No shirking off on Good Friday here with racing to cover for Easter Saturday. We'll be aided in our quest by free access to the wonderful Trainer/Jockey Combo report as well as the following races of the day...
- 1.30 Haydock
- 3.35 Musselburgh
- 4.33 Carlisle
- 4.55 Cork
- 5.30 Cork
- 8.00 Wolverhampton
I haven't got many qualifiers from my settings on the Trainer/Jockey Combo report, so I'm looking at the free race list and whilst it's not the best of the six on offer, I'm going with the one that looks the most open, the 4.33 Carlisle. It's a 10-runner, Class 4, 2m4.5f Handicap Chase on good to soft ground and here's how they'll line up...
Kayf Adventure carries top weight here, but is the highest rated on the Geegeez ratings. A fairly useful chaser for Philip Hobbs from 2015 to early 2020. Ran adequately well in a couple of hurdles races and a bumper for his new yard before reverting to fences a fortnight ago to be beaten by just 3.5 lengths here at Carlisle. Now down in class and weight plus aided by a 3lb jockey claim, he could be closer still today.
Caltex won by 22 lengths over fences back in February 2020 off a mark of 118 and was raised 9lbs for it and has struggled in his half dozen races since. His jumping is generally sound and his mark has now eased to just a pound higher than that easy win at Leicester. His yard have had 3 winners and 3 placers from 14 in the past fortnight, whilst his jockey has made the frame in 11 of 18 rides in the past month. Place claims again here.
Cooking Fat last won over fences off a mark 2lbs lower than he is now, but that was 33 months ago. He hasn't tackled a fence in almost two years and it's 28 months since he last completed a chase and has only raced three times since then. I'd want him to complete a chase again before i would think about backing him.
Do Wanna Know won two of his three starts last season, all in Novice Hurdles, falling in the one he didn't win and including winning a 2-horse match at odds of 1/25. This season's form has more letters than numbers and that's never a good sign, as his jumping has been suspect. I can't back back a horse with 3 falls and 2 pulled-up runs from his last 7 outings, even if his stablemates are running far better than him (2 wins, 3 places from 10 in the last fortnight)
Uptown Harry got off the mark in a maiden hurdle at Kelso just after Christmas 2019 and was a runner-up beaten by just 2.5 lengths here at Carlisle over course and distance at this fixture a year ago on his chasing debut, a result he repeated last time out three weeks ago. In-form Ross Chapman (won on Bafana Blue this week) jumps back into the saddle as this 7 yr old wears cheekpieces for the first time off the same mark as LTO. Looks to have a great chance here.
Kalaharry is still relatively unexposed over fences after just three efforts, but was beaten by five lengths here over shorter in mid-February and then by ten lengths at Ayr a month ago. He does drop in class here, though, potentially making this an easier contest, but based on his more extensive hurdles form, I think he needs further and on softer ground, but Class 4 is definitely his realm. He also seems to fare better in bigger fields.
Blow By Blow might well be dropping two grades here, but he still looks outclassed to me. He hasn't run in over 14 months since going down by 114 lengths in the Edinburgh National and he's certainly not the horse deemed worthy of a string of Class 1 runs in 2018/19. He has failed to complete of has come home last in seven of his last ten and is best avoided here.
Pookie Pekan seems to have lost his way somewhat. In great form during 2018 and 2019, but ended the 19/20 season tamely finishing last of 5, beaten by 31L. This season hasn't gone well either and his last four runs have seen him pulled up twice and then beaten by 25L and 20L. Others hold more appeal here, even of his yard are going quite well of late (2 wins, 3 places from 10 in the last fourteen days)
Ettila de Sivola is another struggling to repeat last season's form which saw him win at Newcastle and then only be beaten by 3 lengths and 6 lengths off 5lbs higher. he was 8th on his reappearance here at Carlisle back in October, 48L off the pace and has been pulled up and then beaten by 26 lengths in two shorter runs since. Jockey Danny McMenamin might well be averaging a strike rate over 20% of late, but even his talents won't get this one home upped in trip.
Doktor Glas, however, might see this as his best chance of one last win at the age of 11. A winner here over course and distance at this meeting three years ago, he was then off the track for 950 days and was only beaten by 5.5 lengths as a runner-up despite stepping up in weight and class. he has finished third and fourth since and not humiliated in either, so might have an outside chance here off 2lbs lower and receiving weight all round.
As ever, Instant Expert will highlight relevant chasing form...
...and the takeaways for me from above are Kayf Adveture's win at this class and the fact he's 13lbs lower than his last win. Caltex is 2 from 5 in this grade, whilst Pookie Pekan would have every chance if he could recapture his old form. Doktor Glaz probably stands out here, but hasn't raced much in the last three years.
In similar races here in the past, horses who like to lead have done very well, but not quite as well as those racing in mid-division., as you can see here...
My inference from reading between the lines is that prominent racers end up doing too much to try and keep close to the leaders making them susceptible from mid-division runners from behind, whilst those held-up are left with too much to do up the hill to the finish. The place strike rates of leader/mid-division runners would also appear to back up my theory (but it is just a theory!).
We have, of course, looked at how these runners have run in their past four outings and should they stick to previous tactics, then we think they'll break out like this...
...which looks good for Kayf Adventure, but not for Cooking Fat!
My task of narrowing the 10-runner field down to a workable shortlist of three or four runners is made easier today by the fact that I simply don't like/fancy many of them! I think I'd seen enough after the write-ups to narrow it down to four runners : Caltex, Doktor Glaz, Kayf Adventure and Uptown Harry.
I've split these four runners into two distinct groups, the battle for first place and who gets third. The two that I like most from a win perspective are Kayf Adventure and Uptown Harry and if I'm honest, I have very very little between them, but Kayf Adventure might get to dictate this race from the front and if that happens, then the 10/1 on offer from Hills might be huge, so it's Kayf Adventure ahead of Uptown Harry for me.
As for third place, I also didn't have much between Caltex and Doktor Glaz, but if pushed to split them, I'd just about keep them in that order with Caltex looking quite appealing as a 12/1 E/W shot with Bet365.
So, a couple of nice double-digit punts if I've read it correctly. It could be a big if, of course!