We were right not to get involved with Saturday's two highlighted runners, as both faded out of contention late on. Both had started well, racing prominently but both ran out of steam in the closing stages, getting beat by around four lengths in each case.
Monday heralds the start of the new week and "feature of the day"is access to the pace tab for all races, whilst the full free racecards are available for the following...
- 12.45 Musselburgh
- 1.00 Plumpton
- 2.05 Plumpton
- 5.25 Chelmsford
And it's the last of those four that I'm going to focus upon today, the 5.25 Chelmsford : a 10-runner, Class 6, A/W handicap fpr 3yo+ over 1m6f on Polytrack worth £3,040...
Mizen Master won two starts ago at Wolverhampton before going down by just over two lengths at the same venue having been raised 2lbs for the win. He's back down by a pound for this run today. he'll be partnered by Luke Morris who hasn't been on the best of form lately, but did break a long losing run on Saturday. Fingers crossed for him that it's the start of an upturn.
Archippos' recent form shows a couple of runner-up finishes, but the reality is that he hasn't won any of his last 25 outings in a run stretching back to March 2018 and although his yard have a decent record at this track, they too are woefully out of form with just 1 winner from 55 over the last four months. I'll pass on this one immediately.
Aldrich Bay ran well on handicap debut last time out, finishing second of ten and well clear of the pack. It was a good effort after more than 15 months off the track and provided there are no ill effects, she should come on for the run. A 5lb weight for age allowance allied to a 5lb jockey claim means she's effectively well in at the weight and she'll be fancied to add to her yard recent good form both generally (5 from 18 in the last month) and at this track (3 wins and a second from the last four sent here).
Heron is a former C&D winner (20 months ago) but has disappointed since his last win back in May 2019, losing a dozen contests since. Showed some signs of a return to form last time out when fifth of 13 in another C6 handicap over C&D 39 days ago, where he was going well late on, but had been waited with a little too long.
Fulbeck Girl will be looking to step up to the winners' enclosure after going down by three quarters of a length over C&D here 25 days ago and then third (by a neck twice) over this trip at Wolverhampton a week ago. She's knocking on the door of a first win and she too will be aided by a 5lb weight for age allowance here. Jockey Jason Hart is riding well, winning four of his last ten races and has also won 10 of 35 at this track this calendar year, whilst trainer Ian Williams' horses are 28 from 146 (19.2% SR) here since 2015.
Cinzento was a Class 6 A/W handicap winner over 1m4f last time out, but that was 294 days ago at Kempton and we'll have to take his fitness on trust here. Prior to that, he was fourth of fourteen over course and distance here on his first start for trainer Roger Teal who has three winners and a place from his last eight runners and despite not coming here often, is 4 from 16 at Chelmsford over the last two years. We should also note that his partnership with jockey Jack Mitchell stands at 13 from 51 (25.5% SR) over that same period including 3 from 7 here.
Fool To Cry won a 2m4.5f handicap hurdle two starts ago, but hasn't raced on the A/W for almost a year. She was second of twelve in a maiden at Wolverhampton on A/W debut back in August 2015, but has failed to make the frame in seven subsequent efforts and has been beaten by a collective 81 lengths in her last four A/W runs. She won't be carrying my money and she's out of my considerations here.
Dolphin Village's strike rate on the Flat is double his A/W ratio, but he did win here over course and distance four starts ago. Sadly he's unreliable and goes on long losing streaks. he hasn't been sent off shorter than 18/1 in any of his last ten outings and although the market does get things wrong, they're not consistently wide of the mark. He's getting crossed off my list here.
Murat Asset is lightly raced and makes just sixth start today and will need to improve dramatically upon his handicap debut when he failed to see out 1m4f at Wolverhampton, so I'm not sure why he's stepping up in trip here. Hasn't looked like winning any of his previous five starts, hasn't made the frame either at at expected odds of 25/1 and bigger, I'm not interested.
And finally, Star of St Louis, who might appeal to the Chinese (they consider 7 to be a lucky number) but a recent form line of 7777 won't endear him to many punters, I'd have thought. A closer look at him shows he's had plenty of opportunities to go out and prove himself, but no wins from nineteen and just two third place finishes doesn't scream "back me", does it? If it's screaming that, I'm not hearing it and I'm not backing him.
So, after a fairly brutal scything, I've reduced the 10runner field to a more waorkable five, which includes the geegeez speed ratings top three. Let's see how their past efforts measure up against today's conditions on the Instant Expert tab...
...dreadfully, I'd say! A little bit of amber and Heron's win off a mark of 60 are the highlights here. Hopefully the place tab will provide me with some more encouragement...
Mizen Master and Fulbeck Girl's A/W records are appealing as are the latter's numbers (albeit from small samples) over both course and distance. Heron's numbers look good, but we should remember that those course and distance figures aren't all that recent (Aug '19 for track & May '19 for distance), but plenty of amber around. Cinzento is better than the red line would suggest.
Other than Aldrich Bay drawn in stall 9, out other four occupy the low draws 1 to 4. To see if that would have any bearing on the outcome we need to check the Draw & Pace tabs and the draw would suggest that the low draw is more beneficial than the high draw...
The blue line drops off dramatically just off after the mid-draw point, which isn't great news for Aldrich Bay, whilst the pace tab...
...tells us that in similar contests, hold-up horses have won 13 of 31 races (41.9%) which would normally be good news for the likes of Heron and Aldrich Bay, BUT... the pace prediction is of a possible falsely run contest and why's that, you might ask? Well, there are no obvious front runners or even prominent runners amongst our five, so who knows what will happen.
They could well stay closely grouped and it develop into a short distance sprint OR one of my five discards might set the pace for them. I'll tackle the latter situation by showing you the full pace/draw heatmap for all ten runners...
...which I think muddies the waters further.
At this point, I need to get myself to a shortlist of three, so Aldrich Bay's draw stats and the possbility of after effects from last time count her out here and I'll also remove Heron, purely for his unpredictability/unreliability. Both could very well win here, but I wouldn't be happy backing them today.
I'm happy with my three Fulbeck Girl, Mizen Master and Cinzento and I'd probably have them in that order. I'm happy that the winner should come from those three, but I'm unhappy when I look at the market to see that my three are numbers 1,2 and 4 in the market (Aldrich is 3rd fav).
I'm unhappy, because I've not found something the market isn't aware of, so there might be no angle/value for us here. I'm not sure how I'll play this one now after seeing the odds, but I'm sticking with those three to include the winner.