Tag Archive for: pace

Racing Insights, Monday 24/01/22

The PACE tab on the racecards allows you to gain a quick insight into how the tactics of a race might unfold and we make this full available to ALL readers for ALL races EVERY Sunday & Monday, including of course, Monday's full free racecards, as follows...

  • 2.00 Southwell
  • 3.00 Southwell
  • 7.30 Wolverhampton

And the first of that trio, the 2.00 Southwell, is the best on paper, so let's consider this 6-runner, Class 2, A/W handicap over a straight five furlongs. The top prize is £10,800 and it will end up going home with one of these...

Mondammej had a very busy but quite successful 2021, winning 5 and placing in 5 more of 18 starts, including four wins from his last six, all at this Class 2 level. he has raced just once so far in 2022, going down by just a length and a quarter at Newcastle three weeks ago. He's also a 5-time winner over this minimum trip.

Fernando Rah won here over course and distance in December (two starts ago) before going down by a length and a quarter at Kempton over 6f last time out. His record over 5f is better than that over 6f, so a drop back to this distance should help today off a mark that is unchanged, but still 8lbs higher than his win here just over six weeks ago. Notable that his trainer & jockey have worked well over the past year...

Caroline Dale was third behind Mondammej, beaten by a neck twice when she was last seen back in October. She's had a wind op since then and now reopposes on 7lbs better terms. That would normally be more than enough to overturn the defeat, but she might well need the run and Mondammej has certainly kicked on since. That said, we do have another successful Trainer/Jockey combo here...

Mulzim has made the frame in half of his 18 A/W starts, winning seven of them, an excellent return, but he hasn't won any of his last six and has been last of 14, last of 6 and 11th of 12 in his last three. He has six wins and a place from 11 here over course and distance, but all on the old Fibresand surface (his jockey also has a good record here) and a combination of form, tapeta and a step up in class raise doubts here.

Copinet also steps up in class for her course/class debut, but she is 21134614 on the A/W with a win and two places from three on Tapeta elsewhere. All her racing has been at Class 3 or lower so far without a win above C4 and after going down by three lengths at Chelmsford just over a week ago, improvement is needed here, although yet again we've a good T/J combo...

No Speed Limit makes a UK and Taepta debut after 36 races in Ireland, where he won just twice. That's hardly reassuring, but he has finished 221322232 in nine Dundalk Polytrack starts over the last three months, so he's certainly consistent. Sadly for him, he's running from 6lbs out of the handicap and will probably find this a struggle. That said, do keep an eye out for him re-appearing at Class 3 off a mid-70's mark and he might well look a different horse.

At this point, I'd say that I'd leaning towards Mondammej and Fernando Rah and away from Mulzim and No Speed Limit...

...although Mulzim's recent decline in results/form hasn't been bad enough to ruin his 12-month percentages on Instant Expert...

...and technically off 4lbs lower than his last win, he should be dangerous. We should remember, though, that those numbers are tempered by him only beating one rival in his last three outings. My meaning towards Mondammej and Fernando Rah is reaffirmed by the above, but i'm very aware that weight rises of 5lbs and 8lbs respectively may come in to play. That said, only Mulzim is well treated on past form.

Southwell switched to Tapeta in December 2021 and we've had just twenty races (17 x hcps, but none at Class 2) over today's trip on the new surface with today's runner Fernando Rah wining the first of them, so the draw and pace stats will have to be taken on trust as the bigger picture forms over time. What we do know from looking at data from the tapeta at Newcastle & Wolverhampton over this 5f trip is that leaders fare best and the further back a horse races, the worse the chances of success become and based on their last couple of runs...

...my favoured two are likely to be up with the pace tucked in behind Caroline Dale and the two I'm not keen on will have some work to do, but not quite as much as Copinet. As for the draw, I'm not convinced there's a massive advantage to be had anywhere over a straight five furlongs with a small field, other than the horse in stall 1 (Mondammej) will have the rail to guide and keep him straight. That said, the main pace appears to be with the filly drawn widest of the six.

Summary

I liked Mondammej and Fernando Rah from the moment I wrote the brief reusmés and nothing has really suggested they won't be the first two home, assuming Caroline Dale doesn't get off to a flyer and nick the race from the front. She's definitely the main danger to my pair in my opinion and the bookies have agreed by having her as 7/2 third fav.

They've also gone with my preferred pair, but they've got them less closely matched than I have. I don't have much between them to be honest, yet the early market has Fernando Rah as 15/8 fav ahead of Mondammej at 11/4. I'd have probably gone 9/4 the pair and on that basis, I'd prefer Mondammej to prevail here.

