Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Monday 14/03/22

The PACE tab on the Geegeez racecards helps us to form an educated opinion on how a race might unfold tactically based on the runners' previous outings. This often-overlooked facet of race analysis is so important that we make it freely available to all readers for all races on two days (Sunday & Monday), irrespective of how many races that might cover. This includes Monday's  free racecards, of course, which cover...

  • 2.45 Plumpton
  • 3.10 Taunton
  • 4.20 Taunton
  • 4.40 Stratford

Regular readers will know that I'm not a massive fan of Monday racing, as it's often poor quality and with it being the last day before Cheltenham, you'd be excused from thinking the same again, but the first of the two Somerset offerings is interesting. It's a reasonable standard and we've got a soft ground stayers' handicap which is always fun, so without further ado, we're off to the 3.10 Taunton, a 7-runner, Class 3, 5yo+ Handicap Chase taking in 21 fences over a right handed 3m4½f on soft ground...

Bottom weight Some Detail (receiving 11-25lbs from the field) steps up from a win at Class 4 LTO, whilst top weight Wanderin Star, Minellacelebration and Achille all drop down a level. Revels Hill also won last time out, whilst Dawson City is the only other in the field to have made the frame on his last outing.

Minellacelebration, Revels Hill and Some Detail have all won here (3m hurdle, 2m7½f chase & 2m7½f chase respectively) in the past, whilst The Two Amigos and Dawsons City have won elsewhere at similar trips to this one. The 7 yr old Revels Hill and the 8 yr old Some Detail are the only non-double digit aged runners in the field and they both hail from yard with good records at Taunton.

WANDRIN STAR
Has won 4 of 21 career starts so far, which is reasonable, but he tends to save his best form for his first of the season after a lengthy break. His first run of the past four (inc this one) seasons have come after 151, 219, 295 and 248 days respectively and he has finished 1121 and only lost by the head in the runner-up position. This means aside from his first run, he's just 1 from 17 and that's poor. He won over 3m½f at Sandown in November and was pulled up over the same track/trip next/last time out and he's not one for me based on the stats, even if the yard/rider have done well here...

MINELLACELEBRATION
No disputing this horse's past abilities (Class 1 & 2 winner), but he's not the force of old, having failed to win any of ten starts since a win at Aintree almost 17 months ago, unseating his rider in three of those runs. A first time tongue tie and a mark 8lbs lower than that last win might help, but I'd expect others to go better.

THE TWO AMIGOS
A consistent performer (10 places from 17 chase starts) who usually runs his race, but gets found lacking. No win in 13 runs/38 months, but made the frame in 7 of them suggests another possible decent effort on the cards. He gets the trip and the mud (second in Welsh National Jan '21) and is weighted below his last win, so could well be involved here.

ACHILLE
Another one who places often without winning enough, 9 places from 17, but just 3 wins from 17 over fences. Was a narrowly-defeated (half a length) runner-up in back to back Grade 3, 3m5f handicaps in early 2021, but hasn't ran to that level since, finishing out of the frame in four runs this season, beaten by 23, 16, 44 and 40 lengths respectively.

REVELS HILL
Unlike most of his rivals, he's relatively unexposed over fences and is "on the up", as you'd expect at just 7 yrs of age. Has ran creditably in all four efforts over fences so far, getting closer to winning each time, before getting off the mark at the fourth attempt five weeks ago here at Taunton. He's up in trip (5f) and weight (+7lbs) here, but is expected to go well again for a jockey/trainer who've had some success together...

DAWSON CITY
A solid class 3 chaser, having won 5 of 32 at this level and placed in another 9. Proven at both trip/going, he comes here off the same mark as when third at Exeter 17 days ago. He's still lower than his last winning mark and down in trip by a quarter mile, could be there or thereabouts again.

SOME DETAIL
Gets bundles of weight all round today and comes here off the back of a first win over fences at the sixth time of asking (like Revels Hill, it was here over 2m7½f). Prior to going chasing, he had made the frame in 8 of 18 NHF/hurdles starts, proving his competitiveness. If he handles the step up in trip, I expect him to have a say in proceedings with him carrying far less weight, especially with his yard's record here...

Longer trips often find horses out, as do extremes of ground condition and our Instant Expert feature shows how the field have performed under similar race conditions in the past...

We've a couple of former soft ground winners, but their stats are nothing to write home about to be honest, but 16 previous Class 3 wins from 65 attempts (24.6% SR) between them is decent enough. Not much earlier course action, but as mentioned at the top, we've a couple of course winners. Achille's record at 3m2f-3m6f is disappointing and the two course winners haven't really been tried this far, but the other four have all won around this trip. From the above, I think the soft ground form (or lack of) might be key and I'm often inclined to go with those with little/no soft ground experience over those extensively tried and failed, based on the simple 0 from 2 has so much more potential for improvement than a 1 from 20 etc.

Much, of course, will depend on their approach to a 3.5 mile slog in difficult underfoot conditions and it could well boil down to race tactics. Sadly, there's not masses of data surrounding small field soft ground staying chases here at Taunton, but what we do have is...

...a suggestion that hanging back could well be the right approach and based on this field's most recent performances...

...I think that I want to be taking two (for the places) from the bottom four runners on the card.

Summary

Based on pace alone, which is likely to be vital here, I'm mainly interested in Achille, Dawson City, Revels Hill & Some Detail with a distinct leaning towards the latter pair, as Achille is in such poor form and Dawson City can be hit and miss, but should beat Achille. Both of the latter pair won LTO, both are former course winners and in fact, both won here LTO.

Both won over 2m7½f, so face the same step up in trip, but Revels Hill won at this grade as opposed to Some Detail's Class 4 success. Revels Hill won by the best part of five lengths, but Some Detial was only a length and a quarter clear and whilst Revels Hill is up 7lbs as opposed to his rival's 5lbs, I think I've got it as Revels Hill to beat Some Detail here.

Sadly, the bookies (just Hills at 3.35pm Sunday) agree and have Revels Hill at 5/2 and Some Detail at 10/3 respectively, but we shouldn't be driven by the market, we should always form our own opinion and I don't think the 5/2 about the fav is unfair : that's where I had him.

 

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