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Racing Insights, 29th October 2021

I’ll be stepping in for Chris for a couple of days but don’t worry, Chris will be back on Racing Insights duty on Monday so you won’t be without him for long.

The free feature of the day on Friday is the Horses For Courses Report. With racing from six different UK and Irish venues on Friday you are able to use this report to identify course specialists, or at least runners that tend to run better than average at each of these courses, across a range of metrics.

As usual there will also be a selection of completely free races for free registered users, they are as follows:

1.10 Down Royal
1.38 Uttoxeter
2.30 Newmarket
3.30 Down Royal
4.05 Down Royal
4.50 Newmarket

I’m much more of a flat specialist so the two races from the above that make the most appeal are obviously the ones at Newmarket and there is far more form on offer in the 4.50 compared to the 2.30 which is a listed race for 2yos.

So the 4.50 Newmarket it is. This is a one mile, class 5 handicap for 3yo+ and with 14 runners set to go to post it’s certainly not the easiest puzzle to solve. The ground is currently good and drying out so this could be the last time a race is run on decent ground this flat season and could make very recent form invalid with most courses having been pretty soft for the past couple of weeks.

It’s well worth noting that the stalls are on the stands’ side here and that means the runners are likely to stick as near side as possible, probably inconveniencing those drawn low and also making it more difficult for anything held up to get a clear run through what could be a quite closely knit pack.

This course and distance does tend to lend itself to pace horses anyway.

The data doesn’t necessarily scream ‘pace bias’ given those that are held up in similar types of race to this have better place percentage than prominent racers and almost as good place percentage as front runners. However the only run style that is profitable for each way bets is front running (produces an EW PL of 7.0) and prominent racing is the only run style that is profitable to follow blind for win bets with a WIN PL of 29.58.

On top of this data we don’t have a whole lot of likely pace in this contest with Goddess Of Fire likely to get an uncontested lead. You couldn’t rule anything out here based on run style but I’d definitely prefer something that is likely to race prominently.

There are 14 runners in this so plenty to go through but I’m going to give a very quick lowdown on each to give you an idea if they are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of my calculations.

Super Den

Drawn high and likely to be held up. Caught the eye at York under tender handling but then missed 141 days before a very good return from a poor draw at Goodwood. Put in a rare below par run last time out at Redcar and connections quickly reach for a first time visor, which is a massive unknown. Drying ground is probably a negative so although he’s been on my radar for most of the season, I won’t be backing him here.

Masked Identity

Low drawn hold up performer who is a consistent sort. The last two races he’s contested have probably been stronger than this (winner at Nottingham won again next time out) and the step back up to a mile here should suit. Most of his best form on turf has come on deep ground but has finished twice since on fast ground. Every chance of running well on form but might not be well enough handicapped to win.

Helm Rock

Relatively lightly raced 3yo who bounced back from a poor run two starts ago with a good run at Pontefract in the mud last time out. Lowish drawn and likely to be ridden somewhere between mid division and prominent. Both his wins came at Carlisle and hasn’t got within two lengths of the winner in four runs since so probably isn’t well handicapped, away from Carlisle at least.

Newton Jack

Progressive front runner earlier in the season on testing ground with form lines that have worked out well but he’s been too patiently ridden on his last two starts, albeit running as if something was amiss on both occasions as well. The first time cheekpieces go on here and they could sharpen him up enough to lead on the near side rail from stall 14 and he’s well handicapped if he can bounce back to form but he needs to return to his early summer form. Drying ground probably against him.

Pientre D’Etoiles

Low drawn very lightly raced 3yo who ran well on second and third starts in terms of finishing position although neither race worked out at all. Handicap debut at Kempton was disappointing and it looks as though she’s simply started handicaps off a stiff mark assuming it wasn’t the artificial surface that held her back last time out. Could take a step forward on just her fifth start but needs to improve.

Goddess Of Fire

Low drawn front runner who has won six races but five of those came on the all weather or at Yarmouth. His other win was in the Legends race at Docnaster. He’s 0 from 9 in turf handicaps away from Yarmouth. He has run some decent races here in the past and is generally pretty consistent but he’s 2lbs above his highest winning mark with no obvious reason why he should improve. Should run well enough but likely to bump into a few better handicapped runners.

Geminga

Handicap debutant who has finished 3rd on all three starts to date. She’s probably run to this sort of mark on at least two of those but is difficult to weigh up in this sort of company. She’s certainly got room for improvement and run style and draw should be okay here. She’s not the type I’d personally be willing to back but it’s impossible to rule her out of calculations for all I’d prefer something a lot more ‘solid’ and proven.

Expresso Freddo

A mudlark on turf but ran poorly on soft ground last time out at Nottingham, well behind Masked Identity. Likely to bounce back at some point but the drying ground is surely against him here.

