Racing Insights, 11th November 2020

Getaround ran well for a long way on Tuesday, but was never able to open up a lead. He finally succumbed to faster finishers and the burden of top weight, going down by five lengths. On now to Wednesday, where the feature of the day is the Trainer Stats report, whilst our free cards are for...

  • 2.36 Exeter
  • 3.20 Dundalk
  • 3.25 Ayr
  • 5.35 Kempton
  • 6.05 Kempton

As we should all be, I'm a bit choosy about which races I look at / get involved in ans as those five contests are a novice chase, an A/W maiden, a bumper and two divisions of an A/W novice contest, I'll stay well away and revert back to the Trainer Stats report and the course 5 year handicap option, which throws up the following of interest...

...three runners in the same 7-horse contest, the 3.33 Bangor :  a Class 2, handicap hurdle for 3yo+ over 2m 3.5f on soft ground for a prize of £9,384. So let's follow my normal process of seeing whether any of our three runners are likely to feature in the final shake-up starting, of course with the racecard...

I've arranged the card into Geegeez ratings order with Chti Balko in third position and Bialco in fifth with a standardised rating of 93.5 and 80 respectively with the top three fairly closely bunched. Our third runner Tawseef has no rating having not seen a hurdle for almost 19 months!

Your first 30 days for just £1

Form-wise, Chti Balko is clearly the best of our three, but both Mint Condition and Chirico Vallis come here in better nick (and head the ratings). Bialco steps up one class from his last run 40 days ago, whilst the three class rise for Tawseef is a little misleading. He is up three classes from his last outing, but that was a Flat contest, he's only actually up one grade from his last hurdles effort back in April 2019 and he runs off a mark 5lbs lower than that run.

Both of our trainers (Lucinda Russell & Donald McCain) have the C5 icon denoting a good sustained record at this track, but Lucinda is just 1 from 29 in the last fortnight hence the 14 and sadly her jockey here, Derek Fox has the 14 and 30 by his name, as he is 0 from 22 over the past 30 days. Will Kennedy on board Chti Balko also has the 14 and 30 but does also carry the C5 tag, as he is 0 from 16 over the last fortnight, but has an excellent 18 from 81 (22.2%) record here at Bangor over hurdles since 2016.

Our next pieces of information are provided by the Instant Expert tab on the card...

...which again proves to be disappointing for our trio from a win perspective with not much green around. From a place perspective Chti Balko has made the frame in 3 of 5 efforts at this trip and in 5 of 9 in small fields, whilst Bialco has a 3 in 6 placed record over this trip. Tawseef does at least have a win from just three Class 2 contests.

This type of contest suits those who race prominently, especially those willing to set the pace, as shown by the pace stats for this race...

...which finally gives us a little optimism as Chti Balko and Tawseef both like to be towards the head of affairs, but our prediction of a contested lead probably won't do any of the front three any favours and if they burn each other out, that opens the door for a finisher.

So far, I've got to be honest and say that there's not much here to suggest we've got a winner in our trio of highlighted runners, but let's have a closer look at them...

Bialco : Won a soft ground Class 3 contest over 2m7f at Kelso just after Christmas last year but has disappointed since. Finished 5th of 8, beaten by 24 lengths last time out coming off the back of a 31 week absence, so he probably needed the run. Unfortunately, he's now up in class and his record of 3 wins from 16 over hurdles doesn't really suggest a win here when you consider that they include 0 from 6 under jockey Derek Fox, 1 from 5 on soft, 0 from 5 at Class 2, 0 from 2 at 2m3.5f/2m4f and 0 from 1 here at Bangor. Best left alone.

Chti Balko : a winner over class, course and distance three starts ago, when pretty much making all on heavy ground to score by ten lengths and was a good second next time out at Haydock. Off the track for 10 months, though, and may very well need the run.

Has won 4 of 20 over hurdles, including 3 from 8 on heavy ground which could be useful should conditions deteriorate.

Tawseef : hasn't raced for over 15 months, hasn't won for nearly 17 months and it's almost 19 months since he last saw a hurdle, never mind a win in this sphere (that was some 35 months back!). Hard to imagine that at 12 yrs old, he's going step back up in class to land this, but has won his fair share in the past.

A veteran of 84 races across A/W, Flat and hurdles, winning 12 (14.3%) of them in a decent career, but better on the Flat it has to be said. 3 from 15 on soft ground and 3 from 14 on heavy suggest he's like the mud but those become 0 from 7 and 1 from 10 over hurdles, so may be not. He's 6 from 20 for this yard and 2 from 8 under this jockey, but I don't fancy his chances at all.

Summary

Of our three from the report, Chti Balko has the best chance, as I wouldn't be surprised if Bialco & Tawseef are the last two home here. But, that's where the optimism ends to be honest. There's a possibility Chti Balko goes well and makes the frame, but he has been off the track a ljg time and I think he'll do well to finish in the top three, as I expect Mint Condition and Chirico Vallis to be the ones to beat here.

Racing Insights, 10th November 2020

My shortlist of three for Monday's race included the winner and the runner-up separated by a nose with the gallant Younevercall getting collared on the line having made a mess of the penultimate hurdle. On now to Tuesday, where the feature of the day is the Shortlist report, whilst our free cards are for...

  • 12.45 Huntingdon
  • 2.00 Fairyhouse
  • 3.07 Hereford
  • 3.30 Fairyhouse
  • 3.58 Lingfield

To be honest, there's nothing there that I want to tackle (an Irish bumper and races with 14, 5, 3 or 2 runners, where the 5-runner one might have been OK but for the possibility of a very short fav), so it's off to the Shortlist we go...

...and whilst it's not as busy or clear cut as it often is, the fact that two of the qualifiers go in the same race leads me to see which of the two (if any) is the most likely to land the 3.23 Lingfield : a 7-runner, Class 3, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 2m7f on Soft ground worth £5,913 to the winner and whose racecard looks like this...

There's little to separate our two possibles (Closing Ceremony & Getaround) on the Geegeez ratings and both find themselves at the wrong end of that scale with figures of 86.1 and 86.9 on my standardised ratings (as I said yesterday, that's basing the top ranked at 100).

Getaround is clearly in the better form of the two and drops two classes for this handicap debut (HC1). Not much to say about the trainers other than there's a suggestion that Emma Lavelle (Closing Ceremony) might not be on top form right now (14) but she does have a good record at this venue (C5) over the years, whilst both jockeys are 3lb claimers up against some top riders and Bryan Carver has struggled over the last fortnight (14).

Your first 30 days for just £1

The shortlist snippet for these two runners looked like this...

and we can add some numerical flesh to those barebones by clicking the Instant Expert tab...

...and just as Closing Ceremony appealed marginally more on the Shortlist, the same is true on Instant Expert, where there's not really enough information surrounding Getaround, but we'll look at that shortly, too! The last thing I want to look at before assessing the horses and telling what I think of them, is the pace tab, of course (I'm nothing if not methodical!), which looks like this...

...which suggests that Getaround's penchant for leading might enable him to dictate affairs from the front, whilst at the bottom of he graphic, the hold up tactics of Robin Gold might also be interesting.

And so, to the horses themselves, starting with Closing Ceremony : who at 11 is no spring chicken and is at least 3 yrs older than the rest of the field. He's lightly raced (19 so far) for his age and was a winner four starts ago, albeit almost 22 months ago. Five hurdle wins to date (from seventeen attempts) on ground rated good to soft all the way through to heavy. No run in the last 8 months and only 3 in the last 22 months since his last win.

Nothing to write home about in those three runs either, 12th of 18 was followed by him pulling up twice and I think this might be his last chance.

His figures are pretty good with 5 wins from 17 over hurdles, including 4 from 16 going left handed, 4 from 7 at Class 3, 4 from 7 off a mark of 123-128 (goes off 127 today, but has won off 138!), 3 from 10 on soft ground and 3 from 5 in 5-7 runner contests.

He's actually 0 from 2 at this 2m7f trip, but is 5 from 9 at 3m/3m0.5f, so the trip wouldn't be the reason for a defeat, neither would the going. He has a good record on soft (as above) and since the start of 2017, his trainer, Emma Lavelle's hurdlers sent off at Evens to 14/1 (we'll be the top end here, I think) on soft ground are 16 from 73 (21.9% SR) for SP profits of 17.4pts (23.8% ROI & A/E of 1.20)

It's the layoff and inability to see races out that are the bigger issues here.

Now, a look at Getaround : a 5 yr old gelding with just six runs under his belt including a win and a place from three bumper starts followed by a 2 from 2 record (inc one at 2m7.5f record in Class 4 Novice Hurdles. His sixth and final effort was a month ago at Chepstow when he was fourth in a Grade 2 contest over an inadequate 2m3.5f, where he went well for a long time before being run out of it as the pace quickened.

So, three wins from six so far, including 3 from 5 under today's jockey, 3 from 5 in fields of 4-7 runners, 3 from 5 wearing a tongue tie, 2 from 2 beyond 2,5 miles (inc that win over slightly further than today) and he's 1 from 1 on soft ground, but has also won on heavy.

The Grade 2 was probably beyond him, based on both class and trip and whilst this is still one grade higher than his two novice hurdle successes, he did win by fourteen lengths on soft ground at Exeter over 2m7.5f, making all and pulling clear three out and I'd not be surprised to see a similar tactic here. He does, of course, have more weight to carry here, but he looked to have plenty in reserve during that win. The third placed horse that day, Young Buck, has since reappeared to win for Paul Nicholls in the last three weeks.

