Tuesday's 'feature of the day' is free access to the Shortlist report, which quickly flags up horses running in conditions they have excelled in on previous occasions, whilst our free-to-all 'races of the day' will be the following...
- 1.55 Wolverhampton
- 3.10 Sligo
- 4.00 Nottingham
- 4.55 Huntingdon
- 5.20 Sligo
- 6.45 Limerick
Those who watched Matt's webinar the other evening will have heard him say that you should be selective in the races you look at. It's a case of "each to their own" and as such, I'm not a fan of races of 12 or more runners, I'm not overly keen on Irish racing and I really don't like maiden hurdles, so I've narrowed the six free races down to just one, the first on the list.
Thus, today's piece is about the 1.55 Wolverhampton, an 11-runner, Class 6, A/W handicap for 3yo's over 5f on standard tapeta. The prize money is £2,322 and here's how they'll line up...
Only Aish, Sparkling Perry and Swooper have won any of their last five runs and the first two of those three are dropping in class here, as are High Security, Nagasaki Dream and Moonshiner. Anjella hasn't raced for seven months, but the other ten have been out in the past six weeks. High Security's trainer is the only one with a positive course marker (C5), whilst both Ooh is It and Anjella will have jockeys proven on this track. The Neural SR ratings suggest a close contest between Swooper, Ooh Is It and High Security.
Aish produced her best run to date when landing a 5.5f handicap at Brighton almost three weeks ago, just doing enough to stay ahead without over exerting herself. She had run well 16 days earlier to only go down by 1.25 lengths after a nine month break, so she's clearly in good nick. Up 4lbs here, but down in class and she does have the benefit of a prior tapeta run, albeit at Newcastle.
High Security is still a maiden after nine attempts, but was only beaten by 2.5 lengths in a big field handicap last time out. The ground was too quick for him that day and this slower surface should appeal more. Down 5lbs and down in class, he might not get a better chance to get off the mark.
Ooh Is It has only raced five times so far and ran pretty well last time out, making the frame at Chepstow over 6f, losing a place in the final furlong. Eased a pound and dropped back in trip, he looks sets for another decent showing.
Sparkling Perry might well run in the 4.55 at Redcar on Monday, where I'd expect her to struggle, but based on her past form, she's likely to struggle everywhere. She won a Class 5 Novice race at Doncaster over 6f last June but has been beaten by 28L, 12L, 4.5L and 18L in four races since. Not for me.
Nagasaki Dream was third here at this grade over 6f two starts ago and went down by 4.5 lengths over the same trip at Newcastle last time out when stepped back up to Class 5. Now back down in class and eased a pound, he might well fare better, but I don't see him winning. Place chances at best?
Swooper was a winner three starts ago at this class/trip on the polytrack at Chelmsford, but is 7lbs higher now and doesn't have a 7lb claimer to call upon either, which would make this a tough task. He's effectively 2lbs worse off than when losing by almost seven lengths at Lingfield four weeks ago and will need improvement and/or some luck to get involved here.
Spirit of Heaven makes just a fourth career start here after failing to make the frame in three novice contests going down by a combined 30 lengths, before finishing 9th of 10, 8 lengths off the pace over this course and distance on handicap debut a fortnight ago. Hard to see a 3lb drop in weight bringing about enough of an upsurge to become competitive here.
Moonshiner has a similar profile to the horse above. Little sign of prospect in three Novice races and then 7th of 12 on handicap debut at Windsor three weeks ago. Also drops 3lbs and comes back in trip, but I'd not want to get too involved with her.
Anjella has a few more furlongs under her belt, but she's hardly set the world alight either so far, failing to make the frame in any of her seven runs to date. She was only beaten by three lengths last time out, but she's effectively 2lbs worse off here and makes little appeal to me.
Nacho produced his best result when second here over course and distance last time out. That was a fortnight ago, when beaten by a length under today's jockey, but he's 3lbs higher here and it's always tough for a loser to improve carrying more weight. I'd expect him to go well again, but without troubling the judge.
Red Walls carries bottom weight here off a lowly mark of just 48, probably because he has ade the frame just once in eleven attempts. Four of his last five runs have been here over course and distance and the margins of defeat have been 4.5L, 3.5L, 6L and 4L. He tends to race prominently and get headed with a furlong or less to travel and mid-division is probably the best he could hope for here.
We don't beat about the bush here at Geegeez and we try to call things as they are and this is a pretty poor race for some pretty poor horses. That said, three of them will make the frame and many of them will be well off the pace. The quality of the race never affects those two facts. So, I'm still trying to find a winner, but I'm getting rid of four I don't like at this stage, meaning the end of the road (for me, anyway!) for Anjella, Moonshiner, Sparkling Perry & Spirit of Heaven.
Removing the four I don't fancy makes the field a more manageable seven runners, but as they've only two wins between them, we're better off looking at their place records via Instant Expert...
The standout bits of data there for me are Ooh Is It's record at this grade and High Security's numbers over this trip. Swooper seems to have had plenty of tries without much success and Aish is too lightly raced to make a judgment call.
The draw stats here say that stalls 1 and 2 perform best and then there's a steady decline the further away from the rail you are, until a boost for stalls 9 and 10. I think the win percentages might be a little anomalous, as the overall place stats for those two draws aren't as noticeably increased, but there definitely seems to be a bit of a dead spot for centrally drawn runners.
From a pace/tactics perspective, the advice here is simple...get out quick and stay in front!
Quite simply, the further back you race, the less chance you have of winning and so when you consider that low or high draws fare better than those in the centre and that leaders win far more often, you'll not be surprised by this...
Those drawn on the outsides and try to lead win most races and the further back you sit, the harder it is. And when we look at our runners' most recent efforts...
We see that Aish's run profile is excellent, but she's poorly drawn in #6.
High Security isn't too badly drawn but would have to work hard from mid-division
Ooh Is It is well drawn from a win perspective and races prominently, as does Nagasaki Dream but from a place angle.
Swooper isn't that well drawn and will be too far off the pace for my liking.
Nacho is drawn well to place, but sits too far back, whilst red Walls prominent racing style is useful, but the draw isn't good from stall 7.
Based on the above, I think I'm taking Aish, High Security and Ooh is It to the final analysis.
It's a Class 6 contest on the A/W in peak Flat season, it's early in the day and the field have precious little previous success between them, so it's inevitable that we're looking for the least poor of the bunch rather than a standout candidate. I think the three I've taken stand a very good chance of containing the winner, but all have questions to answer.
There's probably very little between them in all honesty. Aish is in good nick, drops in class and likes to lead. if she gets far enough clear, she could hold on, but she's got top weight. High Security is consistent and is knocking on the door, but never wins whilst Ooh Is It looks suited by the drop in trip, has course specialist on board and has a good draw/pace make-up.
So with all that in mind, I'll Ooh Is It to catch and beat Aish, with High Security back in third. At 4.40pm, only bet365 had opened the book and they go with my trio at 4/1, 7/2 and 10/1. The price on my pick is fair, but I might also be tempted with a 10/1 e/w punt on High Security.