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Draw Biases at Galway and Glorious Goodwood?

It's the eve of the two concurrent midsummer 'G' Festivals, Glorious Goodwood on the rolling Sussex Downs and Galway's marathon week-long session in the west or Ireland. To emerge victorious from festival meetings at such quintessentially quirky configurations as these requires more than a 'mere' understanding of the form. Preparation for those serious about the week wil start with an awareness of the layouts of the circuits and the implications on race shape.

Draw is rarely as simple - and occasionally not as complicated - as the pundits will tell you in their one line summaries. Let's review the courses.

These are Goodwood's helter-skelter pistes:

If you're confused, you'll not be alone. There is a tight right-hand loop, and a straight of a little shy of half a mile from which point the run in is pretty much all downhill - having been largely uphill to the turn.

Goodwood is a front-runner's track for a couple of reasons. Firstly, when horses get to the turn into the straight, they tend to fan wide, giving up ground, just at the moment the pacemaking railer is stealing a length or two. Secondly, horses held up for a later run often get caught in a pocket, with the far rail of the home straight cambering away from the grandstands.

Indeed, only one horse with an actual draw (i.e. number of stalls from the rail, after accounting for non-runners) higher than 13 in a mile handicap has managed to win at Goodwood since 2009. 107 tried. [Laa Rayb, the 2009 Totesport Mile winner, had an advertised draw of 15, but in fact broke 13 from the rail due to two non-runners inside him; it was Inside Story, from stall 16 of 16, who overcame the near impossible in two months prior to Laa Rayb's more famous, but marginally less challenging, exploits].

The place to be, to a lesser or greater degree, is low and front rank, from seven furlongs to a mile. And yet... over nine furlongs, the bias shifts to high drawn horses who are waited with.

Wait. What?! How can the whole draw/pace bias be shifted on its head?

A theory, and only that, is that at this rarely raced intermediate distance - neither a mile nor a mile and a quarter - that starts with a stiff uphill climb, milers race too freely and run out of juice while ten furlong horses get outpaced before staying on late. As convoluted as it sounds, it may just be credible!

In handicaps over ten furlongs, in fields of 14+ runners (the race type and field size used for all of the above commentary), there seems little to no bias. Here they travel uphill for slightly longer, then take the outer loop - with its sharp top bend - before freewheeling down five furlongs or so of home straight. There is more time for jockeys to manouevre their horses to where they want them, and it seems a fairer track.

Be warned, though, with rain forecast, the bias is less pronounced on going softer than good...

**

Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea in Galway, there is a race for every racehorse. The programme covers the whole gamut from two year old maidens to exposed handicap chasers. Of course, we'll focus our attention on the flat handicaps. The layout is a little more straightforward here: a little, though not much...

Shaped like a diamond, features of the mile and a quarter Galway oval are sharp turns, undulations, and a stiff uphill quarter-mile run to the finish line. There is a shortish run from the seven furlong start to the first of two bends, both of which require wider drawn runners to either take back and wait or risk conceding ground on the turns.

Here is a snapshot of how draw and pace impacts the ability of horses to make the frame in Galway 14+ runner seven furlong handicaps.

High draws inconvenienced over 7f

High draws inconvenienced over 7f

 

But take a look at the draw and run style in combination for some real takeaways:

Galway 7f races: Leaders win from anywhere, inside hold up types fare very poorly

Galway 7f races: Leaders win from anywhere, inside hold up types fare very poorly

The first chart shows a strong linear correlation between stall position and ability to make the frame; but it is the heat map which interests more.

This is showing Actual vs Expected (see A/E in the dropdown top right). As you'll see on the right hand side, horses that can get to the front outperform market expectation regardless of stall position. We then have a nice gradation of colour from dark green (led) through amber (low mid div and middle prominent) to red (pretty much everything else). Except...

Look at the bottom left square - horses draw high and held up. On a reasonable sample of 66 runners (seven wins, 13 places) these waited-with types have fared a lot better than the betting public expected. This is most likely due to a perception that their draw cannot be overcome; but that inflates the available odds. And, when there is too much pace on the front end, those ridden more patiently (and having to travel less wide due to the strung out nature of fields in such a context) can skulk through to pick up the pieces.

Also noteworthy is the lamentable performance of low drawn hold up horses. Such runners are 0 from 28, three places, in 14+ runner handicaps here since 2009. Those who race mid-pack are 1 from 64, 11 places (17% place rate), and can also generally be discounted.

Meanwhile, over a mile and half a furlong, the main note regards hold up horses. These slow starters tend to be too late finishers, collectively recording a lamentable four wins from 181 runs in handicap fields of 14+. As you can see, it doesn't matter where they're berthed either. Alongside the 2.2% win strike rate is a 12.7% place record, so the message is clear: look elsewhere.

Held up over a mile in a big field Galway handicap? Might as well go home...

Held up over a mile in a big field Galway handicap? Might as well go home...

Keep these specific pointers in mind and you'll have a leg up on the vast majority of punters at next week's 'G' Festivals. And if you want this kind of intel for all flat courses, distances, goings, field sizes and race types, there is only one place to get it: Geegeez Gold's Draw Analyser Tool. If you're not a Gold subscriber, you can find out more about Draw Analyser, and the rest of our form book and tool kit, here.

Good luck!

Matt

Olly Murphy: The Story So Far

On the 4th July 2017, a remarkable story began. Shortly before four o'clock on a glorious summer day, a 25 year old by the name of Olly Murphy saddled his first ever runner, Dove Mountain, at Brighton in a lowly 0-55 handicap. The horse won, easily, to obvious celebration from young Olly and his team.

That was Tuesday and, by Sunday evening, Murphy had his second winner, this time the hurdler, Gold Class. Gold Class was one of two horses he saddled in the race, the other - Banff - finishing second.

On 11th July, just a week after Murphy sent out his first runner/winner, he had three horses entered. Although none of the trio won, two - Skilled and Sky Of Stars - finished second, the former 'bumping into one' in the shape of the very well handicapped Bestwork. Still, this was a strong start: two wins, three second places and two unplaced from his first seven runners.

A few more quiet days and then it was Sunday again, the 16th July. A brace of entries at Southwell and a third at local course, Stratford, would provide Murphy with a double which should have been a treble. Pershing, hitherto a 28-race maiden, and Sky Of Stars, a dozen races without a win to that point, both got off the mark; but it was a case of what might have been as a rare misjudged ride from the ultra-reliable Richard Johnson probably cost Varene De Vauzelle victory, and a notable trio for the new boy.

Back on the level the following day, Sevilla ran well to finish fourth, meaning that, after a fortnight with a license, Olly Murphy had racked up four winners, four seconds and just three unplaced efforts from eleven runners. The three out of the frame all came in flat races, with the National Hunt octet all finishing on the exacta ticket.

By now, the media had stood up and taken notice. The Guardian ran a story on Murphy; Racing UK broadcast a feature on the young handler; and Betfair signed him up as a content provider. Little old geegeez.co.uk also flagged his punting utility and suggested Murphy was worthy of blind support in coming weeks in this post.

So far, so good: a dream start as the trainer himself had put it.

But it was going to get better...

Two more flat runners on Thursday would yield another unplaced animal, the previous scorer Dove Mountain, but also a second flat winner, courtesy of Jazz Legend, dropped back a furlong after defeat on his maiden run for the yard. Five winners and four seconds from 13 runners.

By this point, like every other syndicate manager in the country no doubt, I had begun to ponder the prospect of stabling a horse at Warren Chase Stables, the Wilmcote base from which Murphy operates. By the end of the weekend, I was soul-searching more deeply about what exactly was happening here, and how sustainable it might be.

That was because, yesterday, Murphy won all four races in which he entered horses. Knight Commander bolted up in a novices' handicap hurdle at Newton Abbot to start the ball rolling. All roads then led to Stratford, five miles from Warren Chase, where a Murphy quartet contested three races. Cliffside Park ran in the seller and, though nudged out of favouritism, won "like an odds on favourite should", at 11/8.

Skilled, who jumps fences like me, made it a treble despite hitting almost every obstacle on the way round. He can't go up much for this effort, but would have won twenty lengths if lifting his hooves with more alacrity.

It was then left to a pair of relatively unfancied horses to round out the remarkable four-timer, Hongkong Adventure and Mizen Master (you clearly don't need to spell to name racehorses). The former was preferred of the pair, at no shorter than 6/1, while the latter was largely unconsidered at 10's behind a solid jolly from the Dan Skelton yard that traded at 5/4.

The Skelton horse, Wynford, undoubtedly ran his race, finishing a game four length second; but he was no match for Mizen Master, who just kept galloping.

That quartet parlayed at 154/1, a £1 yankee paying £459.16 if you landed on the right one of the pair in the last leg; and I know of a number of geegeez subscribers who emailed or tweeted to say they were on, thanks to either last week's post or the Trainer Snippets / Trainer Statistics reports. Nice job.

