Tag Archive for: Chester racecourse

Racing Insights, Friday 10/05/24

Friday is Horses For Courses (H4C) report day at Geegeez and this feature does exactly what you'd expect, as it shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at that track, sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at your discretion.

As well as today’s race time, course, horse name, jockey and trainer name, there is a breakdown of runs, wins and places, and profit and loss calculations for both win and each way betting. And as with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track, but please refer to our User Guide for further information.

My chosen settings for the report...

...have yielded the following qualifiers...

...for me to consider along with our daily list of 'free' racecards...

  • 2.05 Chester
  • 3.05 Chester
  • 5.10 Ascot
  • 5.27 Nottingham
  • 6.55 Sedgefield
  • 7.15 Ripon

The highest-rated of all those races above is the Huxley Stakes, aka the 3.05 Chester, a 9-runner, 4yo+, Group 2 Flat contest over a left-handed 1m2f (+70yds) on good ground...

Hans Andersen, Passenger and Sunchart all won their last races and Israr finished third a fortnight ago. Regal Reality comes here on the longest losing run, but even he won six races ago.

All bar Oviedo raced at Class 1 last time and he now steps up in class as he runs for the first time since being gelded; Mashhoor will be in first-time cheekpieces. Oviedo might also be in need of a run, having been off the track since the Cambridgeshire at the end of September last year.

Fellow returner Royal Rhyme has been off for 202 days, whilst Passenger hasn't been seen since his Group 3 win at Windsor last August. The other half dozen have all raced in the last two to seven weeks with Israr turned back out quickest just a fortnight after coming within a length of landing a Group 3 at Sandown off the back of a 202-day lay-off. (I also covered that race here and my 1-2-3 finished 1-3-2).

All bar Hans Andersen have won over a similar trip to this one, but none of the field have won here at Chester before according to Instant Expert. Mind you only two of them have raced here in a total of three appearances...

Certain Lad and Sunchart look up against it based on past relevant runs and Sunchart has been extensively tried at Class 1 without too many wins of late, even if he did win a Listed race at Naas last time out. That was on heavy ground and this should be too quick for him (he's 2/9 on soft/heavy and heavy and 0/22 on anything better!). Oviedo also looks weak and if we add his record above to the expected rustiness and the step up in class, there's not much going his way here, so that's three runners I'm happy to overlook already.

In a race of this status, I'd expect the place stats from above to have a lot of green about it, so when I see this...

...I'm also switched off about Regal Reality's chances and if we omit him here, I'm left with runners in stalls 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8...

This isn't a handicap, of course, so all runners carry equal weight, which technically makes Israr a pound better off that Royal Rhyme and a full 9lbs better than Hans Andersen. There's an old adage that you need to be drawn low on the ever-turning oval here at Chester, but this week's results suggest that might not necessarily be the case, but the historical data for a race like this says...

...that anywhere in the first five stalls could be considered advantageous, which suits the three highest-rated runners (Israr, Royal Rhyme & Passenger) more than the other two drawn wider, but it's not all about the draw here at Chester. The tactical side of things is really important and the data from those races above suggest that a quick start is needed with those prepared to set the pace faring decidedly better than those who don't...

...as it's all very well getting drawn in stall 1, but if you're not first to the turn, you run the risk of getting 'cut-up' by the faster horses coming from wider. If we then look at how our field might set out, based on their more recent outings...

...I'd say that Mashhoor and Royal Rhyme from my final five were better suited by the pace profile of 1m2f at Chester. Israr is going to have work hard late on, although he did race prominently a fortnight ago and Passenger will have even more to do from the back and I'm concerned about his fitness after the lay-off


Based on what I've written above, what I've see from racecourses and my own personal opinions/ratings, my three to beat here are (alphabetically) Israr, Passenger and Royal Rhyme.

I think that Passenger is probably the best of three, but might need a run after being off track for so long and he probably won't be suited by the pace of the race. I've no doubts that I'll be backing him to win a Group 2 race 9or better) in the future, but at the current (6.55pm Thursday) odds of 9/4, I think I'll pass on that.

Having had that recent run, Israr shades it for me here today, but his 11/4 odds aren't particularly exciting if truth be told, but it is what it is. As for Royal Rhyme, I suspect/hope he gives the pair of them a real good run for their money and if he drifts much from his 6/1 ticket, then he'd be a real E/W possibility for me. Perhaps front-running Regal Reality might outrun his 14/1 odds and make the frame?

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Racing Insights, Saturday 15/07/23

Saturday's free feature is the Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report, which works by bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Basically, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’ and this report quickly identifies the most profitable of those combinations. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing whilst 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 and as ever, please refer to our User Guide for further information.

My own settings for the TJC Report look like this...

...and they have generated the following runners...

...for me to consider in addition to our selection of daily 'free' races...

