Racing Insights, 15th July 2021

As most of you are probably aware, away from Geegeez I run my own travel agency, so this will be my last piece for a fortnight, as I'm off to Antigua to (a) check out some hotels and (b) enjoy some refreshments in the sunshine 😉

But don't worry, I'm leaving you in the more than capable hands of Matt & Sam, whilst I'm gone, plus of you ever need a decent holiday deal, you know who to ask! 😀

Anyway, cheeky advert/plug done, on with the preview!

Thursday's feature of the day is full free access to the simple but intuitive Instant Expert report, which is by far the most popular tab in the geegeez racecards. The reason? Its ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view. The report covers the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size. It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating.

The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Where a horse has no UK/Irish form – i.e. it is having its first run in Britain or Ireland under Rules – it will not show up on Instant Expert at all.

This is freely available on Thursdays for ALL races, including our selection of free races, which are...

  • 1.30 Hamilton
  • 1.40 Killarney
  • 1.45 Chepstow
  • 4.00 Leopardstown
  • 4.10 Chepstow
  • 6.30 Leopardstown

A bit of a dilemma for here trying to choose a race to cover, the three Irish races are all maidens and the second of the Chepstow races only has three runners leaving me to pick between an 8-runner Class 6 sprint and a 12-runner fillies handicap. Although the smaller field is likely to have a shorter-priced favourite, I think there might be more scope to find an E/W pick, so we'll tackle the first on the list : the 1.30 Hamilton which is an 8-runner, Class 6, 3yo+ handicap over 5f on good ground worth £2,322...

FORM : Only Tanasoq, Captain Corcoran and Rose Bandit have a recent win on their form line and none won LTO.

CLASS : We have three class movers with Auckland Lodge, Debawtry and Mr Trevor dropping down from Class 5.

COURSE/DISTANCE FORM : The top five on the card have all won over this minimum trip and of those, Rose Bandit has done it here at Hamilton, making her the only previous course winner.

LAST RUN : All bar Auckland Lodge (38 days) and Captain Corcoran (99d) have been seen in the last three weeks, whilst Rose Bandit ran on Tuesday!

AGE : We have 2 x 3yo (getting a 6lb weight allowance), 4 x 4yo, a 6yo and an 8yo.

TRAINERS : Jim Goldie (Tanasoq) looks in good recent form, unlike Ben Haslam (Auckland Lodge)

JOCKEYS : Tanasoq, Rose Bandit, Rain Cap and Lady of Deisre have in-form jockeys, butt hose aboard Auckland Lodge and Mr Trevor are shy of winners right now. Paul Mulrennan and Jason Hart aboard Tanasoq and Captain Corcoran respectively both have decent records at this venue.

OR / SR FIGURES : The assessor thinks it'll be tight with just 2lbs separating the top four, whilst the top four of SR are 12pts apart.

Tanasoq heads both the OR & SR figures and comes here off the back six top three finishes in his last seven runs. He won a Class 5 at Newcastle two starts ago and and was only beaten by a short head at Ayr last time out, being headed on the line despite making a poor start. A better start and a similar run off the same mark here (he's due to go up 3lbs) puts him in the driving seat for me, as does...

Auckland Lodge is on face value, a decent enough sort with three wins from eleven starts to date, but closer inspection shows she was 3 from 6 at the end of September 2019 and hasn't made the frame since. She was 4th of 9 at Pontefract last time out despite breaking well from a good draw and that 4+L defeat makes it tough here.

Debawtry wouldn't be an obvious choice as winner, based on her 2 from 19 career record, but won a Class 5 at Newcastle in February and although beaten in all six runs since, her average margin of defeat is only around 2 to 2.5 lengths, giving her a squeak of a chance of making the frame now down in class.

Captain Corcoran ended last season with a win and a runner-up finish from his last three runs, but looked below par when re-appearing from a 196-day break to finish just fourth of eight at Catterick just over 14 weeks ago. He hasn't raced since then and could still be rusty. he's also 2lbs worse off here, so I don't see him posing much threat, although...

Rose Bandit is a former course and distance winner from just three weeks ago and she then won over 6f at Ayr 11 days later despite going up 8lbs. She raced again yesterday (Tuesday) but didn't go well at all. I don't know whether it was one race too many (8 runs in 76 days), whether it was the soft ground at Beverley or the 5 more pounds she was carrying. I suspect all three played a part in her finishing 8th of 14, beaten by over 8.5 lengths. If she's not too tired, she now has a 5lb claimer on board and the ground is better here, but she's definitely vulnerable despite...

Mr Trevor is still a seven-race maiden, but ran a good race to finish third of seven at Carlisle earlier this month, beaten by little more than a length and a half. He remains on that career low mark of 57, but would need to improve to make the frame here.

Rain Cap won a Class 5 seller over 7f at Redcar just over two years ago and hasn't made the frame in eleven starts since. That win "earned" him an opening handicap mark of 66, which is now down to 46, the same as he when he was beaten by almost nine lengths here over 6f last month, which doesn't bode well for his chances here. I'd be surprised if he beats any of the other seven runners.

Lady of Desire has a jockey taking 7lbs off her allotted weight of 8st3lbs, meaning she'll carry 26lbs less than Tanasoq, who heads the weights, but she'll still find this tough. No wins from twelve so far, but has made the frame in two of her last four without ever actually looking like she's due to win. She'll no doubt chase the leaders along for a while, but she's not even good enough for this contest, even if her 7lb claimer is more than useful...

*

The form overview starts to sow seeds in the mind about who might have a chance and who you should avoid based on their careers to date, but some with a modest overall record might be better suited to today's conditions and for that, we have feature of the day, Instant Expert...

I'm not really surprised that this doesn't tell us too much, that's why these are Class 6 horses! Likely favourite Tanasoq prefers it quicker (5/20 on gd to fm), but Rose Bandit looks the best suited from a win perspective, notwithstanding the fears I've already got about her. Auckland Lodge seems to like the trip, though.

As for making the frame...

...Debawtry is definitely of interest, along with Tanasoq and Rose Bandit, both of whom you'd expect to feature. These three are drawn 1 to 3 here and although stall 1 has done well enough, I think I'd prefer to be drawn in box 4 or higher here...

This doesn't mean that the trio above can't win, of course, but history suggests it makes it more difficult. History also suggests that no matter which box you get put into, you'd better get out of it quickly and hit the front if you want to win...

And if you put the draw stats with the pace stats, you'll not be surprised to see that those drawn higher than 3 and who like to lead have done rather well...

And in draw order, here's how the field sit on that pace/draw heatmap...

Rose Bandit will look to make all against the rail with the rest of the pace coming from widest, whilst Tanasoq looks quite badly positioned.

Summary

After the original write-ups etc, I'd say that in terms of ability that it looked liked Tanasoq/Rose Bandit/Debawtry, but I've doubts about all three here. Tanasoq's record on good ground is poor and racing from the back of the field is going to be tough, so I can't back him at 11/8. I'm concerned about how jaded Rose Bandit looked on Tuesday and if she lines up here, she's very vulnerable to less-worked horses and at 3/1 offers little value.

Debawtry's pace/draw make-up doesn't look great either, but her run LTO was her best for a while and she actually led that day, so she might step forward and odds of 8/1 are interesting. I don't like Auckland Lodge here, despite the pace angle. Yard, jockey and horse seem out of sorts so that's one more off the list. I already said early on that both Lady of Desire and Rain Cap would struggle, so they're gone too.

That just leaves me with Captain Corcoran and Mr Trevor to consider and whilst I don't see either winning this, one could quite well make the frame. If forced to choose between them, it'd be the former, who I think is marginally better and offers more value at the odds (8/1 v 5/1).

At the end of the day, this should be a Tanasoq/Rose Bandit 1-2, but I'll just be having a couple of small stakes E/W punts (or place bets on the exchanges) on Debawtry and Captain Corcoran at 8/1 the pair.

 

Racing Insights, 14th July 2021

Happy Bastille Day to our French readers or plain old Wednesday to the rest of us. Feature of the day is the Trainer Stats report, whilst our free races of the day are as follows...

  • 1.00 Lingfield
  • 1.20 Uttoxeter
  • 2.55 Catterick
  • 4.55 Killarney
  • 6.25 Killarney
  • 8.05 Yarmouth

I think we'll take a trip to the seaside, because the 5 yr course handicap figures on my Trainer Stats report at Yarmouth throw up a couple of runners worth at least a second glance...

Sir Mark Prescott's figures at this venue are fantastic and he runs the 3 yr old colt Jebel Dukhan in the 5.00 Yarmouth, a 9-runner, Class 5, 3yo+, Maiden Handicap over 1m2f on Good To Firm ground for a tilt at a prize of £3,510...

In fact, Sir Mark's figures in handicaps here since the start of 2017 stand at 14 wins from 31 (45.2% SR, A/E 1.40) and they include of relevance to this race...

  • 14/27 (51.9%) with 3 yr olds
  • 12/20 (60%) with males
  • 8/20 (40%) on good to firm
  • 7/18 (38.9%) at Class 5
  • 8/15 (53.3%) were placed LTO
  • 5/9 (55.6%) in July
  • 3/8 (37.5%) over 1m1f to 1m2f
  • and 2/4 (50%) with Ryan Tate in the saddle.

This is a maiden handicap, so none of the field have won a race yet, but Jebel Dukhan's 60% place strike rate (3 from 5) is the best on offer here and he has been placed in three of his last four, including a runner-up finish last time out. That was at Hamilton over 9.2 furlongs in this grade off a pound higher than today. He led, but looked awkward at the head of affairs and was caught with a furlong to go. First time blinkers will be applied today in a bid to settle him more and if they have the desired effect, he's already proved he's got something about him.

As he hasn't won a race, the place version of Instant Expert is more relevant here...

...and those figures are encouraging. He's drawn in stall 7 of 9 which looks to be in a decent spot...

...as higher draws (particularly stalls 5 to 8) seem to fare best, whilst the pace here at Yarmouth seems to favour hold-up horses...

...although prominent racers win slightly more than their fair share of races and with a 41.4% record, are the best in terms of making the frame. As for Jebel Dukhan, his last four runs have seen one hold-up run, two prominent rides and one where he led, giving up a pace/draw mark-up of...

That's not ideal, but recent history says he's 50% prominent and 50% led/hold-up, so there's every chance he might lead or be held up too.

*

Then 95 minutes later, Team Crisford send Noble Patron out to contest the 6.35 Yarmouth, a 7-runner, Class 4, 3yo+ handicap for Pro-Am female jockeys over 7f on good to firm ground, where the top prize is £4,347...

Over the last four years, the Crisford stable has a 50% strike rate in Yarmouth handicaps, winning six of the dozen recent attempts, that have included of relevance here...

  • 5/8 (62.5%) at Class 4
  • 5/8 (62.%) on good to firm
  • 4/9 (44.4%) with males
  • 3/7 (42.9%) were placed LTO
  • 3/5 (60%) over 6/7 furlongs
  • and 2/2 (100%) in July.

These are also very encouraging numbers as Noble Patron now makes a handicap debut after finishing third in three of his four runs this season. I wouldn't say he's been leniently treated with an opening mark of 79 and the step down in trip is a little surprising, but not entirely unexpected. He hasn't really seen races out at 1m/1m0.5f, fading late on in most outings. Yet to win any of five starts, once again, the place side of Instant Expert should tell us more about him...

The pace of the ground and the class shouldn't be a factor here, but his only run over 7f was his sole 2yo start when beaten by nearly 14 lengths on debut last August. He's drawn in stall 4 here, which is right in the sector of the draw (stalls 3 to 6) you'd want to be in...

...whilst the draw stats say that leading is the best policy, but prominent runners also hold their own here...

Noble Patron has raced in mid-division in two of his last four races, but has led in the other two, giving him a pace average score of 3.00 (= prominent) and an average pace/draw make-up as follows...

...although a continuation of his last two mid-div runs wouldn't be beneficial, he does have that ability to lead and that would be his best chance here, if the weight isn't too much.

Summary

I like Jebel Dukhan more than I like Noble Patron and I don't think the latter wins here and I'd not be surprised if he ends up with more runners ahead of him than behind him, so he's a no from me, especially at 4/1.

Jebel Dukhan, on the other hand, has a good place strike record, scored well on Instant Expert, is well drawn and this type of race is one his yard have been successful in. He's currently 6/1 with Bet365 and if the blinkers steady him (he hit the rail last time) as hoped, those odds might prove generous. I'm not massively confident about his composure, but I'm happy to risk a quid or two on him here.

Racing Insights, 13th July 2021

Tuesday's free feature is The Shortlist report, a simple and usually brief report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day, whilst our free races of the day are as follows...

