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Old Borough Cup Preview and Tips: Autumn War and The Trader Look Value Calls

A really good day of racing lies ahead if competitive racing is your thing but it does have to be said, a few of these big handicaps this weekend have slightly underwhelming turnouts. Several of the heritage handicaps are closer to half full than reaching their maximum fields and I’m not entirely sure why that is (prize money seems largely in line with what is was last year).

The big 7f handicap at Ascot makes plenty of appeal as a betting medium but personally I feel as though I never enjoy much success in these Ascot cavalry charges (even if there are fewer runners this year) whereas I find I have plenty of success in Haydock handicaps for whatever reason so I’m going to go with the Old Borough Handicap, generally one of my favourite races of the season.

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Draw

Only the 12 runners this year so is there still any sort of draw bias?

I’ve only included races run on good to firm to good to soft in this sample. Haydock is prone to being soft or heavy, especially this meeting, but if we include races on softer ground the data might be less relevant as the runners tend to explore different ground in the straight on softer ground. We end up with a small sample but hopefully the data is more reliable.

The win data suggests low is NOT the place to be, but in small samples the win data isn’t particularly helpful. The place percentages have high as the best but low not far behind and middle comes out worst. This data is either slightly misleading or suggests no real bias.

The PRB data is most reliable in small samples as every runner contributes to the data sample. The PRB data for this is in line with the place percentages in that high is best, followed by low, then middle.

If we want to expand our data sample, rather than changing the going parameters in the Draw Analyser, we can instead include extra distances. By including 12f races as well we get this data:

We again see a similar trend here with low draws performing poorly for win purposes, but still bettering middle when it comes to place percentages and PRB. In fact this time around the best PRB score belongs to low, instead of high, for all there is very little in it.

Given the field size isn’t huge here and the data doesn’t really have any strong biases I’m inclined to think that the draw shouldn’t have too much bearing on this.

Pace

Should we ignore pace as well?

We should never ignore pace - even at fair tracks there can be a pace bias due to the individual pace setup of the race.

The majority of winners here tend to be held up but that’s how the majority of runners are ridden. The best win percentage does lie with those held up but the best place percentages are with prominent racers and then front runners. Overall there is very little in the figures here and no strong pattern. This suggests that this course and distance is one of the fairest, both in terms of pace and draw. Barring a very weak early gallop or very strong early gallop in this contest it should be the best horse on the ground that comes out on top.

Old Borough Cup Pace Map

So will there be an individual pace bias in this race?

There isn’t a huge amount of pace in this one which could give those who race nearer the pace a slight advantage. Hochfeld is a habitual front runner whilst The Trader and Noble Masquerade tend to race prominently but other than that the rest seem likely to be delivered late.

Anything that wants further could be inconvenienced the speedier types at this trip could benefit.

The Runners

Here is the field for the 2021 Old Borough Cup, in early odds order.

Global Storm

Had been largely consistent, if not progressive, until finishing a well enough beaten 10th in the Ebor a fortnight ago. This is much easier but that performance won’t be good enough to win this. There is a suspicion that his very best form has come at Newmarket with course form figures 1161212. On top of that he seems a bit better with cut in the ground. He did finish a fair 3rd at Ascot in the Copper Horse Stakes proving he doesn’t ‘need’ Newmarket but that Ascot race has worked out really poorly, not throwing up one subsequent flat winner.

On the subject of form not working out, Global Storm’s 2nd at Newmarket over this trip on his penultimate start hasn’t worked out either, not one of the first nine finishers has won since. He’s definitely short enough in the betting all things considered, for all this isn't the strongest renewal of this race.

Noble Masquerade

With this race possibly suiting speedier types due to a like steady gallop, Noble Masquerade certainly won’t lack for speed having won over 11f this season. He does have to prove his stamina though. He seemed not to stay 14f last season at York, and generally looked to not be staying 12f. He started this season off over an extended mile and ran very well but his form really took off this season when headgear was applied, producing form figures of 2121. In regards to stamina, he rallied okay over 12f at York on his penultimate start when runner up but probably improved again for a slight drop in trip at Windsor when winning by 4 lengths. That was only a 5 runner race and Noble Masquerade has been hit with a 6lbs rise in the weights for that effort.

