Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Friday 25/02/22

Friday's free feature is the simply-named Horses for Courses (H4C) report, which does exactly as you'd expect and shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at the 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]

Sadly, my settings for the H4C report...

...have drawn a blank, but there's always the daily list of 'free' races to consider...

  • 3.05 Warwick
  • 3.50 Exeter
  • 6.00 Dundalk
  • 6.45 Wolverhampton

There are a couple of Class 3 3m+ chases above and the Exeter one is probably better than the one at Warwick, but the latter has 6 runners on heavy ground as opposed to 13 on soft. Six to twelve runners is my preferred field size and heavy ground is more of a leveller and whilst the Devon National looks a potential cracker, we're going to focus on the 3.05 Warwick, a 6-runner, Class 3, 5yo+ Mares' handicap chase taking in 18 fences over a left-handed 3m107yds (after +107yd rail movement) on heavy ground...

...the form horse here is the Williams/Deutsch runner, Eleanor Bob, who is likely to go off quite short as she seeks a hat-trick at the expense of last year's winning jockey (now aboard Glorious Lady) and four others.

Midnightreferendum heads the weights here and seeks a first win in eight since scoring at Fontwell back in November 2020. She was a faller 4 out on her first run after that win, but then ran consistently for some time finishing 23332 before a heavy fall at the last at Aintree two starts ago. Her sole outing since the fall saw her come home last of six in a Listed chase at Doncaster just over eight weeks ago, where she was over 100 lengths behind the winner and 75 behind the fifth placed runner. She's better than that, for sure and drops two classes here, but I can't help but think she'd prefer it a good bit shorter and not quite so muddy.

Farne has only tackled fences twice so far, but certainly caught the eye when third of eight in a Listed contest on chase debut here at Warwick over a half mile shorter in early December despite not having ran for almost nine months. Sadly she was unable to build upon that at Chepstow next/last time out and was last home of four, beaten by 33 lengths. She's still 4lbs higher than her best hurdles effort and she has never gone beyond 2m6f so I don't think she's for me.

Legends Ryde won a Class 4, 3m soft-ground affair at Ffos Las on chasing debut and followed that up with a Class 2 runner-up finish, albeit some 13 lengths off the winner. That said, she was only beaten by L'Homme Pressé, who has since taken his chase record to 4 from 4 by subsequently landing Gr 2 and Gr 1 races (Matt, Sam, Dave & 1 were lucky enough to see him land that Gr 1 by 24 lengths at Sandown three weeks ago). Legends Ryde, however, was disappointing at Lingfield next/last time out, coming in just fifth of eight, beaten by 27 lengths having weakened 4 out in a race that may have been too sharp for her. Back at 3m+, I'd expect more from her here.

Hawthorn Cottage is another who seems to have lost her way of late, 131 in three races from May to November 2021 have been followed by last of four (19L), 5th of 8 (16L) and most recently 6th of 8 (38L). Yes, the middle of those three defeats was a Listed race, but the other two were at this level and the last two at this trip. She has won on heavy, but her best form is on good ground, should give a good account of herself, but I doubt she wins here.

Eleanor Bob is the likely favourite and lurks near the foot of the weights, she comes here on a hat-trick after back to back soft ground 3m handicap chase victories, albeit at Class 4, taking her mark from 107 to today's 120. Just three of her seventeen career starts have been at a higher level than Class 4 and after being 4th of 7 (11L) at Class 3 and 6th of 8 (115L) and last of 4 (36L) in two Listed races, this is no gimme, but she is bang in form right now. The Williams/Deutsch machine is in full flow, as so often seems the case around this time of year when conditions are tough and it's easy to see why Eleanor will be favourite here.

Glorious Lady receives chunks of weight all round, but actually runs from a stone out of the handicap, which isn't going to help her improve a fairly dismal chasing record of no wins and just one place from seven attempts. her placed run was two starts ago at Fakenham, but even then she was beaten by 26 lengths and her other six chasing defeats have been at an average of around 25 lengths. She was rated 119 on chase debut and although running off 102 here, she's actually an 88-rated runner. That's a mark she'll surely win at, but here off a stone more? Unlikely, even if she has last year's winning jockey on board.

Instant Expert highlights...

...four past winners on heavy ground, a couple of Class 3 winners, a couple of course winners and a trio of 3m winners with only Glorious Lady failing to score on any. Eleanor Bob, the form horse, has found her success over fences since switching to front-running, but recent outings say she won't get it all her own way up front this time...

...as Hawthorn Cottage is a confirmed out and out front runner and will certainly contest any attempt by Eleanor Bob to seize the initiative. Farne, on the other hand, is highly likely to be waited with and that approach is unlikely to yield a positive outcome, based on...

...where the advantage will definitely lie with those on the front end.

Summary

I've felt all the way through the analysis that this race is Eleanor Bob's to lose. Yes, she's up in class and weight, but still gets weight from most, she's in good form, as are her yard and rider and her pace profile suggests she'll be well involve.

Of the rest, I think it's too long/muddy for Midnightreferendum who has also been held up of late, whilst Glorious Lady is out of her depth/weight and Farne also carries too much weight, ran poorly last time and needs watching.

That leaves Legends Ryde and Hawthorn Cottage and I've not much between them to be honest. I started out with a slight preference for the former, but the latter scored better on Instant Expert and pace and so, for me, it's down to Hawthorn Cottage at an E/W attractive 13/2 to provide the challenge to 2/1 fav Eleanor Bob, who's still probably worth backing at the price.

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