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Dream Conditions For Century In Celebration Mile

Soft ground seems to have scared many runners away this weekend leaving us with a day of largely smaller field races. The highest class race of the day is the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood and that’s going to be the focus of this article. One of the most popular features of Geegeez Gold is the ‘Instant Expert’ and I’m going to use the Instant Expert to gain a quick overview of the seven runners set to take part in this race.

Place Data

First let’s take a look at it from a place perspective:

Instant Expert Place Data

Ground

I’ve set the going parameter to anything from good to soft down to heavy. We are probably going to be looking at soft, borderline heavy ground for this race but this should allow us to get more data. We can dig deeper into what specific going each horse has handled or not handled later.

It seems that Century Dream and Sir Busker stand out as two runners that not only handle cut in the ground, but relish it. Century Dream has had the most runs on testing ground and has impressively placed in seven of his ten runs. Sir Busker is next best with four placings from six runs on ground that is good to soft or softer.

There is limited evidence about Urban Icon’s ability to handle cut in the ground as he’s had just two runs in these conditions, placing in one of those.

Interestingly enough Regal Reality and Benbatl, the two early favourites have failed to place in over 50% of their races in this sort of going. Between them they’ve managed just three placings in nine starts. The only runners in this field to have never placed on softer ground are Duke Of Hazzard and Positive who seem to have been kept away from softer ground as often as possible and with good reason.

Class

Century Dream again comes out on top having placed in five out of eight runs in class 1 races. Duke Of Hazzard and Positive, who scored poorly on this ground, actually score very well here. That’s not a big help though if they don’t go on the ground.

Urban Icon, Regal Reality and Benbatl have poorer records in class 1 races but it’s worth remembering this will include anything from listed contests to Group 1 races and there can be more merit in finishing 4th in a Group 1 than 1st in a listed race. We’ll dig deeper into the race class later.

Sir Busker is the only one of these to be running in a class 1 race for the first time.

Course

At a course as unique as Goodwood course form is always a positive. There is one clear winner here and that is Duke Of Hazzard who has never been out of the frame in four starts. Sir Busker has placed in two of his three runs. It’s fair to say that no runner is this field has run poorly at this venue.

Distance

You’d expect most runners in a Group 2 to have a solid record over the race distance but it’s worth noting that the favourite here, Benbatl, has managed just one placing in five runs at a mile. This stat really stands out and along with the ground stats for Benbatl suggests he has a poor profile for this race.

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Like Benbatl, Regal Reality is another who scored badly on this ground and also has a poor record over this distance whilst Urban Icon is another with a sub 50% placing ratio at a mile.

Century Dream continues to score well with the best ratio here having placed in 67% of his runs over a mile.

Field Size

Often an underrated criteria, many horses are better suited to bigger fields and others to smaller fields. Yet again Century Dream is looking good having placed in all his runs in field sizes of 7 or less.

The stand out here is Regal Reality’s record in small fields. He’s managed to place in just two of his eight runs in field sizes this small.

Placings Summary

Without having to dig deep into the form Instant Expert has shown us that Century Dream is the really solid horse in this race. Sir Busker also scores well in most categories but is unproven (having been untried) in this sort of company. Duke Of Hazzard looks pretty good but there are serious ground concerns.

At the other end of the scale, Benbatl and Regal Reality, look two of the riskier propositions despite their positions in the market.

Win Data

This is what Instant Expert looks like for win purposes. We are getting less data here but the data we do get should be more telling.

Instant Expert Win Data

Once again Century Dream is coming out very well on all criteria except course as he is yet to run at Goodwood. Sir Busker is another who looks solid and a good proposition over a mile on testing ground at Goodwood. He’s yet to prove himself in this company and perhaps the biggest question mark for this horse is his ability to run well in smaller fields.

Duke Of Hazzard is interesting based on his course record of three wins from four starts. He also has a decent enough strike rate at this distance and in small fields. He’s had only one run on softer ground and finished unplaced so that’s the big unknown.

