Tag Archive for: free doncaster tips

Doncaster Draw and Pace Bias On The Straight Track

As we move towards the jumps season the quality of Saturday flat recent declines, and we start seeing live weekend racing from Cheltenham once again.

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There is still pretty good racing from Doncaster though on Saturday, including Group 1 action, and it’s worth noting that seven of the eight races at Doncaster on Saturday will be run on the straight course. This must therefore be the ideal opportunity to investigate potential draw and pace biases at Doncaster on softer ground, which tends to dominate conditions at this time of year.

Doncaster Straight Course Draw Bias On Softer Ground

On straight courses you don’t tend to see draw biases change over different distances so we can look at a collection of distances together to get as much data as possible at courses such as Doncaster.


Overall across these distances there seems very little between the data for each draw type. The win percentages and place percentages are all pretty similar whilst the PRB figures suggest high is maybe slightly better with a PRB of 0.52 compared to 0.49 for both low and middle.

This data probably means one of two things. The first is that there is simply no real draw bias at Doncaster and you can have a pretty much even chance whichever part of the course you race on.

The second possibility is that at different points in the year there can be varying biases in the course and sometimes it’s better to be drawn a bit lower, and sometimes it’s better to be drawn higher. This can be the case at Ascot and is probably the case here too.

At the Lincoln meeting in 2021 for example, a high draw seemed very important. At this meeting in 2020 a low draw seemed an advantage.

If betting before a meeting begins, going for something towards the middle might be the safest option as you’ll never be too far away from favoured part of the course (if there is one). If possible it could be best to hold bets until a few races have developed. Even then though, the jockeys can suddenly explore a different part of the track and decide that is the favoured side.

Doncaster Straight Course Pace Bias On Softer Ground

Is the pace bias going to be any easier to predict? Front runners tend to be favoured more over shorter trips so it’s a good idea to look at each straight course distance separately this time.

Doncaster 5f Pace Bias

This shows why it is good to compare both win and place percentages. Amazingly from the above sample, which is for biggish fields on good or worse ground, no front runners have won which obviously gives them a 0% win strike rate. That’s pretty rare for the minimum distance! However the best place percentage of these run styles belongs to none other than front runners - they have a 25% place strike rate.

Prominent run styles here over the minimum dominant in terms of win percentages and provide by far more winners than any other run type. They are also only just behind front runners in terms of place percentage so it seems being close to the pace is definitely an advantage, as it is at most courses over 5f. But being right on the pace in bigger fields must leave you vulnerable here in the final furlong handing the advantage, as far as winning is concerned, to the prominent racers.

Given an advantage for prominent racers and front runners you’d expect mid division to perform better than held up but although it’s close, held up actually edges mid division. It’s certainly not the case that it’s impossible to come from way off the pace here over 5f and granted a decent early gallop and good form it would be unwise to be completely put off those that are patiently ridden but it’s definitely worth marking up those that race prominently in many races over this trip.

Doncaster 6f Pace Bias

The prominent racer bias doesn’t lend itself to all sprint trips here, over 6f the pendulum swings firmly in favour of front runners, despite the large field sizes in the sample.

Front runners impressively dominate and produce very healthy win and each way profits. There is no reason I can think of why they should be more effective over 6f than 5f but it simply seems to be the case.

Prominent racers actually fare worst of all now but only marginally worse than mid division or held up. This again suggests that just because there is an advantage towards either front runners or prominent racers, it is not a huge disadvantage to be held up.

So just as was the case with 5f, don’t rule out anything based on run style but do mark up the chances of a certain run style, this time front runners.

Doncaster 7f Pace Bias

Over 7f we are seeing a much fairer spread of results, in fact a remarkably even spread!

There is barely 1.5% between the win percentages and less than 3% between the place percentages.

It’s impossible to say any run style is either advantaged or disadvantaged over 7f at Doncaster away from fast ground. The main takeaway here could be to upgrade those that race in mid division or are held up that ran well enough last time out at a pace favouring track as they are likely to improve on that run this time around, assuming other conditions are in their favour.

Doncaster 1m Pace Bias

Over 5f we saw a slightly confusing win percentage and place percentage combination for front runners and it happens again over a mile.

The win percentages would have you believe that front running is the best run style over a mile here whereas the place percentages suggest it is the worst. There are a couple of things to consider with this.

A relatively small sample size means more emphasis should be put on the place data rather than win data, whilst still respecting the win data. On top of that we should also be looking at the trajectory of data for the other run styles.

