The Pace tab is open to all readers for all races every Monday, whilst our daily free races are scheduled to be...
- 2.45 Ayr
- 3.40 Nottingham
- 6.45 Windsor
- 7.15 Windsor
And the last of those four looks (on paper, at least) the best quality, so today's focus falls on the 7.15 Windsor, a 7-runner, Class 3, 3yo+ flat handicap over 5f on soft ground worth £6,210 to one of these...
A Sure Welcome is a useful 5f handicapper (3 from 8 on turf) and he last ran at this trip on 7th June, when landing a course and distance win by 2½ lengths off a mark of 84. He's now 5lbs higher than that (just as he was when 3rd here over 6f LTO), but should still be competitive for a yard in decent nick.
Rayong has failed to make the frame in seven outings since winning at this class/trip at Pontefract a year ago off a mark of 93. It has taken that run of form to get him back into the 80's and he's now 5lbs lighter than that win. He has struggled for form of late and now runs for the first time since a wind op.
Caroline Dale is an interesting and lightly raced filly, who has already won over course and distance. She was a runner-up on debut on Lingfield's A/W track 13 months ago and has raced just five times, all on turf, since. However, in those five races she has made the frame in three Class 1 contests, finishing third at Gr2, Gr3 and Listed company, but on her return from a 314-day absence at Chester nine days, was last home of 8 at this class/trip.
Charlie Fellowes hit the bar as a runner-up in three consecutive races last August, before going on to win his next three with those six runs taking his hcp mark from 68 to 92. Marks in the 90's have proved a tall order for him, but he was a runner-up beaten by just a neck off 90 at Chester in the race in which Caroline Dale was last home, nine days ago. He's back up 2lbs for that effort, which makes this tough, but he's running well.
Clarendon House made his debut on 1st June this year, winning a Class 5 maiden over 5f at Yarmouth by almost five lengths before winning again 11 days later in his next/last outing. That was another Class 5 race, a 5f Novice contest which he duly won by nine lengths. Both wins were on quick ground, so we don't know how he'll fare on soft, but he's certainly going the right direction and an opening mark of 87 might prove to be a little lenient, but he is up two classes.
Thegreatestshowman is just 2 from 22 on turf, including just 1 win from 17 in handicaps. Most of his running is done on good to firm ground and was fourth here behind A Sure Welcome over course and distance two starts ago. He hasn't won any of his last twelve runs on the Flat stretching back almost two years and I'm not sure that'll change here.
Second Collection is just three pounds higher than when winning over 5f at Bath just three starts ago, but has since finished 5th of 14, beaten by four lengths and most recently, last home of six beaten by 5½ lengths at Haydock just over a fortnight ago. She's down a pound from that run, but steps up in class and although she has 2 wins and 3 places from 7 starts here at Windsor, it's fair to say that she prefers quicker ground and that she's better over 6f.
The take-away from Instant Expert is that soft ground is something these horses aren't really used to and haven't got to grips with it yet, although both Caroline Dale & Charlie Fellowes have both made the frame on soft. Trip-wise, it's a different story as the entire field have had at least one win at 5f. A quick word about A Sure Welcome, who looks from the above to have tried Class 3 and Windsor several times now without much joy, he's 1 from 6 at C3 and 1 from 8 on this track, but from a place perspective, he's 4 from 6 and 6 from 8 respectively, as you can see below...
Basically, the trip holds no fears for any of these runners, but some are better over 6f. As for the draw in this seven-runner contest, there's not masses of data (only 10.4% of Windsor 5f sprints have been run on soft ground!), but the general feeling off an admittedly small sample size is that Stalls 2 to 5 is the best 'corridor' for making the frame, with 3 to 5 being the areas for winners...
With regard to place, it's interesting to see that leaders win far more often than other running styles, but they tend to either win or fail to even make the frame, there doesn't seem any middle ground. And if leaders are the ones most likely to win, then it's the hold-up horses who chase them home to make the places.
As ever, we can combine the draw stats with those pace stats to make a 12-box pace/draw matrix showing which combinations of draw and running styles work best/worst at Windsor and that looks like this...
And this is today's draw and our horses' running styles averaged out over their last four runs...
So we know who's in stalls 3 to 5 ie Charlie Fellowes, Rayong and Clarendon House and we know two of those three like to get on with it, so when we overlay that last graphic onto the pace/draw heat map, we get something like this...
...which probably comes as little surprise to anyone.
What I believe to be the three best horses here are coincidentally also the ones most likely to be setting the pace and I wouldn't be surprised if the first three home finished in order of their pace ranking ie
A Sure Welcome is useful and consistent at this level/trip, but might just be carrying too much, despite (or because of!) still running well. Clarendon House is unbeaten, but has just two quick ground Class 5 races under his belt. He could be something, but could equally be nothing and I'm not backing a horse at a possible Evens or slightly bigger/smaller on the basis that he might or might not be something.
There's every possibility that he's the best of the seven by some margin, but I like to deal in what we know and not what we assume, which leaves me with Charlie Fellowes. He doesn't mind the wet ground, stays 6f and has a great draw. He likes to lead and might prove uncatchable. Hills were the only bookie to have shown a hand at 4pm on Sunday, but their 4/1 about Charlie Fellowes seems fair to me, so I'm on!