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Racing Insights, 5th November 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. 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. As with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track.

In addition to this report, we also have the following full free races...

  • 12.50 Warwick
  • 2.25 Newcastle
  • 5.45 Dundalk
  • 6.45 Dundalk

My settings for the Horses for Courses (H4C) report haven't generated any possible qualifiers and with the two UK races being a juvenile hurdle and an A/W nursery, I'm going to step out of my comfort zone and tackle the first (and most valuable) of the two Irish races from the free list. I'm not a big fan of Irish racing, especially on the A/W, but the theory behind the Geegeez toolkit is that it should work on all races where you've enough data to work with and there are certainly plenty of races similar to the 5.45 Dundalk, an 11-runner, 3yo+ handicap over a mile worth over £11k...

What I want to do here is a fairly quick process of elimination to reduce the field down to a small shortlist and my first cut comes by removing Benavente and Fastman who return from breaks of 245 and 113 days respectively and the reasoning behind this is that in the 247 one mile handicaps here at Dundalk since the start of 2016, only 13 have been won by horses returning from 90 days or more off the track. That equates to just 5.26% of the winners, but from 12.76% of the runners, so removing those coming back from a layoff should improve our chances, plus Fastman is the only one without a win at course, distance or course & distance and handicap debutants struggle here, so that's another red flag against Benavente.

I'm drawn initially towards the higher rated horses, as the top four all come from yards with plenty of green form icons. All these horses have won at least once so far and have clocked up 39 wins between them, but how have they fared under these conditions? Instant Expert has the answers...

...and once again, those higher up the racecard have the best stats. Himalayan Berauty doesn't have enough form to work with/make a decision on, nor does Geological, but I've already seen enough efforts there by Geological and Harriet's Force to decide they're not for me. I don't like swathes of red on Instant expert when horses have had double digit amounts of races to 'get it right': Geological might well have 9 A/W wins including 8 here, but that strike rate isn't good enough for me and the pair are jettisoned, leaving me with horses drawn in stalls 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 11, so still strung across the full width of the stalls. So, let's head to the draw stats to see where the best starting point(s) is/are for these left handed contests...

By draw sectors, it would appear that the lower the draw, the better, so better news on the face of it for Freescape, Bonnyrigg and Himalayan Beauty, but not so good for the likes of Tyrconnell, Bucky Larson and Zozimus, but if we look at the actual individual stalls...

...the fact that the place stats are all pretty similar would suggest that the draw needn't be the reason for losing here, which would then say to me that racing style/positioning aka pace is more important, so we should now consider the pace stats and how pace & draw work together. The pace stats are quite clear here, you want to race as prominently as you can from both a win & place perspective, as seen here...

and the pace/draw make-up says that regardless of where you're drawn, if you can lead, your chances are greatly enhanced...

However, here's where we hit a bit of an issue as this is how our field have raced in their last four outings...

...where 4=led, 3=prominent, 2=mid-div and 1=held-up, we see that we've no natural pacemaker in the race. I'd be guessing here, but Geological might take it on with Fastman and Ozymandis, but otherwise the pace/draw heatmap isn't going to help us.

That said, based on the draw stats above, I think I want my runner(s) to be in the top 6 of the draw, so that gives me the runners in stalls 1, 3, 4 and 6 to consider.

Summary

Via a quick process of elimination, I've whittled 11 runners I know very little about down to just 4. I'm now going to look a little closer at Freescape, Bonnyrigg, Himalayan Beauty & Ozymandis to see if I think any of them are worth backing. There is, of course, a chance that I've already discarded the winner and there's also the possibility of me not wanting to back any of my four, but all that is OK : there isn't always a bet to be had/made.

Freescape has 3 wins and a place from 7 here at Dundalk, including 1 from 1 over course and distance, but hasn't won any of his last 9 starts over 23 months and is clearly on the wane, dropping down to his lowest mark of his career. He's 3lbs lower than his last win and down 2lbs from a 6 length defeat when 11th of 16 last time out. He looks up against it here and is probably the weakest of my four I've left myself with.

Bonnyrigg ran really well at Leopardstown two starts ago, only finding one of his 17 rivals too good on the day, going down by a length, but staying on well over 7f. He then stepped up in trip to make an AW debut here over course and distance last week and was a very creditable third of twelve. He runs off the same mark here, but gets a 2lb age/weight allowance and should improve for having had that first A/W run. Good for a place, I'd hope.

Himalayan Beauty has also only had one A/W run to date and was only 2.75 lengths down over 7f here last September, staying on in a manner suggesting that a mile would be a better trip for him. His last two efforts over a mile would suggest he's better than his bare results might indicate, as he was 2nd of 14, beaten by just a head at Punchestown just over seven weeks ago and then he was 8th of 17 last time out, but that was a Listed race and he was less than 6 lengths adrift after running really well for most of the race. Class told in the end and this is easier (on paper, at least) and a similar run might see him in the money.

