Sometimes, things just come together and today was one of those days at Redcar. We highlighted the 10/3 winner at 5/1 and the 5/1 runner-up E/W as a 12/1 E/W pick and I know some of you jumped on the forecast that paid out at 18.5/1, but much bigger last night at Bet365's BOG prices, I'd assume.
The favourite ran well enough but was fairly soundly beaten as I’d hoped and Striding Edge did indeed come home stone last again. All of which is excellent news for us, but is already history. We've no time to dwell as we look forward to Tuesday, where Feature of the Day is the Shortlist report and the free races are as follows...
- 1.30 Bangor
- 2.10 Catterick
- 3.40 Bangor
- 4.00 Chepstow
And at the risk of it becoming a samey/repetitive, I'm going to do another race preview of one of our featured races, the 2.10 Catterick, which actually looks like a tricky little contest that could develop into a really good race, as all six could well win it based on my initial brief glance at the cards, so let's take a closer look at this 6- runner, Class 4 Flat handicap for 3yo+ over 7f on soft ground, where the winner will receive £5,208 for their efforts.
As ever, we start with what we already have available ie the racecard and I've sorted it into speed rating order again for you...
There's not a great deal separating the first four listed on the speed ratings, so they're initially the ones of interest to us, whilst Grace and Virtue stands out from the green icons highlighting the yard's past success at this venue.
As today's free report is the Shortlist, we'll next consider the more detailed version of it that we all know as Instant Expert, firstly by place...
...where we have plenty of green with four runners having 50% or better placing on soft ground, whilst Byron's Choice has a really return over 7f, although as seen below, he's in the frame more than the winners' enclosure...
...again lots of green, but from small sample sizes, but the above tells me that Grace and Virtue is the one most proven on soft ground. The going is often a major factor in these small field potentially-tactical affair, where the draw is key. History tells us that in this kind of contest you want to be drawn centrally in box 3 or 4 as below...
...which could be good news for Lord Oberon and I Am A Dreamer, whilst the pace draw heat map suggests that being drawn middle to high alone isn't enough, you also need to race prominently or even lead...
...which when we overlay today's runners...
...says that Lord Oberon does indeed have the best draw for his usual running style, whilst only Ey Up It's Mick seems to be in a poor spot. However, at this point, I'm still not at a point where I've got a pick, nor am I discounting any of them just yet, so let's look at each of them in turn...
Byron's Choice : is a reasonable 4 from 21 on the Flat including 3 from 10 at 7f and 2 from 5 under jockey Callum Rodriguez. he's a former Class 3 winner and won on his only previous visit to Catterick when landing the spoils over course and distance back in June 2018.
He went on to win again two weeks later, but hasn't since won in 13 attempts over 27 months and hasn't won on Soft ground either, but show signs of a return to form when third at Ayr last time out, beaten by less than a length off today's mark.
Ey Up It's Mick : is a really consistent sort having made the frame in 9 of his last 13 outings, winning three of them, but has no win in his last six races since landing a Class 5, 6f contest on Good to Soft off a mark of 67 back in July. He was third of 13 last time out, 3.5 lengths off the pace here over course and distance ten days ago off today's career high mark of 73.
All three career wins have been at a lower grade than this, but he has won over this trip, likes the soft ground (2 wins) and has 2 wins and a place from four under today's jockey, Kevin Stott.
Grace And Virtue : Scores well on the data above and comes here in the best form of all six runners, with three wins and two runner-up finishes from her last six starts. She's 3 from 6 on turf, all under today's jockey Tony Hamilton, finishing 2141 over this 7f trip and 2 from 2 on soft ground and she receives a 2lb allowance here.
So, a surefire odds on jolly, then? Probably not, although she'll be popular, it's not all great news. All her best form is at Class 5, her worst run on turf came at this level and she's up 7lbs to a career-high 77 after winning last time out.
I Am A Dreamer : This 4 yr old carries the burden of top weight and on form of 706834 looks bang out of it, but all those six runs were at Class 2 immediately after winning in this grade seven races ago. He's only two pounds higher than that last win and he's 1 from 1 over course and distance via a soft ground, Class 4 success last autumn. And if he runs to the same level as his last two efforts at Class 2, he'll be in the mix here.
Lord Oberon : Also featured prominently in the data stack above and looks well drawn for his running style. Down in weight and class for this run, having ran at Classes 2 & 3 for his last 13 outings without too much joy since winning a Class 2 contest over this trip on soft ground almost a year ago. I do like him from the data profiling above, but form is a worry. I'd need him to be a nice price to tempt me.
In his favour however are a series of conditions that could help him back to some form, he has won on soft ground, he has two wins at trip, he's a former Class 2 winner, goes best without headgear/tongue tie, he's 2 from 4 going left handed and seems happiest with fewer rivals around him. All positives, but I'd still want a realistic price.
And finally, Praxeology : somewhat of a shock 50/1 runner-up when only beaten by two lengths here over course and distance last out under a 5lb claimer. He's up a pound for that run and with a different jockey on board, he's effectively 6lbs worse off. However, the jockey is Hollie Doyle who is (a) in continual good nick and (b) 10 from 47 (21.3%) on David Loughnane's horses since the start of 2019.
The horse himself has a win and a place from three soft ground runs and has won previously at both Class 2 & 3, but has failed to land any of his three races beyond 6f, so whether he does stay 7 is unclear.
I'm not entirely convinced that I've clarified anything here and it's still as muddy as it might well be underfoot for the race itself, but here's where I'm at. The favourite, Grace And Virtue isn't for me at sub-3/1, although she has every chance, whereas I did like Lord Oberon, but he's also looking like being dragged down towards the 10/3 and 3/1 price point, which I'm not really keen on either.
Praxeology and Ey Up Its Mick both ran well here over course and distance, finishing 1.5 lengths apart, but I think the latter is better off here.
And that leaves us with Byron's Choice and I Am A Dreamer. If the former runs like he did last time out (and it's a big if), then 5/1 might look quite generous, whilst the latter was my original preference early doors. Like Byron's Choice, we're looking for a reproduction of a past run from I Am A Dreamer and again we're not guaranteed to get it, but again 9/2 might be a good price.
The verdict? The smart bet is no bet at all, it's too competitive, but it's an interesting contest so I might well have 0.5pts apiece on Byron's Choice and I Am A Dreamer.