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Racing Insights, 25th January 2021

Although I ended up with no bet on Saturday after Sam Brown became a non-runner, I was pretty pleased with the way the two races panned out from my preview. I'd identified Royale Pagaille as the best horse in Sam Brown's race and he duly prevailed by 16 lengths at 11/5.

The second race included Le Coeur Net, who wasn't in my top three for the race and it was my top three that filled the places with the trifecta paying an excellent 293/1, well done to those who took the punt : sadly I didn't.

And now to Monday, where we offer the PACE tab to ALL users for ALL races, including our "races of the day", which are...

  • 4.20 Plumpton
  • 6.45 Kempton
  • 8.15 Kempton

...and it's the first of that trio, the 4.20 Plumpton, that I'll look at today. It's a 12-runner, Class 5, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 2m½f on Soft ground with a top prize of £2,989. We start, as ever with the racecard itself...

...where the three clear "form horses" are Mr Jack (who won LTO), Darkest Day (runner-up LTO) and Sawpit Sienna, who not only tops the Geegeez Ratings, but also has a win and a runner-up finish in her last two outings.

We've got five class droppers here, in the shape of Nelson's Touch, Mr Jack, Air Hair Lair, Hymn and a Prayer and the Imposter, whilst the afore-mentioned Mr Jack, along with Magen's Moon are both previous winners over course and distance.

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From a trainer form perspective, both Darkest Day and Air Hair Lair hail from yards with good records at this track (C5), whilst Nigel Hawke (The Imposter) is without a winner in 23 races since Boxing Day with very few going on to make the frame either. The most positive jockey booking seems to be Joshua Moore aboard Air Hair Lair as he's in good recent form (14 30) and has regularly ridden well here in the past (C1 C5), Bryony Frost (Hymn and a Prayer) also rides this track well, as does Sawpit Sienna's Robert Dunne, although he's currently on a 30-race losing run over the past three weeks.

This field of twelve have just 10 wins from 195 previous outings (5.13% SR), but have made the frame on 44 occasions (22.56%), so I'm going to guess that the place element of Instant Expert will tell us far more than the win element could...

Yes, the place element certainly gives us more than the win element, but on the win graphic Magen's Moon is the most interesting, but the the second image suggests we focus on the top half of the card with the exception of Sawpit Sienna taking the place of Military Dress. Air Hair Lair and Hymn and a Prayer are both moderately interesting, but I see my top three coming from runners 1-5 plus number 7 right now. Perhaps pace/race tactics will alter/shape my thoughts?

The stats would suggest that the further back you are off the pace, the less likely you are to win a contest like this and although the pace graphic doesn't really highlight any natural leaders over their last three races (I set it at three, because The Imposter only has three qualifying runs), it does look like Sawpit Sienna and/or Queen Among Kings might be the ones most likely to take it on and if we look at just the last two outings for these horses , which would also be Sawpit Sienna's best two runs, we get...

Harry The Norseman doesn't actually run here, so the suggestion is that Sawpit & Queens are the most likely pace-setters.

Queen Among Kings comes from the bottom half of the card and having failed to make the frame on any of her eight starts to date, I don't think today's going to be her day either and the three remaining from that final pace image are the three that I think will make the frame here, based on the racecard information, Instant Expert and Pace all combined.

Mr Jack was a winner here over course and distance last time out 22 days ago when overcoming a 14-month absence to win on his yard debut for Zoe Davison, who very sadly passed away that same day after a long battle with cancer. Husband Andy Irvine is now in charge of operations and although the card will show a change of trainer, it's still very much the same as it was.

That win was Mr Jack's first after 13 previous unsuccessful attempts, although he did have 7 top four finishes, suggesting he was due a win. A drop in trip and a wind op would most likely have helped his cause that day. He's up 4lbs for the win, but drops in class here and the booking of 5lb claimer Niall Houlihan more than accounts for the extra weight. The race last time out sort of fell apart and suited him and having been 0/13 prior to that run, there has to be question marks about his ability to back it up, especially at the top end of the weights rather carrying next to nothing as he was last time.

Darkest Day was only beaten by three lengths over course and distance last time out, 12 days ago and although still a maiden after ten attempts, he has made the frame four times, including 3 from 7 on soft/heavy, 3/7 under today's jockey, 2/4 here at Plumpton and 2/2 over this trip. He's on a low/workable mark and although not an obvious pick to win, he should be there or thereabouts in a poor-looking field.

His trainer Gary Moore has a 16.9% strike rate with his jumpers this season and has won 15.9% of races here at Plumpton over the last 5 seasons.

Sawpit Sienna makes only her third start in a handicap and also her third run for current handlers, but having finished first and second in the previous two she's certainly in form. She returned from a 309-day absence to win by three lengths at Fakenham in a Class 5 over 2m4.5f on good ground and then was a runner-up at Wincanton a fortnight later. That was also at Class 5, but over 2m4f on soft ground having been raised 5lbs.

She ran perfectly well that day, but was headed at the last eventually going down by 3.5 lengths, so it is anticipated/hoped that a drop back in trip here will benefit her. She's also carrying 11lbs less than the other two on my shortlist, which could prove decisive, especially if the ground gets any worse.

Summary

I expected Mr Jack to be the favourite here, but Sawpit Sienna currently holds that title, She's best priced at 3/1 and I think that's a fair price and she's the one I prefer ahead of Mr Jack. The rest of the field doesn't hold much appeal to me, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see Darkest Day complete the 1-2-3.

If I was to look further down the market for a value pic as an E/W bet , then Nelson's Touch seems best suited from an ability to price ratio. He's more than capable based on past exploits although he's inconsistent and hasn't been seen in the best light recently. But then again, that'll explain why he's 18/1, I suppose. It'd be a tentative suggestion, though.

Sky Bet Chase Trends

Staged at Doncaster racecourse the Skybet Chase (formerly known as the Great Yorkshire Chase) is a Listed Handicap run over 3m. The race can often throw up some Grand National clues, although no winner in the last 15 runnings has gone onto win the Aintree marathon.

In recent years, the Alan King, Paul Nicholls and Pipe stables have dominated the race with two wins a-piece since 2003, while in the last 15 runnings we’ve seen just two winning favourites – the 2020 Skybet Chase was won by the Nicky Henderson-trained Ok Corral at 9/1.

Here at GEEGEEZ we look back at recent winners (note, the 2010 and 2011 runnings were abandoned) and gives you the key stats to take into the 2021 renewal – this year being run on Saturday 28th January.

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Recent Skybet Chase Winners

2020 – OK CORRAL (9/1)
2019 - GO CONQUER
2018 - WAKANDA (8/1)
2017 – ZIGA BOY (10/1)
2016 – ZIGA BOY (8/1)
2015 – IF IN DOUBT (4/1 fav)
2014 – RAINBOW HUNTER (25/1)
2013 – Meeting Abandoned
2012 – CALGARY BAY (12/1)
2009 – BIG FELLA THANKS (9/2)
2008 – AN ACCORDION (11/2 fav)
2007 – SIMON (7/1)
2006 – A GLASS IN THYNE (16/1)
2005 – COLOURFUL LIFE (9/1)
2004 – TYNEANDTHYNEAGAIN (7/1)
2003 – BARRYSCOURT LAD (9/2)

Skybet Chase Betting Trends

14/15 – Had won between 0-3 times over fences before
12/15 – Carried 11-2 or less
12/15 – Aged 9 or younger
12/15 – Officially rated 130 or higher
12/15 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
11/15 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
10/15 – Unplaced favourites
9/15 – Carried 10-12 or less
9/15 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
9/15 – Irish bred
8/15 – Finished unplaced last time out
8/15 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
5/15 – Raced at Cheltenham last time out
3/15 – Won last time out
2/15 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
2/15 – Trained by the Pipe stable
2/15 – Winning favourites
2/15 – Trained by Alan King
The average winning SP in the last 15 runnings is 9/1

 

Other Stats:
4 of the last 15 winners of this race went onto contest the William Hill Trophy (now JLT Chase) at the Cheltenham Festival that season (1 winner)
5 of the last 15 winners went onto run in that season’s Grand National (no winners, all unplaced)

 

Cotswold Chase Trends

Run at Cheltenham racecourse – normally in the third week of January at their Trials Meeting – the Cotswold Chase is run over a trip of 3m 1 ½ furlongs. The race is deemed as another Cheltenham Gold Cup trial, but maybe only in name as the last horse to land both races in the same season was Looks Like Trouble in 2000, while Master Oats took both prizes back in 1995.

Twelve months ago in 2020 we saw the Nicky Henderson-trained Santini win the race under jockey Nico de Boinville – that was the first winning favourite in the last 17 runnings, while Santini went onto finish a close second in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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Here at GEEGEEZ we take a look back at past winners of the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase and give you all the stats that mater ahead of the 2021 renewal – this year run on Saturday 30th January.

 

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Cotswold Chase Past Winners

2020 – Santini (13/8 fav)
2019 - Frodon (9/4)
2018 - Definitly Red (7/1)
2017 – Many Clouds (8/1)
2016 – Smad Place (9/2)
2015 – Many Clouds (4/1)
2014 – The Giant Bolster (6/1)
2013 - Cape Tribulation (7/1)
2012 – Midnight Chase (11/2)
2011 – Neptune Collonges (11/2)
2010 – Taranis (16/1)
2009 – Joe Lively (11/1)
2008 – Knowhere (16/1)
2007 – Exotic Dancer (6/1)
2006 – See You Sometime (18/1)
2005 – Grey Abbey (10/3)
2004 – Jair Du Cochet (11/4)

Cotswold Chase Betting Trends

17/17 – Officially rated 151 or higher
16/17 – Ran at Cheltenham over fences before (8 had won)
15/17 – Won over at least 3m before (fences)
15/17 – Raced in the last 8 weeks
14/17 – Won between 2-6 times over fences
12/17 – Priced 7/1 or less
12/17 – Went onto race in that season’s Gold Cup (no winners, all placed 8th or better)
11/17 – Aged 9 or 10 years-old
11/17 – Ran at either Wetherby (3), Cheltenham (4) or Kempton (4) last time
11/17 – Placed favourites
9/17 – Winning distance – 6 lengths or more
8/17 – Won last time out
7/17 – Unplaced last time out
7/17 – Won by an Irish-bred horse
6/17 – Winners from outside the top 3 in the market
6/17 – Won by a French-bred horse
3/17 – Won by the Paul Nicholls yard (5 wins in total)
2/17 – Won by the Oliver Sherwood yard
1/17 – Went onto win the Grand National (Many Clouds, 2015)
1/17 – Went onto win the Ryanair Chase (Frodon, 2019)
1/17 – Favourites
10 of the last 13 winners were aged 9 or 10 years-old
The average winning SP in the last 17 runnings is 15/2
Looks Like Trouble (2000) was the last winner to go onto win the Cheltenham Gold Cup

 

Sat TV Trends: 23rd Jan 2021

It’s off to Haydock, Ascot and Taunton this Saturday for the LIVE ITV action.