Early favourite Benbatl only really seems to have small field ability in his favour for win purposes whilst Regal Reality is unbeaten at Goodwood but other than that most of the elements that make up this race seem against him.

Positive scores poorly for wins in any of these circumstances except field size, and even a sole victory from three starts in small fields isn’t that great on the face of things. Meanwhile there is little evidence that Urban Icon will be at home in this race.

Digging Deeper

So far we have a very positive profile for Century Dream, a generally positive one for Sir Busker and a big ground question mark over Duke Of Hazzard. It also seems Benbatl and Regal Reality might be worth taking on.

Let’s first look at Duke Of Hazzard’s ground preference as he may be easy to rule out on that basis. Instant Expert is only able to look at runs from the UK and Ireland and a deeper look at Duke Of Hazzard’s form tells us he’s actually run three times on ground softer than good. Two of those runs were perhaps slightly below par but in Group 1 company so finishing unplaced wasn’t a disgrace. He also finished 2nd in a listed race at Deauville on good to soft. It doesn’t look as though he’s hopeless on softer ground and he clearly goes very well at Goodwood but there has to be a suspicion he is at his best on fast ground and it will probably take a near career best to win this.

Are Benbatl and Regal Reality really no hopers in this race despite their odds? Benbatl is the highest rated runner in this field and has largely been contesting Group 1 races over the past few years so having more unplaced efforts isn’t the end of the world. Looking at the ground though, he has been beaten favourite on softer than good on three of his four starts in those conditions (and was well beaten over too far a trip on his other attempt). The worse the ground gets, the worse he performs it seems.

Benbatl also had some worrying stats in races over a mile. Two of his five runs at a mile came on heavy ground. Those runs are relevant here as the going may not be far off heavy but they aren’t poof that he isn’t effective at a mile. He’s won over this trip at Group 2 level in the past so he’s clearly capable of winning this sort of race at this distance but it backs up the suspicion that the ground will be too soft for him.

Regal Reality was an impressive winner last time out over this trip at Group 3 level (good to firm). That was in an 8 runner field which perhaps allays fears he doesn’t act in smaller fields (he does have a poor record when there are 7 or fewer runners). All his wins outside of maiden company have been on good to firm ground though and whilst he’s placed on softer ground it’s worth noting that his only defeat from four runs at Group 3 level came on soft ground. The ground is the main reason to oppose Regal Reality but the fact he’s not won above Group 3 level in eight attempts is also a concern for his backers.

That leaves us with Century Dream and Sir Busker. Century Dream looks extremely solid based on Instant Expert so let’s see if he has any limitations. He’s never run at Goodwood but there is nothing in his profile that suggests he won’t handle the course. Possibly the best evidence we can get is to look at the Instant Expert for this race but from the sires’ perspectives.

Instant Expert Sire Data

Cape Cross’ offspring have run nine times at Goodwood in the past two years producing two winners. That might not seem a massive win ratio but it’s only bettered by Sire Prancelot (sire of Sir Busker) here and even then that’s by just 1%.

Let’s now look at Century Dreams’ defeats in Group company over a mile with cut in the ground. His two career unplaced efforts in these conditions came in an Ascot handicap on good to soft ground where perhaps it wasn’t quite soft enough for him and again at Ascot in a Group 1. In fact this horse has won just once from seven starts at Ascot (33% strike rate elsewhere) so it might not be his ideal course, for all he is Group 1 placed there on soft ground. Away from Ascot his only defeat over mile on softish ground was a 2nd in a listed race at Newmarket.

It would be hard to argue that Century Dream isn’t good enough to win this Group 2. His only run so far at this level was a 4th in the Summer Mile at Ascot on unsuitable good to firm ground. He has won both his starts at Group 3 level comfortably and has previously got within ¾ of a length of Roaring Lion in the QEII stakes at Ascot (possibly not his favourite track).