  • 2.15 Beverley
  • 2.55 Downpatrick
  • 3.15 Beverley
  • 6.25 Killarney
  • 7.45 Southwell
  • 8.05 Brighton

And here is Tuesday's Shortlist report, as it would appear on your screen. The two horses of obvious interest are the two "15s" at Southwell, but Oscar Nomination is actually a non-runner, leaving Forchena as the only one I'm bothered about here.

This 7 yr old mare actually runs in one of our free races, so it makes sense to have a quick look at the 7.45 Southwell, a 12-runner, Class 5, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ mares over almost 3m1f after a 123 yard rails adjustment. The going is set to be good and these are the runners chasing a small prize of £2,342...

Forchena, our featured horse, heads the weights and comes here on a hat-trick, easily boasting the best form in the race. I now aim to see if she's worth backing or not by quickly whittling the field down to a workable shortlist, using the toolkit available, starting with the full form filter available by clicking a horse's name as follows...

Here you can see Our Cilla has no wins and just three places from sixteen attempts over hurdles and now steps up in class. I'm going to be quite brief/brutal today and she's already off my list based on those figures, as are...

  • Ballymilan : 0 wins, 2 places from 10
  • Stephanie Sunshine : 0 wins, 2 places from 14
  • Strike The Flint : unplaced in all seven starts over hurdles

Horses that have had ten or more cracks at winning aren't of much interest to me, if I'm honest, which leaves my racecard looking like this...

I also don't like Winged Dream making a handicap debut after a near five month absence since being pulled up. I sense that she has been sent off at 100/1 on debut and then 200/1 twice for good reason and even though she drops in class here, I don't like her. Cast In Grey hasn't hit that ten start barrier of mine yet, but she has only made the frame once in seven hurdle runs and has suffered a string of heavy defeats and has never raced beyond 2m5.5f, so she's out too, whilst Pretty Stranger is ridden by a 10lb claimer and such jockeys are 1 from 37 in handicap hurdles here since the start of 2017.

All of which leaves us with the five runners who have actually won over hurdles and here they are in Instant Expert...

Forchena is the obvious starting point and the only negative is her 7lb rise for her latest run/win. Both Keep the river and Misscarlett have won on good ground, whilst all five are previous Class 5 winners. Only Forchena has won here previously, whilst Dorette has won at a similar trip to today. Sadly she's 6lbs higher than her last win, whilst Misscarlett is up 8lbs, but Ali the Hunter is now some 6lbs lower than her last win.

We think this race may well be run at a false pace, because such contests tend to favour those leading the pack...

...but there's no actual pace in the race...

...although the top three on that chart have scored a 3 (prominent racing) in two of their last four outings. At this point, I'd probably move the pace stuff to one side and suggest a falsely run race. When I suspect that's going to happen, I tend to side with what I think are just the best horses in the field and sometimes you have to follow instinct. A quick look at the runners can be helpful...

Forchena is three from four in handicaps, having won her last three. She scored in August 2020 here over course and distance before a 255-rest was ended with a 2 lengths success over a furlong further at Huntingdon, despite going up 6lbs. She was then raised another 6lbs next/last time out, when she snatched the lead in the shadow of the post at Hexham, staying on strongest over 2m7.5f. The step back up in trip should help her here and I think it's just a case of whether she can carry another 7lbs, although her jockey takes 3 of those 7 off.

Keep The River is just 1 from 20 over hurdles but does have a 40% place strike rate and has made the frame in 3 of his last 6 (2 out of 3 for new yard). Now eased another couple of pounds to a mark of 84, he could well make the frame again here.

Misscarlett produced her best effort over hurdles at Uttoxeter last time out when winning for the first time after ten previously unplaced efforts. In Brian Hughes, she has an in-form jockey with a good record at this venue, but she's well up in both trip and weight and prior to that win LTO, hadn't really shown much at all. The question therefore is whether that last was a flash in the pan or not.

Ali The Hunter comes here in good nick, having been a runner-up in three of her four starts this year, seemingly revitalised by a 6-month break from October to April. Last seen almost five months ago when just three quarters of a length behind the re-opposing Dorette, but she's now 2lbs better off with her victor and could very well reverse the placings.

Dorette won a bumper on debut in August 2018 and also won that afore-mentioned 2m7.5f hurdles race at Uttoxeter ahead of Ali the Hunter. However, she did lose another bumper and sixteen hurdles contests between her two career wins and now 2lbs worse off witht he runner-up from LTO might struggle here up 6lbs.

Summary

She's up another 7lbs here making her now some 19lbs higher than at the start of her run of three wins, but I still don't see any of these beating Forchena. Odds of 4/1 look generous, so I'm on!

As for the rest, I think Dorette gets beaten by Ali the Hunter on revised terms, so she's not in my top three here and the other to miss out is going to be Misscarlett. I'm not convinced that her last outing shows her in a true light and an 8lb rise could prove problematical, whilst Keep the River does have that 40% place strike rate over hurdles and was better than Misscarlett on Instant Expert.

If I'm having Forchena as my winner here, I think I've got Ali The Hunter ahead of Keep The River in the places, although there's very little between the two and the pair of them probably won't be too far clear of Misscarlett and Dorette.

Ali is currently 6/1, buty at 10's Keep The River might also be worth a cheeky E/W punt.

Racing Insights, 12th July 2021

As expected/advised, making all was the best policy at Chester on Saturday and class act Safe Voyage did just that as she returned to form with a bang, sadly I wasn't sure she would and didn't back her, despite thinking she was the best horse in the race!

Ah well, such is life and we must move on as the new week beckons. Feature of the day for Monday is the the pace tool and we open that up to all readers for all races including the following free races of the day...

  • 6.15 Killarney
  • 6.25 Wolverhampton
  • 6.35 Lingfield
  • 7.05 Lingfield
  • 7.45 Killarney

The 7.05 Lingfield looks the best of the three UK offerings, so we'll focus on that 8-runner, Class 3, 3yo+ A/W handicap over 6f on standard to slow polytrack. The prize available is £6,210 and these are the ones hoping to land it...

This looks a really competitive affair here and should be good to watch. Half of the field have won at least one of their last five outings, but only Newyorksateofmind won LTO. The top two on the card drop down a class here, whilst the bottom four all step up one grade. All have won over 6f previously, Total Commitment is also a former Lingfield winner, whilst Mohareb and Newyorkstateofmind are both course and distance winners.

All eight have raced in the last seven weeks with Muscika and Newyorkstateofmind rested for less than a fortnight. We've 2 x 4yo, 3 x 5yo and 3 x 7yo here and all are geldings apart from the 4 yr old colt Raaeb, whose yard is in good nick righty now and have a good record at this venue, facts that also apply to his jockey. Newyorkstateofmind also hails from an in-form yard.

Raaeb heads the weights and won at this class/trip on the polytrack at Chelmsford three starts ago off 2lbs lower. Has struggled in two Class 2 turf outings since and despite dropping in class here and returning to the A/W, I think he has too much weight here.

Total Commitment made the frame in 8 of 9 outings (5 from 6 at Lingfield) prior to finishing 10th of 28 at Ascot last month. He runs off the same mark here and drops in class on his return to a venue he likes where he has five runner-up finished from 5 attempts over C&D.

Muscika does most of his work on grass with just 3 of his 56 career runs coming on the A/W and he hasn't raced away from turf since October 2019, 19 starts ago. He was 4th of 7 at Epsom last time out, beaten by six lengths and eased just a pound, it's hard to see him winning for the first time in over nine months.

Open Wide is another with just 3 A/W runs to his name, this time from 42 races, but he did win a Class 2 6f handicap off a mark of 87 four starts and nine months ago. Has struggled off marks in the 90's in three runs since and to win off 89 would be his best effort since June 2019, so it seems unlikely.

Treacherous has a good record on the A/W, winning 8 of 23, but his last two wins were back in July/August 2020, both on turf. His last wins on the A/W were back to back 6f successes at Kempton three days apart last February, but has only raced four more times on the A/W since. He was a decent 14/1 second of ten at Doncaster last time out, only beaten by a length, but now up a pound and up a class, will find this tougher but could make the frame.

Mohareb hasn't won any of his last 16 runs since winning here at Lingfield over 7f on New Year's Eve 2019 off 2lbs higher than today. He did, however, look like returning to form when only beaten by a neck and a short head into third place at Kempton last time out. His best form has been here at Lingfield where he's a former course and distance winner and I'd not be surprised in he was involved here.

Spirit Of May has a healthy 5 from 20 record over this trip, but he's a Chelmsford specialist, where he has 4 wins and place from 8 runs over 6f. He has failed to make the frame in any of four A/W runs elsewhere and since winning a Class 4 at Chelmsford in January has only managed to finish last of nine and last of seven, both back at Chelmsford and then he was 12th of 14 at Chester (the scene of his other career win) last time out. He'll be near the back, I suspect.

Newyorkstateofmind is a former course and distance winner and has raced here more than any other venue, but his last four runs have all been on turf. He was first home at Bath four starts ago, but was demoted to second, however he did win there again last time out. In between those Bath runs came two disappointing efforts (6th of 8 and last of 6) highlighting his inconsistency. He might well be bottom weight, but he's up in class and up 4lbs and doesn't tend to run well twice in a row.

A few of these have very little A/W experience and it's not always easy to transfer turf form to the A/W (and vice versa for that matter!), I now turn to Instant Expert to show me the collefctive collateral form...

GOING : Treacherous and Total Commitment look particularly well suited by the Standard to Slow pace of the track here.
CLASS : Treacherous again with two wins from three, but Total Commitment also has two wins
COURSE : Mohareb is the only one with significant form on this track
DISTANCE : Virtually all have an A/W in over 6f, but the ones catching the eye are Treacherous, Spirit of May and Total Commitment
WEIGHT :  Only Mohareb races off a mark lower than his last win.

The draw stats here at Lingfield over 6f on the A/W would suggest a lower half draw would be beneficial, but stall 7 has performed well enough to say that a high draw isn't necessarily game over...

...and those drawn wide also have little problem making the frame. Top jockey David Probert says: “It's probably the most idiosyncratic of the all weather tracks because of the hill and from the four furlong to the two furlong poles you're running down that hill. Some horses don't handle the hill which makes it a tricky track to ride; many of the jockeys will start to make their move at about the three - halfway down the hill, on the home bend - trying to get some of their rivals off balance. That's where you'll see most of the manoeuvres, jostling for position, trying to either get an inside run or slingshot off the bend if a little wider.

In five and six furlong handicaps, you want to be handy, and perhaps ideally with a middle draw to cut the corner a little. That gives you the most options. They're both tricky starts, the five in a little chute on the crown of the bend, and the six just before the bend on the main track. Inside draws need to be very quick away and edge right a bit to get a position, because if you don't you'll be in a pocket and it'll be hard. The six furlong trip is a bit more forgiving because you've got half a furlong or so before the bend, but you still need to jump and get a position quickly.

This would suggest that those getting away quickly would fare best, but that's just David's perception of it. Personally I'm happy to take his word, but just in case, these are the win stats...

...which show a massive advantage in getting out quickly. Leaders make the frame almost 57% of the time too, so that's clearly the best tactic. To see how those pace stats interact with the draw, we have out unique heat map, which tells us...

...that you should try and grab the lead and the higher you're drawn, the better if leading is your chosen tactic.

We log the running styles of every runner and we also know the draw, so we can easily see where the 8 horses in this race would fit on the above chart if they ran to their usual tactics and that looks like this in draw order...

The pace here would seem to be from the lowest drawn horses and if running to form, I'd expect Muscika to lead them out with Total Commitment and Newyorkstateofmind in close attendance. Treacherous has ticked plenty of boxes so far, but he's the only hold-up horse in the field and whilst conditions should favour him, he might not be able to pass seven rivals on the run-in over a 6f sprint.

Summary

With a better draw or pace/draw make-up, I'd probably want to back Treacherous here and I think he can still make the frame, but would have too much work to do late on to win. Muscika looks set to lead, but I've serious doubts about his A/W ability, so he's not for me, but he should tow Total Commitment and Newyorkstate of mind along, whilst Mohareb also looks well placed and did actually lead the field three starts ago, so he might race in a more advanced position.

Might be easier to rule some out first? Well, I don't like Open Wide, Raaeb nor Spirit of May here and I do think Treacherous makes the frame. So, I need two more for the frame and two for the discard pile. Total Commitment and Mohareb both scored well on Instant Expert, so I'll have them in my three against the field and of the two, I prefer Total Commitment to Mohareb.

