Tag Archive for: Doncaster racecourse

Pace Bias in Non-Handicap Hurdle Races

With the evenings now sadly drawing in, many punters will soon begin to think about the upcoming National Hunt season, writes Dave Renham. So Matt and I felt it was the right time to revisit pace bias in National Hunt racing. In the past I have written several articles for Geegeez on the topic of pace and for this piece I am going to take an in depth look at non-handicap hurdle races.

I appreciate many of you reading this will have read some or all of my previous articles, but for new readers it is important to explain what pace in a race means and how we measure it. Pace in this context is connected with the running styles of the horses. When I look at pace bias my main focus is the initial pace in a race and the position horses take up early on.

geegeez.co.uk has an excellent pace analyser tool and the stats I am sharing with you in this article are based on that tool’s pace data. The data on Geegeez are split into four styles and accompanying points – Led (4), Prominent (3), Mid Division (2) and Held Up (1). The numbers in brackets are the pace scores assigned to each section.

For this article I have only looked at races with eight or more runners – this avoids falsely run races which often occur when there are small fields.

The first set of data contains the overall pace stats from all 8+ runner National Hunt non-handicaps in the UK from 1/1/09 to 31/7/21:

 

It is important to keep in mind that the number of runners in each pace group varies: there are far more runners in the prominent and hold up categories as you can see. 'Leaders' is the smallest group as usually you only get one early leader in this type of race, occasionally two when there is a contested early lead. Hence although raw strike rates have relevance, it is more important to look at Impact Values (IV) and the A/E index (Actual winners/Expected winners).

Leaders clearly have an edge as a whole, with prominent racers the next most successful. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, in non-handicap hurdle races you want to be focusing on those horses that are the most likely to lead early (or at least race prominently and close to the front end).

When we have looked at draw biases on the flat we became aware that such biases can evolve and change over time. In terms of pace bias, though, I have always hoped (or assumed) that they are less likely to change much, if at all, over time. To check this theory out I decided to split the non-handicap data into two and compare 2009 – 2014 with 2015 onwards. The bar chart below compares the A/E values over these time frames:

 

Excellent correlation across all four pace categories so, because A/E is a measure of market performance, this gives increased confidence that the value in any pace biases is likely to replicated in the foreseeable future. Comparing the strike rates shows a similar level of consistency across the two time periods:

 

So we have a good starting point from which to start narrowing down the stats into different data sets to establish whether front running bias is stronger or weaker under more specific conditions. As the data seems consistent across the years I will analyse these areas over the whole time period (2009 to July 31st 2021).

 

Impact of Run Style by Race Distance, Non-Handicap Hurdles

I always feel distance is the best place to start when drilling down into pace data. A look first at the shorter distances.

2 miles 1 furlong or less

 

These figures are similar to the overall stats for all distances, so let us review by course. The chart below compares A/E values for all courses (min 50 races) – courses with A/E values of 1.00 or bigger are shown:

 

Bangor On Dee has the highest front-running A/E value at 1.48 and when we break the overall course stats down, we can see other metrics which point to that extremely strong front running bias:

 

Not only does the front running edge strengthen, it is clear that hold up horses struggle even more than the norm. For the record, if you had been able to predict the front runner(s) in each race at Bangor you would have made an SP profit to tune of 38 pence in the £. If only it was that easy!

The next chart shows the courses with the lowest A/E values for front runners over this trip:

 

Doncaster racecourse has the poorest figures for front runners and the overall stats for the course are as follows:

 

I think what this shows is that the course and distance stats are definitely worth drilling down on. The difference between Bangor and Doncaster at this distance range is very significant.

Before moving distances I would like to share some stats around performance of "the favourite" based on their running style:

 

Again, this shows clearly the importance of pace and running style. It still bemuses me how certain trainers continue to hold up their runners, when surely it is generally worth pushing them up with or close to the pace.

 

2 miles 2 furlongs to 2 miles 6 furlongs

It is always difficult to group National Hunt distances ‘perfectly’ when analysing large data sets, but for this article I wanted to split the full gamut of race distances into three parts and this seemed like a sensible middle distance grouping.

Here are the pace data for all courses for all non-handicap hurdle races over the 2 mile 2 to 2 mile 6 trip:

 

The figures are similar to the shorter distances though possibly the front running bias hass very slightly diminished. In terms of courses, amazingly Bangor on Dee is top again from a front running bias perspective – there is unquestionably a marked advantage to those horses that lead early at Bangor.

 

I thought for this interim distance group I would investigate some run style trainer data. I wanted to see which trainers had been the most successful when sending their runners out into the early lead in non-handicap hurdle races of 2m 2f to 2m 6f.

To that end, below are two graphs – firstly, trainer performance with front runners in terms of win strike rate; and secondly, looking at their respective A/E values.

 

 

As you might expect there are a high proportion of trainers that appears in both charts. Nicky Henderson tops both lists but this does not mean he sends a huge proportion of his runners to the front early; it shows, however, that when he does they fare extremely well. For the record here is Henderson's breakdown by running / pace style over this distance block:

 

His front runners clearly do best in terms of win strike rate, A/E value and IV. It is interesting though that only 11% - one in nine - of Henderson's horses actually take the early lead. But nearly half of them win!

It does make me wonder if trainers are really aware of pace bias... Below is his 'pace pie chart' in terms of percentage of runners that demonstrate a particular pace or running style.

 

44% of his runners raced off the pace early which is far too large a number in my opinion.

 

2 miles 7 furlong or more

The third and final grouping are the longer distance non-handicap hurdle races, from just shy of three miles upwards.

 

There are far fewer longer races as can be seen, but the same pattern emerges. Front runners perform best with prominent runners next best.

 

Trainers by Run Style (All distances)

I have already touched upon trainers but thought it might be interesting to create some trainer pace figures. To create the trainer pace figures I have simply added up the Geegeez pace points for a particular trainer and divided it by the number of runners. The higher the average the more prominent the trainer tends to race his charges. I have created trainer pace figures which cover all distances in non-handicap hurdles. Here are the trainers with the highest averages:

 

Rebecca Curtis tops the list and clearly favours positioning her runners nearer the front than the back. Her 'pace pie chart' below demonstrates this even more clearly:

 

As you can see 25% of Curtis's runners take the early lead, while another nigh on 50% race prominently and close to the pace. Ms Curtis is a trainer who understands the importance of forward run styles. It should come as no surprise therefore that you would have made a profit backing all of her runners ‘blind’ during this time frame. For the record, 53 of Curtis's runners were held up, and only 4 won (SR 7.55%). Compare this to 23% and 21.83% win strike rates for her early leaders and prominent racers.

Let us now review Alan King’s pace pie chart as a comparison to Curtis.

 

His pace average stands at 1.99 with a measly 2% of his runners sent into an early lead. Overall losses for King have been significant especially with runners that raced mid division or near the back early.

*

I do believe that pace in a race is something which must be factored in to your betting. Pace biases vary from race type to race type, distance to distance, course to course, etc. However, if you are prepared to do some digging that other punters are not, you will give yourself a significant edge over the crowd.

This article has hopefully offered a good chunk of information to digest, but in reality I have barely scratched the surface. If you really want to profit from run style/pace then the Geegeez tools are there for you to test your own ideas and crunch pace data to your heart’s content.

- DR

Racing Insights, 11th September 2021

The weekend is almost here and Saturday's free feature is the Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report which 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.

As always, we also have a selection of full free racecards open to all readers and for Saturday, they are...

