This is normally a one race column but with it being All Weather Finals day at Lingfield where there are going to be many shared course biases I’m going to look at every race on the card. I won’t be going into quite so much depth as usual on each race but hopefully covering every race makes things a little more interesting with some excellent Good Friday racing in store.
As usual, I’ll be using plenty of tools, data and racecard features from Geegeez Gold. Click here to get your first 30 days of Geegeez Gold for just £1.
2.00 – All Weather Marathon Championships – 2m
Just the 7 runners involved here over the longest distance Lingfield race over on the all weather.
In this sort of small field scenario it seems the longer distance cancels out any inherent front runner advantage with those coming from mid division performing best across all recorded metrics above. Those that are held up or race prominently have very similar stats and neither run style seems a disadvantage. The same can’t be said about front runners who perform worst of all across a decent sized sample. Early leaders win less often and place less often than their more patiently ridden rivals.
The data above doesn’t denote a strong advantage though so we certainly shouldn’t rule out front runner per se, however it certainly seems as though being taken on for the lead would potentially make life difficult for any front runners here.
With such a small field and long distance it’s unlikely there is much draw advantage, but let’s check to make sure.
Much of the data seems to suggest a low draw is a negative here with middle and high closely matched and seemingly more advantageous.
Individual stall data fluctuates a fair bit from stall to stall, there is no really strong trend other than stalls 2 and 3 not performing brilliantly. With this race being for the slower horses it’s possible those that are drawn low could be running into more trouble in running than those drawn higher and they maybe lack the gears to recover from that.
A low draw seems nothing to worry about but perhaps being drawn slightly higher is preferable.
A possible contested speed here with Australis and Ranch Hand both capable of getting on with things. Lucky Deal and Island Brave are likely to be patiently ridden with the other trio fitting between.
In this race we’re probably going to be after a relatively patiently ridden runner with a decent turn of foot for a stayer as Lingfield doesn’t really suit those slow grinders.
The last four winners of this have been rated between 103 and 105 so Rainbow Dreamer sets a high standard with his 110 rating. He boasts 6 wins from 10 all weather starts but has yet to race at Lingfield which is a slight concern. He is unbeaten in four starts on Kempton’s polytrack surface though. He’s tactically versatile, very capable in small fields and beat a decent yard stick on his last run a month ago.
Ranch Hand is his main rival on form. He won a three runner handicap at Chelmsford last time out, ideally placed, taking his record at this trip on the flat to two from two. The other win came at listed level. He’s also three from three on all weather surfaces but he too has never run here at Lingfield.
Amtiyaz has plenty to find on ratings but is lightly raced enough to prove ahead of his official mark still. He has been beaten in handicaps off marks in the 80s on two of his last three runs. Lucky Deal gave him plenty of weight and a beating in January at Kempton. That rival likes a well run race at this trip but is another who hasn’t yet run at Lingfield.
Rock Eagle was narrowly beaten by Ranch Hand last time out in receipt of 3lbs so has a little bit to find whilst all weather specialist Australis needs to continue improving to figure. There isn’t a lot between him and outsider Island Brave based on a fast track qualifier in December at Newcastle.
I’m a fan of Ranch Hand and he’s unexposed on artificial surfaces and at 2m. He’s led on his last three runs on all codes though and that might not be the best tactic here. There is a distinct lack of course form here which is the only negative that can be levelled at RAINBOW DREAMER (9/4). He may be the favourite but he’s a fair price given his earned his rating time and time again. His absence of 55 days is a very slight concern given he’s not always best fresh but he should be able to win this.
2.35 – All Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships – 7f
The first of the 7f contests here and another small field with just the six entries.
Smaller fields can often mean less front runners and less pace but it also means the field is likely to be more closely packed and those that are patiently ridden have less ground to make up than they would do in a bigger field.
This is potentially why we aren’t seeing a strong bias above. Front runners and prominent racers do have better win and place percentages than those nearer the rear of the field and place percentages do steadily fall the further back you are placed early on in the race but the 0.8 IV for hold up performers isn’t a massive worry and hold up performers do generate the second most amount of wins so it’s not like it makes life impossible for them.
Win percentages point to a potentially strong bias here with just 10% of low drawn runners winning and 20% of high drawn runners winning. However we have limited data here and the place percentages give us more data and PRB gives us even more data again. Those metrics point to a much fairer draw over this trip in this field size. Those metrics do favour the middle draw ever so slightly but not enough to make any individual draw a concern here.
