Racing Insights, 17th December 2021

Friday is Horses for Courses day here at Geegeez, where we give everyone free access to a report showing the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at the track. It is 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. And as with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track.

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

You can, of course, set your own parameters for the report to shorten the list of horses and here's how mine looks for Friday...

In addition to the free H4C report, we also have the following racecards free to all readers...

  • 11.50 Southwell
  • 2.20 Ascot
  • 3.10 Uttoxeter
  • 4.30 Dundalk
  • 5.15 Kempton

I think I'll skip the H4C report today, as I don't really play the Irish races, Uzincso is likely to be a short priced favourite and Tynecastle Park's excellent Southwell form has all been on fibresand and that has now been replaced by tapeta, of course. Instead, I'm going to look at the best of the free races : the 2.20 Ascot, a 5-runner, good to soft (soft in places) ground, Grade 2, 4yo+ Novices Hurdle featuring just eight obstacles over a left-handed 1m7½f with £28,475 going to one of these...

As you can see, I've also opened up the report angles stats for you to see.

I want to start by saying that Jonbon is highly likely to be the odds on favourite here, but that doesn't render this a futile exercise. He might well be my pick here, but we could have a decent priced E/W pick or a forecast to aim at or we might even find one that could beat him, so let's crack on...

I Like To Move It has 5 wins and a runner-up finish from just 7 career starts and is 3 from 3 over hurdles, including a Grade 2 success at Cheltenham last time out in another small field. He has already won over this trip, the ground won't be an issue for him, but he'll find this tougher than his last race conceding weight all round. That said, he has every chance of being in the shake-up for a yard/jockey in fine recent form.

Colonel Mustard makes a UK debut after finishing 24321 over hurdles in Ireland, but this is a much tougher race than he's used to, as his sole win came in a £6k maiden, although he was a 3.25 length runner-up in a Grade 1 back in April. He's a decent enough sort, but I'm not sure this is the race for him and he'd probably want some rain to fall.

Jonbon is the likely short-priced jolly and he's the brother of top runner Douvan. He won his only PTP contest by some 15 lengths at Dromahane 14 months ago which led to him being sold for over half a million. He was sent off at 5/6 for his debut under Rules, landing a Class 3 bumper by over 4 lengths back in March and then returned to action three weeks ago to defy a 244 day absence to win on his hurdles debut by six lengths. Clearly untried at this level, but the manner of his wins so far are enough to serve notice that he could be something special.

Knappers Hill comes here defending a perfect 5 from 5 record after landing three bumpers (inc 1 x Listed and 1 x Gr2) last season, before winning back to back Novice hurdles in Oct/Nov this season. He was very comfortable when landing a Class 3 race LTO, but this demands more and I think he has more to give.

Elle Est Belle finished 1123 in four bumpers, winning at Listed class before making the fame at Gr 1 then Gr 2 before taking 30 weeks off. She returned to action in early November and looked like she needed the run when beaten by four lengths at Newbury (Class 2) on her hurdling debut, but she quickly bounced back 23 days later to land a Listed race by 8.5 lengths, also at Newbury. No issues with the ground and trainer, jockey and trainer/jockey do really well at this venue.

We could have a really good little race on our hands here, just five are set to go to post, but in 27 previous combined races, they've made the frame 24 (88.9% SR) times, including 17 wins (63% SR) and under today's conditions...

Wow! That's a lot of green, but as I expected Colonel Mustard looks the weak link. Knappers Hill is the only one to have been to Ascot before, landing a 2m soft ground, Listed bumper at this meeting last year and his figures are hard to dispute. He achieved a pace score of 3 (prominent) that day and based on historical data, that's perfect for this contest...

Prominent running is the ordere of the day here with leaders also winning/placing in more of their fair share of races. Essentially, just don't sit too far off the pace, which might be a hindrance to the likes of Colonel Mustard and Elle Est Belle, based on their recent runs...

...where both have been held up twice in four outings. It's a small field and I'd expect I Like To Move It to be the pacesetter and Knappers Hill to race prominently. Much, I suppose, will depend on what tactics the wily Nicky Henderson chooses for fav Jonbon.

Summary

Two NH heavyweights have dominated this race in recent years with Nicky Henderson (Jonbon) and Paul Nicholls (Knappers Hill) winning six of the last ten between them, although the Skeltons (Elle Est Belle) landed it last year.

On face value, it's not entirely obvious why Jonbon should be as short as 8/13 for this, but I suppose his yard's 4 wins from 10 in this race, his relationship to Douvan and his 100% record to date all combine to make him so popular and there's every chance that he wins this. If he doesn't, then it will surely go to one of Nicholls or Skelton. I have the 13/2 Elle Est Belle marginally ahead of the 5/1 Knappers Hill and if the former was to drift a little, I might be tempted into an insurance E/W bet on her.

For what it's worth, I won't back Jonbon at prohibitive odds, but I'll play small Jonbon/Elle Est Belle & Jonbon/Knappers Hill forecasts.

 

Racing Insights, 16th December 2021

The Instant Expert tab on the race cards has the unique ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view covering 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.

We make this feature freely available to ALL readers EVERY Thursday for ALL races, including, naturally, our selection of 'free' races as follows...

  • 1.05 Exeter
  • 1.40 Exeter
  • 2.25 Ffos Las
  • 3.40 Southwell

Three of our four 'free' races are decent-looking Class 3 affairs, but with one only having 5 runners and the other having 18, I'm going to look at the first of that list, the 1.05 Exeter, an 11-runner, soft ground, 3yo+, Class 3, handicap hurdle worth £6,263 featuring 9 obstacles over 2m2½f on a left-handed track...

Surprisingly, we have no LTO winners here aside from Birds of Prey, but he hasn't been seen since winning on the A/W at Kempton 21 months ago. Champagne Court, Deeper Blue, Guernesey and Investment Manager are the others bringing good results to the table. Eamon an Cnoic ran in a Listed event LTO, whilst Martinhal and Pol Crocan both drop down a level from Class 2 with Deeper Blue (on hcp debut), Investment Manager and Trans Express all moving up from Class 4.

We've a good spread of ages here (3 x 5yo, 2 x 6yo, 1 x 7yo, 2 x 8yo, 1 x 9yo, 1 x 10yo and 1 x 11yo) rated 26lbs apart from top to bottom, although the bottom weight is some 13lbs lighter than the horse above. Yards with positive stats are those with Birds of Prey, West to the Bridge, Deeper Blue and Investment Manager, whist the riders of Birds of Prey, West to the Bridge, Pol Crocan and Investment Manager are the ones highlighted in a good way on the card.

Birds of Prey and Dan Maguire have both previously won at similar trips to today, whilst Martinhal, Guernesey and Trans Express have all won over course and distance. We already know that Birds of Prey hasn't been seen for 21 months, but Dan McGrue also returns from a layoff here (last seen 7 months ago), but the other nine have all raced in the last seven weeks with three (Guernesey, Martinhal & Trans Express) having been out in the last 7-14 days.

At this point, I wouldn't want to stick my neck out and say who'll win, but alphabetically the likes of Birds of Prey, Champagne Court, Deeper Blue, Guernesey, Investment Manager and Martinhal have ticked some boxes whilst Dan McGrue (form/layoff/trainer record at track), Pol Crocan (form) and Trans Express (form/up in class) are three I'd probably cast aside right now, giving me eight to consider as I look at overall form via 'feature of the day' Instant Expert...

I've ordered the above purely on number of soft ground wins, because previous successful experiences on extreme going often bring about more success. The first four on that list have decent soft ground records and the bottom three, although winless, wouldn't be ruled out, because they've only 8 runs between them from which they've placed four times. Eamon An Cnoic is a worry on the ground as a 1 from 14 record says he has been tried (and failed) extensively on soft and with his 13 defeats only containing three places, I'm letting him go here.

West to the Bridge and Champagne Court are proven in this grade, whilst Martinhal & Guernesey are the C&D winners, of course.

The running styles of our seven remaining possibles have been as follows over their most recent outings (notwithstanding that Birds of Prey's fourth start back was in October 2019!)...

...and of the discarded runners, only Trans Express (15) has a higher pace score than the three at the top of that list and based on historical results over similar trips here...

...I'd really want a pace score of 11 or higher or an average of 2.75, which isn't great news for the bottom three on the list. However, Guernesey wasn't far off that prior to his last run and Birds of Prey's data might not be reliable after such a lengthy absence, but West to the Bridge is generally held up for a run and that will probably be his undoing here, so I'm crossing him off my list now, giving me a half-dozen to ponder upon...

Martinhal probably needed the run after 260 days off track when 9th of 13 at Aintree earlier this month, but he's down in trip by 1f, down in class and also down 4lbs. He's 2 from 2 here at Exeter after wins in Jan/Feb of this year, he's also 3 from 3 going right handed, 3 from 5 on soft ground and 3 from 6 under today's jockey and is definite shortlist material.

Birds of Prey was a useful versatile sort prior to his lengthy lay-off, winning his only bumper race, 2 wins & 5 places from 9 on the Flat, 1 from 3 on the A/W and 2 wins, 4 places from 8 over hurdles. Only raced twice in 2020, winning a 2m½f A/W bumper at Wolverhampton and then a 2m handicap at Kempton (also A/W), but has made thr frame in all four soft ground runs (2 wins), prefers going right handed and if ready first up, could actually be the best of this bunch.

Champagne Court has made the frame in each of his last four starts (2 x chase and then 2 x hurdle), but not seeming to see races out. He goes off the same mark as when beaten by five lengths last time out, which suggests he'll need to improve here and all three career wins came without cheekpieces (0/6 with them0 and without tongue tie (0/5 TT), yet both are in situ here.

Deeper Blue is the least experienced of the field after just four starts, but he has made the frame three times, including both efforts over hurdles. He was a 15 lengths third of 8 on hurdling debut last May and then returned in October to finish a 6 lengths runner-up of 14 at Chepstow. An opening handicap mark of 122 is neither lenient nor harsh, but he is up in class and might just need the handicap run.

Guernesey is probably the form horse here and was winner over this track and trip four starts and ten weeks ago. Has finished 232 since, only going down by a short head at Warwick and then by two necks at Taunton before going back to Taunton last week where he was beaten by just a length and a quarter despite hitting the last hurdle. He goes off the same mark here, stays well and if jumping cleanly will be involved.

Investment Manager was an 11 lengths runner-up over course and distance here back in February, earning himself an opening handicap mark of 106, which he used to good effect when reappearing at Newton Abbot eight months later (21st Oct) to land a heavy ground Class 4 hurdle over 2m6f. That sent him up to 112 for another Class 4 contest, where he was 2nd of 10, beaten by three quarters of a length over 2m4f. He takes another drop in trip here and is up 1 class and 3lbs which probably puts this one just out of reach.

Summary

Of my six above, Champagne Court is off the same mark as a five length defeat LTO and has a poor record in Cheekpieces/tongue tie, and Investment Manager is up 3lbs and one class for a defeat LTO. Deeper Blue lacks handicap experience and his yard are just 5 from 37 (13.5% SR) with hurdlers on handicap debut since the start of 2018 which is an A/E of just 0.78. Of those 37, they are just 1 from 13 (7.7%, A/E 0.53) on soft ground and 0 from 8 ridden by a claimer, so the probabilities are against him.

All of which leave me with Birds of Prey, Guernesey and Martinhal.

If all things were equal, Birds of Prey is possibly the best horse in the race, but might need a run. Guernesey is the form horse, but will need to keep up to his work and jump cleanly, whilst Martinhal is the pick on stats and has the best pace profile of my possibles but bears top weight here.

Any of the three could win this, but they're the three I'd want. If pushed to put them in order I'd have the form horse Guernesey marginally ahead of the stat horse Martinhal with the probably-tiring Birds of Prey hanging on for a place.

Odds wise as of 4.20pm Wednesday, Guernesey is available at 11/2, which is pretty much where I had him, Martinhal is a 9/1 shot where I was rather expecting around 12's, but he's still be of E/W interest and Birds of Prey is a 5/1 chance, which is where I thought he'd be.

