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Glorious Goodwood Preview: Farasi Lane Offers Value In Saturday’s Opener

Saturday’s 1.20pm at Goodwood, a 7f, class 2 handicap for the classic generation, is a race where there should be some strong course biases on display so it looks a good race to cover this week. The Geegeez Gold data should help us narrow this field down significantly.

These previews have to be written early which means there is always some guesswork involved with the ground when there is an uncertain forecast. The assumption at the time of writing is that the ground will be good, maybe just on the fast side of good.

All of the data used below is available through a Geegeez Gold subscription. Click here to get your first 30 days of Geegeez Gold for just £1.

Draw

There is normally a pretty strong bias around the bend over the 7f course at Goodwood, this isn’t the biggest field (11 runners) so will the draw have an impact on this contest?

There certainly still seems to be a bias towards those drawn low, even in this mid sized field. High draws win half as often as middle draws who in turn win around three quarters as often as low draws. The place data follows a similar trend and the PRB figures for low, middle and high are 0.54, 0.50 and 0.46 respectively.

The individual draw data tells us that there is a steady decline in performance the further from the inside rail you are drawn with stall 1 generating the best PRB figure and the highest stall generating the worst PRB. Stall 2 performs best for both wins and places.

In this field size every stall certainly has a chance of winning but it’s pretty clear that a lower draw gives an advantage and ideally you probably don’t want to be drawn higher than about 7.

Pace

We saw a fair sized draw advantage over this course and distance, what about a pace bias?

A fairly significant bias again, this time leaning towards those ridden nearer the pace. The win percentage data largely supports an argument that the closer you are to the pace the more chance you have of winning and the place percentage data backs that up completely with front running doing best (50% place strike rate), prominent doing next best (33.12%), then mid division (24.75%) followed by held up (21.11%).

The difference in percentages is around 17%, then around 8%, then around 3%, so the advantage seems to be growing exponentially the closer to the pace you are and front runners enjoy a big edge here.

Interestingly backing both front runners and prominent racers blind for both win and place is profitable so it looks as though we want something that races near the pace or something that looks extremely well handicapped if it’s going to be patiently ridden.

Pace Map

A strong pace here could swing things back in favour of the more patiently ridden contingent so we should take a look at the pace map.

There are three pace angles in this race so we could get an at least evenly run contest but those pace angles occupy the three highest stalls. Their best hope is to get across early so we could see a very quick first furlong with three wide drawn front runners all attacking from the gates to get the ideal position on the inside rail.

There seems to be a distinct lack of prominent racers so if you wanted to back something near the early lead then there are only three real contenders for this according to the pace map. Farasi Lane looks most likely to be the one that tracks the front three.

Draw and Pace Combination

With strong draw AND pace biases here we’ll presumably see a big advantage to low drawn front runners, of which we don’t seem to have any.

As predicted, the best place to be as far as finishing ahead of rivals is on the front end from a low draw. It’s interesting to note that leaders from high draws don’t have a good record. They must have to use too much fuel early to get that position from their draw and with all three front runners likely to go fast competing for that early lead we could end up seeing all three fade late on.

Those that are drawn high seem best off racing in mid division, although dropping them out isn’t a major disadvantage either. If you are drawn in the middle you can gain an advantage by front running but all other run styles seem fairly similar in terms of result. As for low draws, front running is obviously best of all and then there isn’t much difference between being prominent or mid division but the low draw advantage is nullified if a horse is held up. This is because they are unlikely to get a clear run on the rail and if they switch they have to go around the entire field.

Applying these findings to the pace map, Quintillus and Seven Brothers have actually got relatively good draws for their run styles, whereas Spirit Of Bermuda, Just Frank and Red Mirage do not.

Farasi Lane probably has the best run style from the low draws and you wouldn’t want to rule out Run For Freedom solely because of draw and pace. Master Zoffany and Shark Two One look likely to forfeit their draw advantage by being most patiently ridden.

