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Racing Insights, 7th November 2020

My last column of the week and Saturday's feature of the day is the brilliant Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which is exactly what you'd think it would be, whilst our free racecards cover the following half dozen contests...

  • 12.40 Wincanton
  • 1.30 Doncaster
  • 1.35 Aintree
  • 2.45 Doncaster
  • 3.15 Doncaster
  • 8.00 Chelmsford

And as I love the TJC report so much, that's what I'm working from today and the 1 year handicap form in particular. Now, Saturday's are always busy and I think there are over 500 horses set to race across the UK & Ireland, so I'm going for some fairly restrictive criteria for my report settings today...

And I picked the McPherson/Lilly partnership for one reason alone : they have two qualifiers, so we get two bites at the cherry! We start in the 1.07 Kelso (I love these unconventional; race times) with the 6 yr old mare The Distant Lady, who will tackle an 11-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ Handicap Hurdle over 3m2½f (5670 yards +112 yards rails adjustment) on Good To Soft ground worth £6,238, whilst the 2.52 Kelso features Homing Star, a 5yr old mare who also runs in a handicap hurdle on good to soft ground, but she runs at Class 5 in a 3yo+ contest over 2m5f (4589 yards +80 yards rails adjustment), where the winner receives £2,924. 

So, let's start by assessing The Distant Lady's chances in the 1.07 race...

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Not a massive amount of detail there, I'm afraid, but top ranking in the Geegeez ratings is always a good sign and we've runner with at least one win on this going and one at this trip, whilst her held-up running style looks perfect for this type of contest.

She doesn't win enough races, if I'm being critical but she has been running consistently well, finishing 313U3 in her last five starts. She unseated at Kelso two starts ago after stumbling coming away from the last hurdle when travelling well alongside the leader and her win four starts ago came over this trip at Southwell back in July upon her seasonal reappearance.

I think her run to finish third of five last time out was a better run than the bare result would suggest, finishing just five lengths behind a horse she was giving 11lbs to. She was running off the same mark (116) as today and whilst that's (a) 16lbs higher than her last win and (b) probably too much for her, she does now get the benefit of Lilly's 5lb claim. I'm not sure she's been treated fairly by the assessor of late but there's not much we can do about that.

I'd expect Lilly to have a right go late on, but if unsuccessful, she's going to want to win on Homing Star at 2.52...

Again, we have the top-ranked horse on the Geegeez ratings and if running in mid-division should benefit from that approach. Not so good is her record of just two placed efforts from 10 starts over hurdles, but she did win a 1m4f handicap on the Flat at Ffos Las on heavy ground. Both placed hurdles runs came from the five times Lilly Pinchin has been on board and she (the horse!) was wearing cheekpieces both times too. She has made the frame at both Class 4 and Class 5 and once over today's trip.

That said, both placed efforts were her last two outings, suggesting she's actually in as good form as she's ever been which is possibly/probably because the yard is going pretty well right now too. And if you think her numbers aren't that great (which I admit they aren't), you should look at the rest of the field. This is a mediocre (at best) contest and wouldn't take much winning.

Summary

Two mares running in pretty poor contests, both head the Geegeez ratings, both appear to have the right kind of running style for the task ahead and both will benefit from the 5lbs being claimed by the more than useful Lilly Pinchin who has proven to be particularly adept at longer trips (14 from 77 = 18.2% SR at 2m5f to 3m3f).

Any number of horses could make the improvements needed to land either of these races, but I'd expect both of the McPherson runners to be there or thereabouts on Saturday, so we must now look at the markets.

I expected The Distant Lady to be in the top three of the market at around 5/1 and bet365 are the first to break cover at 9/2, whilst I had Homing Star at around 9/2 and again in the top three of the market, so I'm a little surprised to see her as short as 11/4 and 3/1. That said, it really is a poor race and she does bring the best recent form to the table.

I think I'll probably back both, but we're talking small change here for a bit of interest. Maybe a fish supper if either win and no dramas if I lose a couple of quid. And if both win, I might feed the wife too!

Whatever happens, enjoy Saturday's racing (there's some better stuff at Doncaster) and have a great weekend.

Graeme McPherson relatively unscathed following Huntingdon incident

Graeme McPherson counted himself lucky after narrowly avoiding serious injury following an incident involving one of his runners at Huntingdon.

The Stow-on-the-Wold handler was left nursing a sore shoulder after being kicked by Dublin Four, who moments earlier had collapsed to the ground outside of the saddling boxes, before division one of the MansionBet Proud To Support British Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase.

McPherson said: “He came out of the saddling boxes and went over backwards and was motionless on the ground. I feared the worst, so I went over to see how he was and was double-barrelled. He caught me just on the shoulder, but it was enough force to knock me backwards and I just banged myself on the stable door.

