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My name is Steve Lines, and I’m devoted to speed ratings. Not just old ‘recorded time from the start to the finish’ type speed ratings but also the sectional times. I’m looking for the internal moves not recognised by ‘final time ratings’ and therefore not reflected in the betting.
I use timings from various fixed points on the course to get a more accurate indication of time performance. Fences provide ideal reference points but certain flat tracks can also provide us with these ‘hidden’ insights.
This post will house my thoughts on the best ‘speed race’ each day, plus a few additional comments as we go along. We’ll play it by ear to begin with, and see how we go…
4th June ’12
If you managed to back Imperial Monarch, Wilde Ruby and King Fingal yesterday and you’re up reading this; you have my greatest respect. If you managed to back the winners of all three races: just jot down your lottery numbers in the comments box below. As always there are lessons to be learned: generally French racing is a nightmare, as backers of Dunaden will testify. Paceless races, messy sprint finishes and a ‘skewed’ formbook – is Aiken really a Group 2 horse? The positive to take from Chantilly yesterday was Wizz Kid who showed a good turn of foot to win convincingly. It’s a bit difficult to read her form; it may have been as a 3yo filly it was tough against older horses last year but she has form figures of 1, 4, 2, 1, 2, 1 when carrying less than 9 stone as opposed to 8, 5, 5, 5 when carrying 9 stone or more – she is a small filly – field size may also be important.
Fontwell times show the going to be good to soft as advertised but when you add the rail movements in good going prevailed – especially on the hurdles track. If you read Tony Keenan’s Punting Confessional piece you will know he places less weight on going when making his selections but for a speed rating follower it is the factor that decides the rating (trusting the distance is as advertised). As such, I was suprised to see Ray Diamond contract so much in running (over 12 points) – he never looked to be travelling, although the favourite falling helped; there is so much value in the in-play markets but you have to take a stance and place the bet early as the picture delay and the trading bots will ensure you miss your price if trying to press the back or lay button!
From a pace angle Miami Gator is interesting in the 5.15 Carlisle. The only front-runner in the race, although this can be spoiled as runner’s connections evaluate they running plans, he loves Carlisle (3 wins and a second from 5 runs). Oratory is top on speed but he is on a long losing run, although his third trainer since April might make some difference….. I won’t be getting too greedy – I could have had a free even money bet since I started writing this blog!
This wll be my last blog. It was always just a trial to see if the demand was there. Trading is not for everyone; it is more of a grinding way to profits levelling out the highs and lows of normal betting. The experience has been very useful in my own betting and increased my discipline – we always remember the winners we miss but never add up all the losers we avoided. Below are just the top two rated for the flat runners (with no reference to going, trip, course etc), the FSR qualifiers and the ‘final time’ NH qualifiers – I need to sift through these looking for relevance and opportunity in the market. I also need to time the NH races for sectionals today and calculate the ratings from yesterday and then factor in day to day living…but I love it! So, time is of a premium and bank managers just don’t understand….. Matt understands my workload and is constantly trying to provide readers with new angles and information in our constant battle with the bookies so if you’ve any views or comments – good or bad – please leave them or if you want to contact me I’m on twitter at @sjlone1. I’m always available if you need an opinion on a horse…..
|Lucky Dan||3.30||Carl||Beachwood Bay||5.35||Chep||Danadana||3.55||Red|
|Snow Dancer||4.05||Carl||Great Charm||4.25||Chep||Navajo Chief||3.55||Red|
|Our Boy Jack||2.30||Leic||Banna Boirche||3.00||Naas|
|The Lock Master||4.15||Leic||Glor Na Mara||3.00||Naas|
|Yourinthewill||4.15||Leic||Gordon Lord Byron*||3.00||Naas|
|Aachen||1||0||Heez A Steel||1||0|
|Beckett Rock||1||0||Island Peak||1||0|
|Boland’s Corner||1||0||Kap West||1||0|
|Cuban Piece||1||0||Marju King||2||0|
|Embsay Crag||2||0||Oscars Business||1||0|
|Enroller||1||0||Roc De Guye||1||0|
|Epee Celeste||1||0||Royal Opera||2||0|
|Feeling Peckish||1||0||True Blue||2||0|
|Final Time qualifiers|
|Heez A Steel|
|Raz De Maree|
3rd June ’12
Impressive performance from Camelot but I don’t get star-struck; he will frighten away all credible opposition, until he takes on his elders, so he will be a non-betting proposition and I wouldn’t want to bet against him. I would imagine he will take in the Irish Derby and then the St Leger or the Arc so it is possible he may not meet older horses at all this season.
St Nicholas Abbey also looked impressive but I’m not sure many of his opponents ran their race; I had doubts about his principal rivals acting on the course and SNA was the only horse who travelled with any fluency through the race. He disappointed in the King George after winning this last year. Heavy Metal looked as if he wanted to lead but couldn’t get to the front from his outside draw: he also looked unbalanced in the straight and although he traded at 1/5 I didn’t think he was ever going to get there.
My final time ratings had just started to provide some winners (not capitalised on of course) with the drying ground and a run under their belt and now the weather has turned again. Today’s meetings have all been affected by overnight rain and is still raining at some courses. Despite all the going reports it is impossible to assess the going until racing starts; courses where they’ve been watering heavily will become soft but where there has been little watering often the runners just ‘knock the top off’ and it is basically good ground underneath.
The uncertainty of the going means there is likely to be more non-runners as the day progresses which can change the shape and betting of the race. The 4.30 Fontwell sees 4 qualifiers from my FSR. The only qualifier with any soft ground form is Ray Diamond; he has led in the past (which would be a bonus) but there are plenty of prominent runners in the contest. The softer the ground the more likely he is to run well; the going situation may well be reflected in the betting as some of the shorter price horses best form is on good and faster.
2nd June ’12
I thought the layers had St Moritz completely wrong when they let him drift to 14/1. They were wrong from a trading view but correct from win/lose stance. St Moritz looked as if he didn’t handle the track and replaying the 2011 Diomed he rolled around even though he managed to finish second; even so he dropped 7 points in the run which collected me my hourly rate. The Oaks was unsatisfactory for most – bookmakers apart. I’ve managed to avoid the bookmakers PR and haven’t had a bet in the Guineas, Oaks, Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Greyhound Derby and Eurovision Song contest; luckily my run continued of not picking the winner of any of the events for another year……….
Heavy Metal (2.05 Epsom) represents a stable who have won the Woodcote Stakes three times in the last ten years. The combination of Mark Johnston and Silvestre De Souza took this event last year. Heavy Metal put up a good time at Newmarket last time and some rough sectionals make it a worthwhile performance compared with older sprinters later on the card. Having handled Brighton well he should have little problem with the conditions, this can’t be said of his rivals who all have to handle the difficult track but some also have going issues to answer. Johnston has him entered in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes later in the year so he holds him in high regard. 4/1 looks a fair price (only 9/4 with Coral at time of writing).
The Coronation Cup sees St Nicholas Abbey attempt to take the race in successive years. He won last year at even money with only one rival rated within eight pounds, this year he has three opponents within that range and he is 4/6! He looked unhappy on the track last year; this may apply to all his rivals this time. Beaten Up is the hype horse and was well behind SNA in the Sheema Classic. I’m not sure what the meaning is of a horse continually ‘changing his legs’ but Beaten Up has exhibited this trait liberally in his races so far; it seems to unbalance him so I wouldn’t be sure of him handling the course. Masked Marvel, the only other Group One winner, ran poorly on his only effort on the course in last year’s Derby. Red Cadeaux improves with age and isn’t short of pace. He has to prove he handles the course but is tough and consistent and could well be capable of trading shorter. The odds are one of the classier types will win but they are all trading shorter and we don’t need large stakes or much movement in the market to get a free bet. We then can calmly watch as they drunkenly roll down the straight.
1st June ’12
“Oi, Cooper leave those taps alone”
Sandown had a dry day but the ground was still only good – having spent a paragraph noting the watering policy of courses I still trusted the course would have good to firm going and bet accordingly. Nobody to blame but myself; I realised a long time ago racing wasn’t run for punters and any information offered by those involved in racing should be taken with a very large pinch of salt. The increase in sports betting is no coincidence.
I’m looking at St Moritz as a back to lay play in the Diadem Stakes (2.50 Epsom). Only out of the frame once in 14 starts on English racecourses he is a tough, consistent performer. Second in this race last year his chance could be compromised if he gets in a battle with Worthadd but at 9/1 I think he will trade shorter in the run. As noted in my opening paragraph the going could be a problem if the showers appear on what I expect to be overwatered ground. Worthadd has only lost one race outside Group 1 company (on his 2yo debut) and is a worthy favourite; it will however be his first time in public around a left hand bend. The ratings show St Moritz, Worthadd and Side Glance all joint top rated.
