Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Monday 21/02/22

The sixth tab on the Geegeez racecards relates to PACE, still a new area for many UK bettors, but one which is in fact as old as the hills, and without which even novice horse players in some countries will not bet. Matt recorded a video about pace many years ago and how Gold subscribers use it, here, showing how long we've known its importance. A later update was released in 2020 : here.

Pace helps to inform how a race will be run even before the horses have left the starting stalls and we feel knowing this is so vital that we make this feature absolutely FREE to ALL readers for ALL races EVERY Sunday & Monday including of course, Monday's 'free' racecards...

  • 3.00 Carlisle
  • 4.37 Carlisle
  • 7.00 Newcastle

And of those three, I'm going to take a quick look at the latter, the 7.00 Newcastle, an 8-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ A/W handicap over a straight 6f on standard to slow tapeta...

TRIGGERED : Ran better than 4th of 8 LTO would suggest, beaten by just 1.5 lengths from off the pace at Southwell almost four weeks ago. A three-times winner a this trip, only 2lbs higher than his last winning mark and his jockey is in good form (3 wins and 6 places from 15 in the last fortnight) all suggest he could be involved here.

SPARTAN FIGHTER : Three wins and a place from ten runs over course and distance. Winless in six this year (last four times and second last twice) since ending 2021 with results of 1121 all here at Newcastle. Out of touch and too high in the weights, I think, but the trainer/jockey combo are 10 from 58 here over the last five years.

KRATOS : Still unexposed after just four starts (three here) and landed a novice event over course and distance back in November 2020. He was 6th of 7 on handicap debut at Southwell last time out, beaten by the best part of 7 lengths and although down in class and weight here, this looks a tough ask.

CARIBBEAN SUNSET : Drops in class for a second crack at handicaps, but has moved yards since finishing 5th of 7 on handicap debut over this course and distance 13 months ago. His new yard do well with horses brought from other stables and those running after a layoff. They're also 12 from 69 here at Newcastle over the last year and 7 of their last 15 runners have made the frame, but this one will probably need the run.

JUNGLE SPEED : Another not seen for some time (231 days), but was a winner here at class/course/distance off a mark of 69 last April coming off a 196-day absence. He only ran twice moere last year after that win and struggled off a higher mark on grass at Doncaster (10th of 12) & Nottingham (last of 7). His mark is unaltered, so he'd need to improve to land this, but jockey Lewis Edmunds is 7 from 22 for trainer Ivan Furtado over the last year.

BURROWS SEESIDE : Two wins from twenty isn't great, but he does have two wins and six places from eight efforts over course and distance. That said his two wins were career races 4 & 5 and he's now winless in 15. He has, however been knocking on the door the past four months finishing 2372323, beaten by less than a length in each of his last three. His jockey is riding well right now and the yard have a good record when turning horses back out quickly, so he could be in the shake-up yet again.

ATHOLLBLAIR BOY : Was a place and half a length behind Burrows Seeside in that C&D encounter six days ago after missing the break and off the same marks could well reverse the placings with a better start. He has made the frame in 11 of 24 (45.8%) runs over course and distance, winning four times and is expected to be there or thereabouts again.

MARSELAN : Won back to back 7f, Class 5 handicaps on turf last year when with Eve Johnson Houghton off marks of 65 and 67, but toiled in four subsequent races (last of 12, 7th of 9, 8th of 9 and 5th of 6). He's now making an A/W debut, a yard debut and a first appearance in 161 days and despite being back at his last winning mark, I'd want to see him run a race before putting money on him.

If I'm honest, I'm not usually a massive fan of low-grade horse coming off a lengthy absence, so I'll not be rushing out to back Marselan (161 days), Jungle Speed (231d) or Caribbean Sunset (396d). I also didn't fancy Kratos from what I wrote above, so I'm already at the four-runners point of my process. I'll now consult Instant Expert for some pointers towards the suitability for the task ahead...

Using just the numbers in front of us, Athollblair Boy has easily the best win percentage with a full line of amber, whilst Burrows Seeside is the perennial placer, as can be seen from the form over the last 12 months...

Triggered looks the worst placed of the four on all three graphics, having failed to make the frame in the last five of his six overall A/W outings and as such, he's the one of this quartet that I'm currently least keen on. He is, however, apparently well drawn, as those drawn in stalls 4 and higher have tended to fare best in this type of contest...

...which is less good news for Burrows Seeside in stall 2, although I'm not massively hooked into draw biases on straight A/W tracks. Pace is Monday's free feature and on a flat, straight six, I believe the race tactics/positioning/pace are probably more important than the draw, but that's only my own personal assertion/thoughts. What the actual stats tell us is...

...that hold-up horses do better than par and better than you'd expect off the top of your head, but that leaders are generally the horses to back. I know this is hardly ground-breaking to back the leaders in short distance straight track sprints, but until you see the numbers, you don't know how valid the advice is. If we then look at how our four remaining runners have approached their last four races...'d say that were disadvantaged by their running style. Triggered, Burrow & Athollblair are all likely to be held up, whilst Spartan Fighter is the one of this four who'll look to crack on with things. Caribbean Sunset, Jungle Speed & Kratos from the discard pile also like to get on with it, so they could all take each other on and leave it to the hold up horses.


I quickly halved the eight-runner field to four that I thought could/would be involved, but there's no standout prospect here...

  • Triggered scored poorly on Instant Expert and isn't in the best form, but will be held-up from a high draw.
  • Spartan Fighter will be up with the pace from an even higher draw, but is in terrible form, probably carries too much weight and would prefer a quicker surface.
  • Burrow Seeside has been knocking on the door of late, his jockey is in good form and he's also likely to come from a held-up position, but has the worst of the draw and doesn't win often enough
  • Athollblair Boy shaded it on Instant Expert and will be held up from a decent draw, but has lost his last dozen outings, winning just once in 26 starts since a C&D win two years ago.

It's typical Monday fayre, if truth be told, but if I was pushed to make a selection, I think I'd want to be with the latter two of that four-horse list and with Athollblair Boy being 6/1 with Hills as opposed to Burrows Seeside's 3/1 price, I'd want them in that order but there's not much between them.

If you are having a bet here, though, make it small!

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