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Racing Insights, 5th May 2021

Hump Day is almost here and Wednesday's free feature is the Trainer Stats report, whilst our daily free races are...

  • 1.00 Newton Abbot
  • 2.15 Chester
  • 3.05 Newton Abbot
  • 3.35 Newton Abbot
  • 7.50 Fontwell
  • 8.10 Kempton

I'm going to focus on the Trainer Stats report today, using the course 5 year handicap record of the Geegeez-sponsored Anthony Honeyball yard, who have an excellent record when sending handicappers on the 110-mile or so trip East from the Dorset base to Fontwell Park, as seen below...

Anthony has two runners here today, Windance runs in the 6.20 Fontwell, a 7-runner, Class 4, Novices Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m2f on Good ground, worth £3,159 whilst Bleue Away runs an hour later in the 7.20 Fontwell, a 6-runner Class 4 Handicap Chase for 5yo+ mares over 2m5½f for a first prize of £3,594.

Anthony Honeyball has been on the rise for a while now and he comes here with his horses having won 3 of 12 in the last 30 days and they have run consistently well for many years here at Fontwell, winning 50 of 150 (33.33% SR) since the start of 2008.

I don't want to lean on old data, though, so we'll just consider his record here since the start of 2017 which stands at an even better 25 from 65 (38.5% SR) and these include of relevance today...

  • 15/38 (39.5%) over hurdles
  • 15/35 (42.9%) in mixed sex races
  • 13/29 (44.8%) from female runners
  • 12/26 (46.2%) from runners aged 6 or 7
  • 12/36 (33.3%) from males
  • 11/36 (30.6%) at Class 4
  • 10/31 (32.3%) in handicaps
  • 8/17 (47.1%) in female only races
  • 6/23 (26.1%) with Rex Dingle in the saddle
  • 3/9 (33.3%) during May
  • 3/15 (20%) over fences

Now to the 6.20 race...

Windance has certainly come on leaps and bounds since being sent out in handicap company, where he is now 2 from 2.

He won a big-field (17 ran) contest over 2m3.5f at Taunton seven weeks ago, pulling clear in the closing stages to win by four lengths. He was then sent out just five days later, upped in class, weight (+7lbs) and trip (+7f) to win here at Fontwell over course and distance, getting up late on to win by a neck despite errors 3 out and 2 out that meant he was still 4 lengths down at the last, but he stayed on strongly to win.

He's up another 6lbs here and probably has little room for error today, but seems to have a massive heart and appetite for the win!

As for the 7.20...

Bleue Away was 2 from 2 in point to point races winning by five lengths over 2 miles and by 30 lengths when stepped up to 2m4f. These runs were in March/April 2019 and her rules debut came in a 31 length defeat when 5th of 12 in a Ffos Las bumper.

Her PTP form suggests she must have some jumping ability, but she hasn't shown us much over hurdles if truth be told, failing to make the frame in four starts so far (7P85), the latest being a 27 length defeat three and a half weeks ago at Plumpton.

She runs here off a mark 4lbs lower than her hurdles mark, but she's really going to have to step up here to get involved, up in both class and trip.

Summary

Of the two, Windance has far the better chance and I actually think he'll finish in the first two home, if not winning. He's currently priced as the 2/1 favourite, which is a little disappointing as (a) I thought he'd be maybe half a point longer and (b) I expected Certainly Red to be a favourite to take on. That said, I've got Windance as the best in the field on my workings, so 2/1 it is.

Bleue Away, however, is right up against it here and if she finishes fouth of the six, she'll have done well. To do any better than that she's going to have to beat Episode, Eyes Right and/or Martha Brae and that's a big ask, so even at 12/1, I'll be leaving her alone.

This doesn't mean Team Honeyball can't land a double on the card, as they've got Credo running on the last race on the card, a mares' bumper. Credo won her sole PTP effort when clear by nine lengths over 3m in mid-November and she backed that up by landing a bumper at Plumpton by 20 lengths on her Rules debut 24 days ago. She's entiteld to come on for the run and although bearing a penalty, could well go in again here at 6/5. Pretty measly odds, for sure, but there's a possible 11/2 double with Windance for those that way inclined.

Racing Insights, 14th January 2021

We looked at two races yesterday, the first of which was the Leicester race featuring Thor de Cerisy and my final assessment said..."...10/1 seems more than fair for those of you fancying a small E/W flutter, as both When You're Ready and Oscar's Leader have more appeal from a win perspective..." As it was, Oscar's Leader was a non-runner, but When You're Ready won at 3/1 and Thor de Cerisy did indeed make the frame at 7/1.

