Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Friday 01/04/22

Every day we open up a selection of racecards to non-Gold subscribers to show them some of the functionality we offer from as little as £1 per day. On Friday, those 'free' races will be...

  • 1.55 Newbury
  • 4.05 Ayr
  • 5.15 Ayr
  • 5.40 Southwell
  • 7.20 Dundalk

In addition to this daily offering of a selection of fully functional cards, we also open up one of the Gold features each day...

Their names are generally a giveaway as to what they offer, especially on Fridays, where the Horses for Courses (H4C) report is the freebie. This does pretty much as you'd expect and shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at that track, sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at your discretion.

As well as today’s race time, course, horse name, jockey and trainer name, there is a breakdown of runs, wins and places, and profit and loss calculations for both win and each way betting. And as with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

My settings for the H4C report are as follows, but you can set your own, of course...

A course win and place strike rate of 33% and 66% is pretty exacting if truth be told and doesn't often generate masses of qualifiers. In fact, I've none to look at for Friday, so I'm going to run through one of the 'free' races for you today and the first of the two Scottish offerings looks the best of the free races on paper, at least.

That's the 4.o5 Ayr, a 9-runner, Class 2, 4yo+ Mares Handicap Hurdle (12 flights) over a left-handed 3m½f on Good to Soft ground and the £15,609 first prize will end up going home with one of these...

Timeless Beauty and Glimpse of Gala both won LTO and the latter is probably the pick of the pick based on recent finishing positions alone (not counting for race conditions/quality, of course) with three wins and two places from her last five. Pearl of the West, however, is the only one of the nine without a win in her last five(or eleven!).

Motown Maggie makes just a second handicap start after failing to place LTO, whilst top weight Get A Tonic is on handicap debut and drops down a level from Class 1 action to do so. She's the only class dropper here, but two (Glimpse of Gala & Wynn House) move up from Class 3 and two others (Timeless Beauty & Jessiemac) are up two levels from Class 4.

Flower of Scotland hasn't raced for almost three months but aside from Motown Maggie who raced 37 days ago, the others have all been seen in the last four weeks or so.

Aurora Thunder has already won here (over 2m4½f) at Ayr, as has Timeless Beauty (2m5½f), whilst Glimpse of Gala and Timeless Beauty have both over similar trips to today at other venues. Bottom weight Jessiemac, however, has won here over course and distance, albeit in October 2019!

Hopefully that takes you through the racecard details and explains them a little, now for a quick individual overview of each runner before we assess their past for under this race's expected conditions...

GET A TONIC
Might not look too well treated with a mark of 130 on handicap debut, but she has finished 322 in her last three outings, all at Listed class, the latest being a narrow (half a length) defeat over today's trip, where she would surely have won but for badly veering left on the run in. A similar effort here without the veer should surely make her the one to beat?

PEARL OF THE WEST
Has won 5 of 16 over hurdles, but hasn't won any of her last eleven outings since landing a Grade 2 at Punchestown almost three years ago and hasn't really ran well for a long time. Interesting to see how she copes with today's trip, having never been beyond 2m1f.

GLIMPSE OF GALA
Took five months off between mid-May and mid-September of last year, but has won three of five on her return (12131), culminating in a win over 3m at Ludlow four weeks ago. She's now up in class and raised 6lbs for that win where she was just over ten lengths in front of third placed Wynn House who reopposes here.

WYNN HOUSE
Won over 2m5½f at this grade on her seasonal reappearance at Wincanton back in November, which earned her a 3lb rise in weight. Since then she has finished 4th of 9 and then 3rd of 6 at Ludlow behind Glimpse of Gala last time out. She's now back to her last winning mark and some 8lbs better off with Glimpse. Whether that's enough to bridge the gap remains to be seen, but I expect her to go well here.

MOTOWN MAGGIE
Only debuted in August last year when 4th of 11 at Down Royal and not disgraced finishing within 10 lengths of the winner. She ten had six successive top three non-handicap finishes over 2m2½f to 2m5f before making a handicap debut over today's trip at Punchestown just over five weeks ago. The step up in trip didn't seem to help and she had little in reserve late on. This looks a tough ask, based on that run.