Given he’s by Sir Percy you’d probably expect him to stay this far, the image above shows the record of Sir Percy progeny in flat handicaps and they have won over as far as 2m1f and only have a marginally worse place percentage at this trip than at 12f but it has to be a concern that Noble Masquerade has been beaten in all five starts over 12f or further whilst he ran so well over an extended mile earlier this season. For all he’s one of the more progressive ones in the line up he’s a risky bet at the price.

Rajinsky

Throws in the occasional bad run but he’s a solid yardstick in these staying events. In fact his last six runs at 2m have resulted in form figures of 221232. However this race isn’t over that distance, it’s over 14f and his form figures over this trip are 12946. Those better runs came off 11lb and 8lb lower marks and he looked in need of further when behind Global Storm at Newmarket in July in that handicap that hasn’t worked out well. Even under ideal conditions he finds it very difficult to get his head in front so whilst he’s normally a reliable place bet at 2m, he has to be taken on over this 14f trip, especially without a strong gallop on the cards.

Rhythmic Intent

Another fairly reliable runner who ran very well last time out at York. He was a staying on 5th over 12f in a race where it favoured those who were up with the pace so to make up the ground he did suggested he’s one to be with very soon. He shaped as though in need of further that day but the ground was probably more of a factor than the distance in how he ran. His form figures on good to firm read 03645 whereas his form on good to soft or soft reads 3321311472027. Those efforts suggest not only is he much better on softer ground, but also that he’s clearly not as well handicapped as he was previously. In fairness though, he’s also been competing in much better races.

He does stay this trip, he won over 13f last season and he was a creditable 4th in this last season but he got his ground last year and was still beaten off a 1lb higher mark. He should prove more reliable at 12f on soft ground before the end of the season for all he could run pretty well here.

Autumn War

He seems to have rediscovered his form again, undoubtedly because the cheekpieces have gone back on for his last few runs. His form figures in this headgear read 11422 and he finished lame for that 4th. He ran very well last time out over 2m and if you watched that run you’d think he needs all of that trip but his last two wins have come over this distance in races that have worked out well at Wolverhampton and he’s been runner up over this trip on turf on his last two attempts.

The negatives are that he can race a bit awkwardly and he probably doesn’t put absolutely everything in. He needs to be delivered late and would have made far more appeal had there been more likely pace on offer. He should run well though at a very fair price. I’d certainly take him to finish ahead of Rajinsky over this trip.

Indianapolis

A frustrating sort who is on a nice mark now but he still seems incapable of taking advantage – or even finishing in the places. He’s finished either 4th, 5th or 6th on his last four runs and looks a bit paceless and a bit tripless. You could argue he’s worth a try over 2m2f but he’s flopped on both tries at this distance. Connections have clearly had similar thoughts as they swap the cheekpieces for a visor on this occasion in an attempt to sharpen him up but he was well beaten on his only run in a visor so it’s difficult to predict a sudden resurgence.

Alright Sunshine

Talented but unpredictable, Alright Sunshine was a narrow 2nd in this two years ago. It’s not clear what his best trip is – he has looked a stayer but then confounded that by winning over 12f earlier this season, albeit in a relatively uncompetitive race. That was his first run in a visor but it didn’t quite work so well second time out when he was midfield in the Northumberland Plate.

If on a going day he has the form to go close in this but he’s not one to completely trust and he’d make more appeal if there was more pace in the field.

Hochfeld

Probably the sole pace angle in the race and he could go well if things go his way. He definitely runs the odd terrible race but most of those come on softer ground. On faster ground he’s generally a more solid proposition and he ran a decent 4th over 2m at York, a trip that probably slightly stretches him, but he had no excuses when slightly disappointing last time out at Newmarket, a course he has previously won at.

