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Racing Insights, 29th July 2021

This will be my last Racing Insights column for a while, Chris will be welcomed back into the hot seat tomorrow. I think I’ve flagged up some decent angles in the past couple of weeks but my personal judgement on the most interesting selections to back from those angles has largely been a bit off. Hopefully I can give a good final steer in Thursday’s race of choice. My thoughts on one of the big Saturday races each week will continue to be published each Friday afternoon.

Thursday’s free feature of the day is Instant Expert for ALL races. That’s one of the most popular features of Geegeez Gold, free to use for every race on Thursday for anyone who is a registered free user of Geegeez.

Instant Expert is a massive time saver which allows the user to check and compare each horse’s, trainer’s, jockey’s and sire’s suitability to key race conditions in just a few seconds.

The free races for free registered users on Thursday are:

3.45 Nottingham
4.35 Galway
6.15 Galway
6.55 Newcastle
7.05 Epsom

Thursday’s meeting at Newcastle is the first day of the Racing League. This event has already divided the racing community somewhat but with good prize money on offer and square 12 runner fields they could make for some decent betting opportunities. With that in mind we’ll see what the 6.55 has to offer. This is a 6f, class 3 handicap open to 3yo+.

With many races run over course and distance in similar conditions in recent years we have a decent sample of data to work with so let’s take a look at some draw and pace data before doing any form analysis.

The first graph shows PRB3 data to give an overview of what should be the favoured parts of the draw. Although higher numbers have seemingly performed more positively than low numbers over this course and distance, it seems that being drawn very high isn’t ideal, perhaps increasing the chances of being trapped on the rail. Or maybe the surface is just at its fastest just off the rail. Either way the sweet spot seems to be from about 6 or 7 to 11.

In terms of pace, the draw and pace combination heat map suggests that those drawn higher are seen to best effect played late but the runners that are drawn low to middle are best off going forward. Perhaps that allows them to get closer to the rail then being either prominent or racing in mid division. The fact that held up from middle has a good PRB of 0.55 again backs that up, it’s probably not difficult to get close to the rail from there.

The pace map for this race tells us that there are two main pace angles, one drawn low (Imperial Force) and one drawn high (Lipsink). The likes of Strike Red, Walls Of Kano, Papa Stour and Mohareb could find themselves in the poorest position (furthest from the near side rail) whilst Cash Machine, Musicality and Ivatheengine will potentially enjoy the most advantageous early positions.

Now for the runners.

Lipsink

Has shown very little in three starts for Robert Cowell and his chances seem to largely depend on a wind op and first time tongue tie doing the trick. Nice enough draw and one to watch in the market but pretty much impossible to back on his most recent form.

Musicality

Showed early promise for Roger Varian last season but form tailed off towards the end of the season. His seasonal debut was a bit more like it, whilst not good enough to win this, but he’s again gone backwards since and connections now reach for first time cheekpieces. He’s another that is worth a check in the betting but is probably impossible to back on recent form.

Mohareb

All weather specialist who won last time out at Lingfield off a mark of 84. Now up to 86 but that’s a mark he’s defied in the past. He’s done most of his winning at Lingfield but has run well enough in defeat in two attempts at this venue. He’s entitled to run his race but he might be a little too high in the weights to win from a low draw knowing his run style.

Papa Stour

Another all weather specialist and one that has dropped to a nice enough mark having been largely out or form this year. He’s 2lbs lower than his last win and returned to form last time out in first time cheekpieces when a narrowly beaten third. He made the running that day and may be an additional pace option here. That effort did come at Chelmsford, a course that suits his run style very well, and he might be a little more vulnerable here at a venue and over a trip where he has never won.

Ivatheengine

Won three in a row last summer and then had his season cut short. He’s only managed three runs in the past year (all since April) and he was below par in all of those. Connections have pinned their hopes of wind surgery in a bid to get him back to sorts and he’d be very much of interest if he is but he’s another one of these that can’t really be backed unless there is significant market support suggesting a return to form is on the cards.

Irish Acclaim

It's fair to say he’s better on artificial surfaces than turf and has a split handicap mark to prove it. He was successful over this trip at Dundalk in March and after some largely lacklustre efforts on turf he was then 2nd recently in a 7f claimer. He didn’t run up to his mark that day though and he’s probably not well handicapped on any surface currently.

Bowling Russian

Another who is better on the all weather but even on artificial surfaces he hasn’t been running to form in recent months, beaten 6 lengths at Lingfield two starts ago in February. It’s difficult to weigh up his turf return in June given he rarely runs well on the green stuff but either way he is still 2lbs higher than his last win which came at Lingfield in November. He has a bit of improving to do and will need the return of the visor to spark of form revival.

Strike Red

Likely to be amongst the favourites for this given he’s a lightly raced 3yo who won by 2 lengths last time out. That form hasn’t really worked out and he’s 6lbs higher here meaning he needs to improve again but there is every chance he does that. This is a better race than he’s previously contested and he doesn’t seem particularly well drawn so he may needs to be well ahead of his new mark to win this. One of his best pieces of form was his racecourse debut when 4th to some smart types and that was his only start on an artificial surface (came here) so he does have potential to improve switching back to this surface.

Cash Machine

Another unexposed 3yo and he’ll be making his handicap debut here after just three starts, giving us a bit of guesswork to do. On debut he was a length behind now 90 rated Popmaster, in receipt of 7lbs, so potentially ran to a mark around 80 that day. That’s certainly not bad for a racecourse debut. He seemed to run to an even better level when winning a decent Chelmsford maiden next time out, doing well to come from off the pace when the others involved in the finish were ridden much more prominently.

Then after a 60 day break he tried to give weight to some promising types in a 7f novice at Wolverhampton. He was 2nd, beaten just half a length giving 7lbs to Wizard D’Amour who ran at least to his mark of 77 on his next start. He probably didn’t improve for the step up to 7f that day but did look to stay the trip. The handicapper has probably got things about right giving him a mark of 82 but he’s capable of improving again beyond that mark given he’s had just three runs and he’s well enough drawn here. Laura Pearson’s 5lb claim could end up being the difference maker.

Royal Musketeer

Only seven runs so far, six of which have come on turf and one of which has come on the all weather. It’s worth noting that he’s so far unbeaten on artificial surfaces. He probably didn’t run above his current mark on that one all weather start though so it’s worth treating him as if he’s just as good on turf. He hasn’t been the most consistent but won a weak Ripon handicap over this distance in June and was 2nd at Haydock last time out off a 2lb lower mark, seemingly with no excuses. Could run okay again but it’s not clear where the improvement is going to come from to win a better race here.

Walls Of Kano

Had just the four runs and was well backed when winning a novice stakes on his second racecourse visit in May. He was well beaten carrying a penalty next time and didn’t improve dropped to this trip in handicap company next time out. It seems likely he’s badly handicapped but it’s not out of the question that he’s better than he’s shown to date. Might have the worst of the draw.

Imperial Force

Started the season rated 93 and ran okay in a first time visor on seasonal debut here trying to give Haveagomecca (now rated 80) 12lbs, going down by less than a length. Connections have largely kept him out of handicap company and he’s been expensive to follow and a bit regressive since. He bumped into a now 95 rated rival in a Yarmouth maiden and was trying to give that horse 3lbs on that day but he was beaten almost 7 lengths so you can’t draw too many positives from that effort.

It's a stretch to suggest he’s going to bounce back to anything like his initial mark of 95 but he seemed to run much better than his current mark of 74 when last here and is capable of being in the thick of things. He’s not very well drawn (but could nullify that by going forward) and doesn’t always look the most straight forward so a place might be on the cards but a win looks unlikely.

Summary

Not an easy puzzle to solve. The likes of Lipsink, Musicality and Ivatheengine all have at least one factor that could help them bounce back to form but they are easy to oppose on recent form.

Mohareb is one of the more solid contenders and he would have made more appeal with a higher draw but he’s only fairly handicapped now and looks more likely to find a couple too good.

Papa Stour is probably a little better at Chelmsford so the one who appeals most is Cash Machine. He’s open to the most improvement out of these and given he has yet to run in a handicap there is more scope for him to be ahead of his mark than those who have already shown their hands. He’s seemingly got pretty much everything in his favour, has run to a consistent level of form on all three starts and seems sure to go well. He won’t be a huge price but could have better claims than the fellow market fancy Strike Red.

2021 Galway Hurdle Trends

Run over a distance of 2m the Guinness-sponsored Galway Hurdle is staged each year towards the end of July, early August, at the Galway Festival.

Did you know - 16 of the last 18 winners finished in the top three last time out?

Here at GEEGEEZ, we look back at recent winners and gives you the key stats ahead of the 2021 renewal, this year run on Thursday July 29th.

 

Recent Galway Hurdle Winners

2020 - ARAMON (7/1)
2019 – TUDOR CITY (10/1)
2018 – SHARJAH (12/1)
2017 – TIGRIS RIVER (5/1)
2016 – CLONDAW WARRIOR (9/2 fav)
2015 – QUICK JACK (9/2)
2014 – THOMAS EDISON (7/2 fav)
2013 – MISSUNITED (7/1)
2012 – REBEL FITZ (11/2)
2011 – MOON DICE (20/1)
2010 – OVERTURN (6/1)
2009 – BAHRAIN STORM (20/1)
2008 – INDIAN PACE (7/1)
2007 – FARMER BROWN (9/2 fav)
2006 – CUAN NA GRAI (7/1)
2005 – MORE RAINBOWS (33/1)
2004 – CLOONE RIVER (7/2 fav)
2003 – SABADILLA (14/1)

Galway Hurdle Betting Trends

18/18 – Won over at least 2m (hurdles) before
17/18 – Won by an Irish-based trainer
16/18 – Won between 2-4 times over hurdles before
16/18 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
15/18 – Aged between 5-7 years-old
14/18 – Irish bred
13/18 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
12/18 – Carried 10-12 or less in weight
12/18 – Returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
11/18 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
10/18 – Favourites that finished in the top 4
8/18 – Won last time out
7/18 – Rated between 120-130
7/18 – Aged 6 years-old
4/18 – Winning favourites
3/18 – Trained by Tony Martin (3 of the last 7)
3/18 – Trained by Willie Mullins (3 of the last 6)
2/18 – Trained by Michael Winters (2 of last 9 runnings)
2/18 – Trained by Paul Nolan
The average winning SP in the last 18 runnings is 10/1

 

Racing Insights, 28th July 2021

Wednesday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer Statistics Report. This report gives you the low down on how trainers are performing, using a wide range of metrics, over both 14 days and 30 days. This data can be compared to 1 year performance, also available in the report, to check if a trainer is performing better or worse than average. There is also the option to check trainer performance at tracks where they have engagements either today or tomorrow, to examine courses where they might be sending their best chances of winners. This data is available for both the past year and past five years.

The free races for free registered users on Wednesday are:

2.35 Perth
3.10 Perth
3.20 Redcar
5.10 Galway
6.15 Galway

I’m a flat bettor through and through so the only one of those races that is going to appeal to me is the race at Redcar. It’s a 6f sprint handicap open to 3yo+ and there are fifteen runners so many bookies will be paying four places on each way bets (one is even paying five places).

Something I have noticed this season at Redcar is that on the straight course the far side rail has seemed much more of an advantage than usual. In previous years they would generally come up the centre of the course on most going types but this year they have gone centre to far side with those drawn lower generally having an advantage. Hopefully I can now prove this with some data!


In the majority of bigger field races on the straight course in recent years low and middle have enjoyed an advantage with PRB figures of 0.54 and 0.52 respectively but the data backs up what my eyes have told me this year – the low draw bias has increased with low drawn runners generating a PRB of 0.64 now – that’s a huge bias for a straight course and isn’t a million miles off the data you’d see at Chester for the same distances.

