The Eider Chase at Newcastle is probably Saturday’s big betting race but there is also some nice live racing from Lingfield on Saturday including the Winter Derby and the Hever Sprint. We are sure to find some course biases in the latter (2.05 Lingfield) and they may well end up setting us up for a decent bet.
Around a sharp 5f there isn’t a lot of time to recover a poor position so the draw data here should be enlightening.
There isn’t a huge difference in win percentage or place percentages across the board, most likely because of the small field size. Even for a small field size, it’s slightly surprising to see the highest win percentage go to the highest draws. The flip side of that is the place percentage, which has twice as much data, sees high draws come off worst. It’s the PRB (percentage of rivals beaten) that gives us the most data though and a low draw PRB of 0.52, middle draw PRB of 0.51 and high draw PRB of 0.47 suggests a low to middle draw is still preferable, although only slightly.
Over a few different trips at Lingfield stall 1 performs poorly but in this field size over this trip stall 1 actually has the best PRB (0.55) and highest win percentage (24.07%). Stalls 5 and 6 are the worst performers according to PRB and it looks as though you ideally want to be in the lowest four stalls.
The minimum distance tends to be one where we see the strongest pace bias at many courses and Lingfield is no different.
There looks to be a strong edge towards front runners over this course and distance in similar field sizes. Front runners have been ridiculously profitable to follow with a win PL of 250.05! The IV for front runners is 2.06, almost twice as large as that of the next best run style and almost four times as big as the IV for hold up runners.
The win percentage, place percentage, win PL, each way PL and IV all steadily fall the further back in the field you look at which strongly points to an extensive bias here. It’s also worth noting that 142 winners from the races in the data set have been won by front runners of prominent racers whilst just 67 winners have been placed in mid division or held up early. There were slightly more runners from the latter group so you can certainly expect most winners to be near the pace here.
Pace and Draw Combination
The pace and draw combination heat map can sometimes put a different spin on any potential draw or pace bias or can show any micro advantages there could be over course and distance.
There is some really interesting data in this heat map. The draw data tells us that a high draw isn’t much of a disadvantage, if any. However we can now see that high drawn front runners perform well, better than any other draw/pace combination in fact. The consequence of that is that high drawn prominent racers, mid division runners or hold up performers all perform worse on average compared to their lower drawn counterparts.
We also see that the worst performance at all comes from low drawn hold up horses. The PRB is almost half of what it is for low drawn front runners. This goes to show that not all low drawn horses are created equal here.
It’s pretty clear to see you either want to be a front runner from any draw or a low to middle drawn prominent racer or mid division runner.
Hever Sprint Pace Map
Let’s take a look at the pace map for this contest to see the likely pace setup:
Ornate is the main pace angle here but it’s possible Lord Riddiford could contest that pace. What stands out here is that all the pace is in the lowest two stalls. Ornate is normally pretty quick from the gates so he may be able to get across Lord Riddiford but it seems likely Lord Riddiford won’t make life easy for Ornate on the front end.
We’ve established that anyother kind of ride than front running is a big disadvantage for high drawn horses so there certainly have to be some question marks over Royal Birth and Rocket Action, and also Blue De Vega to a certain extent. Rocket Action is fairly well fancied here and his run style and draw combination could be a problem.
Belle Anglaise has plenty to find on form and her run style isn’t going to be much help here despite a decent draw whilst hot favourite Moss Gill is quite tactically versatile so P J McDonald would be sensible to track the pace from an okay draw in stall 4.
Only seven runners to go through, let’s look at them in market order.
It's no great surprise to see Moss Gill hovering around even money for this contest. He’s got 7lbs or more in hand of the rest of the field, he’s never been out of the first two in three runs on artificial surfaces and he’s already a listed winner. He also won off a similar break this time last year, albeit in a lower grade.
The bad news is he’s never run on polytrack and he’s been held up on two of his last three starts. If similar tactics were to be employed here he could end up forfeiting the 7lb+ advantage he has over this field based on official ratings. If you wanted to be even pickier you could ignore his runs at York, which seems to be his favourite track (form figures of 12233 there). He’s been well enough beaten at other venues at listed level twice and Group 3 level once which is a slight concern.
His best run to date was a 3rd in the Nunthorpe behind Battaash last year and if able to replicate that form he’d be almost impossible to beat here against this field.