Thunder Lily

Seemingly in the grip of the handicapper on his last two runs after a win three starts ago but that might not be the case. Her third over further in July off a 3lb lower mark worked out well with the first two going on to win subsequently. She then benefitted from a drop back to this mile when a comfortable winner next time out, albeit in a weak handicap. She was undoubtedly below par next time at Leicester but never got a clear run last time out at Bath when finishing with plenty of running left. She’s been dropped a pound here and is seemingly well drawn in stall 12. After just nine runs she should still have more to give.

Sir Sedric

Ran well enough on first start for new connections at Catterick last time out, albeit well placed. That form hasn’t worked out though and he’s yet to win in any of his nine starts to date. Definitely needs to improve which is possible on second run for a new trainer and Ryan Moore is an eye-catching booking but he still has something to find.

Lockerbie

Best runs to date came over this distance so no surprise to see her drop in trip after seeming to not stay 10f or 12f. She’s dropped 5lbs courtesy of those non staying efforts which probably puts her on a fair (not lenient) mark so she could step forward again for powerful connections, for all she has something to prove. Low draw might not be ideal.

Finoah

Hasn’t taken much racing this season and ran no sort of race last time out on the back of a break. Drops back in trip on different ground here but those conditions shouldn’t have been a problem and he’s difficult to fancy on this year’s form.

Bonus

Best efforts have come on softer ground over shorter and he’s yet to place over this distance. He’s struggled for form since winning earlier in the season and doesn’t look well handicapped and on previous limited) evidence doesn’t stay this far either.

Assembled

Lightly raced for a 5yo and drawn lowest of all here. He arrives here in form having taken care of a subsequent winner last time out and a 2lb rise for that looks very fair. He’s 13lbs lower than his only visit here when he was 3rd so also looks fairly handicapped on that form, for all it was from two years ago. That was the last time he ran well on turf though which is a worry and stall 1 is also a concern.

Summary

It’s not easy to completely rule many of these out but plenty of these do have questions to answer. It would be no surprise if the most lightly raced of these, Geminga, won on handicap debut but there is probably better value elsewhere.

Goddess Of Fire and Masked Identity could run well but are very well found in the betting and neither look well enough handicapped to win this, even if it’s not the greatest race ever.

The value in the early betting for me lies with Thunder Lily at double figure odds. She’s only really disappointed once this season and although she doesn’t seem to have a huge amount in hand of her current mark, neither is she poorly handicapped and several pieces of her form this season are better than they look.

Racing Insights, 23rd July 2021

Friday’s free feature of the day is the Horses For Courses report. As you’d expect it highlights runners that have strong records at certain tracks. Personally speaking I am using this report more and more these days, especially at the quirkier courses that are more likely to produce course specialists.

As usual there are a selection of completely free races on Friday where all free registered users can can get full access to the racecards. These races are:

1.00 Uttoxeter
1.10 Thirsk
3.50 Uttoxeter
7.15 Cork
7.22 Newmarket
7.30 York

The 7.30 at York is a nice listed race so would have appealed as a race to go through but there is likely to be an extremely short priced favourite and with just 7 runners entered each way alternatives will be thin on the ground.

The 7.22 at Newmarket will therefore be the subject of this article. It’s a five runner, class 3 novice stakes set to be run over 12f. Not at all the sort of race I’d normally look to get involved in but there are some top stables represented and it’s likely the winner of this will go on to bigger and better things. The last three winners of this have rated 89, 111 and 87 so expect an above average winner.

Newmarket is often a track where the leaders don’t come back to the pack, even over longer distances, so we’ll need to take a look at the pace map. With several of these having had just two or three career runs there is a fair chance tactics change here but we can only go off what we’ve seen before. Given tactics do often change from race to race in the early stages of a horse’s career I’ll showcase the pace data rather than the graphic, allowing us to see where each runner has been placed early on in each of their races so far.

Auriferous seems most likely to take them along and he may well get an uncontested lead here. The course and distance pace data shows that early leaders have the best win and place percentages and they’ve been very profitable to follow producing a WIN PL of 70.85.

As previously mentioned, tactics can often change on these lightly raced runners and we see that with Constanta who was held up on his first two runs but raced prominently last time out. Line Of Descent has raced prominently in both starts to date whilst Adrastus and Thousand Oaks seem likely to be more patiently ridden.

Before we look at each of the runners, I want to take a look at the Instant Expert data for the sires of each runner. With so little form on offer this could be as enlightening as each runner’s races to date.

It’s no surprise these have ended up in a class 3 novice – some top sires on show here. The first thing that stands out is Camelot’s offspring are far less successful across each criteria which could be a negative for Constanta for all Camelot has sired his fair share of good horses - he's maybe just not quite as consistent at passing on his talents or it could be that he gets sent to less good mares.

