Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 18th October 2021

Pace is an often overlooked aspect of bet finding, but its importance cannot not be over-stressed. If you know how horses are likely to run, then it makes it easier to frame how a race might pan out. This is covered extensively here on Geegeez and in the user guide that we hope everyone reads. To show how important we think pace is, we give full access to the PACE tab to ALL readers for ALL races, every Sunday and Monday, particularly useful for assessing Monday's free races of the day, which are...

  • 2.55 Pontefract
  • 3.30 Pontefract
  • 6.00 Wolverhampton
  • 8.00 Wolverhampton
  • 8.30 Wolverhampton

And of those, I'm going to look at the 3.30 Pontefract. The earlier race looks far better on paper, but only five run and it looks like two shorties against the field, whilst all three evening AW races are Novice affairs and I don't like playing those. Remember folks, Matt is at pains to tell us that race selection is critical and he's spot on.

So, we've got an 11-runner, Class 4, 3yo+ Flat handicap over 1m2f on Good to Soft ground to look at. The ground is already soft in places and more rain is forecast, so it may well be soft in a day's time, but here's the racecard...

And most of these arrive here in decent enough form. Sudona is the only LTO winner, but Arctic Emperor is three from six, Kayfast Warrior is four from six, Myristica has five consecutive top 3 finishes, as does Where's Jeff. Molinari and Thunderclap are two from four and both were third LTO, so we could have a decent contest on our hands. Seasett probably looks weakest on form.

Seasett, however, drops down a grade to be here, as does Where's Jeff and Tricorn comes down two levels, whilst Little Jo, Sudona And Molinari all step up from Class 5. Little Jo has won here previously whilst Tricorn, Myrisitica, Where's Jeff and Molinari have all scored at 1m2f. Sudona, however, is a course and distance winner from July 2020.

As for trainer/jockey icons, there aren't many to see, but positives go to Arctic Emperor, Myristica, Little Jo, Sudona and Thunderclap, whilst Tricorn, Where's Jeff and Golden Dove are negatives.  And finally the Geegeez SR figures have Where's Jeff, Sudona and Thunderclap as highest rated with Golden Dove, Kayfast Warrior and Myristica bringing up the rear.

At this point, without even looking closely at the horses, the above suggests the ones I might be most interested in would be the likes of Sudona and Where's Jeff with Seasett and Golden Dove looking vulnerable.

As PACE is Monday's free feature, let's skip straight to that tab on the cards and see how that might affect the race as a standalone facet to the contest and also how it might interact with the draw. On Good to Soft / Soft ground over this course and distance, here's how the running styles of the horses have played out from a results perspective...

And the key here is that leaders fare best of all from both a win and place perspective and they also have the best placers to winners conversion rate. We can then (still on the PACE tab) see that our field have raced like this in their last four outings...

And if 4 = led and 1 = held up, then with three scores of four, Golden Dove is the one most likely to set the pace with Arctic Emperor and Where's Jeff in close proximity. Previous eye-catcher Sudona looks vulnerable on pace, as do all those listed below Myristica, who'll probably revert back to prominent running.

This of, course doesn't mean that the bottom five on the pace scores can't win, but they might need some assistance from the draw, where I'd say you'd want to be drawn in the stalls 2 to 5 kind of area...

...which is best news for Thunderclap, Molinari, Myristica and Where's Jeff, but not so good for Sudona (stall 11) once again. It also turns out that those draw stats seem to have more bearing on the result than the pace aspect does, because the pace/draw heatmap for this contest looks weighted towards those drawn low rather than a particular running style...

and if we overlay our pace scores from earlier onto that heatmap, we get...

...which looks good for the likes of Where's Jeff, Arctic Emperor and Golden Dove. Myristica is likely to be slightly further to the right in a similar position to Molinari and with much of the pace coming from stalls 9 & 10, Sudona might well get dragged into the race early too. at this point, I'm not keen on those in stalls 6, 7 and 8.