  • 3.10 York
  • 3.30 Ascot
  • 3.52 Chester
  • 4.27 Chester
  • 4.45 Navan
  • 5.05 Salisbury

And despite the obvious pull of the Appleby/Buick partnership, I want to move away from HQ after two posts from there this week already. So, I'm staying closer to (my) home because there's a Class 1 race on the list of free races, the 4.27 Chester, a 10-runner Listed contest over a left-handed 7f on what is currently good to soft ground that is softer in places. there's quite a lot of rain around in the North West (as always!) and I'd not be surprised to see this go to soft by tea-time Saturday. That said, here's the card...

He's A Monster won last time out and is four from six so far, Brad The brief has won two of his last four, Mount Athos is three from five and although winless in eight since scoring on his debut, Holguin has five runner-up finishes and a third places from those eight efforts, finishing 222 in his three races in Listed company.

Ffion and He's A Monster both step up from good runs at Class 3, whilst Think climate was in Class 2 action a fortnight ago. Witch Hunter is in decent nick right now and is denoted as a fast finisher and he, like Think Climate and three others all raced a fortnight ago.

The rest of the field bar Misty Grey have raced in the last seven weeks, though, with Misty Grey now returning from over six months off. he wasn't in the best of form before his break and that allied to a potential rustiness puts me off him.

He's A Monster, Holguin and Think Climate are all three years old, so they'll carry 3lbs less than the two females (Fast Response & Ffion) and 8lbs less than the top half of the card, which should be very handy here. Speaking of weight, Brad The Brief is the highest rated runner here at 112 and would be best off at the weights, but for the 108-rated Holguin getting that 8lb pull for his age.

The 6yr old mare Ffion is the sole course and distance winner in the field, but Misty Grey, Mount Athos, Witch Hunter, He's A monster and Think Climate have all scored over a similar trip elsewhere.

Instant Expert adds to the above data by telling us that three of the field have won on good to soft ground and that three have scored on soft. We also see that we've three previous Class 1 flat winners...

If it does end up being soft, then brad the brief would be a better bet than if it was a bit drier. The returning Misty Grey hasn't gone well at Class 1 and his sole Flat win was over 6f. Sam Maximus has also struggled at his level. As for their place form...

...both Witch Hunter and Holguin look really comfortable under these conditions. They're drawn at opposite ends of the stalls (in boxes 2 and 8) and the old adage of needing/wanting to be drawn low at Chester is backed up by the stats from similar past races...

...whilst the best place to be in those races above is as close tot he lead as possible...

Our field has raced as follows in their most recent outings...

...and I'd probably want to be with those in the top four of that list.


Holguin and Brad The Brief are best in at the weights, both scored well on Instant Expert, both are drawn in the inside three stalls and both will be up with the pace, so they're both in my final three. They're also both 4/1 co-favs with Witch Hunter, who I do like, but he's going to have encounter traffic and I think that stops him beating the other two and I'm not going E/W at 4/1 about any horse.

If I'm going for an E/W bet, i'm taking the generous-looking 10/1 from Hills about the in-form He's A Monster. I know he's up in class, but he has won four from six, his draw isn't horrific and he's certainly going to be up with the pace, so he'll do for me. As for the winner, I (marginally) prefer Holguin over Brad The Brief, mainly due to the weight allowance.

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Racing Insights, Friday 12/05/23

Friday is Horses For Courses (H4C) report day at Geegeez and this feature does exactly what you'd expect, as it shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at that track, sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at your discretion.

As well as today’s race time, course, horse name, jockey and trainer name, there is a breakdown of runs, wins and places, and profit and loss calculations for both win and each way betting. And as with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track, but please refer to our User Guide for further information.

Sadly, my chosen settings for the report...

...have yielded just one qualifier for Friday...

...but I can still fall back upon our daily list of 'free' races...

  • 2.40 Chester
  • 5.20 Ascot
  • 5.30 Wolverhampton
  • 5.45 Nottingham
  • 6.10 Kilbeggan
  • 7.55 Kilbeggan

...the best of which is arguably the 2.40 Chester. The Huxley Stakes might only have six runners, but it's a Group 2 contest for 4yo+ runners over a left-handed 1m2½f on soft ground...

No surprise to see a small field for this one, the last eleven renewals have only had a combined 62 runners and the market is likely to be headed by Point Lonsdale, the mount of course specialist Ryan Moore. Ryan absolutely loves this race and he has ridden the winner in each of the last two years and going further back, he is 4 from 6, 6 from 11 and 7 from 13 in this contest!

It's not a handicap contest, so they all carry 9st 3lbs, which means that Mujtaba is technically a pound better off than Point Lonsdale, but he is up in class today and returns from a break of 202 days. He is, however, the only one of the six to have won here on the Roodee, having scored over 7½f in just his second outing, way back in September 2021. Royal Champion also returns from a break and he has been away a week longer than Mujtaba.

