A new week is almost here and on Mondays, we make the PACE tab available to ALL readers for ALL races including our free full races of the day, which are set to be...
- 2.15 Catterick
- 4.20 Ffos Las
- 4.35 Killarney
- 5.30 Windsor
- 6.30 Windsor
- 7.20 Southwell
The second of the Windsor races is easily the best of that list, so today's focus falls upon the 6.30 Windsor, a 6-runner Listed contest for 3yo+ over a mile on soft ground that might be a little quicker in places. The prize of £22,684 will go to one of these...
Oh This Is Us is a narrow second on the Geegeez ratings and comes here on the back of winning the Listed Paradise Stakes over this trip at Ascot 12 days ago. Has won 3 Listed races so far, has a near 20% strike rate at this trip, gets on well with jockey Pat Dobbs and is 10 from 23 when sent off at odds ranging from 13/8 to 6/1. Hasn't yet won here at Windsor or on soft ground, but should be a major player here if reproducing his form from Ascot.
Brentford Hope was also a winner last time out winning by three quarters of a length over 8.5f at Haydock, but this is much tougher than that Class 3 encounter from which the subsequent form has been pretty poor and he has been off the track for some 206 days. The ground won't bother him, as he has won on both soft and heavy ground, but this is a massive step up in quality here and he's not well off at the weights at all, he'd be receiving 3 to 12 lbs from his rivals in a handicap.
Qaysar has similarities with both of the above runners, he won a Listed event at Haydock last time out, getting home by a length and three quarters over 7f on heavy ground, so whilst this is a longer trip, the ground shouldn't take as much out of him. His last five runs have all been in Listed company and he has acquitted himself well in most of them, despite only winning the last of them. He's 4 from 9 on Good to Soft or softer, but is probably better over 7f than a mile.
Solid Stone probably needed the run when fifth behind Oh This Is Us last time out. That said, he was only beaten by just over a length and a half and is 3lbs better off with the winner here and that would put him right in the mix here. It should be noted, however, that he's probably better on quicker or artificial going and would prefer a longer trip.
Stormy Antarctic is best off at the weights here, having the highest OR (110) in the race but racing off equal bottom weight, but it has to be said that his best form in the UK was a good 4 or 5 years ago and he was beaten by six lengths in a 1m2f Listed contest at Kempton last time out in a field that has managed just one placed finish (at Class 2) from seven subsequent runs. I think this might be too much for him.
Syrtis completes the line-up and will probably be an unknown quantity to many UK punters as he races in this country for the first time. He won 3 of 10 flat races in France with his best work coming on soft/heavy ground over a mile, like many of the French horses do. He did, however, win on Good ground over a mile on his penultimate French run at Chantilly last September before his final run saw him as a 4-length runner-up. He certainly has the potential to go well here, but he could very well need the run after seven months off track, during which time he was gelded.
From the above, you'd possibly come away thinking that Oh This Is Us and Solid Stone would be the main protagonists and would be closely matched now that the former carries an extra 3lbs, but what does relevant form tell us? Let's consult Instant Expert...
As you'd expect, Syrtis has no data to show with this being his UK debut and other than his five wins over a mile, Oh This Is Us doesn't look particularly well suited and it's a similar story for Solid Stone. Brentford Hope's data is based on too small a sample size to be reliable, but both Qaysar and Stormy Antarctic will at least relish the underfoot conditions and both have also won at this level/trip with Qaysar looking the better of the two.
For some reason in these small fields at Windsor, stall 3 has struggled at this trip, but stalls around him (1,3 & $) have proved to be the best places to be drawn...
...but that's got to be some form of anomaly, surely? My own take on those draw stats is that I'd just prefer to be in 1-4, but you can certainly win from anywhere and that here at Windsor, pace and race positioning are key and the Geegeez course info for Windsor states..."Because of the tight turn from soon after the start until the half way point in mile races, being close to the speed is again a positive. A low draw accentuates that pace edge"... So, here is the relevant pace data...
However, in small fields, most draws are low numbers and on Good to Soft / Soft ground, there's actually very little difference in success between the best (Prominent) and worst (Held Up) running styles if truth be told.
The way I look at these Class 1 encounters is that all things being equal the best horses tend to win most of the time, so with little discernible draw or pace bias, it should come down who is the best horse and/or who will handle race conditions the best. We can show you the pace/draw heatmap as a pointer, though...
There's no out an out pacemaker there, but Solid Stone does like to race close to the action and Stormy Antarctic has made the pace in one of his last four runs, although he did finish last of seven that day. What I think will happen here is that Solid Stone will attempt to set the fractions and Oh This Is Us will be doing his best not to let the leader get too far clear.
For me, it's either Solid Stone or Oh This Is Us here. I don't have much between them on my numbers and the latter beat the former last time out, but only by just over a length and a half and he's 3lbs worse off which could/should level things up at the very least. They both hold Qaysar from that race and Qaysar holds Stormy Antarctic on past form, having beaten him twice last season. I think that Syrtis will need the run as will Brentford Hope, who also needs to step up considerably.
So, from that, I'd take Qaysar to be the main threat to my chosen pair. The pair are closely matched from last time out and Solid Stone is better off at the weights this time. Oh This Is Us has the better record over this trip, they're both drawn in that 1-4 area I mentioned, whilst Solid Stone shaded it on the pace/draw heatmap.
All of which points to a reversal of the placings from Ascot, but I'm not entirely convinced that Solid Stone is as good as his rival, so it's Oh This Is Us narrowly for me today and Bet365's odds of 4/1 are interesting, as is the 10/1 offered about Qaysar, especially as I think he's the most likely gatecrasher of the other four.