So, my 1-2-3 here are Total Commitment, Mohareb and Treacherous and they're currently priced at 9/2, 6/1 and 11/2 with Newyorkstateofmind the 4/1 fav. He could easily win this too, of course, it's that competitive, but I'm happy with my decision.

Racing Insights, 10th July 2021

Another decent afternoon for us as Sandrine / Hello You / Oscula did indeed finish in that order giving us a 9/4 winner. I also hoped that Desert Dreamer might gatecrash that trio and had an E/W tickle on her at 12/1 and gatecrash she did, finishing as runner-up as my "favoured four" were the first four home...

And now to Saturday's racing for my last piece of the week. Feature of the day is the excellent Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report and has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations.

In addition to that informative report, we also have the following free races of the day for you to consider...

  • 1.00 Navan
  • 2.30 Limerick
  • 3.25 Chester
  • 4.05 York
  • 5.05 Navan
  • 5.40 Chester

I have fairly stringent settings/requirements for my Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which means I've actually no qualifiers at all for Saturday but all is not lost, because the free list has once again given us another Class 1 race to look at. This time, we're back in the North West on the Roodee for the 3.25 Chester : it's a 9-runner Listed race known as the City Plate Stakes, which is a 7f affair for horses aged 3 or over. We're expecting soft ground that will be better in places (and it has been sunny & dry up in the NW today) and the top prize of £28,355 will go to one of...

All bar Azano, Khaadem and Sir Maximilian have won at least one of their last five outings, although the former has been runner-up in his last two and the latter has made the frame in his last three, even at the age of 12! He is, however, up three classes today, whilst Documenting, Matthew Flinders, Oo De Lally and Rhoscolyn all raced at Class 2 last time out.

Khaadem and Matthew Flinders are the only two not to have won over 7f, whilst Oh This Is Us and Sir Maximilian have actually done so on this track. Safe Voyage last raced six weeks ago and he's the one longest rested of this field, whilst four of them (Oh This Is Us, Khaadem, Sir Maximilian and Os De Lally) all raced a fortnight ago.

We've a fair age spread here with 2 x 3yo, 1 x 4yo, 2 x 5yo, 3 x 8yo and the 12 yr old Sir Maximilian. The three year olds have a useful 8lbs weight allownace, whilst Oh This Is Us carries an extra 5lbs over the standard allotted 9st5lbs for the race, making Safe Voyage best off at the weights.

Trainer/jockey-wise, Safe Voyage & Oo De Lally are from in-form yards and it's Oh This Is Us & Oo De Lally for trainer/course form. Rhoscolyn's jockey is riding well, but those aboard Matthew Flinders & Sir Maximilian seem to be struggling for form. Oo De Lally will be ridden by Hayley Turner and she tends to go well here.

Ratings-wise, Safe Voyage and Oh This Is Us are only 2lbs apart according to the BHA figures, whilst the SR numbers show Azano and Safe Voyage separated by the same amount and now to the runners themselves...

Oh This Is Us has a win and a runner-up finish from two C&D efforts, but they were back in 2018/19. Since then he's really blossomed into a decent horse who has won a Listed race and a Gr3 in his last four outings. He struggled on the A/W at Newcastle LTO over a inadequate trip, but back on turf will fare better. The added weight is a concern, though.

Azano hasn't won any of his last nine races since landing a Class 4 Novice event at Yarmouth on good to soft in October 2018 on his second career start. He followed that up with a runner-up finish in a Gr3 also on good to soft, but hadn't done much else of note until a soft ground runner-up finish two starts ago (C2) and then second again at York in a Listed race last month. I don't think he's good enough to land this, but he likes soft/good to soft ground.

Documenting was decent enough in late 2019 to late 2020, finishing 122911713, but hasn't shown similar form this year with runs of 4th of 9, 5th of 10 and then 22nd of 28, beaten by 18 lengths last time out. His best form comes on the A/W and whilst he's not a bad Class 2 runner, he's really a C3 animal and looks like being outclassed here.

Khaadem won the 27-runner Stewards Cup in August 2019 and looked like a Class 1 horse that day. Sadly he's 0 from 7 since and decent runs have been few and far between, although he was only beaten by 1.5 lengths in last year's Diamond Jubilee Stakes and by 2.25 lengths in a Listed race last month. he has no decent form on ground "worse" than good and all 14 career starts have been over a furlong shorter than today. Too many negatives there for me.

Matthew Flinders also has no form on slower than Good ground and has also never raced over 7f with all nine starts being at 1m to 1m2.5f and this might well be a bit sharp for him. In his defence, he ran well enough last season in handicap company, but was well beaten in the Royal Hunt Cup last time out, doing too much early doors.

Safe Voyage should really be the one to beat here, but hasn't lived up to his 2019 or 2020 form just yet this year. He won 2 x Gr2, 1 x Gr3 and two Listed races in those two seasons, but came back from 245 days off to run last of 11 in the Gr1 Lockinge in mid-May and was 8th of 9 in the Gr3 John of Gaunt a fortnight later. He's had six weeks to get over those runs and really need to rediscover his form. To help him, the going/trip/jockey and track direction are all positive, but this won't be a walk in the park.

Sir Maximilian is game, make no mistake, but looks out of his depth here and at 12 yrs old, won't get any better. Winless in 12 outings since a Class 3 handicap win here over course and distance ten months ago, he doesn't scream "winner" at me. he is running well, though and has made the frame in his last three runs, all here at Chester (where he loves it!) including twice in two days last month over 7.5f and then over 5f. All of that points to another bold effort, but they were all Class 4 runs and this is so much tougher.

Oo De Lally looks like a progressive 3yr old, who'll no doubt be helped by the extra 8lbs weight allowance which makes him one of the better off at the weights. Fair to say, however, that his best form is on the A/W, but was a runner-up over this trip in soft ground two starts ago. He steps up in class today, but if transferring his slow ground A/W form to this going, he'd be in with a shout especially with his 011121 form over today's trip.

Rhoscolyn, like Oo De Lally, is also an in-form progressive 3 yr old receiving 8lbs weight allowance. This only puts him 2lbs worse off with the race's class act Safe Voyage. He moved to David O'Meara's yard this season having 1 win and 0 places from 7 for Charles Hill. Since then he has finished 72111, going three from three on soft/good to soft and landing back to back Class 2 handicaps. Of course, this is tougher, but he's thriving right now and has the talented Marco Ghiani on board.

Instant Expert takes all runners career outings and then discards the runs that aren't relevant to conditions expected for this race. IE then colour codes (green is good, red not good!) their stats at going, class, course, distance and field size and puts them all in one handy chart so you can see who might be best suited for this task, as follows...

And this explains why Safe Voyage is probably the one to beat here. Rhoscolyn, however, should relish the underfoot conditions, Oh This Is Us has four Class 1 wins and 5 wins over 7f, whilst Rhoscolyn also has a very healthy record at the trip.

Course form is always handy to have here at Chester with the way you're always turning left making life difficult for many runners and they do tend to say that in races of a mile or shorter, you really want to be drawn low. We hear this about lots of tracks, but in fairness, getting a low draw here is very useful indeed...

Stalls 1 to 3 have the edge and if you look at the blue line, there's a gradual decrease from 3 downwards. I think 4 & 5's figures suffer from the success of 1 to 3, but if you could hand-pick your stall, that that low draw would be the one to go for, which is good news for Oh This Is Us, Documenting and Rhoscolyn. The draw is so important because on a constantly turning track like this, the inside stalls are the shortest route from start to finish, BUT if you're drawn low, you still need to try and get out quickly, otherwise you've a chance of being cut across by faster starters from wider draws.

Our pace stats tell us that leading is the best policy here at Chester. Mid-division runners do OK and make the frame more than once every three attempts, but with 13 winners and 11 placers from 40 runners, leaders win the contest hands down.

So, from those graphics above, a low drawn leader must be a shoo-in?

Not quite, but over 47% is a brilliant strike rate and actually comes from 8 winners and 6 placers off 17 runners, so leading from a low draw puts you in the frame in 82.4% of similar races and id-drawn leaders made the frame 8 times from 14.

Thanks to Geegeez logging the running styles of every runner in every UK, we can make a reasonable assertion/assumption as to how these nine will break out and as we already know the draw, we can superimpose our horses onto that heatmap as follows...

This would suggest that confirmed front-runner and softer ground-loving Azano will set the pace, chased by Rhoscolyn and Safe Voyage at close quarters. Those drawn in stalls 1 and 2 probably won't make best use of the plum draw, whilst aside from Oo De Lally in the car park, there's precious little pace elsewhere.

Summary

I think that Azano, Rhoscolyn and Safe Voyage are going to set the pace and given the lack of pace elsewhere, they could fairly quickly put this race to bed between them. I don't think Azano is good enough to win this, but front-running tactics are his best hope and at 11/1, he's worth an E/W bet.

So, what of Safe Voyage and Rhoscolyn? Well, the former should be the one to beat here, but he has seemed out of sorts this season, so you're effectively backing him at 11/4 to regain form and that's not value in my book. That said, Rhoscolyn isn't much better priced at 10/3, but I think I prefer him over the favourite. Both should beat Azano, but I do hope the pace-setter hangs on for the place.

 

 

Racing Insights, 9th July 2021

England duly won last night and then Sir Ron Priestley made all as expected today in the the Princess Of Wales's Tattersalls Stakes and the 1/2 fav (yes, 1/2!) Al Aasy just couldn't quite reel him in, giving us a very nice 11/2 success. Those who followed the summary and went for the exacta made another winning bet at 5.7/1, but the value of course was in the straight win bet. I think Sir Ron had been underestimated by plenty of people, but he beat Pyledriver and the Geegeez tools made him hard to ignore : hats off the remarkably powerful tools suite Matt has put together, I'm merely showing you how to use them!

Anyway, Chris, you're already a few hours behind schedule, so stop waffling and crack on with Friday's preview, where feature of the day is the fabulous Horses For Courses (H4C) report, which shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at the track. It is initially sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at the user’s discretion. As well as today’s race time, course, horse name, jockey and trainer name, there is a breakdown of runs, wins and places, and profit and loss calculations for both win and each way betting.

As well as the feature of the day, we have the following six free races of the day...

  • 1.40 Ascot
  • 2.15 Ascot
  • 2.25 Newmarket
  • 4.10 Newmarket
  • 7.15 Chepstow
  • 8.05 Kilbeggan

And although I've actually got four qualifiers on my H4C) report,

...we've got another Group 2 contest on the free list, so it makes sense to stay at HQ for the 2.25 Newmarket aka the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes, which is a Group 2 race for 2yo fillies over 6f on Good to Firm ground. There's another decent pot on offer, as £51,039 will wing its way to one of the following...

Now, I'm not making excuses, but I normally shy away from 2yo races, because I rely heavily on data for my betting and there's often very little to work on with juvies. In fact, these eight have only raced 21 times between them, but having only missed the frame four times between them, they've a place strike of almost 81% and have won twelve times (57.1%). All have won at least once and none have raced more than four times. Only Ellade (C2) and Sadmah (C5) didn't race in a Class 1 last time out, whilst all bar Honey Sweet have already tasted success over this 6f trip. Sandrine's OR of 105 makes her best off at the weights from those with a mark, whilst both Ellade and Honey Sweet are both rated some 23lbs lower.

We've plenty of in-form and/or course specialist trainers and jockeys, check the green icons and even Frankie's here with his impressive Class 1 record!

Desert Dreamer started her career with back to back Class 4 ins over 5f and then 6f on the Rowley here at HQ, before finishing 10th of 21, beaten by six lengths in the Gr2 Queen Mary Stakes at Ascot last month. She bounced back well though, to only go down by a neck here over course and distance in a Listed race last time out and a similar run gives her an outside chance of making the frame.

Ellade had two wins and a 4th of 6 in three Class 5 contests before being beaten by a head as the runner-up in a Class 2 contest last time out. Neither of her wins were convincing and this is a tough task up in trip.

Flotus won a Class 4 maiden on debut and her only other run was a 13 length defeat in the Gr 3 Albany Stakes where she was 13th home of 15. She's probably better than that and has Frankie Dettori on board, but this is another small step up and she's never raced on ground quicker than soft, so I'll give her a wide berth today.

Hello You is, like Flotus, a twice-raced filly whose last outing was in the Albany, but she was the runner-up at Ascot, headed inside the final furlong, whilst her maiden outing saw her stroll to a 6.5 length success at Wolverhampton in May. She's one to consider here.

Honey Sweet won a 5f soft ground maiden at Nottingham to kick off her career, but could only manage 7th of 15 (bt by 3.5L) here over course and distance in the same Listed race as Desert Dreamer was the half-length runner-up.

