Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Monday 08/01/24

Our new week starts here with a reminder that 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 so important that we make this info totally free for all races every Sunday & Monday. This, of course, includes our daily free races, which for this Monday are...

  • 1.40 Ayr
  • 2.25 Taunton
  • 3.30 Taunton

If I'm honest, I'm not really taken by either of them, so let's switch our attention to the day's highest-rated race which appears on the same card, the 3.00 Taunton, a 12-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ handicap hurdle over a right-handed 2m3f on soft ground...

FORM : No LTO winners here but Killaloan, Vicki Vale and Just Loose Change had top-3 finishes. Zoffee and Bread & Butter are winless in nine and thirty-one respectively, although Zoffee's run of defeats are all on the flat/AW and his career hurdles form reads 221P, but he hasn't tackled a hurdle since being pulled up at the last in 2020's Fred Winter! The other horse without a recent win is Ask Brewster who has finished fourth in both starts under Rules, but did win his sole PTP contest over 2m5f at Maisemore Park last March.

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CLASS : Galahad Quest, Mr Freedom, Vicki Vale, and Zoffee all drop down a level here, whilst El Rio, Bread And Butter & Ask Brewster all step up a class.

DAYS SINCE LAST RUN : Most have raced in the last eight weeks, but Zoffee has been off for twelve weeks whilst Galahad Quest and Getalead both return from lengthy breaks of 296 and 311 days respectively and this pair might well need the run.

ANYTHING NEW : This will be handicap debut day for El Rio and Ask Brewster, as Getalead and Zoffee make their first appearances for their new handlers.

COURSE/DISTANCE : Five of these (Killaloan, Mr Freedom, Zoffee, Inca de Lafayette and Ask Bewster) have yet to win over a similar trip to this one, but Killaloan & Inca de Lafayette have at least won on this track before, scoring over 2m1f twice and once respectively. Vicki Vale has won here over 2m½f, whilst Just Loose Change is our sole course and distance winner, having won here four starts ago, back in April and was a runner up over track & trip last time out.

Much of the above is replicated in INSTANT EXPERT...

...which shows just three soft ground winners, although Galahad Quest has also won a soft-ground chase. Getalead has tried and failed to win more often than the others on soft ground and has the second most Class 3 runs after Bashful Boy and the pair ore just 2 from 20 at this level. Killaloan is 2 from 2 over 2m1f here and went pretty well on soft ground at Wincanton last time out. Mr Freedom is relatively unexposed at going/class/track, but certainly gets the trip, winning three of his six efforts. He has also made the frame in two of his three defeats over this distance, as shown below...

None of these are ticking all the boxes just yet, but at this stage I'm only ruling Galahad Quest, Getalead, Bashful Boy, Inca de Lafayette and Ask Brewster out based on the length of layoff and/or their place stats above.

Monday's free feature is access to the PACE tab for all races and if we click the tab for this race, we see the following data...

...where 4 = led, 3 = raced prominently, 2= ran in mid-division and 1 = was held up. We can sort the columns by clicking on them and if I just click the end column (Ave) it gives us an average pace score for that horse's recent runs ie...

...suggesting that the likes of El Rio, Just Loose Change, Vicki Vale and Getalead are the likely front-runners/prominent horses with the likes of Bashful Boy, Killaloan, Mr Freedom and Bread & Butter closer to the back of the pack.

So, why are you telling us this, Chris?

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Well, we have a fantastic tool called the Pace Analyser and by setting your required parameters, you can see what running style has or hasn't been successful over a certain type of race and for this particular race, we see...

...that those keen to get on with it fare much better than those racing in mid-division or further back. Leaders/prominent runners have won 66.66% of the above races and have taken 50% of the places from just 37% of the runners, therefore winning 1.8 times more and placing 1.35 times more than par.


The two horses I like the most are in the middle of the weights/card, Vicki Vale & Zoffee and both have made the frame in two of three soft ground efforts. The latter hasn't tackled a hurdle for ages and is therefore lacking in value at 7/2 or 4/1. Had he had a run over hurdles recently, I'd have been all over him. I might well miss the boat here by not backing him.

Vicki Vale is in good nick, ran well last time out and has won here at Taunton in the past and can be backed at 5/1. I suspect he'll be one of the major players here today, but I think I prefer Just Loose Change for this one. He ticks the box for pace, has a win and a runner-up finish from two course and distance runs and when runner-up here last time out, was seven lengths ahead of Individualiste in third and the latter then won here by sixteen lengths over course and distance a fortnight later!

I see the generally available 6/1 about Just Loose Change as a fair price. Elsewhere, if I wanted a bit of value as an E/W option, I'd be inclined to look at the 14/1 offered about El Rio by Paddy Power, especially as you can get four places on this race. El Rio is better than his last run and if he goes anything like he did two starts ago, when winning by eleven lengths at this going/trip, he could easily make the frame.

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