Archive for month: July, 2013

Galway Festival – Monday

29 Jul
July 29, 2013

Bad information worse than no information at all?

The first day’s racing at Galway was typically enthralling as the Ballybrit track hosted a highly competitive card. Unfortunately an old gripe resurfaced. Information available to racing supporters is at best scant and at worse, plainly inaccurate. Later going reports issued from Galway on Monday related to a softening of the surface and officially described as yielding, yielding to soft on the flat course. This information, at the time, was a boon to those attempting to pare down Tote ticket perms. Lines went through good ground horses faster than the time the bookies take to shorten a Weld runner.

Everything seemed to be going to plan, until the running of the feature race over two miles for qualified riders. Noises had been issued about the unlikely running of Domination, a confirmed good ground performer, on account of the ground. Edeymi was readily discounted as another in search of better going along with Redera, his stablemate. So imagine the consternation when on official going of yielding, yielding to soft in places, these three horses fill out the tricast between them. What was worse was the fact that the merits of Mr.S.Clements (5) were fully known to the author in a contest where pilot competency is vital.

In the same vein, it is probably virtually impossible to calculate accurate speed ratings for the meeting since rail alignments are likely to be drastically altered throughout the week and it will be a surprise if any meaningful information will be passed on. It will be worth knowing that the rails are likely to move inwards and that there will be a strong bias towards runners who race prominently on the inside of the track. But as is often the case, the exact state of the underfoot conditions will be a matter of conjecture.

Homework Club

24 Jul
July 24, 2013

What is information really worth?

There have been two instances in the past few weeks that have probably left amateur data collectors truely staggered. The most recent event is the revelation that there is a doubt over Radamel Falcao’s true birth date. Whether there is any basis to this story is not something I’m going to comment on, but the interesting part is whether any of the Colombian goalmachine’s suitors of this Summer had any notion there may have been an irregularity. The assumption, at least on Monaco’s part, is that the information supplied to clubs was taken on trust. It is hard for those outside of the game to rationalise, why with the staggering amounts of money in transfer fees and salaries at stake, that every detail of the career of a potential recruit isn’t microscopically analysed. Surely it would have paid Monaco to pay a researcher 50 K to examine Falcao’s back history when the weekly salary difference between that of a 27 year old and a player two years older would be at least that.

Ashton Agar provided magical moments of play in the Trent Bridge test match at the beginning of the Ashes series. I was confounded that no one in the commentary box or in the pavilion knew anything about this useful player. It wasn’t as if Australia had brought an unmanageably large squad with them for the opposition to scout. It was clear from the outset that England had no particular plan in order to prise the number eleven from the middle. Test match lower order batsman, as a rule, can bat and the idea that good balls would be wasted on such players is an outdated concept. The fact that Agar bats with a distinctive style, with a higher than normal backlift, probably means that there are effective methods for getting him out. Bowling short on an unhelpful wicket gave the semblance of England having no plan at all in this instance.

It’s almost bizarre that in the era of analytical enlightenment that due diligence isn’t being adhered to at the levels that those of us outside professional sport would consider standard. Monaco could well end up feeling how I did on Sunday when the 25-1 shot, Silk Hall, eliminated my ticket from the Pick6. The ‘paper didn’t say that he was wearing blinkers for the first time, because he wasn’t. Further study would have revealed that it was only his second appearance in the headgear and lack of homework again proved costly.

Season 2013/14 – Prelude

23 Jul
July 23, 2013

Will he stay or will he go?

Due to a work related hiatus we haven’t posted in a few months but with the approaching football season we’re looking forward to changing that. As with many other authors it is hard to pin one’s colours to the mast until the transfer merry-go-round has come to a halt. The conclusion to the Wayne Rooney transfer saga, in our minds, will in all probability prove crucial to the outcome of the title race. He is likely to provide Chelsea with the goals they require to become viable championship contenders. Should Rooney depart Old Trafford, United will have to replace him with a genuinely World class player if they are to remain competitive in the short term. Fabregas has a goal scoring record that is superior to any of the current incumbents of United’s midfield but where is the wisdom in signing a player who has expressed his desire to remain in Spain? It is unlikely that this issue will be resolved until Barcelona appoint their manager, ironically leading into a season where 7 of the 8 clubs that head the Champions’ League market will be under new stewardship.

From our own prospective, we will be looking to collect data in the coming season to enable us to compliment some of the great analytical work that has been published elsewhere. The hub forming at www.statsbomb.com looks particularly promising and should bring a new dimension to the title races for an ever growing audience.

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