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Racing Insights, 10th July 2021

Another decent afternoon for us as Sandrine / Hello You / Oscula did indeed finish in that order giving us a 9/4 winner. I also hoped that Desert Dreamer might gatecrash that trio and had an E/W tickle on her at 12/1 and gatecrash she did, finishing as runner-up as my "favoured four" were the first four home...

And now to Saturday's racing for my last piece of the week. Feature of the day is the excellent Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report and 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.

In addition to that informative report, we also have the following free races of the day for you to consider...

  • 1.00 Navan
  • 2.30 Limerick
  • 3.25 Chester
  • 4.05 York
  • 5.05 Navan
  • 5.40 Chester

I have fairly stringent settings/requirements for my Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which means I've actually no qualifiers at all for Saturday but all is not lost, because the free list has once again given us another Class 1 race to look at. This time, we're back in the North West on the Roodee for the 3.25 Chester : it's a 9-runner Listed race known as the City Plate Stakes, which is a 7f affair for horses aged 3 or over. We're expecting soft ground that will be better in places (and it has been sunny & dry up in the NW today) and the top prize of £28,355 will go to one of...

All bar Azano, Khaadem and Sir Maximilian have won at least one of their last five outings, although the former has been runner-up in his last two and the latter has made the frame in his last three, even at the age of 12! He is, however, up three classes today, whilst Documenting, Matthew Flinders, Oo De Lally and Rhoscolyn all raced at Class 2 last time out.

Khaadem and Matthew Flinders are the only two not to have won over 7f, whilst Oh This Is Us and Sir Maximilian have actually done so on this track. Safe Voyage last raced six weeks ago and he's the one longest rested of this field, whilst four of them (Oh This Is Us, Khaadem, Sir Maximilian and Os De Lally) all raced a fortnight ago.

We've a fair age spread here with 2 x 3yo, 1 x 4yo, 2 x 5yo, 3 x 8yo and the 12 yr old Sir Maximilian. The three year olds have a useful 8lbs weight allownace, whilst Oh This Is Us carries an extra 5lbs over the standard allotted 9st5lbs for the race, making Safe Voyage best off at the weights.

Trainer/jockey-wise, Safe Voyage & Oo De Lally are from in-form yards and it's Oh This Is Us & Oo De Lally for trainer/course form. Rhoscolyn's jockey is riding well, but those aboard Matthew Flinders & Sir Maximilian seem to be struggling for form. Oo De Lally will be ridden by Hayley Turner and she tends to go well here.

Ratings-wise, Safe Voyage and Oh This Is Us are only 2lbs apart according to the BHA figures, whilst the SR numbers show Azano and Safe Voyage separated by the same amount and now to the runners themselves...

Oh This Is Us has a win and a runner-up finish from two C&D efforts, but they were back in 2018/19. Since then he's really blossomed into a decent horse who has won a Listed race and a Gr3 in his last four outings. He struggled on the A/W at Newcastle LTO over a inadequate trip, but back on turf will fare better. The added weight is a concern, though.

Azano hasn't won any of his last nine races since landing a Class 4 Novice event at Yarmouth on good to soft in October 2018 on his second career start. He followed that up with a runner-up finish in a Gr3 also on good to soft, but hadn't done much else of note until a soft ground runner-up finish two starts ago (C2) and then second again at York in a Listed race last month. I don't think he's good enough to land this, but he likes soft/good to soft ground.

Documenting was decent enough in late 2019 to late 2020, finishing 122911713, but hasn't shown similar form this year with runs of 4th of 9, 5th of 10 and then 22nd of 28, beaten by 18 lengths last time out. His best form comes on the A/W and whilst he's not a bad Class 2 runner, he's really a C3 animal and looks like being outclassed here.

Khaadem won the 27-runner Stewards Cup in August 2019 and looked like a Class 1 horse that day. Sadly he's 0 from 7 since and decent runs have been few and far between, although he was only beaten by 1.5 lengths in last year's Diamond Jubilee Stakes and by 2.25 lengths in a Listed race last month. he has no decent form on ground "worse" than good and all 14 career starts have been over a furlong shorter than today. Too many negatives there for me.

Matthew Flinders also has no form on slower than Good ground and has also never raced over 7f with all nine starts being at 1m to 1m2.5f and this might well be a bit sharp for him. In his defence, he ran well enough last season in handicap company, but was well beaten in the Royal Hunt Cup last time out, doing too much early doors.

