Bath is a very unique turf Flat track. There are 5 and 5½-furlong starts, not on a straight as such, but always on the turn and rising.
There are tight seven-furlong and one-mile starts going left-handed.
While these starts are tight, the runners rise throughout after the final bend for a full half mile leading to a lesser draw bias than many think.
It’s easy for jockeys to get it wrong at Bath, thinking of it as a tight speed track.
Bath Course Draw Bias Overview
On the sprint course, the runners are constantly going left-handed. On the round course, the bends on the seven-furlong and one-mile races are tight.
This would lead many punters to automatically assume that low numbers are best in the draw, but it really isn’t the case.
Bath isn’t flat in nature, nor is it regulation in any way. There are no straights, there is a slight fall from the seven-furlong start to the bend and a constant rise from the home turn to the line.
As well as this, runners going over 1¼ miles or over the extended 1m 3f trip have to travel both right-handed and left-handed which skews many punters’ thinking as regards the draw.
5 Furlongs, 11 Yards at Bath
There are two sprint starts at Bath; 5f 11y and 5f 161y.
Over the shorter trip, the runners are always turning and rising but yet those on the inner appear to have no draw advantage at all. The real draw bias over 5f 11y at Bath comes with the higher numbers, drawn wider.
There are various schools of thought as to why this is the case. Most likely, it’s because those drawn on the inner feel the need to get racing early to make sure they keep their perceived good position on the rail. This leads to them running out of puff going uphill towards the finish, allowing those on the outside to sweep past as they often do.
It’s also possible that the ground is simply quicker on the outer, which remains possible.
5 Furlongs, 161 Yards at Bath
Naturally, at only 150 yards longer than the above races the situation is similar over this distance. Things do tend to even out over this trip however, with almost no bias handed to any stall number.
With that in mind, it seems it isn’t the strips of ground handing a true advantage. Our other possible explanation, about runners going too hard too fast, is backed up over this trip as they do it less with that extra 150 yards before the turn meaning the lower numbers just come back into things a little more.
7 Furlongs at Bath
Runners go downhill into a tight bend over seven furlongs, but are faced with that sweeping turn and uphill finish in front of the stands.
For whatever reason, there is no appreciable draw bias over seven furlongs.
One Mile at Bath
Similar to the above, there is no real draw bias here and runners take a very similar course to those running over seven furlongs.
Longer Distances at Bath
There are starts for races over 1 mile, 2 furlongs, 46 yards and 1 mile, 3 furlongs, 144 yards at Bath. Much like at Epsom for the Derby, this means the runners going slightly right-handed first, before taking a left-hander towards the straight.
Some would say the higher draw is best as this means runners can get into position without using much petrol. In fact, the stats don’t prove this and once again there is no real draw bias at all.
The 1m 5f and 2m 1f starts are all left-handed, but over these trips there is once again no appreciable draw advantage.