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Racing Insights, 18th June 2021

Friday's free feature is the horses for courses report, whilst our daily free races of the day are...

  • 2.55 Down Royal
  • 3.40 Ascot
  • 4.05 Down Royal
  • 4.55 Limerick
  • 6.25 Newmarket
  • 8.40 Newmarket

And I think we'll look at my qualifiers from the horses for courses report for Friday...

...starting with Ballyhome in the 3.25 Market Rasen, a 7-runner, Class 3, 5yo+ handicap chase over 2m6½f on Good ground and here's his entry on the card...

He has also won a non-handicap event here taking his form at Market Rasen to read 21P112212 from which he is 3 from 6 at Class 3, 2 from 3 over fences, 2 from 2 at this trip and also 1 from at just half a furlong further and 3 from 7 on Good ground. His highest winning mark here has been 135 (-3lb), so at 140 (-5lb), he has 3lbs more to find.

Six of his eight races since the start of 2020 have been here at Market Rasen and he won twice over course and distance here last year. In his last race, six weeks ago, he was coming back from a 169-day absence but still ran a a creditable 2nd of 8 here over hurdles at a furlong longer than today's trip. Back down in distance and back over fences with the benefit of having had a run, I'd expect this 10yr old to be giving it his all as usual.

As this isn't a free race, I won't show the full Instant Expert, but trust me when I say his "line" is the best on offer in this race...

The pace stats for the race suggest you want to be at the head or close to the head of affairs, as it has proven tough to win from mid-division or worse...

..and the place stats would also back up that theory. Ballyhome, however, isn't a leader, he doesn't like to set the tempo of a race, as can be seen from this snippet below...

...which suggests Lord Bryan is likely to take the race on alone, as Ballyhome's pace position is actually the nearest to the expected leader, so I suppose technically that means Ballyhome then becomes prominent? Something for me to ponder, whilst I gather the details for our second race, the 5.40 Goodwood, a 10-runner, Class 4 apprentice Handicap for 4yo+ runners over 7f on good to firm ground and here's Sir Titan's card entry with some in-line stats...

That 3 wins and a place from 8 runs here reads 21100716 and includes 1 from at Class 4, 2 from 3 in May/June, 3 from 6 over this 7f C&D, 1 from 1 on good to firm and 3 from 5 off marks of 76 to 84, yet jockey Mollie Phillips takes 7lbs off an already interesting mark of 75 today.

He won here over C&D (C5, soft) at the end of August off a mark of 76, but then suffered a run of six defeats off higher marks before landing a Class 4 handicap over this trip at Kempton two starts ago off 73.

Things didn't quite go to plan last time out when ridden too strongly over a mile a Windsor and he faded badly late on and it is hoped that the drop back in trip will help him here. I'd also hope he gets a kinder ride from today's 7lb claimer. You might not have heard of Mollie Phillips, but she has ridden ten times in the last fortnight, winning three times and making the frame on another three occasions with some nice prices in there.

Once again, I'll only show you his entry from Instant Expert, but there was only one other horse (Colonel Whitehead) who had figures anywhere near these...

He's drawn in stall 2, which is as good a place as any from a win perspective and definitely somewhere to run from if you're looking at the place stats...

From a pace perspective, hold up horses have fared the best here and although it looks like leaders are second best, I'd treat that 14.29% record with some caution. It's only based on 14 runners, so it might not be entirely reliable. That said it's 2 more winners than mid-division runners have managed from more than twice as many attempts, so the takeaway from the pace stats is that mid-division is not the way to go...

As for his own pace, Sir Titan looks like fourth rank here, with his natural prominent racing style seeming to fit well with being drawn so low...

With Miquelon just outside him setting the pace, there's every chance he'll go with the leader, giving himself a great chance of at least making the frame. On paper, at least!

