Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 05/05/22

The Instant Expert tab on the race cards is by far the most popular amongst our readers, 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...

  • 2.40 Chester
  • 7.15 Tipperary
  • 7.30 Chelmsford
  • 8.00 Chelmsford

The best of those four is clearly the first of the list, so let's cast an eye over the 2.40 Chester, a 6-runner Listed race for 3 yr olds over a left-handed 1m2½f on good to soft ground...

Despite a classy looking field, only locally-trained Mr McCann was a winner last time out, but he's the only one of the six without a run this season, having been rested since the end of September. Both Dubai Poet and Harrow were runners-up LTO at least with the latter now stepping up in class, as indeed does the LTO winner Mr McCann, who also makes a debut for his new handler.

All six carry 9st2lbs, but were this a handicap then Cresta and Dubai Poet would be best off at the weights, both ranked some 6lbs better than Sonny Liston.

CRESTA
Won on debut in early August (C4, 7f) landing a novice event at Leicester by three parts of a length at a decent price (12/1) and was then 4th and 2nd in two Grade 3's in the following months. He pulled too hard on comeback from a 173-day break when only 5th of 6 (6 lengths) in the Listed Fielden Stakes at HQ three weeks ago and it is hoped that a first time hood calms him down a little.

DUBAI POET
Also got off the mark in a Class 4, 7f novice event (Newbury) last year and then ran third of 10 in a Newmarket Grade 3, when 4.5 lengths behind Coroebus who has since landed the 2,000 Guineas. He returned from almost six months off recently to finish as a 1.5 length runner-up in a Listed race at Newcastle, but more needed here up in trip.

HARROW
Since finishing 8th on debut almost a year ago, he hasn't been out of the first three home in eight starts, winning three times on the Flat at 6½f to 7½f. Has been an A/W runner-up on both attempts at a mile and now steps up considerably in trip for his return to turf action. Not an obvious winner, but likely to give it his best shot.

MR MCCANN
Landed a couple of low-level 6f/7f novice events last summer and rounded his season off by landing the Class 2, 1m½f, Derby Wild Card Stakes at Epsom in September finishing 5.5 lengths clear running on. He's expected to do better over further in future, so the extra yardage shouldn't be an issue here and on debut for new trainer Hugo Palmer, has interestingly been allocated an elite level jockey for the first time.

SONNY LISTON
Just two starts so far consisting of a Class 4, 7f Novice win on debut in early July followed by finishing 4th of 6 (6L) in the Fielden three weeks ago after some 286 days off track. He was a short head in front of the re-opposing Cresta that day but was finishing far stronger suggesting that today's extra distance will help him increase that margin.

STAR OF INDIA
Has a similar story to the one above in that he's had just two starts several weeks apart with the latest effort being in a Class 1 contest. In this case he won a maiden over 7f at Leopardstown in October and then went back to the shed for 172 days. He then re-appeared three weeks ago at Newmarket and 5th of 6, beaten by just over 6 lengths in the Gr 3 Craven over a mile, fading late on as you might expect. The step up in trip could be an issue here, but his yard have won 6 of the last 9 renewals of this race, including 5 winners sired by Star of India's sire Galileo!

With such an inexperienced field, it's hardly surprising that Instant Expert carries little data on the default view...

...but with a widening of the parameters...

...we do get a little bit (not much!) more data. I'd say this was just handy information to have, rather than numbers to nail your hat to, but we do at least know that Cresta will 'get' the wetter ground. Much is made of the draw here at Chester, but the results from similar past events...

...do show a slight advantage for those drawn centrally in small fields at this trip, but when broken down stall by stall, there doesn't seem a huge difference. Yes, the numbers for stalls 2 & 3 look a bit lopsided, but as a pair they're not that far (if any) adrift from most stall pairings. However, if I'm playing down the possible bias in the draw, I'm certainly not doing that with the pace stats, that clearly imply that horses will want to lead here if they're to do well...

Almost half of the leaders hold on for a place and 62% of those making the frame from a leading position then go on to win, which could be good news for both Mr McCann and Star of India from either end of the stalls...

...and when combine historical draw and pace data into the unique Geegeez heatmap...

...then Mr McCann and Star of India would appear to be two best suited.

Summary

Star of India & Mr McCann are where I think I want to be here. The latter, Star of India, will probably end up being the best of these six but after finished weakly last time out, might yet need another run before handling this trip on slower ground. Mr McCann, on the other hand, ran really well last time out, should get the trip and has a top jockey on board. I doubt he'll hit the career heights that Star of India will be expected to hit, but I think he might just hold on and beat him here, providing he gets that lead.

The bookies disagree and have Mr McCann as long as 7/1 (not a bad E/W bet for security) with the Star as short as 2's. They're not always right, though 😉

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