At Ascot, the Grade One Clarence House Chase (3.35) is their feature contest – a race the classy Defi Du Seuil landed 12 months ago.

Then at Haydock, the Peter Marsh Chase (2.40) is their showcase race – a prize that trainer Sue Smith has won five times in the last 17 years.

While, a big day at Taunton too with the ITV cameras heading there to show their Weatherbys Portman Cup (2.15) - a race the Paul Nicholls-trained Yala Enki won 12 months ago.

So, like all big race days, we’ve got all the big races covered from a trends and stats angle – just these to narrow down the runners and find the best profiles based on past winners.

Ascot Horse Racing Trends (ATR/ITV)


1.15 – Matchbook Betting Podcast Mares´ Hurdle (Registered As The Warfield Mares´ Hurdle Race) (Grade 2) Cl1 3m ITV4

11/11 – Priced 5/2 or shorter
10/11 – Officially Rated 133 or higher
10/11 – From the top 4 in the betting
10/11 – Won over at least 2m5f (hurdles) previously
8/11 – Later ran in that season’s OLBG Mares’ Only Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival
8/11 – Ran within the last 4 weeks
8/11 – Ran at either Haydock (4) or Newbury (4) in their last race
7/11 – Won at least twice over hurdles in the UK before
7/11 – Favourites placed
7/11 – Won their last race
6/11 – Winning Favourites
4/11 – French bred
4/11 – Raced at Ascot previously
3/11 – Aged 6 years-old
2/11 – Trained by Harry Fry
2/11 - Later finished second in the OLBG Mares’ Only Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)
1/11 – Won the OLBG Mares’ Only Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival) – Vroum Vroum Mag (2016)
Trainer Harry Fry won 2 of the last 6 runnings
Magic Light won the race in 2019 and 2020


1.50 – Matchbook Better Way To Bet Holloway´s Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 2m3f58y ITV4

11/13 – Aged 7 or younger
10/13 – Priced 5/1 or bigger in the betting
10/13 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or less
10/13 – Officially rated 139 or higher
10/13 – Carried 10-11 or more in weight
9/13 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (no winners)
8/13 – Ran within in the last 4 weeks
7/13 – Winners from outside the top 3 in the betting
6/13 – French bred
6/13 – Went onto race in that season’s Coral Cup (best finish 3rd)
6/13 – Won at least 4 times over hurdles in the UK previously
6/13 – Won their last race
6/13 – Aged 6 years-old
6/13 – Had raced at Ascot previously
3/13 – Trained by David Pipe
3/13 – Raced at Cheltenham in their last race
2/13 – Later raced in that season’s World Hurdle (best finish 3rd)
2/13 – Ridden by Tom Scudamore
2/13 – Favourites (1 co)
Thomas Darby (8/1) won the race in 2020
Ballymoy (4/1) won the race in 2019

Note:
2006 – Renewal at Lingfield
2005 – Renewal at Haydock

 

3.00 – bet365.com Handicap Chase Cl2 2m5f110y ITV4

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13/14 – Won between 1-3 times over fences in the UK previously
12/14 – Raced within the last 6 weeks
12/14 – Ran within the last 4 weeks
12/14 – Either French (5) or Irish (7) bred
11/14 – Priced 8/1 or shorter
11/14 – Won over at least 2m4f (fences) previously
11/14 – Officially Rated 130 or higher
10/14 – Favourites that finished in the top 4
10/14 – Aged 8 or younger
9/14 – Carried 10-13 or less in weight
8/14 – From the top 3 in the betting
7/14 – Placed in the top 3 in their last race
6/14 – Winning distance  - 6 lengths or further
5/14 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (no winners)
4/14 – Raced at either Cheltenham (2) or Chepstow (2) last time out
3/14 – Trained by Paul Nicholls (3 of last 6 runnings)
3/14 – Won their last race
2/14 – Trained by Richard Rowe
2/14 – Winning Favourites
Domaine De L’Isle (5/1) won the race in 2020

Note:
2006 – Renewal at Lingfield
2005 – Renewal at Uttoxeter

 

3.35 – Matchbook Betting Exchange Clarence House Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 2m1f ITV

17/17 – Raced within the last 7 weeks
17/17 – Won at least 3 times (fences) previously
16/17 – Won by a horse aged 9 or younger
16/17 – Won a race over fences at 2m1f or further
15/17 – Winners from the top 3 in the betting market
15/17 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival
15/17 – Favourites placed
13/17 – Won by a French-bred horse
12/17 – Won their last race
11/17 – Went onto run in that season’s Champion Chase (4 winners)
11/17 – Raced at Sandown or Wetherby last time out
10/17 – Favourites that won
9/17 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
9/17 – Winning distance – 4 lengths or less
7/17 – Won by a horse aged 8 years-old
5/17 – Had won the Tingle Creek Chase (Sandown) last time out
4/17 – Went onto win the Champion Chase that season (2009 - Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre 2013, 2014 Sire de Grugy, 2015 Dodging Bullets)
4/17 – Won by the Paul Nicholls stable (won the race 5 times in all)
3/17 – Trained by Willie Mullins
3/17 – Won by the Nicky Henderson stable (won the race 5 times in all)
2/17 – Won by the Pipe stable
Since 1989 there have only been 3 winners aged in double-figures
Since 1989 (28 runnings) there have been 12 winners aged 8 years-old

The average winning SP in the last 15 runnings is 3/1

Note:
2006 – Renewal at Sandown
2005 & 2017 – Renewals at Cheltenham

 

Haydock Horse Racing Trends (RacingTV/ITV)

1.30 – Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices´ Hurdle (Registered As The Rossington Main Novices´ Hurdle) (Grade 2) Cl1 2m ITV

14/14 – Aged 7 or younger
14/14 – Won between 1-2 times over hurdles previously
13/14 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
13/14 – Priced 9/2 or shorter in the betting
9/14 – Won their last race
8/14 – Aged 5 years-old
7/14 – Winning Favourites
6/14 – Had raced at Haydock previously
4/14 -  Ran at Haydock last time out
4/14 – French bred
3/14 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/14 – Went onto win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
2/14 – Ran at Ascot last time out
2/14– Trained by Venetia Williams
2/14 – Trained by Donald McCain Jnr
Stolen Silver (9/2) won the race in 2020

Note: 2004 Renewal was staged at Wetherby

2.40 - Peter Marsh Chase (A Limited Handicap) (Grade 2) Cl1 3m1f ITV

17/17 – Won on ground described as soft or worse previously
16/17 – Aged 8 or older
16/17 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
16/17 – Carried 11-3 or less in weight
15/17 – Had run within the last 36 days
12/17 – Won at least 3 times over fences previously
12/17 – Officially Rated 139 or higher
12/17 – Won at Haydock previously
12/17 – Carried 10-12 or less in weight
11/17 – Favourites unplaced
10/17 – Irish bred
10/17 – Won before (fences) over at least 3m
9/17 – Won between 3-5 times over fences before
9/17 – Aged either 8 or 9 years-old
9/17 – From outside the top 3 in the betting
9/17 – Finished in the top 3 in their last race
9/17 – Won over fences at Haydock before
7/17 – Went onto finish unplaced in that season’s Grand National
7/17 – Ran at Wetherby last time out
6/17 – Raced in the Rowland Meyrick (Wetherby) last time out
6/17 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (no winners)
5/17 – Trained by Sue Smith
4/17 – Ridden by Danny Cook
2/17 – Trained by the McCain stable
2/17 – Won their last race
2/17 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 17 runnings is 10/1

 

3.15 – The New One Unibet (Registered as the Champion Hurdle Trial) (Grade 2) Cl1 2m ITV4

15/15 – Won at least twice over hurdles in the UK before
15/15 – Favourites placed in the top 3
13/15 -  From the top 3 in the betting
12/15 – Ran within the last 5 weeks
12/15 – Finished in the top three in their last race
12/15 – Winners that went onto run in that season’s Champion Hurdle
12/15 – Priced 5/2 or shorter
12/15 – Officially Rated 150 or higher
11/15 – Won at least 3 times over hurdles previously
11/15 – Either French (3) or Irish (8) bred
11/15 – Ran at either Cheltenham (4) or Kempton (7) last time out
8/15 – Aged 7 or younger
8/15 – Winning Favourites
4/15 – Placed in the top 4 in that season’s Champion Hurdle (no winners)
3/15 – Won their last race
1/15 – Went onto win that season’s World Hurdle
Ballyandy (5/2) won this race in 2020

 

Taunton Horse Racing Trends (ATR/ITV)

2.10 – Weatherbys Portman Cup Chase (GBB Race) Cl2 (5yo+) 3m4 1/2f ITV4

2 previous runnings
Yala Enki (11/10 fav) won the race in 2020
Trainers Paul Nicholls and Colin Tizzard have won the race before
Trainer Kim Bailey has a 50% record with his chasers at the track
Trainer Tim Vaughan has a 20% record with his chasers at the track
Jockey Bryony Frost has a 27% record riding over fences at the track

 

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Racing Insights, 23rd January 2021

Little went to plan at Lingfield for me today, as course specialist Fizzy Feet abandoned his expected tactics and did what needed to be done ie make all to win. The fact that leading is the best plan at Lingfield was about the only thing I called right, other than it was a tight contest that would be tough to call.