Ozymandis is still unexposed after just four starts including threee here finishing 412 over 6f, 7f and most recently a mile. He only went down by a short head over course and distance four weeks ago having been caught on the line and he, in turn, was only a short head clear of the third placed horse, Punk Poet, who won here over course and distance last week (when Bonnyrigg was third) Punk Poet won after being raised 4lbs for that third place finish here and Ozymandis is only up 2lbs, so if the form holds out, he'd be the one to beat here.

So, Freescape is out and I like Himalayan Beauty & Bonnyrigg's chances of making the frame. Ozymandis holds the latter on collateral form via Punk Poet and I'd say that makes Ozymandis my winner here.

Over to the bookies, we go...

Sadly, Ozymandis seems to be everyone's idea of a winner and odds of 7/4 are a little restrictive as i was rather hoping he'd be around the 9/4 or 5/2 mark. He should win this, but I can't back him at 7/4. I'll wait and see if there's any movement. As for the places, Bonnyrigg is the 11/2 second favourite, but that's not long enough to go E/W for me, but Himalayan Beauty is right out at 20/1 and with some firms paying four places, I can't resist an E/W punt there. He's either massively overpriced or I've got it badly wrong.

Final word is back with Freescape, who has a decent draw and an excellent line of green on Instant Expert. I noticed he's also quite long at 16/1, so i'm also having a small dabble with ihm with a bookie paying 1-2-3-4.

Racing Insights, 8th October 2021

Every day we open up a selection of 'free' races to all readers, regardless of subscription status and for Friday those races will be...

  • 1.15 Newmarket
  • 2.10 Chepstow
  • 3.00 Newmarket
  • 4.20 York
  • 4.25 Chepstow
  • 5.55 Newcastle

In addition to the daily free races, we also open up one of our Gold features each day and Fridays are Horses for Courses (H4C) day and this report shows 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. And as with all Geegeez reports, there is a ‘Today’ and a ‘Tomorrow’ (for the next day’s racing) view.

HINT: Layers might like to look towards the lower end of the report, for those with negative performance at the track.

My H4C report for Friday has just one runner, but it looks an interesting one...

Alhaazm is four from five in handicaps here at Dundalk and has finished 111105 in his last six runs, comprising of his four Dundalk wins in races worth £5k to £8k, before defeats at The Curragh and then back here at Dundalk LTO, but those were far better races, worth £27k and £24k respectively.

He's now back at the £8k level where he should be seen in a better light than his last two runs. He goes in the 6.45 Dundalk, a 3yo+ AW handicap over a mile where he'll face 12 rivals for the £8165 first prize. His entry on our racecard comes with lots of positive data...

As you can see from the above, he won three of his last five, he's a former course and distance winner who has rested for 54 days since finishing fifth last time out. He's aged five and will carry 9st 7lbs off a mark of 83.

To put that into context, he was fifth of twelve here last time out, but he had been stepped up to 1m2½f in a far better/more valuable race. he probably didn't really enjoy the extra 2½f but stayed on well enough to only get beaten by less than 5½ lengths and was little more than 1½ lengths away from making the frame at an attractive 16/1.

He runs here off a mark of 83 and his four earlier course wins came off marks of 69, 73, 76 and finally 84, so he's now a pound below his last win. He is, of course four from five here at Dundalk and he's two from two over course and distance.

Down in trip , quality and weight, it's not a massive leap of faith to expect him to be closer the front here, is it? Those stats are, of course, verified/backed up by his Instant Expert entry...

...where he's the only runner with a line of green, which is why you'll also find him on tomorrow's Shortlist report. He's drawn in stall 7 of 13, which is neither a good nor a bad place to be, if truth be told...

Obviously getting one of the first four boxes would have been nice, but stall 7 certainly won't be any horses excuse for losing a 13-runner handicap over this track and trip, past, present or future. In fact Alhaazm's four wins here came from stalls 10 of 14 (7f), 7 of 13 (CD), 9 of 12 (CD), 3 of 8 (7f) and those CD wins are the ones to focus on with a mid to high draw paying off.

We then look at how the race might unfold and the pace stats tell us that...

...in 12/13 runners contests here over this trip, the best thing to do is to race prominently and/or lead from both a win and a place perspective. We know that Alhaazm has won here twice this season already, so we can look back at how he raced those days to give us an indication of how he might approach this one.

I've dug the results out and the first win this season was reported as follows...Chased leaders, pushed along and made challenge from over 1f out, led 1f out, went clear final 110yds, comfortable. And as for the second win this season...Prominent early, soon held up in behind leaders, pushed along towards near side from over 2f out, ridden under 2f out, ran on and made challenge when edged left inside final 110yds, led final strides...suggesting he'll race prominently here too.

Summary

He loves it here and this level of race is where he thrives. He has some good stats behind him, the draw is a familiar if not massively favourable one and his approach is likely to be the right one, so can he win?

Well, he won the race last year, but is rated 10lbs higher here which makes the task tougher, but I think that if he gets up with the pace, he could well land this one again. He's got some tough opposition from the likes of Meishar (5/1) and Dream Tale (7/1), but at odds of 12/1. Alhaazm is certainly worth a Euro or two, especially from an Each Way perspective.