Can Sir Busker defeat him? He’s been a rapid improver this season, going up 19lbs in just 5 runs and he’s still relatively unexposed at this distance. He was slightly unlucky not to win a competitive handicap last time out off 107 so could easily yet rate higher than his current mark of 111 which leaves him just 4lbs to find on Century Dream. Sir Busker was 2nd here as a 2yo, won a low grade handicap here as a 3yo and his only unplaced effort at this course was in the Golden Mile two starts ago when getting no run on the rail whatsoever.

The main concern with Sir Busker would be his ability to handle small fields. He’s a real hold up performer who needs a decent pace to aim at so it stands to reason he’d generally be better in bigger fields. He has won in 8 and 9 runner fields, albeit off much lower marks in handicaps, but was outpaced in several smaller field races last year (often at shorter trips than this).

The key here to Sir Busker is going to be the early pace.

Celebration Mile Pace Map

Benbatl is likely to lead with Century Dream well placed just off him. It doesn’t look like there will be a strong pace which could inconvenience Sir Busker. If Benbatl ends up being withdrawn because of the ground then there is likely to be an even slower gallop and that pushes things more in the favour of Century Dream and less in the favour of Sir Busker.

They say ‘class horses go on any ground’ but the evidence in this race is that several of these are going to find conditions (not just the ground) against them. Century Dream seems to have everything going for him and Sir Busker is not far behind.

I wouldn’t put anyone off either of these runners who are available at 11/2 and 9/1 respectively at the time of writing. Unfortunately with just 7 runners each way betting is far less attractive. However it could be worth maximising the value from this race by backing both Century Dream and Sir Busker in a reverse forecast.

Using Query Tool to find Heavy Ground Angles

It's been raining. Rather a lot. Those courses which have dodged the abandonment bullet are largely racing on heavy ground just now, and that presents a challenge for us punters because most horses have little or no form on such a testing surface.

So how do we mitigate for this? Plan A for most is to guess. Not ideal.

Plan A for Gold subscribers should be to do a little digging; and in this shortish video I'll show you a couple of ways - via Instant Expert and the Query Tool - to home in on those sires whose progeny might be worth marking up when the mud is flying.

 

Hope that's useful.

Matt

p.s. It's Royal Ascot next week - whoop! - and if you haven't yet secured your Gold subscription, you can take a £1 trial here (new users only, please). Alternatively you can access a short-term seven-day sub for just £12 by clicking here. Good luck!

BIG New Additions to Geegeez Gold

I'm really pleased and excited to be able to announce some significant upgrades to Geegeez Gold today. They are:

  • User notes and ratings
  • Instant Expert inline form, and 'select a rating'
  • *IV3* Draw feature

The video below demonstrates how they work and, below that, I've copied sections from the User Guide for those who prefer to read rather than watch/listen.

I'm already using the new features myself every day and I'm sure many of you will soon find them as indispensable as I do.

 

Here are the relevant User Guide sections...

Instant Expert Inline Form

As of April 2019, users may now select a particular form ‘block’ with a click or tap and view the related form lines.

For example, clicking anywhere in the ‘[2][2][100]’ Course block for Flying Verse opens an inline block with that horse’s two course runs in the selected context. The chosen block is highlighted.

Click the block again to close the inline form, or select another block to view further form.

IV3 Data

Introduced in April 2019 is IV3. IV3 stands for Impact Value 3, and is simply an average of a stall and its nearest neighbours. For instance, the IV3 of stall six would be the average IV of stalls 5, 6 and 7.

N.B. Stall 1 is calculated as the average IV of stalls 1 and 2, as is the highest stall.

This simple calculation helps to smooth the curve on our draw charts and isolate genuine biases, as in this example:

 

User Ratings and Notes

A major new addition in April 2019 is the ability for users to add notes and up to two ratings per horse performance.

Ratings Setup

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Before adding ratings, many users will elect to create scales which enable auto-calculation. These are simply pounds-per-length calculations based on distance and optionally going. This is undertaken via the My Ratings Settings page, found in the Notes & Ratings dropdown on My Geegeez.

