Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 19th January 2021

Tuesday's feature of the day is the Shortlist Report and our free races of the day are...

  • 1.05 Clonmel
  • 2.35 Clonmel
  • 3.45 Exeter
  • 3.55 Fakenham

The Shortlist Report looks like this today...

...so why don't we see if Ballybreen is likely to land the spoils in the 3.45 Exeter, as that's one of our free races?

The card...

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...says that he, Apple's Queen and Sandford Castle are the form horses here. His trainer is the only trainer with both a positive form (30) and course record (C5) icon and he heads the Geegeez Speed Ratings. He's one of only three course and distance winners and actually won this very contest a year ago.

As you'd expect, Instant Expert paints a good picture of him, although the red for his soft ground performances might be a little misleading, but I'll come to that shortly, of course!

You'll also notice that he's now 7lbs higher for winning five days ago, but that probably doesn't tell the whole story of a 32 length success, where he made all and was well clear from a long way out and would probably have still coasted home carrying a bag of wet sand. Those front running tactics will probably be used again today, but is that a good idea here at Exeter?

Well, with 9 wins from the 15 horses to have tried to win 13 similar races from the front, I'd say that leading is the best plan of attack and our pace tab suggests that's exactly what he'll do.

So from the card and its Instant Expert & Pace tabs, I've still no reason not to believe he can and will win this one. Time for a closer look at his numbers, I think.

His record over fences reads 111281 since the start of 2020 and he's never usually left in the shed too long. The exception to that was the one bad result in that list, when last of 8 over 3m2f on heavy ground having being laid off for 222 days. He still ran from the front that day but tired in the closing stages, as he'd be entitled to, so I don't read too much into that defeat. I'd also add that he wasn't wearing blinkers that day either, but does normally and will here.

In those six races and of relevance here, Conor Ring was in the saddle for all six, he finished 11121 in blinkers, 1112 going right handed, he won 3 from 3 in January, 2 from 2 over this trip (and 2 from 3 at 3m1.5f/3m2f), he had one win and one runner-up finish from two runs here at Exeter and the same record on soft ground (much better recently on soft than his previous form) and he did, of course, win this race a year ago on heavy ground.

Summary

It might all seem a bit short and sweet, but some days/races it takes virtually no time at all to come to a decision, especially when the compelling evidence is pretty much handed to you. I liked Ballybreen last time out and he won at a decent price. I like him here and I don't think 7lbs was the difference between him winning and not winning last time out.

So, yes, Ballybreen for me. 3/1 looks a tad generous as I was expecting 9/4 or 5/2 at best, I'm on!

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