**

So here we are, not three weeks after the debut runner of Olly Murphy Racing, and already the rising star has saddled nine winners from 18 runners, a 50% clip. Moreover, from a dozen National Hunt starts, just one horse has failed to make the frame.

I'm a cynical, but generally reasonable, old buzzard so when I see stats like this I want to know how, and why. After all, the beaten trainers - the likes of Dan Skelton and Nigel Twiston-Davies - are established master practitioners in their field.

Having initially ruminated on far more nefarious possibilities (shame on me), I found my answer where all such answers should lie: in the form book.

Olly Murphy is the son of Aiden Murphy, bloodstock agent, and Anabel Murphy, racehorse trainer. Mum trains a quarter mile away, next door. At this stage I can only guess - and I really wish I knew/could corroborate - the relationship between Olly and John Joseph Murphy. My guess is that JJ is his uncle. What I do know, as it has been well documented, is that Olly spent four years as assistant trainer to the winning machine Gordon Elliott, a role he occupied until April of this year.

That is a comprehensive and excellent grounding, and it is important context for the form profiles of a number of the Warren Chase runners which follow. Let us first consider the winners:

Dove Mountain

Enjoyed four wins in the care of Gordon Elliott before switching to Anabel Murphy at the turn of the year. Six runs yielded a second, third and fourth - and a slipping of the rating from 60 to 55 - before Olly's breakthrough winner on 4th July.

Gold Class

Formerly trained by Robert Alan Hennessy in Ireland, for whom he was 0 from 20, though having run with relative credit on a few occasions. Off the track since October last year, he won by six lengths at 16/1 on debut for his new yard.

Pershing

Another former inmate of Hennessy's, this time a 28 race maiden (!) including a handful of flat runs for Brian Meehan and Marco Botti in 2013/14. Rated as high as 116 over hurdles for Hennessy, this fellow had clearly hinted at ability but looked to have lost his way until being freshened by his new surroundings. He too was off since October 2016 and won by eight lengths for new connections.

Sky Of Stars

Average on the flat - rated 70 - for Richard Hannon, briefly, and then William Knight, he had four runs in novice and maiden hurdles for Anabel Murphy before being awarded a timber-topping handicap mark of 90. Followed up a debut second for Olly with a narrow verdict five days later, prior to being re-assessed. He went up to 94 for the second place and, tomorrow, will receive his revised perch for the win, likely just a couple of pounds higher.

Jazz Legend

Rated as high as 85 as a juvenile when in the care of James Given, brief stints with Robert Cowell, Mandy Rowland and, most recently, Anabel Murphy had seen his mark plummet to 50. After a moderate, but still career best, all weather effort - for which he's impeccably bred, being by Scat Daddy out of a Candy Ride mare - Jazz Legend hit the right notes at Leicester in a basement handicap on his second run for the yard.

Knight Commander

Another ex-William Knight horse, Knight Commander was a 15 race maiden on the flat with a fair rating of 77 at his peak (dropping to 65 on his final start for Knight). Then moved to Anabel Murphy where three middling runs in juvenile hurdles paved the way for an opening handicap figure of 95 and a switch to Olly Murphy. Knight Commander won by 16 lengths on handicap debut and will very likely turn out under a penalty before the middle of next week (entered at Uttoxeter on Friday).

Cliffside Park

Probably the smartest horse with form in the yard, this chap was previously with Elizabeth Doyle in Ireland, where he'd earned a career high rating of 128. Still rated 122 in this seller, he was entitled to win if not suffering a recurrence of the burst blood vessel issue that has troubled him. Win he did and, in similar races where he can boss his field without coming off the bridle, he may go in again. Punters must be aware of the likelihood of his finishing position being binary, however.

Skilled

With Gordon Elliott (won two) until mid- to late 2016, then moved to Anabel Murphy. Four runs moved the hurdle rating from 111 to 100 and the flat mark from 74 to 67. Second to very well handicapped horse (Bestwork, winner of three of last four starts) on stable/chase debut before, as mentioned above, winning in spite of uprooting most of the birch en route. Remains well handicapped if he can improve his jumping.

Mizen Master

Six race (five flat, one hurdles) maiden for John Joseph Murphy before acquiring an opening mark of 104 after two non-descript runs for Anabel Murphy. Won on handicap debut for Olly Murphy, beating 5/4 favourite Wynford - a last time out winner - by 4.5 lengths, with 17 lengths back to the third placed horse, who was 7/2 second market choice. Another likely to get entries before being re-assessed.

**

So those are the winners, with some interesting patterns emerging. But what of the non-winners to date? Murphy has saddled 14 different horses thus far, nine of them winning. These are the back stories of the quintet yet to savour triumph from the barns at Warren Chase:

Enchanted Moment

Eleven race maiden for Chris Wall, she was well beaten in a low grade handicap a fortnight ago, and is entered on Wednesday at Leicester. The handicapper has left her on 54 after she lost all chance at the start that last day, an effort through which it is easy to draw a line. She remains potentially well-handicapped.

Banff

Seven race maiden on the flat for John Joseph Murphy, he had three runs in maiden and juvenile hurdle company for Anabel Murphy before making his handicap bow for Olly Murphy off 100. Beaten only by stable mate Gold Class two weeks ago and has entries at the end of this week off the same peg.

Varene De Vauzelle

21 race maiden for James Ewart and Michael Hourigan before moving yards in the spring. Victim of the annual poor ride from ultra-reliable Richard Johnson when just held at Southwell last week, and looks sure to be bumped up from his hurdle mark of 89 when re-assessed tomorrow.

Sevilla

Thirteen race maiden for John Joseph Murphy (seven runs) and Anabel Murphy (six) before finishing fourth on debut for Olly. Had three hurdle runs for Anabel but not yet awarded a mark in that sphere. It was a claimer in which he was beaten last week and it is a selling handicap for which he is entered on Wednesday. Capable of winning at that level but perhaps no higher.

Hongkong Adventure

Four race flat maiden for Rae Guest, before three lacklustre runs in juvenile/maiden hurdle company for Anabel Murphy. Handicap / yard debut yesterday for Olly off 105 when better fancied of two for the trainer but trailed home well beaten. Plenty of horses don't act around the tight turns of Stratford and he may be forgiven on that basis. Worth another try at least, given lesser fancied stablemate won the race well.

**

There are some strong patterns emerging, not least of which is that Olly Murphy looks to be a very good trainer in the making. There is more to the early part of this story than that, however, and the sub-plot deserves an airing.

Of Olly's nine winners, six have been inherited from mum, Anabel. Indeed she managed to secure a handicap hurdle mark for three of the winners and two of the non-winners to date.

Trying to ascertain the ability of a new trainer on a small sample size is not easy, but there are grounds for feeling that at least a subset of the Warren Chase winners to date were, if not penalty kicks then at least clinically converted one-on-one's.

This, by now, will not be news to forensic form students as the new kid on the block notched first a debut winner, then a double (which should have been a treble) and most recently an incredible four-timer.

There are reportedly four 'summer' horses still to run, three of which appear on the website as Mullaghboy (four 'nothing' runs for Stuart Crawford to date), Wood Pigeon (seven runs for JJ Murphy, two for Anabel Murphy, now rated 100 over hurdles; should be competitive on soft ground at around three miles), and The Geegeez Geegee.

It is the last named which holds the most interest for me. Firstly, he has been acquired from a very (very!) good trainer in Anthony Honeyball, so it will be fascinating to see if TGG can be freshened/improved from there. And secondly, as the name suggests, he was formerly owned by a syndicate of geegeez.co.uk readers, and myself, who know the animal inside out.

The reason for my acute interest in Olly is that, as stated, I'm giving serious thought to syndicating a horse with him - as I'm sure are countless others. It is important to me that I understand the modus operandi of trainers who look after my/our horses, hence the deep dive.

It has been an enthralling exercise, and one after which I'm more inclined to want to support this new name. To be clear, I don't believe the Murphy's have done anything wrong - the fingerprint is very quickly discernible to anyone who cares to look - and I admire the orchestration with which this training career has begun.

Moreover, the improved showing from the likes of Gold Class, Pershing and Varene De Vauzelle demonstrate that much of the Elliott magic has rubbed off on his protégé, and that Olly Murphy may well be fast-tracking to the top table of the winter game if his summer 'pre-season friendly' results are anything to go by.

This will be a space that continues to be well worth watching...

Matt

Monday Musings: On Racing’s Transience

It’s my wife’s birthday today and we’re going to the Whitstable Oyster Festival down on the North Kent Coast, writes Tony Stafford. The last time I was there, I was strolling past the fishermen’s huts along the quay when the phone rang with a six-figure offer for the boss’s then three-year-old Fair Trade.

The offer, from agent Stuart Boman, was greeted by trainer David Elsworth, when reported to him by the owner, with the response: “Don’t take it. I’ll get you a lot more than that!”

