Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Monday 09/05/22

Monday's free feature is full access to the PACE tab for every race, enabling you to make a reasoned assumption of how a race might unfold even before the stalls open. In addition to this feature, we also have the following free races of the day...

  • 1.40 Wolverhampton
  • 2.20 Musselburgh
  • 4.25 Roscommon
  • 5.00 Roscommon
  • 7.00 Roscommon

The second of the two UK free races looks marginally better than the first and although it's a small-field low-grade handicap, it could still be a competitive affair for the 2.20 Musselburgh, a 5-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ fillies' flat handicap over a right handed 1m1f on good ground...

The bookies' early prices suggest this is a 3-hrse race with top and bottom weighted Karatayka and Saulire Star seemingly here to make up the numbers, but let's see...

KARATAYKA makes a handicap debut here off what looks a tough opening mark of 71, if her most recent efforts are anything to go by. I say, most recent, but even those were 9 months or more ago. She returns to action some 271 days since finishing 9th of 14, beaten by 7.5 lengths at Gowran Park and has since moved from Mick Halford's yard with this being her debut for Alex French. Probably best watched for now.

LUCAYAN was a runner-up at Yarmouth the last time she raced on turf back in August, but she has been kept busy in that time with 12 appearances on the A/W, including a ten week purple patch from early November, where she won four times on the bounce and has made the frame in her last two outings two days apart in early April. She won over a mile on turf last summer, too, so I've no fears about her readjusting to the surface.

QUEEN'S FAIR has raced just three times so far, all on the A/W and hasn't raced for over three months since a narrow (0.75L) defeat as 4th of 9 over a mile at Kempton in a race that hasn't proven to be that good (field is 0/12 with just 3 places since). That run came six weeks after a half-length defeat over 7f at Wolverhampton in another that hasn't quite panned out (field is 0/7 with 2 places), so she's going to need to step up here on her turf/handicap debuts.

AYR EMPRESS was an annoying (for me!) winner here over course and distance last time out 11 days ago, when I'd overlooked her in this very column, when she defied two poor previous runs to score by a length and a half. In my defence, she was sent off at 14/1, so not many fancied her chances! She's up 3lbs for that career-best effort and is up in class. I'm not a fan of repeatedly burning my fingers, but surely she can't repeat the feat?

SAULIRE STAR is a 14-race maiden, having made the frame just twice in the process, although she was third of twelve, beaten by only three lengths over 1m2f at Beverley recently. That was her 11th run in a handicap and it easily her best effort since finishing second on handicap debut just over a year ago during which time her mark has gone from 64 to 49 LTO. She's now rated 51, but runs from 3lbs outside the handicap, so not only up in class but up in weight and that can't be good for a 14-race maiden?

Only Lucayan (5 from 17) and Ayr Express (2 from 18) have actually won a race and two runners have never raced on turf, so I suspect we'll learn far more from their overall place records on Instant Expert...

...than we glean from their Flat wins...

...but what I do get is that Ayr Express is very much at home on good ground and Lucayan really gets the trip, although she's now some 19lbs higher than her last win on turf (but only 5lbs higher than her last win). Of the others, Queen's Fair has placed in a couple of poor Class 5 races and Saulire Star just looks like she's struggled!

There haven't been loads of small field contests over this type of trip here, but those that have taken place seem to have favoured runners drawn in stalls 2 to 4, which again isn't good news for Karatayka and Saulire Star...

What I can tell you about those 37 races above is that horses who set the pace have done considerably better than those trailing in their wake...

...with the basic premise of "race as far forward as you can!"

Sadly, we're faced with the prospect of a falsely run race with no real pacemaker, although some of these do have a prominent run or two under their belts...

Summary

We're not getting much from the pace stats, I'm afraid, but it's easy enough to go from five to three here, as I find it difficult to believe that neither Karatayka nor Saulire Star would beat any of the other three home. So that leaves us with Ayr Empress, Lucayan and Queen's Fair.

I didn't like Ayr Empress LTO and I like her even less here, up in weight and class, even if she did win here over C&D when I dismissed her chances, so I can't back her this time either. Queen's Fair hasn't raced for three months, hasn't raced on turf and the two A/W contests she made the frame in have turned out to be poor races, so I can't back her either. In fact, I think I prefer Ayr Empress to Queen's Fair. Which brings us to Lucayan, who I do actually like. She's fit and in-form, she knows how to win and has scored on both A/W and turf. She's possibly a little high in the weights, but 5/2 in technically a 3-horse race isn't a bad price in my opinion.

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