Good luck, however you play this one.

 

Racing Insights, 15th December 2021

Wednesday's free GOLD feature is the excellent Trainer Stats (TS) 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 five year, users can filter by runs, wins, places, win profit/loss and each way profit/loss. Clicking on any row in the report will reveal the runners that trainer has entered on the day in question, and clicking on the runner row will open that race in a new tab.

HINT: It can help to cross refer the profit figures of the trainer with their win/place percentage. A few big priced winners can mean a trainer has a high profit number but a low strike rate. You may need to be very patient, and a bit lucky, to come out in front this way!

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

I'm only really interested in the handicap data on the Trainer Stats (TS) report, which when combined with my fairly strict selection criteria often means that I have little or no qualifiers to consider. Wednesday, sadly, is a prime example as I only have qualifiers on the course 1 year handicap tab, as follows...

Thankfully, we also have the following 'free' races of the day to offer you...

  • 12.10 Lingfield
  • 4.45 Kempton
  • 5.00 Dundalk
  • 6.00 Dundalk
  • 7.00 Dundalk

If I'm totally honest with you, none of those float my boat either, so I'm going off-piste today and offering you a bonus race and I think that should be whatever is the 'best' race available. A quick look shows that only one UK race on Wednesday is better than Class 3 and that's the 2.00 Newbury, an 8-runner, Listed, 4yo+ Mares' Chase over 3m (after rail movement) on Good To Soft ground, where the following horses will go left handed and tackle 18 fences in the hope of landing the £15,661 prize...

As you'd expect of a Class 1 field, there's plenty of good recent form on show, with only Casablanca Mix and Legends Gold winless in five starts and sadly they're the only two to have fallen in their last five. Silver Forever has won four of five and along with fellow hat-trick seeker Chilli Filli, are the only two LTO winners on display. The former is actually stepping up two classes here, as is Hawthorn Cottage, whilst Legends Gold also moves up a level.

Bridge Native, Casablanca Mix and Win My Wings are the only ones without a win at or around today's 2m7f-3m trip and the first two named are probably arriving in the worst form of the eight runners. Silver Forever is best off at the weights and is the only previous course winner, having scored here over course and distance last time out. That was 41 days ago and that's the longest any of these have waited since their last outing with the other seven having raced in the last 17 to 35 days.

At this point, I'm already prepared to dismiss the chances of Bridge Native on form/no win at the trip and also Casablanca Mix for the same reasons, plus I've reservations about Hawthorn Cottage stepping up two classes after a 19 length defeat as last home of four most recently. So I'm going to prune the field down to five runners...

Chilli Filli won one of her two bumpers, made the frame on 5 of 8 (won 2) over hurdles but has already won 4 of 9 over fences with an additional place finish thrown in. She won a 3m Listed chase at Perth (Momella also ran) on St George's Day before resting for 202 days prior to landing a 3m1f Listed Chase at Market Rasen five weeks ago where she beat Momella, Casablanca Mix & Win My Wings). her record in (non-Novice) Listed chases reads 12F11 and she gets 3m readily. Definite shortlist material.

Momella doesn't quite have the same profile as the one above, but she's more than useful with a 56% career place strike rate, winning 1-in-3 overall including a Listed contest three starts ago, but has run into Chilli Filli on her last two outings, going down by 46 lengths (admittedly eased when beaten) and then by just 2 lengths LTO. They meet again on equal terms, so it's hard to see her avenging those defeats but she shouldn't be too far adrift.

Legends Gold hasn't yet completely managed to transfer her excellent (4 wins plus 3 places from 9) hurdles form over tot he bigger obstacles, but she has made the frame in half of her six efforts, winning once (a Class 4 Novice on chase debut Oct'20) She ended last summer as a runner-up in a 14-runner 3m4f Class 3 contest at Ffos Las before returning to action five weeks ago at Bangor to finish 3rd of 14, beaten by just over 5 lengths in a 3m Class 2 handicap after being off track for 223 days. She's entitled to improve for that run, but whether she can make the leap to challenge at Listed class is under review.

Silver Forever completes my five 'possibles' and she comes here looking like the one to beat based pourely on results. She made her debut in November 2018 and by the time we hit the second week of January 2020, she had finished 1312 in four bumpers (the defeats were in Listed races, so no disgrace) and 1131 over hurdles (the last two at Listed class). So never out of the frame in eight starts, winning five times. She was then off track for 670 days prior to reappearing here over course and distance six weeks ago when she won a 2-horse race by six lengths on her chase debut receiving 7lbs in weight from the other 10/11 jt fav. That was a Class 3 contest, so more required here, but she is proven at Listed class in other spheres. The only real question marks revolve around whether that race has taken much out of her and that it was also her only run beyond 2m4f.

At this point, I'd have to say that Silver Forever handles a more competitive race than LTO and can step up in class, then she looks the one to beat with Chilli Filli probably next best, but let's look at the five runners' overall NH form via Instant Expert...

...whilst pretty much backs up my idea of the 1-2, whilst over fences...

...Chilli Filli looks even stronger than her general overall record. Momella has some amber, but there's nothing much to get excited about away from the suggested pair. The pace scores from these runners' last four outings suggests that there'll not be much hanging about today...

...which isn't probably a bed plan, as those racing up with the pace or leading have done very well...

...whilst the hold-up scores might give some confidence to Win My Wings, but I fear she's the weakest of my five.

Summary

From start to finish the pairing of Silver Forever and Chilli Filli have ticked all the boxes and I find it difficult to look beyond those two as my first two home. I had them in that order on my own workings and was expecting to see prices around 2/1 and 15/4 respectively and I'm not too far out with the bookies going 15/8 and 10/3 from the first two (Bet65 & Hills) to show their hand.

Silver Forever's 15/8 is 94% of my expected/hoped for odds, whilst Chilli's 10/3 is an 88% ratio, so the fav is looking like the best value. I'm not normally a fan of backing sub-2/1 shots, but 15/8 might end up being a good price, whilst I've my fingers crossed for the exacta/forecast.

Those wanting to play the trifecta/tricast would probably want to add the 13/2 third fav Momella into the mix. She's too short for me as an E/W bet, but she was third best on my figures, it's just boringly coincidental that my 1-2-3 is the bookies' 1-2-3, but hey, they can'ty always be wrong, can they? 😉

Racing Insights, 14th December 2021

The Shortlist is a simple – and usually brief – report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day. It covers win or place stats, and can be viewed for both today’s and tomorrow’s racing.

GREEN is good (33% or better win rate) – worth 3 points
AMBER is quite good (16-32% win rate) – worth 1 point
RED is not so good (0-15% win rate) – worth -1 points
GREY means there is no available data for that factor - worth 0 points

The final column, ‘Score’, is the sum of the previous five ‘colour’ columns, with 15 being an all green profile, and 9 being the lowest score appearing on this report.

HINT: The best bets are not necessarily the highest scores. Rather, they are often the biggest difference between a Shortlist horse and the ‘best of the rest’ in that race.

N.B. Shortlist selections are unlikely to make a profit, at SP at least, to blind backing. Our recommendation is – and has always been – that The Shortlist should be a starting point rather than an end in itself. That said, it continues to highlight horses whose chance is better than recent form - and its odds - imply.

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

This is how The Shortlist looks for Tuesday...

...and I'm showing you this because we make this Gold feature available to ALL readers EVERY Tuesday. In fact, we make a different Gold feature available every single day, along with a selection of 'free' races, which for Tuesday are...

  • 1.30 Wincanton
  • 2.30 Wincanton
  • 4.00 Newcastle

And seeing as the highest ranked on The Shortlist also runs in a 'free' race, I think I should be covering the 4.00 Newcastle for you today. If I'm honest, it's not a race I would normally give much air time to, because it's high on runners and low on quality, but every race has a winner! This one is a 14-runner, Class 6, 3yo+ A/W handicap over a straight mile on tapeta. The top prize is a mere £2,700 and it will end up with one of these...

Tie A Yellowribbon and Vintage Polly are the only two runners with a win in their recent form, but the former has been off the track longest of all 14 runners at 149 days. All her rivals have raced in the past eight weeks with six of them turning back out after less than a fortnight's rest.

Bottom weight Big Dutchie gets 13lbs from Shortlist horse and top weight Harry George, but his runner-up finish at Class 5 LTO is the best LTO result in the field. He's the only class mover as he drops down a level from that run four days ago. Tie A Yellowribbon makes a yard debut, having moved to her fourth UK yard, whilst William of Mowbray makes just a second handicap appearance hopinbg to do better than his last of 12 at Chelmsford 11 days ago.

Harry George, Velma, Vintage Polly and Lukoutoldmakezebak have all previously won over a mile here at Newcastle, whilst Tie A Yellowribbon and The Game of Life have both won over a mile elsewhere.

Based on the above, I'd currently lean towards Tie A Yellowribbon and Vintage Polly with an eye on Big Dutchie, Harry George, Lukoutoldmakezebak, The Game of Life and Velma to complete my current preferred half of the field.

We know that most of these aren't coming here in the best of form and we know that Harry George will have conditions that suit him, but what of the others? Instant Expert has the answers...

I know it's a Class 6 contest, but that's disappointing. We knew HG would look strong thanks to his place on The Shortlist, but I didn't quite expect that much red. The only others with any green/amber are already in my preferred half of the field. Hopefully the place stats will show some of these in a better light...

...which is more helpful and also suggests that both Lenny's Spirit & Giant Steps might be in with a shout of making the frame. Big Dutchie and The Game of Life are the two from my original seven most at risk right now. Aside from the wins/places, there are some interesting weight changes, with both Velma and The Game bring much lower in the official ratings than their last win.

We've fourteen runners strung across the track for this straight mile and without looking at the stats, my own personal logic says that there shouldn't really be a draw bias, but it doesn't hurt to actually go and check...

The results for stall 12 have to be a coincidental anomaly and some of the central stalls have marginally better results than par (par = 3 wins, 9 places), but there's not enough there for me to confidently announce a draw bias, but that doesn't mean that certain running/racing styles aren't more advantageous than others. Thankfully, we also have the stats for those...

and basically, the further back you run, the better. We log the running styles of all horses and over their most recent outings, this field has run like this...

...where the likes of Cosa Sara and Vintage Polly are confirmed hold up horses. If we combine pace/draw stats, we get a unique 12-sector overview of the race which will tell ther most advantageous (or otherwise) pace/draw combos...

...where almost strangely the two best are quite a way apart. The mid-drawn hold-up horse fares best, presumable passing the low drawn leader late on in proceedings. We can now order our field by draw and place them onto the pace/draw heat map above and that gives us an idea of how the race might pan out...

The only issue that the above generates for me is that there's the possibility of a slowly/falesely run race, with no real pace but Big Dutchie & Lukoutoldmakezebak both led last time out and have both ran prominently recently. Regimento and William of Mowbray have also both led in a recent outing, so they might be towards the front too.

Summary

After looking at the racecard and consulting my own figures, I initially split the 14-strong field into two, suggesting that alphabetically, I'd want to be with Big Dutchie, Harry George, Lukoutoldmakezebak, The Game of Life, Tie A Yellowribbon, Velma and Vintage Polly and I still think/hope the winner comes from that group.

Of them, I'd discount Big Dutchie on both Instant Expert and running style as documented above. Lukoutoldmakezebak would also be in danger based on running style, but he was also last of 13 over course and distance beaten by 15 lengths 111 days ago and looks set to struggle off the same mark and I'd also be ruling The Game of Life from contention at this stage. He's an other with an all-red IE profile on place stats, probably won't be held up and he was also last of 13 over course and distance in his latest run, beaten by nineteen lengths five weeks ago.

All of which leaves us with...