 

 

Racing Insights, Monday 17/01/22

The pace tab on the Geegeez racecards can give you a really prediction of how the race might pan out from a tactical perspective. PACE is not simply a case of which horse is the fastest, it's all about race management. Think Tortoise & Hare, Hare would have an average pace score of 4 (led) with the slow-moving Tortoise scoring 1 (held-up), but 4 doesn't always beat 1 : it all depends on the race conditions.

The PACE tab is free to access for ALL readers, irrespective of subscription status, each Sunday and Monday for EVERY race, including our daily free cards, which are set to be...

  • 2.00 Chepstow
  • 3.20 Fakenham
  • 3.35 Punchestown
  • 7.00 Wolverhampton

Monday racing is invariably poor fayre and today is no exception, we've either small fields or poor races and faced with that choice I'd generally plump for the former. The first of the free races is the highest class of the four, so we're off to Wales for the 2.00 Chepstow, a trappy/competitive looking Class 3, 5yo+ handicap chase. The trip is a left-handed 2m3½f, taking in 16 fences on soft ground, but the £8,169 first prize will only be contested by four runners, where I'll be hoping to get the 1-2 from this quartet...

Eden du Houx carries top weight here, but only a pound more than the next two on the card. He was a winner at this grade/going over two miles at Ffos Las on his last run ten weeks ago, which was a decent effort coming some 236 days after his previous run, a tough race at the Cheltenham Festival. He also won on his only previous visit to this track, but that was over hurdles almost two years ago. he ahs three wins and two places from six on soft ground and has made the frame at both starts over today's trip. His regular rider is in situ, he's a former Listed class bumper winner, has fared better going left handed and has some decent stats to back up claims here...

Farne was a hurdles winner here over course and distance clear by an ever-increasing five lengths when the line came two starts ago back in March of last year. She was then put back in the shed for 263 days before reappearing at Warwick almost six weeks ago for her chase debut. After a shaky start where she was hampered at the first, she grew into the race and was eventually third of eight, a decent result on debut after such a long break, but even more so when you consider that it was a Listed race and she's now down two classes, whilst the winner that day has since been a runner-up in a Grade 2! She has never won on soft ground, but has placed in three of five efforts, she's two from two at the trip and having had that chasing bow and dropping in class, she should have a real chance here.

Frenchy Du Large has won two of his eleven starts to date, making the frame in another four. He was a useful Class 4 hurdler with his best effort being his last one almost 11 months ago, winning by 2.25 lengths over 2m5½f on heavy ground at Ludlow. He unseated at the second fence (made mistake at the first) on his chase debut some 257 days later, but got off the mark over fences next/last time out, winning pretty comfortably over 2m4f at Uttoxeter last month. He's up 1 class and 9lbs for that win, which makes life more difficult here, but when you've won two of your last three, you'd fancy your chances, especially for a yard that is 7 from 20 (35% SR, A/E 1.59) in Class 2 to 4, soft ground handicap chases here at Chepstow over the last five years.

Firak completes the line-up and receives 5/6 lbs from the other three. He was placed in four of his five hurdle runs before struggling on chase debut at the end of October 2020, when only 6th of 7, beaten by 24 lengths over 2m5f at Stratford. He then switched back hurdles and won a heavy-ground maiden here over course and distance almost a year ago, but has only raced once since. That last run was a month ago (so 11 months rest) at Haydock, but he could only finish 7th of 22 (bt by 22L) over two miles on soft ground. He'll have the benefit of having had a run, he's been eased 3lbs by the assessor and the step back in trip should also work in his favour. Add in the fact that #TeamSkelton have a really good record over fences on soft or worst ground (26/107 = 24.3%) in recent years and he could go well.

At this point, I'd say Firak looks the most vulnerable, but any of the four could have serious claims to wining this. I've mentioned a few stats about the quartet's past run, but Instant Expert can show you all this for all four horses at once to help you decide who you think will handle conditions best and it help to select/eliminate a runner or two...

Eden du Houx has struggled at Class 3, winning 1 of 6 and failing to place in any of the other five and although placed at this trip, has fared better over shorter. He's also 5lbs higher for that LTO win. Farne has actually made the frame in three of those five soft ground defeats and has a relatively recent course and distance success, albeit over hurdles. Frenchy du Large doesn't look as good here as he might actually be in reality, but he's in form for a good yard, although a 9lb rise could hurt. Firak again looks weakest, albeit off a small sample size and again, like Farne has won a hurdles race over course and distance.

