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Racing Insights, 22nd March 2021

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.

Summary

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!

 

 

Racing Insights, 6th March 2021

We're coming towards the end of the first week of March and Cheltenham is on the horizon, but there's still plenty of racing before the main event. Saturday has six meetings across the UK/Ireland including six Class 1 contests. To assist us in our quest for winners, our free feature of the day is the Trainer Jockey Combo Stats report and our free races are as follows...

  • 1.40 Navan
  • 2.36 Lingfield
  • 2.40 Kelso
  • 2.55 Doncaster
  • 3.50 Kelso
  • 5.15 Doncaster

...and I think I'll tackle one of the day's Class 1 races. Only six are set to run in the race I've chosen, but five of them could win the 2.40 Kelso, so that makes it interesting. the race itself is a Listed Chase which will be around 80yds shy of three miles after rail movements. Six are expected to go to post on good to soft ground in the hope of landing the £25,628 top prize.

Here's the card...

A good quality race here, even if only six are declared. Plenty of experience and ability on show, all bar one have a win in their four starts and out Geegeez ratings top three are only separated by 6pts. I like to standardise them to 100, so in effect the top 3 are 100, 98.2 and 96.4, so a tight call there.

Lake View Lad when landing a soft ground Grade 2 chase at Aintree over 3m1.5f, despite having been off the track for over ten months. This was by far his best run, but was unable to back it up nine weeks later when he could only manage 5th of 6 at Sandown a month ago, beaten by 78 lengths in another Grade 2 contest. The Aintree run says he still has something about him, but that latest effort makes me want to look elsewhere, especially off top weight, where he has a few pounds to find on the likes of Aso and Definitly Red.

Cloth Cap won really well last time out, landing a 3m2f Grade 3 chase by some ten lengths at Newbury back in November with the first-time cheekpieces seeming to do their job, after having had a decent warm-up making the frame at Cheltenham the month before. A repeat of that LTO run puts him right in the mix here, but he's probably at least half a stone out in the weights for me, so he's going to have go some.

Definitly Red won this race last year and was then sent back to his shed for eight months. he reappeared at Wetherby on Hallowe'en and had a bit of a nightmare trailing home 8th of 10 in a 3m0.5f Grade 2 contest, some 80 lengths off the pace. He then needed a decent effort next time out, but fell at Newcastle four weeks later in a Listed handicap chase over today's trip and he hasn't raced since. Fitness and ability will have to be taken on trust after a 14-week break and I think others might be better suited here.

Two For Gold has an impressive 8 wins and 3 places from 15 starts (4w, 3p from 8 over fences!) and just about hung on to make all when winning over 2m4f at Warwick LTO almost three weeks ago in a career-best effort. The way he hung on and his overall chase record will make him popular here, but he only beat the re-opposing Aso by a neck and is now 9lbs worse off for the re-match. He'll need another career best here, but he's only 8 yrs old and has plenty left in him to improve further.

Aso was beaten by Two For Gold last time out, as you now know and is, of course, 9lbs better off today, which could make all the difference. A former Grade 3 chase winner and twice placed in the Gr1 Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he hadn't been the same horse for over a year, but turned the clock back with that run LTO. He has the ability to win this, he's weighted to win this (best in at the weights) so I suppose it's just a case of which Aso turns up.

Cool Mix completes the field and if you consider that he's carrying the same weight as Aso, despite being rated some 27lbs inferior then you see how much of a mountain this race is likely to be. I said at the start that five could win this race, he's the sixth runner! Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad horse and has been running consistently well as shown by his 21333 form over the last year, but the win was at Class 3 and he was only third in a Class 2 last time out. He did admittedly make the frame in a Listed contest at this trip two starts ago, but he's so badly off at the weights here (at least 13lbs out) that I can't consider him.

*

That's one (Cool Mix) down, just five to decipher now, let's look at chase form, courtesy of Instant Expert...

Aside from Cool Mix's unsuitability for the task ahead, I've not gained much here. Plenty of wins on similar kind of ground, whilst Defintly Red's seven Class 1 wins stands out a mile, even if they're from 23 runs.

Our pace stats for 5 to 7 runner fields on ground ranging from good to soft suggest that other than being held-up, there's every chance of winning from anywhere in the pack...

Sadly for us, this again only serves to rule out Cool Mix...

Two for Gold may well be the one to take it on. His team know that Aso is better off at the weights and they may decide to try and create a gap that Aso might not be able to bridge in the closing stages, Cloth Cap also likes to be up top and so we could see them all go a little quicker than they might normally.

Summary

Unusually, the date and graphics don't tell us as much as they often do, but the form and racecard details are very useful today in assessing how this might turn out. Any of five could win this, but some are (in my opinion) more likely than others.

