Still finding my feet here, folks, as this is as new to me as it is to you, but today I've chosen to look at a race for Saturday from a more familiar angle and my eye was taken by the opener on the Hexham card, as it really appealed to the statistician in me, as all the runners seem to have some good relevant stats.
So, today's piece will focus on the 12.25 Hexham : a Class 4 Novice Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m4.5f on Soft ground, worth £4549 to the winner and we start with the racecard sorted alphabetically...
and as you'll see there are plenty of green form icons, red numbers denoting appearing on my angles report and blue numbers showing qualifiers from my query tool saved angles, so let's have a quick runthrough...
Bluefortytwo : jockey Danny McMenamin is 4/13 (30.8%) over the past fortnight, including 2 from 5 over fences. Trainer James Ewart is 11 from 43 (25.6%) with chasers here at Hexham since 2013, whilst on days when he only has one runner, he is 29 from 170 (17.1%) since 2017.
El Kaldoun : is sent on a near 500-mile round trip by trainer Nicky Henderson, but that's not a worry, as since 2016 Hendo's horses running in non-Festival races more than 200 miles from home are 29 from 55 (52.7%) with a 4 from 7 (57.1%) record here at Hexham.
Glorious Lady : is on the Geegeez Shortlist report by virtue of 2 wins and 2 places from four runs on soft and the same record at Class 4 and also 2 wins and 1 place from three races over 2m4.5f/2m5f. The green icons show that both jockey & trainer fare well here, whilst trainer Keith Dalgleish has a 19 from 51 (37.25%) record in Class 4 chases.
Hills of Connemara : trainer Susan Corbett doesn't run many handicap chasers on treacherous ground but those that have run on soft or worse are 4 from 15 (26.7%) since 2015 with a 3 from 10 (30%) record on soft ground
Kauto D'Amour : Jockey Danny Cook rides trainer Sue Smith's horses well and most people know that, but they're particularly effective in Class 3-5 handicap chases, where they are 75 from 312 (24%) including and excellent 40 from 133 (30.1%) on soft ground.
Scottish Accent : is by Golan, whose Soft ground handicap jumpers sent off at 7/2 to 14/1 are 20 from 105 (19.1%) whilst trainer Rebecca Menzies is 15 from 96 (15.6%) with handicap chasers on soft or worse ground since 2016.
The Delray Munky : is by Overbury, whose Soft ground handicap chasers are 16/89 (18%) since 2016, whilst her trainer Iain Jardine, not best known for chasers, is 11 from 45 (24.4%) with his handicap chasers on soft or worse since 2016
The Ferry Master : will be ridden by Ryan Mania who always seems to be there or thereabouts, making the frame in 43% of his rides over the last two months, including winning twice from his last seven starts. He also does well when riding for trainer Sandy Thomson and the pair are 23 from 146 (15.75%) together since 2014, including 22/71 (31%) in handicaps, 16/50 (32%) over fences and 15/45 (33.3%) in handicap chases of which they are 11 from 26 (42.3%) on soft or worse ground.
Toi Storey : is, like Scottish Accent above, trained by Rebecca Menzies whose soft ground chasers are worth a second glance, but this one will be ridden by Henry Brooke who is 3 from 12 (25%) over the fortnight and has ridden 10 winners from 36 (27.8%) for Rebecca Menzies.
Victarion : is of interest purely because he is trained by Philip Hobbs, who quite amazingly has been profitable to follow by blindly backing his Saturday handicap chasers over the last 10 years. Eight of the ten years have shown an annual profit due to the overall 19% strike rate (65/342) with today's jockey Tom O'Brien riding 15 winners from 732 (20.8%)
Western Aussie : is a lightly raced runner from the Martin Todhunter yard, a yard whose soft ground handicappers are 19/123 (15.5%) since 2014 including 9 from 56 (16.1%) over fences
Whateva Next : is trained by George Bewley, whose handicap chasers are 10 from 40 (25%) here at Hexham since 2015, including 6 from 24 (25%) at Class 4. As usual Jonathan Bewley will be in the saddle hoping to add to his tally of 10 wins from 37 (27%)
Hopefully you can see why this race fascinated me and has whetted your appetite to get in to the query tool and loads some angles in for future use. All the above angles will generate winners in the future, even if most will fail here : there can only be one winner.
The one I liked the look of for at least a place myself was the Danny Cook / Sue Smith runner : Kauto D'Amour, who won a similar novice handicap (albeit over hurdles) over 2m0.5f at Newcastle on soft ground three starts ago and when last seen back in March ran really well to finish as a runner-up at the same venue at today's class and trip, also on soft ground.
He was only beaten by a length despite two bad errors, one of which causing his saddle to slip and it's interesting that he's pitched straight into handicaps for his chasing bow. Conditions should suit him here today, as most of his runs have been at this grade, he loves the mud and has ran well here at Hexham in the past.
It's always a guessing game with chase debutants, but at (hopefully) double digit odds, Kauto D'Amour could be a nice each way option.