Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Easter Monday 18/04/22

The pace tab on our racecards gives a clear indication of how a race will unfold even before the stalls open or the tapes rise. It's such an important weapon in the bettors' armoury that we make access to this feature totally free to all readers for all races every Sunday & Monday in addition to the daily selection of free races, which for Easter Monday are...

  • 1.35 Fakenham
  • 3.59 Redcar
  • 4.15 Huntingdon
  • 4.20 Fairyhouse
  • 4.44 Cork
  • 4.55 Chepstow

...the best of which for me to look at would be the 4.55 Chepstow, a 7-runner, Class 2, 5yo+ Handicap Chase (12 fences) over a left-handed two miles on good ground and here are the contenders for the £13,202 first prize...

Rikoboy is our only LTO winner in the field, but Sebastopol, Mick Pastor and Leapaway have all won at lest one of their last six runs. The last of those runners, Leapaway is the only one to have raced at this grade (Class 2) last time, as Sebastopol, Mick Pastor, King D'Argent and Zambezi Fix were all in Class 1 (Listed, Gr 1, Gr 3 & Gr 3) action recently, whilst Rikoboy and Moonlighter both move up from Class 3.

Leapway is also the only one without a recent run, as he makes a re-appearance after almost six months off track, whilst five of the other six have all raced in the past 9 to 18 days with Zambexi Fix's last run being 37 days ago. Only Rikoboy and Moonlighter have yet to win over two miles,. although both have won over 2m½f and the latter has also won at 1m7½f, so the trip shouldn't be an issue for any of them here.

SEBASTOPOL
Has gained a bit of a tag of being decent but not quite decent enough after finishing as runner-up in each of his last runs over hurdles from April to June 2021. he then took 114 days of before launching his chasing career and finished as runner-up yet again in each of his first two efforts over fences, but it should be pointed out that they were 2-runner (beaten by 20L) and 4-runner races. Since then he has failed to complete three of four starts, including two falls, although he did win by 6.5 lengths at Kempton a month ago, but now carries 8lbs more. Yard and jockey have some good supporting numbers, though.


MICK PASTOR
Won four on the spin (C4 x2 & C3 x2) from June to October last year, but struggled in two Grade 2 outings in November before a near 5 month break. He returned at Aintree just nine days ago but was only 5th of 6, beaten by 41 lengths in a Grade 1 contest. We should see him in a better light here though, down in class off a lower mark than his last win.

KING D'ARGENT
Is better than recent bare results might suggest. He won back to back Class 3 handicaps in March 2021 by 27 and 8.5 lengths before running a great race to be a Listed class runner-up at Ayr a year ago behind Theinval. He wasn't at this best at Aintree 11 days ago but still managed 5th of 16 at Grade 3, but now reverts to Class 2 handicapping off the same mark as when only a neck behind proven chaser Bun Doran at Doncaster in March.

LEAPAWAY
Probably better over hurdles, but did win two of his last four handicap chases, although was 21 lengths adrift when 6th of 7 on his last run. That was at Cheltenham last October and a break of almost six months allied to an unchanged mark as that defeat says we'd be better looking elsewhere, even if the jockey's in good nick...

RIKOBOY
Is up 6lbs for a career-best run over fences when wining at Warwick almost three weeks ago. That said, it was a four-runner race that was ruined as a contest when two of the runners came down at the sixth fence. His sole standing rival made a hash of the last and he was left to cruise in for a 10 length win. Up in weight and class against better horses here, he'll have to find plenty more to win this one.

MOONLIGHTER
Won a Class 2 handicap at Sandown 14 months ago off a mark of 144, but has failed to win/place in any of 8 since, failing to complete four of them, most recently when falling at Warwick in the race won by Rikoboy above. His jumping is often suspect, he also has a tendency to go quite a bit to the left and the fact that his mark has plummeted from 148 to 128 in the space of six races should tell its own story.

ZAMBEZI FIX
Yet to win any of seven starts over fences, although he was a runner-up three times on the bounce in January to March of 2021. He was a faller at Ffos Las in November and fifth of nine (18 lengths) here at Chepstow just after Christmas in his final effort over fences. Has since had a couple of decent Class 2 handicap runs over hurdles before being well beaten (45L) as 17th of 22 in a Sandown Grade 3 just over a month ago. Jockey likes it here and the yard are coming into a bit of form...

That's a quick overview of each runner and you've probably got a mental list of who you prefer from the seven. For a race specific summary of past performances, we have Instant Expert of course...

...where the immediate highlights are Mick Pastor's record in good ground chases and King D'Argent's three wins at the trip. Zambezi Fix's line of red catches the eye for all the wrong reasons and Moonlighter's record at both going and class are a concern.

The feature of the day is pace and our pace analysis tool tells me that...

...leading is probably the best policy here, which based on this field's last few outings...

...suggests that Moonlighter might perform better than his previous record might suggest. But the caveat here is that (a) I had to expand my search criteria on the analyser for both trip and field size just to get a 9-race sample and (b) Moonlighter hasn't won any of those races where he has raced prominently. Despite it being feature of the day, pace isn't always the key to unlocking every race and I feel that form/ability are the areas I should focus on.

Summary

Despite his seemingly decent pace profile, there's nothing else in Moonlighter's favour here and I don't like Zambezi Fix either based on form, so they're out of the equation. Leapaway is better over hurdles and will probably need the run after a six-month absence, which leaves me with four to consider.

All four could win this in fairness and the market have them as the first four too. Sebastopol is a little too short for my liking as the 9/4 favourite, whilst second favourite Rikoboy is also probably a bit short at 7/2 as this is much more difficult than the race he won last time out. It could be a tight affair, but I think the one I'd want to win would be the 4/1 King D'Argent. If he runs like he ran in hios last handicap race, whne only narrowly beaten by Bun Doran off today's mark, then that would be the benchmark for others to beat, so my tentative pick is King D'Argent.

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