Saturday aka Grand National Day is almost upon us and to aid us in our quest to beat the bookies, the excellent Trainer/Jockey Combo Stats report is open to all readers, as are the following free 'races of the day'...
- 1.25 Lingfield
- 2.15 Dundalk
- 2.50 Dundalk
- 3.35 Aintree
- 4.00 Chepstow
- 5.30 Newcastle
And I think I'll go with the first of those races, the 1.25 Lingfield, a 9 (was 10)-runner, Class 6, A/W (poly) handicap for 4yo+ horses over a 5f which is worth £2322 to the winner and here's how they line up...
It's an open looking, if low quality contest with very little in the way of good recent form, but these can be good races to get stuck into. There's very little separating Shecandoo, Lethal Blast and Oh So Nice at the top of our ratings and we've three retuning course and distance winners in the shape of Requited, Bernie's Boy and Lady Florence. The first two of those former C&D winners are also the only two male runners here today, an outnumbering you rarely see. All bar Fairy Fast and Edge of the Bay have raced in the last five weeks and we've no LTO winners.
Shecandoo heads the weights and probably the market, because although she's now 0 from 10, she has made the frame in 4 of her 9 A/W starts, beaten by less than two lengths on all four occasions. She's now down in class and to a career-low mark of 55 and the last time she ran in a Class 6, 5f contest, she was only beaten by two necks off 58, so she should have a great chance here.
Requited was a course and distance winner here in mid-August of 2019 off a mark of 63 and won here over 6f in early August of 2020 off 65, but has struggled in eight races since, not making the frame in any as his mark has tumbled to today's 55. Mind you, he was off 57 last tout and finished 10th of 11, more than 10 lengths adrift over 6f at Wolverhampton, so he'd really need to improve here.
Edge of The Bay hasn't been seen for well over five months since finishing 4th of 9, beaten by 4.5 lengths at this class/trip at Chelmsford after doing far too much early on. She's now 0 from 10 and has made the frame just three times and she's hard to fancy here off 2lbs higher than LTO.
Bernie's Boy does at least have a win visible in his recent form on the card and that came over 6f at Wolverhampton in early January when he grabbed the win on the line by a short head, but has run pretty poorly since. He's definitely unreliable, but has slipped to his lowest mark in over a year and has already won over course and distance, so it depends which horse shows up.
Lady Florence could be excused for finishing 8th of 9 last time out over course and distance, as she was returning from an absence of 178 days and in her further defence, she was only beaten by less than 4 lengths, having gone well until inside the final furlong. She had ended her Autumn 2020 campaign by winning here by 2.5 lengths over course and distance and then finishing third at Wolverhampton before her break and she's now 3lbs lower than that Wolverhampton run.
Terri Rules is an experienced 6 yr old mare with 51 runs under her belt and certainly will know what she's up against, despite coming here off a modest run in a non-handicap event at Wolverhampton last time out. After just nine days rest, that race probably came a little soon for her, becuase she had been running quite well before that. She was a runner-up, beaten by just a neck at Kempton two starts ago and although she's now gone 15 runs and 18 months without a win, she might have to something to say here.
Fairy Fast certainly hasn't lived up to her name so far, winning just 1 of 22 career starts and losing all 13 A/W encounters. Since the start of 2020, she has raced exclusively here at Lingfield, failing to make the frame in any of her half dozen outings, beating just 12 of 49 rivals and losing by an average of around 8 lengths each time.
Lethal Blast is 0 from 8 and has been a bit hit and miss. Three poor novice runs prior to going handicapping where her results have been up and down. She ran reasonably well last time out on her debut for her new handler, going down by just two lengths off a pound higher than today, despite coming off the back of a 193-day break. She's entitled to come on for the run and whilst she's not an obvious pick to win, she could well get involved in a poor contest.
