Confession time and definitely not after-timing as I didn't back it, but the winner of Saturday's John of Gaunt Stakes, Kinross, was in my original three against the field and I talked myself out of him in favour of With Thanks, who finished 7th. To be honest, aside from Glorious Journey making the frame, it wasn't my best race preview!
That said, Bank Holiday Monday offers me another chance to have another go and it's my last piece of what has been a reasonable enough month. The Pace tab is free to all readers for all races on Mondays, whilst our free 'races of the day' are set to be...
- 2.20 Redcar
- 2.45 Windsor
- 3.00 Cartmel
- 5.45 Roscommon
- 6.00 Punchestown
- 7.45 Roscommon
I'm not a huge fan of Irish racing, mainly because I don't spend enough time watching/studying it and I rarely get involved with maiden or 2yo novice races on the Flat, so today's preview almost picks itself.
That said, it's a decent enough race at a cracking little venue. Regrettably I won't be there in person this year as I usually am, so it's from a distance that I'll be watching the 3.00 Cartmel, which is a 10-runner, Class 3, Veterans Handicap Chase for 10yo+ horses over 3m5½f on Good ground. And these are the ones chasing a pot of £5,882...
Rock On Fruity has won three of his last nine runs since the start of March 2020, with all three wins coming at this grade. He acts on most ground from Good downwards, is 4 from 11 with today's jockey and is only 4lbs higher than when winning at Newcastle last time out, 2 months ago. Has a real chance if he gets the trip.
William of Orange is also up in weight (+3lbs) after a win LTO, as he landed a Class 3 handicap over 3m2.5f at Southwell less than a fortnight ago. That took his record for 2021 to 3 wins and a place from six starts and he's clearly in excellent form despite his age. He's 7 from 25 on Good ground and 3 from 5 under today's jockey and like the runner above, he's definitely in the mix if he gets the trip.
Dawson City, on the other hand, should have no problem with the trip, having won over 3m7f in the past. He was in good form from mid-November onwards, but disappointed last time out when beaten by 53 lengths at Ffos Las at the start of April. That run aside, he's still be a contender here but for the ground, I think. His best form comes in the mud and I fear this will be too quick for him.
Aaron Lad is 2 from 5 on Good ground but has never gone beyond 3m2f so far. He won at Exeter in January of 2020, but fell next time out. After a break of some 391 days, he has struggled this year and was beaten by 32 lengths two starts ago and was pulled up before the last three weeks ago. Has potential but I can't see him winning here.
Fact of the Matter is well past his best, if truth be told. He was a runner-up and then a winner in two Class 2 Cross Country events at Cheltenham in late 2018, but that was the last time he won. Since then he has been well beaten in five outings. If he turns up here, this will be just his fifth run in almost 26 months.
Red Giant has ability but is rather inconsistent. He won a Class 2 contest back in October and was a runner-up next time out despite a 7lb hike in the weights, but he then rounded off his 2020 campaign with a 25-length defeat at Market Rasen off the same mark. He went back to Market Rasen for his reappearance 128 days later/24 days ago and struggled to see out three miles, pulling up before the third last. But good ground, the step up in trip and his 5 from 24 record under today's jockey are all positives. Place potential here if coming on for the run.
Gangster won a 4-mile soft ground chase at Hexham by 14 lengths two starts ago, taking advantage of a mark that had dropped to a career-low 107, but in the four races before that win, he had been 6th of 7 and then pulled up three times. After that win, he was raised 8lbs and subsequently finished almost 50 lengths off the pace and he goes off that mark again here. He's not one I'd be keen on.
Dr Robin had a real purple patch from late June to late August 2019, where he won four on the bounce (2 x hurdle, 2 x chase), including three here at Cartmel. He was pulled up a month after that last win and then wasn't seen for 559 days. On his return last month, he was pulled up again and was then beaten by 53 lengths last time out. He looks up against it here, even off 5lbs lower. He's 3 from 6 here, 5 from 21 on good ground and 6 from 24 for his jockey, but hasn't won beyond 4 furlongs shorter than today.
Nakadam should get the trip, but would prefer it softer and he hasn't been running well of late either. His three runs this year have seen him pulled up and then beaten by 42L and 34L and he now steps up in class from 6lbs out of the handicap. I'd be very surprised to see him involved here.
So Satisfied races from even further out of the handicap, a whopping 22lbs and that alone should be enough to put you off. If it isn't, then defeats of 16L, 38L, 33L, 41L, 9L, 36L and 28L in seven starts since the start of 2020 should do the trick. I'd also add that those seven races were at a lower class (2 x C4, 5 x C5) than today and I'm struggling to find a positive thing to say. Hang on, her yard is 5 from 18 here at Cartmel since the start of 2017, so it's nice to end on a positive.
These runners are all 10-12 yrs old, so when we look at relevant win/place form on Instant Expert in a moment, I think that we should stick to 2yr form, as there's no point leaning on very old data. That said most haven't run/won too often in that time, so the place stats might tell us a bit more than the win data...
As it happens, the figures aren't massively different showing a propensity of these horses to either win or not make the frame at all. Red Giant has raced on good ground more than the others, but hasn't fared too well on it over fences in the last two years, but has won 6 times on Good overall. We've plenty who have made the frame at this grade, but not many with relevant course experience.
Dawson City might well be 0 from 7 at the trip, but he has made the frame twice and has only failed to complete 2 of 12 races beyond 3m5f, so if it comes to just completing the course to be involved, he's an interesting sort, having also made the frame three times at this level.
We don't really have enough pace data from similar contests over the last couple of years, as there's only one race of this distance per year at Cartmel (and only one over 3m6f), but from my own experiences of visiting Cartmel, I recall that leaders often struggle to hang on and that prominent runners fare best. In longer contests like today, several have also been won by hold up horses who have conserved their energy for the run in.
I know this is anecdotal evidence, but it's a track I visit quite often and I'd generally look for prominent or hold up horses here. With that in mind, here's how these bunch have raced in recent races...
This would suggest that Aaron Lad and Red Giant will lead them along with Dr Robin maybe also getting involved. Fact of the Matter and William of Orange would look to be the prominent followers. The above graphic also suggests that the bottom two will be held up for run, but I suspect they'll be more tailed off than held up and maybe the likes of Rock On Fruity (held-up in 2 of his last 3) and Dawson City (held up LTO) will be he actual hold up horses here.
Before I looked at the race positioning of these horses in their last few races, my favoured four here would have been (in alphabetical order) Dawson City, Red Giant, Rock On Fruity and William of Orange. The pace data hasn't really swayed me away from those four, as I've more reservations about the other six in the contest.
However, to end up with my three for trifecta/tricast purposes, Red Giant is the one to miss out. He might just do too much too early and I'm still not entirely convinced he gets the trip.
Of the three others, I like William of Orange best. yes, I've doubts about him getting the trip, but I think he's best suited here. Dawson City & Rock On Fruity could run him close, but I'm in agreement about the 7/2 fav William of Orange here. Rock On Fruity is currently 9/2 and Dawson City is 11/1, so I'll probably have a small E/W on him too.