Speaking of which, several firms will be paying four places here and aside from Alhaazm, another double-digit odds contender who might go well is the 14/1 Punk Poet.

*prices from Bet365, the only book open at 6pm.

Racing Insights, 12th March 2021

Friday's free feature is the Horses For Courses report, highlighting runners with previous good form at the tracks they'll run at next, whilst our free races of the day are as follows...

  • 2.55 Leicester
  • 4.15 Sandown
  • 4.40 Wolverhampton
  • 4.55 Dundalk
  • 6.00 Dundalk

And I think that in place of a full race preview, I'll look at my Horses For Courses report to see whether my qualifiers might manage to improve their already impressive track records, so we'll start with my list of qualifiers...

Goring has 6 wins and 4 further places  from 16 races at Lingfield and now runs over 7f in a 9-runner, Class 3 A/W handicap off a mark of 94. Georgia Dobie (claiming 5lbs) will be in the saddle 13 days after the horse was last home of four beaten by 11.5 lengths over a mile at here at Class 2 last time out.

He also carries top weight here despite a 4lb drop in his mark from last time and with today's contest in mind, his 6 wins and 4 places from 16 here include a win and a place from two starts over course and distance, with the bulk (12) of his runs here coming over a mile. He won a Class 2, 1m handicap here on 22nd Feb last year, but has toiled in his four races since including failing to finish three starts ago and not beating a single rival in each of his last two outings. Down in class and on a more workable mark, you'd hope for a better performance today.

His career stats include...

...backing up the horses for courses report and showing the fact that he's 4lbs lighter than his last win. He's drawn in stall 7 of 9 and whilst he has been known to lead in the past, he invariably races in mid-division. Over this course and distance in a 9-runner field, he'd be better off reverting to a more prominent racing style as highlighted by our pace/draw heat map below.

*

And now to Dundalk for two runners, the first of which, Alfredo Arcano, has 6 wins and 6 places from 17 runs on the Dundalk track, where he does most of his running nowadays. This is a 9-runner, 5 furlong affair worth just over £8,000 and he goes off a mark of 89, down 2lbs from his last run when fifth of nine, beaten by 3.25 lengths here over 6 furlongs three weeks ago.

Third in the weights and drawn in stall one, he drops down in trip to the bare minimum after tackling 6f in each of his last five starts. Prior to finishing fifth last time out, he had made the frame in three races on the bounce, but hasn't actually won a race in his last nine spread over nearly 15 months. He won here over 6f off a mark of 98 and he now runs off his lowest A/W mark since winning here back in November 2018. He's weighted to win here, but whether he still has the ability is unclear. Stat-wise, his record includes...

Those are really good numbers and show that he's now some 9lbs lower than that last, even if it was quite a while ago now. We already know that he's been drawn in stall one and his recent runs have seen him want to be up with the pace. Upfront is where you want to be at Dundalk, so the pace/draw heatmap should make for good reading for his followers...

Good but not great, I'd say. Pulse of Shanghai will, in my opinion, attempt to get across him from stall, in a bid to get to the rail and that might not pan out well for Alfredo, whilst Big Gossey will also look to press early from the widest draw, but that shouldn't impact the two ahead of him. That pace make-up could be good for Alfredo's place chances, though.

*

Our final runner goes a little later in a 6-runner handicap over a mile and a half. Like the previous race, the top prize is a little over £8k and the 7 yr old Jon Ess will seek to defy the effects of a six-month layoff to win here.

His form was largely decent last year, finishing 112 here before running last of 17 in a Premier Handicap on turf at Gowran Park. He then finished second and first over hurdles before ending his campaign in mid-September in 10th of 18 runners at Leopardstown. In his defence, that was a £66k Premier handicap and he was only beaten by 3.5 lengths over 1m5f.

His last win on the A/W was on Valentine's Day 2020 off a mark of 83, so he's half a stone heavier here (as you'll see on IE below), although he was only beaten by a neck off a mark of 92 next time out over course and distance, so 90 could still be a winnable mark for him. His A/W form includes...

As you can see, he has done most of A/W running at other distances, but has a win and a place from three starts over C&D, whilst he has four wins and two places from seven here under today's jockey. He's a confirmed front runner, drawn in stall 2 and the previous race is anything to go by, that could work well for him, let's see the heat map...

It looks like he could be allowed a soft early lead, so much will be down to race management, as his jockey will have to judge the race from the front. Create a big gap and you might not get caught, but you might expend too much energy trying to open the gap, it's a tough call.

Summary

We started with Goring up at Lingfield, he has been out of form of late and prefers racing over a mile rather than this 7f, which is often too sharp for him. I don't see him being involved in the shake-up for this one, he's likely to be be nearer the back than the front, but the one that did interest me was the 9/1 chance Mohareb.

Next up was Alfredo Arcano over 5f at Dundalk, he's got the hood and tongue tie back on to help here and has bagged a plum draw, but recent form hasn't been as good as connections would have liked. He's going to need to make a good start and try to hold on and I'm not convinced he will. Like Goring above, he usually races over further and might find this too sharp with some of the speedsters in opposition here. I'm not saying he can't or won't win this, but I'd not want to risk money on him with the likes of Ecclesiastical and Big Gossey around.