Something to note is that high drawn front runners produce a PRB of 0.63, the best PRB for any draw/pace combination. Conversely low drawn hold up performers have a PRB of just 0.38. Smaller fields produce less reliable PRB data than bigger fields so take it with a pinch of salt but it is a trend we often notice at Lingfield so it’s not a freak result either.
Despite the small field we should get a fair pace in this race with Fizzy Feet and Nirodha likely to be close up. Pholas and Shimmering Dawn are likely to be ridden cold. There don’t really seem to be any prominent runners so if the leading duo don’t battle for the lead that pair could be tactically advantaged as everything else will probably be happier near the rear than near the pace.
This should be a relatively fair contest where everything has it’s chance.
Indie Angel isn’t the clear pick on ratings that her odds suggest but she does set the standard on her listed course win last time out. She’s probably better over a mile though and could be vulnerable if this gets tactical.
Shimmering Dawn has shown her limitations over the winter, even when winning, but she has won small field races over course and distance. Below par last time out at Wolverhampton but that race didn’t suit those patiently ridden.
Fizzy Feet has won four times here and has countless other placed efforts at what has to be her favourite course. She could be close to the pace but will be having her first crack at 7f here so may be ridden a little more patiently than usual. Form is fine but suspect stayer.
The remaining trio have more than a stone to find on official ratings. Arafi had looked well ahead of her mark on recent starts and it was probably the mile that beat her last time rather than the handicap mark. She still has plenty more opportunities to prove much better than this rating and isn’t without a chance. Nirodha hasn’t been the most consistent and was well beaten on her last try here, further at Wolverhampton probably suits. Meanwhile Pholas is probably well handicapped still but he’s rated just 78 and has looked much better at a mile than this 7f.
This race might not take much winning and Indie Angel is unlikely to have to live up to her rating to take this. She’s no guarantee to even run to a mark in the 90s in this setup though and with Shimmering dawn perhaps a little flattered by her rating and Fizzy Feet probably better over shorter ARAFI (8/1) might not have as much to find as it seems. She should yet prove a 90s horse at least over 7f on artificial surfaces and she’s looks the value bet in a questionable field.
3.10 – All Weather Sprint Championships – 6f
The first of our speed tests here and a bigger field with twelve runners set to go to post (a maximum field).
A much more pronounced pace bias over this shorter trip in a bigger field. Remarkably both front runners and prominent racers have been profitable to follow to level stakes for both win and each way purposes.
Pretty much all metrics point to a fairly strong front runner bias here with a successful outcome being less and less likely the further from the pace you are ridden. A win percentage of less than 6% would be a big worry for backers of any runners likely to be held up here.
A PRB of 0.54 for low drawn runners and 0.46 for high drawn runners suggests there is definitely a draw advantage in bigger fields at this trip. Not all low draws are created equal though, stalls 3 and 4 are statistically amongst the best looking at PRB but 2 and 1 are less successful. Stall 5, which counts as a ‘middle’ draw, has the second best PRB of 0.55. A draw from 3 to 5 looks absolutely ideal here. These three stalls are winning almost 40% of races in these conditions between them despite making up just 25% of the runners - a clear over performance.
There are three potential front runners in this and they are all drawn in the three lowest stalls which will make it an interesting battle for the early lead. It would be no surprise to see some fast fractions for the first furlong.
The prominent runners are drawn wider here but it’s possible Brian The Snail manages to slot in behind the trio of leaders from stall 6. Exalted Angel was ridden a bit more forward than usual last time and he too could be well positioned from stall 5 if the same tactics are used here.
Gulliver’s running style and draw means he’ll probably have to be completely dropped out and that’s unlikely to benefit him here, even if they do go a good pace early.
You generally want to be as close to the pace as possible here but with three front runners likely to take each other on we could see the next group of runners become the beneficiaries here. A low to middle draw is ideal and anything that could be prominent from stalls 3 to 5 would be of interest.
There is very little between many of these and it’s going to come down to which runner is best suited by conditions and gets the required luck in running.
Harry’s Bar has won both starts here, albeit in handicap company. He’s had an unusual prep for this going to Saudi Arabia and then running over a mile and he’s short enough from stall 12. Summerghand is well fancied but this isn’t the ideal track for him, although he won in first time cheekpieces last season so perhaps the first time visor will help him win here.
