Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 21st July 2021

Wednesday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer Statistics Report. This gives you the low down on how trainers are performing, using a wide range of metrics, over both 14 days and 30 days. This can be compared to 1 year performance to check if a trainer is performing better or worse than average. There is also the option to check trainer performance at tracks where they have engagements either today or tomorrow, to examine courses where they might be sending their best chances of winners. This data is available for both the past year and past five years.

The free races for free registered users on Wednesday are:

3.40 Lingfield
4.10 Lingfield
5.50 Naas
7.00 Sandown
7.15 Leicester

The 7.00 at Sandown looks like a pretty good race with a decent level of form on offer so that will be the subject of today’s Racing Insights article. It’s a 7f, class 4 handicap for 3yos and is set to be run on fast ground. Just the six runners are entered.

With a small field there is always a good chance of a steady early gallop so the first thing we should do is check the pace map for this contest.

It doesn’t seem as though there is likely to be much of a gallop on. Mighty Power might be most likely to take them along but even he is not an out and out front runner. The pace data shows that front runners often have an advantage over this course and distance in smaller fields, they have by far the best win and place strike rates.

Let’s take a look at the six runners, in race card order, and see which of these has the form (and the speed) to win this.

Apres Dark

Has generally been fairly consistent this season but there were some warning signs at Newmarket with the horse reluctant to race and beaten 41 lengths in the end. He has recovered from that to run well last time, probably as well as ever in fact, and he did race prominently on that occasion. Repeat of those tactics wouldn’t be a negative here.

Apres Dark finished runner up on his last start to Kingmania, who ran well in a class 2 contest on his next start, whilst the 3rd went one place better on his next run in a 19 runner affair at York so there is some strength to Apres Dark’s form. He wore a hood on his last start and it seems to have helped him produce his best run to date so impossible to rule him out.

Billy Mill

Below par on softish ground last time out but previously consistent and running to a decent level on the all weather or fast turf. He’s switched between 6f and 7f this season so may have more speed than several of these and has largely raced prominently or in mid division this season so might not be too badly placed (or as badly placed as the pace map suggests).

His win at Windsor (6f) earlier this season has worked out well with the runner up finishing 2nd on his next start, the 3rd winning twice season and the 4th also successful since. Billy Mill is 6lbs higher here though and his best form so far has arguably come at 6f rather than 7f. Richard Hannon and Sean Levey have an A/E of 2.52 and an IV of 2.9 in the past 14 days.

Sunset Bay

The only last time out winner in the field, having won over this trip at Newbury on his previous start (4th has come out and won since). That came on soft ground but he’d previously run very well on good to firm so is clearly versatile with regards to underfoot conditions. Several of his other races this season would qualify as hot form and he’s clearly progressive and deserves to be favourite for this. He’s led and been held up this season but it looks most likely Oisin Murphy will track the pace in this so he may not be too badly placed.

Shuv H’Penny King

Seemingly not the most consistent but talented on his day. He was last of 5 on his latest start but that was up in distance, up in class and on softer ground plus he was only beaten 4.5 lengths and the winner has won again since so it wasn’t as bad an effort as initially seems.

Previous to that he won here over this 7f in a race that has worked out well. The 2nd, 4th and 6th have all come out and won since with the 5th and 7th finishing 2nd since. Shuv H’Penny King won that by 1.25 lengths and is only 4lbs higher here which is surely lenient but the potential lack of pace could hurt him more than any other in this race. He seems pretty reliant on being held up (ran by far his poorest race of the season when ridden close to the pace at Newmarket) and isn’t going to be seen to best effect.

Mighty Power

Most likely pace angle. Won over a mile at Lingfield two starts ago when well placed when a length ahead of Shuv H’Penny King but flattered by the result and other than Shuv H’Penny King’s subsequent exploits that form has worked out poorly suggesting Shuv H’Penny King wasn't seen anywhere near best effect on that occasion. Mighty Power was gelded after that and ran respectably at Yarmouth again at a mile following a 6 week break. He’s been off another 6 weeks since and may have to largely rely on a tactical advantage as others seem to have stronger form claims.

Matamua

Consistent since making her debut just 11 weeks ago and she’s run to a decent level in all five starts since without winning. She was just a length behind Sunset Bay on debut and is now 5lbs better off so looks well handicapped on that form. She’s probably best judged on her only handicap start, a month ago when 3rd at Nottingham. She was only beaten a length into 3rd that day off a 1lb lower mark but that form hasn’t worked out at all well.

The key might be the drop back in trip. She’s only had one run at 7f on fast ground and that was on debut, arguably her best run of all. She’s often well enough placed and if the drop back in trip does the trick she could go close.

Summary

A really closely knit handicap, in which none of these can be confidently ruled out. From a handicapping perspective I like Shuv H’Penny King the most given how his course and distance form has worked out but he’s reliant on a decent gallop and seems unlikely to get it. He’s worth adding to the tracker for when he should get a stronger gallop to aim at.

Billy Mill might have the tactical speed to cope with a slow pace but he’s looked better at 6f to date so might not have enough up the stiff finish whilst Mighty Power doesn’t look as well handicapped as a few of these so unless he gets a really easy lead he could be vulnerable too.

That would leave things between Sunset Bay, Apres Dark and Matamua. Sunset Bay is probably the most likely winner of this, but the market reflects that and she’s up 6lbs from her latest win. Better value almost certainly lies with Apres Dark and Matamua. The former ran his best race to date last time out in the hood and a reproduction of that would see him go close. He’s shown quirks in the past though and with only two places on each way bets he’s a risky prospect.

Matamua on the other hand seems to have been badly campaigned to date. She needs to improve on her only handicap run to date but looks as though she’ll be better served by this sharper test and she’s completely unexposed at this distance on decent ground. She’s worth a chance to match and even improve on her racecourse debut and that could be enough to beat Sunset Bay on these terms.

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