  • Harry George, The Shortlist horse now 2lbs lower than when 4th of 13 over C&D here 11 days ago in a first time visor. A winner of 6 of his 20 races so far and he's 4 from 10 at this track including 3 wins from 8 over course and distance. The visor is retained and he could be dangerous here 2lbs lower than his last course win.
  • Tie A Yellowribbon, who returns from a rest of almost five months, having changed yards in that time. She's hardly prolific, but did win at Yarmouth two starts ago off a mark just 3lbs lower than today's 59, whilst her sole A/W win came at Chelmsford off 55 in October 2020. That suggests she's pretty well weighted, but needs a career best effort to actually go on and win.
  • Velma, who is also a former C&D winner, albeit nine starts and over 14 months ago, but this 4 yr old filly was a decent 3rd of 13 here over C&D when last seen five weeks ago. She was unlucky in the run, being denied clear passage a coupe of times but was only beaten by less than 3 lengths and finished 3 places and 4 lengths clear of the re-opposing...
  • Vintage Polly, who also won here over course and distance off a mark of 52 in October. She goes off 54 today and arrives here on the back of a poor performance at Southwell four days ago off this mark. Her best career form has been over this C&D, so it's hoped that a return to the North East puts Friday's run to bed, but it should be noted that despite being 4 lengths behind Velma here last month, she's now a pound worse off at the weights.

So, I don't see Vintage Polly overturning a 4 length deficit to Velma off a pound worse, so she can't be my winner even if she does have the best pace/draw make-up, but she could be good for a place. Velma's LTO run was the best of the four I'm considering and now eased a pound and having chance to get used to the visor, I'd take Velma to win this one.

Harry George will run his race here as he always does and should be good for a place, as should Tie A Yellowribbon, who'd probably be higher up in my thoughts had she had a recent run.

Bet-wise, Velma is a bit skinny for me at 7/2 and whilst I hope she wins, she won't be carrying my money, unless I can get on at 9/2 or bigger. Harry George is 6/1 which is probably a decent price (I thought maybe 4/1) if you fancy him, but that's not long enough for me to go E/W, whilst Tie A Yellowribbon is also too short for me at 7/2. Vintage Polly, however, is interesting out at 12/1. She'd need to put that last poor run behind her, but I had her as an 8 to 10/1 shot, so at 12's, I'll have an E/W nibble with a bookie paying four places.

Racing Insights, 13th December 2021

Pace is an often overlooked/under-rated facet of UK racing betting, but we feel it's that important that we make the PACE tab on our racecards totally free to ALL readers for ALL races every Sunday and Monday, enabling readers to make a reasonable assumption as to how a race will unfold even before it starts. It is, of course, also available for the following free races of the day from Chelmsford...

  • 1.15 Chelmsford
  • 2.45 Chelmsford
  • 4.15 Chelmsford

The middle one of that trio looks the best on paper, so let's take a quick look at the 2.45 Chelmsford, shall we? It's a 7-runner, Class 3, 6f, 3yo+ A/W handicap on standard polytrack. It's worth £6,210 and that will go to one of these...

Only three of these (Sir Rodneyredblood, Fauvette & Mount Mogan) have won in their recent formlines, but all three have multiple wins with the first named probably the form horse here. Top weight Repartee drops down from Class 2 for his yard debut, whilst all bar two (Huraiz & Mount Mogan) of his rivals are stepping up in class. All seven are previous winners over today's trips with three of them (Sir Rodneyredblood, Cooperation & Fauvette) having won over course and distance.

Repartee hasn't raced for four months, Cooperation ran just over a month ago and the other five have only been off the track for 11-18 days. Cooperation is the sole 3 yr old racing against half a dozen 4 yr olds and we've not much positivity on trainer/jockey form icons, other than Huraiz's rider having a good record at this track.

At this stage, I think I'd like to be looking at Fauvette, Restless Endeavour and Sir Rodneyredblood for my winner, but we can check how they've all ran under similar conditions, courtesy of Instant Expert...

...where the three I highlighted at stage 1 are the only ones other than Cooperation with any green. Sir Rodneyredblood is clearly an A/W specialist and is probably the one to beat based on those figures, but over 6f here at Chelmsford, the draw and race tactics will play a massive part in proceedings, so let's now assess...

...the draw...

...tells us that stall 1 is the best place to be for win & place stats with stall 2 the best of the rest for win purposes. This could be good news for Fauvette and possibly Huraiz, especially if they run in a way that will make the most of that draw. We'll find out the best approach by looking at...

...the pace...

...which as expected here at Chelmsford, tend to favour those setting the pace and based on this field's recent runs...

...doesn't help those in the low stalls, but should definitely suit Restless Endeavour and Sir Rodneyredblood from my initial three, along with Repartee. And when we combine pace with draw, here's our unique heat map that predicts how they'll break out...

...which is essentially a bird's eye view of how we see the race in the early stages.

Summary

The above should have been a quick read, because that's the speed at which you should be able to work through a race. After the above, here's where I'm at...

I initially liked Fauvette, Restless Endeavour and Sir Rodneyredblood after looking at the card, I added Cooperation to the mix after Instant Expert. Fauvetter and Huraiz were favoured by the draw, but hindered by their pace profiles, so neither gained anything there. Restless Endeavour and Sir Rodneyredblood from my original trio were best suited on pace, as was Repartee and based on the pace/draw heat map, they're the three I want to go with.

Of those three, I'd have Repartee as least likely to win, making it between Restless Endeavour and Sir Rodneyredblood. This pair met here on November 25th over 5f where the latter beat the former by 1.5 lengths with Restless Endeavour carrying 4lbs more than Sir Rodneyredblood. But the latter/winner is now 6lbs worse off here and I suspect that might just be enough to turn things around.

Which means I'm going Restless Endeavour / Sir Rodneyredblood / Repartee and the bookies have them at 4/1, 7/2 and a huge 18/1. We're only getting 2 places here, of course, so my play is a win bet on Restless Endeavour at 4's, although if you can get a reasonable price on the exchanges for three places, a small punt on Repartee might be interesting.

Racing Insights, 11th December 2021

Saturday's free feature is the fantastic Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report, which brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that 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. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

And in addition to this report, we also have the following free races of the day...

  • 11.30 Fairyhouse
  • 12.05 Cheltenham
  • 1.50 Cheltenham
  • 3.22 Fairyhouse
  • 4.30 Newcastle
  • 4.45 Wolverhampton

The Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch trainer/jockey combo are in sparkling form right now and prior to Friday's racing where they have/had two runners at Cheltenham, the partnership had 7 winners and 4 further placers from just 19 runners over the past 30 days and with 2 more handicappers booked in at Cheltenham on Saturday, that's where I'm heading with this piece.

So, basically...

Both geldings will run in Good to Soft ground chases, the 6yr old Frero Banbou tackles an 8-runner, Class 2 affair over 2m½f worth just over £15,600 whilst the 9 yr old Cepage is entered into a 15-runner, Grade 3 contest over 2m4½f in search of a prize of over £74k!

Before we look at the individual horses, let's consider those 19 runners above, as they include...

  • 7 wins, 4 places from 18 over fences
  • 4 wins, 4 places from 14 male runners
  • 4 wins, 2 places from 10 on Good to Soft
  • 3 wins, 2 places from 5 x 6 yr olds (0/1 with a 9yo)
  • 2 wins, 2 places from 5 at Class 2 (1 from 3 at Class 1)
  • 2 wins from 3 over 2m4½f/2m5f (0/1 at 2m½f)
  • and 0/1 here at Cheltenham

Plenty of encouragement from those stats, so let's start with Frero Banbou in the 1.15 Cheltenham...

Frero Banbou has been improving with pretty much each run that has seen him finish 331443 over fences with his best run to date coming when 4th of 18 in the Grade 3 Red Rum handicap at Aintree back in April, which came despite a 13lb rise for winning a Class 3 contest at Sandown four weeks earlier. He didn't run again after that Aintree effort until reappearing in a Listed race at Ascot at the end of October, where he was 4th of 10 despite a drop in quality and a 2lb easing in weight. Since then, he has dropped down to this Class 2 level and was eased yet another 2lbs, but could only finish 3rd of 12, beaten by 8 lengths at Newbury a fortnight ago. He's back up a pound here and is still 10lbs higher than his win, which makes life tough, but he's certainly not out of it so far.

Based on relevant past exploits, Editeur du Gite would appear to be the one to beat, but without much green in evidence elsewhere, Frero Banbou remains in contention.

The pace stats here for this type of contest are as follows...

...telling us that the ideal profile is one that gets away sharpish and stays right on the pace throughout. Prominent runners do well for the place, but tend not to catch the leaders often enough, so let's see how this field normally run...

Well, again it's Editeur du Gite who's the one to catch again with a perfect 16 for front-running pace, whilst Frero might well end up mid-division here which won't really enhance his chances, despite his obvious ability.

*

Our second race is, of course, trickier with almost twice as many runners competing over further at a higher grade for much more money! So, here's the 1.50 Cheltenham featuring Cepage...

Cepage bears top weight here on his return from almost nine months off the track, during which time all bar one (stable mate Farinet) of his rivals have seen some action. For his part, he has made the frame in over half (10) of his nineteen starts over fences, winning four times, although he's only 1 from 9 at Class 1. He has a win and three places from eight runs on this track and gets on well with Charlie Deutsch. He was beaten by just over 10 lengths here last time out off a career high mark of 158 and is only eased a pound, so this is no easy ride for him, especially as he's 0 from 10 after more than a month off track.

...and his relevant form under today's conditions don't exactly scream "back me!", Siruh du Lac looks the one to beat, but his recent form is poor and jhe's certainly not the horse who finished 1131111 from Nov'17 to Mar'19, but if running like he could, who knows? Fusil Raffles is the only other without any reds (or blanks).

As for pace, it's a similar story to the earlier race, where the advice is to set the pace to get as close to the leader as you can. If, however, you can't get close, then hang back a but further and settle in mid-division for a late run...

And the runners' pace scores suggest that Cepage's stablemate Farinet is likely to set the fractions alongside the afore-mentioned Siruh du Lac, but with the latter finishing 7th of 8 at Class 2 LTO and failing complete his previous three runs, he'd not be one for me to hang my hat on...

Cepage looks like he's going to end up second rank (prominent) which isn't ideal and he's probably going to have to step forward a little or step back a bit.

Summary

I think Frero Banbou is good enough to make the frame in the 1.15 Cheltenham and there's not much between him and the likes of Amoola Gold or Cheddleton, but one of the three is likely to miss out, as I've got Editeur du Gite winning this on form, Instant Expert, pace and much more! So, my play here is EdG to win at 11/4. Frero is only 9/2, so I won't be backing him E/W either.

As for the 1.50 Cheltenham, I'm not keen on Cepage's chances at all, if I'm honest. Don't get me wrong, he's a good horse and more than capable of landing such a race on his day, but for me he's too high in the weights, would prefer softer ground, will probably need the run and won't be well positioned, so he's a no from me, even at 16 to 20/1. Based on the above, I like Fusil Raffles at 8/1 and I'd take a small E/W punt there, especially if I can get on with a firm paying five places. Midnight Shadow would be another possible at the same price, whilst Siruh du Lac could surprise a few people at 16's.

Racing Insights, 10th December 2021

Friday's free feature is the 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 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 with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track.

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

In addition to this, we also have five free races of the day...

  • 1.50 Cheltenham
  • 3.00 Cheltenham
  • 3.45 Bangor
  • 5.45 Southwell
  • 7.30 Dundalk

...and here's my copy of the H4C report for tomorrow...

Queen of Kalahari's form at Southwell will all have been on the old Fibresand track, so whether that translates to the new tapeta surface is doubtful and I tend not to get involved in Irish racing, so my focus today switched back to the 'free' races, where the first on the list, the 1.50 Cheltenham, interests me most. It's an 11-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ mares handicap chase. They'll go left handed and take 16 fences over 2m5f (after a 95yd rail adjustment) on good to soft ground in a bid to win £8,169 and here's the card...