So we know how they're drawn, we know how they might run and how the initial stages of the race might pan out, but what of the field's suitability for the actual task in hand :  a Class 4, flat handicap over ten furlongs on Good to Soft / soft ground? We can answer that very simply via Geegeez' unique Instant Expert racecard tab...

Little Jo seems best suited by underfoot conditions, but seven of these have won on this going. Tricorn has a couple of class 4 wins and the two course winners are highlighted. This is the final tool I'll be using today, so it's now time to reduce the numbers of horses in my calculations and it makes perfect sense to cut Molinari, Thunderclap and Golden Dove from my list of potential winners here, as they're totally unproven by conditions.

Instant Expert also gives us place stats, ideal for E/W betting...

...but with this field having made the frame so often, it doesn't bring us any nearer to making a selection, but it does make me remove Tricorn from consideration. Yes, he has those two wins at this level, but he seems like a case of win or be nowhere and his place stats don't inspire me, so he's gone too, leaving my racecard looking like this...

I also removed Seasett, as he was the weakest alongside Golden Dove on the initial race overview. Based on everything I've looked at and highlighted so far, I think Kayfast Warrior and Myristica are the least likely winners, leaving me with four to choose from.

Summary

We've quickly gone through the field and reduced it from 11 runners to 4...

  • Arctic Emperor is 111244 on turf this season and has been versatile enough to win Class 5 handicaps on both firm and heavy ground. he won in this grade under today's jockey back in July off a mark of 82, but hasn't hit those heights off 87 in three races since and struggled last time out at 1m4f. It might have been the extra 2f (he's back down in trip here) or he might not have "got" Epsom, but conditions should be better for him here and he's down 2lbs.
  • Little Jo has won here in the past and is 3 from 9 (plus 3 places) on good to soft/soft ground, so would the one for the underfoot conditions, but has won just once in his last sixteen outings, but did go well here last out when third of ten, beaten by four lengths over a mile on heavy ground. Up in trip by 2f here isn't a positive for me, as he's 0 from 7 beyond a mile, placing just twice.
  • Sudona is a former course and distance winner and comes here in good form after run of results since the start of August reading 221, having gone down by half a length over 1m4f and then by a short head over today's 1m2f trip, both at Ripon before winning over 1m2f on soft ground at Beverley just over a month ago. All three career wins are over today's trip, she likes soft ground and runs well close to home. She's trained just 40 miles away from Ponty and her record in Yorkshire stands at 8 places (inc. 2 wins) from 12, so clearly is a homebird.
  • Where's Jeff won twice in the summer but has continued to run well despite his mark creeping up from 72 for his last win to 77 LTO. He has finished third in back to back Class 3 handicaps recently and now drops in class. A one pound drop should also help a little here where the trip is ideal for him and he's to be ridden by Joanna Mason, who'll take three pounds off. The pair get on well together (6171223), but I have my doubts about him if more rain comes.

There's no single horse that ticks all the boxes to be the "perfect bet", but I feel that despite some concerns Sudona & Where's Jeff are the two to concentrate on. Sudona won't be suited by the pace/draw make-up, but horses can win from wide and she can be ridden/raced differently if connections decide to do so, whereas Where's Jeff doesn't like soft ground and if the forecast rain turns heavy, there's nothing that can be done to overcome it, so Sudona becomes my marginal preference over Where's Jeff, assuming the rain comes, of course!

As for third place, I'm inclined to go with Arctic Emperor over Little Jo. Yes, the latter will like the ground, but hasn't yet shown he gets the trip and he's not in as good form as the former.

So I'm on Sudona / Where's Jeff / Arctic Emperor as my three to beat. My 1-2 might change with the weather 😉 but they should be the ones on the podium, so to speak. The bookies have the three at 6/1, 17/2 and 15/2, so I'll back Sudona to win, go E/W about Where's Jeff and keep my fingers crossed for a drift in price about Arctic Emperor for another E/W punt, whilst Little Jo is interesting at 10's!

 

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