My Ratings Settings

The My Ratings Settings page looks like this:

Each of the blocks represents a different combination of race code and going range. These are the default settings, and ratings are calculated based on the priority sequence of the blocks (in case of overlap between race code/going range).

Users are able to add or remove blocks using the buttons; re-sequence the blocks by dragging and dropping them; and also to restore the defaults.

Once any setting revisions have been saved, ratings for beaten horses will be calculated automatically based on these settings and the winner’s given rating.

 

Adding Notes and Ratings

Notes and ratings are added from within a race result. The default layout is for the functionality to be hidden. Clicking ‘Show Ratings’ to display the ratings features.

Once ‘Show Ratings’ has been clicked, the page re-formats as follows:

Adding Notes

Notes may be added at the MEETING, RACE or HORSE level. Notes are auto-saved when a user clicks elsewhere on the page, but it is strongly recommended to use the ‘SAVE’ buttons provided.

Adding Ratings

To add a rating, enter the winner’s figure into the box Rating 1. The Lbs/Length box is pre-populated based on the Rating Settings page data but may be over-written if required.

By default, R1 and R2 are both checked, which allows a user to create two ratings at the same time. However, the ratings would be calculated using the same Lbs/Length scale. If, for example, R1 was a form-based rating and R2 was a time-based rating, a user may want to use different figures for the winners but have the beaten horses’ figures calculated from the same Lbs/Length scale.

If a different scale is required, the user must uncheck R2 whilst producing the R1 ratings; and then uncheck R1 (and check R2) to produce the R2 ratings. Most users will only produce one set of ratings.

Once the winner’s rating has been entered and the CALCULATE button pressed, the beaten horse’s figures are automatically calculated. Click ‘SAVE RATINGS’ to save.

Viewing Notes and Ratings

Notes and ratings may be viewed within the Full Form tab. Ratings are displayed on the right-hand side. N.B. Users must opt to display the ratings from the My Racecard Options section on the My Geegeez page.

 

Notes are displayed by hovering over elements of the form line, as follows:

Datemeeting note

Race / Conditionsrace note

Race Outcomehorse note

Exporting Notes and Ratings

Users may export any generated notes and ratings content to csv from the My Geegeez page. Select the ‘Notes & Ratings’ section, and then click DOWNLOAD CSV.

**

For the lowdown on all features inside Geegeez Gold, check out the latest edition of the User Guide which can be found on your My Geegeez page.

And if you're not currently a subscriber to Geegeez Gold, you can take a 30 day trial for just £1 by clicking here.

Matt

Geegeez Gold Case Study #1

I received an email yesterday from a subscriber, Jack, who was struggling to make Gold work for him. He had a fairly set way of doing things on another site (absolutely fine, of course) and the migration to Geegeez was a challenge. Of course, we humans largely resent change - I certainly do!, so there's needs to be a good reason for making the switch. I like to think that we offer a plethora of such good reasons.

Anyway, in answering Jack's email, I thought the content might be useful to others, so I've reproduced his questions and my responses below. I will try to do occasional case studies like this to help introduce the various elements of Gold, and how you might incorporate them into your own betting.

OK, here goes - Jack's note first, and then my reply:

Hi Matt

Thanks for taking the time out for this. As I said to Chris I don't know how you guys manage to fit everything in to 24 hours/day!!??

Anyway here goes.

I use Classes 3 - 5 handicaps up to 1 mile on the flat and Classes 2 & 3 handicap chases up to 3 miles over jumps. Prefer to see no 3YOs in flat races and so prefer the 4+ races to the 3+ but they're a bit scarce after the first month or two. 3YOs can make big improvements as they grow stronger with age and gain experience but unfortunately there's no way to calculate that.

On the flat I like to find horses which have previously run well at the course and distance and have a chance when comparing today's OR to their last few runs and hopefully their run/s at today's CD, using the admittedly over-simplistic 1lb/1pt OR for each length beaten no matter the distance. I prefer the race to be at the same class or below that of it's usual races.