Battered, but not quite defeated, I'll pick myself up for one last tilt at it for this week with a look towards Saturday's racing. Feature of the day is the Trainer/Jockey combo report, whilst our free races are...

  • 1.22 Navan
  • 1.30 Haydock
  • 3.00 Ascot
  • 4.05 Newcastle

Our four free races are a 20-runner maiden hurdle, a 5-runner novice hurdle, a race that Sam Darby has already previewed elsewhere on the site and an 8-runner A/W handicap that looks a 2 horse race with both at short odds, so its off to the Trainer/Jockey combo report (1 year) and a bit of a Geegeez feel to it all, as we sponsor both yard and jockey...

Matt mentioned in his mail-out that no jockey riding at Haydock on Saturday has a better IV in heavy ground in the past 5 years than Geegeez-sponsored Ben Godfrey (2.59) and that's got to be a positive before we even start.

Sam Brown is a 9 yr old gelding, who runs in a Grade 2 handicap chase over 3m2f, whilst Le Coeur Net is another 9 yr old gelding, but he goes in a Class 3 handicap chase over 2m0.5f.

We know from above that the Honeyball/Godfrey alliance has 8 wins and 2 places from 19 over the past year, but those 19 runs include...

  • 7 from 18 in handicaps & 8/13 at odds shorter than 9/1
  • 6/11 on heavy ground & 3/9 on male runners
  • 2/8 over fences and 3/5 in January
  • 3/4 at Class 3, but no run at Class 1
  • 2/4 with Le Coeur Net, but Ben rides Sam Brown for the first time here.

So, to the races, starting with the 2.40 Haydock...

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Sam Brown makes his handicap debut here, our racecard snippets show that Anthony Honeyball has a good record with handicap debutants and they also show that Ben Godfrey is in good nick right now. We already know about the trainer/jockey combo and that Ben rides well on heavy ground.

Instant Expert shows the horse in a very good light and he comes here on the back of finishing third in a Listed event twelve weeks ago. In his defence, he ran for a good while before fading as you'd expect after a 260-day absence. Aside from that run, he was two from three over fences including a Grade 2 win here at Haydock on heavy ground a year ago. He was rated at 148 at the time of that race and won comfortably by 15 lengths, earning him his current mark of 152, which doesn't look too much of an imposition here, especially if you consider that Ben Godfrey can take 5lbs off.

On top of the stats shown in Instant Expert, he is 4 from 4 going left handed, 3 from 4 when not favourite, 2 from 4 over fences, 2 from 2 in January and 1 from 2 at Grade 2, with that Gr 2 heavy ground chase win here a year ago very relevant today.

He likes to get on with things, as shown by the pace tab and that's a tactic that has paid dividends in the past here at Haydock and I'd expect a similar bold show this time, especially if the first-time tongue tie does the job.

Did you know? Anthony Honeyball's runners tongue tied for the first time are 6 from 17 (35.3% SR) since the start of 2020.

*

And now to the 3.50 Haydock...

Once again, the racecard reminds us of Ben Godfrey's form and the TJ Combo stats and Instant Expert also shows that Le Coeur net has some form under the conditions he's likely to face here. In 20 handicap starts over fences, he has made the frame 10 times, winning 5 of them, which is a decent return, although he was a tad disappointing seven weeks ago at Chepstow and will need to improve/bounce back from that, but he had won all three of his previous completed (5 starts in total) runs before that race.

In relation to this race, his 20 handicap chase efforts include...

  • 5 wins, 5 places from 19 in a tongue tie & 4 wins, 4 places from 13 going left handed
  • 3 wins, 4 places from 13 as a non-fav & 3 wins, 2 places from 10 on heavy ground
  • 3 wins, 2 places from 9 under Ben Godfrey & 4 wins, 1 place from 7 over 2m to 2m1f
  • 3 wins, 1 place from 6 in cheekpieces & 2 wins from 5 in fields of 8-11 runners
  • 1 from 2 at Class 3, 1/2 in January, 1/1 after 1-2 months rest, but 0/1 here at Haydock.

All of which points to him having a decent chance of at lest making the frame, if previous form is anything to go by. He is, however, effectively 6lbs worse off than when he last won (2 starts ago) and only a pound better off than that poor run last time out.

Regarding the pace of the race, we've not got enough past data from similar contests to assess what would be the best way of approaching this contest tactically, but it does look like four or five of them will want to get on with it early doors and this could lead them to taking each other on, doing too much and leaving the door open for what is essentially the bottom half of the pace graphic.

Summary

We'll start with Sam Brown, who I have as second best here in my mind behind likely favourite Royale Pagaille with Sam's Adventure my third pick. I suspect that the market might well agree, I'll find out soon. My issue with Royale Pagaille is the weight, he won a soft ground, Class 2 contest over 3 miles by just over three lengths last time out and as he steps up in class and trip here, the ground will be bottomless and he has been raised some 16lbs, which seems punitive.

As for Le Coeur Net, he's definitely good enough to win this, although I rate him fourth here, marginally ahead of long-term absentee Reivers Lad but behind Destined To Shine, Protek des Flos and Black Pirate. As I suggested earlier, Protek might get involved in a burn-out up front, enabling Le Coeur Net to make the frame late on. The question is which horse turns up for Mr Honeyball : the impressive chaser from Plumpton & Ffos Las last November or the Chepstow version from seven weeks ago.

I've now seen the markets, Sam Brown is a best-priced 7/2 second favourite, I had hoped for 4's or better, whilst Le Coeur Net is 11/2, whereas I expected something in the region of 15/2.

I can't back the latter each way at 11/2 and I have reservations over his chances of winning here, so I'll leave him out, but I will chance a couple of quid on Sam Brown at 7/2.

 

Course Form Could Prove Crucial In Tough Ascot Handicap

With Haydock’s card still in doubt we head to Ascot for Saturday’s preview, specifically the bet365 Handicap Chase which will be run at 3pm. The race will be shown on ITV4 and looks a fiendishly difficult puzzle to solve but as usual the aim of this preview will be to shed some light on possible angles using the brilliant form tools on offer with Geegeez Gold.

Pace

As usual we begin with pace to find what run style might be best suited to this contest here.

The Pace Analyser shows us that this sort of distance at Ascot on the chase course often most suits those who race prominently. We don’t have a huge amount of data here admittedly but the win percentage and place percentage figures speak massively in favour of prominent racers and from just 10 races prominent runners have produced a huge Win PL of 62.5 and an IV of 2.44.

Front runners are next best according to the data we have ahead of mid division and then hold up performers.

If we narrow things down further to races run only on soft or heavy ground we lose some of our data so I’ve included slightly smaller fields too to add some more data in. In total we are looking at seven races and five of those have been won by prominent racers. Prominent racers have also provided twice as many placed finishers as any other running style. Front runners and prominent racers combined have produced 60% of the placed horses from less than 50% of the runners.

Let’s have a look at the pace map for this race:

There could be a contested pace here with Colorado Doc, Bennys King and Dashel Drasher all likely to be keen to get on with things. Of that trio Bennys King is the only one who has proven he can dominate and win in big fields at this kind of level.

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Prominent racers were most favoured by the course pace analysis and Young Wolf, Espoir De Guye and Good Boy Bobby seem most likely to fill those prominent positions just off the pace.

Instant Expert

Instant Expert is always extremely useful in races of this nature. Let’s first take a look at the place data across all codes:

Now the win data, only for chases:

Both are sorted by course record as I always like proven right handed form at right handed courses over jumps, especially course form.

Good Boy Bobby and Jerrysback seem most reliable in this sort of going, the former has extensive experience in soft or heavy ground and seems guaranteed to go through it with few problems. The runners with the biggest going questions marks are relatively unconsidered in the betting it seems.

Plenty of runners have a decent record of at least placing in class 2 races. Espoir De Guye has won both his chases in class 2 company whilst Dashel Drasher and Acting Lass are both 2 from 3 in class 2 races. Good Boy Bobby may have failed to win in both his class 2 chases but he was runner up in both contests so shouldn’t be judged harshly.

Bennys King and Dashel Drasher both have a 100% record of placing at Ascot whilst Espoir De Guye and Acting Lass are 2 from 3 and 2 from 4 respectively in terms of placing. There are six course chase winners in the field. Espoir De Guye has 2 wins from 3 runs here with Dashel Drasher the only horse showing off a 100% win record over these fences.

Good Boy Bobby has not yet raced here which can’t be held against him but what does stand out as a worry is his failure to win in four runs at this kind of trip.

It was previously mentioned that Benny’s King has proven he can dominate big fields, he has won two of his three races in this sort of field size whilst Espoir De Guye is one from two.

So according to Instant Expert Espoir De Guye, Dashel Drasher are potentially amongst the most solid contenders, for all Dashel Drasher is unproven in big fields, with Gold Old Bobby having a fair few question marks hanging over him for one that is so well fancied in the betting.

Trainers

With Ascot such a prestigious track it could be interesting to see how each of the trainers involved here perform at the course. For this we can use the Query Tool.

Sean Curran comes out on top in terms of course IV from the past five years but with just two runners in that time we can’t draw too many conclusions. That’s certainly not a negative for the chances of Domaine De L’Isle though.

Jeremy Scott has also had limited qualifying runners from two from seven is a very good strike rate and that would be a another plus for Dashel Drasher.

Of the trainers with much more experience here over the past five years Harry Fry, Paul Nicholls, Venetia Williams, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Philip Hobbs all have more than their fair share of winners whilst the records of Jonjo O’Neill, Brian Ellison and Philip Kirby are less than impressive, although the latter two trainers have only had limited runners here.

Jockeys

Going can have an effect on jockey performance so let’s take a look at how these jockeys have performed here at Ascot on soft or heavy ground over the past five years:

Matt Griffiths, jockey for Dashel Drasher, has only had one ride here on soft or heavy but it was a victorious one and it would be quite remarkable if he could make it two from two here. Brian Hughes and Harry Skelton, who ride Windsor Avenue and Bennys King respectively, both have more experience and strong records here on testing ground.

The data suggests Harry Cobden, Sean Bowen and Daryl Jacob underperform at Ascot in soft or heavy ground so that is possibly a negative against the chances of Capeland, Acting Lass and Good Boy Bobby.

