Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 20th December 2021

I’m filling in for Chris for Monday’s column. He’ll be back with Tuesday’s write up.

The Free Feature of the Day on Monday is the pace tab for all races. Arguably the biggest time saving tool of all on Geegeez Gold and it’s completely free for every single race on both Sundays and Mondays to free registered users..

There are also three races of the day where all racecard features are available for free, again to registered users. These fee races on Monday are:

2.15 Musselburgh
4.30 Wolverhampton
6.30 Wolverhampton

I’m more interested in the offerings at Wolverhampton and since the 4.30 is a 2yo Novice race it’s a pretty easy decision to concentrate on the handicap scheduled two hours later, run over the extended mile. 

This is a 9 runner, class 5 race with a likely short priced favourite so we’ll at least have the option of finding a decent each way with at least two extra places up for grabs, even if the favourite does justify his odds.

First of all let’s look at potential pace biases for this race.

The pace data seems to slightly favour those that race prominently with that run style producing the best win and place percentages but it is only narrowly favoured over mid division. There is then a slight drop off to both front runners and held up which are both closely matched, proving that extreme run styles here are not ideal but neither are they hugely disadvantaged. All things being equal we probably want to favour something that races prominently to mid division here.

Looking at the predicted pace for this race in the pace map, we could see two runners contest the early speed. Those runners are Canagat and One Last Dance. If they do end up cutting each other’s throats then that could definitely help mid division over prominent but there is no evidence that this will be an overly strong pace, more so we should see a solid pace.

Only 9 runners in this so we shouldn’t make too much of the draw but it’s still worth taking into account.

It does seem that in a field of this size there isn’t much of a draw bias. The highest individual stall PRB is 0.53 and the lowest is 0.46 and the other seven stalls are between 0.51 and 0.47 so the draw shouldn’t play too much of a part. There would be a slight preference for being drawn lower than higher though, however stall 1 isn’t seemingly advantaged at all here.

It’s extremely difficult to make a case for Moving For Gold, Star Of St James or Forbearing so I’m not going to go into detail on that trio. Star Of St James does have a tendency to improve for a run so he may come on for his last effort after 211 days off but he was in poor form before the break too so it’s difficult to suggest he’ll be involved.

So is this favourite the most likely winner of the race? Umm Hurair seemed to appreciate the drop to this trip last time out on handicap debut when accounting for ten other runners comfortably. The 4th has come out and got slightly closely to winning but there is little to suggest at this stage how strong that form really was. Visually he was pretty impressive and he’s very lightly raced so a 7lb rise could be unlikely to stop him - he certainly looks the most likely winner here but whether you’d want to get involved at the odds I’m not so sure.

If we’re not backing Umm Hurair that then leaves us with five possible choices for an each way wager. 

Bearwith has been in good form recently, finishing in the places on his last five starts. His only career win was a 7 length victory over course and distance (now 11lbs higher) and since then he’s finished 2nd and 3rd over a mile at Kempton. His latest 3rd was decent enough form with the winner placing since and the runner up winning next time out. He looks almost certain to be in the places but he might not be a big enough price to back each way.

One Last Dance was well backed last time out stepped up to 11f at Southwell but he failed to give his running, beaten before stamina came into play. Prior to that he had finished runner up three starts in a row and it’s worth noting that two of the runners that beat him won again next time out and the other one finished 2nd on his next start. That means he shouldn’t be judged too harshly for failing to get the job done and that was pretty warm form in all those races too. He does have to bounce back to form here and he’s running over the shortest trip he’s faced in over a year but perhaps an aggressive ride over this trip is what he needs. A few question marks but capable of running well.

Canagat hadn’t really shown much on the track in almost 18 months before a 3rd place last time out at Southwell. He was still beaten 4.5 lengths and although he may build on that, he has dropped 21lbs in the handicap this year after all, he’s probably just as likely to go the other way so he’s not one you could back with much confidence.

First Lott hasn’t looked particularly well handicapped in recent starts and he now tries a new trip to try and find some improvement. He shapes as though he might stay but equally he shapes as though he’s simply averagely treated at his optimum trip. Meanwhile Never Said Nothing was 6 lengths behind the favourite here last time out and is now 8lbs better off. Before that he was 4 lengths behind Bearwith at Kempton and he’s only 1lb better off with that rival here so it’s difficult to see him getting close to either Umm Hurair or Bearwith in this. 

Summary

Unfortunately the early betting has this race spot on. Umm Hurair looks the most likely winner, Bearwith is probably the one most likely to follow him home and One Last Dance, although with something to prove, looks the best of the rest.

The only bets at backable prices I could really find for this would be Umm Harair to beat Bearwith in a straight forecast with One Last Dance possibly worth including as the 3rd place option in a small tricast. Had he come here without that blip at Southwell last time out he’d have been a much more confident call to finish in the places and that money for him last time out suggests he is still well treated, as do the horses he was finishing behind in his previous starts. He’s perhaps one to note with a view to backing after this if he runs well in defeat again.

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