  • 2.40 Bath
  • 3.00 Doncaster
  • 3.35 Doncaster
  • 4.25 Chester
  • 5.00 Bath
  • 6.50 Musselburgh

The second of the two from Doncaster is the St. Leger and I'm sure that better analysts than I will be tackling this race elsewhere and here on Geegeez too, but I think it would still be a worthwhile exercise to see if the toolkit backs up their assessments, so it's the 3.35 Doncaster for us today. It is, of course, the St Leger, a Group 1 race for ten 3 yr old ungelded runners over 1m6½f. The ground is expected to be good to firm (good in places) and top prize is a whopping £421,355.

Hurricane Lane is expected to be a very warm favourite, but that often opens the door for some nicely-priced E/W bets, so all isn't lost even if he wins. He's one of four LTO winners in the field, but we've no former course or distance winners on show today. The fav is at least 6lbs well in based on official ratings and we've a stack of in-form trainers and jockeys and plenty with good previous course form. The exceptions here are the trainer of Ottoman Empire and the jockey on The Mediterranean who are both short of a bit of form.

And so, to the runners themselves...

Fernando Vichi is likely to be one of the back markers, but did beat The Mediterranean by ¾ length to land a Listed race in Ireland three starts ago. he was then well beaten (9th of 11, 17L) in the Irish Derby before being a runner-up next/last time out in another Leopardstown Listed race stepped up to this trip. He's a useful sort, but others look better and he probably wants it a bit softer.

High Definition was 2 from 2 as a 2 yr old, including a Group 2 win over a mile at the Curragh last September. He started this season with a gritty run to finish third in the Gr2 Dante at York, 2 lengths behind Hurricane Lane, but has struggled in his last two outings, not seeing out 1m4f. He'd be a surprising winner here.

Hurricane Lane has four wins and a place from his five starts to date, the only 'blot' being a third place in this year's Derby, when seeming to not 'get' the track at Epsom, like many before him, I suppose. He made up for that by landing the Irish equivalent in June and also the Gr1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp on Bastille Day. I'm not convinced this son of Frankel has finished improving yet, but tackles further than a mile and a half for the first time. Definitely the one to beat.

Interpretation was just 4th of 11 in a heavy ground 9f maiden on debut at the Curragh back in November on his sole outing as a 2yo, but is 3 from 3 this season, culminating in landing a Listed race over today's trip at Leopardstown a month ago beating Fernando Vichi by 1¾ lengths. This is a big step up, but he has proved he gets the trip, so he could well threaten to make the frame here.

Mojo Star took five races to finally get off the mark in a Class 3 maiden last time out, having been a runner-up in each of his first three outings, culminating in a 4.5 length defeat in The Derby back in June. He didn't fare quite as well in the Irish version three weeks later when only fifth of eleven, more than nine lengths off the pace. He might well be second best in the ratings, but has something to find here up in trip on quicker ground.

Ottoman Emperor is 4 from 4 on turf after being beaten by just over two lengths on debut (A/W at Dundalk) in March. In fairness, the first three of those races weren't anywhere near this standard, but he was always doing enough to win. He stepped up to 1m4f for the first time last time out and stayed on well to land the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood beating the re-opposing Sir Lucan by ½ length. Up in trip again and on quicker ground than he's faced, more improvement needed.

Scope looks up against it here despite gradually stepping up in both class and trip to a point where he was beaten by less than 2.5 lengths over 1m4f in a Gr2 race (Voltigeur) last time out. He was fifth of eight that day behind the re-opposing The Meditteranean, Youth Spirit and Sir Lucan. He was weak in the finish over 1m4f, so an extra quarter mile might not suit him either. best avoided, I think.

Sir Lucan was fourth in that Voltigeur race above and runner-up in the Gordon Stakes after winning a Listed race at Navan over 1m5f. he stayed on well that day, suggesting that today's trip should well be in his grasp and although he has been beaten at Gr2 and Gr3 in his last two runs, he hasn't been far off and could well place here.

The Mediterranean is interesting, because despite only having a 1 in 5 record, was only a length and a quarter behind the winner of the Voltigeur last time out and he's one of four AP O'Brien runners here. That said, I'm not convinced that it's a particularly strong quartet and jockey Wayne Lordan looks to be struggling for form.

Youth Spirit won the Gr3 Chester Vase back in May and has been within two lengths of the winners of the Gr3 Gordon Stakes and the Gr2 Voltigeur on his last two runs. He seems to stay on well, but might lack a turn of foot. He'd be an unlikely winner here, of course, but has a 50% place strike rate and if kept handy could improve that here.

We know from above that we've no pervious course winners, that Fernando Vichi might want softer ground and that Ottoman Emperor is unbeaten in four runs on turf, but for the full lowdown on this field's record at this race's going/class/course/distance, here's Instant Expert from both a win...

and place perspective...

The place stats are very useful here, because if the fav does win, we need an E/W angle and also picks for forecast/tricast etc. Going off the above graphic, Fernando Vichi, High Definition, Scope and Sir Lucan look weakest and the bottom two look strong off most runs.

Our fav is drawn in stall 4 of 10, but we're advised that higher draws are better here...

...which might suit Youth Spirit more than it does The Mediterranean of those two possible placers at the bottom of the card. As well as preferring a high draw, it would seem that the further back you race, the better...

...and based on our field's most recent outings, this will suit the bottom half of this graphic more than the top half...

And when we put the two together in draw order...

...it looks like the pace will come from stalls 7 & 8 with the likes of Sir Lucan and Scope having the best of the pace/draw make-ups.

To be honest, Hurricane Lane (like Inspiral & Stradivarius this week) could be drawn anywhere with any running style and still prevail. The task here is to find a placer or two at a decent price.

Summary

It's definitely Hurricane Lane's race to win or lose, the question is whether you feel you want to back horses at odds of 4/5. I don't put enough money on to make it worth my while, so I'll leave it from a betting perspective and look for an E/W option.

And based upon everything above, I think the two I like are Youth Spirit and Sir Lucan. The former has a good place record, has gone well at Gr2 and Gr3 and although pace/draw doesn't immediately look good, he's 7th of 10 on pace over the last three runs, so that's definitely more towards hold-up than prominent, whilst Sir Lucan is the hold up horse here, gets the trip and has been going well of late.

You can get 33's and 18's about Youth Spirit and Sir Lucan and I think they're interestingly enticing odds, so I'll have a dabble there.

 

Racing Insights, 10th September 2021

Friday's free offering is the Horses for Courses (H4C) report, showing the full course history since 2009 of any horse running that has previously had a run at the track. It is sorted by number of wins, but this can be changed to any column at the user’s 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.

We also have our usual selection of full free racecards and for Friday, they are...

  • 2.00 Sandown
  • 2.40 Doncaster
  • 6.15 Salisbury
  • 7.00 Ballinrobe

My (H4C) report looks like this today...

...where Revich is worth a second glance, even if it has been over a year and ten races since he last won. He's likely to be the favourite, which suggests the race might not be up to much, so I'm heading back to Donny again for the Doncaster Cup Stakes, a 7-runner Group 2 race for 3yo+ stayers. The ground is still expected to be good to firm, the trip is a huge 2m2f and the winner of the 2.40 Doncaster will receive almost £62,400...

