Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 13th January 2021

We were right to swerve the shortlist runners today. The Fairyhouse race ended up a 3-runner affair and Sizing Pottsie was sent off as 4/9 fav! In fairness, he had the race won with an eight length lead approaching the last, but sadly fell and the race eventually went to the one I highlighted as the danger.

At Wetherby 10 minutes later, Domaine de L'Isle also failed to win but did complete, finishing fourth beaten by some 33 lengths with two of the three I liked more finishing in front of him. So, we'd no bets but breaking even was better than losing two points on this occasion.

Maybe, I'll have a bet on Wednesday after consulting the free-to-all Trainer Stats report or via the free racecards for...

  • 1.30 Plumpton
  • 2.10 Leicester
  • 3.10 Leicester
  • 3.40 Leicester

And it's to the Trainer Stats report that I'm turning today. As usual, I have fairly demanding criteria to narrow down a list of possible selections...

Which gives us two to look at, starting in the 2.40 Leicester...

This horse returned to action on 5th December after 266 days off the track to finish third of six at Wetherby in a Class 3, soft ground handicap hurdle over 2 miles. He was beaten by nine lengths after a mistake at the last slowed him down and the winner has since finished third in a similar contest despite being raised 10lbs for the win. Our runner has been eased a pound for that run/defeat and has had a wind operation for weeks ago.

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He's a fairly useful if not brilliant hurdler, having made the frame three times from seven efforts, but winning just once. Based on the conditions faced today, he has the following records...

  • 0 wins and 2 places from 6 under jockey Brendan Powell
  • 2 wins from 3 in 8-11 runner fields
  • 1 win, 1 place from 3 on heavy
  • 0/1 at this trip, but has won at 2 miles
  • 0/3 at Class 3

He'll be hoping, however, to continue trainer Michael Scudamore's excellent recent record at this venue, despite sending hardly any runners here. Since the start of 2018, he has had just six runners here, but three wins and a place represents an excellent return, including of relevance today...

  • 3/5 in handicaps
  • 3/5 at odds of 10/1 and shorter
  • 2/3 with 6-8 yr olds
  • 1/3 from LTO placers
  • 0/3 at Class 3
  • 2/2 with males
  • 1/1 for Brendan Powell
  • 1/1 on heavy
  • 1/1 at 31-45 days rest
  • 1/1 in January
  • 0/1 over course and distance
  • 0/1 over hurdles

So, a bit of a mixed bag based on form and the stats of the horse/trainer, so I wouldn't completely discount his chances just yet. In similar contests to this one, it has paid to sit in mid-division during the race...

...and whilst his averaging positioning is slightly ahead of that point, he does sit in the middle trio of the overall pace map with four runners ahead of his group and four runners behind, so if they run to plan, he should end up mid-div after all...

That said, when he did win five starts ago on heavy ground, he set off quickly, made all and ended up 8 lengths clear. A revert to those tactics might not be a bad call here either.

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And now to the 3.30 Plumpton...

This 7 yr old gelding failed to make the frame in three bumpers and six hurdles contests but was third on his chasing debut two starts ago, when beaten by just three lengths on this over 2 miles on soft ground at Hereford in late November. He clearly relished the larger obstacles in the mud and backed that run up with a good 5.5 lengths success just over a month ago when landing a 2m1.5f Class 5 race at Bangor. He still looked full of running at the finish and although we've only two runs to go on, a 6lb rise in weights might not inconvenience him too much.

Like Michael Scudamore's record at Leicester above, Eurkash's trainer, Paul Webber, is a successful if infrequent visitor to Plumpton and like Michael at Leicester, Paul has 3 winners and a place from 6 runners at this track since the start of 2018, including...

  • 3/5 in hcps, 2/5 with males, 2/4 in chases, 3/3 in fields of 7-11 runners
  • 2/3 after less than 5 weeks rest, 2/3 at 7/1 or shorter, 2/2 at Class 5
  • 1/2 on soft, 1/2 from LTO placers, 1/2 in January, 1/1 over C&D
  • 1/1 using jockey Gavin Sheehan and 1/1 with 7 yr olds

Quick note re: jockey Gavin Sheehan, he's another who doesn't come here too often, but is 7 from 20 (35% SR, A/E 1.87) over fences here since 2014, including 2 wins from 4 over course and distance. Plenty of promise from the above and whilst we don't have a great deal of pace data to hand for this type of contest...

...I'd say that a mid-division "pozzy" might well be the right approach here.

Summary

I had the Leicester runner, Thor de Cerisy as fourth, possibly fifth best in my own rankings and I didn't have him that far behind a top three berth, so he's certainly be of interest from an E/W perspective if we could get a decent enough price on him. He ran well last season and his last effort after a long lay-off was as good as could be expected of him. If the wind op has an immediate effect, then 10/1 seems more than fair for those of you fancying a small E/W flutter, as both When You're Ready and Oscar's Leader have more appeal from a win perspective.

Eurkash is the type I'd be all over at Plumpton, based on his two runs over fences, the stats that I've quoted and a 3/1 price tag, but for the presence of a near odds-on favourite in the shape of hat-trick seeking High Up In The Air. The fav drops in class and trip here and his 7lb hike in weight is offset by the booking of a 7lb claimer.

That's not to say that the fav is a given, he has won back to back races when making all and has done most of his running over longer distances. He'll have competition up top this time, the trip is sharper and his jockey has only won 2 of his last 45 over fences. I have the favourite down as best in the race, but I rate Eurkash a clear second. If you think that there's enough doubt around to swerve an even money (odds-on in places) fav, then the 3/1 Eurkash should be the one to profit.

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