No real surprises from Saturday, as both "Potters" finished outside of the places. Potters Legend was last home as just six of nine completed the Grand National trial, where the horses that interested me, Achille, was an 11/1 runner-up beaten by just half a length, so a bit of E/W profit there.
I thought Potters Hedger was more capable and more likely to place in a race where he'd have to be better than Everglow and also hope that Bushypark didn't run away with it. In the end, Bushypark did run away with it at an SP of 8/1 and Everglow was indeed third and therefore the one to beat to make the frame. Sadly Potters Hedger was two places and 6.5 lengths further back, but certainly ran his race.
Monday heralds a new week and whilst it's generally a poor day of racing, there are still winners to be found! To help us, the Pace tab is freely available for all races, including the free races of the day, which are...
- 1.35 Carlisle
- 1.55 Fairyhouse
- 2.20 Southwell
- 2.40 Carlisle
- 3.40 Carlisle
Heavy ground beckons at Carlisle and of the three free races we offer, the first looks the most open, so today's focus falls on the 1.35 Carlisle, an 8-runner, Class 4, handicap chase over 2m4f on this heavy ground. The winner will receive almost £4,289 and will come from the following...
Final Reminder is the only mare in the contest and makes only her second start over fences, but did win three times from ten attempts over hurdles. She probably needed the run when beaten by 36 lengths on her chasing bow at Kelso 11 weeks ago, having not been seen for 18 months and with it being over 32 months since she last won, other appeal more on form.
She's rated the lowest on our figures and her best work has come on much quicker ground over longer trips, but she has won at a higher grade and drops down in class here, whilst her yard has had 5 placers from 10 runners in the past fortnight. I don't see her making the frame, though : mid-division should be her best here.
Ryalex is the only course and distance winner here, but that was some 27 months ago and not only has he been beaten ten times since, that remains his only success in 21 attempts. He's down in class and down a furlong in trip from his last run, but he was beaten by 27 lengths here that time and has failed to even make the frame in five efforts on heavy ground.
Hard to find many positives about this one, if I'm honest, the yard is 1 from 36 over the last month and 0 from 34 here at Carlisle over the last 16 months.
Trongate is the proverbial "close, but no cigar" horse who always seems to be there or thereabouts, but doesn't win often enough, as typified by making the frame 6 times from 14 over fences (15 from 39 overall), but only winning two chases (and 3 in total). He's on a long losing run, stretching back twenty races to Autumn 2018 when he won twice in three outings.
In his defence, he has finished in the first four home nine times in his last dozen outings and was third in his last effort over fences and he has the best heavy ground form on offer here with two wins and two places from nine runs, finishing 14312 in his last five. Definite place potential here.
Scottish Accent comes here on a run of form reading 223, which in a race devoid of recent winners, makes him the form horse and therefore the one to beat. Seven of his nine starts (all at Class 4) have been on soft ground and he made the frame in one of his two heavy ground outings. He has yet to win a race, but his recent form suggests he's due one.
Trainer Rebecca Menzies is 7 from 17 (41.2% SR, A/E 3.26) with Class 3 to 5 handicap chasers over trips of 2m4f and shorter on heavy ground since the start of 2016, including 5 from 6 when sent off shorter than 6/1.
Shaughnessy finished 221 in three bumpers and although then going on to finish 343 over hurdles and 34 over fences, hasn't seemed the same horse since the turn of the year to start 2020. He was pulled up at Chepstow just over a year ago and then had 314 days off track ahead of a 26 length defeat at Newcastle.
He fell heavily at Wetherby on Boxing Day and reverted to hurdling last time out, but was almost 50 lengths off the pace. He's up in class over a sharper trip and although down 5lbs, I see him nearer the back than the front.
Central Flame is, at 13 yrs of age, the veteran of this race, but comes here off the back of his best run for five years, having been a runner-up at Newcastle just over ten weeks ago. He was beaten by less than four lengths over 2m4.5f on soft ground at this grade, for just his fourth place from 15 efforts over fences.
He's one from two here at Carlisle, has finished 2333 on heavy ground and his three career wins have all been at 2m3.5f to 2m4.5f. He's down a pound in the weights too, so he's not out of contention here in what looks a poor contest.
Mill Race King makes just his sixth start today ( also won one of two PTP races) and has yet to complete a chase contest after falling at Leicester in early December ahead of being pulled up at Wetherby on Boxing Day in the race where Shaughnessy fell.
He did run second here in a 2m3.5f hurdle at Class 3 on heavy ground, but that was almost teo years ago and only four ran and I think he's best watched here. He could place, but could also finish last or not finish at all.
Westend Theatre makes up our octet and has finished 31423 in his last five starts and was only beaten by eight lengths last time out, despite having spent over nine months off the track. Sadly, the form from that race isn't string with just one placer from nine attempts.
He's down in trip here, but up 2lbs (although his jockey now claims 3lbs) and up in class. His best form comes in the mud and he's a confirmed stayer, so this might be a little sharp for him at 2m4f, especially after more than 15 weeks since his last run. I don't see him near winning, but if things fell his way, could nick a place.
These eight have ran 144 times between them so far, making the frame on 50 (34.4%) occasions, but only winning 12 (8.3%) of them, suggesting that the place element of Instant Expert...
...might tell us more than the win only side of things...
What the above graphics do tell us is that in handicap chases, we've only two previous heavy ground winners, two Class 4 winners, one course winner and two distance winners. Trongate has an excellent place record, whilst both Scottish Accent & Central Flame both look well placed to make the frame on past performance.
The pace tab is Monday's free feature, so it would be rude not to take a look...
...and the first thing we see are two big green boxes suggesting we want runners to lead or at least be prominent, as they win more than 23.5% of the time. Closer inspection of the breakdown of 15 races tells us that 38.8% of runners race prominently and win 60% of the races. Another 38.8% of runners are held up, but they've only won 6.7% of the races, as have the 5.1% of mid-division runners, leaving us with the 17.3% of horses who led taking the remaining 26.7% of races.
The figures for mid-division runners is inconclusive, so I wouldn't write them off, but I wouldn't want to be backing horses that will be held up, especially if there's any pace in the race.
And is there any pace here? Well, yes!
I'd expect Ryalex and Westend Theatre to get on with it, as they have tended to do in the past, but with career records of 1 from 21 and 1 from 22 respectively, history suggests they'll get caught. This makes them vulnerable to the likes of Scottish Accent, Shaughnessy, Trongate and Central Flame and those four bar Shaughnessy do tend to stay on and finish quite strongly.
From the racecard analysis and my write-ups, I was keenest on the likes of Scottish Accent, Trongate, Central Flame and possibly Westend Theatre. The same four caught the eye on Instant Expert with Westend looking the weaker of the four and there's a suggestion that he'll do his usual too much early on and fade away, so I'm leaving him out at this point.
So my three against the field are Scottish Accent, Trongate & Central Flame. I'd love Trongate to win this and at 6/1, he's decent value (I thought he'd be shorter) but I think that Scottish Accent might just have too much for him late on. Sadly the market agrees and have installed him as the 10/3 favourite, but there might even be a bit of juice in that price, I'd not be surprised to see him shorter than 3/1.
Central Flame would be my tentative addition for tricast/trifecta purposes here.
Before I go, a quick note about prices. I say there might be juice at 10/3 for a horse that might be 11/4 and it doesn't seem much at first glance, but it's almost as lucrative as getting 10/1 about an 8/1 shot.