Oscula was only headed late into her debut at Kempton in May, but won her next two races at Class 5, then Class 2 before becoming another of this field (four in total) to run in the Albany at Ascot three weeks ago. She was third that day, two lengths behind Sandrine, half a length behind Hello You and 11 lengths clear of Flotus. She's got a bit of ground to make up here, but stands every chance of another podium finish.

Sadmah will win races, but I suspect this won't be one of them. She looked pretty green on debut at Haydock a month ago and the fact that she won that Class 5 Novice race by 0.75 lengths probably says more about that race than it does about her. It was a poor race that she struggled to get to grips with. The penny dropped late on, suggesting better times are ahead, but this looks a giant leap in terms of quality.

Sandrine is, on what little form we have to go off, the one to beat here. She stuck to her task when winning a Class 5 A/W novice race on debut, before going on to land the Albany last time out. She won by a length and a half and you sensed she had more to give and the only fly in the ointment for is whether she handles quicker ground, but you could say that about most of these here.

*

At this point, it's a 4-horse race in my head already. I don't like Ellade (unconvincing wins and up in class/trip), Flotus (well behind the re-opposing 1-2-3 from the Albany), Honey Sweet (behind Desert Dreamer LTO) nor Sadmah (not ready for this yet), leaving me with Desert Dreamer, Hello You, Oscula and Sandrine.

Instant Expert shows the past form under today's conditions and whether they've actually faced these conditions before...

Of the four, only Desert Dreamer has raced on Good to Firm before and she's 0 from 2 (runner-up once), but both she and Oscula are 2 from 2 on good ground. Sandrine's win in the Albany makes her the only Class 1 winner, but the other three have all been placed at this level. Desert Dreamer's 2 from 3 at HQ includes 2 from 2 on the Rowley, but she was a runner-up here on the July course and they've all won at this trip with all four of them having a 10% place record over 6f.

To be honest, we've not learned much new there, but Sandrine's win in the Albany continues to stick out, whilst a quick look at sire data told me that both Hello You & Oscula are by stallions whose offspring have gone well on good to firm ground.

From the draw, stall 2 has done OK, but the place to be in similar 8-runner contests is in the higher half (5-8) of the draw...

...as that half has 23 wins to the low half's 11 and the place stats go the same way, making it better news for Sandrine & Hello You over Oscula & Desert Dreamer, whilst the pace stats are also very clear...

...get out quick, grab the lead and hold on. If you can't get the lead, get as close to the lead as you can and hope the leader can't hold on. Leaders make the frame almost half of the time and the further back you race, the harder it is to place. So, if you already like Sandrine or Hello You from the high draw, you'll be wanting them to get out sharpish, because...

and here's how my quartet have tended to race in their short careers so far...

Oscula looks set to attempt to make all and that's her best strategy from a poor draw, but you suspect Sandrine will run her down. Hello You will probably get towed along by Sandrine, whilst Desert Dreamer looks worst off of the four.

Summary

I've just seen the market for the race and I'm a little disappointed. Not disappointed in my process or the outcome I've arrived, but because the market agrees with me and we've not got one over on them.

The Albany finished Sandrine / Hello You / Oscula and I think those three finish that way again today. The question was going to be if Desert Dreamer could gatecrash the party, but all things being equal, I fear she just misses out. The best market prices for my 1-2-3-4 are currently (8.15pm)  9/4, 11/4, 11/2 and 12/1.

I'm happy that that's the order I want, but I still think that Desert Dreamer might just be worth a small E/W tickle at 12's, it only takes one of the other three to not get the speed of the ground 😉

 

Racing Insights, 8th July 2021

Fingers crossed for England at the Euros on Wednesday evening, but before I can settle down in front of the telly with some cold refreshments, there's the small matter of Thursday's racing to deal with, because the show always goes on here at Geegeez!

Every day we open up a feature and a selection of races free to all readers, irrespective of their payment/Gold status and for Thursday, the free feature is the Instant Expert tab...

...which is by far the most popular tab in the geegeez racecards. The reason? Its ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view. The report covers the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size. It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating. The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

And that tab is there for all races everyday for Gold members, including the afore-mentioned free races of the day, which for this Thursday are...

  • 3.35 Newmarket
  • 4.45 Newmarket
  • 6.20 Newbury
  • 6.30 Epsom
  • 8.50 Newbury

The first on that list is by far the best race on paper and although there are only 5 runners and we'll have an odds on favourite, it's still worth looking at, because (a) I expect the Instant Expert tab will hold lots of information and (b) we might find a decent priced E/W option to the fav, so let's head towards the Princess Of Wales's Tattersalls Stakes, which is a 5-runner, Group 2 contest over a mile and a half for horses aged 3 or over. Despite recent poor weather across the country, we're still expecting good to firm ground for the 3.35 Newmarket, which is worth a cool £65,216 to one of this quintet...

All five come here with some decent recent form, as you'd expect for a race at this level, but only Al Aasy has won on the July course at Newmarket before, although Sir Ron Priestley has won on the Rowley here. All bar Bangkok have won over today's 1m4f trip, but he's only tried twice and was prolific over 1m2f. Star Safari looks like he's up 3 classes today, but that's the difference from his last UK run : he has been running at Class 1 in Meydan recently and his trainer, Charlie Appleby has positive icons for both recent form and course form.

Trainers of both Al Aasy and Highest ground also look to be in decent nick, whilst Sir Ron Priestley's yard have a good course record, as do the jockeys aboard Al Aasy and Star Safari, but Franny Norton (Sir Ron Priestley) is having a rare dry spell and is 0 from 27 over the last fortnight (before Wednesday's six rides at Yarmouth, that is). Al Aasy is best off at the weights based on official ratings and although Sir Ron Priestley concedes 3lbs to the field, he's next best at the weights ahead of Bangkok, Star Safari and then Highest Ground.

Sir Ron Priestley carries top weight here and had seven wins and a runner-up finish from nine starts from mid-April 2019 to his win in the Gr2 Jockey Club Stakes on the Rowley here on the 1st May when he beat Pyledriver (who then beat Al Aasy in the Coronation Cup) by 2.25 lengths. he was too keen at York just 13 days later and then next/last time out, he really wasn't suited by tackling soft ground for the first time at Ascot, beaten by over 7 lengths in the Hardwicke. He's back on preferred Good to Firm ground, he excels in small fields, gets the trip easily enough and has a great record with today's jockey. We should see him back to something like his best here.

Al Aasy is clearly the one to beat here and prior to going down by a neck in the Coronation Cup last time out, he had won four of his five previous starts. He's 3 from 4 at Gr3, but hasn't yet raced at Gr2, but that Coronation Cup run says he's more than up to it. If I have any reservations about him here, it's the quick ground. Most of his racing has been done on ground softer than Good and his only previous good to firm effort saw him beaten by over 10 lengths on the Rowley here last summer.

Bangkok won a Gr3 on good to firm ground at Sandown way back in April 2019 and it's over a year since his last effort on ground this quick, when he was last home of seven at Sandown. In his defence he was only 7 lengths or so off the winner and it was the Gr1 Coral Eclipse, where he carried 3lbs more than the runner-up Enable who was rated 14lbs higher than Bangkok, but only beat him by 5 lengths, so it wasn't a bad run. That said, his best form has been on the all-weather, but he does get this trip even if all his best work has been at 1m2f.

Highest Ground, like Sir Ron Priestley, seems to love this quicker ground, having won both efforts on good to firm so far, whilst he's only 1 from 5 elsewhere. He hasn't won anything higher than a Class 3 contest and was well beaten (10.5L) in the Gr2 Hardwicke LTO, but again soft ground was at play. We should get a better idea of where he's at here, but I'm undecided about him so far.

Star Safari completes the line-up and his UK form loks a bit bare. 10th of 18, beaten by over 10 lengths in a Class 4, 1m maiden on the Rowley in late September 2018 was followed 13 days later by a win in another C4 maiden, but over 8.5f at Nottingham and that's his entire UK career. Since then, he was beaten by three lengths in a Listed race at Deauville before finishing 131 in three handicaps (1m2f, 1m2f & 1m4f) at Meydan. He then won a Gr3 over 1m2f there and his last race was just over three months ago, when beaten by six lengths over today's trip in a Gr1 contest. The only question here is can he bring that Meydan turf form to the UK?

Based on the above, I think that we lack in terms of quantity, we've made up for quality and none of these are no-hopers and Al Aasy isn't a shoo-in at this point either (not for me, anyway!). Now to the feature of the day, Instant Expert, which will hopefully corroborate much of what I've just written!

And Bangkok's lack of Flat success is clearly highlighted above, as is Star Safari's pure lack of UK action. We said Highest Ground hadn't won beyond Class 3, which is worrying. Al Aasy is largely untried on quick ground and Sir Ron Priestley might never get a more favourable set of conditions to race under. If only he wasn't conceding 3lbs to the field...

As for the draw...

I expect the going to be towards the good side of god to firm and have adjusted my setting accordingly and in 29 previous similar contests, the stats suggest that the higher the draw, the better chance there is for both winning and finishing as runner-up, which doesn't bode particularly well for Bangkok or Star Safari, but better for Al Aasy, Sir Ron Priestley & Highest Ground.

As regards to the pace/race positioning of those 29 races above, those who have led and set the fractions have done far better winning 31.1% of the races from just 21.5% of the runners. Prominent racers have scored slightly above par providing 44.8% of the winners from 42.4% of runners, whilst hold-up horses haven't done nearly as well with a third of the runners only contributing 24.1% of the winners. We've only had 4 mid-division runners in those 29 races, so those figures for that style are inconclusive at best...

When we look at how these five have raced in the past...

Sir Ron Priestley looks like he's going to be the one to set the pace here with the fav biding his time. And when we combine those running styles with the pace stats and the draw data, we can order the field into stalls and get an overview of how we see those pieces of information working with each other as follows...

None of the five look massively inconvenienced here on pace/draw make-up. The Johnston horse looks set to be afforded a soft/easy lead and that could be dangerous for Al Aasy, as Franny Norton is an excellent judge of the pace from the front and if they approach this like they did the Jockey Club Stakes in May, they might not get caught!

Summary

Al Aasy is the one to beat here, but he's certainly no shoo-in like the 8/13 price tag would suggest he is. He's unproven on the going and might have a lot of ground to make up, so I can't/won't be backing him here. Bangkok is better on the A/W and Star Safari's ability to transfer form from overseas is questionable. That leaves me with Highest Ground and Sir Ron Priestley. Highest Ground will also be held up with Al Aasy and although he'll "get" the ground, he hasn't won beyond Class 3 and I don't see him beating the fav.

So, Sir Ron? Yes!
Instant Expert says yes.
He beat Pyledriver : another yes
Drawn high? Yes
Likes to lead? Yes

Lots to like about Sir Ron Priestley here, I'm concerned about the extra 3lbs, of course, but at 11/2 in a 5-horse race, there could be some real value there. Al Aasy will come at him hard late on, but I hope he can hold the fav off. Sir Ron should make the frame, I hope he wins and for those that way inclined a back to lay option might be on the cards?

PLEASE NOTE : I'm out on family business for most of Thursday, so my preview of Friday's racing will appear later than usual!

Racing Insights, 7th July 2021

Mondammej was a non-runner this afternoon, but my second best and 9/1 shot Corinthia Knight was returned a 17/2 winner, half a length clear of the very well backed new favourite Golden Apollo, who in fairness ran far better than I expected.

Wednesday's free feature is the excellent Trainer Statistics report which is, in fact, four reports in one. It contains information on a trainer’s recent form, and their longer term course form. For each of 14 day, 30 day, course one year, and course since 2009, users can filter by runs, wins, places, win profit/loss and each way profit/loss.

In addition to this, we have the following six free 'races of the day'...

  • 1.55 Yarmouth
  • 2.45 Lingfield
  • 4.30 Lingfield
  • 4.40 Catterick
  • 4.55 Fairyhouse
  • 7.25 Fairyhouse

I'm expecting conditions to be very tricky at Lingfield, so we'll head there for our preview. The first race is a maiden and I tend to steer clear of those, so my focus is on the 4.30 Lingfield. It's an 8-runner, 3yo+, Class 5 Handicap over 5f on ground that is already Soft (Heavy in places) with more showers set to fall. The prize is a mere £2,862 and these are the contenders...

Just three of the field (Aleef, Firenze Roma and Lethal Blast) have a win in their recent form lines with the first of those three the LTO winner here. He (Aleef) is the oldest in the field and along with Haveoneyerself is stepping up in class today. Aventurina is the youngest here as the sole 3 year old and is the least experienced and now makes a handicap debut after just three starts.

