Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 07/04/22

The INSTANT EXPERT Report is our free offering every Thursday and it is by far the most popular tab on the geegeez racecards.

The reason? 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.

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

  • 1.55 Limerick
  • 2.02 Taunton
  • 3.03 Limerick
  • 3.30 Aintree
  • 3.38 Limerick
  • 4.00 Chelmsford

And faced with that list of six races, it'd be rude not to go to Liverpool for a look at the 3.30 Aintree, the 7-runner (8 would have been nice), Grade 1, Aintree Hurdle (12 flights) over a left-handed 2m4f on good ground. It's well worth winning at £140,325 and here's the card...

All seven raced at Class 1 last time out inside the last three to ten weeks with three (Glory And Fortune, Zanahiyr & Epatante) all racing (5th, 3rd & 2nd behind Honeysuckle) in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham 23 days ago, the well worn path for past winners of this race.

Of the seven, McFabulous and Monmiral look the worst on reent form, but they have both won here at Aintree in the past (2m1f bumper & 2m1½f hurde respectively) and the former has also won over 2m3½f at Chepstow. Guard Your Dreams has won over today's trip at Cheltenham, whilst Brewinupastorm has actually won three times at 2m3½f and once over today's course/distance.

The third placed horse in that Champion Hurdle, Zanahiyr is rated (by the BHA) as the best in the field, but due to carrying 7lbs less, the bottom weight Epatante, who was the Champion Hurdle runner-up, is best in at the weights.

BREWIN'UPASTORM
Won three of four starts in 2021, including a Grade 2 at Fontwell in the February. Returned from 30 weeks off the track to win a Class 2 over course and distance here in November and was running well with the leader when falling in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. has since won another Class contest and was a runner-up beaten by just a head in another Fontwell Grade 2 last time out

GLORY AND FORTUNE
Had a good winter, kicking on from Class 2/3 handicap wins in the autumn to then finish second in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day (Kempton) before landing the 14-runner Betfair Hurdle at Newbury by a short head in February. Last seen finishing fifth to Honeysuckle in the afore-mentioned Champion Hurdle and should go well again here if handling the step up in trip, having only gone beyond 2m1f on one occasion.

GUARD YOUR DREAMS
Is a consistent sort finishing 131323 in his six starts this season, the highlight of which was a Grade 2 success at Cheltenham in December when gamely hanging on in a tight finish where the third placed horse was only a length behind. His last race was in the same race at Fontwell where Brewin'upastorm was the runner-up, but GYD was a further 7 lengths back in third, although he did beat the re-opposing Monmiral by a place and four lengths

MCFABULOUS
Won a Grade 3 at Kempton in mid-March 2020 before being rested for 209 days. His comeback run saw him land a Grade 2 at Chepstow (Oct '20) and he won another in January 2021. He seems to go well after a break and was a runner-up at Gr 2 at Cheltenham on New Year's Day after 9 months off, but toiled late omn in the Cleeve Hurdle last time out. Mind you, that was over 3m½f and he was still in with a chance 2 out.

MONMIRAL
Won a 1m7f heavy ground hurdle at Auteuil just over two years ago and then nine months later made his UK debut winning at Exeter (2m1f, C4) by 5½L. He then won three more on the bounce after that, culminating in a 7½L success in a Grade 1 at this meeting last year before taking 3 weeks off. On his return, he was secongd to last (16½L) in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and could only muster 4th of 6 (11L) at Fontwell last time out.

ZANAHIYR
Won one of four on the Flat in Ireland before going hurdling and has since made the frame in 8 of 10 starts, winning four times including 2 x Gr2 and a Gr3. His record at Gr1 reads 422223 and as third behind Honeysuckle last time out. He won his only attempt at 2m2f, but it will remain to be seen if he 'gets' 2m4f.

EPATANTE
Has made the frame in 12 of 13 over hurdles and has won 5 Grade 1 contests including the 2020 Champion Hurdle (3rd & 2nd in the last two renewals), the 2021 Fighting Fifth and the Christmas Hurdle. On past achievements is the best in the field, is also the best off at the weights, holds Zanahiyr, Monmiral & Glory And Fortune on form, but like many of these, is unproven beyond 2m1f

Instant Expert is the feature of the day and it tells us...

...that the two likely market leaders haven't tackled this trip before whilst Brewin'upastorm has 4 wins over this kind of distance, but has a poor Class 1 record, as does Guard Your Dreams. Elsewhere, as you'd expect for a race of this calibre, there are some pretty strong numbers on show with the mare Epatante seemingly leading the way.

If the field were to approach this race, as they've approached their most recent outings, then I'd expect Guard Your Dreams to be setting the pace with Glory And Fortune the likely back marker

If, however we consider how past similar races have unfolded

...then you probably want to be towards the rear of the field in the opening stages at least, which favours Epatante more than Zanahiyr.

Summary

Unproven at both course and distance, the likely market leaders Epatante and Zanahiyr might not have it their own way, but there's no disputing their class and superiority over the field and I still think they're the two to beat. Messrs Henderson (4 wins in the last 10 renewals) & Elliott are no mugs and they'd not be running these horses if they weren't confident about the trip.

Of the two, I'd be with Epatante on past success, the weights, recent form, Instant Expert and pace profiling and whilst 2/1 isn't gimme territory, I think it's a fair assessment of her chances. As for who might come from the pack to challenge the two market leaders, you could make a case for two or three, but hold-up horse Glory And Fortune could get close to defying a 12/1 ticket.

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