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Well, coming into the last week of the month, it was highly unlikely that I'd be able to overturn a deficit in excess of 15pts, but 2 winners from 6 and 6.33pts profit on the week did at least put a veneer of respectability on proceedings.

It also rewarded you loyal followers of the feature and also puts me in the best Sunday frame of mind I've had for a good few weeks. We're still 2 winners shy of parity for the year as a whole and my own personal target for March has to be to make at least 7.2pts profit, so we can enter the second quarter in the black.

The weather forecast where I live (in the hills near the Lancs/Yorks border) still isn't great for the upcoming week, but hopefully some of the tracks elsewhere will start to dry out, enabling a return to more predictable racing!

Chris

Selections & Results : 24/02/20 to 29/02/20

24/02 : Reeves @ 9/2 BOG 2nd at 5/1
25/02 : Mamoo @ 11/2 BOG WON at 7/1
26/02 : Summer Lightening @ 10/3 BOG 7th at 5/1
27/02 : Cap St Vincent @ 9/2 BOG PU at 3/1
28/02 : Watheer @ 3/1 BOG 5th at 5/1
29/02 : Charlie D @ 10/3 BOG WON at 9/4

24/02/20 to 29/02/20 :
2 winning bets from 6 = 33.33% SR
P/L: +6.33pts

February 2020 :
3 winners from 25 = 12.00% SR
P/L: -8.92pts
ROI = -35.68%

2020 to date :
8 winners from 49 = 16.33% SR
P/L: -7.17pts
ROI = -14.63%

Overall:
664 winners from 2515 = 26.40% S.R
P/L: +524.70pts
ROI: +20.86%

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
The full story from 2017 can be read here.
Whilst the yearly review for 2018 is right here

And here is the overview for 2019

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take the plunge and get involved right now?

Click here for more details.

I was asked to sit on the panel for a Cheltenham Festival preview last night. Being the diligent dutiful type I both agreed to do it and prepared some notes. Rather than keep those notes to myself and the small group of people in the room, it makes sense to share them on here.

These notes represent my current thinking and, while I have bet a good many of the horses mentioned, I reserve the right to tip and/or back something else come Festival week! Assuming that makes sense and seems fair enough, here is what I had prepared:

Cheltenham Grade 1 Notes

Overall: Weather forecast is wet, ground is already soft, heavy in places

Tuesday

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

5 of last 7 won by the Irish (4 to Willie Mullins, only one clear fav, & one jt fav)

Asterion Forlonge has much stronger form than Shishkin, having bolted up in the Chanelle Pharma Novices’ Hurdle. That is perennially the best novice hurdle run before the Fez. He’s 5/1 and I’ve backed him.

Shishkin obvious ‘could be anything’ material. I was at Huntingdon where he beat Shan Blue in the Listed Sidney Banks. Nothing has run from that race since, though there were some 140-odd rated novices well beaten. His Newbury win has not worked out at all (all eight to run since have finished out of the frame). He’s just too short on what he’s shown in public.

Any of Chantry House, Sporting John if he runs here, and especially Abacadabras would be unsurprising winners.

One thing to note – this is the race above all others where bookies battle for custom. You’ll get money back as cash if you lose, extra places, enhanced odds and so on. Shop around and get some money in the tank: there are 27 further battles!

Arkle

Willie Mullins has won four of the last five Arkles, Nicky Henderson three of the other four going back to 2012. Mullins has Cash Back, mightily impressive in a couple of novice chases before running HdB’s Notebook to ½ length in the Irish Arkle. Rumour was that Notebook bolted on the way to post there; in spite of that I’d be happy to take Cash Back at more than twice the price.

Notebook is a dual G1 scorer, with narrow verdicts over both Cash Back and Fakir d’Oudairies. He’s done nothing wrong and is a worthy favourite, but he has little in hand over a couple of his rivals.

The Hendo runner is Mister Fisher, but he looks as though he needs a small field to be at his best. Pick of the Brits might be Olly Murphy’s Brewin’upastorm. He’s proved little in two small field novice chase wins, but his hurdling level – close 4th in Ballymore, 2nd in Mersey Novices, both G1 – last season shows his class.

Champion Hurdle

Against Hendo squad: if you’ve got four Champion Hurdle horses, you’ve probably got none.

Epatante whacked in the mares’ novices’ hurdle last year, won a weak G1 at Christmas (Silver Streak second, other joint fav pulled up); Pentland Hills beaten both starts this term, 4yo form seems a distant memory (5yo’s Katchit and Espoir d’Allen won this but both had won their most recent starts convincingly).

Honeysuckle was underwhelming last time, for all that the second (Darver Star) is an improver. She may well go to the Mares’ Hurdle;

The pair I’d take chances on are Darver Star and especially Supasundae. Darver represents last year’s winning trainer, Gavin Cromwell, and has improved from a mark of 104 a year ago to 152 currently. That gives him seven pounds or so to find but who says he’s finished improving?

Supasundae doesn’t win much but he’s run in G1 company the last 14 times, finishing out of the first three just twice. A fast run two miles looks much more his thing than a slowly run three in the Stayers’ and I make him a very solid each way bet at around 14/1.

Cilaos Emery’s jumping is not up to scratch but he has a mighty engine; if he’s supplemented as expected and puts in a good round he’ll go close.

Mares’ Hurdle

Three horse race: Benie, Honey and Roksana. Trip looks more appropriate for Honeysuckle than the Champion Hurdle and she’s a sporting bet to beat the favourite; but it’s not a race I’ll be getting involved with.

Wednesday

Ballymore

Envoi Allen is a legit fav: last year’s Champion Bumper winner is a dual G1 hurdler this term. Very short, though, against impressive unexposed horses, most notably Sporting John whose three unbeaten runs include a defeat of subsequent Classic Novices’ Hurdle winner, Harry Senior. The Classic is the best UK novice hurdle run before the Festival, and that makes SJ a serious tool. 6/1 e/w NRNB looks a bet, and perhaps in the ‘without the fav’ markets.

RSA Chase

Favourite Champ is a bit of a nutter: he nearly took the wrong course two back at Newbury, then he fell when leading at the second last most recently. He’s got bundles of ability but hasn’t looked quite the finished article yet. Opposable at the price.

Minella Indo was a dual G1 winner at this trip over hurdles including as a 50/1 shocker in the Albert Bartlett, but has been less impressive over fences to date. He’s been trained up to the race and the vibes are strong.

Strong stayers and mudlarks Copperhead and Sam Brown interest more at the prices. Both ran in the Reynoldstown at Ascot last time, the former winner, the latter pulling up. The former’s trainer is toying with the NH Chase, the latter’s trainer with Aintree. NRNB is the way to play then in a race where the top of the market has a fragile look to it.

QMCC

A fascinating race which could be the scrap of the meeting. Altior, at 10, is not the horse he was, but he’s not far off it judged on his recent Game Spirit win.

Against him are two rising stars, Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi. Defi has a great Cheltenham record and has won his last three, all by fairly narrow margins. Chacun has a verdict over Defi from Punchestown last May, but it might be dangerous to take that form literally.

Bumper

Appreciate It is incredibly short given the unexposed nature of so many of these. He was 3rd behind Envoi Allen in his point debut and bolted up in a Grade 2 last time. If you were being hyper critical he didn’t find a huge amount off the bridle there but he already had the race well won before being ridden.

I was hugely impressed by Panic Attack on her debut at Market Rasen in a Listed race. She beat some solid UK fillies by ten lengths and will get both the fillies’ and the 4yos’ allowances at Cheltenham. She’s changed stables from Willie Mullins to David Pipe, a negative for me, but she must have a big chance.

Thursday

Marsh Novices’ Chase

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A social day where winners are hard to come by, for me at least. The first of a couple of interim distance races where which horses will run is uncertain.

Itchy Feet represents the Scilly Isles form which Defi Du Seuil brought to win last year’s race. But…

7 of 9 won by the Irish.

7 of 9 were 4/1 or shorter.

7 of 9 won LTO.

Willie Mullins has won four.

Mullins has both Allaho and Faugheen, the former half the age of the latter! 12 year olds don’t win Championship races, still less novice championship races. But Faugheen is not your average 12yo novice. He’ll absolutely bring the house down if he wins, and I’d say he has a pretty good chance.

But if you like either Allaho or Faugheen then you have to like Easy Game as well. The third string to the Mullins bow beat the former and was a very close second to the latter. He lacks a bit of experience but will be waited with and can pick up the pieces off what will probably be strong fractions.

Ryanair

Another case of who will turn up. A Plus Tard is more likely here and is a short enough favourite. If you watch last year’s Novices’ Handicap Chase you’ll understand why, but this is a different level.

Min has rock solid form and his 2m4f record is 1211, including two G1 wins. His form is better than A Plus Tard yet he’s a bigger price. He’s been second to Altior twice in the QMCC and this longer trip looks the answer now.

Frodon has to be kept onside after the fairytale last year. Campaigned away from Cheltenham this season – because he’s too high in the weights to contest the handicap he previously did – he looks sure to run his race again.

Aso was 3rd in this in 2017 at 40/1, 2nd in this last year at 33/1, and is currently 33/1 for the race this year. His form isn’t great this season but it can be taken on trust he’ll be ready for this assignment, and he’s worth a small each way interest.

