Racing Insights, 15th October 2020

Thursday's "free to all users" racecards are as follows...

  • 2.05 Curragh
  • 3.36 Carlisle
  • 5.35 Wincanton
  • 6.15 Southwell
  • 6.30 Chelmsford
  • 7.30 Chelmsford

...whilst free feature of the day is Instant Expert.

I'm going to focus on the latest of the free races for today's piece...

This is now a 9-runner contest where eight of them have won over today's 1m trip, six of them have won here at Chelmsford, four of them have won over course and distance, two of them are stepped up two classes and two others are moved up one grade.

Johan and Lord Neidin are the form horses with the former hailing from an in-form (30) yard. All of Pactolus, Home Before Dusk, Johan and Pinnata's yards have a good five-year record at this venue (C5), whilst of the jockeys, those on Assimilation and Lord Neidin look in best form (30 & 14 respectively) with both jockeys riding this track well (C1 & C5), as do the pilots of  Pactolus, Gallipoli and Auchterader, who heads the Speed ratings.

As today's free feature is Instant Expert, it would be rude not to have a look at it immediately after considering the Shortlist report which is often seen as "IE Light".

Again Lord Neidin & Johan feature prominently, but the stand out here is Assimilation with a whole bank of green. Other highlights from the above table include War Glory's record at this track at 4 wins from 10, plus another 4 placed efforts for a place strike rate of 80%, whilst Pinnata has made the frame in 13 of 19 starts at this trip, winning six times.

Next up, we need to consider the draw, as in 9-runners contests here at Chelmsford, you ideally want to be drawn in the lowest third of the field, as this provides 43.6% of all the winners (24 of 55), so that's a tick in the box for Pactolus, Assimilation and Lord Neidin.

And then we need to see how running style is reflected in this type of race via the pace heatmap...

...which is actually more informative when you overlay it with the horse silks and the draw as follows...

...where Auchterarder looks easily best placed, despite coming from a wider draw than you'd initially think was ideal. Basically, you want to be drawn low and ridden just off the pace or held up completely, but from a middle draw, you've a good chance if you for it from the off. There's a distinct possibility that those drawn in 1,2 and 3 will shift towards prominent racing if Auchterarder looks like nicking a soft lead and if any of the three do follow him, it should enhance their chances.

And that's pretty much how I'd normally mentally whizz through a race to see if one or two names keep cropping up. The process is done far quicker than it has taken me to put it together visually and it's done far quicker than the time taken to read it, but it is a really quick and often very effective way of scanning for possible bets.

If you do this and nothing stands out, leave it and move on. If something does stand out, jot the name down on a daily shortlist of possibles and then move on.


Racecard positives : Assimilation, Aucterarder, Johan, Lord Neidin

Speed Rating Positives : Auchterarder, Home Before Dusk, Lord Neidin

Shortlist/Instant Expert positives : Assimilation, Johan, Lord Neidin

Draw Positives : Assimilation, Lord Neidin, Pactolus

Pace/Draw Positives : Assimilation, Aucterarder, Lord Neidin, Pactolus

Lord Neidin ticks all five boxes above with Asssimilation only falling down is the speed ratings, whilst Auchterarder would make up my potential three to consider.

It's then only at this point do I even take a first look at the market, as it's too easy to let the odds make your decisions for you. And I expected Lord Neidin to be the favourite, but not at 6/4. I expect he'll go on to win, but there's no value in him at 6/4 for my own risk/reward criteria, so I'd not be getting my money out there.

If I was pushed to place a bet, then Assimilation would be a relatively attractive E/W or place only proposition. If you agree with the way I process the card and you also think Lord Neidin wins, then the bet on Assimilation should be a place only, as not to waste the win side of the stake.


Racing Insights, 14th October 2020

Wednesday's free feature of the day is the Trainer Statistics report, one of my favourites as you'd probably guess, so let's head straight there and it's the Trainer + Course 5 year form that interests me today and I've highlighted Jedd O'Keeffe purely because he has more than one runner tomorrow, but doesn't have too many to look at in one article...

As you can see he's comfortably above all my parameters for number of qualifiers, win & place percentage, A/E and IV, plus as an added bonus he's profitable at Industry SP at a rate of more than 50p in the pound. Tomorrow he runs two Class 3 hurdlers over 2 and 3 miles respectively on Good to Soft ground (with more rain due), both to be ridden by regular jockey Joe Colliver.

Both have been off the track for around seven months, but both were in great form when lockdown arrived and will be seeking to pick up where they left off, but you'll see that for yourself shortly on the racecards.

I want to start by looking at Jedd's 8 from 32 record here at Wetherby, because it's very important to understand exactly what a stat represents and not everyone might be aware that Jedd is a dual purpose (ie Flat & NH) trainer and that Wetherby is a dual purpose track, so for the purpose of today's analysis, I want to disregard hie Flat and Bumper (NH Flat) runners at this track, leaving us with the following over the past 41 months...

Even better figures that the starting point with the ROI more than doubling and with respect to today's races, those 14 Wetherby jumpers are (and forgive me if I go a bit statty here)...

  • 5 from 13 (38.5%) under Joe Colliver
  • 5 from 12 (41.7%) from male runners (not ideal for Miah Grace admittedly)
  • 4 from 12 (33.3%) with the word soft in the going description
  • 3 from 12 (25%) over hurdles
  • 2 from 8 (25%) over a 2m trip & 1 from 2 (50%) over 3 miles
  • and 1 from 2 (50%) at Class 3

Not huge sample sizes to hang your hat on, but the win % figures are promising and I now want to turn away from the query tool to look at the racecards, speed ratings, instant expert and the report suite for each race, starting with Mr Scrumpy as follows...

As you can see, Mr Scrumpy has two wins and a runner-up finish over the last year, he was a winner last time out at Newcastle in a Class 2 contest on Soft ground, having kicked off that sequence/season with a win here at Wetherby in early November in a 15-runner soft ground Class 3 affair. He'd been off the track for 201 days that time around, yet stayed on to win by four lengths, so a 214 day layoff doesn't concern me too much.

The reports back up the trainer statistic details and also show how well Jedd's horses get on with Joe Colliver on their backs generally and not just here at Wetherby.

The speed ratings for the race are as follows...

...and they too offer encouragement for those seeking to place a bet at a reasonable price. next up is the Instant Expert tab of the racecard and that doesn't really tell us very much...

...other than the first note of caution. Mr Scrumpy runs off 129 today, a career high and some 5lbs higher than his last run/win, so a best-ever performance is needed. That said, this is technically an easier race to win that either of last season's two successes and if in the right frame of mind first time up, 5lb might not be able to anchor him. After all, it's only a bag of spuds 😉

And now to the 5yr old mare, Miah Grace (reminds me a little of my 15 yr old daughter, Mia who herself is a bit of a mare sometimes but without the grace)...

...who like stablemate Mr Scrumpy was in fine form pre-lockdown, winning three times and placing twice from five efforts over hurdles under Joe Colliver. The runner-up finish was her only previous crack at the Wetherby hurdles, when beaten by just a length and a half over course and distance on soft ground. In fairness, that was a Class 2 contest and this should (on paper if nothing else) be an easier task.

Like the earlier race, the speed ratings show her in a favourable light...

...whilst Instant Expert again doesn't tell the whole story, but does point the way...

All her hurdling has been done on soft or worse ground at +/- half a furlong of today's trip under today's jockey, so she'll certainly be used to the conditions faced here, but like Mr Scrumpy, she also needs a career-best effort after being bumped up 9lbs for her last run/win of the previous campaign, so that might explain why she's twice the price of her stablemate.

