Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 30th December 2021

Thursday's feature of the day is full access for all readers to the Instant Expert tab on the racecards. This is by far the most popular tab on the geegeez racecards.

The reason? It has the ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view. The report covers the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size. It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating. The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Where a horse has no UK/Irish form – i.e. it is having its first run in Britain or Ireland under Rules – it will not show up on Instant Expert at all.

And every Thursday we make this open to all readers for all races, including our free ones, which will be...

  • 12.30 Haydock
  • 2.25 Taunton
  • 4.30 Wolverhampton

So, the Wolverhampton race is a poor novice affair with very little form to work with, therefore Instant Expert isn't going to help us. The Taunton race is a Listed race, so it's a decent standard but they're largely inexperienced mares (59 races between the 9 of them) and the market points to a 2-horse race, whilst the Haydock race is a Conditional Jockeys contest, which I'm not a huge fan of, but it is a stayers race on heavy ground there and these are always interesting, so let's play the 12.30 Haydock, shall we?

It's a 7-runner, Class 4, Conditional Jockeys 3yo+ Handicap Hurdle over a left handed 3m½f on heavy ground (I can't remember the last day it didn't rain or snow at some point up in the North West) and they'll tackle a dozen hurdles on their way to hopefully landing the £5,446 prize which will end up with one of these...

Macho Mover comes here in great form with 2 wins and 2 narrow defeats from his last four outings including a course and distance success here just four weeks ago when three places and four lengths clear of the re-opposing Storm Lorenzo in another conditionals race. 6lb claimer Lewis Stones was on board for the first time that day and he keeps the ride, but the horse has been put up 4lbs for the win. He has very little heavy ground form, but his yard's Class 4 hurdlers have made the frame in 21 of 35 (60%) of heavy ground Class 4 hurdles, winning 10 (28.6%) of them.

For Jim has had an excellent run since mid-November 2020 with 6 wins and a place from 11 chase/hurdles races (6112 over hurdles), but since winning over fences at 3m1f in early October, has appeared to be in the grip of the assessor, struggling off marks of 116 and 115. His last hurdles win came off 99, so even today's 110 looks a stretch for a horse much better suited to the bigger obstacles.

Storm Lorenzo is difficult to assess after just half a dozen races over six different trips at six different tracks under four different jockeys for two trainers! That said, he was fourth of ten over today's course and distance when finishing four lengths behind Macho Mover last time out, so that was a decent effort. He's 5lbs better off with the winner here, but I'm not sure that's going to be enough, even if his yard have been going well since that defeat...

Charm Offensive is an eight race maiden, but looks like she's getting the hang of things, finishing as a runner-up in her three starts earlier in the year and then third last time out. That was at Hexham just over three weeks ago when she was coming off a 31 week layoff and was only beaten by half a length then a neck in a tight finish, where she seemed to find the 2m4f trip too sharp. She stayed on well, though, suggesting that this step back up in trip would suit and the recent form of his yard is encouraging too...

Lady Bowes is the second of the two 7yr old mares and she had a good 2020, winning two of her three starts : a soft ground bumper and a heavy ground maiden hurdle, but she has only raced twice since that hurdle success 55 weeks ago. She could only finish 6th of 11 at Perth in may after 155 days off track, but fared much better at Hexham three weeks ago when defying a 30-week break to finish 3rd of 14 on heavy ground, beaten by just 4 lengths. She's actually a pound better off here and could be entitled to improve for the run, but she's up in trip by 4.5f here and this is a half mile further than she has ever raced, so fitness would have to be taken on trust, but there are some stats that give a little confidence to her chances...

Stolen Money struggled in his only bumper run and was pulled up on hurdling debut over 2m4f at Ayr in November 2020, but in four efforts since has finished 2421 all at trips of 3m1f/3m1½f, so he's clearly more a stayer than a speedster. He was only fourth on his sole heavy ground start, but both runner-up finishes were on soft ground, so he shouldn't be totally at sea here. His win at Carlisle LTO came after a 259-day absence so he could well improve here and the third placed horse that day has already raced and won since.

Storm Tiger won his only PTP contest, so he should get the trip, even if his four outings under Rules have only been over 2m½f (twice) and 2m4f (twice). his best effort to date came at Hexham LTO when fourth of fourteen on heavy ground on handicap debut, just a neck behind the re-opposing Lady Bowes, who he now meets again effectively 2lbs better off. Like the mare, he too is stepping up in trip, but if they both handle the trip, I'd expect him to be able to reverse the placings.

We've got heavy ground here, which can often make or break a horse's chances and previous success in the mud is always a bonus. Three miles-plus on a heavy Haydock track can take some getting, so let's use Instant Expert to see if any of them will be suited by conditions than their rivals...

We don't have much heavy ground form to call upon if truth be told, but Lady Bowes and Charm Offensive (to a lesser degree) seems to have coped with the mud pretty well so far, although Macho Mover has 3 wins and a place from 6 on soft ground. All bar Storm Tiger have some decent results at this grade with Macho Mover the most experienced and his 3 wins/4 places from 13 is a good return. He's also the only one to have won here over hurdles from the three who've been here before and although For Jim is only 1 from 6 at the trip his 5 places suggests he's definitely proven to stay, but he's better over fences and carries much more weight than his last hurdles win.

In the last ten similar races to this one ie 6-8 runners, 3m-3m2f, heavy ground hurdles at Haydock, 30 of the 79 runners (38%) have raced prominently, whilst 29 (36.7%) have been held up, but with very differing fortunes, as prominent runners have won 6 times with just the one hold-up horse prevailing. In fact the stats show that the further back you race, the worse your chances of success become, with leaders faring best of all...

...so we now need to find/work out how our runners will run and although we don't have a crystal ball, we have the next best thing : a log of how every horses has previously raced and here are the last four efforts from our seven runners...

Stolen Money is the only one to have led in any of the last four runs by any of these runners and with a prominent effort LTO, that would seem to be his favoured tactics and he could well steal a bit of a lead early doors here.

Summary

For the win, I've got it between Macho Mover and Stolen Money for the win/places. The bookies have Macho Mover as the 11/4 favourite with Stolen Money a 4/1 chance and these odds are probably fair. Macho Mover has it on form, but Stolen Money is making good progress and gets weight from the fav. Neither have any heavy ground form, but both have fared well on soft ground, but in the pace department, there's the chance of Stolen Money opening up a gap that the rest might find hard to bridge.

If I've read it right, then there won't hopefully be too much between the two here, but I'm leaning marginally towards Stolen Money at 4's.

Of the rest, you're probably looking at the likes of Lady Bowes to chase the leader, but the five really could finish in any order.

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