Stayers’

Assuming Benie Des Dieux goes a different route, it’s hard to see past Paisley Park. He’s been the dominant stayer since running midfield in the 2018 Albert Bartlett and improved his unbeaten run to seven in the Cleeve last time. There he won by a little more than a length, having won the same race by 12L the year before.

I think he’ll probably win – I hope he does, for Andrew Gemmill, Aidan and Emma – but I’ll be betting something at a much, much bigger price each way. The one I like is City Island, last year’s Ballymore winner.

City Island has taken the Big Buck’s ‘not very good at chasing so reverting to hurdling’ route here, and his trainer Martin Brassil is a shrewdie. I backed him on 17th March last year for this race, at 22/1. He’s since been as big as 40/1 and is still available at 14’s eleven months later. Luckily the trainer is shrewder than I am!

Emitom is the wild card. He ran RSA favourite Champ to 3 lengths in the Grade 1 Sefton at Aintree last April. Since then he was whacked in the Relkeel on his seasonal debut before running away with the Grade 2 Rendlesham at Haydock 11 days ago. A genuine three miler, it’s possible this won’t be run quickly enough for him.

Friday

Triumph

A race that looks likely to cut up. Recency bias has shunted Solo to the head of the market but the visual impression of his Adonis win last weekend is not backed up by the figures. It was the slowest of the two mile heats on the card, and others have stronger collateral credentials in any case.

This probably rests between Allmankind and Goshen, the former already a G1 winner at Chepstow. He’s headstrong and runs from the front, something that both Solo and Goshen can do also.

Goshen is unbeaten in six – three flat handicaps and three hurdles – most recently kicking Nordano to the kerb in nonchalant fashion. That one has since won a handicap by 16 lengths off 127, while fourth placed Homer also won a handicap next time off 117. Goshen doesn’t need to lead, as he showed when tracking the pace before winning by seven lengths in a handicap at Nottingham.

He’s won his last six races by 12L, 9L, 7L (on the flat); then 23L, 34L and 11L over hurdles. He does jump to the right, which is a worry; but he looks like a machine to me.

Aspire Tower is probably the best of the Irish, and he’s probably not good enough.

Goshen for me.

Albert Bartlett

A race to tilt at windmills. The six-year average winning SP is just north of 26/1, with individual scorers at 50/1 and 33/1 twice during that time.

The reason, I think, is that this is a very different test from the usual six runner Graded races run through the season. The big priced winners have tended to get outrun towards the end of such contests, whereas this more attritional setup favours those perennial placers.

Five of those six winners were beaten last time out, the winner – Unowhatimeanharry – scoring in handicap company.

If that theory holds any water, the likes of Lord Royal and Fury Road are interesting.

Lord Royal was second in the same Clonmel novice that Minella Indo was second in last year. He was a big sectional talking horse prior to Clonmel and those of us who backed him on the back of that chat are clinging to the Indo thread now! He’s 33/1 now, same price as I backed him.

Fury Road is ‘only’ 16/1, having been the beaten favourite in the G1 Nathanial Lacy at the Dublin Racing Festival. Martello Tower was beaten there prior to a 14/1 score in the potato race, and this lad is definitely worth another chance.

Cobbler’s Way, like Fury Road owned by Gigginstown, was second in the same race and is another worth a play here. He’s entered in the Ballymore as well so 14/1 NRNB is the way to go.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance at a big price, and don’t be disappointed if a shortie beats you: they can win, they’re just often poor value.

Gold Cup

An open year as 7/2 the field implies. I think it’ll be at least 5/1 bar one on the day, with the one being either Al Boum Photo – the reigning champ for Willie Mullins – or Santini, the pretender trained by Nicky Henderson, depending on how their respective weeks have gone.

Much was made of Santini’s jumping in the aftermath of his dogged, and quietly impressive, Cotswold Chase win; less has been said of the leaping of the Al Boum, who has come down three times in his career, to Santini’s none.

Santini has had a much better prep this year than when second in the RSA last season, and he looks every inch the strong-staying scrapper. I’d take him in a match with ABP every time.

Delta Work is an interesting up-and-comer but he looks like he needs quickish ground. Form on soft or slower reads 33243134; form on quicker than soft reads 212111111. If it did dry out, his recent Grade 1 brace puts him in the mix though I’m still not completely convinced by his stamina.

I’m not sold on Lostintranslation, because of stamina reservations, though I may have that wrong. Couldn’t back him at the price.

Clan Des Obeaux wouldn’t be for me either: I think he wants more of a speed test. It wouldn’t be a shock if Presenting Percy was in the mix off a slightly more conventional prep – albeit in defeat – though he’s not really for me either.

I’m a Santini fan, have backed him accordingly, and will be cheering him from the inebriated depths of the Brown Bear in Leman St.

 

Handicaps

Irish runners have won 24 of the 51 handicaps in the last five years, from 295 runners. That’s better than 8% win rate. UK runners have won 27 of 51, from 854 runners. That’s about 3% win rate.

Those exiting a Graded race last time won at better than 6%, those who race in Listed or lower last time won at 3%.

Those exiting an Irish Graded race won at 8.75%, though exiting a UK Graded race won at 4.5%.

Those outside the top eight in a Graded race last time won just 4 of the 26 to run in Graded company LTO. Three of those four were non-completions.

Those who ran in an Irish Grade 1/2/3 race last time out, finishing in the first eight, won 13 Cheltenham Festival handicaps in the last five years at a rate of 10.5%, for a Starting Price profit of 18.5 points. (Over 40 points at BSP).

I’ve had one bet, A Great View in the Pertemps. Ran an excellent trial in the recent Punchestown qualifier. Was eight lengths sixth last year but handicapper has given him 142, 5 more than his Irish mark. Not a strong fancy by any stretch of the imagination.

 

Cross Country

Easysland is an interesting alternative to Tiger Roll, and is unbeaten in his last six, all cross country’s including over course and distance.

Emmanual Clayeux knows how to win on this course. His 12 runners since 2017 have won two and been placed a further five times. The winners, Diesel D’Allier and Urgent de Gregaine, both line up here, as does last time out winner Arlequin d’Allier.

This 10 year old is making his Cheltenham debut, having pocketed €45,000 for that last day win.

What is interesting is that both Diesel d’Allier and Urgent De Gregaine WON on their Cheltenham debuts. This fellow is 33/1.

After a short hiatus where, in truth, not much of note was happening across the courses our sectional data covers, Clock Watcher is back. In this week's instalment, I'll share the top performer in his Newcastle seven furlong peer group; a win machine who arguably ran her best race in recent defeat; and the first in a new sub-feature, Pick of the Pile, where we look at the top sectional performers over a specific course and distance.

Sanaadh a King of the Sand

We start with the outstanding performance of the week from a combo (time figure plus upgrade) perspective, that of Michael Wigham's Sanaadh in a valuable Class 2 handicap on Newcastle's straight track. The image below shows Sanaadh's performance (red line) against par (black line), with more detail in the result table beneath the graph. Waited with early, Sanaadh was a nine length last at the first call (five furlongs from home) and was still only 11th of 14 with a quarter mile to run; but from there he quickened up smartly - last two furlongs in 22.73 seconds - to record a narrow neck verdict.

Topspeed awarded him a rating of 77 to which a sectional upgrade of 18 is added (see right hand column in the results table), for a combo figure of 95. That is, by some margin, the biggest time/upgrade figure we've seen over Newcastle's seven furlong piste since TPD started tracking there 285 7f races ago.

Sanaadh's overall all-weather profile is rock solid but he looks a better horse on the straight track at Gosforth Park, where his record reads 141, the '4' being when given too much to do.

That's the nature of his hold up run style so there is always the chance of a frustrating 'should have won' effort; but there's little doubt about Sanaadh's ability. He's one to follow.

In his other all weather runs, he hung left at Wolverhampton on his sole try there, and was pulled up at Lingfield on his only spin there. He did also win at Kempton, so it might be that he just doesn't want to go left-handed - I'd be prepared to take that chance if he rocked up at Sunbury in the near future.

Agent Due More Fortune?

When Christine Dunnett sent her then four-year-old mare, Agent Of Fortune, to the Newmarket Autumn Sales she must have felt that there was nothing more to be gained from the three-time winner of the previous year.

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Nobody turned a hair as Gary Moore's hand waved the winning bid at a lowly 3,000 guineas, and six weeks later the 50-rated Agent lined up in a Classified Stakes at Lingfield for which she was sent off 7/4. Clearly the vibes were good - not 'arf - as that was the first leg of a December hat-trick.

January's five runs yielded another three wins, and February has added one further victory to the score sheet. With a remarkable seven wins on the board, and now rated 83, it would be reasonable to assume that Agent Of Fortune's winning has come to an end. But in fact there is an argument that her most recent spin, when third to Crimewave over a mile and a quarter at Lingfield, was her best yet.

Bred for a mile, this was her first attempt at a longer distance and she was ridden to get the trip, finishing with gusto to be a length and a quarter behind the winner. The image below shows the respective furlong-by-furlong distance behind the leader of the winner (Crimewave, red line) and Agent Of Fortune (violet line) and needs little explanation.

