Tag Archive for: Hexham racecourse

Racing Insights, 17th November 2011

Did you know that the Trainer Statistics (TS) report is, in fact, four reports in one?

You do, now! It contains information on a trainer’s recent form, and their longer term course form. For each of 14 day, 30 day, course one year, and course five year, users can filter by runs, wins, places, win profit/loss and each way profit/loss. Clicking on any row in the report will reveal the runners that trainer has entered on the day in question, and clicking on the runner row will open that race in a new tab.

HINT: It can help to cross refer the profit figures of the trainer with their win/place percentage. A few big priced winners can mean a trainer has a high profit number but a low strike rate. You may need to be very patient, and a bit lucky, to come out in front this way!

Did you also know that we make this fantastic report FREE to ALL readers EVERY Wednesday? Well, it's true and we supplement this offering with yet another selection of 'free' races of the day, which are as follows...

  • 1.05 Warwick
  • 1.40 Warwick
  • 2.25 Hexham
  • 6.30 Dundalk

My fairly stringent settings for the TS report haven't produced much to work with and with the two Warwick races only having a combined 11 runners, we're heading to the North East, where it'll be T-shirt weather for the locals attending the 2.25 Hexham, a 13-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ Handicap Chase worth a mere £2,886. The going is expected to be good to soft and the two mile left handed contest will feature 12 fences...

Izzy's Champion tops the Geegeez SR figures and is the form horse here with a win and a place from his last two starts, whilst Beat Box has failed to complete either of his last two. He's also one of three runners not seen in the last seven months, as he comes back from a 220 day absence, joined by Rollerruler (221d) and Southeast Rose (343d). The latter alongside Without Conviction are the only two females in the race and she is also the only previous course and distance winner, achieved two starts and a day short of a year ago. Beat Box is the only other previous winner at the trip.

Five of this field drop down from Class 4 action, namely Donladd, Chesterville, Barnay, Broomsfield Kan and Without Conviction and the latter makes a handicap debut here whilst the former is probably the pick on trainer/jockey form but is one of three chase debutants, the others being Very patient and Without Conviction, as shown here on Instant Expert...

...but if I'm honest, that's not telling us much else other than that I'd want to eliminate Fightfortheroses based on making the frame just once in twelve Class 5 outings over fences. I think that the sire stats might tell us a bit more...

...and with there being much more data available, we're able to make some assumptions about the runners. As i need to be strict and whittle the numbers down, Fightfortheroses (#8) and Challow (#13) leave us here, based on the line of red for their sires over fences. Which then leads us to pace, a factor that is still very relevant in non-Flat races. The word pace can be a bit of a misnomer, we're not looking for the fastest horse, it's not a 5f sprint at Chelmsford, we're looking at which horse(s) run at the best pace to win during a race ie those who judge the pace best.

Thankfully we have lots of stats to back us up here and ideally in this sort of contest...

...we're looking for a horse with an average pace score of around 2.75 or greater from both a win and a place perspective, but it's clear that the further forward you race, the better your chances are said to be. We log all runners pace scores, of course and here are the last four outings for our field...

So, I want the top seven from that list going forward and they'll be the ones I want to focus on. I may as well quickly look at them in pace order to save confusion, starting with...

Chesterville : 1 from 19 career record doesn't scream winner, especially at 0/12 over fences, but was a decent runner-up at Tramore two starts ago before a UK and yard debut at Sedgefield LTO. He faded badly and went down by 21 lengths and a mark of 105 is probably too high, as he was off 94 two starts ago.

Rollerruler : had made the frame once in 8 over hurdles and once in 7 over fences. hasn't been seen since being pulled up 4 out seven months ago and as beaten by 45 lengths the time before. Down 5lbs and making a yard debut, but will probably need the run, even if the yard are 20 from 83 in Hexham handicap chases since 2012.

Southeast Rose : relatively new to chasing, finishing 614 so far, including a course and distance win here this time last year. Still unexposed and receives weight form most of her rivals, she could be in the mix.

Donladd : makes a chasing bow after an 11 length defeat over hurdles at Carlisle last time out. That wasn't a bad effort after 192 days off track and only weakened out of it late on. His record over hurdles this year is 221P4 and the drop in trip and class should help for a trainer and jockey in good nick...

Barnay : had a good winter last time around, finishing 3121 over hurdles from late November to late February, but struggled at Sedgefield on chase debut LTO. He was beaten by 32 lengths as 7th of 10, but faded before 3 out over 4f further than today after a 199-day layoff. Should come on for the run, but a mark of 104 makes life tough, but you can't argue with the form of his handler and rider...

Without Conviction : a lightly raced 6 yr old mare who made the frame in both of her bumper runs and also in the middle one of her three efforts over hurdles. Probably needed the run after 195 days off when beaten over hurdles at Kelso last month and now makes a chase debut down in trip and class. An opening mark of 98 doesn't leave much room for error here and others hold more appeal.

Izzy's Champion : the form horse in the race, gets weight from most of her rivals and tops the geegeez ratings. She was game when holding on to win at Musselburgh last time out despite having to do too much too soon and although up five pounds, should go well again here, especially if not going at full tilt for as long this time.