Summary

The bare data/stats suggest conditions look ideal for both runners from the Shortlist, but the truth is that one of these is just starting and one career is coming to a close. I get plenty of things wrong, but I just can't see Closing Ceremony getting involved here. I'll be surprised if he completes the race and if he does, he'll be much closer to the back than the front.

Getaround, on the other hand, I do like here. He's got everything going for him, bar his no-name jockey being out of form. Yet that jockey takes a valuable 3lbs off the top weight and he certainly knows how to get a tune out of this horse. The boy is running consistently well and a repeat of any of his three outings should be enough to land this.

He could very well try and win it from the front and put the race to bed from a distance out. If he's unable to do that, then there are very real challenges on the horizon from the likes of As I See It and others. That said, Getaround would be my preferred option here and 3/1 or better might not be a bad price once the markets fully form.

Racing Insights, 9th November 2020

First column of the week and Monday's feature of the day is access to the Pace tab for ALL races, which is far more useful in NH races than many people think, whilst our free racecards cover the following quintet of contests...

  • 12.50 Carlisle
  • 2.00 Dundalk
  • 2.48 Kempton
  • 3.40 Dundalk
  • 4.00 Carlisle

And of the five, the one I'm looking at today is the 2.48 Kempton, a 10-runner, Class 2, 4yo+, Handicap Hurdle over 2m5f on Good ground worth £9,509, which in order of Geegeez Speed Ratings looks like this...

...and reading the card columns from left to right, we can quickly see...

Form Positives : Flashing Glance, Storm Goddess and Boreham Bill
Form Negatives : Paseo, Cotswold Way

Class :  All bar Cotswold Way, Who's My Jockey and Younevercall are stepping up from Class 3, whilst Boreham Bill is up two grades.

Course/Distance form : We have 3 course and distance winners (Neverbeen to Paris, Who's My Jockey and Younevercall), four distance winners (Boreham Bill, Cotswold Way, Enniscoffey Oscar and The Cashel Man), whilst Flashing Glance has won here in the past and has won at this distance, but not over track and trip.

Trainer Stats Positives : Paseo, The Cashel Man, Who's My Jockey and Younevercall
Trainer Stat Negatives : Storm Goddess, Boreham Bill and Enniscoffey Oscar

Your first 30 days for just £1

Jockey Stats Positives : Neverbeen to Paris, Enniscoffey Oscar, The Cashel Man and Younevercall
Jockey Stat Negatives : Flashing Glance, Paseo and Cotswold Way

Speed Ratings : with just a 14pt spread between the 9 rated runners, there's not a lot there to differentiate to be honest. Every uses ratings their own ways, of course, but I like to standardise them so that the top rated is scored as 100, so in this instance, our nine runners would be rated from 90.9 to 100, which signifies a tight race based purely on those ratings and as such are inconclusive for us today.

Please note that due to a 506-day absence Younevercall is unrated, adding a further complication to relying on ratings, especially as he won a Grade 2 hurdle two starts ago!

Regular readers will know that my next location is the Instant Expert tab and I'm looking purely at hurdle form here...

...and there's no getting away from Younevercall's claims there. A full line of green and running off a mark a pound lower than his last run. Neverbeen To Paris also has plenty of green and is rated lower than his last win, as is Cotswold Way and Who's My Jockey. Flashing Glance looks good too, but is 0/6 at this level and the final port of call before horse analysis is the pace tab...

...which would suggest the past running styles of The Cashel Man, Younevercall, Flashing Glance, Neverbeen To Paris and possibly Paseo would be best suited to this contest. With 6 of the the ten runners usually racing prominently or wanting to lead, we'll either get a fairly even pace or one/two might go off too quickly, leaving the door open later for a closer.

So, where does all that put me?

Well, it tells me that it's a good looking contest that appears to be a competitive one, as Class 2 races really should be. You could make cases for most if not all of them making certain assumptions/caveats, but the ones I'm keenest on (in purely alphabetical order) are...Flashing Glance, Storm Goddess and Younevercall.

Flashing Glance : Has won six times over hurdles from 2m to 2m5.5f on good or softer ground. He's up in class today as he seeks a hat-trick off a career high mark of 139 after wins off 130 and 135.

He is 6 from 22 over hurdles and in relation to this race, that includes 6 from 14 at odds of 6/1 or shorter. 5 from 17 with no headgear, 4 from 12 going right handed, 3 from 11 on good ground, 3 from 9 under today's jockey, 2 from 4 this year, 2 from 3 over 2m4f to 2m5.5f and 1 from 1 here at Kempton.

Storm Goddess : Is a useful mare who is very versatile with ground conditions, handling both soft and good to firm (where this might end up) ground. Won very nicely at Doncaster just before lockdown 1, and has been consistently there or thereabouts in three runs since, beaten by less than 3 lengths at HQ in a big field last time out.

Just two wins from twelve over hurdles so far, but she has made the frame in nine (75%) of them and her 9/12 place record includes 8 from 9 at 16-60 days since her last run including one win, 7 from 7 (inc 2 wins) at odds shorter than 8/1, 5 from 6 (inc 2 wins) on good ground, 5 from 6 (inc 1 win) wearing a tongue tie, 5 from 5 (inc 1 win) this year, 3 from 4 over 2m4.5f to 2m5.5f, 2 from 2 (inc 1 win) under today's jockey and 1 from 1 on good to firm ground.

And last but not least for today, Younevercall : Carries top weight here based on past exploits and he was a very good hurdler when last active. Now returning to hurdling for the first time since landing the Group 2 bet365 Select Hurdle at Sandown over 2m 5f (good ground) in April last year when rated at 155 by the assessor (154 now).

He has won this race twice in the past (2016 & 2018, so...) and for a nine year old, he's lightly raced after just thirteen starts, including five wins from 10 over hurdles from which he is 4/9 under today's jockey, 4/8 going right handed, 4/5 on good ground, 4/5 in fields of 7-10 runners, 4/4 over 2m4.5f to 2m5.5f, 3/4 in October/November, 2/3 in cheekpieces, 2/3 in November, 2/2 at class 2, 2/2 here at Kempton, 2/2 at this trip, 2/2 over course and distance (when winning this race twice) and 1 from 2 in a tongue tie.

Summary

A highly competitive race, but I would hope that the winner comes from my three-runner shortlist. All have obvious claims based on what I've written above, but as with any selections/predictions, they come with caveats.

Flashing Glance needs a career best effort here and has never won at this grade, Storm Goddess also needs to step up because for all her consistency, she doesn't win often enough and Younevercall carries top weight after a lengthy layoff.

If all run to their best, I'd be looking at Younevercall, he knows this track and trip, has won this race twice before and is a former Grade 2 winner BUT might just need the run, especially with having to lug the thick end of 12 stones around.

Racing Insights, 7th November 2020

My last column of the week and Saturday's feature of the day is the brilliant Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which is exactly what you'd think it would be, whilst our free racecards cover the following half dozen contests...

  • 12.40 Wincanton
  • 1.30 Doncaster
  • 1.35 Aintree
  • 2.45 Doncaster
  • 3.15 Doncaster
  • 8.00 Chelmsford

And as I love the TJC report so much, that's what I'm working from today and the 1 year handicap form in particular. Now, Saturday's are always busy and I think there are over 500 horses set to race across the UK & Ireland, so I'm going for some fairly restrictive criteria for my report settings today...

And I picked the McPherson/Lilly partnership for one reason alone : they have two qualifiers, so we get two bites at the cherry! We start in the 1.07 Kelso (I love these unconventional; race times) with the 6 yr old mare The Distant Lady, who will tackle an 11-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ Handicap Hurdle over 3m2½f (5670 yards +112 yards rails adjustment) on Good To Soft ground worth £6,238, whilst the 2.52 Kelso features Homing Star, a 5yr old mare who also runs in a handicap hurdle on good to soft ground, but she runs at Class 5 in a 3yo+ contest over 2m5f (4589 yards +80 yards rails adjustment), where the winner receives £2,924. 

So, let's start by assessing The Distant Lady's chances in the 1.07 race...

Your first 30 days for just £1

Not a massive amount of detail there, I'm afraid, but top ranking in the Geegeez ratings is always a good sign and we've runner with at least one win on this going and one at this trip, whilst her held-up running style looks perfect for this type of contest.

She doesn't win enough races, if I'm being critical but she has been running consistently well, finishing 313U3 in her last five starts. She unseated at Kelso two starts ago after stumbling coming away from the last hurdle when travelling well alongside the leader and her win four starts ago came over this trip at Southwell back in July upon her seasonal reappearance.

I think her run to finish third of five last time out was a better run than the bare result would suggest, finishing just five lengths behind a horse she was giving 11lbs to. She was running off the same mark (116) as today and whilst that's (a) 16lbs higher than her last win and (b) probably too much for her, she does now get the benefit of Lilly's 5lb claim. I'm not sure she's been treated fairly by the assessor of late but there's not much we can do about that.

I'd expect Lilly to have a right go late on, but if unsuccessful, she's going to want to win on Homing Star at 2.52...

Again, we have the top-ranked horse on the Geegeez ratings and if running in mid-division should benefit from that approach. Not so good is her record of just two placed efforts from 10 starts over hurdles, but she did win a 1m4f handicap on the Flat at Ffos Las on heavy ground. Both placed hurdles runs came from the five times Lilly Pinchin has been on board and she (the horse!) was wearing cheekpieces both times too. She has made the frame at both Class 4 and Class 5 and once over today's trip.

