Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 12th August 2021

The Instant Expert tab is Thursday's free feature and it is by far the most popular tab in the Geegeez racecards, because it has the ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view.

The report covers the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size. It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating. The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

IMPORTANT NOTE : Where a horse has no UK/Irish form – i.e. it is having its first run in Britain or Ireland under Rules – it will not show up on Instant Expert at all.

This feature is available to all readers for all races on Thursdays, including our free races of the day, which are...

  • 2.10 Ffos Las
  • 3.30 Salisbury
  • 5.30 Leopardstown
  • 6.15 Tramore
  • 6.30 Leopardstown
  • 7.00 Leopardstown

Hmmm, I'm not really into Irish racing if truth be told and our 2 UK offerings are a Nursery (2yo hcp) and a big (14) field, low-grade (C6) handicap, but they say it does you good to step outside your comfort zone so we're off to Trimsaran in Wales for the first on that list, the 2.10 Ffos Las. It's a 7-runner, Class 5, Nursery over 7½f after rail movements on expectedly good (firmer in places) ground. The first prize is £3,240 and it will go to one of these...

The obvious starting point is the fact that none of these have won before and barring Whispering Winds, they're all making their handicap debut (HC1). Four of them (War Brave, Three Dons, Mezzanotte and Whispering Winds have all been placed at least once previously and all seven have raced in the last 20 to 60 days. The bottom three on the card all ran unplaced at this grade last time out, but War Brave steps up from Class 6, whilst Three Dons, Mezzanotte and Vaynor all drop down a class.

As for weight, the top six on the card are only 5lbs apart after jockey claims, but Whispering Winds will carry 8 to 13lbs less than the rest. Mezzanotte, Great Havana and Whispering Winds all have in-form trainers and jockeys (14 30), whilst the trainers of Vaynor, Showmedemoney, Great Havana and Whispering Winds have good course records (C5), as do the jockeys on board Three Dons and Showmedemoney. The end column is the Geegeez Speed rating figure and this suggests a tight race with the top four ranked split by just 4pts (54-50).

War Brave ran really well two starts ago to finish third of ten in a Class 2 contest at Chester, but has struggled on quicker ground/tapeta in his last two runs. A repeat of that Chester run should be good enough here, but an effort similar to LTO won't be. An opening mark of 74 does him few favours , but a 5lb jockey claim should help.

Three Dons has improved in each of his runs so far, and was third of six at Epsom in a higher grade last time out on good to soft ground. He's down in class here and not only does his jockey have a 5 from 21 (23.8% SR) record in handicaps here, but he's also in good form...

Mezzanotte is probably better than 7th of 9 over this trip LTO would suggest. That was at a higher grade than here and he did stumble. Prior to that, he was beaten by less than three lengths on debut on heavy ground prior to being a runner-up beaten by just a neck on good to firm at Lingfield. Conditions look favourable, jockey and trainer are in good form and the yard has two winners and a placer from three Ffos Las nursery runners.

Vaynor is bred to be better than his regressive-looking results have suggested, but you can't argue with facts. In three outings, he has been beaten by over 5 lengths, almost 9 lengths and then by 15 lengths LTO. As you'll see below, his yard do well here and the trainer/jockey partnership has some good numbers, but he looks like one of the weaker ones here.

Showmedemoney also appears to have gone backwards in three successive unplaced runs (4th at 3.75 lengths, 4th @ 9.25L and 9th @ 12L). He looks like he runs out of steam late on in races and he's not one I'd have much faith in here, despite his yard's 3 winners from Ffos Las nurseries and their overall 5-year record here...

Great Havana probably wouldn't have won at Chepstow LTO, but lost ground when having to switch left after being blocked with a furlong of the six to run. He's by Havana Gold, which suggests he should get 7f readily enough and if he stays out of trouble could well be finishing strongly for a trainer and jockey both bang in form...

Whispering Winds wasn't disgraced in finishing fifth last time out on her first crack at 7f off an opening mark of 65. She was beaten by just over 6.5 lengths and is now some 3lbs and with her jockey taking another three off, she's carrying virtually no weight in relation to the others. If she runs like she did at Chepstow two starts ago, she's every chance of the frame or better here.

Obviously with now winners in the field, Instant Expert is going to be a sea of red, but some of them have made the frame, so the place element of IE will show if any have run under these conditions or whether they've already tried and failed...

And whilst they've all had a crack at most of today's conditions bar a visit to this track, there's not much of note/alarm here. Yes the bottom two might have fared better on the ground and Mezzanotte stands out albeit off 1 or 2 runs, but we're not learning much here.

I think that trainer/jockey/horse form/weights might play a bigger part today, but both draw and pace are also important aspects in sub-mile contests.

The Draw :

A rudimentary inference here is that stalls 1 to 4 fare marginally better than stalls 4 to 7, but the fact really is that stall 4 aside, there's not a huge draw bias. Pace, however is a different story and whilst all bar hold up horses do well at making the frame, if your horse can set the pace then you're far more likely to be on the winner...

Prominent horses win slightly less often than par, mid-div runners win slightly more, but not enough to write home about and the ideal scenario here is to lead from a low to middle draw, but don't forget that stall 4's numbers will skew this a little...

And in stall order, based on their last (only for most) three runs we get this...

There doesn't appear to be much pace on offer here, but Three Dons raced prominently two starts ago and led last last time out, whilst Showmedemoney has raced 3/3/3 so far, suggesting that these two might be the ones to set the early fractions from a high draw. I also suspect that nobody's going to run away with a soft lead and I don't expect anyone to sit off the pace, meaning we could keep a fairly tight pack for a sprint finish.

Summary

From the outset, I didn't like Vaynor or Showmedemoney and despite the latter's chance of making the pace, I'm still not keen on either. After taking those to out, I'm still left with five to consider and to be honest, they're much of a muchness. I think War Brave is the one to beat, now that his jockey can take 5lbs off. His mark isn't helpful, but the allowance swings it for me and at 5/1 he could be good value.

Who else makes the frame could depend on how the wind blows, it's that tight. I have Great Havana marginally ahead of Whispering Winds and Three Dons, who I can't split and they're not far clear of Mezzanotte on my numbers.

Great Havana is actually the current 5/2 favourite. I'd be happy to include him in a reverse forecast with War Brave, but I think 5/2 in this race is a bit restrictive.

 

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