The market doesn’t seem to be taking into account this shift in bias. Low draws did have an A/E of 0.97 from 2009 to 2020 and that has gone up to 1.52 this year. There is obviously a smaller sample size looking only at races this year but we are seeing exactly what is going on when we watch a race – the runners that get the far side rail are outperforming their rivals.

Narrowing things down further to looking solely at sprint distances, stall 1 has a pretty incredible record of 3 wins and 5 places from 8 runs.

The heat map above is made up of data from 5f and 6f races this season in bigger field sizes and it’s interesting to note that despite the far side rail becoming an increasingly crowded part of the course, those coming from the rear or mid division (when drawn low) and still performing extremely well.

It’s worth noting that the leader from high stat is based on just the one run and is unlikely to be repeated when more data is gathered.

Given the data above I’m going to back whichever low drawn runner makes appeal in this, so here are the lowest drawn six runners.

Avior Star

Beat just one home last time out over this trip at Ayr on fast ground. Had previously run third on good to soft and overall his best form does seem to have come on ground with more cut in than this (likely to be good to firm here). He’s fairly interesting on his softer ground form but makes very limited appeal on fast ground.

Arfinn Rose

Has faced 53 rivals in five career runs and has so far only beaten three of them home. He’s now rated just 39 and isn’t even running up to that rating yet he runs of 46 here because he’s out of the handicap. Headgear now tried and all hopes will be on that working a miracle.

Must Be An Angel

Yet to win but has finished runner up in four out of 19 starts. She’s only raced on turf four times in total with all four runs coming on ground with the word soft in the going description. The 2nd place at Ayr on penultimate start on good to soft was fairly moderate form and then she was disappointing last time out at Wolverhampton in first time cheekpieces. She’d previously run well over that course and distance so the headgear was probably to blame (left off here). This isn’t the best race so a chance on that Ayr run but has to prove it on faster going and lack of win to date is slightly concerning.

Charlemaine

Hasn’t won for two years and he’s dropped 19lbs in the rating since then. He showed a bit more last time out over 5f here on fast ground, 9th of 13 but only beaten 4.5 lengths. He was drawn in stall 15 that day which I’ve already proved would have been a big disadvantage and the way he stayed on late suggested this step up in trip would be a big help, but the way he was tailed off early is a concern. Cheekpieces might perk him up but he hasn’t run well in them previously, has won in blinkers though so headgear can work on this horse.

Daysaq

Yet to win in 14 runs but he’s been knocking on the door on a couple of occasions this season. He was runner up on fast ground over this trip at Nottingham in a weak race, when getting the run of the race and was an eyecatcher last time out at Wolverhampton when well backed and not getting a clear run. He’s a big contender on that last run but many of his best efforts have come at Wolverhamapton and it’s not guaranteed he is quite as good on turf.

Oh So Hot

Lightly raced 3yo who has run well in all three starts for Adrian Nicholls this season, all over further. She was beaten just a head over an extended mile at Hamilton (race has worked out okay), didn’t quite get home when 4th over 9f at that same venue next time (race worked out well) and then was 2nd of 13 on her most recent start, dropped back to 7f at Ayr, beaten less than a length. The 3rd and 6th have both come out and won since giving Oh So Hot’s form a really solid look. She's clearly in form and open to more improvement.

Summary

The above runners should have an advantage and it seems pretty clear that in a very moderate race Oh So Hot brings a much stronger level of form into this. You can question how she was able to run so well over much stiffer tests if she’s going to be suited by this drop back to 6f but she was one of the last off the bridle over 7f last time and had few problems getting an early lead that day. Unless the drop back in trip is a massive negative she should be up to winning this.

Of the remainder Charlemaine is likely to be a bit overlooked by the bookies. The extra furlong and lower draw should be in his favour compared to last time and if the cheekpieces don’t have a negative effect he could be the one who follows Oh So Hot home, or takes advantage if the trip is too sharp for Oh So Hot.

2021 Glorious Goodwood Trends – Day Three (Thurs 29th July)

It's panama hats, pimms, plus strawberries and cream galore at the end of July with the 5-day Glorious Goodwood Meeting (Tues 27th July to Sat 31st July). As always, the West Sussex track can expect monster crowds throughout the week with a whole host of top-notch contests each day for punters to get stuck into.

So we'll be on-hand throughout the whole meeting to take you through the key trends for each day’s LIVE ITV races.

We continue on Day THREE with four LIVE ITV races, including the Richmond Stakes, Lillie Langtry Stakes, plus the Group One Nassau Stakes for fillies and mares.

DAY THREE - Thursday 29th July 2021

 

1.50 – Unibet ’15 To Go’ Kincsem Handicap Cl2 1m2f ITV

16/18 – Had won between 1-3 times before
16/18 – Winning distance – 1 ¾ lengths or less
16/18 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
15/18 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
14/18 – Rated between 91-99
14/18 – Carried 9-0 or less in weight
12/18 – Favourites that finished in the top 4
11/18 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
10/18 – Raced at Newmarket last time out
10/18 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
10/18 – Had won over at least 1m2f before
7/18 – Winning favourites
7/18 – Had raced at Goodwood before
5/18 – Trained by Mark Johnston (3 of last 8 runnings)
5/18 – Won last time out
4/18 – Trained by John Gosden
3/18 – Ridden by Martin Dwyer
2/18 – Ridden by William Buick
No winner from stall 1 in the last 15 runnings
Stall 14 has been placed in 5 of the last 15 runnings
11 of the last 15 winners came from stall 11 or lower
8 of the last 15 winners came from stalls 4-7 (inc)
2020 Winner: Junkanoo (50/1

 

2.25 – Unibet Richmond Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 6f ITV

18/19 – Had won 1 or 2 races before
18/19 – Had won over 5 or 6f before
16/18 – Had 2 or more previous runs that season
15/18 – Never raced at Goodwood before
15/18 – Returned 15/2 or shorter in the betting
14/18 – Placed last time out
13/18 – Won by a Feb or March foal
12/18 – Won their previous race
8/18 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
7/18 – Winning favourites
6/18 – Trained by Richard Hannon (inc last 6 of last 10 runnings)
2/18 – Trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam
2/18 - Trained by Clive Cox (last 2)
3 of the last 13 winners came from stall 2
9 of the last 14 horses from stall 2 finished in the top 3
3 of the last 14 winners came from stall 6
12 of the last 14 winners came from stall 2-7 (inc)
2020 Winner: Supremacy (11/2)

 

3.00 – John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 1m4f ITV

18/18 – Won between 1-3 times before
16/18 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
16/18 – Had run in the last 6 weeks
13/18 – Placed favourites
13/18 – Had won over at least 1m2f before
13/18 – Returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting
11/18 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
9/18 – Winning distance – neck or shorter
9/18 – Went onto run in the St Leger
7/18 – Won last time out
7/18 – Winning favourites
7/18 – Raced at Ascot last time out
6/18 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
5/18 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
2/18 – Went onto win the St Leger
12 of the last 14 winners came from stalls 4-10 (inc)
The horse from stall 7 has won 4 of the last 14 runnings
Horses from stalls 4,7 & 10 have won 8 of the last 14 runnings
2020 Winner: Mogul (9/2)

 

3.35 – Qatar Nassau Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 1m1f192y ITV

16/17 – Priced 11/2 or shorter in the market
16/17 – Had run within the last 6 weeks
14/17 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
14/17 – Aged either 3 or 4 years-old
13/17 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
13/17 – Had won a Group One race previously
12/17 – Won between 2-4 times before
11/17 – Winning Favourites
11/17 – Had won over 1m2f previously
4/17 – Won by the Aidan O’Brien yard
3/17 – Ridden by Tom Queally
3/17 – Trained by John Gosden
2/17 – Won by the Sir Michael Stoute yard
12 of the last 15 winners were drawn 7 or lower
Stalls 1, 6 and 7 have won 9 of the last 15 renewals
2020 Winner: Fancy Blue (11/4)

 

4.10 - Goodwood Racecourse Patrons Nursery Handicap Cl2 (2yo) 7f ITV

11/11 – Had run in the last 6 weeks
10/11 – Had won 0-1 times before
10/11 – Placed favourites
10/11 – Foaled between Feb-April
10/11 – Winners from stalls 7 or lower
9/11 – Had run in the last 3 weeks
8/11 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
8/11 – Rated between 78-88
7/11 – Carried 9-0 or more in weight
6/11 – Won last time out
5/11 – Winning favourites
4/11 – Ran at Epsom last time out
4/11 – Won by the Hannon yard
3/11 – Had run at Goodwood before
3/11 – Trained by Mark Johnston
2020 Winner: Mark Of The Man (12/1)

 

 

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Racing Insights, 27th July 2021

It’s the first day of Goodwood on Tuesday and the second day of Galway so plenty of great action to get stuck into.

Tuesday’s free feature of the day is the Shortlist Report, a very popular section of Geegeez Gold. The Shortlist Report highlights horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in Instant Expert everyday in attempt to flag up runners that are most likely to enjoy conditions – and therefore run to form and run well. It can be used for both win and place purposes and is completely free on Tuesday’s to all free registered users of Geegeez.

The free races for free registered users on Tuesday will be:

1.30 Beverley
3.00 Goodwood
4.45 Goodwood
6.25 Perth
6.35 Worcester
6.55 Perth

A nice choice of races but the focus has to be the 3.00 at Goodwood, the Group 2 Lennox Stakes run over 7f for 3yo+. There are three runners representing the classic generation, including one near the head of the market. Fourteen runners are set to go to post so expect some hard luck stories.

We all know draw and pace can be extremely important at Goodwood, especially over 7f, so let’s take a look at some draw and pace data.


The low v middle v high overview tells us that low draws have a very impressive PRB of 0.59 and account for over two thirds of the winners. High draws have given more winners than middle but the PRB figures tell a very different story with 0.49 for middle and 0.42 for high. This suggests high draws should be avoided.

The individual stall data for PRB, shown as a line graph, proves there is steady regression in performance the higher you go. It’s pretty obvious from looking at this that the lower you are drawn the better over 7f here.

Pace can be just as important as draw here and it’s hugely beneficial to be able to look at these in tandem, using the draw and pace combination heat map. The four best run styles as far as PRB is concerned all come with low draws.

Early pace from a low draw is most beneficial but gaining a lead from middle or low draws actually seems to affect performance negatively. If drawn in the middle a prominent ride seems best, followed by hold up, whilst for higher draws more patient rides are required. Dropping out and coming with a late run preferred to using up early energy trying to get a ‘good’ early position.

The pace map should tell us which runners could gain the most advantage (and disadvantage) from their early positions.

The first thing that stands out here is Space Blues, the early favourite, is drawn in stall 12 which has to be a big negative. He has the best kind of run style for that draw which is some consolation. Kinross, also prominent in the betting, has been even unluckier with the draw, as has Escobar.

Safe Voyage has arguably been luckiest of all with the draw, he’ll be emerging from stall 3 and has an ideal run style to take advantage of that low berth. Fellow pace angle Khuzaam has not been so fortunate and breaks from stall 11 giving him a less than ideal draw and pace combination.

With only two main pace angles, and one of them poorly drawn, we might see a steady early gallop and a well stacked field, likely to result in trouble in running. Those nearer the pace could get the double advantage of being well placed and avoiding any traffic problems.

Quite a few runners to get through but let’s have a quick look through them, in draw order this time.