Two against the field though are Exalted Angel and Lampang. Exalted Angel has done most of his racing over 5f on the all weather and has an extremely consistent profile on artificial surfaces, albeit at a slightly lower level than this. On his only run over this trip, that also came at this venue, he was a winner at listed level, albeit a slightly weaker listed race than you’d often see here. He had Summerghand and Aberama Gold behind that day. He’s no superstar by any means but he’s well drawn for a horse that will hopefully sit prominently if breaking alertly (has been slow at the start in the past).
Lampang has managed just the seven career starts and he has a stand out piece of form from November where over course and distance he finished not far behind Good Effort who would have been a good thing for this and a head ahead of 108 rated On The Warpath. He was below par in December back over 5f but back to form at Southwell a month ago when everything went wrong for him. The draw could have been kinder though and that’s just about enough of a put off in this case, leaving EXALTED ANGEL (13/2) as the sole each way selection.
3.45 – 3 Year Old All Weather Championships – 6f
The only race for the classic generation and a nice sized field for another 6f contest.
A strong bias towards front runners here with an IV of 1.75. A 44.27% place strike rate and 111.59 win PL suggest pace is key here. There is a fairly steep drop in performance when you look to the prominent runners, although they still perform well, whilst the performance of those from mid division and held up are much less impressive.
It's easy to assume that when low draws are favoured and high draws are not favoured that the middle draw data will be close to half way between the two. However this is a good example of that not being the case as low draws are only very slightly favoured over middle draws with both massively favoured over higher draws.
Stall 7 doesn’t perform badly at all but stalls 8, 9 and 10 definitely should be avoided for betting purposes unless housing a runner who would ordinarily be expected to win comfortably.
A decent sized field here but Mighty Gurkha is likely to get an uncontested lead in this from a relatively wide stall. The lower draws and prominent racing styles of Zamaani and Diligent Harry should ensure they track the pace.
Yazaman could be the worst positioned from a wider draw.
Front runners with an easy lead are likely to be dangerous here if they have form chances. The highest three stalls could be disadvantaged against their lower drawn counterparts.
An unexposed field here so ratings are largely irrelevant. It’s early days for Diligent Harry but it’s slightly disappointing he was beaten in handicap company last time out His tactics last time out were probably dictated more by an awkward start than by design and if reverting to front running here he’d be quite interesting, but she’s short enough.
If Diligent Harry doesn’t try to lead that’s great news for the more exposed Might Gurkha. He scorched the earth here when winning a maiden last June and followed that up with a Group 3 win at Kempton. He had to give 7lbs to Victory Heights when going down by just a short head in December at Wolverhampton and Victory Heights is one of the leading fancies here off level weights. Mighty Gurkha then gave 5lbs and a beating to Zamaani (who is also one of the leading fancies here) next time out. He’s drawn fairly high but stall 7 still performs well enough and he showed a likeable attitude to battle back last time out. He should be ideally placed and it will take a good one to beat him.
Victory Heights and Zamaani both have to improve to beat him whilst Apollo One is interesting but his form here last time out can’t be taken literally given the pace that race was run at. He is capable though.
Plenty of others may run well but MIGHTY GURKHA (7/2) is three from four on the all weather and his only defeat was by the narrowest margin when conceding weight. He’s capable of blowing this lot away if allowed his own way in front.
4.15 – Easter Classic All Weather Middle Distance Championships – 1m2f
The only race over this trip on the card and a relatively small field with just the 6 runners.
Possibly the fairest race we could see all day in terms of potential pace bias. A small field over ten furlongs gives all runners a fair chance assuming an even pace with less than 2% difference between any of the win percentages and the place percentages pretty closely matched too. It’s probably slightly advantageous to be nearer the pace than further from it but not by much and a lot will depend on the individual setup of the race.
The figures here probably suggest a bigger draw advantage than is actually in existence. A middle draw seems to do very well but in such small fields there is no reason why both low and high would be disadvantaged compared to the middle. The fact that stalls 4 and 6 have a much better PRB than stall 5 is another anomaly and there is no real reason why most of this field won’t be able to get their preferred early position from their draws.
Sky Defender is more of a natural front runner than Bangkok so we could see Sky Defender cross over from the widest draw with Bangkok happy to take a lead and settle behind him. Assimilation might find himself at the back of the field by default with no out and out hold up performers seemingly to be found in this field.
There is no reason why this should be a fair contest tactically. Slight preference would be for something nearer the pace but the best horse should be able to win this.
