Tag Archive for: Bangor racecourse

Racing Insights, 27th November 2021

The Trainer/Jockey Combo stats report (TJC) brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

We make this TJC report free to all readers every Saturday , alongside the following free races of the day...

  • 1.15 Newbury
  • 1.22 Bangor
  • 2.46 Fairyhouse
  • 3.00 Newbury
  • 3.42 Bangor
  • 5.00 Wolverhampton

For today's piece, I'm turning to the TJC report for a look at a combo that has done well over the past year...

...and the Alistair Ralph/Nick Scholfield partnership have two runners at Bangor tomorrow.

Butler's Brief is a 6yr old gelding who runs in a 7-runner, Class 3, chase over 2m4½f on Good to Soft ground, whilst Llantara is a 10yr old mare in a 9-runner, Class 4, chase over 2m1½f. The trainer/jockey combo have a total of 7 wins and 7 further places from 25 races this year and they include...

  • 1 win, 3 places from 7 here at Bangor
  • 5 wins, 6 places from 18 in handicaps (as per the report)
  • 2 wins, 3 places from 7 in hcp chases
  • 1 win, 2 places from 6 on good to soft ground

    Re : Butler's Brief, the pair are...

  • 1 place from 2 Class 3 runs
  • 7 wins, 4 places from 21 with male runners
  • 5 wins, 3 places from 14 with 6 yr olds

    As for Llantara, they are...

  • 5 wins, 4 places from 14 at Class 4
  • 3 places from 4 with females
  • no runs with 10 yr olds

Butler's Brief steps down in class after a poor run in a 3m½f, Class 2 hurdle at Cheltenham five weeks ago, but probably needed the run after a five month break from action. Prior to that break, he won three times on the spin, all under Nick Scholfield's steering and he now tackles fences for the first time and runs off the same mark as when pulled up LTO. He's pretty inexperienced under today's conditions with just two good to soft runs, but he is 1 from 1 here at Bangor, having finished 9 lengths clear of the field in the third of those wins above.

He likes to race prominently and that would appear to be a good tactic here, although he's only 4th of 7 on average pace scores. That said, both yard and rider have good records here at Bangor and  they'll know what tactics would work best here.

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Llantara obviously shares the same stats as her stablemate above, but she's on a 9-race losing run, having last tasted success at Hexham in mid-March 2019, so it has been a while between drinks. In fairness to her, aside from a poor run LTO some 238 days ago, she had made the frame in five of her six starts since the start of 2020, suggesting there might still be some life in the old girl yet.

She may well need the run after 8 months off, but is assisted by dropping down two classes and a couple of pounds so that she's now 6lbs lower than her last win, which was over hurdles as she now tackles fences for only the second time. She has tended to be held-up when racing over hurdles, but those tactics probably won't be the rights ones here and she'll either stick with the old approach and struggle, or she'll be asked to get more involved earlier and I suspect the latter will apply as the team certainly know what it takes to win here.

Summary

The Ralph/Scholfield combo run two chasers here at Bangor and both have the ability to get in the mix, if they can overcome their lack of experience over fences. I do like Butler's Brief and I think he could go well here on chase debut. He's attractively priced at 8/1 but I think the likes of the 11/2 Mint Condition or the 4/1 Champagnesuperover might fare a little better than him. From an E/W perspective, there are sadly just two places being paid, but at 8's, I'll possibly still have a small punt.

Llantara, on the other hand, looks up against it, despite dropping two classes, especially if dwells at the back of the field. She ahs been off the track for a long time and I think I'd have preferred her to have had a more recent run. She's no mug and places consistently, but it'll be a watching brief for me here, even if she is a tempting 12/1. The 7/2 Boagrius is probably the one to beat, whilst his 16/1 stablemate Baby King might well outrun those odds for a place.

Racing Insights, 10th November 2021

The Trainer Statistics report 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 since 2009, 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!

This fantastic report is FREE to ALL readers EVERY Wednesday and is complemented this week with the following free races of the day...

  • 1.30 Bangor
  • 3.50 Dundalk
  • 4.50 Dundalk
  • 5.30 Kempton

My settings for the TS report are fairly strict, so I've no qualifiers to share with you today, so I'm going to cover the first of the free races, a big-field stayers' handicap over fences aka the 1.30 Bangor, a 14-runner, Class 2, 4yo+ handicap chase over three miles on good to soft ground, that will be soft in places. It's worth over £13.5k to one of these...