Fundamental

Ran well in the Bunbury Cup last time out but that was off a mark of 100 and he has plenty to find here. He has form on softer ground but was 3.5 lengths behind Creative Force at Ascot and he clearly needs to improve a fair amount to win this. He’s a big price for one with such a good draw but his run style isn’t ideal to take advantage of it and he could end up trapped on the rail.

Creative Force

Extremely progressive this season, rising 25lbs in the official ratings. He seems to go on all ground types and was only beaten 2 lengths in the July Cup last time out over what was probably an inadequate test. This easy 7f is probably absolutely ideal and further progression can’t be ruled out. He probably deserves to be favourite given his low draw, compared to the high draw Space Blues has landed, but he has been played late on his last two starts and that might not see him to best effect. He did race prominently in smaller fields earlier this season and a return of those tactics would probably help his chances.

Safe Voyage

Out of form on his first two starts this season, beating just one runner home, but bounced back with a front running ride at Chester last time dropped to listed company. He didn’t beat a whole lot that day but it can’t be denied that he returned to form and if now as good as last year he clearly has a leading chance in this. He was behind three of these when 4th in this last year but that came on faster ground and given an easy lead here on his favoured ground he’d capable of reversing that form. He was only a neck behind Space Blues on these terms at Haydock last season on good to soft and he’s much better drawn than that rival (who is favourite) here.

Prince Eiji

Went close in a muddling listed race on seasonal debut over a mile but he’s yet to win outside of maiden company and has looked at his best on fast ground over a mile so serious questions to answer here despite a good draw.

Happy Power

Ran a career best last month when 4th in the Diamond Jubilee on soft ground and probably hasn’t really stayed a mile on his other three runs this year (five of his last six wins have come at this distance of 7f). He won a small field group 3 here last season (well placed) before landing a Group 2 later in the season and doesn’t have much to find on the best of his form. He should track Safe Voyage from a good draw here, has run three good races from three visits to this venue and if you can forgive a slightly disappointing effort last time out over a mile he looks a very backable price.

Pogo

Keeps improving each season and was a very creditable 5th to Palace Pier in the Queen Anne last time out. Probably just as good at 7f, he was 1.5 lengths behind Happy Power in the Challenge Stakes last year. He almost certainly prefers a sounder surface but it’s unlikely to be much better here so he could struggle to reverse form with Happy Power but he’s drawn okay, likes to race prominently and looks bigger than he should be in the betting.

Real Appeal

Career best when landing the Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes last time out at Leopardstown and this looks his trip. He’s progressing well and capable of improving further but all his best form to date has been on sounder surfaces and he might not be ideally placed.

Duke Of Hazard

Runner up in this last year and has course form figures of 11125 but it’s concerning that the 5th came on his only run here on soft ground. He was withdrawn on good to soft ground a fortnight ago and definitely looks better on sounder surfaces so his chance may have gone when the weekend rain arrived. Would have appealed on better ground with a stronger pace promised.

Fivethousandtoone

Dropped 7lbs by the handicapper after two lacklustre runs this season and has been withdrawn this season because of soft ground. He looks flattered by last season’s group form and has questions to answer on current form plus his draw and run style aren’t ideal.

Toro Strike

Won a competitive handicap over course and distance at this meeting last year and was only a neck behind Happy Power here on his next start. Not at his best in heavy ground in France on his final start last year but bounced back with a good win on seasonal debut. He was again slightly below par last time out on good to soft ground at Haydock. It would be easy to blame softer ground for some of his poorer runs but he ran so well on good to soft here behind Happy Power that it can’t solely be underfoot conditions that have held him back on a couple of occasions since. He’s been freshened up which may help and not completely ruled out for all he’d probably have preferred better ground and a better draw.

Khuzaam

Yet to match any of his all weather form on turf, last of four in the bet365 Mile at Sandown behind Palace Pier on his last attempt, beaten 25 lengths. He’s yet to race on softer ground but it’s a stretch to back him, especially with his draw.

Space Blues

Run of five wins on the trot came to an end at Meydan last time out but a straight 6f wouldn’t have really suited that day and he’s best judged on his 7f runs around a bend, conditions under which he is unbeaten. Most of his runs have come on faster ground and although he was beaten on his only run on soft, that came at 10f and it was a hot maiden anyway. He should handle conditions but Safe Voyage has a good chance of reversing form based on their meeting at Haydock last season and he’s not well drawn. He’s capable of defying the draw but he’s a very poor price to do so.

Kinross

Still very much unexposed at 7f and is unbeaten in two runs on good to soft so if it dries a little conditions should hold no fear. He won a Group 3 last time out but several didn’t give their running that day and it probably wasn’t the strongest of form. He still has room to improve but he’s been unlucky with the draw and if a high drawn horse is able to win, it will probably be Space Blues.

Escobar

Ran well at Sandown last time out in handicap company off a mark of 103 in a race not run to suit but he’s generally best at Ascot these days in testing ground and even his peak mark of 111 last season gives him a bit to find here. He ran well in defeat over course and distance twice last season, third in both this and the Supreme Stakes (behind Happy Power). Not a bad place bet on that form but the draw is the big put off.

Summary

Space Blues is the class act in the field and Creative Force is the potential star. Both are well found in the market and at the prices both are opposable unless you are sure Creative Force will be ridden prominently. Neither are likely to be able to afford meeting too much trouble in running.

At bigger prices Safe Voyage and Happy Power make more appeal from an each way perspective. Safe Voyage has shown a slightly better level of form to date and although you wouldn’t back either on the form of their first two runs this season, Safe Voyage looked back to somewhere near his best last time and he might not even need to run to his absolute best with draw and pace advantages in his favour here. Safe Voyage is preferred but it could be worth a very small reverse forecast given possible traffic problems in behind.

2021 Glorious Goodwood Trends – Day Four (Fri 30th July)

It's panama hats, pimms, plus strawberries and cream galore at the start of August with the 5-day Glorious Goodwood Meeting (Tues 27th to Sat 31st July). As always, the West Sussex track can expect monster crowds throughout the week with a whole host of top-notch contests each day for punters to get stuck into.

So we'll be on-hand throughout the whole meeting to take you through the key trends for each day’s LIVE ITV races.

We continue on Day FOUR with four LIVE ITV races, including the Unibet Golden Mile, plus the Group Two King George Stakes - a race the speedy Battaash has won for the last four seasons!

DAY FOUR - Friday 30th July 2021

 

1.50 – Unibet 3 Boosts A Day Goodwood Handicap Cl2 2m5f ITV

18/19 – Aged 7 or younger
15/19 – Had 3+ runs already that season
15/19 – Had won over at least 1m6f on the flat
12/19 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
12/19 – Had won over at least 2m on the flat
11/19 – Had run at Goodwood before
10/19 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
9/19 – Placed favourites
7/19 – Carried 9-0 or more
6/19 – Won last time out
5/19 – Winning favourites
4/19 – Ran at Royal Ascot last time out
2/19 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/19 – Ridden by Paul Hanagan
2/19 – Trained by Mark Johnston
2/19 – Trained by Ian Williams
2020 Winner: Just Hubert (25/1)

 

2.25 – Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes (Group 3) (CLASS 1) (3yo) 1m ITV

18/19 – Had won over 7f or 1m before
16/19 – Had 2 or more previous runs that season
15/19 – Had not won a Group 3 or better before
13/19 – Had won at least twice during their career
13/19 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
13/19 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
9/19 – Ran at either Newbury (2), Goodwood (2) or Newmarket (5) last time out
7/19 – Won last time out
6/19 – Winning favourites
6/19 – Had run at Goodwood before
4/19 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
3/19 – Trained by Richard Hannon
2/19 – Trained by Brian Meehan
2/19 – Trained by Mark Johnston
6 of the last 11 winners came from stalls 1-3 (inc)
2020 Winner: Tilsit (10/1)

Note: 2012 was a dead-heat

3.00 – Unibet Golden Mile (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 1m ITV

18/19 – Aged 6 or younger
16/19 – Had won over at least 1m before
16/19 – Had raced 3 or more times that season
16/19 – Had won 3 or more races during their career
12/19 – Never raced at Goodwood before
12/19 –Priced 7/1 or shorter
12/19 – Carried 8-13 or less
11/19 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
10/19 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
9/19 – Unplaced favourites
6/19 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
6/19 – Winning favourites
6/19 – Won their last race
3/19 – Trained by Mark Johnston
14 of the last 16 winners were drawn 9 or lower
13 of the last 16 runnings saw the first two both drawn in 11 or lower
2020 Winner: Prompting (3/1 fav)

 

3.35 - King George Qatar Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 5f ITV 

19/19 – Returned 10/1 or shorter in the betting
18/19 – Had won over 5f before
15/19 – Didn’t win last time out
15/19 – Had won 4 or more times in their careers
14/19 – Ran at York, Ascot or Newmarket last time out
13/19 – Placed favourites
12/19 – Had 3 or more runs already that season
12/19 – Aged 4, 5 or 6 years-old
9/19 – Had run at Goodwood before
8/19 – Winning favourites
6/19 – Had only won at Listed Class before
5/19 – Trained by the Hills yard
2/19 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
2/19 – Trained by William Haggas
2/19 – Trained by Bryan Smart
Battaash won the race in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020
11 of the last 15 winners came from stalls 8 or lower
Horses from stall 4 and 8 have won 5 of the last 14 runnings
2020 Winner: Battaash (2/7 fav)

 

4.10 - L'Ormarins Queen's Plate Glorious Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f ITV

11/11 – Returned 15/2 or shorter in the betting
11/11 – Ran in the last 6 weeks
10/11 – Didn’t win last time out
10/11 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
9/11 – Rated between 110-114
9/11 – Aged between 4-6 years-old
9/11 – Had won over at least 1m4f before
8/11 – Had run at the track before
8/11 – Placed favourites
8/11 – Drawn between 3-8 (inc)
7/11 – Irish bred
4/11 – Winning favourites
3/11 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
3/11 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
2020 Winner: Pablo Escobar (9/2)
Desert Encounter (15/2) won this race in 2019 and was second in 2020

 

 

 

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Racing Insights, 26th July 2021

Matt in again for Monday's Racing Insights; Sam will be in the chair early next week before Chris's return in the second half of the week: something for everyone then!

Monday’s free feature of the day is the Pace tab available for ALL races. This tab is a pivotal piece of my form study as the shape of the race, in exposed form handicaps especially, is just about the most crucial factor.

Monday's free races of the day are:

2.05 Newton Abbot
3.30 Lingfield
4.10 Galway
4.35 Lingfield
7.25 Windsor

I'm going slightly off road on this occasion, and placing my head in the lion's mouth somewhat, as we head to the first day of the Galway Festival and a seemingly inscrutable seven furlong handicap, due off at 5.15.

Let's start with a bit of context, specifically the track configuration. Checking out our Galway Course Guide, and indeed any of our course guides, is a smart idea if you want to understand any nuances over a given track/trip combination.

Here, we can see that the seven furlong distance has not one but two tight turns before the rise to the lollipop. It will hardly be the biggest shock in the world, then, to discover that outside drawn horses have been at a significant disadvantage, particularly when the ground has been on the quicker side. Looking at the rolling three-stall Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB3) chart illustrates that really well, as does the draw / run style heat map.

As I write, the favourite is drawn 16 and will need to be miles ahead of her mark to score from there.

We can see from the above that high and/or held up is not the style for this job which, while not making winner-finding a shoo in, does make for some credible shortlisting.

What is interesting is that, on recent evidence at least, nobody wants to press on with things. However, looking at the data display might offer a clue.

Now we can see that Fridtjof Nansen, the well drawn second favourite, has led in his most recent two races. Two stalls inside him, the handicap debutant Yester has also led in his last two. And Ola Bonita, that aforementioned favourite, led last time but has trap 16.

