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Racing Insights, 15th December 2020

Well, we nearly had ourselves an 11/2 winner today, but the gutsy Up Helly Aa King was headed after the last fence and went down by a length. The original favourite King Capard was indeed over-rated, Crank 'Em Up was the worst of the finishers, but the big surprise was the winner, Strong Economy who defied all stats/logic to win, but fair play to him for doing so.

And now somewhat belatedly (I've just got home from a 5pm appointment in Liverpool), Tuesday looms large on my horizon. Our feature of the day is the Shortlist report, whilst our free racecards will cover...

  • 12.35 Wincanton
  • 2.05 Wincanton
  • 2.45 Newcastle
  • 3.05 Wincanton

If I'm honest, I don't really fancy any of those four contests from a betting perspective, but there are a couple of high scorers at the top of tomorrow's Shortlist report, so let's take a look at them and assess their chances, shall we?

Maaward has never ran at Newcastle, but has an otherwise perfect score, whilst Athmad's only "weakness" is that he has fared best in 12-runner fields. Our job is to work out whether tomorrow's conditions will suit, starting with the 4.20 Newcastle...

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Maaward has two wins and a place from six all-weather runs, including two wins and a place from three on Standard to Slow going, a win and a place from two over a mile and one win from two at Class 4. Conversely, he has no run at all on a straight track, or under today's jockey or on tapeta! He's 0 from 5 overall when sent off longer than 6/4 and is 0 from 2 for this yard.

He has finished last of 11, last of 19 and last of 10 in his last three outings, beaten by 14L, 26L and 29L respectively with increasingly poor results despite his mark going from 95 to 87 to 80. He now sports a tongue tie (that's going to be some tongue tie if he gets him to win!) for the first time and runs off a mark of 72 here, which you hope would be light enough to beat something home?

His yard and jockey have both fared poorly at this venue, which doesn't inspire confidence, but he's drawn well (stalls 7-9 have won over half of similar races recently : 17 of 33) and his prominent running style suggests he might make a better fist of proceedings here.

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And now onto our second tapeta contest, the 5.10 Wolverhampton featuring Athmad...

 

Athmad is in great form, finishing 1141 in his last four runs, all here at Wolverhampton in the last six weeks with two wins at 1m0.5f and a win over this 1m1.5f course and distance last out. having ran on the A/W just six times, his three wins from six is a healthy return including that 3 from 4 here at Wolverhampton, 1 from 2 at Class 4 and 1 from 1 at this this (CD LTO), whilst he's also 2 from 2 after just 8-15 days rest.

Instant Expert backs up those stats and unusually, the draw and pace tabs neither help nor hinder us based on the numbers above, but if you look a the draw stats more closely you'll see that the line does rise the higher the draw, but there's not enough in it for me to worry, when a high draw is 13.02% against a low draw of 11.83%. The lack of a significant draw bias means that the better horses have more chance of winning no matter which box they're in, but it also makes the pace analysis even more important.

The pace tabs tell a slightly different story with both prominent and held-up horses faring best, but leaders/mid-division runners faring less well. Athmad's 2.25 rating over his last four outing is skewed by a 1 rating in the race where he finished fourth having been held back too long and failing to catch the leaders, That aside the other three of his last four runs (all wins) came from prominent runs and I'd expect to see that continue today (the prominence, I mean!), Prominent runners are 68 from 166 (41% SR)  from those races above, which bodes well for our boy here.

Summary

A little shorter than usual, but I think I've covered the necessaries here. If Maaward isn't the worst in his race, he won't be far ahead of the one who is and at 40/1, the market agrees. I'd leave this one alone if I were you.

Different kettle of fish re : Athmad, though. In fantastic nick, he looks the best of the pack here and although this will be his toughest assignment yet, I feel he's got enough about him to get home again. Personally, I'd have liked a bit more than the 7/2 on offer from Bet365, but I've had a couple of shillings on anyway.