The free feature of the day on Friday the Horses For Courses Report. This is understandably one of the most popular reports on Geegeez Gold as it’s such a simple, but effective angle into a race. You can dig deeper into this using Geegeez Gold to compare runner’s records at courses with similar characteristics, be it right handed, left handed, uphill finish, tight bends, etc and this is where more of an edge can be found over the bookmakers who are perhaps putting less time into studying these aspects than we are.
There will also be six more free races of the day, available to registered free users.
It’s the two races at Catterick that I find by far the most interesting from a betting perspective and they’ll both be run over 5f. The latter contest is a class 4 race, compared to the class 6 handicap earlier in the card so I’m going to go through the slightly classier runners as hopefully the form will be a bit more reliable and the runners will be more likely to run to form.
The going at the time of writing is good to soft, good in places, but I’m expecting that to have tightened up to good all round by the time the racing comes around with only a tiny amount of rain forecast for Friday evening.
Only the 7 runners which is a bit disappointing from an each way perspective but hopefully we won’t need the places anyway! In a field of this size the draw could still play its part and I’ll once again use the draw and pace combination heat map to highlight any possible draw and pace biases.
The first thing to stand out is the over performance of those on the pace and the underperformance of those who even race in mid division, never mind those who are held up.With a PRB for front runners of between 0.58 and 0.73 depending on the draw we should be able to upgrade significantly those who should be on the speed and low drawn prominent racers can also be marked up too.
Low draws have the best record for front runners, prominent racers and for those who race in mid division so despite the small field there could also be a bias towards those that are drawn lower here.
The lowest drawn front runner is Militia. This is a horse I backed last time out at Chester, more because of draw and pace angles than anything else, and I won’t make that same mistake here. He didn’t look brilliantly handicapped heading into that race but if in form he should have run much better, he dropped out tamely with a furlong remaining with fellow front runner Look Out Louis landing the spoils. He’s dropped 3lbs for that effort which makes him feasibly handicapped now but he looked as though he needed to work his way into form. He had won at Chester previously but Catterick is arguably his favoured course with form figures of 23114 here but he was too disappointing last time out to back.
Mellys Flyer is another pace angle in this but whether or not he has the pace at the minimum trip is open to question since he usually runs over 6f or 7f. Regardless of whether he improves for the trip or not, he’s been in no sort of form on his last two runs and it’s all guesswork as to whether or not he can perform here.
Low drawn prominent racers can also be upgraded so John Kirkup, and to a slightly lesser extent Glory Fighter, could run slightly above the expected level. John Kirkup has typically been a mudlark throughout his career so it was a surprise he was able to win on fast ground at Musselburgh earlier this month and it was a surprise to punters too as he won at 14/1. He’s running under a penalty here for the 2nd time, having run just about okay at Hamilton a week ago. Many of his previous wins had come at 6f but his last three victories have come at 5f and the ground will be slightly softer than when winning a couple of weeks ago so this could suit more than the 6f he raced over last time. Perhaps the biggest negative is the removal of blinkers as he seems at his very best when they are added, having previously raced without them. His record when wearing blinkers having raced without them last time out is:
Won by 5 lengths at 11/4
4th of 23 at 10/1
Won by over 2 lengths at 11/4
Won by a nose at 11/4
8th at Pontefract
Won by a nose at 14/1
So the first thing to do is to add John Kirkup to your tracker with a note to back when blinkers go back on. He has a form chance in this but it’s a major concern he hasn’t won without headgear since 2017.
As for Glory Fighter, he showed much more last time out on his 2nd run for Paul Midgely. He’ll need to step forward again here but it’s logical he could progress again. He’s 3lbs lower than when 3rd in a class 2 handicap on his final run last season and he’d have a decent chance on that form and Ryan Sexton is well worth his 5lb claim currently. He’s won off this mark previously and has done all his winning in single figure fields so he is of interest here.
Dark Shot could go prominent, or even try to lead, from a high draw but he’s developed a habit of being slowly away so comes with plenty of risk. His last two wins have come here but over 6f instead of 5f and he might be more interesting when returning here over an extra furlong.
Early favourite Isle Of Lismore will have to defy a possible pace bias here. He ran okay in a better race against a similar pace bias last time out but hasn’t really got close in his last six starts. It’s a bit strange to see him heading the early betting, especially as he was well behind Glory Fighter here at the end of last season. He’s 1lb below his last winning mark but he looks way too short on the balance of things.
Duke Of Firenze completes the field and looks set to go off a big price. He’s finished nearer last than first on his last ten runs after a 60+ day absence and is entitled to be rusty this time around at the age of 13. He won last season, aged 12, off marks of 74 and 75 so it’s not out of the question he’ll add to his tally again this year but it’s unlikely to be here. He tends to run well at Doncaster so could be worth keeping an eye on there.
So a pretty competitive race and hopefully some early value to be had by opposing Isle Of Lismore who looks underpriced. Militia could bounce back at this venue but he needs to after two fairly lifeless runs, and Dark Shot could be competitive if breaking on terms but might be slightly better here over 6f now. John Kirkup has a form chance but the lack of headgear is a concern. By the process of elimination Glory Fighter looks pretty interesting. He needs to improve from his last effort but he improved plenty then from his previous run so could be being brought along slowly for his new trainer. A reproduction of his last run here would give him as good a chance as anything here at as big as 11/2 at the time of writing.