Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 04/08/22

Thursday's free Geegeez GOLD feature is Instant Expert, by far the most popular tab on our racecards and that's because it has the 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.

In addition to this excellent feature, we also offer the following racecards...

  • 1.30 Nottingham
  • 2.40 Yarmouth
  • 3.20 Brighton
  • 6.53 Ayr
  • 8.05 Sligo
  • 8.40 Doncaster

...and the last of those looks the best (on paper, at least), so let's take a look at the 8.40 Doncaster, a 12-runner, Class 3, Racing League 3yo+ Flat Handicap over a left handed 1m2f on good ground...

Pledge of Honour won last time out and has won three of his last five and Jean Baptiste comes here on a hat-trick. Matchless, Fountain Cross, Wind Your Neck In and Sagauteur have also won twice in their last five outings with Annandale looking the worst off for form, having failed to make the frame in six.

He does, however, take a drop in class here, as does top weight Good Birthday, whilst Jean Baptiste, Fountain Cross and Sagauteur are all up one class with Pledge of Honour up two.

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Gordon's Jet makes a handicap debut here, whilst Wind Your Neck In makes a comeback from a gelding operation three months ago and that makes him the longest off track here with the remainder all running inside the last 40 days.

Only Spirit of the Bay, Fountain Cross and Gordon's Jet have yet to win over this 1m2f trip, with Good Birthday, Bollin Joan and Matchless having done so here on this track.

GOOD BIRTHDAY has won over course and distance as recently as May 2021, but has been beaten in each of his last eight runs since, but is now finally back below his last winning mark.

SILVER GUNN has raced solely at Windsor on the Flat this summer, finishing 143 over this trip. Results are a little flattering as he was beaten by almost 7 lengths when 4th of 7 and by 3.5 lengths when only 4rd of 6 last time out.

JEAN BAPTISTE won over an extended 1m2f at Chester in mid-June and then again over 1m1f at Hamilton a month later off 2lbs higher with a career best effort. More needed here on his hat-trick bid, up in class and raised five pounds for a 1.5 length success.

BOLLIN JOAN won back to back handicaps over this trip inside a fortnight in May, but hasn't kept to that level in five runs since and was only 5th of 9 last time off a lower mark than her last win. Weighted to go well, but not in top form.

SPIRIT OF THE BAY had a real purple patch last summer, winning four on the spin inside just over six weeks taking his rating from 63 to 83 and although beaten in all five starts this season still looks in decent neck. It'll be interesting to see how he takes the extra quarter mile.

MATCHLESS won back to back course and distance handicaps in March/April this year, but was only third of seven off today's mark at Ripon last time out, so he'll need to improve to land this.

FOUNTAIN CROSS has finished 22119 on the A/W, but has won just one of fifteen on the flat and comes here off the back of a pair of modest efforts over hurdles for a first Flat race in almost a year. Probably best left watched.

WIND YOUR NECK IN won a Class 2 nursery over this trip at the end of last season, but has finished last of seven in both starts this season and hasn't been seen for three months. hard to like here.

ANNANDALE won over 1n5f at Ayr in mid-September last year, but has been tried at seven different trips in eight defeats since that day, suggesting that he really hasn't found his metier just yet. Add in a 12th of 13 (11.5L) and a 17th of 18 (65.5L) in his last two races and he's difficult to make a case for.

GORDON'S JET was a useful enough hurdler who won two and placed in three more from none as well as winning a bumper, but was switched to the Flat this season and has finished 916 so far, winning a Class 5, 1m4f maiden at Catterick in early June. Struggle here over that same trip a month ago and now drops in trip for his handicap debut.

SAGAUTEUR won over this trip on the A/W at Newcastle in May after 19 weeks off track and backed it up by winning at York 17 days later, but has been last of six (6L) and tenth of eleven (15.5L) in two runs since and is probably weighted out of this off 78.

PLEDGE OF HONOUR has been in cracking form this summer finishing 11321, all over today's trip, albeit at Class 5. That said, his mark has only gone from 64 to 71 in those runs and now he goes here off 73, which might underestimate him. He only won by a neck last time out, so 2lbs looks fair, but anyone watching the race would have seen how much trouble he had in running and with a clear run, could have been comfortable.

Feature of the Day is, of course, Instant Expert, our at a glance overview of how the field have performed in similar races...

There aren't too may worrying negatives here, aside from Silver Gunn being 8lbs higher than his last win and Annandale's 1 from 8 at both going and class. He's one of the weakest here anyway and I'd already discounted him from my thoughts. Pledge of Honour looks well suited, as does Matchless, but we should remember that the latter hasn't been running well of late and I'd say that 'Pledge' is probably the one I like best so far. He's drawn pretty centrally in stall 5, which looks a decent spot, as past races have favoured those drawn lower than 8...

...which isn't such good news for Matchless, Bollin Joan, Fountain Cross or Spirit of the Bay from a win perspective, but their place chances remain strong. With regards to pace/tactics, you can win from anywhere on this track, but those setting the pace have often had a target on their back and they've struggled to hold on...

...and those stats are good for confirmed hold-up horses like 'Pledge' and Silver Gunn...

...but not as good as front-running Jean Baptiste & Matchless. Not only are they targets to aim at, there's also prospect of a burn-up at the front and both ruining their chances by doing too much early doors.

We can combine the draw with expected pace in our unique heatmap as follows...

Based on the above stats, graphics and write-ups, I'm still keen on Pledge of Honour, but Jean Baptiste and Spirit of the Bay also interest me.

Summary

At each turn on my journey through the card, recent history, toolkit etc, I keep typing Pledge of Honour, so it has to be him here for me and at 5/1 has to be worth a quid or two. Jean Baptiste will fly out and hope to hold on, but I expect him to get caught by Pledge, it's just a case of how many others catch him. I think he has every chance of stain in the frame but at 11/2, he's not E/W material unlike the 9/1 about Spirit of the Bay. Yeah, he's going to have to go some from the car park, but the ability is there and with some firms paying five places, he's my E/W pick.

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