Looking at his better performances, four of his five handicap wins have come in single digit fields but he was 2nd of 20 in the Northumberland Plate this season. He has a 50% place strike rate on good to firm which reads well with that going likely this weekend but a few other stats gathered from the Profiler tool are a worry. He’s won 3 out of 4 for Franny Norton but has not placed in five runs for Joe Fanning who rides here. He hasn’t managed a place in 5 runs in September, in fact he’s only placed in 1 of his 11 runs in the final four months of the year during his career.

He’s also seemingly much better on very sharp courses so Haydock might not suit as well as some others. He’s run here four times and has run just about okay on three occasions but was poor on the other attempt. I’d have loved to have been able to make a strong case for him given he should get an uncontested lead, and I’m not completely ruling him out, but he doesn’t look a bet even at double figure odds.

Island Brave

A pretty reliable runner who was just behind Hochfeld last time out over 2m. He’s running like a horse who isn’t badly handicapped but isn’t well handicapped though, generally finishing around the places or just outside. He runs here off a mark of 98 and his last win came off 97 whilst he’s also won off 96, 95 and 93. His last two wins have come over 2m but he has won at this trip, admittedly three years ago. He’d make more appeal over further and this probably isn’t the pace setup to bring about a career best from him so expect to see him staying on well but maybe only finishing into 5th or 6th. If he drops a few pounds he’s one to look out for over 2m on a sound surface.

Nicholas T

An absolute credit to connections and he’s taken his form to a new level this season winning the Northumberland Plate on his first run beyond 13f. That win came off just a 2lb lower mark so he’s not handicapped out of this but he does need to bounce back from some lesser runs. His run in the John Smith’s Cup wasn’t dreadful considering he was poorly placed how it was run, then a mile at Ayr wouldn’t have suited next time out. He went up a full mile in trip last time out at York and ran pretty badly but he was unruly before hand and that can’t be completely held against him.

The form of his wins haven’t really worked out and his form seems to have dropped off but he is capable of bouncing back. I just wonder whether he might be a better bet at Ayr later this month, a course where he has won seven times in the past.

The Trader

All his wins and all but one of his placed efforts have come on good or better ground so the fact that his last five runs have come on ground ranging between soft and good to soft suggest he should improve here on a sounder surface. On his last start on good to firm he won, beating Hochfeld into 2nd, and The Trader is a further 1lb better off here. That is the only time The Trader has gone beyond 1m4f on fast ground so whilst he has to prove himself over the extra furlong here (that win came at 1m5f), he is unexposed as a stayer.

Assuming he bounces back to form on better ground, he should get the run of the race here given he is likely to track Hochfeld. He’s a risky proposition, and it’s a concern he’s done all his winning in small fields, but he’s probably overpriced given the likely pace setup.

Sextant

Formerly quite smart for Sir Michael Stoute, he’s largely struggled for Keith Dalgleish. He did put in a much better effort last time out though here in a small field though, a scenario that probably wouldn’t have played to his strengths. He hadn’t run badly at Royal Ascot behind Global Storm in a race not run to suit in fairness and there is every reason to think he’s getting ready to strike off a mark 7lbs lower than his peak rating for his previous yard.

He used to lead early or race prominently but slow starts this season have meant he’s invariably been held up. If they don’t go very fast early here he’d find it easier to recover from a slow start and maybe race in mid division or even more prominently, especially given a fair few of these will likely take a pull. There are certainly worse bets at this sort of price.

The Verdict

A disappointing field for this with no bombproof looking candidates. Scottish trained trio Alright Sunshine, Nicholas T and Sextant are all capable of outrunning their odds and potentially taking this, especially Sextant who is quite tempting.

Assuming it doesn’t rain hard Rhythmic Intent is best avoided and whilst I think Autumn War isn’t to be underestimated, he’s not the most willing in a finish so he’s possibly one to back place only, for all he’s not a terrible each way bet by any means.