Of the eleven runners, just Fontaine Collonges and Timeless Beauty won last time out, but only top weight Vienna Court and bottom weight Jubilympics are winless in their last five outings, although both have made the frame in each of their last two starts and the former does drop two classes from a Listed race, whilst Rose of Arcadia also drops a class here.

Conversely Fontaine Collonges, Precious Eleanor, Dame du Soir, Timeless Beauty, Oriental Cross and Methodtothemadness all step up one level. None of this field have won here at Cheltenham before, but all bar Vienna Court, Dame du Soir and Pretty Little Liar have won over similar trips to this one. There's shouldn't be any rustiness today, as all eleven have raced at some point over the last two to five weeks.

Vienna Court has made the frame just twice (no wins) from seven attempts over fences, but was third of eight in a Listed contest last time out, hinting at some ability. A similar run down in class puts her right in the mix here, but the trip might be an issue, as she's generally a 2m/2m1f horse. Jockey is riding well, though, which might help...

Fontaine Collonges has 3 wins (1xNHF, 1xHrd, 1xChs) and a place from six career starts so far and stayed on well to win a 2m4½f chase at Warwick last month. She's up a class and 7lbs in weight, but she's clearly a progressive type and represents a yard and jockey in good form...

Precious Eleanor has been a runner-up on both chase starts so far, firstly at Fakenham over 2m6f and then by 2.75 lengths over 2m4½f at Warwick LTO when beaten by Fontaine Collonges above. She is, however, now 4lbs better off for the re-match which could make this very interesting.

Rose of Arcadia won her only bumper, won a 2m6f heavy ground handicap hurdle and has also won a PTP, so stamina shouldn't be in doubt, but she's never tackled fences under Rules before. She was fifth of twelve at Grade 2 back in March and recently returned from 224 days off track to finish third at Class 2 at Wincanton. She's entitled to come on for the run and now down in class, could go well here if adapting to fences aided by a jockey with a decent course record...

Dame du Soir has been a bit of a mixed bag over fences finishing 213FU3 in mainly small fields and the majority of her overall 16 starts have been at shorter trips than today. She was 3rd of 6 at Fontwell last time out, her best run for some time and her sire has good numbers with his younger chasers, but I think this is a big ask for her.

Molly Carew ended last season with three wins from four over fences, but looked like she needed the run at Ffos Las last month when only sixth off eleven, beaten by some 25 lengths, tailing off over a shorter trip. This trip should be more suitable, she'll get the ground conditions well enough and is only 1lb above her last winning mark.

Pretty Little Liar was in good form on the Flat and over hurdles in Ireland (172221) before winning by more than three lengths on her chase debut at Thurles five weeks ago. She was in the process of running another good race over the same course and distance last time out but fell at the 8th when right in contention. If there are no lasting effects from that fall, she could go well again here.

Timeless Beauty's last four efforts over hurdles saw her finish 3143 prior to her winning on her chasing debut at Lingfield last month, when two lengths clear over 2m4f on similar ground to what she'll face here. That was also her debut for her new yard and her first outing for over eight months so there's every chance that there's more to come from this 6 yr old, whose jockey is in tremendous form right now...

Oriental Cross was winless in six starts stretching back to December 2019 when she won at Ffos Las in mid-October, landing a 2m5f chase by half a length. The form from that race hasn't really worked out, as the six-runner field are subsequently 1 from 9, including this mare's 6th of 7, beaten by over 50 lengths last time out. Up in class and only down 1lb, it's hard to back her here.

Methodtothemadness seems to be under the grip of the assessor right now, as she's has finished 3rd of 5 twice and 3rd of 6 in her last three starts which has seen her mark go 113-112-111. She runs off 110 here which is still 4lbs higher than her last win and I think she needs to be eased further to get back to winning ways, even if her trainer and jockey are both in good form individually and also as a team...

Jubilympics completes our line-up and hasn't won any of her eight starts since scoring at Fakenham almost 14 months ago. She's now some 6lbs lower than that win and although hardly well beaten in two recent runner-up finishes at this grade, you'd have to expect her to find a few too good again for her here.

And that's how these horses have looked recently. More long-term and under similar conditions to today, Instant Expert has their overall NH handicap form...

As I said, Molly Carew will 'get' the ground and Timeless Beauty/Oriental Cross seem the ones to beat, but those numbers include old and/or hurdles form. Over fences, they look like this...

...and from a chase place perspective...

In fairness, there's not a lot of relevant chasing form to go off, so recent overall form might be the key here, as will also be the way they approach the contest. History tells us that you really want to be up with, if not setting the pace here...

and based on our field's recent exploits...

...most seem to have the right kind of pace profile for this contest. Ideally, I want at least 3 scores of 3 or 4 here, so that gives me Precious Eleanor, Fontaine Collonges, Vienna Court, Rose of Arcadia, Dame du Soir, Methodtothemadness and Timeless Beauty to choose from.

Summary

I've only omitted four so far and of the seven remaining, Fontaine Collonges must be a pick to at least make the frame, which sort of steers me towards picking Precious Eleanor too, as the latter is now 4lbs better off than when beaten by the former by less than three lengths LTO. I don't mind taking both as a pair, though, especially as they're top of the pace charts.

To join them as my three against the field, I think I've a marginal preference for Timeless Beauty ahead of Rose of Arcadia. The latter tackles fences for the first time here and might need the experience, whilst the former has already won over the larger obstacles.

I expect this to be a decent, competitive race with plenty of early pace and it might become a little attritional late on, but my 1-2-3 here is going to be Precious Eleanor - Fontaine Collonges - Timeless Beauty.

The bookies have my picks at 7/1, 5/2 and 7/1 respectively, so I'll have a small bet on Precious Eleanor at 7's, whilst I'd also be interested in an E/w bet on Timeless beauty if she were to drift our 8/1 and beyond.

 

Racing Insights, 9th December 2021

Thursday's feature of the day is full access for all readers to the Instant Expert tab on the racecards. This is by far the most popular tab on the geegeez racecards.

The reason? It has the 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.

And every Thursday we make this open to all readers for all races, including our free ones, which will be...

  • 1.25 Warwick
  • 2.30 Warwick
  • 3.20 Newcastle
  • 4.00 Chelmsford
  • 5.30 Chelmsford

The last of that handful of free races looks the best on paper and as a Class 2 contest, the 5.30 Chelmsford should have some workable data on the Instant Expert tab. As for the race details, it's a 7-runner, 3yo+, A/W handicap over a left handed mile on standard polytrack with £10,260 heading home with one of these...

All seven have won at least one of their last five outings, whilst United Front won last time out, as did Mobashr and You're Hired who both come here seeking a hat-trick. The former of the hat-trick seekers makes a handicap debut here, as does bottom weight Seventh Kingdom, who is also making a first start for his new handler, dropping down a class as he does so.

Keyser Soze, on the other hand, moves up a class, Headingley moves up two and Mobashr goes from Class 6 to Class 2 here. All bar the afore mentioned Seventh Kingdom have won over the 1m trip, whilst Goddess of Fire and United Front both have course victories too, but over 1m2f. You're Hired and Headingley, however, are both previous course and distance winners.

Just 4lbs separates the top four in the weights, but the Geegeez SR figures have the bottom three on the card as joint best on 82, but with others on 79 and 76, this could well be an interesting tussle. Keyser Soze and Seventh Kingdom return from breaks of 154 and 195 days respectively, which might be an issue, You're Hired raced five weeks ago and the other four have all been seen in the last 19 days.

United Front has won here over 1m2f and his course figures read 221. He was denied by a neck over1m at Kempton two starts ago, but won by 3 lengths over 1m2f at Lingfield at the start of the month and could probably have won by further. A 5lb rise is probably fair and might not be enough to stop a horse with a good A/W record (4 wins, 4 places from 11) with the yard and jockey in decent touch, The jockey incidentally more than negates the weight rise with his 7lb claim...

Seventh Kingdom was last seen in the UK on 21st August 2020 when 4th of 7 , beaten by eight lengths over a mile in a Listed contest for the Gosdens at Salisbury, six weeks after finishing 3rd of 10 in 7f Group 2 race at Newmarket. This son of Frankel was then shipped out to France, where he raced twice for Edouard Monfort finishing 3rd of 7 twice over a mile at Toulouse and then at Angers in April/May of this year. Since then, he has been gelded, rested and sent back to the UK where he now makes a handicap and yard debut for Jamie Osborne. He clearly has ability, but might need the run and I suspect the market might hold the clue to his chances, but the yard does well with handicap debutants...

You're Hired comes here on a hat-trick after winning here over 1m and then 1m2f in October/November, despite giving himself a lot of work to do last time out. he's up 2lbs for the win and will probably need to get going a little sooner here, but with a record of 3 wins and 2 places from 7 over 7f/1m, he should have the speed required and although his yard doesn't come here often, they do tend to take some prize money home...

Keyser Soze has been off the track for five months since finishing 7th of 14 over 1m at Newmarket in July and although he had a decent enough record on the A/W from 2017 to early 2019, he has only made the frame once in his last ten attempts and his record here reads 11th of 15, 4th of 9 and 4th of 14. Hard to see him involved here on that data, even if his jockey is riding well right now...

Headingley can be a bit hit and miss on the Flat, but his A/W record is excellent after five starts all here at Chelmsford where he has finished 1181 over course and distance before finishing 2nd of 7 over 1m2f a week ago. he was 6lbs higher than the previous win/run that day and is dropped 3lbs here. All of which makes him look an attractive proposition back over a mile, but the caveat here is that all those races were at Class 4 and he's up two grades here, but in addition to his own excellent course record, his trainer, jockey & trainer/jockey are all in good form too...

Mobashr makes just his fourth start and his handicap debut. He raced twice at Windsor in June, finishing 5th of 7 on debut over 1m2f at Class 5, before landing a Class 4, 1m novice race by a neck. He was then rested for 21 weeks prior to an A/W debut at Lingfield 19 days ago, where he comfortably landed another 1m novice contest by the best part of four lengths. That, however, was only a Class 6 affair and whilst the runner-up has since won, he's only rated 78 making Mobashr's opening mark of 88 not exactly lenient, but he is representing a trainer/jockey combo that have had a good year...

Goddess of Fire has certainly been kept busy, running 20 times in the last 8 months and managing to make the frame in 11 of them, winning twice. She hasn't, however, won on the A/W for over 21 months and runs here from out of the handicap. All her best form has come at classes 5 and 6 and she's probably going to find this a bit too tough, but she's generally reliable to at least give it a shot.

*

That's an overview of each of the runners, but if we wanted to isolate their past form to just look at similar races to today's then that's where feature of the day, Instant Expert, comes in...

The above should be fairly explanatory, Seventh Kingdom has no relevant past form, Mobashr is lightly raced, Keyser Soze's numbers are so-so but better than Goddess of Fire, whilst United Front, You're Hired and Headingley catch the eye, not withstanding the latter's lack of experience at this level. Weight-wise, Keyser Soze's last win was off 5lbs higher, but the other four past handicap winners are all racing off marks 2 to 5lbs higher than their own last wins.

In races over a mile here at Chelmsford, the draw has tended to suit those drawn lowest with the shortest run to the bend and the chances of winning from higher draws decreases on an almost linear pattern, barring a probably anomalous figure for those drawn widest of all (perhaps the slingshot effect?)...

This would tend to suggest the likes of United Front and Headingley (who both fared well on Instant Expert) would be best suited by the draw in stalls 1 & 2 with those in 5 or 6, Goddess of Fire and Seventh Kingdom least well off. That said, the difference between stall 2's figures and those from stall 5 aren't massive, so you could win from anywhere here, the key is actually how you approach the race and the pace stats tell us that mid-division runners hold their own when it comes to winning their fair share of races, but leading is easily the best tactic here...

...with leaders' win percentage actually equating well to the place returns of the other three styles. We can then put pace and draw together to produce the following 12-sector (4 styles x 3 draws) heat map...

...to give us an idea of how the race might unfold.