Nathaniel enjoyed a decent amount of dig in the ground and so do his offspring more often than not as they are less successful on good to firm than the offspring of Golden Horn, Dubawi and Kingman. So possible ground concerns for Line Of Descent.

Golden Horn’s offspring have the best record in class 3 races so that’s a positive for Auriferous. He’s followed by Kingman (Thousand Oaks), Dubawi (Adrastus) and then Nathaniel with Camelot once again trailing.

Dubawi’s progeny do particularly well at Newmarket but Golden Horn, Kingman and Nathaniel aren’t far behind. As far as distance is concerned Golden Horn has by far the best record with his runners producing a 26% win rate at 12f. That’s well above the 16% of Dubawi and Nathaniel and the 13% from Kingman, who does tend to have many speedier types. Golden Horn and Dubawi offspring also have the best record in small fields.

Relying solely on this data it’s pretty clear that this is a near ideal setup for anything sired by Golden Horn so that’s good news for Auriferous backers. Adrastus also has lots of positives here being by Dubawi. I’d have some slight concerns, breeding wise, about the ground for Line Of Descent and maybe the distance for Thousand Oaks. Most criteria is a concern seemingly for Constanta so we'll hope to see some already good form from her on the track.

Now onto the runners.

Adrastus

By Dubawi who ranked well in Instant Expert for sires but he’s out of a staying mare rated just 73.

We are able to see all performances from the dam’s offspring and it’s worth noting that nothing as yet as rated higher than 84. Given the subsequent ratings of previous winners of this race Adrastus doesn’t look like he'll be good enough to win this. That is backed up by his form as both runs to date have been extremely modest and this trip and ground have already been explored so there isn’t great scope for improvement.

Auriferous

The most exposed in the field with seven runs to date but he’s also been very consistent and being by Golden Horn, he looks bred to be very suited to these conditions. His mare was rated 89 and Auriferous is the sole result of that mare.

His form has been a little disappointing though, yet to shed his maiden tag and held last time out in a handicap off a mark of 78, albeit a decent handicap. It’s probably fair to say he’s not going to be a 90+ rated runner, unless it’s over further, and there are surely going to be some more promising types in this.

Line Of Descent

Instant Expert flagged a potential ground worry but some Nathaniel’s do enjoy fast ground and Line Of Descent has so far only run on good or better. The dam’s other two runners to have earned handicap marks have so far only managed to earn marks in the 60s which raises concerns about Line Of Descent’s ability ceiling.

On the course he made a very promising start, finishing 3rd surrounded by runners rated 85, 95, 78 and 83 respectively. In doing so he has probably already outperformed any half siblings to date. He looked likely to improve for the run and for further that day. He then ran okay over this distance on fast ground and looked the winner a couple of furlongs from home but didn’t quite see it out. It was by no means a bad effort but he did look as though a drop in trip might suit that day so mixed messages regarding best distance from the two runs in his career.

Constanta

She’s a half sister to Skardu (group 1 placed at a mile) but Camelot’s sire data did trail behind the others here in Instant Expert.

Ran okay on debut in a hot maiden on the Rowley course over ten furlongs and again followed some fairly decent types home on her second run, stepped up to this trip but racing on soft ground. Thousand Oaks was half a length ahead of her that day. On her most recent start she raced on fast ground, finishing runner up, earning a mark of 80 in the process. She’s in good hands to progress and looks well capable of running  above her current mark in time, although a drastic step up from third run to fourth might not be on the cards.

Thousand Oaks

There was perhaps a slight distance worry on the sire’s side of things but both runs to date have come over this kind of trip so it doesn’t look a concern. If anything she has looked in need of even further.

She made a promising debut at Kempton, probably not running to a particularly high mark but very much looking as though the outing would do her good. She followed that up with a third at Haydock on soft ground, narrowly ahead of Constanta. On faster ground here she wouldn’t be guaranteed to confirm that form, especially if they don’t go much of a gallop which seems fairly likely. She is open to the most improvement though it seems.

Summary

A difficult race to work out. Adrastus is pretty easy to oppose whilst Auriferous sets a decent standard on much of his form and should get a tactical advantage but it would be disappointing if nothing was able to improve past what he has shown so far.

If I was awarding each of these runners a handicap mark I’d probably give the highest rating to Line Of Descent and given nothing is more lightly raced there is no reason why he can’t keep on improving further.

He does have to give 5lbs to the fillies though and given there isn’t a massive amount between some of these on form that could hand the initiative to the females. It’s interesting that Constanta and Thousand Oaks have already met, albeit on soft ground. On this fast ground, in a possibly tactical race, Constanta may end up reversing form. A slightly surprising selection given the sire data in Instant Expert but Camelot has produced some very good horses Constanta should be able to run to higher marks than 80 this season.