Autumn War appeals as the best value place bet in this but the best value win bet could be THE TRADER. If you excuse his recent form on account of the ground he comes here 2lbs lower than his last winning mark (this season) and he’s likely to be well placed off what will probably be a fairly steady gallop. He’s got the speed for shorter but should stay this far (proven over nearly this trip). He's worth chancing for win purposes but could just as easily bomb out so perhaps isn’t an each way proposition.

Old Newton Cup 2021 Preview: Make It Aaddeey To Remember

Saturday is one of my favourite days on the racing calendar with the cards at Sandown and Haydock generally looking excellent betting material. This preview will be looking at the Old Newton Cup, one of the best middle distance handicaps of the season. This race will be run at 3.15pm at Haydock over twelve furlongs and this is a race for 4yo+.

The ground looks like it will be drying at Haydock, possibly leaving us on the fast side of good by the off time, although there are some showers forecast during the day. At the time of writing they are expected to remain light.

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

A maximum field of seventeen are set to go to post here, with two reserves on standby if there are any early non runners. Is there a draw bias over this trip in big fields at Haydock?

Big fields aren’t the norm over this distance at Haydock so even if we include races with as few as 13 runners we still have a fairly limited sample size. We therefore shouldn’t get too carried away with the data unless seeing some very concrete results.

The overall draw data seems even, looking at the win data, but in small samples this can be misleading. The place percentage data has low and then high favoured over middle but with a smaller sample size we probably want to be concentrating on PRB as each runner is contributing to the data set, not just three or four runners.

The PRB figures for low, middle and high are 0.55, 0.49 and 0.46 which points towards the lower the better, with higher draws definitely having more work to do to get involved.

With a potentially strong draw advantage here, but also a small sample size, we’ll want to check how the individual stall data plays out. Firstly we want to see where a good draw starts to become a bad draw and secondly we need to check how legitimate the data looks in this smaller sample size.

Before we go any further, let’s establish how trustworthy this data is. The top five PRB figures for individual stalls are all 8 or lower, five of the worst six PRB figures belong to stalls 9 or above. This doesn’t look particularly random. If we sort all of this data by PRB3 the best performing nine stalls are the nine lowest drawn, the worst performing eight draws are all those in double figures. This definitely doesn’t look random.

It's not as though higher draws can’t win though. Stalls 15 and 16 have the second and third highest win percentages. Double figured stalls have won seven of the nineteen races examined. Also looking at the place percentages, stalls 16 and 14 have the best scores. A higher draw looks more like a penalty of a few pounds rather than a reason to completely oppose a horse.

Pace

Looking at a similar data sample, hopefully we can identify any possible pace bias for this race.

The win percentage data implies not much difference between front running, racing prominently or racing in mid division, with only being held up a disadvantage. There is some merit to the win data, it’s easier to run into the places against a pace bias than it is to win against a pace bias. However in this sample size the place percentage data is going to prove more reliable.

The place percentages tell us that leading can be most advantageous. Front runners have a place percentage of 28.57%, racing prominently is next best with a place percentage of 23.17% and although it drops again to mid division (19.48%) the runners that are held up perform almost as well as those who race prominently 22.43%. That suggests there isn’t a strong pace bias – yes any horse getting an easy lead is likely to outperform their odds but that goes for any race at any course.

In this particular race the pace setup of the race seems much more likely to cause a pace bias (either way) than the course does.

Old Newton Cup Pace Map

So here is the pace map for this race, compiled nicely for us by Geegeez Gold.

A potentially strong pace here which could compromise the chances of those ridden aggressively and improve the claims of the more patiently ridden runners.

The main pace angles are potentially Grand Bazaar, Lost Eden and Zabeel Champion who have led early on two of their last three runs. Brilliant Light can sit just off the pace but has also led in one of his most recent runs.

The likes of My Frankel and The Trader tend to race prominently and should keep the front runners honest throughout.

Draw and Pace Combination

This part of the draw tab is always worth checking in bigger fields.

Low draws seem to perform well regardless of their run style. There could be a concern about those in mid division from low draws but given those held up perform well from low draws, this could just be a quirk of slightly limited data.