Race two was at Plumpton where we had an odds-on favourite who we expected to win, but didn't offer much value and I though our highlighted runner, Eurkash would be the one posing the biggest challenge to the fav. The end result was that Eurkash could only manage fourth behind the duly-obliging 5/6 favourite.

And now to Thursday, whose feature of the day is the highly informative Instant Expert tab for all races, including our full free racecards for...

  • 1.10 Catterick
  • 1.50 Bangor
  • 2.30 Fontwell
  • 8.00 Chelmsford

And I think I'll look at the third on that lost the 2.30 Fontwell, where I'm already keen on the chances of Cristal Spirit, if I can get 2/1 or bigger about him. The purpose of my piece today is to see whether (a) I still think he's the likeliest winner, (b) 2/1 is a realistic aim and (c) where are the dangers or possible decent priced E/W picks.

We should start with the card itself, as follows...

I'm going to be quite brutal at the outset here and take Certainly Red, Rossderrin and Hot Smoked out of the equation before I go any further. Certainly red might be the one I regret most tomorrow, as he has been running consistently well of late, but he runs off 108 here, just as he has done on his last four outings where he has finished 8235, so I'm not expecting him to suddenly win here, especially as he hasn't won any of his ten career starts to date.

Rossderrin's form line shows a win last time out, but that was a narrow success in a poor PTP contest at Wadebridge, the fact of the matter here is that he hasn't even made the frame on any of his 11 starts under Rules and I don't envisage a change of yard/country having much effect off a career high mark. The final of the rejected trio, Hot Smoked, has a similar profile to the other two in that she is 0 from 9 so far, she's 3lbs higher than her best run over hurdles and she's been off the track for ten months.

All of which leaves us with the following on Instant Expert...

...where I think you don't need to be a mind-reader to see where I'm going here. Kenny George had finished fourth of seven (beat by 73L) and third of seven (beat by 51L) before winning his third crack at this track over course and distance fourteen months ago. He won by five lengths that day, but has failed to even make the frame in six runs since and is still five pounds higher than that win, so he's out.

As is Touch Tight, he might well be dropping down a grade for his handicap debut but he hasn't been that well treated to be given a mark of 108 after performing quite poorly in his three starts to date where he has finished 7th of 9 (bt by 38.5L), 4th of 10 (bt by 18.5L) and most recently 5th of 7 and beaten by 38 lengths. Nothing about those runs scream "back me", so I can't (and won't!).

And then, there were three in a race where I'd expect Jaunty Soria to attempt to control the race from the front. The pace stats should tell us whether that's a good tactic at Fontwell or not...

...and it appears that it might well be, but Lily The Pink also likes to be up with the pace and that could put a spanner in jockey Tom Scudamore's race plan. The danger for both front runners, of course, is that they do too much early on and practically hand the race to Cristal Spirit.

Cristal Spirit comes here in the best form of the trio after back to back soft ground wins here at Fontwell (2m2f) and then when 3lbs worse off over 2m5f at Plumpton eleven days ago. His other hurdles success came on heavy ground so conditions shouldn't be an issue here, although the extra half stone might make life more difficult.

Jockey Sean Houlihan retains the ride from last time out and he'll be happy to be on board one that keeps finding more and if it comes down to who has the most speed late on, then this horse's prowess on the Flat at 1m4f might make all the difference.

Race card top weight is Lily The Pink, but Ben Godfrey's useful 7lb claim means she'll get 3lbs from the fav here. Ben rides well for trainer Anthony Honeyball and the pair are 5 from 16 together over the last year and the yard is 5 from 15 (33.3% SR) in handicap hurdle races here since the start of 2017 and 11/34 (32.4%) since the start of 2014.

This mare likes the mud and will be better suited over this trip than when tiring in the closing stages over 3 miles last time out. I think she's still carrying too much weight here off a mark of 110, as her sole hurdles win came when rated 98.

And finally, Jaunty Soria, who makes the shortlist almost by default, but she's in good nick having won over course and distance here last time out on her yard debut for Neil Mulholland. Neil has a good record here at Fontwell with 17 winners from 82 (20.7% SR) handicap hurdlers since the start of 2015 and 22 from 97 (22.7%) since 2013. Jockey Tom Scudamore rides this track well too and has been amongst the winners of late (6/27 = 22.2% since Boxing Day).

She has been a steady improver so far and if handling the extra pressure of a handicap debut, could very well have a big say in proceedings if things go her way.