Both Foxes Tales and Point Lonsdale won last time out and Layfayette is the only one without a win in their last six starts, although he does have a Group 3 third and a Group 2 runner-up finish to his name from two runs at The Curragh already this season. He is, however, the lowest rated of the sextet, assessed as 8lbs inferior to Mujtaba.

FOXES TALES snapped a cold spell of eight defeats by landing a Listed race at Kempton last time out over 1m2f and should relish the return to grass and soft ground, where he is two from two.

LAYFAYETTE has been around the block a few times with 26 races under his belt, but he in winless in six since a five-week hat-trick at the start of last season. Has gone well in his first two starts of this campaign, but you'd have to expect others to be stronger.

MUJTABA won his first three races (Autumn 2021) and is five from eight so far, but all his recent form is at Class 2 and this is a big step up for him. He won on heavy ground last time out and has won on good, good to soft and soft, so going doesn't seem to faze him, but the added quality here and the effects of a layoff might undo him.

POINT LONSDALE has five wins and a runner-up finish from just seven starts, landing three Class 1 races as a 2yo in 2021 as well as a Group 1 runner-up spot. His only race last season was the 2000 Guineas when finishing out of the money, seven lengths behind Coroebus on his return from a 230-day absence. That said, he did win next/last time out at The Curragh in a Group 3 contest some 351 days later, so he's clearly ready to run.

POKER FACE is a lightly raced (4 starts) 4yr old who was 3 from 3 in the autumn of 2022 with a pair of Class 5 wins followed by a Class 4 success. He then took six months off before finishing second in the Group 3 Earl Of Sefton at Newmarket on soft ground last month. Should go well, but I'd fancy others more.

ROYAL CHAMPION has won three of nine, but lacks consistency as typified by his last two runs. He landed a 1m2f Listed race by 5.5 lengths at Ayr in mid-September, but four weeks later was last home of nine tailed right off (120 lengths) in the Champion Stakes at Ascot and hasn't been seen since. Now coming back from 30 weeks off track, he's probably best left alone here until we see what kind of shape he's in, especially on his soft ground debut.

As well as having the talents of Ryan Moore in the saddle, Point Lonsdale can take comfort from knowing that Instant Expert also points him out as a leading player here...

...but both Foxes Tales and Royal Champion have poor records at Class 1, although the latter will certainly relish the soft ground where one of his two Class 1 wins came from. At this point, I'd be leaning towards those with some soft ground form.

At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking that those drawn centrally would have the best of it here...

...but I'm not convinced the bias is that pronounced although the lower half a of six-runner field would appear to have more chances of making the frame. In a small field here at Chester there's no real need to be out wide and the key to winning this may well revolve around who starts best and gets away quickest according tot he pace stats from those races above...

...facts backed up by the heat map, showing that you can win from anywhere in the draw, but that pace is key...

All of this is another tick in the box for Point Lonsdale...


It's very hard to get away from Point Lonsdale here, isn't it? And you can see why he's only priced at 5/4 or 11/8, but if you're happy playing at such odds, I'd expect you to be making profit. As or who chases him home, I think it's Foxes Tales v Mujtaba and although the bookies have them at best prices of 5/1 and 4/1, it's Foxes Tales for me.

They both won last time out, but Mujtaba is up in class and hasn't been seen for a while, whilst Foxes Tales has the 'better' draw, should race further forward and just happens to sit in a nice green spot on the pace/draw heatmap.

So, it's Point Lonsdale to beat Foxes Tales for me.

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Racing Insights, Wednesday 10/05/23

Wednesday's free Geegeez GOLD feature, the Trainer Statistics (TS) 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 five year, 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!

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

In addition to the free daily feature, we always open up a number of racecards to non-Gold subscribers and for Wednesday, they are...

  • 1.40 Kelso
  • 2.40 Chester
  • 4.55 Chester
  • 6.15 Fontwell Park
  • 8.15 Fontwell Park

My own personal settings for the TS report...

...have generated the following runners for me to consider...

...giving me five 'free' races and four TS report races to choose from. Of these nine, the 2.40 Chester Listed contest is clearly the best on paper, but there's not a great deal of data for me to work with there. After that I'm left with a bunch of Class 4 and Class 5 races, so I'll remain at Chester for the most valuable of the eight, the 4.55 Chester, a 14-runner (a few more than I prefer!), Class 4, 4yo+ flat handicap over a left handed 7f on good to soft ground...

Just one of the fourteen, Roundhay Park, won last time out and he's two from five. Maysong and Melly's Flyer both won two races ago, whilst Hodler, Roman Dragon, Gorak and He's A Gentleman have all won at least once in their last five.

