Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 10th December 2021

Friday's free feature is the Horses for Courses (H4C) report, which shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at the track. It is sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at the user’s discretion.

As well as today’s race time, course, horse name, jockey and trainer name, there is a breakdown of runs, wins and places, and profit and loss calculations for both win and each way betting. As with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track.

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

In addition to this, we also have five free races of the day...

  • 1.50 Cheltenham
  • 3.00 Cheltenham
  • 3.45 Bangor
  • 5.45 Southwell
  • 7.30 Dundalk

...and here's my copy of the H4C report for tomorrow...

Queen of Kalahari's form at Southwell will all have been on the old Fibresand track, so whether that translates to the new tapeta surface is doubtful and I tend not to get involved in Irish racing, so my focus today switched back to the 'free' races, where the first on the list, the 1.50 Cheltenham, interests me most. It's an 11-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ mares handicap chase. They'll go left handed and take 16 fences over 2m5f (after a 95yd rail adjustment) on good to soft ground in a bid to win £8,169 and here's the card...

Of the eleven runners, just Fontaine Collonges and Timeless Beauty won last time out, but only top weight Vienna Court and bottom weight Jubilympics are winless in their last five outings, although both have made the frame in each of their last two starts and the former does drop two classes from a Listed race, whilst Rose of Arcadia also drops a class here.

Conversely Fontaine Collonges, Precious Eleanor, Dame du Soir, Timeless Beauty, Oriental Cross and Methodtothemadness all step up one level. None of this field have won here at Cheltenham before, but all bar Vienna Court, Dame du Soir and Pretty Little Liar have won over similar trips to this one. There's shouldn't be any rustiness today, as all eleven have raced at some point over the last two to five weeks.

Vienna Court has made the frame just twice (no wins) from seven attempts over fences, but was third of eight in a Listed contest last time out, hinting at some ability. A similar run down in class puts her right in the mix here, but the trip might be an issue, as she's generally a 2m/2m1f horse. Jockey is riding well, though, which might help...

Fontaine Collonges has 3 wins (1xNHF, 1xHrd, 1xChs) and a place from six career starts so far and stayed on well to win a 2m4½f chase at Warwick last month. She's up a class and 7lbs in weight, but she's clearly a progressive type and represents a yard and jockey in good form...

Precious Eleanor has been a runner-up on both chase starts so far, firstly at Fakenham over 2m6f and then by 2.75 lengths over 2m4½f at Warwick LTO when beaten by Fontaine Collonges above. She is, however, now 4lbs better off for the re-match which could make this very interesting.

Rose of Arcadia won her only bumper, won a 2m6f heavy ground handicap hurdle and has also won a PTP, so stamina shouldn't be in doubt, but she's never tackled fences under Rules before. She was fifth of twelve at Grade 2 back in March and recently returned from 224 days off track to finish third at Class 2 at Wincanton. She's entitled to come on for the run and now down in class, could go well here if adapting to fences aided by a jockey with a decent course record...

Dame du Soir has been a bit of a mixed bag over fences finishing 213FU3 in mainly small fields and the majority of her overall 16 starts have been at shorter trips than today. She was 3rd of 6 at Fontwell last time out, her best run for some time and her sire has good numbers with his younger chasers, but I think this is a big ask for her.

Molly Carew ended last season with three wins from four over fences, but looked like she needed the run at Ffos Las last month when only sixth off eleven, beaten by some 25 lengths, tailing off over a shorter trip. This trip should be more suitable, she'll get the ground conditions well enough and is only 1lb above her last winning mark.

Pretty Little Liar was in good form on the Flat and over hurdles in Ireland (172221) before winning by more than three lengths on her chase debut at Thurles five weeks ago. She was in the process of running another good race over the same course and distance last time out but fell at the 8th when right in contention. If there are no lasting effects from that fall, she could go well again here.

Timeless Beauty's last four efforts over hurdles saw her finish 3143 prior to her winning on her chasing debut at Lingfield last month, when two lengths clear over 2m4f on similar ground to what she'll face here. That was also her debut for her new yard and her first outing for over eight months so there's every chance that there's more to come from this 6 yr old, whose jockey is in tremendous form right now...

Oriental Cross was winless in six starts stretching back to December 2019 when she won at Ffos Las in mid-October, landing a 2m5f chase by half a length. The form from that race hasn't really worked out, as the six-runner field are subsequently 1 from 9, including this mare's 6th of 7, beaten by over 50 lengths last time out. Up in class and only down 1lb, it's hard to back her here.

Methodtothemadness seems to be under the grip of the assessor right now, as she's has finished 3rd of 5 twice and 3rd of 6 in her last three starts which has seen her mark go 113-112-111. She runs off 110 here which is still 4lbs higher than her last win and I think she needs to be eased further to get back to winning ways, even if her trainer and jockey are both in good form individually and also as a team...

Jubilympics completes our line-up and hasn't won any of her eight starts since scoring at Fakenham almost 14 months ago. She's now some 6lbs lower than that win and although hardly well beaten in two recent runner-up finishes at this grade, you'd have to expect her to find a few too good again for her here.

And that's how these horses have looked recently. More long-term and under similar conditions to today, Instant Expert has their overall NH handicap form...

As I said, Molly Carew will 'get' the ground and Timeless Beauty/Oriental Cross seem the ones to beat, but those numbers include old and/or hurdles form. Over fences, they look like this...

...and from a chase place perspective...

In fairness, there's not a lot of relevant chasing form to go off, so recent overall form might be the key here, as will also be the way they approach the contest. History tells us that you really want to be up with, if not setting the pace here...

and based on our field's recent exploits...

...most seem to have the right kind of pace profile for this contest. Ideally, I want at least 3 scores of 3 or 4 here, so that gives me Precious Eleanor, Fontaine Collonges, Vienna Court, Rose of Arcadia, Dame du Soir, Methodtothemadness and Timeless Beauty to choose from.

Summary

I've only omitted four so far and of the seven remaining, Fontaine Collonges must be a pick to at least make the frame, which sort of steers me towards picking Precious Eleanor too, as the latter is now 4lbs better off than when beaten by the former by less than three lengths LTO. I don't mind taking both as a pair, though, especially as they're top of the pace charts.

To join them as my three against the field, I think I've a marginal preference for Timeless Beauty ahead of Rose of Arcadia. The latter tackles fences for the first time here and might need the experience, whilst the former has already won over the larger obstacles.

I expect this to be a decent, competitive race with plenty of early pace and it might become a little attritional late on, but my 1-2-3 here is going to be Precious Eleanor - Fontaine Collonges - Timeless Beauty.

The bookies have my picks at 7/1, 5/2 and 7/1 respectively, so I'll have a small bet on Precious Eleanor at 7's, whilst I'd also be interested in an E/w bet on Timeless beauty if she were to drift our 8/1 and beyond.

 

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