Summary

Only Keyser Soze and Mobashr seem unsuited by the pace/draw analysis and I'm going to rule them out of my calculations as the winner here. Not just because of the heat map, but also because of the former's time off the track and his poor run of form on the A/W whilst the latter makes a big step forward in class and hasn't been too leniently treated by the assessor, not that he can't/won't run well here.

Goddess of Fire scores really well on that heatmap, but everything else about her says that she's not winning this, she's not a Class 2 horse in my opinion and she'll get caught and beaten. Seventh Kingdom clearly has some ability, but after such a long time away from the UK scene and the A/W, a watching brief is best advised, but do keep an eye out for money coming for him.

That's leaves us with three, the same three identified by feature of the day, Instant Expert: United Front, Headingley & You're Hired. Of that trio, I think that Headingley is the most vulnerable up in class, but won't be far adrift and with United Front having the plum draw and tending to race further advanced than You're Hired, I'm going for a United Front/You're Hired 1-2.

Headingley looks the best of the rest of those with experience but he might have to fight/beat Mobashr for third.

My 1-2 are the 4/1 and 7/2 3rd and 2nd favourites respectively with Mobashr leading the market at what looks a measly 11/8.

Racing Insights, 8th December 2021

Wednesday's free feature is the Trainer Statistics (TS) report, which is in fact, four reports in one containnig 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. Clicking on any row in the report will reveal the runners that trainer has entered on the day in question, and clicking on the runner row will open that race in a new tab.

HINT: It can help to cross refer the profit figures of the trainer with their win/place percentage. A few big priced winners can mean a trainer has a high profit number but a low strike rate. You may need to be very patient, and a bit lucky, to come out in front this way!

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

We also have a selection of full free racecards for you and they will be...

  • 1.00 Lingfield
  • 2.15 Dundalk
  • 3.00 Lingfield
  • 6.30 Kempton
  • 7.30 Kempton

It has been a while since I profiled an A/W contest at Kempton and the second of the two looks the stronger event, so today's focus is the 7.30 Kempton, a 9-runner, Class 4, 3yo+ A/W handicap over 1m3f. They'll go  right handed on standard to slow polytrack in a bid to win £5,400 and here are the protagonists...

Dream Tale was third over 1m2½f at Dundalk in September and was only beaten by half a length at Leopardstown last time out with the winner having won again since. He has left Andrew Oliver's yard and now makes a debut for Lee Carter. He has been pretty consistent of late and go have enough to make the frame here.

Protected Guest was third here over1m4f at Class 2 four weeks ago and achieved the same result dropped down to today's course and distance at Class 3 last time out. He's down another class and has been eased a pound by the assessor and that should make him really competitive here.

City Tour has won over course and distance, albeit way back in January 2020, but was well beaten here over 1m4f last time out and has only dropped a pound for his troubles. He's often there or thereabouts (6 top 3 finishes in his last 8) but doesn't usually do enough and others will appeal more here.

Charlie Arthur makes a yard debut here after leaving Richard Hughes, but comes here badly out of form. He had three runs in April/May/June and was only 4th of 5, 10th of 12 and 5th of 7 and now needs to bounce back after six months off. He has been lowered by 3lbs, but his 5lb claimer has been replaced by one claiming 3lbs so he's not much better off and is probably best left alone/watched here.

Afkaar is a bit of an unknown quantity on his UK debut after finishing 73215 in French minor events, where he was generally well supported in the market. He was never really outclassed over 1m1f to 1m3f but didn't land his sole win by very far either. This looks a much tougher contest than he's used to and the market might well be the best guide to his chances after seven months away from the track.

Oz Legend won on his second start and last run of 2020, but hasn't won any of 6 since. He has tended be involved in most of his races, going down by just a length or so in his last two since switching yards. Sadly that has pushed his mark up a couple of pounds over those runs and if you're not winning off lower marks, why would you win off higher? He raced here at Kempton on debut 13 months ago, but has no polytrack experience since.

Songkran is just 2 from 15 on the A/W and last won a race 9 months ago and has only made the frame once in eleven starts since. He was last home of six beaten by over 7 lengths at Wolverhampton in his most recent outing and having lost his usual 3lb claimer jockey, he's effectively worse off here and that makes life tough.

Sandyman is another who doesn't inspire confidence on a run of nine straight defeats. he has never made the frame in six attempts on the A/W and I don't see why that would change here.

La Hulotte completes the line-up and not only does this 4 yr old filly receive weight all round, she's also a former course and distance winner from two starts ago. She has since finished third here over 1m4f, beaten by a neck and a short head and although raised another pound for that effort, looks set to go close again here.

We can get a quick overview of relevant past form via Instant Expert...

...where La Hulotte is possibly the pick of an average looking bunch, but City Tour's numbers are decent enough too.

The draw...

...doesn't particularly favour any sector of the stalls, as there's no real pattern to where the best/worst performers are housed, but I suppose the runner in stall 1 might just have marginally the best of it. But if the draw isn't helping us fathom the puzzle (and why should it over 1m3f?), we now need to consider how the race will be run, via...

The pace...

...which shows a distinct advantage from running just off the pace, but not too far off it with mid-division runners edging it over those who race prominently, but prominent runners make the frame most often.

And if we look at pace/draw together...

...we see that high drawn prominence is the favoured approach here. We already know the draw, so to make our own heat map, we need the pace scores for our field, which look like this...

...where some horses run to a consistent pattern, but some appear to have changed tack recently. Obviously this is open to interpretation, but here's how I see this race in terms of pace/draw...

Now if (and it's a big if) I've got this right, then I see Afkaar, Oz Legend and Charlie Arthur attempting to set the pace from the central stalls and I fear this is the wrong tactic and they 'll taker each other on, do too much too soon and fade from contention. City Tour looks like he might be left with too much ground to make up as the only real hold up horse, so I'd want to be backing him either, which now leaves me with five, Dream Tale, La Hulotte, Protected Guest, Sandyman & Songkran to choose from

Summary

At this juncture, I move away from the toolkit for a while and try to make a personal judgement and I think the three I like best are Dream Tale, Protected Guest and La Hulotte. They seem the most reliable/consistent of the nine runners and all three show up pretty well on the pace/draw heatmap and if pushed I probably want them in the order I've put them, although I don't think there's much between the three of them.

The bookies wouldn't agree, of course and they have my 1-2-3 at 4-2-3 in the market with my marginal preference Dream Tale a 6/1 shot, which is probably fair, so I'll take a small wager there. The other two are both around the 9/2 mark, which is of no interest to me as E/W possibles, but I hope they make the frame for our exacta/trifecta followers.

 

Racing Insights, 7th December 2021

Tuesday's free feature is The Shortlist, a simple (and usually brief) report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day. It covers win or place stats, and can be viewed for both today’s and tomorrow’s racing and like the Instant Expert feature, it is colour coded for easy viewing....

GREEN is good (33% or better win rate) – worth 3 points
AMBER is quite good (16-32% win rate) – worth 1 point
RED is not so good (0-15% win rate) – worth -1 points
GREY means there is no available data for that factor - worth 0 points

The final column, ‘Score’, is the sum of the previous five ‘colour’ columns, with 15 being an all green profile, and 9 being the lowest score appearing on this report.

HINT: The best bets are not necessarily the highest scores. Rather, they are often the biggest difference between a Shortlist horse and the ‘best of the rest’ in that race.

N.B. The Shortlist selections are unlikely to make a profit, at SP at least, to blind backing. Our recommendation is – and has always been – that The Shortlist should be a starting point rather than an end in itself. That said, it continues to highlight horses whose chance is better than recent form - and its odds - imply.

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

As is often the case, The Shortlist is fairly compact for Tuesday...

...but we do supplement this offering with the following free 'races of the day'...

  • 12.30 Uttoxeter
  • 2.10 Tramore
  • 3.30 Uttoxeter
  • 4.30 Southwell

Now, I'm not normally a fan of Conditional Jockey races, but it makes sense for me to take a look at the 12.30 Uttoxeter, as it features a runner from The Shortlist. The race itself is a Class 4, 3yo+ handicap hurdle over 2m7½f on good to soft ground. They'll go left handed taking 12 flights of hurdles in a bid to land the £3,159 first prize and all the jockeys are conditionals, but at varying stages of their career with claims ranging from 0 to 10lbs as seen here...

The Shortlist horse, Mr Washington clearly brings the best set of results to the table, but Quick Draw also won last time out and Angel of Harlem, Catchmeifyoucan, Gibberwell and Classic Escape all have wins in their not too distant past. We've just two class movers today with Be My Sea stepping up a level and Angel of Harlem coming the opposite direction. The latter is one of three course winners (Quick Draw & Catchmeifyoucan the others) and one of five (Catchmeifyoucan, Mr Washington, Classic Escape & Be My Sea) to have won at similar trips. He hasn't actually won over course and distance, mind, but Catchmeifyoucan has.

In Our Dreams hasn't raced for over 6 months and Gibberwell for nine months, but the rest have been out in the last seven weeks with four (Quick Draw, Catchmeifyoucan, Mr Washington & Classic Escape) having raced less than three weeks ago. Angel of Harlem & In Our Dreams come from in form yards (14 30), whilst the trainers of Quick Draw, Angel of Harlem, In Our Dreams and Classic Escape all appear to have good records here at Uttoxeter (C1 C5), whilst similarly the riders of Gibberwell and Be My Sea have done well lately (14 30), although the latter's yard are a bit of shy of winners right now (14 30).

Based on a simple positive v negative mentions tally, the two catching the eye from this section would be Angel of Harlem and Quick Draw

We know from The Shortlist that Mr Washington will show up well on Instant Expert, but what of his seven rivals?

Yes, aside from his 0/1 record at this venue (5th of 7 almost 2 yrs ago!), Mr Washington certainly leads the way, but good to some Good to Soft winners and plenty of past Class 4 success. We'd already highlighted the previous course/distance winners and aside from Classic Escape's 19lb difference, most are running off marks fairly close to their last winning rating.

Based on a simple overview of the above graphic, the two catching the eye from this section would be Mr Washington and Be My Sea. I'd also add that Mr Washington is the only previous soft ground winner, just in case the weather takes a wintry turn for the worst!

We should now take a look at how this field has raced over their last four outings to give ourselves an idea of how the race might unfold even before it happens and we do this via the pace tab of the racecard...

On average pace scores, it looks like In Our Dreams and Be My Sea are the ones expected to set the pace, but Quick Draw has 3 scores of three and Classic Escape led last time out. At the other end, I expect Angel of Harlem, Catchmeifyoucan and Mr Washington to be waited with for a late run. Thankfully we, also have the ability to analyse similar past races to see where the winners/placers have come from and that looks like this...

...which basically says that you either set the pace or you wait, but hold up horses have the better place strike rate.

From= here, I'll nominate two from the front end (In Our Dreams, Be My Sea) and two from the back end (Mr Washington, Angel of Harlem) and then to those four names, I'll go back to stage 1 (the racecard), where I suggested Angel of Harlem and Quick Draw and then to Instant Expert, where the standouts were Mr Washington and Be My Sea. I then quickly get to an alphabetical shortlist of Angel of Harlem, Be My Sea, In Our Dreams, Mr Washington and Quick Draw.

Angel of Harlem is a really consistent 8yr old mare, with 14 top 4 finishes in her last 15 races, some were admittedly small fields, but she has gone on to win five of them. She re-appeared at Wetherby at the end of October for her first run after just a week shy of a two-year absence to be outpaced over an inadequately short 2m4f. The step back up in trip, the step down in class and the benefit of having had the run should make her more competitive here, but I'm concerned about the inexperience of her rider (3rd outing here after a bumper and a hurdles race). That said, her yard is in form and she's running off a mark lower than her last two wins. The market will be a good indicator here, as all her wins have come from a top 2 position in the odds.

