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Racing Insights, 22nd July 2021

Thursday’s free feature of the day is Instant Expert for ALL races. That’s one of the most popular features of Geegeez Gold, free to use for every race on Thursday for anyone who is a registered free user of Geegeez.

Instant Expert is a massive time saver which allows the user to check and compare each horse’s, trainer’s, jockey’s and sire’s suitability to key race conditions in just a few seconds.

The free races for free registered users on Thursday are:

1.15 Worcester
4.40 Limerick
4.50 Yarmouth
5.00 Leopardstown
5.50 Doncaster
8.00 Leopardstown

The 5.50 at Doncaster looks a decent and competitive race. With 9 runners set to go to post in this 6f class 5 handicap for 4yo+ we’ll be getting paid for three places on each way bets even if there is a non runner so hopefully we can find some value at a decent enough price.

First of all we’ll have a quick look at the pace map to check for any extremes in likely pace setup and also to get an idea of how each horse is likely to be ridden.

Now remember the Geegeez Gold pace maps are made up of an average of pace scores over either the last two, three or four races. I generally use two races as my preferred option as it considers only the most recent data. The drawback of doing that is one different run style can massively skew the average. For example if a habitual front runner badly misses the break on his most recent start and ends up being held up as a result the average is going to show his run style as something between prominent and mid division.

This is why I also like to look at the data pace map, as shown below.

Now we can see the exact run style of each runner’s last four runs. The pace map graphic suggests plenty of prominent racers but nothing likely to make the running. Looking at the data view though shows that two of these led last time out (Jems Bond and Dandys Gold) but neither runner has made the running more than once in their last four runs and both were held up three runs ago. This goes to show how difficult predicting pace can sometimes be. These two runners could take each other on at the head of affairs or they could both be held up and what they do can have a massive effect on the result.

Looking at the data, we have three real pace options and only three of these have made the running in any of their last four starts. They are Jems Bond and Dandys Gold as already mentioned plus Barrington who consistently races prominently but went from the front three starts ago. Given there aren’t any habitual front runners it is probably safe to assume this race will be run at no more than an even gallop.

Let’s now run through each contender in this and see if we can uncover anything with a much better chance than the odds suggest.

Mutaanaseq

Has finally found some consistency this season, presumably a more sound animal at the age of 6. He’s now finished in the frame in all six of his last starts, winning once in that run in a big field sprint at Thirsk. He’s now 5lbs higher than that win and has been beaten on his last three starts so this will need to be a weaker race than those contests for him to get his head back in front.

There were no excuses three runs ago at Thirsk. The winner came from a similar position and similar draw and still managed to beat him by over a length. The winner did run well on his next start (2nd) but the form in behind hasn’t really worked out. Mutaanaseq returned to Doncaster on his next run and finished a solid third, beaten just half a length and slightly unlucky in running. The 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th were all ridden close to the pace that day whereas Mutaanaseq came from near last and the front pair have both won since.

On his most recent start Mutaanaseq stepped up to 7f on soft ground and again ran on late in the day. Again the first two home were ridden much more prominently. It seems a decent pace is probably more important to him than the distance – whether or not he gets that here is open to debate.

Dandys Gold

Without a win on turf since 2018 but did run well here under similar conditions in April when 2nd off a 2lb higher mark. He bumped into one that day, the winner has won both starts since, but the form in behind hasn’t worked out at all. He hasn’t run to that level of form in two starts since, well behind Mutaanaseq at Thirsk on one of those. He’ll need to run to at least his previous course and distance form to get into the places here and he’ll need to improve a fair bit on that run to win this. There is no obvious reason why he should improve.

Blazing Hot

Often went from the front last year for James Tate but hasn’t been able to go the gallop this season for Paul Collins. The step back up to 6f could help with that and he was competitive at this distance off higher marks last season. It’s difficult to tell how much effect first time cheekpieces had last time as heavy ground may not have suited. They are dispensed with here anyway.

He’s yet to win a handicap in seven attempts but he’s undeniably well handicapped on last season’s form and this combination of fast ground and 6f should see him improve on his form this season. He was only beaten 3 lengths off a 4lb higher mark against a pace bias at Musselburgh two starts ago so there is every reason to think he could run very well here.

Hail Sezer

Still lightly raced but yet to win in eight starts and five 2nd placed finishers is a bit of a warning sign. His best bit of form was perhaps on seasonal debut this year over an extended 5f at Wetherby – the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th all won within two subsequent runs and the 3rd, 7th and 8th all finishes 2nd within two starts since. That’s definitely hot form! To finish 2nd in that race was a strong effort and even off a 5lb higher mark here you can argue he’s well enough handicapped to win. So why hasn’t he done so in four runs since?

