Chris is now away for a couple of weeks so I’ll be covering the bulk of Racing Insights during his break. I’ll try to keep the format as similar as possible but you may see some slight deviations at times.
So, Friday’s racing. Friday’s free feature of the day is the Horses For Courses report. It’s a report that does exactly what it says on the tin and highlights runners that have strong records at certain tracks.
As usual there are a selection of races that everyone can access fully, as long as they are a registered user of Geegeez. The races in question on Friday are:
Generally speaking I much prefer to look at handicaps and the Newmarket race is quite an interesting contest but there are only four runners so it’s not much of a betting race. The 6.55 at Hamilton looks more suited to punting – a square 8 runners and plenty of form on offer for each runner.
First of all we should make use of the Horses For Courses report. Exposed sprinters often have their preferred tracks and will often when in turn so finding the runner most suited to conditions is going to be a massive help.
Seven of these runners have previously raced here at Hamilton, only the relatively lightly raced Royal Context will be making his course debut. Of those that have run here before, Iris Dancer and Sound Of Iona have not won here before whilst Jordan Electrics and Pearl Of Qatar have won here and have quite modest win records but both have decent each way strike rates, especially Pearl Of Qatar who has only been out of the frame once at this venue.
Soul Seeker has a 100% record at Hamilton, but that’s from a sample of one so we can’t get carried away calling him a course specialist. What is quite remarkable is that Economic Crisis will be having his 48th start here on Friday – that’s right, 48 runs at one course! He’s won 8 times here and placed in 16 races at Hamilton, not an amazing strike rate but not a bad one either. No other horse running on Friday has more than 3 wins at any one course. Ventura Flame is one of those that has 3 wins at a course and it’s here at Hamilton. That gives him a 50% win strike rate and he’s only been unplaced once here so he looks the closest thing to a course specialist in this race.
Before I take a look at the runners let’s take a peek at the pace map for this.
A couple of pace angles in the race, although never are out and out trailblazers so we can probably expect no more than an even pace in this contest. It may well pay to race fairly close to the pace.
So now let’s run through each of the runners in this:
Began last season in good form and after losing his form midway through the season he ended with an okay effort at Nottingham. Has only beaten one runner home in two starts this season and hasn’t been running to last season’s form at all.
He’s now 3lbs below his last winning mark but his best form has come on soft ground and he’s in no sort of form so looks best watched until showing signs of life.
The trainer and jockey combo has been in excellent form recently with 3 wins and 7 places from their last 12 runs but a lot still has to be taken on trust, especially on faster ground.
Consistent sort who has run well all season barring seasonal/yard debut. He’s paid for that though rising 11lbs in the handicap but does still seem to be improving. On his latest start he was beaten just a short head at Chester (drawn 6) and he’s shown he’s fairly versatile with regards to underfoot conditions but is almost certainly better on faster ground, making his recent run at Chester on good to soft look all the better.
He runs here before his new mark kicks in so he’s 2lbs well in and given his record at 5f on fast ground reads 112 there is no reason why he shouldn’t go very well here.
Pearl Of Qatar
Drops back to 5f for the first time since February and although he ran well on that occasion at the minimum distance, he’s yet to win a handicap over this trip. He’s currently 1lb above his last winning mark (6f) and all his turf wins have come on fast ground. His course form figures read 4212 but all those runs came at 6f.
He looks entitled to improve a little on recent starts (stretched by 7f and then ground would have been slightly too soft last time) but looks likely to find a few of these too quick.
Very exposed now but she’s consistent, in form and has a strong course record. All three handicap wins have come on good or faster at this trip but she’s 4lsb above her last winning mark. Her course form figures read 12141. She clearly goes well in conditions but doesn’t look to have much in hand from her mark, for all she’s obviously capable of running well.
Another that gets a big tick for consistency and he was unlucky not to win last time out at Ayr. He’s finished runner up on 4 of his last 5 starts which is a slight concern but doesn’t appear to have anything wrong with his attitude.
He’s 8lbs below his highest winning mark but still 6lbs above his last winning mark. Several bits of his form this season have worked out, particularly his form with Gunnerside in late May and early June, but the majority of his best form is with slightly easier ground. He handles faster ground and should run well again but he’d have made more appeal on softer ground.
Sound Of Iona
Faced a few of these in May over course and distance in similar conditions and finished 3rd on that occasion. She’s now 13lbs better off with Soul Seeker for a 2.75 lengths defeat. Seemed to lose her form on his next three runs but returned to form last time out at Musselburgh when ahead of Jordan Electrics.
She has a modest strike rate but she won off a 7lb higher mark last season and has dropped 4lbs since that good run here behind Soul Seeker. She does need luck in running, which is probably why she doesn’t win as often as she should, but she’s well handicapped and holds several of these on current terms. Jim Goldie has an IV of 3.01 in the past fortnight.
Made a belated seasonal debut two weeks ago when 2.25 lengths behind Sound Of Iona at Musselburgh. Generally runs well in defeat here at Hamilton but most of his form here is over 6f, as are two of his three handicap wins. All three handicap wins came within a pound of his current mark and all came when making all.
Has to improve on his most recent run, the trainer could be in better form and he needs to prove he’s not reliant on getting a very easy lead so overall he’s opposable even if conditions are fine and he's handicapped to win on his best form.
The only 3yo in the line up. Her best two performances have come on soft ground over 6f but she did run well on good ground over 5f at Musselburgh two starts ago, when snatched up late on.
She’s 2lbs out of the handicap and will likely have better chances of winning in lower grades than this. It should be noted that she’s having her first start for Tristan Davidson. He doesn’t have many winners on their first starts after moving from other yards, the only winner in two years won at 9/4, but he does have a PRB of 0.51 with these types according to the Trainer Change report so they are capable of reproducing previous form.
There are plenty that look nailed on to run well here, mostly Soul Seeker and Ventura Flame with Economic Crisis also likely to be in the shake up. Preference would be for Soul Seeker followed by Ventura Flame from that trio but they are all in the first three in the betting early doors and there is likely to be better value elsewhere.
That value could well come from Sound Of Iona. Not the easiest horse to win with or get right but she’s well handicapped, enjoys these conditions, should get an okay pace to run at, ran well last time out and crucially holds many of these on course and distance form from this season. She’s 13lbs better off for a 2.75 length defeat to Soul Seeker and also twice the price of that runner so rates a decent enough bet. I think she’ll finish in the top 3 with Soul Seeker and Ventura Flame and can get the better of both if getting the breaks. Economic Crisis looks best of the rest and would have been the pick on ground softer than good.