Pace is an often over-looked weapon when UK punters attempt to assess a race, but understanding how a race might unfold can give you a real advantage. We believe that having this information is so important that we make the PACE tab totally FREE to all readers every Sunday and Monday and this will come in handy to work through Monday's free races which are...
- 1.15 Ludlow
- 3.15 Ludlow
- 3.30 Taunton
The first of that trio looks the best on paper, a soft ground, Class 3, 5yo+ stayers' handicap chase, taking in 22 fences over a right-handed 3m1½f. The following seven runners are set to line up in a bid to land the £7,951 first prize in the 1.15 Ludlow...
Where my immediate thoughts were that Demachine and Legends Gold were of interest dropping down two classes along with recent winner Castle Robin.
Demachine was a Gr 2 runner-up over fences at Ascot in February of last year before taking a 280-day break. He returned to run really well for most his comeback race at Newbury, a Gr 3, 3m2f affair, where he ran out of steam late on, finishing a creditable 5th of 21 and should come on for the run, now down two classes and 2lbs. Yard is 7/23 (30.4%) in Class 3 chases here.
Jatiluwih was a decent hurdler, making the frame in 6 of 7 (winning five) with the only blot being an 8th of 24, but that was a Grade 3 contest at 2020's Cheltenham Festival. Yet, he has only raced twice since then, making a chasing debut 435 days later when 2nd of 5 in a Class 6, 2m7f hunter chase before another 6 months off track. He was then 4th of 6 (bt by 18L) at this grade over 3m at Ascot just over seven weeks ago and more is needed here. He'll be helped by a 5lb weight drop and his yard are in good nick.
Quick Wave has two wins and two places from seven over fences and won a mares' chase on heavy ground over today's class/trip at Catterick 11 months ago. She hasn't, however, been seen for ten months and was well beaten that day (28L). She's had wind surgery during her time off and her yard are in good form, but a watching brief is probably best here.
Legends Gold is only 1 from 7 over fences and that win came on chase debut 15 months ago, but her last three runs suggest she's getting there now being asked to go further. She was 2nd of 14 over 3m4f at Ffos Las at Class 3 back in April and reappeared 223 days later to finish third at Class 2 over 3m two months ago and has since finished third in 3m Listed contest, so this drop in class off an unchanged mark might just get her a second win.
Castle Robin was useful over hurdles (3311263) culminating in a third-place finish in Grade 2 at Doncaster at the end of last January. He then won on chasing debut at this grade over a furlong shorter than today, but couldn't repeat the feat at Wetherby next/last time out after a 4lb rise. He has been eased a pound, he's still unexposed and both the placed horses behind him for his win have gone on to win since.
Bobo Mac is the veteran of the field at 11 yrs of age and in his day, was a useful runner at similar trips to today, making the frame in 8 of 15 at trips of 3m to 3m2½f and his record here at Ludlow reads 21222. He was 2nd of 7 here over C&D two starts ago, but was beaten by some 18 lengths and then unseated his rider last time out. His two other runs in the last year saw him go down by 22 and 38 lengths, so although his results aren't bad, he does get beat by distances. It's now over two years and ten races since he last won and I don't see that improving here, even if he is down in class.
Volcano won a bumper on debut in October 2017 and that was followed by defeats in 2 more bumpers and 14 hurdles races. Thankfully he has fared better over fences winning 4 of 13 with all the wins coming in a 6-race flurry between 23/11/20 and 14/03/21 where he finished 114131, starting with a win here over 3m at Class 5. Since that run of form ended, he has failed to complete three of six races and has been well beaten in the others as 10th of 14 (27L), 9th of 13 (51L) and he was 6th of 7, beaten by over 20 lengths here over 3m last time out and he doesn't inspire much confidence even dropped 5lbs.
After the above, I'm still looking towards Demachine, Legends Gold and Castle Robin, but let's look at relevant form via Instant Expert...
...where Demachine and Volcano catch the eye first, but we know that Volcano is in dreadful form right now. There's a smattering of green around, which is good and of my initial trio, Castle robin looks decent, but Legends Gold is all red, but he has been running in better races than this and I suspect the place form will show him in a better light...
...which it definitely does. Bobo Mac also looks much better for a place, but again like Volcano, his form is poor right now. Demachine ticks the boxes again.
Monday's feature is pace, of course and clicking the PACE tab shows you how these runners have tackled each of their last four outings...
...where 1 = held-up, 2 = mid-division, 3 = prominent and 4 = leader(s)
Legends Gold and Castle Robin look most likely to be the pace setters and Bobo Mac will probably be held-up with Demachine not too far ahead of him. The other three don't have a settled pace profile, which tends to indicate trainers trying different tactics race by race with horses who aren't winning, but based on maybe the last 2 or 3 runs, Quick Wave might be back with Demachine and Volcano might try and follow the leader(s).
I'm not sure what to say about Jatiluwih, though, but I do know that in simlar past contests, the best place to be here is upfront from both a win and place perspective, as shown by our pace analyser...
Hold-up horses have fared OK, winning pretty much as often as expected (IV 1.02) and their place returns are decent, so that wouldn't scupper Demachine's chances from the back, but with a 25% win ratio and a 55% place return, that's really good news for Legends Gold and Castle Robin.
Sometimes you start looking at a race and you've already got an idea in your head of where you're going, but you still do due diligence and check the race out properly and that's what happened to me here. From the outset, I liked Demachine, Legends Gold and Castle Robin. After the brief resumé of each runner, I was more confident about them, they then scored well on Instant Expert and pace, so they're my three for this one.
Demachine ticked all the boxes until the pace section, where the other two gained an advantage. Of the three, I think Castle Robin is just about the weakest, so he's out of the picture other than for tricast/trifecta purposes. The other two are pretty closely matched to be fair. Demachine looked the better until the pace aspect and I think that Legends Gold's 3rd place in a Listed race was a marginally better performance than Demachine's Grade 3 defeat.
There's not going to be much in it, though, but I don't think Demachine offers much value at 5/4 or 11/8, when I expected 2/1 or 9/4, so I'll take Legends Gold at what might be a generous 9/2 (I had him at 10/3-ish) here.