It certainly looks a competitive affair and picking a winner might be tricky, but with most bookies paying four places and some paying five, I'm hopeful of at least finding a couple of E/W angles today.

As most of you are probably aware, once you get past 10 or 11 eleven runners in a race, I'm stepping outside my comfort zone, so I'm going to try and whittle the field down pretty quickly before looking at a smaller number of runners to choose from and with that in mind, I'm immediately discounting...

  • Belami des Pictons, because he has been off the track for 641 days and hasn't won any race since February 2017 and has lost his last three by a combined 60 lengths.
  • Beware The Bear, whose two runs in the spring of this year saw him last of seven, beaten by 71 lengths and then he was pulled up next/last time out. Has since been shipped out of Nicky Henderson's yard.
  • Bobo Mac, who hasn't won a race in two years, but is still 10lbs higher than that win and now steps up in class.
  • Late Romantic, whose yard looks worst off based on both recent form and their record at this venue.

All of which reduces my field down to ten runners, whose suitability for the task ahead is shown on Instant Expert...

...where what I need is at least one win under at least one of today's race conditions based on going, class, course and distance and beacuse I wan't to show you how quickly you can eliminate runners from consideration, I'm now taking out Captain Chaos, Windsor Avenue, Blaklion (even if he did win the 2o16 RSA Chase) and Captain Tommy, leaving my racecard looking like this...

And it's from these six, that I want to reduce it down to four or five possibles for a win or E/W bet. There is, of course, the danger that I've already discarded the winner and I end up with no bet, but that's perfectly fine, as there's another 28 races and 335 runners to consider away from this race!

So, I now turn to the pace stats for both this type of race...

...and also for my sixrunners' last four outings...

The pace analyser says we should avoid those who'll try to make the running and I think that rules Eclair Surf out of my thoughts now. Prominent runners fare best, which is good news for both Legends Gold and Snow Leopardess, but doesn't rule any of the others out, although I'd not want Falco Blitz to go off too hard.

Summary

We've pretty quickly gone from 14 to 5 and in alphabetical order, we have...

  • Canelo fell at the Chair in this year's Grand National (but so have many!) last time out, but in the the year or so prior to that had finished 1012143 over fences showing great consistency including a grade 3 success at Wetherby on Boxing Day. Now only 3lbs heavier than that win and look suited by trip and ground conditions, should have a good chance here if ready to fire first up.
  • Falco Blitz is only 7 yrs old and has just six chase starts under his bely, making the frame in half of them and winning once. His best form has been at Class 3 and has mainly raced over shorter trips than today. Has a tendency to go off a little quickly and jumps left. He definitely has potential, but I'd say he's the weakest of my five.
  • Legends Gold won over fences at the first time of asking last October, despite not having raced for 8 months and this 7 yr old mare returns from a similar absence here. She ran really well to finish second of fourteen over 3m4f last time out, but has won (Ludlow hurdles) over today's trip and also here at Bangor (2m3½f hurdle) in the past. Should make the frame all things considered.
  • Sam's Adventure had a strange end to last season with Class 2 wins at Haydock (Tommy Whittle) and Newcastle (Eider) sandwiching the Peter Marsh at Haydock where he unseated his rider, a feat he then repeated in his last outing, the Scottish National at Ayr. Has serious ability, but probably prefers further than this and would want "worse" ground. Three miles on good to soft/soft is hardly a sprint, but he'd be better off with more of a stamina challenge and this might be too sharp for him.
  • Snow Leopardess is lightly raced (15 starts) for a 9 yr old and this mare took to fences well last season, winning a Class 2 on handicap debut at Haydock (3m1½f, soft) almost a year ago. She was then just three quarters of a length behind Canelo in the Gr3 Rowland Meyrick on Boxing Day and is now 3lbs better off with the winner, even if the form from that race hasn't really amounted to much. That said, she was a decent enough fourth in a Grade 2 at this year's Cheltenham Festival and this should be much easier, even if she'd probably want the ground to be a bit quicker.

Bear with me now, as this might not come across as I intend it, but I'll try...

Of my five, I really like Canelo and at 12/1 with Hills (paying 4 places), he's a definite E/W bet for me, but Snow Leopardess is probably the one to beat, now 3lbs better off with Canelo after being beaten by just three parts of a length on Boxing Day. However, Snow Leopardess is 'only' 5/1 and I think that's a little shy in such a competitive race. I might have had a dabble at 6's or bigger, but I'll hang fire on her for now.