Which leads us to our last runner, Jon Ess, a well-drawn front runner who might be afforded a soft lead. That's likely to be his best chance of success, I feel, as there are better horses here than he has opposed of late. The likes of Grandmaster Flash, The Mouse Doctor and Pure Nature all appeal to me more here and in a 6-horse race, that's not great for Jon Ess.

So, a bit of a damp squib for our three featured runners, but I've one of definite interest at Lingfield and when I see the markets for Dundalk, there might be an opportunity or two there too.

Racing Insights, 5th March 2021

My 1-2-3 finished 2-1-3 at Southwell today, so I'm moderately pleased with the result. The Exacta paid £11.80 and the Trifecta was a lovely £55.30, so well done to those of you who have already said they'd got on.

Friday and the weekend now loom large, feature of the day for Friday is the Horses for Courses report, whilst our free races are...

  • 2.00 Lingfield
  • 4.40 Newbury
  • 5.15 Newcastle
  • 5.30 Dundalk
  • 7.45 Newcastle
  • 8.30 Dundalk

My Horses for Courses report only shows two runners for Friday and they're both in the same race, so I think we'll see if either of them might win again tomorrow...

It's an admittedly rare foray into Irish A/W racing for me, but the process should really be the same as usual, starting with their places on the racecard...

Both are former course and distance winners, Togoville is the elder statesman here, both have run in the last three weeks and both are in excellent form. Togoville has a central draw, whilst Major Power is in stall 8 of 8.

Togoville is an 11 yr old now and still shows no sign of slowing down, winning his last three starts, all here at Dundalk : twice over C&D and then dropped down to 6f last time out. he races almost exclusively here nowadays, his last 19 runs have been here and he's actually raced here 54 times to date, making the frame on 26 (48.1%) occasions and going on to win 14 (25.9%) of them.

Major Power is 5yrs younger and has only raced here on 13 occasions, but has made the frame 9 times (69.2%), winning 4 (30.8%) of them. Like tTogoville, he seems encamped here nowadays with all of his last nine runs coming on this track. he landed a hat-trick of course and distance wins at the start of 2020 and was then a runner-up over 6f, beaten by half a length almost a year ago. He returned to action in late January after 315 days off track and has been a narrowly beaten runner-up in two runs here this year, firstly by 0.75L over C&D and then by half a length over a mile where he had the re-opposing and dangerous Wonder Elzaam a further half length back in third. WE is better off at the weights here today.

Some of their relevant stats are shown here on Instant Expert, but I've some others that may be of interest...

In addition to the above, Togoville's A/W record includes...

  • 14/53 in blinkers, 12/44 going left handed, 7/28 for his current yard
  • 7/27 in races worth 5-10k, 8/18 during February and March, 4/13 over C&D
  • 4/7 under today's jockey and 3/5 as an 11 yr old!

...whilst from Major Power's A/W figures...

  • 4/13 in races worth 5-10k, 4/10 without his tongue tie
  • 4/7 over C&D and 2/5 for today's jockey.

In similar past 8-runner handicap here at Dundalk, there's no real discernible draw bias in my opinion...

...even if stall 8 looks a dreadful place to be. I prefer to look at stall groups, so stalls 7&8 together have four wins, which is as good as any other pairing, whilst Togoville's stall 4 pairs well with both 3 and 5 for four wins. Stalls four to seven look good for places, though.

And once you've got your draw, you have to decide how best to run and Dundalk favours front runners or those as close to the front as they can be...

Our data says that that our two highlighted runners like to get on with it, as shown by their last three runs...

and our pace/draw heat map backs up the assertion that leaders fare best...

and when we overlay the runners from this contest...

...we see that our two are likely to lead the way. Both are in great form and might look to see the opposition off early.

Summary

Both Togoville and Major Power have excellent chances here, even if the latter is on a career-high mark and the former runs off a mark he hasn't seen since winning here over 6f in mid-December 2017. I'd expect them to be setting the pace and they could well run away with it in a 1-2 finish.

The danger is Wonder Elzaam, now much better off at the weight than when half a length behind Major Power two starts ago. he's a lightly raced 4yr old with plenty of miles left in his young legs and provided he doesn't let the front pair get too far, could well have a say in the final shake-up. I'd have hoped for a more in-form jockey on WE to be honest, so I'm going to say that Wonder Elzaam might have to settle for third in my 1-2-3.

So who wins? Wow, I don't know. There's not going to be much in it, I don't think, but if pushed, I'm siding with the old boy Togoville. He has actually won off a mark 4lbs higher than this and although up in weight again after completing the hat-trick, Major Power continues to have his mark increased after three (albeit narrow) defeats.

Thus, it's Togoville / Major Power / Wonder Elzaam for me. No prices available as I went to press the publish button (5.05pm), so it'll be interesting to see the market later.