Of those likeliest to race forward of midfield, the two I like best are Donladd and Izzy's Champion and with the latter being in better form, more experienced over fences and carrying 20lbs less, I have to side with Izzy's Champion at 5/1, which I think is a fair price when i was expecting to see him as a 4/1 favourite.

Much will depend on (a) him not being too far off the pace and (b) Donladd's jumping on chase debut. Donladd comes from a yard in form and renowned for their jumpers, but it's just the 12 stone weight on chase debut that worries me here, so I've cautiously got him as second best. He's also 5/1 (I was expecting/hoping for 6's), but that's not E/W territory for me. If I was to suggest an E/W or place bet on something a bit longer, then Barnay might fit the bill. The early market doesn't fancy him at 16/1, but he ran well this time last year, likes to get on with it and his yard and jockey have some good numbers behind them.


Racing Insights, 9th October 2021

The excellent Trainer/Jockey Combo Stats Report aka TJC is our free feature every Saturday, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations.

Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

We also have a selection of 'free' races for you and they are set to be...

  • 3.35 Newmarket
  • 4.35 Limerick
  • 5.22 Fairyhouse
  • 7.00 Chelmsford
  • 8.30 Chelmsford

And I think I'll look at my sole qualifier from generated from my fairly demanding criteria for the TJC 5 year handicap stats ...

Five wins and four places from sixteen isn't something easily ignored and Ross Chapman has just this one ride for Jane Walton here at Hexham. The race is a Class 4, 4yo+ handicap chase over 3m1f (after a 143 yard adjustment) on soft ground.

Nine runners are contesting the £3,812 prize and our runner is a 9yr old gelding (Real Armani) who was a runner-up last time out, just eight days ago beaten by just a length and a half here over course and distance despite coming off a near 20 week absence. Here's his racecard entry...

Jane Walton's record here at Hexham since the start of 2018 amounts to a 24% win strike rate (6/25) and a 44% place strike rate (11/25), which rise to 31.25% and 56.25% respectively with Ross Chapman in the saddle. To put that another way, with a different jockey riding, her runners have just 1 win and 1 further place from 9 starts.

Together here at Hexham, the handler and rider's 5 wins and 4 places from 16 include the following of note today...

  • 5w, 4pl from 15 with males
  • 5w, 4pl from 13 over fences
  • 5w, 4pl from 12 with 9-11 yr olds
  • 3w, 3pl from 8 who were placed LTO
  • 3w, 3pl from 7 over 3m0.5f/3m1f here
  • 2w, 1pl from 5 of soft/heavy ground

Whilst the horse himself has...

  • 2w, 3pl from 8 here at Hexham
  • 2w, 4pl from 7 over 3m0.5f/3m1f
  • 1w, 4pl from 6 on soft
  • 2w, 3pl (11222) over 3m0.5f/3m1f here at Hexham

Many of the above stats are shown on Instant Expert...

...where his place record is a thing of beauty.

He's 112422 in his last six outings, all of which were here at Hexham, with a 4th of 13 being his worst result, but that was over an inadequately short 2m4.5f, so I'm happy to over look that.

He was off track for almost 20 weeks before running here last week and he almost hung on for the win, but a slight lac of race sharpness caught up with him in the end, as did rival Supreme Steel carrying almost two stones less, eventually heading him inside the final furlong. Real Armani is entitled to come on for the run and should be in the mix at his favourite track/trip again.

He likes to race positively, often setting the pace...

...and this is actually a very good tactic here at Hexham, verified not only by the horse's past successes here, but also by our own pace data...

Mid-division runners' success needs to be taken with a little pinch of salt, as it's from. small sample size, but leaders have very good percentages for both win and place, suggesting Real Armani's tactics could be spot on here.


Real Armani was unlucky not to hang on last week, but having had the benefit of the run, he could very well go one better here. For Jim looks to be the biggest danger here off the back of a career best win at Bangor last time out, but he's up another 6lbs for winning by a neck and his record on soft ground isn't good, so I'll be taking some of the 4/1 offered by Bet365 (the only open book at 5.45pm) about Real Armani.

Racing Insights, 31st August 2021

Somewhat incredibly, we're now at the end of August and 2021 seems to be speeding by. Our free feature for Tuesdays is The Shortlist, a simple and usually brief report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day. It covers win or place stats, can be viewed for both today’s and tomorrow’s racing and this is how it looks for Tuesday...

...where the first four on that list would certainly merit at least a second look. In addition to The Shortlist, we also offer the following free races of the day...

  • 4.35 Epsom
  • 4.45 Hexham
  • 6.30 Newton Abbot
  • 7.15 Hexham

Prince Dundee The Shortlist features at the bottom of The Shortlist in one of our free races, so I'm going to take a look at the 7.15 Hexham today. It's a 12-runner, Class 5, Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 3m on Good ground and one of the following will claim £2,886...

None of these arrive in particularly great form, if truth be told, although Classical Milano won in a higher grade last time out and Prince Dundee won two starts ago. Both of these, along with Dutch Canyon are previous winners over track and trip. The Pine Martin has also won here in the past, whilst Miami Present has scored over today's trip.