Rocket Action is returning from a similar kind of break as the favourite and he too has a very good all weather record. He’s one of just three runners in this who bring a triple figure official rating into the race and he ran a solid 4th in a competitive Group 3 at Dundalk last time out.
He’s another who hasn’t yet run at Lingfield though. His run style would be a big concern from any draw and it’s a particular concern from the widest stall. He may well end up finding this test too sharp and he would have made far more appeal at Wolverhampton where he has won all three of his starts.
Blue De Vega
Blue De Vega is the other runner to be rated 100 or over in this and he’s arguably the stable second string, despite being rated 1lb higher than Rocket Action. He’s another who hasn’t been seen since the tail end of the flat turf season but he has at least run well after a break before.
He’s a past Group 3 winner and has been rated 110 previously but he is 8 now and perhaps a bit past his prime. He has won on artificial surfaces before but he’s yet another to have never run here and he certainly doesn’t look an all weather specialist like Rocket Action. He generally raced prominently last season so might not be badly placed but he would need to improve on last season’s form to win this.
This speedy prominent racer/front runner has now hit a career high rating signalling the fact that he’s been as good as ever this winter. He has a better win ratio on sand compared to turf and he’s won three times on Chelmsford’s polytrack course but he’s never run here. It’s a course that should suit his style and as a winner at courses like Goodwood and Windsor he’s no stranger to a speedy or sharp 5f.
In fact if you use the ‘General Config’ filter on his form you can see he does very well on courses with a similar configuration to Lingfield.
He's unlikely to beat Ornate to the lead in this but he is comfortable just tracking the pace, tactics employed when he won at Wolverhampton in November. He’ll be better placed than most here, is in the form of his life and only has 4lbs to find with the second highest rated runner. He’s also fit having run all winter and he could be the main threat to Moss Gill.
The likely front runner in this is the shortest priced runner who has actually run here at Lingfield. He hasn’t won in three runs here but he did get within a short head of victory over course and distance in December off a rating of 95. He ran less well here last month though and was also below par when sent off favourite at Southwell last time out, a course at which he is a three time winner.
He's closely matched with Royal Birth on both his previous two runs here but doesn’t seem good enough right now or in good enough form to pose a real threat. At best he’s a back to lay option but if Lord Riddiford pesters him on the front end he probably wouldn’t even appeal even for trading purposes.
The only course winner in the field and the winner of this race all the way back in 2017. The 10yo isn’t quite at that level anymore but he’s still a relatively consistent performer having chalked up two more wins here at the turn of the year, taking his Lingfield tally up to five wins from thirteen at this trip.
He was put in his place at this level recently but that was over 6f, a distance he has never excelled over. Another point to note is the horse’s record for Richard Kingscote.
The horse has finished 1st once and 2nd twice from four 5f runs under this pilot. He needs to improve on his recent form by several pounds to win this but his form in this race does read 1522 over the past four years and he’s entitled to outrun his odds. He’s more than capable of finishing 3rd in this but with only 7 runners he still doesn’t appeal as an each way option.
The youngest runner in the field and the only female meaning she gets a useful 5lbs from the others. She’s rated 90 so does have to improve but not by as much as the ratings might suggest. Is she capable of running beyond 90 though?
She hasn’t run in this country since her 2yo campaign where she was last seen being well beaten in the Oh So Sharp Stakes over 7f. She’s since been running in Germany but she failed to get her head in front as a 3yo. Her only win came on her only start on an all weather surface (at Chelmsford) so the return to polytrack is definitely an interesting angle but this will be her first run at the minimum distance so in all probability she’ll be seen to best effect in the coming months over a little further on this kind of surface.
Moss Gill looks the most likely winner of this race but doesn’t appeal in the slightest as a single at the price given there are some doubts, notably fitness and record away from York.
Lord Riddiford is the solid but unspectacular choice from the plum draw. He’d be a pretty decent each way bet with an extra runner in here and three places on offer but looks less interesting with just two places on offer. Therefore the best option may be a small single on Lord Riddiford at a general 7/1 but a slightly largely straight forecast on Moss Gill to win and Lord Riddiford to finish runner up. That bet pays around 9/1 with bet365 at the time of writing.
A braver punter might be willing to add Royal Birth to make up a trifecta but that’s not a bet that will appeal to many for decent stakes, especially with Royal Birth faring slightly unluckily with the draw.