Be My Sea was second of 13 over 2m on the Flat at Newbury last time out, where he stayed on well on heavy ground, suggesting he'll have ground speed between the hurdles and the stamina to stay the trip. He has won a class 4 hurdle over three miles previously off a mark 3lbs higher than here and if ready to tackle obstacles again after nine months on the Flat/AW, he could be very well weighted here.

In Our Dreams will probably attempt to set the pace alongside the above runner and this unexposed 5yr old could well take another step forward after finishing as runner-up in each of his two previous hurdles races. That anticipation is slightly tempered, however, by the fact that his usual rider (on board for all four career starts) now rides Be My Sea (above) and is replaced by a less experienced 10lb claimer, but at least that does lessen the impact of a not particularly generous opening mark of 118.

Mr Washington is our featured horse from The Shortlist and his suitability for the task has been well documented. He won at Chepstow after a break of 249 days in November 2020 and then won his next three at increasingly long trips, before a run in February this year was possibly one visit to the well too many and he was only 4th of 14, beaten by 31 lengths. That led to another long (277 days) rest before another Chepstow reappearance win 18 days ago and despite a 4lb rise for winning by a neck, you'd have to expect him to be there or thereabouts once more.

Quick Draw has finished first twice and third twice in his last five outings and was a winner here at Uttoxeter by 2.5 lengths over 2m4f just sixteen days ago. Now he's only up three pounds for that win and has a 5lb claimer booked to ride, so he's technically better off, but he was well beaten on his only previous effort at anything like today's trip with all his best work coming at 2m4f. His jockey is riding him for the first time, but he's 2 from 6 for the yard.

Summary

All five that I've documented above have pros and cons to backing them, that's why they're Class 4 runners, but the one best suited to the task has to be The Shortlist horse, Mr Washington, even if he will need a career best to win here after being raised 4lbs for winning by a neck. The gamble with Be My Sea is whether he has been schooled enough over hurdles since racing at Newbury on the Flat recently. Class/trip/weight shouldn't be his downfall, but the trip might be the undoing of Quick Draw.

These are the three that I think I want to be with, so let's see what the bookies think...

Interestingly, they've got Angel of Harlem as the 3/1 favourite and all her best form comes at the top of the market, but I'm concerned about the jockey booking. Quick Draw and Mr Washington come next at 4/1 and 5/1 respectively with Be My Sea a 15/2 fifth rank with bet365.

I had both Angel of Harlem and Be My Sea down as being much longer priced (8/1 & 12/1, perhaps), so I wouldn't want to back them at their current odds. Quick Draw and Mr Washington at 4/1 and 5/1, however are both a bit longer than the 7/2 I was expecting, so I'm going for what I perceive as a bit of value with a small bet on Mr Washington at 5/1.

Racing Insights, 6th December 2021

Monday's free offerings are access to the PACE tab on the cards for ALL races and the following trio of full free racecards...

Hmmm, a novice hurdle, a juvenile hurdle and a 7f novice stakes! I'll be honest with you, they're not setting my heart racing here, so with the feature of the day in mind, let's give you a bonus race and take a look at the 7.00 Wolverhampton, a Class 5, 5f dash across the tapeta where 11 runners will swing left handed in a bid to win £3,240...

FORM : Cherish, La Roca del Fuego and Glamorous Force have the best recent form, but Liamba is running well, as are Good Earth and Trusty Rusty

CLASS : Mutabahhy is down a class here, but Glamorous Force, We're Reunited and You're Cool are all stepping up a grade

COURSE/DISTANCE : All bar Ghaaliya and Highest Ambition have won over 5f previously with Mutabaahy, Glamorous Force, We're Reunited and You're Cool, Trusty Rusty doing it here at Wolverhampton.

LAST RUN : All bar Liamba (300 days off!) have rtaced in the last 8 weeks with Highest Ambition & You're Cool having raced in the last fortnight.

We've no handicap debutants or second timers, nor do we have any yard debutants on display. we no have five jockeys riding with a claim and at 9yrs of age, You're Cool is the only non-3 to 6 yr old.

Relevant form via Instant Expert...

On the purely simplistic basis that green is good and red isn't, our focus here tells us that Mutabaahy looks best suited by the expected conditions and that with full lines of red that Cherish, Good Earth & Highest Ambition have work to do. Mutabaahy is also some 6lbs lower than his last win, but La Roca is 7lbs higher. i won't discuss all the weight changes, as I'm loathe to patronise.

Next up we should consider the draw...

The blue line shows (stalls 9 and 10 aside) an almost lineal, gradual decrease in results the further away from the rail horses are drawn over this left handed five furlongs and that makes sense, as those drawn lowest have shorter distance to travel, but the wider runners can almost "slingshot" the bend ie approach it quicker from wider and cut across the apex almost F1-style, as this simplistic image suggests...

...and that gradual decrease in results and the rise from wide is illustrated by the stall-by-stall results...

That said, I believe that over such a short trip, race tactics will play as much if not more of a role in the final outcome, because even if you get that 9/10 draw and can cut the corner, if you're slow away you'll be running into traffic when you're trying to accelerate from the bend, so that's where feature of the day, the Pace tab comes to the fore and the pace stats tell us that whilst prominent runners fare 21% better than par (IV 1.21), the best policy is to lead...

Leaders account for just 13.6% of the runners, as you'd expect, but they actually account for 19.5% of the placers and an impressive 28.1% of the winners and just as the draw stats gradually decreased, so do the results from running styles the further down the field you run.

So, does that mean that a low drawn (or stall 9/10) runner who likes to lead should go well? Yes, it certainly does, as shown in our unique pace/draw heat map...

We know the draw...

We also know how they've raced in their last four runs...

(4=led, 3= prom, 2= mid-div, 1=hold-up)

And we can now combine the two and place them on the pace/draw heat map and arrange them in draw order to give ourselves a bird's eye view of how they might break from the stalls...

...where La Roca del Fuego looms like he'll be the one trying to make all.

Summary

From the card analysis, I have reservations about Ghaaliya, Highest Ambition & You're Cool (all for form reasons) plus Liamba (300 day absence).
From Instant Expert, I placed a red mark against Good Earth & Highest Ambition
On pace/draw, I have concerns about Highest Ambition, Good Earth, Mutabaahy, Glamourous Force, Cherish and You're Cool

I'm happy to still consider horses falling into one of those areas of concern above, but I do have a 2 and out policy, so I'm now disregarding  Highest Ambition, Good Earth and You're Cool, leaving me with eight to ponder in draw order.

Liamba is 5 from 33 within a month of her last run, but 0 from 7 after a longer break. She's better over 6f than 5f and all her A/W wins have come at Southwell. She's 2 from 2 in December, but I think she'll need the run and would be one to consider next time out.

We're Reunited just doesn't win often enough and although he tends to be there or thereabouts on the Flat, he has only made the frame once in 8 A/W runs, although that was a Class 6 course and distance win here just over a year ago. He won by a neck that day and is now 3lbs higher, so whilst he could get close, he wouldn't be my choice as a winner.

Trusty Rusty is an interesting filly who has made the frame in 6 of her 11 A/W starts, finishing 1123 in her last four, the first three of which were here at Wolverhampton. After two Class 6 C&D wins, she stepped up Class 5 and was a runner-up. She was beaten by a good 4 lengths that day, so a 1lb drop doesn't make her a shoo-in here, but it should help her get closer.

Mutabaahy looks quite inconvenienced on pace/draw stats, but he's 6 from 14 over C&D so he has obviously managed to win despite not front-running. He was, admittedly beaten by over four lengths here last time out, but now drops in class (1), trip (1f) and weight (2lbs) and now back over his favoured trip, could well be involved.

Glamorous Force comes here on a hat-trick so he's clearly in good heart. Was a course and distance winner from off the pace last time out, so it can be done, as shown by Mutabaahy on several occasions. He's only up 3lbs for his win and his yard have been in good form (3 wins, 4 places from 10) of late and he's definite one to consider.

Cherish has been in scintillating form over the last seven months with 6 wins and a place from 8 starts, but all on turf. That said, she has shown versatility by winning on good to soft, good, good to firm and firm ground as well as making the frame on soft! She won a 15-runner handicap at Bath almost eight weeks ago and is up another 6lbs for that win. She hasn't raced on the A/W since beaten by a neck here over 6f back in March and she's now rated 32lbs higher than that run. She clearly has ability, but I'd have preferred her to have had a more recent spin on the A/W.

La Roca del Fuego (the rock of fire) is the likely pacemaker here and has won four of his last seven including by 2.5 lengths at Chelmsford two starts ago off a mark of 63. That sent his OR to today's career-high of 70 and he was unable to run to that level at Kempton last time out, coming home last of nine, beaten by almost nine lengths weakening badly late on. he gets on great with his jockey, but all his form is at Chelmsford and I think 5f is a bit sharp for him.

Ghaaliya is a lightly raced daughter of Frankel who won over 6f on debut at Kempton in June 2020, but has only made the frame once in six races since. Her handicap mark has slid from 75 to 69 in four races and she now makes a debut at 5f. She has raced here once before, finishing 5th of 10 two starts ago and I'd be very surprised to see her in the shake-up here.

To be perfectly frank, this is one of those races where I don't really have a clear idea of which horse(s) to back as none are jumping out at me, so I'll approach it from the other side and rule some out that I wouldn't want to back. Ghaaliya doesn't look good enough to be here, La Roca's mark is too high for me and I think he's better over 6f, Liamba is likely to need the run after a ten month break plus she's better at Southwell and over 6f. Trusty Rusty is interesting but a mark of 58 does her no favours after winning off 52, but then losing off 57 and 59 (twice). She'd need to come down in weight for me.

Which leaves me with four, of which Glamorous Force and C&D specialist Mutabaahy make most sense to me. The market have these at 4/1 and 8/1 and of the two at those prices, I'd rather have an E/W bet on the latter.  Cherish and We're Reunited are the other two I'm still considering and again at odds of 5/1 and 9/1 respectively, I think I'd rather back the latter E/W.

 

Racing Insights, 4th December 2021

Saturday's free feature is the rather excellent Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) Report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that 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. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

Alongside this free report, we also offer the following half dozen 'free' races of the day...

  • 11.30 Navan
  • 12.27 Wetherby
  • 1.22 Chepstow
  • 2.25 Sandown
  • 2.53 Navan
  • 3.22 Wetherby

I haven't got many qualifiers of note on my TJC report for Saturday, so I'm heading to Wales for the 1.22 Chepstow,  an 11-runner, Class 2, 4yo+ handicap chase over 2m7½f on good to soft ground. It's a Welsh Grand National trial worth just over £13k to the winner who'll have go left handed and tackle 18 fences. Here's how they line up..

Truckers Lodge won a 3m chase here just over two years ago and was very impressive when landing the 2020 Midlands National by 18 lengths. He stays all day long, was only 7.5 lengths off the winner of this year's Midlands National, despite trying to defend His crown some 12lbs higher. Now eased three pounds, could go well again if ready first up at a track where his form reads 1124127.

One For Rosie was a decent bumpers/hurdles runner (3 wins & 2 places from 7) before winning his first two efforts over fences earlier this year. He didn't live up to those standards when pulled up in a Listed contest at Ascot at the end of October, but he was markedly up in class after a layoff of 223 days. This is easier (on paper) now he's down in class, he's got the benefit of having had a run and he's 1lb lighter than his last win thanks to his jockey claiming 3lbs.

Ami Debois is better than his formline might suggest even if he hasn't won a race for almost four years. He has, however, been a runner-up in three of his last five outings and was unlucky to get brought down in this year's Grand National and now makes a yard debut for a trainer with a decent record at this venue. Not an obvious winner, but could well be good enough for a place now dropped in class and will race up with the pace.

Laskalin has won four times over fences in France, but now makes just a second UK start and a handicap debut here after not really shining in a Listed race at Wetherby five weeks ago when he could only manage 6th of 10, some 21 lengths off the winner. His French form says he has ability, but an opening handicap mark of 138 looks tough, even if the yard are in good form and do well in chases here at Chepstow.