The Pine Martin hasn't been seen for over seven months, but the others have all raced in the last 12 weeks. Strategic steps up in class here, but Prince Dundee, Classical Milano, Regaby and Exit ten are all stepping down from Class 4 with the last of those making a handicap debut here. Trainer Lucinda Russell has a good record at this venue and saddles three here in Prince Dundee, Katalystic and Flutter Down.

We've an interesting mix of age/experience here with five 5/6 yr olds and six 10/11 yr olds taking on just one 8 yr old, whilst top weight and Shortlist horse Prince Dundee is rated by the assessor to be some 41lbs better than Strategic, who runs from 8lbs out of the handicap here.

Instant Expert shows us why/how Prince Dundee was on The Shortlist, although opening up the field parameters has turned that from green to amber.

The only others of any note in handicap chases are Katalystic, Classical Milano, Miami Present and Dutch Canyon. Perhaps the place figures will be more helpful...

...where I think the takeaway is likely to be that we should be focusing on the first seven on the card.

These bigger field staying handicaps at Hexham aren't good for hold up horses at all, but aside from sitting at the back, the pace stats suggest you can win from pretty much anywhere else...

...with leaders having the best place results, followed by prominent runners. Based on their last four outings, this the average pace setting of our dozen runners...

...and again I think I want to be with the top seven on the card. Of these seven...

Prince Dundee is 2 from 2 over course and distance and has also won here over a half furlong further. He won here two starts ago off a mark of 100, but was then beaten last time out by 24.5 lengths off 107. He's still off 107, but his jockey takes 10lbs off which should make him more competitive down in class.

Katalystic hasn't won any of five races since scoring at Perth over a year ago and his average margin of defeat in those five runs is around 23 lengths. Stepping up in trip here by half a mile probably doesn't help. I think he needs shorter on softer ground.

Classical Milano has won 4 times here at Hexham at 3m/3m0.5f and was the winner here last time out beating Prince Dundee by nearly 25 lengths. His 7lb weight hike allied to the Prince's 10lb claim makes for a huge weight swing and that might be a bit much here, but still in with a great chance.

Grumpy Mcgrumpface is still a maiden after 13 races (5 x NHF, 6 x hrd, 2 x chs) and was beaten by 16 lengths over this trip at Perth last time out and has to run off the same mark here. Well beaten on two previous visits, that's probably going to happen again.

Miami Present was useful a few years back, winning three times in 2017, but it's almost four years without a win and has been pulled up in four of his last eight starts. His two defeats this term have come at a combined deficit of over 70 lengths and even another 5lb drop (now 32lbs lower than his last win) might not be enough.

Dutch Canyon won a couple of times in 2019 and was a runner-up twice last year, but is winless in his last eight. That said, he should have won two starts ago at Sedgefield when clear at the last, but he overjumped and landed awkwardly on his way to the ground. He's on the same mark as his last win and could go well here.

Regaby is another who doesn't complete enough of his races, having been pulled up, fallen or unseated his rider in three of his eight runs this year. They've kept him busy for sure and if getting a clear round could be involved, especially off a mark of 79. That said, he's still an 11-race maiden and his jumping can be sketchy.


We started off with our free races and The Shortlist report and we focused on Prince Dundee from the report. He was well beaten here by Classical Milano last time out, but his jumping wasn't quite right. He's now effectively 17lbs better off and I envisage they'll be closer together here and in my eye, it's between those two for this one and I think I'd rather be on our focus horse based on that weight swing more than anything else.

For the final place, there's not much between a few of the top seven on the card, but I'm siding with Dutch Canyon, who should have won at Sedgefield and is on an attractive mark here.

So it's Prince Dundee (9/2) / Classical Milano (7/2) / Dutch Canyon (7/1) for me in what looks an interesting encounter for a Class 5 chase.

Racing Insights, 31st March 2021

I closed my preview of Tuesday's race with the words..."a 14/1 E/W play for a few pennies on Pour Une Raison would at least give us some other interest in the race"... After all, the horse looked fairly well suited to the task in hand, was second on our Geegeez ratings and looked "big" at 14's. The end result was that he won by nine lengths easing down and my only regret was only suggesting such a small stake!

Now, to Wednesday, the last opportunity of the month, where we're assisted by full free access to the Trainer Statistics report, whilst our free 'races of the day' are...

  • 2.00 Ludlow
  • 2.20 Southwell
  • 3.40 Hexham
  • 3.50 Southwell
  • 5.00 Dundalk

The middle one of that quintet of races looks interesting. Only six are set to go to post, but it looks a fairly competitive contest nevertheless. It's a Class 4, handicap hurdle over 2m4f on good to soft ground and it's on your racecards as the 3.40 Hexham...

Very Patient carries bottom weight here and comes from a yard in decent nick after landing 6 winners from 26 (23.1% SR) over the last 30 days, of which jockey Ryan Mania is 4 from 16 (25%). The horse ran well enough on debut to finish third in a soft ground bumper, beaten by little more than three lengths, but hasn't kicked on since. He was beaten by 27L in another bumper and has failed to finish in two of four over hurdles, losing the other two by 12L and 27L respectively with that last defeat being his most recent effort. I don't see him succeeding on handicap debut even off a mark as low as 103.

