Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 19th November 2021

Friday is Horses for Courses day, where everyone gets free access to a report that shows 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. 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.

Sadly, my parameters below have given me no qualifiers to consider...

...but I do, thankfully, have the daily list of 'free' races to fall back upon and for this Friday they are scheduled to be...

  • 12.00 Chepstow
  • 1.55 Catterick
  • 2.40 Ascot
  • 7.30 Dundalk

The last of the three UK offerings looks the best (on paper, at least), so today's focus falls upon the 2.40 Ascot, a 9-runner, Class 2, 1m7½f, 4yo+ handicap hurdle worth almost £11k. They'll tackle 8 hurdles on this right handed track and the going is expected to be Good To Soft. Here's the card...

Of the nine, only Ecu de la Noverie, Highway One O Two and Captain Morgs are without a win in their last five outings, but all nine have won over a similar trip to today with Captain Morgs & Eddiemaurice having won over course and distance. Both Leoncavallo and Highway 102 ran at Class 1 last time out, but Garry Clermont and Captain Morgs step up from Class 3. Method Madness in up two classes, whilst Ecu de la Noverie is moving from Class 5 to Class 2 here and he was unplaced last time out. Only four (Leoncavallo, Cabot Cliffs, Highway 102 & Captain Morgs) have already reappeared this season, the others have been off for 175 to 232 days.

Between them, this field have made the frame in 41.15% (93 times) of their combined 226 races, with 47 wins representing a 20.8% strike rate across all races, but under expected conditions here...

Eddiemaurice will enjoy the underfoot conditions, but Leoncavallo hasn't really got to terms with good to soft just yet and his record at Class 2 isn't great either, but he has won a Listed hurdle and was second in one almost three weeks ago. We've two course (and distance) winners and all the field have some form over the trip. Highway 102 runs off a mark 5lbs lower than his last win, but the top two on the card are a full half stone worse off from their last successes.

No stalls in operation for NH races, of course, but we do need to consider the shape and pace of the race to work out how things might unfold. The long-term stats say that leaders win most often and that they also have the best place strike rate...

...but only hold-up horses look to be at any real disadvantage. I'd wary about the mid-div stats as they're off a really small sample size, but leading is definitely the best policy and based on how this field has raced in their most recent outings...

...this would tend to suit the likes of Cabot Cliffs and Brandon Castle far better than say Eddiemaurice and Garry Clermont.

Summary

Now I need to take my 9 runners down to as low as three preferably, but at least to a more workable shortlist, so I'm going to discard...

  • Ecu de La Noverie, due to his 175  day absence and the fact he's up three classes here after a poor run LTO.
  • Highway 102, as he has struggled for form since winning a Grade 2 in February 2020. He was three places and more than five lengths behind Leoncavallo LTO and I don't see him making that up, so for me, he's not wining this.
  • Brandon Castle, who for all his frontrunning just doesn't convert the effort into places, never mind wins. He may well have won back to back races in the summer of 2020, but they're his only placed finishes in his last 14 starts and he's still a pound and a class higher than that last win 15 months ago
  • Garry Clermont, who looks like he'll have too much ground to make up from a hold up position over such a short trip. He's likely to meet traffic if coming late and a 7lb and 1 class rise for winning LTO might just undo him here.
  • Eddiemaurice, who'll have an even tougher time as a confirmed hold up runner. Yes, he likes good to soft ground and is a former course and distance winner, but that was 5 years ago and he's getting no younger at 10. he's only a pound lower than when beaten by almost 20 lengths LTO and hasn't raced for 224 days, giving me more negatives than positives.
  • Method Madness is possibly the one to cause most danger to the three I'm going with, as he's been given a lenient looking handicap mark, is unexposed and has a win and a place from just three efforts over hurdles, but step up two classes here and hasn't been seen since a 6.5 length defeat almost 8 months ago. had he raced recently, I might change my mind, but he misses out here - just.

All of which leaves me, by default, with Cabot Cliffs, Captain Morgs and Leoncavallo. Leoncavallo doesn't have a great record at Class 2, but has 4 wins and 5 places from 13 at 1m7f/2m and he has made the frame in both starts this season, including a runner-up finish in a Listed contest just 2.5 lengths behind a Grade 3 winner and his form this season and his overall record at the trip make Leoncavallo my pick here.

As for the other pair, Captain Morgs is lightly raced, had a good season last time around and ran really well to finish third on his reappearance at Cheltenham last month, but might have work to do if Cabot Cliffs pours it on early doors and he's up in class, whereas Cabot was also third LTO but at this grade and having won three times last season just edges it for the runner-up berth for me.

In truth any of the three could win, but I'm going Leoncavallo / Cabot Cliffs / Captain Morgs here.

Sadly, the early market agrees with he three at the head of the prices and my 1-2-3 are priced at 7/2, 11/2 and 11/4 respectively, so no E/W bet from that trio and I thought Leoncavallo might have been a bit shorter after his run LTO, so there might be a bit of value at 7/2. If you did want an E/W bet, then Method madness could fit the bill at 8's.

 

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