So there is likely to be a good early gallop and it might be considered a surprise, to me at least, if neither Yester nor Fridtjof Nansen is leading into the first turn.

What else do we know? Below is the Instant Expert, on place view and showing all races handicap or not, and I've opened the course form row for FN:

I've also hovered over the race title so that you can see it was this race last year. There, Fridtjof had a double digit draw on soft ground. He didn't lead but raced prominently, and wasn't beaten far in a very respectable fifth of 13. Therein lies a bit of an issue with FN, which is illustrated perfectly from this snapshot of Full Form:

One win from 39 starts. One. From thirty-nine. Ouch! He does have an admirable place strike rate and, I think, will go well for a long way from his optimal draw/run style setup.

Yester has to be worth a second look, too. Making his handicap debut here, he's led over a mile the last twice before fading into sixth and fourth in the final furlong. This drop in trip looks right and he's completely unexposed. Trainer David Nagle has a middling record with 'cap debs but did have a sixth placed finish with such a runner over this course and distance at the 2013 Galway Festival, his only handicap first timer to run at the track.

It was all change for Ola Bonita last time as she was upped in trip for a different jockey and a change of run style. Shane Crosse led on her there, where Andrew Slattery - back aboard here - had generally bided his time on her theretofore. The fact is, if Slattery tries to get the lead from his wide post he's going to burn fuel, and if he rides for luck he's probably not going to get it.

Kodiqueen is another with a good draw in four. She has been a five- and six-furlong winner and only raced at this trip twice, finishing third on one of those occasions. With that sprint speed, she's another likely to be handy into the first turn and, if she travels kindly enough in the tongue tie she wore when winning two back, she could hang tough at the finish.

We can see from Instant Expert that top weight Royal Pippin has failed to make the frame in his seven big field races. Indeed, he's failed to make the frame in twelve of his 13 lifetime starts, winning the other one (on heavy ground, quick side of good here). Mind you, he's not been too far away plenty of times and stall nine wouldn't be insurmountable. He's another who might need miracle splits to open up given his midfield / hold up style.

Coil Na Sionnaine has a more compelling form profile but a car park draw in 18, while Godhead has a pleasing win record (3 from 14) for all that they were for his former trainer. Nevertheless, his jockey Gavin Ryan rides the track really well and the horse has dropped to a stone below his high water mark. Chance.

Maud Gonne Spirit, Earls, Excuzio Joe and Mary Salome all have double figure draws which may not stop them winning, but probably will.

High Altitude has had a million goes - well, 42 actually - and won five times. His wins have all been at a mile and four of them were at Killarney, which leans the other way though is not dissimilar in constitution, direction aside. All of his wins have come in August, which it nearly is, and he might nearly add to his tally here.

Turbine is quite a big price given his form: he was a seven furlong winner on good ground in a big field at Leopardstown last June and ran well for a long way in a weaker race over a mile at Killarney last month. He has a ten pound claiming rider, generally races prominently and is drawn in stall three. 20/1+ understates his credentials in my view.

If second reserve Silverkode snuck in he'd be a player given stall one and a very consistent place record over seven furlongs. His hold up style would mean supporters should assume the prayer mat position in transit, however.

Summary

A bigly field and competitive, as 6/1 your pick relates. But it is not total folly to biff anything with a double figure draw, and to ignore hold up types. That would reduce the maximum field of 16 to around half a dozen, my shortlist being High Altitude, Turbine, Kodiqueen, Yester, Fridtjof Nansen and Godhead. Wherever I turn from here, if I haven't already eliminated the winner, I'm very likely to do that now!

This race has been won in the last ten years by horses drawn 1-7-9-1-4-14-2-5-4-5. And winners have returned 25/1, 20/1, 14/1 and 10/1 twice during that decade, so it's certainly reasonable to have a swing.

Looking at the prices, Turbine is worth a tiny win only bet at 25/1; Yester may be an each way dart at 20's. I'm not quite convinced Kodiqueen will see out the seventh eighth (if you catch my drift), and Fridtjof Nansen has a horror win record though is undoubtedly well treated on all of form, ratings and race setup. Galway is about gambling and Guinness, so perhaps Gavin on Godhead for Ado McGuinness is a hint we should take. He too can be played each way.

I'll be combining those six in ambitious micro stakes exactas and even more wildly aspirational trifectas. Probably should add a "don't try this at home" warning here, but we're all grown ups so please yourself! 😉

2021 Glorious Goodwood Trends – Day Five (Sat 31st July)

It's panama hats, pimms, plus strawberries and cream galore at the start of August with the 5-day Glorious Goodwood Meeting (Tues 27th July to Sat 31st July). As always, the West Sussex track can expect monster crowds throughout the week with a whole host of top-notch contests each day for punters to get stuck into.

So we'll be on-hand throughout the whole meeting to take you through the key trends for each day’s LIVE ITV races.

We continue on Day FIVE with four LIVE ITV races, including the super-competitive Stewards' Cup.

==============================================

Goodwood Horse Racing Trends (ITV/RacingTV)

DAY FIVE - Saturday 31st July 2021

1.20 - Thames Materials Handicap Cl2 (3yo 0-105) 7f ITV

11/11 – Carried 9-4 or less
9/11 – Had run in the last 3 weeks
9/11 – Won over 7f before
8/11 – Drawn in stall 7 or lower
8/11 – Won 2 or 3 times before
8/11 – Rated between 91-96
8/11 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
5/11 – Irish bred
4/11 – Won last time out
4/11 – Had run at Goodwood before
4/11 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
3/11 – Trained by Mark Johnston
2/11 – Ridden by Silvestre De Sousa
2/11 – Ridden by Joe Fanning
2/11 – Winning favourites
2020 Winner: Society Lion (5/4 fav)

1.55 – Unibet Stewards’ Sprint Stakes Handicap (Consolation Race for the Qatar Stewards’ Cup) (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 6f

16/17 – Didn’t win their last race
16/17 – Had won over 6f previously
15/17 – Raced at Goodwood previously
14/17 – Had 4 or more runs that season
13/17 – Won at least 3 times during their career
12/17 – Finished 4th or worse in their last race
12/17 – Favourites unplaced
9/17 – Priced between 8/1 and 12/1 in the market
9/17 – Returned a double-figure price in the market
8/17 – Winning Distance - 1 ¼ lengths or more
7/17 – Raced at either York (3) or Newmarket (4) last time out
3/17 – Trained by Clive Cox
3/17 – Favourites (one in the last 14 years)
1/17 – 3 year-old winners
2020 Winner: Treacherous (7/1)
14 of the last 15 winners carried 9-0 or more
10 of the last 15 winners carried between 9-0 and 9-5
Just 1 winner from stall 1 in the last 15 runnings

 

2.30 – Summer Stakes (Handicap) Cl2 1m6f ITV

17/18 – Had won at least twice before
16/18 – Had won over at least 1m4f before
14/18 – Aged either 4 or 5 years-old
15/18 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
11/18 – Carried 9-7 or more
11/18 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
11/18 – Rated between 90-100
10/18 – Placed favourites
9/18 – Came from the top three in the betting
6/18 – Trained by Mark Johnston
5/18 – Winning favourites
5/18 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
4/18 – Won last time out
3/18 – Ran at Ascot last time out
2/18 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
No winner from stall 1 in the last 15 runnings
8 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 10-14 (inc)
2020 Winner: Hochfeld (15/2)

 

3.05 – Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 1m6f ITV

16/18 – Had won over at least 1m4f before
15/18 – Had raced 2 or more times already that season
14/18 – Finished in the top three last time out
14/18 – Returned 15/2 or shorter in the betting
12/18 – Aged 3 or 4 years-old
11/18 – Had run at Goodwood before
10/18 – Won last time out
9/18 – Unplaced favourites
6/18 – Winning favourites
3/18 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
3/18 – Ridden by Tom Queally
9 of the last 15 winners came from stalls 4-6 (inc)
Enbihaar has won the last two runnings
2020 Winner: Enbihaar (1/2 fav)

 

3.40 – Unibet Cup (Stewards´ Cup) (Heritage Handicap) Cl2 6f ITV

18/18 – Had won over 6f before
17/18 – Aged 6 or younger
17/18 – Had at least 3 previous career wins to their name
16/18 – Had 3 or more previous runs that season
12/18 – Raced at either Ascot, York or Newmarket last time out
11/18 – Aged either 4 or 5 years-old
11/18 – Placed favourites (top 4)
10/18 – Carried 9-1 or less
9/18 – Raced at Goodwood before
9/18 – Placed 1st or 2nd last time out
6/18 – Favourites (1 joint, 1 co)
2/18 – Trained by Roger Charlton
2/18 – Trained by William Haggas
3/18 – Winning 3 year-olds
2020 Winner: Summerghand (22/1)
12 of the last 16 winners came from a double-figure draw

 

 

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Racing Insights, 24th July 2021

Saturday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer/Jockey Combo Report. This report allows us to not only find the most in form combinations but also to identify combinations that are particularly potent at certain courses. All in one easy to consume report!

As for the free races of the day, Saturday’s choices are:

1.40 Gowran Park
3.05 Newmarket
3.15 York
3.55 Newcastle
4.15 Newmarket
8.05 Salisbury

Having the Group 2 York Stakes as a free races is pretty handy so let’s take a look at the 3.15 York. This Group 2 is run over an extended 10f and is open to 3yo+. There are five runners set to go to post.

With a small field there is always a chance of a false gallop. This distance at York is a pretty fair one in terms of pace bias but the individual pace make up of the race is still going to be an important factor.

Montatham isn’t an out and front runner but he’s the closest thing we’ve got to one here. This race isn’t really in line with how the horse has been campaigned to date and given the ownership it looks highly likely his presence in this field is as a pacemaker for stablemate Mohaafeth. If that’s the case this should be run at an even tempo and given the small field no runner should be too poorly placed anyway – hold up performers tend to be more inconvenienced when held up off slow gallops in big fields compared than small fields because they have more ground to make up.

Now it’s time to check out the chances of each of the runners.

Armory

The highest rated runner in the field and still highest rated even if you make adjustments for the fact he carries a 3lb Group 2 penalty in this. He’s pretty consistent and although most of his form is away from fast ground he has two solid efforts on good to firm in Group 1 company so the ground should hold no fears.

His record in Group 1 company reads 2344323 so he’s clearly only just shy of the very top level and even with a penalty it will probably take a Group 1 performance to beat him. He’s used to racing in small fields which is a bonus, his last two wins came in fields of 4 and 5 respectively and a 1.5 length defeat at the hands of Love in the Prince Of Wales Stakes will almost certainly look very good form about twenty minutes after this race, if it doesn’t already. You could probably argue he’s improved again this season and he clearly sets a very high standard.

Bangkok

Won the All Weather Finals Day Classic but he’s so far looked slightly better on artificial surfaces.. Fast ground and this distance seems his preference on turf and he ran well in 2nd over 9f here at York at Group 3 level behind Zaaki a couple of years ago. He was probably a little out of sorts during last year’s turf campaign and although beaten 6 lengths by Armory at Chester he can be expected to get closer this time as he’s 3lb better off and faster ground should be in his favour too. It’s very unlikely he’ll improve enough to push Armory in this but he could get within just a few lengths of him which could be good enough to grab third maybe.

Juan Elcano

Improved from a wind op when landing the Wolferton Stakes at Ascot last month and connections will surely look to ride him relatively patiently again, his best form does seem to have come when he's avoided front running or racing prominently. He ran on well from off the pace in the Dante Stakes here last year on ground that was probably softer than ideal so he has some decent course form.