The Runners

Here are the runners, in early odds order, from most fancied to least fancied.

Quintillus

Hasn’t fared well with the draw but likely to be fairly patiently ridden anyway. He was sent off just 6/4 in a warm Newmarket maiden on debut so has clearly been well thought of at home. He could only manage 4th that day but won easily on his second start, switched to the all weather, hammering Run To Freedom who is now rated 91 and reopposes here. That form makes him look very well handicapped.

He didn’t seem to see a mile out on his next two starts and was subsequently gelded before running much better over that trip in the Britannia Handicap, finishing a close up 3rd. Only four of the first ten home in that race have run since but they’ve produced form figures of 9111 so it’s clear that was a hot race, as it often is. He may well improve over a sharper test here but he is up another 5lbs.

Master Zoffany

Has shown his best form at 7f but also with cut in the ground and a drying surface here may be of a little concern. Both wins this season have come at Chester, beating several subsequent winners off a 9lbs lower mark and a couple of subsequent placers off a 3lb lower mark last time. Just Frank was 0.75 lengths behind that day and is 3lb better off here.

The feeling is Master Zoffany can win again but his inside draw here means he either has to go the brave man’s route which will more likely than not result in traffic problems or he’ll have to circle the entire field. That combined with the fact the ground might not have enough juice in it is reason to oppose at the price for all he is one to be positive about in the future.

Spirit Of Bermuda

Ran a good 4th in a hot Newmarket handicap in April.

The winner is now rated 22lbs higher, the runner up has won his only start since, the 3rd won next time out by over 3 lengths and the 5th has since won a race by 6 lengths. The 6th has also won since.

He blotted his copy book when refusing to race next time but has won both starts since, seeming to relish the drop back to this 7f. That latest win is working out well with the 2nd and 8th winning next time out and the 6th finishing runner up on his next start so a 2lb rise for that looks very lenient and he’s still only 7lbs higher than that run in the hot Newmarket handicap in April. Fast ground seems quite important so drying ground will improve his chances and the only real negative is the wide draw but at least he’s lowest drawn of the potential pace angles.

Dark Shift

Hasn’t gone on as expected since winning a soft ground Nottingham novice in May and had looked well handicapped off this sort of mark on a couple of bits of form. A fast 6f at York probably didn’t suit ideally and others who ran well from off the pace in that race have been winning or running well since but he was still a bit disappointing at Ascot’s stiffer 6f with the ground seemingly in his favour last time. This step up in trip will need to bring about plenty of improvement but drying ground might not be ideal and neither is his run style.

Just Frank

Habitual front runner who is closely matched with Master Zoffany on Chester form. He’s run since then, finishing 3rd at Doncaster on ground that might have been a bit faster than ideal. First time cheekpieces go on here which means his performance could go either way. An easy 7f with a bit of cut in the ground is probably going to prove ideal but this race is normally won by something far more progressive, for all he isn’t badly handicapped.

Farasi Lane

Reacted well to first time cheekpieces in November, winning a handicap comfortably, so it was a surprise to see that headgear dispensed with for his next three runs. He was only narrowly beaten here on one of those and was a creditable 2nd at Newmarket (4th and 6th won since) but upped his form again last time with cheekpieces reapplied, winning a decent Sandown handicap comfortably. He’s now won nicely twice on the two occasions he’s worn this headgear and it stays on this time.

He's up 5lbs but he was far superior in that last race and the 2nd and 3rd have both finished runner up since so the form of that run is okay. He’s been ridden a bit more aggressively than usual in the headgear so he may well be prominent here from a good draw. Most of his form is with a bit of cut but he was only beaten a short head here on good to firm earlier this season leaving him with very few questions to answer.