As for the other three, Falco Blitz is too short for me to back at 17/2 with the reservations I have about him, Sam's Adventure is teasingly priced at 12's and could well make the frame but he'd prefer more of a stamina test, but Legends Gold should be good for a place and although 10/1 is as short as I'd be comfortable with about him, I'll have an E/W tickle there, too.

Pace Bias in Non-Handicap Hurdle Races

With the evenings now sadly drawing in, many punters will soon begin to think about the upcoming National Hunt season, writes Dave Renham. So Matt and I felt it was the right time to revisit pace bias in National Hunt racing. In the past I have written several articles for Geegeez on the topic of pace and for this piece I am going to take an in depth look at non-handicap hurdle races.

I appreciate many of you reading this will have read some or all of my previous articles, but for new readers it is important to explain what pace in a race means and how we measure it. Pace in this context is connected with the running styles of the horses. When I look at pace bias my main focus is the initial pace in a race and the position horses take up early on.

geegeez.co.uk has an excellent pace analyser tool and the stats I am sharing with you in this article are based on that tool’s pace data. The data on Geegeez are split into four styles and accompanying points – Led (4), Prominent (3), Mid Division (2) and Held Up (1). The numbers in brackets are the pace scores assigned to each section.

For this article I have only looked at races with eight or more runners – this avoids falsely run races which often occur when there are small fields.

The first set of data contains the overall pace stats from all 8+ runner National Hunt non-handicaps in the UK from 1/1/09 to 31/7/21:

 

It is important to keep in mind that the number of runners in each pace group varies: there are far more runners in the prominent and hold up categories as you can see. 'Leaders' is the smallest group as usually you only get one early leader in this type of race, occasionally two when there is a contested early lead. Hence although raw strike rates have relevance, it is more important to look at Impact Values (IV) and the A/E index (Actual winners/Expected winners).

Leaders clearly have an edge as a whole, with prominent racers the next most successful. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, in non-handicap hurdle races you want to be focusing on those horses that are the most likely to lead early (or at least race prominently and close to the front end).

When we have looked at draw biases on the flat we became aware that such biases can evolve and change over time. In terms of pace bias, though, I have always hoped (or assumed) that they are less likely to change much, if at all, over time. To check this theory out I decided to split the non-handicap data into two and compare 2009 – 2014 with 2015 onwards. The bar chart below compares the A/E values over these time frames:

 

Excellent correlation across all four pace categories so, because A/E is a measure of market performance, this gives increased confidence that the value in any pace biases is likely to replicated in the foreseeable future. Comparing the strike rates shows a similar level of consistency across the two time periods:

 

So we have a good starting point from which to start narrowing down the stats into different data sets to establish whether front running bias is stronger or weaker under more specific conditions. As the data seems consistent across the years I will analyse these areas over the whole time period (2009 to July 31st 2021).

 

Impact of Run Style by Race Distance, Non-Handicap Hurdles

I always feel distance is the best place to start when drilling down into pace data. A look first at the shorter distances.

2 miles 1 furlong or less

 

These figures are similar to the overall stats for all distances, so let us review by course. The chart below compares A/E values for all courses (min 50 races) – courses with A/E values of 1.00 or bigger are shown:

 

Bangor On Dee has the highest front-running A/E value at 1.48 and when we break the overall course stats down, we can see other metrics which point to that extremely strong front running bias:

 

Not only does the front running edge strengthen, it is clear that hold up horses struggle even more than the norm. For the record, if you had been able to predict the front runner(s) in each race at Bangor you would have made an SP profit to tune of 38 pence in the £. If only it was that easy!

The next chart shows the courses with the lowest A/E values for front runners over this trip:

 

Doncaster racecourse has the poorest figures for front runners and the overall stats for the course are as follows:

 

I think what this shows is that the course and distance stats are definitely worth drilling down on. The difference between Bangor and Doncaster at this distance range is very significant.

Before moving distances I would like to share some stats around performance of "the favourite" based on their running style:

 

Again, this shows clearly the importance of pace and running style. It still bemuses me how certain trainers continue to hold up their runners, when surely it is generally worth pushing them up with or close to the pace.

 

2 miles 2 furlongs to 2 miles 6 furlongs

It is always difficult to group National Hunt distances ‘perfectly’ when analysing large data sets, but for this article I wanted to split the full gamut of race distances into three parts and this seemed like a sensible middle distance grouping.