CARD DETAILS :

FORM :
Positives : Alerta Roja & Stradivarius are 2 from 3
Negatives : Eagles By Day & Nayef Road are winless in 5

CLASS :
Eagles By Day is up 1 class & Alerta Roja is up 3

COURSE : Stradivarius, Rodrigo Diaz & The Grand Visir have all won here

DISTANCE : Only Stradivarius is a past winner at 2m2f and he's done it here at Doncaster

DAYS SINCE LAST RUN : All have raced in the last 20-45 days

TRAINER FORM :
Positives : Stradivarius (recent & course), Rodrigo Diaz (course) & The Grand Visir (course)
Negatives : Trueshan (recent)

JOCKEY FORM :
Positives : Stradivarius (recent & course), Eagles By Day (course), Nayef road (recent & course), Rodrigo Diaz (course)
Negatives : Rodrigo Diaz (recent), The Grand Visir (course) & Alerta Roja (course)

WEIGHTS : Based on OR/hcp marks, Stradivarius is 5lbs well in over Trueshan who is next best at 2lbs better than Alerta Roja and so on.

INSTANT EXPERT...

POSITIVES : Trueshan, Stradivarius

NEGATIVES : Nayef Road

DRAW...

Based on very limited data, as this is the only 2m2f race at Doncaster each year, I'd say stalls 2 to 4 had fared best (The Grand Visir, Alerta Roja, Trueshan), but let's get real for a moment, shall we? Rodrigo Diaz in stall 7 will be less than 7 metres wide of Nayef Road in stall 1 and with 3,600 metres to run, surely the draw can't have much effect here? However, this might...

PACE...

Again, a similarly small amount of data to work with, but those waited with seem to be the ones to be on...

And that could suit Eagles By Day & Rodrigo Diaz (3 scores of 1) more than Nayef Road & The Grand Visir (average pace scores of 3)

SUGGESTED PACE/DRAW HEATMAP...

Again with the caveat about limited data...

Stalls 1 & 2 seem up against it and the winner should come from higher with Trueshan and Rodrigo Diaz having the best pace/draw make-up here.

Summary

I've whizzed through the card fairly quickly and the two names that crop up all the time are Stradivarius & Trueshan and they're the two I expect to be the first home with possibly Nayef Road best of the rest.

Stradivarius has been there, done it, worn the T-shirt etc and is an undoubtedly tough cookie, he stays all day but isn't the force he was and I'm a little concerned at how much his win three weeks ago has taken out of him. He was really pushed hard by Spanish Mission at York and hasn't had has long as usual between races here.

Trueshan was really impressive in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup last time out and his connections will be praying that some of the rumoured imminent rain arrives in time to soften this track. An extra 2f awaits him here too, but he was still full of running after two miles on soft ground last time out, so he could yet improve.

I have doubts about both and I don't think there's that much between them here either, so it's going to boil down to price/perceived value and I prefer Trueshan at 3/1 to an odds-on Stradivarius, plus the reverse forecast, of course!

As for Revich from my (H4C) report, I've backed him at 4/1 too.

Racing Insights, 9th September 2021

Thursday is Instant Expert day, when we open up the colour coded form overview of every horse to every reader for every race including our free races of the day, which are...

  • 1.50 Epsom
  • 2.40 Doncaster
  • 4.05 Chepstow
  • 4.55 Chelmsford

Unsurprisingly, the Doncaster card has the best quality racing on Thursday and our free race is the May Hill Stakes, a Group 2 contest for 2 yr old fillies. The trip is a mile on good to firm ground and these seven female juvies will bid for the top prize of almost £63,800 in the 2.40 Doncaster...

Insipral is 2 from 2 and Speak is 1 from 1 and the other five have all won a race too. In fact, all bar Prosperous Voyage and Renaissance won last time out. That pair along with Inspiral all raced in Class 1 company last time out, but the other four are all making the big step up from Class 4 here. all seven have raced in the last seven weeks with Banshee & Prosperous Voyage having less than two weeks off. Speak doesn't have a handicap mark yet, but if this was a handicap then Inspiral is at least 7lbs well in at the weights (ahead of Prosperous Voyage) and rated some 29lbs better than Banshee! Our Geegeez Sr figures have Inspiral well clear too.

Banshee & Speak are the only previous winners over a mile, but they're also the only ones to have tackled this trip so far. The form yards are those represented by Inspiral, Kawida & Prosperous Voyage and all have good track records too, as does the handler of Speak. The for jockeys are on Banshee, Speak & Inspiral and the latter's jockey has done well here at Doncaster previously as have the riders of Prosperous Voyage and Renaissance.

The name cropping up all the time so far is the 2 from 2 Inspiral, already the early favourite for next year's 1,000 Guineas and expected to be a red-hot favourite here. You can already see from above why she's fancied, but the shorter she goes, the more chance we have of finding a decent priced placer, so lets start at the top of the card with...

Banshee, who was 3rd, 4th and 3rd in three 11/12 runner fields before scoring next/last time out at Yarmouth, winning a three-runner, Class 4 handicap over today's 1m trip by two lengths. The runner-up has since finished last of six in another C4, 1m, nursery, so Banshee's win might not be much to write home about. This is far tougher.

Inspiral we've already mentioned several times and she comes here after wins at the end of both June and July, firstly in a Class 4, 7f maiden at Newmarket and then she landed a Listed contest (also over 7f) by 3.5 lengths at Sandown when partnered by today's jockey for the first time. The runner-up that day has been a runner-up in a Group 3, beaten by just a length, so that suggests Inspiral really might be something decent.

Kawida hit the crossbar on her first two starts going down by 1.25 lengths and 0.5 lengths in a pair of Class 4 7f Novice races before winning at Haydock just over a month ago. That was another Class 4, 7f affair and she stayed on well on soft ground to take control late into a 1.5 length success. She's probably got more to give and breeding suggests a mile will suit her, so could be involved late on.

Prosperous Voyage looks a progressive type and was a winner of a Class 4, 7f maiden at Epsom in July before going down by just half a length to a very well bred 5/4 fav at Chester at the start of August. She bounced back four weeks alter at Goodwood finishing third in a Group 3 contest, beaten by little more than a length and a half and on that form, she's probably Inspiral's main threat.

Renaissance also ran in a Group 3 race last time out, but was last home of ten, beaten by 16 lengths at Newmarket and although she'd won her previous race her two other outings have seen her finish 6th of 11 and 6th of 9 at Class 5, so I'd suggest this would be beyond her today.

Rolling The Dice was a two-lengths winner of a Class4, 7f maiden at Newbury last time out, just a fortnight after finishing 7th of 8 and over 30 lengths off the winner in a similar contest at Epsom. So, I'm not sure which run is the one to trust and she could go well again here, but the step up from C4 to Gr2 is huge.

Speak has only raced once and that was on the A/W at Kempton where she won a Class 4 maiden over today's 1m trip by 1.75 lengths. The runner-up has since reappeared to win over the same track/trip, albeit at Class 5. Speak clearly has the potential to improve, but on turf debut might be better off just watched, although...

With regards to Instant Expert, only Banshee has raced over 1m on turf (and she won), so I've chosen to look at 7f form today...

Again Inspiral is the standout here, Speak has no turf form and PV's Class 1 defeat was that decent third place in a Group 3 last time out. She has the lowest draw here, but we'll need to check the past stats to see if that's an advantage or not and after clicking the draw tab, I'd say that stall 1 was as good as any...

...and if I wanted to suggest where might not be great, stall 4 does leap out and the PRB3 scores suggest stalls 3 to 5 might be slightly less advantageous, but not massively so.  Essentially on a 1m straight here at Doncaster, it'll be more about ability, application and race tactics. The inference about tactics here is that it's best to lead and if you're not a natural pacesetter then sit at the back and bide your time...