Verdict

Good Boy Bobby does have some questions to answer but he certainly brings strong form into this. His Cheltenham run a month ago, when 4th, has been working out nicely with three subsequent winners in behind and the winner going on to finish a decent 3rd next time. He’s short enough in the betting though so happy enough to leave him alone.

Bennys King is well proven around here and for him it’s mainly a question over whether he’s still well enough handicapped to win a race like this. He should run well but could be slightly vulnerable for win purposes.

Dashel Drasher has lots going for him and is two from two at Ascot over fences and hurdles. Ability to run well in bigger fields can be overlooked in races like this and he wasn’t at his best in bigger fields earlier in his career and much of his best form has come in smaller fields so he could be worth opposing here.

Espoir De Guye’s name kept popping up in Instant Expert as a solid contender and he represents a trainer that does pretty well here for a jockey that does pretty well here in testing conditions. He’s still lightly raced, proven at Ascot and should be well enough placed. He clearly didn’t stay 3m on his last run and a return to this trip will suit (he wouldn’t mind dropping even further in trip in all likelihood). He’s a fair enough price for an each way punt in what looks a really tricky race.

Peter Marsh Chase Trends

The Peter Marsh Chase is a Grade Two race run over 3m that is staged at Haydock Park racecourse.

First run in 1981 the contest is sometimes billed as another Grand National trial, but we’ve yet to see a winner of this race land the Aintree marathon in the same season, although the 1995 winner, Earth Summit, did go onto win the Grand National 3 years later.

The 2020 Peter Marsh Chase was won by the Sue Smith-trained Vintage Clouds - the Sue Smith yard have won 5 of the last 17 runnings.

Here at GEEGEEZ we take a look back at recent winners and gives you the main stats to look out for ahead of the 2021 renewal – this year run on Saturday January 23rd.

 

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Recent Peter Marsh Chase Winners

2020 – VINTAGE CLOUDS (7/1)
2019 - WAKANDA (6/1)
2018 – THE DUTCHMAN (13/2)
2017 – BRISTOL DE MAI (4/1 jfav)
2016 – CLOUDY TOO (6/1)
2015 – SAMSTOWN (16/1)
2014 – WYCHWOODS BROOK (16/1)
2013 – No race
2012 – ACCORDING TO PETE (9/1)
2011 – No race
2010 – OUR VIC (20/1)
2009 – CLOUDY LANE (6/1)
2008 – No race
2007 – THE OUTLIER (8/1)
2006 – EBONY LIGHT (33/1)
2005 – LORD TRANSCEND (9/4 fav)
2004 – ARTIC JACK (6/1)
2003 – TRUCKERS TAVERN (9/2)
2002 – RED STRIKER (8/1)
2001 – No race
2000 – THE LAST FLING (11/2)

Key Peter Marsh Chase Betting Trends

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17/17 – Won on ground described as soft or worse previously
16/17 – Aged 8 or older
16/17 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
16/17 – Carried 11-3 or less in weight
15/17 – Had run within the last 36 days
12/17 – Won at least 3 times over fences previously
12/17 – Officially Rated 139 or higher
12/17 – Won at Haydock previously
12/17 – Carried 10-12 or less in weight
11/17 – Favourites unplaced
10/17 – Irish bred
10/17 – Won before (fences) over at least 3m
9/17 – Won between 3-5 times over fences before
9/17 – Aged either 8 or 9 years-old
9/17 – From outside the top 3 in the betting
9/17 – Finished in the top 3 in their last race
9/17 – Won over fences at Haydock before
7/17 – Went onto finish unplaced in that season’s Grand National
7/17 – Ran at Wetherby last time out
6/17 – Raced in the Rowland Meyrick (Wetherby) last time out
6/17 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (no winners)
5/17 – Trained by Sue Smith
4/17 – Ridden by Danny Cook
2/17 – Trained by the McCain stable
2/17 – Won their last race
2/17 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 17 runnings is 10/1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clarence House Chase Trends

Staged at Ascot racecourse the Clarence House Chase is a Grade One contest run over a distance of 2m1f.

The Clarence House Chase was first run back in 1989 when the popular Desert Orchid won the prize as a 10 year-old. The race is also a good guide to that season’s Queen Mother Champion Chase with Sprinter Sacre landing both races in 2013, Sire de Grugy in 2014, while Dodging Bullets did the same double in 2015. In more recent years, the Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux has made the race his own by landing three of the last five renewals, while Altior landed the 2019 renewal.

The 2020 running though was won by the Philip Hobbs-trained Defi Du Seuil.

Trainers Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls has also won the race five times each and– as mentioned – the Willie Mullins camp have taken three of the last five runnings.

Here at GEEGEEZ we are on hand with all the key stats ahead of the 2021 renewal – this year run on Saturday 23rd January.

Recent Clarence House Chase Winners

2020 - DEFI DU SEUIL (11/10 fav)
2019 – ALTIOR (1/10 fav)
2018 - UN DE SCEAUX (4/9 fav)
2017 – UN DE SCEAUX (1/2 fav)
2016 – UN DE SCEAUX (1/2 fav)
2015 – DODGING BULLETS (7/2)
2014 – SIRE DE GRUGY (5/4 fav)
2013 – SPRINTER SACRE (1/5 fav)
2012 – SOMERSBY (9/2)
2011 – MASTER MINDED (4/7 fav)
2010 – TWIST MAGIC (11/8 fav)
2009 – MASTER MINDED (1/4 fav)
2008 – TAMARINBLEU (12/1)
2007 – No Race
2006 – TYSOU (10/1)
2005 – WELL CHIEF (5/1)
2004 – ISIO (4/1)
2003 – No Race

Clarence House Chase Past Trends

17/17 – Raced within the last 7 weeks
17/17 – Won at least 3 times (fences) previously
16/17 – Won by a horse aged 9 or younger
16/17 – Won a race over fences at 2m1f or further
15/17 – Winners from the top 3 in the betting market
15/17 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival
14/17 – Favourites placed
12/17 – Won by a French-bred horse
12/17 – Won their last race
11/17 – Went onto run in that season’s Champion Chase (5 winners)
10/17 – Raced at Sandown (6) or Wetherby (3) last time out
10/17 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
10/17 – Favourites that won
8/17 – Winning distance – 4 lengths or less
7/17 – Won by a horse aged 8 years-old
5/17 – Went onto win the Champion Chase that season (2009 - Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre 2013, 2014 Sire de Grugy, 2015 Dodging Bullets, 2019 Altior)
4/17 – Won by the Paul Nicholls stable (won the race 5 times in all)
4/17 – Had won the Tingle Creek Chase (Sandown) last time out
4/17 – Won by the Nicky Henderson stable (won the race 5 times in all)
3/17 – Trained by Willie Mullins
2/17 – Won by the Pipe stable
Since 1989 there have only been 3 winners aged in double-figures
Since 1989 (29 runnings) there have been 12 winners aged 8 years-old
Un De Sceaux has won the race in 2016, 2017 and 2018

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The average winning SP in the last 14 runnings is 10/3

Note:
2006 – Renewal at Sandown
2005 & 2017 – Renewals at Cheltenham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Racing Insights, 22nd January 2021

I seem to be backing more placers than winners right now with today's pick Rafiot also getting close but not close enough. That is probably the story of the race, if truth be told. I think he got going too late, had too much to do and could only finish third in the end.

No point crying over spilt milk, though, Friday is almost upon us and its feature of the day is the excellent Horses for Courses report, whilst day's free races are for...

  • 2.35 Lingfield
  • 4.00 Dundalk
  • 6.30 Dundalk

And although it only has five runners, one of those is on the Horses for Courses report in what looks a competitive Class 2 A/W (Polytrack) handicap over 6f, the 2.35 Lingfield...

...a race made even more interesting by the fact that the first four on the card raced against each other last time out. That was 16 days ago (Class 2, 6f) at Kempton where they were separated by just half a length...

...where Aberama Gold was best in at the weights and Brian The Snail technically worst off. If we stick with Brian The Snail for a moment, he carried 9st 2lbs as they all did and was rated 98, he goes off 98 again here and carries 9st 2lbs again and we can assess from there, based on what someone far wiser than me one told me : that a length over 6 furlongs is worth 2.5 to 2.8lbs

Above beat Brian by half a length, but is now carrying 2lbs more, so is technically at least 0.6lbs worse off (1.4lbs better for the half length, but carrying 2lbs more). Aberama was half a length behind Brian and now carries 5lbs more, whilst Streamline was a length behind and now carries a pound less.

So, based on rudimentary maths, Brian The Snail should technically beat Streamline by approximately a neck, Above by around a quarter length and Aberama Gold by a length and a half. But that's just theory based on last time out and weight and assumes they'll run the same way. It also doesn't take in to account  runner 5 Fizzy Feet, who just happens to be the horses for courses horse!

And so to the race itself. Aberama Gold was in great form prior to the Kempton defeat where we should remember that although he was 5th of 6 that day, he was only beaten by just over a length and a half and is a former course and distance winner here when visiting this track for the first time two starts ago when he actually beat Brian The Snail by half a length. This is a horse who won a Listed (Rockingham) race over 6f as a 2 yr old, so there's some ability there as seen in a career record of 6 wins from 20 including...

  • 5/18 under today's jockey & 5/17 over 6f
  • 4/6 at Class 2 & 2/3 on Standard A/W going
  • 2/2 going left handed & 1/1 here at Lingfield (over C&D 2LR)
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He's on a career high mark of 103 now but did win off 101 in that track/trip success here recently.

Above was the first of this quartet home last time out and was only caught and headed very late on, going down by half a length and it's now over 17 months since he last won a race, finishing 60223 since. That said, he was 6th of 6 and beaten by less than 4 lengths in a Listed race at Dundalk, 10th of 13 in a Group 3 at Ascot despite being off the track for 258 days, a runner-up beaten by three quarters of a length in a Listed race at Windsor and then two Class 2 places going down by a neck and then half a length LTO. So, he's better than his bare form line suggests and he now goes back to handicapping (2nd time ever) for the first time since that win six starts ago.