Cash Again on the other hand, might not be too badly treated off 106, as he has won off this mark in the past, albeit over fences in January 2018! He was then winless from that date for ten outings (9 x chase, 1 x hurdle) before taking advantage of a reduced mark to win over hurdles at Sedgefield off 98. He went up 4lbs next/last time out to 102, but still won over fences at this track and trip. More is needed today, up another 4lbs after only just getting up last time out, but he'll have a chance here.

Bavington Bob produced a career-best effort to get off the mark at the seventh time of asking on his handicap debut last time out. He stayed on well to win by a length and a half and although some of his rivals from that race have reappeared and run well, this is a much tougher prospect. He's up in class and effectively 7lbs worse off (up 4lbs and no 3lb jockey claim) and he's meeting better horses in better form than those he faced last time out. That said, winning can become habit-forming and I'm sure he'll be popular here, especially as his yard are 13 from 32 (40.6% SR) with LTO winners since 2016.

Sheriff Garrett won a 15-runner handicap in mid-March and was a runner up at Newcastle last time out, 11 days ago and really relishes running at this type of trip. Has good ground speed between the hurdles, as demonstrated by his two wins over 1m6f on the A/W at Wolverhampton in the past. He goes off the same mark here as LTO and this race looks a little weaker with only half the runners and in Jamie Hamilton, he has a fairly hot jockey who has won three of seven races in the past week.

Hart Of Steel has had a good season so far, finishing 31127 over hurdles and you could make excuses about his last run if you wanted to, when an inexperienced (just 18 rides in the last year) 10lbs claimer wasn't able to keep him under a tight rein. He ran too keenly and weakened late on in a 12 lengths defeat. He's down a pound in the ratings here and we've a 5lb claimer on board, so he's now effectively back on the same mark as when winning here three starts ago, albeit over just 2m0.5f and under a better jockey (today's jockey is 1 from 30 over the last month). I also have some reservations about him seeing the trip out, but the ability is there if ridden accordingly.

Stainsby Girl bears top weight here, but she's on the same mark as when winning back to back Class 4 hurdles at Newcastle (March 2020) and then 8 months later here at Hexham in November. She was only beaten by just over 7 lengths last time out in a Class 2 contest and now drops 2lbs and 2 grades. She's further aided by the 3lb claim of jockey Billy Garrity who had a winner and a runner-up from his two rides at nearby Newcastle today (Tuesday).


It's a Class 4 contest, so you'd be entitled to expect some level of relevant past form and the overall tally of this bunch of six hopefuls stands at a reasonable 28 placed efforts from 71 (39.4%), including 11 wins (15.5% SR) with the stats a little lower than I'd hoped, but it doesn't help when the combined NH records of Bavington Bob and Very Patient come to just 1 win and 1 place from 13. Otherwise the four remaining runner have made the frame on 44.8% of the time , winning 17.2%. Instant Expert will hopefully tell us more about those wins...

At this point, only Very Patient's poor record stands out like a sore thumb, but Bavington Bob's sole win from seven starts does seem to have rescued him on that graphic with it coming over today's trip.

When looking back over 11 previous similar contests, it's blatantly obvious how best to win here at Hexham, get out and stay out...

Those attempting to make the pace tend to do very well with over 60% staying out long enough to make the frame and the danger to the leaders is invariably those who have bided their time a little further back in the pack. Hexham is hard to win at from off the pace, as shown by the hold-up horses' poor numbers, whilst this racing more prominently often do much too early in a bid to keep closer to the leaders. Hanging back just off the pace is the best advice, if you're not a natural front runner.

We do have a confirmed front runner here in the shape of the seemingly well-suited top weight, Stainsby Girl, but will she have to battle for the lead? The pace tab will answer that for us...

Probably not. Our prediction is that she'll probably be allowed to go it alone early doors with the rest sitting in behind. Bavington Bob looks destined to play the role of back marker, whilst Very Patient has also been held up in two of his last four outings.


Down in class (x 2) and weight back to her last winning mark, boasting a record of one win and a runner-up finish to her name from two previous visits to Hexham and shaping well on the pace predictor, I'm drawn to Stainsby Girl here. She's currently (5.00pm) 4/1 with Bet365 and I thought she might have been a little longer, but four's is acceptable/reasonable in a 6-runner field (5 if you discard Very Patient).

She's the one to beat for me, but it won't be a shoo-in by any means. Sheriff Garrett will pose a serious threat too and if continuing to improve, then Cash Again could very well be in the mix.


Racing Insights, 18th March 2021

We looked at two of Wednesday's races, starting with the 1.10 Wincanton, where I said..."Horses like him (Llancillo Lord) have a habit of finding one or two that little bit better than him and I fear that's the case here. I prefer Mackie Dee for this one and I think Lord Sparky should be involved. Llancillo Lord should be there or thereabouts..." As it was, the Lord found three too good for him, but Lord Sparky (5/1) beat Mackie Dee (4/1) to give me (and some of you, hopefully) a nice 26/1 Exacta, much needed after a bit of a lean run.

As for race two at Lingfield, I said..."Khatm will be the one to beat after recent impressive form, but I'd be wary of lumping on at 5/4 after another 10lb weight rise. Convertible and Classical Wave might well give him a very good run here..." and I'm glad I didn't get on Khatm, as Classical Wave swept past him late on to win quite cosily by a length.