That said, both placed efforts were her last two outings, suggesting she's actually in as good form as she's ever been which is possibly/probably because the yard is going pretty well right now too. And if you think her numbers aren't that great (which I admit they aren't), you should look at the rest of the field. This is a mediocre (at best) contest and wouldn't take much winning.

Summary

Two mares running in pretty poor contests, both head the Geegeez ratings, both appear to have the right kind of running style for the task ahead and both will benefit from the 5lbs being claimed by the more than useful Lilly Pinchin who has proven to be particularly adept at longer trips (14 from 77 = 18.2% SR at 2m5f to 3m3f).

Any number of horses could make the improvements needed to land either of these races, but I'd expect both of the McPherson runners to be there or thereabouts on Saturday, so we must now look at the markets.

I expected The Distant Lady to be in the top three of the market at around 5/1 and bet365 are the first to break cover at 9/2, whilst I had Homing Star at around 9/2 and again in the top three of the market, so I'm a little surprised to see her as short as 11/4 and 3/1. That said, it really is a poor race and she does bring the best recent form to the table.

I think I'll probably back both, but we're talking small change here for a bit of interest. Maybe a fish supper if either win and no dramas if I lose a couple of quid. And if both win, I might feed the wife too!

Whatever happens, enjoy Saturday's racing (there's some better stuff at Doncaster) and have a great weekend.

Racing Insights, 6th November 2020

Friday's feature of the day is the Horses for Courses report, which is exactly as the names suggests, horses who have previously gone well at that track they're running at next, whilst our free racecards cover the following half dozen contests...

  • 1.10 Hexham
  • 1.55 Curragh
  • 2.10 Warwick
  • 5.30 Newcastle
  • 5.45 Dundalk
  • 8.05 Newcastle

My horses for courses report looks like this today...

... Tathmeen and Great Colaci both run in 14-runner handicaps and such large fields hold no interest for me, whilst Little Jo's three wins only contain one in the last 2 years, so I'm not going there either.

That sends me back to the free races and my lack of appetite for the big fields leave me with the 2.10 Warwick : a 9-runner Class 4, 4yo+ handicap chase over 3m2f (+92yds from advertised) on Good (Good to Soft in places) ground worth £4289 for the winner, whose card looks like this...

The runners with blue numbers next to their name (Billy Bronco, Dentley de Mee, The Toojumpa and Accordingtogino) are of immediate interest to me, as they feature on my query tool report. From a trainer icon (14 30 C1 C5) perspective Billy Bronco, Dentley de Mee and Accordingtogino are positives, as is Antony, whilst Western Climate's yard seems out of form with a current run of 28 losers.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Thomas Shelby and Accordingtogino appeal from the jockey stats, whilst the Geegeez Speed ratings suggest there's not a great deal between the top five.

The going isn't as bad as it could well have been here, but 3m2f still takes some getting and I'm keen to find runners suited to the trip/class and I'm also interested in those with obvious stamina. The place to find such information is, of course, the Instant Expert tab, where I've used the place tab to give me a bit more data about the runners' chasing prowess...

...and Western Climate / Thomas Shelby are the ones screaming "look at me" here, whilst in this type of  raxce, we're advised that a horse racing is a prominent position would do well, which makes perfect sense as it's not easy to win a 3m2f chase from the front, but easier to be there or thereabouts ready to pick the leader off late on. Numerically, that looks like this...

and our 9 runners have recently been running like this...

...so I'd probably want to be looking at Thomas Shelby, Accordingtogino, The Toojumpa here and possibly Western Climate too.

Now with yesterday's piece, I showed you one way of going through the card to eliminate runners step by step to eventually leave a shortlist of possibles and that approach will either work for your approach or you'd want to do it differently, so here's another way forward. Quite simply, do the above analysis and see which names keep popping up and in this case, it's Thomas Shelby and Accordingtogino, so I'm going to quickly look at their credentials to see if the racecard and its associated data has led me to a bet or not...

Thomas Shelby : is, I suppose an out and out chaser. 0 from 7 in Bumpers/Hurdles contests, but has finished 3P14231 over fences, all at this Class 4 and also has a win and two places from three PTP races over 3m on Good/Good to Soft ground.

31-60 days rest looks his optimal time off the track (2 wins from 3) and he comes here off the back of a very comfortable win over 3m0.5f at Bangor. He's up in trip here, but that run was on Soft ground, so stamina should be fine. He's also up 8lbs for the win, but did come home some 12 lengths clear without really exerting himself. Danseur du Large was back in 3rd (41 lengths adrift) that day, but he has since won over 3m2f at Fontwell a fortnight ago, so that will hopefully frank the form.

Accordingtogino : just his second attempt over fences, although he did win a soft/heavy ground 3m PTP and he probably needed the run when soundly beaten on his chasing bow at Lingfield a fortnight ago.

He was held up on soft ground and eventually trailed home 6th of 8, some 42 lengths off the pace, but as well as being his first crack at fences, it was also his first outing for almost 8 months.

Prior to that, he had made the frame in seven of his eight hurdle starts, including a couple of Class 3 contests. His best efforts have come on Good to Soft or worse, so he'll be praying for rain, I'd assume.

Summary

It's probably easier to start with Accordingtogino, obviously talented over hurdles, but I think he might need another run or two over fences before realising his potential and as this looks a very competitive contest 8/1 looks a bit skinny for me to be interested. If you could get 12/1 for an E/W punt, I'd not dissuade you from having a quid or two, but you do want more than 8's and you don't want big stakes.

As for Thomas Shelby, he's actually the one I like most of all nine runners, but you could make a case for half a dozen of them and he's a 7/2 to 4/1 shot in my books, so Bet365's 9/2 offering looks very tempting. I'll play at that price not just because I like his chances but also because of the perceived value.

It's a race where you'd be forgiven for walking away, mind. it's far too competitive for proper staking in my opinion, but like Matt says in his webinars, we do like an "action bet" ie a couple of quid for interest/entertainment. So, that's where I'm at : a small bet at 9/2 with the obvious caveat that any of half a dozen could win and we could finish 6th!

Racing Insights, 5th November 2020

Thursday's feature of the day is the Instant Expert tab on the racecards, often a very quick way of assessing a runner's suitability for the task ahead, whilst our free racecards cover the following half dozen contests...

  • 12.40 Sedgefield
  • 2.00 Newbury
  • 2.15 Sedgefield
  • 4.45 Chelmsford
  • 6.45 Chelmsford
  • 8.30 Kempton

...and I've decided to tackle the 6.45 Chelmsford : a 10-runner, Class 2, A/W handicap for 3yo+ over 1m2f on polytrack with the winner receiving £11,972, so let's take a look at the racecard in descending Geegeez Speed Rating Order...

...where we see lots of positive green icons, a few red ones and some good speed ratings at the top of the list. Visinari is a lightly raced 3 yr old with no A/W experience, hence no rating.

At this first elimination stage, I'm going to discount just Data Protection so far. He has looked out of sorts lately (a mark of 89 is possibly beyond him) and jockey Nicola Currie is also struggling for form and hasn't performed particularly well here recently either.

The next step is the feature of the day, the Instant Expert tab, which looks like this for our nine runners...

Your first 30 days for just £1

As with most things here at Geegeez, the above is pretty self explanatory and based on the naked data above, I'm now going to exclude Home Before Dusk (too much red), What's The Story (no green at all) and Morisco/Visinari for a lack of data to work with.

I should at this point make it clear that I'm aware that I might have eradicated the winner already. I'm merely whittling down to see who stands at the end and then I'll decide if I want to back them.

That leaves the IE tab looking like this...

Next up is pace/draw and we have runners drawn in stalls 2,4,6,9 and 10...

...and the draw data tells us that you don't want a high draw in this type of contest, which isn't great news for Assimilation or The Gill Brothers in stalls 9 and 10, but the picture may change when we overlay our horses' running styles onto that draw data in our unique pace/draw heatmap...

...which very quickly leads me to just two of interest here : Red October in stall 2 and Solid Stone in stall 6, so let's dig a little deeper to see if either, both or none are worth backing, starting with Red October, whose form this year of 1010 reeks of inconsistency, but the two defeats were in big-field (18/19 runners) turf handicaps and his overall A/W record is excellent at 211. he is 2 from 2 here at Chelmsford including a win over course and distance the last time he visited (just over 10 weeks ago).

He has finished 3101 at today's trip, he's 2 from 4 going left handed and 2 from 4 in cheekpieces and has won once from two under today's jockey. He does go well in these smaller fields, but has no Class 2 win to date, that said his only previous run in this grade was on turf back in July. An interesting (to me, anyway) stat about him is that since the start of 2016, his trainer, Hugo Palmer is 11 from 40 (27.5% SR & A/E of 1.22) in Class 2-5 handicaps over 7 to 14 furlongs here at Chelmsford with horses sent off in the evens to 9/1 price range. Those winners have generated 17.5pts profit at Industry SP at an ROI of 43.8%.

And now to Solid Stone : an in-form ( 7 top 3 finish in his last 8 starts) 4 yr old gelding who was a winner here over C&D two starts ago and only found one too good for him when dropped back to a mile in the Balmoral handicap at Ascot last time out. That run at Ascot was arguably better than the C&D win the time before and he seems to be still on the up.