Prominent runners seem to hold on to their position, but struggle to convert places into wins and the mid-div stats are too small to be considered accurate in my opinion. As you're probably all well aware, there's a correlation between pace and draw and that's different for every race. Here, it looks like this...

with the optimal combos being low drawn leaders, high drawn leaders then high drawn hold-ups. Using our runners in stalls 1 and 7 as examples, then Prosperous Voyage (#1) would want to lead and Renaiissance (#7) would need to be either a leader or a hold-up horse. As we log the running styles of each horse, we already know how they've ran in the past. Of course, this is no guarantee as to how they'll run here, but at least we have something to base a decision upon.

What we actually see is that Prosperous Voyage has been held up in her last two outings, but won from a prominent position three starts ago. Her latest effort was her best to date and that came from a hold-up position, so I doubt she'll want to lead here...

...whilst Renaissance has two shots at a decent pace/draw make-up but sadly is neither really a leader or a hold-up horse. He was held up on debut, but that was a poor run and he was awkward away from the stalls, so he might not actually have been held-up on purpose. What we can do is to use those average pace scores on the right and slot the horses into that pace/draw heat map as follows...

This is based on their two most recent outings and I think Banshee might well be the one to set the pace, as she has in her last two, which have been her best runs. Kawida and possibly Speak look set to give her some early company. The two I liked initially, Prosperous Voyage and Inspiral have both been waited with on their last two runs and that put both of them in the frame at Class 1 last time out, so that could work for them here, we've only seven runners on a nice wide strip of turf and these two will only have five to pass.

Summary

To be brutally honest, I don't think it matters where Inspiral is drawn and what running position she adopts, she should simply be too good for the others. Prosperous Voyage looks like she'll race in a similar area to the favourite and could get towed along late on into the frame, plus her run last time out is probably the next best piece of form after Inspiral's win, so that's my 1-2.

Prosperous Voyage is actually 15/2 in places, so we're approaching E/W territory or you could go on the place market or the without the fav option. Forecasts, too, of course! Of the rest, I don't know enough about Speak, but she could be an improver, whilst I'd probably side with Kawida as my third here, she'll show early pace and she's bred for a mile. She's also 25/1 in places, so might be an alternative E/W or place option.

Racing Insights, 8th September 2021

Not only is the Trainer Stats report our free offering on Wednesdays, but it is actually four reports in one, containing 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 years, users can filter by runs, wins, places, win profit/loss and each way profit/loss. In addition to this report, we also have our usual selection of free races, which are set to be...

  • 1.30 Uttoxeter
  • 2.30 Uttoxeter
  • 4.00 Doncaster
  • 5.05 Cork
  • 7.05 Cork

My settings for the Trainer Stats report  have thrown up some interesting qualifiers, especially on the course one year handicap filter and these could well be worth a second look, but the free races include a Class 1 affair, so I'm going to focus on the 4.00 Doncaster aka the Scarbrough Stakes, a 7-runner Listed contest over 5f on good to firm ground. The winner will receive just over £25,500 in a race where Arecibo is expected to be a fairly warm favourite and has two wins from seven starts this term, but plenty of others have some good results behind them with only Khaadem winless in seven.

The pair of them raced at Class 1 last time out, as did Tarboosh but the other four are all up in class :  Live In The Moment and Twilight Calls are up from Class 2, Blackberry steps up two classes here, whilst Duke of Firenze ran (and failed to make the frame) in a Class 5 handicap!

Khaadem is the only one yet to savour a victory over 5f, mind you he's never tackled the trip before, but he has won at Doncaster before as has Twilight Calls. Blackberry & Tarboosh are former course and distance winners with the latter winning this very race last year. All have ran in the last 11-25 days and on positive trainer/jockey form Khaadem and Live In the Moment catch the eye. All of this is shown on your racecard as follows...

It is at this point I've noticed that Twilight Calls won't run, so we're down to six runners and the expected favourite Arecibo is our starting point. He tops the Geegeez SR scores and he won a pair of Class 2/3 handicaps over 5f at Newmarket either side of a 3.75 length defeat at Group 3 over the same course and distance before two fantastic runs in June/July that saw him finish as a runner-up at both Gr1 and Gr3. He hasn't been quite as good in his last two runs, but this is nowhere near as tough.

Duke of Firenze is a useful Class 3/4 handicapper at best nowadays and at the ripe old age of 12, his best days are long behind him and he has a terrible record here at Doncaster. One to avoid.

Khaadem hasn't won any of his nine races over the last twenty-five months since a 6f, Class 2 handicap win at Goodwood. His problem is that he does too much too soon and ends up fading in the closing stages of 6f races that he usually contests. That said, he is rarely beaten by far and the drop to 5f for the first time might be the key to regaining some form.

Live In The Moment is ultra consistent and has racked up nine top three finishes on the bounce since June of last year, winning five times in the process and he only went down by three parts of a length as runner-up in a big (22) field Class 2 handicap last time out. This is clearly tougher up in quality, but he's in better form than most and his jockey has 4 wins and 4 places from 14 here at Doncaster this year.

Tarboosh won this race last year beating subsequent Group 3 winners Urban beat and Dakota Gold in the process, but whilst they've flourished, Tarboosh is 0 from 6 without even making the frame and was beaten by 7.5 lengths as 9th of 11 in a Listed race at Beverley last time out. I doubt this will be his day despite his 2 wins and a runner-up finish from three previous runs here.

Blackberry completes the line-up and this 3 yr old filly was a course and distance winner back in July 2020 on her second start. She's now 4 from 8 on turf, but she's probably a Class 3/4 handicapper right now and was beaten by almost three lengths at Class 3 here over course and distance last time out. Admittedly, she gets weight all round, but probably not enough of it to make any difference.

At this point, it's probably Arecibo's race to win/lose, whilst I'm not keen on the Duke or Blackberry right now. The drop in trip is Khaadem's hope, whilst a return to the Doncaster 5f might get more out of Tarboosh, but Live In The Moment is probably the danger to the fav so far.

Several have won here at Doncaster already and a few are previous 5f winners. We can see all relevant form in Instant Expert...

Blackberry looks strong here, but that's all Class 3/4 form. neither of the first two have enjoyed this quicker ground, which might upset the favourite, who hasn't exactly been the best at this trip. Live In The Moment certainly loves the 5f sprints and Tarboosh's past record here now comes to the fore.

The draw here favours the inside pair of stalls...

...which is certainly good news for the fav in box 1 and Khaadem alongside in #2, whilst unusually the pace stats suggest that hold-up horses do really well coming late from off the pace. That's not to say the usual 5f tactics of get out, stay out can't/won't work, because both leaders and prominent runners win almost as often as you'd expect...

I suppose, basically, it's a case of get up with the pace or sit at the back, don't get caught between two stools. The pace tab shows the running styles of the four races...

...and on that evidence Duke of Firenze and Arecibo look best placed. Arecibo is a low drawn, hold up horse based on the above and here's  what our pace/draw heatmap says about such runners...

...eight wins from 14 runners at a strike rate of over 57% and an A/E of 4.14 speaks for itself. Arecibo must be in the box seat here. We now sort our runners into draw order and superimpose the pace/draw heatmap onto them as follows...

Arecibo & Khaadem do look well set with the former seeming best off. Live In The Moment's best chance might well be to try and set the pace and then hold on as long as possible and he has led races in the past. Tarboosh and Duke of Firenze don't appear well suited here, whilst Blackberry has actually got the best running style she could have for her draw, but she's surely just going to be a pacemaking target for the others.

Summary

As much as it pains me to suggest a horse priced at 5/4, it's got to be Arecibo's race to win/lose, hasn't it? He has run very well in far better races than this, has the best draw, has the best pace/draw set-up and providing he doesn't leave too much to do late on, he should win.