Her 22 upgrade figure is added to a Topspeed rating of 54 for a composite 76. Most effective when patiently ridden, she is drawn 10 of 14 tonight up in class and it might be that she has to wait until Saturday and an engagement at Lingfield before returning to winning ways if lining up there as well.

Regardless of tonight or Saturday or another day, it will be a shock to me if Agent Of Fortune doesn't add to her seven wins already this winter before the spring arrives. What a remarkable buy!

Pick of the Pile: Lingfield AW 6f

In the first of a new mini-feature, Pick of the Pile looks at the sectional/time ratings of all runners over a give course and distance. We start with the six furlong range at Lingfield, where the best performance was recorded in the 2017 All Weather Championships 3yo Conditions Stakes.

The William Haggas-trained Second Thought won six of his seven all weather starts, beaten only on his final run when narrowly failing to double his AW Finals tally, placing second over a mile.

The son of Kodiac came from a long way back in that 3yo Championship race, leaving those contesting a fast early pace (see top colour line for the race speed) and rattling past his rivals in the final furlong where he made up 3 1/2 lengths and five places.

 

The most noteworthy recent performance at this track and trip was produced by Harry's Bar, who quickened well off fair fractions on 15th February in a race which will become infamous for the very sad demise of the talented and extremely likeable Kachy. Harry is a tough and consistent all weather sprinter, his form string off turf reading 23111323131.

The Proximity Form column (Px) shows just how consistent with every dot being a green one. (For more on Proximity Form, check out page 40 in the latest version of the User Guide)

 

That's all for this edition of Clock Watcher. Tune in next week for more meritorious performances and sectional insights. In the meantime, if you've any questions, please do add a comment below and I'll be sure to get back to you.

Matt

I have discussed pace angles in numerous Geegeez articles – see this list – and once again I would like to revisit this key area, this time in conjunction with draw, writes Dave Renham.

I have noted before that if you were able to predict the front runner in certain types of races it would amount to a license to print money. For example, going back to 2011, if you managed to correctly predict the front runner in every all-weather UK 5f handicap race with 8 or more runners, you would have profited by over 60p for every £1 staked!

Indeed at Kempton Park the profit would have been £1.04 for every £1 staked. For the record, in 6f handicaps on the sand you would have also profited from front runners to the tune of 33p for every £1 staked, while in 7f handicaps you still would have made 17p per £1 staked.

Naturally, and unfortunately, predicting who will lead in all-weather sprint handicaps is not as easy as all that.

In the past I have looked at different ideas to help increase the chances of predicting the front runner. For example, looking for horses that had led LTO, or looking for horses that have the highest pace score average over the past four races. I have also studied going conditions, the effect of field size etc.

One area though that I have yet to look at in real depth is the position of horses in terms of the draw. For this piece I have collated some all-weather handicap stats from the draw analyser on Geegeez, which also contains draw / run style data.

The draw can have a significant effect at some courses in both a positive and negative way. Races where the first bend is close to the start should offer lower drawn horses some advantage as they are berthed closest to the inside. At the tight turning course of Chester for example, this low draw bias is well known and documented.

Just as there can be a potential draw bias due to being drawn closest to the inside rail, one would assume that these horses have a greater chance of leading early. This is simply due to the fact that they have less distance to travel to the rail at the first corner than horses drawn wider. Of course, not all horses will try to lead early, but I felt it was time to crunch the numbers as I believed the data would back up my theory.

For the record, I have included Irish course Dundalk along with the six UK all weather tracks.

All weather 5f handicaps (8 + runners)

Let us begin by looking at draw / run style combinations over 5f. The draw is split equally in three – low, middle and high - and hence one would expect, given a level playing field, that the ‘led early’ percentages would hit around 33.3% respectively from each section.

It should also be noted that 5 of the 7 course and distances are run round a bend with only Newcastle and Southwell run on a straight course. A look at Newcastle and Southwell first:

wdt_ID Course & Distance Low drawn led% Middle draw led% High draw led%
1 Newcastle aw 5f 41.67 39.81 18.52
2 Southwell aw 5f 29.55 38.64 31.82

The Southwell figures are relatively even which is what I would have expected. However, the Newcastle stats are interesting with higher drawn horses far less likely to lead than those drawn low to middle. I cannot give a reason why this is the case, but it will be interesting to see if this pattern continues in the coming years.

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Onto the other five courses and for the remainder of this article I will just focus on these as all distances are on a turning strip:

 

wdt_ID Course & Distance Low drawn led% Middle draw led% High draw led%
1 Chelmsford 5f 43.65 37.30 19.05
2 Dundalk 5f 45.74 37.98 16.28
3 Kempton 5f 41.45 35.53 23.03
4 Lingfield 5f 46.12 33.47 20.41
5 Wolverhampton 5f 44.14 35.67 20.20

 

This table shows that at all five courses the early leader is more likely to come from the lowest third of the draw – those drawn closest to the inside rail. I am pleased the stats seem to back up my original theory. In addition, horses from the middle stalls lead more often than those drawn high, suggesting there is a correlation between draw position and likelihood of leading.

The following table gives another way of illustrating how much more likely low drawn horses are to lead than high drawn ones – this has been very simply calculated by dividing the low draw led% by the high draw led%:

wdt_ID Course & Distance Low% / High%
1 Chelmsford 5f 2.29
2 Dundalk 5f 2.81
3 Kempton 5f 1.80
4 Lingfield 5f 2.26
5 Wolverhampton 5f 2.19

This table illustrates the bias to lower drawn front runners quite neatly with four of the five featured tracks’ minimum distance handicaps seeing lower drawn horses more than twice as likely to lead early as higher drawn ones. Dundalk seems to have the strongest low drawn front running bias and it is also worth sharing that horses drawn 1 and 2 at the Irish venue have provided the early leader 31% of the time.

Combining the data for all round-course 5f handicaps on the all-weather, and increasing the field size to 12 or more runners, there is an even stronger bias to low draws leading early. There are over 170 qualifying races which is a decent enough sample:

 

wdt_ID Low drawn led% Middle draw led% High draw led%
1 49.13 36.99 13.87

 

Under these circumstances the lowest third of draw are around 3.5 times more likely to produce the early leader of the race. This stronger bias makes sense as higher draws start even further away from the inside rail in bigger fields.

Another assumption I wanted to validate was that when higher drawn horses lead early they are less likely to go onto win: the reasoning behind this is that I perceived it to have generally been quite an effort to pass so many horses to get to the lead from a wide draw, as well as the fact that such runners would probably have had to travel slightly further to achieve this. Combining these factors, it would be logical to deduce that the horse might tire late on due to its earlier exertions in getting to the lead.

However, the stats do not back this up. Below are the win percentages for early leaders from each third of the draw at the five round-course all-weather tracks, firstly focusing on 8+ runner handicap data:

 

wdt_ID Course & Distance Low drawn leaders race win% Middle draw leaders race win% High draw leaders race win%
1 Chelmsford 5f 18.18 25.53 37.50
2 Dundalk 5f 15.25 12.24 28.57
3 Kempton 5f 28.57 22.22 28.57
4 Lingfield 5f 24.78 24.39 16.00
5 Wolverhampton 5f 18.08 15.53 18.55

 

Horses that lead from high draws at Chelmsford manage to go on to win three races in eight; those at Dundalk and Kempton prevail better than one in four. Only at Lingfield does it seem a negative to lead early from a high draw.

A similar pattern emerges when we look at the 12+ runner handicap data. Combining the courses we get these win percentages:

 

wdt_ID Low drawn leaders race win% Middle draw leaders race win% High draw leaders race win%
1 12.94 12.50 20.83

 

I concede these stats have really surprised me. However, in many respects this is good news if you like backing front runners. In the past I may have been put off by a potential front runner drawn wide as I would have assumed if they did manage to lead they were less likely to win. This is not the case –over 5 furlongs at these courses anyway!

Conclusions

This article has shown that in all-weather 5f handicaps contested on a round course, it is easier to lead from a lower draw than a higher one, BUT… in terms of winning the race you may prefer your potential front runner to be drawn high!

Food for thought I hope, and if you have enjoyed this piece you will perhaps be pleased to know that I plan to look at 6f handicaps in a follow-up article.

  • DR

p.s. if you want to understand the impact of draw and pace in combination, Geegeez Gold's new Heat Map underlay within the pace tab does just that, for the specific course/distance/field size/race type combination in question - example below. Click here to join Geegeez Gold >

Do you believe the evidence of your eyes, or the less subjective, cold mathematics of the clock?  Solo, in the Weatherbys-sponsored Adonis Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday put in possibly the race’s most overwhelming winning performance in the past decade, galloping 13 lengths clear of the previously-unbeaten Fujimoto Flyer, writes Tony Stafford. The runner-up, bred in Japan, trained in Ireland and unraced since an easy victory at Auteuil at the beginning of September, possibly gives a line to the form, but how do we know?

Before the race, those of us with a vested interest were keen to ask the ever-colourful Claude Charlet, an agent with a long history originally as a trainer in his native France, then Newmarket and more adventurously in Macao, about his purchase for Mrs Johnny de la Hey.

