Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Friday 18/03/22

The Horses for Courses (H4C) report is our free feature every Friday and it quite simply shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at that track. It is sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at the 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.

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Sadly, after applying my own settings...

...the H4C report has no potential bets for me, but all is not quite lost, because I've still got these 'free' races to aim at...

  • 1.10 Fakenham
  • 2.00 Doncaster
  • 2.50 Cheltenham
  • 8.15 Newcastle

And that's a tough selection, too! Conditional Jockeys Maiden Hurdle / Novice Handicap Chase / 19-runner Grade 1 Hurdle / Class 5 AW sprint make up the free races and I never thought I'd prefer to look at the low grade sprint, but here were are. It's the one of the four that causes me least discomfort, so let's see if we can unravel the 8.15 Newcastle, a 7-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ A/W handicap over a straight 5f on standard tapeta. James Watt is a non-runner, so only two places on offer here...

Mews House is our only LTO winner, but that was some 170 days ago and like Mister Bluebird (98d) and Blissful Song (86d) might need the run, whilst the fact that Mews & Blissful are our two class risers isn't a positive either. On the other hand, Gowanlad, Khabib and Danzart all drop down in class.

Khabib is in good form (12 last two), as in Blazing Hot (1152), but in fairness, all seven have won at least once in their last five runs and this looks quite competitive for a lowly A/W sprint. Danzart is the only one yet to win at this minimum trip, whilst Gowanlad, Khabib and Blazing Hot have all won over course and distance.

GOWANLAD
Won over course and distance here two starts ago after back to back runner-up finishes at Southwell (5f) and here over 6f. He wasn't suited by the way the race unfolded here LTO and will be keen to bounce back for a yard in decent enough form...

MISTER BLUEBIRD
Just one place from four A/W efforts, he looks better on turf where he has 2 wins and 3 further places from 9 and coming off a 14-week break this looks like a pipe-opener ahead of a return to Flat racing next month. That said, his yard do go well here and he might be a dark horse.

KHABIB
Won over C&D two starts ago at this grade in February and ran really well to be 2nd of 8 LTO. That was also over C&D, but he was up in class and weight and now back down at Class 5, he stands every chance of a return to winning ways under an in-form jockey...

DANZART
No course wins, no distance wins, just a solitary 6f success from ten starts so far. Flopped on what was both an A/W and new yard debut here over 6f LTO when tailed off last of 8 some 24 lengths adrift. It would take some serious improvement to even get near here, but he's down in class and his jockey loves it here...

BLAZING HOT
Won back to back C&D contests a fortnight apart in January, but then didn't have enough in the tank over 6f. He dropped back to this trip last time out and was only 1¾ lengths behind Gowanlad three weeks ago and he now re-opposes 5lbs better off. His yard do well here and he's 9112 over C&D

MEWS HOUSE
Won over this trip at Catterick last time out but that was last September and in addition to the lay-off, he's up in class and weight. Like Mister Bluebird, he's better on turf and this might also be a pipe-opener for him too. He looks like stable second string behind Blazing Hot above, but not only does the yard do well here, they do well with LTO winners and horses coming back off a break.

BLISSFUL SONG
Just one from six on the A/W and his last four runs (all A/W) have seen her finish last of 11, last of 10, 4th of 13 and second last of 14. First-time cheekpieces had effect last time out and an 86-day absence is hardly likely to help either, even if trainer & jockey have some impressive relevant stats behind them...

At this point, I think it's the three former course and distance winners (Blazing Hot, Gowanlad and Khabib) that are the most likely here with possibly Mister Bluebird posing the biggest threat, but let's see how relevant form stacks up on Instant Expert...

...where Khabib looks best suited with four greens and an amber. Mister Bluebird's poor A/W record stands out sadly, as does Mews House's failure to deal with standard going. Gowanlad hasn't done particularly well here at Newcastle previously, but most of those runs were over 6f, so I won't discount him just yet.

Five furlongs = 1100 yards  = 1000 metres. On a straight artificial dragged track track there really should be very little bias/advantage from the draw, other than possibly the horse nearest the rail having that aid to stay straight. Surely it's all about speed and positioning? But here are the draw stats for similar contests anyway...

...as you can see, the extremes (1 & 7) have won slightly less often than you'd imagine/expect, but their place stats are no worse than stalls 3 & 6, so I doubt Gowanlad nor Danzart's connections will be too worried. If pushed, I'd say stalls 5 then 4 were the best, but that might simply be because the riders can see all the others either side of them. But my assertion is that it's the way you tackle the straight five here that will make a difference and the advice is very simple...

...get out quickly and stay out! The further back in the pack you race, the lower your chance of winning and leaders have an almost 1 in 2 record at making the frame, which will suit Khabib most of my preferred trio....

Summary

After looking at the card and writing my brief reviews, Khabib was going to be my pick with Gowanlad holding off Blazing Hot for second. Instant Expert confirmed Khabib in my thoughts and his pace profile is good too, so it's Khabib for me. Sadly I'm not the only one reaching that conclusion and he's the current (4.25pm) favourite. I had him down at that kind of price, so I'm happy with that.

As for second place, Blazing Hot shows better than Gowanlad on past relevant form and edges it on pace, so I'd want Blazing Hot ahead of Gowanlad for the places. Both are priced at 4/1, which is more than I expected, but too short for E/W purposes and they're only so long, because my dark horse Mister Bluebird is 3/1, a price that's surely a bit skinny? I had him around the 11/2 mark.

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