31st May ’12
After Solway Dornal had paid for the drinks Shoshoni Wind spoiled the party by drifting to a workable price. I may need to re-think the pace angle play in sprints as running style is often determined by how they break from the stalls rather than a conscious effort to take up a position.
Today has a good card at Sandown with a couple of Group contests. The Henry II Stakes has a warm favourite in Opinion Poll. I always think he is vulnerable on fast going; Sandown are watering – that’s the last three high profile meetings where the hot favourite of the day would prefer a bit of cut and the course have watered without any evidence of the ground being too quick – just coincidence I guess……… He is a good lay to back candidate, as a hold up performer he can become outpaced on faster surfaces but he stays well and the long Sandown straight and uphill finish will play to his strengths. Confidence is tempered with the doubts about the other runners regarding fitness, going and class. Times Up is a worthy contender but he still has to jump from Listed to Group class. This lack of depth means I would prefer to trade rather than a straight lay bet although any showers could mean early layers could find it difficult to trade out; conversly a dry day with quick times in preceding races could mean a good position.
30th May ’12
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. Plodding along making small but regular profits but the lack of discipline is just around the corner. Fidelis had been nicely backed just before the race to give me my profit but I thought I’d just take a bit more this time (it was my first bet of the day)….you know the rest! If you are new to betting or need reminding before you fall into the trap again, this is how it plays out. You are up against time, no time to really study the form but you want to carry on your good run or refill the coffers. In steps the gambling god; today there are more meetings than at any other time in the week – but with no races you specialize in! Cunningly, there are some evening meetings. As you catch up on the results through the afternoon all the horses you would have backed sluice in – and at enhanced prices too! In reality these are horses that just happened to be on your short list – as is evident as soon as you sit down to find something for the evening meetings. All races contain either a) nothing you fancy b) six you could back c) your selection backed into odds on, he was 3/1 this morning when you looked! Add in family distractions and you are sucked in. Anger follows as your desperate selections get beaten; you’ve been here before – and it’s just the same as last time – and you didn’t like it then either. Mmmmm….until the next time.
Tough day for the ratings today. I would be very sweet on Astrophysical Jet (7.05 Beverley) if she’d shown any signs of returning to form. The initial betting doesn’t seem very optimistic. Shoshoni Wind ran well considering being wide from an outside draw at Chester last time and is likely to get to the lead but there is very little room in the price for trading. Addictive Dream has every chance but is priced accordingly. I would need to see a drift in Shoshoni Wind for a back to lay play. Any Astrophysical Jet play will be determined by the betting through the day.
|1||81||Astrophysical Jet||Newbury||1||5f 34y||15||Good To Firm||18/09/2010||110|
|1||81||Astrophysical Jet||Curragh||1||5f||15||Good To Firm||29/08/2010||103|
|3||81||Addictive Dream||Donc.||2||5f 140y||21||Good To Firm||10/09/2011||97|
|3||78||Doc Hay||Thirsk||2||5f||13||Good To Soft||19/05/2012||93|
|1||78||Shoshoni Wind||Hamilton||3||5f 4y||4||Good||01/05/2011||92|
The 3.20 Sedgefield is a very weak race. It contains just two FSR qualifiers: The Darling Boy and Solway Dornal. The Darling Boy is the likely winner but is short enough and is returned 8 days after a big effort off a break last time. It’s a pattern he tried in 2010 and he could only finish 5th. If he were to under perform the rest of the field is very modest; Solway Dornal is out of the handicap but travelled well when last seen out. He acts well on a quick surface and hopefully I can steal a couple of points for a profit.
29th May ’12
Hit the woodwork again yesterday! Dasho managed to trade as low as 2.3 from a Betfair SP of 29. Obviously it’s nice to see your screen ‘green up’ but on my staking system it’s more profitable if the selections manage to hold on!
I’m interested in Fidelis in the 8.25 Huntingdon this evening. His top speed rating came over course and distance but he’s been very lightly raced since; although coming back after a layoff he runs well fresh. The race is competitive with two other C+D winners and in-form combination of McCoy/O’Neill on the favourite. Fidelis is hold up performer (may trade higher in the run) so there doesn’t seem an early profit-taking opportunity. Obviously the booking of Daryl Jacob is encouraging.
28th May ’12
Nice easy pickings yesterday although Homecoming Queen drifted all day, meaning the chances of laying at odds-on drifted also, but it soon became obvious in running she wasn’t getting away from the pack and the money was soon safe.
|1||77||April Fool||Warwick||5||7f 26y||9||Good To Firm||07/05/2011||78|
The 4.15 Kempton is a competitive event as shown by the ratings above. Ducal and Peace Seeker are interesting as unexposed sorts but have the widest draws to overcome. This may not be such a problem as there seems very little pace in the race. April Fool and Dasho are the likely pace setters. April Fool has a good course record and there maybe a back to lay opportunity. The same applies to Dasho who is having his first run for Gay Kelleway. Gay Kelleway has a strike rate over 17% on first time starters from new trainers in the last 5 years. Neil Callan has ridden 5 of these and won on 2 of them. The betting is likely to confirm if this good run is likely to continue but with Dasho trading at around 30/1 we have some scope without needing large stakes.
27th May ’12
I mentioned the ‘gambling god’ in an earlier blog. I think he’s an old girlfriend’s father! All the selections offered profitable trades, I hope some of you profited; I failed miserably. I decided to back Boomerang Bob nearer the off due to the worry of Regal Parade being withdrawn, so the 5/1 was 3/1 (SP 5/2) when I next looked. Barbican was drifting towards 6/1; concentration elsewhere he was 7/2 (SP 3/1) just before the off – just to rub it in he then made the running and reached a low of 2.24 in the run! I managed to back Dandino at 4/1 and watch him drift to 11/2! As my front runner he was then settled last! I didn’t think he would get anywhere near a Sea Moon with an easy lead so laid him close to the back price – he then hit a low of 1.32!!! Some lessons to be taken from yesterday…. Out of 31 trading recommendations 9 have now traded less than even money and another 7 less than 2/1 (still none have held on) - can any mathematicians out there who tell me how many winners I should expect from these figures? I personally think Dandino would never get past Sea Moon in the situation we saw yesterday, so for the odds to suggest he would do it more than 50% of the time makes me query some of the maths (based on odds) associated with staking plans, strike rates etc.
Irish 1000 Guineas 3.40 Curragh
|1||78||Samitar||Ascot||1||6f||13||Good To Soft||17/06/2011||0|
|1||78||Yellow Rosebud||Leopard.||1||1m||10||Good To Soft||13/05/2012||108|
|1||77||Homecoming Queen||NewmR||1||1m||17||Good To Soft||06/05/2012||106|
|2||73||Samitar||NewmR||2||6f||15||Good To Soft||27/08/2011||0|
My final time ratings suggest Homecoming Queen didn’t improve on her performances last year. Her form with the word ‘firm’ in the description reads 4,5,9 – although the Curragh were watering last night – the times suggest it wasn’t even good to firm yesterday…conspiracy theorists ‘start your engines’. I have to take Homecoming Queen on. Hopefully the combination of the going and the stiffer track will find her out. The opposition doesn’t look the strongest: Yellow Rosebud looks the main danger, she stays well but whether she’ll be quick enought to lay up? Samitar could press Homecoming Queen on the front end if they keep to her running style but they may not want to get into a duel. La Collina had a verdict over Power last year and a close second to Maybe so the form reads well but she may have been flattered. Homecoming Queen is trading at evens but I’m going to take a chance she gets to the front and lay her at odds-on in the run.
Another good day for making a profit from losers although the results I record for the blog won’t show it. The only way to ensure parity is to record the trade using the Betfair SP and the in-running low; these are readily available.. If I’ve assessed the race correctly the SP will be shorter than the prices available through the day. The price available (and therefore the play) may vary depending on when you read the blog. If you got involved with the selections at Cork in the morning you would have been able to take a useful profit before the race went into play. Hopefully you did because they ran abysmally! The average price decrease in-running alone is 6.9 – not helped by yesterdays efforts though. However it is a lot easier to accept an unexplainable run or poor ride if you’ve taken a profit or layed (think it should be ‘laid’ but works in this context) off your stake – and an intact bank can remove some of those rash, emotional, chasing bets.