He said: “Paul <Nicholls> thinks he’s going to be a chaser – whatever he does over hurdles, he’ll be much better, maybe even a Gold Cup horse over fences.” After the win, as a beaming Mr de la Hey looked on, quick to get the chance to talk of the “trauma I’ve experienced in the wake of Cyrname’s fall at Ascot last weekend”, Claude shifted course, a little, as emphatic winners can be expected to in this game.

Charlet was for a long time the Racing UK TV French expert-in-exile – but Racing TV has lost French racing in the fallout to the deal annexing Irish racing from At The Races, now Sky Racing. I never thought I’d say it but Sky and Laurent Barberin have been able to give better and more extensive coverage from France as a balance to their generally less precious piece of the UK cake.

Charlet is no stranger to buying winners on the pre-Cheltenham Kempton card. He was the man who sourced Sire De Grugy for the Gary Moore stable. After Sire De Grugy beat the Nicholls-trained Empire Levant by 11 lengths in the Dovecote Hurdle (unbelievably nine years ago!), Claude was quick to say he was a much cheaper buy than the runner-up. I seem to remember the figure €80k from the recesses of my memory. In the years between, we’ve come to characterise Claude, aka Clouseau, as the man who says every winter “I have a ‘orse for you – 300 Euro”, thousands, of course.

Claude must have had at least that amount to begin bargaining with trainer Guillaume Macaire on behalf of London fund manager de la Hey. He said: “It wasn’t easy. I was stuck in a French farmhouse for ten days with the owner <presumably Gildas Blain, also the breeder> and couldn’t get a deal. He asked if I was going home, I said, I’ll stay one more day, and I got the deal done. M. Macaire wasn’t happy!”

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Nicholls was and Solo has deservedly galloped to the top of the Triumph Hurdle market at around 7-2 and will have probably convinced a number of trainers of intended runners in the juvenile championship race to switch to the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

But here I offer a note of caution. I had a quick glance at the times of the other two two-mile hurdle races on the card, the Kingwell Hurdle, retrieved from the previous weekend’s abandoned Wincanton card and the Dovecote, and both were quicker.

In the case of the Dovecote, by only a second or so, but the Kingwell, won by Tom Symonds, who I met for the first time on the corresponding day 13 years previously as part of the Punjabi entourage, was just over four seconds quicker. Tom’s Song For Someone ran on in determined fashion to justify favouritism, and needed to haul in the de la Hey colours on Diego De Charmil, and the Skeltons’ Ch’tibello in a style that suggests there’s plenty more to come.

Four seconds may not seem insurmountable – Solo won with ease while the three Kingwell principals were at it hammer and tongs up the run-in – and as ever the eyes have it. I was sold on Solo and so was everyone else. That said, after watching Waterproof drop away from the turn for home after going along in the leading group until after three out, the Ray Tooth team had to reflect on what might have been. I’ll leave it to Jack Quinlan to tell the tale.

“As we went down the back, at every hurdle he was very fast, so that coming to three out, I was sensing them gradually dropping back while he was pinging them. I was just thinking, “Blimey, I could give them a race!” I was right behind the winner and then we stopped dead. I wasn’t sure what happened and on pulling up the lad said that he was bleeding from the nose. He stopped so quickly from going well, and we know he stays, that it had to be something like that.”

So now we are at a crossroads. Ray was sceptical that we should even be tackling a race of that nature and was probably right, but the rules on handicaps are such that you need a third run to compete in the type of races a 127 rating forces you into. So now there’s another conundrum. It’s good to know that there was a reason for the late dropping away, but when horses bleed it could easily be something that recurs.

He did eat up overnight, so that’s a positive and the vet will take a blood this morning. What is not in doubt is that Waterproof is an exceptionally fast jumper of hurdles, gaining ground with accurate leaps and fast getaways each time. It would be a shame if such promise were to be compromised by physical issues.

**

I’m looking forward to Wednesday evening in London when I’ll be the Master of Ceremonies of a Cheltenham Festival preview night at the Horse and Wig pub in Fulwood Place, Holborn, 100 yards along from Chancery Lane station on the Central Line. On the panel will be Angus Loughran (Statto), the man who once took a deck chair out at Lord’s to sit on during a Test Match because Chris Tavare was so boring; Sally Randell, first- and triple-winning female rider of the Grand Military Gold Cup and now partner and assistant to Fergal O’Brien; Cheltenham expert Scott Ellis; Matt Bisogno, Editor-in-Chief of Geegeez.co.uk; and young Mr Quinlan.

I also got a promise at Kempton from Andrew Gemmell that as long as he can get the connections right from Wincanton that afternoon, where he fancies his Dagueneau in the 3.50 race, he’ll be there. It will be great to get the latest update, fresh from Dagueneau’s trainer Emma Lavelle, on Paisley Park’s quest for a second Stayers’ Hurdle. I’m sure we can find a glass or two of Pinot Noir to help pass the evening for Racing’s Owner of the Year. At the mid-point there will be a break for chilli and rice.

Admission to the evening is free. It is the brainchild of multiple Group 1 winning owner Les Straszewski, and is staged under the auspices of the International Racing Club, of which Scott Ellis is the joint-founder. So if you’re available, feel welcome to come along!

- TS

Saturday's pick was...

6.30 Chelmsford : Victory Bond @ 5/2 BOG 2nd at 3/1 (Went right start, led, steadied halfway, quickened 3f out, pushed along over 2f out, shaken up inside final 2f, ran on but headed at post, beaten by a nose) : this sort of typifies my luck right now, but for bad luck, I'd have none!

Monday's pick runs in the...

7.00 Wolverhampton :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

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?

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Reeves @ 9/2 BOG

...in a 6-runner, Class 2, A/W Handicap for 4yo+ over 6f on tapeta worth £11,828 to the winner...

Why?...

Not much to go at today in our price range, but I've found one that looks a big price considering his profile. He's 4 yr old gelding who admittedly needs to bounce back from an unusually below-par run last time out in his fifth run on the All-Weather.

He had won his previous four, so he's now 4 from 5 (80% SR) for 13.93pts (+278.7% ROI) away from the turf and this includes of note today...

  • 4/5 (80%) for 13.93pts (+278.7%) in handicaps
  • 4/5 (80%) for 13.93pts (+278.7%) as a non-favourite
  • 3/4 (75%) for 9.76pts (+244%) at 14-28 days since last run
  • 3/3 (100%) for 10.76pts (+358.8%) at Class 2
  • 2/3 (66.6%) for 7.14pts (+238.1%) under jockey Sean Davis
  • 2/2 (100%) for 8.52pts (+426%) in 6-runner contests
  • 1/2 (50%) for 2.79pts (+139.5%) here at Wolverhampton
  • 1/1 (100%) for 3.79pts (+379%) over 6f
  • 1/1 (100%) for 3.79pts (+379%) over this course and distance

...whilst his trainer Robert Cowell is 10 from 31 (32.3% SR) for 18.5pts (+59.7% ROI) with horses sent off at odds ranging from 5/2 to 11/2 (our rough SotD range) in Wolverhampton A/W handicaps since the start of 2016, including...

  • 8/25 (32%) for 17pts (+68%) with male runners
  • 7/18 (38.9%) for 13.22pts (+73.4%) in fields of 6-9 runners
  • 4/10 (40%) for 6.11pts (+61.1%) at 11-20 dslr
  • 3/5 (60%) for 9.09pts (+181.8%) in races worth more than £10k
  • and 2/4 (50%) for 4.4pts (+110%) at Class 2...

...whilst males in 6-9 runner contests at 11-20 dslr are 3 from 5 (60% SR) for 7.68pts (+153.6% ROI), including 2 from 2 for 6.4pts at Class 2 with one of those Class 2 wins coming from Reeves here last December with Sean Davis in the saddle...

...steering us towards...a 1pt win bet on Reeves @ 9/2 BOG as was widely available at 8.05am Monday, although Bet365 were offering half a point more, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 7.00 Wolverhampton

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!

Well, I'm certainly in a hole right now after a second successive week without a winner and the pressure's really on now to try and salvage some pride/money from this wretched month.

Is there anything positive to draw from this week's performance? Actually, yes, I think there is after seeing both Friday's and particular Saturday's runners do all bar win, both getting collared late on and finishing as runners-up at 6/1 and 3/1 respectively : results that would have put a whole new complexion on February's numbers.

We don't, however, work on ifs, buts, coulds, shoulds and woulds, nor do the banks take those as payments so a further improvement is needed and trust me, I'm working on it. I'm just glad I'm not a football manager right now, folk would be calling for my head!

Chris

Selections & Results : 17/02/20 to 22/02/20

17/02 : Princess Mononoke @ 5/2 BOG 4th at 6/1
18/02 : Social City @ 3/1 BOG 7th at 5/2
19/02 : My Old Gold @ 4/1 BOG 4th at 5/2
20/02 : Bolt N Brown @ 11/4 BOG 4th at 3/1
21/02 : Bell Heather @ 5/1 BOG 2nd at 6/1
22/02 : Victory Bond @ 5/2 BOG 2nd at 3/1

17/02/20 to 22/02/20 :
0 winning bet from 6 = 0.00% SR
P/L: -6.00pts

February 2020 :
1 winner from 19 = 5.26% SR
P/L: -15.25pts
ROI = -80.26%

2020 to date :
6 winners from 43 = 13.95% SR
P/L: -13.50pts
ROI = -31.399%

Overall:
662 winners from 2509 = 26.39% S.R
P/L: +518.37pts
ROI: +20.66%

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
The full story from 2017 can be read here.
Whilst the yearly review for 2018 is right here

And here is the overview for 2019

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take the plunge and get involved right now?

