Mixed fortunes/emotions at York today, I correctly suggested that Creative Flair would beat Snow Lantern which she did by 2 lengths. I was torn between Ville de Grace and Primo Bacio for my big-priced placer and that's where Sod's Law kicked in. In fact, it kicked in massively as I went with Ville de Grace, whilst Primo Bacio went on to win the race at 14/1, beating Creative Flair by three lengths.
I wasn't too disappointed, though, as once again we'd highlighted a short priced beaten favourite, which is good news for you layers out there. Last piece of the week now and Saturday's feature of the day is the Trainer/Jockey Combo Stats report, whilst the free races of the day are set to be...
- 1.40 Bangor
- 2.10 Thirsk
- 2.25 Newbury
- 3.05 Navan
- 3.15 Newmarket
- 4.50 Navan
Today is an unusual day, as there wasn't anything that took my fancy from the free races, but that doesn't mean they won't appeal to you, of course. I then checked the qualifiers from my report and I had very few, mainly down to the fairly stringent criteria I impose.
So, a day off for me? Sadly, not. I'm going to give you a bonus race and take a look at the 2.45 Thirsk.
But why? Well, it looks competitive, it's a decent standard (Class 2), it has 8 runners, so there's the prospect of an each way selection and we've got soft ground, which is always interesting. Other than that, the trip is seven furlongs and the prize is £10,260 and that will go to one of...
The Geegeez Speed ratings suggest a tight three-way battle between Another Batt, Young Fire and Queen's Sargent.
Fox Duty Free, Queen's Sargent, Flying Pursuit and Broken Spear have all won at least one of their five races, with the final two of those four being LTO winners.
All eight have won over this trip before, Another Batt and Broken Spear have also won here before at different trips, whilst Queen's Sargent has won over track & trip at the same time.
David O'Meara has a good recent record at the track (C1) and he has two runners here and all eight of this field have raced in last 8 to 43 days, so no lengthy layoffs to overcome.
Azano hasn't won any of his last seven races, since winning a Class 4, 7f, Novice race at Yarmouth 31 months ago and could only finish 7th of 8 at this class/trip at Goodwood a fortnight ago. He was beaten by ten lengths that day and looks likely to struggle off the same mark.
Fox Duty Free scored a hat-trick of wins on the A/W at Lingfield in November/December, but was disappointing there last time out, finishing 8th of 10 after a three month break. He now switches back to the turf, where hasn't won any of four attempts, but has made the frame twice. He's in with a shout here, if a mark of 98 isn't too much for him.
Young Fire won off a mark of 96 at Redcar back in October, but has failed to even make the frame in seven outings since, as he has struggled off higher marks. He's still a pound higher than that last win and steps up in class here, suggesting others might be more appealing.
Another Batt won a Class 3 handicap over 6f here in August, but hasn't kicked on from that since stepping up to Class 2, finishing well down the field in all five runs. He is, however, now 3lbs below that last winning mark and this is his local track, but his record on soft ground and his record at this trip are both lamentable at 0 from 5 and 0 from 9 respectively.
Queen's Sargent won over this trip at Catterick two starts ago before going down by 3.5 lengths here at Thirsk over a mile at this grade just a fortnight ago and his record at this track now reads 21310, of which he is 211 over course and distance. He goes off the same mark as LTO and a return to his favoured trip should suit.
Flying Pursuit won a heavy ground 7f contest at Doncaster back in October and was also a winner last time out, defying a 6 month break to score over 6f at nearby Ripon just over a week ago. He's happy enough at the trip too, but does step up two classes to run here and he's up 4lbs for that recent win, but he does have a good record on soft ground.
Broken Spear is a former course winner and he tends to always be there or thereabouts, making the frame in 12 of his 29 previous Flat outings. He won a big-field handicap at Chester last time out, but is only 2lbs higher for the win and he has won off this mark in the past. On the downside, he's also up two classes here and he's 0 from 8 on soft ground.
Alminoor is winless in seven runs, but they have all been on the all-weather. He carries bottom weight here and should hopefully be suited by a return to turf where he has to wins and a runner-up finish from three starts. Those runs, however were at Classes 4 and 5 and he steps up to Class 2 today despite being beaten by more than five lengths two grades down last time out. On the plus side, he has won on soft ground and also over this trip.
Unusually for a Class 2 handicap, no horse or group of horses really stand out which is testimony to the competitive nature of the race. We've looked at each of them from a general overview, but some will be better suited to race conditions than others (especially on soft ground), so let's take a look at Instant Expert...
...where the things I noted were 3 wins each for Young Fire and Flying Pursuit on soft ground, a generally poor show across the board at this grade, Queen's Sargent loves this track and gets the trip, as does Young Fire, whilst Another Batt is the only one rated lower than his last win, although none are massively up in weight.
The draw stats suggest a low draw is most beneficial...
...whilst leaders have fared particularly well from a win perspective, but they have either won or not made the frame!Prominent racers fare best from a place/ each way perspective, placing in 8 of 19.
And if a low draw is best and leading/racing prominently has been successful, then it'll be no surprise to see...
...that low drawn leaders have done rally well, but the interesting stat there is the performance of mid-drawn runners being held up for a run.
We can overlay our runners' past racing styles onto that grid and if we sort them into draw order, the picture looks like this...
It looks like Alminoor will set the pace and might get an uncontested lead, but keep an eye on Azano who has set the pace in two of his last four outings and might well have done last time out had he not blown the start.
If you only had access to this one tool on Geegeez, you'd be forgiven to rushing out to back Young Fire and/or Queen's Sargent, as they have the ideal draw/pace make-up here.
You could, I suppose, make a case for pretty much all of them, but that's not what you want from me, I suppose.
I'm not over keen on Fox Duty Free being a 5/2 or 11/4 favourite, so I'm happy to take him on here and my three against the field are going to be Flying Pursuit, Queen's Sargent and Young Fire. And although Queen's Sargent's soft ground form isn't as good as the other two, his course record and distance form allied to him not stepping up in class make him my marginal pick at 8/1 with Bet365.
There's not much between the other two, but Young Fire's soft ground form tied in with the pace/draw heatmap give him the edge as next best and he's currently 7/1, whilst Flying Pursuit is at 4's.