Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 11th February 2021

On Thursdays we make the Instant Expert racecard feature available to all users for all races, including our 'Races of the Day', which for Thursday are...

  • 2.40 Kempton
  • 3.50 Thurles
  • 7.30 Newcastle

Not much to go at, thanks to the weather, and our three feature races include a jumpers bumper, an 18-runner maiden and a small field A/W contest that will probably have a short-ish favourite. Sub-2/1 favourites don't always win, though, so why don't we have a look at the 7.30 Newcastle and see if we can find enough evidence to support an alternative to the expected fav or maybe even lay the fav?

We start with some background stats that tell us that favourites sent off at Evens to 15/8 in Newcastle A/W handicaps over 6-7 furlongs are 32 from 103, a 31/1% strike rate that creates a loss at SP of 23.54pts or £22.85 for every £100 invested. Of those 103 favs...

  • those racing over 7f are 16/57 (28.1%) for -18.2pts (+31.8% of stakes)
  • those racing at Class 6 are 6/28 (21.4%) for -13.4pts (+47.8%)
  • and those racing over 7f at Class 6 are 3 from 12 (25% SR, A/E 0.58) for a loss of 5.5pts or 46% of stakes

Having seen the card already, I expect Bobby Joe Leg to go off shorter than 2/1, so let's assess his chances here...

Let's start with what's in front of us on the card, from left to right, we have them in weight/OR order. Bobby Joe Leg (BJL from hereon) is number two on the card, so he's rated second highest by the handicapper and will carry the second most weight before any jockey claims (no claim = still second). Only Broctune red is rated/weighted higher.

BJL is drawn widest of all in stall 7, which as you'll see further down the page isn't a disaster, but he could be better off more centrally (3 to 6 seems better).

On form, he stands up well with a runner-up finish two starts ago and a win last time out, but Broctune Red betters that by winning both of his last two starts after a runner-up slot three races ago.

Like Moxy Mares and Cmon Cmon, BJL drops in class today and he's also one of just three runners to have won over course and distance, along with the afore-mentioned Cmon Cmon and also Mudawwan. Broctune Red and Dramatista are former winners here at Newcastle, but have never won over 7f, whilst Moxy Mares and Katsonis have won at neither track nor trip.

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The whole field have raced in the last 6 to 14 days, so no long lay-offs to worry about here. BJL's trainer has the 30 by her name signifying good recent form, as do the trainers of Moxy Mare and Broctune Red (both have positive 14 & 30 day form), whilst the latter's yard also have a good past record on this track (C1 C5).

With regards to jockeys, only BJL's rider has any positive icons (30 C5) and the final column, SR, the Geegeez Speed rating has BJL out on top, but he's not far clear of Broctune Red (74 vs 72).

Based on the card information, BJL looks to have a good chance, but it's far from a given and several others have also caught the eye.

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Next up, Race Suitability ascertained as always by Instant Expert, by far the easiest way to assess all runners' records together at oncce at Going, Class, Course, Distance, Field Size and weight comparison vs last win...

...working on the traffic light system of Green is good, Amber is caution and Red is not so good, Broctune Red stands out here, as does Cmon Cmon ahead of both BJL and Dramatista, so our likely fav isn't the best on this section at all.

*

Draw and running styles are our next areas for critique and I've looked at 5 to 9 runner contests, purely to get a few races in the sample (there aren't enough 7-runner contests to be able to rely upon the data). High draws have fared marginally better, but there's not a lot in it really, so stall 7 on its own shouldn't make or break BJL's chances, as you can see here...

And if we're not over bothered about where they break from, then it's quite possible that race positioning will be more important and the data tells me that Mid-Division is not a good place to be generally. Just 2 of 27 runners (7.4%) have won from there, landing just 7.1% of the 28 races analysed, whereas 80 prominent runners have won exactly half of the 28 races at a strike rate of 17.5% and they've grabbed most of the place money too!

When we combine draw and race positioning (aka pace), a more informative picture appears and it basically tells us that if you're drawn low, you need to race prominently or even lead. Mid-drawn horses are best raced prominently, whilst from a high draw, it's probably best to let someone else inside lead and you tuck in behind. This graphic explains it better, of course...

So, by this point we already know the draw and we know where we want to be drawn allied to our race pace and thanks to logging past performances, we can tell you how we expect these runners to break based on recent runs. We can overlay these recent running styles to the pace heatmap above and this is what we get...

...quite possibly a falsely run race. There's no obvious pace angle, yet someone will have to lead. Mudawwan ran his best race for some time last time out and that was on this track when finishing fourth, but crucially he led that day and wasn't headed until 2f from home in a one mile contest, so he might lead again over this shorter trip.

It probably won't help him win, but it will enable the rest of the field to run heir normal races. BJL raced prominently last time out, as did Cmon Cmon in each of his last two, finishing 5th over C&D both times. However, I think he'll return to being held up here, as he was in back to back C&D wins prior to those 5th place finishes.

This bit isn't an exact science, but I'd expect Mudawwan to lead out from stall 5 and possibly drag BJL along with him, allowing Broctune Red to sit in just behind.

So, who wins? Well, I don't think BJL will be far away, nor will Broctune Red based on what we've seen so far. Minor honours will probably be disputed by Dramatista and Moxy Mares.

Summary

I set out to see if the sub-2/1 favourite Bobby Joe Leg was worth taking on and here's where it gets interesting. I think he wins the race here (just), but having seen the market, he's not the favourite : Broctune Red is! So I'm siding with BJL at 11/4 (Hills) to beat the fav.

BJL was comfortable when landing his third C&D win last time out and is only raised 4lbs for that effort, whilst Broctune Red only just won here off a mark of 55, he's now off 65 and the jockey can't use the 5lb claim from last time out, making a big weight difference here.

Dramatista is probably marginally better than Moxy Mares for third place, but it's only 2 places for E/W bettors, so the bigger price for Moxy Mares might sway you.

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