Click here for more details.

I’m worried about gambling. Not my own gambling per se, though a couple more winners would always be appreciated, but where the whole pursuit is going, writes Tony Keenan.

The 2010's were the decade when gambling in Ireland and beyond became normalised. It was hardly an illicit, back-street hobby in the early 2000's but recent years have seen it become utterly mainstream through its ubiquity, from TV ads to football sponsorship, odds making their way into conversations like never before. Technology was the great enabler of this expansion: why go to a betting shop when you could have ten of them in your pocket?

Today, where there is sport, there is betting. It was ever thus for racing and indeed this has been its primary attraction for many (myself included) but it is something new for many sports. This normalisation of gambling may have been the greatest achievement of betting companies, opening up markets and customers that were hitherto unavailable to them, but it seems that a tipping point is about to be reached if we are not already there; have they been too successful in this process and about to be hoist by their own petard?

Sympathy for bookmakers has always been in short supply, the profession ranking close to politicians and solicitors in the public’s eyes, but the last few years have seen a sharp swing in sentiment against them. Our society now demands transparency when much betting market activity is cloudy but campaigners like Brian Chappell and Paul Fairhead, and newspapers like The Guardian, have done sterling work in bringing abject abuses into the light.

They are to be commended for this and have played their part in forcing welcome regulatory changes in the UK, from reduced stakes on FOBTs to banning the use of credit cards for online accounts, with limitations on VIP programmes perhaps to come. Self-regulation by betting companies doesn’t work, such attempts inevitably at odds with commercial concerns and there has been a certain acceptance of this from the firms themselves, publicly at least. They have had to take some pain and there will be more to come but while they needed a kick, a kicking even, do they deserve to be kicked to to the kerb?

Punters need bookmakers unless the whole model of betting in these islands is going to change drastically, and my worry now is that gambling will be used as political capital by those who don’t really understand the area. Gambling and betting companies (and, by extension, punters) are the easiest of targets for politicians looking to score points.

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To the forefront of all this is the very real issue of problem gambling. It is a difficult topic to write about, not least because I have thankfully never been there and hope I never will be. The fear of losing everything is something that lurks in the background with most if not all serious gamblers. That fear is not necessarily a bad thing either; fear can be a great motivator first of all but also act as a regulator if tempted to stake too heavily when we may believe we have a huge edge; racing punters are still betting on animals running around a field.

Nor am I any expert in the statistics of problem gambling which seem to throw up mixed messages and, in any case, those numbers could be wrong: losing a lot of money, often in the most private of fashions, does not seem like something people would want to disclose. It is a concern for society as a whole, perhaps even a public health issue, but most figures seem to bear out the truth that it affects a minority of gamblers and how we deal with the whole gambling area should not be dictated totally by the few when the many it brings joy to many.

I love gambling, particularly gambling on racing, which remains the ultimate betting puzzle with all its variables. I won’t pretend that every aspect of it is good. It can be a self-inflicted emotional roller coaster with losses hard to take, while it comes at a significant time cost if doing it seriously; there are other more productive and beneficial things we could alternatively be at. But, for me at least, the positives outweigh the negatives: among other things, it teaches us how to lose (frequently) and can make us learn to be disciplined, while I have made some of best friends through gambling and racing.

There is also the issue of freedom. Irresponsibility is present in most aspects of life from eating to drinking to driving to internet use; there are many things that aren’t particularly good for you when done to excess and a life spent gambling is hardly contributing much to society. But it is fun and if the majority of people who partake are enjoying it without doing significant harm to others, they should be allowed to continue.

This freedom may well be curtailed in the near-future however, perhaps significantly so. Unlike the UK, Ireland has no Gambling Commission yet but it is coming in some form and how quickly it is expedited will be determined by the next government, which may be less than sympathetic to betting interests. The most popular party in the most recent elections on some measures, Sinn Fein, stated in their manifesto that they would "conduct a short review of the gambling sector and introduce reform to the sector", allowing that these manifestos are often not worth the paper they are printed on after the voting is done.

Any new laws would surely aim to protect the vulnerable which is both a worthy and necessary goal, but should also be cognisant of the fact that not all gambling is problem gambling. The concern would be that regulators could be people with an anti-gambling agenda or may have no grasp of the area and thus the rules could be badly thought out or too draconian.

What form these regulations may take is unclear. An increase in betting tax (perhaps passed on to the punter) would be an obvious one, especially as Horse Racing Ireland have been lobbying for it for a while now. But any new rules seem likely to be more wide-reaching than that - some sort of source-of-funds/affordability check perhaps on the cards. This could be applied on or soon after registration for an online account or appearance in a betting shop and would make it virtually impossible for people to bet beyond their means but at the same time prevent people betting at a scale they are comfortable with.

The amount a punter can bet may be linked to their salary. So a person earning €39,000 (the average industrial wage in Ireland at the end of 2019) may be allowed to lose 10% of that in a year; I am guessing completely here, the figure may be much lower or higher. There is obviously a big difference between turning over that €3,900 in a given period and actually losing it all, but would the regulators know that? A punter can make a tank of that size go a long way in terms of time and they might, heaven forbid, even increase it.

Staking is a very broad church and I would not describe myself as remotely high-staking but nor do I want to do this for fivers and tenners at a time; there has to be some tangible reward for success. I realise gambling regularly can inure you to the value of money and you probably need to be a little loose, not thinking about stakes in terms of cups of coffee, nights out, even holidays. Bookmakers telling you what you can and cannot stake is one thing as there will always be ways and means of getting around their restrictions but government regulation might be something different entirely.

One thing that seems certain is that winning punters of any sort, whether they be making a living or simply getting a few quid, won’t be considered in this. That group have a tendency of finding a way but this could present yet another stumbling block with any sort of increased customer due diligence likely to work against them.

Ultimately, these laws in some form seem inevitable. One would hope that they will be constructed by people who have a real sense of subject matter and that punters won’t get caught in the crossfire between politicians and betting companies where betting volume just gets driven underground, which brings a wealth of other potential problems. Perhaps gambling should never have been allowed to become so utterly normalised but I would not want to see it demonised either.

- TK

The number 13 is supposed to have unlucky connotations, writes Tony Stafford. Events thirteen years ago next weekend were the reverse for me. As the tall, mid-European said having approached me with a yellowish-coloured ring between his fingers all those years ago: “It’s your lucky day!”

He could hardly have imagined that his theatrical display of stooping down a few yards in front of me as we progressed in opposite directions along Finchley Road near St John’s Wood Station and brandishing the item triumphantly would have such lasting repercussions.

Or indeed just how lucky it was to prove.
It led to my being introduced a few hours later at Kempton Park to Raymond Tooth by his friend Derek Hatter, who’d been asked to verify the authenticity of the ring as we bumped into each other at the track. Derek revealed a few days later that the jeweller tasked with that professional action declared the fact it went green very quickly was not encouraging.

Entirely encouraging was the meeting with Punjabi’s owner, after his Nicky Henderson-trained gelding had romped to a 19-length triumph in the Adonis Hurdle booking his place in the Triumph at the Cheltenham Festival the following month.

We hit it off and then another chance encounter with my good friend Tony Mullins, outside the Victor Chandler tent where we had all been based that Gold Cup day, led to a going-home 12-1 winner, Pedrobob, in the County Hurdle, which clearly sealed the deal as Raymond’s racing manager.

Now on Saturday, again a consequence of unlikely events, the Tooth colours of grey and pink will be in action in the same Kempton race with Waterproof. We had formulated a plan to try to get him qualified for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle next month. That needed him to have had three runs over jumps and the third was to be either at Haydock in last Saturday’s Victor Ludorum or the back-up race suggested by Shaun Keightley at Market Rasen yesterday.

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We didn’t fancy the heavy ground at Haydock, or the likelihood of having to face Goshen, pencilled in by Gary Moore for that race. A hard race on heavy would probably have caused his 127 rating to be vulnerable had Goshen run riot, but in the end he didn’t run at all. Nor did we as Storm Dennis washed out Market Rasen and most of the countryside everywhere else.

It’s doubtful that running this weekend will constitute qualification. Entries for the Boodles close tomorrow and at that stage he does not have the necessary three runs. The handicap is fixed next week but I fear it is probably too late, so we’re going to check. David Dickinson gave Waterproof 127 after his wide-margin Fakenham win, but he probably wouldn’t have won at all had Bran, who’d just taken it up, not fallen heavily at the last flight.
It had been a plan for some time, immediately after his promising debut third at Huntingdon, to get two placed runs into him and then run against older handicappers, taking advantage of the big age allowance for juveniles. The number 127 certainly didn’t enter calculations at that stage. Now the best way of dealing with it is to get the third run in so that entry in future valuable handicaps can be made. If he’s not good enough for the Goshens of this world – and no doubt he’ll be in the line-up at Kempton – then so be it.