Today's free feature is, of course, the PACE tab and this show how the horses have raced in their last four outings, as follows...

Now, at the moment, that's not massively helpful, as there appears to be no pace in the race, but we'll start with Farne, who is a confirmed hold-up horse or at least has been in each of her last six outings and as she's been in good form, I think it's safe to say she'll be in the rear here. A quick look back over Frenchy du Large's career says he's a prominent runner, whilst Firak's average pace score over his eight races is a solid 2 with six of eight runs ranked at 1 or 2. Lastly Eden du Houx whos average pace score over seven chase runs is around the 2.5 mark, but four of those seven were scored at an average of 3.33, so he may be the one to take the race on.

Based purely on the horses' last four outings of any kind, here's what the pace profile/race positioning looks like...

and here's how my estimated pace scores might pan out...

...and if (and I know it's an if) Eden du Houx does take it on and tackle the race from the front, that would probably be his best tactic, based on these previous races here at Chepstow...

Summary

Frenchy du Large is probably the best horse in the race, but I'm not convinced conditions will be to his liking and up in class and 9lbs in weight, a price around the 6/4 mark looks a bit skinny. Firak has proven to be the weakest throughout the analysis but for his trainer/jockey's past soft ground success. Eden du Houx and Farne seem pretty closely matched, but if the former takes it on, I think he could win this.

Backing Eden du Houx at 5/2 isn't making any of us rich, of course, but a (reverse) forecast with the fav might be the call.

 

Racing Insights, Monday 10/01/22

Pace is an often over-looked weapon when UK punters attempt to assess a race, but understanding how a race might unfold can give you a real advantage. We believe that having this information is so important that we make the PACE tab totally FREE to all readers every Sunday and Monday and this will come in handy to work through Monday's free races which are...

  • 1.15 Ludlow
  • 3.15 Ludlow
  • 3.30 Taunton

The first of that trio looks the best on paper, a soft ground, Class 3, 5yo+ stayers' handicap chase, taking in 22 fences over a right-handed 3m1½f. The following seven runners are set to line up in a bid to land the £7,951 first prize in the 1.15 Ludlow...

Where my immediate thoughts were that Demachine and Legends Gold were of interest dropping down two classes along with recent winner Castle Robin.

Demachine was a Gr 2 runner-up over fences at Ascot in February of last year before taking a 280-day break. He returned to run really well for most his comeback race at Newbury, a Gr 3, 3m2f affair, where he ran out of steam late on, finishing a creditable 5th of 21 and should come on for the run, now down two classes and 2lbs. Yard is 7/23 (30.4%) in Class 3 chases here.

Jatiluwih was a decent hurdler, making the frame in 6 of 7 (winning five) with the only blot being an 8th of 24, but that was a Grade 3 contest at 2020's Cheltenham Festival. Yet, he has only raced twice since then, making a chasing debut 435 days later when 2nd of 5 in a Class 6, 2m7f hunter chase before another 6 months off track. He was then 4th of 6 (bt by 18L) at this grade over 3m at Ascot just over seven weeks ago and more is needed here. He'll be helped by a 5lb weight drop and his yard are in good nick.

Quick Wave has two wins and two places from seven over fences and won a mares' chase on heavy ground over today's class/trip at Catterick 11 months ago. She hasn't, however, been seen for ten months and was well beaten that day (28L). She's had wind surgery during her time off and her yard are in good form, but a watching brief is probably best here.

Legends Gold is only 1 from 7 over fences and that win came on chase debut 15 months ago, but her last three runs suggest she's getting there now being asked to go further. She was 2nd of 14 over 3m4f at Ffos Las at Class 3 back in April and reappeared 223 days later to finish third at Class 2 over 3m two months ago and has since finished third in 3m Listed contest, so this drop in class off an unchanged mark might just get her a second win.

Castle Robin was useful over hurdles (3311263) culminating in a third-place finish in Grade 2 at Doncaster at the end of last January. He then won on chasing debut at this grade over a furlong shorter than today, but couldn't repeat the feat at Wetherby next/last time out after a 4lb rise. He has been eased a pound, he's still unexposed and both the placed horses behind him for his win have gone on to win since.

Bobo Mac is the veteran of the field at 11 yrs of age and in his day, was a useful runner at similar trips to today, making the frame in 8 of 15 at trips of 3m to 3m2½f and his record here at Ludlow reads 21222. He was 2nd of 7 here over C&D two starts ago, but was beaten by some 18 lengths and then unseated his rider last time out. His two other runs in the last year saw him go down by 22 and 38 lengths, so although his results aren't bad, he does get beat by distances. It's now over two years and ten races since he last won and I don't see that improving here, even if he is down in class.