If, however, Live In The Moment sets off and takes the the race on, he'd be the one most likely to upset the applecart at 6/1. That's a bit short for an E/W bet for me, but I'll probably have a couple of quid on him winning at those odds. There's no value in the fav for me, but reverse forecasts will be the order of the day.

Racing Insights, 5th August 2021

Feature of the Day on Thursdays is free access for ALL readers to the Instant Expert tab for ALL races, including, of course, the following free races of the day...

  • 3.10 Yarmouth
  • 4.45 Leopardstown
  • 5.42 Doncaster
  • 5.57 Sandown
  • 7.30 Leopardstown
  • 7.37 Sandown

The highest class of UK race above is at the Racing League meeting in South Yorkshire, where the first on the card is the 5.42 Doncaster, a Class 3, good ground, Flat handicap over 5f for 3yo+ horses. The boosted prize money is a cool £25,770 and these are the runners who will contest it...

Form : Copper Knight, Tenaya Canyon, Autumn Flight, Saaheq, Hey Mr and Ballintoy Harbour have all won at least one of their last six outings, whilst both Irish Acclaim and Many A Star won seven races back. Ballintoy Harbour is the only LTO winner.

Class : Celsius and Hey Mr both drop down from Class 2, whilst Tenaya Canyon, Autumn Flight, Ballintoy Harbour and Saaheq all competed at Class 4 last time out.

Course/Distance : All bar Many A Star, Irish Acclaim and Equitation have won over this trip, but the latter pair have at least won here at Doncaster before, as have former course and distance winners Celsius and Saaheq.

Last run : All ten have raced in the last seven weeks with Copper Knight and Irish Acclaim having just one week's rest.

Copper Knight is one of three seven year olds in the field and he ended an 18-race/22 month losing streak when winning at York in mid-May (the previous win was also at his favoured York!). Sadly he hasn't kicked on from that win, but a drop down in class from his last turf run might help him be more competitive here.

Celsius has made the frame in half of his 16 flat runs to date, winning five times all over today's trip. He's a former course and distance winner too, but hasn't won any of eight races since a success off a mark of 85 almost ten months ago and he remains higher than that mark.

Many A Star had his best spell in his first four runs of last season, finishing 1321, but after a promising third on his new yard/seasonal debut in late April, he has been 11th of 18, last of 8 and 3rd of 6, well beaten in all three and without his claimer from LTO, is effectively up 6lbs.

Tenaya Canyon signed off 2020 with a win over 6f at Newcastle and has a win and two runner-up finishes from five starts this season. She was only beaten by a length here over course and distance last time out, despite being denied a clear run and despite stepping up in class, should go well as Saffie Osbourne's 5lb claim could be very useful.

Autumn Flight won back to back 5f handicaps at Chelmsford in the first 8 days of April and was only denied a hat-trick by a head when subsequently a runner-up here over C&D fifteen days later. He has made the frame three more times from four runs and although up a class and 1lb, he does now have the skills of Frankie Dettori in his favour.

Ballintoy Harbour won over 5f at Pontefract on her second career start almost a year ago and then went back to the shed for eight months. She reappeared at Newcastle to win again and has finished 361 since, getting home by three parts of a length at Newmarket 20 days ago. She's clearly in good nick, but a 6lb rise makes this a tougher prospect and allied to a step up in class, she'll need a career best, although after just six outings, she's the least exposed here.

Irish Acclaim is far better on the A/W (4 from 14), having yet to win from seven attempts on turf. That said, he was second last of twelve on the Tapeta at Newcastle last time out, beaten by almost 12 lengths and he's probably best left alone.

Saaheq has already won three times in 2021, admittedly from thirteen efforts and all the wins were at lower grades than today, but with 6 top three finishes from his last eleven runs, he's going well. He's back down to his last winning mark, but the step up in class might just catch him out.

Equitation has won just four of thirty-five races to date and hasn't won any of his last sixteen outings over the past eleven months. He was never involved at this class/trip last time out and even at 8lbs lower than that last win, you'd be excused for looking elsewhere.

Hey Mr is one of the least experienced here after just seven runs and with a jockey taking 3lbs off bottom mark of 79,he's well weighted here. He had a good progressive 2yo campaign finishing 3321, the last two of which were in handicap company. He was third on his seasonal bow at York in May, but has had two indifferent runs since. If he turns up, he'd have a chance off his current mark, but he hasn't turned up recently.

*

Feature of the Day is, of course, Instant Expert, a quick intuitive overview of a field's past record over a given set of circumstances, so it'd be rude not to look at it here...

...and if we're honest, that's not a great set of figures over the last two years, is it? Saaheq's record at the trip is lamentable, as is that of Copper Knight, Celsius and Autumn Flight. Saaheq has also struggled at Class 3, as have Celsius (despite a win), Many A Star and Equitation.

I think we're probably going to get more clues/pointers from place form...

...where if anything Copper Knight looks even worse. Ballintoy Harbour and Irish Acclaim don't have enough handicap experience to draw a conclusion, but Saaheq looks weak again despite making the frame at this track. Hey Mr looks interesting from a place angle, notwithstanding his recent poor form.

The Geegeez course description (here) says that Doncaster is arguably one of the fairest courses in the country, with next to no undulations providing excellent racing conditions for horses that can really gallop and eat up the ground. There’s significant draw bias at Doncaster when the ground is soft. Lower numbers tend to perform better, but on faster ground the draw has little bearing on the race outcome. So I would expect our draw stats to back that up...

Stalls 2 and 7 seem to have an anomalous amount of winners, but in terms of making the frame it just seems they've converted into wins more often. Stall seven aside, though, I'd say for E/W bettors, stalls 1 to 4 are where you'd want to be. Yet, if there's little discernible draw bias, what about the way the race is approached? Well, strangely, for a straight 5f on pretty flat ground it appears that you don't want to be a sitting target at the head of the pack and that most winners come from midfield or even further back, although racing prominently is a decent enough tactic for making the frame...

All of which means that the low-drawn mid-division runners have fared best...

...whilst for E/W purposes, any low draw will do, as will a prominent or mid-div running style...

And I can tell you that stall 1 to 4 are to be occupied by Hey Mr, Autumn Flight, Equitation and Celsius, whilst those who have shown a preference for racing in midfield or further back are Celsius, Irish Acclaim, Saaheq and Hey Mr. We can then put all our runners into those heatmaps above to give us an indicator of how they might race in stall order...

WIN :

PLACE :

The place graphic probably just highlights the fairness of the Doncaster track, as they all look to have a good chance of placing based on pace and draw, but from a win perspective, those in the lower stalls are favoured.

I should remind you that the pace/draw heatmap is just one of the tools available and isn't to be used as a definitive prediction of how they'll finish.

Summary

If we deal with the pace/draw angle first, the lower stalls are favoured and of those four, I think that Autumn Flight and Hey Mr would have better chances than the other two. I think Autumn Flight should beat Hey Mr and at 9/1 with Hills paying 4 places, he's of interest as an E/W bet, especially with the irrepressible Mr Dettori on board. I wouldn't put you off Hey Mr at 8/1 E/W, but Autumn Flight is preferred.

That said, I don't see either of them winning and for that, I think it's a close call between the 3/1 favourite Ballintoy Harbour and the 6/1 Tenaya Canyon. Ballintoy is in better form but up in class and weight after only narrowly winning last time out. Tenaya is also up in class and in decent if not quite as good nick, but with a 5lb jockey claim will carry less than 9 stones here and offers better value at the odds.

