Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Saturday 21st May 2022

Saturday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer/Jockey Combo Report. This is a report that highlights the most powerful and in form combinations with entries over the next two days. The records of these combinations can also be cross referenced against the courses at which they have engagements to find the most profitable angles and possible plots.

There will also be six more free races of the day, available to those who are free registered users, allowing full access to the racecards for these races:

1.40 York
2.15 Goodwood
3.45 Haydock
5.15 York
5.23 Musselburgh
5.45 Lingfield

I’ve spent most of the week looking at small field races so I’m going to take on the 1.40 at York.

This is a 13 runner, class 2 handicap set to be run over 7f. Unlike many of the races being run at this time of year, this is open to 3yo+ so we see a relatively early clash of generations. The classic generation isn’t normally well represented in this race and there hasn’t been a 3yo winner in the past 10 years.

At the time of writing the ground is still good, good to soft in places. That will probably be good all round by race time on Saturday but it will probably be on the dead side of good and fast ground horses might be slightly inconvenienced.

I’ll once again shorten my draw and pace analysis by using the draw and pace combination heat map.

There seems to be an edge for those drawn higher in this field size, which stands to reason with the fields often coming stands side more and more these days. They certainly did this at the latest meeting just a week and a half ago.

York can often favour those near the pace but the data tells us that the 7f course is much fairer than shorter distances when it comes to a pace bias with those patiently ridden often holding their own. Having said that, at the Dante Meeting the pace bias seemed as strong as ever and even in a 7f race featuring many, many pace angles the pace still held up. A degree of caution should probably be taken before backing anything that is likely to be too far off the pace whatever the pace scenario in this race.

In terms of differences in draw/pace combination bias here it seems middle to high is best for the front runners with high also dramatically better for prominent racers. Higher drawn mid division seems to underperform for a reason I can’t explain with middle to high doing best for those held up. The very best performances come from those who are on the speed from middle to high draws and the worst performances come from the patiently ridden low draw runners and also high drawn runners who race in mid division.

So how is this race likely to be run?

It’s interesting that this could be a relatively steady run contest as that would certainly make me very much want to concentrate on those nearer the pace.

Oo De Lally is a horse I have followed over the past year or so and he’s very interesting here. He won a handicap at Goodwood (good to soft) last year off a 2lb lower mark, beating Seven Brothers who won a strong Doncaster handicap on his first run this season. He didn’t back that up next time but was gelded and given a wind op ahead of a fair reappearance a month ago behind subsequent winner Boardman. The ground was probably a bit lively for Oo De Lally that day and he was very weak in the market suggesting he’d need the run. The booking of Harry Davies suggests more is expected today.

Davies has a 0.80 PRB when riding for Andrew Balding on turf and he’s well worth his 7lb claim currently. With the promise of the run of the race here he could be difficult to catch with the slightly softer conditions than last time likely to suit.

It’s a surprise to see Path Of Thunder heading the betting given he didn’t beat a single horse home in the Victoria Cup last time out. His very best form has come on fast ground too. The same could be said about Northern Express who is 3lbs out of the handicap. He does handle slightly softer ground but he’s won both times he’s encountered good to firm and his hold up style might not suit here. There will be other days for this interesting sort.

Another Batt could be near the pace (although he can be held up too which makes him unpredictable). Like Oo De Lally, he’d probably be even more comfortable on softer ground but the ground should have a little more given in it compared to last weekend when he was just a length behind Northern Express and he’s now 4lbs better off. He does seem to particularly enjoy that venue though (two wins and a third from three runs).

Safe Voyage has been largely out of sorts for the past year or so but is falling in the weights, Documenting is comfortable over this course and distance but he’s only placed once from six runs following a 60+ day break so he could need this. Escobar also returns from a break and he’s needed his run for the last three seasons - he could be worth looking out for on soft ground at Goodwood and Ascot again this year. Tomfre needs very soft ground, Swiss Ace could be better on the all weather and his racing style might not suit this venue whilst Snash is probably better than he showed last time but he might be better suited by a different course.

That leaves the three 3yos. Allezdancer will need to take a major step forward from his reappearance at Chester which was neither great nor dreadful. He might do that and he’s versatile in regards to underfoot conditions but his draw and run style combination might be against him here. Admiral D is yet to go beyond 6f and makes his debut for Richard Fahey who has had just 3 winners from 57 runners making their debuts after joining from other yards in the past 5 years (a PRB of 0.47 which is only 0.35 in the past year). Then there is Eldrickjones who looks badly handicapped off the back of being highly tried (and often falling short). 

Summary

The two I’m most interested in here are Oo De Lally and Another Batt. Neither are absolutely thrown in but both should be well placed. The question mark over Oo De Lally is will he step forward from his last run (which was by no means bad) and the jockey booking suggests that will be the case and looks a big positive. Another Batt might not be quite as good at York as he is at Thirsk but he’s run okay twice over incorrect trips here before and there is no reason the course shouldn’t suit. If he’s ridden prominently again he should go close.

Neither of these want the ground to dry out too much and it might be back to the drawing board if the jockeys come back in after the first race saying it’s fast ground but with all the information we have Oo De Lally looks good for this with Another Batt fancied to follow him home. 

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