Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Wednesday 05/01/22

The Trainer Statistics (TS) report is Geegeez' free GOLD feature every Wednesday and it is in fact, four reports in one. It contains information on a trainer’s recent form, and their longer term course form. For each of 14 day, 30 day, course one year, and course five year, users can filter by runs, wins, places, win profit/loss and each way profit/loss. Clicking on any row in the report will reveal the runners that trainer has entered on the day in question, and 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!

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

In addition to a FREE daily feature, we also offer a selection of full racecards to all readers and for Wednesday, they'll be...

  • 1.10 Ffos Las
  • 1.45 Ffos Las
  • 2.35 Wolverhampton
  • 2.55 Ffos Las

My personal settings for the TS report are...

and these are quite restrictive meaning I often don't have too many qualifiers and for Wednesday, I've none at all, so I'm referring back to the 'free' races. The Wolverhampton race is a poor-looking Class 6 contest, so we're off to Trimsaran in South Wales, where the middle race of the three is the most interesting/best standard. We're talking about the 1.45 Ffos Las, an 8-runner (hope it stays that way for E/W bettors), Class 3, 4yo+ handicap hurdle over a left-handed two miles on heavy ground. The winner will need to clear just eight hurdles to land the £7,951 prize and here are the contenders...

Half of the field (Howdyalikemenow, Wicked West, Natural History & Sabbathical) have won at least one of their last five outings, but none won last time out. Applesandpierres and Sabbathical move step up two classes from Class 5 defeats LTO, whilst Higgs' last effort was at Class 4. Wicked West and Natural History, though, move the opposite direction dropping down one level with the former's run possibly the best LTO effort of this group.

Howdyalikemenow makes a second handicap start here after struggling at Cheltenham in this grade back in November, whilst Higgs returns to action for the first time since a switch of yards back to his original trainer, Sarah-Jane Davies. He hasn't raced for some 524 days, though and along with Sirop de Menthe (off for 301 days), they're the only ones here without a run in the last eight weeks. All eight runners have won over a similar trip to today, so no fears there and Wicked West won over course and distance back in May. Sirop de Menthe has also won here at Ffos Las, but that was over 2m6f in November 2016 and he hasn't won since!

At 12yrs of age, he's one of three 11yo+ veterans along with Eamon An Cnoic (11) and Applesandpierres (14) and you can't help but think the latter can't have many more races to come. The assessor seems to suggest that there's two sets of runners here, the top five in the weights are all rated within seven pounds of each other and the bottom three are grouped within two pounds, but top weight Howdyalikemenow will carry some 22lbs more than bottom weight Applesandpierres.

Howdyalikemenow ran pretty well and was only beaten by just over 6.5 lengths on handicap debut at Cheltenham back in November, even if he did finish 13th of 18 he was only about 4 lengths away from making the frame. Prior to that run, he landed back to back Class 4 Novice hurdles over 2m½f and he now goes here off the same mark as LTO, but in a less competitive contest. The yard's form is a concern, though with just 1 winner from 14 over the past fortnight prior to having four running on Tuesday, although they are 18/107 (16.8% SR) in Ffos Las Handicap hurdles over the last five years.

Wicked West was 0 from 5 for trainer Chris McSharry, but has looked revitalised since switching to Dr Richard Newland. He won both his first two starts for his new handlers, both at Class 4 over 2m/2m½f, the first of which was over this course and distance and he was a decent third at a higher level on his heavy ground debut last time out.

Eamon An Cnoic was a pretty decent chaser back in his day and had a good spell over hurdles last February, finishing 212 in the space of three weeks, but hasn't done much since. He ran in a Listed chase at Ascot at the end of October on his return from almost six months off track and was pulled up before half of the fences had been jumped. From there he's had one more outing at Exeter in mid-December when 9th of 11, beaten by 50 lengths in a Class 3 hurdle and I don't think that a 4lb drop in the weights will do much for his chances here.

