The weekend is almost here and Saturday's free feature is the Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report which has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations.
As always, we also have a selection of full free racecards open to all readers and for Saturday, they are...
- 2.40 Bath
- 3.00 Doncaster
- 3.35 Doncaster
- 4.25 Chester
- 5.00 Bath
- 6.50 Musselburgh
The second of the two from Doncaster is the St. Leger and I'm sure that better analysts than I will be tackling this race elsewhere and here on Geegeez too, but I think it would still be a worthwhile exercise to see if the toolkit backs up their assessments, so it's the 3.35 Doncaster for us today. It is, of course, the St Leger, a Group 1 race for ten 3 yr old ungelded runners over 1m6½f. The ground is expected to be good to firm (good in places) and top prize is a whopping £421,355.
Hurricane Lane is expected to be a very warm favourite, but that often opens the door for some nicely-priced E/W bets, so all isn't lost even if he wins. He's one of four LTO winners in the field, but we've no former course or distance winners on show today. The fav is at least 6lbs well in based on official ratings and we've a stack of in-form trainers and jockeys and plenty with good previous course form. The exceptions here are the trainer of Ottoman Empire and the jockey on The Mediterranean who are both short of a bit of form.
And so, to the runners themselves...
Fernando Vichi is likely to be one of the back markers, but did beat The Mediterranean by ¾ length to land a Listed race in Ireland three starts ago. he was then well beaten (9th of 11, 17L) in the Irish Derby before being a runner-up next/last time out in another Leopardstown Listed race stepped up to this trip. He's a useful sort, but others look better and he probably wants it a bit softer.
High Definition was 2 from 2 as a 2 yr old, including a Group 2 win over a mile at the Curragh last September. He started this season with a gritty run to finish third in the Gr2 Dante at York, 2 lengths behind Hurricane Lane, but has struggled in his last two outings, not seeing out 1m4f. He'd be a surprising winner here.
Hurricane Lane has four wins and a place from his five starts to date, the only 'blot' being a third place in this year's Derby, when seeming to not 'get' the track at Epsom, like many before him, I suppose. He made up for that by landing the Irish equivalent in June and also the Gr1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp on Bastille Day. I'm not convinced this son of Frankel has finished improving yet, but tackles further than a mile and a half for the first time. Definitely the one to beat.
Interpretation was just 4th of 11 in a heavy ground 9f maiden on debut at the Curragh back in November on his sole outing as a 2yo, but is 3 from 3 this season, culminating in landing a Listed race over today's trip at Leopardstown a month ago beating Fernando Vichi by 1¾ lengths. This is a big step up, but he has proved he gets the trip, so he could well threaten to make the frame here.
Mojo Star took five races to finally get off the mark in a Class 3 maiden last time out, having been a runner-up in each of his first three outings, culminating in a 4.5 length defeat in The Derby back in June. He didn't fare quite as well in the Irish version three weeks later when only fifth of eleven, more than nine lengths off the pace. He might well be second best in the ratings, but has something to find here up in trip on quicker ground.
Ottoman Emperor is 4 from 4 on turf after being beaten by just over two lengths on debut (A/W at Dundalk) in March. In fairness, the first three of those races weren't anywhere near this standard, but he was always doing enough to win. He stepped up to 1m4f for the first time last time out and stayed on well to land the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood beating the re-opposing Sir Lucan by ½ length. Up in trip again and on quicker ground than he's faced, more improvement needed.
Scope looks up against it here despite gradually stepping up in both class and trip to a point where he was beaten by less than 2.5 lengths over 1m4f in a Gr2 race (Voltigeur) last time out. He was fifth of eight that day behind the re-opposing The Meditteranean, Youth Spirit and Sir Lucan. He was weak in the finish over 1m4f, so an extra quarter mile might not suit him either. best avoided, I think.
Sir Lucan was fourth in that Voltigeur race above and runner-up in the Gordon Stakes after winning a Listed race at Navan over 1m5f. he stayed on well that day, suggesting that today's trip should well be in his grasp and although he has been beaten at Gr2 and Gr3 in his last two runs, he hasn't been far off and could well place here.
The Mediterranean is interesting, because despite only having a 1 in 5 record, was only a length and a quarter behind the winner of the Voltigeur last time out and he's one of four AP O'Brien runners here. That said, I'm not convinced that it's a particularly strong quartet and jockey Wayne Lordan looks to be struggling for form.
Youth Spirit won the Gr3 Chester Vase back in May and has been within two lengths of the winners of the Gr3 Gordon Stakes and the Gr2 Voltigeur on his last two runs. He seems to stay on well, but might lack a turn of foot. He'd be an unlikely winner here, of course, but has a 50% place strike rate and if kept handy could improve that here.
We know from above that we've no pervious course winners, that Fernando Vichi might want softer ground and that Ottoman Emperor is unbeaten in four runs on turf, but for the full lowdown on this field's record at this race's going/class/course/distance, here's Instant Expert from both a win...
and place perspective...
The place stats are very useful here, because if the fav does win, we need an E/W angle and also picks for forecast/tricast etc. Going off the above graphic, Fernando Vichi, High Definition, Scope and Sir Lucan look weakest and the bottom two look strong off most runs.
Our fav is drawn in stall 4 of 10, but we're advised that higher draws are better here...
...which might suit Youth Spirit more than it does The Mediterranean of those two possible placers at the bottom of the card. As well as preferring a high draw, it would seem that the further back you race, the better...
...and based on our field's most recent outings, this will suit the bottom half of this graphic more than the top half...
And when we put the two together in draw order...
...it looks like the pace will come from stalls 7 & 8 with the likes of Sir Lucan and Scope having the best of the pace/draw make-ups.
To be honest, Hurricane Lane (like Inspiral & Stradivarius this week) could be drawn anywhere with any running style and still prevail. The task here is to find a placer or two at a decent price.
It's definitely Hurricane Lane's race to win or lose, the question is whether you feel you want to back horses at odds of 4/5. I don't put enough money on to make it worth my while, so I'll leave it from a betting perspective and look for an E/W option.
And based upon everything above, I think the two I like are Youth Spirit and Sir Lucan. The former has a good place record, has gone well at Gr2 and Gr3 and although pace/draw doesn't immediately look good, he's 7th of 10 on pace over the last three runs, so that's definitely more towards hold-up than prominent, whilst Sir Lucan is the hold up horse here, gets the trip and has been going well of late.
You can get 33's and 18's about Youth Spirit and Sir Lucan and I think they're interestingly enticing odds, so I'll have a dabble there.