Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 28th October 2020

Tuesday's race didn't go entirely as I thought it would, but I did still manage to land on the winner, who actually won quite cosily dropping in class. I'd dutched him with another runner, so made a couple of points profit, which was nice but not retirement money, so I'll have to go again for Wednesday's racing, where the free feature is the amazing Trainer Stats report, which just happens to be one my favourite Geegeez features, whilst our free racecards are for...

  • 1.15 Nottingham
  • 1.50 Nottingham
  • 3.50 Nottingham
  • 4.25 Dundalk
  • 5.30 Dundalk
  • 8.15 Kempton

And it's the report that I'll be using for today's piece, based on the Trainer, 5 year Course handicap results as follows...

...which shows that Neil Mulholland's Fakenham handicappers have a 1 in 3 record over the last five years, they make the frame in more than half of their races and are profitable to follow. The A/E is at the low end of my requirements but the IV is excellent at 2.19.

As you can see, Neil has two out on Wednesday, so let's look at each in turn, starting with Master Burbidge in the 1.32 race, a 5-runner, Class 5, Selling Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m6f on Good ground worth £4265 which looks a little (well, a lot) like this...

... where the likely favourite Princeton Royale possesses the only real discernible piece of real form, courtesy of a win over a similar trip at Class 3 two starts ago. Neil Mulholland's C5 icon stands out here (as does the jockey of Wicked Willy, but more on him later!).

The only snippet of interest is the fact that Abbey Lane steps up in class for a yard debut and whilst that might not appear of obvious interest, he's 15 yrs old and now debuts for his sixth trainer, having previously been trained by the likes of Elliott & Mullins! He also hasn't been on a racecourse for over 41 months, so I'm really not sure why he's here.

Instant Expert doesn't actually tells us a great deal abut any of the runners to be honest...

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...other than the likely fav has done really well on good ground, but the place tab is more informative...

...with the Mulholland runner having a decent place strike rate at Class 5 and also over this type of trip, but looking like he'll struggle to match either of the two listed above him. Pace-wise, it generally pays to be up with, if not actually setting the pace in these kind of events and sadly once again there are a couple of runners who look better suited than our boy...

As for his recent form and overall profile, it's not great, really, even though he's a useful/versatile sort with wins on the A/W (Polytrack, but handled Fibresand & Tapeta well too) over hurdles and fences. Unfortunately, he comes here on a run of 17 consecutive defeats over a near-31 month dry spell and has finished 4th of 5 and 8th of 9 in his last two for a combined deficit of 78 lengths and I'd not be surprised if he only beats the old boy this time around.

In his defence, he likes good ground (3 from 12 at NH), has a 4 from 12 record at Class 4 and runs best within a month of his last outing whilst wearing cheekpieces. He does, however, do most of his best work in the spring and he's not one to put money on here.

So let's leave Master Burbidge alone and switch attention to Neil Mulholland's other Fakenham 'capper, Dream Machine, who goes in the 3.32 race, a 10-runner, Class 4 Handicap Hurdle for 3yo+ over 2m½f also on Good ground and worth £5588 to the winner...

Dream Machine looks well placed in the Geegeez ratings and will be ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies (who'll be on Wicked Willy in the 1.32 contest above) and Sam also has the C5 icon, suggesting that he's one of the jockeys you'd want on board.

Sam doesn't actually venture to Fakenham too often, having raced in just 35 hurdles contests since the start of 2015, but it's not a lack of success that keeps him away, as he has a place strike rate of 55% (11 placers) including seven winners (35%).

And whilst we're talking numbers, I might as well add that Neil Mulholland's Fakenham hurdlers are 17 from 47 (36.2%) since 2014, including 14/32 (43.75%) in handicaps, 9/28 (32.1%) at Class 4 and 7 from 17 (41.2%) in Class 4 handicaps.

All well and good, of course, but what of Dream Machine's chances/suitability here? Well, Instant Expert is inconclusive again from a win perspective...

...whilst the place angle suggests that several others might be better suited...

...although Dream Machine is all amber and green with a steady 40%-60% record across all criteria, a level of consistency that prove beneficial here. From a pace perspective, he's an out and out hold up horse and that tactic isn't such a bad thing in this type of contest with mid-division runners and hold up horses faring best...

For the record, he's a fair if unspectacular hurdler who was useful on the Flat over 10f. His sole hurdles success from eight attempts came over this trip, at this grade and on good ground and although he seemed to struggle last time out, he ran really well two starts ago at Southwell.

He was third that day, less than five lengths off the pace with the winner then going out to win a gain twelve days later despite being upped two classes, so a reproduction of that run, which came off a mark 3lbs higher than this contest, would put him in the mix, but there's no guarantee that'll happen, of course.


Neil Mulholland has two chances of improving an already excellent record in handicaps here at Fakenham, but on this occasion I don't see him landing a win.

Both Master Burbidge and Dream Machine have ability, but other rivals seem more likely/reliable. Of the two, Dream Machine has the better chance but would need some luck to land the win, but has every chance of a place.

I'm leaving Master Burbidge alone, but I will back Dream Machine at 11/1 E/W with Bet365, whilst Skybet are offering four places if that's of any interest.

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5 replies
  1. Everyone calls me Paul
    Everyone calls me Paul says:

    Cheers Chris. You didn’t half confuse me talking about STD’s hurdles runs there since the start of 2015, then switching to the 5 year record for the win and place percentages ha.

  2. russsmithgg
    russsmithgg says:

    Hi Chris, I backed Dream Machine last night at 10/1 due to numerous positives. He really needs a sharp track and decent ground (ran on galloping 2 of last 3 runs). You need a tenacious battler here as close finishes are frequent over this C&D on decent ground and he’s the most tenacious horse in the field. He’s 6yo and this age group dominate the returns over this C&D on better ground. Well handicapped, stable bang in form, etc. Great value at double figure odds (gone now).



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