Seven years and four trainers on from that memorable remark, I saw Fair Trade on Thursday morning in a field in Muggleswick, Co Durham, where he continues to waste his, and everyone else’s, time. Winner of a Newbury maiden race before finishing tenth in Makfi’s 2,000 Guineas, a run which brought an unnecessary 18lb hike in his rating, he never won again in conventional Flat races, but took a jumpers’ bumper and two hurdles when in the care of Alan King.

Two days earlier, I’d just dropped off Raymond Tooth at Heathrow on his way to a week’s holiday when the phone rang. Former jockey Tom Morgan told me the sad news that David Wintle had died at the age of 82. Tom is married to Dave’s daughter, Alison. I’ve not seen her or her brother James for a long time, but often bump into Dave’s other daughter Becky, who is married to another bloodstock agent, Stephen Hillen.

Becky always kept me aware of her father’s up and down health and then one day in the spring, she suggested I call him. We had a nice chat, reminiscing about horses he’d trained for me and how a Terry Ramsden gamble – I’d brought them together in the early 1980’s – led to Wintle’s losing his licence for a while.

Without that connection, I would never have met Wilf Storey, one of my longest-standing friends in racing, and custodian of the field in which Fair Trade idles the days away. I had a filly with Wintle, called Maid of Ireland, and managed to persuade Tick Vergette – later Saunders – who I’d known when she was Geoff Huffer’s secretary at Cheveley Park Stables (now Stud) to let me use the filly as a makeweight in a deal to buy Fiefdom. Originally he was to be a riding horse for a local girl.

Once a useful handicapper with Bruce Hobbs – he was fifth as a three-year-old in the Cambridgeshire – Fiefdom flopped over hurdles for Tick’s father George, and after a dreadful final run for them over Easter, they were willing to let him go.

Relocated to Rod Simpson, he took a while to get fit, but then won twice in a week, at Folkestone and Lingfield, before running fourth in the ladies’ race at Ascot on King George Day. In those days it was a non-handicap, and the older horses gave lumps of weight to the three-year-olds.

Fiefdom was ridden there by Celia Radband, a very nice girl who made many appearances in Eastenders and other television shows. She recommended Fiefdom as a potential jumper to Wilf Storey’s daughters Fiona and Stella, against whom she competed in ladies’ races, as she knew I’d been trying to sell him immediately before the two wins.

Wilf’s polite and understanding reaction when I said that I’d changed my mind for now, struck a cord and so, soon after when I needed to off-load a couple of horses that had been misbehaving on the Lambourn gallops - “Give ‘em away!”, said Rod, I asked Wilf if he had anyone “with two grand”. He gave the same reply that he still does: “No”, but they went up to him anyway. One was a lunatic and had to be put down, but Santopadre won three in a row and was fifth in Solar Cloud’s Triumph Hurdle.

A couple of months later, I did sell Fiefdom, and fully primed, was able to enjoy a touch when he won a Sedgefield novice handicap hurdle by ten lengths from 10lb out of the handicap first time out. He won a load of races and yesterday at Redcar, Mr Sundowner, the only son of Scat Daddy ever sighted in Muggleswick, gave Wilf a career-equalling eighth Flat winner of 2017.

On Thursday night, I travelled south to Mark Johnston’s for a Friday gallop when Tarnhelm, a promising Helmet filly was making her first comeback gallop after sustaining a chip in her joint, days before her proposed first run in April. To everyone’s apparent surprise, she trailed her two companions up the gallop. Mark and son Charlie, who watched with me, pointed out it was her first gallop since her injury and advised waiting until she could have another go next week.

In racing and generally when watching sport, the disappointments exceed the successes as the recent Murray and McIlroy results again proved. After Tarnhelm, at least there was the expectation of a follow-up win for Stanhope, three weeks on from his course and distance romp in first time visors on the July Course at Newmarket.

They worked well enough the first time, but now he seemed not to want to go down to the start, and he came back even more reluctantly to finish a remote last of seven. “I wouldn’t put them on again,” helpfully suggested jockey Pat Cosgrave. I’m sure Mick Quinn agrees.

It doesn’t only happen to us. I bet trainer Bob Baffert approached Saturday night’s San Diego Handicap with supreme confidence that Arrogate, the world’s unchallenged top racehorse on official figures, would resume with another triumph after that Dubai World Cup master-class by putting away his five vastly-inferior rivals. The Racing Post even suggested that TV viewers should stay up until the off time of 2.10 a.m. BST to watch the “Best Horse in the World” live on At The Races.

In the event, starting at 1-20, he put in a dreadful display, finishing more than 15 lengths fifth behind the winner Accelerate. In the US, even five runner races have three places in the Show Pool, and pay a minimum dividend of 10 cents on a two dollar stake. Thus the value-thieves who lurk around American racing dive in, resulting in the Show Pool’s being at least as big as the Win, while the Place (1-2 in the US) is almost ignored.

Not for nothing is the term “Bridge Jumpers” used to describe them, as the practice, while more often than not profitable, in time and return terms far more favourable than US and UK interest rates, is hardly fool-proof. Usually it takes injury or some other mishap for such a negative outcome to occur. In this case, Arrogate, generously treated in the weights by the Del Mar handicapper, ran stones below his normal level, and no doubt some of the “jumpers” might well have been looking for the nearest bridge from which to propel themselves.

As I prepare for a trip down to the coast and some fresher-than-fresh sea food, I would like to pass on my best wishes to Ana O’Brien in her recovery from that horror fall at Killarney last Monday night. I saw it live and was so relieved that this wonderful young lady’s injuries were no worse than they are.

There can be no such relief for the family of Stephen Yarborough, the senior stalls handler killed at Haydock on Friday in a stalls accident. Both these unrelated incidents show just how dangerous the sport is for those who put on the show, while those who write about, watch or bet on it, are safe to pontificate about what far too many see as the shortcomings of the brave entertainers.

Stat of the Day, 24th July 2017

Saturday's Result :

1.50 Newbury : Remarkable @ 3/1 BOG 2nd at 11/4 Held up in touch, pushed along and headway chasing leaders 3f out, went 2nd inside final 2f, ridden and every chance throughout final furlong, soon edged right, no extra close home, beaten by a neck.

Monday's pick goes in the...

7.55 Beverley...

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Navarone @ 7/2 BOG

Why?

Well, simply Trainer/Jockey/Track combo when the money is down which numerically looks like... Richard Fahey / Tony Hamilton / Beverley / 11-10 to 11-2 / 2014-17 = 16/41 (39% SR) for 29.06pts (+70.9% ROI).

And with this race in mind, those 41 runners include...

  • 1-30 days since last run : 9/22 (40.9%) for 18.6pts (+84.6%)
  • males are 8/21 (38.1%) for 17.65pts (+84%)
  • handicappers are 8/17 (47.1%) for 20.52pts (+120.7%)
  • over this 7.5f trip : 8/15 (533%) for 17.6pts (+117.4%)
  • 3 yr olds are 6/15 (40%) for 11.32pts (+75.5%)
  • in 3yo+ races : 3/8 937.5%) for 6.35pts (+79.4%)
  • and at Class 4 : 2/4 (50%) for 7.87pts (+196.8%)

They now team up with a 3 yr old gelding getting a nice 7lbs weight for age allowance as a 3yr old in an open age handicap, who is already 1 from 1 over course and distance, having won here two starts ago. He stepped up in class and dropped in trip for his latest run and was outpaced late on, finishing as a runner-up beaten by half a length.

The fourth placed horse that day was a further 2.25lengths behind, but has subsequently reappeared and won, so if the form holds out, I expect another good effort from our boy, who now steps back up to this trip and drops down a grade, making him of further statistical interest to me, because...

...2012-17 / Flat / class 1 to 4 / 5.5 to 8 furlongs / 3yr olds / winner 2 starts ago / 2nd LTO 1-30 days ago = 79/319 (24.8% SR) for 180.8pts (+56.7% ROI) with those dropping down 1 class winning 14 of 35 (40%) for 29.2pts (+83.4%)

...thus quantifying...a 1pt win bet on Navarone @ 7/2 BOG which was widely available at 5.50pm on Sunday with some 4/1 BOG on offer at Coral for those who are able to take advantage! To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 7.55 Beverley...

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

SotD Update, 17th to 22nd July 2017

Another consistent week for SotD with 5 of our picks making the frame, but sadly only the one winner at 7/2.

This meant a loss of 1.5pts for the week, but we're still in healthy position for July in general and we probably need just one more winner from the next 7 selections to ensure a 13th consecutive month of profit.

I will, of course, be hoping/aiming for more!

Selections & Results : 17/07/17 to 22/07/17

17/07 : Donnachies Girl @ 7/2 BOG 2nd at 10/3
18/07 : Clenymistra @ 9/2 BOG 2nd at 3/1
19/07 : Mamselle @ 7/2 BOG WON at 10/3
20/07 : Star of Lombardy @ 3/1 BOG 3rd at 9/2
21/07 : Trulee Scrumptious @ 4/1 BOG 6th at 4/1
22/07 : Remarkable @ 3/1 BOG 2nd at 11/4

17/07/17 to 22/07/17 :
1 winning bet from 6 = 16.66% SR
P/L: -1.50pts

July 2017:
6 winners from 19 = 31.58% SR
P/L: +4.25pts
ROI = +22.37%

2017 so far:
54 winners from 165= 32.73% SR
P/L: +100.70pts
ROI = +61.03%

Overall:
494 winners from 1756= 28.13% S.R
P/L: +473.43pts
ROI: +26.96%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take your £1, 30-day trial right now?

