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Racing Insights, 9th April 2021

The rain I expected in the North West never really materialised and Native River was left to toil on ground too quick for his liking. That said, the way Clan des Obeaux ran today, he'd have been tough to beat in any conditions, so hats off to him and his team, who realised how tough it is to win here after running in the Gold Cup.

Native River plugged on to take third as my final five in the field contained the first four home and a faller and the first three home came from my last four, so those doing the crossed exacta/trifecta bets might have made a quid or two at least.

As for me, I lost a couple of quid, but no dramas. I just pick myself up and go again. Friday's 'feature of the day' is the Horses for Courses report, which does pretty much what it says on the tin and our free 'races of the day' are scheduled to be...

  • 3.05 Sedgefield
  • 4.05 Aintree
  • 4.50 Wexford
  • 6.55 Wexford

I'm going to focus on the Horses for Courses report today, which has a couple of qualifiers on the A/W to consider...

Both have made the frame in more than half of their runs here at Kempton and have won at least a quarter of their visits. Both are also profitable to back here from a win and E/W perspective, so let's dive in. We start with Phoenix Star, who runs in the 6.40 Kempton, a 9-runner Class 5 handicap for 4yo+ over 6f worth £2862 ...

Phoenix Star has four wins and a place from eight efforts over this course and distance, including two wins from three at Class 5. He might actually be a touch high in the weights off a mark of 68 today, but went very close over 5f at Newcastle last time out. He was running on well at the finish and the extra furlong should help here, but he is up another 3lbs back in Class 5 company. On his day, he'd have every chance here.

Most of his A/W form above relates to Kempton, as he's actually 0 from 15 at Chelmsford, Newcastle and Wolverhampton, so that defeat by a neck last time out at Newcastle as probably his best non-Kempton run.

He's drawn nine of nine here, which isn't ideal if truth be told, as you probably want to be in boxes 3 to 6 in a contest like this...

...but at least he'll be able to see the entire field inside of him.

Races like this have tended to be won by horses running just off the pace or in mid-division, so there's no need for Phoenix Star to try and bolt out to grab the lead, he just doesn't want to be held-up, based on the following...

If we then combine the draw stats with the pace stats, we can then suggest the best way to approach the race from wherever your horse gets drawn...

...and this suggests that Phoenix Star's best chance would be to race in mid-division from his high draw and such a draw/pace make-up is actually the second best available here...

Unfortunately, he seems to prefer to run in a more advanced position and whilst that won't kill his chances here, I'm not sure if it will enhance them. That said, nobody (possibly Production) seems particularly well placed on that last graphic.

Something for me to ponder, but first I need to look at Chloellie who goes a little later in the 8.10 Kempton, an 11-runner, Class 5 Fillies handicap for 4yo+ over 1m also worth £2862...

This 6 yr old mare had seemed a little out of sorts for a while after finishing as a runner-up here at Kempton over 7f back in October, labouring under too much weight, but she ran really well off a lowly mark of 58 last time out to finish second at Southwell over a mile, going down by just a length and three quarters.

Like Phoenix Star above, her best form comes here at Kempton as she is just 2 from 13 at other A/W tracks. In fairness, she's better at Class 6 than Class 5 and better over 7f than over a mile and despite racing here 19 times, she's only tackled the one mile trip once here previously when she was 9th of 13, beaten by over 10 lengths way back in September 2019 and you'd have to think this might be tough for her, but might get close off a mark of 59.

She's drawn in stall 5 of 11 and whilst there's not a huge draw bias for this contest, stall 5 is a pretty good place to be, proving to be second best for wins and third best for places over a series of previous similar races...

Ideal racing position over this 1m trip today is right up front and if you can't lead, don't try to chase it. Sit back in mid-division and bide your time without letting the front runners get too far away, of course...

The way the draw and pace have worked together in the past suggests Chloellie's middle draw would lend itself best to a mid-division race positioning...

and here's how we think she (and her rivals) will run...

...and that's really promising for her and Hashtagmetoo as well. The obvious caveat here is that there's no pace on offer from that graphic, so they might not exactly break out like that, as someone will have to take it on and Hashtagmetoo, Ruby Gates and Dramatica have all been known to lead in the past, perhaps one of them will take it on.

Summary

Phoenix Star looks really well placed to land another Kempton handicap, but he won't have it his own way. The favourite Show Me A Sunset is clearly the one to beat, but at 11/2, Phoenix Star is worth taking a punt on.

Chloellie, on the other hand, looks less likely to win, but not for a lack of ability or application, as I expect another decent run from her here. I just feel that there are better horses here and things would really have to fall her way for her to land this one. There are three or four I like better than her, but if things did go right for her, she has every chance of making the frame, but odds of around 8/1 are a bit skinny for me, so I'll probably leave her alone. I'd expect the 9/2 shot Hold Fast to win this one and if I was looking for a small E/W play, I'd probably be more interested in the likes of Lady Alavesa & Capriolette at 11/1.