Here are the pace data for all courses for all non-handicap hurdle races over the 2 mile 2 to 2 mile 6 trip:

 

The figures are similar to the shorter distances though possibly the front running bias hass very slightly diminished. In terms of courses, amazingly Bangor on Dee is top again from a front running bias perspective – there is unquestionably a marked advantage to those horses that lead early at Bangor.

 

I thought for this interim distance group I would investigate some run style trainer data. I wanted to see which trainers had been the most successful when sending their runners out into the early lead in non-handicap hurdle races of 2m 2f to 2m 6f.

To that end, below are two graphs – firstly, trainer performance with front runners in terms of win strike rate; and secondly, looking at their respective A/E values.

 

 

As you might expect there are a high proportion of trainers that appears in both charts. Nicky Henderson tops both lists but this does not mean he sends a huge proportion of his runners to the front early; it shows, however, that when he does they fare extremely well. For the record here is Henderson's breakdown by running / pace style over this distance block:

 

His front runners clearly do best in terms of win strike rate, A/E value and IV. It is interesting though that only 11% - one in nine - of Henderson's horses actually take the early lead. But nearly half of them win!

It does make me wonder if trainers are really aware of pace bias... Below is his 'pace pie chart' in terms of percentage of runners that demonstrate a particular pace or running style.

 

44% of his runners raced off the pace early which is far too large a number in my opinion.

 

2 miles 7 furlong or more

The third and final grouping are the longer distance non-handicap hurdle races, from just shy of three miles upwards.

 

There are far fewer longer races as can be seen, but the same pattern emerges. Front runners perform best with prominent runners next best.

 

Trainers by Run Style (All distances)

I have already touched upon trainers but thought it might be interesting to create some trainer pace figures. To create the trainer pace figures I have simply added up the Geegeez pace points for a particular trainer and divided it by the number of runners. The higher the average the more prominent the trainer tends to race his charges. I have created trainer pace figures which cover all distances in non-handicap hurdles. Here are the trainers with the highest averages:

 

Rebecca Curtis tops the list and clearly favours positioning her runners nearer the front than the back. Her 'pace pie chart' below demonstrates this even more clearly:

 

As you can see 25% of Curtis's runners take the early lead, while another nigh on 50% race prominently and close to the pace. Ms Curtis is a trainer who understands the importance of forward run styles. It should come as no surprise therefore that you would have made a profit backing all of her runners ‘blind’ during this time frame. For the record, 53 of Curtis's runners were held up, and only 4 won (SR 7.55%). Compare this to 23% and 21.83% win strike rates for her early leaders and prominent racers.

Let us now review Alan King’s pace pie chart as a comparison to Curtis.

 

His pace average stands at 1.99 with a measly 2% of his runners sent into an early lead. Overall losses for King have been significant especially with runners that raced mid division or near the back early.

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I do believe that pace in a race is something which must be factored in to your betting. Pace biases vary from race type to race type, distance to distance, course to course, etc. However, if you are prepared to do some digging that other punters are not, you will give yourself a significant edge over the crowd.

This article has hopefully offered a good chunk of information to digest, but in reality I have barely scratched the surface. If you really want to profit from run style/pace then the Geegeez tools are there for you to test your own ideas and crunch pace data to your heart’s content.

- DR

Racing Insights, 16th August 2021

Not quite falling for me right now, but we go again on Monday, where the pace tab is made available to all readers for all races, including the races of the day, which are set to be...

  • 6.05 Bangor
  • 6.15 Roscommon
  • 6.35 Bangor
  • 7.05 Bangor

Looks like we're off to the jumps! The three UK races are all small field affairs, but the last of them is, at Class 3, the highest rated of them, so today's focus is the 7.05 Bangor, a 7-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ handicap hurdle over 2m7f on good ground. The pot offered is £4,956 and here are the runners, riders and my report angle stats...

Drumlee Watar is the form horse, having won three on the bounce, but Catchmeifyoucan is seeking a hat-trick. Four of the seven (inc the two I just mentioned) are up in class. All bar Victarion (164 days) have raced in the last month or so, ages range from 7 to 10, lots of inform jockeys/trainers and some course stats for them too. Looks like it might be a decent contest at first glance.

Justatenner hasn't won since the end of October last year and his best effort since was when 5th of 9 at Cartmel in May, beaten by 7.5 lengths and was about the same distance off the pace at Uttoxeter last time out. Now 5lbs below his last winning mark, he should have a chance at the weights, but would need some pace in the race. I'd also say that he'd be better suited if this race was at Ayr, or on softer ground, or over a longer trip, so others might tick more boxes for you.