The 4.25 Goodwood sees the return of Sea Moon. A class animal and the most likely winner but I’m not convinced he actually wants quick ground – although I see Goodwood are watering.. two weeks ago the meeting was abandoned due to waterlogging! The long straight will be in his favour but I will be interested to see him handle the downhill bend. Sea Moon must also have bigger targets in sight so he may not be fully tuned up. Dandino is a really tough animal who ran well over course and distance in the Gordon Stakes; with no pace in the race I’m going to take a chance Dandino will go from the front so will trade lower in the run. I will be looking to take an even money free bet as we might be up against a legitimate King George or Arc contender but I think he should be a 3/1 shot rather than 4/1. The betting may well indicate how forward the Stoute team have Sea Moon.
Boomerang Bob is an interesting contender in the 2.35 York. The sectional times from the Guineas meeting show him to have had a poor trip from an effective use of his energy perspective, and on adjusted times could have finished just behind Caspar Netscher (upholding Greenham form). There doesn’t seem to be any pace angles which see an obvious reason for price movement in the run so an EW bet would be my play. The EW angle is due to the fact that he has yet been campaigned readily on good to soft and soft going so whether he handles fast going is a concern – he may improve, and recent history of the race shows older horses prevailing.. The safest bet here is Regal Parade will be pulled out to drop the field to 7 runners! Saamid has excellent claims but is priced accordingly.
The 3.10 York is set up for a good dose of hindsight. Gulf Of Naples looks sure to get an easy lead so if up to this class would be an obvious selection. Cavalryman was third in an Arc and takes a drop in class so would be an obvious winner. However he was ‘still third in an Arc’ in the intervening 15 races and he has yet to score, albeit some were at the highest level. He also has to prove he handles fast ground. Saeed Bin Suroor hasn’t been tearing up trees so another defeat wouldn’t be a surprise to me. Gulf Of Naples has good entries but still has to prove he’s up to this level, prove he goes on the going and prove he’s recovered from a fast run Chester Cup in soft ground last time. Barbican is the solid horse and drops back to a more suitable trip. Unfortunately I can’t see a scenario where he will trade lower unless he’s coming to win the race but he may trade higher in the run if Gulf Of Naples takes off as expected. All three are evenly matched on speed ratings.
25th May ’12
Both yesterday’s runners shortened sufficiently for a profit. My trading strategy involves backing for 1 point and laying 1 point plus £15 at certain price below the odds obtained. This means I very rarely back below 5/1 and have a scale of 3 to 7 points below the back price obtained for the lay bet. This puts me in a position of earning at least £15 if the horse loses. The £15 is purely a figure I’m prepared to earn per hour. The method is very conservative and the maths will be flawed but since starting this blog 30% of the trading selections have traded at less than even money and 56% less than 2/1 – with none of them holding on to win; that maths is flawed too……. I prefer flawed maths to be profitable! Certain cases mean I deviate (favourite falling etc.) but I err on cautious side as with the TV pictures time lapse the prices soon disappear. Psychologically it helps when the tight finishes continually go against you.
Gimlis Rock looks overpriced in a trappy race at Cork (5.35). Proven on good ground he reverts back to hurdling after winning a beginners chase last time; with a 4 from 7 strike rate on good ground hopefully he will shorten before the off. Most of the runners this year have been inconsistent and there are going doubts about a couple of the players. Won In the Dark has a good turn of foot and likes good ground but is priced accordingly. Perfect Smile also looks overpriced. A good traveller; Paul Carberry will only enhance that vision, hopefully I can trade a few points with a back to lay play.
Below are my FSR ratings for Cork. Some big price selections in some impossible handicaps but they may help decide on a selection or worth a small interest if you’re flush. Interestingly some have already attracted money.
|8.10||Nuggets Of Wisdom||1||0|
24th May ’12
Gilbarry ran a lot better than the betting expected yeaterday and dropped 10 points from his Betfair SP during the run – unfortunately I sat out a good trading opportunity. Luckily my involvement with Shershewill (ran if something amiss) ended before the off as I’d managed a 5 point swing in my favour - although it was a very confident selection an element of ‘no-risk’ has crept into my betting!
Hopefully I can steal a few points from Saborido (4.20 Goodwood) in the same way. His best ratings were achieved when second in this race last year off the same mark. A strong stayer, his previous runs this year can be discounted due to the soft ground. There is likely to be plenty of pace with Golan Way in the field. The unexposed runners both have something to prove on distance or surface grounds and are trading around 4/1 – both have decent AW times.
|1||82||Light From Mars||Newbury||2||1m||25||Good To Firm||16/04/2011||97|
|2||79||Light From Mars||Sandown||2||1m 14y||12||Good||25/04/2009||88|
|3||79||Imperial Djay||Chester||2||7f 122y||9||Soft||11/05/2012||87|
|1||78||Light From Mars||York||2||7f||20||Good||10/10/2009||94|
|1||77||Indian Jack||Newmarket||3||1m||11||Good To Firm||17/09/2011||85|
|5||77||Prince Of Burma||Lingfield||3||1m||9||Standard||12/05/2012||87|
|1||72||Prince Of Burma||Kempton||5||1m||12||Standard||18/01/2012||75|
Light From Mars takes a drop in class and returns to better ground which will be in his favour, whether he retains his speed is the problem. I wouldn’t be sure he can repel all the younger horses but he has a running style which should see him trade shorter in the run. He and Desert Run, the other likely prominent runner, aren’t best drawn so I would need to see him drift to a more workable price than the current 11/2. Indian Jack is a worthy favourite but is priced accordingly.
23rd May ’12
The 6.50 Worcester looks a competitive event but it is possible Gilbarry is in a different class if returning to form. Still in with a chance when falling at Cheltenham last time he hasn’t dropped into this grade since October ’10. Particularly effective at this time of year, trip and ground hold no fears and with Jonjo O’Neill in good form everything is set for a good run. Not always the best of jumpers he has had all headgear removed for the first time in four races. The betting will be informative.We all fear missing the price but I’m going to heed my observations noted in my blog May 20th; he comes with a wealth warning!
Shershewill is one of two runners with FSR ratings in the 6.10 Sligo. She did the column a favour when running well at Sligo last time. The increase in trip will be in her favour and she acts well on a sound surface. The form looks good with Court Lexi winning next time out in a reasonable time. Chasing Shadows is the other qualifier but her form is on softer ground so far and she now wears first time blinkers (D Hughes passable 10% strike rate in 1st time blinkers). She looks as if she will start at a workable SP for trading although I wouldn’t have her bigger than a 7/1 shot in my tissue.
22nd May ’12
Yesterday was a washout; absences due to fast ground at Newton Abbot meant the Briefcase bet was a non-starter. Horses trading around 4′s and lower take time to shorten significantly during the run unless market rivals are performing badly. If I’m playing a runner whose price I believe will change solely because of a prominent running style I need to be taking odds of 6/7 at least. My experience shows these runners shorten sufficiently (if your evaluation is correct) to exit with a profit/free bet fairly quickly.
The times at Redcar indicated the ground to be riding slower than the good to soft forecast (no significant wind on track). The correct going description is vital to betting turnover. If you had placed your bets in the lunch break with selections based on the ground good to soft with it drying all the time you would have been disappointed with your results. I made a case for football betting on 6th May blog; accurate information is vital to give punters confidence that races can be solvable.
Feast or famine today; plenty of races where no significant ratings then very competitive races with plenty of qualifiers.
Folk Tune (6.15 Towcester) is returning from a break but has good ratings on right-handed stiff tracks. John Quinn is in good form but Folk Tune doesn’t have a particularly good record fresh. A strong traveller he could be good lay material in the run if a a decent pre-race price can be obtained. There is not a lot of scope at the time of writing.
Romeo Americo did us a favour at Fontwell last time. Kept to the outside this may have been due to him requiring better ground or maybe the reason for his good run was due to him being on the better ground…. Other FSR qualifiers in tonight’s race (6.45 Towcester) are Nataani and Ballypatrick; include a lightly raced Nicky Henderson runner and a blinkerd first-time David Pipe (strike rate 14% SP profit £22.75 in last 5 years) runner and the race becomes a competitive event. Hopefully a back to lay play will realise more profit from Romeo.