Volcano won a bumper on debut in October 2017 and that was followed by defeats in 2 more bumpers and 14 hurdles races. Thankfully he has fared better over fences winning 4 of 13 with all the wins coming in a 6-race flurry between 23/11/20 and 14/03/21 where he finished 114131, starting with a win here over 3m at Class 5. Since that run of form ended, he has failed to complete three of six races and has been well beaten in the others as 10th of 14 (27L), 9th of 13 (51L) and he was 6th of 7, beaten by over 20 lengths here over 3m last time out and he doesn't inspire much confidence even dropped 5lbs.

After the above, I'm still looking towards Demachine, Legends Gold and Castle Robin, but let's look at relevant form via Instant Expert...

...where Demachine and Volcano catch the eye first, but we know that Volcano is in dreadful form right now. There's a smattering of green around, which is good and of my initial trio, Castle robin looks decent, but Legends Gold is all red, but he has been running in better races than this and I suspect the place form will show him in a better light...

...which it definitely does. Bobo Mac also looks much better for a place, but again like Volcano, his form is poor right now. Demachine ticks the boxes again.

Monday's feature is pace, of course and clicking the PACE tab shows you how these runners have tackled each of their last four outings...

...where 1  = held-up, 2 = mid-division, 3 =  prominent and 4 = leader(s)

Legends Gold and Castle Robin look most likely to be the pace setters and Bobo Mac will probably be held-up with Demachine not too far ahead of him. The other three don't have a settled pace profile, which tends to indicate trainers trying different tactics race by race with horses who aren't winning, but based on maybe the last 2 or 3 runs, Quick Wave might be back with Demachine and Volcano might try and follow the leader(s).

I'm not sure what to say about Jatiluwih, though, but I do know that in simlar past contests, the best place to be here is upfront from both a win and place perspective, as shown by our pace analyser...

Hold-up horses have fared OK, winning pretty much as often as expected (IV 1.02) and their place returns are decent, so that wouldn't scupper Demachine's chances from the back, but with a 25% win ratio and a 55% place return, that's really good news for Legends Gold and Castle Robin.

Summary

Sometimes you start looking at a race and you've already got an idea in your head of where you're going, but you still do due diligence and check the race out properly and that's what happened to me here. From the outset, I liked Demachine, Legends Gold and Castle Robin. After the brief resumé of each runner, I was more confident about them, they then scored well on Instant Expert and pace, so they're my three for this one.

Demachine ticked all the boxes until the pace section, where the other two gained an advantage. Of the three, I think Castle Robin is just about the weakest, so he's out of the picture other than for tricast/trifecta purposes. The other two are pretty closely matched to be fair. Demachine looked the better until the pace aspect and I think that Legends Gold's 3rd place in a Listed race was a marginally better performance than Demachine's Grade 3 defeat.

There's not going to be much in it, though, but I don't think Demachine offers much value at 5/4 or 11/8, when I expected 2/1 or 9/4, so I'll take Legends Gold at what might be a generous 9/2 (I had him at 10/3-ish) here.

 

 

Racing Insights, Monday 03/01/22

Assessing the probable pace/tempo of a race is still a facet of bet selection missed by many UK bettors, but its importance cannot be overstated. The PACE tab on our racecards quickly gives you a good idea of how the race might pan out and it's applicable for all races from your straight 5f sprint to your 4m+ stayers' contests. This tab is one of our many GOLD features, but we think it's so important that we make it fully available to ALL readers for ALL races every Sunday and Monday, including this selection of free races...

  • 12.50 Southwell
  • 3.00 Musselburgh
  • 3.10 Lingfield
  • 7.00 Wolverhampton

The best of those races (on paper, anyway) should be the one North of the Border. Only seven are set to run in the 3.00 Musselburgh, but it's a Class 3 handicap chase for 5yo+ runners, so it should be of a reasonable standard. The going is currently Good to Soft (soft in places) and with showers forecast, I wouldn't expect the ground to get any quicker between now and race time. The trip is a right handed three miles and they'll have to safely negotiate eighteen fences to land the £5,882 prize. Here's the card...

Both Eaglehill and Brian Boranha won last time out and in fact, only Dino Boy and Elmono are without a win in their most recent formlines, although the former does have a coupled# of runner-up finishes in his last five. Three of the five (First Account, That's a Given & Pookie Pekan) step up a level from Class 4 and Elmono makes his first appearance since a wind operation.

