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Racing Insights, 22nd June 2021

I went with Ballyegan Hero at 7/2 to beat Mr Mafia at Newton Abbot today, as I wasn't keen on the 13/8 fav Easyrun de Vassy. Mr Mafia was a 5/1 non-runner meaning a 15p Rule 4 deduction on our winning bet, but a shade under 3/1 is far better than the eventual SP of 7/4. And the fav? 28 lengths adrift back in third at odds of 6/4 :  plenty of singed digits around.

Tuesday's free offering to non-Gold subscribers is The Shortlist report highlighting horses running in conditions they seem to enjoy, whilst our daily list of free racecards are for the following contests...

  • 1.00 Brighton
  • 1.45 Beverley
  • 2.35 Ayr
  • 3.20 Brighton
  • 5.00 Newbury

There are no standouts from the Shortlist report, sadly, so it's back to race profiling I must turn. The Ayr race is the highest grade of the five, but it's only a 4-runner affair, so next best is the first on the list, the 1.00 Brighton, a 7-runner, Class 4, 4yo+ flat handicap over 7f on good to soft (soft in places) ground for a prize of £4,347 and here are the competitors...

We might only have seven runners, but it looks a really competitive affair between a field who have all won at least one of their last four outings and two have won three of their last six. All bar Gambon & Kendergarten Cop (up from C5) ran in this grade last time out and we've two course winners (Little Boy Blue & Batchelor Boy), two distance winners (Gambon & Latent Heat), whilst the other three (Mamillus, Kendergarten Cop & Glasvegas) have all won over track & trip.

All seven have raced recently with Latent Heat's 25 day rest being the longest of these seven geldings, six of whom are aged 4-6 with Mamillus the senior player at the age of 8. He along with Gambon are two highlighted on the card for trainer/jockey form and the competitiveness of the contest is suggested by the SR figures where five of the seven are rated from 67 to 71, although the official assessor says that Little Boy Blue & Gambon are 15lbs better than Latent Heat.

Little Boy Blue has finished in the first three home in five of six runs this year and won at Ascot on soft ground a little over six weeks ago. His last run was here over course and distance was a useful third, beaten by less than three lengths on good to firm ground, but softer ground won't bother him either, as proven at Ascot. Definite shortlist material here, especially with a record at this venue reading 1313 for a yard that is 7 from 34 (20.6% SR, A/E 1.86) in handicaps up to a mile here at Brighton since 2016.

Gambon is the only LTO winner in the field today, courtesy of a win over this trip at Chepstow 11 days ago. That was on good to firm ground, but he has a decent record on good to soft too, but he's up 5lbs here, up in class and does his best work at Chepstow, so he's up against it here, although...

Mamillus had a three month break from late August and since since returning in December, he has three wins and two runner-up finishes from seven outings and was a winner here over 6f just two starts ago. he's better back up at this 7f trip and has two wins and a place from six efforts over course and distance (has won 3 here at Brighton all told). He's a solid Class 4 horse, prefers small fields and I'd expect him to be close today and he has a stack of stats to back him up!

Kendergarten Cop has already scored three times here at Brighton this season at a mile, then 7f and finally at 6f in a 38-day period from late April. The first win came off a mark of 62 reduced by a 7lb claim and the third win came off 71. He then toiled over 5f at Sandown (10th of 12, beaten by over 6 lengths) off his new rating of 75 and even the re-booking of his 7lb claimer couldn't get him to win here over 6f a week ago when headed at the post. No 7lb claim here, up both class and trip, I'd have to say this looks a tall order, even if he is 1112 here at Brighton.

Glasvegas is another with three wins already this season, the last of which was two starts and eight weeks ago here over course and distance. That was at Class 5 off a mark of 73 and when moved up to Class 4 LTO he was only 4th of 7 over C&D off 74 and I think going again at the same class/track/trip/OR isn't going to change his fortunes.

Batchelor Boy actually dead-heated for a win here over 6f at the start of the month with the pair some 3.5 lengths clear of the pack and he had excuses when only 5th of 7 at bath last time out over an inadequately short trip on quicker ground. He goes off the same mark today, but the in-form Mark Crehan takes 3lbs off and that could make a difference here and we've some positive data to share...

Latent Heat is bottom weight here and receives at least 5lbs from his rivals and is only a pound higher than when winning over a mile at this grade on heavy ground at Goodwood back in October. Unfortunately, he hasn't kicked on since then and was 9th of 12 next time out. He then took six months off and ran twice in May finishing 6th of 7 on both occasions and this is probably too tough for him. He's also getting a bit of a reputation for being temperamental and often misbehaves in the stalls.