Drumlee Watar steps up to Class 3 for the first time after a string of fine results (22111) in Class 4 hurdles that have seen his mark go up from 110 to today's 125. Ground and trip are fine here, he gets on well with his jockey who is 11/49 here over five years and performs best in these small fields. The usual cheekpieces and tongue tie are in situ and although this is tougher up in class and weigh, the manner of his last two handicap wins suggests he'll be involved late on.

Neverbeen To Paris has been kept fit/sharp with four efforts on the Flat at trips varying from 1m6f to 2m2f with a couple of decent runs at the shorter trip. From a hurdling perspective he has been beaten in all nine runs since back to back Class 4 wins over 2m5f/2m5.5f back in April/May 2019. He's still 9lbs heavier than that last win and I'd say the assessor is beating him right now.

Catchmeifyoucan comes here looking for a hat-trick after two wins inside five days in mid-July. As you'd expect, she's now 1 class and 11lbs higher than that first win, but has already been a runner-up (bt by 1.25L) in this grade at the end of May. She's got her preferred rider on board, going and trip are ideal and she should be there or thereabouts again here. As per my report angles above, the yard does well here and the jockey is in good nick.

Morraman looks one of the weaker candidates here and reading between the lines, you can't help but feel something isn't or hasn't been quite right with him. Finishes of 1341 in the 2018/19 season hinted at promise, but he has only raced twice since the 19th October 2019. He ran at Cheltenham after a break of 395 days and was then off track for another 246 days prior to coming home 6th of 7 at Cartmel a month ago. That might well have been the run he needed to get going again, but I'm not sure. He does have a 50% place strike rate (7 from 14) and has made the frame off higher marks, but I think he wants a lower grade/shorter trip than here.

Victarion hasn't faced a hurdle since falling when well held at the last at Southwell in early December 2019 and has only raced three times since, all over fences where he was pulled up, beaten by 11 lengths and most recently beaten by almost 30 lengths. Now on his third trainer in three starts, he's best left watched.

Calum Gilhooley was first past the post two starts ago, but as his saddle slipped at the last, he lost his weight cloth and was somewhat unluckily disqualified. He put that behind him to finish a 1.5 length runner-up at Cartmel last month despite stepping up to Class 3. He's now just 2lbs heavier than that run, but a similar effort must put him in the hunt here. His best form has admittedly been over shorter trips and a mark of 117 might just be beyond him, but I'd expect him to be having a go.

At this point, it still looks fairly open, but I'm not too keen on the likes of Morraman or Victarion. Perhaps Instant Expert's overview of relevant form will help clarify things...

If we look at all NHF/hurdles outings...

...we see that Justatenner really doesn't go well on good ground, but is a three-time Class 3 winner. Catchmeifyoucan and Morraman have the best good ground form, whilst Calum Gilhooley is a former class and course winner. All seven have won in and around this trip, whilst Drumlee Watar and Neverbeen To Paris are up in weight most from their last win.

If we then restrict ourselves to just handicap form...

...Catchmeifyoucan looks even better on good ground and is very good at the trip and probably becomes the eyecatcher from Instant Expert.

There's obviously no draw to contend with here, but pace is really important here at Bangor, where in these smaller field handicaps on good ground, horses that lead do far better than any other running style...

...and when our horses have run like this over their last three outings...

...it looks like Drumlee Watar might well try and put this race to bed early.

Summary

I've always leant towards the two form horses, Drumlee Watar and Catchmeifyoucan and there's little between them on form and on my own rankings. Catchmeifyoucan came out best on Instant Expert, but I'm really concerned about the hold-up tactics here.

I do like Catchmeifyoucan, but I think that Drumlee Watar might get too far ahead for the mare to catchup, so I'm going to side with Drumlee to beat Catch here.

Had there been more runners and a possible E/W punt, Neverbeen To Paris might have been interesting at double-digit odds, but it would have been very small stakes if any.

Unsurprisingly, the bookies have my pair as the 11/4 jt favs and that's probably fair.

Racing Insights, 17th April 2021

I couldn't really have got Friday's race more wrong if I'd tried, but when two of the first three home were 33/1 and the trifecta paid over £5,300, I'm guessing not many people did call it right.

Saturday's feature of the day is the excellent Trainer/Jockey combo report and our free races of the day are scheduled to be...