Oo De Lally

Split two progressive types over course and distance on soft ground in May and won a decent Newcastle handicap over this trip on his next start off a 2lb higher mark. Was raised 4lbs for that and then pitched into listed company at Chester on his next start, running below form and finishing last, beaten 12 lengths. The draw was against him but doesn’t really explain a performance quite that bad. He’s the type to bounce back but he does now have something to prove, especially on what could be faster ground.

Run To Freedom

Both runs this season have come at Sandown, runner up on the first of those in a race that was almost certainly weaker than this and then a well beaten 6th behind Farasi Lane last time out. He was sent off favourite for that and should be better than that form but neither of the runs this season are likely to be good enough to win this.

Red Mirage

Won his first three starts but paid for an easy Kempton handicap win with an 11lb rise in the weights and he’s been beaten 5 lengths and 10 lengths. That latter effort was his only run on turf and it was his worse effort to date plus he’s badly drawn so he looks very opposable, for all he could be one of those Mark Johnston horses that bounces back from a poor run or two.

Shark Two One

Sent off at 50/1 and 5.5 lengths behind Master Zoffany last time out. That was his best run this season but it still seems he’s not as good as last season and therefore badly handicapped on those efforts last term. Also a non runner on fast ground this season and all his best form is on much more testing ground so opposable again here.

Seven Brothers

Won three of seven starts including seasonal debut in April off this mark, beating the well handicapped Popmaster. Much better than the bare result at Newmarket on his next start in a hot handicap but ran poorly at York on his next start. Blinkers went on for the first time last time out in a hot Newmarket sprint handicap and although only 11th and beaten 4.75 lengths he still finished his race off well enough. The blinkers aren’t retained here.

He's fairly handicapped on a couple of bits of form this season and therefore looks a big price but he does have to prove a step up in trip is what he wants. He is bred for sprinting so he’ll probably need to lower his sights a little at 6f rather than going up to this distance in order to get his fourth career win.

The Verdict

The trio who make most appeal here are Quintillus, Spirit Of Bermuda and Farasi Lane.

Had Spirit Of Bermuda had a much lower draw he’d be a pretty confident selection as he’d have a great chance of making all. The record of wide drawn front runners over this course and distance is just about enough to put me off at the price, wide drawn leaders haven’t even had a place in five attempts in the data sample used in the Draw Analyser.

Quintillus will probably improve for the drop in trip and the Britannia Handicap is working out nicely. He’s clearly been well regarded and he has a massive form chance. He’s not well drawn in 8 though and although his run style might nullify that bad draw, being held up here is a disadvantage so against some decent opposition he’ll need to be extremely well handicapped. At the price I can let him win.

The one with seemingly everything possibly in his favour is FARASI LANE. He’s a bit more exposed than some of these but he’s well drawn, proven at the course, won a decent race last time out, came 2nd in a hot race on his penultimate start and crucially nothing has got near him in two starts with these cheekpieces on. He’s as big as 10/1 in places at the time of writing and that just looks far too big as an each way bet in what should be a very good race.

These three runners will be ridden by the three jockeys in this race with the most wins at this venue in the past couple of years so they’ll all be in good hands to give their running.

Racing Insights, 27th July 2021

It’s the first day of Goodwood on Tuesday and the second day of Galway so plenty of great action to get stuck into.

Tuesday’s free feature of the day is the Shortlist Report, a very popular section of Geegeez Gold. The Shortlist Report highlights horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in Instant Expert everyday in attempt to flag up runners that are most likely to enjoy conditions – and therefore run to form and run well. It can be used for both win and place purposes and is completely free on Tuesday’s to all free registered users of Geegeez.

The free races for free registered users on Tuesday will be:

1.30 Beverley
3.00 Goodwood
4.45 Goodwood
6.25 Perth
6.35 Worcester
6.55 Perth

A nice choice of races but the focus has to be the 3.00 at Goodwood, the Group 2 Lennox Stakes run over 7f for 3yo+. There are three runners representing the classic generation, including one near the head of the market. Fourteen runners are set to go to post so expect some hard luck stories.