Thursday's 'feature' is free access to Instant Expert to all users for all races, including our selected 'races of the day', which are...

  • 2.45 Doncaster
  • 3.05 Cheltenham
  • 3.30 Hexham
  • 5.25 Chelmsford

And it's the heavy ground chase up in the North East that caught my eye aka the 3.30 Hexham, a Class 5 contest over 2.5 miles. Here's the full list of runners...

...but I'm going to be brutally honest here, six of these don't interest me at all, so I'll skip to the chase, so to speak and show you which four I think will provide the winner and placers...

I don't think the omitted half dozen bring enough form to the table to challenge any of my selected quartet, so I'm going to focus on where I think the money will be. I could have it hopelessly wrong of course!

Cash Again heads the list and carries top weight and kicked off this winter campaign with a narrow 0.5L defeat here at Hexham over 2m on soft ground back in October and then he finally got off the mark over hurdles at the 8th attempt last time out at Sedgefield on soft ground over a trip half a furlong shorter than today. He's up 4lbs for the win, which is probably fair, but is still 4lbs lower than his sole chase win to date and when he consider a 7lb claimer si booked to ride, he's very well weighted here.

Arqalina is sure to be popular after making the frame in three of her last four starts. She was admittedly well beaten at the start of this recent run of form when 3rd of 10 at Ffos Las, some 30 lengths off the winner, but won by 5.5 lengths over 2m5f (soft) at Hereford two starts ago and was then a runner-up last time out after being raised 8lbs. She was 7.5 lengths adrift that day after possibly doing too much early on and getting caught. She goes off the same mark here and friend of Geegeez, Rex Dingle, rides her for the first time.

Krujers Girl is probably the weakest of the four if only because the race she won last time out wasn't very good but has landed her with an 8lb penalty. That said, you can only beat what's in front of you and she put nine rivals to the sword over 2m5.5f on soft ground. That was at Fakenham just after New Year and she was five lengths clear of runner-up Leave My Alone, who needed a longer trip as proved by a 58 length success over 3m1f on heavy ground next time out. In Krujers Girl's defence, this will be only her fourth start over fences, so she might well have more to offer.

Westend Theatre isn't getting any younger at 12 yrs of age, but defied time by finishing a neck clear last time out, despite running from 6lbs out of the handicap. He stays much further than and doesn't mind a bit of a battle in the mud. He's not been overworked in the latter stages of his career either, having raced just seven times in the last sixteen months, making the frame six times including two wins, one here by nine  lengths over 3m0.5f on heavy ground. Could very well still have something left in the tank.

Let's look at race suitability via 'feature of the day' Instant Expert, by place results...

Westend Theatre's 50% place ration on heavy ground is very interesting and his line of amber for the other parameters makes good reading too. he's a pound higher than last time and it looks like conditions should suit. Arqalina's 5 places from 8 in this grade is excellent and she fares well over this trip too.

As for actually winning races...

...these horses are running at Class 5 for a reason! They just don't win often enough.

Westend Theatre is the only heavy ground winner and has won at this track before. Arqalina has failed to convert her two place finishes at this trip into wins, but has won a couple of Class 5 contests. Cash Again mark of 102 is highlighted there, as a reminder that his sole previous chase win was off 106.

In similar past races, the nearer to the head of affairs you could place yourself, the better your chances of winning have been, as shown below with 9 of 43 (20.9%) leaders/prominent runners winning, as opposed to just 2 of 40 (5%) winning from further back.

And here's how this quarter have run in their past four outings...

Arqalina is a confirmed front runner, but often does too much too soon and has a tendency to run quite wide around the turns. Neither of those traits lend themselves to success on heavy ground, but she's a tough mare. Westend Theatre is likely to push her early doors too, whilst the other two look like they'll be well off the pace, which might not be optimal here.


Based on all of the above, I can see it being close, but it's Westend Theatre to beat Arqalina for me and I'd expect Cash Again to be ahead of Krujers Girl. The market disagrees with me as of 5.05pm as they have my 1-2-3-4 at odds of 11/2, 11/4. 8/1 and 11/4.

11/2 looks generous about Westend Theatre, so that'll be a nice win if he gets up for us, whilst 8/1 also seems big about Cash Again for those of you looking for an E/W flutter.



Racing Insights, 9th December 2020

The Hobbs/Johnson/Fontwell/Chase stat came good again this afternoon for the 7th time in 11 attempts as Earth Moor comfortably brought his hurdling form to the bigger obstacles and fully justified his maximum 15 score on the Shortlist report. I know a few of you gleaned enough from my write-up to back him and I hope I didn't talk too many of you out of it.

For the record, I'd a couple of quid on Kilbricken Storm, which was money spent/lost well before the finish, as he just didn't go at all. I'm hoping for better things on Wednesday, where the free feature is the excellent trainer statistics report and our free cards will cover...

  • 2.55 Hexham
  • 3.50 Kempton
  • 4.20 Kempton
  • 7.25 Kempton

And as much as I love the trainer statistics report and as much as I'm out of form with the final race analysis of late, I just can't resist a heavy ground chase, so I'm tackling the 2.55 Hexham, a Class 5 handicap chase for  4yo+ over 1m7½f on heavy ground. The winner, who I'll hopefully highlight, will earn £3,444 for his/her connections.