Again, she's another who goes well after a break, her opening run/win last season came after six months off the track, so once again I'm not too peturbed about the lack of a run.


The stats point to good runs from both O'Keeffe hurdlers at Wetherby and I like the look of both. The only potential fly in the ointment has to be the increase in weight, but both horses have performed well in a higher grade suggesting they might be better than they'd need to be here. Clearly with a smaller hike in weight, Mr Scrumpy would seem to have a better chance, but at double digit odds, the mare might be a nice E/W flutter too.

Racing Insights, 13th October 2020

Tuesday's feature of the day is the Shortlist report, so that's where I'm going to base this piece.

So, without further ado, here is the Shortlist for Tuesday...

...where one horse, Beau Geste, leaps from the page with a maximum score of 15. He's currently available to back at around the 11/4 to 3/1 mark and I want to take a closer look at him to see if he justifies being towards the head of the market and also whether he's possibly worth sticking a quid or two on.

We'll start with the racecard...

...which immediately alerts us to two wins and two places from his last five runs, he's dropping in class (↓1) from a 4th place finish (on turf) 44 days ago and he'll be ridden by Hollie Doyle, who herself has a good record at this venue (C5). His Geegeez Speed Rating of 79 is well clear of the next best rated, which is also another bonus.

The Instant Expert tab on the racecard adds numbers to the colours indicated on the Shortlist, as follows...

...based around the above, I can also tell you that his entire A/W career form reads 12113, all at Class 6, including the 3 from 3 here at Wolverhampton over 8.5 to 9.5 furlongs and he has finished 1211 under jockey Hollie Doyle, who herself has the C5 icon next to her name on the racecard.

In fact, since the start of 2019, Hollie has a near 1-in-5 record on this track, winning 40 of 202 races, including 32 from 89 (36%) at odds of 6/1 and shorter, 25 from 108 (23.2%) on male runners and 19 from 97 (19.6%) at Class 6, whilst she is 8 from 25 (32%) on Class 6 males sent off at 6/1 and shorter.

I don't want to labour this too much, but it's probably worth looking to see how trainer Tony Carroll fares here at Wolverhampton, as I prefer not to see trainers relying on one horse for winners and thankfully my fears on that score are allayed as he has a marginally better than 1-in-7 record here this year courtesy of 12 winners from 82.

They include 11 from 64 (17.2%) from horses with a run in the previous seven weeks, 10 from 62 (16.1%) for male runners, 9 from 30 (30%) from those sent off at odds ranging from 5/4 to 9/2, 8 from 51 (15.7%) from 3/4 yr olds and 6 from 23 (26.1%) over trips of 8.5 to 9.5 furlongs, whilst his 3/4 yr old males at 5/4 to 9/2 are 5 from 10 (50%) having ran in the previous 7 weeks and they include 2 from 2 in the last 6 weeks alone.

Whether Beau Geste goes on to win here or not, there are plenty of useful angles above that you can put into your query tool to generate future runners/winners going forward. Research is always a long-term project and whilst instant success is always welcome, it's not the be all and end all.


Beau Geste is currently the 11/4 favourite in the early market and the above analysis would appear to back that up. He's better than his last 4th place effort would suggest when staying on under hands and heels after being hampered on ground probably a bit to soft for him.

Can he win here? I'd say so, despite him being a hold-up horse. The pace profile of this contest suggests that he shouldn't win, but with a 3 from 3 record at this track, being held up hasn't stopped him yet. He might need some luck in running, but Hollie Doyle knows what she's doing and the braver amongst you might wait until the race goes in-play for a higher price on the exchanges if he is held up again.


Racing Insights, 12th October 2020

For Monday's piece, I'm going to look at the Trainer Statistics report and have a look at trainer George Boughey's performance in handicaps over the last year. His numbers are excellent and I'm going to see if there are any suggestions/pointers within the racecards and report suite to suggest if he's likely to add to the tally soon.

So, I suppose the best place to start is the Trainer Stats, 1 year handicap report as follows..

A good strike rate for both win and place, profitable at both win and place plus good figures for A/W and IV all point to the possibility of a winner. George has three bites of the cherry across two cards, where Yarmouth will be soft ground and it'll be heavy at Windsor. It's a Class 4, 6f contest at Windsor, whilst the Yarmouth races are both Class 5, 7f affairs, whilst the Windsor runner is the sole male of the trio.

In respect of Monday's races, George's 15 from 62 record in handicaps over the last year includes 9 wins from 30 (30%) on the Flat from which he is 2 from 2 at Yarmouth and 1 from 1 at Windsor. He 3 from 15 (20%) at Class 4 and 6 from 31 (19.35%) at Class 5, whilst males at 11/43 (25.6%) have outperformed females at 4/19 (21.1%), but none of this is negative.

Age-wise, 2yos are 2/8 (25%), 4yos are 7/21 (33.3%) and 5yos are 2/5 (40%), whilst all 15 runners have come from the 48 runners (31.25% SR) sent off at 12/1 or shorter. With an eye on the trip, 6f runners are certainly less successful at 1/8 (12.5%) as opposed to 4/17 (23.5%) over 7f, whilst overall those racing at 6-45 dslr are 13 from 47 (27.7%) and those racing is fields of 9-12 runners are 8/31 (25.8%).

And the last piece of the data jigsaw before race analysis is the the fact that George is using three jockeys. Oison Murphy hasn't ridden for the yard in the last year, but Ben Curtis is 2 from 7 (28.6%), whilst William Buick is an excellent 3 from 6 (50%).

My overall view of the data breakdown is that I'm still positive about the chances of all three so far but with an obvious caveat about Rock Sound running over a trip that the yard hasn't fared too well at. Maybe the racecards will assuage that fear? We'll not know until we look, so let's do that (in race time order as above), starting with Miss Fernanda...

and the pace/draw heatmap, set to last three runs, because over half of the filed don't have four runs yet...

So, we see that she's drawn out in 10 of 10, but a high draw for a prominent racer has proved successful here in the past, so I'm not as concerned as I might be about the draw. We said Oisin Murphy hadn't ridden a Boughey handicapper in the last year, but he is 14 from 73 (19.2%) on this track over the last three seasons.

Miss Fernanda also tops the Geegeez Speed ratings, but I think she might well struggle here today. She did, admittedly improve from race 1 to race 2 and then again to race 3 where she won making all at Bath over 5.5f on good to firm ground. Both runs since then have been disappointing, especially her 18-length defeat over 6f at Leicester on handicap/nursery debut three weeks ago, also on good to firm. She was sent off at 18/1 that day and I'd say the market would be a good indicator of her chances on her soft ground bow.

Next up, we have Rock Sound...

No snippet from the Speed ratings, as he sits 5th of 12 on that stat and the pace/draw heatmap isn't too encouraging either at...

In his favour, however, is Ben Curtis who aside from riding a couple of winners for George Boughey over the last year is also 131053 here at Windsor so far this season and he'll now take his chance upon this 5 yr old gelding who is having his first outing since leaving Declan Carroll's yard.

He's a former winner at both 6f (fibresand) and 7f (soft/heavy) and does tend to run well towards the end of the year. He won on 5th November last year and was then a runner-up beaten by a neck a month later and that was the last we saw of him until he finished 12th of 15 at Ripon last month. That was, of course, his first run for 9 months, so he's more than entitled to come on for the pip-opener. Incidentally that win almost a year ago was also a yard debut.

He's definitely of interest and has proven form at class, trip and going.

And finally, we go back to Yarmouth and easily the most experienced (25 runs to date) of the trio, Redemptive...

She lies 4th on the Speed Ratings at 58, whilst the pace/draw heatmap isn't ideal...