A disappointing turnout for the feature race of the day. Favourite Bangkok swerved the Winter Derby here in favour of an unsuccessful trip to Saudi Arabia. His absence was Forest Of Dean’s gain in the Winter Derby but he rather stole the race that day and had previously been beaten twice by Bangkok fair and square so Bangkok will likely have to underperform for Forest Of Dean to win this.
Assimilation is a likable sort but it would be disappointing if long time handicapper was capable of winning this, for all he’s been in decent form over the winter winning three of his last five. Palavecino always runs his race on artificial surfaces but he’s looked a little short of this level on his two course and distance runs in recent months.
Sky Defender has little to find with all but the favourite here and he’ll presumably be allowed to stride out in front here. He’s been disappointing on his last two starts but could easily finish 2nd or 3rd if returning to form. Byford is lightly raced and probably still ahead of his mark, but he’ll need to be well ahead of it to win this. His last handicap win, over course and distance, worked out pretty well and he wasn’t disgraced over further last time out but it’s a slight stretch to think he’ll win this.
Based on previous form BANGKOK (5/4) should be winning this from Forest Of Dean by a length or so. Assuming the travel hasn’t done him any harm he’d be a relatively confident selection to take this, but not exactly a value play at the price.
4.45 – All Weather Mile Championships – 1m
A ten runner field for the sole mile race on the card.
Positive tactics can be a big advantage over a mile in bigger fields here with all metrics clearly favouring front runners. One again we are seeing that there isn’t much between prominent and mid division so it’s worth remembering that whilst front runners can be marked up, prominent runners don’t necessarily enjoy an advantage over those slightly more patiently ridden.
There isn’t even a massive drop off in stats when it comes to hold up performers. Yes they perform less well than those ridden further forward but ruling anything out here just because it’s a closer would be a dangerous game. Upgrade front runners but respect the rest still.
Despite the bigger field here there is surprisingly little draw advantage on offer. The PRB data is very even, as is much of the other data on offer. The fact that stalls 1 and 10 are both in the top three individual PRB performers backs up the idea that there is no draw advantage. Stall 4 performs very well across all metrics but there is no real reason why that should be much more advantageous over stalls 3 or 5 so it’s probably just an anomaly.
Both Khuzaam and Canagat are happy bowling along in front but neither completely rely on leading. Khuzaam may end up getting the lead simply through being drawn five stalls lower.
Silver Quartz often tracks the pace but isn’t ideally drawn to get the best position possible, he could end up a little wider than ideal. Mum’s Tipple was ridden prominently last time but he’s up in trip but so might ridden a little more patiently with that in mind so Fox Duty Free is likely to get a decent position near the rail just off the leaders.
Intuitive is normally held up but was given more of a forward ride in a four runner field last time out. Expect him to be a little further back than the pace map suggests, although his good draw should ensure one or two end up behind him early on.
A lone front runner can be difficult to peg back here whilst those coming from the rear can struggle. The mile trip can favour speedier hold up performers with a nice turn of foot though, especially if there is a good early gallop.
This should be a really interesting race. Khuzaam is the obvious starting point. He should be well placed and has finished either 1st and 2nd on all starts at a mile or shorter and he’s gone very close in a couple of mile listed races at Kempton. He tends to idle close home though and he’s not really one to be taking short prices on. He’ll almost certainly be in the first two home but yet another 2nd could be the more likely of the two positions.
Mum’s Tipple is difficult to weigh up at a mile. He ran well enough over 6f on his first start after a break in February and then won a listed race over 7f easily next time out. He was very well positioned in that race and isn’t guaranteed to run to the same level up to a mile but Lingfield is hardly the toughest track.
I gave Intuitive a good write up on here when he won over course and distance in January, beating Mission Boy (been in good form and reopposes here) comfortably. He wasn’t seen to best effect last time out in a very small field but that run was certainly no disgrace off a mark of 106 in a handicap and any improvement on that effort, which is likely, gives him a good chance here.
Fox Duty Free has won three from three here over the winter and still looks to be progressing. He got a stone from Via Serendipity last time out over course and distance and although value for more than the 1.5 lengths between them, Via Serendipity could be deemed better value at a bigger price of level weights here.
Documenting and Silver Quartz were both poor in this two years ago so best of the rest is probably the aforementioned Via Serendipity who wasn’t at his best last time at Kempton but is generally pretty reliable on the all weather.