21st May ’12
A low class but difficult Monday. Newton Abbot hosts a very competitive card with the handicaps all 4/1 the field. The first race has 2 FSR qualifiers although as a novice hurdle very little is known about the runner’s preferences. Briefcase is more exposed than most but is likely to be a prominent runner so there is a possible trading opportunity. As with Royal Choice yesterday I expect one of the less exposed runners to prevail but selecting between them is difficult – and at shorter prices. A back to lay play will hopefully realise a 3/1 free bet with a chance to green up for a small profit if starting to falter. Russie From Love is the other qualifier but has showed his form on soft going so far.
|1||79||Noodles Blue Boy||Leicester||3||5f 2y||12||Good||20/09/2010||82|
|2||79||Master Rooney||Haydock||2||5f||13||Good To Firm||03/09/2011||85|
|2||79||Noodles Blue Boy||Newcastle||3||6f||13||Good To Firm||27/05/2010||80|
|2||78||Noodles Blue Boy||Newcastle||2||5f||12||Good To Soft||24/06/2011||84|
|1||76||Noodles Blue Boy||Thirsk||4||5f||17||Good To Soft||05/05/2012||77|
I would be interested in Master Rooney at Redcar (3.40) but that will be determined by going conditions. Ripon times yesterday showed the going to be softer than forecast. Although his wins have come at stiff tracks his best time performances have been on flat tracks but he has yet to even make the frame on soft going. Another Wise Kid, Noodles Blue Boy and Captain Scooby are likely to be backed if the evidence of early races show conditions to be soft.
20th May ’12
For those punters who create their own ’tissue’ do you adjust your prices to whether the horse is strong or weak in the betting? I was interested in Mount Athos from a speed ratings view yesterday but he had now moved to Luca Cumani who traditionally never has his horses wound up first time. Add this to the fact that his handicap mark was still 9lbs above his last winning mark and his main targets were surely still to come I had a value price in mind of 11/2 or 6/1 – which he was early morning. Concentration elsewhere, he was 4/1 (SP 9/2) next time I looked; obviously this shortening was only relevant if due to people close to the horse but I may monitor this in future with a view to reassessing my ‘value price’.
The 4.25 Limerick offers a chance for a back to lay trade on Royal Choice. Stuck in the mud last time she’s only been out of the frame once on good or faster going.She’s had her jumping problems but is the likely leader and jumped well at Thurles when behind Shop Dj. Fresher than most hopefully I can get a 4/1 or 5/1 free bet in running; I will need to be matched at 15 0r 16 pre-race though.
In the 3.00 Market Rasen Soleil D’Avril is perplexing. Reading the form shows he’s been competeing in novices he just couldn’t win; whether this was due to the owners insistance or Alan King’s assessment of his ability is unknown – the betting may be a guide. He recorded a good time at Doncaster when second to Corkage on good ground in January; his last run can be excused on the account of the soft ground but how do you excuse the Taunton run? I will heeding my opening paragraph before deciding to play.
|2||70||Buck Mulligan||Cheltenham||2||2m 4f||8||Good To Firm||15/10/2011||133|
|3||69||Life Of A Luso||Cheltenham||2||2m 4f||8||Good To Firm||15/10/2011||125|
|2||69||Buck Mulligan||Mkt Rasen||1||2m 6f||16||Good||24/09/2011||129|
|4||68||Life Of A Luso||Mkt Rasen||1||2m 6f||16||Good||24/09/2011||125|
|1||67||Trooper Clarence||Stratford||3||2m 1f||8||Good To Firm||15/05/2011||115|
|1||67||Ostland||Mkt Rasen||3||2m 6f||10||Good||24/06/2011||128|
|1||65||Trooper Clarence||Exeter||3||2m 1f||5||Firm||18/10/2011||130|
|1||65||Lord Ryeford||Stratford||3||2m 5f||8||Good To Firm||22/10/2011||119|
|1||61||Gentleman Anshan||Hereford||4||2m 5f||3||Good||21/03/2012||116|
The 3.20 Stratford is highly competive and around such a tight track jumping, and luck, will be at a premium. Buck Mulligan, as a course winner, has the speed to go close if fit enough after a break.
Ripon holds the same concerns as Thirsk yesterday – how soft is good to soft and are the soft patches up the straight or out in the country?
Below are my FSR qualifiers for today, they may be useful if you need a reason for choosing between runners.
|Market Rasen||FSR Won||Stratford||FSR Won||Limerick||FSR Won|
|Andy Vic||2||0||Buck Mulligan||2||0||Apache Drums||2||0|
|Bin End||1||0||Cootehill||1||0||Banna Man||2||0|
|Charlie Wingnut||1||0||Dance Tempo||1||0||Coldstonesober||1||0|
|Farmer Frank||1||0||Domtaline||3||2||Definite Class||2||0|
|Getaway Driver||2||0||Gentleman Anshan||1||0||Delphi Mountain||1||0|
|Iona Days||3||0||Grafite||3||1||Der Spieler||2||0|
|King Mak||1||0||Harvest Song||1||0||Forjoetheplumber||1||0|
|Kingdom Of Munster||2||0||High Storm||3||0||Lord Ben||1||0|
|Sizing America||1||0||Life Of A Luso||2||0||Mctaggart||1||0|
|Springfield Raki||2||0||Lord Ryeford||1||1||Moving On||1||0|
|Suburban Bay||2||0||Marley Roca||1||0||Our Victoria||4||1|
|Tayarat||2||0||Mauricetheathlete||1||0||Prince Of Forwards||1||0|
|Tealissio||1||0||Owen Glendower||3||2||Roving Lad||1||0|
|Ulys Du Charmil||1||0||Ronnie Ronalde||1||0||Royal Choice||1||0|
|Sapphire Rouge||2||0||Shop Dj||2||1|
|Song Sung Blue||1||0||Special Token||1||0|
|Tartan Tiger||1||0||Tequila Lord||1||0|
|That’ll Do||1||1||Total Submission||1||0|
|Tri Nations||1||0||Tough Talkin Man||1||1|
19th May ’12
Took me all of four days to dismiss my own advice and back a horse early when I was concerned about him acting on the going; Burwaaz just kept drifting. I should have layed him accepting a small loss; it’s ok to lose your money when you see your horse fairly beaten during the race but to have lost a part of your stake before the race has started just goes against the grain! The error was compounded by the fact that Troopingthecolour had traded very low in the run and Prime Exhibit was now at 14s (traded much lower in the run) when I’d taken 20′s….. guess which horse had my largest bet! Then comes the “if only I’d…”
The 8.00 Uttoxeter sees a massive drop in class for Aimigayle. Last seen in the Topham Trophy she outclasses her rivals tonight; unfortunately her running style is likely to be compromised by several other prominent/front running horses. There is also the switch back to hurdles which can sometimes see them spending too much time in the air. Thedeboftheyear is the only other runner to have won above class D but her three wins have come right-handed. Trading opportunities will be decided by her ability to take up her favoured running style.Her speed ratings show her to be a class B/C level performer.
There may be a small bet to lay play in the 8.20 Doncaster. Jack My Boy has regressed since winning a Newmarket handicap in May ’10 but as a possible front runner there is chance he will trade much lower than his current exchange price (29/1), couple this with the fact all five of his wins have come in April, May and June plus he has over 50% strike rate of hitting the frame on good to firm going, he is worth a small play. his opponents have yet to post any rating worthwhile outside the AW. Just heard they had 9mm of rain overnight after watering on Thursday so going conditions may not be as advertised!
Thirsk has some very competitive racing with runners who definitely show going preferences but whether the going will err to the soft or faster side of good is off-putting until racing starts.
18th May ’12
Hopefully the drying conditions will continue throughout the day for Burwaaz (4.20 Newbury). Tenderly handled last time he was one of the top 2yo sprinters last year. A gangly, uncoordinated youngster he still looks as if a straight, flat course would bring out the best in him; I visualise the going conditions being reflected in his SP. Inetrobil looked a talented 2yo and won first time out last year; she was a big filly so it will be interesting if the development has continued.
|2||77||Inetrobil||Ascot||1||6f||13||Good To Soft||17/06/2011||0|
Prime Exhibit has his first run for Dandy Nicholls tonight (8.25 Newcastle); his strike rate is over 11% with this type of horse so at 11/1 he is value. He disappointed in a first time visor last time but has consistent ratings. Imperial Djay, a course and distance winner, is an obvious danger, looking unlucky in a better class race at Chester last time. Most of the runners have form on the forecast going and seem in reasonable form so it’s a competitive race.
|3||79||Imperial Djay||Chester||2||7f 122y||9||Soft||11/05/2012||87|
|1||78||Prime Exhibit||Wolv.||3||7f 32y||10||Standard||12/07/2010||94|
|4||78||Prime Exhibit||York||2||1m||18||Good To Soft||18/08/2011||89|
The 4.10 York seems very devoid of pace with the defection of Staff Sergeant. Troopingthecolour as a prominent runner with the excellent Silvestre De Sousa could provide a back to lay profit.
17th May ’12
Frankel is nearing his seasonal debut so certain media pundits are rolling out the ‘best horse ever’ comparisons. If they put as much effort into finding punter useful information – we ALL could benefit. They struggle to find the winner of a race 5 minutes away but believe they know the result between horses 30 years apart!