His rider and trainer are both in good form and his yard have done well here at Lingfield in the past. He hasn't raced here before but is 1162 on Std going and 1162 going left handed, so that's a positive. He hasn't won beyond Class 4 though and he does seem better over 7f rather than 6.

Brian The Snail is the one I based the weights around initially and as above, he was narrowly beaten over course and distance by Aberama Gold two starts ago as he came agonisingly close to landing a 60-day, 6f, A/W, handicap hat-trick. As well as beating Aberama off level weights LTO, he's 2 lbs better off for the rematch from two starts ago. His yard don't have the best record here at Lingfield if truth be told (just 11/167 = 6.6% SR in A/W hcps here since the start of 2016) and stat-wise, this horse is a bit of a mixed bag. He's 6 from 30 over 6 furlongs and has finished 11124 in his last five A/W handicaps, he's 4 from 1`2 under today's jockey and was a runner-up on his only previous run here. However, he's 1 from 26 at Class 2 and is a far better runner at Class 3.

Fizzy Feet is the one we've barely mentioned so far, but unsurprisingly (I suppose based on the other four runners) does have some collateral form to look at. He was last seen on Boxing Day in the same race that Above was a neck away from winning at Wolverhampton. Fizzy Feet was the last of six that day, some 8.5 lengths behind Above, but that was on Tapeta and this is Lingfield, where he's today's horses for courses horse! He's also well featured on the in-card stats as follows...

...which give us plenty of reasons to be interested here. Career-wise, he is...

  • 6 /24 going left handed & 6/20 on Std going
  • 6/18 within a month of his last run & 4/15 over 6f
  • 3/6 over course and distance but 0 from 4 at Class 2.

Like Brian above, he's a better horse at Class 3 and although his jockey is in good form right now, it'll be their first time together and I think I'd have preferred either of Hollie Doyle or Richard Kingscote to be on board as they're both 2 from 5 on this horse to date.

And that brings us to Streamline, last of the six home last time out in that 6f C2 event at Kempton, but only 2 lengths off the pace, which was some going to be fair as it had been 16 months since his last race, when he actually landed a Group 3 (Sirenia Stakes) contest over that Kempton track and trip and although the form of that race hasn't proved to be particularly strong (his rivals have 0 wins and just 5 places from 27 subsequent runs) you can only beat what's put in front of you.

He'd only raced three time prior to that win, landing two novice races at Classes 4 & 5 before going down by just a length in a 5f Listed sprint at York, so although lightly raced he probably took the best credentials into that race earlier this month, notwithstanding he needed the run.

I'd imagine that much of  what appears on Instant Expert will have been documented above, but just in case I missed anything, IE does give a far quicker overview of suitability...

...and the "stands out like a sore thumb" column is class 2, of course. Aberama Gold is the class specialist, but we should remember from above that Streamline has a win and a place from two Class 1 efforts.

The draw/pace/tactics of this race are likely to be the key to unravelling this tricky contest or at least I certainly hope they'll be helpful, starting wioth the draw, where stall 3 seems to be far more successful than the other four, so good news for Above...

...whilst if you're drawn high, you want to be leading and mid drawn horse need to be prominent or better...

and when we overlay our horses' running styles...

...none of them are massively inconvenienced if truth be told.

Summary

At the outset, this looked a compellingly competitive small field contest and I still see it just as that. I think you can make a case for all five to win here and the prudent option would be for me to say I've not really cracked this one and to leave it alone.

I could, however, see if I can find a reason not to back them? And from my analysis further up the page...

Aberama Gold : He's on a career high mark of 103
Above  : He hasn't won beyond Class 4 though and he does seem better over 7f rather than 6.
Brian The Snail : 1 from 26 at Class 2 and is a far better runner at Class 3.
Fizzy Feet : 0 from 4 at Class 2, no win in five, new jockey on board
Streamline : lightly raced, possible after-effects from a long lay-off and the form of his best run hasn't panned out.

For me, it's likely to be a no bet situation, but if I had to stick my neck out (I can almost hear you shouting at me to do so) after seeing the market, I'd have a marginal preference for Streamline at 10/3. If he runs to his ability, he's the best here. Whether he does or not is the bet.

 

Racing Insights, 21st January 2021

Wednesday's race went agonisingly the same way as Tuesday's. A runner suffering a narrow defeat after a three mile slog on heavy ground having been sent off much shorter than when I picked him out. Like Tuesday's pick, Le Tueur was far from disgraced by finishing a three-quarter length second to the horse I'd thought was the best in the race, especially as the third horse home was some 46 lengths further back.

I lost a couple of quid there, but certainly got my money's worth at 11/2 and now to Thursday, where Instant Expert is offered to all users for all races, including the "races of the day" which are...

  • 1.00 Lingfield
  • 3.40 Ludlow
  • 3.50 Wincanton
  • 7.00 Newcastle

And I'm going to use Instant Expert as a way in of looking at a horse that interests me in the opening race of the day. Rafiot is a 5 yr old gelding in decent form and will run in Thursday's 12.30 Lingfield, an 11-runner, Class 5, A/W (Polytrack) handicap over 1m4f. The horse caught my eye on The Shortlist report, if truth be told, so I headed over to the racecard and looked at the Instant Expert tab...

...and thought that he was worth a second glance if nothing else. So that's what I'm going to do, starting with his entry on the racecard (and its associated angles) as follows...

So, two wins and a place from his last four efforts, he's the only course and distance winner in the field here, his yard is in good form and 7lb claimer Rhys Clutterbuck has a more than decent record when riding here for Gary Moore with an almost 1 in 3 record and making the frame more than half the time.

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To put that trainer/jockey combo into perspective, Rhys has a 10.9% career strike rate to date, but he is 13.5% here at Lingfield, 14.1% for Gary Moore and 17.2% for track/trainer.

Rafiot won here over course and distance last time out, five weeks ago, landing an apprentice handicap by half a length ahead of the re-opposing Bashful Boy. That margin of victory could be misleading and he was pulling clear at the finish and could well have won by further had he wanted/needed to, it was a smart piece of riding to be fair.

He's up just 3lbs for that win, but Rhys claims 7lbs here instead of the 3lbs allowed last time for the apprentice race, so we're effectively a pound lower coming here. Bashful Boy has since been beaten by eight lengths at this class/trip and now runs off a mark 3lbs higher than the contest here five weeks ago, so he has at least half a length and four pounds to find, which will be tough.

Further confidence comes from the third place horse that day, My Girl Maggie. She was 2.5 lengths behind Rafiot here, but is 2 from 2 since : winning a C5 1m4f handicap off the same mark as here and then she landed a C4 1m6f off 6lbs higher, so I'm hoping there's some validity to her form.

Rafiot's suitability for the task ahead is shown by Instant Expert above, the resultant form of the placers from LTO gives confidence and we've the trainer/jockey stats above, but what of the race itself?

Well, he's drawn in stall 1 and in 11-runner handicaps here in the past, that's an excellent place to be...

...and with a likely mid-division position, he should be well poised for a late push for the line...

The pace/draw overlay also suggests he's well drawn for his running style...

 

...with very few (if any) looking better suited. So as I've not found anything yet to suggest he isn't worth taking a chance on, let's have a closer look at his recent form. He has finished 1031 in his last four, the elephant in the room being a 12th of 12 finish at Goodwood.

I'm actually quite happy to ignore that run because that was the first run off his new mark of 69 (he'd gone up 4lbs that day), it was his first non-hurdles effort at Class 4 (the other three recent runs were all at Class 5, like this one) and it was his only career run on heavy ground to date, so there are some mitigating circumstances there.

He won a C5, 1m handicap at Goodwood and was then third here over track and trip prior to that course and distance success last time out.

Summary

Rafiot looks competitive on form, he was impressive last time out when given a good ride by Rhys Clutterbuck who retains the ride here and the yard are on top form. The jockey rides well for the trainer here and I'd be happy to back Rafiot if I can get 3/1 or (hopefully) bigger. he's currently 11/4 with Hills, the first to break cover, so there's a chance I might get on.

 

Racing Insights, 20th January 2021

The going turned heavy at Exeter this afternoon hindering Ballybreen's bid to lug top weight around 3 miles in the mud, but he was far from disgraced finishing as a runner-up less than 2 lengths behind fellow joint favourite Don Herbager who was receiving 12lbs from our pick. 3/1 proved to be good value about a 2/1 jt fav, but he just couldn't quite land the spoils for us.

Wednesday's feature of the day is the Trainer Stats report, whilst our free races of the day are...

  • 1.05 Chepstow
  • 2.20 Newcastle
  • 4.05 Newbury
  • 5.45 Dundalk
  • 7.15 Dundalk

To be honest, neither our featured races nor the Trainer Stats report hold anything for me to get my teeth into for you, so I'm going to try something a little different that might also seem vaguely familiar in a way.

As you might know, most of my own betting comes from stats and I have a huge number of micro-systems that generate lots of potential qualifiers each day. Some horses appear on more than one micro-system and therefore become of increased interest to me. That doesn't mean they're going to win, of course, but it does mean they're worth a second glance.

To this end, I'm going to look at a horse called Le Tueur, a lightly-raced (just 5 previous starts) 6 yr old gelding who'll race in the 3.15 Chepstow, a Class 4, 2m7.5f, handicap hurdle for 4yo+ on heavy ground. The prize is almost £3,769 and James Bowen rides for father Peter. Here's the card...

Le Tueur heads the Geegeez Ratings which is a positive and on form, it looks like Little Red Lion and Memphis Bell would be the two he'd need to beat to win here. But what brought him to my attention?

Well, he featured on several on my trainer-based angles, so here is just a quartet of them to give you some idea of the kind of other things I have running in the background aside from the obvious racecard tools I use.

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1. Since the start of 2016, Peter Bowen's NH handicappers sent off shorter than 8/1 (I expect this to happen here) on ground officially deemed Soft or "worse" have a strike rate of 23.2% by virtue of winning 36 of 155 contests.

2. Le Tueur was sent off a 100/30 favourite when beaten last time out and since the start of 2017, Peter Bowen's UK NH runners who were a beaten favourite last time out have turned the form round to win 25 of 103 (24.3% SR) races next time out. From these 103 runners...