The win percentages are pretty even for the other three run styles whilst the place percentages are also pretty even, but improve for those held up. Given the best place percentage is for held up and the worst place percentage is for front runners that seems to suggest the further off the pace you are the better. It’s worth noting though that there aren’t great jumps in the figures from one run style to another so just like the 7f distance this looks a pretty fair distance but preference begins to go towards the hold up performers, whereas it was with front runners over 6f and prominent racers over 5f.

Overall, it is no surprise that the shorter distances favour those nearer the pace, that’s a common theme in racing, but those that race nearer the rear still have a fair record over the shorter trips and that record improves dramatically over a little further suggesting Doncaster is a track that favours patience more than many others.

4.20 Doncaster - Virgin Bet Handicap Preview

This 5f handicap is comfortably the most interesting race on the card for me. A turn out of 15 runners is slightly disappointing from an each way perspective but as is often the case these days, most bookies are offering 4 places on this race as standard and a couple are even offering 5 places which gives the each way betting a more appealing feel.

I often start my analysis of a race with the pace map and that looks a good starting point here.

There looks to be at least 4 front runners in this and they are Indian Sounds, El Astronaute, Dakota Gold and Copper Knight. The first three of those are drawn relatively close together in the lower numbers and Copper Knight should give the higher numbers a good tow.

The pace data here over 5f suggests that prominent racers should be marked up but it’s worth remembering that the more patiently ridden runners do go well here too and with a likely contested speed they could end up just as advantaged as those nearer the pace, if not more so.

I’m going to declare early that I think those nearer the head of the betting could dominate this. If picking a bit of ‘each way value’ at double figure prices I’d suggest that Zim Baby (25/1) is overpriced and will enjoy the ground and a thorough test at this trip. He was 3rd in a listed contest here 12 months ago and although he hasn’t got his head in front this term he was beaten just a nose on soft ground at Ripon off a 1lb higher mark earlier this season and he’s run as if in form on his last three starts, all of which came on ground that would have been too fast. The bookies have him beating just one home, he’ll do much better than that.

Other than that I’d expect Sunday Sovereign to run well as he enjoys this sort of ground and did well to get as close as he did last time out at Catterick given he came from off the pace and the other four who finished around him raced closer to the pace. He doesn’t hold too many secrets from the handicapper though and is ‘only’ 9/1.

He was behind Zargun on that occasion, who opposes here. Based on weight for distance Sunday Sovereign should pretty much dead heat with Zargun here but given the pace favouring profile of Catterick compared to Doncaster I’d expect Sunday Sovereign to finish ahead of Zargun this time around.

Another who should finish ahead of Zargun is Illusionist. Illusionist beat Zargun at York a couple of weeks ago by a neck and is also 3lbs better off here thanks to Zargun franking that form since. Again, Zargun also loses out on the fact that he very much got the run of the race at York whereas Illusionist didn’t. So that’s two I have finishing ahead of the relatively short priced Zargun.

On the subject of that Illusionist win at York, it really is a performance worth watching if you have that option and haven’t seen it already. Not only did nothing else come from off the pace in that race, nothing made any inroads off the pace all day at York. His performance, when coming from last to first, really should be marked up significantly.

Then there is the strength of that race. Zargun, the runner up, won next time out whilst the 4th finished a fair 3rd next time. This, in combination with how well he did to come from last to win, suggests a 5lb rise is very lenient. He now runs off 89 and he was beaten a short head last season off this mark by Live In The Moment - that runner has subsequently rated 15lbs higher.

For a horse that so clearly wants softer ground, Illusionist hasn’t run on it that many times which still leaves him unexposed in such conditions. His form figures on good to soft or worse read 5620311. That in itself doesn’t look overly impressive but the 5th came in a listed race at Royal Ascot, the 6th came in a 21 runner handicap at Royal Ascot and the 0 came in last season’s Ayr Silver Cup when he didn’t quite seem ready for 6f. He’s won both runs on softish ground this season and his form figures in fields of 20 or less in softish ground are 2311.

Illusionist is clearly one I am very interested in at around 7/1, as you’ll be able to tell, and another is Boundless Power, who is a slightly shorter price. He was a winner last time out in heavy ground at Ascot and before that found only subsequent Group 3 winner Hurricane Ivor too good in the Portland here. He’s 4lbs higher than that win and 7lbs higher than his Portland run but since being gelded in April he has produced form figures of 12121 over 5f with cut in the ground so he’s clearly a major player here.

He doesn’t really have any recent ‘hot form’ to note like Illusionist does but his 5th at Ascot in July is worth examining.