The York card looks incredibly competitive. The placepot and jackpot (rollover) are worth a £1!
The competitiveness continues across all meetings – plenty of horses with very similar ratings. If I end up searching for a bet it usually means a losing bet.
2.00 York Middleton Stakes
|3||81||Beatrice Aurore||Newmarket||1||1m 1f||9||Good To Soft||19/04/2012||111|
|1||80||I’m A Dreamer||Newmarket||1||1m 1f||11||Good To Firm||01/05/2011||97|
|2||78||Set To Music||Doncaster||1||1m 6f 132y||7||Good||08/09/2011||110|
|1||77||Mohedian Lady||Newmarket||1||1m 4f||8||Good To Firm||22/09/2011||94|
There are surprisingly few ratings for such a high class field in the Middleton Stakes. I’m going to take a chance that I’m A Dreamer is best first time out. A winner on her seasonal debut for the past two years, she was very impressive at Newmarket in the Dahlia Stakes over 9f last year. It’s difficult to explain her disappointments after – although they were back at 8f. Stepped up to 10f at Woodbine she returned to form with a second in the E P Taylor; as a hold up performer she is likely to trade longer in the run but at 11/2 a pre-race lay could be difficult to trade if Jimmy Fortune (3 timer at Lingfield yesterday) decides to sit closer to the pace.
16th May ’12
|3||84||Hoof It||Haydock||1||6f||16||Good To Firm||03/09/2011||119|
|2||82||The Cheka||Windsor||1||1m 67y||6||Good||09/05/2011||108|
|1||82||Hoof It||Goodwood||2||6f||27||Good To Firm||30/07/2011||111|
The Duke Of York Stakes (3.00 York) sees the return of Hoof It. Based on performances last year he could be the top European sprinter this year. Although it is his seasonal debut I can’t believe Mick Easterby won’t have him fully tuned up for his ‘home’ crowd. Having missed the 4/1 hopefully he’ll drift in running as I can see him starting at 5/2.
|2||82||Secret Witness||York||2||6f||16||Good To Firm||05/09/2010||87|
|1||80||Baby Strange||Newcastle||3||6f||10||Good To Firm||28/05/2009||90|
|2||80||Kaldoun Kingdom||York||2||6f||20||Good To Firm||24/07/2010||101|
I’ve shortened the above table but I work my way down the ratings looking for a reason why the ratings cannot be reproduced today. The stat of no horse older than 7 having won for the last 30 years is also compelling – although I have no idea how many have tried. Valery Borzov prefers cut in the ground so today’s improving going should inconvenience him. Secret Witness regularly puts up good times but is now up to a mark of 94. He’s had 21 attempts at winning with marks over 90 and failed each time. Waffle regularly runs eyecatching races but fails to get his head in front (1-22), a strong traveller he may be a back to lay play. Dickie’s Lad is unexposed but has a bit of ground to gain on York Glory, although he does have a fitness advantage. A potential front runner his season opener can be forgotten as he was badly hampered. There aren’t many potential front runners so a back to lay play should secure a free bet or small profit. Baby Strange hasn’t won in this grade since ’08 and is now eight – it will be disappointing if he can win. Roker Park’s record first time up is poor. Tajneed is now down to a good mark and ran well here when second to Hoof It last July but as a nine year old he can’t be improving. Kaldoun Kingdom’s ratings are all at York and won first time in ’10 so, although ridden by a claimer, he could be a lively outsider. Shropshire is promising but has only beaten three horses home in three attempts at York.
15th May ’12
As I’ve noted before the betting is a good indicator of whether a horse, with doubts regarding going preferences, will handle the prevailing conditions. Failing to take my own advice I backed, then watched, King Torus drift continously to 7/1 on the exchanges. I also bet early with the possibility of more rain; again going aginst my own experience. Luckily layers seemed to be watching a different race in Ireland later; Flaming Hymn was trading between 30 and 90 for a major part of the race despite never dropping out of the first four!
Today’s racing, although low class, is very competitive. All relevant races contain multiple runners with ratings. The 6.20 Kempton seems less competitive but as a maiden there is very little known about most of the runners. Cooler Climes recorded a good time when second to Muarrab last time out.They pulled clear of the third and Muarrab has run adequately in a better race since. As a prominent runner hopefully there will be a chance to trade out as I greatly respect the chances of Monymusk whose fifth at Newmarket couldn’t have worked out better. Hopefully the runners from the Haggas and Stoute stables will make the price for Cooler Climes.
14th May ’12
The Listed Sky Bet Stakes at Windsor this evening is similar in shape to the Spring Trophy Stakes at Haydock on Saturday; a proven Group 2 performer is matched against unexposed, progressive youngsters. The betting public regularly overbet potential against proven ability. The ratings show Tullius top with a solid class 2 rating. Memory Cloth is consistent with the same ratings from Newmarket and Ripon. The tempo of small field condition events is a completely different test to the handicaps they’ve been competing in recently. King Torus is difficult to assess but has a good strike rate – his price drift is due to the doubt about his ability to act on the forecast going (he won on soft at Nottingham in a lesser race). If he drifted to 4/1 I would be looking to play whatever the going conditions as I believe his class would put him a challenging position to allow a trade out. Drier conditions will obviously be reflected in his price.
I’m interested in Flaming Hymn as a trading proposition in 7.20 Killarney. A FSR qualifier he travels well and at 25/1 it doesn’t take much to trade a free bet or a small profit. The two likely market leaders both act on good ground and represent good connections but with each at around 2/1 and 19 other runners to avoid a greened up screen is comforting.
13th May ’12
Whatever your faith the one deity we need to communicate with most is the ‘gambling god’. You need him in your corner; my reading of the races yesterday went perfectly but after writing the blog and taking the dogs out Cai Shen had shortened from 5/1 to 7/2. They were the prices I had hoped to trade at! No bet (although he did hit a low of 3.10). Markab was wavering between 3/1 and 100/30 so I laid him at 3/1 – I could have laid plenty at 15/8! At the time Licence To Till went off I had become embroiled in a budding six year old engineers misreading of his Lego Transformer instructions! The gambling god is at his most spiteful when you are struggling to make the first race; scramble your bet on with seconds to spare – it loses, just fail – it wins. I wonder… what if I sacrifice the budding engineer…..?
Leopardstown holds most interest today with two more classic trials. The Derrinstown ratings have Light Heavy a few lengths short of Group 2 class at present although he may make the jump. The others haven’t had the opportunity to produce any quick times. The soft ground is also an unknown. I see no value in the prices although I would have the front two joint favourites. The betting may be the best guide to whether connections believe their colt will handle the going. Tower Rock’s prominent running style and ability to handle soft ground could make him a small back to lay proposition.
The fillies 1000 Guineas Trial sees Yellow Rosebud with the only meaningful rating. The rating was a useful for a 2yo but still leaves her needing to find 4 to 6 lengths to win a normal renewal. The rating was produced on good ground over Leopardstown 7f – and with doubts regarding fitness, ground and distance – it has little significance.
The forecast ground at Uttoxeter has the description soft in the the title – as it did eight days ago; then the times and the horses performances showed it to be riding as good. Despite the recent deluges courses seem to dry very quickly so watching the early races may help if you fancy a soft ground performer.
My fast run section (FSR) races often pinpoint winners who have over-exerted themselves. Exposed, low class runners almost never follow up but I’m not sure if this trend applies to improving novices. The 2.20 Worcester features such an animal; De Faoithesdream was very impressive at Sedgefield on soft ground. Today he races on better ground (he has form on good ground in the PTP field) and in a better race. I’m going to take him on with Keep Kicking who also has a FSR to his name. Back to 2 miles I’ll play him as a back to lay. I prefer this to EW in this case as if Keep Kicking tries to win the race, and De Faoithesdream is as good as he looked, he may get involved in a battle allowing others to pick up the pieces. Laying De Faoithesdream is another option but as a likely front runner the opportunity to trade out may never materialise.
Battlecat is the only FSR contender in 2.10 Plumpton. He was withdrawn at Ludlow because of the soft going, so 13/8 seems too short.