All eight have raced in the past month with all bar Aleef (off for 30 days) having raced inside the last fortnight. Only Aventurina and Starchant have yet to win over 5f, whilst Lethal Blast, Aleef, Bellevarde and Firenze Roma are all past course and distance winners. We've little in the way of positive icons for the trainers and jockeys other than Rhys Clutterbuck (Bellevarde) seeming to have a good record at this venue.

There's quite a big (19lbs) spread on official ratings from top to bottom weight, whilst the SR figures suggest a tight affair at the top end.

Lethal Blast bears top weight today and this 4 yr old filly has already won three times (on the bounce) over C&D this year, although 2 of them were on the A/W, but she did win on soft ground here in May was was only beaten by 1.75 lengths off this mark here LTO. She gets soft ground and is 3 from 6 plus a place under today's jockey. Real chances here.

Aleef is 2 from 2 here at Lingfield, both over 5f and one of them on turf, LTO 30 days ago. At 8 yrs old, he's very experienced after 58 outings and has 2 wins and 3 places on soft ground. He only got home by a head LTO and now up 3lbs and one class, this will be tougher, but he definitely has place claims.

Haveoneyerself ran really well at Nottingham last time to finish as a 20/1 runner-up off just 1lb lower than today's mark, but he's effectively now 5lbs higher than his last win, which came over a year ago and whilst he has been running well in defeat, I think a combination of weight and soft ground will undo him.

Quanah is another without a win in the last year, despite having 13 attempts to break the cold spell, but has only been beaten by 0.75L, 0.5L and 2.75L in three of his last four outings and with 3 wins and 2 places from 9 starts on soft/heavy ground, he might relish the conditions here.

Bellevarde is on an even longer barren run, having last succeeded 17 races ago, back in October 2019 and now with his jockey taking 5lbs off a mark of 60, he's actually 18lbs better off than that win. he hasn't been beaten by more than four lengths in any of his last seven starts, so he could be weighted to go well here, but I have concerns about him only winning 1 of 11 on soft ground, but he has made the frame in 6 of them.

Firenze Rosa won over at this class/trip on soft ground at Windsor four starts ago, but has suffered defeats of 7L, 9.5L and 6.5L since then, beating just 6 of 21 rivals in the process. In her defence, though, from a career record of just 4 wins and 9 places from 49 starts, she does have 2 wins and 3 places from 9 on soft/heavy ground with her only other two wins coming on good to soft.

Aventurina looks a little out of her depth here thrown into a handicap after three runs where she finished 10th of 13, 7th of 8 and 7th of 10. Admittedly she was only beaten by just over 3 lengths last time out, but she's best watched here having also never encountered anything other than good ground.

Starchant is still a maiden after 43 attempts since June 2018 and running from 2lbs out of the handicap is likely to stay that way. She was beaten by 8.5 lengths over this trip last time out and 29 of her 43 runs have been at 5f. She's 0/19 here at Lingfield, 0/20 at Class 5 and looks pretty hopeless if truth be told.

Of the above, I'm already willing to write off the chances of Aventurina and Starchant and although Firenze Roma has form on soft ground, she's almost on my red list too.

*

I've already alluded to how some of these runners have performed in similar conditions to today, but here's a full overview of all of them side by side, courtesy of Instant Expert...

Of interest to me here are...
GOING : Lethal Blast, Aleef, Quanah, Firenze Roma
CLASS : Lethal Blast, Aleef, Bellevarde
COURSE : Lethal Blast, Aleef, Bellevarde, Firenze Roma
DISTANCE : Lethal Blast, Quanah, Bellevarde

Bellevarde and Quanah are well weighted here, but Lethal Blast is now some 9lbs higher than his last win, which could make life tough in the mud.

We don't get many 5f contests on soft or worse here at Lingfield, so I've had to improvise with the data for the draw stats, as follows...

And sometimes that's what we have to do, but in conditions worse than good here, stalls 3 to 7 seem to be the place to be, which is a positive for Haveoneyerself, Lethal Blast, Bellevarde, Firenze Roma and Aleef.

If we then use those same "improvised" settings for the pace / race positioning, we get the following...

...which essentially says that prominent racers just about hold their own, but any further back is a death knell, whilst leaders do exceptionally well, which would appear to be good news for Lethal Blast (again!), as well as Aleef and possibly Bellevarde & Starchant, but the latter has little else going for her...

When we align those running styles with today's draw and the assumptions we've made about where and how is best to run this contest, this is what we get...

That's in draw order, so the pace is away from the low stalls and those best suited are somewhat predictably Lethal Blast and Aleef along with Quanah and Haveoneyerself, who are all firmly in the green

Summary

Some names crop up more than others during an assessment of a race and in order of frequency it probably reads Lethal Blast / Aleef / Bellevarde as the ones I've mentioned most. I have full faith in the tools available to me and we've only dealt in facts, even though we've had to expand the settings for pace and draw slightly, but I'm happy with those three and that's the order I want them in.

The bookies also have them in that order at 3/1, 4/1 and 11/2, although they do also have Haveoneyerself installed as a 3/1 joint favourite, but he's not for me at that price, I'm sticking with my 1-2-3. I expect Lethal Blast to go off shorter than the current 3/1 offered, so if you agree with my reasoning, get on whilst you can.

Racing Insights, 6th July 2021

Tuesday's free feature is the Shortlist report, a simple – and usually brief – report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day. And as well as a free feature each day, we also open up a number of racecards to all readers free of charge, irrespective of membership status and for Tuesday, these are...

  • 3.20 Wolverhampton
  • 3.35 Pontefract
  • 4.25 Roscommon
  • 6.35 Brighton
  • 7.15 Uttoxeter

The Shortlist report...

...only has one runner (As High Say) of real interest to me and she's likely to be an odds on favourite in a small field, so I'll revert back to the list races above.

Of that list of free races, the grandly titled King Richard III Handicap is the highest rated. It's on your cards as the 3.35 Pontefract, a 9-runner, Class 2, 3yo+ flat handicap over 6f on Good to Soft ground. The prize is £10,308 and here are the runners and riders...

On paper, it's a pretty open looking contest between a bunch of horses who don't appear at first glance to be in the best of form and I initially get a feeling that this wouldn't look out of place at Class 3! That said, six of them did race at this grade last time out with Corinthia Knight & Golden Apollo stepping up one grade and Brian The Snail taking two steps up.

All ninve have won over 6f previously, whilst Mondammej, Corinthia Knight, Golden Apollo, Danzan and Brian The Snail are all former Pontefract winners with the last three of those five also having won over course & distance at the same time.

Hey Jonesy is rated highest (100) by the assessor and he also tops the Geegeez SR figures kindly licensed to us by Dr Peter May of pjmracing.co.uk We'll now look at the race a little closer to see if I agree with them!

Hey Jonesy last won just over a year ago when landing a 22-runner handicap at this class/trip and has raced six times since without too much joy, but has shown signs of a possible return to form recently, as his last two runs have seen him beaten by just 1.75 lengths and 2.25 lengths, both off today's mark of 100, but he now has a jockey claiming 7lbs, which could be the route back to the winners' enclosure for him.

Aberama Gold won his last two races of 2020, both at this class/trip, but on the A/W of Chelmsford & Lingfield. Since then he is 0 from 9 in 2021, having made the frame just twice and was soundly beaten by 20 lengths at Ascot when 20th of 21 in the Wokingham.

Barbill, like the two above him, also featured in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot and whilst comfortably clear of Aberama Gold in 9th place, he was still more than 5 lengths and three places further back than Hey Jonesy. His own last win was back in August last year and whilst he could make the frame, I don't see him winning based on form.

Mondammej won here over 5f at this grade back in April and although he hasn't won since, he has made the frame in three of five runs. He was a runner-up at Newcastle last time out in a 14-runner contest and despite going down by 2.5 lengths, he was the "winner" from his side of a split field. he's only 1lb higher here and must have a decent shout.

Corinthia Knight is also a former course winner who is up just 1lb after making the frame last time out. He was only beaten by a head and a neck in a tight 3-way finish over course and distance 16 days ago and although an extra pound isn't much, he does also step up in class here. Like Barbill earlier, I think he could get involved without quite winning it.

Flying Pursuit has been around the block a few times (68 races to date) and he won his penultimate start of 2020 and also his first run in 2021, albeit both at lower classes and weight than today. he was only fourth of eight at this class/trip last time out and off the same mark but without the aid of a 5lb jockey claim, I think he might struggle.

Golden Apollo has won here over course and distance, but that was at Class 3 over four years ago and he hasn't won any of his last nine outings since landing the Ayr Silver Cup back in September 2019. A mark of 86 shouldn't technically be beyond him, but he's not one to rely on and his form isn't great.

Danzan is also a former C&D winner, but that was (a) his sole win from 20 starts on turf, (b) just his third career start and (c) a fortnight shy of four years ago. His last win anywhere was in February 2018 and although he's now 21lbs lower than that win, I don't him snapping a 25-race losing streak here.

Brian The Snail completes the line-up, carrying bottom weight off a mark of just 83 and he, too, is a former C&D winner. In fact he's two from two here at Pontefract, having won over 5f and then 6f either side of 5f win at Catterick, as he started his 50-race career with a hat-trick from September 2016 to April 2017. He hasn't been back here in over four years, but now returns off the back of a decent 4th of 14 at Chester when beaten by just over four lengths off 2lbs higher. He's up two classes here, but based on weight and his last run, he could go well here too.

From the above and other things I've read about these, my initial leanings are towards Barbill, Brian The Snail, Corinthia Knight, Hey Jonesy and Mondammej in alphabetical order, but let's see what we can glean from the racecard tools, starting with Instant Expert...

The two over-riding things here for me are that there's a hell of a lot of red on there and that those who have raced in handicaps here at Pontefract in the past have done well. Barbill's figures look the most consistent above, but due to the vast swathes of red, we should look at place records...

...which are a little more encouraging. Of the five I originally leant towards, Barbill fared well on the win front, but it looks like win or bust for him. Brian The Snail has abject figures at Class 2 and hasn't been great over 6f, Corinthia Knight is lightly tried under these conditions but has done well enough, Hey Jonesy doesn't look as strong as I thought he might, but isn't too badly treated on weight compared to his last win, whilst Mondammej's place figures are very good.

Let's look at the draw over 6f at Ponty...

There's a clear split there and being drawn in the middle doesn't look like good news, but maybe the stats for individual stalls will give us a better indication...

If, as usual, we count stalls 9 & 10 as one entity with a 2 from 17 (11.76%) win record and 7 from 17 (41.18%) place record, then I'm going to say that it's stalls 3 to 5 that need avoiding, which doesn't help the chances of Corinthia Knight, Brian the Snail or Aberama Gold. The stall 3 figures in particular are very strange with the next stall faring so well. Stall 5 has also fared worst from a place perspective.

The pace stats also make for interesting reading...

Prominent racers fare slightly (10%) better than you'd expect and they make the frame on almost 42% of occasions. Any further back in the field and it becomes really hard to even make the frame, never mind actually win! Leaders, however, do really well here and that's the tactic you'd want to see your runner adopt irrespective of draw. But what we've found in races lie this is that leaders are often drawn low (11 of 19 leaders have come from low draws) and that hold-up horses rarely come from low draws (just 9 of 45) and that the best pace/draw make-up is the low drawn leader, preferably from stalls 1 or 2 , I'd assume...

And this is how our field fits into that grid, based on their last few runs...

Summary

I still think that Barbill, Brian The Snail, Corinthia Knight, Hey Jonesy and Mondammej are the just over half of the field I want to be with, but none are perfect here, of course. None are in sparkling form, but Mondammej has been running the best of them lately.

Barbill fared well on Instant Expert and has a good draw in stall two and the only thing I'd need him to change would be the necessity to race a little closer to the pace here. Brian the Snail has a really poor record (2 from 32) at Class 2 and hasn't made the frame in 8 starts on Good to soft ground, so he's out now. Corinthia Knight has the dreaded 3rd stall, but with neither Barbill nor Golden Apollo inside him showing any propensity to lead, he quickly grab the rail and almost be the stall 1 runner and his pace/draw make-up is excellent. In a preverse way, he hasn't raced under these conditions enough to be deemed a failure, so that's a sort of positive too if you like.

Hey Jonesy isn't out of it on a mark of 100 even though he is top weight here, but he's poorly drawn. Ideally he'd need to get out quicker, but attempting that was his undoing last time out and he has a faster starter immediately inside him. His Instant expert figures weren't the best and he's unreliable, so he's gone too and now to Mondammej. He brings the best form to the table, has a good draw out wide in 9 where he can keep out of trouble and he's a hold-up horse which often works from wide here at Ponty. He's greened up on the Instant Expert place stats and all things combined, he's the one I'd back here.