  • those who were beaten favs LTO in the previous 45 days are 21 from 74 (28.4% SR)
  • those who didn't even make the frame LTO are 16 from 65 (24.6% SR)
  • whilst those failing to make the frame LTO in the past 45 days are 13 from 44 (29.6% SR)

3. But prior to finishing fourth last time out, Le Tueur was a winner and Peter Bowen's NH handicappers who won two starts ago and were then fourth are 5 from 10 (50% SR) when turned back out less than three weeks after that defeat, finishing 221U112131 in the process.

4. And finally for now regarding the trainer, Peter's record with 8/1 Class 4 handicap hurdlers stands at 18 winners from 86 (20.9% SR) since the start of 2017, from which...

  • jockey James Bowen is 8 from 28 (28.6%)
  • soft or worse ground runners are 8 from 25 (32%)
  • and on heavy : 2 from 5 (40%)

You might also have noticed the C1 next to jockey James' name on the card and that's because he was 4 from 14 (28.6%) on this track in 2020.

It's useful to have those stats to hand when looking at a horse that has only raced on five previous occasions, but he was second on debut over 2m5f on heavy ground in a Class 4 hurdle and won two starts ago at Ffos Las over 3m0.5f on soft ground despite hitting the last hurdle. He wasn't as good last time out, but led until after 2 out in a soft ground 3m2f contest before fading out of contention.

The way he ran until 2 out suggests that the 2.5f drop back in trip might be beneficial here and he gets to have another crack off the same mark as last time, despite going so well for much of the race.

Instant Expert probably won't tell us too much, other than backing up what I've already said about him...

In recent outings, he has raced fairly prominently and has led at times, but he'll probably be better off if he sits in here as this track/trip has proved difficult to win at of late if trying to set the fractions on heavy ground, as our pace stats/map show...

If that's how the race pans out, it looks good for both our featured runner and form horse Little Red Lion, whilst the other in-form runner, Memphis Bell will have her work cut out of sitting at the back here.

Overall, the records of trainer and jockey suggest Le Tueur should be involved in the shake-up here. Five career starts aren't really enough to base a firm decision upon, but there are some positive signs re: going and trip, but can/will he win?

Summary

Yes, Le Tueur can win this, but I'm not entirely convinced he will. He's a solid placer in my opinion, which is a good start, but I have Little Red Lion & Memphis Bell (not far) ahead of him in that order. So, we'd need things to land our way if our featured runner in to win, so let's see where it might go wrong for the two main rivals.

Little Red Lion hasn't seen a hurdle competitively for the best part of eleven months when he narrowly (short head) landed a Class 5 contest. This is a step up in class from that race and he goes off a mark 10lbs higher than today. He has had four runs over fences since and although he has narrowly won two of them, he has ended up on the ground in the other two. This could affect his confidence and that allied to the rise in class/weight from his last hurdle run must cast some doubts on him?

Memphis Bell seeks a fifth win on the bounce inside less than 20 weeks where her mark has gone up by some 29lbs and you have to wonder how much she has left in the tank before needing a rest. Up another 8lbs for her last win, she'll now need to try and concede weight all round and lug 11st 11lbs around on heavy ground and that has to be a worry. I notice that she's also entered into a better race at Ludlow for Thursday where she'll carry less weight than here, in fact she'll be bottom weight there, so I wouldn't be surprised if she swerves this one and heads to Ludlow.

Thus, if Little Red Lion & Memphis Bell aren't quite at it or don't even run, then yes, our chances will improve. I suppose it all depends on price now. I'd have hoped for 6/1 or better and at 5.40pm Le Tueur is a solid 11/2 from the handful of bookies to show their hands. I've a feeling he might drift initially, so if I can get 6's, I'll have a small punt on Le Tueur with the caveat that he's far from certain to win. Some of you might want to play the place market on an exchange.

 

Racing Insights, 19th January 2021

Tuesday's feature of the day is the Shortlist Report and our free races of the day are...

  • 1.05 Clonmel
  • 2.35 Clonmel
  • 3.45 Exeter
  • 3.55 Fakenham

The Shortlist Report looks like this today...

...so why don't we see if Ballybreen is likely to land the spoils in the 3.45 Exeter, as that's one of our free races?

The card...

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...says that he, Apple's Queen and Sandford Castle are the form horses here. His trainer is the only trainer with both a positive form (30) and course record (C5) icon and he heads the Geegeez Speed Ratings. He's one of only three course and distance winners and actually won this very contest a year ago.

As you'd expect, Instant Expert paints a good picture of him, although the red for his soft ground performances might be a little misleading, but I'll come to that shortly, of course!

You'll also notice that he's now 7lbs higher for winning five days ago, but that probably doesn't tell the whole story of a 32 length success, where he made all and was well clear from a long way out and would probably have still coasted home carrying a bag of wet sand. Those front running tactics will probably be used again today, but is that a good idea here at Exeter?

Well, with 9 wins from the 15 horses to have tried to win 13 similar races from the front, I'd say that leading is the best plan of attack and our pace tab suggests that's exactly what he'll do.

So from the card and its Instant Expert & Pace tabs, I've still no reason not to believe he can and will win this one. Time for a closer look at his numbers, I think.

His record over fences reads 111281 since the start of 2020 and he's never usually left in the shed too long. The exception to that was the one bad result in that list, when last of 8 over 3m2f on heavy ground having being laid off for 222 days. He still ran from the front that day but tired in the closing stages, as he'd be entitled to, so I don't read too much into that defeat. I'd also add that he wasn't wearing blinkers that day either, but does normally and will here.

In those six races and of relevance here, Conor Ring was in the saddle for all six, he finished 11121 in blinkers, 1112 going right handed, he won 3 from 3 in January, 2 from 2 over this trip (and 2 from 3 at 3m1.5f/3m2f), he had one win and one runner-up finish from two runs here at Exeter and the same record on soft ground (much better recently on soft than his previous form) and he did, of course, win this race a year ago on heavy ground.

Summary

It might all seem a bit short and sweet, but some days/races it takes virtually no time at all to come to a decision, especially when the compelling evidence is pretty much handed to you. I liked Ballybreen last time out and he won at a decent price. I like him here and I don't think 7lbs was the difference between him winning and not winning last time out.

So, yes, Ballybreen for me. 3/1 looks a tad generous as I was expecting 9/4 or 5/2 at best, I'm on!

Racing Insights, 18th January 2021

Count Otto abandoned his usual/expected tactics and ran his best race for some time, meaning my favoured runner Total Commitment was an 11/4 (from 4/1) runner-up at Lingfield on Saturday, I'm afraid.

Ah, well, Monday heralds a new week and a new challenge/opportunity. To assist us, we offer the pace tab for ALL races to ALL users, as well as full free racecards for the following...

  • 12.15 Lingfield
  • 12.55 Ayr
  • 4.05 Ayr
  • 6.40 Wolverhampton

Lingfield is an A/W bumpers meeting (say no more), the two Ayr races are a novice hurdle and a bumper, so by process of elimination I'm going to focus my efforts on the 6.40 Wolverhampton, an 8-runner (hopefully it says that way for E/W bettors), Class 3, A/W (Tapeta) handicap for 4yo+ runners, who all just happen to be geldings today. The trip is officially 1m1.5f, the top prize is £7,246 and the card looks like this...

Teston's UK record stands at 1 win and 1 place from 3 runs so far and now steps up in trip after finishing as runner up at Southwell over 7 furlongs last time out. That was his first run on the A/W in this country, but had a win and four places from 8 A/W runs over 9/9.5 furlongs in France. He also won three races over a mile on turf across the Channel before scoring on his UK debut at Doncaster over a mile in this grade last June. Bears top weight off a mark of 97, a mark unaltered from his last outing and if adapting to the Tapeta has every chance of being in the final mix.

Power of States is bang in form, albeit all at Chelmsford where all six of his career A/W runs have taken place. He has finished 121113 in those six, a stark contrast to his 0 from 11 on turf. He's three from five over 1m2f at Chelmsford, so the trip itself is well within him and his usual visor and tongue tie will be worn here. He was only third last time out off a mark of 89, so going off 90 here doesn't do him any favours and he's stepping up in class. That said, his yard are 36 from 153 (23.5% SR) here on the Tapeta with horses tackling it for the first time winning 27 of 113 (23.9% SR). Those are positive numbers, which leave me wondering why only 40 have run here more than once, but that's for another day, I suppose!

Home Before Dusk was fifth off a mark of 91 at Class 2 last time out and is eased a pound as he drops down to Class 3, so that should help him as he attempts to improve upon his own record of 5 wins and 3 places from 13 in Tapeta handicaps, including 5 wins, 2 places from 10 over 8-10f, 2 wins and a place from 5 under today's jockey and a win from two goes over this course and distance. I wouldn't rule him out totally based on those numbers, but the reality is that he hasn't run well in any of his seven defeats over the last eleven months since winning at Kempton off a mark of 92. This is within his capabilities on history, but form suggests others will make more appeal.

Mythical Madness finished 121 in his last three races, but all were on turf at Class 4 over a mile in a twelve day period seven months ago. The 10 yr old hasn't been seen since then and is likely to need a run before being seen at whatever his best is nowadays. History suggests he's better on the Flat (6/31 = 19.4%) where he wins more than twice as often as he does on the A/W (4/43 = 9.3%), but he is 3 from 16 (18.75%) here at Wolverhampton over 8.5-9.5f. Sadly his last decent run here came a month shy of four years ago, when beaten by a neck off a mark of 101. In his favour, though, is a mark of 87 today and the fact he was in good nick before his rest. If ready to go first up, he's well weighted and capable here, but I can't see it happening on the basis of history, especially stepping up in class.

Ledham is a really interesting 6 yr old and one to probably watch here with a view to possibly backing next time out. Fourth of eight on debut in August 2017, then put back in his box for 282 days before finishing 2nd of 16 in mid-May 2018. He ran four more times that season, winning a class 5, finishing as runner-up then as a winner in two Class 3 contests, before a third of ten at Class 2 in October 2018. Another long (193 days) layoff followed and then he re-appeared to finish as a runner-up in a ten-runner C2 handicap at Haydock over a mile on soft ground in late April 2019. He hasn't been seen since and now returns some 632 days later. He has won on this track before, he's down in class, down 3lbs in the ratings, was gelded back in November and moved yards last week. If he can get 1m on soft at Haydock, he should get this trip and he clearly has gone well fresh in the past, but you'd need some bravery to back him here, wouldn't you?