For the horses drawn in the middle stalls it seems a front running ride can be a big advantage. The majority of the early pace in this race is drawn towards the middle so if they don’t go off to fast they are well drawn for that run style.

As for the higher drawn runners, those that race nearer the pace perform much better than those that race nearer the rear. Presumably being held up from a high draw results in them being dropped out and forfeiting too much ground early in the race to recover later in the race.

The Runners

These are the runners for the 2021 Old Newton Cup, in early odds order.

Longsider

A handicap debutant for Sir Mark Prescott. He was pencilled in to have his first run since February in last week’s Northumberland Plate over half a mile further but wasn’t deemed ready for that, connections deciding to get an extra week of work into him before going for this race. A potential early warning sign that he won’t be at his fittest.

His form does stand up though. He beat a nothing field over just an extended mile in January 2020 in easy fashion and improved for the step up to this trip last time out at Lingfield in a novice stakes, after just over a year off on stable debut, having previously raced for David Lanigan. He beat the now 89 rated Raymond by 2.5 lengths that day, giving him 5lbs. You could argue that he ran near a mark of 100+ that day the way he beat Raymond but if you watch the race back, Raymond was better than the bare result and has probably improved since for tackling longer distances. Either way a mark of 92 almost certainly underestimates Longsider.

There are negatives too though. He’s going to be breaking from the widest stall, he’s yet to run on turf (that shouldn’t be a problem though, his sire has a better handicap place strike rate on faster turf than all weather surfaces) and there is that doubt about how fit he is for this as he’s clearly been very difficult to train.

Grand Bazaar

A non runner at Royal Ascot due to soft ground and conditions will be more suitable here. He was steadily progressive last season on better ground and can certainly be forgiven a flop on his last start of 2020 which came over 14f on soft ground. He returned in good form at Newmarket when third, but only beaten a short head and a neck. The two that finished ahead of him both went on to place at Royal Ascot in competitive handicaps and it’s surprising that the handicapper left his mark unchanged after that effort.

He’s drawn okay in stall 8 but the question mark has to be field size. His wins last season were in field sizes of 6, 5 and 4 and his good run this season was in a 5 runner field. He hasn’t had many chances in bigger fields but was beaten in field sizes of 9, 10 and 11 last year and given his running style it stands to reason that he could be better in smaller fields. There is nothing wrong with his handicap mark or his form but whether he can run to that level here is open to question.

Aaddeey

A consistent runner who has had just the six starts. His form on good ground is 2121 whereas his worst two performances have come on soft and heavy. He was an okay 5th at Royal Ascot last time out and if not for the ground being an excuse you could easily argue that the handicapper has him pegged after a 13lb rise for a wide margin win at Newmarket on his previous start. On closer inspection though he could, and should, still be well handicapped.

On seasonal debut at Newbury, he was slowly away and strong at the finish over what now looks an inadequate 10f. He finished runner up in what has turned out to be a very strong handicap. The winner, who was less than a length ahead, is now running off a 13lb higher mark. Next time out Aaddeey won a small field Newmarket handicap by an easy 4.5 lengths so a 13lb rise seems fair, especially when you consider that the runner up won comfortably on his next start. The 3rd home, beaten 9.5 lengths, has finished runner up on both starts since so if anything a 13lb rise for that run looks quite lenient.

Given the ground went against him at Ascot, 5th in a strong race was a decent effort. He looks ready for even further already so a strong pace would help him (he’ll surely be a contender for the Ebor next month) and the only real negative is the draw. Stall 13 isn’t the end of the world but it isn’t ideal either, especially for one that is normally patiently ridden.

Valyrian Steel

A winner on his last two all weather runs at this distance, making his all weather form figures 111. In comparison his turf form figures now read 145. His turf win came against a now 66 rated maiden and he’s been well enough beaten in both turf handicap runs, weak at the finish on both occasions. His turf mark has gone up for winning on the all weather and even his all weather form doesn’t particularly stand up to much scrutiny, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th from his most recent (narrow) win have all been beaten since. Opposable.