The top three in the weights are ll drawn in the car park (more on that shortly) and all are down in class; Another Batt and Roman Dragon are down one class, as is Devasboy whilst Hodler drops down from Class 2, just like Maysong & Roudemental. LTO winner Roundhay Park is up 7lbs and one grade.

Ten of the field have raced in the last three weeks and both Roudemental (39 days) and San Isidro (62d) shouldn't have got too rusty, but Paws For Thought and Roman Dragon might well need a run after breaks of 197 and 221 days respectively.

We have six previous course winners in the shape of Another Batt, Roman Dragon and Devasboy over 7½f, 6f and 7½f whilst Roundhay Park, Paws For Thought & Broken Spear are all former course and distance winners. Only Roman Dragon, Roudemental, San Isidro and He's A Gentleman have yet to score over this trip.

Aside from these stats, our trusted Instant Expert feature points out just four previous good to soft winners, but also that only four have failed to win a Class 4 race...

As with many Class 4 contests, Instant Expert doesn't necessarily point you directly towards a horse to back with there being far more red than green, but it can steer you away from some possibly unlikely winners. Roundhay Park loves good to soft ground, but Paws For Thought and Maysong are a combined 1 from 14 on this going and Oso Rapido's 0 from 5 isn't great either. Paws has won 2 of 6 at Class 4, though and Roman Dragon has gone well at this level too. Strugglers in this grade are Maysong, Broken Spear, Melly's Flyer, Devasboy and He's A Gentleman, whilst none of the field have acquitted themselves particularly well over the trip.

The above is all form, so what I like to do next with these big field is look at Flat Handicap place form, which looks like this...

...and at this point, I'm only really interested in green and amber scores ie...

...and then I'm happy to discard any runner not featuring above, leaving me with (in draw order)...

...as the half of the field I want to be with. Obvious concerns here about Devasboy at this grade and Roundhay Park at the trip, whilst Broken Spear looks to have scored best ahead of Paws For Thought. I've arranged them in draw order, because it's Chester and "you can't win from out wide over 7f at Chester" or can you?

Well, you can, but it doesn't happen often...

...and those drawn higher than than stall 10 in those races are 0 from 38, which doesn't bode well for Hodler or Maysong...

As for pace, the 'bias' isn't as huge as that with the draw, but there's a definite advantage to be gained from being up with the pace. Logic alone should tell you that it's hard to pass 13 others from the back on a course that's tight and constantly turning, but these are the numbers to back up that theory...

So ideally we want a low-drawn prominent runner or leader, according to those figures, yet taken in combination with the draw, the low bias over-rides everything!

This, however, is how our runners have approached their most recent contests...

...with Paws For Thought looing the likeliest of my seven.


This looks a decent contest despite only being a Class 4 race and it's looking like Paws For Thought for me. he was a runner-up last time out, he scores well on Instant Expert for places in Flat handicaps, is drawn in the lower half of the draw and likes to get on with things early doors. The only potential problem is the 197 day lay-off prior to a run on a tight track like this, but he won here at Chester over 6f on the 5th May 2021 after 193 days off and was a runner-up beaten by a short head here over 7f, headed at the post over this trip on May 5th last year after a break of 179 days, so the MO is clear.

He's 9/2 with Bet365 and that's just about acceptable to me, I'd have preferred 5/1 or 11/2 and he might drift, but 9/2 is about OK. As for the placers, the bookies pay four here (Sky actually go to 5th) and I'd be looking inside of Paws For Thought for any possible E/W bet or horses for forecast/tricast etc purposes.

I like Oso Rapido, but he hasn't been in the best of form. Mind you, 16/1 is a decent price for E/W purposes based on his stats. Broken Spear will be there or thereabouts, but 5/1 is no E/W price for me and I've already mentally ruled Devasboy out. It's going to be tough for those drawn wider than Paws, so I'm going to leave it there.

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Roving Reports: Slings and Arrows

We are coming to the end of the Flat season and, for many of the on-course workmen, that means the work, whilst not exactly drying up, certainly shrinks in size, writes David Massey. At the risk of getting into politics, a tough winter lies ahead for plenty of them and, with meetings already being lost to hard ground, the sooner the rain comes, the better.

I'm one of the luckier ones in so much as I've got the writing if meetings are abandoned, but all the same, a change in the weather is much needed if we are to get back to anything like a normal fixture schedule. Replacing a lost Ludlow with Chelmsford one night might keep the shops happy, but it's hardly a like for like.

Anyway, I digress. I was due to work at Warwick for their season opener a couple of weeks ago, on this occasion writing up some paddock notes; but the funeral of the Queen saw racing cancelled on the day. That gave me time to study Tuesday's Warwick card in some detail, and I duly turned up at the meeting with great confidence that I had it all worked out.