...but she is what she is : a hold-up horse of late, but who has raced more prominently in the past and I wonder if the prediction of "probable lone speed" from a centrally drawn runner might just push her on a bit quicker. Jockey William Buick has a good record on the Boughey 'cappers and is 2 from 2 on this horse and also 7 from 26 (26.9%) at Yarmouth over the last two seasons including 3 from 6 over this 7f track and trip, so I'd expect him to judge the pace well enough.

It's also worth pointing out that Redemptive has won over course and distance herself. That was just over six weeks ago, also under William Buick at this grade from a hold up position. The report for the race read...held up towards rear, smooth headway 2f out, weaved between runners entering final furlong to the pace/draw heatmap might not be as bad as it first looks.

More generally...her 3 from 25 record isn't too inspiring, but she is 3 from 13 at this trip with a further 3 placed efforts. She has won on good to soft ground and did, of course score over course and distance five starts ago.

She has been in the handicapper's grip of late, but now runs off a mark just 1lb higher than her last win and her 5th place finish last time out was a better effort than it seems on paper, as she overcame an awkward start to get involved before her interest was ended by being hampered in the final furlong. One of her rivals that day has run since and landed another C5 7f hcp.


The trainer's record over the last year under Monday's conditions would suggest all three are worth a second glance, but I'd say his chances seem to improve as the day goes on. It'd be a watching brief for me in the opener, as I feel Miss Fernanda is really up against it and the market will probably show that to be true.

As for the other two, neither are obvious winners tomorrow, but both are quite capable of at least making the frame. Redemptive is marginally the most likely for me, but she's going to need a bit of luck in running waiting for the gaps to appear. If those gaps don't come, she's going to get trapped on the rail or will need switching out, which invariably loses ground.


Racing Insights, 10th October 2020

Still finding my feet here, folks, as this is as new to me as it is to you, but today I've chosen to look at a race for Saturday from a more familiar angle and my eye was taken by the opener on the Hexham card, as it really appealed to the statistician in me, as all the runners seem to have some good relevant stats.

So, today's piece will focus on the 12.25 Hexham : a Class 4 Novice Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m4.5f on Soft ground, worth £4549 to the winner and we start with the racecard sorted alphabetically...

and as you'll see there are plenty of green form icons, red numbers denoting appearing on my angles report and blue numbers showing qualifiers from my query tool saved angles, so let's have a quick runthrough...

Bluefortytwo : jockey Danny McMenamin is 4/13 (30.8%) over the past fortnight, including 2 from 5 over fences. Trainer James Ewart is 11 from 43 (25.6%) with chasers here at Hexham since 2013, whilst on days when he only has one runner, he is 29 from 170 (17.1%) since 2017.

El Kaldoun :  is sent on a near 500-mile round trip by trainer Nicky Henderson, but that's not a worry, as since 2016 Hendo's horses running in non-Festival races more than 200 miles from home are 29 from 55 (52.7%) with a 4 from 7 (57.1%) record here at Hexham.

Glorious Lady : is on the Geegeez Shortlist report by virtue of 2 wins and 2 places from four runs on soft and the same record at Class 4 and also 2 wins and 1 place from three races over 2m4.5f/2m5f. The green icons show that both jockey & trainer fare well here, whilst trainer Keith Dalgleish has a 19 from 51 (37.25%) record in Class 4 chases.

Hills of Connemara : trainer Susan Corbett doesn't run many handicap chasers on treacherous ground but those that have run on soft or worse are 4 from 15 (26.7%) since 2015 with a 3 from 10 (30%) record on soft ground

Kauto D'Amour : Jockey Danny Cook rides trainer Sue Smith's horses well and most people know that, but they're particularly effective in Class 3-5 handicap chases, where they are 75 from 312 (24%) including and excellent 40 from 133 (30.1%) on soft ground.

Scottish Accent : is by Golan, whose Soft ground handicap jumpers sent off at 7/2 to 14/1 are 20 from 105 (19.1%) whilst trainer Rebecca Menzies is 15 from 96 (15.6%) with handicap chasers on soft or worse ground since 2016.

The Delray Munky : is by Overbury, whose Soft ground handicap chasers are 16/89 (18%) since 2016, whilst her trainer Iain Jardine, not best known for chasers, is 11 from 45 (24.4%) with his handicap chasers on soft or worse since 2016

The Ferry Master : will be ridden by Ryan Mania who always seems to be there or thereabouts, making the frame in 43% of his rides over the last two months, including winning twice from his last seven starts. He also does well when riding for trainer Sandy Thomson and the pair are 23 from 146 (15.75%) together since 2014, including 22/71 (31%) in handicaps, 16/50 (32%) over fences and 15/45 (33.3%) in handicap chases of which they are 11 from 26 (42.3%) on soft or worse ground.

Toi Storey : is, like Scottish Accent above, trained by Rebecca Menzies whose soft ground chasers are worth a second glance, but this one will be ridden by Henry Brooke who is 3 from 12 (25%) over the fortnight and has ridden 10 winners from 36 (27.8%) for Rebecca Menzies.

Victarion : is of interest purely because he is trained by Philip Hobbs, who quite amazingly has been profitable to follow by blindly backing his Saturday handicap chasers over the last 10 years. Eight of the ten years have shown an annual profit due to the overall 19% strike rate (65/342) with today's jockey Tom O'Brien riding 15 winners from 732 (20.8%)

Western Aussie : is a lightly raced runner from the Martin Todhunter yard, a yard whose soft ground handicappers are 19/123 (15.5%) since 2014 including 9 from 56 (16.1%) over fences

Whateva Next : is trained by George Bewley, whose handicap chasers are 10 from 40 (25%) here at Hexham since 2015, including 6 from 24 (25%) at Class 4. As usual Jonathan Bewley will be in the saddle hoping to add to his tally of 10 wins from 37 (27%)


Hopefully you can see why this race fascinated me and has whetted your appetite to get in to the query tool and loads some angles in for future use. All the above angles will generate winners in the future, even if most will fail here : there can only be one winner.

The one I liked the look of for at least a place myself was the Danny Cook / Sue Smith runner : Kauto D'Amour, who won a similar novice handicap (albeit over hurdles) over 2m0.5f at Newcastle on soft ground three starts ago and when last seen back in March ran really well to finish as a runner-up at the same venue at today's class and trip, also on soft ground.

He was only beaten by a length despite two bad errors, one of which causing his saddle to slip and it's interesting that he's pitched straight into handicaps for his chasing bow. Conditions should suit him here today, as most of his runs have been at this grade, he loves the mud and has ran well here at Hexham in the past.

It's always a guessing game with chase debutants, but at (hopefully) double digit odds, Kauto D'Amour could be a nice each way option.

Racing Insights, 9th October 2020

I wrote a couple of articles during lockdown focusing mainly on 2yr old debutants, but I had some other areas I was going to pursue and my opening glance at tomorrow's cards and reports jogged my memory about one of them. As many of you will already know, I firmly believe that trainers are creatures of habit operating under the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" adage.

I'm always interested in trainers who excel at a certain distance and not a quirky one like 6.5 furlongs etc and today I want to look at Roger Varian, because my notebook tells me to look out for his 1m4f handicappers and this is highlighted in tomorrow's Trainer Snippets...

Now this is a 2-year snapshot of all his handicappers racing at trips beyond 1m3.5f, so for the exact 1m4f numbers, we head over to the query tool, which shows that all Roger's runners over the last two years are...

whilst his 1m4f handicappers fare considerably better from a profit point of view at...

