Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 17th December 2021

Friday is Horses for Courses day here at Geegeez, where we give everyone free access to a report showing the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at the track. It is sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at the user’s discretion.

As well as today’s race time, course, horse name, jockey and trainer name, there is a breakdown of runs, wins and places, and profit and loss calculations for both win and each way betting. And as with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track.

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

You can, of course, set your own parameters for the report to shorten the list of horses and here's how mine looks for Friday...

In addition to the free H4C report, we also have the following racecards free to all readers...

  • 11.50 Southwell
  • 2.20 Ascot
  • 3.10 Uttoxeter
  • 4.30 Dundalk
  • 5.15 Kempton

I think I'll skip the H4C report today, as I don't really play the Irish races, Uzincso is likely to be a short priced favourite and Tynecastle Park's excellent Southwell form has all been on fibresand and that has now been replaced by tapeta, of course. Instead, I'm going to look at the best of the free races : the 2.20 Ascot, a 5-runner, good to soft (soft in places) ground, Grade 2, 4yo+ Novices Hurdle featuring just eight obstacles over a left-handed 1m7½f with £28,475 going to one of these...

As you can see, I've also opened up the report angles stats for you to see.

I want to start by saying that Jonbon is highly likely to be the odds on favourite here, but that doesn't render this a futile exercise. He might well be my pick here, but we could have a decent priced E/W pick or a forecast to aim at or we might even find one that could beat him, so let's crack on...

I Like To Move It has 5 wins and a runner-up finish from just 7 career starts and is 3 from 3 over hurdles, including a Grade 2 success at Cheltenham last time out in another small field. He has already won over this trip, the ground won't be an issue for him, but he'll find this tougher than his last race conceding weight all round. That said, he has every chance of being in the shake-up for a yard/jockey in fine recent form.

Colonel Mustard makes a UK debut after finishing 24321 over hurdles in Ireland, but this is a much tougher race than he's used to, as his sole win came in a £6k maiden, although he was a 3.25 length runner-up in a Grade 1 back in April. He's a decent enough sort, but I'm not sure this is the race for him and he'd probably want some rain to fall.

Jonbon is the likely short-priced jolly and he's the brother of top runner Douvan. He won his only PTP contest by some 15 lengths at Dromahane 14 months ago which led to him being sold for over half a million. He was sent off at 5/6 for his debut under Rules, landing a Class 3 bumper by over 4 lengths back in March and then returned to action three weeks ago to defy a 244 day absence to win on his hurdles debut by six lengths. Clearly untried at this level, but the manner of his wins so far are enough to serve notice that he could be something special.

Knappers Hill comes here defending a perfect 5 from 5 record after landing three bumpers (inc 1 x Listed and 1 x Gr2) last season, before winning back to back Novice hurdles in Oct/Nov this season. He was very comfortable when landing a Class 3 race LTO, but this demands more and I think he has more to give.

Elle Est Belle finished 1123 in four bumpers, winning at Listed class before making the fame at Gr 1 then Gr 2 before taking 30 weeks off. She returned to action in early November and looked like she needed the run when beaten by four lengths at Newbury (Class 2) on her hurdling debut, but she quickly bounced back 23 days later to land a Listed race by 8.5 lengths, also at Newbury. No issues with the ground and trainer, jockey and trainer/jockey do really well at this venue.

We could have a really good little race on our hands here, just five are set to go to post, but in 27 previous combined races, they've made the frame 24 (88.9% SR) times, including 17 wins (63% SR) and under today's conditions...

Wow! That's a lot of green, but as I expected Colonel Mustard looks the weak link. Knappers Hill is the only one to have been to Ascot before, landing a 2m soft ground, Listed bumper at this meeting last year and his figures are hard to dispute. He achieved a pace score of 3 (prominent) that day and based on historical data, that's perfect for this contest...

Prominent running is the ordere of the day here with leaders also winning/placing in more of their fair share of races. Essentially, just don't sit too far off the pace, which might be a hindrance to the likes of Colonel Mustard and Elle Est Belle, based on their recent runs...

...where both have been held up twice in four outings. It's a small field and I'd expect I Like To Move It to be the pacesetter and Knappers Hill to race prominently. Much, I suppose, will depend on what tactics the wily Nicky Henderson chooses for fav Jonbon.

Summary

Two NH heavyweights have dominated this race in recent years with Nicky Henderson (Jonbon) and Paul Nicholls (Knappers Hill) winning six of the last ten between them, although the Skeltons (Elle Est Belle) landed it last year.

On face value, it's not entirely obvious why Jonbon should be as short as 8/13 for this, but I suppose his yard's 4 wins from 10 in this race, his relationship to Douvan and his 100% record to date all combine to make him so popular and there's every chance that he wins this. If he doesn't, then it will surely go to one of Nicholls or Skelton. I have the 13/2 Elle Est Belle marginally ahead of the 5/1 Knappers Hill and if the former was to drift a little, I might be tempted into an insurance E/W bet on her.

For what it's worth, I won't back Jonbon at prohibitive odds, but I'll play small Jonbon/Elle Est Belle & Jonbon/Knappers Hill forecasts.

 

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