Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 2nd November 2020

Matt ended the first month of Racing Insights, whilst I was taking a few days R&R in Chester. I had a walk around the track on Friday afternoon, but that was close as I came to any racing. We all need a break sometimes and hopefully my mind has been refreshed as we start our second month.

Monday's free feature is the Pace tab on all races, whilst the daily free races are...

  • 3.15 Curragh
  • 3.30 Kempton
  • 4.50 Wolverhampton
  • 5.05 Kempton
  • 7.50 Wolverhampton

And I think I'll take a look at the 5.05 Kempton : a 6-runner, Class 2 handicap for 3yo+ over 1m3f on polytrack where the winner will receive £18,675. The logical place to start is the racecard itself, which I've arranged in order of Geegeez Speed Ratings (SR), as follows...

...where I'm immediately alerted by the green 14, 30 , C1 & C5 icons with the first two denoting recent form and the latter two course form.

So, from the card, Lawn Ranger, Sky Defender and Victory Chime are the ones of interest from a speed rating perspective, whilst it would be Sweet Promise, Sky Defender and Lucander from the prevalence of icons.

You may also see a blue number 1 next to both Victory Chime and Lucander and that's because trainer Ralph Beckett features on one of my saved query tools angles for trainers to follow here at Kempton, because since the start of 2018 his handicappers sent off at Evens to 8/1 are 18 from 67 (26.9% SR & A/E 1.29) with those racing over this 1m3f course and distance winning five of ten (50%) at an E/W of 2.97.

Next on my usual checklist in the Instant Expert tab...

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..where green is good, of course and not green is not as good. And the horses at the top of the card fare best here with particular credit to Victory Chime's excellent record at this trip and in small fields. These three horses are already becoming the names I'm mentioning most, but they're drawn apart in stalls 1, 5 and 6. To find out if any of them are drawn "well", we simply click the Draw tab (I apologise for maybe labouring the point, but we do have lots of new subscribers), which looks like this...

...which suggests the draw would suit Sky Defender and Victory Chime most in 5 and 6. Being drawn in the right part the stalls is only half the battle, of course. for example stall 1 with a short run to a bend would help a quick starter, but one not so quick off the mark would get cut up by quicker starters coming across for the bend. And that's where the Pace tab comes into its own, especially when allied to the Draw tab.

The two combine to form what we call a heatmap and for this type of race, although a high draw is best, such runners need to be kept handy but not too close to the action, whilst those who like to lead fare better drawn inside, as seen below...

...which tells us that ideally you have a high drawn mid-division horse, or one drawn in the middle of the stalls that either leads or is also held in mid division and we get a clearer picture when we overlay the past running styles of our six runners on to that heat map, as follows...

I've overlaid the runners in draw order to attempt to give us a bird's eye view of how it might unfold, with the early pace looking like coming from stalls 3 and 6 with 5 just in behind. But of those three leader, Sky Defender would be better off hanging back a bit and the ones with the best pace/draw make-up from my point of view here are Lawn Ranger and Victory Chime.

It's then at this point that I look at the runners themselves to see if there are any obvious positives or negatives before coming to a final conclusion.

Johnny Drama : Two wins from thirteen to date, but 0 from 9 in the UK and no previous all-weather experience. A well beaten (15 lengths) 6th of 9 over 1m4f on soft ground in this grade at Doncaster nine days ago hardly fills me with confidence. Expect double-digit odds, but he's not for me.

Lawn Ranger : Yard's 1 from 144 record here at Kempton since the start of 2018 is an obvious concern, but this 5 yr old has acquitted himself well of late winning and then finishing as runner-up at Class 3 and then Class 2 at Chester, only being touched off by a short head over 10.5f last time out. He did win on Polytrack on his career debut at Lingfield almost three years ago, but is 0 from 12 the A/W since and it's tough to see that record improving here.

Lucander : One of the three that I expect to dominate the contest and despite only being a 3 yr old has already won four times and made the frame on three other occasions from just ten starts. In these lower prize (ie sub-£2ok) Class 2 races, he is three from three and drops in class here after an eight lengths defeat in the Group 3 Darley Stakes at HQ a little over three weeks ago. No disgrace in that result, as he had been a winner than a runner-up in this grade on two big-field handicaps immediately prior to the Darley. Definite contender here, especially with a certain Mr Dettori jumping on board for the first time..

Sky Defender : Back to back runner-up finishes prior to this contest, beaten by a head in a similar contest (6-runner C2 hcp) at Chelmsford but then the same result in a Group 3 contest in Germany, where a run to that level should be plenty here today. He has been kept busy this year, racing 14 times and gets on well with today's jockey (4/14 under Joe Fanning). Particularly adept in small fields, he'll be in the final shake-up here if he doesn't go off too quickly.

Sweet Promise : This 4yo filly looked very useful in Novice contests as a 3yo, finishing 121. She was ten send to race in Group company and made little impact finishing 8th of 8, 6th of 7 and 4th of 5 ans was then dropped back into a Class 2 handicap last time out, but was still 5th of 6. She was almost 3 lengths behind Sky Defender that day and although she's now 5lbs better off today, I still think she finishes behind Sky Defender here, she has picked a habit of finishing towards the rear of the pack.

Victory Chime : the third of my "most likelys" here and seemingly having the best profile for the contest. 8 wins from 20 (40%) to date with all 8 wins coming from 14 runs (57.1%) at 1m2f/1m3f. He has won four of his last seven outings and is five from eight in fields of 1-7 runners. He is 4 from 9 going right handed, 3 from 5 in a visor and 1 from 2 over course and distance.

The booking of Frankie Dettori to ride stablemate Lucander could make this horse look like a second stringer to some, but jockey Rob Hornby is two from three on this horse, so knows how to handle him. The only negative from a stats point of view is that this one has no win from four at Class 2, but all winners at a grade are winless at some point!

Summary

It's a three horse race for me between (alphabetically) Lucander, Sky Defender & Victory Chime. I've got Lucander back in third on my own assessment and also from the data above, but I've little to choose between Sky Defender and Victory Chime.

If Sky Defender runs as well as he did in Germany last time out, he'd have the edge, but I'm concerned he might try and take Lawn Ranger on for the lead, which would be a poor tactic, based on the pace/draw data.  My only real caveat re: Victory Chime is a lack of Class 2 success, but this could be his day. The stats and his own form suggest this could be the day.

For me, it's a marginal call, that Victory Chime just about edges.

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