A mixed bag for me on my first day back, I suggested Magical Morning might win, but he was a disappointing 15th of 18 and I overlooked the winner at the first decision stage. On a more positive note, I was right not to back the fav (13th), whilst my 2nd and 3rd picks both made the frame for some E/W returns.
Now, our last offering for the month, I can't believe we're 7 months into 2021 already! Saturday's free feature is the excellent trainer/jockey combo stats report or TJC for short, which brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report and has produced excellent results for users.
Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’ and this report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. In addition to the TJC report, we also have the following full free racecards for all readers...
- 3.40 Goodwood
- 4.50 Galway
- 6.05 Lingfield
- 6.50 Hamilton
- 7.20 Hamilton
There are a couple of Class 2 contests among the four UK races above (I don't have the confidence to tackle an 18-runner Galway handicap right now!) and they're both at the far extremes of field sizes. The first on the list has 28 runners and the last one has just five. In fairness the five runner race looks pretty competitive and after not being entirely comfortable with Friday's 20 runners, I'll stick with the small field today.
Thus, we're off over the border for some evening action in Strathclyde, as we consider the 7.20 Hamilton. It's a 5-runner, Class 2, Flat handicap, but you knew that already from above. It's for horses aged 3 and older over a trip of 1m½f on ground predicted to be good to firm, but showers are expected The prize is £15,462 and here are the handful of competitors as they appear on our cards...
Our starting point is the card itself and if we try to work from right to left, we see that all five have won at least once in their last five outings with Artisitic Rifles having won 3 from 5. Marie's Diamond and Home Before dusk both won last time out with the latter coming here seeking a hat-trick, so no qualms about any of them on form for now.
Artistic Rifles has been off the track for just over 11 weeks, but the remaining four have all been seen in the last one to three weeks and all five have won at or around this trip. Jump The Gun and Home Before Dusk are the two previous Hamilton winners with the former having won over course and distance.
There's a fairly big spread in official ratings/weight with Marie' Diamond carrying some 19lbs more than the two course winners at the bottom of the card, who both race from outside the handicap to the tune of 1lb and 4lbs respectively. Our Geegeez SR figures are quite spread out too from 113 to 76, but the two highest rated are only 5pts apart.
I won't dwell on trainer/jockey form at present, I'll cover those in my overview of the runners themselves, but needless to say there are plenty of positive stats to call upon, hence the dozen green icons across four runners.
Marie's Diamond bears top weight of 10 stones here and arrives on the back of winning by a head over a mile at Ayr twelve days ago, bringing an end to an 11-race losing streak stretching back to early June 2020 when he won a Listed race over a mile at Newmarket. In his defence, all bar one of those eleven losses came at Class 1 and he was only beaten by 2.5 lengths in this season's Gr3 Earl of Sefton Stakes at HQ. He's only a pound higher than that latest win and could go well again here under a jockey who has a good recent record at this track, especially for today's trainer...
Artistic Rifles will probably go off as favourite here after winning half of his last twelve starts including 3 of his last five. He probably did too much early on last time out, when weakening very quickly with over a furlong to run over York's mile 79 days ago. He was eventually 12th of 14 that day, beaten by some 10.5 lengths and either the rest will help him or a change of tactics is required, because he's better than that run would suggest. He is eased a pound here too and there are some good numbers for his handler...
Chichester's record of 2 wins from 12 is quite modest for this level of race, but he has won two and placed in three of his last eight, so he's going well enough. He was, like the runner above however, unplaced at York last time out. In his case he was 7th of 17, beaten by 3.5 lengths three weeks ago off today's mark. He was no means disgraced, but it's possible that his jockey gave him too much to do that day, but Callum Rodriguez keeps the ride, so gets a chance to atone here. And with trainer, jockey and trainer/jockey all faring well at Hamilton of late, Chichester could well be involved here.
Jump The Gun looks a little up against it here, having won just one of fourteen attempts on turf with that sole win being a Class 4 success off a mark 9lb lower than his current one. That said, his win was here over course and distance which is a positive, but he's now running from 1lb out of the handicap here after finishing two places behind Chichester at York last time out despite being sent off as the 6/1 favourite. I'd say he needs his mark to come back down before he's likely to win again.
Home Before Dusk comes here on a hat-trick since having blinkers applied for wins at Newcastle and also here at Hamilton over 1m1f. That course success, however, was not only a Class 4 contest but also his sole turf win from twenty attempts. He's far better on the A/W where he is 7 from 28 (5/14 at Newcastle) and after going up 8lbs between those two wins and running from 4lbs out of the handicap here, I'd be inclined to suggest that the ground and the weight are both against him. He's also 0 from 8 at Class 2, bt both trainer and jockey have good Hamilton records and they combine well too...
I wouldn't really rule any of them completely out of here right now, but I'm leaning towards Marie's Diamond and Chichester at the moment, but the other tools might persuade me otherwise, starting with Instant Expert, a quick overview of our runners' records at going/class/course/distance/field size as well as a comparison of today's mark against their last turf win...
The two eyecatchers here are Marie's Diamond again along with Artistic Rifles, but runners 4 and 5 haven't really excelled over similar trips on turf so far. All five are running off higher marks than their last win, but Marie's Diamond is only 1lb higher, which is the easiest to overcome, I suppose.
Small fields often lead to tactical affairs where judging the pace of the race can be vital to a runner's chances and what we do know about pace here at Hamilton is...
...that in 21 previous contests under the above parameters (I've expanded slightly to get a more reliable sample size, pus we're due a bit of rain), that leaders fare significantly better than all other racing styles, winning more than half of the races from less than a quarter of the runners. Prominent racers who try to chase the leaders often get burned, but those racing in mid-division do better than par and these are also reflected in the place positions, which should be good news for the front running Marie's Diamond and Artistic Rifles.
In those 21 races, there doesn't seem to be a hugely discernible draw bias, but that's what you'd expect in a small field on a track with a long finishing straight, but for the record here are the stats for each stall...
If, as I normally do, we treat stalls 5 & 6 as one entity, then runners drawn higher than 4 have a win ratio of 16.13% and make the frame on 32.3% of occasions. I suppose if you had to choose where to be drawn, then stalls 4 or higher would have a marginal advantage, notwithstanding that stall 2 has the joint best record.
And this lack of real draw bias combined with two successful running styles out of four leads us to a pace/draw heatmap that has plenty of green zones on it, giving lots of runners a chance in similar Hamilton races...
Five of the twelve possible combinations have a 1 in 3 win record or better, so this could make for an open race, depending on how our five normally run and this is what their recent outings tell us...
...that not only are Marie's Diamond and Artistic Rifles the only pace angles here, but that they're also perfectly drawn to take advantage. The only fear is that they do too much too soon and burn each other out.
From the outset, I liked Marie's Diamond and Chichester. Whilst I still like them both here,I feel that the showing of Artistic Rifles from the stats/toolkit makes him a safer/better bet than Chichester.
Of the two front-runners who I think will provide the winner, Marie's Diamond ran better last time out and is only 1lb higher than his last win, whilst Artistic Rifles was poor at York off today's mark and is still some 8lbs higher than his last win.
So, for me, it's Marie's Diamond at 11/4 to beat the 2/1 fav, whilst Chichester is the 11/2 outsider of the field, but not long enough for a small E/W saver.