Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Friday 20/10/23

Friday is Horses For Courses (H4C) report day at Geegeez and this feature does exactly what you'd expect, as it 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, but please refer to our User Guide for further information.

My chosen settings for the report...

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...have sadly yielded just one qualifier...

...but I can always fall back upon our daily list of 'free' races...

  • 1.55 Haydock
  • 2.25 Haydock
  • 4.35 Uttoxeter
  • 5.38 Redcar
  • 6.15 Dundalk
  • 7.45 Dundalk

Storm Babet continues to cause major disruption to meetings across Britain, so Fakenham and Uttoxeter's Friday cards must pass 7.30am inspections before being allowed to go ahead with Haydock already postponed. With this in mind, the A/W might be a safer place to focus on and we might as well have a look at Spirit of Ash from the H4C report above. She's one of three females in the 5.00 Newcastle, a 10-runner, Class 5, 3yo+ A/W handicap over a left-handed 2m½f on standard tapeta...

Our featured runner Spirit of Ash was a winner here over 1m4½f just a week ago, making her the only LTO winner in this field, but most of her opponents have at least one win in their recent form, although Yasmin from York have lost her last seven and both Spritzin and Easter Island are maidens after eight and five races respectively.

Sophar Sogood is down three classes here after being well beaten at Class 2, but he's still a class higher than when winning two starts ago, whilst top weight Red Force One is down one level. Spirit of Ash goes the other way, moving up one class from her Class 6 win here a week ago, whilst out of form bottom weight Yasmin from York is also up one class, which I can't see being helpful!

Haaland, Spritzin and Artisan Dancer receive an 8lbs weight for age allowance here and the first named of that trio now wears cheekpieces for the first time after finishing third last time out. That was 29 days ago and whilst that's not exactly a distant memory, only Kiss My Face has been out of action longer and he might well need the run after 24 weeks off.

Despite being three from five here at Newcastle, Spirit of Ash hasn't won over course and distance (she hasn't gone beyond 1m5f), but both Bobby Shaftoe and the returning Kiss My Face have scored over track and trip, whilst Red Force One, Sophar Sogood, Artisan Dancer and Yasmin from York have won elsewhere over similar distances to this one.

One last note about Kiss My Face is that he's trained by Brian Ellison and will be ridden by Ben Robinson and this trainer/jockey combo have won this race for the last two years and Instant Expert suggests this runner should enjoy the prevalent conditions here...

Bobby Shaftoe also has a decent set of figures to back up his claims, but aside from Sophar Sogood, the field look pretty shy of Class 5 A/W wins and this is repeated in the place stats...

...where Yasmin of York would normally be of interest were she not in such poor form right now. Kiss My Face is the eyecatcher again here, but I'm just concerned he might need the run.

The draw stats for similar past races...

...are a little skewed by a poor set of results from horses drawn in stall 1...

...but that looks to be an anomaly and I'm fairly sure that the draw won't make or break the chances of a horse that has to run over 3500 yards after the gates open, so I wouldn't necessarily be ruling Bobby Shaftoe out right now, but I'd want him to race as prominently as he could from that lowest draw, if these pace stats are anything to go by...

That, sadly isn't normally the case ands he's generally held up or races in mid-field, as shown by his last four efforts below...

That said, there's very little pace in the race here and I suspect we'll have a falsely run race. Draw and pace will probably end up having very little effect on the outcome and if they go at a dawdle, which they might, then that's tailor made for the more natural hold-up types.


If we're not placing as much emphasis on draw/pace as we normally do, then it's going to be down to form, suitability, quality and the unquantifiable 'gut feeling' and with that in mind, I think I want to play at the bottom end of the pace chart. A lack of early pace would tend to set it up for a 'finisher'.

Spirit of Ash is the course specialist from the H4C report and I fancy her to go well, but she's never been beyond 1m5f, so may have to settle for a place/top 4 finish with Artisan Dancer the one I like most. He has finished 1116 in his last four and would have been much closer last time out, had he not been blocked off on the rail late on when flying home. He gets the trip, is in good nick, loves the A/W and is 3 from 6 under today's jockey.  He's the current 9/4 fav ahead of Spirit of Ash at 7/2, but neither price is particularly attractive/generous.

Elsewhere, at a bigger price, Bobby Shaftoe looks a reasonable E/W pick at 8/1, whilst Kiss My Face could well outrun his 12/1 ticket if fully tuned up after his lay-off, but you'd be taking his fitness on trust. Mind you, Skybet are paying 4 places, so who knows?

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