Hills' 6/1 about Tenaya Canyon might end up looking generous, so that's where I'd want to be.

 

Racing Insights, 4th June 2021

We got the first two home at Uttoxeter this afternoon/early evening, as the money that came in for Tardree was justified, once again showing how good Laura Morgan is at getting her chasers home. If you did want to follow some of Laura's runners, these might be worth a second glance...

Sadly I'd got the 1-2 the wrong way around today, but made enough from the 6.2/1 exacta to cover my win stake, hopefully some of you did the same.

The weekend is almost here and every Friday, we make the Horses for Courses report available to ALL readers. It does pretty much what you'd expect ie shows horses who have previously gone well at the track they're racing at that day. We also, have a list of free racecards each day and on Friday, they are...

  • 3.00 Catterick
  • 3.10 Epsom
  • 6.30 Goodwood
  • 7.23 Doncaster
  • 7.45 Tramore
  • 8.05 Down Royal

Now, the 3.10 Epsom race (Coronation Cup) is clearly the best of that list of races, but with a red hot favourite and the bookies only paying two places, we defer to next best, the 7.23 Doncaster. It's no Coronation Cup, of course, but it's still a decent-looking, hopefully competitive, Class 2 Flat handicap for nine 4yo+ runners over a mile on Good to Firm/Good ground on Town Moor. There's a reasonable enough £10,800 for winning this one and here are the horses entered...

Form : Blue Mist, Power of Darkness, Stunning Beauty, Tiger Crusade and Turn On The Charm have all won at least one of the last five outing, with the last pair being our LTO winners.

Class/Hcp Status/Sex :
Beat Le Bon drops down from Listed company, whilst Tiger Crusade, Scottish Summit and Turn On The Charm all ran at Class 3 last time around with Stunning Beauty now stepping up three classes for her handicap debut and she's the only filly in the race.

Days Since Run :
All bar Milltown Star (83 days) and Stunning Beauty (99 days) have raced in the past seven weeks with both Scottish Summit and Ebury being rested for less than a fortnight before coming here.

Age :
All bar the 8 yr old Scottiish Summit are aged 4-6

Weight spread :
Top weight Beat Le Bon will carry 13lbs more than Ebury

Trainer Form / Course record :
Tiger Crusade, Scottish Summit, Stunning Beauty and Turn On The Charm all positives for recent form with all bar Scottish Summit being positive for trainer/course stats. Ebury is a negative on that score.

Jockey Form / Course record :
Milltown Star, Tiger Crusade and Power of Darkness are partnered by in-form riders whereas Tom Eaves (Ebury) is a negative for recent form and also for his course record. Dane O'Neill (Beat Le Bon) has a positive 5yr course icon, as does Jamie Spencer (Tiger Crusade), but Jamie hasn't fared as well here lately.

SR ratings :
Far more spread out (113 to 75) than the OR, with Turn On The Charm a clear leader on that stat.

Beat Le Bon carries top weight of 9st7lbs off a mark of 103 and was very good in the summer of 2019, rattling off a hat-trick of wins at this grade inside ten weeks off marks of 94 to 104, but hasn't won any of ten starts since. Yes, he's below his last winning mark, but his form leaves something to be desired here, needs to step forward to get involved.

Blue Mist landed a £28,000 prize in this class at Ascot last July, beating 18 rivals to the line off a mark of 95. He was subsequently beaten by 4 lengths and then 33 lengths off higher marks before a 30-week break. He returned from his layoff looking like he needed the run in a 14 length defeat at Newbury three weeks ago and although he should come on for the run and he's down a pound, he still has no room for comfort off his current mark.

Milltown Star is steady whilst unspectacular as a Class 2 handicapper, failing to win any of six attempts but rarely getting beaten by far. Most recently he was 6th of 13 over 8.5f at Wolverhampton in this grade, but that came after a 24-week break and he was only 1.25 lengths behind the leader. An easing of a pound in the weights and having had the run would suggest he'd be a contender, but closer analysis says that was a poor race last time out, as the ten runners to have re-appeared since have just 1 win and 4 places from 26 combined efforts.

Tiger Crusade was 3rd of 4, beaten by just over 4 lengths on debut in August 2019 and has only raced six times since, making the frame in all six, winning three times and not beaten by more than two lengths. He won by the thick end of three lengths at Kempton last time out, but is up 6lbs for that win, steps up to a mile for the first time, steps up to Class 2 for the first time and returns to turf for the first time in 45 weeks. There are too many "firsts" there for him to be my first, although I think he'll run creditably.

Scottish Summit had a really good summer last time around with a run of form reading 32322101 with a pair of wins at this 1m trip. He was only beaten by half a length on soft ground at Ripon just over a week ago and now back on his preferred quicker ground off the same mark must be a contender here.

Power of Darkness had his best bout of form in 2018/19 with a run starting around this time of year and reading 112711 to mid-August 2019. He was then off the track for 323 days and only ran twice last year, going down by 6L and 9L over 1m/1m1f at this grade. He could only manage to finish 19th of 16 (7L down) at Newbury seven weeks ago, but that was after another 204 days off and now with that run under his belt and dropped down to his last winning mark, he'd be an unlikely winner here, but it would be within his scope to threaten the places.

Stunning Beauty burst onto the scene last season, winning both her UK races. Both were 1m Novice encounters and she won a Class 4 by 4 lengths and then a Class 5 by 7.5 lengths, before a 171 day break. She then blotted her copybook by finishing last of 9 and second last of 14 over the winter at Meydan and now 99 days later has a fair bit to do here back on turf.

Turn On The Charm made his handicap debut almost a year ago and he has three wins and two places from seven handicap runs. His worst results were two fourth places finishes either side of a 163-day layoff and he won by two lengths at Lingfield almost a month ago. He might well be up another 5lbs, but he's a solid progressive handicapper getting weight from most of his rivals.

Ebury ran his best race for some time when third of seven last time out and after six consecutive runs at 7f, now steps back up to a mile for the first time in almost a year. His best form has been over this trip and he has won on good to firm, but he's a Class 3 horse at best for me and despite carrying bottom weight here, a mark of 90 is still probably a little high.

At this point, I already like the look of some over others and so far I'm not too keen on the likes of Blue Mist, Milltown Star or Stunning Beauty, but maybe the Geegeez toolbox will convince me otherwise, starting with relevant form as highlighted by Instant Expert...

Nothing there has pushed me closer to the three I didn't like from stage 1 and you can probably add Ebury to that list. Power of Darkness' numbers are really interesting and would suggest a big run if recapturing old form.

If we consider the draw in three blocks of three runners, then the raw data from 46 previous similar contests would suggest that for win purposes, a mid-draw (4-6) would be advantageous and that the higher you get drawn the more chance you have of making the frame...

That mid-stalls success is a little at odds with my disliking of Milltown Star and Stunning Beauty in 4 and 5, but closer examination of the stall by stall results...

...would debunk the theory of a discernible draw bias. Yes, stall 1 has done really well, which is great for Power of Darkness, but the numbers aren't that much better than stales 4, 6 or 7. Stalls 3 and 8 have underperformed, but as the graph shows there's not really a massive variance aside from those two, so I think they might be rogue numbers here. In fact, the Geegeez course guide for Doncaster says..."on faster ground the draw has little bearing on the race outcome"...

Pace-wise, mid-division runners would seem to have struggled at first glance, but they only represent 8.25% of all runners and such a small sample size is both volatile and unreliable. Hold up horses have the best wins to runs ratio, but to prove the volatility of the small sample data for mid-division horses, just one more mid-0div winner would move the win % from 9.09 to 12.12...