Oh So Nice runs mainly at Wolverhampton, where she has made 7 of her 8 A/W starts, without any real joy. She was a 2.5 length runner-up three starts ago after a 144-day absence and just hasn't kicked on as connections would have hoped. In fact she has been 10th of 10 and 6th of 9 since. She has, however, raced here once over course and distance back on New Year's Eve 2019 and although she was only 5th of 10 runners, she was actually less than a length behind the winner. Terri Rules finished second that day and is the only one of the four to beat Oh So Nice that hasn't won since.
So, a fairly nondescript bunch to deal with. Often in these low-grade contests, you've got some class-droppers looking to return to form, but this, sadly, is just a bunch of poor runners, if truth be told. That said, one of them MUST win, so let's try and find it. You'll not be surprised to read that these 9 horses have won just 8.9% of their previous combined 237 career races and made the frame in just 31.2% of those contests, so when we consider A/W form on Instant Expert, we're probably going to need to look at both win and place stats...
Shecandoo looks solid on place form with a line of green, but has failed to convert them into wins, whilst Requited's only places have been wins and he goes off a mark 10lbs lower than his last success. Edge of The Bay is another with solid place form that hasn't translated into winners and Bernie's Boy has form and experience on going/class and is rated 3lbs lower than his last win.
Lady Florence's numbers are all based on small sample sizes, but there's plenty of green going on, but the problem here is that she's still 6lbs higher than when she last won. Terri Rules, Lethal Blast and Oh So Nice all look much of a muchness on those graphics with some bits of place here and there, although Terri Rules has won at least and is now 4lbs lower than that last win. Only Fairy Fast is a total negative from the above and she didn't get the best write-up either.
We have a non-runner here, so Lady Florence will effectively be running from stall nine and I don't think that there's a massive draw bias here today, but let's check the stats, shall we?
I'm going to say that stall 4's numbers are anomalous and that aside from not wanting to be out in stalls 8 or 9, the rest of the field should have a pretty even chance from whichever of the seven inside stalls they're berthed in, so it might well come down to early pace, race positioning and tactics and we can tell you about the successful way of running races like this is...
...that the further forward you can place yourself, the better your chances of winning. Leaders are more than twice as likely to win as prominent runers, who in turn are almost twice as likely to win as either mid-division or help-up runners.
And when we combine the draw with those prevalent running styles...
...the ideal scenario is quite clearly a draw in stalls 1-3 and get out quick! Numerically we're talking 18 winners and 6 placers from 43 runners (W41.9%, P55.8%) at an A/E of 2.91 and an IV of 3.57. If you're drawn 4-6, however, leading or racing prominently is the best course of action and those in 7-9 really need to get out sharpish to stand any chance here.
As we already know the draw, it's time to superimpose our horse's assumed running styles along with the draw onto that Heat Map from above and when we do, this is what we see...
...which looks particularly good for the likes of Requited and Oh So Nice from the low draws. Lethal Blast doesn't look to unfairly treated in #4, whilst Lady Florence looks the best suited of the rest, but she's going to struggle to get to the front here.
Shecandoo is already as short as 9/4 and I can't consider backing here at that price based on form, draw or pace, so if I was into laying horses, I'd see if she shortened and then possibly lay her. That's not my cup of tea, though, to be honest, so I'll just oppose her here. The good thing about her being so short is that we're now talking about an odds range of 6/1 to 10/1 for six possibles, after discarding Fairy Fast (fails on all departments) and Bernie's Boy (likewise and unreliable).
The logical step for me in a race full of fairly well matched runners is to go back to Instant Expert and the pace/draw heat map and I can't pull myself away from thinking the winner comes from Requited, Oh So Nice, Lethal Blast and/or Lady Florence. Lady Florence is up against it out in stall 9, so she's going to be the final discard ahead of my "three v the field".
Of the three, I think Requited (7/1), Oh So Nice (10/1) and Lethal Blast (9/1) are all pretty close to each other, but I think I want them in that order. 7/1 looks a tad generous about Requited, so that's the play there and I might also back the other two on an E/W or even a 25/75 win and place basis.