Goshen’s latest win, by 11 lengths in a small field at Ascot, had the experienced Nordano in a respectful second. That Neil King-trained gelding had run six times before Saturday with a couple of wins in acquiring the same rating as Waterproof. I remember writing in this column that I thought Goshen could give twice the 17lb he’s officially rated above Waterproof and still beat him half the track, so not much confidence there for Saturday!

But when Nordano turned out back at Ascot in the mud last Saturday off 127 which translated to 10st bottom weight against his elders, I think my opinion of Goshen’s rating was borne out. Nordano and Aidan Coleman set off in front and, jumping fluently, strolled away in the straight to win the near two and a half miler by 16 lengths. Mr Dickinson will exact his revenge: I wonder if he might act retrospectively on Goshen’s mark?

A couple of the sport’s icons returned to action over the weekend. First Cyrname, reappearing after his King George blow-out and back on the scene of his earlier explosion of Altior’s unbeaten record, looked a much less formidable chaser than hitherto, already consigned to last of four in the attempt at a repeat in the Ascot Chase. Riders Onthe Storm also looked sure to be denied as long-absent Traffic Fluide loomed up dangerously.
His capsize, which was spectacular enough, did not carry anything like as much public concern as Cyrname’s and when the latter eventually rose, it was to a massive cheer of relief.

Even though Cyrname was a 4-11 shot, I didn’t fancy him one jot, unlike Nordano earlier. His defeat of Altior over a trip beyond anything previously attempted by the champ, would have taken a toll on both horses. While Nicky Henderson gave Altior until Newbury nine days ago for his comeback, Cyrname was asked to battle with stable-mate Clan Des Obeaux, again over a longer distance than he’d ever previously attempted.

I was told that Nicholls excused the defeat saying that Kempton was a stiff track, exactly contradicting anything he and many others including Nicky Henderson always say about it being “sharp”. The way Cyrname stopped almost to a walk in the King George could hardly have been encouragement for his winning a top-class race only five weeks later and so it proved, hopefully with no lasting after-effects.

A similar situation occurred two decades earlier when I was involved with the Thoroughbred Corporation whose Royal Anthem had just won the Group 1 Juddmonte International by eight lengths from a top-class field of 12. Just over three weeks later he went on to the Irish Champion Stakes, with the general in-house attitude: “He never had a race at York!” Winning a Group 1 race of that quality? Not much he did, and it showed with a 13-length fifth to Daylami at Leopardstown. Neither trainer, owner, US racing manager and UK manager were there. Just me, and it befell me on Dick Mulhall’s irate say-so from California to check with the racecourse vet whether he’d been got at! The answer was easy enough. He was knackered. It cost him Horse of the Year honours, too.

The second icon to appear this weekend was dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll, only fifth but far from disgraced in a  Boyne Hurdle run in appalling ground at Navan. He’d won the race the previous year as a 25-1 shot building up to the Cheltenham Cross-Country and second Aintree triumph. He’d run the previous November but this time after much-publicised training issues and even more public attempts to intimidate handicapper Martin Greenwood into handing him a penalty kick of a handicap mark for the hat-trick attempt, it’s now down to business.

Fifth place here in a very strong race, won by stable and owner-mate Cracking Smart at 16-1, was creditable, especially as Magic of Light, last year’s Grand National second and already a winner over both hurdles and fences this term, was last home. The fear for the Tiger Roll team, more than the weight itself, would be if this extreme wet weather should result in testing ground at Aintree. Then, I fear, something, probably a light-weight, will come along to deny the hat-trick attempt.

- TS

Saturday's pick was...

1.30 Haydock : Glinger Flame @ 6/1 BOG 5th at 6/1 (Held up, slow 1st, outpaced 11th, hanging left before 4 out, soon well beaten)

Monday's pick runs in the...

4.30 Carlisle :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour of going "live".

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?

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Princess Mononoke @ 5/2 BOG

...in an 8-runner, Class 4, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 2m1f on Soft (heavy in places) ground worth £4,809 to the winner...

Why?...

This 9 yr old mare is currently 4 from 20 (20% SR) which on face value is definitely reasonable and worth a second look. When you do look closer, you'll find that in the context of this race, her numbers are excellent when compared to her 7 rivals here , who are a combined 4 from 127 (3.15% SR)!

She has also made the frame in 7 of 16 defeats, meaning she has placed in 55% of all contests including the four wins and her 4/20 record includes of relevance today...

  • 4 wins and 6 places from 17 on soft/heavy
  • 4 and 6 from 16 with a 5-7lb claimer on board
  • 4 and 5 from 15 after 10-50 days rest
  • 4 and 6 from 14 in 5-9 runner contests
  • 4 and 5 from 13 from Jan-April
  • 4 and 3 from 8 at odds of 4/1 and shorter
  • 3 and 6 from 15 over 2m-2m1f
  • 3 and 4 from 10 with Abbie McCain in the saddle
  • 3 and 2 from 8 on soft ground
  • 2 and 5 from 12 at Class 4

...and 5-7lb claimer + 5-9 runners + soft/heavy + Jan-April + 4/1 max odds + 11-50 dslr = 4 from 4 (100% SR) for 11.55pts (+288.8% ROI), including...

  • 3/3 for Abbie McCain
  • 3/3 on soft
  • 3/3 at 2m-2m1f
  • and 2/2 at Class 4

The potential fly in the ointment is the weight, of course. As she's so consistent and clearly the best horse in the race, she gets no help from the handicapper today. Jockey Abbie's 5lb claim is the only relief available, but there's a precedent here, as since the start of 2015, Donald McCain's handicap hurdlers that are top weight have won 8 of 30 (26.7% SR) for 13.7pts (+45.7% ROI) profit when sent off at Evens to 10/1 with a claimer jockey on board, including the following at play today...

  • 8/24 (33.3%) for 19.7pts (+82.1%) in fields of 4-9 runners
  • 8/22 (36.4%) for 21.7pts (+98.6%) at 1-30 dslr
  • 7/20 (35%) for 20.4pts (+102%) with 7-9 yr olds
  • 6/14 (42.9%) for 2.4pts (+67.3%) at Class 4
  • 4/12 (33.3%) for 12.6pts (+104.9%) on soft/heavy
  • 4/12 (33.3%) for 8.4pts (+70.1%) over 2m-2m2f
  • 3/10 (30%) for 10.3pts (+103.1%) on soft
  • and 2/5 (40%) for 3.13pts (+62.6%) for Abbie McCain...

...whilst 4-9 runners + 1-30dslr + 6-9 yr old + Class 4 = 6/9 (66.6% SR) for 28.4pts (+315.7% ROI), including...

  • 4/4 at 2m-2m2f
  • 4/4 on soft/heavy
  • 3/3 on soft...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Princess Mononoke @ 5/2 BOG as was widely available at 8.00am Monday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 4.30 Carlisle

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!

Well, what can I say? My current form is as bad (if not worse) than the weather, but I need my fortunes to improve sooner than the Met office are saying the weather will!

0 from 6 is poor, but when they finish 264655, it's dreadful. The highlight of the was Monday and it then went downhill from there, I'm afraid. Although if Monday's runner gets home, we perversely make a profit on the week!

Normally, at this stage of the month, I'm working out the bare minimum needed to protect the profits made and it looks like I'm up against it this month. Five, possibly six winners are needed, but it's not impossible. That said, I really do need a change in fortune/weather pretty quickly.

Thankfully, the knives haven't come out yet and the only pressure I'm feeling is self-imposed : I'm not getting grief just yet from you readers nor from above. The only other thing I would add is a reminder that I personally back every selection with my own money too, so I certainly feel the hit here.

Chris

Selections & Results : 10/02/20 to 15/02/20

10/02 : Velvet Cognac @ 4/1 BOG 2nd at 15/2
11/02 : Lady Alavesa @ 10/3 BOG 6th at 5/2
12/02 : Liamba @ 9/2 BOG 4th at 6/1
13/02 : Troubled Soul @ 10/3 BOG 6th at 7/1
14/02 : Penny Mallow @ 5/2 BOG 5th at 2/1
15/02 : Glinger Flame @ 6/1 BOG 5th at 6/1

10/02/20 to 15/02/20 :
0 winning bet from 6 = 0.00% SR
P/L: -6.00pts

February 2020 :
1 winner from 13 = 7.69% SR
P/L: -9.25pts
ROI = -71.15%

Overall:
662 winners from 2503 = 26.45% S.R
P/L: +524.37pts
ROI: +20.95%

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
The full story from 2017 can be read here.
Whilst the yearly review for 2018 is right here

And here is the overview for 2019

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take the plunge and get involved right now?

Click here for more details.

It's mid-February and high time for the very first ante post preview, of the Champion Hurdle, ahead of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. The Festival is confirmed alive and kicking as runners head to the start for the first of the week's open championship races and, while this year's renewal looks lacking in star quality, it may be bulging with quantity... and that makes for a cracking betting race.

