I’ll be stepping in for Chris for a couple of days but don’t worry, Chris will be back on Racing Insights duty on Monday so you won’t be without him for long.
The free feature of the day on Friday is the Horses For Courses Report. With racing from six different UK and Irish venues on Friday you are able to use this report to identify course specialists, or at least runners that tend to run better than average at each of these courses, across a range of metrics.
As usual there will also be a selection of completely free races for free registered users, they are as follows:
1.10 Down Royal
3.30 Down Royal
4.05 Down Royal
I’m much more of a flat specialist so the two races from the above that make the most appeal are obviously the ones at Newmarket and there is far more form on offer in the 4.50 compared to the 2.30 which is a listed race for 2yos.
So the 4.50 Newmarket it is. This is a one mile, class 5 handicap for 3yo+ and with 14 runners set to go to post it’s certainly not the easiest puzzle to solve. The ground is currently good and drying out so this could be the last time a race is run on decent ground this flat season and could make very recent form invalid with most courses having been pretty soft for the past couple of weeks.
It’s well worth noting that the stalls are on the stands’ side here and that means the runners are likely to stick as near side as possible, probably inconveniencing those drawn low and also making it more difficult for anything held up to get a clear run through what could be a quite closely knit pack.
This course and distance does tend to lend itself to pace horses anyway.
The data doesn’t necessarily scream ‘pace bias’ given those that are held up in similar types of race to this have better place percentage than prominent racers and almost as good place percentage as front runners. However the only run style that is profitable for each way bets is front running (produces an EW PL of 7.0) and prominent racing is the only run style that is profitable to follow blind for win bets with a WIN PL of 29.58.
On top of this data we don’t have a whole lot of likely pace in this contest with Goddess Of Fire likely to get an uncontested lead. You couldn’t rule anything out here based on run style but I’d definitely prefer something that is likely to race prominently.
There are 14 runners in this so plenty to go through but I’m going to give a very quick lowdown on each to give you an idea if they are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of my calculations.
Drawn high and likely to be held up. Caught the eye at York under tender handling but then missed 141 days before a very good return from a poor draw at Goodwood. Put in a rare below par run last time out at Redcar and connections quickly reach for a first time visor, which is a massive unknown. Drying ground is probably a negative so although he’s been on my radar for most of the season, I won’t be backing him here.
Low drawn hold up performer who is a consistent sort. The last two races he’s contested have probably been stronger than this (winner at Nottingham won again next time out) and the step back up to a mile here should suit. Most of his best form on turf has come on deep ground but has finished twice since on fast ground. Every chance of running well on form but might not be well enough handicapped to win.
Relatively lightly raced 3yo who bounced back from a poor run two starts ago with a good run at Pontefract in the mud last time out. Lowish drawn and likely to be ridden somewhere between mid division and prominent. Both his wins came at Carlisle and hasn’t got within two lengths of the winner in four runs since so probably isn’t well handicapped, away from Carlisle at least.
Progressive front runner earlier in the season on testing ground with form lines that have worked out well but he’s been too patiently ridden on his last two starts, albeit running as if something was amiss on both occasions as well. The first time cheekpieces go on here and they could sharpen him up enough to lead on the near side rail from stall 14 and he’s well handicapped if he can bounce back to form but he needs to return to his early summer form. Drying ground probably against him.
Low drawn very lightly raced 3yo who ran well on second and third starts in terms of finishing position although neither race worked out at all. Handicap debut at Kempton was disappointing and it looks as though she’s simply started handicaps off a stiff mark assuming it wasn’t the artificial surface that held her back last time out. Could take a step forward on just her fifth start but needs to improve.
Goddess Of Fire
Low drawn front runner who has won six races but five of those came on the all weather or at Yarmouth. His other win was in the Legends race at Docnaster. He’s 0 from 9 in turf handicaps away from Yarmouth. He has run some decent races here in the past and is generally pretty consistent but he’s 2lbs above his highest winning mark with no obvious reason why he should improve. Should run well enough but likely to bump into a few better handicapped runners.
Handicap debutant who has finished 3rd on all three starts to date. She’s probably run to this sort of mark on at least two of those but is difficult to weigh up in this sort of company. She’s certainly got room for improvement and run style and draw should be okay here. She’s not the type I’d personally be willing to back but it’s impossible to rule her out of calculations for all I’d prefer something a lot more ‘solid’ and proven.
A mudlark on turf but ran poorly on soft ground last time out at Nottingham, well behind Masked Identity. Likely to bounce back at some point but the drying ground is surely against him here.
Seemingly in the grip of the handicapper on his last two runs after a win three starts ago but that might not be the case. Her third over further in July off a 3lb lower mark worked out well with the first two going on to win subsequently. She then benefitted from a drop back to this mile when a comfortable winner next time out, albeit in a weak handicap. She was undoubtedly below par next time at Leicester but never got a clear run last time out at Bath when finishing with plenty of running left. She’s been dropped a pound here and is seemingly well drawn in stall 12. After just nine runs she should still have more to give.
Ran well enough on first start for new connections at Catterick last time out, albeit well placed. That form hasn’t worked out though and he’s yet to win in any of his nine starts to date. Definitely needs to improve which is possible on second run for a new trainer and Ryan Moore is an eye-catching booking but he still has something to find.
Best runs to date came over this distance so no surprise to see her drop in trip after seeming to not stay 10f or 12f. She’s dropped 5lbs courtesy of those non staying efforts which probably puts her on a fair (not lenient) mark so she could step forward again for powerful connections, for all she has something to prove. Low draw might not be ideal.
Hasn’t taken much racing this season and ran no sort of race last time out on the back of a break. Drops back in trip on different ground here but those conditions shouldn’t have been a problem and he’s difficult to fancy on this year’s form.
Best efforts have come on softer ground over shorter and he’s yet to place over this distance. He’s struggled for form since winning earlier in the season and doesn’t look well handicapped and on previous limited) evidence doesn’t stay this far either.
Lightly raced for a 5yo and drawn lowest of all here. He arrives here in form having taken care of a subsequent winner last time out and a 2lb rise for that looks very fair. He’s 13lbs lower than his only visit here when he was 3rd so also looks fairly handicapped on that form, for all it was from two years ago. That was the last time he ran well on turf though which is a worry and stall 1 is also a concern.
It’s not easy to completely rule many of these out but plenty of these do have questions to answer. It would be no surprise if the most lightly raced of these, Geminga, won on handicap debut but there is probably better value elsewhere.
Goddess Of Fire and Masked Identity could run well but are very well found in the betting and neither look well enough handicapped to win this, even if it’s not the greatest race ever.
The value in the early betting for me lies with Thunder Lily at double figure odds. She’s only really disappointed once this season and although she doesn’t seem to have a huge amount in hand of her current mark, neither is she poorly handicapped and several pieces of her form this season are better than they look.