He is 4 from 14 (28.6%) to date and that includes 4 wins and 2 places from the six occasions he has been sent off as favourite (as I suspect he might be today), he has 2 wins and a place from 5 over this 1m2f trip, 2 wins and a place from 3 in Class 2 races worth less than £20k and he's 2 from 3 on the All-Weather. His only previous visit to Chelmsford was that C&D success here two starts ago.

He is trained by the evergreen Sir Michael Stoute, who has a fantastic record here since 2015 with his handicappers sent off at 6/1 or shorter winning 24 of 69 (34.8% SR, A/E 1.12) for 11.65pts (+16.9% ROI) profit at ISP and they include (10/21 (47.6%) over this 1m2f C&D, 8/22 (36.4%) at Class 2 and 3/6 (50%) in Class 2 contests at C&D.

Summary

Quite simply, I like them both. I fancy Solid Stone to go on and win, whilst Red October is more than capable of at least making the frame. A quick glance at the market tells me that they're available at 9/4 and 9/1 respectively. Personally I would have liked a little more juice at 5/2 and 10/1, so I suppose it's a case of whether you're OK with taking a 10% cut in expected prices or not.

Racing Insights, 4th November 2020

The highlighted Finoah found one too good for him at Redcar this afternoon and I'm writing this piece ahead of the Newcastle race, so that's all I can report on right now, as I'm now looking forward to Wednesday, where the feature of the day is the excellent Trainer Statistics report, a veritable mine of information, whilst the daily free races are as follows...

  • 12.40 Nottingham
  • 2.05 Dundalk
  • 3.00 Lingfield
  • 5.50 Kempton
  • 7.50 Kempton

And as I like the Trainer Statistics report so much, I'll using that as the base for my piece today, focusing on course 1 year handicap form, where Team Crisford stand out as follows...

Five wins from sixteen with two further places is good work, and an IV figure of 3.24 is excellent. The team are very profitable to follow in such contests, so let's look at their two runners for tomorrow...

In the 6.50 race, Roulston Scar is a 4 yr old gelding returning from an unplaced finish 25 days ago to race here in a 9-runner, Class 2, 3yo+ Handicap over 6f worth £12291, whilst the 7.20 race features Myseven, a 3 yr old filly who was also unplaced last time out (28 days ago) and she now tackles a 6-runner, Class 3, 3yo+ Handicap over 1m4f for a top prize of just over £7,000.

So, both race in 3yo+ handicaps a similar length of time after an unplaced effort and both will be ridden by William Buick. A closer look at the Crisford's recent 5/16 record shows that they are 15 from 51 (29.4% SR) in handicaps here with horses sent off at odds ranging from Evens to 12/1 since the start of 2017, so they've done consistently well and those 51 runners include the following data relevant to both runners here...

  • 8 wins from 29 (27.6%) after an unplaced effort LTO
  • 7 wins from 22 (31.8%) after a break of 16 to 30 days
  • and 1 win from 4 (25%) under jockey William Buick 

As for Class, sex, age and race length, those runners are...

  • 4 from 14 (28.6%, Myseven) at Class 3, but 0 from 2 at Class 2 (Roulston Scar)
  • 10 from 31 (32.3%, RS) from males and 5 from 20 (25%. M7) from females
  • 12 from 37 (32.4%, M7) from 3 yr olds and 1 from 9 (11.1%, RS) from 4 yr olds
  • 3 from 7 (42.9%, M7) over 1m4f and 4 from 10 (40%, RS) over 6f

Nothing massively conclusive there, but on pure data alone, the filly Myseven edges it. Time now, to look at them in more detail starting with Roulston Scar in the 6.50 race...

Your first 30 days for just £1

The racecard tells us today's jockey William Buick is in decent nick and has a good record at the venue, that our runner has two wins and a place from his last five outings and will run off a mark of 104 today. He has no speed rating, as this is his All-Weather debut and that also affects his T/L/D  numbers, as he has no winning A/W mark to compare, but he did win off 102 two starts ago in another Class 2, 6f handicap when William Buick steered him home despite if being his first run in 359 days.

He's 4 from 7 at this trip in handicaps and is 4 from 5 in 7-10 runner contests. He looks reasonably well drawn here in stall 3 as he does like to get on with it early, but may find some competition for the lead from inside.

He won on his seasonal reappearance (359 days off track), but a combination of Soft ground and only a short 13 day rest probably contributed to him finishing last of 21, some 27 lengths off the pace in the Coral Sprint Trophy at York next/last time out.

No previous A/W run does complicate the issue somewhat, but I'm initially happy to ignore that last run. He won off a long break, back in April 2019, lost second time out then before winning his third start of that campaign, so I'm hopeful he could repeat that feat.

And now to the 7.20 race and Myseven...

Two wins from her last three starts is encouraging, the latest of which was a course and distance success in mid-September. She's 6lb higher than that win and now runs off a mark of 81, which looked too much at Nottingham last time out, although that was over 1m6f and on soft ground, so this looks an easier task on paper at least.

It's hard to really assess what suits her best after just five starts, but she clearly looks better at 1m3.5f/1m4f, where both career wins have come. The pace/draw angle is very interesting here and leaves plenty open to interpretation. The data/stats say they'll all want to hang back, but somebody has to lead. We could get a slow tactical affair, where the race will be taken by a "finisher" or one of the six might just take it on and hope to tough it out.

With that in mind, it might be of interest to read the summary of her two wins, firstly over 1m3.5f at Lingfield "...always prominent, led early, headed over 8f out, pushed along for effort 3f out, ridden to lead over 1f out, stayed on well...", whilst for her C&D win two starts ago "...raced keenly tracking leaders, pushed along in close 2nd 2f out, ridden to lead over 1f out, pressed briefly inside final furlong, stayed on well and drew away final 100 yards..." , suggesting she might well step forward to try and nick this from the front.

If she responds to the switch back to the A/W, then she could well have a major say here.

Summary

Of the two Crisford/Buick hopefuls here, I do like the filly Myseven slightly more than Roulston Scar. Both will look to bounce back from poor runs in tough conditions on grass, but I think the filly's race is marginally less competitive overall and has fewer runners to contend with.

I can certainly see Myseven making the frame, but much will depend on the favourite Crown Power and how she handles the switch to handicaps. She might not be too badly treated off a mark of 85 after a comfortable win here last time out and as the runner-up and fourth placed horses have both won since (off admittedly much lower marks). Price-wise, I had Myseven as a 3/1 shot behind the favourite, so the market is pretty much in agreement.

Roulston Scar, on the other, hand presents a dilemma, I've got him finishing mid-division at around a 6/1 chance due to a lack of A/W action, but I think he's better than that. He does need to bounce back from a bad defeat at York, but as I said earlier, there were plenty of mitigating circumstances at play. If he runs as well as he was doing pre-York and he handles the surface, then he could quite easily make the frame. In fact he could actually go on and win it, but the ifs and buts prevent me from backing him on this occasion.

 

Racing Insights, 3rd November 2020

Tuesday's free feature is the simple but effective Shortlist report, whilst the daily free races are...

  • 1.25 Exeter
  • 2.33 Southwell
  • 2.55 Exeter
  • 3.45 Fairyhouse
  • 7.45 Newcastle

And I'm going to take a look at the Shortlist report to see if we can spot a winner for tomorrow from the following...

I'm going to assess three from the above and it makes sense to look at the 6.45 Newcastle race with two qualifiers and then I'll focus on the 3.10 Redcar for a bit of variety...

Twisted Dreams and Island Storm are numbers 8 and 9 on the racecard, as they are the bottom two in the weights. Island Storm comes here in the best form having finished 211 in his last three contests, all here on this track including wins over 7f at Class 6 and then a Class 5 course and distance success here last time out.  Island Storm, on the other hand, was also a class, course and distance winner here this time last year, but has failed to beat a rival since, finishing 6th, 6th and 10th, albeit in a higher grade over longer trips.

On the green trainer/jockey icons, Island Storm clearly holds the upper hand thanks to the yard's recent form and overall course success, but jockey Paul Mulrennan aboard twisted Dreams is in good nick right now.

Instant Expert essentially puts the shortlist information into numbers...

Your first 30 days for just £1

and the obvious areas for discussion are Island Storm's 0 from 3 in fields of 8-11 runners and Twisted Dream's 1 from 4 at Class 5. In isolation, they're not good numbers, but the latter is 1 from 3 in the lower value (sub £3500) Class 5 contests and the former is 2 from 2 in 6/7 runner contests, whilst the Official ratings show Island Storm running off a mark 4lbs lower than his last win (and also his last run), whilst Twisted Dreams is up 6lbs for that LTO win, but at a Geegeez Speed rating of 62, he is top of the shop here today.

The pace/draw heat map for this type of contest isn't massively conclusive...

...but a high draw is definitely a positive here, but our pair are drawn centrally in stalls 4 and 5, but I suppose as long as they're not mid-division type horses, they'll not be out of it, so let's see...

...which suggests they'll both be keen to get on with it. Of the two, I have to prefer Twisted Dreams, as he looks to be progressing nicely, whilst Island Storm's lack of a win the last year is a serious worry. TD is of course up 6lbs, but looked like he had something in reserve. Incidentally, the third placed horse has already reappeared to over course and distance at a higher grade, whilst the runner-up reopposes here.

I'll decide how to play this shortly when I look at the market, but first I was to consider Finoah's chance in the 3.10 Redcar, which looks like...

