I hope you've all had a good weekend, I certainly enjoyed my day off, but now it's time to start looking to the week's racing again. We kick off on Monday, where 'feature of the day' is free access to the Pace tab for all readers for ALL races, including the following free 'races of the day'...
- 3.05 Carlisle
- 4.40 Kilbeggan
- 6.00 Windsor
- 6.30 Windsor
- 6.40 Kilbeggan
- 7.30 Windsor
The last of that list is the best of the UK races on offer, so today I'll focus on the 7.30 Windsor, an 8-runner, Class 3, 3yo+ Flat Handicap over 6f on Good to Firm ground worth £6,019 to one of these...
Form : Only Tinto and Han Solo Berger have failed to win any of their last five outings, whilst both Indian Creak and A Sure Welcome won last time out.
Class Movers : After winning LTO, Indian Creak now steps up a level, but Edraak, Tinto and Han Solo Berger all drop down from Class 2.
Course / Distance Form : All eight have won over today's trip and all bar Tinto and Han Solo Berger are previous winners here at Windsor with Edraak, Open Wide, Ivatheengine and Indian Creak all winning over 6f here at Windsor.
Days Since Run : All have raced in the last 45 days with only Edraak (44d) and Open Wide (45d) rested for more than 16 days.
Age / Sex : All eight are geldings ranging from 4 to 7 yrs old (2 x 4, 3 x 5, 1 x 6 and 2 x 7)
Trainer Form : Positives for Ivatheengine, Indian Creak, A Sure Welcome and Han Solo Berger. Negatives for Tinto and Open Wide.
Jockey Form : Positives for Edraak, Tinto, Ivatheengine and A Sure Welcome. Negatives for Open Wide and Concierge.
Weight / OR / SR spread : Just 10lbs separates the field on official ratings whilst our own SR figures ranger from 67 to 85 with a suggestion of a tight contest between Han Solo Berger (85) and Concierge (83)
At this point I'm often ready to 'eliminate some suspects from my enquiries' but aside from some doubts about Open Wide re: form, age and trainer/jockey negative icons, I think I'll keep all eight in my thoughts at least until I've done a brief overview of each, starting with joint top weight...
Edraak who had two wins and a place from his first three runs of 2021, but was 5th of 6 beaten by almost 11 lengths at Doncaster last time out. In his defence, he had been raised a class and 9lbs for winning here at this class, track and trip by three lengths in mid-April. He's clearly got ability, but that 9lb extra looks to have him pegged for now.
Tinto is the other joint top weight bearing a mark of 94, but he does have the benefit of a 3lb claimer reducing his burden to 9st 9lbs here. That effective mark of 81 is some 19lbs lower than his last wining mark, but that came 53 weeks and 18 races ago and he hasn't even made the frame in the last 10 of those defeats, despite his mark sliding from a career high of 105 to 95 last time out, when 7th of 9, beaten by over 7 lengths at Epsom last week. In his defence, that run of defeats have all been at Class 2 or higher and now effectively 4lbs lighter and once class lower than LTO and on favoured Gd to Fm ground, he might never have a better opportunity of at least making the frame.
Open Wide won here over C&D almost two years ago off a pound higher than today's mark and his last win was three starts ago over this trip at a higher grade off 87 at Kempton back in October. He has been close but not close enough in two runs since and with both yard and jockey not particularly great at this track, I'd want to look elsewhere today.
Ivatheengine has only raced six times in all and was a winner here over course and distance on his second outing. That was over two years ago, though and after that win, he only ran three times in 690 days. He won on his final run of 2020 (51 weeks ago), but has been 7th of 8 and last of 5 this year so far. His three wins from six suggest he's got something, but the lack of action allied to this year's results put me off.
Indian Creak won here over course and distance last time out, beating the re-opposing A Sure Welcome by three parts of a length. He's up 4lbs for that win, but useful claimer George Bass more than compensates with his 5lbs allowance meaning he should be competitive once more. The step up in class is the main area of doubt, though, as he's 0 from 10 at Class 3 or higher. I'd also suggest the ground would be a little on the quick side for him too.