Summary

Two runners with good course records seemingly suited by conditions ahead of them and both in reasonably good form. In the Market Rasen contest, I've got Ballyhome at the top of my figures and I think that 7/2 looks quite generous, so I'll have a piece of that, whilst I also liked the look of Monty's Award at an interesting 10/1.

As for the Goodwood encounter, I've got Sir Titan as fourth best, but certainly not out of it. That said, if I've got it right, he's going to have to beat at least one of Quick Breath, Cold Stare or Flaming Spear to make the frame, but at 9/1, could well be worth a small E/W bet, especially if he can put enough early daylight between himself and those three. And depending on your own cut-off point for E/W betting, Cold Stare can be had at 8's here.

Racing Insights, 19th April 2021

Monday's feature of the day is full access to the PACE tab for all readers to all races, including our selected 'races of the day', which are set to be...

  • 3.45 Limerick
  • 4.00 Pontefract
  • 4.45 Windsor
  • 5.40 Tramore
  • 6.00 Market Rasen
  • 6.20 Kempton

A really busy day of racing ahead and the fifth of our free races is actually the second most valuable race of the day, so off to Lincolnshire we go, for the 6.00 Market Rasen, a competitive-looking 8-runner, Class 3, Handicap Hurdle over 2m7f on Good ground, where one of these eight will land the top prize of £6,862...

Tight Call won at both Southwell (2m5f) and Ludlow (2m6f) last "winter" season and rounded off that campaign a month ago with another really good run at Uttoxeter, finishing second over 2m7.5f in this grade on soft ground. He's up 5lbs for that run, but he does prefer quicker ground, so conditions here should be more beneficial/helpful and I think he has a real chance here.

Really Super has won 3 times and placed 3 times in 10 starts over hurdles and this versatile mare has also won on the A/W, over fences and in a bumper. She was outclassed at the Festival last month and hasn't traced over hurdles since winning at Worcester in late August 2019, but has been running consistently well since then, that Cheltenham run aside. She runs off 130 here, some 7lbs lower than her chase mark and if adapting back to hurdles first time up, I think she should be involved in the shake up.

Supakalanistic won here over hurdles (Class 4, 2m7.5f) just over 14 months ago at the start of a run of great form over hurdles, on the Flat , on the A/W and in bumpers where his results were 17112122 up to the end of February this year. He wasn't at this best when stepped up to Class 2 last time out and ended up being pulled up before 3 out having tailed off, but gets a chance to redeem himself off the same career-high mark today. His yard have a good record over hurdles here, but I fear he might just be too high in weights.

Mr Scrumpy won over hurdles at Newcastle (Class 2, 2m6f) 13 months ago to close his season off and then won again next time out, some 214 days later at Wetherby (Class 3, 3m) off 5lbs higher and the same mark as today, but has struggled since finishing 10th of 12 (bt by 30L), last of 7 (31L) and 9th of 10 (42L) before unseating at the 7th here over C&D just under four weeks ago. Past successes say he could win here, recent form says he won't and I think the recent form will win out, sadly.

Neville's Cross started his last campaign well with back to back wins at Uttoxeter (C4, 2m7.5f) and Hereford (C3, 3m2f), but was subsequently beaten by 18 lengths and 71 lengths in his final two outings, both at Class 2. He drops back down in class here and is eased a pound on the weights, but still runs off a mark 11lbs higher than his last win, which is problematic, especially after a 20-week absence.

Shinobi returned to action from an eight month layoff to win on his hurdling debut at Uttoxeter in September (C4, 2m4f) and after finishing fourth at Exeter, won again on October at Wincanton (C4, 2m5.5f) before a runner-up finish at Ludlow took his Novice Hurdle form to 1417. He made his handicap debut in a Listed race at Kempton in early January, also over 2m5.5f and struggled before tailing off and being pulled up before 2 out. This is easier on paper and the ground will be better, but he's not massively well treated off 125 and he hasn't tackled a race this long before.