So, it's Mondammej at 4/1 for me here with the equally priced Corinthia Knight and the 9/1 Barbill as my placers. I don't actually have much between those two and I'll probably also take a small E/W on Barbill at 9's.

 

Racing Insights, 5th July 2021

The Pace tab is open to all readers for all races every Monday, whilst our daily free races are scheduled to be...

  • 2.45 Ayr
  • 3.40 Nottingham
  • 6.45 Windsor
  • 7.15 Windsor

And the last of those four looks (on paper, at least) the best quality, so today's focus falls on the 7.15 Windsor, a 7-runner, Class 3, 3yo+ flat handicap over 5f on soft ground worth £6,210 to one of these...

A Sure Welcome is a useful 5f handicapper (3 from 8 on turf) and he last ran at this trip on 7th June, when landing a course and distance win by 2½ lengths off a mark of 84. He's now 5lbs higher than that (just as he was when 3rd here over 6f LTO), but should still be competitive for a yard in decent nick.

Rayong has failed to make the frame in seven outings since winning at this class/trip at Pontefract a year ago off a mark of 93. It has taken that run of form to get him back into the 80's and he's now 5lbs lighter than that win. He has struggled for form of late and now runs for the first time since a wind op.

Caroline Dale is an interesting and lightly raced filly, who has already won over course and distance. She was a runner-up on debut on Lingfield's A/W track 13 months ago and has raced just five times, all on turf, since. However, in those five races she has made the frame in three Class 1 contests, finishing third at Gr2, Gr3 and Listed company, but on her return from a 314-day absence at Chester nine days, was last home of 8 at this class/trip.

Charlie Fellowes hit the bar as a runner-up in three consecutive races last August, before going on to win his next three with those six runs taking his hcp mark from 68 to 92. Marks in the 90's have proved a tall order for him, but he was a runner-up beaten by just a neck off 90 at Chester in the race in which Caroline Dale was last home, nine days ago. He's back up 2lbs for that effort, which makes this tough, but he's running well.

Clarendon House made his debut on 1st June this year, winning a Class 5 maiden over 5f at Yarmouth by almost five lengths before winning again 11 days later in his next/last outing. That was another Class 5 race, a 5f Novice contest which he duly won by nine lengths. Both wins were on quick ground, so we don't know how he'll fare on soft, but he's certainly going the right direction and an opening mark of 87 might prove to be a little lenient, but he is up two classes.

Thegreatestshowman is just 2 from 22 on turf, including just 1 win from 17 in handicaps. Most of his running is done on good to firm ground and was fourth here behind A Sure Welcome over course and distance two starts ago. He hasn't won any of his last twelve runs on the Flat stretching back almost two years and I'm not sure that'll change here.

Second Collection is just three pounds higher than when winning over 5f at Bath just three starts ago, but has since finished 5th of 14, beaten by four lengths and most recently, last home of six beaten by 5½ lengths at Haydock just over a fortnight ago. She's down a pound from that run, but steps up in class and although she has 2 wins and 3 places from 7 starts here at Windsor, it's fair to say that she prefers quicker ground and that she's better over 6f.

*

The take-away from Instant Expert is that soft ground is something these horses aren't really used to and haven't got to grips with it yet, although both Caroline Dale & Charlie Fellowes have both made the frame on soft. Trip-wise, it's a different story as the entire field have had at least one win at 5f.  A quick word about A Sure Welcome, who looks from the above to have tried Class 3 and Windsor several times now without much joy, he's 1 from 6 at C3 and 1 from 8 on this track, but from a place perspective, he's 4 from 6 and 6 from 8 respectively, as you can see below...

Basically, the trip holds no fears for any of these runners, but some are better over 6f. As for the draw in this seven-runner contest, there's not masses of data (only 10.4% of Windsor 5f sprints have been run on soft ground!), but the general feeling off an admittedly small sample size is that Stalls 2 to 5 is the best 'corridor' for making the frame, with 3 to 5 being the areas for winners...

With regard to place, it's interesting to see that leaders win far more often than other running styles, but they tend to either win or fail to even make the frame, there doesn't seem any middle ground. And if leaders are the ones most likely to win, then it's the hold-up horses who chase them home to make the places.

As ever, we can combine the draw stats with those pace stats to make a 12-box pace/draw matrix showing which combinations of draw and running styles work best/worst at Windsor and that looks like this...

And this is today's draw and our horses' running styles averaged out over their last four runs...

So we know who's in stalls 3 to 5 ie Charlie Fellowes, Rayong and Clarendon House and we know two of those three like to get on with it, so when we overlay that last graphic onto the pace/draw heat map, we get something like this...

...which probably comes as little surprise to anyone.

Summary

What I believe to be the three best horses here are coincidentally also the ones most likely to be setting the pace and I wouldn't be surprised if the first three home finished in order of their pace ranking ie

A Sure Welcome is useful and consistent at this level/trip, but might just be carrying too much, despite (or because of!) still running well. Clarendon House is unbeaten, but has just two quick ground Class 5 races under his belt. He could be something, but could equally be nothing and I'm not backing a horse at a possible Evens or slightly bigger/smaller on the basis that he might or might not be something.

There's every possibility that he's the best of the seven by some margin, but I like to deal in what we know and not what we assume, which leaves me with Charlie Fellowes. He doesn't mind the wet ground, stays 6f and has a great draw. He likes to lead and might prove uncatchable. Hills were the only bookie to have shown a hand at 4pm on Sunday, but their 4/1 about Charlie Fellowes seems fair to me, so I'm on!

Racing Insights, 3rd July 2021

Jawaal was a nice 7/2 winner for us at Doncaster this afternoon and whilst we await this evening's race at Beverley, I've work to do for tomorrow!

The Trainer/Jockey Stats report is Saturday's free feature, whilst our races of the day are as follows...

  • 2.40 Haydock
  • 3.05 Naas
  • 3.55 Leicester
  • 4.10 Sandown
  • 5.10 Beverley
  • 6.35 Bellewstown

The first on that list of races is actually the second most valuable race of the day anywhere in the UK & Ireland and although it's some way behind the £340k on offer to the winner of the Coral Eclipse at Sandown, the £65,216 purse for winning the 2.40 Haydock is not to be sniffed at.

The race in focus, is the Lancashire (God's county) Oaks, a 9-runner, Group 2 contest for fillies and mares aged 3 or over. The going is expected to be Good, even though Haydock's usual rain is on the way and the trip is a mile and a half, of course.

Alpinista is likely to be a warm favourite, but with bookies paying three (or even four is some cases) places, there could be scope for a nice E/W selection, if I don't fancy backing the fav. We start, as usual, with the racecard itself and I've opened up my report angles for you too...

As you'd expect for a race of this calibre, virtually all of the runners come here in good form and allotted weight today is 9st 5lbs, although the three 3yos (Dubai Fountain, Lady Hayes & Mystery Angel) all have a useful 12lbs weight allowance, making the first of those three the best off at the weights overall, as she's officially rated as just 8lbs worse than Alpinista and she's 7pts clear on the Geegeez SR figures.

Alpinista heads the card, though, and she had a great 2020, despite only racing three times, winning a Listed contest prior to runner-up finishes at Gr1 (Yorkshire Oaks) and a Gr3. She returned from a 31 week break at the end of April to beat the re-opposing Makawee by a short head in another Listed race and now comes here freshened by another nine weeks rest.

Bharani Star is a former course and distance winner, albeit in a Class 5 handicap on softer ground and whilst she's no mug, as proven by winning a Listed race at Ayr recently, she'll need to improve a fair bit to be involved here.

Cabaletta also had a decent 2020, winning a Listed race over today's trip at Newbury before going on to make the frame in successive Group (2 then 3) races. Last seen five weeks ago finishing a respectable 1¾ lengths  behind the re-opposing La Lune in a Gr 3 over C&D here at Haydock.

La Lune did indeed win the Pinnacle Stakes here over C&D five weeks ago to take her record for the year to 2 from 2, having already won a Listed race at Nottingham . This was a stark reversal of her 2020 form, though, when she failed to win a race and was heavily beaten in her final two runs of the season. If continuing 2021's form, however, she has every chance here.

Makawee is a decent/consistent sort, who was the runner-up in this very race last year. No wins yet in 2021, but she has made the frame in all three starts and was only a short head behind Alpinista in that Goodwood listed contest in April. She probably hasn't kicked on as expected and might find it tougher here.

Tribal Craft has won just one of nine in the last twelve months, but in her defence, it was a Group 3 success over 1m6f last time out! She now drops back to 1m4f, a trip where most of her best runs have occurred. She tends to go well at this time of year and although she'd probably want the ground to be a bit softer, she could well threaten to make the frame.

Dubai Fountain would be best off at the weights based on handicap marks & weight carried here and she also heads the Geegeez SR figures, which might seem strange, but she did win here as a 2yo (7f, soft!) and returned to action in May after 30 weeks off to win the Cheshire Oaks at nearby Chester. She struggled somewhat in the Epsom Oaks last month, seeming to not handle that quirky course, but ran really well to finish fifth in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot just over a fortnight ago when beaten by less than four lengths. Live chance here.

Lady Hayes was 2 from 2 as a 2yo, winning a Class 2, 7f maiden then a Class 5, 1m Novice event. She has ran twice this year, both in 1m2f Listed contests in May, going down by 8.5L and 1L and will need to improve again stepped up in trip/grade to get even remotely involved

Mystery Angel is really interesting at the foot of the card. She made her debut at the end of last August and has already clocked up ten outings, including winning the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket in May. That was over 1m2f but she proved that she "gets" today's trip by finishing as runner-up in the Epsom Oaks. She was admittedly well beaten that day, some 16 lengths behind Snowfall, but she was ahead of the other 12 runners and came from the opposite side of the draw from the winner. There's no Snowfall here today, with due respect to Alpinista, so this filly might well go one better here.

As you'd expect from a field like this, Instant Expert has plenty of green and amber blocks...

...but Makawee & Tribal Craft have both struggled to win over today's trip and have no green at all, so whilst I'm not ruling any of them out here, I'm a little wary of those two at the distance. Alpinista probably wants it quicker and won't want too much of the forecasted rain to arrive.

The immediate inference from the draw stats suggests that low drawn horses are likely to do best here, which is good news for the likes of La Lune, Mystery Angel & Alpinista and this is backed up by the figures from the individual stalls...

...where again stalls 1 to 3 are prevalent, but stall 4's place returns suggest they might have just been a little unlucky to only convert one of six places in to a win, which then brings Dubai Fountain into the equation.

Pace is always interesting here at Haydock and so many jockeys get it wrong. The basic premise (in my mind, anyway) at this track is to get out quickly and then control the race from the front (Franny Norton aboard Dubai Fountain is a master of it here). If, however, you're not one that likes to lead or you're not able to lead, then tuck in at the back and wait for those chasing he leader to get tired before picking them off late on.

The above thoughts on pace are purely my own and are merely anecdotal, but a quick look at the stats backs me up here...

So, we want a low-drawn leader or hold-up horse, do we, Chris?

You sure do! Although the high drawn leaders also do very well. Elsewhere, it's pretty much a tale of woe!

We know our draw and we know what the ideal pace/draw make-up of the race is, so let's put our nine runners' racingstyles onto that heatmap and put it in draw order, shall we?

Based on the above, I'd expect Makawee to try and se the pace from out wide with the likes of Dubai Fountain and Mystery Angel tucking in with her. Alpinista is in danger of sitting too far back to land a blow here, though.

Summary

Draws 1 to 4 are where I want to be here and of those four, La Lune in stall 1 is probably the weakest, but if you can get on with a bookie paying four places, then 10/1 is a decent offer. That said, you can get 16/1 about probable leader Makawee holding on and that's also interesting.

As for my three against the field, I'm not keen on Alpinista at 7/4 or shorter. Don't get me wrong, she's a decent filly, but I can't be on at those prices in such a competitive contest, so that leaves me with Dubai Fountain and Mystery Angel.

Truth be told, I like both of them at 6/1 and 11/2 respectively, but if pushed for a decision, Dubai Fountain edges it for me, based on weights/ratings and trainer/jockey/course records.

 

Racing Insights, 2nd July 2021

Not only does the Horses for Courses (H4C) report do exactly what you'd expect, it's also our free feature on a Friday along with the following 'races of the day', which are also free to all readers...

  • 1.55 Newton Abbot
  • 3.40 Newton Abbot
  • 4.05 Sandown
  • 6.30 Bellewstown
  • 8.15 Wexford
  • 8.55 Beverley

Now, my fairly strict criteria for the Horses for Courses (H4C) report have only generated a couple of potential bets for Friday, so I thought we'd have a look at them here...