2020 Champion Hurdle Betting

From an ante post wagering perspective, significant further spice is added by the "will they / won't they" nature of a number of runners towards the pointy end of the market. Any/all of Honeysuckle, Envoi Allen, Benie Des Dieux, and Cilaos Emery could rock up here and go off a single figure price; but only the first two named are actually entered at this stage. We'll know more after the supplementary stage on 4th March, but so will everyone else so now is the time to take a view.

With 2017/18 champ Buveur D'Air out injured, Willie talking horse Klassical Dream out missing in action, and 2019 victor Espoir D'Allen sorely missed, the path is clear for a hitherto largely unheralded player to add their name to the illustrious roll of honour. Here's where the fun starts...

 

The above is a betting snapshot as at 8am on 14th February, with the starting prices for the race sure to be quite different. Before looking at the form, let's think about the shape of the market.

First up, if the four uncertain runners all turn up, Epatante is more likely to be nearer 5/1 than 5/2. Pentland Hills might be - arguably should be - nearer 10/1 than 5/1.

What is more likely to happen, I think - and don't quote me on this, is that Benie and Honey will swerve each other, with one going to the Mares' Hurdle (Honeysuckle?) and one to either the Champion (or Stayers') Hurdle (BdD?).

Benie Des Dieux has raced exclusively over two and a half to three miles and her trainer, Willie Mullins, has a number of other options for the Tuesday showpiece. In my view she's unlikely to run here, but would be the chief antagonist to Paisley Park if going to the longer Grade 1, a race in which she's actually entered.

Novice Envoi Allen has looked a Champion Hurdler in the making, his plan all season being the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, a kingmaker for the following year's Champion, for which he is not far north of even money. It wouldn't be the biggest surprise if he was re-routed to an ostensibly hollow renewal of the hurdling Blue Riband, but his non-runner no bet (NRNB) price is about right, so save nearer the time if required.

And then there's Cilaos Emery. I'm in for a few quid on this lad for the Champion Chase, so a first fence fall in his dress rehearsal at the Dublin Racing Festival - and subsequent plan revision from the Closutton schemers to potentially head this way - has been a disappointing dispatch to digest. We'll come back to his form chance shortly.

2020 Champion Hurdle Preview

All of the above means that my inclination is to clear out the noise and focus primarily on those believed likely to run at this stage. Primus inter punting pares currently is Epatante. The Nicky Henderson-trained / JP McManus-owned six-year-old mare has done little wrong albeit in lesser company. Since winning a French AQPS G1 bumper in November 2017 - her switch to Seven Barrows ensuing - she has run five times, winning four of them.

That quartet comprises a brace of novice hurdles where her closest pursuers are now rated 127 and 117; a Listed handicap hurdle where the next two home were stable mates at Chez Nicky, rated in the mid-130's; and the Grade 1 (in name at least) Christmas Hurdle, where she was five lengths too good for Silver Streak, himself third in last year's Champion Hurdle.

But last year's Champion Hurdle completely fell apart due to fallers and a pace collapse. Silver Streak, a 25/1 chance this year, was 80/1 last year. Moreover, he was beaten 15 lengths last year and subsequently duffed up royally at Aintree though over an extra half mile or so.

The sole blemish on Epatante's UK CV is a sizeable one. It came in last year's Mares' Novices' Hurdle where she was 15/8 favourite in a big field of interesting though not necessarily exciting aspirants. Eight of them finished in front of her at the line for all that she was only beaten around ten lengths.

Whether it was the track, or the volume of rivals, or the occasion, it is hard to know. What I do know is that she'll be racing at the same track (old/new course notwithstanding), with quite possibly a similar number of rivals, and an even bigger occasion. That's a big question to remain unanswered for a 5/2 (10/3 in a place) chance, even taking into account her seven pound mares' allowance.

Your first 30 days for just £1

If Epatante has questions to answer, what about Pentland Hills? Last season was fairytale stuff for his four billion owners in the Owners Group 031 club. A fairly exposed flat turfer for Chris Wall, rated 73 on the level, the journey from Newmarket to Lambourn clearly suited - as did, of course, the increase in racing distance and the presence of an octet of obstacles.

For where was this middling summer handicapper? After waltzing away from The Flying Sofa on his debut over timber as late as the end of February, he rocked up in the Triumph just 18 days later and bashed his 13 rivals up in style; though of course it should be remembered that rock solid favourite, Sir Erec, met a most untimely demise in the first half of the race.

However, Pentland was keen to show his Chelto success was no fluke and did just that in the Aintree equivalent where he took down another notable scalp in the form of Fakir D'Oudairies. A fearsome four-year-old was he last season, but this term has been less straightforward. Kicking off his campaign in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December, he was no better than fifth as a 5/2 chance in a bunch finish.

He has since run in the Haydock Champion Hurdle Trial, a Grade 2, where he was beaten a nose by Ballyandy, that one finishing second in the International and, therefore, having two verdicts over Pentland Hills this season yet still being offered at five times his price. To be clear, I don't like the form lines especially but the price disparity has to be wrong for all that the Hills has far more 'back class'.

A feature of Pentland Hills' races this term has been a propensity to over-race. His advocates will argue that in a bigger, and better, field they'll go quicker which will play to the Triumph victor's strengths. They may be right about that, but I still don't see him winning. At least I don't see me betting him at anything like his current price.

And, of course, everybody knows five-year-olds don't win the Champion Hurdle. Except Katchit in 2008. And, erm, Espoir D'Allen last year 😉

Benie Des Dieux has much better options than this. She'll surely go for either the Mares' Hurdle over an extra half mile, or the Stayers' Hurdle over a full mile more. A flat out speed test is something against which she's completely unproven. Back her on the day if you like, but she's a red herring in this book from where I'm sitting.

The Henry de Bromhead-trained Honeysuckle has similar destination uncertainties. She is at least entered in the race, where Benie is not currently; but her target has reputedly been the Mares' Hurdle all along. The form book relates that, although she won the G1 Irish Champion Hurdle last time, it was by the smallest margin - half a length - in her seven race unbeaten career to date. Closer inspection reveals that the next narrowest margin of victory was on the only other occasion she contested a race over two miles, a Naas novice 15 months ago.

She wants two and a half miles at least, maybe three, and she did very well to prevail at the shorter range last time. I'd be surprised if she was invited to go short next month.

The eight-year-old Darver Star was knocking around the places in novice hurdles before a handicap debut win off 106 in April last year. A year later and he's now rated 152 having won four in a row prior to running a four length third to Envoi Allen in the G1 Royal Bond in December and a half length second to Honeysuckle in the aforementioned Irish Champion Hurdle. He's tough, he's hardy, he's progressive for his age (lightly raced, too) and he could outrun odds of 20/1.

The heart-breaker in the herd, for this scribe at least, is Cilaos Emery. I  have him to win a nice four figure amount in the Champion Chase, but his jumping and his inexperience - intrinsically linked, no doubt - which led to a first fence fumble in the Dublin Chase have placed his participation in the Wednesday feature under a cloud of doubt.

Although he needs to be supplemented, he is a legit contender for the hurdles crown. Rated 165 over fences, that figure is higher than any in the current entries. Of course, he hasn't run over the smaller barriers since late 2017 when he was rated only 153; but even that level gives him a bit of a chance in this likely field. He's 8/1 NRNB and 12/1 all in run or not, and could easily end up being Mullins' first choice for a race where his expected contenders have evaporated as the season has worn on.

Of the Mullins horses actually entered, Sharjah is the most compelling. He has two ways of running, the better of them up to muster in this group. He evidenced that most recently when winning the Grade 1 Matheson (formerly Ryanair) Hurdle at New Year for the second year running. Last season, he also won the G1 Morgiana beating (an admittedly likely below peak) Faugheen, so he's capable of Grade 1 winning form.

Patrick Mullins is expected to keep the mount, and to ride a patient race. If he handles the ground - which will probably be on the soft side given the weather we've been having - he's a player.

So too is Envoi Allen if he is diverted to this gig. I don't think he will be and I don't think he should be, but clearly a horse unbeaten in seven Rules races and a point-to-point, including last season's Champion Bumper, cannot be completely dismissed. He's just not a betting proposition at this stage for all that he's a very exciting horse.

Then we step into the realm of the wannabe's - many of whom never will be, at this rarefied altitude at least - with the likes of Fusil Raffles, Thomas Darby, Coeur Sublime and Supasundae amongst others.

Fusil Raffles was a good four-year-old, beating Fakir D'Oudairies by two and a half lengths in a Punchestown Festival Grade 1 last May. A literal interpretation of that gives him the beating of second favourite, Pentland Hills; but since then, the Henderson inmate has had mixed fortunes, first scrambling home in a Grade 2 then pulling up as if something was amiss in the Christmas Hurdle. The news that he goes straight to Cheltenham offers no prior chance to redeem the reservation of that Kempton flunk.

Olly Murphy recently celebrated his maiden Grade 1 success, in the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown. The winner there, Itchy Feet, finished a place behind stable companion Thomas Darby in last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the latter taking his chance in the Champion Hurdle now. Since last March, however, Thomas has charted an uncertain passage, looking far from fluent over fences and reverting to hurdles last time where he did well to beat a field of Grade 3 handicappers off top weight. That was two and a half miles on heavy ground, a different test - in distance terms if not ground - to what he'll encounter here; but current evidence suggests he's a better hurdler than chaser.

