and “Z” home? Of course not

But when the data comes out it repeatedly shows the maximum efficiency horses receive from the elite riders

Before using Damian Lane’s treble on Saturday as a case study, it reminds me of a remarkable article the Financial Review once did with legendary punter David Walsh of Mona Gallery fame who in part said:

Much to his surprise he finds people underestimate the utility of a good jockey. “I would have thought they would overestimate a jockey’s capacity.” Walsh also believes punters place too much emphasis on the “weight a horse is carrying”.

Here’s the link if you want a great read

In a nutshell my belief is instead of being with a (statistically at least as a starting point) poor and/or out of form jockey hoping they “get it right” on the day and then be tortured when they don’t, use the long term probability in your favour and mainly be against them and particularly when short in the market and consider “chipping up” (responsibly!) when conversely the best are steering?

Of Lane’s 3 winners Saturday:

Name:              To 800    800 to 400    Last 400

NAANTALI         -4.8           -0.6              +1.7
LOVING GABY  -3.4           +2.0             +1.9
TIN HAT             +2.5          +4.8             +0.5


So even though in order they were 2nd line, 4th line and leading, what the three had in common were each runner increased their speed in the mid race AND SIGNIFICANTLY ON THE LEADER TIN HAT HE WENT FAST AND FASTER

This is often the case and why he rides so many winning on pacers, compared to the mathematically dumb tactics of many of losing momentum on leaders “taking hold” in the mid-race and/or going as slowly as possible on fast horses that don’t have closing speed.

Going fast and then faster ensures those at the back with big closing sprints are fatigued just keeping up before being asked

In addition he hasn’t – and doesn’t – over extend in the mid race compared to the early speed, so there is the most possible left for the finish even if understandably tapering like TIN HAT after solid early exertion.

While he’s “lost” the Weir stable that he’s ridden many winners for, his talent and form is clearly at the top of the tree.

With Group 1 season upon us underestimate him – and other elite riders – at your peril!

“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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