Summary

I think the order I've discussed the trio is probably just about how I rank them (Cristal / Lily / Soria) and all have chances but none are bomb-proof. I'm concerned about the added weight for Cristal Spirit, especially as she only just seems to do enough to get home having waited until late to take control. Should the gas pedal not quite get pressed at the right time, that would be the undoing of his chances.

Lily The Pink carries a little too much weight for my liking and there's that suggestion she might end up doing too much too soon. This trip is far more suitable than the 3m LTO, but I suspect she'd be happier dropping back another quarter mile.

Jaunty Soria will probably try to get out and stay out and she probably isn't quite good enough to do that (yet) and I think she'll be overhauled by the other pair with Cristal Spirit just getting the verdict.

So, I still like Cristal Spirit for this one, but not as much as I thought I would initially. I also can't back her, because I don't see enough value at 6/4. Lily The Pink is a 7/2 shot here, which is probably fair if not a little generous (I expected 3's), whilst Jaunty Soria is shorter than I hoped at 13/2. I can't back horses at 13/2 on an E/W basis, so I'm sitting this one out sadly.

Racing Insights, 8th December 2020

Nothing to report re: Monday's race, as Chelmsford's meeting was abandoned after one race due to a blanket of fog descending upon Essex this afternoon.

Tuesday's feature of the day is the Shortlist report, whilst the free cards are for...

  • 2.00 Punchestown
  • 2.55 Wolverhampton
  • 3.00 Punchestown
  • 4.30 Wolverhampton

I don't really fancy any of those four from a profiling perspective, but I did spot a runner on the Shortlist with a maximum score of 15...

...but you can't just assume he'll win the race without seeing what he's up against in the 2.08 Fontwell : an 8-runner, Class 3, Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m6f on Soft ground worth £7,018 to the winner.

...where half of the field, Earth Moor included, hail from yards with good course records here at Fontwell (C1 C5), whilst the vast majority will be ridden by riders in good form (14 30), good course records (C1 C5) or both.

Black Kalanisi, Aintree My Dream, Mortens Leam and Antony have all had the benefit of a good run in the last couple of months, whilst none of the eight come here needing a run. Kilbricken Storm and The Dubai Way are dropping in class, whilst we have two course and distance winners on show today, Mortens Leam and Antony. Earth Moor has won at both course and distance separately (*as per the Shortlist), and Aintree My Dream has won over today's trip.

Mortens Leam, Black Kalanisi and Antony head the Geegeez ratings, whilst both Kilbricken Storm & Uncle Danny are unrated due to a lack of recent chase form.

I'll have a closer look at the more interesting runners after assessing the Instant Expert & Pace tabs...

...where the "greenery" is definitely top-heavy on the card. Kilbricken Storm ticks many boxes, aside from the distance criteria, but he is 2 from 6 over 3 miles, so will stay. Earth Moor we know about from the Shortlist. Black Kalanisi only fails on going, but 0 from 1 isn't enough to make a decision upon, especially as he's 1 from 1 on heavy ground, whilst Class is the only doubt re: The Dubai Way, but the one Class 3 he did win was a better/more valuable contest than this.

Of the others, only Uncle Danny looks out of his depth and his sole soft ground success was more than five years ago. At the age of 11, he's (a) not getting any better and (b) not the horse that was still running well in Class 1 chases at Leopardstown in early 2018. He was 3rd in a Grade 1, then a runner-up beaten by less than 2 lengths in a Grade 2 behind the subsequent winner of 2018's Grade 1 Munster National. He was then off the track for 976 days before reappearing at Kempton in a Class 3 contest over 2m2.5f, coming home last of nine, some 75 lengths off the pace. His best days are behind him and he's not for me today.

The remaining seven runners step forward to the next stage of analysis, the pace tab...

...where we're told that in 18 previous similar contests, leaders won 5 (27.8%), whilst Prominent and Hold-Up horses both won 6 (33.3%). What that says to me is that race positioning here at Fontwell isn't as important as it might be at other venues. It's not to be disregarded, but it's not of the utmost relevance here.

We've still got seven in play, so let's take a closer look at them individually to see if anything ticks or crosses any boxes for us...

Kilbricken Storm was pulled up at the last fence at Bangor four weeks ago in a 3 mile contest, but in his defence, he'll have needed the run after (a) 244 days off track and (b) not having raced over fences for almost two years. This will only be his fourth crack at fences, so he's not totally exposed and did win a 3m Novice Chase on heavy ground at the first attempt. A mid-140's rated hurdler, could possibly be well treated off 135 here for trainer Colin Tizzard, who is 12/54 (22.2% SR) with chasers here at Fontwell over the last four years from which jockey Harry Cobden is 7 from 20 (35%).

