Although I ended up with no bet on Saturday after Sam Brown became a non-runner, I was pretty pleased with the way the two races panned out from my preview. I'd identified Royale Pagaille as the best horse in Sam Brown's race and he duly prevailed by 16 lengths at 11/5.
The second race included Le Coeur Net, who wasn't in my top three for the race and it was my top three that filled the places with the trifecta paying an excellent 293/1, well done to those who took the punt : sadly I didn't.
And now to Monday, where we offer the PACE tab to ALL users for ALL races, including our "races of the day", which are...
- 4.20 Plumpton
- 6.45 Kempton
- 8.15 Kempton
...and it's the first of that trio, the 4.20 Plumpton, that I'll look at today. It's a 12-runner, Class 5, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 2m½f on Soft ground with a top prize of £2,989. We start, as ever with the racecard itself...
...where the three clear "form horses" are Mr Jack (who won LTO), Darkest Day (runner-up LTO) and Sawpit Sienna, who not only tops the Geegeez Ratings, but also has a win and a runner-up finish in her last two outings.
We've got five class droppers here, in the shape of Nelson's Touch, Mr Jack, Air Hair Lair, Hymn and a Prayer and the Imposter, whilst the afore-mentioned Mr Jack, along with Magen's Moon are both previous winners over course and distance.
From a trainer form perspective, both Darkest Day and Air Hair Lair hail from yards with good records at this track (C5), whilst Nigel Hawke (The Imposter) is without a winner in 23 races since Boxing Day with very few going on to make the frame either. The most positive jockey booking seems to be Joshua Moore aboard Air Hair Lair as he's in good recent form (14 30) and has regularly ridden well here in the past (C1 C5), Bryony Frost (Hymn and a Prayer) also rides this track well, as does Sawpit Sienna's Robert Dunne, although he's currently on a 30-race losing run over the past three weeks.
This field of twelve have just 10 wins from 195 previous outings (5.13% SR), but have made the frame on 44 occasions (22.56%), so I'm going to guess that the place element of Instant Expert will tell us far more than the win element could...
Yes, the place element certainly gives us more than the win element, but on the win graphic Magen's Moon is the most interesting, but the the second image suggests we focus on the top half of the card with the exception of Sawpit Sienna taking the place of Military Dress. Air Hair Lair and Hymn and a Prayer are both moderately interesting, but I see my top three coming from runners 1-5 plus number 7 right now. Perhaps pace/race tactics will alter/shape my thoughts?
The stats would suggest that the further back you are off the pace, the less likely you are to win a contest like this and although the pace graphic doesn't really highlight any natural leaders over their last three races (I set it at three, because The Imposter only has three qualifying runs), it does look like Sawpit Sienna and/or Queen Among Kings might be the ones most likely to take it on and if we look at just the last two outings for these horses , which would also be Sawpit Sienna's best two runs, we get...
Harry The Norseman doesn't actually run here, so the suggestion is that Sawpit & Queens are the most likely pace-setters.
Queen Among Kings comes from the bottom half of the card and having failed to make the frame on any of her eight starts to date, I don't think today's going to be her day either and the three remaining from that final pace image are the three that I think will make the frame here, based on the racecard information, Instant Expert and Pace all combined.
Mr Jack was a winner here over course and distance last time out 22 days ago when overcoming a 14-month absence to win on his yard debut for Zoe Davison, who very sadly passed away that same day after a long battle with cancer. Husband Andy Irvine is now in charge of operations and although the card will show a change of trainer, it's still very much the same as it was.
That win was Mr Jack's first after 13 previous unsuccessful attempts, although he did have 7 top four finishes, suggesting he was due a win. A drop in trip and a wind op would most likely have helped his cause that day. He's up 4lbs for the win, but drops in class here and the booking of 5lb claimer Niall Houlihan more than accounts for the extra weight. The race last time out sort of fell apart and suited him and having been 0/13 prior to that run, there has to be question marks about his ability to back it up, especially at the top end of the weights rather carrying next to nothing as he was last time.
Darkest Day was only beaten by three lengths over course and distance last time out, 12 days ago and although still a maiden after ten attempts, he has made the frame four times, including 3 from 7 on soft/heavy, 3/7 under today's jockey, 2/4 here at Plumpton and 2/2 over this trip. He's on a low/workable mark and although not an obvious pick to win, he should be there or thereabouts in a poor-looking field.
His trainer Gary Moore has a 16.9% strike rate with his jumpers this season and has won 15.9% of races here at Plumpton over the last 5 seasons.
Sawpit Sienna makes only her third start in a handicap and also her third run for current handlers, but having finished first and second in the previous two she's certainly in form. She returned from a 309-day absence to win by three lengths at Fakenham in a Class 5 over 2m4.5f on good ground and then was a runner-up at Wincanton a fortnight later. That was also at Class 5, but over 2m4f on soft ground having been raised 5lbs.
She ran perfectly well that day, but was headed at the last eventually going down by 3.5 lengths, so it is anticipated/hoped that a drop back in trip here will benefit her. She's also carrying 11lbs less than the other two on my shortlist, which could prove decisive, especially if the ground gets any worse.
I expected Mr Jack to be the favourite here, but Sawpit Sienna currently holds that title, She's best priced at 3/1 and I think that's a fair price and she's the one I prefer ahead of Mr Jack. The rest of the field doesn't hold much appeal to me, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see Darkest Day complete the 1-2-3.
If I was to look further down the market for a value pic as an E/W bet , then Nelson's Touch seems best suited from an ability to price ratio. He's more than capable based on past exploits although he's inconsistent and hasn't been seen in the best light recently. But then again, that'll explain why he's 18/1, I suppose. It'd be a tentative suggestion, though.