He’s pretty unexposed in general but is especially unexposed on fast ground over 10f. You’d have to think Armory would have been able to win the Wolferton Stakes by even further had he gone for that (ignoring the fact that Armory would have carried a big penalty) so although he only has 2 lbs to find with Armory on these terms he does still need to improve again and there is a suspicion he might be better in a bigger field.

Montatham

A creditable performer in his own right but he’s listed class at best on all known form, might be better with a little cut in the ground, looks better at a mile and is probably going to be used as a pacemaker. If all of these run to form he’ll finish last.

Mohaafeth

The real potential star in the field and he’s clearly extremely well thought of when you see the odds he has been winning at this season. He’s still only raced against his own generation so how much is his form actually worth?

He beat Secret Protector by 5 lengths in a listed race at Newmarket in May but then only beat that same horse by 2 lengths in the Hampton Course Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. Mohaafeth’s victory in that most recent run was quite visually impressive but there are some question marks over that form. The 4th was beaten a similar distance at the same level next time out whilst the 5th dropped to listed class and also got no closer to winning.

It's not Mohaafeth’s fault he hasn’t been beating better horses, you can only beat what’s put in front of you, and he does seem to have quite the engine on him. However that wasn’t a group 1 performance last time out and he might need near that to beat Armory here so he’s probably not one to take short prices about. He does get 9lbs weight for age which is a massive help at this time of year and that’s the main thing attracting me to him.

Summary

Is Mohaafeth as good as many think? He might well be and conditions should suit but even with the weight for age he’s a skinny price on what he’s done so far. Armory has his limitations but he’s a really solid yardstick in this and he probably deserves to be joint favourite at the very least. Getting involved at short prices doesn’t make loads of appeal but from this race at the prices it is Armory who makes slightly more appeal.

Juan Elcano and Bangkok are likely to battle it out for third place.

Sky Bet Dash Preview: Lightly Raced Streamline Looks Value Play

A top day of racing on Saturday and I’m spoiled for choice with choosing which live race to cover. From a betting perspective it’s the big field handicaps that grab my attention which makes it a choice between York’s Sky Bet Dash and Ascot’s International Stakes. I’ll probably be having a stronger wager in the latter but Ascot are due thunderstorms on Saturday so it’s going to be a waiting game to see how the ground turns out. York is set to be dry according to early forecasts so previewing the Sky Bet Dash should be a bit more straight forward at this stage.

The race is due off at 2.40 and unless the weather forecast changes it is set to be run on fast ground.

All of the data used below is available through a Geegeez Gold subscription. Click here to get your first 30 days of Geegeez Gold for just £1.

Draw

A pretty good sample size here and the data suggests an edge towards those drawn lower. The win data is pretty evenly matched but the place percentages favour low heavily, followed by middle and then high. This is backed up with the PRB data, low draws having a PRB of 0.53, middle draws 0.49 and high draws 0.48.

When you watch the sprints at York the winners nearly always seem to finish in the middle of the track so it seems slightly surprising that middle draws don’t come out best. If anything more runners seem to race along the near side rail (high) than the far side rail (low) so again it’s a bit surprising low numbers seem to outperform high by so much.

Perhaps the individual stall data can shed more light on this.

Ignoring stall 21, which has only been used once, the top four individual stalls as far as PRB are concerned are 2, 6, 4 and 3 in that order. Some of the higher stalls have performed well but the worst five stalls individually using PRB as the metric are 9 or higher which certainly suggests lower is better overall.

Determining a draw advantage isn’t just about showing that some stalls perform better than others, how much better they are is the really important aspect. Looking at the PRB3 figures the majority of the lower to middle stalls are around 0.53 and the majority of the middle to higher stalls are around 0.49 so whilst it looks a bit of an advantage to be lower it’s clearly not a huge disadvantage to be amongst the higher stalls.

Pace

I’m fairly certain we’ll some some strong data here.

Anyone who bets fairly regularly on the York straight track will know it favours speed. More winners than any other run style come from the rear but they provide a much bigger sample. In terms of win percentages, a big looking 11.54% of early leaders triumph compared to 4.59% for prominent, 4.68% for mid division and 5.24% for held up. That’s a big advantage for front runners as far as winning is concerned, but is it the same for place percentages?

Once again the top place percentage is with front runners (34.62%) whilst prominent racers have a 21.62% place strike rate. It’s 18.3% for mid division and 20.27% for held up. The main difference between the data seems to be mid division is second best for win purposes but worst of all for place bets. The figures are closely matched though and it does look as though the front is the place to be where possible with prominent a bit of an advantage over the remaining run styles but perhaps not as advantaged other them as expected. I certainly thought prominent which be far more favoured than held up.

Sky Bet Handicap Pace Map

So which of these are most likely to lead early on?

There are four main pace angles in this, spread fairly nicely across the track. The low pace should come from Giogiobbo and Manigordo with central pace provided by Muscika and high pace from Flying Pursuit.

There seems to be a lack of prominent racers with Streamline, Admirality and Blind Beggar likely to track the above mentioned quartet.

The remaining runners look as though they’ll be played fairly late.

Draw and Pace Combination

I’ve mentioned before how much I value this part of the draw data in Geegeez Gold, it gives an extra layer of insight into draw and pace, especially when there are strong draw or pace biases.

A real standout advantage for those who make the running from a middle draw. That’s a big tick for Muscika who just happened to win this last year.

The worst place to be is mid division from a middle draw, that would be the area where you are most likely to find yourself surrounded by rivals with nowhere to go so that makes perfect sense.

If you are drawn low you are generally best off being close to the pace and performance tails off very slightly the further back in the field you are. Those drawn high see less fluctuations in performance based on run style.

The Runners

Here are the main contenders, in early odds order.

Mondammej

He's run in some tough handicaps this season, often well fancied, but has been beaten on his last six starts, placing in four of those. His worst performances came at Chester on good to soft and York on soft, both over 5f, and this will be a very different test over the extra furlong on much better ground.

He is running out of excuses though. The ground will have been against him several times and at Newcastle when runner up to the progressive Ejtilaab he did best of those held up and best of those in the centre of the track. Last time out seemed to be as good as he is but to be fair he was only beaten half a length and the ground might still have been a little softer than ideal. He stayed on as though another furlong will suit and we may see Significantly and/or Tis Marvellous frank that form on Friday afternoon.

He ran well here in May on good ground, with the 5f looking inadequate and overall he looks very likely to run his race and run well. This could be last chance saloon for backers though if he doesn't get his head in front.

Giogiobbo

Rated 103 when he came to England two and a half years ago but after a winless two seasons he dropped to a mark of 67. He’s taken full advantage of that this season winning all three starts (all at Doncaster) and although he’s never run here at York, his front running style will be ideally suited to this venue.

He’s still 'only' gone up 11lbs this season for his three wins which is reasonable, putting him on a mark of 78. It’s a complete stretch to suggest he’s still got the best part of 20lbs in hand given his rating two years ago as he’s an 8yo now but he could have a bit more left in the tank. This is a much tougher race than those he’s contested this season though.

Golden Apollo

Having his 14th run here on Saturday. He generally runs well here but often finishes just outside of the places. He’s run into form in his last couple of starts, a little unlucky not to grab a win in either.

He was 2nd in this race last year off a 3lb higher mark, 4th two years ago off a 2lb higher mark and 2nd off a 6lb higher mark three years ago. Three of his four places here have come in this race, the other coming when winning the hot 3yo handicap run in June the previous year. This course and distance, at this time of year, clearly suit him. In fact 11 of his last 13 places have come in either June, July or August so he clearly just takes a little warming up each season.

Music Society

Not the easiest to win with (only one win in the past two seasons) but did get his head in front at Pontefract this season and is generally consistent. He was 7th in this last season off a 3lb lower mark but goes into the race in better form this season having been beaten just a nose in the Scottish Stewards’ Cup last time out at Hamilton. He’s possibly slightly better with an uphill finish though and he did flop here just a couple of weeks ago.

Flying Pursuit

Won this in 2017 and 2018 and was 5th in 2019, all with plenty of cut in the ground. He hasn’t even managed to place on ground that was good or better since 2017. He’s presumably been entered in the hope of thunderstorms but as things stand he looks far more likely to be scratched than to get near the places.

Gulliver

Goes well here, in fact all four of his turf wins have come on the Knavesmire. He has won over course and distance on fast ground but that was in 2019 and he seems better with cut in the ground these days – his last two wins here came on soft ground in October. He looked far too slow here in May in a similar race on good to soft off a 2lb higher mark and is likely to be making up late ground at best here. One to watch out for here in October chasing the hat trick (assuming soft ground at that meeting).

Streamline

Lightly raced 4yo who has mostly featured on the all weather but he won on debut on turf and ran to a fair level here as a 2yo in a listed race, ticking the important course form box. His only poor run came at Kempton in March and he subsequently missed three months of action but made a satisfactory return behind Mondammej and he’s now 5lbs better off for a length defeat.

Blind Beggar

The sole 3yo in the line up and ran well in the big 3yo handicap over course and distance last month, finishing a better than the bare result 6th on fast ground. His best form before that had come on softer ground and it’s entirely possible he’ll prove even better when there is a bit more dig. A reproduction of that 6th could see him go close here though. The 2nd and 7th have both won since and he was ridden with more restraint that day than is normally the case so could improve with a more prominent ride.

Only 10th last time at Newmarket but that was also on fast ground in a hot 3yo handicap and he wasn’t beaten much further than at York. Looks capable of running well but might need rain before he can win a race of this nature.

Venturous

Consistently running well but finishing just outside of the places at the moment, a strong sign that he probably isn’t well handicapped. He’s not far off his career high turf mark and is 12lbs higher than his last turf win. Most his wins are at 5f but an easy 6f is within his range. He stayed on from a poor position here in May and has run several good races here but he’ll do well to get into the places in this for all he shouldn’t run at all badly.

George Bowen

Not always the most consistent with slow starts often hampering his chances and this isn’t a course where you want to forfeit ground early. He did win a similar race to this by 6 lengths here in 2017 but he’s never gone close to matching that sort of form here again, managing no better than 5th in seven course and distance runs since. Capable on his day but not one to put too much faith in.

Muscika

Last year’s winner is ideally drawn to attack in the middle here and is only 1lb higher than when taking this twelve months ago. He’s been inconsistent this season but got within a neck of beating Ejtilaab (won next time out) at Epsom in June off a 1lb higher mark and although 7th of 8 last time out, he was only beaten 2 lengths off a 2lb higher mark.

The case for a good run possibly relies on a switch in headgear and a return to this venue. He wore blinkers when winning this year but wasn’t in as good form in the two runs either side of that in the same headgear. There is no obvious correlation between what headgear works for Muscika and it’s probably just that he’s quite an inconsistent horse. He has been more consistent here though producing form figures of 221010 on his last six runs at York.

Admirality

Difficult to win with and has struggled for much consistency this season. Fast ground suits well and he's run well here before but he’s probably better over 7f and even at his best he tends to finish as the runner up – he’s finished 2nd on six occasions since his last victory.

Manigordo

Returned to form last time out at Redcar (2nd) after a couple of lesser displays and his run style is suited to this course for all he has run poorly twice here this season in two attempts. The race he ran well in on Sunday was a much lesser event than this but he did push a potentially very well handicapped runner close.

This might be a bit too hot and his course form is a worry, for all it might just have been a couple of off days (ran just as poorly at Thirsk last month having won there in April).

Mokaatil

Surprise Epsom Dash winner and although he has run many times over 6f his best form seems to come at the minimum trip. Has seemed badly handicapped since winning at Epsom and his best chance of defying this sort of mark may come at that venue again, he’s two from three there.