Of the above three quoted three flat-stayers, Zeeband will be disregarded for today's piece as he runs over 1m6f, leaving us with two 3 yr olds to look at : Shandoz and Progressive.

The former will be ridden by David Egan in a tricky-looking Class 2, 17-runner contest on soft ground, whilst Daniel Muscutt rides the latter in a 12-runner Class 4 affair on Polytrack. To assess their respective chances, I first want to take you back to Roger's 10/49 record over the last two years in 1m4f handicaps, because they show...

  • 10 wins from 31 at SP odds of 10/3 to 11/1
  • 9 from 34 on the Flat (so better for Shandoz)
  • 8 from 35 from 3 yr olds (both)
  • 4 from 15 for David Egan (Shandoz)
  • 4 from 7 in 12-runner contests (Progressive)
  • 4 from 14 at Class 2, but only 1 from 9 at Class 4 (Shandoz again)

So, based on the stats, Shandoz would appear to be the most likely of the pair, but let's look closer at the cards/reports etc.

And Instant Expert... the pace/draw heat map...

All seem to put Shandoz in a very favoured light. He's by Golden Horn, whose 1m4f handicappers are 11 from 24 (45.83% SR) with six of the last nine all winning. The step up to these 1m4f handicaps has done Shandoz a world of good as he's 2 from 2 in this sphere, thanks to back to back successes at Ascot.

He signed off his 2yr old campaign with a win over 8.5f at Wolverhampton in late September 2019, before reappearing at Ascot 2 months ago having been rested for some 322 days, getting up late to land that Class 3 contest by a shorthead.

He then had four weeks rest before winning a Class 2 contest more comfortably on Good to Soft ground, beating the re-opposing Cepheus in the process. I'm not convinced the handicapper has him just yet despite a 7lb rise and I think there's more to come from him after another month's rest. Avoiding traffic/trouble will be the key to his fortunes here.

And onto Progressive at Kempton...

...which also shows that Roger Varian has a good record here at Kempton (21% SR since 2016) signified by the C5 icon and also the fact that he's one of my trainers to follow here on my angles. Instant Expert is somewhat less conclusive/helpful, unfortunately...

Pace/draw is also pretty inconclusive, as there's no real pattern here at Kempton in 1-12 runner contests over 1m4f for either running style or draw, other than you don't want a pace score of 1, as hold up horses do poorly here.

This 3yr old filly has only ran three times so far, but has shown some promise and improvement already. She won second time out on her A/W debut when bagging a 1m2f Class 5 contest up at Newcastle, where she battled well to get back up by a neck after being headed a furlong out.

Her latest effort was 24 days ago at Yarmouth, stepped up in both class and trip and she gave another account of herself when beaten by just a length into fourth place. The winner and runner-up (Colony Queen & Dusk) re-oppose today and our girl is now a pound better off with the winner and Dusk has had a jockey change.


Roger Varian's 1m4f handicappers have a great record and are always worth a second glance. Three year olds fare really well as do those priced around the 3/1 to 11/1 mark. Jockey David Egan has a better record than most, whilst those on the Flat considerably outperform A/W runners.

Two possibles for Friday and both have a real live chance of landing the spoils. Shandoz will need to stay handy but out of traffic/trouble or the 7lb excess will catch up with him if he has too much to do late on, whilst Progressive needs to continue to be progressive (sorry, couldn't resist!) and continue to improve. If she handles the new surface, I'd expect her to be there or thereabouts once again.

Racing Insights, 8th October 2020

We looked at two runners at Sedgefield on Wednesday and we'd hoped Snookered would go well if his jumping was decent. Sadly we never really found out how good/bad he was as he was never in the race. The leader and subsequent winner was allowed to dictate and got home comfortably/unchallenged. As for Snookered's jumping, it was largely decent, but a couple of mistakes late on put paid to any hope of getting near the winner.

I wasn't too bullish about Crackdeloust later on the card and he finished 6th of 11 starters (8 finished) at 12/1.

Next up is...

Thursday 8th October

Feature of the Day is the Instant Expert option for all races, which is free on Thursdays to all registered subscribers. Register here if you need to.

And the free races of the day are as follows...

4.40 Southwell
4.45 Thurles
5.00 Exeter
6.15 Southwell
7.00 Chelmsford
8.30 Chelmsford

And I think we'll take a look at the 7.00 Chelmsford : a 12-runner, Class 3, A/W handicap for 3yo+ over 5f on the Polytrack, worth £7,439 to the winner which looks very competitive, but let's see if we can find a way in, starting with the racecard...

...which tells us Grandfather Tom's yard is in good nick and he's top of our ratings, whilst Daschas, Jack The Truth and Top Breeze hail from yards with good records at this venue. Jockey-wise, Firepower and Amomentofmadness are ridden by in-form jocks with good course records and the riders on Benny And The Jets and Daschas have also fared well here.

Amomentofmadness and Firepower are the only class droppers here today, whilst seven of their rivals (Nos 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 & 12) are all stepping up a grade or even two in Moonraker's case.

Feature of the Day is the Instant Expert option, so I've taken a snippet of the Best of Instant Expert report, showing some of the runners from this race...

and here's how it translates to the Instant Expert tab on the card...

...where Lancelot du Lac is a standout. Overall we have six with 30%+ strike rates on the A/W, although ideally you want more than 1 win as proof, whilst Jack the Truth clearly likes coming here and with 3 wins and a place from 7 visits here, he shares an identical course record with Lancelot du Lac with both of them featuring on the Horses for Courses report.

Now I just want to set the data aside for a moment and share where my mind was at before I started cutting bits from the site. An initial glance at the racecard allied with what I've already seen or knew about these runners, I had four in mind (alphabetically Grandfather Tom, Jack The Truth, Lancelot du Lac & Top Breeze). Nothing I've quoted above has put me off any of them and I still think the winner will come from that quartet, so let's have a look at each...

Grandfather Tom won at Yarmouth over this trip last time out, but this is tougher at 5lbs and one class higher. He has won seven times at this trip and 3 times on the A/W, but has no A/W win in over two and a half years and has never scored beyond Class 4. A positive note is that jockey Hollie Doyle rides for the first time and she's 4 from 10 on Robert Cowell's runners over the last year and as a confirmed front runner heading our ratings has to be in the mix from the inside draw.

Jack The Truth comes here seeking a hat-trick of course and distance wins, but has to carry a 5lb penalty for those two wins, the latest of which was a week ago where he looked like 5lbs might not anchor him. His record on the A/W and at sprint trips is very good but he does tend to fare better with a longer rest than that and this might just come too quickly for him after his best ever effort.

Lancelot Du Lac is clearly not the horse he used to be when competing in Group 1 contests and it's some 17 races and almost two and a half years since he last won, but this very likeable 10 yr old ran well a fortnight ago at Kempton considering he'd been off the track for eight months. He has two wins and a runner-up finish from three efforts over this track and trip, he's drawn right next to Grandfather Tom and if encouraged to get on with it could easily make the frame off his lowest mark (OR) in over seven years.

Top Breeze has been a bit up and down since winning a Class 2 handicap over this trip at Lingfield just before lockdown and struggled for consistency finishing 67492. That said, he's an A/W runner in my eyes and four of those five defeats were on turf. He did, however, go well on the concrete at Bath last time out finishing second, 0.75 lengths behind a horse winning back to back contests. Jockey Tyler Heard takes 7lbs off today, effectively putting this one on his lowest ever mark.


I think the winner of this this competitive handicap comes from Grandfather Tom, Jack The Truth, Lancelot du Lac & Top Breeze and I can find pros and cons about all four without selecting or disregarding any in particular. It's at this point that I take a look at the market and it seems that others agree with me, as I've named four of the top five in the market. The only minor surprise is how relatively short the old boy Lancelot du Lac is.

