The PACE tab on our racecards help to inform how a race will be run even before the horses have left the starting stalls and this useful feature is free to all readers every Monday. And that's for all races, including the following 'races of the day'...
- 2.17 Hamilton
- 2.35 Leicester
- 3.15 Listowel
- 3.22 Hamilton
- 4.20 Leicester
- 4.37 Fairyhouse
And of those, I've selected the second of the Scottish races to take a closer look at today. That's the 3.22 Hamilton, a 13-runner, Class 4, Flat handicap for veterans aged 6 and over. The trip is a mile and a half on soft ground with £4,347 awaiting one of these...
Watersmeet owes nobody anything at the age of 10, having won 15 of his 61 races to date, including 4 from 14 at this trip. It is however 29 months since he last won, although he has only raced eight times in that period. He was only beaten by 4.5 lengths last time out weakening late on and a 2lb drop in weight allied to a 2f drop in trip might enable him to get involved here, even if he is better on the A/W than turf.
Koeman is another with a better A/W record than on turf, but with a 6/29 record at this trip has to be considered. Most of his recent outings have been at higher grades than this and he's now on his lowest mark since wining at Lingfield back in July 2017. Shortlist material here.
Where's Jeff has been in super consistent form this season, with seven top 3 finishes from his last 8 runs. He was third behind a pair of 3yo improvers here over C&D last time out and is now down in class and weight and is possibly the one to beat.
Multellie has 3 wins and a place from 6 efforts over C&D as well as a 7 from 20 record on soft ground and normally you'd think he'd be one to watch here, but if he was to get involved, he really needs to up his game based on his last three runs that have seen him beaten by 50L, 18L and 9L.
Akamanto finished 1211 in the summer of 2018 but ha failed to hit those heights since, having been raised in weight and was last home of six at Musselburgh recently, beaten by some 37 lengths. He's now lower than that last win from over three years ago, but all his best form is at Class 5 or lower.
Daawy is 1 from 1 here, courtesy of a course and distance win in this very race last year. Sadly, he hasn't won any of ten starts since, despite dropping down to a mark 2lbs lower than that win. He has won 1 of 8 soft ground starts, but would prefer it quicker.
Taxmeifyoucan has finished 211 in three visits to Hamilton and has won 3 of 13 on soft ground, but has been last of 8 (beat by 26L) and last of 4 (22L) in his last two flat outings and probably best avoided here.
The Navigator is on a 10-race losing streak that has contained some heavy defeats well down the field despite slipping to a career-low mark. He was last home of five (14L) at Carlisle just over a month ago and will have to really improve to even make the frame here.
Smart Lass has a decent 5 from 16 record on the flat including 2 wins (both at Musselburgh) from her last four outings. She's 3 from 6 on soft ground and should get this trip easily, but I'm still unsure about her, as all her best form comes at Musselburgh and at Class 6, she's up 3lbs and 2 classes here and I think that's possibly too much.
Glan Y Gors is better on the A/W in my opinion and he's certainly no hurdler as a 1 in 16 record testifies, but as for the Flat, he was 6th of 7, 30 lengths adrift last time around, just three weeks ago at Epsom seeming to struggle to see 1m4f out. He's eased 2lbs, but has lost his 6lb claimer, so I can't expect much here.
Flood Defence is 5 from 25 on the Flat, a decent record and was only beaten by a neck over hurdles at Perth a fortnight ago but now reverts to level ground. Sadly, her recent Flat form isn't good since winning at Musselburgh in July of last year, recording just one decent effort in six runs that have included finishes of 5th of 5 twice, 10th of 11 and 7th of 8 on her last try.
Lord Torranaga is 0 from 8 on the Flat and has never made the frame, but all is not lost, as there's clearly some ability there after 3 wins and a place from 6 on the A/W, including a win over this trip at Southwell two starts ago off 1lb higher than here. His best Flat run came when 2nd of 5 at Ayr in July of this year, when beaten by just a head off a mark of 63, the same as he runs off here, so he could be a contender for the places.
Sarvi has already won here at Hamilton, albeit over 1m1f back in July of 2019. Sadly he hasn't won any of fifteen starts since, despite nowe being rated at 5lbs lower than that win. He won't mind the ground, but the trip might be a little too long for him here.
If we're honest, there's not many of these coming here with any kind of form at all, so it could be a fairly level playing field which would play into the hands (hooves?) of those best suited by conditions. To help assess who might emerge from the pack, we are assisted by Instant Expert...
Sadly, that doesn't shine a great deal of light upon proceedings. We've already discussed Smart Lass' record at trip and going, but all that success came at Musselburgh and she has 0 wins and just 2 places from 12 away from that track. We've a trio of horses with green for their records here at Hamilton, but most of it is historical form and not much is recent.
We don't have enough information about 14 runner races on soft/heavy ground to determine how the draw or pace of the race might pan out, so initially I've turned to our draw analyser and expanded the parameters to give us more of a reliable sample size...
...suggesting a middle draw might be the best place to run from, not withstanding my usual caveat that the longer a race is, the less effect the draw should have, as horses/jockeys have much longer to counteract a poor draw.
We also have a pace analyser, which looks like this on the same parameters...
...which would suggest mid-division or prominent running would be most advantageous. Combining the data from both analysers gives a fairly predictable pace/draw heat map as follows...
Unfortunately, when we over lay our horses onto that heatmap, none seem perfectly suited by their pace/draw makeup!
The five most likely to contest early doors are drawn 2-4 and 12-13 with Watersmeet in 13 being the nearest to sitting in the green. Despite leaders not faring well here, I don't think any of those five will actually attempt to set the pace and we could well see the whole group clustered together with a small gap back to 3 or 4 others and then a group of back markers. Of the ones racing from off the pace, I like Koeman more than the others, but I think the winner comes from the top three on the pace heatmap.
Whilst I think Koeman could run a decent race from off the pace and make a late bid for place money, I think he might just fall short and the 1-2-3 will come from the three at the top of the pace chart. Of those, Lord Torranaga is the one likeliest to try and go it alone, which will make him vulnerable, so he's third pick at best for me here.
This leaves me with the consistent Where's Jeff and the best suited on pace/draw Watersmeet and I'm drawn tot he former more than the latter. Recent form holds sway over historical form here for me and with Where's Jeff having 2 wins and 3 places from 7 under today's useful and in-form 3lb claimer, he's the one to beat for me at 3/1, although I'm not rushing to back him at those odds : I was expecting/hoping for the 9/2 or 5/1 area.
At 10's Watersmeet is worth a thought as an E/W bet too.