Kaser comes here armed to the teeth with a volume of stats to suggest he'll go well, as follows (easier to copy and paste than type!)...

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...chuck in his trainer's record of 11 wins from 54 (20.4% SR, A/E 1.59) in course and distance handicaps since the start of 2018 and you've certainly got something worth a second glance. Kaser, himself, is 4 from 11 over course and distance which skews the stats slightly and hasn't ran particularly well here in his two C&D efforts this winter. He was 11th of 13 and in rear throughout at this grade in mid-November and then a similar run as 9th of 10 last time out. He was ridden by two claimers in those races and recent rider Laura Pearson has been replaced by Rossa Ryan. Laura now rides Avarice here and Kaser is now effectively 5lbs worse off for that defeat, due to the jockey claim. Rossa Ryan is in good form, of course and rides this track well, but a minor place has to be the best he can hope for here.

The afore-mentioned Avarice is probably left well alone here to be brutally honest. No previous run in the UK, no previous run on an artificial surface and probably needs a stiffer test. He's not a poor horse as a run of results reading 2212 after his debut will testify. Admittedly beaten by eight lengths last time out, but that was over 1m4f on soft ground on a contest worth over £20k. He gets 1m2f on soft well enough, so even if adapting to Tapeta first up, I think this'll be too sharp for him.

Athmad makes up our octet and he's well proven at this track having finished 1141331 here over 8.5-9.5f, including 1331 over course and distance, the last of those runs being his last run overall when prevailing by a length here a fortnight ago. But he's up 4lbs and up in class for that win and has never won any race better than a low-prize (ie sub-£6k) Class 4 contest, failing to even make the frame in eight such contests. That said, all runs have to come to an end and having seen the opposition, he has every chance of being in the shake-up here. His yard is in good form too and he's definitely worth considering at this stage.

*

We know already that a couple of these should be suited by conditions, but the easiest way of checking all runners at once is via our unique traffic-light colour (green = good, amber = moderate, red= not so good) coded Instant Expert (click the tab on the racecard)...

...where only Mythical Madness looks to be struggling. Power of States is up 6lb from his last win, but is in prime form and the stats behind the returning Ledham and course specialist Athmad are clearly laid out.

In similar previous contests to this one, we get the impression that the higher the sector of the draw the better, as seen below...

...and stalls 5 to 8 have certainly outperformed those in stalls 1-4 winning 55% of the races...

History also tells us that the three best pace/draw combinations are highly drawn leaders, highly drawn prominent runners and then prominent/mid-division runs from a low draw, which I suppose makes sense as the low draw would just tuck in as the higher drawn pace setters come across...

We can then overlay the past running styles of our eight runners to see how the race might unfold as follows...

...where Teston looks particularly well suited, whilst Athmad is also in a good place. The in-form Power of States is likely to race a bit further forward, I'd have thought, as he won't want the race to be "nicked" at the front by the front-running Teston. Should he step up, that would be a shrewd move in my opinion, but even if they just actually break in that order above, he's mid-division anyway!

The two most inconvenienced by the draw/running-style combo are the the two drawn widest and that doesn't bode well for Kaser's efforts to maintain his form at this venue.

Summary

Lots with chances or reasons to at least be positive about their chances. Power of States will be popular and I expect him to go off as favourite, probably in the 5/2 type of odds and whilst he has every chance here and should definitely make the frame, the one I like more is Teston. His French form, allied to his Instant Expert showing and the pace/draw positioning make him the one to beat for me. I don't think I'll get the 4/1 or better that I was hoping for, but he's the one I fancy most here.

Elsewhere, Athmad should go well and could threaten the two I've mentioned in this summary. Kaser would be of interest from an E/W perspective, but 8/1 is too short. Home Before Dusk, Mythical Madness and Avarice hold little appeal to me and if I wanted a small E/W punt at a decent price, Ledham would be the one at 20's or bigger not withstanding he'll probably need the run and come up short this time.

 

 

 

Racing Insights, 16th January 2021

As was pretty much expected, the even money favourite Star of St James prevailed at Southwell this afternoon/evening with my "biggest danger" the 13/2 overnight Native Silver finishing just a half length back as runner-up. Well done to those jumping on the forecast/exacta (the latter paid 5.2/1), but sadly my "E/W pick at a price" runner was withdrawn.

Saturday's free feature is the marvellous Trainer/Jockey Combo Report, which highlights successful partnerships whilst our free racecards for the following races are open to all readers...

  • 12.40 Warwick
  • 2.35 Lingfield
  • 2.40 Market Rasen
  • 3.00 Warwick
  • 3.10 Lingfield

And the last of those five looks the most open/competitive, plus it's unlikely to be abandoned, so today's focus is on the 3.10 Lingfield...

The sharp eyed amongst you will notice I've already eliminated three runners who are greyed out at the bottom of the card. These look like no-hopers in dreadful form and shouldn't be ones to worry us. I've greyed them out for you, so you can see what happens when you click the X just before the course and distance win indicators. To put them back in the card, simply click the X again.

And so to the race itself after removing that trio, the remainder of the field all have at least decent run in the recent form, with Total Commitment, Recon Mission and Sun Power the ones to have won lately. Huraiz & Will To Win are both dropping down from Class 2, whilst Recon Mission and Count Otto both step up in class here.

All seven have won at this 6f trip with four also winning here at Lingfield in the past, of which two (Will To Win & Count Otto) have won over course and distance at the same time! None of them are being turned back out quickly, nor are any coming off long breaks, as all have had at least two weeks rest and 51  days being the longest absence.

Count Otto is the oldest here at 6, but the other half dozen are all 4 or 5, From a trainer perspective, Huraiz & Will To Win both hail from yards with good track records, whilst the former's trainer is in great form of late, as is his jockey and the partnership has worked well here at Lingfield in the past. Ratings-wise, they're a fairly well bunched group, but Will To Win is a little detached on 65, I suppose.

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Instant Expert is our next port of call, as that's the indicator of past performance under today's conditions. Obviously that's no guarantee of future success, but if a horse has gone well in the past over course and distance for example, there's a chance he/she will do so again at some point. Anyway, I'm waffling, so let's crack on...

...where we see that Will to Win & Sun Power have the best of the winning records on A/W and Count Otto looks to have struggled. No real standouts at Class 3, to be honest, but Top Breeze's 0/6 isn't good, nor I suppose is Count Otto's 3 from 18. Will To Win has 2 wins and a place from 4 on this track which is the best on offer, but don't be fooled by Total Commitment's 0 from 4 record. It looks poor but he has finished in the frame on all four occasions.

Plenty of wins at this trip across the board and Will To Win & Total Commitment have some place finishes to push their place records to 50% and beyond.

From a win perspective, Instant Expert shows Will To Win in a very good light and he has some positives from the racecard, but can he win from stall 9? It might be tough, as history suggests that in 99 previous similar races, stalls 8 to 10 are the worst place to be...

 

...but wherever you're drawn, you want to be up with the pace. So do we have any confirmed front runners? The pace tab knows the answer to that question...

...suggesting Sun Power and Recon Mission will attempt to set the pace with Top Breeze not very far behind and when we overlay the running styles with the general pace-draw heatmap from recent similar contests, we get the following...

...where I'd say Top Breeze has the best position. I expect he'll break smartly but won't be too upset if the other come past him early from wider draws.

At this stage, I'm going to discard Huraiz and Count Otto, neither have featured too positively so far and aren't in great form right now, but that still leaves me half of the field to pick from and to be honest, it's a tough call!

Will to Win is a former course and distance winner, his yard have a great record here and he's dropping in class to run off a very workable mark of 93. Conversely, he's not well drawn and isn't in any sort of form of late. Much will depend on which version of him turns up, very capable of making the frame at double digit odds, but others hold more appeal.

Top Breeze is 0 from 11 since winning here over 5f in a Class 2 contest at the end of February last year, but has shown some promising signs lately with five top-three finishes in his last seven races. He was 3.5 lengths behind Sun Power last time out, but with a 6lb pull in the weights here should be there or thereabouts. Aided by the rail, I expect him to go well just 1lb higher than that last win.

Total Commitment was one I initially liked and I still do, but stall 10 isn't going to do him any favours at all. He might have to go off a little quicker than usual to get involved, but if he can overcome the draw, he has plenty going for him, especially based on the Instant Expert numbers. He has raced more prominently recently when winning and then finishing as runner-up, so those tactics could help here.

Recon Mission broke a 13-race losing streak when winning here on New Year's Eve making all and holding on to win by three quarters of a length off a reduced mark of 84. He has obvious chances based on that form, but isn't a certainty to back it up. He's up in trip, class and weight here and the combination of the three might just prove too much. Definite chance, but I think others make more sense.

Sun Power was a winner at this class/trip at Wolverhampton at the end of last year, beating Top Breeze by 3.5 lengths in the process and therefore a repeat of that run puts him in the mix, but I have reservations. He's 2 from 3 at Wolverhampton, but 0 from 10 elsewhere and hasn't turned out to be the horse he was hoped to have been. Well beaten in seven Class 1&2 contests, he ended up at Class 4 to try and give him a spark. He's 6lbs worse off with Top Breeze here and that's possibly too much.

Summary

Five left in at this stage, Will To Win is unreliable and despite the possibility of a big run at a decent price, he's not for me today. Of the four remaining, any could win in fairness, but the way I've processed the race and analysed the runners, Top Breeze and Total Commitment appeal to me more than the other two.

Top Breeze is currently priced at 8/1 with Total Commitment half those odds at 4/1 and whilst I think Total Commitment will just shade it, he's not that much more likely to succeed in my eyes. I expected Top Breeze to be around 9/2, so 8/1 is excellent value and I was hoping for around 6/1 about Total Commitment, so 4's is a little skinny.

