Poetic Flare was pretty imperious on his way to another Group 1 success by more than four lengths and I was happy to have got on at 4/1. Hopefully a few of you did the same. My second bet of the race was the 9/1 Chindit, who didn't manage to land the forecast for us, but did manage to finish fifth to give us a small profit from an E/W bet. As predicted, those who led were well beaten by the end and our longshot E/W punt La Barrosa just never got into the race, but we've made a profit here, so it's time to move on.
Wednesday's feature is the Trainer Stats report, whilst our daily free races are as follows...
- 1.20 Wexford
- 2.40 Hamilton
- 3.00 Wexford
- 3.05 Ascot
- 3.35 Wexford
- 6.00 Ripon
I'll leave the Queen's Vase (3.05 Ascot) alone, as 15 runner contests are beyond my comfort zone and this game is all about playing the races you're most comfortable with. As you know, I'm also not a big fan of Irish racing and the Ripon offering is a fillies maiden, another sort I avoid. This means that today's focus falls upon a tight-looking small field affair in the 2.40 Hamilton, which is a 6-runner, 3yo+, Class 5, Flat handicap over 6f on Good to Firm ground. The prize is a mere £2,862 and these are the contenders...
Form : Only The Mackem Torpedo and Cool Dandy have won any of their last five runs, but that's not unusual at this level, there are plenty of placed efforts to consider.
Class Movers : The top two on the card ran at this grade LTO, but Reely Bonnie, The Mackem Torpedo, Stronsay and Cool Dandy all step up from Class 6.
Course / Distance form : Ey Up it's Mick is the only previous Hamilton winner and he's won over track and trip. Of the others, only Taylored and Stronsay have yet to score over 6f.
Days Rested : All have raced in the last three weeks (if you're reading on Tuesday!) with Cool Dandy having also raced as recently as Monday.
Age / Sex : We've two fillies (Reely Bonnie & Cool Dandy) and 2 x 3yo, a 4yo and 3 x 5yo.
Weight / SR Range : Ey Up It's Mick will carry top weight of 9-9 after allowances, some 18lbs more than Cool Dandy. At 72 on the SR figures Stronsay is well clear of the pack, but just two points separate the next three ranked, Ey Up it's Mick, Cool Dandy and Taylored.
Trainer Form : Stronsay's yard looks out of form, whilst The Mackem Torpedo's handler has struggled here at Hamilton of late, but David O'Meara (Taylored) does do well at this track.
Jockey Form : Andrew Mullen & Jack Garrity (Reely Bonnie & The Mackem Tornado) could both do with a change of fortune, but Sam James (Cool Dandy has had a god couple of weeks), whilst Ben Curtis (Stronsay) has ridden well here in the past.
Ey Up It's Mick was a course and distance winner here 11 months ago when scoring by two lengths off today's mark of 67, but he hasn't won any of 12 races since. That said, he has been running consistently without success, rarely getting beaten by much and only went down by a length and a quarter here over C&D less than a fortnight ago. If he could get going a little quicker, he'd have every chance here.
Taylored is 0 from 9 so far, but has been a narrowly beaten runner-up in both starts since switching to David O'Meara's yard and it is hoped that a drop in trip helps him see the race out a little better today.
Really Bonnie's form line makes dismal reading since she won at Ayr last July in a Class 6 6f contest on handicap debut off a mark of 63. She has struggled of late, losing her last four outings by a combined 54 lengths, all at Class 6 and the drop in trip with a rise in class just looks like they're trying anything they can to get a run out of her. She's not good enough here in my opinion.
The Mackem Torpedo was running consistently well in Class 6 handicaps last year and then won two from three in November/December. A drop to 5f didn't work for him on New Year's Eve when beaten by nearly 6 lengths. He was then off track for 159 days, but had no run last time out on his return as he stumbled and unseated his rider after less than a third of the 7.5f trip at Ayr last week. He'll probably still need a run and the step up in class won't help.
