Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 14th October 2021

Thursday's feature of the day is full access for all readers to the Instant Expert tab on the racecards. This is by far the most popular tab on the geegeez racecards.

The reason? 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.

And every Thursday we make this open to all readers for all races, including our free ones, which will be...

  • 2.15 Curragh
  • 2.20 Wincanton
  • 2.50 Curragh
  • 5.05 Brighton
  • 7.00 Chelmsford

And of those, the second of the list is both interesting and a decent standard. It's a Class 3 contest, so we should have some decent form to work from, but it's interesting to see Good to Firm ground in mid-October for the 2.20 Wincanton, a 7-runner, 3yo+ handicap hurdle over 1m7f worth £9,258...

We should start with the two obvious flies in the ointment here, firstly See The Sea is likely to be a very short favourite which would open up the E/W market, but secondly Manor Park doesn't run, so we're on two places only for those E/W picks, unless you get three for the place on the exchanges.

That doesn't make the race analysis a bust, though, we might find reasons to oppose the fav!

So, from the card...

See The Sea is the only LTO winner, but Wasdell Dundalk is 2 from 3, Ar Mest has a win in his last three, Roar is 2 from 4 and Thahab Ifraj also has a win in his last four. All seven have won over today's trip and Thahab Ifraj has won over course and distance. In fact he won this race last year.

Get Back Get Back, Ar Mest and See The Sea are all up one class, but Roar moves the opposite way and Strong Glance drops down 2 grades after a couple of Gr 3 runs earlier this year. Ar Mest has moved yards during his 131 day layoff, whilst Strong Glance has been off the track even longer at 188 days. Thahab Ifraj raced 53 days ago, but the other four have all been seen in the last fortnight (I write this on Wednesday!).

Strong Glance hasn't raced since being well beaten in back to back Gr 3 handicaps at the Chetenham & Aintree festivals in the spring and this is definitely easier on paper, but he's been off for a while now and hasn't actually won over hurdles for almost 21 months and that was only at Class 4 and he's effectively 2lbs higher now after jockey allowances. Might need this before improvement is seen.

Get Back Get Back has been runner-up in three of his four starts since the end of the last winter season. He was beaten by three lengths off today's mark last time out, but he did win off 1lb higher last year, so this isn't beyond him entirely.

Wasdell Dundalk has only won two of thirteen over hurdles, but he has finished 323113 in his last six outings, winning off marks of 111 and 118, so a career best would be needed here off 122, but he's running well. His best form has come over 2m, so this short trip might suit him more than the 2m+ races that have accounted for most of his defeats.

Ar Mest won a handicap seller over hurdles at Fakenham by ten lengths back in May on his last run for Gary Moore. Nick Mitchell then tried him over fences twice and he didn't go well at all and now, under a third trainer in a little over 5 months, he reverts to hurdles. He's only tackled hurdles five times since Christmas 2018, but has finished 11561 in those five handicap runs and he's only 1lb higher than that last win, but it was a Class 5 race. He'd be a surprising contender and probably wants some rain, but stranger things have happened.

Roar is useful on the Flat and won over 1m6f as recently as early August and also has a pair of 2m/2m0.5f handicap hurdle successes under his belt. It's a little over four months since he last tackled a hurdle but has kept fit/sharp via five efforts on the Flat, but was well beaten last time out. He's also one class and five pounds higher than his last hurdles win, so this might be tough but not impossible.

See The Sea has been getting better and better of late finishing 322 before romping home by sixteen lengths off this mark at Ludlow last time out. Yeah, he's up in class here, but the way he made all on the way to a new course record last week suggests he's ready to go again and it's easy to see why he'll be short-priced here.

Thahab Ifraj has won five of nineteen over hurdles, a decent return that includes landing this race last year at the start of a run reading 113122 before a poor run last time out that saw him last home of six, some 27 lengths off the winner. I'd be inclined to suggest that was a blip and if he runs as he can, he could very well have a say in proceedings here, even if he is 7lbs worse off than last year's win.

That's an overview of all of them, but the deciding factor might well be the ground as not all hurdlers like it quicker/firmer than good ground, so to see if they've handled/not handled/not tried Good to firm ground, Instant Expert has all the details...

On overall form, See The Sea hasn't fared too well on good to firm and last year's winner Thahab Ifraj is the standout horse, but if we look specifically at handicap hurdles...

...the fav's going stats are better, but he still struggles at this grade. Thahab still looks the one to beat of the rest, but as we started with the prospect of finding a placer, we should also look at place stats for handicap hurdles...

It's unknown territory for Strong Glance here and the place king looks to be Get Back Get Back, whose hurdling career stands at 2 wins and 5 places from 12 starts.

We've already said that ground this quick might not suit all the runners here and the tempo of the race will also play its part, I'm sure. Our pace stats and analysis tool can quickly show us how each might run and also what the best tactics have been here in the past.

So, from the pace analysis...

...I'd say that just off the pace but not too far off is the key. Those that go off quickest have tended to get caught and those held up for a run have struggled to close the gap. It's always harder to close the gap, the faster everyone is travelling. We can then make a prediction on how we think the horses will run, based on their last four outings, but bearing in mind the results those tactics achieved eg if a horse is always held-up and it always gets beat, then there's always a chance they'll try something different at some point, so the pace suggestions are just that, but based on fact.

And those last four runs...

See The Sea is a confirmed front-runner and Thahab Ifraj might try to go with him.
Roar and Strong Glance are hold-up horses and that probably won't bode well for them.
This leaves us with Wasdell Dundalk, Ar Mest and Get Back Get Back as the prominent/mid-div runners.

Summary

There are several reason why I won't back See The Sea here :  the price is prohibitive, he doesn't like the ground, he's got a poor Class 3 record and pace analysis says you're a sitting target trying to make all, BUT the way he romped home last time out says he can defy all those negatives and win again, but I'm in no rush at 4/7 or 8/11 to lump on.

So what do I do next? Well, I think the likes of Thahab Ifraj, Wasdell Dundalk and Get Back Get Back are all possibles for a place here, especially if you can get three places on the exchanges. The latter is "only" 11/2 and there's not enough juice in that price for me but Thahab & Wasdell are 11/1 and 10/1 respectively, so I'll have a small tickle on those two from an E/W or place perspective.

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