Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 31st August 2021

Somewhat incredibly, we're now at the end of August and 2021 seems to be speeding by. Our free feature for Tuesdays is The Shortlist, a simple and usually brief report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day. It covers win or place stats, can be viewed for both today’s and tomorrow’s racing and this is how it looks for Tuesday...

...where the first four on that list would certainly merit at least a second look. In addition to The Shortlist, we also offer the following free races of the day...

  • 4.35 Epsom
  • 4.45 Hexham
  • 6.30 Newton Abbot
  • 7.15 Hexham

Prince Dundee The Shortlist features at the bottom of The Shortlist in one of our free races, so I'm going to take a look at the 7.15 Hexham today. It's a 12-runner, Class 5, Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 3m on Good ground and one of the following will claim £2,886...

None of these arrive in particularly great form, if truth be told, although Classical Milano won in a higher grade last time out and Prince Dundee won two starts ago. Both of these, along with Dutch Canyon are previous winners over track and trip. The Pine Martin has also won here in the past, whilst Miami Present has scored over today's trip.

The Pine Martin hasn't been seen for over seven months, but the others have all raced in the last 12 weeks. Strategic steps up in class here, but Prince Dundee, Classical Milano, Regaby and Exit ten are all stepping down from Class 4 with the last of those making a handicap debut here. Trainer Lucinda Russell has a good record at this venue and saddles three here in Prince Dundee, Katalystic and Flutter Down.

We've an interesting mix of age/experience here with five 5/6 yr olds and six 10/11 yr olds taking on just one 8 yr old, whilst top weight and Shortlist horse Prince Dundee is rated by the assessor to be some 41lbs better than Strategic, who runs from 8lbs out of the handicap here.

Instant Expert shows us why/how Prince Dundee was on The Shortlist, although opening up the field parameters has turned that from green to amber.

The only others of any note in handicap chases are Katalystic, Classical Milano, Miami Present and Dutch Canyon. Perhaps the place figures will be more helpful...

...where I think the takeaway is likely to be that we should be focusing on the first seven on the card.

These bigger field staying handicaps at Hexham aren't good for hold up horses at all, but aside from sitting at the back, the pace stats suggest you can win from pretty much anywhere else...

...with leaders having the best place results, followed by prominent runners. Based on their last four outings, this the average pace setting of our dozen runners...

...and again I think I want to be with the top seven on the card. Of these seven...

Prince Dundee is 2 from 2 over course and distance and has also won here over a half furlong further. He won here two starts ago off a mark of 100, but was then beaten last time out by 24.5 lengths off 107. He's still off 107, but his jockey takes 10lbs off which should make him more competitive down in class.

Katalystic hasn't won any of five races since scoring at Perth over a year ago and his average margin of defeat in those five runs is around 23 lengths. Stepping up in trip here by half a mile probably doesn't help. I think he needs shorter on softer ground.

Classical Milano has won 4 times here at Hexham at 3m/3m0.5f and was the winner here last time out beating Prince Dundee by nearly 25 lengths. His 7lb weight hike allied to the Prince's 10lb claim makes for a huge weight swing and that might be a bit much here, but still in with a great chance.

Grumpy Mcgrumpface is still a maiden after 13 races (5 x NHF, 6 x hrd, 2 x chs) and was beaten by 16 lengths over this trip at Perth last time out and has to run off the same mark here. Well beaten on two previous visits, that's probably going to happen again.

Miami Present was useful a few years back, winning three times in 2017, but it's almost four years without a win and has been pulled up in four of his last eight starts. His two defeats this term have come at a combined deficit of over 70 lengths and even another 5lb drop (now 32lbs lower than his last win) might not be enough.

Dutch Canyon won a couple of times in 2019 and was a runner-up twice last year, but is winless in his last eight. That said, he should have won two starts ago at Sedgefield when clear at the last, but he overjumped and landed awkwardly on his way to the ground. He's on the same mark as his last win and could go well here.

Regaby is another who doesn't complete enough of his races, having been pulled up, fallen or unseated his rider in three of his eight runs this year. They've kept him busy for sure and if getting a clear round could be involved, especially off a mark of 79. That said, he's still an 11-race maiden and his jumping can be sketchy.

Summary

We started off with our free races and The Shortlist report and we focused on Prince Dundee from the report. He was well beaten here by Classical Milano last time out, but his jumping wasn't quite right. He's now effectively 17lbs better off and I envisage they'll be closer together here and in my eye, it's between those two for this one and I think I'd rather be on our focus horse based on that weight swing more than anything else.

For the final place, there's not much between a few of the top seven on the card, but I'm siding with Dutch Canyon, who should have won at Sedgefield and is on an attractive mark here.

So it's Prince Dundee (9/2) / Classical Milano (7/2) / Dutch Canyon (7/1) for me in what looks an interesting encounter for a Class 5 chase.

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