Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Monday 27/06/22

The PACE tab on the Geegeez racecards enables us to predict how a race will unfold even before it starts. We believe that this tool is so important that we make it freely available to ALL readers for ALL races EVERY Sunday & Monday including, of course, Monday's 'free' races of the day, which are...

  • 1.30 Southwell
  • 3.00 Southwell
  • 6.15 Windsor
  • 7.30 Musselburgh

...from which we'll head to Scotland for the 7.30 Musselburgh, an 8-runner, Class 5, 4yo+, flat handicap over a straight 5f on good/good to firm ground...

The form horses here are Birkenhead, Val de Travers and Sixcor who have all been first past the post twice in their last four runs, whilst Rory was a winner three starts ago with the other half of the filed not doing very much of late. Rory actually drops down a class to run here, as does top weight Hey Mr, but the bottom three on the card (Gowanbuster, Sixcor and Amazing Alba) all move up from Class 6.

All eight have won at least once over the minimum trip with Rory, Sound of Iona, Gowanbuster and Amazing Alba having achieved it here on this track. Hey Mr's 32 day absence is the longest of the field, so we shouldn't have any worries there and half of the field (Birkenhead, Rory, Sound of Iona and Sixcor) have been out inside the last fortnight.

HEY MR
Just 1 win from 13 so far and winless in nine since winning at Nottingham in October 2020. Has finished 8th of 9 and last of 8 in two runs this year and despite another 3lb drop in weight is hard to fancy.

BIRKENHEAD
Unlucky runner-up at Ripon in mid-May, but won at Catterick five days later. Has made the frame in both starts since despite a 9lb rise LTO. Eased slightly (1lb) in the weights, you'd expect him to be on the premises again.

VAL DE TRAVERS
Two wins and two runner-up finishes from six starts over the past year hints at inconsistency with ability mixed in. Well beaten off this mark LTO, but possibly didn't like the soft ground.

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RORY
Won here over C&D last August and won over this trip at Hamilton three starts ago at Class 6. Has gone really at Class 4 in his last two outings and was only beaten by two necks at Ayr nine days ago off today's mark. Must be a consideration here.

SOUND OF IONA
Won here over course and distance off a mark of 65 last September and off 63, you'd expect her to go well here, but she's winless in nine since that C&D success and has only beaten a total of five runners across her last six runs

GOWANBUSTER
Won this race in 2020 and landed another C&D success ten days later taking his mark from 65 to 80. Since then, he has 0 wins and just 2 places from 4 runs as his mark has now plummeted to 58 and although he ran reasonably well last time out, it's to imagine a step up in class being too helpful.

SIXCOR
Has won 2 of 6 starts in 2022 in total, but has two wins and a runner-up (beaten by just a neck) finish from his last three starts and produced a career best effort to win off 54 (-3) at Ayr recently when just doing enough. He's up 4lbs for that win, but his 3lb claimer is now replaced by a jockey claiming 5lbs, so that will help.

AMAZING ALBA
Won back to back races over course and distance here inside 11 days last August/September, but has won just one of sixteen since and hasn't run for some time, beating just six rivals in her last five starts and has been beaten by 12.5L, 15.5L and 10.5L in her last three, which is considerable over 5f!

We know that all have won over this and half have won here, but Instant Expert can fill us in class, going, field size and ratings too...

The above is pretty self-explanatory and the ones faring best here are Val De Travers, Rory, Sound of Iona and Gowanbuster, who are spread across the stalls in gates 1, 3, 6 and 7. Now, you're probably aware that I'm generally doubtful about draw biases on straight 5f tracks other than one runner having the rail to help keep straight and that the jockey only has one side to be wary of, but that doesn't mean there can't be a bias, so we'd better check past races of this nature...

...where the inference initially is centrally drawn horses fare best of all and those drawn highest struggle to win, but so make the frame quite often. Stalls 4, 5 & 6 seem to be the place to be based on that data above, which might be good news for Birkenhead, Sixcor and Val de Travers. Today's free feature is the pace tab and whilst is very important in all races, it's absolutely vital to have the right tactics in a 5f sprint on quick ground, get it wrong and the race could be over before you've realised it. To see the best way to approach this race, let's revisit those races above that we used for the draw data and they tell us...

...that you really do need to be away sharp and up with the pace to maximise your chances of winning. Prominent runners almost win their fair share, but do run on for a place, whilst it's a struggle any further back. Looking at today's field and their recent efforts...

...you'd have to think that the top half of the list are better positioned than their rivals with both Birkenhead and Gowanbuster confirmed front runners. And because we have data for both pace and draw, we can combine the two to generate the unique Geegeez pace/draw heatmap...

...which says that although low-drawn runners tend not to win as often those drawn higher up, they do have a great record if they can get out quickly and lead. Mid-drawn leaders have done equally well and it's these two areas of the chart that you'd want to be in and because we have the pace stats above and we know the draw, we can superimpose our field onto that heatmap as follows...

...which would seem to favour Birkenhead and Gowanbuster considerably with Amazing Alba best placed of the rest.

Summary

Having broken the field down in terms of form, race compatibility (Instant Expert), draw and pace (and also how the latter two interact), these were the runners catching the eye...

FORM : Birkenhead, Rory, Sixcor, Val de Travers
IE : Gowanbuster, Rory, Sound of Iona, Val De Travers
DRAW : Birkenhead, Sixcor, Val de Travers
PACE : Amazing Alba, Birkenhead, Gowanbuster, Val de Travers
PACE/DRAW : Birkenhead, Gowanbuster, Amazing Alba

And the three cropping up most are Birkenhead, Gowanbuster and Val De Travers and I think that's going to be my three against the field in that order. I know the 11/4 fav Rory is/will be popular, but he's just 1 from 9 over C&D and I think that his tendency to be slowly away will count against him on this track.

My three are priced at 5/1, 6/1 and 10/3, so no E/W play on this occasion.

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