Earth Moor was our original shortlisted horse, but all those stats were achieved over hurdles. He returned to action almost six weeks ago to make his chasing debut despite being off track for 238 days and was well beaten from a long way out over 2m5f. He plodded on to finish fifth, 22 lengths off the pace and 15L behind the re-opposing Black Kalanisi. His jumping might let him down but that said, trainer Philip Hobbs' chasers are 11/25 (44%) here since 2015 with today's jockey Richard Johnson riding 6 winners from 10 (60%).

Black Kalanisi was ahead of Earth Moor in late October as mentioned above, as he finished third at a big price. He then stepped up in class to win a Class 3 contest at Plumpton on his chase handicap debut and although he has been raised four pounds for that win, he'll be a player here today. He was more than useful on the Flat, A/W, in bumpers and over hurdles and has taken to chasing pretty well. He's now had 20 runs across all spheres and is certainly race-smart, having managed to win at all bar the A/W. Whether he's the best here or not, his nous will make him hard to beat.

The Dubai Way was 8th of 14 and beaten by 22 lengths on his return to action in October after a break of over eight months. He then stepped up to Class 2, but didn't jump well before being pulled up three out. Back down in both trip and class, he's still a little high in the weights for my liking and it has been over a year since he last ran well. Trainer Charlie Mann's soft ground chasers are 11 from 47 (23.4% SR) over 2m3.5f to 3m1f during the last five years, but I'll pass on this one.

Aintree My Dream is the type to make me look a tad inconsistent, as I do prefer him over some others, despite him being 10 yrs old and hasn't ticked as many boxes as some of his rivals in my earlier analysis. However, like Black Kalanisi above, he's race-smart and unlike many of these here, he's pretty consistent. That consistency sort of leads to my main criticism of him, in that he doesn't win often enough and has, in fact, been beaten in each of his last fourteen starts. However, he has finished in the first three home in seven of his last nine outings. Neither his yard nor his jockey are in particularly great form and whilst I think he could win this, recent history suggests he's a placer at best.

Mortens Leam is an interesting sort, a solid Class 4/5 chaser a couple of winters ago then lost his way a little before returning to form around this time last year. He signed off the last campaign with a narrow (0.75 length) win in March of this year, before then being beaten by the same distance as a runner-up 230 days later. He's up 4lbs, but has a 7lb claimer on board today and as a former course and distance winner, will be on familiar territory. He's up in class today and I'd feel more confident if his usual 7lb claimer was on board, as today's jockey has only one win from 20 over fences in the past year.

Antony has produced a couple of runner-up finishes over fences this winter season already, bit both were at a lower grade than this and the second run wasn't as goods as the first and he's been raised another pound for his efforts. His profile ticks boxes for course, class, going, distance, jockey booking etc, but he's 10 yrs old and past his best and his race reports are littered with references to jumping/jinking left, making jumping errors etc, so I think he'll be best left alone here as the step up in class is likely to make him feel the pressure even more.

I've removed The Dubai Way and Antony from my considerations, leaving me with five to think about. The reality is that any of the five could go on to win and I'll probably end up kicking myself about the final two discards, but I do need to get this down to a workable three (or less).

Black Kalanisi will be tough to beat if it comes to a scrap and I can see why he's the 11/4 favourite, as I have him as top of my own rankings, so he stays in. Next on my own list is Aintree My Dream, but I don't see him winning here. I'd have been happier with a different jockey, as like the horse jockey Mitchell Bastyan has devloped a losing habit. Just one chase win from 35 over the last 13 months isn't good and he's still a 3lb claimer after almost 450 rides. The market has him at 10/3 and I don't want to back him at that price, when he's essentially an E/W horse.

My next best was Kilbricken Storm, who I had pretty close to Aintree My Dream on my numbers. Neither proven nor disproven over fences, he could be thrown in based on his hurdling mark. If he stays out of trouble, he could cause a small surprise at 11/2 here. Of the remaining two, I just about prefer Mortens Leam over Earth Moor, but again there's not much in it. Mortens is in good form but I'm not keen on the jockey choice, whilst Earth Moor stats (albeit over hurdles) on his side, but needs to prove himself over fences.

Summary

I like Black Kalanisi here and he's the 11/4 favourite.I'm not averse to backing favourites, some actually win, of course! It's a case of backing the right one and at 11/4, I don't think I can back him right now. In a fairly open contest, I think I'd want about 7/2 here, so I'll have to wait and see. Kilbricken Storm, on the other hand, I expected to see at 9/2 or possibly shorter, so I'm happy to stick a couple of quid down on him.