A watching brief for me, but hopefully there's something of value above.


Racing Insights, 7th October 2020

Tuesday's race at Leicester went the way that some of my musings thought they might. Acclaim The Nation did lead with Ainsdale taking over before feeling the toll of added weight on heavy ground. This left the door open for eventual winner Blue de Vega who had a good pace/draw markup on our cards and was hailing from an in-form yard.

Next up is...

Wednesday 7th October

Feature of the Day is the Trainer Statistics report, which is free on Wednesdays to all registered subscribers. Register here if you need to.

And today I'm going take a look at the Trainer Stats report, Course 365 day Year view.  This report give us the option to filter what would otherwise be a very long list and I've always set mine at 15 runs minimum, A/E of at least 1.25 and an IV of 1.50 and upwards.

There's an excellent explanation about A/E & IV right here.

So, if we cut to the report...

...where the one I'm going to look at is Brian Ellison, who happens the be the only unprofitable one to follow at SP, suggesting more analysis of his Sedgefield runners is needed to avoid the losers. Clicking the show/hide inline button ie...

...reveals two runners to look at...

Danny Cook will ride the 6 yr old gelding Snookered in a 4-runner, Class 4 Novice chase over 2m0.5f, whilst Nathan Moscrop will claim 3lbs aboard a former course and distance winner, the 8 yr old gelding Crackdeloust in a another Class 4 contest, this time in a handicap hurdle over 2m1f.

A quick look at Brian Ellison's 8 Sedgefield winners over the last year shows that all 8 were males sent off at 9/2 or shorter and 6 had ran in the previous 45 days. There's a 5:3 spilt for handicap/non-handicap and a similar spilt for hurdles to chases. Six yr olds are 3 from 5 and October runners are 3 from 4, so plenty of encouragement on the breakdown.

Now to Snookered's race...

We see that Danny Cook is in good form right now and rides plenty of winners here at Sedgefield over the years so lots of positives there, whilst it's interesting to see that Snookered himself has finished 2111 in four visits to this track. His jumping will have to be taken on trust as (a) this is his chasing debut and (b) he hasn't even raced over hurdles for almost 9 months.

The distance record of 4/16 actually includes 3 wins and 2 places from 7 over hurdles at trips of 2m0.5f to 2m1f, so the trip should be ideal for him here today, we'd just want his jumping to hold up.

Now onto Crackdeloust...

..who it's obviously a bit harder to make a case for. And a look at the profiler tab tells us that he's actually won just 2 of 21 starts so far. However, both wins came at Class 4, off higher marks than today, going left-handed and after 3-4 weeks rest and all apply here today. He has one win at this trip, one at this track and one on good ground and all three came together for a course and distance win here back in April 2017.


Two runners who'll probably fare very differently. If Snookered takes to the fences at the first time of asking, plenty of other variables are in his favour and I'd expect him to go well. He's in good hands with Danny Cook and my only other concern other than a first crack at fences is that other statters will cotton and back him down to an artificially low price.

Crackdeloust, on the other hand, isn't as well suited by the task ahead. He ran well for fourth last time out after more than six months off the track, but without intending disrespect, the jockey booking doesn't fill me with confidence, nor does good ground. This lad needs it softer in my opinion, so he's going to have to pray for rain. Based on old ability, he's more than good enough to be involved in the shake-up here, but there are more than a couple I'd rather pick as a winner. That's not to say he couldn't grab a place at double-digit odds, but it's unlikely.

Racing Insights, 6th October 2020

Monday's piece shortlisted four runners at Wolverhampton, of which one won and one didn't run, which sounds great, doesn't it? Sadly, the other two runners were the ones I expected to fare best and they came home fifth and sixth of ten runners. A moral victory of sorts, I suppose.

Lequinto, who won, qualified by having a satisfactory profile on Instant Expert and was also top of our own ratings, so although I didn't side with him, the clues were still there.

Next up is...

Tuesday 6th October

Feature of the Day is the Shortlist report, which is free on Tuesdays to all registered subscribers. Register here if you need to.

and Tuesday's free Races of the Day are

1.00 Catterick
1.15 Leicester
2.50 Leicester
5.40 Lingfield

I've decided to go with the third on that list, the...

2.50 Leicester : a 7-runner, Class 2, Flat Handicap for 3yo+ over 5f on Soft (Heavy in places with more rain due) ground worth £11,972 to the winner.

As today's free feature is the Shortlist, we should start by seeing of any of our 7 runners are on it... that's a tick in the box for those two and then we look at which (if any) of the seven runners have two or more blocks of green on the Instant Expert tab of the racecard...

None have raced here at Leicester before, but Ainsdale scores 3 out of 3 on the other boxes with Count D'Orsay and Dave Dexter scoring two. However, the ground is already heavy in places with more rain on the way, we should really look at this too...

...where only Ainsdale has run on heavy ground before when winning at Nottingham at this trip almost a year ago, albeit two grades lower than today. The pace/draw profile is very important over short trips, especially when the going is at either extreme of the scale, so let's look at that next.

And assuming Acclaim doesn't drag Ainsdale along too quickly, the latter would get another tick with Blue de Vega and Ishvara also looking of interest and then after I'd considered all of the above, I would then be in a position to refer back to my own personal report angles report to see if anything was of note and when I do that I find the following...

Acclaim The Nation :  Jockey Stats 14 Day/30 Day
Blue De Vega :  Trainer Stats 14 Day
Dave Dexter :  Trainer Stats 14 Day & Trainer Jockey 14 Day / 30 Day / 1 Year
Ishvara :  Trainer Stats 14 Day

So, ticks in the boxes for those four runners for that one.


Based on the criteria I've used above to analyse the race, Ainsdale and Ishvara dominate the proceedings and are (purely coincidentally) the two runners from the Shortlist report.

But do I think they'll win? One might and one shouldn't. Ishvara has only won at Class 4 and lost her last handicap outing off this mark in a lower grade. This should be too tough for him and she's probably wanting a step up to six furlongs, whereas Ainsdale might well prevail here provided he doesn't go off too quickly.

He was in fine form last October in difficult racing conditions and I'm happy to view his latest outing as a pipe-opener for today. He was beaten by the best part of three lengths at this class and trip ten days but that was his first outing for 332 days and it came on good ground. Having had the run and now back in the mud, Ainsdale would be the one I'd like most here with the obvious pace caveat and a note of caution about the weight.

He won three races in 11 days last October off marks of 75, 81 and 89 and I'm concerned that a further step up to 97 might be a bit much on this ground.

This is then the point where I look at the odds and he's generally a 10/3 or 7/2 shot, as of 7pm Monday and that's just a bit skinny for my liking with my reservations about pace & weight, so whilst I'll be wanting him to be the one to win, he won't be carrying my money.

Racing Insights, 5th October 2020

Saturday's piece looked at a couple of runners at Newmarket, where I felt Hyanna was a better proposition than Inclyne and so she was by some 17 lengths, but that was as far as it went for us. No gloating in finding the 5th & 7th home of 7 and no return from a speculative 20/80 bet at Betfair SPs of 14.5 and 4.43 respectively.

Next up is...

Monday 5th October

Feature of the Day is Pace Tab on all races , which is free on Monday to all registered subscribers. Register here if you need to.

Monday's free Races of the Day are

3.15 Stratford
3.35 Killarney
4.45 Wolverhampton
7.00 Wolverhampton

I'm going to swerve the first two, as Novice Hurdles really aren't my thing, leaving us with a choice of two from which I've plumped for the..

