The most interesting race of the day (and most difficult) is potentially the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury on Saturday, which will be run at 3pm.
With the weather forecast set fair this looks likely to be run on good ground which could potentially catch a few of these out.
The Shape Of The Race
Looking at the pace analyser over staying trips at Newbury on good or good to soft ground we can see that those that aren’t too far from the pace are likely to be advantaged.
We have a fairly small data set here so this information should be taken with a slight pinch of salt. However most of the data points to a pace advantage. It’s not necessarily easy to make all here but front runners do have an IV slightly above 1 and a decent enough place strike rate of 21.05%.
Prominent racers have performed clear best in this sample. They have an outstanding IV of 2.19 and have been profitable to follow blindly producing a WIN PL of 7.25 and an EW PL of 19.56.
Those that race in mid division have performed well and also produced a profitable EW PL of 17.50 when followed blindly. However they have been very unprofitable to follow for win purposes.
What really stands out here is no held up winners from 66 runners. This run style has the largest number of runners and the least amount of success. Even the place strike rate is less than half as strong as that of prominent racers and only slightly better than half as good compared to mid division. It’s very likely that an extreme hold up ride will be a massive negative in this contest.
Looking at the pace map for this race, there looks to be no shortage of pace which will likely compromise the chances of anything that wants to lead exclusively.
It looks highly likely that Two For Gold is going to be the one that leads this field. He’s going to have to go off pretty fast to do so and he’ll be racing over two furlongs further than he’s ever gone before. He’s also jumped and hung right in the past so there are enough question marks here against him. There are a number of runners that look set to try to race prominently here and they include several of the market fancies.
Those nearer the head of the betting who could be more inconvenienced by their race position include the likes of Kildisart, The Conditional and Cloth Cap.
Instant Expert is a great way to gain a huge amount of insight into the field in a short space of time.
We can see from the above place data that several of the market leaders are yet to run here at Newbury. There are also some distance and field size question marks over a few of these, particularly for Two For Gold and Secret Investor who are yet to race over this distance and have never encountered this big a field before.
Black Op is yet place in two outings in 16+ runner fields whilst Copper Head has only manged to place in one run from four in class 1 races which is a worry. Mister Malarkey’s poor record in big fields is another stat that stands out here.
With most of the market leaders generally scoring well enough with their place data we might gain a bit more insight by looking just at the win data.
We’re seeing a few more question marks here now for win purposes. Vinndication remains a solid choice whilst Kildisart and Aye Right look vulnerable in this class. Black Op looked relatively reliable from the place data but now looks a poor choice considering the win data.
Copperhead doesn’t have the best place record in class 1 races but he has previously won a class 1 race and he has a pretty solid record in most of the criteria here.
One at a bigger price who is beginning to look interesting is La Bague Au Roi. She has the joint second best win ratio on this kind of ground, the clear second best win record in this class (only behind the early favourite) and she has won all three starts here at Newbury.
One race that could hold the key here is the Ultima Handicap Chase from this year’s Cheltenham Festival. The winner (The Conditional), the third (Vinndication) and the fourth (Kildisart) all reoppose here and are all near the head of the market.
The Conditional stayed on really well up the hill, especially considering he made a mistake two from home. He’s generally been seen to best effect on softer ground although he was runner up in this last year, albeit off a 9lb lower mark. He has previously been withdrawn because of good ground and is conceding race fitness to many of these so could be vulnerable in this.
Vinndication was just over 2.5 lengths behind Kildisart at Cheltenham and is now 3lbs better off. Kildisart had a lovely pipe opener last month over hurdles and will enjoy this ground. He also had the cheekpieces back on that he wore at Cheltenham.
He is arguably a more solid choice than Vinndication who sports first time cheekpieces here. Vinndication’s sire, Vinnie Roe, has a 11.93% strike rate in national hunt races with his offspring and that only drops to 11.76% when running in this combination of cheekpieces and a tongue tie so there is a very good chance he is no worse for it at least.
Vinndication should be better placed in this race though which makes deciding between the pair difficult.
Secret Investor’s winning seasonal debut is working out well.
The third has won since and the runner up (Potterman, who reopposes here) was only a short head away from victory on his next start. Secret Investor won that race comfortably and is only up 6lbs here (due to go up another 3lbs) which underestimates the strength of that form. Potterman runs off the same mark again and is due to go up 5lbs following this race.
Black Op was a 4.75 lengths 4th to Imperial Aura last time out and that runner has since won a Grade 2. He was also less than 2 lengths behind Champ here last season. Aye Right was runner up on his first start of the season in a Kelso handicap and the winner of that race, Nuts Well, has won again since.
Amongst the most in form trainers here are Kim Bailey (Vinndication and Two For Gold) who has a 25.42% win strike rate and 50.85% place strike rate in the past 30 days from 52 runners, Paul Nicholls (Secret Investor and Danny Whizzbang) who has a 28% win strike rate and 52% place strike rate in the same period from 125 runners and Anthony Honeyball (Regal Encore) who has a 27.78% win strike rate and 41.67% place strike rate in the past 30 days from 36 runners.
Regal Encore also has some other trainer stats in his favour. Anthony Honeyball has a 2.07 IV here at Newbury over the past 5 years and an IV of 1.98 in handicaps.
There is concerning trainer form from Warren Greatrex (La Bague Au Roi) who has had no wins and just three places from 32 runners in the past 30 days.
Aye Right is interesting from a sire snippet perspective. His sire has a strong record in marathon races (21.35% win strike rate, 15.18 WIN PL). The same goes for Copperhead and Potterman whose sire has a 27.59% win strike rate and 15.0 WIN PL over this distance range.
The Conditional’s trainer, David Bridgewater, does well in both handicaps in general and handicaps in this distance range with an IV of 1.68 for both. Danny Whizzbang goes here for Paul Nicholls and Sean Bowen who have a 27.27% win strike rate here as a combination over the past 5 years.
The hot form and related form of Secret Investor (10/1) and Potterman (18/1) make the pair extremely interesting. Secret Investor does have to prove himself in very big fields but he has finished 1st and 2nd in 13 and 14 runner fields in the past so it really shouldn’t be an issue. His trainer is in excellent form and he’s likely to be very well placed, just off the lead. He did jump right last time though which is a slight concern but he’ll love the ground.
Potterman might not be so well placed, although if not prominent he shouldn’t be too far off the pace. He’s extremely consistent and seems well suited by marathon races on good ground, in line with his sire stats. He’s a bigger price than Secret Investor and is a bit more proven from a stamina perspective so is preferred and fancied to reverse form with Secret Investor this time around.
Vinndication and Kildisart should run well and La Bague Au Roi may have been interesting but her trainer’s form is a concern.