Any of the first four in the betting could win this but INTUITIVE (15/2) each way could be the best play. He’s seen to best effect when held up and although that isn’t normally ideal here, he has twice run very well with those tactics at this venue. It might be worth including Khuzaam in a forecast.
5.15 – All Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap
We drop into handicap company for the final race on the card and we have a maximum field of fourteen for the second race over 7f on the card and we could see some strong biases in this one.
The win PL for mid division here has probably been influenced by a very big priced winner or two as most other metrics point towards a pace bias towards the front of the pack over 7f once again. Front runners perform best in terms of win percentage and place percentage as well as EW PL and IV. A place strike rate of more than 40% certainly suggests good front runners should command plenty of respect, especially if getting an easy lead.
Prominent and mid division are fairly closely matched again and they aren’t too far off front runners, especially for win percentages. Hold ups perform relatively poorly though as they are clearly left with too much ground to make up more often than not in this big field.
The middle of the draw seems to be the ideal place to be here with a PRB of 0.54 and superior win and place percentages. A lower draw isn’t too far off but it certainly seems as though you want to avoid the high draws if possible with the PRB falling to 0.46.
We must remember that not all low, middle or high draws are created equally, especially in big fields. The individual stall data suggests stalls 3 to 9 are maybe ideal, although 1 and 2 certainly aren’t bad and stall 10 isn’t dreadful either with a PRB of 0.49. The highest two or three stalls are certainly ones to be wary of though, anything above stall 11 is going to struggle to win unless very well handicapped on the day.
Harrison Point would ordinarily be capable of challenging the early pace but his draw in stall 13 is going to make that much more difficult than usual. It is possible to get a good position from a wide draw but there are seemingly a lot of lower drawn prominent racers here and very few that will receive a pull of the reigns early which could lead to a bit of early congestion whilst they sort themselves out. The speedy Lord Of The Lodge should lead though from stall 7.
Oh This Is Us and Lethal Lunch would probably end up in the last two places early whatever the draw so the low draws are likely to be wasted on that pair.
Front runners clearly have to be respected whilst those that are at the back early or in the very highest stalls are likely to be disadvantaged, although not completely ruled out.
Ayr Harbour is going to be popular here under claiming sensation Benoit De La Sayette. The horse has a very likeable all weather profile and his form is undeniably really solid. The fly in the ointment is stall 14. I’d love to say he can’t win from there but Goring won this from the same draw two years ago. It’s still a disadvantage though and he’s too short at around 4/1 from there.
Much has also been made of Laura Pearson’s worth for her claim and she’s an interesting booking for Amber Island who looks as though he needs to step up to win this. Count Otto has been in good form recently but is very much exposed and doesn’t look well handicapped anymore.
Lord Of The Lodge is the most likely leader here and Mum’s Tipple winning the previous race would be a form boost. He did comfortably best of the pace horses at Newcastle two starts ago in a good race and despite being rated 103 here, he’s still relatively lightly raced and was 2nd in a Group 2 as a 2yo so he could still prove well handicapped. All his all weather runs have come on tapeta but he’s also run well on turf so polytrack should be no issue.
Gabrial The Devil is weighted to beat Count Otto on a recent meeting and although not obviously well handicapped, he’s been extremely consistent recently and could place again. Total Commitment is closely matched with that pair and absolutely loves it here. A more solid pace than last time should suit him and it would be no surprise to see him place again.
Magical Wish has won over course and distance after a break before, isn’t badly handicapped and should be well placed from a decent draw. He’s more interesting than Revolutionise who seemed to find Lingfield a bit quick on his last try here. An honourable mention goes to Oh This Is Us who goes well here and is fairly handicapped but he’s surely better at a mile at this course.
Ayr Harbour is the obvious and interesting one and the jockey booking may be enough to cancel out the poor draw. In a competitive handicap like this he’s too risky at the price though. Total Commitment, Gabrial The Devil and to a certain extent Magical Wish have decent place claims at prices but LORD OF THE LODGE (13/2) could be just as interesting as anything else. He probably won’t get an easy lead but he’s much better drawn than the rest of the pace which will help. He’s been gradually coming to the boil having disappointed back on turf last summer and time will probably tell he faced an impossible task last time when still defeating a 108 rated rival by 1.75 lengths who seemingly ran his race.
Pierre-Louis Jamin is fair value for his claim and he’s just one of five jockeys in this who have previously ridden their mount. The other runners who have jockeys who have previously ridden them are Magical Wish, Revolutionise, Total Commitment and Oh This Is Us.