Newbury and Newcastle host the top action this weekend with the more competitive racing seemingly coming from Newbury.
The ‘Ladbrokes Trophy Chase’ is the highlight on the card, run over 3m2f, and it will be very interesting to examine any potential course pace biases at that trip and compare them to shorter distances.
Newbury Chase Pace Bias Over Longer Distances
Here is the pace bias data for bigger field handicaps over 3m+ at Newbury.
Not a huge sample size but not a poor one either. As such the win data can be taken with a slight pinch of salt but that seems to suggest that the closer you are to the pace the better. Front runners and prominent racers score a 11.36% and 10.62% win percentage respectively. That compares extremely favourably with 5.17% and 2.92% for mid division and held up respectively.
Given the sample size more notice should be taken of the place data but that also follows a similar trend with front runners coming out best again 34.09% and the data tailing off the further back you go until you reach hold up performers. They have a place percentage of just 13.87% - a huge drop off from the performance of the other three run styles.
Each way bets on front runners and prominent runners are both profitable to back win and place, producing EW PL of 1.5 and 4.5 respectively whilst as you’d expect, following runners that race in mid division or the rear has been unprofitable. It’s also worth noting that despite lesser representation, front runners and prominent racers win almost twice as many races as their patiently ridden counterparts (17 winners compared to 10 winners).
Overall Chase Bias At Newbury
So how does the above data compare with shorter trips at Newbury?
This shows the performance (place percentage) of front runners and prominent racers combined across various chase trips at Newbury in the same races as the earlier pace data. The distances are shown along the bottom, in furlongs. There is no really clear trend unfortunately.
You’d normally see a stronger early pace performance at shorter trips and that is the case here with 16f and 17f coming out best of all. It’s much poorer between 18f and 22f, and also over the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase distance of 26f, but it appears that over 24f (3m) there is a clear increase in the effectiveness of early pace here.
That’s not to say early pace isn’t effective over 3m2f here, in fact front runners still have the best win and place percentages over that trip, but it seems that racing in mid division is more effective over the extra distance than it is over the shorter distances (and 3m).
Ladbrokes Trophy Chase Preview
With pace being analysed in this article we’ll of course want to note the pace map first.
Front runners do well over this course and distance but this might not be the race for them with a likely contested early speed. There are four fairly strong contenders to lead early in this, Remastered, One More Fleurie, Eklat De Rire and Cloth Cap, so this could setup for something ridden a little more patiently.
That doesn’t mean it will be ideal to be held up miles off the pace as despite looking a pretty fair course it’s clearly still not easy to make up plenty of ground here. So with that in mind the likes of Cloudy Glen, Kitty’s Light and The Hollow Ginge will need to run particularly well to get into this.
Ontheropes is likely to be a pretty warm order for Willie Mullins having won impressively last time out. He seems to have quite the engine and obviously the trainer has to be massively respected whenever he sends anything over but the majority of his form is on very testing ground so there is a slight unknown as regards to the ground. Potentially not one to get stuck into at a shortish price.
Eklat De Rire also has ground concerns in terms of being unproven and he’s also lacking big field form too which could count against him. He is also likely to sit very close to what will probably be a strong gallop. He’s one of a few here that could be anything but I’d prefer to have something a bit more ‘solid’ running for me in a race like this.
Fiddlerontheroof’s latest win has taken a knock since and he’s still got to prove himself over this far. There are certainly no stamina doubts about Enrilo who was first past the post but demoted to 3rd in last season’s bet365 Gold Cup Chase over 3m5f, a race that took place on good ground. He’s gone well fresh previously and should be able to sit a little way off the pace so he’s certainly one of those more solid contenders, for all he’s short enough in the early betting.
Around Enrilo in that bet365 Gold Cup were Potterman and unlucky loser Kitty's Light and they reoppose here. Despite the likelihood of a decent gallop here, Kitty’s Light might not be ideally placed as he is often very patiently ridden. Potterman on the other hand may be just about ideally placed and he seems to love good ground. He ran very well last time out and despite being 6lbs higher than when unseating in this last year he looks a good each way punt at around 14/1 with up to 7 places on offer with the bookies for this.
I also wouldn’t want to rule out Brave Eagle from getting into the places at a big price (25s general at time of writing). He was 8th in this two years ago off a 9lb higher mark when hampered twice and he ran very respectably after almost a year off last time out. He’ll be entitled to come on plenty for that and for anyone who can get on with the bookmakers with the better each way terms he’d be worth a small interest.