12th May ’12
The move from turf to AW of the Lingfield Derby trial meeting has changed the complection of the races. The Classic trials now bear little resemblance to the test at Epsom next month with short straight of the AW course tending to favour the hold up performers with an abilty to quicken. This bias may count against World Domination in the 3.45. Obviously well regarded he has yet to deliver on the track. Now dropped significantly in class he has future entries in a class B handicap at York and also in the Coronation and Eclipse! Looking more of a galloper than a quickener he will get a strong pace from likely pacesetters Kings Gambit and Circumvent; he then needs the pace to fend off likely closers Beachfire (can dop himself out the back so likely to trade higher in running) and Cai Shen. Cai Shen may offer some value as a back to lay play; 10 furlongs on a flat track ,good ground or polytrack see him with form figures 1, 1, 2. His second in the Winter Derby was a meritorious effort after a bad trip and he has the tactical speed to obtain a challenging position; I just have a nagging doubt about his class and the possibility of World Domination powering on from the bend so I won’t be greedy on the lay side of the bet.
|3||81||Kings Gambit||York||1||1m 208y||10||Good To Firm||20/08/2010||110|
|3||80||Beachfire||Goodwood||2||1m 4f||11||Good To Firm||21/05/2011||98|
|1||80||Kings Gambit||Ripon||3||1m 1f 170y||6||Good||15/04/2010||110|
|4||80||Kings Gambit||Chester||1||1m 2f 75y||8||Good To Soft||06/05/2010||110|
|2||78||Kings Gambit||York||3||1m 2f 88y||7||Good To Soft||08/10/2010||110|
|2||77||Cai Shen||Lingfield||1||1m 2f||13||Standard||24/03/2012||105|
The going at Haydock will be important to Markab (3.05). Every winning rating he’s achieved has been on at least good to firm going. I have to oppose him at 3/1. Our Jonathan has tended to need his first run but his top ratings are achieved on slower going. Morache Music has some distance to make up on the ratings but is unbeaten in over 6f in small fields and goes well on soft going – with all runners acting well in the conditions I have plenty running for me.
Red Jazz (4.15 Haydock) is a very solid favourite on the ratings but the pace set up is not favourable. He is likely to be pressed on the lead so he may trade higher in running.
The final race has an interest through Licence To Till. The likely front runner, he has run some good races on softer going. The only horse with ratings he now drops in class. His last drop into class D resulted in a win at York off a 1lb lower mark.
11th May ’12
Interesting, informative discussion on RUK last night on creating a tissue but I found the pricing of Dubai Dynamo curious. Since his 2 year old days,when he won a Listed event, he has the unenviable record of 0 from 34 in class 2 contests. Ruth Carr is in tremendous form but do you want to back a 7 year old to achieve something he’s not been able to for 5 years? He may buck the trend but the maths says he’s not a 13/2 chance to do so!
The above observation plus She’s A Character’s record of 0 from 15 in class C and above and 0 from 23 away from Doncaster makes this race (1.35 Chester) interesting. Dubai Dynamo and She’s A Character take out nearly 26% of the market so there has to be some value elsewhere. I have the Koukash trio Light From Mars, Fathsta and Pintura very closely matched on speed ratings. I will play Fathsta EW as he has a good record around Chester and seems particularly effective in April/May. A very competitive renewal; the race usually goes to a younger animal so stakes will be low.
Fathsta in now a non-runner. Declared for the even more competitive Victoria Cup at Ascot tomorrow…..?
Market Rasen has ‘good’ in both chase and hurdle going descriptions but a watching brief is advised. Marchand D’argent has some good last time out figures but I rated the ground a lot faster than the official going description so would be keen to oppose him on softer going.
The same proviso applies to Downpatrick. The 5.50 has a fast section race qualifier in Gudnis Gracious Me. A course and distance winner she relishes faster going. As the sole front runner there is a good opportunity for a back to lay wager.
The 7.50 Cork is well worth watching with a view to the future. Plenty of well bred, well entered fillies could provide some clues toward the middle distance group races to come.
10th May ’12
The changed goings at Punchestown and Ffos Las made early morning selections irrelevant but emphasises the need to bet as late as possible with the current weather conditions. The associated non-runners can change the shape of the race and the betting (it’s fine when the price of your horse falls because of the defection of a close challenger but not so if the price change is due to the loss of 4 no-hopers!) . The meetings at Kelso and Clonmel fall perfectly into this category today. The betting yesterday on selections with concerns regarding ground conditions was a very good indicator to whether these fears were founded.
If you missed Avrika Ligeonniere at Punchestown take a look at the replay; a fast economical jumper, the Mullin’s team will hope they can keep him sound.
The 6.35 Wincanton market leaders have all contested fast run sectional races (FSR). I would be interested in Webberys Dream by a process of elimination. Weekend Millionair had a tough race in Ireland and might not need the extra 2 furlongs. Duella Lord has form figures of 9, 3, 2, 6, F with any mention of soft or heavy in the going description, compared to F, 2, 1 on good ground.
Solaras Exhibition his the only horse with any ratings in the 7.35 but has yet to run on any soft going over hurdles although he has some form on the flat on yielding. As a 4 year old giving weight, 13/8 looks too short – unfortunately as a likely leader his price is likely to shorten after the off.
Final time speed ratings are most profitable in better class races with exposed horses – which is self explanatory – but the conditions of todays race have to be similar to those when the rating was created. The Betfair Huxley Stakes is most suited today at Chester. The only horses with ratings on soft ground are Questioning, Hunter’s Light and Prince Siegfried. Hunter’s Light was withdrawn at Sandown due to the “unsuitable” heavy going and has been beaten every time he’s contested a Group race. Prince Siegfried has never won before July. Questioning had a hard race in bottomless going last time; which came only a week after another tough task against Twice Over. Combine this with no pace in the race and………
9th May ’12
The one thing I’m most looking forward to at Chester? The channel 4 team quizzing the body responsible for creating Chester’s new ‘in-house’ fixed odds SPs. I don’t know enough about the process but it doesn’t sit comfortably with me at the moment. Today there is no cut in at the entrance to the straight meaning all challengers will have to attack wide; even less incentive for me to get involved.
The 5.30 Ffos Las sees the potent combination of Rebecca Curtis and Tony McCoy with the likely favourite High Storm. He is the only qualifer on my FSR ratings but there is no evidence of him acting on forecast going – doesn’t mean he won’t act but I need a higher price to find out. As with several going forecasts lately the official report, including ‘good to soft in places’, looks fanciful.
Sir Mattie (7.40 Ffos Las) is of interest. A strong traveller, his latest win was on good ground but he has pointing form on soft. Dropping back in trip won’t be a problem. Mister Hyde is the only other runner of interest from a FSR angle. Blinkered first time (O’Neill has a passable 13% strike rate with such runners), he is proven at this grade and off a winning mark . A competive race I will play Sir Mattie with a back to lay policy as I’m sure his smooth travelling style will allow me to exit with a profit.
The interest at Punchestown revolves around Arvika Ligeonniere (6.10) – not from a betting angle but with future races in mind. A big sort with a high cruising speed he has shown he acts well on better ground – which is often paramount for top races at the Spring festivals. A good jumping performance tonight will put him in the Arkle picture.
The 5.40 involves just 2 horses with any ratings. Forjoethepainter and Namarama have FSR ratings and with See Double You out the race is wide open. Namarama has yet to race on soft going so I will have a small wager on Forjoethepainter. His best runs to date have been on soft ground.
8th May ’12
The words Aiden O’Brien was searching for yesterday were “now listen Gary, Joseph got it wrong”. That wouldn’t have got punter’s money back but it would have offered some sort of backhanded apology. The Gary O’Brien interview could have been more forceful but racing’s media is like a travelling circus – this week they camp at Chester; so any ill-feeling within the community is awkward.
The 6.40 Catterick sees Hidden Glory take a drop in class. He is a classic trading horse, a strong traveller he finds very little off the bridle and there is no evidence he stays 12f. Backing him pre-race then laying him as he cruises into contention is the play.
Punchestown is reported to be good to soft – anyone watching the Festival and the racing from Ireland yesterday will find that hard to believe. The first needs watching! The chases stll remain very competitive however.
The same warning applies to Fakenham, with showers forecast the going could well be soft. Some of the fancied horses on the card still have to prove they handle soft going.
Exeter will be soft. King Edmund brings good ratings into the Novice hurdle (5.55). Very effective right-handed and on soft ground, the distance is the worry. Yet to win over further than 17f his run style makes him of interest as a back to lay proposition. A front-runner normally, I would wait until they line up to see his track position; there is a chance they may wish to hold him up with a view to getting the trip. I would also need to be taking around 5/1 to give him some scope to shorten. The layers will not be so quick to shorten him in running with the stamina doubts.
Numide brings the best times into the 7.25. A strong traveller he is very effective on soft ground. His top times are going right handed but his Exeter form is not great. Not overly big the weight range is not too great bar Kirbys Glen. The doubts about the course lead me to a back to lay policy. Although it’s been a while since he raced over fences his high cruising speed should ensure he trades low towards the finish.