Zabeel Champion

Trained by Mark Johnston, who has won three of the last eight renewals of this. Resumed progress this season and has now won five of his last nine starts. He was third last time out at Ascot, ahead of Aaddeey, but with conditions more in his favour. He’s consistent so being nudged up 1lb for his recent place isn’t a concern, it’s just a question of how much improvement does he have left in him after twelve starts? He doesn’t have to lead but will surely be very close to the early gallop and the inclusion of several other front runners in this field could compromise his chance in this, although there is no reason why he can’t run well again.

Midnights Legacy

Took advantage of a race rather falling apart on his most recent run, although he was handicapped to win a race of that nature. He’s four from eight on turf on the flat and has won two out of three here at Haydock, seeming not to stay on his only defeat here when tackling 14f. He’s the sort to continue running well but the winning distance of his last race, which hasn’t worked out, means he’s gone up 8lbs and others now look better handicapped in this.

My Frankel

Unbeaten in two all weather starts but only one from four on turf. He does have some good turf form to his name though. He beat the subsequently 87 rated Naswaary by 1.5 lengths in a Leicester maiden off a long absence and even ran okay in Palace Pier’s Sandown maiden over a trip that would have been far too short.

The key to My Frankel seems to be a fast surface and he hasn’t had that on his last two turf runs which have resulted in distances beaten of 36 lengths and 28 lengths. The ground is unlikely to be rattling quick here so you’d have to have some reservations but he’s capable of running well if transferring his all weather or fast turf form to this contest, for all stall 15 is a concern.

Dark Jedi

Improved by a stone last season after transferring from Charles Hills to Tim Easterby. His wins came at 9f and 10f but he was runner up to Euchen Glen in the Old Borough Cup here on soft ground so there are no question marks at all over stamina. That winner has since rated a stone higher whereas Dark Jedi is only rated 2lbs here so it’s difficult to make a case for him being badly handicapped, especially as he’s completely unexposed at 12f+.

He didn’t make his seasonal debut until a week ago and would need to improve on that run but it’s entirely possible that will have brought him on, with this potentially the plan all season. Even if he has come on for that he appeals more as a place bet than a win bet.

Pablo Escobarr

Highly tried throughout his career and successful at both listed and Group 3 level. He’s only rated 3lbs lower than his highest official rating which probably doesn’t leave him well handicapped, although he did place in a Meydan handicap off a 1lb higher mark on good ground over this distance, but was sent off favourite for that race so still ran slightly below expectations. Hasn’t been at his best on his two runs this season, finding only a little improvement in a first time visor last time out. That headgear is retained and a more truly run race here might suit him better but this requires a career best when he’s not running within a good few pounds of his best form this season.

Win O Clock

Disappointing at Ascot last time out given the ground had seemingly come in his favour, dropping away in the straight. He’s only been dropped 1lb for that run and whilst he is fairly handicapped when there is plenty of juice in the ground, he is almost certainly badly handicapped on fast ground. He’ll probably be well placed in this from stall 4 but that’s the biggest positive and unless they receive lots of rain on Saturday he’s very opposable.

Soto Sizzler

Runner up to Midnights Legacy last time out at Epsom, a course where he tends to run his best races. This looks a much stronger race and although the return to slightly better ground should suit, he’d only appeal against this field if the race was being run at Epsom. On this more traditional course he looks to have place prospects at best.

Brilliant Light

Still relatively lightly raced and has the run style to overcome stall 14. He’s run at trips between 10f and 14f this year, probably best suited by this distance on the balance of his form. He’s dropped 5lbs from his last two runs which still leaves him 6lbs above the rating of 93, off which he was 3rd in Meydan in February. That run was the last time he raced without headgear, which is left off here, and Marco Ghiani’s soon to be dispensed with 3lbs claim is very useful. The odds of around 18/1 probably underestimate his chances but his most recent runs have been disappointing.