  • 12.25 Bangor
  • 1.40 Thirsk
  • 3.10 Curragh
  • 5.30 Brighton

Of our four feature races, only the first looks like not having a very short-priced favourite so today's focus falls upon the 12.25 Bangor, a 10-runner, Class 4 Handicap Chase for 5yo+ horses over 2m1½f on Good ground and one of the following will earn a prize of £3,594...

Swift Crusador sits second in the Geegeez ratings probably because he showed signs of a return to form last out when third in a higher grade over 2m4f at Wetherby. If truth be told, he'd struggled for a while before then and hasn't won a race since early December 2018. He might well be down in class and five pounds lower than that last win, but I don't see him triumphing here off top weight.

Pistol Park hasn't won a race since landing a 5-runner contest at Carlisle exactly and glimpses of any sign of another success have been few and far between since. He did finish second to an in-form rival back at Carlisle in February, but has disappointed since. That said, he's now on a career low mark and if running like he did three starts ago, he could sneak into the frame here.

Crooks Peak hasn't tackled fences in his last eight outings and has only been sent chasing three times in a 23-race career so far. He last jumped fences on his last run for Philip Hobbs when 2nd of 7 at Kempton over 2m2f in a higher grade than this and when you consider than he was only beaten by 1.25 lengths off a mark of 128, you'd have to consider him worthy of a chance here off 112, especially as he's now with Team Skelton, who are in great form right now and have a good record at this venue.

Elixir du Gouet was quite well respected in France over both hurdles and fences, but has suffered a bit of a stop/start time here in the UK, racing just three times in the last two years and being beaten by 51, 124 and 61 lengths respectively. I'd look elsewhere today.

Casa Tall won races over hurdles in France, but only made the frame twice in seven runs over the smaller obstacles after his move to the UK. He was a bit sketchy over fences on his first couple of attempts but got round move times and then showed some promise when only beaten by 6 lengths last time out. He's down a couple of pounds now and if continuing to improve, could get involved.

Discko des Plages won over fences at Catterick in mid-December despite not jumping well at all, but has run consistently well in five outings since, although he did unseat his rider when leading at Uttoxeter in February. He goes off the same mark as when runner-up twelve days ago, but with Brian Hughes taking over in the saddle, will be expected to be there or thereabouts again.

Tierra Verde won a couple of hurdle races in 2018 before taking 18 months off and has tackled fences just three times, finishing 4th of 14 (bt by 4.5L) and most recently 2nd of 14, going down by just a neck. She also ran in a bumper between those chase outings and was only 1.25 lengths off the pace in third place. She'd be of serious interest, but for stepping up in class and being some 12lbs worse off than LTO as she now runs off 106, but she had a 7lb claimer on board when she ran off 101 LTO.

Some Spin won a 2m maiden hurdle in Ireland last July, but has finished 899P0 since. The P was his only effort over fences when pulled up before 2 put over 2m at Class 5 two starts ago and was 10th of 15, beaten by 23 lengths over hurdles LTO. Not for me here up in class.

French Kiss has made the frame just once in fourteen career starts (5 flat, 4 A/W, 4 hrds, 1 chs) and ran out after the ninth fence on chase debut at Newton Abbot earlier this month. Easy to dismiss here.

Secret Melody finally got off the mark at the nineteenth time of asking last time out (8th over fences) by winning here at Bangor over course and distance, but that was eight months ago and he now races from 3lbs outside of the handicap. That said, he is the only C&D winner in the field, none of his rivals have won here at all and he is carrying virtually no weight. There's no guarantee he'll fire after a long lay-off, but if kicking on from that win, might be involved again.

At this point, I'll admit to already deciding that I certainly don't like four of them here, namely Elixir du Gouet, French Kiss, Some Spin and Swift Crusador and hopefully Instant Expert will back me up, where due to the lack of winners I've selected the place form...

There we get a reminder of Pistol Park's weight difference here and we do have some splashes of green, but nothing to push me towards/away from any runner in particular, if I'm honest.

I'v looked at the pace angle here and I'm told that you either want to lead the field round or you want sit towards the back, getting caught neither here not there hasn't been a successful tactic here in previous contests...

So, Secret Melody looks like the one to lead them out, but there's the obvious danger of him not staying the trip after eight months away from the track, whilst Crooks Peak is likely to be near the back, which could well be ideal for him to pick them all off late on.