He was runner up again on his next run, at this trip on the all weather. He chased a strong pace that day and the winner has won again since so he can’t be judged too harshly on that effort. He ran no sort of race at Nottingham on his next start at 11/8 which is a warning sign but he has bounced back from that, running 3rd and 2nd since. His 3rd place came in a maiden handicap at Redcar. He ran on strongly that day, dropped to 5f, looking in need of a stiffer test. He got that stiffer test next time over 6f at Carlisle and he got as close as ever to winning, going down just a neck in the end. He has looked genuine enough in a finish but his tendency to get beat has to be a slight concern.

Musahaba

Made his stable debut this season over 6f but has gradually been stepped up in trip since, running over as far as 10f two runs ago. Dropped back to a mile on all weather debut last time out and ran poorly. His best run by far this season was when runner up in a mile handicap at Thirsk off a 4lb higher mark and his worst effort seemingly came in cheekpieces (over 10f) and they are back on here which might be a worry. More of a worry is the sharp drop in trip and it does look a bit like connections are clutching at straws. Backing him will be a leap of faith.

Barrington

Almost certain to be well placed here. His two wins came in 2016 and 2018 in small fields on decent ground on turf, His only handicap win was off a 27lb higher mark but this is very much his level these days. He was beaten just a nose off a 10lb higher mark 12 months ago and was in fair form off slightly higher marks early this year before a 148 day absence. His return run two and a half weeks ago was pretty uninspiring but it seems very likely he’ll come on for that. He ran as though still in form at least and it’s interesting that the visor goes back on here, his best runs last season came with this headgear on.

Jems Bond

Largely out of form this season but wasn’t far behind Hail Sezer at Newcastle in May, 0.75 lengths behind and now 7lbs better off. It’s worth noting though that he’s barely beaten a rival home in his six turf runs so he’s far from guaranteed to replicate that run here. His best turf run did come over course and distance but that was on good to soft ground. His form on faster ground is even less inspiring so he’s of very limited interest here. He does sport first time cheekpieces here and they’ll have to have a hugely positive effect.

Lucky Beggar

Won earlier this season (soft ground, 5f) showing he still has it in him at the age of 11. He’s largely run as if in form since including last time out here over the minimum trip when 3rd. He’s won three times at this 6f trip on fast ground so conditions aren’t a major concern. It’s interesting that he has mostly been campaigned at 5f this season, even when looking as though a return to further would suit. His last 6f run was a 4th at Thirsk off a 2lb lower mark.

He doesn’t look brilliantly handicapped but he was a close 4th at Ripon earlier this year off a 2lb higher mark and the three horses that finished in front of him that day have all gone in since. He tends to race prominently which could be an advantage in this and his speed at 5f could also be a useful asset.

Archimedes

Finished last at 100/1 last time out and although he was placing at Southwell earlier this year it’s been almost two years since he last won and he hasn’t finished better than 7th on turf since September 2019. He’s 6lbs out of the handicap here and makes almost zero appeal.

Summary

The winner is very likely to come from Mutaanaseq, Hail Sezer, Lucky Beggar, Blazing Hot and Barrington.

Mutaanaseq and Hail Sezer look nailed on to run their races and run well. The former would make far more appeal if a stronger pace looked likely but this might be a weak enough race for him to get his head back in front. His previous run over course and distance was a very good bit of form and it did come against a pace bias. The biggest issue is the price and I wouldn’t back anything this short when the pace setup may well be against it.

Hail Sezer shouldn’t be too inconvenienced by the likely pace setup but he’s been expensive to follow. At an each way price he’d make a ton of appeal but he’s risky for win only purposes, for all he hasn’t looked to dodge it in the finish yet. Some horse’s attitudes are more resolute than others though.

Lucky Beggar is a bit shorter in the betting than I expected. He may well improve for the step back up in trip and he’s well enough handicapped on some form from this season but you’d have wanted at least an each way price to consider getting involved.

Barrington could have a tactical advantage over many and should improve for his last run. He makes some appeal but Blazing Hot makes a little more appeal as an each way bet. The longer trip will give him a better chance of being a bit handier, like he often was last season, and he showed enough signs of life at Musselburgh to suggest he can go close after another 4lb drop with the step back up in trip almost certainly a big positive.

I’d probably be keen to have a saver on a Mutaanaseq/Hail Sezer reverse forecast. That’s probably the only way to squeeze a bit of value from either horse and they do look to have outstanding claims on form in this company, for all there are some reasons to oppose them.