So, if we put mid-division runners to one side, there's not actually a massive pace bias here either, although hold up horses are far more likely to make the frame than leaders.

Essentially, Doncaster is a pretty fair track and with no distinct pace or draw bias, you'd expect the "best" runners to win more often. That's a fair assumption to make, but there are still some pace/draw combinations are have been more successful than others...

Basically, if you're drawn low, you want to be getting out sharpish, but if you're not drawn low, you should bide your time. I wonder how our nine runners fit that heatmap. Let's have a look in draw order, shall we?

Power of Darkness is a confirmed hold-up horse and whilst he's not got the ideal draw for that style of running, it's what he's always done. The pace is likley to come from Stunning Beauty and Ebury and I'd envisage them getting passed by a few later on in the contest. Scottish Summit is likely to tuck in alongside/with Blue Mist at the rear, which would be a good tactic from wide.

Summary

I won't beat about the bush here, I'll move straight to my chosen three against the field.  I like Scottish Summit, who looks on the verge of going on another run of form like last summer, he's off the same mark as a good run last time out and is now on favoured conditions. His pace/draw make-up is decent enough and he's only 5lbs higher than his last win. It won't be easy for him, of course, but at 6/1 he looks decent value.

Turn On the Charm isn't as well suited from the data highlighted by the toolbox, but this is his trip, he's drawn next to my first choice, he won last time out and he's a solid reliable handicapper. based on his profile 3/1 is probably about fair and he's sure to be involved.

As for another placer or possible E/W punt, you can get 16/1 about Power of Darkness, He's lightly raced of late, but if getting back to anything like what he's capable of, then he has every chance of making the frame and defying the odds. His handicap record shown on Instant Expert speaks for itself.

 

Sky Bet Chase Trends

Staged at Doncaster racecourse the Skybet Chase (formerly known as the Great Yorkshire Chase) is a Listed Handicap run over 3m. The race can often throw up some Grand National clues, although no winner in the last 15 runnings has gone onto win the Aintree marathon.

In recent years, the Alan King, Paul Nicholls and Pipe stables have dominated the race with two wins a-piece since 2003, while in the last 15 runnings we’ve seen just two winning favourites – the 2020 Skybet Chase was won by the Nicky Henderson-trained Ok Corral at 9/1.

Here at GEEGEEZ we look back at recent winners (note, the 2010 and 2011 runnings were abandoned) and gives you the key stats to take into the 2021 renewal – this year being run on Saturday 30th January.

==========================================

 

Recent Skybet Chase Winners

2020 – OK CORRAL (9/1)
2019 - GO CONQUER
2018 - WAKANDA (8/1)
2017 – ZIGA BOY (10/1)
2016 – ZIGA BOY (8/1)
2015 – IF IN DOUBT (4/1 fav)
2014 – RAINBOW HUNTER (25/1)
2013 – Meeting Abandoned
2012 – CALGARY BAY (12/1)
2009 – BIG FELLA THANKS (9/2)
2008 – AN ACCORDION (11/2 fav)
2007 – SIMON (7/1)
2006 – A GLASS IN THYNE (16/1)
2005 – COLOURFUL LIFE (9/1)
2004 – TYNEANDTHYNEAGAIN (7/1)
2003 – BARRYSCOURT LAD (9/2)

Skybet Chase Betting Trends

14/15 – Had won between 0-3 times over fences before
12/15 – Carried 11-2 or less
12/15 – Aged 9 or younger
12/15 – Officially rated 130 or higher
12/15 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
11/15 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
10/15 – Unplaced favourites
9/15 – Carried 10-12 or less
9/15 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
9/15 – Irish bred
8/15 – Finished unplaced last time out
8/15 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
5/15 – Raced at Cheltenham last time out
3/15 – Won last time out
2/15 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
2/15 – Trained by the Pipe stable
2/15 – Winning favourites
2/15 – Trained by Alan King
The average winning SP in the last 15 runnings is 9/1

 

Other Stats:
4 of the last 15 winners of this race went onto contest the William Hill Trophy (now JLT Chase) at the Cheltenham Festival that season (1 winner)
5 of the last 15 winners went onto run in that season’s Grand National (no winners, all unplaced)

 

 

 

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Racing Insights, 12th December 2020

Wow! The Cross-Country went spectacularly bad for us today, as none of my four in focus even finished in the first four home of a 10-runner field. Thankfully, writing a column like this gives me the opportunity to put things back on an even keel fairly quickly.

And that opportunity presents itself immediately on Saturday, where feature of the day is the Trainer/Jockey combo report and our free races are...

  • 12.55 Doncaster
  • 1.50 Cheltenham
  • 2.05 Doncaster
  • 2.55 Newcastle
  • 3.30 Newcastle
  • 5.00 Newcastle

And I'm going to leave the full race profiling for today and focus on the TJ Combo report, where as you'll see I set fairly demanding criteria...

1. HANDICAPS OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS

AND 2. 5-YEAR COURSE HANDICAP FORM

Now I'm going to see if I think any of them are worth backing, starting with Arqalina in the 1.22 Hereford...

Trainer Venetia Williams is 7 from 21 (33.3% SR) in chases here at Hereford over the last three years including 5 from 16 on soft ground or "worse", 3 from 7 over course and distance and 1 from 1 with jockey Robert Dunne and here they team up with Arqalina, an 8 yr old mare who will carry bottom weight 13 days after being comprehensively beaten at Ffos Los last time out.

She may well have been third home of ten starters, but she was some thirty lengths off the pace, despite being sent off 3/1 favourite. She's up three classes today and she'll be wearing cheekpieces for the first time (yard is 2 from 7 with first time cheekpieces this year). She's up in trip to a furlong further than she's ever ran before, she's new to this jockey, 0 from 3 in December and 0 from 5 going left handed.

As per Instant Expert, she has won on soft ground, where she has a win and a place from three efforts over fences and she has won over 3 miles, albeit in a Class 5 hurdle contest. The pace tab suggests you either want to lead or be up with the pace to win such a contest, but she generally races in mid-division and such horses are 0 from 14 in similar races and have grabbed just 5 of the 41 places.

I have Arqalina as a 12/1 shot, the market says 10's, she'll probably finish in mid-field and she's not a betting proposition for me today.

Should that race be a disappointment for the Williams/Dunne partnership, as I expect it will, they get to have another 70 minutes later in the 2.32 Hereford...

The yard is 0 from 6 over hurdles here at Hereford this year, but 2020 has been a strange one in many respects, because the Williams' hurdlers were 5 from 20 (25% SR) here during 2016-19. Of those 20, there were 4 winners from 11 on soft ground.

Chambard was last seen failing to finish a 2m4f chase on his return from an 8 month absence and now reverts back to hurdling some 21 months and 5 races since last tackling the smaller obstacles, as he looks to return to the consistent run of form he had from December 2018 to December 2019, when finishing 212223 over hurdles prior to results of 222 over fences.

Sadly he was then fifth of five beaten by 28 lengths in late February of this year, ahead of being pulled up on that return to action six weeks ago. In his defence, he will have needed the run, he does look better over hurdles and his sole win was on good to soft ground. He's new to today's jockey, though and he has tended to fare better over shorter trips.

Prominent racers have won 7 of 11 similar contests with hold-up horses faring worst of all, which doesn't augur well for this boy's chances either.

Like stablemate Arqalina, I don't see Chambard troubling the better runners here and mid-division is probably as good as he'll get.

