I seem to be backing more placers than winners right now with today's pick Rafiot also getting close but not close enough. That is probably the story of the race, if truth be told. I think he got going too late, had too much to do and could only finish third in the end.
No point crying over spilt milk, though, Friday is almost upon us and its feature of the day is the excellent Horses for Courses report, whilst day's free races are for...
- 2.35 Lingfield
- 4.00 Dundalk
- 6.30 Dundalk
...a race made even more interesting by the fact that the first four on the card raced against each other last time out. That was 16 days ago (Class 2, 6f) at Kempton where they were separated by just half a length...
...where Aberama Gold was best in at the weights and Brian The Snail technically worst off. If we stick with Brian The Snail for a moment, he carried 9st 2lbs as they all did and was rated 98, he goes off 98 again here and carries 9st 2lbs again and we can assess from there, based on what someone far wiser than me one told me : that a length over 6 furlongs is worth 2.5 to 2.8lbs
Above beat Brian by half a length, but is now carrying 2lbs more, so is technically at least 0.6lbs worse off (1.4lbs better for the half length, but carrying 2lbs more). Aberama was half a length behind Brian and now carries 5lbs more, whilst Streamline was a length behind and now carries a pound less.
So, based on rudimentary maths, Brian The Snail should technically beat Streamline by approximately a neck, Above by around a quarter length and Aberama Gold by a length and a half. But that's just theory based on last time out and weight and assumes they'll run the same way. It also doesn't take in to account runner 5 Fizzy Feet, who just happens to be the horses for courses horse!
And so to the race itself. Aberama Gold was in great form prior to the Kempton defeat where we should remember that although he was 5th of 6 that day, he was only beaten by just over a length and a half and is a former course and distance winner here when visiting this track for the first time two starts ago when he actually beat Brian The Snail by half a length. This is a horse who won a Listed (Rockingham) race over 6f as a 2 yr old, so there's some ability there as seen in a career record of 6 wins from 20 including...
- 5/18 under today's jockey & 5/17 over 6f
- 4/6 at Class 2 & 2/3 on Standard A/W going
- 2/2 going left handed & 1/1 here at Lingfield (over C&D 2LR)
He's on a career high mark of 103 now but did win off 101 in that track/trip success here recently.
Above was the first of this quartet home last time out and was only caught and headed very late on, going down by half a length and it's now over 17 months since he last won a race, finishing 60223 since. That said, he was 6th of 6 and beaten by less than 4 lengths in a Listed race at Dundalk, 10th of 13 in a Group 3 at Ascot despite being off the track for 258 days, a runner-up beaten by three quarters of a length in a Listed race at Windsor and then two Class 2 places going down by a neck and then half a length LTO. So, he's better than his bare form line suggests and he now goes back to handicapping (2nd time ever) for the first time since that win six starts ago.
His rider and trainer are both in good form and his yard have done well here at Lingfield in the past. He hasn't raced here before but is 1162 on Std going and 1162 going left handed, so that's a positive. He hasn't won beyond Class 4 though and he does seem better over 7f rather than 6.
Brian The Snail is the one I based the weights around initially and as above, he was narrowly beaten over course and distance by Aberama Gold two starts ago as he came agonisingly close to landing a 60-day, 6f, A/W, handicap hat-trick. As well as beating Aberama off level weights LTO, he's 2 lbs better off for the rematch from two starts ago. His yard don't have the best record here at Lingfield if truth be told (just 11/167 = 6.6% SR in A/W hcps here since the start of 2016) and stat-wise, this horse is a bit of a mixed bag. He's 6 from 30 over 6 furlongs and has finished 11124 in his last five A/W handicaps, he's 4 from 1`2 under today's jockey and was a runner-up on his only previous run here. However, he's 1 from 26 at Class 2 and is a far better runner at Class 3.
Fizzy Feet is the one we've barely mentioned so far, but unsurprisingly (I suppose based on the other four runners) does have some collateral form to look at. He was last seen on Boxing Day in the same race that Above was a neck away from winning at Wolverhampton. Fizzy Feet was the last of six that day, some 8.5 lengths behind Above, but that was on Tapeta and this is Lingfield, where he's today's horses for courses horse! He's also well featured on the in-card stats as follows...
...which give us plenty of reasons to be interested here. Career-wise, he is...
- 6 /24 going left handed & 6/20 on Std going
- 6/18 within a month of his last run & 4/15 over 6f
- 3/6 over course and distance but 0 from 4 at Class 2.
Like Brian above, he's a better horse at Class 3 and although his jockey is in good form right now, it'll be their first time together and I think I'd have preferred either of Hollie Doyle or Richard Kingscote to be on board as they're both 2 from 5 on this horse to date.
And that brings us to Streamline, last of the six home last time out in that 6f C2 event at Kempton, but only 2 lengths off the pace, which was some going to be fair as it had been 16 months since his last race, when he actually landed a Group 3 (Sirenia Stakes) contest over that Kempton track and trip and although the form of that race hasn't proved to be particularly strong (his rivals have 0 wins and just 5 places from 27 subsequent runs) you can only beat what's put in front of you.
He'd only raced three time prior to that win, landing two novice races at Classes 4 & 5 before going down by just a length in a 5f Listed sprint at York, so although lightly raced he probably took the best credentials into that race earlier this month, notwithstanding he needed the run.
I'd imagine that much of what appears on Instant Expert will have been documented above, but just in case I missed anything, IE does give a far quicker overview of suitability...
...and the "stands out like a sore thumb" column is class 2, of course. Aberama Gold is the class specialist, but we should remember from above that Streamline has a win and a place from two Class 1 efforts.
The draw/pace/tactics of this race are likely to be the key to unravelling this tricky contest or at least I certainly hope they'll be helpful, starting wioth the draw, where stall 3 seems to be far more successful than the other four, so good news for Above...
...whilst if you're drawn high, you want to be leading and mid drawn horse need to be prominent or better...
and when we overlay our horses' running styles...
...none of them are massively inconvenienced if truth be told.
At the outset, this looked a compellingly competitive small field contest and I still see it just as that. I think you can make a case for all five to win here and the prudent option would be for me to say I've not really cracked this one and to leave it alone.
I could, however, see if I can find a reason not to back them? And from my analysis further up the page...
Aberama Gold : He's on a career high mark of 103
Above : He hasn't won beyond Class 4 though and he does seem better over 7f rather than 6.
Brian The Snail : 1 from 26 at Class 2 and is a far better runner at Class 3.
Fizzy Feet : 0 from 4 at Class 2, no win in five, new jockey on board
Streamline : lightly raced, possible after-effects from a long lay-off and the form of his best run hasn't panned out.
For me, it's likely to be a no bet situation, but if I had to stick my neck out (I can almost hear you shouting at me to do so) after seeing the market, I'd have a marginal preference for Streamline at 10/3. If he runs to his ability, he's the best here. Whether he does or not is the bet.