The SR (Geegeez Speed Rating) of 69 is top rank in this field and the horse comes here on the back of a win last time out when he landed a class, course and distance soft-ground seller eight days ago, so conditions look ideal here. He was the best part of six lengths clear that day and has at least 4lbs in hand on all his rivals based on his OR of 82. Trainer Tom Dascombe and jockey Richard Kingscote have good individual records here at Redcar and I think everyone already knows that they're a formidable team together.

Instant Expert speaks for itself...

...and the field criteria is possibly the least important there. He has won three times in 8/9 runner fields and 7 is an arbitrary cut off point in my opinion. Form, going, class, course and distance all carry more weight for me, as often does the pace/draw angles...

He doesn't necessarily have the perfect draw for his running style here, but with the obvious exception of Twpsyn in stall 1, there aren't many in the ideal place on the heatmap.

That aside, he looks a real contender here, especially as from his reasonable 4 from 24 on the Flat, he is 4/19 in a visor, 4/8 on soft/heavy, 2/3 here at Redcar, 1/1 over this trip and 1/1 over course and distance. He is also 4 from 7 on soft/heavy in a visor, as he was when winning here last time out at odds of 4/9 and I wouldn't be surprised to see him go off that short again.

Summary

From the two in Newcastle race, my preference is for Twisted Dreams and although I expect traveller to run him close again (as might Rum Runner), I think bet 365's 4/1 pricetag is more than fair, so I'd be happy with a nibble at that. Island Storm isn't fancied at all, yet has the ability to get involved at a huge (currently 25/1) price, but he won't be carrying any of my money this time around, as I'm unconvinced he's as good as he was last year.

As for Finoah, here's a shock for you, I rarely back odds on shots and even more rarely do I advise others to back them, but at 4/5 there might actually be some value about him, I was expecting much shorter and I expect him to win.

Racing Insights, 2nd November 2020

Matt ended the first month of Racing Insights, whilst I was taking a few days R&R in Chester. I had a walk around the track on Friday afternoon, but that was close as I came to any racing. We all need a break sometimes and hopefully my mind has been refreshed as we start our second month.

Monday's free feature is the Pace tab on all races, whilst the daily free races are...

  • 3.15 Curragh
  • 3.30 Kempton
  • 4.50 Wolverhampton
  • 5.05 Kempton
  • 7.50 Wolverhampton

And I think I'll take a look at the 5.05 Kempton : a 6-runner, Class 2 handicap for 3yo+ over 1m3f on polytrack where the winner will receive £18,675. The logical place to start is the racecard itself, which I've arranged in order of Geegeez Speed Ratings (SR), as follows...

...where I'm immediately alerted by the green 14, 30 , C1 & C5 icons with the first two denoting recent form and the latter two course form.

So, from the card, Lawn Ranger, Sky Defender and Victory Chime are the ones of interest from a speed rating perspective, whilst it would be Sweet Promise, Sky Defender and Lucander from the prevalence of icons.

You may also see a blue number 1 next to both Victory Chime and Lucander and that's because trainer Ralph Beckett features on one of my saved query tools angles for trainers to follow here at Kempton, because since the start of 2018 his handicappers sent off at Evens to 8/1 are 18 from 67 (26.9% SR & A/E 1.29) with those racing over this 1m3f course and distance winning five of ten (50%) at an E/W of 2.97.

Next on my usual checklist in the Instant Expert tab...

Your first 30 days for just £1

..where green is good, of course and not green is not as good. And the horses at the top of the card fare best here with particular credit to Victory Chime's excellent record at this trip and in small fields. These three horses are already becoming the names I'm mentioning most, but they're drawn apart in stalls 1, 5 and 6. To find out if any of them are drawn "well", we simply click the Draw tab (I apologise for maybe labouring the point, but we do have lots of new subscribers), which looks like this...

...which suggests the draw would suit Sky Defender and Victory Chime most in 5 and 6. Being drawn in the right part the stalls is only half the battle, of course. for example stall 1 with a short run to a bend would help a quick starter, but one not so quick off the mark would get cut up by quicker starters coming across for the bend. And that's where the Pace tab comes into its own, especially when allied to the Draw tab.

The two combine to form what we call a heatmap and for this type of race, although a high draw is best, such runners need to be kept handy but not too close to the action, whilst those who like to lead fare better drawn inside, as seen below...

...which tells us that ideally you have a high drawn mid-division horse, or one drawn in the middle of the stalls that either leads or is also held in mid division and we get a clearer picture when we overlay the past running styles of our six runners on to that heat map, as follows...

I've overlaid the runners in draw order to attempt to give us a bird's eye view of how it might unfold, with the early pace looking like coming from stalls 3 and 6 with 5 just in behind. But of those three leader, Sky Defender would be better off hanging back a bit and the ones with the best pace/draw make-up from my point of view here are Lawn Ranger and Victory Chime.

It's then at this point that I look at the runners themselves to see if there are any obvious positives or negatives before coming to a final conclusion.

Johnny Drama : Two wins from thirteen to date, but 0 from 9 in the UK and no previous all-weather experience. A well beaten (15 lengths) 6th of 9 over 1m4f on soft ground in this grade at Doncaster nine days ago hardly fills me with confidence. Expect double-digit odds, but he's not for me.

Lawn Ranger : Yard's 1 from 144 record here at Kempton since the start of 2018 is an obvious concern, but this 5 yr old has acquitted himself well of late winning and then finishing as runner-up at Class 3 and then Class 2 at Chester, only being touched off by a short head over 10.5f last time out. He did win on Polytrack on his career debut at Lingfield almost three years ago, but is 0 from 12 the A/W since and it's tough to see that record improving here.

Lucander : One of the three that I expect to dominate the contest and despite only being a 3 yr old has already won four times and made the frame on three other occasions from just ten starts. In these lower prize (ie sub-£2ok) Class 2 races, he is three from three and drops in class here after an eight lengths defeat in the Group 3 Darley Stakes at HQ a little over three weeks ago. No disgrace in that result, as he had been a winner than a runner-up in this grade on two big-field handicaps immediately prior to the Darley. Definite contender here, especially with a certain Mr Dettori jumping on board for the first time..

Sky Defender : Back to back runner-up finishes prior to this contest, beaten by a head in a similar contest (6-runner C2 hcp) at Chelmsford but then the same result in a Group 3 contest in Germany, where a run to that level should be plenty here today. He has been kept busy this year, racing 14 times and gets on well with today's jockey (4/14 under Joe Fanning). Particularly adept in small fields, he'll be in the final shake-up here if he doesn't go off too quickly.

Sweet Promise : This 4yo filly looked very useful in Novice contests as a 3yo, finishing 121. She was ten send to race in Group company and made little impact finishing 8th of 8, 6th of 7 and 4th of 5 ans was then dropped back into a Class 2 handicap last time out, but was still 5th of 6. She was almost 3 lengths behind Sky Defender that day and although she's now 5lbs better off today, I still think she finishes behind Sky Defender here, she has picked a habit of finishing towards the rear of the pack.

Victory Chime : the third of my "most likelys" here and seemingly having the best profile for the contest. 8 wins from 20 (40%) to date with all 8 wins coming from 14 runs (57.1%) at 1m2f/1m3f. He has won four of his last seven outings and is five from eight in fields of 1-7 runners. He is 4 from 9 going right handed, 3 from 5 in a visor and 1 from 2 over course and distance.

The booking of Frankie Dettori to ride stablemate Lucander could make this horse look like a second stringer to some, but jockey Rob Hornby is two from three on this horse, so knows how to handle him. The only negative from a stats point of view is that this one has no win from four at Class 2, but all winners at a grade are winless at some point!

Summary

It's a three horse race for me between (alphabetically) Lucander, Sky Defender & Victory Chime. I've got Lucander back in third on my own assessment and also from the data above, but I've little to choose between Sky Defender and Victory Chime.

If Sky Defender runs as well as he did in Germany last time out, he'd have the edge, but I'm concerned he might try and take Lawn Ranger on for the lead, which would be a poor tactic, based on the pace/draw data.  My only real caveat re: Victory Chime is a lack of Class 2 success, but this could be his day. The stats and his own form suggest this could be the day.

For me, it's a marginal call, that Victory Chime just about edges.

Racing Insights, 31st October 2020

Matt standing in for Chris again. Friday's race went largely as anticipated, though the winner - flagged here yesterday - was a rotten price in the end! Lezardrieux made him battle and Lucky Lodge came home fourth, almost completing a trifecta from four horses in the summary (the other was sent off at 66/1 and ran like it).

We'll crack on with Saturday.

It's a terrific day of racing where the jumpers really come to the fore, and the awesome TJ Combo report is the free feature.

Meanwhile, the six free races are...

  • 12.32 Ayr
  • 14.40 Newmarket
  • 15.35 Down Royal
  • 15.40 Ascot
  • 15.50 Newmarket
  • 17.30 Wolverhampton

I've set up the Course 5 Year view on the TJ Combo report and, because there is so much good racing, I've gone with an ultra-demanding IV of 2, meaning a trainer/jockey pairing must win at least twice as often as the average at the tracks in question. That narrows things down to a workable number.

