Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Thursday 28/04/22

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...

  • 1.30 Lingfield
  • 2.50 Musselburgh
  • 6.35 Punchestown
  • 7.45 Punchestown
  • 8.00 Chelmsford

...from which, I'm going to look at the 2.50 Musselburgh, a lowly 8-runner, Class 6, 4yo+ Flat Handicap over a right handed 1m1f...

The card...
None of these managed to win last time out with only Chinese Spirit making the frame, but that was 199 days ago and he's been off track 150 days since a spin over hurdles, the longest absence here followed closely by Ayr Express at 146 days. Antagonize is the only one with a win in the last five outings and he returns from almost 8 weeks off, but the other five have all raced this month.

Lots of class movers here with only Red Bond, Antagonize and Ayr Express having raced at Class 6 last time out. Markazi and We Still Believe drop down from Class 5, whilst Just Hiss, Carter Cowboy and Chinese Spirit all raced at Class 4. Only Carter Cowboy is winless at a similar trip to today, whilst Markazi, Just Hiss and Chinese Spirit are course and distance winners.

Five of trainer Ben Haslam's (We Still Believe) eight runners over the last fortnight have made the frame hence his 14, whilst Richard Fahey is 26 from 132 (19.7% SR, A/E 1.29) in handicaps here over the last four seasons contributing to his C5 icon.

The runners...
MARKAZI
Won over C&D here back in August and came within half a length of defying a 5lb rise 18 days later, but things haven't really panned out since and was well beaten (19L) on his comeback at Redcar earlier this month. Better ground, a drop in class and 1lb lower allied to having had the run should get him closer, but other appeal more right now.

JUST HISS
Another C&D winner, but that was way back in September 2016, so I'm not sure of its relevance. What I do know is that since winning over a mile in a Class 3 at Ripon off a mark of 82, he had made the frame in just one for fourteen straight defeats and was only 7th of 9 on his comeback a fortnight ago. Now rated more than a stone lighter than his last win, that tells you the form he has been in.

RED BOND
On an even longer losing streak, but has made the frame in four of his twenty consecutive defeats. Mind you all four places were on the A/W and his Flat record reads 0 wins, 1 place from 11 starts and that came when second on Flat debut over three years ago. Not for me.

ANTAGONIZE
At three from ten on the Flat and two from his last four, he's probably the one with the best record overall and he got himself sharp by running on the A/W at Southwell in early March, when 4th of 11, less than 3 lengths off the pace over a mile, despite not being able to get up with the leaders. That came after a six-month break and a return to good turf ground off the same mark makes him a contender for me.

CARTER COWBOY
Fourth of eleven on his comeback in March, but didn't really kick on last week when fourth again at Beverley. Mind you, that was a Class 4 contest and he drops two levels here. Yet to win in 11 starts, has made the frame in both Class 6 runs to date, so maybe this is his level.

WE STILL BELIEVE
Has raced twice already this year and has been beaten by 22 lengths over a mile and then by 20 lengths over 1m2f. His 'better' form has come on softer ground, but the trip is probably his best and he is down in class and weight today, but I'd be surprised if he was involved.

AYR EMPRESS
Has placed in 5 of 13 on the Flat (1 win), but has failed to trouble the judge in three previous runs here. Best on quicker ground and 1m1f to 1m3f is about right, but you can't help but feel that after almost five months off, she'll need the run especially after a poor end to 2021.

CHINESE SPIRIT
The last of the C&D winners, having landed a minor event here 20 months ago. Tends to be there or thereabouts without actually winning, having finished 52543 in his last five on the Flat, but only going down by a combined deficit of less than 12 lengths across the five. Now back on his last winning mark, he'd be of interest but for his 5 months off track.

Instant Expert will probably tell us more from the place angle than from the win stats...

The win stats back up my earlier thoughts that Antagonize is probably the one to beat here, whilst Red Bond fails on both win & place. Antagonize is drawn in stall 1 and our draw analysis tool might be able to tend us if this is helpful or not in 7 to 9 runner races over this trip...

...I wouldn't say there was a massive bias to be honest, but if offered that graphic and invited to pick a stall, I'd guess number 1 would be fairly high on the list. That said, getting the plum draw is no good if you don't manage to get yourself into a decent racing position. I'm not a fan of the commentary term "handy pozzy", but getting one is often the key to success and whilst we're considering Antagonize, I can tell you that although he's raced a little further back in his last two, he does prefer to lead...

...but he might get company from Just Hiss and Carter Cowboy, who have been up with the pace in their last couple of outings and this is a plan that works well here at Musselburgh. Mind you, anything bar a hold-up run works here. Hold-up horses have performed abjectly according to our pace analysis tool...

Summary

I think Antagonize ticks more boxes than any of the others and I want to be with horses setting the pace, but I don't like Just Hiss. That, I suppose, leaves me with Antagonize vs Carter Cowboy and I prefer the former. Both are priced at 10/3 in the early show, so it might well be tight.

As for one for the tricast? Who knows? Markazi? Close your eyes and stick a pin in? It's much of a muchness elsewhere.

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