Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Monday 14/02/22

This is Sam filling in for Chris on Monday’s column. Chris will be back on Racing Insights duty again in time for Tuesday’s preview.

The free feature of the day on Monday is the pace tab for all races. This gives you access to not only the pace maps for all races, but also the crucial pace data that can help highlight how much of an advantage or disadvantage it is to be ridden from the front, prominently, in mid division or be held up. This is certainly one of my favourite, time-saving aspects of Geegeez Gold and gaining access to this feature for every single race on both Sundays and Mondays is hopefully a big help for those who don’t have a Gold subscription.

Monday’s free races are:

2.05 Catterick
6.30 Wolverhampton
8.30 Wolverhampton

Having two races to choose from at Wolverhampton suits me nicely as I’m a flat focused punter. The 6.30 is a better race, it’s an extended 2m class 2 handicap. There are only 4 runners which is a shame but there are only 7 runners in the 8.30 and that’s a 3yo only handicap with quite limited form on offer so the 6.30 should hopefully be easier to get a stronger read on.

The good news is that this is a relatively competitive race for a 4 runner handicap with all of the runners having a chance

The draw is unlikely to play much of a part in such a small field but pace certainly should

There shouldn’t be a shortage of pace with Chipiron likely to do the early donkey work with Nate The Great set to keep him honest by sitting on his heels. Military Two Step and Zeeband should follow and they’ll probably end up running in Indian file to save ground over the marathon trip. Front runners don’t seem to have the best record at this distance here, even in small fields, which could be a negative against Chipiron.

Let’s take a look at each runner in a bit of detail.

Nate The Great

In good form and proven here. He was just a neck behind Kempton course specialist Imperium at that venue in December and Imperium won again two starts later to frank that form. Nate The Great followed that up with another 2nd, this time here over course and distance  bring his record here to 2312. He’s 3lbs higher than when runner up to Imperium and 2lbs higher than his last 2nd so he does need to find a little more.

The winner let down the form last time but he ran far too bad to be true and the 3rd in that race, Author’s Dream, who was 9.5 lengths behind Nate The Great, won next time out. Everything points to another big run from Nate The Great with seemingly everything in his favour again but he would be vulnerable to something with a bit more improvement left.

Chipiron

Another consistent runner and this one is set to be ridden by the inexperienced Ella May-Croot who has just 3 career wins, all of which have come abord this runner. Those wins all came here but they were all over 14f. It’s perhaps a little strange connections don’t opt for a more experienced jockey given the horse is clearly quirky (he flashes his tail and hangs under pressure). Those wins have come in class 4 company recently and he know moves into class 2 company.

His best efforts over this trip have come when held up and the pilot is going to have to get the fractions perfect for this runner to last home from the front. He could end up being vulnerable in the finish.

Zeeband

This lightly raced 5yo clearly hasn’t been the easiest to train and he left Roger Varian in January to join Michael Bell. He was impressive when winning the Northumberland Vase (the Plate consolation) in June but has been well beaten in two starts since, including the stable debut just over a week ago. He’s difficult to judge as he’d clearly have a chance if bouncing back to form, but we don’t know how much ability is still there. Percentage call would be to oppose.

Military Two Step

The 4yo completes the field for Charlie and Mark Johnston. Unlike the rest of the field, this runner lacks a recent run having not been sighted for 184 days. That was when beaten 17 lengths in August and it’s unlikely the plan was for her to not run again after that so she’s probably had an issue or two, which might explain that poor performance. She’s only 7lbs higher than when winning a 2m Chester handicap by 12 lengths so she’s feasibly handicapped if all is well with her.

This is also Military Two Step’s all weather debut. The data above for Sire Jukebox Jury compares performance in handicaps and although the win percentage is far better on turf, the place percentage is only slightly better on turf. The sample isn’t huge but it seems likely the horse should be capable of running near her best on the surface if she’s in good enough shape to do so.

Summary

The only one of these runners that has no real questions to answer is Nate The Great and he’s probably a fair price at the early 6/4 considering what he’s up against here. That’s not much of a working man’s price though!

In situations like this the forecast can often help improve the value. I’m not completely sold on the claims of Chipiron but Zeeband and Military Two Step both ran poorly on their last two starts and I could see Chipiron finishing 2nd simply by default. He is a consistent horse to be fair to him, I’m just not entirely convinced he’s going to be seen to best effect in this race. So if I was going to have a play in this one I’d split my stake between a Nate The Great single and a Nate The Great/Chipiron straight forecast. Favourite to beat second favourite is hardly an original call but I can’t see an angle into this with the other pair unless either are particularly strong in the market, which I can’t tell at this early stage.

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