Pretty much every horse that ran well has since franked the form, even the winner, who hasn’t won again since, has run well enough in group company. Boundless Power bumped into plenty of improvers that day and this came on good ground, not soft ground. He is 6lbs higher this time around but this race is unlikely to be as strong as that Ascot race was and conditions will suit more here too so he’s certainly entitled to go close.

Raasel is the unexposed one in the line up, from the same yard as Boundless Power. With these two runners, Mick Appleby has the first two in the betting so it will be interesting to see which direction they each go in the betting.

A 201 day break seemed to do the trick for Raasel as he’s won three on the bounce since, all relatively comfortably and certainly more comfortable than the winning distances suggest. Those races did lack strength in depth though so whilst it’s impossible to say he doesn’t have more left in the tank, it’s also difficult to prove he’s necessarily ahead of his mark of 81, having gone up a total of 8lbs for his hat trick of wins. He’ll certainly need to be as he’s actually racing off 85 here, 7lbs higher than his last win, due to the fact that he’s 4lbs out of the handicap. It’s easy to understand why connections are taking that chance with the prize money on offer but as a punter I hate backing horses that are out of the handicap , certainly by this much, and I feel the bookies don’t fully account for that with their prices. Had he been raised 7lbs for his last win I think he’d be a bigger price here despite the fact that he’s still running from a 7lb higher mark.

I was already willing to chance Illusionist and Boundless Power against Raasel even off his correct mark. I realise Adam Farragher takes off ‘the handy 5lbs’ as they say but that’s what apprentices do anyway and his lowest riding weight in the past 12 months is 7-10, 4lbs lower than the weight Raasel should carry here so it will be interesting to see if he can shave an extra 1lb off that to use his full claim.

Either way my two against the field are ILLUSIONIST and Boundless Power, with slight preference for the former because he’s had fewer chances in ideal conditions and did extremely well to win a warm race last time out. I’ll probably have a small saver on Boundless Power, who I think is almost certain to be in the first four, and I’ll be very interested in a reverse forecast too given I think this race lacks real strength in depth. I'm generally not one for backing last time out winners but I will do when I still think they offer value.

Others To Note At Doncaster

One runner I am quite interested in for the 2.05pm at Doncaster is Another Batt. This is a wide open handicap but Another Batt ran well last time out when a lot of things weren’t in his favour.

He ran the same day as Illusionist when York was heavily favouring front runner, even more than it often does. He was 6th in a 20 runner mile handicap and he finished a running on 6th, doing best of those held up and doing so from stall 20 which is rarely the place to be over a mile at York.

The mile probably didn’t play to his strengths either, all seven of his wins have come over shorter and he’s even effective at 6f. His most recent win was a comfortable one off a 1lb lower mark and although he’s not the most consistent it looks as though he has been freshened up by a break and is back to form. Everything should be in his favour here so I’m expecting a big run from him at a decent price. He's not necessarily the most likely winner (there are some interesting 3yos) but I'd fancy him as an each way punt.

One runner I am sadly against on Saturday is Aaddeey who runs in the 2.40pm at Doncaster. I say sadly because this is very much a horse on my radar as being well handicapped but he’s been running on the wrong ground nearly all season. He’s well handicapped on several pieces of form, none more so than when beating Rodrigo Diaz by 4.5 lengths. He’s now 12lbs higher because of that but that rival is now rated 22lbs higher!

So why the lack of interest on Saturday? The ground has once again gone against him for a start. Even more reason to oppose him is the record of Simon and Ed Crisford’s runners after a 60+ day break. Aaddeey has seemingly had a slight problem because when the ground suddenly came right for him a couple of months ago he was completely absent from the races you’d expect him to be running in. He’s been off 84 days and although he went well fresh on seasonal debut, Simon and Ed Crisford’s runners have achieved a PRB of just 0.34 with handicap runners in the past 90 days returning from a 60+ day break whereas their total handicap runners in the same period have a PRB of 0.51. Those disappointments include runners at 3/1, 4/1, and 4/1 and the common theme has been that they are weak at the finish.

Reading between the lines, he’s had an issue and the target this season is going to be the November Handicap back here in a couple of weeks’ time. The ground may well go against him there again but this has the look of a prep run and for a horse rated 99, do they really want to win here and carry another 5lbs or 6lbs in the big one? Unlikely. The ideal scenario for me, who desperately wants to be on Aaddeey when he does win, is an okay performance here without winning and then he turns up in the November Handicap after an unseasonal dry and warm spell in the next fortnight. That might be wishful thinking but he won’t be carrying my money here. I’d much rather back Rhythmic Intent in this at the same sort of price in a race that admittedly probably isn’t going to take a great deal of winning.

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.