The afternoon went like this: the stone cold place lay I had in the first almost won, the paddock standout in the second couldn't jump for toffee, the back-to-lay in the third fell at the second. The paddock pick in the fourth went lame and pulled up. No bet in the next two races and the high point of the day was my each-way third in the bumper. We held a two minute silence at Southwell the next day, not for those we have lost, but for the amount of money I managed to do in in one afternoon.

It really is amazing how many times I approach a meeting thinking I've all the winners, only to watch the money drain away as I go on the Chevy. The more I try the worse it gets. You have to be true to yourself and not change tack, because you might miss a good-priced winner you fancy if you start (literally) changing horses in midstream, so you stick to the plan. On this occasion, it did not work, and the drive home consisted of trying to justify my selections to myself whilst listening to PM on Radio 4.

Anyway, on to Southwell the next night, and a shift for S&D. I always enjoy an evening at Southwell, even if, as it did here, it rains, as everyone knows everyone else and you're guaranteed a few laughs. We normally take the mickey out of Stan, a fellow worker for Barry Johnson and an ardent Man U supporter, as he's convinced they'll win the league this year (actually, he's convinced every year). I write this just as his team had their backsides handed to them by their City rivals at the weekend; I am very much looking forward to seeing Stanley later this evening.

My next stop is Haydock on the Friday. After the Warwick disaster, and confidence at a low ebb, I have few expectations the afternoon will be any good. Again, I'm writing up paddock notes. Haydock has a wonderful paddock, one of the best in my opinion, with plenty of viewing spots under the trees, and as it is of such a size you can really compare horses with one another.

The first favourite, Rogue Spirit, sweats up very badly and starts misbehaving. It gets a black mark from me and I decide to lay it. Rogue Spirit then proceeds to go down to the start like a dream and come back even better, winning an easy two lengths. Here we go again... Or do we?

I have the next down to two on paddock looks and of the two, I just prefer Helm Rock. A quick look at his form says he will enjoy the softer underfoot conditions and I invest each-way. The relief when he wins at 8-1 cannot be understated. In the next, Double Cherry gets a near-perfect score on fitness and coat from me. He looks outstanding. I've already backed Speycaster but I'm happy to have another good each-way bet on Double Cherry. After getting hampered a furlong out I'm cursing my luck as it looks like he's got the wrong end of the photo, but the slow-mo tells me otherwise. My luck is changing, and it's about time!

There's no bet in the next but I really like the Clive Cox newcomer on looks in the maiden, and go in again at 4-1. When he wins, I'm getting myself right back in it, and then, oh the pain, as my decent each-way bet on Red Derek is done in the final few strides by Pentland Hills. Never mind, this has been a good day, and the Warwick disaster is but a distant memory. Remember, kids - when you're backing winner after winner, you're never as good as you think you are, but when you're backing loser after loser, you're never as bad as you think you are either.

A day's work on the pitch at Chester for their final day of the season follows. It's absolutely mobbed, good money all day, but we (and indeed, quite a few of the books) take a cash hit when the owner backs his Emiyn down the line. Suffice to say when it wins at 16-1, he needs a bag to carry all the readies around in. Fair play to him.

One thing I really wish Chester would sort out is their phone signal, and Wi-Fi. For a track that prides itself on customer experience, it really is very poor. I get a better signal at Fakenham, and, like Yarmouth, that's three and a half hours from anywhere.

Last Thursday, following a 3-hour drive down the M6 (I'd been in Blackpool on the Wednesday night, Morrissey in concert at the Opera House, superb gig) I once again found myself at Warwick. From five paddock picks, four of them won. I suppose that's hardly surprising, given six of the seven favourites won but all the same, it's nice to know your eyesight isn't yet requiring of another trip to Specsavers.

The next couple of weeks are going to be quiet on the work front, as the good lady turns 50 next week and we're off to Cornwall for some fun and frolics with a few friends. We will be taking Champions Day in on the way back though, so I'll let you know how that goes. You might be there, of course, so please say hello if you see us. What then? Ah, Cheltenham, my old friend, it's so good to see you again...

- DM

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Stat of the Day, 10th August 2020

Saturday's pick was...

3.35 Ascot : Jeremiah @ 13/2 BOG 8th at 10/3 (Raced keenly towards rear, bit closer in mid-division on inside halfway, not clear run and switched left inside final 2f, ridden and stayed on late, never going pace to get involved) - We smashed the SP, but never got a run for our money. I rarely criticise jockeys, but I thought this was a poor ride.

Monday's pick runs in the...

7.30 Chester :

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.


Power of States @ 4/1 BOG

...in a 14-runner, Class 4, Flat Handicap for 3yo+ over 1m2½f on Good ground worth £7,763 to the winner... 


This 4 yr old gelding was fourth last time out at Ascot 16 days ago and now takes a drop in both class and trip to run here, whilst the winner of that Ascot race stepped up a class to beat our pick on Saturday.