In a six-runner contest, I'm not sure you want my usual "three against the field", but if you did, I'm putting Cloth Cap third. I think he'll feature prominently and has been known to be a bit keen and he's not as good as Two For Gold in my eyes. The danger though this pair is Aso, who'll probably bide his time and catch one if not both of them.

As for the winner, it's a toss up between Aso and Two For Gold. based on that last contest between and the revised weights it's Aso's race to lose, but that race was his first decent effort for some time and Two For Gold is still progressive. My heart says Aso here, but my head says we don't know which horse turns up here, so almost reluctantly it's Two For Gold ahead of Aso (just!) for me.

I've now (6pm) just looked at the market and we all agree, TFG just ahead of Aso with Cloth Cap third. Could have saved myself the time! 😀

Racing Insights, 7th November 2020

My last column of the week and Saturday's feature of the day is the brilliant Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which is exactly what you'd think it would be, whilst our free racecards cover the following half dozen contests...

  • 12.40 Wincanton
  • 1.30 Doncaster
  • 1.35 Aintree
  • 2.45 Doncaster
  • 3.15 Doncaster
  • 8.00 Chelmsford

And as I love the TJC report so much, that's what I'm working from today and the 1 year handicap form in particular. Now, Saturday's are always busy and I think there are over 500 horses set to race across the UK & Ireland, so I'm going for some fairly restrictive criteria for my report settings today...

And I picked the McPherson/Lilly partnership for one reason alone : they have two qualifiers, so we get two bites at the cherry! We start in the 1.07 Kelso (I love these unconventional; race times) with the 6 yr old mare The Distant Lady, who will tackle an 11-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ Handicap Hurdle over 3m2½f (5670 yards +112 yards rails adjustment) on Good To Soft ground worth £6,238, whilst the 2.52 Kelso features Homing Star, a 5yr old mare who also runs in a handicap hurdle on good to soft ground, but she runs at Class 5 in a 3yo+ contest over 2m5f (4589 yards +80 yards rails adjustment), where the winner receives £2,924. 

So, let's start by assessing The Distant Lady's chances in the 1.07 race...

Not a massive amount of detail there, I'm afraid, but top ranking in the Geegeez ratings is always a good sign and we've runner with at least one win on this going and one at this trip, whilst her held-up running style looks perfect for this type of contest.

She doesn't win enough races, if I'm being critical but she has been running consistently well, finishing 313U3 in her last five starts. She unseated at Kelso two starts ago after stumbling coming away from the last hurdle when travelling well alongside the leader and her win four starts ago came over this trip at Southwell back in July upon her seasonal reappearance.

I think her run to finish third of five last time out was a better run than the bare result would suggest, finishing just five lengths behind a horse she was giving 11lbs to. She was running off the same mark (116) as today and whilst that's (a) 16lbs higher than her last win and (b) probably too much for her, she does now get the benefit of Lilly's 5lb claim. I'm not sure she's been treated fairly by the assessor of late but there's not much we can do about that.

I'd expect Lilly to have a right go late on, but if unsuccessful, she's going to want to win on Homing Star at 2.52...

Again, we have the top-ranked horse on the Geegeez ratings and if running in mid-division should benefit from that approach. Not so good is her record of just two placed efforts from 10 starts over hurdles, but she did win a 1m4f handicap on the Flat at Ffos Las on heavy ground. Both placed hurdles runs came from the five times Lilly Pinchin has been on board and she (the horse!) was wearing cheekpieces both times too. She has made the frame at both Class 4 and Class 5 and once over today's trip.

That said, both placed efforts were her last two outings, suggesting she's actually in as good form as she's ever been which is possibly/probably because the yard is going pretty well right now too. And if you think her numbers aren't that great (which I admit they aren't), you should look at the rest of the field. This is a mediocre (at best) contest and wouldn't take much winning.

Summary

Two mares running in pretty poor contests, both head the Geegeez ratings, both appear to have the right kind of running style for the task ahead and both will benefit from the 5lbs being claimed by the more than useful Lilly Pinchin who has proven to be particularly adept at longer trips (14 from 77 = 18.2% SR at 2m5f to 3m3f).

Any number of horses could make the improvements needed to land either of these races, but I'd expect both of the McPherson runners to be there or thereabouts on Saturday, so we must now look at the markets.

I expected The Distant Lady to be in the top three of the market at around 5/1 and bet365 are the first to break cover at 9/2, whilst I had Homing Star at around 9/2 and again in the top three of the market, so I'm a little surprised to see her as short as 11/4 and 3/1. That said, it really is a poor race and she does bring the best recent form to the table.

I think I'll probably back both, but we're talking small change here for a bit of interest. Maybe a fish supper if either win and no dramas if I lose a couple of quid. And if both win, I might feed the wife too!

Whatever happens, enjoy Saturday's racing (there's some better stuff at Doncaster) and have a great weekend.

Stat of the Day, 16th March 2020

Saturday's pick was...

