In Chris's absence, and giving Sam a day off, it's Matt here for the Sunday evening shift, looking at Monday's racing.
Monday’s free feature of the day is the Pace tab for all races, and it is available in its entirety to all registered users of Geegeez. It's a fundamental cornerstone of my betting research and, frankly, I NEVER place a bet without considering the likely shape of the race via this tab. Nor should you.
Moving on to Monday's free Races of the Day for registered users, they are as follows:
Perversely, perhaps, for the time of year and weather, I'm going to have a rummage through the Cartmel race form. It's a 2m 1 1/2f handicap chase and most of the six runners have shown their hand fully to Mr Handicapper. Indeed, the most lightly raced of the sextet has come under orders 16 times previously.
Pace wise, they should be a formation not dissimilar to the below, with Sword Of Fate and Tonto's Spirit very likely to be front rank. Lermoos Legend meanwhile will be waited with, as he has been in two of his three recent wins.
Here's what we can quickly deduce about the form of the runners from Instant Expert, win view (handicap chases only) then place view beneath.
WIN ^^ PLACE vv
And here's what a deeper inspection into the book suggests...
A veteran of 58 races, he's spun his wheels around Cartmel ten times winning an outstanding six of them (two handicap chases, a novice chase, a beginners' chase, and two handicap hurdles)... and all of them over this 2m 1f (ish) trip. Five of those wins were on good ground, the same as Monday's race is expected to be. His highest winning mark was 132 two years ago making his current 123 perfectly feasible. On his most recent start, over the longer Cartmel 2m5f trip, he fought a contested lead - something which could happen here too - before only giving best by half a length. That was a Class 2 event and he looks to have everything in his favour aside from an easy lead. Remarkably for one that likes to be front rank, he's 0 from 7 in small fields (seven or fewer runners), which is another slight niggle.
Trainer Dianne Sayer is in great form:
Brian Ellison's entry is a six time winner, all at this sort of distance and five on this type of ground (also won a jumpers' bumper). Prior to an uncharacteristic blip last time where he unseated at the first, he'd been consistent in defeat, making the podium in five of six starts. A solitary win in that sequence suggests he's handicapped to the hilt, however. Expect him to track the leaders in the middle of the group.
Check My Pulse
A more occasional winner, Check My Pulse is having just his second start in handicap chase company. So, while he's less exposed in that regard, his one-from-seven hurdle record and one-from-12 flat career don't scream win machine. Rated 119 after his Uttoxeter novice hurdle score - a rise of 10 pounds - he's gradually dropping to a more credible handicap peg. The pick of his two chase starts was a fast finishing third over course and distance in a beginners' event in May but he beat nothing of note there.
The old man of the party at ten, Ardera Cross is dropping to a viable mark once more. He's been an incredibly game horse, winning 13 times in his career:
But all bar one of those scores was with either soft or heavy in the going description. These young whippersnappers are likely to be a bit too quick for the wily veteran. Trip and field size are positives, though.
Sword Of Fate
Winner of a mere nine races (!), Sword Of Fate is another that is a credit to connections. His five chase victories include two over course and distance. Aged eight, he can hardly be considered on the down slope just yet and, given a historical high rating of 135, his mark of 106 for this looks enticing. A recent fourth place can be forgiven on account of the soft ground - never won on it - and he looks booked for a bold showing from the first wave.
The joker in the pack who has rattled off a facile hat-trick at Ffos Las. Cartmel is very different from that West Wales venue, and he's up nine pounds for his most recent triumph. Trainer Peter Bowen is back in his traditionally rich summer vein after a couple of years in the doldrums, but Lermoos might need them to go mad up front in order to get into the race: he's looked a horse that stays quite well. Still, he's ascendant and one certainly couldn't say he's done improving. This is a two grade class jump.
A fascinating race given the small field. The pace looks pretty cut and dried: Sword Of Fate and Tonto's Spirit to contest it. Tonto's Cartmel record is exemplary but he's not met as deep a field as this for a while and, for whatever reason, he has proved vulnerable in shorter fields. The Sword is still well below his highest winning mark and was on a hat-trick before meeting the mud at Perth last time (over a longer trip also, though he stays well enough).
Of the midfielders, Ballyvic Boru may find this too hot and Ardera Cross may find it too dry. Check My Pulse is the dark horse though his best chase finishing position was probably in a far weaker race.
The rising star is Lermoos Legend but that line of grey zeros on Instant Expert tells us that he's trying a bunch of new things here. He might handle the rise in class and the very different topography, but he's unexciting odds to my eye.
At the prices, Tonto's Spirit is no value - though he can readily win - and the same is true of Lermoos Legend, with those questions to answer. SWORD OF FATE, at 11/2 in a place - 9/2 generally - looks some value: he'll presumably at least share the lead, will relish the return to quicker terrain and has back class to carry these home. Tonto's Spirit and possibly Ballyvic Boru could make for a fair combination exacta, though there are credible threats elsewhere in a terrific little race.