4.45 Wolverhampton : an 11-runner, Class 4, A/W Handicap for 3yo+ over 7f on Tapeta worth £5,208 to the winner.

Where my starting point is Instant Expert and those with at least 2 blocks of green on their profile ie...

What jumps out here is Fast Spin's consistency and her 100% record at this venue, whilst Poetic Force is also one to note on this track and runs off a mark 2lbs lower than his last win on the A/W, albeit six months ago. Fast Spin's blocks of green are also replicated on the shortlist report...

From here we'll move back to the main card and the Geegeez ratings...

Here we're instantly drawn back to Fast Spin, as both her yard and her jockey are both in good form (14 30) and have good records at this course (C1 C5), whilst Poetic Force's jockey is in good nick and Kodiac Pride hails from another yard with a good Wolverhampton record. Lequinto however may not have any of those green icons and his yard haven't fared too well recently, but he is top of our ratings with Fast Spin and Kodiac Pride also in the top four.

Hand in hand with 7 furlong ratings comes pace and as the pace tab is today's feature, let's look at the pace/draw heat map for our shortlisted quartet.

Positives here once again are Fast Spin and Kodiac Pride and they're also the two form horses of the race.


Of the four horses I shortlisted for this race, I'd boil it down to a 2-horse contest between Fast Spin and Kodiac Pride with a preference for the former, based on the details above. Despite the evidence I've shown here, I don't think she'll unbackably short and you should be able to get 3/1 about her, thanks to not being particularly well drawn out in stall 10. Kodiac Pride will probably be around the 4/1 mark and could/should run Fast Spin close.

If pushed for a small punt, it'd be 0.75pts Fast Spin with a 0.25pt saver on Kodiac Pride or you could do a straight dutch or even a reverse forecast, but my marginal preference here is for Fast Spin.

Racing Insights, 3rd October 2020

Friday's race was a really interesting affair, with just half a length separating the first six home.

Our highlighted runners went well too. Be Proud did indeed go off as favourite, but at 3/1 I felt he was too short and left him alone, leaving us with Another Angel , who was third at 9/1 whilst the one I liked most, Young Tiger was a runner-up at 14/1, beaten by just a head.

Both highlighted placers finished well and had Young Tiger not dwelt at the start, it could have been a winner. Hopefully, those of you who did have a dabble went E/W and got something back. Next up is...

Saturday 3rd October

Feature of the Day is the Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which is free on Saturday to all registered subscribers. Register here if you need to.

Saturday's free Races of the Day are

1.15 Tipperary
1.40 Newmarket
3.20 Newmarket
3.55 Newmarket
4.04 Fontwell
6.30 Wolverhampton

So, I'm going to discard the 1.40 (too many runners) and the two maiden contests (3.55 & 6.30), leaving me with three to choose from and I'm going with...

3.20 Newmarket : a 7-runner, Class 2, Fillies Handicap for 3yo+ over 1m4f on Soft ground worth £27,390 to the winner.

This race features two runners (Inclyne & Hyanna) on the Trainer/Jockey Combo report, so let's take a look at those two and see if we can predict how they'll get on tomorrow.

We'll start with the racecard and the relevant Trainer/Jockey records...

Georgia Dobie has 16 wins from 76 (21.05% SR) for Eve Johnson Houghton over the last twelve months at an A/E of 1.63 and an IV of 2.11 and together the pair are 2 from 6 (33.33% SR, A/E 2.63 & IV 3.04) here at Newmarket over the last five years.

Whereas William Buick is 4/11 (36.36% SR, A/E 1.45 & IV 3.64) for Andrew Balding over the last year and together, their 5-year Newmarket record stands at 3 from 8 (37.5% SR) at an A/E of 1.60 and IV of 3.42.

Neither of those records would put me off, so what about the pace/draw aspect?

This is more problematical, as neither are particularly well drawn for their running style, but this is a 1m4f contest and in a small field, tactics might well be changed to suit the occasion and with Hyanna being closer to the green on the heat map, I think she shades this one.

If we refer back to the racecard and the Geegeez ratings, Inclyne is well clear of the pack on 88, whilst Hyanna is joint worst at 66 and then I'd like to look at past performances under today's conditions ie...

Venue : Hyanna is 1/4 at Newmarket, whilst Inclyne is 1/3
Going : 1/4 on Soft against 0/3
Trip : 3/14 against 1/2
Jockey : Hyanna is 2/10 under Georgia Dobie, whilst this is William Buick's first ride on Inclyne
Number of runners : Hyanna's 4/9 in fields of 1-7 runners is excellent, whilst Inclyne is 0/1
Class : 2 from 12 for Hyanna at Class 2 versus Inclyne's first step up to this grade
Days Since Run : 4 from 15 at 16-30 dslr against 8/1 at 8-15 dslr


Other than the Geegeez Speed Rating, Hyanna looks a safer option than Inclyne and her experience at this level might prove beneficial in a contest where five of her six rivals are having to step up in class.

I'd be inclined to have a small win bet on her with a couple of caveats. I'd prefer the ground to be a bit drier and I'm a little worried about her shouldering top weight, so I'm going to suggest a 20/80 bet on Hyanna with Betfair or another exchange with 0.2pts on the win and 0.8pts on the place.

Racing Insights, 2nd October 2020

Yesterday's piece focused around a couple of prominent/front runners who featured well on the Instant Expert report and had a good pace/draw combination. As it was He's A Laddie made a right hash of the bend on his return from a long lay-off ruining both his own and the favourite's race in the process.

Drakefell, on the other hand, made a much better fist of it and although ultimately outclassed, certainly ran his own race and wasn't beaten by far. He was unable to get the lead I thought he'd need and as such was overhauled sooner than I'd have liked. That said at 12/1, he gave punters a good run for their money, missing the frame by less than a length and finishing less than 3 lengths behind the winner.

And that's the story from Thursday, now we move onto...

Friday 2nd October

Feature of the Day is the Horses for Courses report, which is free to all registered subscribers. Register here if you need to.

Friday's free Races of the Day are

2.35 Gowran Park
4.20 Gowran Park
4.55 Gowran Park
5.10 Dundalk
8.00 Newcastle
8.30 Newcastle

I've got to be honest here, I'm not a massive fan of 17-runner Irish hurdle contests (Matt says I'm a coward!) and the Dundalk meeting held little appeal to me either, so I'm heading for more familiar territory and a Friday night in Newcastle. Sadly, not down the Bigg Market or Riverside on the lash, but the five furlong strip of tapeta at Gosforth Park and the last race on the card, the 8.30 Newcastle.

This race features three runners on the Horses for Courses report, so let's take a look at those three and see if one of them has any chance of adding to their already decent course records.

So let's show you the H4C report that highlights three runners of interest...

Report parameters are a personal choice of course, but for H4C I like runners with 10+ runs, a strike rate of 20% or higher and a place strike rate of around 50% if not better with a little leeway allowed on the place side of things to account for odd numbers of races if nothing else!

I think the above Newcastle stats are self-explanatory, but they don't factor in the trip, class or mark.

Another Angel has 7 wins, 5 places 17 over the 5f course and distance including 3 wins and 2 places at Class 5 and has finished 313 over C&D off marks higher than the 75 he'll run off here.

Young Tiger has 3 wins and 4 places from 13 over C&D, but all his wins have been at Class 6 and he'd actually need a career best to win here as, his highest winning mark anywhere is 3lbs lower than today's OR.

And finally, Be Proud, who I'd expect to go off as favourite, his C&D record is 2 wins, 2 places from 8 with both wins coming at Class 6 and his own highest winning mark is 62, but he races off 69 here.