Coeur Sublime simply doesn't look good enough, having finished a respectful distance behind a number of more credible Champion Hurdle candidates; but Supasundae is not without hope. Jessica Harrington would be one of the less feted of the top table of Irish trainers, and her Cheltenham Festival record is impressive: most notably she recorded a treble in 2017 which included Sizing John in the Gold Cup, and Supasundae himself.

In the intervening three years, Supasundae, now ten, has finished 23212212227124. His problems in the win market are well couched in that form string; but every single one of those runs was in Grade 1 company. He was disappointing in the Stayers' Hurdle last term - the sore thumb '7' in the sequence - and I have a suspicion that a fast run two, rather than a steadily run three, is what he wants.

He won the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle last April, where he beat Buveur D'Air, who would be no bigger than 5/1 in this field all other things being equal. Of course, that was two and a half miles, but he is a legitimate Grade 1 animal. His last day fourth in the Irish Champion Hurdle, where he was beaten less than five lengths on his first run for nine months, will doubtless have delighted connections, and he must improve plenty from there to Cheltenham.

Ballyandy is also worth a name check. The form of his last three runs ties in closely with both Epatante and Pentland Hills so, if you think they are correctly priced, this guy has to represent a bit of value in the place markets at least. His Cheltenham Festival record is strong: he won the Champion Bumper in 2016, was fourth in Labaik's Supreme a year later, and was third in the Coral Cup last year.

2020 Champion Hurdle Tips

It's a fabulously fraught Festival market with no horse holding anything like outstanding claims. As such, it can pay to take a couple of chances at bigger prices. Cilaos Emery would be interesting if getting supplemented but at this stage he is overlooked. So too are the hokey cokey possibles Honeysuckle, Benie Des Dieux and Envoi Allen.

Epatante is a dreadful price even if the above named quartet all abstain; her Cheltenham blot and the general balance of her form mark her as vulnerable for all that she'd not be a shock winner. Pentland Hills actually impressed me in the Triumph, and again at Aintree, last year; but he doesn't look the same model this season, five-year-old hurdlers often struggling to recapture the fizz of their first forays.

Thereafter it's wide open. A 'going day' Sharjah would be a player, for sure, as would Supasundae; and Darver Star and Ballyandy are not without hope from the long grass either.

With Sharjah's Cheltenham record patchy (if probably excusable - heavy ground and a brought down, respectively), and Ballyandy inexorably tied to Pentland Hills in form terms - which for some will be a boon, granted - I'll take a punt on the other pair.

Darver Star will be having his first start outside Ireland, though that didn't stop his trainer winning last year's race with a similar type, and is an eight-year-old who has emerged from absolutely nowhere in the last year. He's not had a huge amount of racing, stays the trip and more, and has arguably achieved more in defeat the last twice than a number of his rivals have done in winning.

And Supasundae, if routing this way - we'll go NRNB just in case - has class and consistency in his corner. Yes he is ten years old; yes, he finishes second a lot; but he does it in Grade 1 company, including at the Cheltenham Festival where his record since switching to his current trainer is 127. That first run of the season earlier in the month must have pleased connections, and I'm happy to chance him each way non-runner no bet.

Champion Hurdle 2020 Suggestion

Back Supasundae each way NRNB at 16/1 Skybet

Consider any of Darver Star 20/1, Ballyandy 20/1, and/or Sharjah 12/1 all NRNB

 

We're at the start of a busy period of development within Geegeez Gold just now, and an early part of this work is to bring a couple of rather clunky elements of the visuals into the 21st century.

Specifically, we've smoothed our draw and pace chart curves; and we've made the pace heat map a bit less 'blocky'.

There is also a new view on the Pace tab - and a very interesting one at that.

Gold users can now see which parts of the draw are favoured by the respective run styles, as well as which horses sit where against that draw / run style underlay. It's quite difficult to explain, so have a look at the short video below and see what you think.

Plenty more coming soon!

Matt

p.s. the user guide has been updated accordingly and you can download the latest version from your My Geegeez page.

Oops, we did it again, as Britney Spears never quite sang. With the results just in from the 2020 Smart Betting Club Awards, I'm delighted to announce that geegeez.co.uk has won the Best Betting Website category... for the fourth year in a row.

Here's how the SBC Awards report broke the news

GOLD - GEEGEEZ RACING

For the 4th year running, racing website, GeeGeez.co.uk did the business by winning the coveted Gold ‘Best Betting Website’ Award with an impressive 33.47% of the vote – increasing their share by nearly 10% from last year.

Scooping more than a third of all votes is something we're immensely proud of, as is beating the likes of Oddschecker, ATR, Racing Post, Betting.Betfair, and so on.

We've never been able to compete with the massive budgets of those major media houses; but that has never stopped us punching above our weight. The ethos of geegeez.co.uk is simple: highest quality data-driven content presented in an easily consumable format.

In other words, we aim to deliver key punting messages in bite-sized snippets, whether that's through our Gold racecards and form tools, or in the insightful research-based editorial produced by the likes of Tony Keenan, Jon Shenton, Dave Renham, Chris Worrall and myself.

This is how the votes were distributed:

Of course, we'll never win an 'industry' award, because we're never nominated. We're not part of that club where members take it in turns to back slap each other. Nope, we rely on your votes - you know, the actual users of our site (ahem) - to express your feelings about the value you get. Thank you for validating the effort we put in to building the best product/site/service we can.

And we're not done yet.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Not by a long chalk.

Here are just a few of the things we have planned for 2020:

- Betfair Starting Price data in our reports and cards: so you can see profit and loss against exchange prices (with commission deducted)

- Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB) and PRB2 metrics: so you can deploy this professional's barometer of performance

- Draw / Pace heat map underlayed within the pace map: so you can see how stall position and run style might impact today's field.

- Query Tool v2.0: a brand new, much more functional, system builder tool. Planned for the second half of 2020.

- Headgear and 'DSLR' (days since last run) reports

- 2nd time in a handicap and 2nd time for a new trainer (HC2 / TC2) reports

...and a bundle more besides.

As always, if you have any suggestions, please do let us know via the Contact form on site. That's how some of our best features - including the heat map one above - come to life.

*

On behalf of the entire team - developers, backroom staff, writers and myself - thank you so much for your ongoing support - it means the world to us to know that the hours we put in are appreciated by you, our highly valued readers and subscribers.

Matt

p.s. you can download a copy of the full report here.

p.p.s. I personally won a prize, too: the inaugural Best Betting Writer. That really is too kind. Indeed, I'm not even convinced I'm the best betting writer on geegeez.co.uk these days, something about which I'm delighted. Healthy competition at a high quality level is what I've always aspired to for readers of geegeez. It's a thrill to be a part of such a great editorial team.

Elsewhere in cyberspace, the likes of Kevin Blake and Lydia Hislop, as well as the excellent pair of Joseph Buchdahl and Paul Krishnamurty, are all writers well worth your time if you're as yet unfamiliar with them.

Saturday's pick was...

4.10 Newbury : Highest Sun @ 11/4 BOG 5th at 10/3 (Raced keenly, made most until mistake and headed 14th, lost 2nd approaching next, weakened before 3 out, tailed off)

Monday's pick runs in the...

4.15 Plumpton :

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?

Your first 30 days for just £1

Velvet Cognac @ 4/1 BOG

...in a 9-runner, Class 4, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m1½f on Heavy (Soft in places) ground worth £4,094 to the winner...

Why?...

This 12 yr old gelding was a winner on his penultimate start over these smaller obstacles at Fontwell, back in November and his name appeared in quite a few of the angles I consider before coming to a daily decision. In the interests of not boring you, I'll keep it brief and just suggest 4 reasons why he might go well here today.

1. Jockey David Bass is in good form right now, having won 3 of 12 (25% SR) for 8.9pts (+74.2% ROI) this month already.

2. Trainer Lawney Hill's record when her only runner of the day is a handicapper priced in the 2/1 to 8/1 range stands at 16 from 53 (30.2% SR) for 56.5pts (+106.6% ROI) since the start of 2016, including...

  • 16/40 (40%) for 69.5pts (+173.8%) within 100 miles drive of her base
  • and 5/16 (31.25%) for 12.1pts (+75.7%) here at Plumpton

3. In that same 2016-20 time frame, her NH handicappers racing on Soft or "worse" ground are 8 from 25 (32% SR) for 24.05pts (+96.2% ROI) when sent off no longer than 12/1, including...

  • 4/9 (44.4%) for 4.95pts (+55%) at Class 4
  • and 3/9 (33.3%) for 17.5pts (+194.4%) during January & February

4. Whilst her "late season" (ie Feb-April) handicappers are also 8 from 25 (32% ROI) since the start of 2016 with their 22.75pts profit equating to an ROI of some 91% with those sent off at 2/1 to 8/1 winning 6 of 12 (50%) for 31pts (+258.2%)

...which leaves us with...a 1pt win bet on Velvet Cognac @ 4/1 BOG as was available from 888Sport & Unibet at 8.10am Monday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 4.15 Plumpton

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!