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Elite living up to the name…

According to a dictionary, Elite means a group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society and that proved to be the case with Elite Racing Advice (who we know as just Elite) over the last fortnight, as we'll now see in the Geegeez System Trials Roundup to 18/07/2017.

Not only did they make the most profit (not always the best barometer of success, when many services use variable stakes), but they're also beating the opposition hands down, when it comes to the all-important ROI.

Over the last fortnight, Elite has made £184.89 (advised stakes) and £183.30 (win only) at respective ROIs of 52.7% and 52.2%, thanks to hitting 12 winners and 13 placers from 33 selections (36.4% win and 75.8% place strike rates), putting them at the head of our panel. You can, of course, see how they did this right here.

Other than that, it was a pretty quiet fortnight, TrackSide, however did manage to recoup all bar £0.83 of their previous losses, which enables them to resume the second half of their trial almost from square one.

Robert Frasers Racing Tips made some more inroads into their deficit by closing out the last couple of days of their trial with another £34.42 profit. Clearly not enough to get out of the red, but as I mentioned last time, this one might still have some potential. I'm going to continue to monitor this one offline and I'll let you now how it goes. We/they might just have been victims of poor timing for a review.

New recruit Omaha Racing (review right here) made a steady and profitable start to their trial and as this comes highly recommended, I'll be interested to see how this one pans out.

Elsewhere, we had losses for the two services not mentioned so far. The £3.77 lost by the 123 System isn't really anything to worry about, especially as their review still shows a a healthy profit of £141.53 acquired at an ROI of almost 275, but the big concern is that our worst performer from a fortnight ago claimed that "honour" again this time, as...

...Tips Service, who were already carrying a loss of over £240 at the quarter mark of their trial, only managed to find 8 winners from 64 (12.5% SR) over the last fortnight, meaning they lost another £324.87 or some 50.8% of stakes. The writing is really on the wall for this one already, as you'll now deduce from...

... our updated "league table"...

System Profit Service Days Trial days Fortnightly P/L Full Review ROI
Elite (as advised) £264.61 (at day 25) 25 £184.89 Click Here 35.83%
Elite (win only) £244.56 (at day 25) 25 £183.30 Click Here 33.14%
123 System £141.53 (at day 37) 37 -£3.77 Click Here 26.70%
Omaha Racing £22.04 (at day 9) 9 £22.04 Click Here 12.52%
TrackSide -£0.83 (at day 33) 33 £70.00 Click Here -0.13%
Robert Frasers Racing Tips -£164.95 (at day 60) 60 £34.42 Click Here -16.17%
Tips Service -£568.34 (at day 29) 29 -£324.87 Click Here -46.59%

As usual, clicking the name of a service takes you straight to their home page, whilst there are links to every review above.

That above is, as usual, pretty self explanatory but if you've any queries about any of the reviews, just send me a message at the normal place or leave a comment below!

I'm off to try and find some more decent services to review (they seem few and far between at present), so if there's something you'd particularly like to see us cover, please do tell us!

Thanks for reading,
Chris

The Ten Worst Group 1 Winners in Recent Memory*

(*since 2003)

You could come up with a metric to figure out the worst Group 1 winners of recent times, writes Tony Keenan. Performance ratings on the day would be a good starting point while subsequent achievements matter too, as would those of the horses around and behind them. You could look at the nature of the race, knowing full well that certain Group 1s – those confined to fillies or over staying trips, say – are less competitive than others. But none of this is as much fun as trawling through the records of the 638 Group 1 winners since 2003 in Britain and Ireland and figuring out who the hell was that horse that won the Middle Park in 2009 (Awzaan, in case you didn’t know) and looking at what became of them.

2003 is taken as the starting point because that is as far back as the excellent HorseRaceBase database goes and it neatly coincides with the time I started following racing properly. This is an utterly subjective list and the idea behind it is not to offend; it needs pointing out that every bad Group 1 winner is s triumph for someone, be it trainer, jockey or breeder, the by-product of a certain set of circumstances on the day. And that’s basically what I’m doing: looking for horses that were patently inferior to the usual level required to win a Group 1 but who for whatever reason were able to maximise their ability in a narrow window of the mere minutes it takes to run a race.

Honourable Mentions: Rajeem – 2006 Falmouth (a Clive Brittain 50/1 special, need I say more!); Vintage Tipple – 2003 Irish Oaks (one for the sentimentalists but worth remembering that she and the filly she beat in the Oaks finished the season racing in a backend Curragh Listed contest); Camelot – 2013 Racing Post Trophy, 2014 2,000 Guineas, Derby and Irish Derby (surely one of the worst four-time Group 1 winners ever, beat Zip Top, French Fifteen, Main Sequence and Born To Sea in his Group 1 wins yet nearly went down as a great), Encke – 2014 St Leger (the one that stopped Camelot’s Triple Crown bid but later banned for positive drug test), Parish Hall – 2011 Dewhurst (immortalised for trying to give his nearest rival a love-bite on his penultimate start in 2015).

 

  1. Jwala – 2013 Nunthorpe

Starting price isn’t the best guide to finding bad Group 1 winners with the biggest-priced winner in this period proving the point; that horse was 2010 Nunthorpe winner Sole Power at 100/1 who went on to triumph in five more top-level contests. He was third to the 40/1 shot Jwala this day with Shea Shea in second, the softened ground suiting neither, while the Robert Cowell-trained winner also benefited from an excellent ride with Steve Drowne making more or less all. Her previous best was a win in a Listed race, also at York, but this was a shock in a race that has produced a few over the years, the short distance and big field often bringing in some randomness. To Jwala’s credit she did back up her win with a good fourth in the Abbaye next time but that was one of the lesser runnings of the French race.

 

  1. My Dream Boat – 2016 Prince of Wales’s Stakes

It is truth universally acknowledged in European racing that bad horses don’t win Group 1s over ten furlongs; races over this trip have long been the most competitive in the calendar. There are some lesser Group 1 over the distance, notably the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and some of the early season French races, but by and large you need to be good to win one. My Dream Boat isn’t very good looking at his overall form and managed to find a particularly bad renewal of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes last year, a race that tends to be among the best of Royal Ascot. Soft ground meant a field of just six took part with A Shin Hikari looking nothing like the beast that had blown the Prix D’Ispahan apart by 10 lengths on his previous start. Found was in her phase of finishing second every time she ran while the rest of the field was made up of the doggish Western Hymn, a regressive The Grey Gatsby and all-weather horse Tryster. My Dream Boat loved the ground, Found didn’t love the battle and the rest is history.

 

  1. La Collina – 2011 Phoenix Stakes/2013 Matron Stakes

Including a dual Group 1 winner is probably a bit churlish – can something be a fluke if it happens twice – but La Collina was just three from sixteen overall in her career and is one of those horses that seemed blessed with luck. Kevin Prendergast has won Group 1s with some strange horses, Termagant in the same colours for instance, many of whom never produce the same level of form again. La Collina was never better than when beating subsequent National Stakes and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, Power, in the Phoenix Stakes, allowing that one was a sitting duck with how the race unfolded. Her Matron Stakes win got within a few pounds of that form but she was rated only 106 going into the race, very much at the low end of the spectrum of official ratings for older horse Group 1s, and the filly she beat was rated just 105.

 

  1. Reel Buddy – 2003 Sussex Stakes

Connections of Reel Buddy didn’t think much of him in 2003, running him twice within three days over the Lincoln meeting at Doncaster where he was beaten a combined 46 lengths, and his best win prior to the Sussex was a Group 3. This was a race that set up well for him even before post time, Dubai Destination redirected for France while Kalaman and Where Or When came out that morning. The race itself was a mess pace-wise but Pat Eddery gave his quirky mount a fine ride and never used the stick. Goodwood is a track that gets a bad name in terms of luck-in-running but bad winners of the Sussex are rare with the Nassau at the same meeting more likely to produce a shock.

 

  1. Frozen Fire – 2008 Irish Derby

Seamie Heffernan has made a career out of winning races he shouldn’t have and Frozen Fire was one of the early ones, landing an ordinary renewal of the Irish Derby where he came wide and avoided traffic that led to some of the placings being reversed. There were some decent horses in the field: Casual Conquest won a Group 1 afterwards while Tartan Bearer was second in a King George, but this was very much the high point of Frozen Fire’s career arc. The only other race he won was a Gowran Park maiden while he went on to show little with Mike De Kock. Returned 16/1 on the day, these big-priced O’Brien Group 1 winners rarely go on, with Homecoming Queen, Was and Qualify also failing to win again afterwards.