7th May ’12
Major breakthrough weekend – managed to avoid the PR of the Guineas and Kentucky Derby and concentrate on proven performance. It would be intersting to monitor the effect on betting turnover (and SPs) related to the coverage of certain races; Camelot SP seemed too short whereas Noble Mission seemed too large based on their performances and opposition.
It’s still raining in my part of the country and rain is forecast at all meetings today. The AW obviously offers consistent going and I was tempted by Ashva in the 4.50 but the race is paceless and these races are often decided by the ride given on the day. I often go to Silvestre De Silva on these occasions but I can’t find any records riding for John Gosden so whether he will be allowed to do his own thing or ride to orders is guesswork.
The Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh sees St Nicholas Abbey take on Sharestan in a match effectively. SNA has never put up great figures on my scale (bit like Big Buck’s) but is obviously the class animal. Sharestan has figures that make him a Group 3 possibly Group 2 horse so he is entitled to take his chance. My angle is that SNA is being prepared for the Coronation Cup and is unlikely to be given a hard race. He is also racing over a trip short of his best so I’m prepared to take him on.
6th May ’12
The favourite won the 2000 Guineas, beating 17 rivals on ground thought to be too soft and a distance believed to be too short at odds of 15/8. He is now unbeaten in three races. Chelsea beat one rival on perfect ground at a course and distance where they were 3 from 3 at odds of 8/5. They are unbeaten in 22 FA Cup games (excluding penalty shoot outs). Even if you are an experienced racing punter the value bet is obvious; if you are new to betting where are you going to place your bet……
Official going at Newmarket; good to soft – times suggest soft. Official going at Uttoxeter: soft – times suggest good. Clerk of the Course – easy life. Experienced racing punters – back Chelsea.
Bankroll (4.40 Gowran Park) had good figures from his last run at Naas, but this was on good to soft going. The official going at Gowran is heavy; Limerick and Kilbeggan have both produced good going in the last couple of days so I was hoping for drying ground. I will monitor the going before betting but his run style may mean a back-to-lay strategy may still pay dividends – I will get greedier as the going improves!
The 5.15 Sligo only contains 1 FSR (see 4th May blog) qualifier. Shershewill stayed on without being given a hard time under an amateur pilot last time. Yet to race on good going under rules her best form in the PTP field was on a sounder surface. I would prefer to see a longer trip for her but she has the top rider Andrew McNamara aboard this time. I will be backing her with a view to laying her purely because the FSR horses tend to prove more profitable when in handicaps – whether this is a function of Novice events being of higher class, or a function of the connections strategy, I couldn’t possibly comment…….
Although winning three Group races last year Maybe did nothing significant on the clock – the same applied to Camelot but it may determine whether you want to take 13/8; or you could back Sunderland at 7/2….. Discourse was top of the tree but that was on a firm surface.
5th May ’12
Newmarket; not sure what the ground conditions will be, unsure what draw bias will exist, no idea how many groups they will split into – then add in 18 lightly races 3 year olds and the favourite emerges at 15/8.The place side alone is 7/4 for the next in the betting. Just for interest – not a betting race for me; I rate Trumpet Major (79) top for his Craven win, Power (78) ratings are from last year. An improvement by 4/5 lengths is needed to take a normal Guineas.
The unsettled weather conditions guide me back to the NH and my fast section races (see 4th May blog).
The 5.20 Uttoxeter sees Royaume Bleu as the only qualifier. although a maiden he has run his best races at Uttoxeter and in heavy ground – which seems to be a different ‘heavy’ from other courses! Bennys Mist was impressive at Exeter but he has his fair share of weight. An EW wager would be my play if it stays at 8 runners.
The Hexham 5.40 sees 3 qualifiers go to post. Signalman’s trainer James Ewart is experiencing a poor run. His last 8 runners have seen 5 pulled up and the other 3 finish 11 of 13, 10 of 13 and 11 of 14. I would need to see some improvement before backing one from the yard. Nelson De Ronceray is the most likely winner and cannot be left out of any betting permutations. Hoar Frost is the last qualifier and with an in-form trainer an EW wager could be profitable.
Cabbyl Doo is the the odds on favourite and only qualifier in the 7.10. As a front runner his price is only likely to shorten in running.
4th May ’12
The Guineas meeting and Chester next week means low class fare again today. Musselburgh seemed to ride slower than the forecast going and has more showers forecast : all but 1 winner had fitness on their side yesterday so I’m concentrating on the NH.
No race has any contestants who have built up enough ratings to see any patterns developing so I concentrate on horses who have been involved in my fast run sectional races (FSR). These are timed using the jumps as reference points, then adjusted for varying distances. The results show races where energy may not of been used most efficiently i.e. a gradual increasing pace with a sprint finish to expend all energy on the line. Some of the runners will have had enough for the season so small stakes are advised.
The 7.00 Bangor contains Captain Paulie, Drumshambo, Valmari and The Weatherman who have recently contested FSR. Drumshambo and The Weatherman have shown they act on soft ground so are the 2 to concentrate on – with scope in the price to back both.
The 8.00 Bangor has Plein Pouvoir, It’s like That and Bhailtar are the 3 with FSR behind them. Bhailtar has form figures of pulled-up and fell on the twice he’s contested races on any ground worse than good. Differentiating between the other 2 is difficult – price will dictate if I play either of these.
Amron Lad and Record Breaker are qualifiers in the 7.30. Amron Lad has already been well backed at the time of writing. Record Breaker is a bit quirky but possesses a lot of talent – he has potential to back and then lay in-running as he has a prominent running style. I won’t be getting too greedy as his quirks are well known to the layers.
5.15 Fontwell has only Hindon Road as a qualifier – his chances are obvious and reflected in the betting although he could drift if there is any rain as he has yet to prove himself on a soft surface.
Nosecond Chance, Russian Conquest and Owner Occupier have all run run recently in FSR and line up in the 5.45 Fontwell: Panjo Bere has some useful ‘final time’ back ratings and good course form. Underfoot conditions could be vital with Russian Conquest and Owner Occupier seemingly to prefer a firmer surface – there may be an opportunity to lay-to-back if rain materialised. Too many ‘ifs’ bucket for me at the moment.
Romeo Americo is the only qualifier in the 6.15. His first time in a handicap, obviously his preferences are still unknown, but he has contested some decent contests since is FSR. A small EW or back-to-lay could provide a result.
The 6.45 Fontwell sees King Jack and Iona Days emerge. King Jack, ran and won, his FSR at Southwell – he subsequently disappointed, as most do. I prefer to back the runners who have run in FSR but don’t have too exert all their energy by winning. Iona Days has competed in 2 such races. Fresher than most he handles soft ground: Wayne hutchinson is no hinderence either!
A leap of faith needs to be taken with qualifier The Clyda River in the 7.45. Obviously some horses that run in FSR never get competitive so are never out of their comfort zone; a subjective view has to be taken with some of the placed horses. I may have got The Clyda River wrong but it is such a poor race and his first time in a handicap so if 8 runners remain he may be worth a small EW wager.
3rd May ’12
After the good class fare at Kempton yesterday today’s offering is ordinary. Although it is logical to think whatever class the race some horses can run faster than the others, it is the constant reproduction of their best performance that is lacking in the lower class contests. The exposed horses are so closely matched looking for an improver who is capable of producing ratings above the class norm is preferable.
The only race with any ratings to analyse is the last at Hereford.
|2||71||Oldrik||Sandown||1||2m 110y||23||Good To Soft||13/03/2010||129|
|5||67||Oldrik||Newbury||1||2m 110y||23||Good To Soft||13/02/2010||129|
|1||67||Marodima||Bangor-On-Dee||3||3m||7||Good To Soft||03/03/2010||134|
|1||67||Baseball Ted||Newbury||3||2m 1f||8||Good To Soft||04/03/2011||114|
|1||66||Marodima||Plumpton||5||2m||4||Good To Firm||09/05/2010||141|
|2||66||Marodima||Fontwell||3||2m 2f||7||Good To Soft||02/10/2010||119|
|3||65||Oldrik||Hereford||2||2m 1f||9||Good To Soft||23/02/2009||123|
Oldrik’s ratings are from sometime ago but chasers can be capable of reproducing good figures – Neptune Collonges and Tidal Bay would have been top rated in many lists from their Grade 1 winning days – but that would have been the same in their intervening losing races! Although all his NH wins have been on right-handed tracks the ratings seem to show a preference for better ground although as the only hold up horse in the race he will have the race set up for him. Marodima has winning form on soft ground; a likely front-runner he could be pressurised by prominent runners Oscar Gogo and Baseball Ted. I also produce ratings which look at sectional times within races; Marodima has run and won 2 fast run sectional races (FSR) this year. Early findings show this takes a lot more out of a horse and lower class horses very rarely follow up. I’m taking the view Marodima may have had enough this season. Baseball Ted rallied well to take his last race at Kempton. The win sees a rise in his mark into the 120′s – a mark from which he has found it impossible to win from before. Oscar Gogo won on heavy ground at Ffos Las in December in a FSR – he subsequently disappointed, albeit in higher grade. His last 2 wins were over 19f and a move up to 3m at Haydock could mean connections believe he is more of a stayer. The Chazer has also run in 2 FSR without winning but disappointed last time at Chepstow (a course he had run badly at before). Unexposed, his run when finishing 4 lengths behind The Cockney Mackem at Ludlow looks good form. Fresher than most he should be able to make his mark at this level.
