Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 03/03/22

Thursday's free GOLD feature is the INSTANT EXPERT Report, which is by far the most popular tab on the Geegeez racecards thanks to its ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view.

The report covers the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size. It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating.

The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Where a horse has no UK/Irish form – i.e. it is having its first run in Britain or Ireland under Rules – it will not show up on Instant Expert at all.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

This free feature is active for all readers for all of Thursday's races, including our 'races of the day', which will be...

  • 2.50 Clonmel
  • 3.30 Ludlow
  • 3.46 Newcastle
  • 4.08 Taunton

The highest rated of the free races takes us to the North East for the 3.46 Newcastle, a 6-runner, Class 2, left-handed 2m½f, 4yo+ A/W handicap on standard to slow tapeta worth £10,800 to one of these...

We might only have six runners to consider, but it's a decent standard and it looks really competitive as an in-form son of Frankel (Imperium) takes on course and distance winners from last year's Northumberland Vase & Plate (Zeeband & Nicholas T) with the latter being a bit of a course specialist. All three of these won last time out and with two of the other three running well recently, we could have a good contest on our hands.

Aside from the two C&D winners from above, Onesmoothoperator has also won here in the past and both Imperium and Nate The Great have scored at similar trips to this one. All bar Nicholas T (82 days) have had a run in the last 2 to 5 weeks and half the field (Imperium, Ecco and Onesmoothoperator) are stepping up from Class 3 runs LTO. Throw some in-form trainers and jockeys into the mix and you've got the makings of a cracker.

Nicholas T is 3 from 7 here at Newcastle and 2 from 2 over course and distance, consisting of winning last summer's 20-runner Northumberland Plate and his most recent outing in mid-December, both off marks of 96 in Class 2 handicaps. Concedes weight all round and is 3lbs higher than his highest winning mark, but he's a dab hand at course and distance.

Imperium is also up 3lbs from an LTO win after finishing comfortably clear by the best part of two lengths at Kempton at the end of January. That win took his A/W record to a brilliant 6 wins from 8, but he does step up in class here and could only manage 3rd of 5 on his only other previous Class 2 A/W hcp run.

Zeeband has only raced here once before, but did land the Northumberland Vase for trainer Roger Varian over course and distance in the process. That was off a mark of 88, but he got a first win for his new yard at the just the second attempt off a mark of 94 over this class-trip at Wolverhampton last time out, taking his tapeta figures to 2 from 2. He's up another 3lbs here, but looked like he had plenty left in the tank on Valentines Day.

Nate The Great probably doesn't win as often as he'd like, but he's a genuine sort who always runs his race. He might only be 1 from 8 on the A/W, but has made the frame four times and four of his seven defeats have been by half a length or a neck (3 times!). Last seen finishing 3rd of 4, 2¼ lengths behind Zeeband, he's up against it here, but is 3lbs better off for the re-match, which could make it interesting.

Ecco is a decent enough Class 3/4 hurdler and won an A/W bumper at Kempton almost 13 months ago in what is to date his sole bumper run and his sole A/W run. He hasn't been in the best form over the last year finishing last of 5 (beat by 42L), 6th of 8 (15L), 5th of 8 (14L) and then last of five, 60 lengths adrift a month ago. This might have prompted the switch to the A/W as a last resort and whilst I'm always on alert when the Nicholls' team rocks up at an A/W or Flat venue, I think this one would need a watching brief first up.

Onesmoothoperator complete the line-up and receives weight all round. he's in decent form with five runner-up finishes and a win from his last six efforts, although a row of ducks often suggests a perennial bridesmaid. Beaten by less than a length on both runs this year so far, he now steps up in trip by half a mile, having never gone beyond 1m4½f before. He's also up in class and has lost his 3lb claimer, so this is a tough ask for horse who already doesn't quite do enough.

And with a couple of C&D winners plus Imperium's excellent A/W record, you'll not be surprised to see quite a bit of green on Instant Expert...

...and I think it's that top trio we should focus on here. I'm not going to labour the draw stats today, it's a 6-runner race, so Zeeband and Nate The Great will hardly be too far from each other at the start and they'll have more than two miles to undo any slight bias/advantage from the draw. The pace/race tactics might be more of a deciding feature here, as based on recent outings...

Nate The Great might well tack across and try to win the race off the front and I'd expect Imperium to be not too far behind, even if he did only score 1 for pace last time out where I think he just missed the break. Onesmoothoperator and Nicholas T tend to be held up, so that means Zeeband and Ecco will be somewhere between the two groups. On the basis on those assumptions, the Geegeez Pace Analysis doesn't make great reading for Nate The Great on the front end...

...but wouldn't really affect too many of the others.

Summary

The draw here shouldn't have too much effect and only Nate The Great is inconvenienced by the pace stats. Instant Expert suggested we focus on Nicholas T, Imperium and Zeeband as the two C&D winners and the A/W form horse and that has been at the forefront of my thoughts since doing the brief write-ups.

I strongly expect this trio to be the first three home, but in what order?

Well, based on his record, Imperium has been installed as a 5/2 favourite and that's probably about the right price, but I think the extra weight and the step up to Class 2 might just halt him here and Zeeband might well be the one to take advantage. A price of 10/3 is, however, a little bit on the skinny side for my liking. I think they're the 1-2, they'll be closely matched, though and may well come in the other way around.

So, what of Nicholas T? Tough call this, because he's proven here in a better race but might just be too high in the weights. That said, I can't see him being too far adrift and if one of the other two isn't on their A-game, he could nick a place and at attractive odds of 7/1, could be a nice E/W bet even if you're only getting two places. Check the exchanges, you might get more!

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