Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 13th August 2021

War Brave finished stone last of seven this afternoon at Ffos Las, but second pick Great Havana justified favouritism to win under the red-hot David Probert at 10/3, a more realistic price than last night's 5/2. It might sound like shoulda, woulda, coulda but I'd have taken 10/3 about the winner. I did also say..."I have Great Havana marginally ahead of Whispering Winds"... The latter was the 14/1 runner-up, just half a length back.

So, financially not great for me, but we were in the right ball park for identifying possibles. Perhaps we'll get closer still on Friday, where the free feature is the Horses For Courses (H4C) report which shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at the track. It is sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at the user’s discretion. As well as today’s race time, course, horse name, jockey and trainer name, there is a breakdown of runs, wins and places, and profit and loss calculations for both win and each way betting.

In addition to this, we also have a selection of free races, of course and for Friday, they are...

  • 1.30 Wolverhampton
  • 2.00 Wolverhampton
  • 5.00 Newmarket
  • 5.10 Tramore
  • 5.35 Newmarket
  • 7.00 Curragh

My settings for the H4C report are fairly demanding...

...meaning I've no qualifiers for Friday, so I'll take a look at one of our free races from above and the one that looks the best to analyse is the 5.35 Newmarket, an 11-runner, Class 4, 3yo+, Flat Handicap over 6f on Good To Firm ground and it's worth £5,400 to one of the following...

Able Kane has been running well for some time now with three wins and three runner-up finishes from his last eight outings and was a good second of 25 at Goodwood last time out when beaten by less than two lengths in a £26k Class 2 handicap on heavy ground. Down two classes and back on his favoured quicker ground, I'd expect another bold run.

Pistoletto last won way back in May 2019 and as a result, his mark has come down from 98 to today's 85. He also drops two classes to run here after being beaten by just over 7.5 lengths at Ascot last month. This is easier (on paper) and he's down 4lbs from that run, his jockey is riding well (4 from 14 in the last fortnight) and he could well threaten the places.

Raatea is a consistent enough sort who always seems to run his race, but a record of just one place from six starts on Turf is a concern. He's rarely beaten by far, but di go down by 11 lengths after a dreadful start at York last time out. He's probably best left alone until he's back on the A/W if truth be told, although his yard have 3 wins and 2 places from 15 here over the last five years and his jockey has 8 wins and 4 places from 39 here over the past 12 months.

Phoenix Star's form has been pretty solid for some time now, finishing in the first four home 14 times from his last 15 outings (4 x 1st, 5 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd, 4 x 4th). The bulk of his racing is done on the A/W, but he did win a Class 3, 5f handicap at Sandown two starts ago and now down in class, he's just 5lbs higher here, so has a chance of being involved.

Yimou is similar to the horse above in that he drops in class here after a fairly consistent bout of form, although he hasn't actually won since landing a Class 3, 5f sprint at Windsor off a mark of 83 last July. That said, he has made the frame in seven of those eleven subsequent defeats and now down in class after a 1.75 length defeat as a runner-up here over C&D a week ago, could well make the frame again.

Al Saariyah is another in decent form, who since finishing 6th on her debut at Leicester 14 months ago has two wins and three runner-up finishes from seven outings. She won by a length at Windsor over this trip last time out and despite being raised 3lbs for the win, should be there or thereabouts again, especially with her useful 4lb weight for age allowance.

Triggered has won just 3 of 24 races to date and that's despite winning on both his third and fourth starts. He then waited almost three years for another win on his 22nd run, when wearing first-time blinkers. On a positive note, all his wins have been at this trip, on good ground or quicker, he's 2 from 3 in the month of August and the blinkers are still on, but I doubt he's getting close here.

Recall The Show has a very healthy place record of 10 from 17, winning three times, all in a 5-race spell from mid-September 2020 to the end of this April. The last of those wins moved his mark up to today's 79 and he hasn't quite been able to run to that mark just yet. He hasn't been too far away of late, but others hold more appeal here on current form.

Hyde Park Barracks is the other 3yr old in the race and he, too, receives 4lbs for that, but I think he's likely to need far more to get involved here on his yard debut for Michael Wigham after leaving Aidan O'Brien for just 6,000 Guineas. He was 8th of 12 and 8th of 13 in his last two runs in Ireland (Sept/Oct '20) and is best watched after a break of 294 days, although jockey Josephine Gordon is riding well right now (4 wins and 4 places from 19 in the last fortnight) and his new handler has six wins and a place from his last 25 runners here.