Summary

For me, Crooks Peak is the one to beat here. I know we have to take his jumping for granted after hurdling for a while, but you can be sure the Skeltons will have schooled him well. After that there's a handful of runners who could all make the frame, despite seeming to be unsuited on race profile...

Casa Tall / Discko des Plages / Pistol Park / Secret Melody / Tierra Verde...

...and I think I might have to look at who has the fewest red flags and go with the ones I have least reservations about, which leads me to Discko des Plages and Casa Tall for the places.

I'm not surprised to see the bookies in fairly relative agreement with me, as Hills have installed Crooks Peak as the 5/2 favourite here. To be honest, he should be winning this, but it's not a shoo-in and I was rather hoping/expecting to get at least 4/1 about him.

Racing Insights, 11th November 2020

Getaround ran well for a long way on Tuesday, but was never able to open up a lead. He finally succumbed to faster finishers and the burden of top weight, going down by five lengths. On now to Wednesday, where the feature of the day is the Trainer Stats report, whilst our free cards are for...

  • 2.36 Exeter
  • 3.20 Dundalk
  • 3.25 Ayr
  • 5.35 Kempton
  • 6.05 Kempton

As we should all be, I'm a bit choosy about which races I look at / get involved in ans as those five contests are a novice chase, an A/W maiden, a bumper and two divisions of an A/W novice contest, I'll stay well away and revert back to the Trainer Stats report and the course 5 year handicap option, which throws up the following of interest...

...three runners in the same 7-horse contest, the 3.33 Bangor :  a Class 2, handicap hurdle for 3yo+ over 2m 3.5f on soft ground for a prize of £9,384. So let's follow my normal process of seeing whether any of our three runners are likely to feature in the final shake-up starting, of course with the racecard...

I've arranged the card into Geegeez ratings order with Chti Balko in third position and Bialco in fifth with a standardised rating of 93.5 and 80 respectively with the top three fairly closely bunched. Our third runner Tawseef has no rating having not seen a hurdle for almost 19 months!

Form-wise, Chti Balko is clearly the best of our three, but both Mint Condition and Chirico Vallis come here in better nick (and head the ratings). Bialco steps up one class from his last run 40 days ago, whilst the three class rise for Tawseef is a little misleading. He is up three classes from his last outing, but that was a Flat contest, he's only actually up one grade from his last hurdles effort back in April 2019 and he runs off a mark 5lbs lower than that run.

Both of our trainers (Lucinda Russell & Donald McCain) have the C5 icon denoting a good sustained record at this track, but Lucinda is just 1 from 29 in the last fortnight hence the 14 and sadly her jockey here, Derek Fox has the 14 and 30 by his name, as he is 0 from 22 over the past 30 days. Will Kennedy on board Chti Balko also has the 14 and 30 but does also carry the C5 tag, as he is 0 from 16 over the last fortnight, but has an excellent 18 from 81 (22.2%) record here at Bangor over hurdles since 2016.

Our next pieces of information are provided by the Instant Expert tab on the card...

...which again proves to be disappointing for our trio from a win perspective with not much green around. From a place perspective Chti Balko has made the frame in 3 of 5 efforts at this trip and in 5 of 9 in small fields, whilst Bialco has a 3 in 6 placed record over this trip. Tawseef does at least have a win from just three Class 2 contests.

This type of contest suits those who race prominently, especially those willing to set the pace, as shown by the pace stats for this race...

...which finally gives us a little optimism as Chti Balko and Tawseef both like to be towards the head of affairs, but our prediction of a contested lead probably won't do any of the front three any favours and if they burn each other out, that opens the door for a finisher.

So far, I've got to be honest and say that there's not much here to suggest we've got a winner in our trio of highlighted runners, but let's have a closer look at them...

Bialco : Won a soft ground Class 3 contest over 2m7f at Kelso just after Christmas last year but has disappointed since. Finished 5th of 8, beaten by 24 lengths last time out coming off the back of a 31 week absence, so he probably needed the run. Unfortunately, he's now up in class and his record of 3 wins from 16 over hurdles doesn't really suggest a win here when you consider that they include 0 from 6 under jockey Derek Fox, 1 from 5 on soft, 0 from 5 at Class 2, 0 from 2 at 2m3.5f/2m4f and 0 from 1 here at Bangor. Best left alone.

Chti Balko : a winner over class, course and distance three starts ago, when pretty much making all on heavy ground to score by ten lengths and was a good second next time out at Haydock. Off the track for 10 months, though, and may very well need the run.