Springtown Lake was a very creditable 5th in the Grand Sefton at Aintree this time last year, but hasn't kicked on from there, going down by 32 lengths on Boxing Day and then by 22 lengths two months later. Off track now for just over 40 weeks, he's likely to need a run or two, but if up for it fresh, he's in the hands of an in-form rider...

Run To Milan, after just 13 starts, is pretty lightly raced for a 9yr old and has made the frame in three of his last four over fences even if that run stretches back to New Year's Day 2019! He reappeared at Exeter in early November after an 8 month break, but still ran 3rd of 11, beaten by less than three lengths and would be entitled to improve for that run, even if he has been raised another 5lbs. His jockey has done well for this yard over the last year and will be hopeful of placing once more...

St Barts is even less exposed after a total of just seven races, including finishes of 215 over fences. He's also a winning pointer and much will depend on how he runs first up after not being seen since march. That said, his trainer has historically done pretty well in chases at this track, so he'd be in with a shout.

Eclair Surf was definitely going the right way over fences, finishing 2141 in his first four starts, but he then finished last but one of nine at Uttoxeter in March, beaten by 40 lengths before taking a 235-day break. He returned to action at Bangor just 24 days ago, but was a faller and he's probably best left watched here now with his yard scratching about for winners.

Colorado Doc is another without too many miles on the clock, having raced just twelve times, making the frame in six of them, winning three times. He ran really well to finish second of nine over an inadequate 2m4f at Newbury last week and I'd expect him to improve back up in trip.

Iwilldoit won nicely on his chase debut at Kelso just after Christmas 2019, but then didn't run again for 343 days before re-surfacing at the same venue in a 54 length defeat when not seeing 4m out. He then dropped in trip for three hurdles contests in the spring of this year, but I think results of 273 flatter him (he was beaten by 26 lengths LTO). Now up in class, back over fences and returning from 226 days in the shed, others make far more appeal to me, even if his yard have a good record from a small number of chasers...

Supreme Escape has a hit and miss record over fences, winning two of six by not very much, pulled up in two of the six and beaten by 31 lengths and 30 lengths in the other two. Both wins came at Class 4, so he's two grades higher here and his current mark of 124, whilst not high, is still 8lbs higher than when he won here over 3m7f in March. Add in a 42 length defeat over hurdles at Aintree a month ago and you've one to swerve here, I think, despite the following positives...

At this point, the ones I'm probably leaning towards (alphabetically) are Colorado Doc, One For Rosie, Run To Milan, St Barts and Truckers Lodge, but it looks a decent/competitive affair.

I've written above about how they've ran in recent races, but for overall form, we turn to our trusty colour-coded Instant Expert for a quick overview...

...where truckers Lodge is not only the standout of my five possibles from section 1, but he's the standout in the whole field for me here. He only falls down on class, but they all do. Springtown Lake is the only previous Class 2 winner, but Truckers Lodge has won a Listed race and is the only former Class 1 winner here. None of the field run off a lower mark than their last win and Supreme Escape's greens need the caveat that they're Class 4-based. Good to see so many winners in and around today's trip, that will hopefully mean that we have plenty of finishers, assuming they've not done too much too soon or they've not left themselves too much work to do. The pace stats will help with that...

...where the basic premise is that the further forward you race the better your chances of making the frame (61.1% of leaders get placed!) and ultimately going on to win. Leaders have won 22.2% of their races, which makes them three times more likely than the rest of the field.

So, who will set the pace?

Well, the recent pace scores are very interesting with most of the field liking to get on with things...

Seven of the eleven have an average pace score of 3.00 or higher, including my five from section 1.. If they all go at it from the start, then it could really test the stamina of the leading bunch, which might be right up Truckers Lodge's street, as he has good heavy ground form and has won at 4m2f. In fact he has 4 wins and 2 places from 10 at 3 miles and beyond, whilst both Run To Milan and St Barts have three places from four at 3m+, winning once and twice respectively.

Summary

After I'd had a quick look at the card and the report angles and done a small write-up of each horse, I thought I'd want to be looking at Colorado Doc, One For Rosie, Run To Milan, St Barts and Truckers Lodge. Nothing has really changed my mind and none of the other half dozen have forced their way into my reckoning.

Of my five, I think the final two are the ones I like best. St Barts is probably a marginally better prospect than Truckers Lodge, but at 4/1 or 9/2 on his first non-Novice chase, he doesn't offer much value, especially after a break of 259 days. Truckers Lodge, however, is far more experienced, has stamina to burn and could well be massively overpriced at the 14/1 offered by Hills.

So, the bet for me, is Truckers Lodge at 14/1 E/W even if he might lose to St Barts.

Of the other three, I've very little between them if I'm honest. They'll all be up with the pace, Run To Milan is proven beyond 3m, Colorado Doc will like the conditions and gets weight from most of the field, whilst One For Rosie already has five wins and two places from ten runs, so there's consistency there. Any of the three could make/miss the frame, but at respective odds of 6/1, 11/2 and 17/2, I'd have to side with the latter if I wanted another E/W bet.

Racing Insights, 3rd December 2021

Friday's fabulous free feature (enough f's yet?) is the 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 sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at your 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. Plus, as with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track.

In addition to the H4C report, we also have our usual selection of 'free' races, which will be...

  • 12.00 Sedgefield
  • 2.05 Exeter
  • 2.40 Exeter
  • 5.45 Newcastle

My H4C report has a very balanced look to it for Friday...

...but I'm going to focus on the third of the NH races from the 'free' list, a competitive-looking 8-runner (good for E/W bettors), Class 3, 4yo+ handicap chase. They'll go right handed and tackle fifteen fences over 2m3½f on good to soft in a bid to land the £8,605 offered to the winner of the 2.40 Exeter, which looks like this...

All bar The Kings Writ, Cut The Mustard and Tile tapper have a win in their 'recent' form line (I use quotes because it might have actually been some time ago for some of these). All eight have raced in handicaps before, but Tile Tapper and Longshanks are only having their second attempt with the former dropping two classes to be here. Three others (Cut The Mustard, The Kings Writ  and L'homme Presse) all drop down one level with the latter pair now returning from breaks of over seven months, as does L'air du Vent : the other five have all raced in the last four to eight weeks.

Cut The Mustard has previously won over this trip, whilst L'air du Vent and Tile Tapper have already been in the Exeter winners' enclosure, as has The King's Writ, our only course and distance winner. We've plenty of big name jockeys and trainers on show here for what looks a really competitive affair, so let's take a closer look at the runners' past records via Instant Expert...

If I'm honest, overall NH form isn't telling us much and that probably means that if we look just at chase form, we're going to learn even less, but we should look anyway...

We may well have the odd bit of green on the above graphics, but even The King's Writ (who looks best off) has questions about him, now that he's 13lbs higher than his last winning mark.

So, what do we know, Chris?

Well, we know that via the pace stats that prominent horses win around 26% more races than you'd expect them to and this is at the detriment to those racing further down the field, but to stand the best chance of winning here, it has paid to lead...

Mid division's stats show they do well at making the frame without converting to wins, so perhaps, they give themselves too much to do from too far off the pace. They would appear to come late and maybe overhaul the prominent chasers, but leaders win more often and place more often, so ideally we'd back one that likes to set the tempo.

But who might lead, Chris?

Well, thanks the Geegeez logging how every horse runs, we can show how they've tackled their last four races...

...where it looks like Antunes and The Kings Writ are likely pacemakers, but over their last two runs, you could go all the way down to Gunsight Ridge. Cut The Mustard also has two prominent runs, as does Tile Tapper and the only one who hasn't attempted to get involved early is Longshanks, so the pace angle isn't actually going to help us too much.

Summary

I do these race previews 'on the fly', as it were. There's no prep, no research or anything, I take the list of races and pick one based on class, runners, competitiveness etc and try to analyse using the toolkit. And sometimes there's no bet to be had and we move to the next race. I try to do this piece, as though I was you quickly going through the cards.

At this point, I'd say it was a No Bet race and move on, but in the interests of completing a race overview, I'll now refer to the unquantifiable 'gut instinct', after I've had a quick look at the runners themselves.

Antunes was a winner over 2m½f back in February, but was beaten by over 40 lengths next time out and then by 56 lengths on his return last month. He's up markedly in trip and probably won't have the stamina to see this out. That said, he's related to many winners and his yard do well here. Mind you, I'd have preferred a Skelton in the saddle...

The King's Writ has made the frame in 9 of 16 over fences and was a decent third of nine off 2lbs higher at a higher grade than today when last seen and he'd have every chance of at least repeating that here if ready first up, especially with his record here at this track...

Cut The Mustard won a couple of chases in Ireland for Willie Mullins at the turn of 2019/20 and although not hitting those heights for Paul Nicholls since, was still a runner-up in back to back races at the turn of 2020/21. She looked like needing a run after a wind op last time out and that might have been just what she needed. She'll get a good ride from an in-form jockey, too...

L'Air Du Vent is very lightly raced but did win a 3m chase here just under a year ago on soft ground, but in three races since was pulled up, then a faller and then beaten by some 61 lengths. Not seen since 24th March, he'd be excused for needing a run/change of fortune. Jockey rides well here, though, especially for this yard.

L'Homme Presse represents a yard, rider and trainer/jockey combo very much in form, but whether that'll be enough on chase debut is unknown. The trip shouldn't be an issue nor should the underfoot conditions, but tackling fences for the first time after a break leaves me a little wary, even if...

Gunsight Ridge hails from a yard very much in form and unlike the runner above, has already had a recent crack at fences, when a very respectable third at Aintree 27 days ago, staying on well over 2m. The trip is further, of course, but he has made the frame at 2m5f, so it shouldn't be an issue. That chase debut came after 227 days off track and he'd be entitled to be even better here.

Tile Tapper won a bumper here on New Year's Day 2020, but was beaten by 25 lengths on his last run of spring '21, before going down by 50 lengths on his reappearance eight weeks ago. He was last of seven that day and that doesn't fill me with confidence ahead of a chasing debut.

Longshanks completes the line-up and makes just a sixth start. he won his final hurdles contest back in February and was a decent third of seven on chase debut at Stratford in late October after 250 days off track. He'd stepped up to 2m4f that day, so the trip should hold no fears, nor should the fences after the way he grew into the race LTO. Could do better here off bottom weight.

*

So, if I was just using the usual toolkit, I'd not be making any suggestions other than move on and that's perfectly fine. It's always OK not to have a bet, but based on a bit of digging and using the stats from the excellent report suite, the ones I like best here would be Cut The Mustard, Gunsight Ridge, L'Homme Presse and Longshanks in alphabetical order. Cut the Mustard is worth a small E/W tickle at a 12/1, whilst the others are priced at 3/1, 4/1 and 9/2 at the head of the market. I've no real fancy from the three, so it's just the small hopeful E/W play for me.

 

Racing Insights, 2nd December 2021

The Instant Expert tab on the race cards has the unique ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view covering 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.

We make this feature freely available to ALL readers EVERY Thursday for ALL races, including, naturally, our selection of 'free' races as follows...

  • 12.30 Clonmel
  • 2.45 Wincanton
  • 3.15 Wincanton
  • 6.30 Chelmsford

And it's the last of that quartet that interests me the most, as I do like a Chelmsford sprint. The 6.30 Chelmsford fits that bill as a 5f, Class 4, 3yo+ handicap worth £4,347 to the winner. We've 8 runners, which is good for E/W punters and here's the field...

My starting point is a quick run-through the details we already know from the card...

Form : Only Buy Me Back, Lion Ring and Aleef are winless in their last six outings, but the form horse is clearly Sir Rodneyredblood with three wins from four, for which he's no doubt penalised. He's also the only LTO winner

Class : We have class movers (all upwards), as Expert Opinion, Lion Ring and Storm Melody move up one level with Aleef moving from Class 6 to Class 4.

Course winners : Half of the field (Sir Rodneyredblood, Expert Opinion, Strom melody & Aleef) have won here previously.