Racing Insights, 26th February 2021

Our four against the field finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th and although I didn't get them the right way around again, I hope some of you are finding me narrowing the field down useful. The horse expected to be a short favourite ended up winning at 4/1 after I said I couldn't back him at 2/1. Had he been 4's last night, my piece might have looked different, but no aftertiming or backtracking on Geegeez! Hopefully some of you did some exacta/trifecta perms as they paid 19/1 and 64/1 respectively.

Those that didn't might need some help finding a bet for Friday, so to assist you, the Horses For Courses report is available to everyone, as are the full cards for the following races...

  • 2.35 Exeter
  • 3.00 Gowran Park
  • 4.00 Dundalk
  • 4.23 Warwick
  • 6.00 Dundalk
  • 6.30 Wolverhampton

And I think I'll have a look at the chances of three horses that interest me from the Horses For Courses report...

Starting with Rakematiz in the 1.10 Lingfield...

Rakematiz was third here at Lingfield over 1m2f and beaten by just a quarter of a length three starts ago off a mark of 62. He ten stepped up to today's trip to win over course and distance off the same mark, but struggled last time out.

He was raised 5lbs for that last run and dropped back down in trip to 1m2f and could only manage to finish 8th of 10, beaten by six lengths.

Trainer Brett Johnson's horses seem to be running better than usual so far this year, making the frame in 12 of 21 (57.1%) runs and going on to win five times (23.8% SR, A/E 1.37), whilst since the start of 2018, his A/W runners racing over trips of 1m4f to 2m have placed in 19 of 43 (44.2%), winning 9 of them (20.9% SR, A/E 1.46).

We know that the horse has a 64.3% place strike rate and a 28.6% win strike rate here at Lingfield, but here's how he has performed generally in A/W handicaps to date...

A solid line of green for the place and a solid amber line for the win suggests conditions are ideal for him here to hopefully go on and make the frame. If he can do that, then it opens the possibility for the win, of course.

We also know that he's drawn in stall 2 and in recent 13-runner contests here , that's the second most successful stall after box 11...

...the heat map above tells us that the ideal pace/draw scenario is to race prominently from a middle draw, but we know we're in stall 2, so Rakematiz probably needs to lead or be held up to maximise his chances and we can see below how he has run in his last four outings...

...and he is indeed, a hold up horse, which is another positive.

We've obviously only isolated him from the field, but without looking at what he's up against, I wouldn't want to commit myself as to his chances, but I see no real negatives so far.

*

And now to the 7.30 Dundalk, which interestingly has two possibles fitting my fairly tight criteria...

Sunset Nova has raced here at Dundalk 10 times in his last 11 starts and has finished 211313 in his last six here, spread over the past three months. He won over this distance here two starts ago, but after a jockey change and a rise in weight, he ended up 8lbs worse off when upped in trip to 7f, resulting in him going down by just over 4 lengths in third place. AJ Slattery, who is 3 from 7 on the horse here at Dundalk, is back in the saddle today, taking 3lbs off as the horse drops back in trip.

Eglish on the other hand, isn't in quite as good a run of form and her best recent run came when second over course and distance three starts ago when runner-up to stablemate War Hero who beat her by half a length off today's mark. She is a former course and distance winner, but most of her wins have been at 7f.

Sunset Nova has the edge on form so far. We already know about their win and place percentages here at Dundalk, but more generally here's how they've performed in all A/W handicaps...

Both stack up really well here and although Eglish's apparent dominance over the distance is mainly down to her 7f form, both look like they could make the frame. I wouldn't say either had the edge on this section, but we should note that both are a few pounds higher than their last winning marks.

These two are drawn in the lowest third of the draw in stalls 1 & 4 and in the last 55 similar contests, stall 1 has 7 wins to stall 4's 4 wins. Par here would be 4.23 (55/13), so stall 4 has slightly underperformed, but stall 1 has the second highest number of wins at 169% of par expectation (IV = 1.69), making Sunset Nova the notional winner of the battle on draw...

So, they're both drawn low meaning that the ideal scenario is for them to lead or at least race prominently...

...but that's not the case and both tend to be waited with. Yet, that's not disastrous if they hang back a little further than the average of the last four races suggest they might. Sunset Nova last achieved a pace score of 1 (held up) three starts ago and his pace profile reads 2212, so I'd expect him to race slightly further forward than his average, but Eglish's last four reads 1132 with her being held up in each of her last two runs, so she may well drop further back today. Not a lot between the two here, but Eglish looks marginally more favourable.

As with the Lingfield runner, I've no real negatives against either of these two for a place so far, but I do need to consider the opposition.

Summary

After going away and looking at the bigger picture of both races, here's where I am...

The Lingfield race looks like G for Gabriel (5/1) or Peace Prevails (10/1) for me, but in behind them I have Dream Magic (18/1), Mister Blue (4/1) and our highlighted runner Rakematiz, currently priced at 9/1. Some bookies are offering 4 places and Rakematiz has a really good chance of making the first four home, but Peace Prevails looks a better bet to me, whilst Dream Magic offers better value.

