Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 17/02/22

Thursday's free GOLD feature is the INSTANT EXPERT Report, which is by far the most popular tab on the Geegeez racecards thanks to 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.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

This free feature is active for all readers for all of Thursday's races, including our 'races of the day', which will be...

  • 1.27 Fontwell
  • 2.30 Clonmel
  • 2.37 Fontwell
  • 4.40 Sandown

There's heavy ground at Fontwell and although they're expecting a fairly short-priced fav in the second of our two featured races from that track, the mud is a great leveller and we might find an angle to oppose the jolly in the 2.37 Fontwell, a 7-runner, Class 4, 5yo+ handicap chase taking in 16 fences around the figure of eight track on heavy ground...

Initial observations from the card are that Goldencard, Tip Top Mountain and Galtee Mountain appear to be in the best form, although bare results alone never tell the full story. Top weight Lavorante makes just a second run in a handicap in a race his yard won last year. he ran at Class 4 last time out, as did First Class Return and Entre Deux, but the other four (inc our three 'form' horses) are all stepping up in class.

Invincible Cave has previously won over 2m6f (Fakenham, heavy), whilst Goldencard has won on this track, albeit over 2m3½f on good to firm ground, although he was only beaten by a nose over course and distance here two starts ago (Sept '21!). Trumping them both, however, is Galtee Mountain, who has won here over 2m3½f twice (soft & heavy) and won here over 2m6f (good to soft) last time out taking his course record to three wins and three further places from nine visits, so he certainly likes it here.

Lavorante has been fairly modest in 2 bumpers and 4 hurdles contests to date and makes a chasing debut after finishing 4th of 8 on handicap debut over hurdles at Plumpton last time out. His yard won this race last year and he was a runner-up in his sole Irish PTP race. That said he was beaten by 15 lengths that day by the far superior Jonbon. He's probably going to be better over fences, but I'd want to see him run/jump before putting money on him.

First Class Return has a marginally better chasing record (2 from 16) than his 0 from 16 over hurdles, but since winning back to back contests over 3m1f at Southwell last March, he has regressed and his last four outings have seen him refuse to jump a fence at Cheltenham, get pulled up at Hereford, finish last of nine at Leicester and then he unseated his rider back at Leicester 23 days ago. Hard to like despite now being on the same mark as his last win.

Goldencard was poor at Ludlow when last seen, beaten by 34 lengths as 5th of 6, but that was back in October 2021 and he had a win at Uttoxeter followed by a defeat by a nose here at Fontwell in the previous month. he did win here back in July '21 and with two wins and two places from his last six, he's no mug at this level. Possibly still to high in the weights, but if ready first up, could run a big race.

Tip Top Mountain is 71412 over fences and was second of nine here over 2m6f last time out, just over a fortnight ago. In fairness, he was well beaten (9.5 lengths) by the re-opposing Galtee Mountain that day, but might well fancy his chances now that he's 8lbs better off with the winner. He should be closer to him, if nothing else.

Galtee Mountain is the likely shortie in the field after than 9.5 length win LTO, but the 8lb weight swing certainly does him few favours. That said, he's surely the one to beat based on that run and his record here at Fontwell. The trip holds no fears for him and although that win LTO was his first over fences after five defeats, he did make the frame in three others (424231).

Entre Deux has failed to even make the frame in any of ten starts (2 x NHF, 3 x hrd & 5 x chs) and in his last four he has been 5th of 6 (beaten by 49 lengths), pulled up 4 out, a faller at the 4th and most recently pulled up 5 out. I think that's a fair assessment of his chances.

Invincible Cave is 1 from 13 over fences and that win stands up well in the context of today's race, as although it was one class lower, it came off a mark 8lbs higher than today and was over 2m6f on heavy ground, but that's pretty much where the good news ends. His form hasn't been great since and despite being a runner-up at Lingfield two starts ago, he wouldn't be one to side with stepping up in class off the same mark as his last two defeats, especially as the most recent was by some 27 lengths.

My thoughts at this point are that there could well be two divisions to this race and I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the likes of First Class Return, Entre Deux or Invincible Cave, meaning that I'm only using 'feature of the day' Instant Expert to assess past relevant winning form of these four horses...

With a 0/6 record on heavy and 0/7 at Class 4, Galtee Mountain isn't screaming 'short-priced fav' at me, even if we know he has a great record on this track and a reasonable one at the trip. He's also up 7lbs for his last time out win over Tip Top Mountain, who has at least won at this level and also gets the trip. Goldencard's numbers are decent, but we've not seen enough of chase debutant Lavorante to get too keen/down about him, although I believe the place stats should show him in a better light than two blocks of red...

...which they do. In fact all four have ran well on this track in the past and the three to have raced over the trip have placed regularly. It's at this point that I've too many unanswered questions about Lavorante to keep him in the mix. He's on chase debut, hasn't run on heavy, hasn't tackled this trip etc etc. I expect he'll turn out to be useful enough, but I wouldn't be backing him here, so I'll omit him and declare my three against the field as (alphabetically, of course!) Galtee Mountain, Goldencard and Tip Top Mountain.

The pace profiles of these three...

...suggest all three might be prominent throughout. Goldencard looks well set to be the pacemaker, which might make him a target for the expectedly closely-matched pair of Mountains. Galtee looks like he'll race second rank, whilst Tip Top has led in two of his last four but has raced further back in mid-division on his last two starts, which have probably been his best two efforts, so he may run mid-division again, which according to the pace stats for similar past races...

...doesn't look a bad tactic. Leaders are the only ones to struggle here and that confirms my doubts that Goldencard is likely to be the odd one out in this particular ménage à trois.

Summary

Galtee Mountain beat Tip Top Mountain by 9.5 lengths last time out, but looked susceptible at one point when under pressure and is now 8lbs worse off with the runner-up. Tip Top possibly got going a little too late that day and I suspect he'll keep a little closer to his victor this time around.

It certainly looks like being a closer contest than last time out and I think Tip Top Mountain might just reverse the placings. He hasn't really ran much on heavy ground, but Galtee has done six times and doesn't have a great record in the mud. So, I'm taking the 11/4 Tip Top to beat the 11/8 Galtee in the battle of the Mountains here. Reverse forecasts too, of course!

 

 

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