Natural History was a really useful runner on the Flat (1211 in hcps before a 2nd of 8 at Gr3) before turning his attentions to hurdling, where he was a runner-up in each of his first two efforts (Jan/Feb 2021) prior to hosing up at Plumpton by 15 lengths at this class/distance at the start of March. A 16lb rise in weight put the brakes on him somewhat, but his mark has now dropped to just 2lbs higher than that Plumpton stroll and if he fancies this, he's got a chance for a yard in good form right now.

Higgs won a couple of hurdle races for his current yard back in April/May 2018, but did little else in six subsequent races before moving to Dr Richard Newland where he made the frame in three of five starts and was a runner-up last time out. He's now 3lbs lower than that last run and has moved back to his original trainer, but he's up in class and running for the first time in over seventeen months and will probably need the run.

Applesandpierres isn't getting any younger/better at 14 (I know the feeling!) and although the record books say he has won two of his last five (151P4) in the UK, those wins were in December 2019 and January 2020. He's actually done a fair bit of running in France during 2020/21 and although he did win over 2m3f at Vittel in mid-August 2020, his overall form since his last UK win reads P5100PUP4 and he's not one to trust here.

Sabbathical was third here in a Class 5, heavy ground hurdle over course and distance 11 months ago, before embarking on a five-race spell over fences where he finished 13721 prior to a return to hurdling at Southwell seven weeks ago. He was only third of six that, yet within four lengths of the winner of what has proven to be a fairly poor race. He goes off the same mark here, but steps up two classes which will make life tough and as a stablemate of Howdyalikemenow comes from a yard shy of recent winners, even if they have gone well here in the past.

Sirop De Menthe hasn't raced for almost ten months and this 12yr old's campaign last season saw him finish 5F007, coming home last of seven beaten by over 80 lengths at Fontwell in March. He had fallen here at Ffos Las and the other three defeats were by 28, 60 and 85 lengths. He has won five times over hurdles, but hasn't scored in any of his last 16 outings since winning here on heavy ground over 2m6f way back in mid-November 2016. I'd not be surprised if he's in a different postcode sector when the winner crosses the line here.

At this point, I'm probably leaning (alphabetically, of course) towards the likes of Howdyalikemenow, Natural History & Wicked West, but let's see if the past win/place form of these runners under Wednesday's expected conditions, courtesy of Instant Expert changes my thoughts...

So, we've just three heavy ground winners, but aside from Wicked West with just one run on this going, the rest of them have good place records on heavy. Sirop de Menthe has a really poor record at Class 3, but again the rest mainly have done well from a place perspective at this grade. The three former course runners have all made the frame with Wicked West the sole hurdle success here and the trip holds no fears for any of them.

I wouldn't say that Instant Expert has re-affirmed my initial favoured runners, but it hasn't dissuaded me from them and I certainly haven't warmed towards Sirop de Menthe, who is an out and out hold up horse, like one of the other old boys Applesandpierres, as you can see from their last four outings below...

...whereas those from Natural History and upwards have all tended to get on with it in most of their races, which based on past similar contests is the way to tackle this one...

The basic premise from those stats are that the further forward you race, the better and this does help to consolidate my thinking that Howdyalikemenow, Natural History & Wicked West will all be involved in the final shake-up.

Summary

We had five runners, who look like they generally tend to get on with things, but Sabbathical also has two prominent runs from his last four outings. Initially, I'm discarding both Sirop de Menthe and Applesandpierres on grounds of age, form and pace profile with the former also failing on Class 3 results and a layoff. Higgs is best left watched after 524 days and Eamon An Cnoic is in a dreadful run of form right now, so that's half the field gone.

I'm still left with my initial trio Howdyalikemenow, Natural History & Wicked West along with possible prominent runner Sabbathical, who I think I like least of this quartet. His yard is out of form, he wasn't great last time out and steps up two classes here.

So, after all that, I'm back to the same trio and I think it's between Natural History and Wicked West and the bookies have them at 3/1 and 11/4 respectively and I, too, have them pretty closely matched but I think I want them in the order I've typed them. Howdyalikemenow looks quite short at 9/4, though.

 

 

 

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