Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 24/02/22

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...

  • 1.35 Huntingdon
  • 1.45 Sedgefield
  • 2.30 Thurles
  • 6.00 Newcastle

Our three free UK races are all Novice events, which I'm not keen on and the Thurles race is a 10-runner handicap chase with an expected short priced favourite, who the stats say should win, based on the fact that since the start of 2012, twelve of the twenty-five favs sent off at 5/2 or shorter in 6-12 runner handicap chases at Thurles have been winners. I looked at 6-12 runners, because that's my preferred number in a race.

So, with all that in mind, I flicked through Instant Expert for every contest to see if anything stood out for me and there was this race at Southwell initially from a place perspective...

Now there are plenty with green, but only two, Soaring Star & Percy Willis have no red/grey on their profile and if you're not making the frame, you're not winning! For the benefit of transparency, here are the corresponding win details...

...where Soaring Star doesn't look quite as strong, but he's the one who interests me most here and that's my way in to the race via Instant Expert.

The race in question is the 4.57 Southwell, a 12-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ A/W handicap over a left-handed mile and a half on standard to slow tapeta, where my focus is on the 5 year old gelding Soaring Star. I'm not going to open the whole card etc up, because that's Gold content, but here's his entry...

As you can see from the card, Soaring Star has been progressing nicely and each of his last four runs have been here at Southwell, starting with a third of eight over 1m3f (Class 4) just before Christmas, where he was outpaced late on in his first effort beyond 1m2f.

He then stepped up to this 1m4f trip, back down at Class 5 three weeks later and was unlucky to finish a neck behind the all-out and game Charlie Arthur. Soaring Star then ran at this course and distance again a week later, but back up at Class 4 and was the runner-up once more, only beaten by the odds on favourite Carausius.

That was a third good run in inside four weeks, so he was then rested for three weeks prior to his last run, where he managed to land a Class 5 handicap over this track and trip, where he stayed on well to score by a good three lengths that was increasing as the line came. He was well clear of the re-opposing Kells and Magellan that day and the trio have had over a fortnight to get over their exertions.

Soaring Star has been handed a 4lb rise for that win, but I thought he was more comfortable than that, so he may well have got away lightly with a mark of 76. Yes, that makes him top weight, as he was here LTO, but it's not a weight he can't carry and wearing number 1 isn't an issue, as since the start of 2016, horses wearing the number 1 saddle cloth in Class 5 A/W handicaps over 1m4f-1m6f here at Southwell are 18 from 83 (21.7% SR, A/E 1.11) and a £10 level stake on each of the 83 would have generated £780 profit at Betfair SP, a return of some 94%.

As for the horse's suitability for the task in hand, shown initially via Instant Expert, his A/W handicap results are...

      • 53221 here at Southwell
      • 153221 on standard to slow
      • 211 over 1m4f
      • 121 at Class 5
      • 221 over course & distance
      • 21 at class/course/distance

...all suggesting a big run here.

Summary

I suppose the two questions here are can he win and do I think he'll win.

The first is easier to answer, because everything above says, yes, he can win this. It doesn't look much tougher than his last race, he's in great form and a 4lb rise shouldn't anchor him. Whether he wins or not will also depend on the performance of the 5/2 fav Chase the Dollar who was an impressive winner here over 1m6f last time out. He's also up in weight here for that win, but drops in trip to 1m4f where he's 0 from 5.

That said, I've got Chase the Dollar, as my marginal best in race, but with very little between him and Soaring Star and at odds of 5/1 as opposed to the favs 5/2. I'd not be averse to putting some money on the featured horse. Those wanting a bit more meat price-wise might well look at Danni California as a 10/1 E/W bet in a race where the bookies are paying four places.

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