It’s always important to remember that at Newmarket, the home of Flat racing, there are in fact two distinct courses. Both the Rowley Mile and the July Course have their own identity.
Over longer distances at Newmarket, races begin on the same stretch of turf known as the Cesarewitch Course. There is then a tighter turn on to the July Course and an easier turn round onto the Rowley Mile.
Both courses are right-handed, with a stiff finish on the Rowley Mile. There is also an uphill section near the end of the July Course, though it flattens out towards the line.
Newmarket Course Draw Bias Overview
Draw biases or advantages at Newmarket aren’t particularly consistent.
There are advantages places to be drawn in a race, but they can change from meeting to meeting and race to race. As always, as much depends on pace, stalls position and even weather as anything else.
For example; at the July Meeting in 2023, it was seen in the morning of certain races including the Falmouth Stakes to be drawn high (on the far side). This would have allowed such runners to race along the rail, which would be a distinct advantage.
As it turned out, the rain came and made the ground testing. The jockeys, unbeknown to the punters, decided that the best ground would be on the near side with the field all tacking over to that point. This meant high-drawn horses going from having the best draw to the worse, being stuck out on the wing with no cover.
Rowley Mile Draw Biases
The Cesarewitch Course sees starts up to 2½ miles. The runners head down that course, turning right at the 1m 2f mark onto the Rowley Mile. All races up to 1m2f can be run on that straight course.
Those at the track have done lots of work to eradicate any track bias, especially for the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, which has been working well but there remain things to look out for as a punter.
Straight Course Draw Biases on the Rowley Mile
The Rowley Mile sees races run from five furlongs to one and a quarter miles on the straight track. The same biases exist over all trips pretty much, even though there is more time for fields to get organised over longer distances.
Newmarket is a wide course. Stalls position is everything here when considering the draw. When the stalls are positioned on the far side, then those drawn over there (low numbers) will have an advantage. When the stalls are on the near side, high numbers are more likely to prevail.
There has been a notable 2000 Guineas draw bias over the years, with runners often coming up the stands side rail.
Keep pace in mind, but also stamina. Runners here have to be able to see out the fill trip. A Guineas runner who for example has been winning at sprint distances will struggle, with a wide (low) draw not helping matters either.
Round Course Draw Biases on the Rowley Mile
In most cases, races on the round course are so long that the draw simply won’t matter. Not many of these races have large enough fields for any advantages to become obvious either.
The biggest long-distance race on this course is the Cesarewitch over 2¼ miles. Those drawn high will have to sometimes go wide around the bend, but then the field often comes up the straight on the near side which then evens things out. The turn is not far from the halfway point.
July Course Draw Biases
Runners go over a maximum of 2m 1f in July Course races, which are staged from the end of June until August. There are starts for races over 1m 2f, 1m 4f, 1m 5f, 1m 6½f, 2m, 2m 1f and 2m 1½f featuring a bend.
They turn right at the one-mile point onto the Bunbury Mile, making up the July Course. All races from that distance and shorter are on the straight course.
Straight Course Biases on the July Course
Like on the Rowley Mile, five-furlong to one-mile races are about stalls position. As mentioned, even a change in the weather can turn a bad draw into a good one and vice-versa.
Should there be a lack of pace in a race here, that is always interesting. A decent front-runner with a good rail position can sometimes steal away and win. Keep pace in mind always, along with the draw.
In fuller fields, it has been known for the near side to be best. A high July Cup draw bias has shown itself in the past, but it is not a hugely pronounced one.
Round Course Draw Biases on the July Course
The turn comes fairly quickly in races over 1m2f, meaning a low draw on the inner can be an advantage, The turn here is also fairly tight. That said, there is a full mile up the straight for runners to sort themselves out.
Over longer distances there is not much of a draw advantage to be had at all. This is a wide galloping course allowing runners lots of time and space.