Typhoon Ten

A bit unlucky to not get his head in front this year given he’s been beaten both a nose and a short head. His sole turf win came off a 2lb lower mark at Windsor and he doesn’t look to have the form to land a race this competitive.

Lahore

Won here over 5f last year off a 1lb higher mark and ran okay in the Ayr Gold Cup last season when 6th off a 4lb higher mark. His run style does leave him with plenty to do here but he has a fair course record, although not quite running up to his mark last time out in listed company here. Capable of outrunning his odds but would need to bounce back to his best to be in the shake up.

The Verdict

An amazingly difficult puzzle to figure out and it’s much easier to list the runners that I think are least likely to place than to finish in the money. For the record they are Music Society, Flying Pursuit, Gulliver, Venturous, George Bowen, Admirality, Manigordo, Mokaatil, Typhoon Ten and Lahore.

The above is based on good to firm ground. I’m not expecting the ground to soften but if it did get really testing Gulliver could be the one, whilst on good or softer I’d be far keener on Blind Beggar than on good to firm. If you can get as many as six places in this I wouldn’t at all be opposed to backing Blind Beggar each way, even on fast ground, but I think he’ll struggle to win this on good to firm so he only makes so much appeal.

I can’t rule out Giogiobbo but this is a big step up and all his form this season is at Doncaster - this could just be too tough for him.

As long as the ground stays fast, Blind Beggar is reluctantly passed over for win purposes leaving the shortlist as Mondammej, Golden Apollo, Streamline and Muscika.

Golden Apollo has a great record in this race, is in form and well handicapped. It all seems a bit too obvious doesn’t it? He’s probably at his best at this time of year and in big fields. He’s maybe drawn a little higher than absolutely ideal but looks guaranteed to run a big race. My feeling is he’ll find one or two too good again but he should be a safe each way bet once again.

Muscika would probably win this if able to reproduce Epsom form from last month but he’s just too inconsistent. He’s not really an each way proposition given that inconsistency, even at 16/1, but given his run style, draw and course record he's worth a win only saver whatever you fancy to win this.

That leaves Mondammej and Streamline. Mondammej is another that looks nailed on to run his race in what are probably pretty much ideal conditions (has raced on softer ground most of this season, and over shorter) but he’s very well found in the market and he’s drawn very wide in 15. If Flying Pursuit is pulled out because of the ground he’ll lose a pacemaker on his side and it could be another case of close but no cigar.

At around twice the price I’d rather side with STREAMLINE. He’s handicapped to beat Mondammej on their recent meeting and although most of his form is on artificial surfaces he has run to a good level on turf and has even placed in listed company here at York. He races far more prominently than Mondammej so is less of a hostage to fortune. He too is drawn a bit higher than ideal but he’ll go forward so may find it easier to get a better, more central position and is likely to be less reliant on the other pace around him to take him into the race.

Racing Insights, 23rd July 2021

Friday’s free feature of the day is the Horses For Courses report. As you’d expect it highlights runners that have strong records at certain tracks. Personally speaking I am using this report more and more these days, especially at the quirkier courses that are more likely to produce course specialists.

As usual there are a selection of completely free races on Friday where all free registered users can can get full access to the racecards. These races are:

1.00 Uttoxeter
1.10 Thirsk
3.50 Uttoxeter
7.15 Cork
7.22 Newmarket
7.30 York

The 7.30 at York is a nice listed race so would have appealed as a race to go through but there is likely to be an extremely short priced favourite and with just 7 runners entered each way alternatives will be thin on the ground.

The 7.22 at Newmarket will therefore be the subject of this article. It’s a five runner, class 3 novice stakes set to be run over 12f. Not at all the sort of race I’d normally look to get involved in but there are some top stables represented and it’s likely the winner of this will go on to bigger and better things. The last three winners of this have rated 89, 111 and 87 so expect an above average winner.

Newmarket is often a track where the leaders don’t come back to the pack, even over longer distances, so we’ll need to take a look at the pace map. With several of these having had just two or three career runs there is a fair chance tactics change here but we can only go off what we’ve seen before. Given tactics do often change from race to race in the early stages of a horse’s career I’ll showcase the pace data rather than the graphic, allowing us to see where each runner has been placed early on in each of their races so far.

Auriferous seems most likely to take them along and he may well get an uncontested lead here. The course and distance pace data shows that early leaders have the best win and place percentages and they’ve been very profitable to follow producing a WIN PL of 70.85.

As previously mentioned, tactics can often change on these lightly raced runners and we see that with Constanta who was held up on his first two runs but raced prominently last time out. Line Of Descent has raced prominently in both starts to date whilst Adrastus and Thousand Oaks seem likely to be more patiently ridden.

Before we look at each of the runners, I want to take a look at the Instant Expert data for the sires of each runner. With so little form on offer this could be as enlightening as each runner’s races to date.

It’s no surprise these have ended up in a class 3 novice – some top sires on show here. The first thing that stands out is Camelot’s offspring are far less successful across each criteria which could be a negative for Constanta for all Camelot has sired his fair share of good horses - he's maybe just not quite as consistent at passing on his talents or it could be that he gets sent to less good mares.

Nathaniel enjoyed a decent amount of dig in the ground and so do his offspring more often than not as they are less successful on good to firm than the offspring of Golden Horn, Dubawi and Kingman. So possible ground concerns for Line Of Descent.

Golden Horn’s offspring have the best record in class 3 races so that’s a positive for Auriferous. He’s followed by Kingman (Thousand Oaks), Dubawi (Adrastus) and then Nathaniel with Camelot once again trailing.

Dubawi’s progeny do particularly well at Newmarket but Golden Horn, Kingman and Nathaniel aren’t far behind. As far as distance is concerned Golden Horn has by far the best record with his runners producing a 26% win rate at 12f. That’s well above the 16% of Dubawi and Nathaniel and the 13% from Kingman, who does tend to have many speedier types. Golden Horn and Dubawi offspring also have the best record in small fields.

Relying solely on this data it’s pretty clear that this is a near ideal setup for anything sired by Golden Horn so that’s good news for Auriferous backers. Adrastus also has lots of positives here being by Dubawi. I’d have some slight concerns, breeding wise, about the ground for Line Of Descent and maybe the distance for Thousand Oaks. Most criteria is a concern seemingly for Constanta so we'll hope to see some already good form from her on the track.

Now onto the runners.

Adrastus

By Dubawi who ranked well in Instant Expert for sires but he’s out of a staying mare rated just 73.

We are able to see all performances from the dam’s offspring and it’s worth noting that nothing as yet as rated higher than 84. Given the subsequent ratings of previous winners of this race Adrastus doesn’t look like he'll be good enough to win this. That is backed up by his form as both runs to date have been extremely modest and this trip and ground have already been explored so there isn’t great scope for improvement.

Auriferous

The most exposed in the field with seven runs to date but he’s also been very consistent and being by Golden Horn, he looks bred to be very suited to these conditions. His mare was rated 89 and Auriferous is the sole result of that mare.

His form has been a little disappointing though, yet to shed his maiden tag and held last time out in a handicap off a mark of 78, albeit a decent handicap. It’s probably fair to say he’s not going to be a 90+ rated runner, unless it’s over further, and there are surely going to be some more promising types in this.

Line Of Descent

Instant Expert flagged a potential ground worry but some Nathaniel’s do enjoy fast ground and Line Of Descent has so far only run on good or better. The dam’s other two runners to have earned handicap marks have so far only managed to earn marks in the 60s which raises concerns about Line Of Descent’s ability ceiling.

On the course he made a very promising start, finishing 3rd surrounded by runners rated 85, 95, 78 and 83 respectively. In doing so he has probably already outperformed any half siblings to date. He looked likely to improve for the run and for further that day. He then ran okay over this distance on fast ground and looked the winner a couple of furlongs from home but didn’t quite see it out. It was by no means a bad effort but he did look as though a drop in trip might suit that day so mixed messages regarding best distance from the two runs in his career.

Constanta

She’s a half sister to Skardu (group 1 placed at a mile) but Camelot’s sire data did trail behind the others here in Instant Expert.

Ran okay on debut in a hot maiden on the Rowley course over ten furlongs and again followed some fairly decent types home on her second run, stepped up to this trip but racing on soft ground. Thousand Oaks was half a length ahead of her that day. On her most recent start she raced on fast ground, finishing runner up, earning a mark of 80 in the process. She’s in good hands to progress and looks well capable of running  above her current mark in time, although a drastic step up from third run to fourth might not be on the cards.

Thousand Oaks

There was perhaps a slight distance worry on the sire’s side of things but both runs to date have come over this kind of trip so it doesn’t look a concern. If anything she has looked in need of even further.

She made a promising debut at Kempton, probably not running to a particularly high mark but very much looking as though the outing would do her good. She followed that up with a third at Haydock on soft ground, narrowly ahead of Constanta. On faster ground here she wouldn’t be guaranteed to confirm that form, especially if they don’t go much of a gallop which seems fairly likely. She is open to the most improvement though it seems.

Summary

A difficult race to work out. Adrastus is pretty easy to oppose whilst Auriferous sets a decent standard on much of his form and should get a tactical advantage but it would be disappointing if nothing was able to improve past what he has shown so far.

If I was awarding each of these runners a handicap mark I’d probably give the highest rating to Line Of Descent and given nothing is more lightly raced there is no reason why he can’t keep on improving further.

He does have to give 5lbs to the fillies though and given there isn’t a massive amount between some of these on form that could hand the initiative to the females. It’s interesting that Constanta and Thousand Oaks have already met, albeit on soft ground. On this fast ground, in a possibly tactical race, Constanta may end up reversing form. A slightly surprising selection given the sire data in Instant Expert but Camelot has produced some very good horses Constanta should be able to run to higher marks than 80 this season.

Racing Insights, 22nd July 2021

Thursday’s free feature of the day is Instant Expert for ALL races. That’s one of the most popular features of Geegeez Gold, free to use for every race on Thursday for anyone who is a registered free user of Geegeez.

Instant Expert is a massive time saver which allows the user to check and compare each horse’s, trainer’s, jockey’s and sire’s suitability to key race conditions in just a few seconds.

The free races for free registered users on Thursday are:

1.15 Worcester
4.40 Limerick
4.50 Yarmouth
5.00 Leopardstown
5.50 Doncaster
8.00 Leopardstown

The 5.50 at Doncaster looks a decent and competitive race. With 9 runners set to go to post in this 6f class 5 handicap for 4yo+ we’ll be getting paid for three places on each way bets even if there is a non runner so hopefully we can find some value at a decent enough price.

First of all we’ll have a quick look at the pace map to check for any extremes in likely pace setup and also to get an idea of how each horse is likely to be ridden.

Now remember the Geegeez Gold pace maps are made up of an average of pace scores over either the last two, three or four races. I generally use two races as my preferred option as it considers only the most recent data. The drawback of doing that is one different run style can massively skew the average. For example if a habitual front runner badly misses the break on his most recent start and ends up being held up as a result the average is going to show his run style as something between prominent and mid division.

This is why I also like to look at the data pace map, as shown below.

Now we can see the exact run style of each runner’s last four runs. The pace map graphic suggests plenty of prominent racers but nothing likely to make the running. Looking at the data view though shows that two of these led last time out (Jems Bond and Dandys Gold) but neither runner has made the running more than once in their last four runs and both were held up three runs ago. This goes to show how difficult predicting pace can sometimes be. These two runners could take each other on at the head of affairs or they could both be held up and what they do can have a massive effect on the result.

Looking at the data, we have three real pace options and only three of these have made the running in any of their last four starts. They are Jems Bond and Dandys Gold as already mentioned plus Barrington who consistently races prominently but went from the front three starts ago. Given there aren’t any habitual front runners it is probably safe to assume this race will be run at no more than an even gallop.

