Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 21/04/22

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...

  • 1.30 Perth
  • 2.40 Perth
  • 3.55 Tipperary
  • 4.10 Beverley
  • 5.15 Kilbeggan

...from which I'm going to look at another competitive, small-field handicap aka the 2.40 Perth, where six runners will tackle this Class 3, 4yo+ handicap hurdle (10 flights) over a right-handed 2m4f on good to soft ground. The top prize is just a shade under £6,700 and it will go home with one of this half-dozen...

Three LTO winners in the field of six, but all six have at least one win from their last six outings, even if Coolbane Boy and Diamond State (who initially look the two weakest here) failed to finish last time out. Of the three LTO winners, No Risk Des Flos seeks a hat-trick, whilst top weight West To The Bridge is on a five-timer!

He ran in this grade last time out, as did the other two winners, whilst both Teescomponents Lad and Diamond State drop down from Class 2 action with Coolbane Boy's last run being in a Grade 2 event at Doncaster.

That was 82 days ago and that's the longest any of these have been off track and aside from No Risk Des Flos' 75 day break, the others have all raced in the last six weeks and all six runners have won at least once at a similar trip to today's but only Big Bad Bear has a Perth win under his belt, albeit in a bumper.

If we're looking for any form indicators from a trainer/jockey perspective, then No Risk des Flos would head the list with both yard and rider in decent form with good track records, but let's see how all six stack up...

WEST TO THE BRIDGE
8 from 28 over hurdles is a good return but he did lose 11 races in a row from December 2020 to mid-January this year which saw his mark tumble from 140 to 122, but has now won four on the bounce off 122, 130, 133 and 136. He's up another 3lbs here, so he's going to need a career-best performance to continue hi obvious fine form. He now sports cheekpieces for the first time, which should help, but there are doubts about his record on good to soft ground. That said, the Skeltons have a great record here at Perth...

TEESCOMPONENTS LAD
A likeable sort, often good for an E/W bet, having made the frame in 21 of his 29 starts to date. Six wins is reasonable, but I'd have liked to see him have more success. His last win came at Market Rasen five months ago off a mark of 130, but has lost three of his five runs since by 13.5 lengths or more, including a 25L deficit LTO when only fourth of five and is still 3lbs higher than that last win. He's 3 from 14 in cheekpieces and they're back on here, which is a plus.

NO RISK DES FLOS
Far less experienced/exposed than two above and comes here with a 4 from 8 record over hurdles having won each of his last two, both at Wetherby and both by a neck. He won over 2m in early December and then again two months later when tackling today's 2m4f for the first time. It's hard to assess how much more he has, as he just seems to do enough. He's up another 3lbs here, so it'll be interesting to see how he goes for a yard amongst the winners again...

COOLBANE BOY
Stays much further than this, as shown when winning by five lengths over three miles at Musselburgh two starts ago on New Year's Day, but had been beaten by 49, 17.5, 55.5 and 38.5 lengths in his previous four outings and was pulled up before 3 out in his latest run at Doncaster almost 12 weeks ago. That was a better race than this but his recent win seems the odd one out with him being 1 from 12.

BIG BAD BEAR
Has won four of fifteen over hurdles, which is reasonable, but the back story is that at the end of November 2020, he was three from five after a win at Doncaster off a mark of 128. He then lost nine on the bounce including some wide margin defeats before finally winning again last time out at Newcastle off a lowly 113. He's up 5lbs for that win, but is still 10lbs lower than the Doncaster win. That said, he doesn't seem the sort to back it up, even if he is well in based on past ratings.

DIAMOND STATE
Won over 2m at Musselburgh on his seasonal re-appearance last November, getting home by 8 lengths despite being off for 222 days and backed that win up with another a month later at the same track when stepped back up to today's 2m4f even after a 7lb rise. He then finished 223 in another trio of Musselburgh 2m4f contests before finally racing at another track last time out. After 11 runs over the Musselburgh hurdles, he raced at Kelso just under four weeks ago and fell at the second. Aside from mainly racing at Musselburgh, all his form is at Class 4 and his best run came off a mark of 107 with a 10lb claimer, he's now at 117 with no claimer, but...

Instant Expert tells us...

...that despite his poor return on good to soft ground, West To The Bridge is the proven runner at class/trip and goes really well in these small fields, unlike Teescomponents Lad who hasn't won enough in small fields or over this trip even if he does make the frame in over half of his starts. The relatively inexperienced No Risk Des Flos is two from three at this grade, which is very handy. Four of the six are three to five pounds higher than their last win, so they're all in the same boat in that regard, so those rises might not have as much effect.

The pace stats tell us...

...that West To The Bridge is highly likely to attempt to make all here, as he has done in each of his last four outings (4 wins), whilst Big Bad Bear is probably the one who'll hold up the rear. Now, just 7 of this field's previous 133 runs (5.26%) have been here at Perth, so the best pace approach might not be common knowledge to all of them, but thankfully we can advise, courtesy of our Pace Analyser...

...that those tactics recently employed by West To The Bridge would be spot on here.

Summary

I have some reservations about West To The Bridge's record on good to soft ground, but everything else seems to be in his favour here. He's well suited by class and trip, he's going to set the tempo here and his team have a great set of results at this venue, so I'm going to take a gamble on him 'getting' the ground and as such, a price of 5/2 might not be such a bad deal.

Other 5/2 jt favourite No Risk Des Flos should be the one to chase him home providing he doesn't hang too far back. If he does hang off the pace, then the likes of Teescomponents Lad might well stay on and nick his place and wouldn't be a bad 9/1 E/W shout. Betfred are set to pay 3 places, so I'll be interested to see what odds they offer about the Lad later.

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