Whilst, later at Dundalk, I've got the 6/1 Sunset Nova to finish ahead of Eglish, who trades at 8/1 but I don't see either of them winning this. If they're both going to make the frame, however, they're going to have to hope that the 11/4 fav Togoville or 13/2 runner Fridtjof Nansen fail to spark. Sunset Nova is best placed to make the frame of the two we've considered, but 6/1 isn't great for an E/W bet, but neither is the 8/1 about Eglish, so I'd probably leave both alone here. If I did get involved, the 12/1 offered about Fit For Function looked interesting.

 

Racing Insights, 19th February 2021

Not Another Muddle was fifth home of the six to finish (ten ran) at Sandown and in missing the places by some 21 lengths, we were right to avoid him, as once again he weakened in the closing stages.

We were also right in suggesting that Notation would attempt to win it from the front at Chelmsford, but get caught by Indigo Times, who then went on to win by a length and a quarter. We're not getting rich off a 2/1 winner and a £4.65 forecast, but it sure beats handing money to the bookies.

The weekend now suddenly looms large again and to help us with our punting, the Horses for Courses report is free to all readers, as are the full racecards for the following contests...

  • 1.50 Kelso
  • 3.42 Fakenham
  • 4.00 Dundalk
  • 4.45 Fakenham
  • 5.45 Southwell
  • 6.00 Dundalk

And I think I'll make a rare foray across the water for an interesting looking 9-runner, 5 furlong all-weather sprint handicap aka the 4.00 Dundalk, where they line up as follows...

Stanhope carries top weight here, 10st 2lbs off a mark of 70, meaning he'll be conceding some 19lbs to the bottom weight, Misterio, even before the 10lbs claimed by the latter's jockey. Stanhope, however, did run off 80 the last time he won (Navan, 5f, Jul '20) but it has to be said that he has disappointed in 8 defeats since and his yard is just 1 from 36 over the last month. He's rested for 11 weeks since his last run, when just 9th of 13 over C&D here. he was beaten by 6 lengths off just 2lbs higher, so much improvement needed.

Nigg Bay is 0 from 9 (placed 5 times) over course and distance, 0 from 8 generally without headgear and 0 from 6 in a tongue tie, which isn't persuasive at all. He was beaten by just half a length over course and distance almost a year ago and then didn't race for another 315 days. He returned to action here ten weeks ago and really looked like he needed a run when finishing 12th of 14 over 6f. He's off a workable mark here, but I'm not convinced yet.

Tassel Flower was last of 14 on handicap debut over 6f here three weeks ago, but fared much better when a runner-up in a maiden over C&D last week, going down by just a length at 25/1. That was her first crack at this trip on the A/W and there could very well be more to come from this unexposed type now back in handicap company and carrying little weight.

Maggie Thunder won here over course and distance back in October of last year and although she has been beaten in all seven runs (all here at Dundalk) since, she's generally there or thereabouts with the average margin of defeat being around 2 lengths or so. She won off a mark of 46 and was then hoisted to 59, where she was a narrow runner-up twice. The closest she's been since then is LTO off 61, the same as here, so she possibly still needs to come down a little to win. Place chances, though.

Danz Gift was a winner over track and trip three starts ago, but struggled (11th of 12) here off 5lbs higher after a nine month break. He clearly needed the run, as he was then a very creditable 4th of 14 here when dropped a pound last time out five weeks ago and now down another pound this 7-time C&D winner has to be a contender.

Pillar has certainly been around the block a few times, having raced 102 times to date. This 8yr old's career strike rate of 6.86% isn't great, but he has made the frame 47 (46.08%) times, which is encouraging. He has already made the frame twice here this month, both over 6f, the most recent being Wednesday! That was his 8th placing in his last ten starts and should he pitch up again here, he's be in the mix again, I'd expect.

Ahyoka is a lightly-raced (6 starts) 4 yr old filly who has already won one (C&D) of her two starts here at Dundalk, although she's now rated some 9lbs higher than that win and she struggled LTO of this new mark. A confirmed front-runner, she virtually made all when winning and then led until 1f out last time, before being swallowed up on the way to finishing 7th of 14, just over 4 lengths off the pace. Yard is in good recent form, as is her jockey and the trainer/jockey stats show 7 wins from 18 in the past year. Not an obvious winner off this mark, but not ruled out, especially if the first time blinkers help.

Poet's Pride also wears blinkers for the first time and in his case, it's in the hope of arresting a poor run of form, having been pretty well beaten in his last eight runs without making the frame in any. The last seven of those runs were all over 7f (the last four here) and he now drops down 2f to tackle 5f for only the second time in what will be his 30th start. In fairness, he did win that previous effort (Wolverhampton, Feb'19, OR63) and his last win was also in February (2020), but we're clutching at straws if we're relying on the calendar.

Misterio is bottom weight here and carries virtually no weight at all (I was heavier at primary school than she'll carry here!), but she's still a maiden after 8 attempts, making the frame just twice in the process. Her debut (last Feb) was her only prior run on the all-weather and she was 9th of 14 that day, beaten by 7.5 lengths over this track and trip. She has a couple of runner-up efforts last summer but has regressed slightly since. She seemed sluggish last time out at Cork and it is hoped that a change of surface, a drop in trip and a 20-week rest will see her perform better. Sadly, I doubt it.