Relevant form via Instant Expert...

We've not many winners in softer underfoot conditions and three of these have yet to win a C4 handicap, but we've plenty of good course form to consider. Small fields don't seem to bother this lot and we've quite a number of previous wins in 7f handicaps. Gambon carries 5lbs more than his highest win, but there are no really big differences to overcome with the 1lb extra for Mamillus looking the most favourable. Latent Heat also only has a pound to find, but I wasn't keen on him in the write-up section and IE confirms my feelings.

Draw Stats...

From a win perspective, stall 1 (Batchelor Boy) is clearly the place to be , whilst those aiming to make the frame would appear to have the best chance from stall 3 (Latent heat), but those detials tend to make me question the data for stall 2, whose numbers are quite poor and if you just looked at the draw in sectors, there's not a great deal in it...

Pace Stats...

These, however, show a clear bias towards those prepared to stick their neck out and set the pace...

50% of the races have been won by leaders and the premise here is almost..."if you can't lead, you're unlikely to win, so hold back and finish strongly..."

Pace/draw Combo...

If you're looking for a winner, then what I wrote just above is backed up by this data...

...where unsurprisingly leading is the best policy, irrespective of draw with hold up horses faring poorly. We did, however suggest that those who couldn't lead should hold back and then aim for a place late on and the data for placed runners...

...backs up that theory with low to mid drawn hold-up horses making the frame quite often. So we already know our draw for today and we now know how that draw interacts with race pace, but e don't know how the seven horses are going to run. That means we have to make our own judgement, but thankfully all horses' running styles are logged into our database and we can use past performances as an indicator as to how they might tackle their next race.

The caveat here is that trainers can change their instructions, especially if the horses is out of form. The horse might "play up" on the day and not follow orders or they could get a poor ride. Thankfully all those factors are relatively rare and we're confident about our pace data for individual horses. We can look at recent runs (and all 7 have raced recently) and we can then drop them onto that heatmap above as follows (in draw order)...

This suggests that we could well have a bit of race on our hands and if the front four or five all go at it and take each other on, those not used to softer ground might find themselves wanting late on, favouring the likes of Little Boy Blue and Mamillus amongst the front ranked runners.

Summary

I've got this as a 2-division race with hopefully (and alphabetically) Batchelor Boy, Little Boy Blue and Mamillus being the prominent bunch. I don't actually have much between them and Batchelor Boy has the plum draw, of course. Little Boy Blue has a win and two places from three soft ground runs, so stamina is there for him and with 2 wins and 2 places from 4 here at Brighton, conditions look favourable, whilst Mamillus is solid at this grade, loves these smaller field and has a jockey and yard both in great form.

Ideally, I'd fudge the issue and walk away at this point, but I'm not sure that's what you want to read, so in order of preference I've just about got it as Little Boy Blue (6/1) / Mamillus (9/2) / Batchelor Boy (8/1). The market doesn't agree with me, but they're not always right, are they?

 

Racing Insights, 27th April 2021

Monday's profiled race is a late one, so we'll skip straight to Tuesday, where 'feature of the day' is The Shortlist report, which highlights runners with a good past record under given circumstances, whilst our 'races of the day' are set to be...

  • 2.20 Nottingham
  • 3.00 Brighton
  • 3.40 Punchestown
  • 5.05 Nottingham
  • 6.30 Punchestown

I'm going to swerve the Irish races, as they've got 25 runners and four runners respectively, which leaves me with the three English races plus The Shortlist. To be honest, there's only one runner/race on that report for me and it looks like being a favourite in a 5-runner contest at Brighton. The two races at Nottingham are a Novice heat and another 5-runner affair, so it's almost Hobson's Choice that I'll be focusing my attention on the 3.00 Brighton today.

It's not always a bad thing to have narrowed down the races you're going to look at and this one does at least look competitive, despite just being a 9-runner, Class 6 Flat handicap for 4yo+ over 6f on good to firm ground. The £2,322 prize money isn't the best, but it will be won by one of the following...

Real Estate came back from a two-month break to run here over course and distance ten days ago. He was only beaten by 3.25 lengths and now having had the run and dropping down a grade and 3lbs, could have every chance of making the frame here.

