Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Wednesday 13/04/22

Wednesday's free GOLD feature, the Trainer Stats (TS) report is actually four reports in one, containing 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]

This free feature is complemented by the following five fully functional free racecards...

  • 3.25 Beverley
  • 3.35 Newmarket
  • 4.25 Cheltenham
  • 4.50 Gowran Park
  • 7.20 Gowran Park

I don't really get involved in Irish racing too often and I do tend to give the Flat a swerve in April, but the Newmarket Group 3 race above might have tempted me, had the race at Jumps HQ not been as good/competitive as I think it might be. It's a decent standard and a fairly lengthy trip, so let's head towards the 4.25 Cheltenham, an 11-runner, Class 2, 4yo+ handicap hurdle (12 flights) over a left handed three mile trip on good ground. The pot is almost £11k and here are the contenders...

Plenty of good recent results on display here with only Lisnagar Oscar & Zanza winless in their last five outings, whilst Haul Away & Jesuitique are 3 from 5, Tip Top Cat is 3 from 4 and Wbee out-trumps them all by coming here on the back of four straight wins. He is however, just one of two without a relatively recent outing, having been off for 233 days, with Haul Away returning from 172 days off.

And not only does Wbee return from a long break, he now steps up from Class 3 to Class 2, as does Risk And Roll, whilst bottom weight Last Royal is up from Class 4 for his handicap debut. We also have four runners dropping down from failing to either finish or place at Class 1 action LTO in the shape of Wholestone (listed), Lisnagar Oscar (Gr1), Pileon (Gr3) and Jesuitique (also Gr3).

Zanza, Wbee, Risk And Roll and Last Royal are yet to win at this trip, but both Wholestone and Lisnagar Oscar have won over course and distance.

WHOLESTONE
Has won three of his last seven outings (2/4 chasing, 1/3 hurdling) and was a Grade 2 winner by some 13 lengths when last seen tackling these smaller obstacles at Haydock over 3m½f two starts/months ago. That race came after a break of 455 days and might have have been too much for him as he never really got going in the Midlands National next/last time out just over three weeks ago and a mark of 148 might be harsh, but both yard & horse have good records here...

LISNAGAR OSCAR
Won the Gr 1 Stayers' Hurdle here just over two years ago, but hasn't really been seen in anything like that kind of form in ten defeats since, failing to complete three times. Down in class and back in handicap company might see an upturn in form, although a mark of 145 leaves no margin for error, but he does have the help of an in-form jockey...

HAUL AWAY
Hasn't raced since a decent 3rd of 14 here over class/course/distance almost six months ago in a race that came on the back of uwins and a place from six runs. He runs off the same mark as LTO so more improvement is needed and/or the ability to go well fresh, but he's from a top yard with a good course record, so he should be ready.

ZANZA
Returned to hurdling just over three weeks ago after two years chasing and ran well enough for much of the race before fading away late on to an 8th of 13 finish, some 13.5 lengths off the winner. Prior to those 2 years chasing, he was 4 from 11 over hurdles and last won in this sphere off a mark 1lb higher than today, and comes here under a jockey riding well right now...

PILEON
Won at this class/trip at Sandown in early December before struggling over this course/distance off 6lbs higher in January, finishing 7th of 14, beaten by 21 lengths, so it was no great surprise to see him down the field back here at the Festival last month when 15th of 22 in the Pertemps and although he's back down in class and down a pound, I think he's likely to struggle again.

SMALL PRESENT
Has made the frame in 9 of his 15 (60%) starts over hurdles, winning a respectable four times, the latest of which was two starts ago over 3m1f at Haydock when a half length winner. Sadly, he was last of five beaten by 35 lengths at Kelso recently and is now 1lb and 1 class higher than that narrow win, so I can't see him scoring here, even if his yard are in decent form, have a good record at this track and also do well with today's jockey...

JESUITIQUE
Had three wins and a runner-up (0.75L) finish from his first four UK starts, but found a 10lb rise and the step up to Grade 3 action too much to handle last time out, finishing 12th of 17 some 26 lengths down. Admittedly, he's still on the same mark as that run, but this is a fair deal easier (on paper) and whilst I don't see him winning, he should be better placed to give a good account of himself for an in-form jockey with a good course record...

WBEE
Was a runner-up beaten by a neck over 3m2f in March last year and has since won all four starts at 3m1½f to 3m3½f at Classes 2 to 4. He's up one class and 8lbs from an emphatic 11 lengths success at Stratford way back in August, but this progressive sort is still only 6yrs old, so could hit the ground running again and has a stack of stats to back up his case...

RISK AND ROLL
Won a 3m2f contest by 7 lengths at this grade at Huntingdon three starts ago on his second run for his new handler and was then subsequently only beaten by less than a length and a half at Newbury, despite a 10lb rise in weight. It was possibly the soft ground that undid him last time out back at Newbury and he could quite feasibly go well again here on a quicker/firmer surface.

TIP TOP CAT
Won three on the bounce in a 7-week period during November/December last year, before going down as 4th of 9 behind Risk And Roll at Huntingdon in last January. hasn't raced since then and now attempts to overcome a 10.5 length deficit with an 8lb pull on the winner, so it's not inconceivable that he manages it after a rest and his yard have done well here recently...

LAST ROYAL
Could potentially be quite leniently treated on handicap debut off a mark of 122 considering he won by 42 lengths at Wincanton last time out. That was a Class4, soft ground 2m6f affair, so he's up in class and trip, but quicker ground should suit him, as he won his sole bumper on good ground. I'm not sure he's winning here, but I'd certainly expect a decent effort from him if the trip doesn't defeat him.

Instant Expert says that Wholestone and Pileon have previously performed best/worst under the expected race conditions...

...but also that Haul Away & Wbee will love this quicker firmer ground, but it's unlikely to suit Rick And Roll. Zanza & Small Present have a couple of Class 2 wins, but it hasn't been good for Pileon or Haul Away. Wholestone has also won four times at Class 1 and has by far the best record at Cheltenham, whilst the likes of Lisnagar Oscar, Zanza and Pileon are a combined 1 from 20 here. Lisnagar is also pretty weak at this trip.

Previous 3m hurdles on good ground here at Cheltenham have tended to put those preferring to set the pace at a disadvantage...

...which, based on recent runs, is possibly not good news for the likes of Lisnagar Oscar, haul Away and Last Royal...

...which is a bit of a pity as I was liking haul away before I got to Instant Expert and pace. I think he'll go well, but the pace angle really won't benefit him.

Summary

With me moving away a little from Haul Away and Last Royal on pace, i find myself looking at the same two names throughout :  the in-form Wbee and the veteran and proven Wholestone. If sentiment ever came to pass, then you'd want the 11yr old Wholestone to prevail here, but such is the form of Wbee and his age (7 vs 11) and his 20lb lower weight (128 vs 148), then I'm going with Wbee here.

Wbee is currently available at 6/1, which could be generous, whilst Wholestone is a 16/1 shot, suggesting I've misread the situation or the market's wrong. Best of the rest for me is Haul Away at 15/2.

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