Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 16/05/24

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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  • 2.05 Limerick
  • 2.20 Perth
  • 3.05 Limerick
  • 3.15 York
  • 3.30 Salisbury
  • 8.00 Clonmel

...but I'm going to leave those alone and have a look at the highest-rated handicap on the Salisbury card, the 2.30 Salisbury. It's a 12-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ flat handicap over a right-handed 1m6f on soft ground...

Rathgar is the sole LTO winner on display here (Pawapuri did win her last two on the Flat but has been hurdling lately and was 6th LTO), but Circuit Breaker, Torcello, Duke of Verona and Ellerton all finished third on their last starts. Hurtle Wallop is a three-race maiden but all his rivals bar top-weight Alright Sunshine and Ellerton have at least one win in six; the former is winless in nine and had refused to race in his last two, whilst the latter is on a seven-race losing streak.

Only a third of this field (Alright Sunshine, The Goat, Torcello & Duke of Verona) raced at Class 3 last time around, as Circuit Breaker (on yard debut here), Kyle of Lochalsh and Pawapuri (second handicap start today) all drop from Class 2, whilst LTO winner Rathgar joins Ocean Heights, Ellerton (also on hcp debut today) and bottom-weight Military Tycoon is stepping up from Class 4. Handicap debutant and three-race maiden steps up two classes here, which is interesting if nothing else.

Most of these have had a run in the last two months and Ocean heights should be OK after 75 days rest, as should Pawapuri but at 223 days off since last refusing to run, Alright Sunshine is a negative here. He is, however, one of just five runners along with Kyle of Lochalsh, Rathgar, Duke of Verona and Military Tycoon to have won over this trip and the latter is our sole course and distance winner. Torcello has also won here previously, landing a 1m2f maiden on his only previous visit. That was just his third career start, some 52 races ago back in July 2017 and his more recent relevant form looks (courtesy of Instant Expert) like this...

...where on a fairly sparse looking graphic, it appears that he might relish the conditions. There are3 clearly more negatives than positives above and my main worries from this set of data are the win percentage over this trip for Alright Sunshine, the +15lb for Kyle of Lochalsh from his last Flat win, although he is only 6lbs than his A/W win two starts ago and Duke Of Verona could have done better at Class 3. The place stats say that he only made the frame in one of those five defeats too...

...but Circuit Breaker now enters the party, as does Rathgar to a lesser extent.

Unusually for a race beyond a mile and a half, there does appear to be a slight advantage from the draw with those drawn lower appearing to fare best...

...but I'd tread carefully here. The draw really shouldn't be a massive factor here and the sample size is very small, but the numbers are what the numbers are. It's a little difference with pace, as race tactics are important at all distances and that small number of races above have suited front-runners best of all...

...so if we can find a low-ish drawn front-runner, we might well be onto something. We already know the draw, so if I arrange the field in draw order and show you how they've approached their most recent races...

...we should probably focus on The Goat, Circuit Breaker, Torcello and Pawapuri. Ocean heights and Ellerton are probably hoping to set the pace but they're coming from wide and the former is on turf debut and the latter on UK debut.

Summary

It pains me to end up highlighting a favourite, but I think I like the 11/4 Pawapuri here, although not enough to back her. Those odds are a little short for a horse who hasn't raced on the Flat since landing a Class 5 maiden at Yarmouth in September 2022, even if she did win a heavy ground Listed hurdle at Christmas. So whilst I think Pawapuri might be the best horse on paper, I'm inclined to lean towards Circuit Breaker who comes here in decent form, scored well on the place side of Instant Expert and will be up with the pace.

Circuit Breaker was priced up at 5/1 just after 5pm on Wednesday, which I think is very fair and offers more value than Pawapuri. As for the other two who'll be racing in advanced positions, I'm not over keen on The Goat who has been disappointing for a few runs now, but Torcello might well roll the years back and outrun his 12/1 ticket on his ay to a top four finish as my E/W pick. One other of interest who might come from off the pace is LTO winner Rathgar, who is in good nick and drawn well. He has Pawapuri immediately next door and might well get a tow into the race. If that does happen then 8/1 E/W might begin to look generous.

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