I'm going to try a more concise/clinical approach this evening, something I've done in the past that has served me well, so here goes.

As most of us are aware, heavy ground is a massive factor in the outcome of the race, so I want horses proven on heavy ground or with some soft ground form at the very least. This sends me straight to Instant Expert even before I look at the actual racecard itself. I start with the place form, as I'll be shortlisting more than one horse and they can't all (if any) be winners!

At this point, I'm already against Nettlebush and Muilean Na Madog based on their previous run(s) on heavy ground. Perhaps soft ground form will save them?

Perhaps not! Roll of Thunder's lack of a heavy ground run and the fact that none of the three have even one soft ground victory to their name, never mind one on heavy means that all three are instantly cut. I did say this would be clinical!

We then move to the win side of Instant Expert...

...where we see that all have won on heavy ground in the past. In fact all bar Wor Verge have won on soft ground too, so we've some definite mudlarks here. Skipping On is now rated 5lbs lower than his last win whilst the other four all race off marks 5 to 7 seven pounds higher.

Race positioning is going to be very important here on a track where it has paid to be up with the pace on heavy ground in recent years...

Of the dozen similar contests considered, leaders have won exactly half with 5 of the other 6 going to prominent runners, suggesting that Southeast Rose and Dunly would be best suited. The graphic doesn't tell the full story, though, as Skipping On normally races prominently too but was held up last time out probably because he was racing over an extra half mile and it was his first run for almost nine months, so normally his jockey silks icon would be further to the right.

Wor Verge doesn't look likely to win from a hold up position and was 12 lengths behind Southeast Rose last time out when employing those tactics here over course and distance whilst Casimir du Clos looks caught in no-man's land neither pushing on nor dropping back suggesting they'll end up either kicking on or dropping back and I doubt either would suit a horse that has already been beaten by more than twenty lengths in each of his three starts this winter season.

To that end, Wor Verge and Casimir du Clos are discarded and I'd expect the former to beat the latter. Now we're already at three runners, where I like to be and it's now time to turn to the racecard whilst we look at our shortlisted trio. I've also opened up my angles boxes for you.

Skipping On might well be 11 years old now, but hasn't shown much signs of slowing down of late, finishing consistently towards the head of affairs. Addmittedly there's no win in eight since scoring on Boxing Day 2018, but other than last time out, he has been running at Classes 3 & 4. He dropped down to Class 5 last time out for the first time since a win at this grade in early Feb '18 when clear by 7 lengths over 2m0.5f on soft ground. He's slipping down the weights now and might just have one more win in him.

The stat angle is trainer Laura Morgan is 18 from 88 (20.5% SR, A/E 1.39) in Class 4/5 handicap chases since the start of 2018.

Dunly was third last time out here at Hexham, having a spin over 2m0.5f on his comeback from a 251 day absence. To his credit, he was only beaten by two lengths behind an overpriced 80/1 winner who has since only just lost by a nose at Sedgefield. Dunly is back over fences now and he's two from four this year in this sphere, having won twice over 2m0.5f, including a Class 5 by 4 lengths on heavy at Ayr and then more impressively landing a Class 4 on soft ground at Newcastle by nine lengths with both the runner-up and the third placed horse going on to win.

The stat here is that James Ewart's Hexham chasers are 9 from 21 (42.9% SR, A/E 2.11) when sent off at odds of 7/1 and shorter over trips of less than 2m5f since 2013.

Southeast Rose won over course and distance last time out, beating the re-opposing Nettlebush by 3.5 lengths to register her second win in thirteen attempts. She wasn't entirely convincing that day, if I'm honest and had Nettlebush not made a mistake 2 out, the result might well have been different. This is no Novice event like the last one and she's up against more experienced rivals and that pressure allied to a rise in weights will make this tougher for her. That said, she does seem to be on an upward curve, so will warrant respect here.

And the stat? Since the start of 2017, Martin Todhunter's Class 4/5 handicap chasers are 1- from (20.4% SR< A/E 1.26) on soft or worse ground, including 5 from 12 (41.7%) here at Hexham, 4/13 (30.8%) at C5 and 2 from 5 here at Class 5.


Skipping On, Dunly and Southeast Rose are my three against the field and unsurprisingly, they head the market showing that someone is doing some work too 😉

Southeast Rose probably has the slight edge and definitely has the most scope for improvement, whilst she's getting weight from the other two. Dunly won't want to be much higher than his current mark and Skipping On is in the twilight of his career now. Southeast Rose should just about win, but Bet365's standout 9/4 aside, she's a sub-2/1 shot here and I can't back her at that price.

Skipping On at 5/1 and Dunly at 9/2 are more attractive from a price point of view, although I felt Dunly might have been longer than the old boy. I can't back the fav, but I can back the other two and I'll probably have a couple of quid each on the pair for some interest. Fingers crossed for you forecast/tricast backers out there.

Racing Insights, 10th October 2020

Still finding my feet here, folks, as this is as new to me as it is to you, but today I've chosen to look at a race for Saturday from a more familiar angle and my eye was taken by the opener on the Hexham card, as it really appealed to the statistician in me, as all the runners seem to have some good relevant stats.