So we start at Doncaster for the 2.45 race...

Jawwaal's record here reads 32101 and this 6yr old gelding was a winner here over course and distance last time out, 19 days ago. As you'll see shortly, he's got a good record on good to firm and also over today's trip, whilst his five runs here at Doncaster before today include 2 wins and a place from 3 on Good to Firm and 2 wins from 2 over this minimum 5f course and distance, whilst more generally in Flat handicaps, he is...

That win last time out was a career-best off a mark of 92 and he's now a class and 2lbs higher here, but certainly has favourable race conditions. He's drawn in stall 2, which has actually proved to be the best stall to come from in similar recent contests...

...which is now starting to tick a lot of boxes. Strangely for such a short contest, these races here at Doncaster have favoured the hold-up horse, with 7 of the above 11 races going that way...

...and this is a potential fly in the ointment for Jawaal, based on his last four runs, as he seems to be a solid mid-division runner, leading to him being caught between two stools on the pace/draw heatmap...

However, all is not lost, because if we look at the overall field in draw order (I've omitted names etc, as it's not a Free race)...

...then many the field might well be adopting different tactics to usual. After all, there'll have to be a leader from somewhere. Jawaal is basically 6th of 7 on pace and that might actually make him look like a hold up horse here!

*

After that race, our focus moves a mere 40 miles North East to the 6.23 Beverley...

Kodimoor's record here at Beverley currently reads 81313 and the last of those was this 8yr old gelding's last outing 17 days ago, when he was a decent 3rd of 17 over 1m½f, but he now drops back to 7½f, where he is 2 from 2 over course and distance. All five track runs have been at this Class 6 level and he has one win and one place from two good to firm runs. His overall flat handicap record isn't as good away from this track, if truth be told...

...but he really does like it here, fairly close to home.  His last win was four starts ago on his penultimate visit to Beverley, when scoring over course and distance off a mark of 46, but ran off 50 when 3rd and beaten by three lengths LTO. Useful 5lb claimer Tyler Heard now jumps into the saddle, effectively bringing him back lower than that last win, so he should have every chance based on course/distance form and at the weights.

The draw, however, hasn't been too kind to him, as stall 5 hasn't fared too well in recent similar races...

but he does cope well with big fields here at Beverley and despite being drawn 8 of 14 here LTO, still made the frame, so I wouldn't rule him out of contention just yet. The pace stats here at Beverley are pretty clear...

...the further forward you can race, the better. 7½f on quick ground here soon passes and the race can be gone before you know it, so you really need to get out sharpish. Thankfully, as shown below, Kodimoor's no slouch and does like to get on with it...

...which is also pretty encouraging.

Summary

Two runners both with conditions set to suit them perfectly. Jawaal is well drawn, Kodimoor isn't, but he's better suited by the pace/draw make-up of the race than Jawaal would appear to be. So both look to have plenty in their favour without it all being perfect, so they could both potentially win.

So do I back both? To win, probably. I've Jawaal as my favoured horse in his race, but 14 runners is plenty at Beverley and I just feel there might be a couple better than Kodimoor for this one, but price dependent, there might still be something there for us.

No real surprise for me to see Jawaal installed as the 10/3 favourite as of 4.25pm and I think that's a fair price. He beat Mountain Peak over C&D LTO and I'd expect him to maintain the advantage, but MP would be the biggest danger for me.

As for Doncaster, I think the likes of Absolute Dream (11/1) and Motawaazy (4/1) are better here and Etikaal at 12/1 might also be a danger to Kodimoor, who currently trades at 8/1. That's a little on the skinny side for an E/W bet, but if I/you can get that price for 4 or more places, then that could work for us, as could small E/W tickles on Absolute dream and even Etikaal!

Racing Insights, 1st July 2021

Well, that's half the year gone already! We kick off the second half here and we're assisted by having free access to the Instant Expert feature for ALL races, including, of course, the following free 'races of the day'...

  • 1.20 Perth
  • 4.25 Bellewstown
  • 5.30 Bellewstown
  • 6.08 Epsom
  • 6.38 Epsom
  • 8.55 Newbury

The second of the two races on the Downs is the highest rated UK contest of that group of free races, so I'm going to consider the competitive-looking, small-field 6.38 Epsom, a 7-runner (was 8!), Class 3, 3yo+, Flat Handicap over 6f on Soft (Gd to Soft in places) ground. The prize is £6,700 and here are the contenders...

There are a few familiar names to regular readers of this column, as we've looked at a few of this field in previous races and we now get to look at them again!

FORM : Four of the seven (Power Over Me, Indian Creak, Top Breeze & Mamillius) have won at least one of their last five outings with the middle two of that list winning last time out.

CLASS : Muscika, Power Over Me & Top Breeze all raced at this level last time out, whilst Indian Creak, Mamillius & Epsom Faithfull all step up a grade with Magical Wish the sole class dropper.

COURSE/DISTANCE : All seven have previously over this 6f trip, but only Indian Creak has won here at Epsom, but that was over 7f.

LAST RUN : All seven have raced in the past month with Mamillius (9 days) having least rest and Indian Creak (31) rested longest.

WEIGHT/OR/SR RANGE : The top five on the card are only rated as 2lbs apart, whilst our SR figures also point to a competitive encounter with just an 8pt spread across the top 5 (Power Over Me has never raced in a Flat Handicap, so has no SR score).

TRAINER/JOCKEY INFO : Not much on the card to be honest, but it looks like the yard of Epsom Faithfull hasn't performed well here at Epsom and that his jockey is struggling for form too, as is the rider aboard Top Breeze. Conversely Rossa Ryan (Magical Wish) is denoted as bring in good form, whilst the handlers of Muscika are deemed to have a decent long-term record at Epsom.

Muscika was only beaten by a neck over course and distance here less than four weeks ago of 2lbs lower, albeit at a higher grade than today and he was probably turned back out too quickly at Nottingham when 5th of 7 off the same mark just 5 days later. 6f is definitely his favoured trip, he has a win and 2 places from 8 on soft ground, but he's probably a few pounds too high in the weights (3lbs higher than highest winning mark from last October).

Magical Wish is on a dozen race losing streak stretching back to mid-August 2020 and has been fairly well beaten in recent outings. He now drops back to 6f for the first time in 16 races and although he's now 4lbs lower than his last win, I'm not keen on his chances here, as his best form has been on the A/W or much quicker turf.

Power Over Me has had a brilliant 2021 so far, winning five of seven, but was beaten by some six lengths at this class/trip at Chelmsford last time out. All that good form has been on the A/W and has run on turf just twice so far, both in Irish soft ground maidens over 5½f when beaten by 6L and 8L. He's eased a pound in the weights, but still 5lbs higher than his last win and his turf form is a concern, even if he is 5 from 8 at this trip.

Indian Creak won a 7f maiden here at Epsom almost two years ago and has won three of fifteen starts since. he own a soft ground 6f contest at Windsor in late August last year before his form fizzled out off marks in the high-80's. He was then off track for seven months from late October to late May, during which time he was gelded and made a winning return again over this 6f trip at Windsor last time out. He only won by 0.75 lengths that day and is now up 1 class and 4lbs, making this much tougher.

Top Breeze is also up 4lbs from a career-best win last time out, but does at least have a 3lb jockey claim to help him at the weights, unfortunately that jockey is 42 races and 42 days away from his own last win although he has made the frame on both rides aboard this horse. The horse himself is 3 from 11 at the trip, has won a couple of Class 2 contests and had a string of placed finishes off marks in the high-80's and low 90's last season, so a good run of 89(-3) shouldn't be beyond him.

Mamillius was headed late on and beaten by a neck over 7f at Brighton last time out, so the drop back to 6f might suit him here. He last won just over a month ago, also at Brighton, but over this 6f trip and is only rated 1lb higher here today. He has been in cracking form since taking September, October and November off in 2020, winning 3 and placing in 3 of 8 runs since the start of December and if Ok after just 9 days rest should be involved once again.

Epsom Faithfull is the only filly in the race and she's rated some 7lbs lower than the next in the weights and that's probably fair for a horse without a win since landing back to back 6f successes in the autumn of 2019. It's almost a year now since she last ran on turf, suffering a 10 length defeat over 6f on good to soft ground and I think she's destined to struggle here, especially tackling Class 3 for the first time.

*

At this point, I'd say that I'd be leaning towards (alphabetically) Indian Creak, Mamillius, Muscika & Top Breeze to beat the other three home, but let's now check how all seven have fared in similar conditions in the past via today's feature Instant Expert...

Both Muscika & Indian Creak have won on soft ground before and the former's three places from seven on soft is a good record, as are his 10 places at Class 3. Top Breeze has a poor looking record at this grade, but has two wins and four places from nine sub-£2ok Class2 outings. It's Muscika & Mamillius on the course figures with the former the pick at this trip from a place perspective.

None of the three I didn't like after round 1 have swayed me over just yet, but Instant Expert looked very good for Muscika's chances of a decent run.

I think I'd want a horse I fancied to have a high draw here and although I had to expand the search parameters to get a more reliable sample size...

I think the above would also suggest a high draw would be advantageous and if we look at stall by stall...

...and we do a little maths, I think we get to a similar point. Stalls 1 to 5 have 16 runners in each on that graphic with stalls 6 to 9 having 32, so if we said stalls 6 & 7 had 16 each to make it a 7 horse race, then the stats for stalls higher than no.5 are 5 wins (15.6%) and 13 places (40.6%) from 32, suggesting that stalls 2, 3 and higher than 5 are the best places to be, which is good for both Mamillius and Top Breeze from my favoured four.

The pace stats for those 16 races are interesting and the immediate take-away is that you don't want to be on a hold-up horse over 6f at Epsom...

All three other running styles are more than acceptable, but strangely the further back of those three styles you can race, the better, which gives us a really interesting looking pace/draw heatmap...

...suggesting there are plenty of successful pace/draw angles here and some shockers, but not much in between and this is how we expect our seven to race here...

That's in draw order and Tomouh doesn't run here, so we expect Muscika to try and make all from stall 5, which might not be the best plan here. Top Breeze looks like he'll race just slightly back from the pace and try to pick them off late on, but none of them look really badly suited by their pace/draw make-up.

Summary

After stage 1 of my process, I initially picked out (alphabetically) Indian Creak, Mamillius, Muscika & Top Breeze to beat the other three home and I've seen/read nothing to change my mind.

But do we have a bet? I should be saying no at this point, it's too competitive and the bookies agree with me. My four are the top four in the market, only ranging from 3/1 to 5/1, so the smart move would be to put your money away and look at another race : it's always OK not to have a bet and it's never really OK to bet for the sake of it.

So for me, it's a NO BET race. However, hypothetically, I think Top Breeze is the one I would have gone with as my winner. I've virtually nothing between Indian Creak & Mamillius for 2nd/3rd with Muscika my 4th choice, BUT any of them could win/lose, so I'm walking away from it. If I get the 1-2-3-4 correct, so be it, I'll not be crowing about it, not will I moan if none of them win.

There's always tomorrow!

Racing Insights, 30th June 2021

Nothing to report from Tuesday, as racing at Hamilton was abandoned following an incident at the track involving two Racetech camera operators, who both had to be taken to hospital.

On behalf of all of us here at Geegeez, I'd like to wish them both a speedy and full recovery going forwards, as we are reminded once again that fulfilling a fixture isn't always a priority.

Last piece for the month now and Wednesday's free feature is the Trainer Stats report, whilst our free 'races of the day' are set to be...

  • 2.45 Thirsk
  • 3.05 Worcester
  • 5.45 Tipperary
  • 6.15 Tipperary
  • 7.35 Kempton
  • 7.55 Bath

And I think we'll take a look at my qualifiers from the 5yr course handicap settings on the Trainer Stats report for today's piece...

As you can see, I have fairly tight criteria, in order to reduce the number of horses I need to look at and Wednesday is no exception with just two trainers fitting the bill and having just the one runner each, so let's assess their chances in order, starting with...

Centurion Song in the 6.25 Bath, a a 9-runner, Class 4, 3yo+ Flat Handicap over 5½f on Good ground for horses yet to win in 2021, where the top prize is £4,347...

The above stats on the racecard refer to Brian Meehan's overall record here at Bath, but I want to focus on his handicap record as on the Trainer Stats report, but I want to extend back to 2014 to get a better sample size and in that time the Meehan handicappers are 14 from 41 here at a strike rate of 34.2% at an A/E of some 1.85. In reference to today's conditions, those runners are...