4.00 Fontwell : Jimmy @ 3/1 BOG PU at 7/4 (Chased leaders on inside, switched outside before 4th, reminders and not travel well after next, reluctant and dropped out quickly after 9th, soon pulled up)

Monday's pick runs in the...

3.40 Kelso :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Calle Malva @ 4/1 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 4, Mares Novices Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 2m6½f on heavy ground worth £4,289 to the winner...

Why?...

This 5 yr old mare has won one of her four starts to date, another Class 4 hurdle on heavy ground at relatively nearby Hexham, so conditions won't be too unfamiliar today. That win is the only win recorded by any of the runners in this contest, as her six rivals have only mustered a combined 4 places from 21 runs to date.

Regular jockey Blair Campbell  is the saddle again today, once more hoping to use his 3lb claim effectively enough to land another Kelso winner for trainer Lucinda Russell, who is 30 from 117 (25.6% SR) for 60.5pts (+51.7% ROI) with horses sent off in the Evens to 8/1 price bracket in handicaps at this venue since the start of 2015. These include of relevance today...

  • 28/103 (27.2%) for 67.1pts (+65.1%) at Classes 3 & 4
  • 18/74 (24.3%) for 46.7pts (+63.2%) with horses unplaced last time out
  • 18/74 (24.3%) for 33.6pts (+45.3%) at Class 4
  • 18/56 (32.1%) for 54.7pts (+97.6%) in fields of 6-8 runners
  • 14/43 (32.6%) for 29.9pts (+69.5%) during March to May
  • 13/45 (28.9%) for 46.1pts (+102.4%) with a jockey claiming 3-6lbs
  • 12/36 (33.3%) for 41.3pts (+114.6%) over hurdles
  • 9/31 (29%) for 9.6pts (+31%) on heavy ground
  • 8/18 (44.4%) for 19.9pts (+110.8%) in March
  • 7/20 (35%) for 17.7pts (+88.5%) with Blair Campbell in the saddle
  • and 7/16 (43.75%) for 31pts (+193.9%) with female runners...

...whilst risking diluting the data too far...those unplaced LTO and now running at Class 3/4 in fields of 4-7 in March are 5 from 9 (55.6% SR) for 15.66pts (+174% ROI) profit...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Calle Malva @ 4/1 BOG as was available from Bet365, BetVictor & Hills at 8.00am Monday with plenty of 7/2 BOG elsewhere, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.40 Kelso

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Stat of the Day, 16th March 2020

Saturday's pick was...

4.00 Fontwell : Jimmy @ 3/1 BOG PU at 7/4 (Chased leaders on inside, switched outside before 4th, reminders and not travel well after next, reluctant and dropped out quickly after 9th, soon pulled up)

Monday's pick runs in the...

3.40 Kelso :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Calle Malva @ 4/1 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 4, Mares Novices Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 2m6½f on heavy ground worth £4,289 to the winner...

Why?...

This 5 yr old mare has won one of her four starts to date, another Class 4 hurdle on heavy ground at relatively nearby Hexham, so conditions won't be too unfamiliar today. That win is the only win recorded by any of the runners in this contest, as her six rivals have only mustered a combined 4 places from 21 runs to date.

Regular jockey Blair Campbell  is the saddle again today, once more hoping to use his 3lb claim effectively enough to land another Kelso winner for trainer Lucinda Russell, who is 30 from 117 (25.6% SR) for 60.5pts (+51.7% ROI) with horses sent off in the Evens to 8/1 price bracket in handicaps at this venue since the start of 2015. These include of relevance today...

  • 28/103 (27.2%) for 67.1pts (+65.1%) at Classes 3 & 4
  • 18/74 (24.3%) for 46.7pts (+63.2%) with horses unplaced last time out
  • 18/74 (24.3%) for 33.6pts (+45.3%) at Class 4
  • 18/56 (32.1%) for 54.7pts (+97.6%) in fields of 6-8 runners
  • 14/43 (32.6%) for 29.9pts (+69.5%) during March to May
  • 13/45 (28.9%) for 46.1pts (+102.4%) with a jockey claiming 3-6lbs
  • 12/36 (33.3%) for 41.3pts (+114.6%) over hurdles
  • 9/31 (29%) for 9.6pts (+31%) on heavy ground
  • 8/18 (44.4%) for 19.9pts (+110.8%) in March
  • 7/20 (35%) for 17.7pts (+88.5%) with Blair Campbell in the saddle
  • and 7/16 (43.75%) for 31pts (+193.9%) with female runners...

...whilst risking diluting the data too far...those unplaced LTO and now running at Class 3/4 in fields of 4-7 in March are 5 from 9 (55.6% SR) for 15.66pts (+174% ROI) profit...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Calle Malva @ 4/1 BOG as was available from Bet365, BetVictor & Hills at 8.00am Monday with plenty of 7/2 BOG elsewhere, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.40 Kelso

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!