Which means our search for a meaningful bet now swings North to Town Moor, Doncaster and Charlie Longsdon's 9 yr old chaser, Western Miller, who goes in the 12.20 Doncaster...

Western Miller fell at the second fence last time out so we've no idea what form he was in, but he was second of thirteen at 66/1 behind Rouge Vif at Cheltenham in a Class 2 contest and only really beaten on the run-in by his opponent rated some 17lbs better than him. The third placed horse has finished third again in another Class 2 contest, which would seem to bolster our chances of at least another placed finish now that he drops down in class off the same mark.

Trainer Charlie Longsdon's handicap chasers are 6 from 22 (27.3% SR) here at Doncaster since the start of 2016 when sent off at odds of 7/2 and bigger in Class 2 to 4 contests, including 3 from 5 for jockey Paul O'Brien, 3 from 5 at Class 3 and 1 from 1 over course and distance : achieved when Western Miller won here in January at 16/1 when Paul rode him to success at Class 2.

The horse has won 8 of 37 starts (21.6% SR) over obstacles so far, making the frame on 15 occasions in total and of his 37 outings, he is..

  • 6/32 when not the fav & 6/25 going left handed
  • 5/25 over fences & 5/21 in fields of 8-11 runners
  • 4/16 since the start of 2019 and 4/13 in cheekpieces
  • 3/11 under Paul O'Brien & 3/11 on good to soft ground
  • 1/1 here at Doncaster & 1/1 over course and distance

Much of that is backed up on Instant Expert, whilst the pace tab suggests that providing he doesn't go off too quickly, he should be in with a good chance again here.

I can definitely see Western Miller going well and making the frame at least.

Summary

At Hereford, I expect Venetia Williams to draw a blank withe the two runners I've looked at, but all is not lost. She has another runner in the 1.22 Hereford in the shape of the 7yr old mare Kapga de Lily, a 2/1 shot who I'd expect will be the one to beat there with 6/1 Ballybough Nora likely to be next best.

It could be a different story at Doncaster for Western Miller, who I think should make the frame at worst. Whether you back him E/W at 13/2 is your own call, I can't go E/W at that price, but I might well have a couple of quid on the nose. For what it's worth, I also think Duke of Navan might be worth a second look at 7/1 in that contest.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you have a good weekend. Monday's piece will go "Live" a little later than usual, as I've got something on at teatime elsewhere.

 

 

Stat of the Day, 26th June 2020

Thursday's pick was...

7.40 Bath : Princess Way @ 6/1 BOG 9th at 9/1 (Keen led after 2f, clear with one other over 5f out, ridden and headed over 2f out, weakened over 1f out) 

Friday's pick runs in the...

12.15 Doncaster :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, 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?

National Anthem @ 7/2 BOG

...in a 10-runner, Class 4, Flat handicap for 4yo+ over 5f on Good to Firm ground worth £4,690 to the winner... 

Why?...

This 5 yr old gelding ran just once as a two year old and once as a three year old for two different trainers to little effect. He never ran last year and moved yards to David Brown in late 2019, sparking him into life.

He returned to the track in early January to make a yard debut some 417 days after his last run and his record this year now stands at 114211 (117 days between the last two runs whilst he was gelded) including the following under today's conditions...

  • 3 from 5 in handicaps
  • 3 from 5 on a straight track
  • 3 from 4 over 5 furlongs
  • 3 from 4 in a straight 5f handicap
  • 1 from 2 at Class 4 (although won at Class 3 LTO)
  • 1 from 1 on the Flat (LTO)
  • 1 from 1 on Good to Firm (also LTO)
  • and 1 from 1 under today's jockey Cam Hardie (yes, also LTO)

He was last seen just four days ago when making all on good to firm up at Ayr in a Class 3, 5f handicap and with a good draw here today, similar tactics could well be the key, as shown on the Geegeez Pace/Draw heat map.

As well as his form this year since a switch of yard, that last run at Ayr piqued my interest, as trainer David Brown is 7 from 22 (31.8% SR) for 18.26pts (+83% ROI) with horses turned back out within 10 days of their last run since the start of 2019. I won't break those 22 down, as it will dilute the dataset too much.

However, we can look at the the other angle that popped up on my notes last night and that is David Brown + LTO winners + 2016-20 = 14/64 (21.9% SR) for 30.07pts (+47% ROI), including of note today...

  • 14/57 (24.6%) for 37.07pts (+65%) in handicaps
  • 12/48 (25%) for 25.83pts (+53.8%) with males
  • 10/27 (37%) for 10.06pts (+37.2%) at odds shorter than 5/1
  • 8/29 (27.6%) for 3.62pts (+115.9%) in races worth £4k-£10k
  • 7/31 (22.6%) for 28.11pts (+90.7%) on the Flat
  • 7/20 (35%) for 49.1pts (+245.5%) with 4-7 yr olds
  • 6/16 (37.5%) for 9.79pts (+61.2%) over 5 furlongs
  • 6/16 (37.5%) for 1.01pts (+6.3%) within 10 days of their last run
  • and 3/7 (42.9%) for 21.65pts (+309.3%) on good to firm ground...

...from which, male handicappers sent off shorter than 5/1 are 9 from 20 (45% SR) for 11.12pts (+55.6% ROI)...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on National Anthem @ 7/2 BOG as was widely available at 8.05am Friday, but as always please check your BOG statusTo see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 12.15 Doncaster

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, 12th March 2020

Wednesday's pick was...

1.55 Lingfield : Subliminal @ 13/2 BOG 4th at 7/2 (Close up, pushed along and headway 2f out, ridden to chase winner when edged left inside final furlong, no extra and lost two places close home

Thursday's pick runs in the...

3.45 Doncaster :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am 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?

Premier D'Troice @ 11/4 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 4, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m84yds on good ground worth £3,769 to the winner...

Why?...

This 6 yr old gelding comes here on a hat-trick after winning over 2m4f at Punchestown on his last run for Sean Thomas Doyle, ahead of scoring in a Class 4, 3 mile contest on his yard debut for Archie Watson almost 4 weeks ago at Fakenham under today's jockey Brodie Hampson.

This horse now has 2 wins and a place from 3 efforts in handicap hurdle races, including a win and a place at 3 miles.

His trainer, Archie Watson, is probably best known for his exploits on level ground, but his small string of hurdlers are 5 from 11 (45.5% SR) for 16.56pts (+150.6% ROI) over trips of 2m4f to 3m1f, all of which were males ridden by Brodie Hampson and also include of note here...

  • 5/9 (55.6%) for 18.56pts (+206.3%) with 6 yr olds
  • 5/8 (62.5%) for 19.56pts (+244.5%) finished in the first three home LTO
  • 5/6 (83.3%) for 21.56pts (+359.3%) at 70-170 miles from home
  • 4/10 (40%) for 15.33pts (+153.3%) in handicaps
  • 4/7 (57.1%) for 6.22pts (+88.9%) at Evens to 4/1
  • 4/6 (66.6%) for 17.59pts (+293.2%) at Class 4
  • 3/5 (60%) for 17.7pts (+354%) during February to April
  • 3/5 (60%) for 3.94pts (+78.8%) in races worth less than £4,000
  • and 2/5 (40%) for 11.08pts (+221.6%) with LTO winners...

...whilst 6 yr olds travelling 70-170 miles to run in Class 4 handicaps after a top 3 finish LTO are 3 from 3, including 2 LTO winners, 2 at Evs to 4/1 and 2 in Feb-April...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Premier D'Troice @ 11/4 BOG as was available from BetVictor, Betway, SkyBet & Marathon* at 8.05am Thursday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.45 Doncaster

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!