Pirate King

Big improver on the all weather over the winter, winning four of his seven races. Hasn’t run since January but was due to run at Royal Ascot until the ground turned soft so shouldn’t be short of work. On his latest run he beat Midnights Legacy who reopposes here on 7lb worse terms so he’s well handicapped and overpriced on that form.

He has only raced on artificial surfaces in ten runs for Charlie Fellowes so it’s difficult to figure out if his improvement has been due to joining that stable or switching to the all weather. He didn’t look well handicapped on turf for Harry Dunlop off much lower marks but didn’t immediately improve when switched to the all weather for Fellowes. In fact his Kempton form doesn’t give him much hope here, all his improvement came at Lingfield. That has to be a concern here off a career high mark.

Scarlet Dragon

Made his move and hit the front far too early when looking for a repeat win of the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot, ending up well beaten in the end. He’s now 3lbs higher than his 2020 Ascot success but he took advantage of some below par performances that day and given his best performances have generally come with plenty of cut in the ground under Hollie Doyle he has work to do here.

Alounak

Formerly smart but has not matched any of his old form since joining Andrew Balding at the start of last season. In fact he’s struggled to beat any runners home in the majority of his races but he has run well on soft ground at the last two Royal meetings at Ascot. He was runner up in the Hardwicke last season and wasn’t beaten too far in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes this year. This isn’t soft ground or Ascot though and he’s only dropped 2lbs which gives him ground to make up on the likes of Zabeel Champion and Aaddeey.

The Trader

Not the most consistent but capable on his day. He was well beaten last time out behind Midnights Legacy at Epsom and seemed in the grip of the handicapper on his previous run. Decent ground here will suit but even if he bounces back to his absolute best this is much deeper than anything he’s been competitive in before.

Lost Eden

He's been potentially overlooked slightly in the market here given he was disputing favouritism in the early betting for the handicap won by Midnights Legacy at Epsom. He was withdrawn from that race because the ground turned soft and that was also the reason he became a non runner at Ascot. Better ground here should therefore suit but he doesn’t look particularly well handicapped on what he's shown to date. He won a weak all weather novice in April by 9 lengths which gave the handicapper the unenviable task of giving him a rating. The runner up in that race was a now 66 rated maiden and Lost Eden, although remaining with scope to improve, has done little to suggest he can win this off 96.

The Verdict

There aren’t many at big prices here that make much appeal. Lost Eden is probably overpriced based on the ‘could be anything’ factor but his form doesn’t really back up his mark. Brilliant Light could run well at a price but he’s very risky based on his Royal Ascot reappearance. Dark Jedi could improve on his seasonal reappearance but the bookies have taken no chances with his price given he’s much more likely to run into a place than win.

Longsider is the one with loads of potential. Just a week ago though he was deemed to not be ready enough for the Northumberland Plate and he’s clearly been difficult to train so he is opposable at the price, especially from his car park draw.

Grand Bazaar has good enough form to win this but still has to prove himself in bigger fields and he shouldn’t get an easy lead here.

The best bet in this contest comes down to how much significance you put into the draw data. Zabeel Champion is a pretty safe bet from stall 7. If they don’t go a crazy pace he should be well enough placed, the pace data suggests the lead is the best place here and prominent racers have often done well in this particular race. He ran a rock solid race at Ascot, proving he is as good as ever if not miles ahead of his mark anymore. He's very closely matched with Grand Bazaar on their Newmarket form but Grand Bazaar may be too reliant on small fields.

At a similar sort of price to Zabeel Champion, AADDEEY seems the one capable of rating much higher. He’s still very lightly raced and has only been given one chance at this distance on decent ground and he beat a subsequent winner with limitless ease on that occasion. He’s much higher in the weights here but ran well on the wrong ground last time in a good race. It seems the only things that can probably keep him out of the frame here are a draw bias and a pace bias. He can race in mid division and there should be a good early gallop so the pace bias isn’t too much of a concern, it’s just the draw. With a lower draw he’d rate a confident bet but stall 13 isn’t so terrible that it can rule him out here. Mark Crehan even takes off a useful 3lbs, he’s two from four for the stable when riding single figure priced runners.