 

  1. G Force – 2014 Haydock Sprint Cup

The Sprint Cup is the weakest of the UK’s Group 1 sprints and by some distance; in fact, the prospective Champion Sprinter will often miss the race for a later target. That has left the way clear for recent winners like Goodricke, Regal Parade and Markab to come from handicaps and while that’s clearly not a bad thing in itself, you probably don’t want to be heading back for handicaps afterwards. That’s exactly what has happened to G Force, excellent for peak David O’Meara in 2014, rumours circulating of his taking over the mantle at Ballydoyle in fact. G Force was found to be sub-fertile when sent to stud and is 13 starts without a win since the Sprint Cup. He was last seen at the Curragh on Saturday where he finished last in the Scurry Stakes, a handicap.

 

  1. Madame Chiang – 2014 Fillies and Mares Stakes

British Champions Day is a brilliant idea and there have been some brilliant winners at the meeting, notably King Frankel and all his princes like Cirrus Des Aigles, Excelebration and Farhh. With any flat meeting run in October there is always the chance of really deep ground and freak results and so it proved in the second running of the Fillies and Mares as a Group 1 in 2014. The leaders went off far too hard and there was a pace collapse – the finishing speed for the winner was a crazy 94.4% - with the most talented filly in the field, Chiquita, going bananas [geddit?!] in the finish and earning the immortal in-running comment ‘threw it away’. The mud-loving Madame Chiang was there to pick up the pieces having been dropped out completely.

 

  1. Pether’s Moon – 2015 Coronation Cup

Trainers and owners might be willing to chance their best three-year-olds at Epsom, the prestige of the Oaks and Derby outweighing the obvious risk of the track, but with the notable exception of Aidan O’Brien and some French handlers many seem less keen on running their older horses in races like the Coronation Cup. Such wariness reached its peak in the 2014 Coronation Cup where just four went to post and the market was dominated by Dolniya and Flintshire; this was the pre-US Flintshire however. It was more a race Dolniya lost than anything else, emptying in the finish having traded at 1/50 in running, and Pether’s Moon came through to win, his previous best effort having come in the Bosphorus Cup at Veliefendi. Incidentally, he was the Hannons’ first Group 1 winner over further than a mile since Assessor in the 1992 Prix Royal-Oak.

 

  1. Palace Episode – 2005 Racing Post Trophy

Doncaster stages two of the weakest Group 1s of the season in the St. Leger and the Racing Post Trophy and it would challenge even the best racing historian to list off the last 20 winners of each race. The ground was heavy in October 20o5 which helped Palace Episode’s case and hindered that of Dylan Thomas who was to prove much the best horse in the field but who didn’t operate on soft. Palace Episode was quirky, flashing his tail in the finish, and won just once in the rest of his career, in a Saratoga claimer. His career at stud proved little better.

 

  1. Pedro The Great – 2012 Phoenix

There have been some eminently forgettable winners of the Phoenix Stakes like Sudirman, Alfred Nobel and Dick Whittington, but none more than so the unfortunately named Pedro The Great. His immediate victims on the day were the ungenuine pair Leitir Mor and Lottie Dod, the former 2/32 in his career though he did at least act as a pacemaker for Dawn Approach, the latter 1/14 lifetime and rated 89 when last seen. Pedro The Great’s task was eased when his stablemate Cristoforo Colombo slipped up while the other fancied runner Probably found little. Soft ground and Irish Group 1s can throw up some weird results.

 

As I've said, this is a subjective list and no offence is intended. If you disagree, or feel another has a legitimate claim to top ten 'bragging' rights, leave a comment below.

- Tony Keenan

Three Ways To Improve Your Betting TODAY

This lad's lowly win triggered a very profitable idea...

Sometimes it's just staring you in the face. A little bit of digging is often all it takes to turn a notion into a profitable punting angle, and today I offer you three: something old, something new, and something 'upcycled'.

Let's start, like me, with the old...

Irish Raiders Flat System

I had a bit of time off for good(ish) behaviour yesterday and, of course, I spent it wisely, watching moderate racing from three summer jumps meetings... Whilst viewing, in an unusually quiet Casa Bisogno, two profit-pulling angles came to mind. The first relates, as the heading suggests, to Irish raiders on English shores; the second follows in the ensuing section.

Honestly, this is so remarkably simple that it really shouldn't be so effective. But it is.

As I noticed the line of blue yesterday morning for an Irish horse with no form called Scripturient, I thought, "I've seen this film before" and backed it blindly - a whole tenner - at 6/1. A few hours later Gavin Cromwell's shipper was doing for the English cavaliers in a style reminiscent of his presumed forefather, Oliver. Scripturient won, as he pleased, at 5/2.

Right, said I, with rare time to mull, let's have a look at these no form raiders. Here's what I discovered...

Backing all Irish runners in UK races that had run in Ireland last time out would have lost about 15% of stakes, at starting price. That's already remarkable given how many of them truncate markedly in price; and I conjecture that taking an early price, Best Odds Guaranteed, would likely cover that negative equity at SP.

But it makes sense that those which win are fancied to run well: after all, it's a fair old way to travel, across the deep, just for the weather (even if it is better here 😉 ). Setting the odds bar at 20/1 is pretty liberal, but it serves to throw out a whole load of bathwater and not too much baby, if you catch my drift.

Incredibly, we are now at less than 5% losses at starting price, on a sample of over 3100 runners since 2008. At starting price! The returns at Betfair Starting Price (BSP) are around 200 points. At early BOG prices, yield is surely higher.

Thus, having watched another Irish-trained summer jumper bolt up in Britain, I expected that this would be the pattern; but, in fact, that wasn't the case. The Irish National Hunt raiders did fare better in the summer than the rest of the year (excluding March, skewed by Ireland's ongoing domination of Cheltenham Festival handicaps from a punting perspective), but not in a manner that your bank manager (or, more likely, your peer group) would approve.

No, it's the flat horses which are most consistently bankable.

 

Irish flat runners in UK are very insteresting propositions

Irish flat runners in UK are very insteresting propositions

 

An ROI of almost 30% at starting price on a sample which cannot be skewed by a couple of massive priced outsiders due to the 20/1 cutoff is faintly ridiculous. At BSP or early BOG prices, you can add another hundred points or more to that bottom line. And betting early it is easy enough to move the negligible all weather deficit into the profit column, so I'd be happy to punt those as well.

Here's how this looks, then:

- UK flat (turf or all weather) handicaps
- Trained in Ireland, and ran in Ireland last time out
- 20/1 or shorter

 

Focus on the flat with Irish handicap raiders

Focus on the flat with Irish handicap raiders

 

The logic supports the ledger: most materially it is a long (expensive) journey for a runner without a chance; but also plenty of Irish trainers travel in search of better ground and/or easier opportunities. The volume of racing in Britain, allied to the relative ability level of much of it, facilitates these ambushes.

Here is the yearly breakdown:

 

Pretty consistent, though note higher win %/lower P/L at SP this year

 

It's a solid and consistent view. It is of course worth pointing out that 2017 has seen a higher win (and place) percentage than previously, but a negative ROI. Whilst there is almost certainly an element of the market finally cottoning on, it should continue to be the case that the early markets afford enough latitude to accommodate this differential. Time will tell on that score...

For what it's worth - don't judge the approach on this, whether results are good or bad - today's quartet of qualifiers are:

3.00 Ayr: Duncan Of Scotland
5.00 Ayr: Bell Of The Ball / Ruth Melody
8.10 Wolverhamption: Love To Rock

 

For Gold subscribers, I've started a forum thread to highlight these for a while...

 

****

A Brand New Trainer Heading For The Top?

If the Irish raiders system above is something old, how about something new?

Regular readers will know of my keenness to follow trainers, and specifically to understand in which micro-climates they deliberately set out to shine. I'm always looking out for new trainers who might be profitable to follow before the herd catch up.

The latest name to note in that sphere is 26-year-old Olly Murphy. Murphy is the son of trainer Anabel and bloodstock agent Aiden, and was assistant trainer to Gordon Elliott for four years. He has, then, a peerless schooling for one of such relative youth.

Of course, be that as it may, the proof of the pudding is always in the eating.

Since Murphy Jr. obtained his license he has saddled ten runners. Eight of them have finished first or second; four of them have won, and it should have been five but for an ultra-rare misjudged ride by the champion jockey aboard Varene De Vauzelle yesterday, foiling a treble for the trainer (and, naturally, the only win wager I struck on the three).

 

Olly Murphy has made a blistering start to his training career

Olly Murphy has made a blistering start to his training career

 

If the likes of Harry Fry and Ben Pauling - both young assistants to champion trainers before going solo - are any blueprint, the market will very quickly react to Olly's runners in low grade events. However, they may retain a blind spot in better class heats and/or when Murphy's team face up against more established trainers.

One thing is for sure: this is a team worth noting with anything they run right now.