*

I have a feeling that in a close contest the runners' place records will tell us more than just looking at their wins, so here are both sides of the Instant Expert analysis...

And to be honest, there's only Misterio who fails to shine in any department. Pillar really stands from a place perspective and could be one to consider from an E/W perspective if the prices are right for us, as do Nigg Bay and Danz Gift. The numbers are impressive for that trio after so many runs (90 between them here at Dundalk!) under their belts.

Maggie Thunder, Pillar and Ahkoya are all running off considerably higher marks than their last wins, though, whilst Stanhope and Poet's Pride would appear to be well in based on past wins.

There doesn't appear to be any big discernible draw bias in 9-runner fields over 5 furlongs here at Dundalk, so race positioning and tactics will prove pivotal, I'd guess and according to our pace/draw heatmap, the order of preference would be high drawn leaders, low drawn leaders and then mid-division runners coming from the centre of the stalls, whilst low draw runners don't want to race anywhere further back than prominent (they get cut up otherwise) and a mid-div pozzy isn't good for highly drawn runners, whilst leading from centre hasn't really worked out either.

In fact the heat map is pretty much black and white or green and red, as we have it!

And from those races, prominent runners have won 50% (8 wins) of the 16 similar contests from 42.4% (59/139) runners, leaders have 18.75% of the winners from 12.95% of the runners, mid-division have just 6.25% of the winners from 8.33% of the runners, whilst the 50 held up runners have won just 25% of the races from 36% of the 139 runners. And it is this strike rate % divided by runners % that gives us our IV impact values (50/42.4 = 1.18, 18.75/12.95 = 1.45 etc etc)...

Now we've overlaid the past running styles of our competitors, Ahkoya looks likeliest to force the pace and is drawn well to do so with Tassel Flower and Pillar both having good pace/draw make-ups for the front end. Nigg Bay isn't badly off either, but may have to deal with traffic if he's to win here.

Summary

You can make a case for half a dozen here, but that's not really my remit here, so having gone through past form, racecard tools, stats and that unquantifiable variant "gut feeling", the three I want here against the field are (alphabetically) Danz Gift (despite the pace/draw red zone), Maggie Thunder (possibly a pound or two too high and needs to race a little further forward) and Pillar, despite a poor strike rate.

Of the three, I think I'm going to overlook the fact that he's only 7 from 102 and go with Pillar. He's in the best form of his life and despite not winning often enough, he brings the best form to the table here. He has ran well off this mark twice this month already and assuming there's no ill-effect from running here on Wednesday, he's the one for me (just!).

In behind, I prefer Danz Gift to Maggie Thunder, despite the pace/draw issue. He's proven here over C&D and looked well last time out.

I completed this preview at 4.50pm Thursday and there were no prices available at the time. I doubt I'll get it, but I'd really like to be around the 5/1 mark for Pillar. Quick check at 5.25pm and Pillar was 9/2.

Racing Insights, 16th October 2020

On Fridays, the Horses for Courses report is free to all users, so let's take a look and see if there's anything of interest, shall we?

Obviously you can set your own parameters and the lower the required Win Strike Rate, then the more qualifiers you'll have, but I want to look at these with a record of 1 in 3 or better who have made the frame in at least half of their course appearances to see if they're likely to improve upon the figures shown.

I've merely arranged them in time order with no other reasoning and let's consider each in turn starting with Fact Flow...

On the plus side, this 11 yr old gelding has two wins and a place from six handicap chase efforts on this track, he has won twice in eight starts under today's jockey Robert Dunne and is two from seven in the lower prize funded Class 4 contests.

He is now running off a mark some 10lbs lower than his last win and despite this being a 17-runner contest, he did win a 16-runner affair here over 2m6.5f in 2018 and was placed third in his only previous effort over course and distance.

However, he has no win in ten since scoring here over 2m4f back in November 2018 on good to soft ground and is 004 on soft. He has never won beyond 2m6.5f, has never won after more than four weeks rest and comes here having been soundly beaten by a combined 92 lengths in his last three contests.

Next up, we have Everyhouronthehour...

We've the bonus of an in-form (14) jockey with a good course record (C5) aboard this 4 yr old gelding who has finished 521419 in six starts here at Dundalk.

He recently won over a mile on turf at Gowran Park and ran a very good race as runner-up off today's mark at the Curragh, also over a mile when last seen almost three weeks ago.

In addition to that, he has finished 14191 when sent off shorter than 5/1, so the market seems to be a good judge of his chances, he has a win and a further place from three runs wearing a tongue tie and was a winner on the only previous occasion that Colin Keane was in the saddle (at Gowran two starts ago).

The downside is that he hasn't even made the frame when dropped into a 7f contest, finishing 059 with the last two of those coming here at Dundalk, but he does like to press on, so that might help here. He was a creditable second off today's mark of 62 last time out, but that's 5lbs higher than his previous highest winning mark.

And finally, we turn to Castle Quarter at Newcastle...