So, today's piece will focus on the 12.25 Hexham : a Class 4 Novice Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m4.5f on Soft ground, worth £4549 to the winner and we start with the racecard sorted alphabetically...

and as you'll see there are plenty of green form icons, red numbers denoting appearing on my angles report and blue numbers showing qualifiers from my query tool saved angles, so let's have a quick runthrough...

Bluefortytwo : jockey Danny McMenamin is 4/13 (30.8%) over the past fortnight, including 2 from 5 over fences. Trainer James Ewart is 11 from 43 (25.6%) with chasers here at Hexham since 2013, whilst on days when he only has one runner, he is 29 from 170 (17.1%) since 2017.

El Kaldoun :  is sent on a near 500-mile round trip by trainer Nicky Henderson, but that's not a worry, as since 2016 Hendo's horses running in non-Festival races more than 200 miles from home are 29 from 55 (52.7%) with a 4 from 7 (57.1%) record here at Hexham.

Glorious Lady : is on the Geegeez Shortlist report by virtue of 2 wins and 2 places from four runs on soft and the same record at Class 4 and also 2 wins and 1 place from three races over 2m4.5f/2m5f. The green icons show that both jockey & trainer fare well here, whilst trainer Keith Dalgleish has a 19 from 51 (37.25%) record in Class 4 chases.

Hills of Connemara : trainer Susan Corbett doesn't run many handicap chasers on treacherous ground but those that have run on soft or worse are 4 from 15 (26.7%) since 2015 with a 3 from 10 (30%) record on soft ground

Kauto D'Amour : Jockey Danny Cook rides trainer Sue Smith's horses well and most people know that, but they're particularly effective in Class 3-5 handicap chases, where they are 75 from 312 (24%) including and excellent 40 from 133 (30.1%) on soft ground.

Scottish Accent : is by Golan, whose Soft ground handicap jumpers sent off at 7/2 to 14/1 are 20 from 105 (19.1%) whilst trainer Rebecca Menzies is 15 from 96 (15.6%) with handicap chasers on soft or worse ground since 2016.

The Delray Munky : is by Overbury, whose Soft ground handicap chasers are 16/89 (18%) since 2016, whilst her trainer Iain Jardine, not best known for chasers, is 11 from 45 (24.4%) with his handicap chasers on soft or worse since 2016

The Ferry Master : will be ridden by Ryan Mania who always seems to be there or thereabouts, making the frame in 43% of his rides over the last two months, including winning twice from his last seven starts. He also does well when riding for trainer Sandy Thomson and the pair are 23 from 146 (15.75%) together since 2014, including 22/71 (31%) in handicaps, 16/50 (32%) over fences and 15/45 (33.3%) in handicap chases of which they are 11 from 26 (42.3%) on soft or worse ground.

Toi Storey : is, like Scottish Accent above, trained by Rebecca Menzies whose soft ground chasers are worth a second glance, but this one will be ridden by Henry Brooke who is 3 from 12 (25%) over the fortnight and has ridden 10 winners from 36 (27.8%) for Rebecca Menzies.

Victarion : is of interest purely because he is trained by Philip Hobbs, who quite amazingly has been profitable to follow by blindly backing his Saturday handicap chasers over the last 10 years. Eight of the ten years have shown an annual profit due to the overall 19% strike rate (65/342) with today's jockey Tom O'Brien riding 15 winners from 732 (20.8%)

Western Aussie : is a lightly raced runner from the Martin Todhunter yard, a yard whose soft ground handicappers are 19/123 (15.5%) since 2014 including 9 from 56 (16.1%) over fences

Whateva Next : is trained by George Bewley, whose handicap chasers are 10 from 40 (25%) here at Hexham since 2015, including 6 from 24 (25%) at Class 4. As usual Jonathan Bewley will be in the saddle hoping to add to his tally of 10 wins from 37 (27%)


Hopefully you can see why this race fascinated me and has whetted your appetite to get in to the query tool and loads some angles in for future use. All the above angles will generate winners in the future, even if most will fail here : there can only be one winner.

The one I liked the look of for at least a place myself was the Danny Cook / Sue Smith runner : Kauto D'Amour, who won a similar novice handicap (albeit over hurdles) over 2m0.5f at Newcastle on soft ground three starts ago and when last seen back in March ran really well to finish as a runner-up at the same venue at today's class and trip, also on soft ground.

He was only beaten by a length despite two bad errors, one of which causing his saddle to slip and it's interesting that he's pitched straight into handicaps for his chasing bow. Conditions should suit him here today, as most of his runs have been at this grade, he loves the mud and has ran well here at Hexham in the past.

It's always a guessing game with chase debutants, but at (hopefully) double digit odds, Kauto D'Amour could be a nice each way option.

Hexham Racecourse Pace Bias

In this third instalment looking at pace biases at National Hunt courses, we will look at the picturesque Northumberland track at Hexham, writes Dave Renham.

When discussing the word pace my main focus is the initial pace in a race and position the horses take up early on. Some pundits talk about the running style of a horse: this is essentially the same thing.

