Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 3rd March 2021

According to some, Wednesday is "hump" day, whereas here at Geegeez, it's simply free Trainer Stats Report day. And as well as that, we have a selection of full free racecards on offer, such as...

  • 12.30 Wincanton
  • 4.35 Musselburgh
  • 4.45 Kempton
  • 7.50 Kempton

And I think we'll look at the Trainer Stats Report today and the 1 year course handicap form in particular, which gives us three runners across two races to consider...

We'll start with Curtiz in the 1.40 Lingfield...

Curtiz got off the mark at the eighth time of asking last time out when wining here over course and distance despite a 90-day layoff. He looked like he still had something in reserve, so a 3lb rise in weight shouldn't necessarily be his undoing.

We know his yard have a good 12-month record in handicaps, but most of his runners race over shorter trips than today. That said, his 1m-1m2f handicappers are 5 from 18 (26.3% SR, A/E 1.75) here since the start of 2017 and they include 32 winners from 8 (37.5% SR, A/E 3.61) over this course and distance.

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Having just 4 A/W handicap runs to his name that have seen him finish 9241, we were never going to get much from Instant Expert, but it is at least good to see that his sole win was on Standard going over class, course and distance. You see he's up 3lb (as I said) for that win and I can also tell you that today's jockey Charlie Bennett was in the saddle, Curtiz wasn't the favourite, he'd been off the track for more than a month (5 weeks this time) and again he wasn't wearing blinkers, as he has in the past.

Leaders tend not to fare well in these types of contests, whilst there's a fairly even split of winners from the three other racing styles, although the win % figures decrease the further back in the pack you race. Curtiz likes to race prominently, which is probably the best tactic, depending on his draw...

...he's actually in stall 4 and there's no real "right place" to be from there, but a prominent position does look his best chance of winning here. I'll make my mind up on him once I've looked at his opposition, but first...

...I need to move on to the 3.55 Lingfield...

...where we have two to consider. Top weight is Hughie Morrison's Rosemary And Thyme, who doesn't appear to have been done any favours by the assessor on her return from a six-month break. She was 5th of 9, beaten by 8.5 lengths over 6f on heavy ground when last seen, "earning" her a mark of 75 and although she's 5lbs lower on the A/W, 70 seems punitive to me about a filly who has shown little to date.

Further bad news comes from the facts that Hughie Morrison's 6f handicappers are just 1 from 13 here, whilst his 3yo fillies are 0 from 15 here since the start of 2017.

Propagation also makes a handicap debut for Charles Hills and the yard is 4 from 13 (30.8% SR, A/E 1.62) with Lingfield handicap debutants since the start of 2019. We know about the yard's record here over the last year, but since the start of 2019, their 'cappers are 3/8 over 6f here and 6/22 as 3 yr olds, and are 5 from 14 at Class 5, which could be could news for a horse making just a fourth start.

His last run was arguably better than Rosemary's, as he was beaten by 2.25 lengths here over 5f five weeks ago. he was doing his best work late on and shaped as though the extra yardage here might help, although he doesn't look the sharpest/quickest.

In a contest where our runners are both on handicap debut, having performed modest in their previous three outings, Instant Expert will tell us very little, so we'll skip straight to the pace/draw angle, as this is likely to be of paramount importance over 6f here, where it pays to lead and if you can't lead, get as far forward as you can. If you can do neither, then frankly you're in trouble...

Propagation is an out and out hold up horse and by passing 8 runners late on here over 6f isn't easy for experienced horses, never mind a 3 yr old handicap debutant, whilst Rosemary has led or raced prominently in two of her three starts and may well move further to the right of that graphic here. She's drawn handily in stall 5 where she can keep out of trouble without being pushed too wide, but Propagation will have to take the scenic route if he's to win from a stall 1/hold-up combo.

Summary

In our first race, Curtiz is up against 13 rivals, so it's going to be tough over ten furlongs, but he's not badly drawn in #4 and he's probably the pace angle in the race, the next ones most likely to race prominently are in stalls 8-14, so he might be afforded an easy lead. If he can hold on, he's a great chance of winning, but I'm not convinced he'll manage it. I definitely see him making the frame, but if he is to win, he's going to have to see off the likes of El Conquistador (11/4). 7/2 is too short for an E/W punt on Curtiz, but I did find Cafe Milano interesting at 9/1 for those seeking a longer priced bet.

We have two in race two and to be honest, I don't fancy either of them particularly. I've too many negatives about each to want to back either at 4/1 or shorter. I prefer Propagation of the two and he could sneak into the places, but I've got the 3/1 River Wharfe as my winner here and you could possibly throw a blanket over four or five horses for the places. It's not a race I'd want to play in.

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