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Racing Insights, 18th February 2021

Aside from correctly identifying Miah Grace as third best and possibly worth an E/W punt at 7/1, pretty much everything else I felt/wrote about today's race was proved wrong. The 2nd fav and one I thought might win exited the contest very early (fell at first) and it went downhill from there.

But just as we don't shout BOOOOM! when we get something right, we don't dwell on things we got wrong, we simply move on and in my case it means getting on with Thursday's racing, where the 'feature of the day' is free access to Instant Expert for ALL races, including our 'races of the day' which will be the...

  • 1.55 Sandown
  • 2.30 Sandown
  • 3.30 Clonmel
  • 3.40 Sandown
  • 4.55 Chelmsford

My full race profiling hasn't gone too well of late, so I'm going to focus on a couple of horses that will catch people's attention when they look through Instant Expert today. Instant Expert is an excellent indicator of a horse's suitability under set race conditions and is a good way in to a race, but like any stat, cannot be relied upon in complete isolation.

The first horse I'm considering today is Not Another Muddle, who runs in the 3.05 Sandown, a 10-runner, Class 3, handicap chase over 2m4.5f on soft ground and here's the Instant Expert graphic that catches the eye...

...which is all pretty self-explanatory and includes the following over fences...

He's 2lbs lighter than his last win and in addition to the above stats, he is 4 from 11 under jockey Jamie Moore (3/8 in chases), 3 from 7 in January/February (2/4 in chases) and 2 from 5 going right handed (2/4 over fences). So far so good, so let's look at his racecard entry...

His form hasn't been great if truth be told since he won here two years ago over 1m7.5f at Class 3 off a mark of 131 which was his third win in four outings. He then ran very creditably at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival a month later, beaten by just 8.5 lengths in a grade 3 handicap off 138. At that point, I think the weigh became an issue as he was turned over as a fav in a 4-runner Class 3 contest at Fontwell before being being rested for 335 days ahead of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, where he was pulled up approaching the last over 2m5f.

Your first 30 days for just £1

He then had another 282 days off the track prior to re-appearing at Ascot to be pulled up before 3 out of a 2m3f Class 2 contest and then finished 4th of 6 three weeks later in another Class 2 contest at Chepstow when beaten by 41 lengths on heavy ground. He's had 40 days to get over those two most recent runs and takes a drop in class here. The ground will be a little quicker than LTO and 5lb reduction in his mark now sees him lower than his last win. Whether he has much more to give at 10yrs old is questionable, though.

Neither yard nor rider are in the best of form right now, but jockey Jamie Moore does have a decent 5yr record here at Sandown as shown on the racecards snippet, whilst when riding for Gary Moore here in handicap chases he is 5 from 14 (35.7% SR) since the start of 2019. His OR mark of 129 is as stated 2lbs below his last winning mark, but his Geegeez rating of 87 is the lowest in this contest.

In past races of this nature here at Sandown, it has paid to lead or at least race prominently, but unfortunately Not Another Muddle's cause isn't going to be helped by his usual style of being a hold-up horse...

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Our second runner is Indigo Times, who goes in the 6.00 Chelmsford, a tight-looking Class 3 A/W handicap over 1m6f on the Polytrack and whose race profile looks like this...

...which is an impressive record on the A/W so far, whilst in handicaps alone...

In addition to the pair of graphics above, this 4 yr old gelding is 4 from 9 going left handed (4/6 in hcps), 4 from without headgear (4/5 in hcps), 3 from 7 on Polytrack (3/4 in hcps), 2 from 2 in Jan/Feb (both hcps), 2 from 2 this year (both hcps) and 2 from 2 here at Chelmsford over 1m5.5f/1m6f, both in handicaps and making him the only course and distance winner in this small field.

These are really good numbers throughout, so let's look at his racecard entry, shall we?

Just the one blemish in his last five outings, when he got going a little too late at Kempton over 2m and couldn't quite get to the winner. he stayed on really well and went down by just a neck. Prior to that defeat he had won back to back contests here at Chelmsford, firstly by a length and a quarter over 1m5.5f at Class 6 and then by almost 4 lengths in a Class 5, 2 mile affair.

After the defeat at Kempton, he came back here to score by two lengths at Class 5 over this course and distance and most recently won a Class 3, 2m0.5f handicap at Southwell. He has won at this grade, track and trip, he stays further than this and although he's up another 5lbs (now 19lbs higher than six races ago), he still gets weight (from 8 to 13lbs) off his rivals here.

His yard is in good nick at present, has a good 5 yr record here and does well with stayers and LTO winners, so there's plenty to like so far.

The pace/draw heatmap might not be as relevant as usual here, as 4-runner affairs often throw the predictions out of the window and become cagey affairs, but here's how past data stacks up...

I wouldn't be too concerned about Indigo Times sitting in a little square of red because he likes to run mid-division. Mid-div is red because of 0% strike rate, but only 1 of 79 previous runners have run that way. If he goes on to win from there, mid-div becomes 1 from 2 ie 50% and goes dark green, so my prior warning about treating a stat in isolation applies here. If the above runs true, Notation might try to nick it off the front, but she's on a career high mark now.

Summary

Two runners with excellent Instant Expert profiles, but very differing chances if I've read the races correctly.

The 10 yr old Not Another Muddle looks past his best and at a time when he should have been at his peak in the 20 months from mid-April 2019, he raced just twice and failed to complete either race. Had he been coming here with a few more recent runs under his belt and a bit of form behind him, I'd be very interested if I could get the right price, but neither of those are present and he's currently 14/1 for a reason and he's not one I could back or suggest you do either!

Indigo Times, on the other hand, I do like even under a penalty. He's in great form right now and although more is needed here, he's getting chunks of weight all round. If he doesn't let Notation get too far ahead, then he's every chance of extending his good run. Price-wise, I think the 2/1 on offer from Hills is a little mean and I'd ideally be wanting at least another half point. Whether that happens is another matter. Notation is the current 15/8 fav and she's definitely the big danger here, especially if handed a soft lead.