Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 11th May 2021

Tuesday's 'feature of the day' is the Shortlist report which highlights runners racing in conditions they have performed well under in previous efforts and our free 'races of the day' are...

  • 3.00 Roscommon
  • 3.15 Beverley
  • 4.45 Beverley
  • 6.00 Ayr
  • 7.45 Killarney
  • 8.35 Ayr

Sadly, the Shortlist report is quite sparse for Tuesday, so I'll look at one of the free races. I'm expecting the ground to be soft at Beverley tomorrow come race time and soft ground or worse can be a great leveller. The first of our two Beverley races looks the better one, even if there's only 7 set to run in the 3.15 Beverley, which is a Class 4 Flat handicap for 4yo+ over 1m½f. The going is currently Good to Soft, Soft in places, but more rain is expected. The seven are competing for £4,449 and here's how they line up...

You can see the 1-2-3 from our Speed ratings just above, but none of the three come here on the back of a win last time out, but Poet's Dawn, Zihaam and Midnite Bride were all successful in their latest runs, the latter has now won three on the bounce, whilst Mythical Madness is the only one without a win in the last six.

Poet's Dawn is up 3lbs for winning here over course and distance almost three weeks ago and 5lb claimer Ella McCain retains the ride. That last win was on good to firm ground, but this versatile 6 yr old is 3 from 12 in handicaps on Good to Soft / Soft ground and has made the frame in half of his 14 previous runs here at Beverley, winning three times including 2 wins and 2 places in handicaps over course and distance.

Song of the Isles is 4 from 13 in Flat handicaps and has won both soft ground contests to date and although he won three races on the bounce in October/November, he ended last season by finishing 7th of 8 and on his reappearance this year was last home of 18 at Doncaster, beaten by 24 lengths. He probably wants it softer than this and a step up in trip won't help.

Humbert hasn't won any of his last sixteen races and you have to go back to June 2018 since he scored at Newcastle on the A/W over a mile. All four of his career wins have been on the A/W and his Flat record stands at just three placed finishes from 13 races and I don't see that improving here.

Mythical Madness finished 121 in consecutive Class 4 handicaps over a mile in June 2020 before taking seven months rest. He was last home of seven in back to back Wolverhampton handicaps over 1m1½f in Jan/Feb of this year and his form really hasn't improved much since. The results show he was a runner-up last time out, but closer analysis shows he was beaten by 5.5 lengths in a Class 5 claimer after being sent off as a 4/7 fav! Probably best avoided here.

Zihaam has won two of his last five and is up 4lbs for winning here over course and distance last time out 8 days ago. He was held up for the run and finished strongly, winning by 2.5 lengths and looking like he'd something to spare. That took his record here to 6 wins and 2 places from 16 visits, but I think he'd want the ground to be a little quicker today off a career-high mark.

Strongbowe was a winner five races back when landing a Roscommon 7f maiden as a 5/6 fav on good to firm ground in only his second start and that came after a 402 day absence. Sadly he didn't carry that form into handicap company where he was 8th, 6th and then 18th of 20 before leaving Ireland and moving to Tim Easterby's yard for whom he debuted a month ago after 224 days off track. He was 6th of 13 that day, beaten by 8.5 lengths, weakening in the closing stages and as he now steps up in trip, others make much more appeal.

Midnite Bride is the only filly in the race and carries bottom weight before jockey claims are considered. She'll be popular with the punters after winning each of her last three starts in September and October 2020 and then again 15 days ago coming off a break of 192 days. What I should point out, however, is that all three wins were over 7f and before today, she has never gone beyond that distance. Two of the wins were at Class 6 and then Class 5 last time out, so she's up in class too and races off a career high mark, 3 lbs higher than LTO. That said, she is progressive and in great shape.

Based on the above, it seem that many, if not all of them have questions to answer about their form and suitability for the task ahead. That suitability is easily demonstrated by our unique Instant Expert overview...

The more extreme the going gets, the bigger the effect it has on races and we've not many above with winning records on the expected going and I think it's worth looking at their place records on the ground too...

And the place stats would appear to back up the win stats regarding the actual underfoot conditions. With regards to Class, Mythical Madness is a proven Class 4 performer, whilst Zihaam is clearly the Beverley specialist (16 of his 37 Flat handicap runs have been here and his record is excellent). Four of the field have won at this trip, whilst the in-form Midnite Bride is making her class/course/distance bows.

In 6-8 runner contests here over course and distance, stalls 4 to 7 have been the best places to run from...

...with stall six performing exceptionally well. This apparent draw bias is good news for the likes of Poet's Dawn who featured well on Instant Expert. Humbert looks to have bagged that sixth stall but whether hat will help him is unclear. It depends on his he breaks from there over a course and distance that has favoured horses up with the pace in the past...

And so the best place to be here is upfront with the leaders or as close as you can be and we've got a few who like to get on with it here...

And now we know where the pace/draw biases would appear to be, we can then produce the Geegeez Pace/Draw heatmap which looks like this...

...and probably didn't surprise any of you at all! What we can then do is overlay those running styles of our seven hopefuls onto the heatmap and when we arrange them into draw order for a bird's eye view of how they might break out, a picture begins to form...

We've learned that stalls 4 to 7 would be the place to be and that leading or racing prominently is a bonus. The pace in the race looks like coming from stalls 3, 4 and 6 in the shape of Song Of the Isles, Poet's Dawn and Humbert.

Summary

In the initial individual analysis of all the runners, aside from a 3lb rise in weight Poet's Dawn was the only one whose form/past didn't raise more questions than answers. Instant Expert shone a light on Poet's Dawn, Song of The Isles and Midnite Bride on softer ground. Zihaam was the track specialist and Mythical Madness has the best Class 4 record.

Poet's Dawn, Zihaam, Humbert and Mythical Madness would appear to have the best of the draw, whilst from a pace perspective we were drawn to Song Of the Isles, Poet's Dawn and Humbert. All of which, by default, led to Humbert being best placed on pace/draw combined with Song of The Isles and Poet's Dawn next best.

One name crops up all the rime here and that's Poet's Dawn, so almost by having the least unanswered queries, he's my pick here and is currently offered at 7/2 by Bet365.

Midnite Bride is the 9/4 or 5/2 favourite here and I think that's short for a horse up in weight, class and trip, so I'm leaving her alone. If I was to take an alternate to my pick, you can get 8/1 about Song of the Isles returning to form. He's certainly good enough, but does need to up his game : more rain would help!

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