A Sure Welcome has won both races either side of that runner-up finish behind Indian Creak, but a 4lb rise for a win over 5f here last week means he's effectively 6lbs worse off for the rematch, but is in great form, of course. I'd say he was much better on the A/W, having won just 3 of 26 on turf.
Concierge has been really busy so far this year and made seven appearances in less than 17 weeks from early Feb to late May. He was excellent when landing a Class 2 handicap over today's trip off a mark of 84 at Newbury a month ago, but less impressive when 9th of 16, 6 lengths off the pace, back down at this Class 3 level next/last time out at Haydock 16 days ago. That said, it was good to soft at Haydock (so probably almost soft) and he prefers this good to firm ground. He has won off this mark before, so he could bounce back here, but he'll have to be on his A-game at a track where he has a win and a place from two visits.
Han Solo Berger had been running well in mainly better races than this before coming unstuck at Epsom last time out, when beaten by the best part of seven lengths finishing 15th of 16 runners. He now steps back up to 6f for the first time in 26 runs stretching back to early October 2018 and I'm not convinced the extra yardage is going to help, even if he is down in class and eased a pound to a mark of 84, his lowest for almost a year.
That's an overview of recent performances, but Instant Expert can quickly show us their career records in similar conditions to the ones on offer here...
Ivatheengine certainly catches the eye above, albeit off small sample sizes, whilst Edraak also looks interesting. At this early stage of analysis, I often look at the blocks of red and I have concerns about Open Wide (going/class/distance), A Sure Welcome (going/distance), Concierge (distance) and Han Solo Berger (distance) I'm generally looking at those with red blocks based on 10+ runs and that should include Concierge at Class 3, but he has 3 wins and 2 places from 9 lower value Class 2 contests, so he's certainly not outclassed here.
The above numbers/colours might tell a different story when we focus purely on Flat handicap contests, though...
...where Indian Creak's performances at both course and trip are excellent. Tinto's mainly amber profile makes him of some interest too, but the ones I have doubts about from the first graphic haven't yet allayed my fears.
Draw Stats :
I use 7 to 9 runners as my guide here, to ensure a decent sample size of 31 past races, but treat stalls 8 & 9 as one entity at 4 wins / 9 places from 30...
What I take from the above is that stalls 6 and 7 have performed poorest, but I don't think there's really a massive draw bias here under today's conditions. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather be in boxes 1-5 than 6 or 7, but I'm not sure the real difference is huge.
Pace Stats :
This however is a different kettle of fish and whilst leaders almost win as often as you'd expect (IV = 0.91) and have a great E/W record, the place to sit here is at the back or mid-division if you want to win. The interesting thing for me is the failure of those who race prominently just off the pace. Over 40% of the runners race prominently in these events, under the misapprehension that you need to be handy on this track, but they've only recorded 21% of the winners...
So, what we're probably after is a horse drawn 1 to 5 who likes to be held up? You'd expect so, but let's look at how pace and draw have interacted in our sample of races...
As you'd expect, most of the green is at the left hand end of the graphic, but those drawn centrally have a good chance of winning from the front and someone has to lead! We can look back over our eight runners' four most recent efforts and see how they normally run. We know where they're drawn, so we can easily drop them onto that heatmap as follows...
Based on everything above you can make a decent argument for and against all of these and it could turn out to be a very interesting contest, but the three I'd want to take against the field would (alphabetically) be Edraak, Han Solo Berger & Indian Creak. I fancy it being a battle between the former and the latter with Indian Creak just edging out Edraak and Hans Solo Berger being my E/W pick, if prices permit.
I'm sure that A Sure Welcome will be popular, but he's worse off at the weights with my pick and there's also the danger of Tinto running a big race too, but for me it's Indian Creak / Edraak / Han Solo Berger.
I've now (6pm, Sunday) had my first look at the market and Indian Creak is a 4/1 shot and I'm happy with that. Edraak is the current 3/1 fav, whilst HSB is worth a small E/W punt at 11/1,as possibly could Tinto be at the same price.