Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 2nd February 2021

Today's previewed race doesn't go off until 7.40, so I'll move straight to Tuesday, where 'feature of the day' is the Shortlist report and the 'races of the day' have full free racecards for everyone for the following...

  • 1.25 Newcastle
  • 2.25 Newcastle
  • 6.40 Southwell

Newcastle is another A/W jumpers bumpers meeting and they hold no interest to me, if I'm brutally honest and ignoring that meeting leaves very little on the Shortlist either. However, the final 'free race' also features a runner from the Shortlist, so it makes sense for me to look at the 6.40 Southwell, a 9-runner, Class 4, 5 furlong, A/W (Fibresand) handicap for runners aged 4 and older with a top prize of £5,208.

We start with the racecard itself...


and the excerpt from the Shortlist...

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I had a look at this race earlier and I've already arrived at a conclusion that it's a 4-horse race at best between the only runners to show any good recent form, including the two LTO winners and the Geegeez Ratings top three who also are the highest rated by the handicapper, so let's look at my four a little closer, starting with...

Mulzim who, of course, features on the Shortlist and also has a whole stack of stats to support him : it's easier if I copy and paste these...

In addition to those, the trainer/jockey partnership is 16 from 69 (23.2%) since the start of 2020, the trainer is 15 from 63 (23.8%) with LTO winners since the start of 2016. The horse himself has finished 23118141 in his eight starts since the start of 2020, all here over course and distance including two wins from three at Class 4. He won here a week ago beating the re-opposing Dike of Firenze by a length and a half and the manner of the victory suggested that a 4lb penalty wouldn't be enough to anchor him.

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Mondammej also has a bundle of relevant stats to lean on, so again I'll take the lazy way out...

Just the three starts so far for this one, all on the Tapeta at Newcastle. He won on debut landing a 6f novice contest by almost three lengths before going down by a head in a two-horse race over the same course and distance ahead of dropping to this 5f trip for his handicap debut last time out. He was third that day, beaten by 2.5 lengths off a mark of 82 having been headed well into the final furlong. He's down a pound to 81 today and the runner-up from that last race has since gone on to win a Class 4, 5f handicap at Lingfield.

Fantasy Keeper is far more experienced with a total of 32 races under his belt (6 wins, inc 3 on the A/W) and was a gutsy winner last time out (yard is 53/298 = 17.8% with LTO winners since the start of 2018). It was a career-best effort to win over course and distance here a fortnight ago, just getting back up on the line to win off a mark of 77 after being headed briefly deep into the final furlong. He's only up a pound for that win and another similar battling performance will see him right in the mix again.

Duke of Firenze completes my four against the field and this 12 yr old makes his 100th start today, having won 10 races so far. He has, admittedly, been better on turf and his sole A/W win (from 12 attempts) was here at Southwell over course and distance just over seven weeks ago when wining a 14-runner handicap by half a length off a mark of 74. He was also a valiant runner-up here over C&D last time out, when beaten by Mulzim off 75 and he has been eased a pound today. He's not one you'd expect to win but (a) is better than most of this field and (b) could well sneak into the frame

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With so many stats knocking about for this race, you'll not be surprised to see plenty of green and amber on the Instant Expert graphic...

Much of the above has been mentioned in my analysis and the switch of view to A/W form only is very interesting...

Mulzim looks rock solid there, Mondammej is inexperienced and tackles Fibresand for the first time, Fantasy Keeper is solid if unspectacular and Duke of Firenze seems to have a bit to prove against the others.

In 49 previous 9-runner handicaps, stall 1 (Fantasy Keeper) has fared best...

...whilst the ideal pace/draw make-up has been to race prominently from a low draw or lead from higher draws...

and here's how our runners fit into that heat map...

...suggesting Fantasy Keeper would be the one to catch/beat from his plum draw.

Summary

Based on stats and recent performances, Mulzim just edges it for me ahead of Fantasy Keeper. I think the latter might try to win it off the front, but won't get far enough clear to make his lead unassailable. I expect it to be close, but it would be Mulzim for me.

I'd also expect Mondammej to have too much for Duke of Firenze in the battle for third place. The Duke is definitely coming towards the end of his career and Mondammej has plenty of scope for improvement.

I've only just (4.50pm) looked at the market and it seems that we're in agreement re: the 1-2-3-4. That's reassuring in a way, but also frustrating not to have found something others haven't. That said, I expected 2/1 or 9/4 about Mulzim, so I'm getting on at 11/4 with Hills whilst I can.

No scope for an E/W bet, I'm afraid with the Duke being the longest of the four at just 7/1.

Good Luck however you choose to play this one.

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