One other thing: Olly bought a certain The Geegeez Geegee at the sales recently and it will be interesting to see what he can do with our former inmate.

Oh, and one other other thing: OM runs Sevilla in the 7.10 Wolverhampton tonight.

****

'Upcycling' Race of the Day

Something old, something new, something borrowed... or in this case, something re-imagined. Steve Oliver has been posting his Race of the Day for bang on a year now, and in that time it has helped many a newcomer - and plenty of more established visitors - get to grips with some of the tools, views and reports available on site.

It was never intended to be a tipping piece, and as such never picked out a singular horse. Rather, the idea was to showcase the info available and help readers to think about how to deploy the data.

In truth, with Race of the Day v2.0 - which makes its debut today - little has changed. But I have offered Steve the latitude to lead with a particular horse, and to reveal more of the toolkit in making a case for his spotlighted beast.

The purpose of Race of the Day is still to illustrate what can be gleaned about a race, and it will remain in the free part of the site. It is not strictly intended as a tipping piece and we will not keep score. Again, the primary purpose is 'edutainment' (if you'll pardon such a BS Bingo word).

Feel free to read Race of the Day, to back the highlighted horse, to back something else that stands out in the tools, or to ignore completely. But please do understand its main objective.

Race of the Day can be found here daily.

 

Matt

p.s. Don't forget Geegeez Gold. Take a 30 day trial for just £1 by clicking here.

p.p.s. Don't forget Stat of the Day, our premium tipping service, is free to all on Mondays, and can be found here.

p.p.p.s. Prefer some Monday editorial? Tony Stafford's Monday Musings are here, and Nigel Keeling's weekend round up is here.

Monday Musings: Emerging into the uplands once more

Until three years ago, a fundamental part of my life involved getting up at 4 a.m. on a Thursday morning and driving the near-100 miles down to Manton for work morning at Brian Meehan’s stable, writes Tony Stafford. This evolved from wanting to be there principally to monitor the progress of the handful of Raymond Tooth’s horses stabled there in those days.

Over time, I had a more specialised involvement as work watcher and owner liaison, keeping a record of the work which gave a rare insight into the progress of all the horses in Brian’s care. It quickly became the favourite part of my week, the early start having its own reward.

Nowadays, it’s Monday and the writing of this column that revives that discipline and it’s with a degree of pleasure that I can record a revival in the Meehan fortunes this year.

For many years Brian worked with the agent Johnny McKeever in the recruitment particularly of yearlings, but that connection has diminished significantly as Sam Sangster has become the main buyer for the stable.

Sam, son of the late Robert Sangster, fundamental in the establishment of Coolmore Stud with John Magnier and the late Vincent O’Brien, Magnier’s father-in-law, signed the ticket on the majority of the sales purchases over the past few seasons, including recent winners Raheen House, wide-margin juvenile scorer Barraquero, and progressive three-year-old I’vegotthepower.

Barraquero runs under the Manton Thoroughbreds banner and carries the same blue, green and white colours that adorned Robert Sangster stars like Derby winners Golden Fleece and Dr Devious, and also among many others, Storm Bird and Sadler’s Wells, sire of Galileo.

There are five Sangster sons, Ben, Guy and Adam before Sam, and Max, the youngest. Of the quintet, many people believe Sam might end up the closest approximation to his father. It’s not a bad start that he knows which end of a horse kicks and which eats if he’s going to make a success of the always-precarious racing game.

Meehan’s recent flurry of form includes two big-race wins for one of his least well-known owners, Lew Day, whose horses run under the ownership handle of J L Day. Spark Plug was his first entry into the yard, prompted by an enquiry to me from a mutual acquaintance in the summer of 2013 that “someone would like to buy a two-year-old”.

Midsummer is hardly the time to be getting anything any good that wasn’t already snapped up, but Brian did have a number of horses, speculatively bought at the sales and at that stage without an owner. They included a son of Arc winner Dylan Thomas, at that stage an under-performing stallion for Coolmore.

I’d been watching this unnamed youngster progress week on week, gradually creeping up the juvenile pecking order, and Brian confirmed that “yes, he can be bought”. I met the would-be purchaser in a pub near the Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge, but he hesitated about the asking price, even though his careful research of Meehan with veteran trainer Eric Wheeler got a strong affirmative.

Wheeler at the time was still training Lew Day’s sole horse, a modest handicapper called El Libertador, once owned by Katie Wachman, but running under Lew’s dark green livery for 79 of his 80 starts, four of them winning ones.

With no deal forthcoming, the Dylan Thomas colt, who was out of the Group 1-winning South African mare Kornikova, was named Spark Plug and duly won on his Bath debut, minutes before Raymond’s Great Hall ran unplaced in the St Leger.

Lew renewed his interest on the Monday morning: “Can he still be bought?” he asked and the delayed deal was eventually done. Four years on, and a spectacular Cambridgeshire success and last time out’s Sandown Group 3 win behind him, Spark Plug, at six, remains at the top of the Meehan stable hierarchy, a position challenged only by Raheen House.

The latter’s purchase, at 35,000gns, was a notable bargain for Sam Sangster, as he was a handsome son of Sea the Stars and Meehan did well to convince the owner to double his involvement. Raheen House would have been the name for Spark Plug had Mr Day acted with more alacrity back four years ago, as that is the identity of the family hotel in Clonmel, not far from Coolmore, which has staged occasional events there.

Meehan has long regarded Raheen House as a potentially high-class stayer and the care with which he has planned his three-year-old career is reaping its reward. A fast-finishing fourth to Permian in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, he stepped up to win Thursday’s Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket, coming home strongly enough to convince trainer – and jockey Jamie Spencer – that he’ll be a major player in the St Leger in two months’ time. With no Ebor Handicap entry on the stocks, it could be we’ll see him next in the Great Voltigeur, the accepted St Leger trial, at that York meeting.

Permian added lustre to the form when failing by a nose to win the Grand Prix de Paris on Friday, so Lew Day, the man with two horses, can dream he might have a Classic winner to add to a Cambridgeshire hero. I’m delighted for Brian, who is no novice in winning big international races, but who had gone through the mill in recent years. It’s always a long way back, but he’s starting to emerge into the uplands again.

Rarely does a champion go through a career unbeaten, so while it was a disappointment that Caravaggio could not maintain his unblemished record in the July Cup on Saturday, the victory of Harry Angel, from the classy older sprinters Limato and Brando, was well merited.

Harry Angel had chased home Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup after helping set a strong pace, but here he lasted longer. The favourite’s pacemaker Intelligence Cross, a 100-1 shot, was only a neck behind Caravaggio at the line in fifth place, so there was clearly a disparity in the pace compared with Ascot. Equally, though, Clive Cox was confident that Harry Angel was in prime shape to have a good chance of revenge.

As is the way with Aidan O’Brien, others moved forward from the Royal meeting, Clemmie overturning the smart Nyaleti in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes; and perennial bridesmaid, Roly Poly, appreciating Winter’s absence to win the Falmouth Stakes with an all-the-way romp that had Breeders’ Cup written all over it.

O’Brien had another notable success at the Curragh on Sunday when Spirit of Valor stepped up from his 66-1 Jersey Stakes neck second to the smart French colt Le Brivido, to win the Minstrel Stakes (Group 2) in a canter under Ryan Moore. That race’s under-estimated merit had been underlined the previous day at HQ when Parfait, fourth at Ascot, strolled home in a valuable handicap.

Much the most significant result over two days on the Curragh concerned Oaks winner Enable. John Gosden’s Nathaniel filly, under Frankie Dettori, followed up in the Irish Oaks, beating the Pretty Polly runner-up Rain Goddess by five and a half lengths. Talk afterwards of the King George or the Arc was certainly not fanciful, given trainer John Gosden’s excellent record in those championship races.

 

 

 

Stat of the Day, 17th July 2017

Saturday's Result :

2.15 Newmarket : On Her Toes @ 4/1 BOG 3rd at 7/2 Held up, headway on outside, chasing leaders 2f out, soon ridden, stayed on inside final furlong, went 3rd final strides, never going pace of leading duo, beaten by 3 lengths.

Monday's pick goes in the...

5.00 Ayr...

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Donnachies Girl @ 7/2 BOG

Why?

This 4 yr old filly comes here looking for a hat-trick after back to back wins at relatively (40 miles) nearby Hamilton last month, giving her a 2 from 2 record in her short handicap career.

Her latest win was in a Class 5 contest and she now drops down a grade to run here, off efectively the same mark as LTO, after jockey claims are taken into consideration, which should give her every chance of scoring again.

Numbers-wise, trainer Alistair Whillans + flat handicappers down 1 grade = 21/153 (13.7% SR) for 54.4pts (+35.6% ROI) since the start of the 2010 campaign, from which...