Safe Voyage should really be the one to beat here, but hasn't lived up to his 2019 or 2020 form just yet this year. He won 2 x Gr2, 1 x Gr3 and two Listed races in those two seasons, but came back from 245 days off to run last of 11 in the Gr1 Lockinge in mid-May and was 8th of 9 in the Gr3 John of Gaunt a fortnight later. He's had six weeks to get over those runs and really need to rediscover his form. To help him, the going/trip/jockey and track direction are all positive, but this won't be a walk in the park.

Sir Maximilian is game, make no mistake, but looks out of his depth here and at 12 yrs old, won't get any better. Winless in 12 outings since a Class 3 handicap win here over course and distance ten months ago, he doesn't scream "winner" at me. he is running well, though and has made the frame in his last three runs, all here at Chester (where he loves it!) including twice in two days last month over 7.5f and then over 5f. All of that points to another bold effort, but they were all Class 4 runs and this is so much tougher.

Oo De Lally looks like a progressive 3yr old, who'll no doubt be helped by the extra 8lbs weight allowance which makes him one of the better off at the weights. Fair to say, however, that his best form is on the A/W, but was a runner-up over this trip in soft ground two starts ago. He steps up in class today, but if transferring his slow ground A/W form to this going, he'd be in with a shout especially with his 011121 form over today's trip.

Rhoscolyn, like Oo De Lally, is also an in-form progressive 3 yr old receiving 8lbs weight allowance. This only puts him 2lbs worse off with the race's class act Safe Voyage. He moved to David O'Meara's yard this season having 1 win and 0 places from 7 for Charles Hill. Since then he has finished 72111, going three from three on soft/good to soft and landing back to back Class 2 handicaps. Of course, this is tougher, but he's thriving right now and has the talented Marco Ghiani on board.

Instant Expert takes all runners career outings and then discards the runs that aren't relevant to conditions expected for this race. IE then colour codes (green is good, red not good!) their stats at going, class, course, distance and field size and puts them all in one handy chart so you can see who might be best suited for this task, as follows...

And this explains why Safe Voyage is probably the one to beat here. Rhoscolyn, however, should relish the underfoot conditions, Oh This Is Us has four Class 1 wins and 5 wins over 7f, whilst Rhoscolyn also has a very healthy record at the trip.

Course form is always handy to have here at Chester with the way you're always turning left making life difficult for many runners and they do tend to say that in races of a mile or shorter, you really want to be drawn low. We hear this about lots of tracks, but in fairness, getting a low draw here is very useful indeed...

Stalls 1 to 3 have the edge and if you look at the blue line, there's a gradual decrease from 3 downwards. I think 4 & 5's figures suffer from the success of 1 to 3, but if you could hand-pick your stall, that that low draw would be the one to go for, which is good news for Oh This Is Us, Documenting and Rhoscolyn. The draw is so important because on a constantly turning track like this, the inside stalls are the shortest route from start to finish, BUT if you're drawn low, you still need to try and get out quickly, otherwise you've a chance of being cut across by faster starters from wider draws.

Our pace stats tell us that leading is the best policy here at Chester. Mid-division runners do OK and make the frame more than once every three attempts, but with 13 winners and 11 placers from 40 runners, leaders win the contest hands down.

So, from those graphics above, a low drawn leader must be a shoo-in?

Not quite, but over 47% is a brilliant strike rate and actually comes from 8 winners and 6 placers off 17 runners, so leading from a low draw puts you in the frame in 82.4% of similar races and id-drawn leaders made the frame 8 times from 14.

Thanks to Geegeez logging the running styles of every runner in every UK, we can make a reasonable assertion/assumption as to how these nine will break out and as we already know the draw, we can superimpose our horses onto that heatmap as follows...

This would suggest that confirmed front-runner and softer ground-loving Azano will set the pace, chased by Rhoscolyn and Safe Voyage at close quarters. Those drawn in stalls 1 and 2 probably won't make best use of the plum draw, whilst aside from Oo De Lally in the car park, there's precious little pace elsewhere.

Summary

I think that Azano, Rhoscolyn and Safe Voyage are going to set the pace and given the lack of pace elsewhere, they could fairly quickly put this race to bed between them. I don't think Azano is good enough to win this, but front-running tactics are his best hope and at 11/1, he's worth an E/W bet.

So, what of Safe Voyage and Rhoscolyn? Well, the former should be the one to beat here, but he has seemed out of sorts this season, so you're effectively backing him at 11/4 to regain form and that's not value in my book. That said, Rhoscolyn isn't much better priced at 10/3, but I think I prefer him over the favourite. Both should beat Azano, but I do hope the pace-setter hangs on for the place.

 

 

Racing Insights, 25th June 2021

Friday's free feature is the Horses For Courses (H4C) report, which shows the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at the track, whilst our free races of the day will be...

