Chris highlighted the chance of Fanzio, a 7/1 winner available at a good bit bigger early, from three interesting runners on Wednesday; and with that he's taken himself off for a couple of days leaving me (Matt) to share a few thoughts in his absence.
Friday's racing is interesting, if tricky, and Horses For Courses report is the free feature. The six free races are...
- 12.40 Down Royal
- 12.50 Uttoxeter
- 1.15 Down Royal
- 3.30 Newmarket
- 4.20 Uttoxeter
- 5.30 Dundalk
There are a few 'hardy perennial' types on the H4C report...
...but, in spite of that, I'm heading to the last race of the day, the 8.15 Newcastle.
It's a six furlong Class 5 apprentice handicap down the straight track at Gosforth Park, where the going should be standard: the course was decompacted last week, making it ride slower, but there's been racing and rain since then, both of which help to tighten it up. According to the BHA site, the forecast is for a stiff westerly so, with the straight course running southeast to northwest - see image to the right - it'll be quite testing.
A full field of 14 are scheduled to leave the gate, and they are these:
Let's start with the Report Angles, where both Lucky Lodge and Cloudea are worth a second glance. Lucky Lodge's angles come from the trainer / jockey partnership of Alan Brittain and Harry Russell, all of whose success has come in the past year. We can see that both handler and pilot have good records separately as well.
Messrs Fahey and Murtagh are also of interest when combining here. Jockey Connor Murtagh actually has a 4/26 record at the track (see below), and it is his handicap record that is highlighted in the angle above (16 runs, 3 wins) - the label should say that!
I Know How also has a couple of pointers towards its chance:
Next stop is Instant Expert, where the cases for Burrows Seeside and especially Lezardrieux are well advertised. Both are short enough in the betting; both for good reason. Neither Cloudea nor Look Out Louis has any form against the Instant Expert criteria in the last two years.
I Know How, who hasn't won in a full field (but has run well twice), has an otherwise decent profile; and Lucky Lodge also falls in here fairly consistently.
The pace setup might be instructive, especially considering that forecast head/crosswind. Historically, those who led have performed best though a win rate of around one-in-nine - albeit in 13-14 runner fields - is going to be a long time between drinks.
Lezardrieux figures to race on the stands' side and might get cover if anything goes forward far side; but, realistically, he'll be racing into the breeze. It might not stop him but it's something to be aware of, especially if the earlier races are favouring horses covered up. Burrows Seeside is likely to get plenty of cover with a middle draw and a later run style.
Reviewing Draw Analyser for the last two years suggests middle berths are slightly favoured but there's very little in it:
Pulling all of these strands together, nothing stands out as having an especially strong chance above all others. That said, I'm still attracted to Lezardrieux in spite of concerns about being out front in the teeth of the hooley: I'll be watching earlier races to see if horses are getting home off the lead before deciding to bet.
Lucky Lodge may get the worst of it on that far side with a prominent racing style, though of course there's always the chance that I'm massively over-stating the effect of the wind!
Cloudea is vaguely interesting in a throwaway sort of way. She won a moderate maiden last summer and hasn't been beaten far in three subsequent starts. Down in grade, this is her third start off a layoff and a penny play at 20/1+ might reward ambition.
But BURROWS SEESIDE may be the one. He looks likely to get the run of the race, was course and distance winner on his handicap debut last time - by more than three lengths, and has more progression than most of these after just four lifetime starts. He was still 5/1 with 888sport at time of publication, though shortening everywhere else.
A good few others with chances in an interesting race where the wind may be a key factor, or no factor at all!