If I've got it right, there won't be much between them. TC is marginally better on my working, but TB is far better value. There's a case for backing either, none or both : the choice is yours! 😉

Lingfield May Bring Out The Best In Intuitive In Mile Handicap

With so many national hunt meetings being lost to the weather at the moment it seems best to play it safe this weekend with an all weather preview. Fortunately there is a good card at Lingfield including a class 2 handicap over a mile and that is going to be the subject of this preview.

Pace

It’s typically an advantage to be nearer the pace at most courses and that’s certainly the case over this course and distance in this kind of field size.

Leaders at Lingfield over a mile have been profitable to follow blind, producing a WIN PL of 38.22. Win percentage, place percentage and IV all steadily drop off the further back in the field you go which is a clear sign that the nearer you are to the pace here the better.

Although hold up horses have a poor record here with a win percentage of 10.1% and a place percentage of 30.01%, in terms of bare figures they provide almost as many winners as any other run style and more places than any other run style (from more runners admittedly). So although seemingly disadvantaged by the course, the frame will often contain at least one or two hold up performers. There are certain hold up horses that are particularly suited to Lingfield, those speedy ones with a great turn of foot, as opposed to the grinders that prefer big fields and long straights. If you can distinguish between the two you can find the better bets amongst those likely to be ridden patiently.

Just as important as the course pace characteristics is the pace of the individual race.

This certainly shouldn’t be run at a crawl with the likes of Papa Stour and Corazon Espinado in the field. The pair were both ridden with a little more restraint last time out but had led on their previous three racecourse appearances.

Fox Power has led in the past but not for over a year. He is consistently ridden handily these days and a repeat of those tactics looks likely.

Crownthorpe and Intuitive look likely to be at the rear of the field early with both tending to held up in the majority of their races.

Draw

I studied some Lingfield one mile handicaps earlier in the all weather season and came to the conclusion there was no strict draw bias over this distance. In 8 runner fields, according to PRB (Percentage of Rivals Beaten), there is a very slight disadvantage to the middle draws and seemingly an even smaller advantage with those that break from the higher stalls, despite those runners having to track across to the rail before the bend.

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The win percentages suggest low is slightly better than high (middle still at a slight disadvantage) whilst the place percentages, which give us more data than the win percentages, increase slightly the higher you are drawn.

Overall there is very little in it and if there is a draw bias, it is negligible.

Pace and Draw Combination

Just because there is no strict draw bias it doesn’t mean that certain run styles aren’t advantaged or disadvantaged by the draw. What is a good draw for some run styles can often be a disadvantage for others.

The above tells us that the draw doesn’t make much difference for front runners, prominent racers or even hold up performers but it does make a lot of difference for those that race in mid division. It could just be a fluke of data (although we have a decent sample size here using PRB) and low drawn mid division horses seem to have a good record with a PRB of 0.57 whereas high drawn mid division has a PRB of just 0.38. It is probably the case that high drawn runners are able to get closer to the rail with other run styles but are forced to take a wider course and cover more ground if they are both wide drawn and settle in mid division.

The Runners

With just 8 runners set to go to post we can have a good look at the chances of each runner. Here they are in order of their early odds, from most fancied to least fancied.

Intuitive

This is probably the horse the race revolves around. He’s looked a bit of an all weather specialist to date with defeats on all four of his turf starts but a record of 11321133 on UK all weather surfaces (was also unplaced on dirt in Dubai).

Those form figures look even more impressive when you look at the defeats. The first two came just behind Alkaraama who has since rated 17lbs and 14lbs higher than those two runs. The most recent defeats came behind the progressive Ghlayoon when Intuitive was poorly placed and also behind the hat trick completing Misty Grey. What makes that last performance look all the better is that Intuitive was once again poorly placed but ran on well into 3rd after having to be switched and the 2nd, 4th and 8th from that race have all come out and won since.

There is no doubt that Intuitive remains a well handicapped horse but this will be his first run at a mile and simply staying on late over 7f isn’t enough to prove that this trip will suit. The horse’s sire, Haatef, has a win strike rate of 9.69% with all his flat runners and that drops only slightly to 8.51% over this mile trip. The dam was a 7.5f winner and the only other offspring from her has run well as a 2yo over 7f so there are plenty of pointers that suggests this mile trip should be within his reach, especially with Lingfield being a speed favouring track.

Fox Power

A very brief look at Fox Power’s form figures over the past year or two might not suggest he has a favourite’s chance in this but digging deeper shows he’s probably a well handicapped horse.

He hasn’t won since taking a listed contest at Newcastle in April 2019 but he’s clearly had a couple of issues since and seems to be working his way back to form again. After that listed win he was off the track for 237 days before finishing a 1.5 lengths 4th at Chelmsford off a mark of 100. He had the run of the race that day but it was a respectable effort.

Between that run and March he would race three more times, running okay in defeat each time but not looking like a winner waiting to happen off a mark of 99 or 100.

He would then spend another 102 days off the track before reappearing in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, a race in which he was well beaten. He was then well beaten again twice over 10f on turf before finishing 4th off a mark of 94 over the extended 9f at Wolverhampton. The 2nd and 3rd have both won off higher marks since then and Fox Power was closer to the pace than ideal that day so he’s not badly handicapped now off 93.

The main problem for Fox Power may be the surface. On turf he has failed to win in seven attempts, on polytrack he has failed to place in two runs whilst on tapeta his form figures are 131244. His only run at Lingfield was at 7f and although he was only beaten just 2.25 lengths he was last of six runners having gone through the race well but finding disappointingly little. He’s unlikely to run terribly but he looks a better horse on tapeta and could be much more interesting in the Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton in a couple of months’ time (a race in which he was 4th off 6lbs higher last year) rather than this.

Corazon Espinado

A change to slightly more patient tactics and a drop in class seemed to pay dividends last time out when winning a class 5 handicap by 5 lengths. He won a class 3 handicap a year ago off 85 so isn’t necessarily out of it here off 87 but this is likely to be much tougher off a career high mark (he’s been beaten on all six runs off 86 or 87). He is previously proven over this distance but with this being a furlong further than last time, three classes higher and his mark being 9lbs higher he’s no guarantee to run to the same level again.

A major positive for the horse is his record when running within 10 days of his previous run. He’s won three from four in those circumstances and on that basis should be considered at least very competitive here, for all he might not be handicapped to win.

Crownthorpe

A last time out winner at Southwell and at his best on soft ground or on the all weather. His latest win was off 90 and he’s won off 91 in the past but he’s been beaten in all seven runs off 92 or higher.

The surface is clearly very important to this horse and it was no great surprise that he took to Southwell’s fibresand last time out given his liking for deep ground. Ignoring a run at Newcastle where his jockey fell off exiting the stalls, his all weather form figures now read 332131. However his two biggest losses, distance wise, have come in his two starts at Lingfield where he has finished 3rd twice in fields of seven and five (beaten 3.25 lengths or further in both races).

As previously mentioned Lingfield can suit those turn of foot horses rather than grinders and Crownthorpe may be a bit more of a grinder, less suited to Lingfield than other venues. He’s not terribly handicapped but this course and handicap mark may well catch him out with third or fourth place seeming most likely here.

Lord Rapscallion

One of two here for Stuart Williams and perhaps surprising that he is slightly more favoured early than his stablemate Papa Stour.

Lord Rapscallion will be having just his second start for Williams having moved from Johnny Murtagh in November. On his stable debut he ran a respectable 4th in a Kempton listed contest at 50/1, although given the distances he was beaten by horses rated 105, 109 and 104 he didn’t look to run beyond his mark of 102. He was 2nd in Ireland in a competitive 7f handicap in September off 101 but it's worth noting that the majority of his best runs during the flat season (where he rose 14lbs in the ratings) were under a strong partnership with rider Nikita Kane who had a huge claim. He’s probably never run to a three figure rating for any other jockey and without a claim here he could be vulnerable, for all he has the talents of Cieren Fallon on board.

Papa Stour

Papa Stour is the main pace angle here and he’s seemingly a bit better on polytrack than he is on tapeta (last four runs on polytrack have produced form figures of 1112, last four runs on tapeta have produced form figures of 6628) so Lingfield may well suit him on his debut here. He is probably at his very best around Chelmsford though which suits his front running style extremely well.

His recent form has been strong. He won three starts ago at Kempton off a 3lb lower mark, beating a next time out winner in Diocles Of Rome, so he’s not handicapped out of this off 91. He’s probably vulnerable to something a bit more progressive but there is absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t run very well, especially if Corazon Espinado allows him an uncontested lead.

Mohareb

Possibly equally good at 6f and 7f which does raise some question marks over the suitability of 1m on just his 2nd attempt at the distance (previous go was his 2nd start on a racecourse when finishing 4th in a novice race). He was a couple of lengths ahead of Intuitive behind Ghalyoon at Chelmsford in November and is now 1lb better off but Mohareb was seen to much better effect that day than Intuitive and isn’t as likely to back that up over the extra distance, for all there are stamina doubts over Intuitive too.

He was below par last time out here at Lingfield and although he is probably in with a small chance here, and may well out run his odds, it would be a surprise if he’s well enough handicapped or strong enough in the finish over this trip to get his head in front.

Mission Bay

Difficult to weigh up on his debut for Marco Botti having previously raced in Italy. A mark of 100 does seem fairly stiff for what he has recently achieved and he’s probably going to need to drop a bit in the handicap before being competitive.

Verdict

Given the doubts about Fox Power and Crownthorpe on this surface I’m inclined to think the win shortlist should be Intuitive, Corazon Espinado and Papa Stour. I don’t think the latter is well enough handicapped to win this but his record with a very recent run is worrying if looking to oppose him.

Intuitive and Papa Stour definitely look better handicapped and if going off the pace data you’d be much more inclined to back Papa Stour, who is likely to lead, rather than Intuitive who is likely to be settled in last. However Intuitive looks to have the turn of foot that will make him ideally suited to this course and he’s likely to be a fast finisher in the straight. He’s unproven both at Lingfield and at a mile so is risky at the price but there is more upside to this one than anything else and two and those question marks may well still turn out to be positives rather than negatives. Intuitive therefore gets the nod for a small bet ahead of Papa Stour who still has another handicap in him and Corazon Espinado who is probably best of those who have raced at Lingfield before.

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