Distance winners : Only Lion Ring has yet to win at 5f

The first three named of the four track winners are also course and distance winners

Last seen : All have raced inside 50 days with only Expert Opinion, Storm Melody and Aleef rested for more than 12 days.

At this point, I've already seen enough to suggest that Lion Ring won't be my pick here with a 0 from 11 record, off an unchanged mark from finishing 6th of 14 and stepping up in class. He's not for me, but I still take seven forward to feature of the day Instant Expert...

...where the form horse Sir Rodneyredblood looks head and shoulders above the rest even if he is up 5lbs for his win LTO and then you'd probably say Copinet was next in line. The Lion Ring's poor form is starkly highlighted here. Of the two best positioned on Instant Expert, they're drawn in stalls 3 and 5 of this left handed track and past races here over this trip tell us that...

...there's not really a significant bias. Yes, stall 4 has the fewest wins and stall 5 has the fewest places, but with good numbers either side of them, I think their stats are anomalous and I wouldn't necessarily suggest that Charming Kid won't win because of the draw and that Copinet will fail to make the frame for the same reasons. The fact is that the5f trip at Chelmsford is all about tactics and in those races above, the pace stats tell us that...

...the further forward you race, the greater your chances of making the frame and ultimately winning the contest. And we can now see how this field have raced in each of their last four outings...

...where once again Sir Rodneyredblood catches the eye. Closer inspection of those four runs tell us that the last two were at this class, course and distance, so you know the tactics are likely to spot on again.

Summary

It's hard to ignore the obvious claims of Sir Rodneyredblood as he attempts to complete a class, course and distance hat-trick inside 8 weeks. He's up 5lbs for a 1.5 length success last time out, which technically makes this tough, but he was comfortable in that win and could easily have been further clear at the finish. He's 211 over C&D, his best form is under today's jockey (6 from 22) and he has won each of his last three at this trip. His only defeat in his last four starts was over 5½f on fast ground at Brighton.

I'm not getting rich if he wins at 5/2, but he'd be the one I'd want to be with based on what we've seen. As for the others, I've already ruled out Lion Ring, leaving me with six others to fill two places.

Copinet is really interesting, having not been beaten by far on her yard debut last time out 12 days ago, despite not having raced for 100 days. Her jockey rides this track really well and he has a good record when riding for this yard. The filly has been eased a pound and that should get her closer to the action. Charming Kid was a neck ahead of her that day and he, too, has been lowered by a pound. The pair should therefore be closely matched, but Copinet should come on for having had the run, whilst Charming Kid now runs for the 6th time in 16 weeks, so probably won't have much more to find.

Buy Me Back, on the other hand, was half a length and ahead clear of the Kid in that same race and is also off a mark 1lb lower than that day. He got going a little too late for my liking that day, but was finishing strongly when the line came too soon for him, His yard are in decent nick right now and he'd have to be in with a chance of making the frame if running more prominently as he normally does, which is something I expect to see from Storm Melody who likes to set the pace and has done well off the front until finding a rising handicap mark of 67 and then 69 beyond him on his last two runs, fading badly late on both times and off 68 here, you'd have to say it was too high.

And if Storm Melody's mark of 68 is too high, then you'd have to say that Expert Opinion would be vulnerable off 72 and only having won 1 of 16 on the A/W to date and that was here over over course and distance off some 13lbs lower. He does tend to be there or thereabouts but a rising mark on a losing run is never a good combo and it's something I tend to avoid in the same way I've avoided Aleef of late! He did, admittedly, win off today's mark in early June but that came off the back of 11 straight defeats and he has run poorly of late, including a 10 length defeat last time out off just 1lb higher and had made the frame just four times in his last sixteen outings.

Based on the above, it has to be Buy Me Back and Copinet that I take (in that order) to join Sir Rodneyredblood in my 1-2-3. At 6/1 and 5/2 respectively, neither are long enough for an E/W bet, but if the former does drift, I'll be very interested.

 

Racing Insights, 1st December 2021

The Trainer Statistics report 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. Clicking on any row in the report will reveal the runners that trainer has entered on the day in question, and clicking on the runner row will open that race in a new tab.

HINT: It can help to cross refer the profit figures of the trainer with their win/place percentage. A few big priced winners can mean a trainer has a high profit number but a low strike rate. You may need to be very patient, and a bit lucky, to come out in front this way!

This fantastic report is FREE to ALL readers EVERY Wednesday and is complemented this week with the following free races of the day...

  • 1.40 Dundalk
  • 2.50 Haydock
  • 3.40 Dundalk
  • 4.30 Kempton

Most of you are probably already aware that the settings I use for the Trainer Statistics report are quite stringent, meaning I only get a small umber of potential bets to consider each day and Wednesday is no exception. In fact the only "qualifiers" I've got are from the 14-day form figures...

...which show that David O'Meara was in fine form prior to sending 8 runners to Newcastle for Tuesday's afternoon/evening fixture. Those eight could easily affect his 14-day record, of course and whilst he has a runner, Beauzon, in one of our 'free' races, it's a Class 5, A/W nursery and I'm not a fan of such races. Instead I'm staying closer to home (my home, anyway!) for the 2.50 Haydock, which is an interesting-looking, 12-runner, Class 2, 10yo+ Veterans Handicap Chase over a testing 3m1½f on soft ground. It's worth winning at just over £11,700 and here's the card...

So we've a dozen 10 to 12 yr old geldings including several familiar names with the top weight Lake View Lad rated some 26lbs better than Tinkers Hill Tommy who will carry just 10 stones here. Quirkily, our Geegeez SR figures has those two at the top much closer together and only marginally clear of Smooth Stepper.

Form : All bar five (Aso, Ami Desbois, Dashing Perk, Blaklion and Up Helly AA King) have a win in their recent formline.

Class : Lake View Lad, Aso, Ami Desbois, Smooth Stepper and Psychedelic Rock all drop down down from Class 1 action LTO where the latter ran in a Listed race and the other four competed at Gr 3. Conversely Prime Venture, Up Helly AA King and Tinkers Hill Tommy all step up from Class 3.

Course winners : Lake View Lad, Aso, Ami Debois, Smooth Stepper, Blaklion & Late Romantic

Distance winners : Lake View Lad, Smooth Stepper, Prime Venture, Blaklion, Sharp Response, Late Romantic & Tinkers Hill Tommy

Late Romantic is the only course and distance winner, courtesy of landing this contest off 4lbs higher on heavy ground last year.

Last seen : Half of the field (Aso, Prime Venture, Blaklion, Late Romantic, Up Helly AA King and Tinkers Hill Tommy) have all raced in the last 18 to 34 days. Psychedelic Rock has had a 5 month break, whilst four (Lake View Lad, Ami Desbois, Smooth Stepper, Dashing Perk) are making their seasonal bow after 221 to 237 days rest, but Sharp Response hasn't been seen for almost two years!

Between the dozen of them, they've clocked up some miles, competing in a total of 324 races, making the frame 151 times (46.6%) and going on to win 67 (20.7%) of them. Lake View Lad has the best strike rate of the group (9/29 = 31%) with Dashing perk the least prolific at 11.8% (2 from 17), but under Wednesday's expected conditions, they are...

Tinkers Hill Tommy has never been to Haydock before, but otherwise, he's the standout off a small number of runs shown on Instant Expert, but he's 7lbs higher than his last win. Lake View Lad shows up well despite being 0/2 at this level, but he does have three Class 1 chase victories and is now 4lbs lower than his last win. Aso is proven at Class 2 and Smooth Stepper's numbers are all positive if not spectacular, but he does look best suited by underfoot conditions. Four of the bottom five of the card 'get' the trip readily enough, so we shouldn't be short of finishers. from a weight perspective, Blaklion and Aso are racing off much reduced marks compared to their last wins, but Up Helly is carrying an extra 12lbs, but he has good heavy ground form, so he'll not be short on stamina.

From a pace perspective, we're essentially looking for horses happy to take it on...

...but in reality, all running styles bar the hold-up horses do well enough, although the 1.74 IV figure for leaders shouldn't be overlooked and with 61.5% of leaders holding on for a place, that could be good news for Dashing Perk, Psychedelic Rock and Tinkers Hill Tommy based on their last four runs...

...but not such great reading for the likes of Lake View Lad, Aso or last year's winner Late Romantic, although that win was five starts ago and he raced prominently that day.

Summary

The 'class' horses from the past running here include the likes of Lake View Lad, Aso and Blaklion. These three, along with Smooth Stepper are all proven Class 1 chasers and this race should be well within their grasp. Tinkers Hill Tommy is better than his reappearance would suggest and is dangerous off bottom weight, whilst Ami Desbois was in good nick prior to being brought down in the Grand National and is an interesting yard mover making a debut for Fergal O'Brien.

These six are the half of the field that I'd want to be with and with many bookies paying four places (5 at Skybet), there could be scope for an E/W selection or two.

Lake View Lad won a soft ground Grade 2 chase over this trip at Aintree on his December 2020 comeback and will attempt a similar result this time around in an easier race rated 4lbs lower. I'd be happier if he raced more prominently like he did at Aintree that day as that might be the key here.

Aso has been the runner-up in the Ryanair Chase on two occasions and although nowhere near that level now, was also runner-up in back to back (Class 2, then Listed) contests earlier this year. His jumping let him down in the Gold Cup and his comeback race at Cheltenham 18 days was over too sharp a trip for him. Up in distance, down in grade and racing against fellow veterans, we might see sparks of the old hero here.

Ami Debois is better than his line of red on Instant Expert might suggest even if he hasn't won a race for almost four years. He has, however, been a runner-up in three of his last five outings and was unlucky to get brought down in this year's Grand National and now makes a yard debut for a trainer with a decent record at this venue. Not an obvious winner, but good enough for a place and will race up with the pace.

Smooth Stepper won a Grade 3 chase here back in February 2020 and won a veteran chase similar to this one at Carlisle two starts ago off just one pound lower. Things didn't go to plan at Sandown last time out, but he's back down in class/trip, will relish the conditions and has run well fresh in the past.

Blaklion is another former Grade 1 winner, but he's also almost four years past his last win. Good enough to finish 6th in this year's National despite weakening late on, he made a satisfactory/respectable comeback at Bangor recently where he jumped pretty well but lacked the speed required to get involved. I was actually surprised to see him return three weeks ago and I'd love to see him win once more, but it's unlikely and I don't think we'll be seeing too much more of him, unless something special happens here.

Tinkers Hill Tommy lurks at the foot of the weights, but Dr Peter May's ratings have him as a player here and I'd be inclined to agree. He finished 2112 in his opening four runs of this year prior to another 197 day rest. He wasn't at this best on his return at Ludlow four weeks ago, but would be entitled to come on for the run off a mark one pound lower. His yard are in decent form right now and have a good record with their stayers. trip and going are ideal for him and he gets on well with the booked jockey, so he could well be in the mix.

Of these six, I think that Lake View Lad and Aso are the two best on display and I'd not be surprised if they weren't the first two home, even if their pace profiles suggest they'll have work to do. This is a fairly open/competitive encounter, but the market doesn't look too generous right now (4.30pm). Lake View Lad is currently best priced at 5/1 with Aso as short as 11/4 in places (but 7/2 with Bet365). To be honest, I can't bring myself to back either at those odds, even if I do think they'll be the best two in the race, because I have that nagging doubt about them having too much to do late on.

Of the other four, I think that (sadly) Blaklion is probably the one I'm least keen on. Sentiment would want him to go well here, but i think that even this is beyond him now, so I'm left with three to consider. I'd be surprised if Ami Desbois, Smooth Stepper or Tinkers Hill Tommy held on to win, but I do like all three for a chance of making the frame. Ami is too short for that at 11/2 to 13/2, so I'm playing two small E/W bets here on Tinkers Hill Tommy at 14/1 and Smooth Stepper at 18/1, both with bookies paying four places.

 

Your first 30 days for just £1