The new week starts here! And whilst the quality of racing over the next seven days will struggle to get anywhere near that of the previous seven, there are still races to be won. To help all our readers find those winners, we offer a 'feature of the day' and full access to a number of 'races of the day' to all subscribers, regardless of whether they're paying us for Gold membership or not.
Monday's feature is access to the PACE tab for ALL races, including the 'races of the day', which are set to be...
- 2.18 Plumpton
- 3.03 Southwell
- 5.00 Navan
- 5.10 Kelso
And I think the one I want to look at from those virtually picks itself. 3-runner, 17-runner and 14-runner handicaps really don't float my boat, so were off just over the border for the 5.10 Kelso, a Class 5, Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase over three miles on good ground...
Final Reminder won three on the spin in May/June 2018, but was then off the track for 10 months and didn't run as well in two starts after the layoff. She was then "rested" for another 18 months before embarking on a chasing campaign in December 2020, where she was 5th of 8, beaten by 36 lengths and has subsequently failed to finish her only other run. She wears first time cheekpieces here, but that's more out of desperation, I feel, although her jockey is 4 from 18 in handicaps here since 2018, albeit 0/4 over fences.
Damiens Dilemma is 13 yrs old now, so I'd guess his opportunities for winning races will be limited, but he kicked the winter off with back to back wins, including one here over 3m2.5f of a mark 3lbs higher than he is today. His form tailed off after those two wins, but a third place at Newcastle last time says he might still have at least one decent run left in him and he's down in both class and weight here.
Skyhill, on the other hand, is still relatively unexposed over fences after just eight starts in which he has made the frame four times, going on to win three of them. He has won here at Kelso over hurdles and fences and although he has yet to reach the heights of last season, he is now down to his last winning mark, which came at a higher grade than this race and his jockey is in fine form winning 7 of 27 in the past fortnight.
Tour de Pub has failed to make the frame in goth starts over fences and was only placed once from five over hurdles and has had some lengthy margins of defeat already, but probably ran his best race to date when fourth of thirteen last time out. He was beaten by less than six lengths that day and runs off the same mark here. He'll still need to improve, though, to get involved here.
Ashjan is 2/24 over hurdles and has yet to score in eight efforts over fences. He was beaten by 16 lengths over 2m1f here earlier this month and now makes a big step up in trip. He has raced over 2m6f once before and failed to make an impression and this is another quarter mile further. I'd be inclined to look elsewhere, although his yard are 7/23 (30.4% SR) in handicap chases here at Kelso since 2018, including 5 from 11 at 2m6.5f to 3m2.5f
Hitman Fred is interesting at first glance, having made the frame in each of his last two starts, but the joy is tempered when closer analysis shows a runner-up finish in A/W bumper followed by a 30 length defeat on his chasing debut last month, so there might be more to come. He did win at PTP level in Ireland, but is 0 from 13 under Rules, making the frame just four times, two of which came from 3 bumper runs.
Emirat de Catana won a Class 5 hurdle over 3m0.5f at Perth 22 months and 13 races ago and hasn't run at all well since. He is 0 from 8 over fences, hasn't made the frame in any of them and failed to complete three times. Of the five he did finish, his best result is a defeat by 25.5 lengths and even though he's now on a feather weight and is related to several chase winners, he's not for me here.
Farlam King is another, like Hitman Fred, whose form line might be a bit misleading. He has indeed made the frame in each of his last two starts over fences, but was beaten by 41 & 19 lengths in those two contests and has been off the track for almost 15 weeks. Overall he has no wins from 20, has placed just five times and runs from 5lbs out of the handicap. I don't see him being 1/21 after this one.
In all fairness, this is a poor race for poor horses and as you'd expect with runners who just don't win often enough, if at all, Instant Expert won't tell us too much about relevant chase form...
...although we've two that stand out there. It might give us a better idea to consider place form in the hope of maybe uncovering a decent priced E/W bet?
Well, the same two are still most prominent, but Hitman Fred has at least been involved at Class/trip. And I think that those three are the ones I'm going to end up with here, based on the above and also from my summaries of the runners.
According to the pace stats from similar past races, upfront or close the action is where you want to be...
...but the actual pace map of the contest suggests no natural leader...
,..yet it still gives us an indication of how they might break/run. And we can then look at their last four races to see if any of them might actually step forward and take it on...
...and this would suggest that Damiens Dilemma is indeed quite likely to lead them out as he has raced up with the pace in three of his last four runs and the one where he didn't was a Class 3 contest, where he was quite probably out of his depth. I'm also pretty confident in our pace map prediction that Hitman Fred, Farlam King and Skyhill will be up there too.
As I said earlier, this is an awful race and it might boil down to which horses I dislike the least! I said after Instant Expert that Damiens Dilemma, Hitman Fred & Skyhill were looking like my three against the field and the pace summary has strengthened that opinion.
Of the three, I like Damiens Dilemma the most and he's currently available at 4/1. I don't have much separating the other two, aside from a marginal preference for Skyline, who trades at an attractive 7/1 right now, but this isn't a race to be digging too deep for stake money!