Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Saturday 02/04/22

Saturday's free feature is the excellent Trainer/Jockey Combo stats (TJC) report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations and clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. Clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

We also have a selection of full free racecards on offer, too and Saturday's free list includes...

  • 1.08 Chepstow
  • 2.25 Ayr
  • 2.45 Newbury
  • 4.20 Leopardstown
  • 5.50 Lingfield
  • 8.00 Wolverhampton

...and that list contains a couple of Grade 2 contests, so it'd be almost rude not to look at one of them. Now, 16 are set to run at Newbury, which is beyond my usual comfort zone, so I'm going to tackle the 2.25 Ayr, the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle, which is a Grade 2 Limited Handicap for horses aged 4 and over. They'll tackle nine hurdles over a left-handed two miles on good to soft ground and one of these is going to "earn" £34,170 for their connections...

As you'd expect for a race at this level, plenty of past recent wins for our runners with only the solitary mare, Anna Bunina, winless in the last six outings. Socialist Agenda and Barrichello both won last time out and the latter, along with Alqamar, has won four of his last five.

Only West Cork, Onemorefortheroad and bottom weight Kihavah raced in Class 1 (all at Gr 3) action last time out, as both Anna Bunina and Socialist Agenda ran at Class 3, whilst last year's winner Milkwood, Voix du Reve, Barrichello and Alqamar are all stepping up from Class 3.

The latter at 171 days and Milkwood at 181 days have been off the track the longest, whilst Anna Bunina and Socialist Agenda ran eight weeks ago and the other five have all been out in the last two to five weeks.

All nine have at a similar if not identical trip to this one and by virtue of winning this race last year, top weight Milkwood is one of just two (Alqamar) former course and distance winners. As well as stepping up in class, this is only a second crack at handicaps for Barrichello and Socialist Agenda.

Voix du Reve, at 10, is at least 2yrs old than the pack an bottom weight Kihavah is 'the baby'. As for the form of the yards and riders, West Cork (Skelton) and Barrichello (McCain) look like the ones to watch.

That's an overview of the racecard info you see in front of you, let's now take a quick look at the runners...

Was third in a Grade 3 at last year's Cheltenham Festival, before winning this race a month later. He then took 15 weeks off before an excellent runner-up finish in a Galway Grade 1 before calling it quits for the season. Had a pipe-opener over fences at Uttoxeter in October, but having bypassed Cheltenham this year, you'd be excused for assuming this is his target race.

Finished 22112 over hurdles in the 19/20 winter season before defying a 90-week absence to land the Grade 3 Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham back in November. Didn't fare too well at Ascot a month later, but had a great run in this year's County Hurdle at Cheltenham a fortnight ago, finishing fourth and now raised just 1lb, has to be a contender here.

Won five of six between last March and November, culminating in a career best effort to win a Listed race at Newbury from the front. He backed that run up three weeks later when a Grade 3 runner-up at Ascot and was a respectable 4th of 22 in the Imperial Cup at Sandown three weeks ago. Has to be respected.

Hardly prolific and although he won last time out, that came after a run of 18 defeats over almost three years, taking his mark from 156 all the way down to 132. Truth is that he won a poor, 4-runner, Class 3 contest by three lengths LTO and now up 3lbs and two classes, this is probably beyond him.

Finished fourth of seven at Bangor three starts ago on the only occasion in ten starts over hurdles that he hasn't been to the first pair home. That rare failure came 20 days after he's won a Listed race at Haydock and his two runs since Bangor have seen him win a pair of Class 3 contests by fairly small margins. 7lbs worse off and up from Class 3, this is probably too much for him, as on his day, he's a solid Class 3 handicapper. I'll wait to see him run at that level again before backing him.

Only made his hurdles debut in February 2021 when a runner-up (beaten by 18L) of 12 at Carlisle despite having been off track for 27 months. He then rattled off four wins on the bounce in less than four months, but made a mistake and unseated his rider at Wetherby in October and hasn't been seen since. He might need the run, something might not be right with him and all his form is at Classes 3 & 4. Too many what-ifs for my liking.

Won back to back hurdle races in Ireland in the summer of 2020 and was then a good second of 16 in a grade 2 event at Listowel in the September. Since then, however, she has made the frame in just one of ten starts and was beaten by 20L and 24L in two January runs his year before getting closer at Musselburgh (3rd of 7, 6L) last time out. This is much tougher, though, even if she is down another 3lbs.

Caught the eye when landing a heat-trick of bumpers in his first three outings and has since finished 2411 over hurdles. He stayed on well to win readily by more than 4 lengths in a Class 2 handicap at Musselburgh in early February off a mark of 118 and although officially up 6lbs to 124 (which would have tested him), he has to run off 130 here and I'm not sure he's got 12lbs more in him, even if he is in good form.

Actually ran here at Ayr in the 2.55 race on Friday, so probably won't run in this one. He would also have been 6lbs out of the handicap and I'd say he would have struggled and the fact that he was only 5th of 7 off his proper mark on Friday, beaten by 13 lengths at Class 3 does back up my theory somewhat.

So, from the nine originally declared, Kihavah doesn't run and I'm most keen on the first three or four on the card, but past relevant form documented by Instant Expert might change my mind...

Here, Voix du Reve's 0/10 at class 1 is a standout for the wrong reasons, as is his 1 from 13 at the trip and having not made the frame in many of those either, he's not going to be for me. Anna Bunina is another worry at the grade/distance at at 0 from 9 and 1 from 9 respectively with out troubling the places much either. Barrichello is 1 from 1 at Class 1 in fairness, but he's really just a solid Class 3 'capper and I'm not that keen on his chances here.

The beauty of the racecards tools is that you can clock the little X to the left of the runner to quickly remove those you don't fancy, so my Instant Expert now looks like this...

...and when you focus on handicap hurdle races, you see that they almost pick themselves. Alqamar and Socialist Agenda lack relevant past experience and are probably the weaker pair of my five, especially the latter at 6lbs higher than his last win, but let's see if he might be suited by how the race is likely to be run.

This is how the entire field have approached their last four outings...

...and I expect Alqamar to set the fractions here, whilst West Cork looks like being held-up for a run, so my final five are spread through the field, but who will be best suited? Well, in past similar contests...

It has paid to sit just off the pace or to be held up for a run and this seems to re-affirm my thoughts that the top three on the card are the ones to be with here.


I think our winner (if not our first three home) sits in the top third of the card ie last year's winner Milkwood, West Cork and Onefortheroad. I think the latter is the least likely of the three to win here based on everything above and the other two have achieved more to date. He's currently (5.30pm) 4/1, so no E/W play here, I'm afraid.

I don't have much between Milkwood and West Cork if truth be told, but again the latter has achieved more and has run well very recently, so for me (and the bookies, sadly), I'll say the 3/1 West Cork beats the 5/1 Milkwood here.

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