The drop in class was what caught my eye here, as I'm always interested in Hugo Palmer's handicappers dropping down a level, as those sent off at 14/1 or shorter since the start of 2017 are 27 from 117 (23.1% SR) for 64.25pts at a decent ROI of 54.92%.

And that's if you backed all of them! We don't, generally, so what filters can we apply to make our betting more efficient? Well, of those 117 class droppers, there are...

  • 24/89 (27%) for 82.8pts (93.1%) in fields of 8-15 runners
  • 23/90 (25.6%) for 53.6pts (+59.6%) from male runners
  • 22/96 (22.9%) for 66.7pts (+69.4%) with runners unplaced LTO
  • 15/66 (22.7%) for 47.2pts (+71.2%) on the Flat
  • 15/62 (24.2%) for 28.1pts (+45.3%) at 11-25 days since their last run
  • 7/20 (35%) for 24.2pts (+121%) dropping down in trip by 1 to 2½f
  • 6/21 (28.6%) for 16.7pts (+79.7%) over trips of 1m2f to 1m2½f
  • and 6/21 (28.6%) for 18.4pts (+87.8%) with James Doyle in the saddle....

...whilst males who failed to make the frame LTO are 16 from 58 (27.6% SR) for 59.4pts (+102.4% ROI) in fields of 8-15 runners, providing us with over 92% of our original profit from less than 50% of the bets.

This horse is also Hugo's only runner at the meeting tonight, which is also of interest, as since the start of 2016, his record at Evens to 9/1 with solo entrants stands at 71/279 (25.5% SR) for 95pts (+34.1% ROI) in handicaps, including of relevance this evening...

  • 63/224 (28.1%) for 111.8pts (+49.9%) with those off the track for more than 15 days
  • 39/149 (26.2%) for 81.8pts (+54.9%) from those unplaced LTO

...whilst those racing after a 15+ day absence since an unplaced finish LTO are 33 from 123 (26.8%) for 77.4pts (+62.9%), including 10 from 33 (30.3%) for 25.4pts (+76.8%) from those dropping down a class...

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Power of States @ 4/1 BOG as was quite widely available (inc several BOGs) at 8.00 am Monday, 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 7.30 Chester

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


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!

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Chester Draw & Pace Bias: Part 2

This is a follow up article to the Chester piece I wrote in April, writes Dave Renham. In that article I concentrated on sprints of between five and seven furlongs; here I am will look in detail at the extended 7f trip and the 1m 2f distance.

As I am writing this (on May 4th), I feel sad because this week would have signalled the Chester May Meeting which is one of my favourite meetings of the year. The signs are, however, that racing may be back quite soon with Germany and France hopefully set to start again in the near future. When it resumes here, racing will be behind closed doors but for everyone involved in the sport I am sure they will just be glad to get going again.

Since writing the first three articles in this draw/pace series there has been a useful addition to the Draw and Pace Analyser tools whereby you can now narrow down your query by year range. In the past it showed all years going back to 2009 and in order to look at more recent data I needed to use the Query Tool as well. This speeds my draw and pace research up especially when wanting to research time sensitive data.



What the new addition also means is that I can look at the data in a slightly different way using a method I first saw in Nick Mordin’s excellent book, ‘Winning Without Thinking’. He looked at data in five-year batches which is a good way to try and compare things more effectively. This method also potentially highlights whether patterns or biases are changing, and offers more reliable sample sizes.

Below is an example of this method based on 7f handicap data from Goodwood, which I hope illustrates his idea neatly. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s Goodwood’s 7f trip provided me with plenty of winning bets, many of them forecasts and exactas on horses drawn closest to the rail; but the officials got wise to the bias and managed to even it out a little for some years. However, back in 2015 or so I started to notice that the low draw bias was beginning to reappear.

Here is a table using five-year batches of data with percentages for each third of the draw as well as A/E values. The full 11-year data is shown at the top of the table for long term comparison:


I have highlighted in green the low draw data which shows a big change from the first five years (2009-2013) in terms of the low draw bias gradually getting stronger. Having said that I know that 2018 and 2019 have both seemingly started to show a decline again in the strength of bias - this is just beginning to be shown in the 2015-2019 data. The next couple of years may well determine whether Goodwood are increasing efforts once again to level out the ‘draw playing field’. Hence I really think splitting year data in this way is a useful tool for comparisons and I will aim to use it in articles where it is appropriate. 

So time to delve back into Chester’s stats. As before I am using some of the tools available on the Geegeez website, those being the Draw Analyser, the Pace Analyser and the Query Tool. The main period of study goes back to 2009, but as before I will examine a more recent data set (2015 to 2019) in detail, too, where appropriate, as well as using the new 5-year comparison method.