As an example if we stick with Joegogo in the 7.45 at Chelmsford on Thursday I can immediately see that 6 runs ago it ran in a class 3 over CD and came 4th of 6 but only beaten 2L, that it is now 6pts OR better off in today's race and, hovering over the race to bring up the comments, I note that it led in that race, faded late on and lost 2 places. I would expect it to do better in this weaker race so should at least make the frame. Looking at its last 3 races there are conceivable (admittedly a bit feeble) excuses for all of them! 3RA Wolves - came after a break so maybe not completely wound up, 2RA Southwell couldn't get the lead, LTO Lingfield, not a course brilliant for front runners and faded in final furlong over 6f. Now back at 5f.

Will be interesting to see if Adam Kirby again takes the ride although I would prefer a good apprentice to a) take a bit of weight off and b) hopefully deflect the bookies/other backers away from the horse - Adam's presence on it's back would probably lose a couple of points but would at least point to the horse being fit and well and having a chance.

All the above takes me only a minute or two, having done it for so long.

I would then switch to GeeGeez Gold to check the draw, pace and to quickly find out how the other runners in the previous Chelmsford race did as well as its last 3 races. Unfortunately this can only be a rough guide as without digging deeper there's no way of telling if those that have run since did so in better or worse races. If a horse/s still looks promising on Gold I would then go back to the RP to do the deeper digging.

Over the jumps I simply look for horses which have been running in better class races than today's. Not too bothered about the OR. Look to back those which have previously done well at the same type of course as todays, if not having run there before e.g. tight left/right handed, left handed galloping etc. So if a horse has been running well at say Market Rasen, Ludlow and Taunton I wouldn't be in a rush to back it at a left handed galloping course. Having backed horses since Blakeney won the Derby back in 1968 I know all the courses by heart so that only takes a couple of seconds. I don't bother over much with either the distance (as long as it's under 3m) or the going over jumps as I've missed winners doing that. I think the 'sloggers' come into their own once past 3m and find it difficult to evaluate those races.

In both codes I don't check how the trainer's doing - if badly then maybe today's runner will be the catalyst for a revival in stable fortunes! And if a 7lb claimer hasn't scored yet then maybe today's the day! So maybe I look a bit too much on the bright side! Also, as Gold has good info on trainers, jockeys and combos etc, I do realise that I'm not using it to its full extent but think that sometimes simple is better.

As I mentioned before all the above does not take long on the RP site as I've been doing it for years and I can fairly quickly go through all the runners in a race but it seems much slower for me when I use the Gold site. Maybe it's just a case of getting quicker as I use Gold.

The other thing that bothers me about Gold is that sometimes the draw advantage seems to come from relatively few races, especially when compared to FlatStats as I mentioned before. I like the way FlatStats lays it out e.g.'472 horses from 44 races analysed. Date range: 11-Jan-15 to 06-Dec-18' and followed by the charts. As it's free for this I tend to use it quite often.

Well that's enough of my ramblings and please don't spend much of your precious time looking for ways to help - I'm probably beyond help anyway!

All the best

Jack

 

Some really good and interesting points - and here is my reply...

 

Hi Jack

There is nothing in what you do that cannot be done on Geegeez. Regarding race selection, you can use the filters on the cards menu – I’ve filtered for C3-5 flat handicaps today in the first image below.

 

Race card menu filters for handicap, race code and race class

Race card menu filters for handicap, race code and race class

Course and distance form: best view is Full Form, where you can select the ‘course’ and distance’ filters. Joegogo Chelmsford example below. I’ve also checked Proximity Form there, which gives a traffic light view of how well the horse ran based on race distance and beaten lengths. Also on Full Form, you can see DR and RS columns: they tell you the draw – in this case six (of six) – and run style, in this case Led. Filtering a horse’s form by wins and/or places often highlights a pace preference/requirement; it also offers clues as to whether a horse ran well from a poor draw, or poorly from a good draw, etc. Finally, at the right side of the form line in Full Form, you can see that the race in question has R W P W% P % - that shows the subsequent form of the race. In this example, 18 runs, 0 wins and 3 places. So not spectacular in truth.