We all know draw and pace can be extremely important at Goodwood, especially over 7f, so let’s take a look at some draw and pace data.


The low v middle v high overview tells us that low draws have a very impressive PRB of 0.59 and account for over two thirds of the winners. High draws have given more winners than middle but the PRB figures tell a very different story with 0.49 for middle and 0.42 for high. This suggests high draws should be avoided.

The individual stall data for PRB, shown as a line graph, proves there is steady regression in performance the higher you go. It’s pretty obvious from looking at this that the lower you are drawn the better over 7f here.

Pace can be just as important as draw here and it’s hugely beneficial to be able to look at these in tandem, using the draw and pace combination heat map. The four best run styles as far as PRB is concerned all come with low draws.

Early pace from a low draw is most beneficial but gaining a lead from middle or low draws actually seems to affect performance negatively. If drawn in the middle a prominent ride seems best, followed by hold up, whilst for higher draws more patient rides are required. Dropping out and coming with a late run preferred to using up early energy trying to get a ‘good’ early position.

The pace map should tell us which runners could gain the most advantage (and disadvantage) from their early positions.

The first thing that stands out here is Space Blues, the early favourite, is drawn in stall 12 which has to be a big negative. He has the best kind of run style for that draw which is some consolation. Kinross, also prominent in the betting, has been even unluckier with the draw, as has Escobar.

Safe Voyage has arguably been luckiest of all with the draw, he’ll be emerging from stall 3 and has an ideal run style to take advantage of that low berth. Fellow pace angle Khuzaam has not been so fortunate and breaks from stall 11 giving him a less than ideal draw and pace combination.

With only two main pace angles, and one of them poorly drawn, we might see a steady early gallop and a well stacked field, likely to result in trouble in running. Those nearer the pace could get the double advantage of being well placed and avoiding any traffic problems.

Quite a few runners to get through but let’s have a quick look through them, in draw order this time.

Fundamental

Ran well in the Bunbury Cup last time out but that was off a mark of 100 and he has plenty to find here. He has form on softer ground but was 3.5 lengths behind Creative Force at Ascot and he clearly needs to improve a fair amount to win this. He’s a big price for one with such a good draw but his run style isn’t ideal to take advantage of it and he could end up trapped on the rail.

Creative Force

Extremely progressive this season, rising 25lbs in the official ratings. He seems to go on all ground types and was only beaten 2 lengths in the July Cup last time out over what was probably an inadequate test. This easy 7f is probably absolutely ideal and further progression can’t be ruled out. He probably deserves to be favourite given his low draw, compared to the high draw Space Blues has landed, but he has been played late on his last two starts and that might not see him to best effect. He did race prominently in smaller fields earlier this season and a return of those tactics would probably help his chances.

Safe Voyage

Out of form on his first two starts this season, beating just one runner home, but bounced back with a front running ride at Chester last time dropped to listed company. He didn’t beat a whole lot that day but it can’t be denied that he returned to form and if now as good as last year he clearly has a leading chance in this. He was behind three of these when 4th in this last year but that came on faster ground and given an easy lead here on his favoured ground he’d capable of reversing that form. He was only a neck behind Space Blues on these terms at Haydock last season on good to soft and he’s much better drawn than that rival (who is favourite) here.

Prince Eiji

Went close in a muddling listed race on seasonal debut over a mile but he’s yet to win outside of maiden company and has looked at his best on fast ground over a mile so serious questions to answer here despite a good draw.

Happy Power

Ran a career best last month when 4th in the Diamond Jubilee on soft ground and probably hasn’t really stayed a mile on his other three runs this year (five of his last six wins have come at this distance of 7f). He won a small field group 3 here last season (well placed) before landing a Group 2 later in the season and doesn’t have much to find on the best of his form. He should track Safe Voyage from a good draw here, has run three good races from three visits to this venue and if you can forgive a slightly disappointing effort last time out over a mile he looks a very backable price.

