Do Barriers Actually Matter?

As a punter, you always hear trainers and jockeys comment on poor barrier draws as being a valid excuse for a horse having a poor run.

Do they have a point? Yeah of course. And they certainly know more about racing than the average punter!

Now we aren’t going to dive deep into any stats here punters in fear of putting you to sleep, but if you actually look at the numbers the difference in winning strike rate for horses drawing inside barriers compared to outside barriers (we’re talking like 10+) is pretty negligible.

Don’t ask for an exact figure, we don’t want to work that hard!

Anyway, if you’ve done the form for the Tatt’s Tiara at Eagle Farm you would have seen Group 1 winner Snapdancer has drawn the absolute car park.

The in-form mare held clear favouritism in early betting markets, but that quickly shifted once she drew barrier 21.

But can she still win the race? Yeah, bloody oath!

There’s been plenty of big races run this Group 1 season where a horse has drawn a sticky barrier and still saluted.

Here’s some examples:

Gypsy Goddess, Queensland Oaks: Barrier 18

Mr Brightside, Doncaster Mile: Barrier 21

Superstorm, Kennedy Cantala: Barrier 12

Incentivise, Caulfield Cup: Barrier 18

Now, we appreciate this is a small sample size, but these are tangible, very recent examples of where horses have won despite the draw.

You could argue Incentivise and maybe Gypsy Goddess are freakish horses, and fair point, but would you say the same of Superstorm and Mr Brightside?

Different distances, different tracks, doesn’t matter.

If you like a horse in a race but it’s drawn wide don’t overthink it! Plenty of them win.

Plenty of them also lose – but hey, that’s the joy of being a punter!

Have we just jinxed Snapdancer in a huge way? Yes, absolutely.

Will the next dozen Group 1 races be won by horses who have drawn “good” barriers purely because of this article? Also, yes, absolutely.

Despite this, we hope this advice proves useful at some point for the punters reading.

Good luck out there.