My top rated pick for Monday, Before Midnight, was a well backed 6/4 winner from an overnight 10/3 price, whilst my E/W fancy Zoffee was third at 9/1. Sadly, there was a non-runner, meaning there was no payout for the placer.
Now to Tuesday, where 'feature of the day' is The Shortlist, whilst our free 'races of the day' are as follows...
- 1.00 Pontefract
- 2.00 Pontefract
- 3.10 Bath
- 8.00 Chelmsford
I think I might hang fire before diving straight into the new Flat season, so we'll assess the last of our four free races, the 8.00 Chelmsford, a 6-runner, Class 5 handicap over 1m2f on the Essex Polytrack and here's how they line up...
Only six are set to go to post, but it looks a fairly open contest as many of these low grade handicaps are, especially when most of the runners have got some fairly recent winning form. The Geegeez ratings' top three are fairly closely matched on score, so it could well be a tight affair with the likes of Morlaix and Eaglesglen probably heading market in the 5/2 to 11/4 type of pricing.
Nawafeth is the only filly in the race. She won on her last start in Ireland, when winning over a mile at Dundalk, but has struggled in three UK runs for her new yard since, albeit in a higher grade than this. She looks the weakest of the six here.
Morlaix has two wins and a place from his last three runs and looks more than capable of going well again if continuing to improve. He's on a career-high mark of 72 here, however and he was beaten by 4.5 lengths over 1m3f at Southwell off 68 and has also failed to make the frame in any of his five previous runs on polytrack.
Bayston Hill certainly loves coming to Chelmsford, having won five times here and also making the frame on four occasions, all from just ten visits and all over course and distance! He did, however struggle off this mark last time out and it is hoped that the return of Dan Muscutt to the saddle will inspire a return to winning ways. Dan is 5 from 18 on the horse and he's riding well right now with two wins and a runner-up finish from his last four rides and it should be noted that the horse also drops in class here.
Bad Attitude is another with favourable conditions here. He has 2 wins and 2 places from 6 here at Chelmsford and has won three of the five races in which he has been ridden by Kieran O'Neill, plus he's two from three in cheekpieces. That said, he was beaten by just under three lengths last time out (also over C&D), but has been eased a pound for his yard debut for Alice Haynes.
Le Magnifique is difficult to assess based on UK form so far, as all five runs have been over hurdles where in fairness he has acquitted himself quite well. he own a Class 4 contest, finished mid-division in a Listed race and made the frame at Class 2 last time out. He did race on the Flat three times in Germany during 2019/20, sent off three times as favourite, but generally disappointed. He could be something, he could be nothing, best watched I suppose.
Eaglesglen makes up the field carrying bottom weight and is looking quite well treated off a mark of 63, the same as when only beaten by three quarters of a length over course and distance last time out. That was a decent effort coming some 145 days after his previous run, when he won here also over course and distance off 59. He's up in class here, but is entitled to improve for having had that run on Thursday.
A few of these have won inside their last few runs, but Instant Expert is the best guide to relevant form...
Bayston Hill and Bad Attitude certainly show up well there, but only Le Magnifique (with no relevant runs) and Nawafeth look out of contention from that graphic, but the latter does at least run off a mark 5lbs lower than his last win.
In similar 6-runner handicaps, stall 2 seems to have produced more than it's fair share of winners, but I'm not entirely convinced there's a discernible draw bioas here...
...but there is a definite/distinctive pace bias here. The plan has to be to get out and stay out as leaders win far more often than they'd be expected to...
...and this is, of course, reflected in our unique pace/draw heat map...
...which says lead if you can, but if you've not got a low draw and you can't lead, then it's best to hold back for a late run to try and overhaul a tiring pacesetter. As you know by now, we log how every horse runs every race and we can then make an informed assumption of how they might run next time out and we can then overlay this predicted running style onto that heat map above, like this...
...where we expect Eaglesglen to set the fractions, but Bayston Hill in stall 1 has an equally good pace/draw setup, meaning the pace maker won't have all his own way, but will have the opportunity to control the race from the front. Neither Bad Attitude nor Morlaix look particularly well positioned.
When I started writing the piece, the race tissues suggested a tight affair with Morlaix and Eaglesglen likely to be very closely matched at the head of the market. Based on the write-ups, Eaglesglen at 5/2 was going to be the suggestion, but I've now discovered that he's not going to run after all, which leaves me a little frustrated if I'm honest.
Morlaix is the likely winner, but I really don't want to be backing him at 13/8 and Le Magnifique is already as low as 5/2 in places with no relevant form to rely on, so I can't go there either (not that I was going to!). Nawafeth looks out fo his depth and carries too much weight, which leaves us with Bad Attitude and Bayston Hill. Both love it here, but weren't at their best last out, the latter has a great course and distance record and has abetter pace/draw make-up, so if I was to get involved here, I'd want to be on Bayston Hill. He's 11/2 in places and that's pretty big for him in a 5-runner contest.