  • 5.15 Newmarket
  • 5.30 Curragh
  • 5.55 Chester
  • 6.45 Newcastle
  • 8.45 Chester
  • 8.55 Newcastle

I've a couple of interesting qualifiers from my settings on the Horses For Courses (H4C) report...

...but I think they're both up against it and they're in pretty big fields too, so I'm off to the Roodee for the 8.45 Chester, a very competitive-looking 6-runner, 3yo Class 4 handicap over 1m2½f on Good ground and these are the runners seeking to land the £4,347 prize...

I've actually seen an opening show for this race and my thoughts about it being competitive seem to be shared by the bookies with five of them priced from 3/1 to 9/2 with a 7/1 outsider. Of the six, only Fairmac is winless in his last five runs, but has placed four times, so he's hardly out of sorts. Solent Getaway, Coul Kat and Rival all won last time out and the latter is tackling a handicap for just the second time, as is Qaasid.

Bottom weight and bottom SR-rated Corbulo steps up from Class 5 here, whilst Solent Getaway now drops two grades despite winning least time out, which is interesting. All six have raced in the past month, but only Fairmac (7 days) has rested for less than 20 days. The only previous course winner here is Rival, who won over track and trip last time out, whilst Corbulo has also won over this unusual trip at Doncaster and Solent Gateway was a winner over 1m2f.

We've some big-name trainers here who have fared well on this tight turning track and a couple of course specialist jockeys and whilst we've not many runners and it's a low-ish grade contest, this could well turn out to be a great race. I won't rule any out on what the racecard tells me, but I'm wary of Corbulo stepping up in class for a yard shy of form, but let's hang fire with a decision for now whilst we have a quick look at the runners starting with...

Rival, who stepped up in trip to land a course and distance win on his handicap debut here almost four weeks ago, making all from the same stall 4 that he occupies today. This race looks more competitive, albeit in the same grade and a 6lb weight rise might just be enough to anchor him here.

Qaasid made steady progress as a 2yo finishing 7th (beaten by 12L), 3rd (bt by7L) then winning by a length over a mile. He was then off track for 30 weeks before returning to go down by six lengths at Nottingham earlier this month. He's up in trip by a quarter mile here off the same mark and I think he'll need at least another run before being of interest.

Solent Gateway is a pretty consistent sort, who has made the frame in half of his ten runs to date, but it took until that last run to finally win. That said, it was an impressive performance to land a Class 2 handicap on Derby Day and although he had to dig deep to win by a nose off a mark of 78, his rivals were rated from 79 to 94. He's up 4lbs here, but down two classes and he looked game at Epsom and could well improve for that experience.

Coul Kat is even more consistent than the one above. Sixth in a pair of sprint maidens to open his career, he has since only failed to in the first two home in one of eight handicap outings, winning three times with four runner-up prizes, all at 8/8.5f. He's up in trip (+2f) and weight (+4lbs) but is in prime form and I'd expect him to run well once again.

Fairmac won a 7.5f Novice contest at Ayr last September to earn a handicap mark of 79, which proved to be just beyond him. He suffered a string of not-disgraced defeats off marks of 76 to 78, but ran his best race to date last time out when only beaten by a short head over 1m2f at Redcar and it could be argued that had it been over today's trip he'd have won. That was only a week ago so you have to take fitness on trust, but he could be dangerous here off the same mark.

Corbulo has progressed nicely as a 3yo handicapper after a disappointing campaign last year when he never got closer than 11 lengths to a winner in three attempts. He has two wins and two places from four this season, though and has looked much more at home. A 6lb rise in weight slowed him down last time out and he goes off the same mark today, although he is reunited with Georgean Buckell who'll take 3lbs off and the pair have finished 121 in three starts together. My concerns here that he's up in class from a 3 length defeat and he'd probably want quicker ground.

ALL flat form courtesy of Instant Expert...

Interesting to see only Coul Kat has won on good ground, but we've three previous class winners (plus Solent won at C2 LTO). I referred to course/distance successes earlier in the piece and although I don't normally comment much on field sizes, races of 6 or fewer runners (and 14+ ones) are more interesting, because they're often run in a different manner to 7-12 or so runner contests. Tactics seem to be more pronounced in small or large fields and three of this field have won similar races.

Now for Flat handicap records...

If anything they make the ones who stood out on the first image look better when only considering handicap data, but with the obvious caveat that we're talking about really small and possibly unreliable sample sizes and I wouldn't rule any of them out even at this stage after the card view, the brief resumé or Instant Expert, so we need more info to guide us, starting with the draw.

There's an old adage that at Chester you need to be drawn low and get out quick if you want to win and over this trip in recent times, a low draw has been a good place to be...