So, for this part, I'd say Another Angel has the advantage. Let's look at the racecard itself...

...where despite being ridden by a jockey short of winners recently, Young Tiger edges it thanks to his yards record of 13 winners from 64 (20.3% SR) in A/W handicaps here at Newcastle and these include 3 from 14 (21.4%) over 5f and 4 from 22 (18.2%) at Class 5.

Next, we can look at the pace/draw heatmap...

...but I'd say that it was relatively inconclusive. Neither Young Tiger nor Be Proud are well drawn for their running style, whilst Another Angel is in a strange situation. If he was to press a little harder, he's very well drawn, but if he dwells at the start, he's probably toast. There are, however, a couple of confirmed front runners in the middle of the pack who might just drag Another Angel along for the ride.


Do I think either of my three featured runners will win?

Gut instinct tells me that Be Proud will go off as a favourite at 4/1 or shorter and could very well win, but I don't think there's any value in him at that price, especially with the improvement he'd need to show.

Another Angel has beaten both of them in the past but looks out of form and a bit too high in the weights for me. He could very well spring back into action and grab a place at 16's or bigger, but if I had to have a bet here : Young Tiger would be the one. His yard have done well here in the past and he rarely has a bad outing.

Five wins and seven further top 3 finishes from 15 runs over the last year or so show he's a consistent sort worth a second look. That's where I'd stop and I'd keep my money in my pocket, but if you did want a small punt for interest, then maybe see if you can get double digits each way about him.

The stats may not have led us to a concrete bet here, but that's a good thing, folks. It's very easy to get sucked in by a stat or two : the key thing is to recognise that not all stats are key or relevant.

Racing Insights, 1st October 2020

Yesterday's piece focused around trainer Saeed bin Suroor's record at Nottingham which showed a five year place strike rate of almost 60% with half of his runners going on to win and we didn't have to wait long for the advice to bear fruit as Late Morning made the frame (only beaten by a length) at 10/1 in the 1.45 race.

Global Hero was fifth (a place ahead of the SotD pick) and just a length out of the money in the warm Class 3 handicap, whilst in the last, Arabian Warrior was very popular with the punters, being backed down into 7/4 favouritism, before drifting out to an SP of 5/2. He was quite well beaten in the end, so the money was spot on, sadly.

And that's the story from Wednesday, now we move onto...

Thursday 1st October

Feature of the Day is Instant Expert for all races, which is free to all registered subscribers. Register here if you need to.

Thursday's free Races of the Day are

12:50:00 Salisbury
13:00:00 Clonmel
14:55:00 Warwick
17:10:00 Fairyhouse
18:30:00 Chelmsford

Of the five free races, only the latter holds any appeal from an Instant Expert point of view and what I want to look for is runners with plenty of green. So I start with the place tab and I'm looking for at least two greens from my four preferred place criteria, namely Going / Class / Course / Distance...

This helps me reduce a 12-runner contest down to 8 and then if we click the win tab, we then drop to five runners to examine more closely...

I've sorted them into draw order, as my next port of call would be the pace/draw tab, with both being very important in a 5f dash on the Chelmsford track, so we go to the Pace/Draw heat map, which looks a little (well, a lot actually) like this...

The sharper eyed amongst you will notice that I'm not even looking at prices, as I find the odds can be an unreliable influence in the decision making process. How many times have we swerved a horse, because the market didn't fancy it or how often have we been sucked into a short priced runner because "surely everyone can't be wrong" ?

So, without looking at odds, but using a logical process of elimination, I want to look at two horses now : He's A Laddie and Drakefell.

He's A Laddie hasn't been seen for almost 11 months, but this 3 yr old gelding does have 2 wins and a place from 4 A/W runs and was only beaten by half a length as a runner-up at class, track and trip under today's jockey on handicap debut whilst without going all SotD on you, trainer Archie Watson has excellent numbers with horses coming off a break, has good numbers with Hollie Doyle in the saddle and has more than his fair share of winners over the minimum trip.

As for Drakefell, he was a runner-up here over course and distance in a higher grade when last seen three weeks ago behind a wily old campaigner (Watchable) dropping down in both class and weight, so he's in good nick and is familiar with the task ahead of him. If allowed an easy early lead he could be difficult to dislodge.


Do I think either of my two featured runners will win?

Probably not, but you could make a case of backing either or both of them on an each way basis. I'd want high single-digit odds about Drakefell and double-digits for He's A Laddie, as I'm concerned that the two may take each other on up front and both get beaten by a finisher, whilst the latter's layoff is still a factor, despite his handler's obvious ability at getting one ready for a run.

It's also not one for those of a nervous disposition and you'd need to be quick, but there is always the potential of a back to lay here too. Not my chosen cup of tea, but it doesn't suit us all liking the same thing, does it?


Racing Insights, 30th September 2020

One of the elements that separates the betting improvers from the stay-the-samers is reviewing matters after the fact. Because Racing Insights is more of a stream of punting consciousness than a tipping column, it allows us to - Janus-like - look back as well as forward. That's a verbose way of saying we'll include any observations from the previous day which might be useful in future. We might call that Racing Hindsights...!

Racing Hindsights

Looking at yesterday's inaugural offering - link here - the draw/pace combination did for form horses Equidae, as predicted, though the market also foresaw that, his odds drifting from 7/2 to an SP of 15/2. He finished 11th of 14 having got shunted wide and never securing an effective racing position.

At the sharp end, I overlooked the winner - and favourite - Ugo Gregory on the basis that I didn't want to be with a hold up horse. As it happened, there was a lot of pace, more than expected, and that set things up for the well-drawn waited-with victor.

A couple of takeaways: firstly, in this race, Nobby Nuts was ridden more patiently than has recently been the case, and encountered a little trouble in running. He stayed on for a never nearer sixth, and might have been fourth with a clear passage. He wasn't unlucky as such, as he'd have never troubled the first two, but he goes in my tracker with the following comment:

Nothing to go overboard on, but could be a fair price and offer a bit of value in a big field soon.

The second point, and a good one for me personally, was that although the prominent low draws didn't land the spoils in the featured seven-furlong handicap, they did in the other two races. Both Highfield Princess (11/4) and Redarna (13/2) were very well backed (including by me 🙂 ) and won comfortably. The takeaway is that Ayr's seven furlong range is one where low/prominent is a setup from which to find a bet; and kudos to Dave Renham for flagging that. His work is something we may return to regularly.


Racing Insights, 30th September 2020

To Wednesday's racing. Feature of the Day is the Trainer Statistics report, which is free to all registered subscribers. Register here if you need to.

Wednesday's free Races of the Day are

Let's take a look at the Trainer Stats report, Course 5 Year view. I have some filters set, which are 15 runs minimum, A/E 1.25 and IV 1.5. If you want to know more about those metrics, you should check out this important post. Just understanding these numbers - and putting them to work for you - will give you a head start on almost all punters. Obviously, feel free to set these filters up in a way that suits your personal tastes.

I've clicked the A/E column heading to sort by that column, largest first, and that gives me a list of trainers and their horses to look at more closely.

Clicking the 'Show/Hide Inline' button reveals the actual runners:

I'm immediately struck by the top row which tells me that Saeed bin Suroor has a 50% strike rate at Nottingham in the last five years. When I click on the little black down arrow to the left hand side of his name, it shows me his actual runners. (This past history table can be sorted by any column, so you can see, for example, whether they were all shorties, or for a particular jockey, or if the winners were a long time ago, etc).

There's lots of recency in the winner column, and for a range of jockeys. Most were at the 5/1 or shorter price point - no odds on site at the time of writing - so we might want to focus at the sharp end.