Let’s now run through each contender in this and see if we can uncover anything with a much better chance than the odds suggest.

Mutaanaseq

Has finally found some consistency this season, presumably a more sound animal at the age of 6. He’s now finished in the frame in all six of his last starts, winning once in that run in a big field sprint at Thirsk. He’s now 5lbs higher than that win and has been beaten on his last three starts so this will need to be a weaker race than those contests for him to get his head back in front.

There were no excuses three runs ago at Thirsk. The winner came from a similar position and similar draw and still managed to beat him by over a length. The winner did run well on his next start (2nd) but the form in behind hasn’t really worked out. Mutaanaseq returned to Doncaster on his next run and finished a solid third, beaten just half a length and slightly unlucky in running. The 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th were all ridden close to the pace that day whereas Mutaanaseq came from near last and the front pair have both won since.

On his most recent start Mutaanaseq stepped up to 7f on soft ground and again ran on late in the day. Again the first two home were ridden much more prominently. It seems a decent pace is probably more important to him than the distance – whether or not he gets that here is open to debate.

Dandys Gold

Without a win on turf since 2018 but did run well here under similar conditions in April when 2nd off a 2lb higher mark. He bumped into one that day, the winner has won both starts since, but the form in behind hasn’t worked out at all. He hasn’t run to that level of form in two starts since, well behind Mutaanaseq at Thirsk on one of those. He’ll need to run to at least his previous course and distance form to get into the places here and he’ll need to improve a fair bit on that run to win this. There is no obvious reason why he should improve.

Blazing Hot

Often went from the front last year for James Tate but hasn’t been able to go the gallop this season for Paul Collins. The step back up to 6f could help with that and he was competitive at this distance off higher marks last season. It’s difficult to tell how much effect first time cheekpieces had last time as heavy ground may not have suited. They are dispensed with here anyway.

He’s yet to win a handicap in seven attempts but he’s undeniably well handicapped on last season’s form and this combination of fast ground and 6f should see him improve on his form this season. He was only beaten 3 lengths off a 4lb higher mark against a pace bias at Musselburgh two starts ago so there is every reason to think he could run very well here.

Hail Sezer

Still lightly raced but yet to win in eight starts and five 2nd placed finishers is a bit of a warning sign. His best bit of form was perhaps on seasonal debut this year over an extended 5f at Wetherby – the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th all won within two subsequent runs and the 3rd, 7th and 8th all finishes 2nd within two starts since. That’s definitely hot form! To finish 2nd in that race was a strong effort and even off a 5lb higher mark here you can argue he’s well enough handicapped to win. So why hasn’t he done so in four runs since?

He was runner up again on his next run, at this trip on the all weather. He chased a strong pace that day and the winner has won again since so he can’t be judged too harshly on that effort. He ran no sort of race at Nottingham on his next start at 11/8 which is a warning sign but he has bounced back from that, running 3rd and 2nd since. His 3rd place came in a maiden handicap at Redcar. He ran on strongly that day, dropped to 5f, looking in need of a stiffer test. He got that stiffer test next time over 6f at Carlisle and he got as close as ever to winning, going down just a neck in the end. He has looked genuine enough in a finish but his tendency to get beat has to be a slight concern.

Musahaba

Made his stable debut this season over 6f but has gradually been stepped up in trip since, running over as far as 10f two runs ago. Dropped back to a mile on all weather debut last time out and ran poorly. His best run by far this season was when runner up in a mile handicap at Thirsk off a 4lb higher mark and his worst effort seemingly came in cheekpieces (over 10f) and they are back on here which might be a worry. More of a worry is the sharp drop in trip and it does look a bit like connections are clutching at straws. Backing him will be a leap of faith.

Barrington

Almost certain to be well placed here. His two wins came in 2016 and 2018 in small fields on decent ground on turf, His only handicap win was off a 27lb higher mark but this is very much his level these days. He was beaten just a nose off a 10lb higher mark 12 months ago and was in fair form off slightly higher marks early this year before a 148 day absence. His return run two and a half weeks ago was pretty uninspiring but it seems very likely he’ll come on for that. He ran as though still in form at least and it’s interesting that the visor goes back on here, his best runs last season came with this headgear on.

Jems Bond

Largely out of form this season but wasn’t far behind Hail Sezer at Newcastle in May, 0.75 lengths behind and now 7lbs better off. It’s worth noting though that he’s barely beaten a rival home in his six turf runs so he’s far from guaranteed to replicate that run here. His best turf run did come over course and distance but that was on good to soft ground. His form on faster ground is even less inspiring so he’s of very limited interest here. He does sport first time cheekpieces here and they’ll have to have a hugely positive effect.

Lucky Beggar

Won earlier this season (soft ground, 5f) showing he still has it in him at the age of 11. He’s largely run as if in form since including last time out here over the minimum trip when 3rd. He’s won three times at this 6f trip on fast ground so conditions aren’t a major concern. It’s interesting that he has mostly been campaigned at 5f this season, even when looking as though a return to further would suit. His last 6f run was a 4th at Thirsk off a 2lb lower mark.

He doesn’t look brilliantly handicapped but he was a close 4th at Ripon earlier this year off a 2lb higher mark and the three horses that finished in front of him that day have all gone in since. He tends to race prominently which could be an advantage in this and his speed at 5f could also be a useful asset.

Archimedes

Finished last at 100/1 last time out and although he was placing at Southwell earlier this year it’s been almost two years since he last won and he hasn’t finished better than 7th on turf since September 2019. He’s 6lbs out of the handicap here and makes almost zero appeal.

Summary

The winner is very likely to come from Mutaanaseq, Hail Sezer, Lucky Beggar, Blazing Hot and Barrington.

Mutaanaseq and Hail Sezer look nailed on to run their races and run well. The former would make far more appeal if a stronger pace looked likely but this might be a weak enough race for him to get his head back in front. His previous run over course and distance was a very good bit of form and it did come against a pace bias. The biggest issue is the price and I wouldn’t back anything this short when the pace setup may well be against it.

Hail Sezer shouldn’t be too inconvenienced by the likely pace setup but he’s been expensive to follow. At an each way price he’d make a ton of appeal but he’s risky for win only purposes, for all he hasn’t looked to dodge it in the finish yet. Some horse’s attitudes are more resolute than others though.

Lucky Beggar is a bit shorter in the betting than I expected. He may well improve for the step back up in trip and he’s well enough handicapped on some form from this season but you’d have wanted at least an each way price to consider getting involved.

Barrington could have a tactical advantage over many and should improve for his last run. He makes some appeal but Blazing Hot makes a little more appeal as an each way bet. The longer trip will give him a better chance of being a bit handier, like he often was last season, and he showed enough signs of life at Musselburgh to suggest he can go close after another 4lb drop with the step back up in trip almost certainly a big positive.

I’d probably be keen to have a saver on a Mutaanaseq/Hail Sezer reverse forecast. That’s probably the only way to squeeze a bit of value from either horse and they do look to have outstanding claims on form in this company, for all there are some reasons to oppose them.

Racing Insights, 21st July 2021

Wednesday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer Statistics Report. This gives you the low down on how trainers are performing, using a wide range of metrics, over both 14 days and 30 days. This can be compared to 1 year performance to check if a trainer is performing better or worse than average. There is also the option to check trainer performance at tracks where they have engagements either today or tomorrow, to examine courses where they might be sending their best chances of winners. This data is available for both the past year and past five years.

The free races for free registered users on Wednesday are:

3.40 Lingfield
4.10 Lingfield
5.50 Naas
7.00 Sandown
7.15 Leicester

The 7.00 at Sandown looks like a pretty good race with a decent level of form on offer so that will be the subject of today’s Racing Insights article. It’s a 7f, class 4 handicap for 3yos and is set to be run on fast ground. Just the six runners are entered.

With a small field there is always a good chance of a steady early gallop so the first thing we should do is check the pace map for this contest.

It doesn’t seem as though there is likely to be much of a gallop on. Mighty Power might be most likely to take them along but even he is not an out and out front runner. The pace data shows that front runners often have an advantage over this course and distance in smaller fields, they have by far the best win and place strike rates.

Let’s take a look at the six runners, in race card order, and see which of these has the form (and the speed) to win this.

Apres Dark

Has generally been fairly consistent this season but there were some warning signs at Newmarket with the horse reluctant to race and beaten 41 lengths in the end. He has recovered from that to run well last time, probably as well as ever in fact, and he did race prominently on that occasion. Repeat of those tactics wouldn’t be a negative here.

Apres Dark finished runner up on his last start to Kingmania, who ran well in a class 2 contest on his next start, whilst the 3rd went one place better on his next run in a 19 runner affair at York so there is some strength to Apres Dark’s form. He wore a hood on his last start and it seems to have helped him produce his best run to date so impossible to rule him out.

Billy Mill

Below par on softish ground last time out but previously consistent and running to a decent level on the all weather or fast turf. He’s switched between 6f and 7f this season so may have more speed than several of these and has largely raced prominently or in mid division this season so might not be too badly placed (or as badly placed as the pace map suggests).

His win at Windsor (6f) earlier this season has worked out well with the runner up finishing 2nd on his next start, the 3rd winning twice season and the 4th also successful since. Billy Mill is 6lbs higher here though and his best form so far has arguably come at 6f rather than 7f. Richard Hannon and Sean Levey have an A/E of 2.52 and an IV of 2.9 in the past 14 days.

Sunset Bay

The only last time out winner in the field, having won over this trip at Newbury on his previous start (4th has come out and won since). That came on soft ground but he’d previously run very well on good to firm so is clearly versatile with regards to underfoot conditions. Several of his other races this season would qualify as hot form and he’s clearly progressive and deserves to be favourite for this. He’s led and been held up this season but it looks most likely Oisin Murphy will track the pace in this so he may not be too badly placed.

Shuv H’Penny King

Seemingly not the most consistent but talented on his day. He was last of 5 on his latest start but that was up in distance, up in class and on softer ground plus he was only beaten 4.5 lengths and the winner has won again since so it wasn’t as bad an effort as initially seems.

Previous to that he won here over this 7f in a race that has worked out well. The 2nd, 4th and 6th have all come out and won since with the 5th and 7th finishing 2nd since. Shuv H’Penny King won that by 1.25 lengths and is only 4lbs higher here which is surely lenient but the potential lack of pace could hurt him more than any other in this race. He seems pretty reliant on being held up (ran by far his poorest race of the season when ridden close to the pace at Newmarket) and isn’t going to be seen to best effect.

Mighty Power

Most likely pace angle. Won over a mile at Lingfield two starts ago when well placed when a length ahead of Shuv H’Penny King but flattered by the result and other than Shuv H’Penny King’s subsequent exploits that form has worked out poorly suggesting Shuv H’Penny King wasn't seen anywhere near best effect on that occasion. Mighty Power was gelded after that and ran respectably at Yarmouth again at a mile following a 6 week break. He’s been off another 6 weeks since and may have to largely rely on a tactical advantage as others seem to have stronger form claims.

Matamua

Consistent since making her debut just 11 weeks ago and she’s run to a decent level in all five starts since without winning. She was just a length behind Sunset Bay on debut and is now 5lbs better off so looks well handicapped on that form. She’s probably best judged on her only handicap start, a month ago when 3rd at Nottingham. She was only beaten a length into 3rd that day off a 1lb lower mark but that form hasn’t worked out at all well.

The key might be the drop back in trip. She’s only had one run at 7f on fast ground and that was on debut, arguably her best run of all. She’s often well enough placed and if the drop back in trip does the trick she could go close.