...but not the be all and end all. Stall 5 fares better than stall 2 and those drawn in 4 (Rival today and also when winning LTO) have done best of all and if we combine the scores for 6 & &, they're better than box 2 from a percentage basis. Maybe the takeaway should be don't get stall 2 (Qaasid), but that would be a bit absurd.

As for pace/race positioning, the old tale is almost right, but you don't need to lead to win, but you really could do with being up with the pace, hanging back is not an option. Leaders hit the places in half of their races, so from that perspective, I'd say that's where I'd want my runner to be...

Unsurprisingly as a result of the above sets of data , the pace/draw heatmap is heavily biased to the bottom/right of the graphic

The most interesting of the 12 sectors above for me is the prominent runners from a middle draw at 28%, because with 25 of the overall 155 runners, it's easily the most favoured place to be and has proven successful. That said, I'd be happy with any horse in the green areas so let's see how today's runners' recent efforts place themselves on that heatmap...

All the early pace in the race seems to be away from the lowest drawn runners and I'm happy to now discard both Corbulo and Qaasid, not just because of that last image, but also because they were 4th and 6th on my own ratings. That then leaves me with four and needing to drop one more before I try to get the 1-2-3 and it's at this point that Rival leaves us. To be honest, there's probably very little between these four, but Rival didn't have much in hand last time out and is up 6lbs here.

Summary

I've ended up with Coul Kat, Fairmac and Solent Gateway as my final three and I've got Fairmac as the weaker of the trio, but you could probably toss a coin between the other two as to who would be my pick.

Solent Gateway will have to make ground up on the leaders and he's up 4lbs, but did gamely win a far better race last time out. Coul Kat has the advantage of being able to control the race from the front but although he has been ultra-consistent at trips of around a mile, he's up 4lbs and 2 furlongs here. The Dascombe / Kingscote team are only based just down the road and I think their boy Solent Gateway just edges it for me here.

The bookies disagree with me, but they're not always right and they have my pair at 5/1 and 9/2 respectively. Fingers crossed!

Racing Insights, 7th May 2021

Thursday's featured horse, Murhib, has yet to run and he has only moved out a quarter of a point in the last 24 hours, as the money has come for my next best, Blow Your Horn. Hopefully these two can fill the frame and arrest a run of luck as bad as that of a blind cobbler!

Friday now beckons and that's the day we open up the Horses for Courses report to all readers. That report does pretty much what it says on the tin and you can find it here. We also have a bunch of free races to tilt at, even if you're not a Gold subscriber and they will be...

  • 1.45 Chester
  • 1.50 Downpatrick
  • 2.15 Chester
  • 3.15 Chester
  • 3.35 Market Rasen
  • 5.50 Ripon

And it's the Horses for Courses report for me today and a couple of interesting runners, who I imagine will be fairly popular with punters, but still at backable prices (4/1+?), due to the competitiveness of their races. Let's see if any, both or none of them are worth backing.

We'll do this chronologically, starting with the 1.45 Chester, which also happens to be a 'race of the day', so I'll show full graphics for this one. It's an 11-runner, Class 2 Flat handicap for 4yo+ over 7½f on Good to Soft (Soft in places) ground and it's worth £10,308. Here's the full card...

As you can see, Revich, who is second on the Geegeez ratings, hasn't won any of his last four starts at Ascot, Doncaster (x2) and Newbury, since landing back to back wins here at Chester in August 2020, the second of which was at this class, course and distance off 4lbs lower than today.

He is, however, a pound lower than when beaten by less than three lengths at Newbury in a big-field handicap last time out, where he got home ahead of some highly rated runners. In fact he was 4.25 lengths clear of Oh This Is Us, who has since landed a Listed race at Ascot and is currently rated at 103.

With 2 blocks of green and 2 of amber, Revich is one of the standout horses on Instant Expert and as I've arranged that grid in draw order, you'll see that he has what many people widely assume to be the plum draw in stall 1 at Chester. It isn't necessarily the best, but it certainly can be on a track where you're always turning left.

His record here at Chester is excellent, as per the Horses for Courses report with finishes of 15311 on the Roodee, including 131 at the slightly shorter 7f trip and he's 1 from 1 over course and distance, his only previous run over 7.5f. Otherwise he has finished 15111 when sent off shorter than 5/1 in Flat handicaps, 511 on good to soft, has 2 wins from 6 in a visor and is 1 from 1 under today's jockey, Tom Marquand. Tom is in good form right now as highlighted on the race card and he has three wins and a place from eight Chester rides since the start of last season.