I'll leave Aintree My Dream alone at 10/3, whilst 6/1 about Earth Moor is more attractive than the 9/2 offered for Mortens Leam, but they'll not be having my money. I'd like Aintree to make the top three purely to validate my own figures/reasoning, but as I'm not backing him, I'd rather he didn't win!

 

Stat of the Day, 28th August 2020

Thursday's pick was...

6.00 Lingfield : Escalade @ 4/1 BOG 8th at 7/2 (Led, ridden and headed over 1f out, weakened quickly final furlong) 

Friday's pick runs in the...

1.40 Fontwell :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Compadre @ 11/4 BOG

...in a 12-runner, Class 5, Handicap Hurdle for 3yo+ over 2m6f on Good ground worth £2,794 to the winner...

Why?...

Short but hopefully sweet today, starting, as is often the case, with the Geegeez racecard...

...with a 9 yr old gelding who won a Class 4, 3 mile chase off a mark of 112 at Uttoxeter 11 days ago. He now drops in class and runs off 104 here for a yard that has done well recently with LTO winners.

In fact, that recent record of 4 wins from 11 for James Evans' LTO winners over the last two years is just a part of a record since 2016 where his LTO winners are 7 from 21 (33.3% SR) for 17.12pts (+81.5% ROI) when sent off shorter than 10/1.

The other aspect I want to consider this morning is the drop in class, because since the start of 2015, handicap hurdlers sent off at 4/1 or shorter dropped down one class from a handicap chase win LTO are 15 from 24 (62.5% SR) for 20.65pts (+86% ROI) profit, including 13 wins from 20 (65%) for 16.66pts (+83.3%) at Class 5...

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Compadre @ 11/4 BOG as was available at 8.05am Friday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 1.40 Fontwell

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, 14th March 2020

Friday's pick was...

6.00 Southwell : Gorgeous General @ 7/2 BOG 5th at 9/2 (Led, headed over 3f out, weakened inside final furlong) :  another poor show in what has been a wretched week, if I'm honest.

Saturday's pick runs in the...

4.00 Fontwell :

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?

Jimmy @ 3/1 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 4, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m2f on soft ground worth £3,671 to the winner...

Why?...

Firstly, trainer Chris Gordon is in decent form right now, aside from a longshot that was expectedly well beaten at Cheltenham this week, his runners have 3 wins and 2 places from 10 starts this month and his name cropped up in a couple of angles I have stored, starting with...

...Chris Gordon + handicap hurdles + Evens to 10/1 + soft or softer + 2016-20 = 22/107 (20.6% SR) for 45.4pts (+42.4% ROI), from which...

  • 18/74 (24.3%) for 56pts (+75.7%) in fields of 7-12 runners
  • 4/10 (40%) for 23.4pts (+234%) at 3m1.5f/3m2f
  • and 3/6 (50%) for 25.32pts (+422%) in fields of 7-12 over 3m1.5f/3m2f

The second angle is a little more general , as Chris' "winter" (ie Oct-April) runners over 3m1f to 3m3f are 14/66 (21.2% SR) for 60.4pts (+91.5% ROI) including the following of relevance today...

  • 14/64 (21.9%) for 62.4pts (+97.5%) in handicaps
  • 14/64 (21.9%) for 62.4pts (+97.5%) with male runners
  • 10/40 (25%) for 27pts (+67.5%) over hurdles
  • 9/29 (31%) for 35.3pts (+121.8%) in races worth less than £4k
  • 6/21 (28.6%) for 32.3pts (+153.8%) with horses rested for 4-9 weeks
  • 6/18 (33.3%) for 15.8pts (+87.6%) during Feb/March
  • and 5/15 (33.3%) for 16.4pts (+109.2%) at Fontwell

...whilst male handicap hurdlers competing for less than £4k after less than 9 weeks rest are 7/18 (38.9% SR) for 26.6pts (+147.7% ROI) and these include...

  • 5/8 (62.5%) for 21.4pts (+267.1%) during Feb/March
  • 3/4 (75%) for 9.4pts (+234.4%) here at Fontwell
  • and 2/2 (100%) for 4.9pts (+245%) here at Fontwell in Feb/March

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Jimmy @ 3/1 BOG as was available from Bet365, BetVictor, Hills & 888Sport at 8.50am Saturday with plenty of 11/4 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 Fontwell

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!