Linelee King went down by just half a length on bumper debut in last October 2019, but won next time out before finding the Weatherbys Champion Bumper too hot too handle in last year's Cheltenham Festival. He wasn't seen again for 207 days when popping up to win on his hurdles debut at Kelso (C4, 2m0.5f) in a novice contest. He made his handicap debut last time out, when a runner-up beaten by a length and a half at Southwell (C4, 3m0.5f) and that should stand him in good stead here, but he is up in class and weight, so may need further improvement to land this.

Giovanni Change got off the mark over hurdles at the sixth time of asking when landing a Class 4 contest over 2m5f here at Market Rasen a fortnight ago, when allowed a soft lead enabling him to make all from the front on the way to a five length victory. I can't see it being that easy today, as I'm sure he won't be allowed another easy lead, plus he's up 7lbs, up in trip and up in class here. This is a tougher ask and he's wilted under pressure in the past.

Unusually after assessing the runners of an eight-runner contest, I've no horses that I think can't win the race : it's a really good looking contest for the grade/prize money. Some look far more likely than others to succeed, but all of them have already proved that they could win a race like this.

Instant Expert shows us a quick comparison based on going, class, course, distance and field size and also shows their current OR to their last winning mark. I like to see blocks of green here when sifting through a race and I also like to see more than one winning run, so from the above it would be Tight Call and Really Super on the ground, Really Super and Mr Scrumpy at Class 3, Mr Scrumpy again at the trip and Tight Call, Really Super & Supakalanistic on field size, whilst reminding ourselves that Shinobi and Linelee King have only once previous handicap run, hence the lack of data.

We know that Giovanni change had all his own way and ran away with it here at Market Rasen last time out, but would those tactics be a good idea over this longer trip? Will he have it his own way if he wanted to? The easiest way to answer those questions is via 'feature of the day', the PACE tab...

And the answers are that no, leading isn't vital here, hanging just off the pace is better, but mid-division is best. That said with an IV of 0.96, leaders do win pretty much their fair share of races and the real negative is to be held-up (not good for Nevilles Cross fans). The other query about who will lead is clear too, Giovanni Change won't get it all his own way and the classy Really Super has won better races than this from an advanced position, including a 2m6.5f Grade 3 chase on this very track nine months ago, whilst Supakalanistic and Shinobi will also be keen to get on with it.

Giovanni hasn't handled pressure well in the past and if there's a four-way go, he might be first to crack and of the four, I'd expect Really Super and Supakalanistic to hold out the longest. It could, of course, all boil over and leave the door open from something from further back and there's a trio waiting to pounce in the shape of Tight Call, Mr Scrumpy and Linelee King. Of that trio, I'd be least keen on Mr Scrumpy due to his more recent efforts.

Summary

There could well be two races going on here, a group of four trying to win from the front and another four trying to time a late run to perfection. I'm going to split the field in half and take two of the front runners and two of the second group as my first cut...

...and I'll then make my selection from (alphabetically, of course) Linelee King, Really Super, Supakalanistic and Tight Call.

Picking the one I like most here is easier than decide who doesn't make my three against the field to be honest and based on everything above, plus her class/ability, I'm happy to take a punt on Really Super re-adapting to hurdling here and 6/1 might look generous, we'll see!

Of the other three, it's really tight and any of them could make the frame. On my own numbers/ratings, I can't split Linelee King and Tight Call and I've only got Supakalanistic a whisker behind them. That said, I've got all four ahead of the 7/2 fav Giovanni Change, so I might end up with egg on my face anyway.

Racing Insights, 17th October 2020

On Saturdays, the Trainer / Jockey Combo report is free to all users and it shows up plenty of successful partnerships for tomorrow's program. As ever, the selection parameters are my own for the 30-day form, but you can play around with it yourself. If you want fewer qualifiers, just make the criteria more stringent.

From an initial list of 13 trainers, I want to look at three for tomorrow and one simple reason, they've all got a runner in the 4.31 Market Rasen, but more on that in a moment. Firstly here are the relevant stats for the three highlighted trainers...