Legende Dart ran really well to finish as a runner-up in a 7-runner maiden handicap at Yarmouth, beaten by just three quarters of a length eight days ago. But that was off his mark of 61 and he's 5lbs out of the weights here off an assumed/imposed 66. He's also up two classes here and you've got to think he's likely to be out of his depth in this one.

Jack Ryan shares some similarities with the runner above, as he is also up two classes from a runner-up finish over 6f last week, when he took advantage of a tumbling handicap mark that had dipped as low as 52. Having to carry a stone more than that mark here makes life really tough for him and I'd be surprised if he isn't last home.

So, that's brief overview of the runners with a little bit of personal interpretation/opinion thrown in and now it's time to focus in upon the actual race here. Just to recap, it's a 6f, Class 4 handicap on good to form ground and Instant Expert will show us how they've performed in similar contests...

As with all traffic light systems (aside from the Government's confusing/ever-changing travel advice), it's pretty straightforward with green being the optimum colour followed by amber (proceed with caution). On good to firm ground Al Saariyah, Recall The Show, Yimou and Able Kane catch the eye with Al Saariyah and Yimou the pick at this grade.

None of the field have won here, but both Yimou and Recall The Show have raced here unsuccessfully on four occasions. The field has a combined 18 wins at today's trip, including 16 in handicap company whilst Yimou actually runs off a mark lower than his last win. Mind you, that was just over a year ago and the more in-form runners aren't too much higher than their own last wins.

According to the Geegeez course guide, the July Course is notoriously good for front runners but with the rails constantly moved on the July Course too there’s no measurable draw bias to go by.

We can look back over similar past races to verify that claim and here are the draw stats...

And although odd stalls here and there haven't provided as many winners/placers as others, there's no actual "corridor" of stalls that are to be wished for or avoided. It's a straight 6f, so there's no need to jockey for a position on a bend etc, if all horses run straight, they've all the same distance to run and this helps to negate the draw to an extent. Obviously stall 1 has the rail to keep him/her straight, but generally I'd say there's no draw bias here.

Pace, however, is a different kettle of fish. As per the guide, it pays to lead with front-runners wining more than double the races you'd expect. Those racing in mid-division also fare better than expected...

...but hold-up horses have really struggled. 200 hold-up horses have managed a dozen wins, equal to the number of wins from 65 front-runners and the place results follow similar pattern. And if we look at where the leading/mid-division winners have come from, it's quite interesting. Leaders win most often from a middle draw, then a low draw, whilst mid-div winners come from high draws then middle draws...

The racecard tells us the pre-determined draw, this is common knowledge, but Geegeez also log the running style of every horse in every race and we can see how each runner has gone in each of their last four outings...

Leaders score 4, 3 for prominent runners, mid-div = 2 and hold-up horses are scored at 1, so you can see that Jack Ryan and Raatea are confirmed hold-up horses which will make life difficult here and we can also see that there's no out and out front-runner, but based on their last two outings, Able Kane, Al Saariyah, Hyde Park Barracks and Recall The Show might be the ones to set the pace.

Those four are drawn in stalls 2,3,4 and 9, so the pace is likely to be on the lower half of the draw. There's very little pace in stalls 5 to 8, so Able Kane in box 9 will probably come across to join the other three likely pacemakers to make it a 4-way go.

Summary

Pace is the key here and I expect Able Kane, Al Saariyah, Hyde Park Barracks and Recall the Show to be the ones setting the fractions. Hyde Park Barracks is coming off a long lay-off and wasn't really all that before his break, so he's off my list. Recall The Show looks like the assessor has him right now and although running his races well enough, does manage to get beat off this current mark, so he's not for me either.

As for Able Kane and Al Saariyah, both of them are in really good form, they're going to be up with the pace and I'm having those as my 1-2, especially with Able Kane having ran so well at Class 2 last time out. As for the final place, you could make a case for any of Pistoletto, Yimou, Phoenix Star and Raatea : I think it's going to be a tight contest, but I think I've got them in that order. Pistolette is rarely held-up, unlike the other three and could well take advantage of a dropping handicap mark and a double drop in class to nick a place here.

The opening shows also suggest a tight encounter with my preference Able Kane priced at 11/2, whilst Al Saariyah is a 4/1 shot. Bet365 offer 14/1 about Pistoletto which might be a nice E/W or place bet too.

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