Wednesday's race went agonisingly the same way as Tuesday's. A runner suffering a narrow defeat after a three mile slog on heavy ground having been sent off much shorter than when I picked him out. Like Tuesday's pick, Le Tueur was far from disgraced by finishing a three-quarter length second to the horse I'd thought was the best in the race, especially as the third horse home was some 46 lengths further back.
I lost a couple of quid there, but certainly got my money's worth at 11/2 and now to Thursday, where Instant Expert is offered to all users for all races, including the "races of the day" which are...
- 1.00 Lingfield
- 3.40 Ludlow
- 3.50 Wincanton
- 7.00 Newcastle
And I'm going to use Instant Expert as a way in of looking at a horse that interests me in the opening race of the day. Rafiot is a 5 yr old gelding in decent form and will run in Thursday's 12.30 Lingfield, an 11-runner, Class 5, A/W (Polytrack) handicap over 1m4f. The horse caught my eye on The Shortlist report, if truth be told, so I headed over to the racecard and looked at the Instant Expert tab...
...and thought that he was worth a second glance if nothing else. So that's what I'm going to do, starting with his entry on the racecard (and its associated angles) as follows...
So, two wins and a place from his last four efforts, he's the only course and distance winner in the field here, his yard is in good form and 7lb claimer Rhys Clutterbuck has a more than decent record when riding here for Gary Moore with an almost 1 in 3 record and making the frame more than half the time.
To put that trainer/jockey combo into perspective, Rhys has a 10.9% career strike rate to date, but he is 13.5% here at Lingfield, 14.1% for Gary Moore and 17.2% for track/trainer.
Rafiot won here over course and distance last time out, five weeks ago, landing an apprentice handicap by half a length ahead of the re-opposing Bashful Boy. That margin of victory could be misleading and he was pulling clear at the finish and could well have won by further had he wanted/needed to, it was a smart piece of riding to be fair.
He's up just 3lbs for that win, but Rhys claims 7lbs here instead of the 3lbs allowed last time for the apprentice race, so we're effectively a pound lower coming here. Bashful Boy has since been beaten by eight lengths at this class/trip and now runs off a mark 3lbs higher than the contest here five weeks ago, so he has at least half a length and four pounds to find, which will be tough.
Further confidence comes from the third place horse that day, My Girl Maggie. She was 2.5 lengths behind Rafiot here, but is 2 from 2 since : winning a C5 1m4f handicap off the same mark as here and then she landed a C4 1m6f off 6lbs higher, so I'm hoping there's some validity to her form.
Rafiot's suitability for the task ahead is shown by Instant Expert above, the resultant form of the placers from LTO gives confidence and we've the trainer/jockey stats above, but what of the race itself?
Well, he's drawn in stall 1 and in 11-runner handicaps here in the past, that's an excellent place to be...
...and with a likely mid-division position, he should be well poised for a late push for the line...
The pace/draw overlay also suggests he's well drawn for his running style...
...with very few (if any) looking better suited. So as I've not found anything yet to suggest he isn't worth taking a chance on, let's have a closer look at his recent form. He has finished 1031 in his last four, the elephant in the room being a 12th of 12 finish at Goodwood.
I'm actually quite happy to ignore that run because that was the first run off his new mark of 69 (he'd gone up 4lbs that day), it was his first non-hurdles effort at Class 4 (the other three recent runs were all at Class 5, like this one) and it was his only career run on heavy ground to date, so there are some mitigating circumstances there.
He won a C5, 1m handicap at Goodwood and was then third here over track and trip prior to that course and distance success last time out.
Rafiot looks competitive on form, he was impressive last time out when given a good ride by Rhys Clutterbuck who retains the ride here and the yard are on top form. The jockey rides well for the trainer here and I'd be happy to back Rafiot if I can get 3/1 or (hopefully) bigger. he's currently 11/4 with Hills, the first to break cover, so there's a chance I might get on.