  • those with 1-3 previous wins at the grade they're dropping to : 16/96 (16.7%) for 71.4pts (+74.3%)
  • those last seen 6-20 days ago are 15/85 (17.6%) for 24.3pts (+28.6%)
  • at odds of 9/4 to 10/1  : 18/83 (21.7%) for 63.3pts (+76.3%)
  • at Class 6 : 12/65 (18.5%) for 62.9pts (+96.7%)
  • females are 10/57 (17.5%) for 21.7pts (+38%)
  • here at Ayr : 9/45 920%) for 28.8pts (+63.9%)
  • and 4 yr olds are 9/42 (21.4%) for 61.8pts (+147.2%)

...steering us towards...a 1pt win bet on Donnachies Girl @ 7/2 BOG which was widely available at 7.35pm on Sunday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 5.00 Ayr...

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

SotD Update, 10th to 15th July 2017

A steady week last week for followers of SotD, with our six picks producing two winners and two placers as our consistent run continues.

Our policy of sending selections the night before racing was once again vinidicated by us seeing all six go off shorter than advised and the modest 1.25pts profit acheived this week means that at half-time in July we're probably now needing just a couple of winners from the next 13 selections to ensure a 13th consecutive profitable month.

Obviously, I'll be aiming for more than a couple, but let's see how it pans out!

Selections & Results : 10/07/17 to 15/07/17

10/07 : Braes of Lochalsh @ 9/2 BOG 5th at 5/2
11/07 : Terry The Fish @ 3/1 BOG WON at 11/8
12/07 : Hackney Road @ 4/1 BOG 2nd at 5/2
13/07 : Tapis Libre @ 9/4 BOG WON at 7/4
14/07 : Camerone @ 10/3 BOG 7th at 2/1
15/07 : On Her Toes @ 4/1 BOG 3rd at 7/2

10/07/17 to 17/07/17 :
2 winning bets from 6 = 33.33% SR
P/L: +1.25pts

July 2017:
5 winners from 13 = 38.46% SR
P/L: +5.75pts
ROI = +44.23%

2017 so far:
53 winners from 159= 33.33% SR
P/L: +102.20pts
ROI = +64.28%

Overall:
493 winners from 1750= 28.17% S.R
P/L: +474.93pts
ROI: +27.14%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take your £1, 30-day trial right now?

Click here for more details.

Betting Editorial to help you bet *Smarter*

Great reads from 'the olden days'

Back in the day, in the late '90s to be precise, the interwebz was still in its formation and there wasn't the unending array of racing content that there is now. Print publications were still the main medium, with Odds On magazine a particular favourite.

For those of a (generally) more analytical bent, SmartSIG was the mag to have. A monthly printed newsletter running to most of 100 pages, it was mainly comprised of members' articles. The likes of Peter May (geegeez ratings), Steve Tilley (ARCHIE calculation, and HBF colleague of mine), among many others spilled their brains into this consistently thought-provoking periodical.

Well, guess what? Now you can download a large number of SmartSIG issues in pdf format. Despite beginning as far back as 1994, the content continues to retain relevance for a thinking punting audience. Concepts never go out of fashion and, though processing power has increased millionfold in the interim, much of the SmartSig content remains bankable.

 

Here's a link from which you can download the SmartSig archive of insight

 

Brinigng Smart thinking right up to date

For those who want a fresher perspective, allow me to introduce the grandson of SmartSig - and son of Smartersig - SmartSigger. Now curated by my friend and colleague, Michael Wilding, SmartSigger is a shorter read than its predecessors, and still consistently interesting.

Right now - this week in fact - Michael has a very special offer on, whereby if you sign up to SmartSigger (for as little as £5.75), you can get access to the entire back catalogue of SmartSigger magazines. That's over fifty editions, at around 11p each.

There are some really good articles in the 2017 draft alone, including around subjects such as National Hunt Flat races, weight for age in handicaps, bank management when withdrawing funds, horses trying something different (a theme to which I will return next week), first time in a handicap, and many many more.

Ricky Taylor - one of the original SmartSig contributors - and John Burke are perhaps the two most readable contributors (for me at least), and there are notable 'assists' from our own Andy Newton in terms of big race trends.

There's nothing I like more than dipping into articles such as these for inspiration and ideas for my own punting, and indeed my own writing, and I'm happy to have inspired a few of the articles within SmartSigger as well.

If you think about your betting - I mean at a deep 'how can I improve?' sort of level - then this will be an investment you probably want to take on, both in time terms and financially.

If you decide to sign up for a year, it works out at less than four quid a month (the same price it was in 1995, incidentally). Alternatively, if you're mainly interested in the 'value bundle', you can sign up on monthly for £5.75 and get the entire back catalogue. That's entirely up to you.

 

Here's the link to check out SmartSigger

 

I read this every month, and I think you'll enjoy it too.

Good luck,

Matt

p.s. who else remembers SmartSig? Leave a comment, and tell me I'm not alone!!

Geegeez Gold FAQ

Here at geegeez.co.uk we have a premium service called Geegeez Gold. This post is dedicated to trying answer as many of the most frequently asked questions as I can think of. If I've missed one, either add a comment below or contact me and we'll add it in. Straight in, then, with the most obvious...

Q. What is Geegeez Gold?

A. Gold is a comprehensive service for people who bet on British and Irish racing. It includes racecards, form tools, reports, tipping, a tracker, query tools, and more besides. If you bet on racing in Ireland or the UK, Gold has something to help you do it better, regardless of how you bet.

Q. How do I join Geegeez Gold?

A. You can find out more, and join Geegeez Gold here. If you've never tried Gold before, you will be entitled to a trial of the service so that you can see if it works for the way you bet.

Q. What happens at the end of my Gold trial?

A. Once your trial finishes, you will automatically be billed for the subscription option (monthly or annual) you selected. You may cancel at any time, including during your trial, and the subscription rate you sign up at will be the rate at which you're locked in for as long as you remain a subscriber, regardless of future price rises.

Q. What if I forget to cancel?

A. It happens. We're all busy. If you forget to cancel during your trial period, contact us within the first month of full subscription and we'll arrange a refund of your payment (assuming you haven't been using the service, of course).

 

Q. Where do I start with Geegeez Gold?

A. Gold is a comprehensive package. It's designed that way. For some, it can be difficult to know where to start. The answer is different for everyone. The most sensible place to start is to pick up where you left off with whichever service you previously used.

For example, if you like to receive tips, then start with Stat of the Day, posted on site around 6pm each night before the next day's racing. Then check out the tipping threads in the forum.

If you're more interested in form, check out our racecards - and all of the content hiding behind the icons. Then take a look at the tools - Instant Expert, Draw and Pace, as well as Full Form Filter.

Or if you're just looking for a couple of interesting horses, use the reports. The Shortlist is a simple one with which to get started, but the real 'juice' can be found reports like Trainer/Jockey Combo, Handicap 1st Time, and Trainer Change reports (amongst others).

The important thing is to take your time, and not to try to 'reinvent yourself' overnight. See how we have enhanced the things you already do/use when betting, and build from there.

Q. Is there any training for Geegeez Gold?

A. Yes! We have a range of Gold tutorials in your My Geegeez area. Also there, you'll find a 'READ THIS FIRST' link. Obviously, I recommend you read that first!

Then, make sure you check out the User Guide, also linked from My Geegeez. That's a big document these days so I'm not expecting that anyone will read it from cover to cover; but if you're using a new feature, flick to the relevant section to ensure you're 'doing it right' and that you're not missing anything.

Finally, we have our Gold Playbook. This is a series of videos and blog posts showing specific strategies and tactics for using various elements of the Gold toolkit. Oh, and I write on the blog every few days with further pointers.

Again, take your time with Gold. "Only fools rush in", as Elvis once wonderfully warbled. There's no rush.

Q. What if I get stuck?

A. If you've checked out the various help features and/or you don't know where to look for an answer, drop us a line! Chris, Steve and myself are always happy to help people get the best out of Geegeez Gold. And, unlike some faceless racing bureaucracies, we're real people who really care about your racing and betting enjoyment and success. So do get in touch whenever you need to. Our contact link is here.

Q. Can I join in on the forum?

A. Please do! We welcome new users introducing themselves and getting as engaged as they wish on our Gold subscribers' only forum. We have just two simple rules, to which we expect everybody to adhere: no pitch, and no bitch. So please don't be selling stuff (yours or someone else's) and please be nice.

Happily, everybody on our forum aligns with those basic principles which makes it a pretty friendly place to hang out. There is also some excellent tipping going on there, and some brilliant ideas and angles being explored. We'd welcome your involvement. Here's the forum link, which can also be found from the top (red) menu bar.

 

Q. What else do I need to know about Geegeez Gold?

A. geegeez.co.uk is an independently run site, designed and built by racing bettors for racing bettors. All of the writers and developers, and the creator, bet daily on horse racing. As such, we 'get' what people want. (We also get that because I regularly survey subscribers asking how we can add more value).

We don't have the mega brand of the big boys, but nor have we sold our souls to bookmakers. This is a site where punters win, as simple as that. Our tips are winning tips, where subscribers can actually get on at the prices; our ratings work, because they're not so over-exposed as to be factored into the market as soon as they're published; our tools look at form differently - and more deeply - providing insights not available to the market as a whole.