This 4yr old gelding is 13137 here at Newcastle, all over 7f and tries a mile here for the first time. He was only beaten by three lengths last time out when seventh here and has now been eased a couple of pounds in the weights.

He has won at this grade and is one from two under today's jockey David Nolan whose C1 icon signifies a good record on this track over the last year. It's interesting to see a return to cheekpieces after wearing blinkers for his last five runs, but he has run well with the 'pieces in place previously, finishing 183.

There is however a doubt that he doesn't "get" further than seven furlongs, having to failed to win any of his four attempts, but he does like this track and this might represent his best chance to win at a longer trip so far.

Summary

I personally feel that today has been a very worthwhile exercise in reinforcing the Geegeez message that you have to use stats as a starting point, but look beyond them before making a final decision.

On face value, the Horses for Courses report suggests we've three "live" chances for Friday, but my personal opinion is that you should leave all three alone : I'm certainly doing just that.

Fact Flow isn't getting any younger (I feel and share his pain) and probably won't have many more bites at the cherry, but if connections feel he's one more win in him, then the recent wind op will need to be a miracle worker. He's bang out of form and 33/1 for a reason. I'd expect him to finish nearer the back than the front.

Everyhouronthehour on the other hand is more than capable of winning, so why won't I back him? Well, taking 11/4 about him in a 14-horse contest doesn't float my boat from a value perspective, especially when ou consider he hasn't won at this shorter trip and is at a career-high mark. I think I'll pass, meaning he's likely to win!

And Castle Quarter is unproven beyond 7f and has only one win in ten at this grade. If there was such a thing or horse, he's a Class 5.5 runner or plain Class 6.  This is too much for him off this mark.

Stat of the Day, 20th March 2020

Tuesday's pick was...

3.25 Taunton : Seeanythingyoulike @ 7/2 BOG 7th at 7/2 (Chased leaders, awkward 5th, weakened before 4 out)

Friday's pick runs in the...

4.00 Dundalk :

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?

Cautious Approach @ 7/2 BOG

...in a 13-runner, A/W Handicap for 4yo+ over 1m4f on polytrack worth 7,080 Euros to the winner...

Why?...

Firstly a caveat, Irish racing isn't really my thing, but stats are stats, I suppose! And the show must go on where possible.

So I'm going with 5 yr old mare who has four wins and two places from her last nine starts including finishing third when beaten by just two necks over course and distance in a better race than this one. She runs at the same mark today, but has the benefit of a jockey claiming three pounds, so I expect another good run from her.

Her record here at Dundalk is good at 4/11 (36.4% SR) for 38.9pts (+353.7% ROI) including of note today...

  • 4/9 (44.4%) for 40.9pts (+454.5%) in races worth the equivalent of £4-8k
  • 3/9 (33.3%) for 33.1pts (+368%) in handicaps
  • 3/7 (42.9%) for 35.1pts (+502%) in fields of more than 10 runners
  • 3/6 (50%) for 36.1pts (+602%) in the last 180 days
  • 3/6 (50%) for 15.35pts (+255.8%) after a top 3 finish LTO
  • 2/3 (66.6%) for 33.3pts (+1111%) in Feb/March
  • 2/3 (66.6%) for 9.4pts (+312%) at odds of 4/1 and shorter
  • 1/3 (33.3%) for 25.6pts (+851.7%) over this 1m4f course and distance
  • and 1/2 950%) for 26.6pts (+1328%) under today's jockey, Donagh O'Connor...

...who himself is in good touch right now, having ridden four winners from seven (51.7% SR) for 32pts (+457.4% ROI) over the past three weeks, including 3 from 3 at 1m2.5f-1m4f and 2 from 2 for today's trainer, Richard John O'Brien...

...whose 4 to 7 yr old handicappers are 12 from 68 (17.7% SR) for 56.6pts (+83.3% ROI) here at Dundalk, including of relevance here...

  • 10/53 (18.9%) for 31.1pts (+58.6%) in races worth the equivalent of £4-8k
  • 10/38 (26.3%) for 69.8pts (+183.7%) at 11-30 dslr
  • 8/35 (22.9%) for 41.4pts (+118.2%) during the first quarter of the year
  • 7/43 (16.3%) for 21.9pts (+50.9%) in fields of 13/14 runners
  • 6/16 (37.5%) for 15.3pts (+95.6%) at odds of 5/2 to 5/1
  • 4/15 (26.7%) for 28.5pts (+189.9%) over 1m2.5f to 1m4f
  • 4/12 (33.3%) for 32.5pts (+270.8%) with female runners
  • 3/7 (42.9%) for 13.1pts (+187.3%) with those placed third LTO
  • 2/5 (40%) for 27.5pts (+550%) this year
  • and 2/3 (66.6%) 29.5pts (+982.9%) using jockey Donagh O'Connor...

...all of which suggests...a 1pt win bet on Cautious Approach @ 7/2 BOG as was available from 888Sport, Unibet & Hills at 8.30am Friday with plenty of 10/3 BOG elsewhere, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 4.00 Dundalk

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!