Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 25th October 2021

Pace analysis is a relatively new area for many UK bettors, but it is is one which is in fact as old as the hills, and without which even novice horse players in some countries will not bet. But what is it?

Well, pace helps to inform how a race will be run even before the horses have left the starting stalls, which can be a massive advantage over other bettors. To this end, we make the PACE tab on our racecards FREE to ALL readers every Sunday & Monday for ALL races, including Monday's free races of the day, which will be...

  • 2.45 Galway
  • 3.05 Ayr
  • 3.50 Redcar
  • 4.00 Leicester
  • 5.35 Galway
  • 8.00 Newcastle

And the best of those races on paper, at least, looks the the 4.00 Leicester, a 7-runner, Class 2, soft (heavy in places) ground, 3yo+ flat handicap over 1m½f after rail movements...

None come here in top form, but Dashing Roger has two wins and a place from his last four starts, has won over course and distance (when landing this race last year), sits second on the Geegeez SR figures, is 5 from 14 on turf and has won on both soft and heavy ground, whilst his yard has a good record here...

Afaak is likely to be a fairly warm favourite due to his record on soft ground and the fact that he's 4lbs lower than his last win but that came twelve races and more than 28 months ago. He did, however show signs of a return when beaten by just a neck at Haydock LTO but has been raised a pound for that run. He could well win this, but I've not yet found why he might be such a short price.

Young Fire won in this grade on soft ground over 7½f at Haydock off a mark of 96, but has struggled in four races since going up 4lbs for that win. There is a 1lb respite here, but I'm not sure that'll be enough even if he does have an excellent record on soft ground and his trainer/jockey are working well together right now...

Greenside has won at this class, distance and going but at 10 yrs old his career is on a downward trajectory and he's now 2lbs lower than his last which came 8 starts ago at Haydock in July 2020. His mark would give him a fighting chance, I suppose, but back to back 13 length defeats suggest he'll toil again here, even if both yard and jockey have been going well of late...

Chance had a spell reading 2111 in the summer of 2019 and ended the 2020 campaign with finishes of 221, but hasn't really got going this term, beaten by 6.5 length on his comeback from 10 months off and then last of five next/last time out. Chance? Slim, I'd say.

King Carney was decent enough as a 2yr old for Charlie Fellowes in 2019 finishing 5211 in his four starts that season, culminating in winning a 1m soft ground Listed race at Pontefract two years ago. That kind of form would be more than ample here, but he just hasn't kicked on from his juvey season. He's unplaced in all eight starts since then and left the Fellowes yard this summer. His sole run for new handlers saw him last of 8, beaten by 64 lengths over 1m2f less than 4 weeks ago, massive improvement needed, but yard & rider do get on well...

It's just over two years and nineteen defeats since National League last tasted success, but he did show signs of a comeback when a creditable third of eleven at Musselburgh a fortnight ago. He overcame a slow start that day to get beaten by just a neck and a short head over 7f on soft ground and was staying on well. The extra furlong might help him here and he receives weight all round. A win and 3 places from 5 soft/heavy ground runs suggests he'll enjoy conditions and could very well be involved.

As many of this field come here without a recent win, conditions, draw and the pace of the race might be the deciding factor in which one(s) of them post a better performance than they have of late. Fortunately we've several tools to help us predict which they might be, starting with Instant Expert, our unique overview of a field's results under any given set of conditions and in this race, it looks like this...

For those unfamiliar with Instant Expert, it's a simple traffic light system where green is go, amber is proceed with caution and red invariably spells danger. You don't need to be a genius to see that Dashing Roger looks best suited by expected conditions here. Afaak & Greenside are on lower marks than their last wins, but that often signifies a spell of poor form. So, last year's winner, Dashing Roger might actually be the one to beat today and he's bagged stall 1 on this right handed track, but is that an advantage today?

Well, based on those numbers, I'd say stall 1 was a decent place to be. Stall 5 (King Carney) has marginally better returns, but I'm not convinced there's a massive draw bias here if I'm honest, so the way the race unfolds will probably be a more decisive factor, so let's consider the pace stats...

...and the message is clear here. Leaders fare much better than all other running styles. The potential fly in the ointment is the looming prospect of a falsely run race, because there's not actually much pace in the race and these seven horses aren't natural leaders, as shown here...

Yes, both King Carney and Afaak have led in one of their four most recent runs, but they've both also got a hold-up run. In a falsely run race, it normally lands upon those best suited by conditions to go and win the race and that takes us back to Instant Expert, of course. The brief resumé comments will also come in handy, but we're not really getting much from this pace/draw heatmap, unless last year's winner, Dashing Roger, approaches the renewal with a bit of vigour...


When I first looked at the racecard and then did the short write-ups on each horse, I as leaning towards (alphabetically) Afaak, Dashing Roger and National League, whilst Dashing Roger was the one to beat based on Instant Expert. He and National League top the Geegeez SR figures and I think I'll stick to my original thoughts and take Dashing Roger at 5/1 to beat National league at 9/2 for my 1-2.

Afaak is more than capable of landing this, but doesn't justify 6/4 favouritism in my opinion, hence me leavingh him well alone here.



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