Has won 4 of 20 over hurdles, including 3 from 8 on heavy ground which could be useful should conditions deteriorate.

Tawseef : hasn't raced for over 15 months, hasn't won for nearly 17 months and it's almost 19 months since he last saw a hurdle, never mind a win in this sphere (that was some 35 months back!). Hard to imagine that at 12 yrs old, he's going step back up in class to land this, but has won his fair share in the past.

A veteran of 84 races across A/W, Flat and hurdles, winning 12 (14.3%) of them in a decent career, but better on the Flat it has to be said. 3 from 15 on soft ground and 3 from 14 on heavy suggest he's like the mud but those become 0 from 7 and 1 from 10 over hurdles, so may be not. He's 6 from 20 for this yard and 2 from 8 under this jockey, but I don't fancy his chances at all.

Summary

Of our three from the report, Chti Balko has the best chance, as I wouldn't be surprised if Bialco & Tawseef are the last two home here. But, that's where the optimism ends to be honest. There's a possibility Chti Balko goes well and makes the frame, but he has been off the track a ljg time and I think he'll do well to finish in the top three, as I expect Mint Condition and Chirico Vallis to be the ones to beat here.

Stat of the Day, 25th August 2020

Monday's pick was...

3.10 Ayr : Equidae @ 4/1 BOG WON at 5/1 (Tracked leader, challenged 2f out, soon led, ridden and kept on well final furlong) 

Tuesday's pick runs in the...

3.05 Bangor :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Do You Know What @ 4/1 BOG

...in a 9-runner, Class 5, Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m4½f on Soft ground worth £3,574 to the winner... 

Why?...

As usual, the racecard holds several clues...

As you can see by their respective 14, 30 and C5 icons, the Skeltons are in good form and have a good record at this track. The report angle shows they are 3 from 6 together over the last fortnight and then my own (once-again imaginatively entitled) angles tell me that Dan Skelton is one of a number of trainers who do well with Class 4/5 chasers (not all 2876 runners are his!) and he's also one of mine to follow over fences here at Bangor and I'll explain those two angles briefly for you.

We'll start with C4/5 Chs and this is the criteria I apply to the Skelton chasers...

...which has generated the following pretty self-explanatory results.

If we now take a quick look at Dan Skelton's Bangor chasers, we see that those sent off at 9/1 or shorter since the start of 2015 are...

including of relevance today...

  • 9/27 (33.3%) for 19.23pts (+71.2%) with Harry Skelton in the saddle
  • 9/24 (37.5%) for 22.23pts (+92.6%) within 60 days of their last run
  • 3/9 (33.3%) for 8.25pts (+91.7%) over this course and distance
  • and 2/4 (50%) for 11.94pts (+298.4%) on soft ground...

...whilst Harry + 1-60dslr = 9/22 (40.9% SR) for 24.23pts (+110.1% ROI), inc 2/4 at C&D and 2/3 on soft.

One last thing that I want to touch on is the adoption of cheekpieces today. This 7 yr old mare has only worn them once before and that was eight races and almost two years ago, but I'm always interested in chasers suddenly sporting headgear, because...

...during May to September (my summer chasing season) since the start of 2016, handicap chasers sent off at Evens to 15/2 wearing headgear after failing to make the frame without any LTO are...

Now, it could just be coincidental, but that's a lot of winners/profit from a decent sample size to be pure chance, surely? And from those 240 runners, we have...

  • 59/223 (26.5%) for 96.1pts (+43.1%) in fields of 5-12 runners
  • 51/198 (25.8%) for 77.6pts (+39.2%) at 6-60 dslr
  • 42/154 (27.3%) for 69.2pts (+44.9%) in cheekpieces
  • 38/124 (30.7%) for 88.9pts (+71.7%) were beaten by more than 15 lengths LTO
  • and 24/96 (25%) for 42.3pts (+44%) stepped up in trip by up to 5.5 furlongs

As I said, it could be pure coincidence, but those wearing cheekpieces in 5-12 runner contests 6-60 days after being beaten by more than 15 lengths are 21 from 59 (35.6% SR) for 58.3pts (+98.8% ROI), including 3 from 3 in the last four weeks...

...pointing towards... a 1pt win bet on Do You Know What @ 4/1 BOG (or bigger in places) as was available at 8.20am Tuesday (a bit later than usual after a swathe of non-runners), but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 3.05 Bangor

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!