  • 10/32 (31.25%) from males
  • 5/13 (38.5%) over trips shorter than 6f
  • 4/14 (28.6%) at Class 4
  • 4/11 (36.4%) with 4 yr olds
  • 2/6 (33.3%) over this 5½f  track and trip
  • and 2/2 (100%) with today's jockey, Georgean Buckell, in the saddle.

This race is for horses without a win in 2020, but CS did win over 5f at Southwell on 29th December 2020 and was then a runner-up beaten by a nose on the nod over the same track and trip but off a 4lb higher mark. He then took nearly five months off and returned to action at Windsor where he unseated his rider after being badly hampered and in his most recent run, he missed the break over 5f at Newmarket and had lots to do. He finished strongly, but was a never nearer 4th of 6, 3.75 lengths off the pace and goes off the same mark here.

To date, he has looked better on the A/W than on turf and his best runs have come at Class 5 on a straight track, so I wouldn't say that conditions suit him here and I think this career-high mark of 75 is beyond him right now.

He's drawn in stall 4 of 9, which looks like the worst performing stall here...

And he's also a hold up horse,

...which is possibly the worst thing you can do on decent ground in a Bath sprint...

...so, when we combine pace and draw on our heatmap, you 'll not be surprised to see where his silks lie on our chart...

 

Short of being drawn a little higher, there's not really a worse pace/draw make-up he could have had and when you think that conditions aren't favourable at all...

...then you'd be forgiven for thinking that he's likely to struggle.

*

Or second qualifier is Heptathlete, who runs in the 8.35 Kempton, a 12-runner, 4yo+, Class 5, A/W Handicap over 6f on Polytrack worth £2,862...

As you can see above and on the Trainer Stats report, some good numbers for trainer Kevin Foy, whose first ever runner graced the track less than 32 weeks ago back in November 2020. Since then he has landed 15 winners from 80 (18.75% SR, A/E 1.16) in what has been a great start to his training career. Of those 80 runners, handicappers are 13 from 62 (21% SR) and Kempton runners are 4 from 14 (28.6%), which is how we ended up with our 4 from 12 (33.3%) record for Kevin's Kempton 'cappers.

Twelve runners isn't a huge sample size, of course but they are 15% of Kevin's total output to date and they do include...

  • 2 from 7 (28.6%) from female runners
  • 1 from 4 (25%) at Class 5
  • and 1 from 2 (50%) with 6 yr olds

Today's jockey Rhys Clutterbuck hasn't ridden here for Kevin before and none of the yard's 12 runners here have raced over today's 6f trip. Heptathlete, for the record, is a 6yr old grey mare who has won four times and finished third twice in her eight-race career so far. She's 4 from 6 for Kevin Foy, 1 from 1 under Rhys Clutterbuck. Her best work has been over 7f, but she has won at this level before and she's four from five in cheekpieces. She was beaten on her only previous visit to Kempton, but has won on Polytrack at Lingfield.

She won comfortably at Wolverhampton over 7f last time out, with the race pretty much wrapped up after 5f off a mark of 70. She's up 2lbs today, but Rhys' 5lb claim more than covers that, so if getting the drop back in trip, she's weighted to win again.

She's drawn in stall 7 of 12 here, which is probably at least a couple of stalls higher than ideal from a win perspective, although stall 6 has made the frame often enough.

She may need to get out a bit quicker and edge across to create an artificial draw for herself here and if she can do that and lead, then the pace stats suggest that getting out sharpish is the best policy from both a win and place perspective...

Heptathlete led last time out and generally races prominently...

...and despite that "1" score two starts ago, her 11.2% pace contribution to the race is second highest behind Sendacard, so she's likely to kick on. In fact the report from her run two starts ago says..."raced wide soon tracked leaders...", so that's probably also a 3, which with her other runs would put here here on the pace/draw heatmap...

...which is probably as good as she could hope for given the draw.

Summary

Short and sweet this afternoon...Centurion Song isn't for me, based on form, conditions, pace, draw etc etc. he's mid-division at best and I'm steering clear. Razor Glass & Shalaa Asker look far more likely, but at 4.25pm, I had no prices to quote.

As for Heptathlete, yes, I like her. The drop in trip isn't ideal and she won't have it all her own way on the front end with the likes of Sendacard and World of Windhover also liking to push on, but at odds of 6/1, she's worth a pound or two off me. I looked for a longer priced horse here as an E/W alternative and liked Lethal Angel, but 8/1 is borderline E/W territory for me, but that one could go well and maybe other firm might be a little more generous, as I only had Hills' prices to go off.

Racing Insights, 29th June 2021

A nice 9/2 winner and near 8/1 forecast this afternoon as The Composeur beat the fav Boughtbeforelunch by 4.5 lengths in a race littered with jumping errors. It wasn't a pretty affair, but we've managed to bank a few quid for future use, starting on Tuesday, where 'feature of the day' is The Shortlist, a simple and usually brief report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day.

In addition to a daily free feature, we also open up the cards of a few races to all readers and for Tuesday, those free races are...

  • 2.45 Hamilton
  • 3.50 Hamilton
  • 5.10 Roscommon
  • 6.30 Stratford

...and whilst I'm tempted after today's success to stick with the jumpers, that second race at Hamilton is not only the best of the four free races, but it also features the top ranked qualifier on Tuesday's Shortlist report...

All of which means we're tackling the 3.50 Hamilton, a 10-runner, Class 2, 3yo+, Flat Handicap over 1m½f on Good ground and these are the contenders aiming to land the top prize of £15,462...

FORM : Only Hortzadar & Just Hiss are winless in their last six, whilst both Chichester & Headingley won LTO.

CLASS : Only Stunning Beauty & Hortzadar ran at Class 2 LTO, Poets Dawn steps up one class here, whilst the other seven all ran at Class 4 LTO.

COURSE/DISTANCE : All bar Fred have won at trips similar to today with Howser Black & Jump The Gun the only previous course (and CD) winners.

DAYS RESTED : All have raced in the past five weeks, so excuses about needing a run. Chichester, Fred, Howzer Black & Just Hiss all raced in the past week.

Stunning Beauty was 2 from 2 in the UK last year, but kicked off 2021 with two heavy defeats at Meydan. She then took some time off ahead of a winning return to UK racing, getting home by a neck on her Class 2 debut, but showed nothing last time out, when she pretty refused to run at Ascot after the hood was taken off quite late yard & rider seem in good nick...

Hortzadar won here at Hamilton last July on his only previous visit to this track, but was disqualified after his jockey weighed in light, but he did then land back to back Class 2 handicaps at Ripon and Goodwood in Aug/Sept. He hasn't win since, but was a good second at Epsom earlier this month and depsite not getting a look in for the Royal Hunt Cup last time out, remains of interest here.

Chichester was a narrowly beaten runner-up on his last run of 2020 prior to changing yards and since the switch, has 2 wins and 2 places from 6 in 2021. He was third of fourteen at this grade at Redcar last month off a mark of 85 and won off that same mark at Carlisle in a 15-runner contest last week. Up two classes and five pounds here, but clearly in good heart/form, as is his yard...

Poets Dawn is also having a decent season so far. Beaten by 11 lengths in a season pipe-opener at Redcar in early April, he has two wins and a runner-up finish (beaten by 0.75L LTO) from four starts since. He remains on a career-high mark of 86 which is 3lbs higher than his last win and this step up in class makes life tough today.

Fred is a decent enough Class 4 handicapper and has already raced nine times this year, winning three of them, but hasn't competed at this level for almost two years and now steps up two classes off a mark 3lbs higher than his highest winning mark. This should be far too tough for him.

Amaysmont is probably better on the A/W, as his sole Flat win from eleven attempts came on debut back in August 2019 and his turf record since then is patchy at 2067583052. He was 5th of 6 at Haydock, beaten by just over 5 lengths in April and a runner-up at Musselburgh last time out, which is encouraging, but he's up two classes and two pounds for that run, which probably reduces his chances greatly, although...

Howzer Black is a consistent sort if you're looking for a horse to make the frame in Class 3 to 5 races, where he has done so on 19 of 42 (4.24%) of occasions, but sadly he has finished 85605 in his five efforts at this grade and was beaten by 8 lengths when 9th of 15 in a Class 4 handicap at Carlisle six days ago, which doesn't suggest he's suddenly winning here off the same mark, but in his defence...

Jump The Gun is just one of two former course and distance winners in the field and he achieved the feat last time out, just 13 days ago, when landing a Class 4 contest by 3.5 lengths. The third-placed horse was beaten by almost six lengths, but has since reappeared to also win at this track & trip, which inspires some hope. However, all this took place two classes lower than today's contest and with Jump The Gun some 8lbs higher here, others offer much more appeal, even though...

Just Hiss is a five-time winner, but I'd say that his best days are firmly behind him. He has won just one of his last seventeen races over the past 32 months and has just one win and one place from eleven starts since the start of the 2020 campaign. He's now up two classes after being beaten by over five lengths off today's mark LTO and he hasn't even got his 7lb claim from that day to help here. Not for me, thank you.

Headingley is at the foot of the weights courtesy of his 10lb weight for age allowance here and whilst probably not good enough to land a blow here will be able to compete at least. He has only raced six times so far and landed a pair of back to back Class 5 novice contests either side of a 172-day winter break and has made the frame in two of his three handicap outings so far. He was, however, heavily beaten on his only effort at this grade, which suggests he's not quite there just yet.

*

To be honest with you, folks, this isn't a good race for a Class 2 contest. It'll be competitive for the minor money between a bunch of runners who don't look good enough to racer at Class 2, but it really should be a two or three-horse race here. I'm thinking that alphabetically I like Chichester, Hortzadar and Stunning Beauty from what I've read/written so far, but maybe the other racecard tools will sway me, starting with an overview of collateral form via Instant Expert..

I've sorted them by Class win percentage here, as I know that many of these haven't proven themselves in this grade yet. Admittedly they've not tackled Class 2 racing too often generally, but Just Hiss' 1/19 record is abject, I'm afraid, even if he has placed in 5 of the 18 defeats. Poet's Dawn & Howzer Black have consistently failed on good ground and the latter is some 7lbs higher than his last win, a burden only "bettered" by the extra 8lbs carried by Jump The Gun. I really don't think any of those four will be leaping into my considerations just yet!

Let's look at the draw...

If we say that stall 10 has 3 wins from 23 (13.04%) and 6 places from 23 (26.08%), then you'd be excused for thinking the draw wasn't of massive importance here and that it was open to interpretation. I think if I had to pick a sector of the draw I'd want my horse in, purely based on the above, then I'd probably want a 2 to 7 berthing, based on the place percentages and with the horses I originally liked occupying 2, 3 and 5, I'm still quite happy, but it's all well and good having a decent draw...

..using it to its full potential is another thing and that's where race positioning aka pace comes in and for similar events to this one...

...and the inference here is somewhat clearer. Leaders tend to get caught, but have often built enough enough of a gap on the pack to hold on for a place. Prominent racers fare really badly and fail to catch leaders and are susceptible to the faster finishing mid-division horses who go on to win twice as often as you'd expect, whilst hold up horses do little better than the prominent ones.

When we add those pace figures to the draw stats, we quickly find out that irrespective of draw, mid-division is the place to sit and racing prominently is a no-no. Hold-up horses really need a low draw and vice versa, whilst the exact opposite applies to high drawn runners, who need to lead etc...

As always, we 've got today's draw to hand and we know how these runners normally race, so we can apply the heatmap to this contest as follows...

I think we might have a bit of a 'burn up' here with Poets Dawn setting the pace from stall 4, but those in boxes 7 to 10 look likely to chase him, as might Stunning Beauty. That could leave up to half a dozen of them battling for the lead, making them susceptible to the likes of Chichester, Hortzadar and Amaysmont who seem to have the best pace/draw make-up here.

Summary

I've already said a couple of times that I'm leaning towards Chichester, Hortzadar and Stunning Beauty for this one and nothing has really popped up to change my mind. I'm worried that Stunning Beauty will do too much too soon and as she's conceding weight to all bar Hortzadar, I think such tactics will cost her, so she's my third pick.

As for the winner, I don't think there's much between the air I've got left, but Hortzadar's experience at this level tips the balance for me. This means my top three are also the top three in the weights, which rarely happens, but do the bookies agree?

To an extent, yes, but not enitrely. Hortzadar is fifth favourite here at 17/2 (Hills) and I'm more than happy to take that. You could even hedge the bet and go E/W at those odds. Chichester is 11/2 third fav with Hills, whilst Stunning Beauty is the current market leader at 5/2 (Bet365) or 11/4 (Hills), but it's Hortzadar for me.

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