 

Let's take them in order, starting with the Nicky Richards/Brian Hughes combo and their 41% hit rate at Ayr in the last five years. Clicking on the row shows today's qualifier and clicking the little 'up arrow' to the left of the trainer name reveals the historical qualifiers:

Your first 30 days for just £1

There are more qualifiers than I'm showing in the above, but we can clearly see that a lot of these winners have occurred recently: five from eight in 2020 alone. However, note that Castle Rushen was beaten in a bumper here in March. Having looked at the race I'd say he's a very good chance to win (duh) and his price is about right. About right is not a value proposition to me, so I'll let him go.

Next is the hot Bailey/Bass team, who combine for two runners at Wetherby. Vinndication is a classy chap but he's in deep tomorrow, against Cyrname and co, and - again - his price is tight enough; in fact, it's a bit on the skinny side for my tastes.

But their other runner, Hes No Trouble, has a case to be made for him beyond the TJ Combo angle.

Below I've highlighted my Report Angles (the red '3' and accompany trio of rows) and QT Angle (the blue '1' and accompanying row). These tell me that Bailey/Bass are in great recent form as well as having great long-term course form; and I also note that Bailey is one of my trainers to mark up with runners on their first start after a wind op (see the W1 by the horse's name).

Also note the t1 - first time tongue tie - which implies this fellow has been struggling quite badly with his breathing.

Looking at his form, it might also be he's been struggling with distance and ground: after a win on a similarly flat track over a similar trip on similar ground and off a similar mark he was then beaten over half a mile further, on softer ground and in higher grade.

This is still a Class 3 race but he gets a shorter distance and faster turf; and of course he gets the wind tweaks. There's enough there to make 10/1 look big enough for all that it's a competitive race with plenty of other (shorter priced) options.

And I was able to make a value case for the McCain/Hughes partnership's Ayr runner, Goobinator, too.

This time it is because, rightly or wrongly, I want to be against 5/2 ish second choice, Calva D'Auge. The form of that one's wins has worked out terribly (note the 'Then What?' section on the right hand side) - the only winner from 39 subsequent starters from the Wincanton victory was... himself next time out; and there have been no winners from 19 from that Plumpton run since.

Of course,  it's a new season and Calva has a heavy ground score but he's making the market for me.

Similar to Bailey and Bass, Goobinator represents strong recent TJ form as well as longer term TJ track form, as can be seen from my Report Angles in the image below.

Their other runner goes in the 'newcomers' bumper, in which - as the name suggests - none of the field has run before. Not for me, thanks.

And the final contender from my strict TJ Combo shortlist is the Mark Johnston/PJ McDonald pairing at Newmarket. They saddle Reams Of Love, a nursery handicap debutant in a field full of unexposed types. We can see that both trainer and jockey have a great track record, together and individually: that's perhaps because Newmarket favours front-runners and most of Johnston's are ridden from the front.

Although it's far from assured, with so many yet to established a pattern to their preferred run style, what we do know is that the Johnston horse has led in both starts to date. He'll make a bold bid under a jockey that rides the course very well.

Summary

Even deploying a seriously demanding Impact Value parameter of 2 on the Trainer Jockey Combo report, I still get plenty with which to work. A number of these look degrees of interesting at the prices. I will be backing Hes No Trouble for small stakes each way at around 11/1, and may have a small win bet on Reams Of Love, too, the 13/2 in a place (BOG if you can get it with 365) feeling like a sliver on the generous side (and, in this case, it really is no more than a feeling).

Racing Insights, 30th October 2020

Chris highlighted the chance of Fanzio, a 7/1 winner available at a good bit bigger early, from three interesting runners on Wednesday; and with that he's taken himself off for a couple of days leaving me (Matt) to share a few thoughts in his absence.

Friday's racing is interesting, if tricky, and Horses For Courses report is the free feature. The six free races are...

  • 12.40 Down Royal
  • 12.50 Uttoxeter
  • 1.15 Down Royal
  • 3.30 Newmarket
  • 4.20 Uttoxeter
  • 5.30 Dundalk

There are a few 'hardy perennial' types on the H4C report...

 

...but, in spite of that, I'm heading to the last race of the day, the 8.15 Newcastle.

It's a six furlong Class 5 apprentice handicap down the straight track at Gosforth Park, where the going should be standard: the course was decompacted last week, making it ride slower, but there's been racing and rain since then, both of which help to tighten it up. According to the BHA site, the forecast is for a stiff westerly so, with the straight course running southeast to northwest - see image to the right - it'll be quite testing.

A full field of 14 are scheduled to leave the gate, and they are these:

Your first 30 days for just £1

 

Let's start with the Report Angles, where both Lucky Lodge and Cloudea are worth a second glance. Lucky Lodge's angles come from the trainer / jockey partnership of Alan Brittain and Harry Russell, all of whose success has come in the past year. We can see that both handler and pilot have good records separately as well.

Messrs Fahey and Murtagh are also of interest when combining here. Jockey Connor Murtagh actually has a 4/26 record at the track (see below), and it is his handicap record that is highlighted in the angle above (16 runs, 3 wins) - the label should say that!

I Know How also has a couple of pointers towards its chance:

 

Next stop is Instant Expert, where the cases for Burrows Seeside and especially Lezardrieux are well advertised. Both are short enough in the betting; both for good reason. Neither Cloudea nor Look Out Louis has any form against the Instant Expert criteria in the last two years.

I Know How, who hasn't won in a full field (but has run well twice), has an otherwise decent profile; and Lucky Lodge also falls in here fairly consistently.

The pace setup might be instructive, especially considering that forecast head/crosswind. Historically, those who led have performed best though a win rate of around one-in-nine - albeit in 13-14 runner fields - is going to be a long time between drinks.

Lezardrieux figures to race on the stands' side and might get cover if anything goes forward far side; but, realistically, he'll be racing into the breeze. It might not stop him but it's something to be aware of, especially if the earlier races are favouring horses covered up. Burrows Seeside is likely to get plenty of cover with a middle draw and a later run style.

Reviewing Draw Analyser for the last two years suggests middle berths are slightly favoured but there's very little in it:

 

Summary

Pulling all of these strands together, nothing stands out as having an especially strong chance above all others. That said, I'm still attracted to Lezardrieux in spite of concerns about being out front in the teeth of the hooley: I'll be watching earlier races to see if horses are getting home off the lead before deciding to bet.

Lucky Lodge may get the worst of it on that far side with a prominent racing style, though of course there's always the chance that I'm massively over-stating the effect of the wind!

Cloudea is vaguely interesting in a throwaway sort of way. She won a moderate maiden last summer and hasn't been beaten far in three subsequent starts. Down in grade, this is her third start off a layoff and a penny play at 20/1+ might reward ambition.

But BURROWS SEESIDE may be the one. He looks likely to get the run of the race, was course and distance winner on his handicap debut last time - by more than three lengths, and has more progression than most of these after just four lifetime starts. He was still 5/1 with 888sport at time of publication, though shortening everywhere else.

A good few others with chances in an interesting race where the wind may be a key factor, or no factor at all!

Racing Insights, 29th October 2020

Wednesday was another good day for trainer Neil Mulholland at Fakenham with a 10/1 winner and a fourth place (Sky amongst others paid four places) from his two runners. I'm pleased to have highlighted that he'd two chances, but I have to admit to getting them the wrong way round.

Next up is Thursday, where Instant Expert is the free feature and our free races are...

  • 3.15 Lingfield
  • 3.20 Clonmel
  • 3.45 Lingfield
  • 3.50 Clonmel
  • 3.58 Newton Abbot
  • 7.45 Southwell

...and I've decided to take a look at three horses who stand out on our Shortlist report...

...and therefore by definition also score well on Instant Expert, starting with Fanzio in the 2.06 Stratford, an 11-runner, Class 3, Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m3½f on Soft (Gd to Soft in places) ground. The winner will get £7,018 and Instant Expert tells us this...

He has won four races from fourteen so far, including 4 from 12 under today's jockey, 3 from 9 going left handed, 3 from 7 when not wearing his hood, 2 from 5 on Good to Soft, 2 from 5 with a tongue tie and 2 from 2 at 2m3½f - 2m4f.

He was a winner at this grade over 2m4f on good to soft at Uttoxeter two starts ago off a mark of 122, but struggled next/last time out off today's mark of 127, but in his defence he was upped in trip to 2m6f and good ground is probably too quick for him. Conditions are more in his favour today, although he is still 5lbs higher than that last win.

He likes to race prominently and that's a tactic that works well in this type of race and he's one of the ones likeliest to set the fractions here, as shown by the pace tab...

Your first 30 days for just £1

...he's unlikely to have it all his own way, of course, but if he gets out and stays out and runs like I know he can under these conditions, he could go well again.

The next of our trio of possibles, Oh This Is Us goes in the 2.15 Lingfield, a 9-runner, Class 2, A/W handicap Handicap for 3yo+ over 7f on Polytrack worth a useful £11,972 to the winner and where this is the view from Instant Expert... 

Plenty of green once again and whilst the distance tab is amber, 6 wins and 4 places from 21 efforts over 7f isn't bad at all, effectively putting him one win away from a whole bank of green and if you add in a 2 from 2 record at 7.5f, he then has a 34.8% strike rate at 7/7.5f.

Overall, he is 13 from 57 and that includes 10 from 22 when sent off in the 13/8 to 6/1 range suggesting the market will be a good barometer for us and he's 9 from 24 going left handed, 4 from 13 on A/W, 4 from 8 on Poly, 3 from 4 carrying 9st 10lbs and has won teo Listed contests, so this shouldn't be beyond him.

