Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 24th August 2021

Our 10/3 shot Blue Moonrise duly obliged at Chepstow earlier this afternoon, getting up by a length and a half. A couple of non-runners reduced our price to just shy of 5/2, but that's still far better than the final SP of 5/4!

And now to Tuesday, where feature of the day is The Shortlist, a simple and usually brief report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day. It covers win or place stats, and can be viewed for both today’s and tomorrow’s racing and the win stats look like this for Tuesday...

In addition to The Shortlist, we also have the following free 'races of the day' for all readers...

  • 3.20 Musselburgh
  • 5.25 Bellewstown
  • 5.45 Newbury
  • 6.25 Bellewstown
  • 7.15 Newbury

The first of the two Newbury races above looks interesting, it's a decent standard with a likely short-priced fav, meaning we can either disprove the validity of the favouritism or we can find a reasonably priced placer to chase the fav home. To which end, I'm looking at the 5.45 Newbury, a 12-runner, Class 2, Flat handicap for horses aged 3 and over. The trip is a straight mile, the ground is said to be Good (Good To Soft In Places) and a first prize of £10,260 awaits one of the following...

I'm going to try do one of my quick process of elimination runthroughs here (they take longer to type out/illustrate than it actually takes to process!), so firstly I want to take three straight out on form. This is a Class 2 race with plenty of recent winners, so Afaak (winless in 9 since 19/06/19), King Ottokar (winless in 10 since 12/04/19) and King Carney (winless in 7 since 21/10/19) are all bypassed at the first hurdle, leaving my racecard as follows...

A much more workable nine as we head towards Instant Expert...

I won't actually discard any from this image alone, but I do have reservations about You're Hired being 1 from 11 on good ground and Bear Force One being 0 from 6 in this grade, but when I switch from win to place stats...

...Bear Force One doesn't even have any green there, so if he's not placing, he's not winning, so he's out of the running for me too, leaving eight runners in stalls 2-5, 7-9 and 12. And the draw stats here tell us...

...that being drawn higher than 11 isn't a great place to be (not good for Chance) and that if anywhere is favoured, it happens to be stall 5 (You're Hired), whilst stall 7 (Power of Darkness) seems to be a good spot for making the frame.

The pace stats suggest that the higher the pace score the better...

...which would appear to favour the likes of You're Hired (4 scores of 3/4), Percy's Lad and Troll Peninsula, based on their recent runs...

...and when we combine pace and draw, we get this heatmap...

...which probably favours the likes of Percy's Lad, You're Hired and Power of Darkness.

We've still got eight 'in the mix', so at this point I'd take a closer but quick look at each prior to making a decision.

Imrahor took three Novice races to get off the mark in a Class 5 contest over a mile last September, but has struggled in a couple of Class 1's since. Off track for over nine months now, he could be rusty and an opening handicap mark of 90 doesn't leave much room for error. he was last of 12 in the Darley at HQ last October and that field is only 2 from 32 since.

Itkaann wears first-time cheekpieces here in a bid to eke a bit more from a horse that has recently been close, but not close enough in defeats of less than two lengths in three of his last four starts. Sadly, he's still on the same mark as those four defeats and now steps up in class. Close but close enough beckons again, I fear.

Percy's Lad had a great season finishing 112 in three starts, including a Class 2 win and a defeat by just a length in the Gr3 Horris Hill Stakes. Unfortunately he hasn't kicked on from there, regressing if anything as 6th of 7 and last of four in a pair of Newmarket Listed contests. Improvement needed.

You're Hired was 0 from 6 over a 54-week period prior to landing a 1m, Class 3 handicap at Bath at the end of June two starts ago, but struggled again next/last time out finishing fourth of six, beaten by five lengths at Newmarket. In his defence, he was up 2lbs, up in class and up in trip by 2f. Class and OR are unaltered here, but the drop back in trip should help him get closer to the places.

Power of Darkness has posted a couple of decent efforts over the last eight weeks, culminating in a 1.25 length victory at Newmarket 11 days ago. He did well to win from the back of the group, staying on strongly and similar would put him in contention, but he's up 5lbs, up in class and prefers quicker ground, so he's not for me here.

Troll Peninsula is the likely shortie here and makes a handicap debut after just three Class 5 outings that saw him a 1.75 length runner-up over 7f at Newcastle before landing a 7f maiden at Redcar by a short head on soft ground. He ten took 156 days off before running and winning in a 1m C5 Novice contest at Kempton at the end of March. He could be something, but could also be nothing. Now up three classes, a mark of 88 might be a severe underestimation, but we just don't know. What we do know is that he has decent turn of foot late on.

Turn On The Charm has been consistent over the last year, finishing either first or fourth in seven starts (3 wins) since finishing third in his first two handicap runs. He might not have enough to land this, but he has every chance of making the places, especially with some bookies paying on the first four home.

Chance certainly has a chance based on his last three UK runs. He returned from 349 days off track to finish a runner-up at Sandown, beaten by just 1.75 lengths last September, prior to going down by just a neck in a 20-runner, soft-ground, Class 2 York handicap. His final run of the season saw him land a Class 3, 1m handicap on heavy ground. He has, of course been off the UK scene for some time, but goes well fresh and has plenty of stamina.


Troll Peninsula is (as of 4.45pm Monday), the 7/4 favourite with Hills/Novibet and having seen the way he finishes races allied to a fairly low opening mark, I sort of understand the excitement. However, he hasn't faced anything of note today and is up three classes. If he keeps handy in the first 6f, then he probably coats this, but 7/4 just doesn't appeal to me, so I want to find an E/W bet, especially with some firms paying four places.

The ones I like the look of from a place perspective are  the consistent Turn On The Charm, the returning Chance, the usually close but no cigar Itkaann and the dropping in trip You're Hired. I think I like them in that order of preference, but available odds will dictate which (if any!) of them I back.

Only Hills/Novibet had prices up at 4.45pm and they were offering 9/1, 8/1, 9/1 and 22/1 about my four possible placers. How you play it is up to you of course, but I think I'll play all four here to small stakes either E/W or to place on the exchanges. I'm aware that a blanket approach isn't for everyone.


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