2020 News

September 28, 2020


Sprinters Stakes (G1) - Data Analysis

Sprint champion decider that kicks off the autumn G1 season
The Sprinters Stakes is a G1 race that has produced winners across a wide range of ages from three-year-olds to veteran horses. Runners backed by relatively high favoritism have an edge, but those backed as double-digit favorites have on occasion exhibited solid performance. Although this makes the race hard to call, we should be able to formulate a strategy based on analysis of historical results. Below, we have analyzed the characteristics of successful runners in this race based on data for the last 10 years, including 2014, when the Sprinters Stakes was held at Niigata Racecourse.

Target runners with no change in jockey
The first condition to check is whether there is a change in jockey. Horses ridden by a different jockey have not produced a single winner over the last 10 years, and achieved a Top 2 ratio of only 1.5%. Prominent sprinters that target this race from an early stage should in all likelihood have secured their jockey early on. Since this trend is extremely pronounced, we should lower our expectations of horses ridden by a different jockey. In theory, therefore, we should focus on runners with the same jockey as in the previous race when putting together our predictions for the Sprinters Stakes. [Table 1]

[Table 1] Performance by jockey (last 10 years)
Jockey Performance
[1st-2nd-3rd-4th or lower]
Win ratio Top 2 ratio Top 3 ratio
Same jockey as
in previous race
10-9-4-70 10.8% 20.4% 24.7%
Different jockey 0-1-6-60 0% 1.5% 10.4%

Favoritism in previous race is a reliable indicator
The key point to confirm with regard to the previous race is favoritism. As evident from the table below, runners that had been backed as race favorite in their previous race have turned in strong performance over the last 10 years, producing five winners. In addition, we find a significant gap in success ratios between runners that had been backed as 1st-4th in their previous race and those that had been backed as 5th or lower. 2018 runner-up Love Kampf (11th favorite) and 2014 winner Snow Dragon (13th favorite) were both backed as 4th favorite or higher in their previous race. When purchasing betting tickets, we should focus on runners that were highly favored in their previous race. [Table 2]

[Table 2] Performance by favoritism in previous race (last 10 years)
Favoritism in previous race Performance
[1st-2nd-3rd-4th or lower]
Win ratio Top 2 ratio Top 3 ratio
1st favorite 5-2-3-20 16.7% 23.3% 33.3%
favorite 0-4-2-15 0% 19.0% 28.6%
favorite 3-2-1-21 11.1% 18.5% 22.2%
favorite 1-1-1-11 7.1% 14.3% 21.4%
favorite 0-0-0-7 0% 0% 0%
6th-9th favorite 0-0-3-33 0% 0% 8.3%
10th favorite or lower 0-1-0-15 0% 6.3% 6.3%
Note: Excluding cases when the previous race was held overseas.

Middle brackets outshine the inner and outer brackets
Looking at performances by runners in the last nine races held at Nakayama Racecourse (excluding the 2014 race held at Niigata Racecourse) in terms of horse number, we observe that runners starting in the middle brackets delivered strong performance. Compared with runners that start in the inner brackets (horse numbers 1-5), which are prone to struggle if crowded by other runners following a weak start, and those that start in the outer brackets (horse numbers 11-16), which risk being forced to the outside, runners starting in the middle brackets (horse numbers 6-10), which benefit from greater flexibility in the race, tend to perform well. [Table 3]

[Table 3] Performance by horse number (last nine races held at Nakayama Racecourse)
Horse number Performance
[1st-2nd-3rd-4th or lower]
Win ratio Top 2 ratio Top 3 ratio
1-5 1-3-6-35 2.2% 8.9% 22.2%
6-10 6-3-2-33 13.6% 20.5% 25.0%
11-16 2-3-1-47 3.8% 9.4% 11.3%

Descendants of Mr. Prospector dominate
Horses that trace their lineage back to Mr. Prospector have secured six victories in the Sprinters Stakes over the last 10 years. Such horses have been particularly dominant in recent years, and occupied the entire Top 3 in 2019 with Tower of London, Mozu Superflare, and Danon Smash finishing in first, second, and third place, respectively. The winner and third-place finisher of the 2018 race, as well as the entire Top 3 of the 2017 race, similarly were of the Mr. Prospector-line. High favoritism for such horses has also proved a reliable indicator, with first and second favorites delivering performance of [5-1-1-1], reflecting a Win ratio of 62.5% and a Top 3 ratio of 87.5%. [Table 4]

[Table 4] Winners, their sires, and pedigree (last 10 years)
Year Winner Sire Pedigree
2010 Ultra Fantasy Encosta de Lago Northern Dancer-line
2011 Curren Chan Kurofune Northern Dancer-line
2012 Lord Kanaloa King Kamehameha Mr. Prospector-line
2013 Lord Kanaloa King Kamehameha Mr. Prospector-line
2014 Snow Dragon Admire Cozzene Grey Sovereign-line
2015 Straight Girl Fuji Kiseki Sunday Silence-line
2016 Red Falx Swept Overboard Mr. Prospector-line
2017 Red Falx Swept Overboard Mr. Prospector-line
2018 Fine Needle Admire Moon Mr. Prospector-line
2019 Tower of London Raven’s Pass Mr. Prospector-line

Seek out the winner!
Focus on performance in G1 and G2 races in spring season
While much of the attention focuses on runners’ achievements in recent summer sprint races, a key feature shared by winners over the last 10 years is strong performance in G1 and G2 races in the spring. Nine of the 10 winners had achieved a Top 3 finish in a G1 race or triumphed in a G2 race in the spring of the same year (the exception being 2016 winner Red Falx, who had not entered a corresponding G1 or G2 race). Incidentally, 2014 winner Snow Dragon triumphed despite being backed as a low 13th favorite. When comparing the track record of this year’s contenders, we should not forget to check out their performance in the spring season. [Table 5]

[Table 5] Winners’ performance in G1 and G2 races held in spring of same year (last 10 years)
Year Winners Major achievements in spring of same year
2010 Ultra Fantasy 1st, Sprint Cup (Hong Kong G2)
2011 Curren Chan 1st, Hanshin Himba Stakes
2012 Lord Kanaloa 3rd, Takamatsunomiya Kinen
2013 Lord Kanaloa 1st, Yasuda Kinen etc.
2014 Snow Dragon 2nd, Takamatsunomiya Kinen
2015 Straight Girl 1st, Victoria Mile
2016 Red Falx No corresponding G1 or G2 race entered
2017 Red Falx 1st, Keio Hai Spring Cup
2018 Fine Needle 1st, Takamatsunomiya Kinen
2019 Tower of London 1st, Keio Hai Spring Cup


(Yodohito Himezono)

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