We know he's drawn in stall 1, which is good as it's a low draw, but it's not as massively advantageous as some lazy pundits/tipsters might have you believe. At 3 wins and 3 places from 22, it does reasonably well, but no better than stalls 2, 3, 6, 7 or 9, so the draw can sometimes be a misnomer here at Chester.

If you're in stall 1 and stall 2 or 3 etc is a fast starter, you can easily be "cut-off" at the first turn, thus negating any draw advantage.

This sort of demonstrates my last point. Revich isn't fast away, doesn't like to lead or even race prominently, but Gobi Sunset does and I'd expect him to quickly track over from stall 4, grab the rail and attempt to control/win from the front. Typical Norton/Johnston tactics to be fair.

I'll give my final assessment of Revich's chances after I've had a quick look at Mark's Choice in the 6.20 Ripon. This is a a 10-runner Class 4, Flat handicap for 4yo+ over 6f on Good To Soft ground worth £5,234. As it's not a free race, I'm only going to show you the sections relating to Mark's Choice here...

Mark's Choice is also second on the Geegeez ratings, just 1pt behind the top rated horse and he won here over course and distance at Class 5 to end last season on a high and picked up where he left off 22 days ago with another course and distance win. That was a good run in a 14-runner handicap despite a 201-day layoff, a step up to this class and an 8lb rise in weight. He ran on well at the finish and he might have to grit his teeth here with an extra 4lb at play.

He's clearly well suited by today's conditions, even at 4lbs higher than his last win, but today's mark of 81 is only 1lb higher than when landing another C&D success here in June 2019, so this isn't necessarily beyond him. His record here at Ripon reads39114311 including 91311 over course and distance, whilst generally in Flat handicaps he is 4 from 8 at Class 4 for prizes of less than £6,000, he's 3 from 7 on good to soft ground, 3 from 5 in April/May, 2 from 4 for trainer Sam England and 1 from 1 under jockey Dougie Costello.

He's drawn on stall 5, which isn't too bad a draw but he'd prefer to be lower than that based on his prominent front running style. He and Abel Handy looks likeliest to set the pace and had our runner got Abel's draw, that would have been a solid pace/draw make-up for this race, but that alone wouldn't be the reason for a loss here.

Summary

I like both here!

I'm happy to back Revich at 15/4, given that Brentford Hope is a non-runner, whilst I wouldn't be surprised if eith ofr Ejtilaab (10/1) or Grove Ferry (13/2) ran big races here. And over at Ripon, I'm equally, if not slightly more, happy to back Mark's Choice at 9/2. Others to watch might include Flying Pursuit (8/1) and Citron Major (5/1).

Good luck!

 

 

Stat of the Day, 14th August 2020

Thursday's pick was...

4.25 Bath : Tell William @ 11/4 BOG 4th at 9/4 (Close up, ridden and every chance over 1f out, kept on same pace) 

Friday's pick runs in the...

3.40 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.

Who?

Bossipop @ 7/2 BOG

...in an 8-runner, Class 4,  Flat Handicap for 4yo+ over 5f on Good To Soft, ground worth £5,984 to the winner... 

Why?...

We start with the racecard...

...which primarily tells me that Tim Easterby is a trainer to follow in handicaps here at Chester with a 1 in 6 record backed blindly over the last three seasons prior to this one. My starting point for trainer/course angles is always last three seasons / 15%+ SR / AE of 1.25+ and IV of 1.50+.

Moreover, since the start of 2016, Tim's Chester handicappers sent off at 2/1 to 17/2 are 15 from 48 (31.25% SR) for 52.35pts (+109.1% ROI) at an A/E of 1.87 and an IV of 3.11, including of relevance today...

  • 10/29 (34.5%) for 32.3pts (+111.4%) in races worth less than £10,000
  • 9/27 (33.3%) for 34.92pts (+129.3%) in 3yo+ handicaps
  • 8/24 (33.3%) for 26.25pts (+109.4%) at Class 4
  • 7/22 (31.8%) for 33.18pts (+150.8%) with runners unplaced LTO
  • 6/21 (28.6%) for 27.45pts (+130.7%) over 5 to 6 furlongs
  •  5/7 (71.4%) for 25.04pts (+357.7%) on Good to Soft ground
  • 4/14 (28.6%) for 13.28pts (+94.8%) for jockey David Allan
  • and 3 from 8 (37.5%) for 11.42pts (+142.7%) over this 5f course and distance...

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Bossipop @ 7/2 BOG as was available at 8.10am Thursday, 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 3.40 Chester

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!

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.

Who?

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... 

Why?...

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!

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!

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.

Who?

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... 

Why?...

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!

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!

Chester Draw & Pace: 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