“The shoulder is a bit sore, but I will be fine. It is a lucky escape and we live to fight another day.”

McPherson reported the six-year-old gelding to have sustained only superficial injuries.

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He added: “The horse seems OK. He has skinned his front legs a little bit, just where he has scrambled around. I think he is a lovely horse, but he has just scared himself more than anything else.

“He has never shown any signs of doing anything like this and he was as good as gold last year. Hopefully it won’t leave any scars on him.”

After a slight delay, victory in the two-and-a-half-mile contest went the way of the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Guy (9-1), who put in an assured round of jumping to score by 13 lengths.

Vegas Blue made a triumphant return to the scene of her Listed bumper success, running out a 13-length winner of the Bet 10 Get 20 With MansionBet Mares’ Maiden Hurdle under Nico de Boinville.

De Boinville said of the Nicky Henderson-trained 4-11 shot: “She is a mare we like a lot. I’m not sure what happened on Boxing Day, but maybe it came a bit quick for her. Today she has shown what she really is.

“The guys at home have done a great job with her and she jumped brilliantly.”

Jonjo O’Neill appears to have a potentially smart performer on his hands in Prince Escalus (33-1), who exacted revenge on his Newbury conqueror Your Darling with a front-running success in the Covered By MansionBet Faller Insurance Novices’ Hurdle.

Winning rider Jonjo O’Neill junior said: “It was a very strong bumper at Newbury with Your Darling and Flinteur Sacre in and we were going to go novice hurdling with him afterwards in the spring, then coronavirus happened so maybe it is a blessing in disguise as he is a novice this season.”

Corey McGiven celebrated his first winner under rules after the Lucy Wadham-trained Will Sting (22-1) held on in the MansionBet Maiden National Hunt Flat Race.

The 21-year-old, who has been based with the Newmarket handler for two months, said: “It’s brilliant and I’d just like to thank Lucy and the owners for giving me the opportunity and putting me up on a nice horse.

“He can be a bit keen at home, but he settled lovely today. He did everything really well and picked up when I needed him to.

“I’d say there’d be more to come.”

Stat of the Day, 30th September 2020

Tuesday's pick was...

8.10 Wolverhampton : Critical Thinking @ 8/1 BOG 6th at 8/1 (In touch, pushed along over 1f out, not trouble leaders)

Wednesday's pick runs in the...

3.30 Nottingham :

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?

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Andaleep @ 4/1 BOG

...in an 11-runner, Class 3, Flat Handicap for 3yo+ over 1m2f on Good ground worth £12,129 to the winner... 

Why?...

I'm going to keep it short and hopefully sweet today, starting with the racecard...

...as we bid a fond farewell to SotD with an in-form 4 yr old gelding hailing from an in-form yard with a good 2 year record on the Flat (and over middle distances) albeit from small sample sizes.

Andaleep has been first past the post in each of his last three starts (although subsequently disqualified on the first of the three), all over this 1m2f trip and he's 2 from 2 at 16-20 days rest and 2 from 2 under today's jockey William Carver.

Trainer Graeme McPherson is undoubtedly best known for his NH exploits, having sent out 796 NH runners since the start of 2016, whilst his record on the Flat over the same period stands at...

...and these include of relevance today...

  • 6 from 18 (33.3%) at 1m2f to 1m6f
  • 6 from 13 (46.2%) at odds of 9/4 to 11/1
  • 5 from 7 (71.4%) at 16-20 dslr
  • 3 from 8 (37.5%) with 4 yr olds
  • 3 from 5 (60%) over 1m2f
  • 2 from 4 (50%) with LTO winners
  • 2 from 4 (50%) in September
  • 2 from 2 (100%) for jockey William Carver
  • and 1 from 2 (50%) here at Nottingham...

...whilst those sent off at 9/4 to 11/1 over 1n2f to 1m6f some 16-20 days after last run have finished 121111 with the 83.3% strike rate yielding profits of 26.75pts (+445.8% ROI) at Industry SP or 30pts (+500% ROI) at Betfair SP, including 3 wins from 3 at today's trip...

...steering us gently towards... a final 1pt win bet on Andaleep @ 4/1 BOG as was widely available at 2.00am Wednesday, 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 3.30 Nottingham

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

Here is today's racecard

REMINDER: STAT OF THE DAY WILL BE REPLACED BY THE NEW RACING INSIGHTS FEATURE FROM THIS EVENING.

On behalf of Matt and myself, I'd like to thank you all for your support and loyalty over the years, especially when things haven't always gone our way : I really do appreciate it. The lack of pressure from the readers have ensured that I could approach each new day without a monkey on my back and I hope I can count on the same leeway/latitude for our new venture.

Chris