We do things differently at Geegeez. We do things better.

And we're not going anywhere. geegeez.co.uk has been online since 2008, and has over 25,000 email and website subscribers. The number of Gold subscribers is growing by the week as word is getting out about the superior features. I'm very proud of the community feel at geegeez.co.uk, and of the 'best in breed' product we've built for people, like you, who bet on British and Irish racing.

When you join us, you are becoming part of something worth being a part of. Now that's refreshing, wouldn't you say? 😉

Q. Help! My question hasn't been answered!

A. No problemo. I've tried to cover just a few of the high level questions in this post. There will be many more I've not answered. Please leave a comment and/or drop us a line if you need another question answering - we're here to help.

For now, thanks for taking time to read this page, and good luck.

Matt Bisogno,
geegeez.co.uk

 

Monday Musings: Moore’s Nightmare of “The Beggy”

If Ryan Moore is having the odd nightmare these days, I reckon it’s coming in the form of a spectre-like being going by the name of “The Beggy”, writes Tony Stafford. It first came into his consciousness in the last 50 yards of the Investec Derby at Epsom, careering past him on the outside on Wings Of Eagles to deny Cliffs Of Moher close home.

Then five weeks later, down the road at Sandown, it was the same Padraig Beggy, this time on the designated pacemaker Taj Mahal, whose slight move into the rail around the seven-furlong marker in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes, led to the same luckless Cliffs of Moher suffering severe interference from which he could never recover. Wonder what Ryan thinks of the eight-day ban?

The problem with writing these words at the unearthly hour I do, is that otherwise easily checkable facts cannot be satisfactorily ascertained. Thus when I needed to find the whereabouts of Seamie Heffernan, fresh from yet another Group 1 win on Capri in the Irish Derby as Wings Of Eagles suffered a career-ending injury during the race last weekend, I could not.

The simple fact is that he has not ridden in public since Thursday and has no booked rides according to the Irish racing web site for the coming days. So whether he’s injured, suspended, or just taken a holiday to spend some of the Capri money, I’ve no idea.

There are plenty of jockeys in Ballydoyle. Two of the more frequent, after Moore and Heffernan, are Wayne Lordan and Colm O’Donoghue, but both were in action at Belmont Park at the weekend, O’Donoghue principally for Jessica Harrington, his main employer these days.

Apprentice Donnacha O’Brien rode three winners on Saturday’s Naas card, two for his father and one for elder brother Joseph, while Ana, out of luck in an international lady riders’ event in Sweden during the week, rode a single unplaced runner for Joseph the same afternoon.

So Beggy, reformed scallywag, was back again in the big time, and there seemed to be a fair degree of input from the first jockey before the race as to what he thought Beggy’s role should be.

What could go wrong? A nice-sized field set off at a reasonable pace, but then came the moment the stewards were later to blame Beggy for initiating. As he edged into the rail on the first bend, he interfered with Decorated Knight, who in turn hampered Cliffs of Moher, causing him to hit the rail and almost come down.

Cliffs Of Moher could never regain full momentum, managing just a laboured fourth place as the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ulysees continued the Niarchos big-race revival by edging out Barney Roy in a thriller.

This first middle-distance big-race clash between the generations therefore ended narrowly in favour of the older brigade, 1-3 with Ulysses and Decorated Knight against 2-4-5 for the three-year-olds: Barney Roy, all but making a winning start at 10 furlongs, the vanquished favourite, and Frankel’s son Eminent, who showed a tendency towards aggression with an attempt to take a chunk out of the third’s neck.

If the Frankels are not quite getting there yet at the top level, the Galileos certainly intend staying there and Ulysses was yet another top-level winner for the super stallion – 66th in all – being the product of Coolmore’s blue-blood and Oaks winner, Light Shift. A job at the Niarchos family stud clearly awaits, while Godolphin will have lofty expectations too for Barney Roy.

The coming week is always important for Darley Stud and Godolphin, and many of the leading lights in the business will be in attendance at the Darley Stallion Parade and lunch during the July meeting, which also features three days of sales along with three days’ exceptional racing.

Darley/Godolphin may well have another potential stallion in Thunder Snow, like Barney Roy beaten in a 2,000 Guineas by Churchill. He won the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly yesterday and is now fully rehabilitated after his inexplicably mulish display at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby.

Having gone close to a quick follow up with Barney Roy after he reversed Newmarket form with Churchill in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, another recent Godolphin acquisition will be stepping out quickly for revenge.

The Clive Cox-trained Harry Angel, denied only by the flying Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup and now in line for a rematch with the unbeaten Ballydoyle sprinter in the Darley July Cup on Saturday, is the beast in question. With the Bunbury Cup and Superlative Stakes, the last pair supported by bet365, this is indeed a brilliant card.

Unfortunately, the continuing resistance to what at one time appeared a willingness on the track’s part to revert to a midweek (at least Wednesday to Friday) date means once again the ridiculous triple clash with York’s £200,000 added John Smith’s <Magnet> Cup, Silver Cup and City Walls Stakes and Ascot’s £130k Summer Mile clogs up the afternoon, while Chester is totally off the radar.

In the old days, when the Stewards’ Cup first moved from Tuesday – the first day of the Goodwood Summer meeting – to the Saturday, I was silly enough to make a futile protest and go instead to Newmarket for a few years on that day.

It is probably unthinkable that I might swerve two races that I look forward to more than most – the July and Bunbury Cups – but it is equally likely that York, Chester and Ascot couldn’t care less anyway as all three are likely to attract bigger crowds than the day’s premier fixture.

Clive Cox seems to be a level-headed enough type of trainer, so for him to relish another crack at Caravaggio with Harry Angel is at least interesting. I saw him (the trainer) close up the other morning and he is clearly taking great care in the preparation of the juvenile that Raymond Tooth has with him. Hopefully, when that part of Berkshire sees a little rain, this big son of Mount Nelson could be getting a run.

We were up in Shropshire at the stud on Thursday, running the rule over the yearlings and foals, when the decision was made not to put any in the sales, for this year at any rate. With a handful of two-year-olds, like Cox’s Nelson River yet to run, we are in holding mode for the most part.

The exception is Equiano’s son, Stanhope, quite impressive when opening his account at the ninth attempt on the July Course late last month. The handicappers were hardly kind, putting him up a full 8lb. They can obviously say that was shown to be fair enough when three-length runner–up Hart Stopper, left alone after our race, popped up nine days later at Haydock with a win for Michael Bell. The Queen’s trainer had another winner, runner-up the previous time in the past few days. That one was raised 1lb and bolted up! Micky Quinn wants to know his secret.

 

Stat of the Day, 10th July 2017

Saturday's Result :

3.35 Sandown : Barney Roy @ 3/1 BOG 2nd at 9/4 Held up disputing 5th, headway chasing leaders on outside 2f out, went 2nd inside final furlong, strong challenge near finish, just failed by a nose (or half a nostril as it looked on the photo!).

Monday's pick goes in the...

3.15 Ayr...

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Braes of Lochalsh9/2 BOG

Why?

Before I explain more about this pick, I want to give you advance warning about Tuesday's pick, which will appear later than usual (either late Monday or early Tuesday). I'm at my son's graduation in Newcastle all day Monday, so will be starting my research much later than usual after the long drive home.

And now to our runner himself, a 6 yr old gelding who is no stranger to Ayr, having won this very race 2 years ago. he comes here in really good nick, having finished as a runner-up in each of his last three starts, including a course and distance run two starts ago when he was just touched off in a contest two grades higher than today.

To date, he hes 2 wins and 5 further places from 11 starts here, so he clearly likes the place, he has 2 wins and 2 places from 5 C&D efforts, of which he's 2 from 2 in July.

Some people might think that the three successive runner-up finishes is worrying and that he's not getting any better, but I see it a little differently (of course!) because...

...2012-17 / UK Flat handicaps / horses with a 222 formline are 79/328 (24.1% SR) for 82.1pts (+25% ROI), including of note today...

  • those last seen 4 to 50 days ago : 72/285 (25.3%) for 102.9pts (+36.1%)
  • those priced at Evens to 7/1 are 71/236 (30.1%) for 75.9pts (+32.2%)
  • males are 53/230 (23%) for 62.2pts (+27.1%)
  • at Class 5 : 33/100 (33%) for 42pts (+42%)
  • 6 yr olds are 7/34 (20.6%) for 11.4pts (+33.5%)
  • here at Ayr, they are 4/16 (25%) for 9.53pts (+59.5%)
  • and over this 1m5f trip : 2/4 (50%) for 1.27pts (+31.8%)

AND...from the above : those priced at Evs to 7/1 some 4-50 dslr are 64/212 (30.2% SR) for 77.7pts (+36.7% ROI)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Braes of Lochalsh @ 9/2 BOG which was available from Betfred, Betway, Totesport, 10Bet & 188Bet at 6.05pm on Sunday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.15 Ayr...

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!