Desert Land drops two classes and steps back a furlong for his seasonal turf reappearance, having been beaten by almost 8 lengths at Lingfield (AW) last time out. He's 0 from 8 on turf and has only made the frame twice and I suspect others will be better suited here.

Lethal Angel is a former course and distance winner off 3lbs higher and she was a runner-up at Chelmsford, beaten by less than two lengths earlier this month despite a 19-week layoff. Since then she has returned to the turf going down by 8.5 lengths at Bath 11 days ago, but in her defence that was a Listed race and a similar run would probably be enough. She's probably the one to beat here, under an in-form jockey with a good record at this venue.

Winnetka has yet to win after 16 starts, but did make the frame in four successive races over the winter. He was then 6th of 11 in February and 8th of 12 last month off just 2lbs higher and it's difficult to see him troubling the places again here.

Holdenhurst has also won over course and distance in the past and was a runner-up here off this mark over 7f ten days ago. He never really looked like winning once headed 4f out, but stayed on well and could go close again today for a yard with a near 21% (7 from 34) strike rate at this track since 2016.

Storm Melody is better than his last run might suggest when he was 7 lengths off the pace over 5.5f at Bath earlier this month. He probably did too much early on trying to set the pace, but prior to that outing he had been running consistently well throughout the winter. He's now a pound lower and just 2lbs higher than his last win and if returning to his pre-Bath form should be involved in the shake-up.

De Little Engine has won here twice in the past, but went down by almost seven lengths here ten days ago and had lost his three previous outings by around 11 lengths each time. He's 5lbs lower than his last win, his yard have done well here in the past (6/26 in hcps during 2019) and his jockey is 3 from 11 in the last fortnight, but I'd expect him to miss out here again today.

Cobra Eye was a runner-up on debut and then won second time out, both back in July 2019, but he is 0 from 14 since without even making the frame once in that run. He has been last home in two of his last four outings, which also includes a 10th of 12 at Kempton. He may well be down 2 classes here, but I don't think he'll be beating many today either.

Navajo Dawn is another horse bang out of form and she's probably going to be last home here. She won back to back Class 6, 5f sprints at Southwell at the start of last year and hasn't kicked on from there, losing 12 straight contests since, including a 15 length defeat last time out where she was 9th of 10 over the same class, course and distance at Southwell. She was off a mark some 13lbs lower than her last win that day and she had a jockey claiming 3lbs, so she's clearly off the boil. She's down another 3lbs here, but has no claimer on board and I expect another heavy loss for her today.

Without too many wins between the group, I've chosen to look at t he place percentages acquired by these runners and as ever Instant Expert gives us a quick, clear overview/comparison of the field...

Some obvious standouts there, especially in the middle sector of the card and a couple are running off much lower marks than their last win, which is always of interest. Real Estate is quite possibly better than the above graphic might suggest, but I think Desert Land, Cobra Eye and Navajo Dawn are going to struggle here.

From a draw perspective, the general feeling I have about these type of races at Brighton is that you probably want to be drawn in the higher half and probably the higher the better. Thankfully, you don't have to rely on what I think might be the case, because we've got stats to tell us that...

...this does indeed appear to be the case, which is good for the likes of Lethal Angel out in box 9.

From a pace perspective, the numbers says that prominent runners pretty much win as often as expected, but both leaders and mid-division horses fare really well, mainly at the expense of the poor results achieved by hold-up horses on this quick, quirky track...

So, if we use Lethal Angel as our example, he already has a good chance based on the write-up section and is well drawn here, so if his usual racing position falls into the green categories, he'd definitely be in with a shout, as here's how pace and draw tend to interact at Brighton...

and when we put our racecard into draw order and overlay the past running styles of the nine rivals, we get...

...where I expect the best results to come from the highest third of the draw.

Summary

Lethal Angel has ticked a lot of boxes for me throughout the process and without even going into any whittling down of the field, I'm nailing my colours to his mast here.

In behind him for the places becomes a little more complicated, as I've got three in mind who could well make the frame ie Holdenhurst, Real Estate and Storm Melody. The latter had been in good form prior to last time out, he scored well enough on Instant Expert and has a really good pace/draw make-up, so Storm melody is next best for me.

That leaves a choice between Holdenhurst and Real Estate for the last place and to be honest with you, there's not much in it. There are pro's and cons about both, but Holdenhurst just seems better suited.

The market would seem to agree with my top three and have installed Lethal Angel as the 11/4 favourite, they've got the placers the other way around from me, but we do have the same first three.