I will be focusing once again on 8+ runner handicap races and, as stated in the first paragraph, looking mainly at the extended 7f trip and 1m2f. The draw will be divided into three equal sections or thirds (low, middle, high) and non-runners have been taken into account with draw positions adjusted accordingly. The pace data is split into four groups: led, prominent, mid division and held up.

Chester 7 1/2 furlongs (8+ runner handicaps)

When analysing this trip on Geegeez Draw Analyser you need to look at the 1 mile distance to get this extended 7f data. Otherwise if you key in 7 furlongs you will get the 7f data from the last article. This is because the actual distance is 7f 127 yards, which is closer to a mile than seven furlongs.

Since 2009 there have been 115 races that have qualified which is a decent sample. Here are the 11 season overall draw splits:

There appears to be a slight edge towards lower draws but, compared with the 5 – 7f data, we can see that this 7½f distance offers low draws far less of an advantage.

The A/E values are shown below for this period:

A fairly even playing field here so, despite the small low draw edge in terms of percentage wins, it looks like the bookmakers have that well factored into their prices.

It is time now to look at each draw position broken down by individual stall number:


Perhaps no real surprises here given the draw thirds data. There does seem to be something to be gleaned from looking at the each way placed percentages: combining the figures for horses drawn 10 or wider they have made the frame (i.e. won or placed) just 16% of the time. Their combined win A/E value is also low at 0.55. Compare this with horses drawn 1 to 9 who have placed 30% of the time with an A/E value of 0.88. It seems the long term data suggests that horses drawn 10 and above are at a fairly significant disadvantage to those drawn lower.

Onto a more recent data set looking at the past five seasons (2015-2019). Here are the draw splits for the 58 races that have occurred during this time frame.

This tells a similar tale to the ’09-’19 figures but with a slight increase in the low draw win percentage. This small increase is not statistically significant and the A/E values again indicate a relatively level playing field in terms of potential profitability as shown below:

The five-year stats for individual draw positions are below:

Again it is only the each way percentages that catch my eye, mirroring the long term data (draws 1 to 9 with 32% of placed runners; draws 10 and above with 11.4% of placed runners).

Let us break down the draw figures using rolling five-year batches to compare the data in another way:

Looking at the table we can see that the low draw bias has been very consistent from 2011 onwards and it seems that in 2009 and 2010 for whatever reason low draws slightly under-performed.

Ultimately this is a course and distance where there is a slight low draw edge and, as indicated earlier, draws 10 and above look to be at a fairly significant disadvantage. Hence it should not come as a surprise that as the field size grows the bias towards low draws increases as does the bias AGAINST higher draws. Here are the data for fields with 12 or more runners for 2009 – 2019 (44 races in total):

In bigger fields I would be very wary of backing anything drawn high unless I felt the horse had a huge edge over the rest of the runners, or that its price more than justified the risk. The A/E values correlate neatly as we can see:

It looks therefore that we have a potentially playable draw bias when we get to 12+ runners. Indeed the bias does seem to strengthen when we increase the field size further, but of course the number of races becomes smaller and less reliable from a statistical point of view.

In the first Chester article I pointed out how exotic bets (forecasts, exactas, etc) over 5f would have proved profitable under certain circumstances. Once again I have delved into this area for this distance when the field size has been 12 or more. There are some interesting ideas that would have proved highly profitable during the period of study for these bigger field races:

a) perming the bottom four draws in 12 x £1 straight forecasts would have seen an outlay of £528 and produced returns of £627.49 meaning of profit of £99.49. The exacta paid more (potentially increasing profit by a further £130 to be precise), but exactas being pool bets are not always a good vehicle for draw-based bets: they can easily be ‘overplayed’ and the dividend suffers as a result;

b) perming the five lowest draws in 60 x £1 tricasts would have seen a significant outlay of £2640 but produced huge returns of £4845 meaning a healthy profit of £2205, and an ROI of 84%.

Of course, past profitable results are simply that – past results. However, I have made most of my profits over the years using these exotic bets on draw biased races and the profits quoted are not unusual.

Let us look at pace and running styles now. The overall figures (2009-19) are thus:

A very even playing field here, although hold up horses seem at a slight disadvantage.

I have checked ground conditions and there is nothing clear cut; however, field size does seem to make a difference as it did with the draw. If we look at 12+ runner races again we get the following pace results:

In bigger fields front runners have the best record and have an edge; meanwhile, hold up horses seem to really struggle.

Now a look at draw / pace (running style) combinations for front runners in these 7½f races. Remember this is looking at which third of the draw is responsible for the early leader of the race (in % terms):

Lower draws are more likely to take the early lead but with a run of around 1½ furlongs to the first bend horses drawn wider find it easier to contest for the lead should they wish too. What is noteworthy is that early leaders from low draws go on to win a far bigger percentage of races than those who led drawn in the middle or out wide (high). 58 horses have led from low draws with ten going onto to win the race (17.2%); 81 horses have led from middle or high draws with only six managing to go on to win (7.4%). It should also be noted that prominent runners from a low draw have a decent record, scoring more 15% of the time.