For the purpose of the piece, I'm going disregard Horizon Bleu (unraced bumpers aren't my bag!) and just focus on the three runners in our chosen race : the 4.31 Market Rasen, a well worth winning, valuable, 10-runner, Class 2 Handicap Chase for 4yo+ on good ground worth over £22.5k to the winner, as shown on the card below...

Taking our runners Mellow Ben, Beggar's Wishes and Court Master in racecard order, they are joint 4th, unrated and joint 4th on our Geegeez ratings, whilst the pace makeup of the race...

...would tend to suggest that Court Master would fare best of our trio, whilst Instant Expert...

...also points towards Court Master, albeit from a small sample size. Now we probably need to take a closer look at our trio of hopefuls, again in racecard order, starting with...

Mellow Ben, whose trainer has the 14 and 30 icons by his name to signify good recent form, whilst jockey Tom Cannon has a good record at this track (C5), has won twice over fences, but was some ten lengths off the pace when finishing fifth last time out. That, however, was probably his best run since winning those races back to back last September/October.

Perhaps he's an autumn runner? He also has the benefit of being eased a couple of pounds to do his last winning mark and over fences he's 2 from 3 on Good ground and has a Class 2 win to his name. Sadly that's where the good news ends, as he's 0/6 beyond 2m5.5f. 0/3 going right handed, 0/3 as a 7 yr old, 0/2 here at Market Rasen (both over course and distance) and despite winning two 6-runner chases, he is 0 from 6 in fields any bigger than that.

Beggar's Wishes comes from the highly successful Bowen yard and jockey Sean is going well right now (14, 30), This horse has four chase wins to his name and on paper, his chasing record looks good including 4/10 under Sean Bowen, 3/8 in blinkers, 2/5 at Class 2, 3/4 at 2m5f to 2m6.5f, 2/4 on Good ground, 2/3 in October/November and 1 from 1 here at Market Rasen, over course and distance.

But, it's not quite all rosy in the garden, he last won a race just over two years ago, has struggled in five runs since and hasn't been seen on a racecourse for the small matter of 79 weeks. I've a feeling he might need the run, although he is now 7lbs lower than his last winning mark.

And finally, we come to Court Master, who our racecard details suggest might be the most likely. He comes here in good form, having won at Warwick sixteen days ago despite having been off the track for 250 days. Sometimes turning back out fairly quickly after a long lay-off can backfire but this time last year he won after a 248 day absence and then again 23 days later, so there is a precedent.

That recent win took his chasing tally to three from four (no disgrace in losing a Class 2 chase at the January Cheltenham meeting, is there?), he's certainly not over exposed nor over worked and receives weight all round here today. Of his 3 from 4 record over fences, he is 3 from 3 at odds of 8/1 and shorter, 3 from 3 without the tongue tie, 2 from 3 under Brendan Powell and 1 from 1 on Good ground. Not the biggest sample sizes, but all positive stuff.

Summary

We ran through our three possibles in racecard order, so I'll sum up the same way. I'd expect Mellow Ben to finish mid-division at best. There's clearly ability there, but he doesn't seem to "get" this track or trip and doesn't fare well going right handed. He doesn't seem to like too much company and is probably best left alone.

And if you're leaving him alone, you can put the bargepole away for Beggar's Wishes, as I'd be highly surprised to see him involved. He comes off a really long lay-off and wasn't running well before being out back in the shed. If he does go well, then the Bowens will really have pulled a rabbit from the hat.

Which all brings us to Court Master. The racecard and its tabs pointed to this one, my write-up of him was all positive and there's plenty to like about him. It's a pretty competitive contest, as you'd expect from a Class 2 race worth over £20k, but I expect him to be there or thereabouts. Yes, he's on a a career-high mark, but he still looks progressive and receives weight all round.

Of the three, it's Court Master for me. I'd be pretty surprised if he's not in the frame and I think he's every chance of winning here.