Pogo

Keeps improving each season and was a very creditable 5th to Palace Pier in the Queen Anne last time out. Probably just as good at 7f, he was 1.5 lengths behind Happy Power in the Challenge Stakes last year. He almost certainly prefers a sounder surface but it’s unlikely to be much better here so he could struggle to reverse form with Happy Power but he’s drawn okay, likes to race prominently and looks bigger than he should be in the betting.

Real Appeal

Career best when landing the Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes last time out at Leopardstown and this looks his trip. He’s progressing well and capable of improving further but all his best form to date has been on sounder surfaces and he might not be ideally placed.

Duke Of Hazard

Runner up in this last year and has course form figures of 11125 but it’s concerning that the 5th came on his only run here on soft ground. He was withdrawn on good to soft ground a fortnight ago and definitely looks better on sounder surfaces so his chance may have gone when the weekend rain arrived. Would have appealed on better ground with a stronger pace promised.

Fivethousandtoone

Dropped 7lbs by the handicapper after two lacklustre runs this season and has been withdrawn this season because of soft ground. He looks flattered by last season’s group form and has questions to answer on current form plus his draw and run style aren’t ideal.

Toro Strike

Won a competitive handicap over course and distance at this meeting last year and was only a neck behind Happy Power here on his next start. Not at his best in heavy ground in France on his final start last year but bounced back with a good win on seasonal debut. He was again slightly below par last time out on good to soft ground at Haydock. It would be easy to blame softer ground for some of his poorer runs but he ran so well on good to soft here behind Happy Power that it can’t solely be underfoot conditions that have held him back on a couple of occasions since. He’s been freshened up which may help and not completely ruled out for all he’d probably have preferred better ground and a better draw.

Khuzaam

Yet to match any of his all weather form on turf, last of four in the bet365 Mile at Sandown behind Palace Pier on his last attempt, beaten 25 lengths. He’s yet to race on softer ground but it’s a stretch to back him, especially with his draw.

Space Blues

Run of five wins on the trot came to an end at Meydan last time out but a straight 6f wouldn’t have really suited that day and he’s best judged on his 7f runs around a bend, conditions under which he is unbeaten. Most of his runs have come on faster ground and although he was beaten on his only run on soft, that came at 10f and it was a hot maiden anyway. He should handle conditions but Safe Voyage has a good chance of reversing form based on their meeting at Haydock last season and he’s not well drawn. He’s capable of defying the draw but he’s a very poor price to do so.

Kinross

Still very much unexposed at 7f and is unbeaten in two runs on good to soft so if it dries a little conditions should hold no fear. He won a Group 3 last time out but several didn’t give their running that day and it probably wasn’t the strongest of form. He still has room to improve but he’s been unlucky with the draw and if a high drawn horse is able to win, it will probably be Space Blues.

Escobar

Ran well at Sandown last time out in handicap company off a mark of 103 in a race not run to suit but he’s generally best at Ascot these days in testing ground and even his peak mark of 111 last season gives him a bit to find here. He ran well in defeat over course and distance twice last season, third in both this and the Supreme Stakes (behind Happy Power). Not a bad place bet on that form but the draw is the big put off.

Summary

Space Blues is the class act in the field and Creative Force is the potential star. Both are well found in the market and at the prices both are opposable unless you are sure Creative Force will be ridden prominently. Neither are likely to be able to afford meeting too much trouble in running.

At bigger prices Safe Voyage and Happy Power make more appeal from an each way perspective. Safe Voyage has shown a slightly better level of form to date and although you wouldn’t back either on the form of their first two runs this season, Safe Voyage looked back to somewhere near his best last time and he might not even need to run to his absolute best with draw and pace advantages in his favour here. Safe Voyage is preferred but it could be worth a very small reverse forecast given possible traffic problems in behind.