Last preview piece for the month and the 'feature of the day' is the fabulous Trainer/Jockey Combo Stats report, whilst our full free-to-all race cards will cover the following...
- 3.00 Kempton
- 3.10 Lingfield
- 3.35 Kempton
- 4.45 Kempton
- 5.10 Fairyhouse
Re : the Trainer/Jockey Combo Stats report, there wasn't much on offer that satisfied my fairly strict parameters, although the Skeltons are 10 from 21 in handicaps over the last fortnight and have three out at Kempton, so they might be worth a second look, but I'm going A/W racing for the 3.10 Lingfield, which is a 7-runner, Class 3, Polytrack handicap over 1m4f worth £7,246. I expect Cardano to be the favourite here, but is that justified? The only way to find out is by looking at the race, starting, as ever, with the card itself...
Cardano is top weight here, top rated on the Geegeez Ratings and arrives in great form seeking a hat-trick of course and distance successes inside 7 weeks. Interestingly, both wins were at Class 2 and he now takes a drop in class. He's up another 4lbs for that last win, but a jockey change sees a 3lb claimer in the saddle negating most of that rise, as his jockey from those last two runs now rides stablemate Luckys Dream. Both are trained by Ian Williams, whose handicappers are 8 from 44 (18.2% SR) here at Lingfield since the start of 2020.
Guroor is one of two 5yr old mares in this contest (Torochica is the other) and she tends to be there or thereabouts, though she doesn't win as often as you'd like. She was third here over course and distance last time out and was also third over this trip at Wolverhampton in her other 2021 run. Prior to that she had won four times and been a runner-up twice from her previous nine outings. She's 3lbs worse off than her last run, mind and she does step up in class, so she's not an obvious winner here, but our neural ratings have her as second best.
Lucky's Dream is the afore-mentioned Cardano's stablemate and he's second in the weights (carries 6lbs less) and is a close third on the Geegeez Ratings. Stamina won't be an issue for this one, as he won a 2m A/W bumper here almost six weeks ago and was less than three lengths off the pace in another 2m A/W bumper at Kempton last time despite getting a poor (IMO) ride. Richard Kingscote moves from Cardano to ride this one and he's already got one win and one place from three outings with Lucky's Dream.
Songkran is probably better on turf, where he is 4 from 11 as opposed to 1 from 5 on the A/W, but he did finish a runner-up here over course and distance last time out, when beaten by just half a length last week. On face value that run puts him right in the mix here, but he's 2lbs higher today and up in class, but trainer George Boughey's horses are in great nick right now and jockey Ryan Moore is 19 from 56 (33.9% SR) on this track since the start of 2019, including finishes of 126111311 this year so far.
Night Bear was disappointing when finishing 5th of 7 over this trip in a lower grade at Wolverhampton last time out, but he was only beaten by a length and a quarter in a tight race over this track, trip and class on New Year's Eve. Yet to even make the frame in four starts on the A/W , you'd have to imagine that even the booking of the talented Hollie Doyle won't be enough for this one to win.
Torochica is the other 5yr old mare in the contest and aside from Cardano, the only other course and distance winner on show, acquired two starts and seven weeks ago off a mark just 4lbs lower than today. Normally that would make her of interest here, but she's up in class her and decent runs on the A/W have been few and far between, plus it's 31 rides and 45 days since her jockey last won a race. I'll pass on this one!
Last and probably least here, we have the bottom weight Margaret Dumont, a lightly raced 4 yr old filly. I'm not saying she's a poor horse, but her form line of 31343 flatters her as closer inspection shows her to have been 3rd of 5, 4th of 5 and 3rd of 4 in her three handicap starts to date, She's generally weak in the finish, has never raced on the A/W, has been off the track for six months and has left Mark Johnston's yard during her lay-off. A watching brief at best.
These seven runners include 2 x course and distance winners, 3 x course winners, 4 x distance winners and 5 x polytrack winners, Between them they have made the frame in 58 of 127 outings, a respectable 45.7%, including 30 (23.6%) wins. The one best suited to today's conditions should be readily apparent via Instant Expert...
Unsurprisingly, the past winners are all on higher marks than when they last won and both the Ian Williams runners are showing good numbers with Lucky's Dream looking best off for me.
He has the rail to run along here, but is stall 1 a good place to be?
Probably not, to be fair. The stats suggest that stalls 4 to 7 are more fruitful places to be for winners, but stall 1 does make the frame often enough. The draw alone won't break or break a horse's chances, of course, as race positioning and pace is equally if not more important. So where should a horse position itself?
Ideally, you want to race prominently, but not lead and if you can't race prominently, it's best to sit right back off the pace. Obviously the draw can also contribute to how the race gets run and if we look at how the draw and race pace interact...
...we find that almost incongruously, mid-drawn runners sitting in mid division have fared best, but that's because 8 of 9 mid-divisional runners happened to come from a middle draw, whilst other running styles have shared their winners around...
Aside from that possibly anomalous stat, it's as you'd expect from our data, stalls 4 and above racing prominently being the favoured option here. Which all begs the question, how do these seven normally run? Well, as you all know by now, we can show you...
The pace here is likely to come from the fav Cardano in stall 3 with Songkran also seeming to have a good spot on the chart. Lucky's Dream's best chance would likely be if he moved back a notch and sat in. Closer analysis of his running style in last four show that he raced prominently three starts ago, but has been held up in the other three of his last four runs. I suspect he'll be held up for a late run here and that should suit perfectly.
I suspect Cardano will attempt to win this off the front end and be pursued by Songkran with Lucky's Dream biding his time for a late run in the hands of the experienced Richard Kingscote. I'm of the thinking that these would be the three I'd want to be making my final selection from today and jockey bookings might well be very important.
Cardano is up in weight here and it's not easy for a jockey to judge the fractions correctly and make all here at Lingfield, so we look at the rider and we know Richard Kingscote has "defected" from Cardano to Lucky's Dream and although 3lb claimer Ray Dawson made all to win a Listed event here fifteen weeks ago, that was only over six furlongs and he's 0 from 34 since.
Based on the jockey info and the Instant Expert numbers, I want to side with Lucky's Dream in a possible Ian Williams 1-2, Songkran would be the one most likely to upset that prediction, I'd say.
Lucky's Dream currently trades at 9/2, which is probably about right, whereas Cardano doesn't look to offer much value at 2/1. Not based on the above anyway!