AURORA THUNDER
Three from twenty over hurdles isn't what you want from a Class 2 runner, but she does love it here at Ayr, making the frame in 5 of 6 starts, winning twice, both over 2m4½f. She was a runner-up in her only C&D attempt, when half a length behind Didonato in this race last year. Sadly that race hasn't proved to be much, but she's in decent enough form right now.

FLOWER OF SCOTLAND
Seems to switch between chasing and hurdling (HCHCCCHH so far!) with 1 win in each sphere, but unplaced in her other six outings. She was fourth of nine here over 3m1f last out, beaten by seven lengths off a mark of 117, which suggests that today's 2lb weight drop might not be enough to get her back to winning ways.

TIMELESS BEAUTY
A useful mare, but probably better over fences where she has been plying her trade for the last year finishing 13271. Her latest run/win was over this trip, so that's a bonus ahead of a return to hurdling. She did win here over 2m5½f in January '21 three hurdle starts ago, but that was a Class 5 affair and her last two efforts over hurdles have seen her go down by 25L and 17L at Class 4. This is Class 2 and she's 7lbs higher than that last hurdles run. This looks beyond her.

JESSIEMAC
Like the mare above, is also up two classes and she arrives here off the back of a 14 length defeat on this track almost three weeks ago. That was over 2m6f, so she's back up in trip today, which should suit here as her 5 from 27 hurdling record includes 4 from 11 at 3m½f to 3m2f, but that's about as many positives I have about her. She did run here over C&D two starts ago and although she was the runner-up that day, she was beaten by three lengths in a Class 4 and is now 4lbs and two classes higher than that run. She's not for me.

At this point, I'm against the likes of Flower of Scotland, Jessiemac, Motown Maggie and Timeless Beauty, but I've still a fairly open mind about the winner/placers. Class 2 staying events are often won by those with previous form under similar racing conditions and the easiest way to compare such events is via Instant Expert...

Obviously, we want horses with a largely green profile, but I wouldn't discount a horse with lots of red blocks from small sample sizes. The alarm bells usually come from those who have tried and failed several times, but even then there could be another side to the story. For example, Aurora Thunder's 0 from 7 at Class 2 is disappointing, but when we change from win stats to place stats...

...she's suddenly much more attractive to us and her consistency shows through, even if she doesn't win often enough. At this point, I'm probably still wanting to be the five from earlier (ie 1-4 and 6). Aurora Thunder is one of those and she was the runner-up in this race last year when all three placers came from off the pace before becoming the front three from three hurdles out. That hold-up approach, however, hasn't really worked out here in similar events in the past as seen on our Pace Analyser...

...where I'd probably want to be on anything bar a hold-up horse, but here's where we hit a potential snag, as...

...there's not actually a great deal of pace on show here, based on their recent outings. I think that if we applied a best three of four rule, we might get a clear indication of how they might run. We've not one single "4" denoting leader on display, but somebody WILL have to lead and I think that's likely to be Glimpse of Gala/Motown Maggie. The ones least suited on pace profiling based on the stats above are Wynn House and Aurora Thunder, but do check the place data, as hold up horses are just as likely to make the frame as leaders are.

Summary

I quite quickly crossed Flower of Scotland, Jessiemac, Motown Maggie and Timeless Beauty off my list of possible winners, leaving me with five to go at. Of my final five, I think Pearl of the West is the weakest and probably should have crossed off sooner. She's in terrible form and maybe an extra 7f might help her, but that's some punt.

So, now there are four. Based on pace, I think it's going to be hard for Wynn House and Aurora Thunder to win, but the pace data says they've a good chance of making the frame. Of the two, I'm leaning towards the latter on past form and also the market. Aurora Thunder was the runner-up in this last year and Hills have opened her up at 17/2, so I'm having a small E/W play there.

As for the winner, I think that despite Glimpse of Gala's obvious good recent form, Get A Tonic's overall consistency and her pair of back to back Listed class runner-up finishes give here the edge and she's the one for me here. There probably won't be much in it and Hills have my 1-2 at 3/1 and 4/1, so they think it'll be close too.

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