Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Monday 05/02/24

The pace tab on our racecards helps to make a reasoned assumption based upon a field's most recent runs as to how their next race might unfold. This information is vastly under-used by UK bettors, but we feel it's that important that we make this info totally free for all races every Sunday & Monday.

This, of course, includes our daily free races, which for Monday are...

  • 1.45 Lingfield
  • 2.50 Punchestown
  • 3.02 Carlisle
  • 7.30 Southwell

And with those being a Class 5 A/W handicap, an Irish Maiden hurdle, a 4-runner Mares' chase and a Class 6 A/W handicap, I'm going to stray from the free list again and have a look at the highest-rated UK race that has at least six runners and isn't a maiden or novice event, sending us towards the 3.32 Carlisle, an 11-runner, Class 4, 4yo+ handicap hurdle over a right-handed 2m1f on soft ground...

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A fairly open looking contest with just the one LTO winner in the shape of El Jefe, who has actually won each of his last three starts taking his mark from 84 to today's 105 (up 8lbs from LTO). Elsewhere, only Portstorm, City Derby, Applaus and Palm Beach have failed to any of their last seven outings, going down in 14, 8, 11 and 11 respectively, although Applaus' last win was in this very race a year ago off 2lbs higher than today.

Skycutter, Kingston Bridge and Pretending all drop down a class here, but Serious Ego and Geordies Dream are both up a level with the latter making just a second appearance in handicap company today, as does the lighlty-raced Grand Soufle, whilst Portstorm makes a second yard debut for Ian Duncan (having left the yard in November 2021) after failing to win any of eleven races in Ireland for Colin McBratney. He hasn't raced for 325 days and could very well need the run.

No such layoff issues elsewhere with the rest of the entire field having raced in the last 15 (Pretending) to 87 (Geordies Dream) days. Portstorm, Skycutter, Pretending and Palm Beach have yet to win over a similar trip to this one, but the latter is just one of three to have won at this track before, landing a 2m3½f novice hurdle in March 2022. The other two to have won here are Kingston Bridge (2m3½f maiden hurdle last March) and Applaus who has won three times here over course and distance, the last of which was in this race a year ago.

Instant Expert often helps us see who is and who isn't seen to be suited by the expected conditions...

...and whilst the above doesn't exactly identify any to back immediately, it does raise questions about several of these on soft ground (Applaus & Serious Ego) and at Class 4 (Portstorm, El Jefe, City Derby, Applaus & Palm Beach). With regards to Class, only Pretending has won at Class 3.

Place form from the above races looks like this...

...with Serious Ego looking particularly weak and if he's going to prove that suggestion wrong, he's probably going to pass most if not of all of his rivals on the run-in, if the pace scores from his last few outings are anything to go by...

...he's one of several who have tended to be waited with in recent races, whilst last year's winner Applaus looks to be a confirmed front-runner. he didn't set the pace when winning here last year, he actually raced just off the leaders and this would be a better tactic here than setting the tempo himself...

...with those racing in mid-division also faring very well.


It's Pretending here for me today. A Class 3 winner two starts ago and a very creditable 4th of 15 last time out, the sole mare in the race is now down in class and weight and has made the frame ion three of four starts at this level. She has won on heavy ground, so soft underfoot conditions shouldn't bother her too much and having raced in mid-division/prominently in her last two starts, might well also have the ideal pace profile.

She's currently (3.55pm Sunday) available at 9/2 with both Bet365 and Hills. El Jefe is the 10/3 favourite as he seeks a fourth win on the bounce and although I think he'll go well/close, the extra weight might just be his undoing today. Elsewhere with the bookies paying four places, Kingston Bridge, Skycutter and Grand Soufle would all be worth a second glance at around the 7/1 to 8/1 mark, especially if they drifted a little.

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