Stronsay has won just 1 of 31 outings to date and that sole win came on his fourth start some 34 months ago. Once rated 76, he could, however, now be on a dangerous mark of just 52, especially if running in a similar vein as when a 1.25 length runner-up here over course and distance last week. Yes, he's up in class and weight, but will have the benefit of Ben Curtis on his back and in a weak looking contest, that 2nd place LTO looks a good piece of work.
Cool Dandy is running pretty well right now and was a winner over 6f at Carlisle less than three weeks ago, before finishing third over the same track/trip on Monday. She's clearly enjoying herself right now and whilst I'm not sure she'll run here, she's sure to be involved if there are no ill effects turned back out so quickly. She's got some notable breeding behind her too and she's the most recent winner in this field.
Instant Expert isn't going to tell us much from a win perspective, when the field have a combined strike rate of just 7.62% (8 from 105)...
and it looks even worse when considering just Flat handicaps...
...but they have made the frame in 31 of those 105 runs (29.5%) which will at least give us a bit more data to play with...
...and in Flat handicaps...
On that final graphic, it's hard to overlook Ey Up It's Mick's place record in flat handicaps at class/course/distance especially as he has a win strike rate below 10% through his career, but a mark of 67 equals his highest winning mark, so he has little room for error. Stronsay & Really Bonnie are both well below their last winning marks and the latter has made the frame in three of four 6f Flat handicaps.
Draw Stats :
Again I've based my numbers of fields of 5-7 runners to give a larger sample size ...
And here for a 6-runner race, I'd be treating stalls 6 & 7 as one entity at 15 wins (26.79%) and 22 places (39.29%) from 56 runs and from that, I'd say that although stalls 1 to 3 win races at 21/48 (43.75%), they fall a little short of the 50% you'd expect if there was no draw bias and with stall 4 performing so badly, you'd probably also expect stall 3's figures to be a bit higher. Thus with stalls 5 and 6 now having 27 winners, I'd want my horse to be out wide today, which would favour The Mackem Tornado and Stronsay, whilst Instant Expert's best, Ey Up It's Mick, has the coffin box number 4.
Pace Stats :
Off a small number of runners, those who tend to race in mid-division do pretty well with an IV of 1.35, but leading is the best policy over 6f at Hamilton, especially on quicker ground. prominent runners often do too much too soon to chase the leaders, whilst hold up horses invariably end up too far off the pace to make anything from the race. Leaders manage to hold on to win 1 in 3 and make the frame almost 6 times out of 10 attempts...
Draw / pace :
When we mix the draw stats with the pace stats, we generate a heat map made up of all 12 possible draw/run style combinations and we can look at how our runners normally run and drop them onto that heat map as follows...
This would suggest that nobody will want to take the race on, but Taylored has set the pace in each of his last two outings since switching yards and as they have been his best runs to date, I'm expecting him to move towards the right on that chart and attempt to win it from the front. Next out of the stalls is likely to be the well drawn Stronsay and with very little pace inside of him, he should be able make the small tack across towards the near side and he also has a pace score of 4 (led ) and 3 (prominent) in his last four runs, so he could well go with Taylored to make a race of it.
Despite his suggested poor draw and pace/draw make-up, I still like Ey Up It's Mick's chances of finishing in the top half of the field and he's the one that I'd add to Taylored and Stronsay from above. Taylored is running well under new handling/tactics and Stronsay doesn't win anywhere near often enough. He cam pretty close last, but up in class and weight doesn't suggest he breaks that duck here. So it's between Taylored & Ey Up It's Mick for the win and I'm inclined to go with the recent progression of Taylored here.
As for the runner-up slot, there's not much between Ey Up It's Mick and Stronsay on my numbers, but it's hard to ignore the former's record at this venue, meaning Stronsay is the odd one out this time for me.
The bookies have Taylored as 9/2 fourth best here, so I'm happy to take a piece of that, whilst "Mick" is currently the fav as low as 9/4 and that's a bit skinny in my opinion. We've not his a forecast for a while, so it'd be nice if this one came in.