Summary

A really closely knit handicap, in which none of these can be confidently ruled out. From a handicapping perspective I like Shuv H’Penny King the most given how his course and distance form has worked out but he’s reliant on a decent gallop and seems unlikely to get it. He’s worth adding to the tracker for when he should get a stronger gallop to aim at.

Billy Mill might have the tactical speed to cope with a slow pace but he’s looked better at 6f to date so might not have enough up the stiff finish whilst Mighty Power doesn’t look as well handicapped as a few of these so unless he gets a really easy lead he could be vulnerable too.

That would leave things between Sunset Bay, Apres Dark and Matamua. Sunset Bay is probably the most likely winner of this, but the market reflects that and she’s up 6lbs from her latest win. Better value almost certainly lies with Apres Dark and Matamua. The former ran his best race to date last time out in the hood and a reproduction of that would see him go close. He’s shown quirks in the past though and with only two places on each way bets he’s a risky prospect.

Matamua on the other hand seems to have been badly campaigned to date. She needs to improve on her only handicap run to date but looks as though she’ll be better served by this sharper test and she’s completely unexposed at this distance on decent ground. She’s worth a chance to match and even improve on her racecourse debut and that could be enough to beat Sunset Bay on these terms.

Racing Insights, 20th July 2021

Tuesday’s free feature of the day is the Shortlist Report, an extremely popular part of Geegeez Gold. The Shortlist Report highlights horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in Instant Expert everyday in attempt to flag up runners that are most likely to enjoy conditions – and therefore run to form and run well. It can be used for both win and place purposes and is completely free on Tuesday’s to all free registered users of Geegeez.

The free races for free registered users on Tuesday will be:

2.30 Ffos Las
4.30 Wolverhampton
5.25 Ballinrobe
5.55 Ballinrobe

With limited form on offer in the 4.30 at Wolverhampton this is an opportunity to highlight an often under appreciated part of Instant Expert.

The 4.30 at Wolverhampton is a 12f novice auction stakes open to 3yos and 4yos and thankfully six of the seven runners have had at least one run so we won’t be completely in the dark.

First of all I want to start with Instant Expert. Looking at the runners in Instant Expert isn’t going to give us a ton of information given the limited form on offer but by looking at the sire data we will hopefully find some useful snippets that can be used to narrow the field and highlight those likely to go well.

Looking at the data above, you’d have to have some reservations about Bashful and Jerriais on the surface as their sires, Manduro and Geordieland, have much poorer place records on standard going than the rest of the field. Jerriais has run here on his only start but he was beaten 11 lengths so perhaps connections need to seek turf opportunities instead.

Interestingly Casamento, sire of Flamingo Rose, has a slightly better record on standard than Mount Nelson, sire of Fort Nelson, but Mount Nelson seems to have a far superior record at Wolverhampton compared to Casamento. Something to note.

The sire information for distance could also be quite telling. There is no distance data for Geordieland, sire of Jerriais, but given Geordieland was a two mile winner and placed in the Ascot Gold Cup you’d expect Jerriais to stay well and need all of this trip and then some. Once again things look bleak for Bashful as his sire, Manduro, has a poorer record at this distance. Kendargent, the sire of Bascule, has the best place record at this trip followed by Animal Kingdom, sire of Hanafy.

Overall looking at the above, ignoring what they have achieved on track to date you’d probably be most interested in Hanafy and then Bascule with Fort Nelson also considered.

Note that there is no sire Instant Expert data for the unraced Samara Star who is by Adaay.

The Profiler tool suggests Adaay’s offspring are better on softer turf than either fast ground or all weather surfaces.

There isn’t much form to go on, but let’s take a look at what the runners have achieved so far.

Fort Nelson

Well beaten in two starts at this sort of distance and early warning signs being tried in blinkers on debut and a hood last time out. He’s already tried an all weather surface (at Lingfield) and there is little to suggest he’ll improve here.

Hanafy

Ran a decent 3rd on debut in a national hunt flat race in January for Kevin Bishop before not showing much in one hurdle start. Moved to Mitchell Hunt and was beaten 15 lengths in a novice on stable debut but that was a strong race (winner rated 95, runner up rated 88, 4th rated 89). You’d expect him to get much closer in a much more moderate race here.

First time cheekpieces go on. Worryingly the trainer has used first time cheekpieces twice before and neither runner beat a rival home. A small sample though.

Flamingo Rose

Won a maiden national hunt flat race at Southwell (turf) in May after a wind op, sporting a first time tongue tie. Attempted to follow up last month over two furlongs shy of this trip at Chelmsford but was beaten 16.5 lengths, looking in need of further. The winner of that is now rated 84 so this is likely to be easier but she does need to improve for the extra trip.

Bascule

One of two runners to have a handicap rating (74) and has finished runner up on his last two starts. All three runs to date have come over a mile but the sire stats in Instant Expert pointed to this sort of trip suiting and the dam also stayed this trip. If he improves for the extra half mile he’ll surely go very close and even a reproduction of his previous form at this trip could be enough.

The booking of William Buick catches the eye, he is 3 from 4 for Richard Hughes on the all weather in the past five years.

Bashful

Also rated 74 and also stepping up in trip (from 10f). He’s finished runner up on all three starts this season, including in handicap company last time out, so he’s clearly capable of running to this mark. He possibly didn’t want to go past last time out if you were being critical and probably isn’t one to put too much faith in at shortish prices. This will be his all weather debut and Instant Expert flagged a slightly poor record for Manduro on standard going which is another negative.

Jerriais

Very likely to improve for his first run given that came over less than 10f and he’s by stayer Geordieland. He certainly looked in need of further that day. Geordieland is yet to sire anything rated higher than 65 on the flat and the dam was only rated 67 so it’s unlikely he’ll amount to much on the level, whatever the trip.

Samara Star

Makes her handicap debut for Simon and Ed Crisford. A half sister to Tactician so potential to be smarter than several of these. Obviously the betting will give us plenty of clues but the fact that the sire’s offspring tend to do better on turf than all weather is a slight concern.

Summary

This isn’t going to be a betting heat for many and based on all of the information I have Bascule looks a fair bit more interesting than Bashful and undoubtedly looks the one to beat. Samara Star could be anything but unless there is a significant market move she could be one to wait for on turf.

Of the remainder, Hanafy and Flamingo Rose should get a lot closer than they have to date. Preference of the two would be for Hanafy who is bred for the all weather and ran in a pretty hot novice last time out, albeit well beaten. He can hopefully improve on Mitchell Hunt’s poor record so far with first time cheekpieces and it's a slight shame each way betting is restricted to two places in this as he might have been worth chancing each way (or even place only) at a big price if getting three places. It’s Bascule they all have to beat though.

Racing Insights, 19th July 2021

In Chris's absence, and giving Sam a day off, it's Matt here for the Sunday evening shift, looking at Monday's racing.

Monday’s free feature of the day is the Pace tab for all races, and it is available in its entirety to all registered users of Geegeez. It's a fundamental cornerstone of my betting research and, frankly, I NEVER place a bet without considering the likely shape of the race via this tab. Nor should you.

Moving on to Monday's free Races of the Day for registered users, they are as follows:

2.45 Ayr
4.10 Cartmel
5.55 Ballinrobe
8.20 Beverley

Perversely, perhaps, for the time of year and weather, I'm going to have a rummage through the Cartmel race form. It's a 2m 1 1/2f handicap chase and most of the six runners have shown their hand fully to Mr Handicapper. Indeed, the most lightly raced of the sextet has come under orders 16 times previously.

Pace wise, they should be a formation not dissimilar to the below, with Sword Of Fate and Tonto's Spirit very likely to be front rank. Lermoos Legend meanwhile will be waited with, as he has been in two of his three recent wins.

Here's what we can quickly deduce about the form of the runners from Instant Expert, win view (handicap chases only) then place view beneath.

WIN ^^              PLACE vv

 

And here's what a deeper inspection into the book suggests...

Tonto's Spirit

A veteran of 58 races, he's spun his wheels around Cartmel ten times winning an outstanding six of them (two handicap chases, a novice chase, a beginners' chase, and two handicap hurdles)... and all of them over this 2m 1f (ish) trip. Five of those wins were on good ground, the same as Monday's race is expected to be. His highest winning mark was 132 two years ago making his current 123 perfectly feasible. On his most recent start, over the longer Cartmel 2m5f trip, he fought a contested lead - something which could happen here too - before only giving best by half a length. That was a Class 2 event and he looks to have everything in his favour aside from an easy lead. Remarkably for one that likes to be front rank, he's 0 from 7 in small fields (seven or fewer runners), which is another slight niggle.

Trainer Dianne Sayer is in great form:

Ballyvic Boru

Brian Ellison's entry is a six time winner, all at this sort of distance and five on this type of ground (also won a jumpers' bumper). Prior to an uncharacteristic blip last time where he unseated at the first, he'd been consistent in defeat, making the podium in five of six starts. A solitary win in that sequence suggests he's handicapped to the hilt, however. Expect him to track the leaders in the middle of the group.

Check My Pulse

A more occasional winner, Check My Pulse is having just his second start in handicap chase company. So, while he's less exposed in that regard, his one-from-seven hurdle record and one-from-12 flat career don't scream win machine. Rated 119 after his Uttoxeter novice hurdle score - a rise of 10 pounds - he's gradually dropping to a more credible handicap peg. The pick of his two chase starts was a fast finishing third over course and distance in a beginners' event in May but he beat nothing of note there.

Ardera Cross

The old man of the party at ten, Ardera Cross is dropping to a viable mark once more. He's been an incredibly game horse, winning 13 times in his career:

But all bar one of those scores was with either soft or heavy in the going description. These young whippersnappers are likely to be a bit too quick for the wily veteran. Trip and field size are positives, though.

Sword Of Fate

Winner of a mere nine races (!), Sword Of Fate is another that is a credit to connections. His five chase victories include two over course and distance. Aged eight, he can hardly be considered on the down slope just yet and, given a historical high rating of 135, his mark of 106 for this looks enticing. A recent fourth place can be forgiven on account of the soft ground - never won on it - and he looks booked for a bold showing from the first wave.

Lermoos Legend

The joker in the pack who has rattled off a facile hat-trick at Ffos Las. Cartmel is very different from that West Wales venue, and he's up nine pounds for his most recent triumph. Trainer Peter Bowen is back in his traditionally rich summer vein after a couple of years in the doldrums, but Lermoos might need them to go mad up front in order to get into the race: he's looked a horse that stays quite well. Still, he's ascendant and one certainly couldn't say he's done improving. This is a two grade class jump.

Summary

A fascinating race given the small field. The pace looks pretty cut and dried: Sword Of Fate and Tonto's Spirit to contest it. Tonto's Cartmel record is exemplary but he's not met as deep a field as this for a while and, for whatever reason, he has proved vulnerable in shorter fields. The Sword is still well below his highest winning mark and was on a hat-trick before meeting the mud at Perth last time (over a longer trip also, though he stays well enough).

Of the midfielders, Ballyvic Boru may find this too hot and Ardera Cross may find it too dry. Check My Pulse is the dark horse though his best chase finishing position was probably in a far weaker race.

The rising star is Lermoos Legend but that line of grey zeros on Instant Expert tells us that he's trying a bunch of new things here. He might handle the rise in class and the very different topography, but he's unexciting odds to my eye.

At the prices, Tonto's Spirit is no value - though he can readily win - and the same is true of Lermoos Legend, with those questions to answer. SWORD OF FATE, at 11/2 in a place - 9/2 generally - looks some value: he'll presumably at least share the lead, will relish the return to quicker terrain and has back class to carry these home. Tonto's Spirit and possibly Ballyvic Boru could make for a fair combination exacta, though there are credible threats elsewhere in a terrific little race.

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