He comes here off the back of another Class 2 A/W hcp success on Polytrack (Chelmsford, 39 days ago) and he's up 4lbs to a mark of 105 for that success, but he did actually win here at Lingfield over a mile last year off a mark of 113.

Stalls 5 to 9 look like the best place to be in a 9-runner, 7f contest here and it pays to lead. We've a good draw in 7, but mid-division is his running style and that might not be a negative as such, because the pace heat map...

...suggests nobody wants to lead and it might become a falsely run contest. What pace there is, should all be on the inside fo him, so he should be able to see where he needs to be, if nothing else. He is usually ridden by Tom Marquand or Pat Dobbs, but Ryan Moore (no slouch) takes the ride today and that, too, isn't a negative if you consider that the Geegeez Query Tool tells me that...

...which gives rise to some optimism. Our third and final horse under the microscope takes us back to Stratford for the 1.06 race, where Earth Moor will contest a a tricky looking 7-runner Class 4 Beginners Chase over 2m5f for 4yo+ on Soft (Gd to Soft in places) ground in a bid to win £4,289. Once again, we head straight to Instant Expert, which shows us...

He was a progressive type up to his last outing in March. It took him four bumpers to get off the mark but then won three from five over hurdles plus a runner-up finish.  Of those five runs, he had two wins and a runner-up finish at Class 3 with a 1 from 1 record at this Class 4 level, he was 3 from 3 under today's jockey Richard Johnson and he finished 121 in three soft ground runs.

He's trainer Philip Hobbs' only runner at this meeting and since 2015, when sending just one runner to a meeting, he is 69 from 254 (27.2%) when calling on Richard Johnson to ride, including 6 from 18 (33.3%) here at Stratford.

As for this type of contest, it pays to be up with the pace, but it all looks pretty even to me...

...which might mean it comes down to tactical nous and Tricky Dicky has plenty in his locker, you'd hope. For his own part, the horse is used to wining and did it quite comfortably when last seen. Clear from a good way out, he stayed on well to win by 6.5 lengths and the runner-up reappeared three weeks ago to win a Class 2 contest at Fontwell, whilst the 7th placed horse (40 lengths back) has also won since at Ffos Las on their predictably testing ground.

Summary

Surprisingly for this column, all three horses assessed have real chances here. from a win perspective, Oh This Is Us must be the best chance and 9/2 or even 5/1 as currently available looks fair. The other two runners will need to go well to make the frame, but there's no reason for that not to happen.

Fanzio is currently priced at 12/1 and I was rather hoping he'd be available at 16's or bigger, so I'm going to leave him alone, despite his obvious chances of a place. My odds requirements are because he's on a high mark and the presence of Templehills might stop him from bossing the race early on. Still has chances, but not for me at 12's.

Earth Moor is a tricky one, as he could win, but I doubt that would happen and a 7-runner field means we only get two places for an E/W bet. He makes a chasing debut after an absence of 238 days and he might be too rusty on a day where he's going to have to jump really well. I had him at 3rd or 4th best here and expecting around 6/1 about him, so was surprised to see him available at 8/1 with Bet365, which could offer some value. Not a likely winner, but could grab second if things fall his way.

Racing Insights, 28th October 2020

Tuesday's race didn't go entirely as I thought it would, but I did still manage to land on the winner, who actually won quite cosily dropping in class. I'd dutched him with another runner, so made a couple of points profit, which was nice but not retirement money, so I'll have to go again for Wednesday's racing, where the free feature is the amazing Trainer Stats report, which just happens to be one my favourite Geegeez features, whilst our free racecards are for...

  • 1.15 Nottingham
  • 1.50 Nottingham
  • 3.50 Nottingham
  • 4.25 Dundalk
  • 5.30 Dundalk
  • 8.15 Kempton

And it's the report that I'll be using for today's piece, based on the Trainer, 5 year Course handicap results as follows...

...which shows that Neil Mulholland's Fakenham handicappers have a 1 in 3 record over the last five years, they make the frame in more than half of their races and are profitable to follow. The A/E is at the low end of my requirements but the IV is excellent at 2.19.

As you can see, Neil has two out on Wednesday, so let's look at each in turn, starting with Master Burbidge in the 1.32 race, a 5-runner, Class 5, Selling Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m6f on Good ground worth £4265 which looks a little (well, a lot) like this...

... where the likely favourite Princeton Royale possesses the only real discernible piece of real form, courtesy of a win over a similar trip at Class 3 two starts ago. Neil Mulholland's C5 icon stands out here (as does the jockey of Wicked Willy, but more on him later!).

The only snippet of interest is the fact that Abbey Lane steps up in class for a yard debut and whilst that might not appear of obvious interest, he's 15 yrs old and now debuts for his sixth trainer, having previously been trained by the likes of Elliott & Mullins! He also hasn't been on a racecourse for over 41 months, so I'm really not sure why he's here.

Instant Expert doesn't actually tells us a great deal abut any of the runners to be honest...

Your first 30 days for just £1

...other than the likely fav has done really well on good ground, but the place tab is more informative...

...with the Mulholland runner having a decent place strike rate at Class 5 and also over this type of trip, but looking like he'll struggle to match either of the two listed above him. Pace-wise, it generally pays to be up with, if not actually setting the pace in these kind of events and sadly once again there are a couple of runners who look better suited than our boy...

As for his recent form and overall profile, it's not great, really, even though he's a useful/versatile sort with wins on the A/W (Polytrack, but handled Fibresand & Tapeta well too) over hurdles and fences. Unfortunately, he comes here on a run of 17 consecutive defeats over a near-31 month dry spell and has finished 4th of 5 and 8th of 9 in his last two for a combined deficit of 78 lengths and I'd not be surprised if he only beats the old boy this time around.

In his defence, he likes good ground (3 from 12 at NH), has a 4 from 12 record at Class 4 and runs best within a month of his last outing whilst wearing cheekpieces. He does, however, do most of his best work in the spring and he's not one to put money on here.

So let's leave Master Burbidge alone and switch attention to Neil Mulholland's other Fakenham 'capper, Dream Machine, who goes in the 3.32 race, a 10-runner, Class 4 Handicap Hurdle for 3yo+ over 2m½f also on Good ground and worth £5588 to the winner...

Dream Machine looks well placed in the Geegeez ratings and will be ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies (who'll be on Wicked Willy in the 1.32 contest above) and Sam also has the C5 icon, suggesting that he's one of the jockeys you'd want on board.

Sam doesn't actually venture to Fakenham too often, having raced in just 35 hurdles contests since the start of 2015, but it's not a lack of success that keeps him away, as he has a place strike rate of 55% (11 placers) including seven winners (35%).

And whilst we're talking numbers, I might as well add that Neil Mulholland's Fakenham hurdlers are 17 from 47 (36.2%) since 2014, including 14/32 (43.75%) in handicaps, 9/28 (32.1%) at Class 4 and 7 from 17 (41.2%) in Class 4 handicaps.

All well and good, of course, but what of Dream Machine's chances/suitability here? Well, Instant Expert is inconclusive again from a win perspective...

...whilst the place angle suggests that several others might be better suited...

...although Dream Machine is all amber and green with a steady 40%-60% record across all criteria, a level of consistency that prove beneficial here. From a pace perspective, he's an out and out hold up horse and that tactic isn't such a bad thing in this type of contest with mid-division runners and hold up horses faring best...

For the record, he's a fair if unspectacular hurdler who was useful on the Flat over 10f. His sole hurdles success from eight attempts came over this trip, at this grade and on good ground and although he seemed to struggle last time out, he ran really well two starts ago at Southwell.

He was third that day, less than five lengths off the pace with the winner then going out to win a gain twelve days later despite being upped two classes, so a reproduction of that run, which came off a mark 3lbs higher than this contest, would put him in the mix, but there's no guarantee that'll happen, of course.

Summary

Neil Mulholland has two chances of improving an already excellent record in handicaps here at Fakenham, but on this occasion I don't see him landing a win.

Both Master Burbidge and Dream Machine have ability, but other rivals seem more likely/reliable. Of the two, Dream Machine has the better chance but would need some luck to land the win, but has every chance of a place.

I'm leaving Master Burbidge alone, but I will back Dream Machine at 11/1 E/W with Bet365, whilst Skybet are offering four places if that's of any interest.

Racing Insights, 27th October 2020

Sometimes, things just come together and today was one of those days at Redcar. We highlighted the 10/3 winner at 5/1 and the 5/1 runner-up E/W as a 12/1 E/W pick and I know some of you jumped on the forecast that paid out at 18.5/1, but much bigger last night at Bet365's BOG prices, I'd assume.

The favourite ran well enough but was fairly soundly beaten as I’d hoped and Striding Edge did indeed come home stone last again. All of which is excellent news for us, but is already history. We've no time to dwell as we look forward to Tuesday, where Feature of the Day is the Shortlist report  and the free races are as follows...

  • 1.30 Bangor
  • 2.10 Catterick
  • 3.40 Bangor
  • 4.00 Chepstow

And at the risk of it becoming a samey/repetitive, I'm going to do another race preview of one of our featured races, the 2.10 Catterick, which actually looks like a tricky little contest that could develop into a really good race, as all six could well win it based on my initial brief glance at the cards, so let's take a closer look at this 6- runner, Class 4 Flat handicap for 3yo+ over 7f on soft ground, where the winner will receive £5,208 for their efforts.

As ever, we start with what we already have available ie the racecard and I've sorted it into speed rating order again for you...