The betting and the riding tactics of Burwaaz yesterday looked as if events down the line were the major consideration. Despite running some good races he can still race without penalties for Listed or Group success…….
2nd May ’12
The relocated fixture from Ascot to Kempton has not gained universal approval but it will limit the explanations of how certain soft ground winning horses have failed to act on soft ground this time. My personal view involves not relying on soft ground winning form at Chepstow, Uttoxeter and Sandown.
The Listed Pavilion Stakes sees the return of Burwaaz. Unlucky not to win a Group race last year he looked too raw and gangly to really do himself justice especially over the undulations of Newmarket and Goodwood. His flat course figures on good or better read 2, 1, 2, with defeats coming by a nose and short-head. He also looked as if 6f stretched him last year, hopefully he has strengthened up through the winter. It will be interesting how he handles the bend… Gusto can’t be left out of betting permutations; he has course form and has proved he is capable of winning at this level however he was not entered for last years Middle Park and is not entered in the Duke Of York Stakes later in the month, which is surprising from an outsiders point of view. Bannock a tough individual, is likely to be help force the pace but has a wide draw which will not make this easy. Seemingly exposed he is likely to be fighting out the finish and may be a back to lay trade but it will be disappointing if something less exposed can’t master him. Big Note has a lot of talent but is headstrong; settling him and negotiating the bend could use too much energy. Pale Orchid has a class barrier.
|2||76||Bannock||Goodwood||1||6f||10||Good To Firm||29/07/2011||0|
|4||76||Pale Orchid||Bath||1||5f 11y||10||Good To Soft||20/04/2012||91|
|1||73||Big Note||Windsor||5||6f||3||Good To Soft||27/08/2011||85|
1st May ’12
I’ve included my ratings for the 8.05 Kempton to illustrate how competitive certain races can be. My scale over 6f means each point difference is equal to a beaten distance of between a head and 1/4 length. Missing the break, getting boxed in, being too far off the pace etc. readily makes literal reading of the figures worthless. Ratings can be used to narrow down the selection process but the ‘hard yards’ of trainer form, field size, class barriers,draw analysis etc still have to be studied. From a personal point of view it also determines what price I’m willing to take. In this case the top rated Sutton Veny is interesting due to the booking of Ryan Moore (although the combination is 0-8 in the last couple of years). My angle would be to back him with a view to laying him nearer the off time as the market will react, and hopefully shorten, for a period due to the jockey booking.
|2||78||We Have A Dream||Epsom||3||6f||9||Good To Firm||01/07/2010||88|
|2||78||We Have A Dream||Kempton||3||6f||9||Standard||16/04/2010||86|
|1||78||We Have A Dream||Folkestone||4||6f||7||Good||24/06/2011||85|
|1||78||Jack My Boy||Ripon||3||6f||6||Good To Firm||24/04/2010||81|
|1||75||Hinton Admiral||Wolverhampton||6||5f 216y||13||Standard||26/07/2010||68|
|1||75||Hinton Admiral||Ayr||5||5f||17||Good To Soft||15/09/2011||69|
|1||74||Hinton Admiral||Wolverhampton||6||5f 216y||5||Standard||13/02/2012||72|
|1||73||Hinton Admiral||Wolverhampton||5||5f 216y||6||Standard||02/02/2012||72|
The only other horse of interest on the Kempton card is Zaheeb (9.05) who recorded his best figure over course and distance when winning on 7th March. Although a prominent runner with a perfect draw there are three other runners with the same running style.
Yesterdays profiled race produced a poor time for the grade – I was hoping Ducal might progress again – but he was outsprinted off a modest pace. I won’t be putting that race in my ‘tracker’.
30th April ’12
The betfair.com Handicap at Kempton (5.15) is the most interesting race of the day from a speed ratings angle. The fourteen runners contain no less than ten course and distance runners with a mixture of progressive and experienced handicappers.
I would normally expect a race for this class to provide a winning rating of around 78 but tonight’s contest is particularly devoid of pace. Cape Rock, back from a 596 day layoff, is the only horse with any regular prominent/leading run style; he seems to be the stable 2nd string.
Street Power tops the ratings but the ratings are achieved over 6f and were some time ago. Aldermoor’s last 3 wins have all been over 6f and this is reflected in his ratings. Titan Triumph won in unsuitable circumstances at Lingfield which often means the performance needs upgrading but this was only his second win in three years and he didn’t progress next time. Ducal keeps progressing, although yet to post a class D figure, he consistently runs relatively quick times. Well drawn he should be able to gain a prominent position to cover any false pace scenarios. Similar comments apply to Dubarshi, who was returning off a 510 day layoff, when 1/2 length behind Ducal last time. Intercept was a length behind Ducal on his last AW appearance after being badly placed when the sprint began; a poor run on soft going next time can be forgiven, he is now fitted with a hood (although so far not a particularly successful ploy for John Gosden). Konstatin and Guru Of Gloom are not shy of winning and are also capable of progressing, albeit with a break to overcome.
The lack of pace makes this tough call – it will be interesting to watch the exchange markets for clues to horses that may be ridden more prominently than previously. I woud be surprised if the winner didn’t come from the 4 year olds.
Having compared the fence by fence sectional times for Sanctuaire at Sandown they compare very favourably with Sizing Europe when winning the Tingle Creek. Criticism directed at jockeys giving Sanctuaire too big a lead aren’t confirmed in the times. The Tingle Creek was faster in the first part of the race with Sanctuaire increasing the tempo in the middle part. Although this doesn’t mean he will be winning the Champion Chase next year it does mean he will be certainly worth his place in the line up.
29th April ’12
For a speed rating compiler the weather has made recent timings almost impossible to evaluate. The necessary rail movement at Punchestown makes comparison between days difficut although the sections for Hurricane Fly seemed particularly tough. The fast early sections could have led to the visual workmanlike finish. The Irish Champion hurdle was also a fast sectional race on heavy ground which seemed to take the edge off the Hurricane for Cheltenham. It is normally the winners of these tough races who seem to suffer most; placed horses don’t exert every ounce of energy and seem to run their races next time. It was most recently evident with Edgardo Sol, who seemed to win easily at Aintree, but then never travelled at Ayr. A summer off for Hurricane Fly will be needed but it will be interesting to see the performances of Zaidpour and Thousand Stars at Auteuil. Alderwood also ran a fast sectional race but it won’t be missed by the odds compilers.
Sunday’s racing doesn’t present many opportunities based on speed ratings. All ratings in the Prix Ganay point to Cirrus Des Aigles. His best rating coming over C + D on soft ground; at 4/5 he looks a very solid bet. The trip to Meydan may be seen as a negative but he is famed for his toughness.
Navan offers Oaks clues in the shape of Kissed and Cleofilia; although Cleofilia’s entry also in the Coronation Stakes raises stamina questions.
Ludlow features an interesting novice chase at 2.45. Domtaline has run in 3 fast sectional races (FSR) and won 2 including last time out. Not overly big there is a chance he may ‘bounce’ and any extra rain won’t be in his favour – unfortunately the opposition is very ordinary. I see him more of 7/4 than a 4/6 shot!
The 3.50 features 4 horses having recently competed in FSR. None have won so are capable of progressing. Battlecat (2), One Term (2), Clarion Call and Seventh Sky. One Term, Seventh Sky, Early Applause and Brick Red were all entered in Cheltenham novice events so this may be an above average novice event for the course.
The only other race containing any ratings interest is the 4.25 Handicap Chase. With 7 horses having run well in FSR this is a very open contest. The heavy rain forecast may also influence the outcome. Kilcrea Asla will not mind any softening of the ground and put up his best rating at Ludlow over 3 miles on good ground. Although I like to side with younger horses generally there are reasons for believing some of his opponents may underperform. Each-way small stakes will be my investment. Song Sung Blue, Cootehill, Darceys Dancer, Drumbaloo, Kilcrea Asla and Tatispout(2) have all run in FSR recently.