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.
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.