Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Saturday 19/03/22

Saturday's free feature is the Trainer/Jockey Combo Stats (TJC) Report, whilst the day's free races are...

  • 3.15 Kempton
  • 4.10 Uttoxeter
  • 4.50 Newcastle
  • 5.18 Uttoxeter
  • 6.30 Wolverhampton
  • 7.30 Wolverhampton

My fairly stringent TJC Report settings...

...have yielded no qualifiers for Saturday, so I'm going to take a look at the first of the free list, the 3.15 Kempton, a 10-runner, Class 2, 5yo+ Handicap Chase, taking in 16 fences over a right handed 2m4½f on Good ground. it's definitely worth winning at £31,218 and here are the contenders...

Espoir de Guye and Native Robin are our two LTO winners with the latter seeking a fourth success on the bounce and his fifth in six starts, making himn the obvious form horse. Elsewhere Debece is the only one winless in six, having been ulled up in three of them.

Only four of the field ran at Class 2 last time out. Three (Pistol Whipped, Manofthemountain & Kalooki) drop down from Class 1 action, having raced at Grade 2, grade 3 and grade 3 respectively, whilst three others (Native Robin, Debece and Paddy's Poem) all step up from making the frame at Class 3.

Diego du Charmil is the only one yet to win at a similar trip to today, having only gone beyond 2m1f on one previous occasion, whilst both Debece (2m hrds) and Up the Straight (2m5f hrds) are former course winners with Killer Clown the only one to have won here over fences at this trip.

Pistol Whipped and Manofthemountain might need the run after breaks of 119 & 126 days respectively, but half of the field (Espoir de Guye, Kalooki, Native Robin, Debece & Paddy's Poem) have been out on the last four weeks, so should be ready.

PISTOL WHIPPED
Won back to back Class 2 2m4f chases last April and was unlucky when headed in the final strides over today's trip at Uttoxeter at the end of May. He wasn't seen again for almost six months when pulled up quite early in Ascot's Grade 2 1965 chase and has been off the track since. On the basis of that run, he's a no, but on last spring's form, definitely. Just a case of which horse turns up. Trainer and jockey are in decent nick...

ESPOIR DE GUYE
Returned from virtually a year off the track after being the runner-up in 2021's Budbrooke Handicap at Warwick to go back and win it this year, helped by a 2lb drop in weight and a wind op no doubt. Only three ran, mind you and his jumping wasn't the best, but he should come on for the run and is only up 4lbs.

DIEGO DU CHARMIL
Won over hurdles at Plumpton last April and that was followed by two lacklustre efforts either side of a 6-month summer break. Switched back to fences at Ascot in November and was only 5th of 7 over 2m1f, but did manage to be runner-up next/last time out over 2m3f at the same venue. That said, he was beaten by the thick end of ten lengths after fading. Up in trip after three months off isn't a positive for me.

MANOFTHEMOUNTAIN
Only 6lbs higher than when landing a Grade 2 handicap over this trip at Cheltenham last April and ran better than 8th of 19 might suggest at the same venue for the Grade 3 Paddy Power Gold Cup over this trip in November, as he was beaten by less than six lengths off a mark a pound higher than today. Hasn't raced for four months but has previously won after breaks of 218 and 274 days.

KALOOKI
All his form has come over further than this and his last win, just after Christmas was over 3m on soft ground, suggesting this might be too quick/short for him. His form hasn't been great since, either, being pulled up at Haydock last month sandwiched by defeats of 24 and 27 lengths.

KILLER CLOWN
Won over course and distance on Boxing Day 2020 and has only raced six times since, finishing second then third off increasing marks to end the 20/21 season. He looked like coming back to his best when winning by almost 10 lengths at Wincanton in January, but was tailed off/pulled up at Ascot next/last time out. He's had eight weeks to pull it round and could well be involved.

NATIVE ROBIN
Making surprising progress at the age of 12, a winner six times in eleven races over the last two years, landing four of five this season and each of his last three. That's the good news, the bad is that all this form has been at Class 3 & 4 and he's up in grade here as well as another 7lb rise. He now runs off 132, some 19lbs higher than his season opener, but you can't deny the mood/form he's in.

DEBECE
Won back to back Class 4 chases around the 3m distance in early, but didn't run at all from April of that year until November 2020 and has failed to complete three of his runs since that long absence. He has however, made the frame in the two completions, albeit at Class 3 and whilst he's probably good enough to get involved here, he's not one I'd trust.

PADDY'S POEM
Made the frame in eleven consecutive starts from May 2018 to march of last year, winning four times, but was only 17th of 21, beaten by 34 lengths in the Grade 3 Paddy Power plate at lats year's Cheltenham Festival. he then took ten months off and was pulled up after several poor jumps at Sandown upon his return in January and although the formline says he was third LTO, only six ran and he was almost 20 lengths behind the winner in a Class 3 handicap.

UP THE STRAIGHT
One win in a Novice event from ten efforts over fences isn't good enough for this level and in his three outings since that win at Plumpton (Class 3, 2m4f, 3 ran), he was 14th of 19 (20L) at Cheltenham in November, third of five (27L) at Ascot and was pulled up LTO at Ascot in the race Paddy's Poem finished third above.

At this point, I think I want to be with one (or more, depending on odds) of Espoir de Guye, Native Robin, Pistol Whipped and Manofthemountain in alphabetical order, so let's see how the past form in similar contests stacks up, courtesy of Instant Expert...

...where Pistol Whipped is 0/3 here, but has good numbers otherwise and Espoir is proven at class/trip, Manofthemountain will like the going, but hasn't really raced much at class/track/trip but Native Robin just loves the trip with 9 wins and 6 further places from 26 efforts. Elsewhere, Paddy's Poem will like the ground and the bottom three on the card are carrying considerably less weight than their last win, but that's probably due to a run of poor form!

Pace could very well be the deciding factor here, because I've got in my head that controlling the race from upfront is the way forward, but let's check the stats, shall we?

Ah, yes, good to see I remembered something this week! Mid-division runners do better than average, but upfront is where you want to be for winners and based on this field's last four outings...

...my preferred quartet look very well positioned.

Summary

From quite early on, I liked Espoir de Guye, Native Robin, Pistol Whipped and Manofthemountain in alphabetical order and nothing has put me off. Sentiment wants the 12 yr old Native Robin to carry on winning, but up in class and weight again, I think the run stops here, but at a solid 8/1 (even with those paying 4 places), he owes me nothing and a small E/W bet is due. I'm also having an equally sized E/W punt on Manofthemountain who is as big as 10/1 in places.

This of course leaves Espoir de Guye at 4/1 (Bet365 & Hills) and Pistol Whipped (13/2 Hills) and as much as I'd love Pistol to hold on and win this, Espoir might just "do" him.

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