Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Wednesday 04/05/22

Wednesday's free GOLD feature is the Trainer Stats (TS) report, which is actually four reports in one containing information on a trainer’s recent (14/30 day) form, and their longer term (1/5 yr) course form. The report can be filtered by runs, wins, places, win profit/loss and each way profit/loss and clicking on any row in the report will reveal the runners that trainer has entered on the day in question, whilst clicking on the runner row will open that race in a new tab.

HINT: It can help to cross refer the profit figures of the trainer with their win/place percentage. A few big priced winners can mean a trainer has a high profit number but a low strike rate. You may need to be very patient, and a bit lucky, to come out in front this way!

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We also have the usual selection of full free racecards, and they'll cover...

  • 2.25 Newton Abbot
  • 2.40 Chester
  • 3.30 Newton Abbot
  • 4.15 Chester
  • 4.20 Kelso
  • 6.00 Kempton

My fairly tight settings for the TS report...

...have provided three runners for me to consider...

...but one of the Devon NH races is a stayers' handicap, so let's look at the 3.30 Newton Abbot, a 7-runner (was 8 before Emitom's withdrawal), Class 3, 4yo+, handicap hurdle (12 flights) over a left-handed 3m2½f on good ground...

No LTO winners on show today and none were even placed on their last outing, but both Quick Draw and Valentino has won twice in their last five starts, whilst Skatman also has a win on his recent formline. We've three class movers here, as The Macon Lugnatic drops in from Class 2 with both Ennistown and Valentino stepping up from Class 4.

The latter hasn't been seen for 166 days either, but the rest of the field have all raced in the past five weeks. Trainer/jockey-wise, we've a few big names on show who come here with good track records (O'Brien, Henderson & Nicholls yards and the likes of Cobden and de Boinville in the saddle)

RATFACEMCDOUGALL
Finished 2171P111 in a 6-month purple patch from October 2020 to April 2021 before leaving Graeme McPherson for Fergal O'Brien, but has sadly shown little since the switch, making the frame just once in six runs, but he does now go off a mark 6lbs lower than his last win and his yard have been going well of late...

QUICK DRAW
Has made the frame in 7 of 8 over hurdles, finishing 112 in his last three efforts (Nov/Dec '21), but has ran poorly of late when tackling fences a couple of times. He moved yards between those two chase outings and now he is reverted back to hurdles, where I suspect we'll see him in a better light, even if he is 2lbs higher than his last win.

SKATMAN
Won a novices hurdle at Musselburgh in March 2021 after a 466-day absence, but also won again in another Novice event here at Newton Abbot (2m1f) next time out, albeit 221 days later. Sadly an opening and subsequent handicap marks of 122, 124 and 121 have been beyond him and I'm not convinced a 1lb drop is enough to get him winning again. Should give his usual race, but a place might be the best he could expect.

WEARAPINKRIBBON
Finished third in both bumper outings in 2020 and then won on hurdling debut over 2m5f at Tramore. Sadly never got anywhere winning again in four subsequent starts for Willie Mullins and moved yards earlier this year. Just one run so far for his new handler saw him finish last of seven, beaten by over 60 lengths at Wincanton last month and he's probably the worst of this bunch, now omitted from my thoughts.

THE MACON LUGNATIC
Had a decent enough start to his career in bumpers/.hurdle race before being sent chasing last winter to little effect, although he was third of seven, beaten by just over two lengths in the fifth and final one of those runs. He reverted back to hurdles in February to finish as a runner-up over 3m½f at this grade, before stepping up in class LTO for a six lengths defeat. Now eased a pound and back down in class, should give another good account of himself.

ENNISTOWN
Won a hunter chase over 3m½f two starts ago, but that was at Class 6 and almost 14 months ago and hasn't raced at all for just over a year since finishing 5th of 16 in a 4m1f, Class 4 hunter chase at Cheltenham. Now making a yard debut after a year off and tackling hurdles for the first time since September 2018, he's best left watched, I'd have thought.

VALENTINO
Won back to back Class 4/5, 3m+ handicaps in September/October last year, but hasn't raced since mid-November. Last autumn's form would be interesting here, but this is a much tougher ask up at Class 3 and carrying much more weight at 8lbs from outside the handicap.

Instant Expert says...

...that they've all won on good ground, but we're a bit shy of Class 3 success. We've a couple of course winners and Ratfacemcdougall has good numbers over today's trip, but probably from a while back, whilst the pace stats tell us...

...that we've not enough data about mid-division runners to make a judgement, but leaders often get overhauled by those chasing them and moreso by hold up horses coming late. Leaders make the frame the most, suggesting that they're often picked off by just or possibly two from behind, whilst hold-up horse who swoop late seem to either win or fail to place completely. Our runners have tended to run as follows...

...and in the absence of a natural pace-maker, I guess the whole graphic will just shunt slightly to the right, giving us something like...

...with Ratfacemcdougall and Skatman setting the tempo of the race and the former ultimately making a target of himself, probably causing his own downfall.

Summary

If my theories about pace are correct, then Ratfacemcdougall will fall upon his own sword and with Wearapinkribbon discarded early in the piece, we're down to five. Valentino has ability, but is up in class and runs from well out of the handicap and Ennistown will probably need the run, so they're now gone too, leaving me with Quick Draw, Skatman and The Macon Lugnatic and despite him not appearing to tick many boxes along the way, I keep ending up back with the last of that trio.

Skatman will run prominently and is a former course winner, but a place is the best he can hope for, whilst Quick Draw's consistency over hurdles is excellent, but something draws me back to The Macon Lugnatic. He looks like this trip will suit him, he hasn't got a bad record over hurdles and his yard are going well right now. It's not going to be a big bet, but I've just the feeling that in a race where very few are in form, his narrow defeat two starts ago and his good run in a higher grade last time out are the best recent runs by this field.

I checked the market at 5.35pm and was a little dismayed to see my pick at 11/4, I expected a bit more juice in the price if I'm honest, but it's possibly a truer reflection of his chances. For the places, I think Quick Draw's consistency should see Skatman off.

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