There are still jumps racing fixtures staged at Southwell, but we concentrate on their Flat course which is an all-weather affair used all year round.
In late 2021, Southwell changed from a Fibresand surface to a Tapeta one. That brought it in line with Newcastle and Wolverhampton. Tapeta is seen as being fairly slow, but very fair indeed.
There is a 1m 2f round course, but races over five furlongs are staged on a straight course. There is a three-furlong run-in and stamina is very important here.
Staying is important here anyway, but more so in races in which jockeys go too fast which is still the case from time to time.
Southwell Course Draw Bias Overview
Though Southwell looks almost like an American dirt track, it is not quite as tight as most tracks over there with stamina coming into play much more. Stamina is certainly more important here than at the UK’s numerous turf courses.
The layout is flat, but horses really need to get home. The Tapeta is very fair, trainers love it, but it can ride slow. Don’t expect lightning times and for those going hard from the front to put races to bed by galloping their opposition into the ground.
Good tactical rides can see races won from the front, but going too hard too fast will result in being caught on the straight at Southwell. Use that information in conjunction with any statistical draw biases.
5 Furlongs at Southwell
The only straight-course races at Southwell are run over the minimum trip of five furlongs.
What we have discovered over the years is that the centre of the track is the place to be over the minimum trip. The outer edges of the track aren’t rolled quite as much owing to the size of the equipment used, so until that changes the centre is just that little bit flatter and quicker.
While this is important for five-furlong races, we should also keep in mind for round course races. It means that some jockeys can come a little wider than normal to challenge wide where the faster ground may be.
If there is a full field at Southwell, then low to middle numbers are best. The same can be said whenever the stalls are placed on the near side rail.
When the stalls are on the rail, those draw high are up against it. Number 1 can be in a good part of the track, but may be caught out wide with no cover. Middle to low therefore takes the most advantage.
6 Furlongs at Southwell
There isn’t a massive draw bias around the six-furlong course at Southwell. Turning left means the low draw is generally best, but the innermost numbers can leave horses challenging in the straight near the rail which as we’ve mentioned isn’t best.
Being drawn just off the rail leaves runners in the best place to challenge turning for home, so stalls 3-5 are about right.
7 Furlongs at Southwell
While low(ish) is best over six furlongs, even that bias is all but taken away over seven. The seven-furlong track here will ride almost like a mile at many turf courses and there is enough time for the right horses to get into position before making the turn. This negates any perceived draw bias on the inner.
1 Mile at Southwell
As we stretch out further down the back straight, the low draw bias comes back. This is logical however, as despite the centre being best on the course, runners will still congregate at the rail after jumping off.
This means those drawn closest to it can pick and choose where they want to be rounding the turn for home, moving where they like in their own time before challenging down the straight.
It’s not a huge bias, but in races of more than say seven runners, a low number is good along with enough stamina to get home over the trip.
Longer Distances at Southwell
Stamina is very important over 1m 3f, 1m 4f, 1m 5f, 1m 6f, 2m and 2m 2f here, but the draw really doesn’t come into the equation very much. Don’t go for a horse coming from the turf who likes to lead, but rather one that can get very inch of the advertised trip and maybe more.