The Pace Analyser and Query Tool on geegeez.co.uk are places where you can research pace / running styles to your heart’s content.

Pace data on the site is split into four – Led (4), Prominent (3), Mid Division (2) and Held Up (1). The numbers in brackets are the pace scores that are assigned to each section.

For this article I am again concentrating on data going back to 2009 with races of eight or more runners. My main focus when looking at pace will as always be handicap races, but for National Hunt racing if the non-handicap data indicates any biases I will share those data also. Hexham is the course in focus today.

The course is left-handed and a mile and a half in circumference and is considered to be severe and undulating. The hurdle course is shown below:



As can be seen there are six flights in total, three each in both the back straight and the home straight. The chase course has ten fences in its circuit and a separate home straight with a single fence to navigate.



Hexham Hurdle Pace Bias

They run over three main distances in hurdles races at Hexham, namely 2m, 2m 4f, and 2m 7½f.

Hexham 2m Hurdle Pace Bias

Here is the handicap hurdle breakdown (8+ runners):


There is a marginal advantage for front runners but in general this is a fairly even playing field in terms of early pace. The each way placed percentages are often an area I look at, and the graph below helps demonstrate how even the splits are here. The held up figure is lower but not significantly so.

That said, front runners have an Impact Value of 1.47 which implies they are almost one-and-a-half times as likely to win.

It is also worth sharing the non-handicap data at this trip as there does seem to be a pace bias:


There has been a definite advantage to those horses that have led or raced close to the pace (prominent). Quite often the reason for this is the fact that some non-handicap races can be rather uncompetitive, especially novice events. Having said that, these stats are strong and with good correlation between strike rates (both win and each way).


Hexham 2m4f Hurdle Pace Bias

In the past few years they often move the rail so the distance here can change a little from the advertised two and a half miles. The handicap hurdle breakdown with eight or more runners over this trip looks thus:


If there is an advantage, it is towards prominent racers but, unlike the shorter trip, there seems little in it from a pace perspective.

However, when we dig deeper into ground conditions it looks as if there could be a pace bias against front runners as the going eases. On good to soft or softer, front runners have secured just one win from 35 runners: this equates to a very low win strike rate of under 3% and poor A/E and IV values of 0.35 and 0.31 respectively.


Hexham 3m Hurdle Pace Bias

The handicap hurdle data over this longer trip looks like this:


We see that front runners and prominent racers have a clearly superior record here with a good correlation across all stats. If you had managed to predict the front runner in each three-mile handicap hurdle here since 2009 you would have been rewarded with excellent profits both for win and each way wagers. Easier said than done, of course!

Below is a graphical representation comparing strike rates (win & ew) for each pace figure over this trip which emphasises the positive correlation:


Before moving onto chases, it should be noted that this front-running edge seems to strengthen on better ground, whereas prominent runners fare much the best when it is more testing.

On good ground or firmer, front runners have won nine races from 43 (SR 20.9%) with a strong A/E value of 1.89 (IV 2.43).

Whereas on good to soft or softer, those close up but off the lead won 16 races from 102 runners (SR 15.7%) with an IV of 1.56 and a level stakes profit of +25.64.


Hexham Chase Pace Bias

Over the bigger obstacles at Hexham they primarily race at the following three trips - 2m , 2m 4f and 3m. There is one race each year over the marathon four-mile trip, too.

Hexham 2m Chase Pace Bias

Up until 2015, they officially raced over 2 miles ½ furlong so I have grouped the data together. There have been 40 qualifying races (8+ runner handicap chases):



This is one of the strongest National Hunt pace biases in the country; not only do front runners enjoy a huge edge, but horses that race in the second half of the field early have a quite dreadful record. The pie chart below gives a powerful pictorial representation of the bias (it shows % of races won by each pace section):


Good luck if you're backing a patiently-ridden horse in a Hexham two-mile handicap chase!

When the going is on the soft side, the message is even more stark, as if that was even possible:


Hexham 2m4f Chase Pace Bias

There have been a decent number of handicap chases with eight or more runners over this trip (59 races in total). Here are the stats:


Another very solid bias to front runners who again show a clear edge. It is not as strong as the shorter distance but still extremely significant. Prominent runners also have a reasonable record while hold up horses have at least been more competitive than they were over the shorter trip.


Hexham 3m Chase Pace Bias

Up until 2015 they officially raced over 3m1f as well and I have incorporated those stats with the three-mile figures. The handicap pace splits are as follows (8 + runners):


This longer trip still readily favours pace horses but the strength of bias against those that are waited with is not as strong as over the two shorter distances.


Hexham 4m Chase Pace Bias

There have been only eight handicap races over four miles and the data is far too limited to dig into.


Hexham National Hunt Pace Bias Summary

In conclusion, the running style bias towards those leading and/or racing prominently at Hexham is far stronger in handicap chases than it is in handicap hurdles. Here is one final graph comparing win and each way strike rates between front-runners and hold up horses in handicap chases over the three different distances:


The graph beautifully illustrates that

a) the front-running bias is strong across the board,

b) the pace bias does diminish a little as the distance increases; and,

c) front-runners have a significant edge over hold up horses regardless of distance.

Hexham is definitely a course to keep an eye on from a pace perspective.