Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Friday 05/04/24

Friday's free feature, the Horses for Courses (H4C) report does exactly what it says on the tin ie it shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at the track and is 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, but as ever please refer to our User Guide for further information!

My own settings (you get to choose your own parameters) for the H4C report...

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...are quite restrictive and have produced just one UK qualifier..

...but thankfully our daily feature is always supplemented by a number of 'free' racecards as follows...

  • 2.00 Lingfield
  • 2.40 Fontwell
  • 5.40 Musselburgh
  • 5.50 Wexford
  • 8.30 Dundalk

...from which I'm going to look at Ewan Whillans' Scots Poet, who should be used to the surroundings for the 6.40 Musselburgh, a 13-runner, Class 2, 4yo+ handicap hurdle over 2m1f and 87yds on soft ground...

Top-weight Russian Virtue comes here on a hat-trick and has three wins and a place from his last four. he has made the frame in each of his last ten NH outings, winning six times, but this has propelled his mark from 85 to today's 114! Coup de Coeur won last time out and is two from four and both Scots Poet and Beaumesnil also come here off the back of wins.

Those without a win in their visible form line are Collingham, Hartur D'Oudairies, Restandbethankful, Mack The Man and The Navigator who are on NH losing runs of 7, 8, 6, 11 and 12 races respectively.

Not one of these actually raced at this grade last time out and all of them bar Scots Poet (up one class) are up at least two classes here with three (Beausmesnil, Mack The Man And Serious Ego) making a triple step up, which wouldn't bode well for Mack the Man breaking his 11-race drought.

Most of the field have raced inside the last seven weeks, but Restandbethankful, Scots Poet and The Navigator now return from breaks of 62, 95 and 160 days respectively with the latter now probably needing a run to get race-fit : not ideal when you've lost your last dozen!

Seven of the field have already won here at Musselburgh and seven (not all the same horses) have scored over a similar trip to this one, but only Cuban Cigar and The Navigator have scored over course and distance and Instant Expert shows us who has done what over this going/class/course/distance over the last two years...

In-form and top-weight Russian Virtue has yet to won at Class 2, but he should certainly relish the ground and the trip and the same can be said about H4C horse Scots Poet, of course. Cuban Cigar has a reasonable record across the board, but I'm hoping the place stats from those races above will be more helpful...

...and they certainly are, even if only to tell me to concentrate on the upper half of the card. I expect most bookies to pay 4 places on this race, so focusing on just seven should simplify the task of at least finding a placer or two.

Our next thing to consider is how the race might pan out in a competitive-looking 13-runner contest on soft ground, where race tactics/tempo aka 'pace' might be a contributory or even deciding factor. Our pace analyser tells us that similar past races have gone like this...

...with horses running in mid-division or further back really struggling to land any kind of blow, which based on the field's most recent efforts...

...would make life difficult for any from Hartur D'Oudairies downwards.

Summary

From Instant Expert, we highlighted Collingham, Coup de Coeur, Cuban Cigar, Duyfken, Final Edgar, Russian Virtue and Scots Poet, whilst those at the sharper end of the pace charts were Collingham, Coup de Coeur, Duyfken, Final Edgar, Restandbethankful and Russian Virtue.

Scots Poet is, of course, our H4C qualifier and was also one of our 'form' horses along with Russian Virtue, Coup de Coeur and Beaumesnil.

A quick tally up says that Coup de Coeur, Scots Poet and Russian Virtue tick more boxes than the others, so they'd be my three against the field and I'd probably take them in that order today. Only Hills had prices at 3pm Thursday, but they seem to agree with me about the 1-2 here and that Russian Virtue is less likely to succeed...

I'm not sure yet which way to go about the 1-2, I might dutch them, but Russian Virtue looks like my E/W selection. As for the others on my shortlist, Collingham, Duyfken and Final Edgar make more appeal than Cuban Cigar from an E/w perspective and all are at very backable odds.

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