There's not a great deal separating the first four listed on the speed ratings, so they're initially the ones of interest to us, whilst Grace and Virtue stands out from the green icons highlighting the yard's past success at this venue.

As today's free report is the Shortlist, we'll next consider the more detailed version of it that we all know as Instant Expert, firstly by place...

...where we have plenty of green with four runners having 50% or better placing on soft ground, whilst Byron's Choice has a really return over 7f, although as seen below, he's in the frame more than the winners' enclosure...

Your first 30 days for just £1

...again lots of green, but from small sample sizes, but the above tells me that Grace and Virtue is the one most proven on soft ground. The going is often a major factor in these small field potentially-tactical affair, where the draw is key. History tells us that in this kind of contest you want to be drawn centrally in box 3 or 4 as below...

...which could be good news for Lord Oberon and I Am A Dreamer, whilst the pace draw heat map suggests that being drawn middle to high alone isn't enough, you also need to race prominently or even lead...

...which when we overlay today's runners...

...says that Lord Oberon does indeed have the best draw for his usual running style, whilst only Ey Up It's Mick seems to be in a poor spot. However, at this point, I'm still not at a point where I've got a pick, nor am I discounting any of them just yet, so let's look at each of them in turn...

Byron's Choice : is a reasonable 4 from 21 on the Flat including 3 from 10 at 7f and 2 from 5 under jockey Callum Rodriguez. he's a former Class 3 winner and won on his only previous visit to Catterick when landing the spoils over course and distance back in June 2018.

He went on to win again two weeks later, but hasn't since won in 13 attempts over 27 months and hasn't won on Soft ground either, but show signs of a return to form when third at Ayr last time out, beaten by less than a length off today's mark.

Ey Up It's Mick : is a really consistent sort having made the frame in 9 of his last 13 outings, winning three of them, but has no win in his last six races since landing a Class 5, 6f contest on Good to Soft off a mark of 67 back in July. He was third of 13 last time out, 3.5 lengths off the pace here over course and distance ten days ago off today's career high mark of 73.

All three career wins have been at a lower grade than this, but he has won over this trip, likes the soft ground (2 wins) and has 2 wins and a place from four under today's jockey, Kevin Stott.

Grace And Virtue : Scores well on the data above and comes here in the best form of all six runners, with three wins and two runner-up finishes from her last six starts. She's 3 from 6 on turf, all under today's jockey Tony Hamilton, finishing 2141 over this 7f trip and 2 from 2 on soft ground and she receives a 2lb allowance here.

So, a surefire odds on jolly, then? Probably not, although she'll be popular, it's not all great news. All her best form is at Class 5, her worst run on turf came at this level and she's up 7lbs to a career-high 77 after winning last time out.

I Am A Dreamer : This 4 yr old carries the burden of top weight and on form of 706834 looks bang out of it, but all those six runs were at Class 2 immediately after winning in this grade seven races ago. He's only two pounds higher than that last win and he's 1 from 1 over course and distance via a soft ground, Class 4 success last autumn. And if he runs to the same level as his last two efforts at Class 2, he'll be in the mix here.

Lord Oberon : Also featured prominently in the data stack above and looks well drawn for his running style. Down in weight and class for this run, having ran at Classes 2 & 3 for his last 13 outings without too much joy since winning a Class 2 contest over this trip on soft ground almost a year ago. I do like him from the data profiling above, but form is a worry. I'd need him to be a nice price to tempt me.

In his favour however are a series of conditions that could help him back to some form, he has won on soft ground, he has two wins at trip, he's a former Class 2 winner, goes best without headgear/tongue tie, he's 2 from 4 going left handed and seems happiest with fewer rivals around him. All positives, but I'd still want a realistic price.

And finally, Praxeology : somewhat of a shock 50/1 runner-up when only beaten by two lengths here over course and distance last out under a 5lb claimer. He's up a pound for that run and with a different jockey on board, he's effectively 6lbs worse off. However, the jockey is Hollie Doyle who is (a) in continual good nick and (b) 10 from 47 (21.3%) on David Loughnane's horses since the start of 2019.

The horse himself has a win and a place from three soft ground runs and has won previously at both Class 2 & 3, but has failed to land any of his three races beyond 6f, so whether he does stay 7 is unclear.

Summary

I'm not entirely convinced that I've clarified anything here and it's still as muddy as it might well be underfoot for the race itself, but here's where I'm at. The favourite, Grace And Virtue isn't for me at sub-3/1, although she has every chance, whereas I did like Lord Oberon, but he's also looking like being dragged down towards the 10/3 and 3/1 price point, which I'm not really keen on either.

Praxeology and Ey Up Its Mick both ran well here over course and distance, finishing 1.5 lengths apart, but I think the latter is better off here.

And that leaves us with Byron's Choice and I Am A Dreamer. If the former runs like he did last time out (and it's a big if), then 5/1 might look quite generous, whilst the latter was my original preference early doors. Like Byron's Choice, we're looking for a reproduction of a past run  from I Am A Dreamer and again we're not guaranteed to get it, but again 9/2 might be a good price.

The verdict? The smart bet is no bet at all, it's too competitive, but it's an interesting contest so I might well have 0.5pts apiece on Byron's Choice and I Am A Dreamer.

Racing Insights, 24th October 2020

Galvin was a worthy favourite at Cheltenham on Friday, with my two initial possibles finishing second and third. At an SP of 10/1, the runner-up would have been a great pick, but as you know, I ended up swerving the race. Nothing risked, nothing lost.

And now to my final piece of the week, where the feature of the day is the generally excellent Trainer / Jockey combo report, whilst our free races of the day are....

  • 2.47 Galway
  • 3.15 Cheltenham
  • 3.50 Cheltenham
  • 3.57 Galway
  • 5.07 Galway
  • 7.15 Chelmsford

...and I've decided to base today's piece on the Trainer / Jockey, Course 5 year stats from the following report...

Here, my win & place strike criteria are set at 25% & 50% respectively with A/E & IV at 1.25 and 1.50. I've chosen to look at the Quinn/Hart/Chelmsford combo, purely because they're the highest on the strike rate list with more than one runner for Saturday and I'll hope to assess each of their chances in turn, starting with Indian Pursuit in 5.15 Chelmsford, which I've sorted in Geegeez Speed Rating order...

...which tells us that our interest here sits at the top of those ratings and unsurprisingly, both trainer and jockey have the C1 and C5 icons by their names, instantly highlighting their course success.

Next up is Instant Expert...

Your first 30 days for just £1

...which is actually largely inconclusive/uninspiring, but Indian Pursuit does at least have some amber in a sea of red.

Here at Chelmsford over 5f, pace positioning seems to have more bearing on the result than the draw, but you still wouldn't want to be left behind and a quick look at the Pace/Draw heatmap suggests...

...runners in stalls 2,3, 6, 7 & 10 seem most likely to race prominently with Rocketeer in #2 looking like trying to make all as he always does and invariably gets caught, hence a formline of 988626, which could leave the door open for Indian Pursuit, provided Rocketeer isn't allowed to get too far ahead, of course.

As for Indian Pursuit himself, he was a very creditable 5th here a fortnight over six furlongs on his first all-weather run for seventeen months and now with the benefit of having had that run he drops down to 5f off the same mark as LTO.

He's a former course winner, all eight career wins have been a 5-6f at Class 6, five of which have seen him ridden by Jason Hart. He has six wins in 8-11 runner contests, six wins going left handed and four in a visor which is reapplied here.

In what looks a pretty average race, Indian Pursuit's consistency might well be enough here.

But what of stablemate Mr Wagyu's chances an hour later in the 6.15 Chelmsford? Well to start, it's back to the racecard in speed rating order, the Instant Expert and the pace/draw details, as follows...

...ninth of fourteen doesn't initially fill me with confidence, but one set of data should never make or break a bet for you, so let's move on to IE, shall we?

Once again, Mr Wagyu doesn't really scream "back me!" here, does he and there are at least four on that report who would look  better option, so what about the pace/draw, where over the 6f trip here at Chelmsford, you don't want to be drawn centrally...

Sadly, our boy is drawn right in the middle and if he goes off quickly with Rock Sound and My Kinda Day doing the same either side of him, there's a worry those two will overhaul him late on.

As for past performances, he has no previous run on Polytrack, so that's a concern although Messrs Quinn & Hart did team with a winning Polytrack debutant here a fortnight ago. He has, however, won eight times on the Flat, all over this 6f trip including 6 in a visor, 4 under Jason Hart, 4 at Class 4 or better, 4 off marks in the 70's and twice this year.

All of the above show he has ability and the potential to go on and upset the odds to win here, but I do have that nagging doubt about him needing a run on a non-Tapeta A/W surface (he's also 0 from 2 on the Tapeta, having finished 11th of 11th and 4th of 13).

Summary

Messrs Quinn and Hart team up with two runners here, one with clearly better chances than the other. I do like Indian Pursuit's chances here and I'd be happy to back him at 3/1, which is probably just about the right price, I'd not want to be taking much less that that.

Mr Wagyu on the other hand is a strange one, the racecard and associated data suggest he's a bit of a no hoper, but with the obvious caveat of being inexperienced on the A/W, his career stats suggest he could do better than expected. He's currently priced at 12/1 and if you could get that kind of price or bigger from a bookie paying four places, then you might just have a squeak with a small E/W punt, if he takes to the surface, especially as many of his rivals are equally out of form.

Your first 30 days for just £1