In conclusion, lower draws do have an edge but it is only when we get to bigger fields (12+) that the bias looks playable. Not only do bigger fields increase the edge for low draws, they decrease the chances of high drawn horses. Pace wise the only bias seems again to occur in bigger fields where front runners have an advantage while hold up horses find it very difficult to win.


Chester 1 mile 2 1/2 furlongs (8+ runner handicaps) 

There were 94 qualifying races at this distance from 2009 to 2019. The 1m 2f 70 yards distance has been shortened by 5 yards since 2009, not that that would make any difference. Here are the draw splits:


Low draws definitely have had an edge over the 11 seasons, while there seems little in it between middle and higher draws. Let’s look at the A/E values to see whether this bias is appreciated by bookmakers:


No real edge it seems from a punting perspective with an extremely level set of A/E values. Let’s see what the individual draw positions offer:

The lowest six draws seems the natural cut off point in terms of win strike rate, and the A/E values for draws 1 2, 5 and 6 are decent. However, only draw 5 has made a ‘blind’ profit.

Look at the going data there have only been 20 races on good to firm or firmer, but my impression is that any low draw bias is less potent under such conditions. The win percentages are more even and the win and placed figures see just 2 more placed efforts for low draws compared with high. Such a small number of races means it is simply a hypothesis, however.

Onto the last five seasons now. There have been 43 qualifying races since 2015, with the draw splits as follows:

A more even set of figures in the more recent past with low draws only marginally best in win percentage terms.  And the A/E values:

Low draws have proved to be poor value over the past five seasons despite still winning more races. The individual draw figures for 2015 to 2019 look like this:

Draws 1 and 2 have a really poor record in the more recent past and checking back from 2009 to 2014 both stall positions actually made a blind profit. This illustrates how religiously backing individual draw positions can be a real roller coaster and in general too risky long term.

Let us now look at the draw figures for 1m 2f using the five-year comparison method discussed earlier:

The five year batch data seem to back up what the 2015 to 2019 figures had suggested: that the low draw bias has been gradually diminishing. I am not sure why this has been happening – it may just be down to chance and it will be interesting to see what results the next couple of seasons bring.

A look pace and running styles now. Here are the overall figures going back to 2009:

These figures show that front runners have a significant edge which, considering the distance, is unusual. In general in flat races, the longer the distance the less successful front runners are. But Chester's very tight, always on the turn, configuration does make it harder for horses to pass without travelling further and using up more fuel.

A win percentage for front runners of nearly 20% really caught my eye. To illustrate this pace bias more clearly, the average win percentage all UK courses over the 1m 2f distance (8+ runner handicaps) stands at 12.8% (A/E 1.09; IV 1.39). Only Beverley and Wetherby have a better win strike rate for front runners at this trip than Chester; and we can probably ignore Wetherby because there have been so few races (just 11) on their recently opened flat track. At the other end of the scale, front runners at this distance at both York and Epsom have won a meagre 5% of races.

As the field size gets bigger the pace bias strengthens a little: in races of 11 or more runners, front runners have won just over 25% of them (12 wins from 47 runners). Meanwhile, in terms of ground underfoot conditions, as with the extended 7f trip, it is difficult to pinpoint whether the going makes any real difference.

Now a look at draw / pace (running style) combinations for front runners in 1m 2f Chester handicaps (2009 – 2019):

It is easier for lower drawn horses to take the early lead but, in terms of these runners going onto win, strike rates are similar: low drawn front runners win 21.8% of the time; those who lead early from middle draws have won 20% of the time, high drawn front runners 19.2% of the time.

Chester longer distance races (8+ runner handicaps)

Looking very briefly at distances beyond 1m2f:

1m 4f - front runners over 1m4f do have an edge, winning around 16% of the time (A/E 1.50), but there is no draw advantage for any ‘third’ (47 races in total)

1m 5f – only 23 races at this trip and from the limited data front runners have a slight edge. There is no draw bias.

1m 7f 195yds or more – front runners have an edge even at this trip winning over 15% of the time (A/E 1.57) while hold up horses really struggle (3 wins from 125) producing an A/E of just 0.30. As the field size increases hold up horses find it even harder winning 0 races from 74 in races of 12 or more runners. In terms of the draw low draws actually seem to have a small edge which seems to increase in big fields. There have only been 30 races in total though so it is impossible to fully confident about these findings.

That concludes our investigation into draw and pace at Chester racecourse. As has been shown, there is a generally strong bias towards low draws and/or front runners, with the bias being emphasised in bigger fields.

- DR

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