Picking between the quartet is bound to lead to egg on face, but I will highlight one of them for the sake of this piece. Global Hero had a long time off and was entitled to need his comeback run. We can see from the inline trainer data below that bin Suroor's record with horses having their second start in a handicap (note also the HC2 indicator adjacent to the horse's name) is very strong - 28% - as is his record when he steps one up markedly in trip, nigh on 30% of those having won in the last two years.

It's a competitive race, and a good race, too; but he is interesting as a starting point.



That's all for today. Remember, these articles will always have a beginning (the retrospective on the previous day) and a middle (some thoughts and observations around potentially playable angles for the following day's racing), but they may be lacking an end - a pick.

Sometimes they will, sometimes they won't. As you'll doubtless already be tired of reading, that's not the purpose of Racing Insights.

Do please leave a comment with any thoughts or questions you have, and we'll try to address them in subsequent days.


p.s. Racing Insights 'officially' replaces Stat of the Day from tomorrow evening with the first day's racing featured being 1st October.

Racing Insights, 29th September 2020

Welcome to the first in a new series of daily (Monday to Saturday) articles aimed at helping you to sharpen your betting focus. We've somewhat unimaginatively called the series Racing Insights, and I very much hope that's what they will provide.

Replacing Stat of the Day was always going to be emotional for some of that long-running feature's army of fans, but the time was right to step away from tipping and pivot the focus from 'the answer' to 'the working out'.

That means that some days, perhaps more often than not, there won't be an obvious pick within the Racing Insights piece. But what there will always be is reasoned argument whilst working through a race. Those reasonings start at the helicopter level of a whole day's racing: choosing our battles carefully is one of the most important aspects of betting, and one which is generally overlooked.

It took Stat of the Day a good four to six months to establish its style, so please don't expect Racing Insights to be cast in stone by the end of this week. Also, we're keen to make it something that can help with any challenges you might have - we can provide answers from time to time within the content here - so please do feel free to ask your burning questions in the comments!

Enough with the preamble, let's get this new show on the road...

Tuesday 29th September offers free subscribers six Gold races from the 47 races across UK and Ireland. These are as follows:

29/09/2020 13:30 Ayr
29/09/2020 13:45 Cork
29/09/2020 13:55 Punchestown
29/09/2020 14:05 Ayr
29/09/2020 16:15 Punchestown
29/09/2020 16:40 Wolverhampton

Gold subscribers have access, of course, to everything.

From that sextet, I'm going to focus on Ayr. The two races listed there are to be run over six and seven furlongs respectively, and Dave Renham's fantastic blog on Ayr Draw and Pace biases is an extremely helpful starting point.

To check the latest going, as well as any other relevant updates such as the position of the stalls, I'll go to the BHA's Fixture Updates page (well worth bookmarking). Here I discover the following:

The stalls on the straight track, which includes the six furlong distance, will be placed in the centre of the width of the course; for the seven furlong races, they will be positioned on the outer.

I've also noted that with showers forecast the going might well be good to soft.

Dave's article tells me that the draw bias is all but negated over six when the stalls are positioned centrally:

In the context of this specific race, the 1.30, the PRB (percentage of rivals beaten) chart looks like this:

While middle looks unfavoured, one has to be careful as a quick squint at the left hand axis reveals a very tight range of between 0.46 (46% of rivals beaten) and 0.53 (53% of rivals beaten). I wouldn't normally consider anything in the 0.46-0.54 range to be material. In other words, this backs up Dave's assertion that draw is largely irrelevant over six at Ayr when the stalls are in the middle.

I don't really feel like I have enough of a route into this race and so I'm moving on to the other Ayr Race of the Day, the 2.05, a handicap over seven furlongs.

Here we can see that there is a sharp bend to negotiate soon after the start and, even allowing for the positioning of the stalls on the outside to enable the field to meet it at more of a tangent, there is still scope for wide-drawn runners to have to cover a lot more ground especially if getting fanned out turning into the home straight:


We can see from Dave's piece that high draws win around half as often as those otherwise berthed:

They do still win 20% of the time, mind. [Any horse can win any race, remember that!!]

So it's a knock for wide drawn runners, though not a knockout blow at this stage. However, pace is also a factor with those closer to the speed faring best and those furthest from it doing worst. Below is the draw/pace chart looking at place data on the heat map.

Note that Florenza, and particularly the hattrick-seeking Equidae, are drawn widest of all. They both have some early speed so might try to go forward and tack across. The likelihood, with that bend appearing soon after the start, is that they'll be trapped out wide and I'd be against them on that basis. Of course, if they can get handy and not be four, five or six wide, they'll have their chance.

Those most obviously favoured by the draw and pace set up look to be Nobby Nuts, Let Right Be Done, Al Mansoura, and Kodimoor. [Nobby Nuts appears to be in a flash of amber, but one needs to use common sense when considering the data as a whole and the principles of geometry: there is not a huge amount of data with which to work and it stands to reason that a horse near the inner of the field who likes to race handily ought to be favoured - I hope that's clear...ish]

Let's have a look at Instant Expert now:

Again, I'm looking at place data (to get a slightly deeper feel for things) and I've set to all horse form, though I often look only at the last two years. And I've ordered by draw because of the bias against those locked in the car park.

I can see that one of the horses I was interested in, Let Right Be Done, has run at Ayr a whopping 32 times in his career, making the frame just four times. That does include a course and distance score on good to soft but he's not really on my shopping list.

Of the exposed runners, Forever A Lady seems to always perform well here. She's on her last winning mark (59, see the right hand column in Instant Expert) and has made the frame in five of seven course and distance spins. Note also that, in spite of generally having been held up recently, she's (sensibly!) normally ridden more prominently over this track and trip. Stall nine doesn't massively help but she'll probably a big price to offset the risk.

Al Mansoura has a lot less data in the visual than most of her rivals, but what little there is is green: she was a neck second to Equidae on her only course run, which was also over this range and, with a kinder draw than her conqueror then, she has a strong chance to reverse that form. She's been beaten a neck a couple of times now, however, and remains a maiden after five runs. That does also mean she can probably improve from her current rating.

Interestingly, trainer David O'Meara and jockey Danny Tudhope both have fine long-term (C5) records at Ayr, the latter also in excellent recent form as shown by the green 14/30 indicators:

O'Meara persists with the cheek pieces even though Al Mansoura ran poorly in them on their first application last time out.

Nobby Nuts is another three-year-old with little data to go on; but he has that good draw and can go forward. Also, he's dropping back in trip having failed to see out a mile last time and he's dropping in class (see the down arrow to the right of his name). He's quite interesting

A third three-year-old is Edna Tale and her trainer's record with handicap debutants would have made her of interest on another day; but the combination of David Barron's poor recent form and her moderate wide draw mean she's got plenty on her plate for all that she's only had two goes thus far and is almost sure to be better than we've seen.

Of the more exposed runners, Kodimoor is one-from-one at the track, in a Class 6 seven-furlong handicap, the same setup as today. He seems to handle all ground and only conceded the lead in the last furlong when racing over Beverley's stiff mile last time. Paula Muir rode him there and keeps the mount. As can be seen below from the RS (Run Style) column on the Full Form tab, this lad has led in his most recent two starts and may again attempt the front-running tactic.



It's a very tricky 14-runner low grade contest, but the widest stall for the most in-form horse might make the market for anything else we fancy. In that context, Kodimoor is interesting and I suspect he'll make a bid for the lead, his draw in 8 mitigated by a number of typically steadier starters inside. But he may get run down in the final furlong by one of the less exposed three-year-olds. It would be no surprise to see Forever A Lady significantly outrun her odds.

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