Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 04/01/23

Thursday's free feature, the Instant Expert racecard tab is one of Geegeez readers' most popular tools because it has the unique ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view covering 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.

We make this feature freely available to ALL readers EVERY Thursday for ALL races, including, naturally, our selection of 'free' races as follows...

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  • 11.45 Lingfield
  • 12.58 Hereford
  • 2.28 Hereford
  • 6.10 Newcastle

It's a shockingly bad day of racing on Thursday and I'm struggling to be enthused about it if truth be told, but the show must go on! The highest-rated races are flour Class 4 affairs, three of which are maidens, so we'll tackle the one that isn't! That's the 2.58 Hereford, a 9-runner, 5yo+ handicap chase over a right handed 3m1½f on soft ground that might be a little better in places...

Not much in the way of recent winning form from this group, but the 11yr old veteran Len Brennan won five races ago, Langley Hundred won seven races ago and Honey I'm Good won six and seven races back, plus this sole mare in the race has won three of her four starts over fences.

Hardy Boy is winless in eight, but has been been a runner-up beaten by just a neck in each of his last two, whilst Invincible Nao, Inflexible and Len Brennan all finished third last time out, although the latter hasn't raced for 15 months since that last run and closer inspection shows he was third of just three, beaten by 27 lengths and he was last of five in his penultimate race, beaten by 55 lengths.

Those last two efforts, the lay-of and his age are more than enough to put me off Len Brennan, even if he is making a yard debut for Anthony Charlton and is one of just two winners over a similar trip to this one. Honey I'm Good is the other previous distance winner and she steps up a class here, as do the bottom three in the weights, Shot Boii, Paseo and Royal Act.

We know that Len Brennan has been off the track since early October 2022 and has only raced twice in the last 21 months, but all of his rivals have had an outing in the last five weeks with Paseo turned back out just five days after a 43 length defeat at Taunton, when only 6th of 9. I'm not sure a step up in class is the right move here less than a week later.

Feature of the day is, of course, Instant Expert and it shows how the field have performed in previous races under similar conditions...

...and that's a pretty bleak picture with the exception, of course, of the mare Honey I'm Good. I think we're going to need some place data to help us out here!

That's a little more useful with Hardy Boy, Langley Hundred and Inflexible at least adding some green to the reds! Royal Act looks out of his depth and I think he now joins Len Brennan and Paseo on the sidelines, leaving me with six to consider for a race that appears to reward front-runners and those who race fairly prominently...

Unfortunately, we don't have many who like to set the pace here, aside from Royal Act, if recent efforts are anything to go by...

...although Honey I'm Good and Shot Boii both have two 3+ scores in their last four outings and Hardy Boy was an unlucky pacemaker last time out.

Summary

None of these really make a forceful case to be backed as a winner, but Hardy Boy is the most consistent of them all and having been beaten by just a neck in each of his last two starts, he's certainly knocking on the door and would be my tentative pick at 9/2 (Hills & Bet365 @ 4.40pm).

Elsewhere, I'd probably look for some E/W value and if Honey I'm Good (the Instant Expert eyecatcher) puts her modest hurdles form behind her now she's back over fences (3 wins from 4 in this sphere), she could be dangerous at 9/1, whilst Shot Boii would also be of interest at 7's, but I'd probably want/need him to drift a little to become an E/W bet.

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