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Full Form with Proximity form, Course and Distance checked

Full Form with Proximity form, Course and Distance checked

 

Checking Instant Expert will reveal overall form at the respective course, distance, class and field size (going too). The final column compares today’s OR with the horse’s last winning OR in this code. Again below is Joegogo, where we can see he’s four pounds below his last winning OR on the all-weather. (I have my settings to last 2 years form, and race code/hcap contextual – i.e. when it’s a handicap, this view is only showing me handicap form, and when it’s all-weather, it’s only showing me all-weather form; when it’s both, it’s only showing my AW handicap form).

 

Instant Expert shows form against the race conditions, and also an OR comparison against the last win in this code

Instant Expert shows form against the race conditions, and also an OR comparison against the last win in this code

 

For the jumps, you could use the Class Move report as a starting point – it’s here – and sort by those dropping in class. See image below. The reports are a treasure trove, and it’s worth spending a little time messing around with them, as you’ll discover all sorts of ‘ins’ to various races.

 

Class Move report can be sorted to show those horses stepping down (or up) the most in grade today

Class Move report can be sorted to show those horses stepping down (or up) the most in grade today

 

Regarding looking for horses which have done well on today’s type of course, again Full Form has filters for course direction, general profile and specific profiles, so you can easily see how your potential class droppers have fared on similar tracks. I personally think trainer form is more important than you do (!), but I always check the place percentages as well as the wins. They tell far more of a story than the headline win numbers. (We have green and red form indicators on our racecards, but I never use those without checking the place data, as I say).

Going for me is only important when it’s heavy or good to firm (jumps, firm on the flat). Extremes isolate the proven types, and I have a ‘rule of two’: once may be a fluke, twice almost certainly was not.

On the matter of draw, I think one needs to find the right balance between enough data in the sample, and the data being relevant to today’s race conditions. For example, looking at seven runner races is not useful when considering a 16 runner race. Looking at all data is not terribly useful when considering a soft ground flat race (the draw bias can change almost 100% from firm to soft at some tracks). We have dropdowns on our draw tab, but more than that we have ‘guide lines’ which show ‘all going’, ‘all field sizes’, and ‘all races’, so you can see how the ‘micro’ dataset relevant to today’s going and field size maps against the bigger (but less specific/relevant) datasets. I’ve included an example from Southwell today, where you can see that the overall draw data (fainter lines) would mislead you when compared against the specifics for today – also note that I again tend to use place data as it is more comprehensive.

 

The fainter lines show that the overall draw data might mislead a bettor. There is very little bias against today's conditions.

The fainter lines show that the overall draw data might mislead a bettor. There is very little bias against today's conditions.

 

I do appreciate it’s a fair bit to take in, and obviously it’s different from RP because there’s a heck of a lot more on our site. But I think you’ll be able to absorb these different elements quickly enough if working on them one by one. Gravitate to Geegeez rather than trying to do it all in one go, that’s my suggestion.

Hope that’s helpful,

Matt

****

And that was that.

It won't be possible for me to go into such detail for all who want some pointers - and, naturally, the first port of call is the User Guide and/or the videos I recently recorded. All of that helpful content can be found on your My Geegeez page.

But I will try to occasionally share something like the above.

If you're not currently a Gold subscriber and you've read this far, you must be interested in what you might be missing. Hopefully this has been an appetising little taster. If you've never tried Gold before, you can get access to everything for your first 30 days for just £1.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK US OUT >>

Good luck!

Matt

Instant Expert v2.0 is LIVE

It's live, the new Instant Expert v2.0. Or maybe we'll just continue to call it Instant Expert, eh?

Most importantly, if you're in the Remain camp, do nothing and Instant Expert will continue to display the data as ever it did. However, if you're an Instantexpiteer (see what I did there? Not great, granted) then you'll want to have a watch and a listen to the below videotape, which explains all...

There is also an updated User Guide that outlines the changes. You can get that from the link on the My Geegeez page.