That's a Given and Pookie Pekan are the only ones not to have have won at a similar trip to today, whilst both First Account and Elmono have won over course & distance, albeit the former's C&D success was over hurdles and the latter is actually 2 from 2 here. No long layoffs to contend with here, all have raced in the last 12 weeks, but all have had at least 4 weeks rest.

Brian Boranha & Elmono are the "old boys" here at 11 yrs old, takijg on 3 x 8yos and 2 x 9yos, whilst the handicappers suggests that just 12lbs separates the entire field. On recent and/or course form, the trainers/jockeys of First Account and That's A Given have the most positive green icons, but Elmono's yard have had a good time of it recently.

First Account finished 221 over hurdles (all at Class 4) in early summer before spending his autumn sharpening up on the flat. He eventually returned to NH action at Carlisle almost two months ago when only held off by a neck in a Class 4, 2m4½f handicap chase. He's up in class and up 2lbs, which makes life tougher, but he'll get the ground, especially if it softens and he's 2 from 2 here at Musselburgh. His yard have done well in chases here and are in good form right now and he's by Malinas..

Eaglehill has so far proven to be a far better chaser (3 from 5) than he was over hurdles (1/7) and his story so far over fences is win or not finish (P11P1). He didn't seem to like the heavy ground on chasing debut at Lingfield just over 13 months ago, but won on both good and soft ground in March '21 before being pulled up at Cheltenham in April in a race that might have been one too many (3rd run in 41 days). He then had a 6 month break but won by 8 lengths on his return at Fakenham over 3m1½f and is only up 2lbs for that win. Only concern is that prior to Sunday's sole runner, the yard is 1 from 33 over the last fortnight.

Dino Boy has made the frame in six of his ten starts over fences, but comes here in indifferent form having been beaten by 33 lengths when 5th of 6 here over 2m4½f at the end of October and subsequently going down by 75 lengths (8th of 13) in the Scottish Borders National over 4m½f at Kelso four weeks ago. His best form has come on soft ground and most of his running is done over trips further than today, he looks vulnerable here.

Brian Boranha has 4 wins and 3 further places from 22 efforts over fences and scored over 3m1f at Catterick last time out. He may well have only won by half a length, but was always doing enough, suggesting there might be a bit of life in the old dog just yet. A 2lb rise for that win means a similar run puts him in contention here, but I really should add that the Catterick win his first since October 2018 and came after a run of 14 defeats where he only made the frame twice. Let's see which Brian turns up.

That's A Given made the frame in four of seven over fences, winning the last of them, a Class 4 novice handicap over 2m5f at Newton Abbot six months ago. He was then pulled up before 3 out in a Grade 3 over 2m6f at Market Rasen a fortnight later and then out back in the shed for 20 weeks. He reappeared here at Musselburgh four weeks ago to race over hurdles, but came home last of 10, beaten by 34 lengths over 2m4f and now steps up in trip (half a mile) and class and is still 4lbs higher than July's win. Lots of positive stats in his favour, but this looks a tough ask...

Pookie Pekan ended last season finishing second of nine in a Class 4 contest at Carlisle over 2m4½f and had just one summer run at Perth two months later, winning over the same trip, but at this Class 3 level off a mark of 110 prior to taking a 25-week break. He returned to action at Newcastle just over five weeks ago, but his jumping let him down on the way to an 18-length, Class 4, defeat coming home 5th of 10 over 2m4f off a mark of 115. It's over 13 months since he raced over this distance (his best form is at around 2m4f), he's back up in class and he's still 3lbs higher than that last win, but he will "get" the ground if nothing else.

Elmono has neither won nor made the frame in his last six outings since a decent runner-up finish in an 8-runner, Class 2 contest at Perth in September after he'd gone up 5lbs and two classes from a soft ground win over 3m1½f at Cartmel a month earlier. He's now rated some 10lbs lower than that win and steps back up in trip to a more suitable distance for him. He's had a wind op and returns to a venue where he has 2 wins and 2 places from 7 efforts including a course and distance win, but comes here off the back of some heavy defeats, although his yard is in decent nick...

So, we've got an overview of the field and we've ascertained that we've some soft ground winners, some course / distances winners etc, but Instant Expert gives us a quick, clear overview of their past form over expected conditions, where initially Eaglehill is the eye-catcher, albeit off a small number of runs...

He's never raced here before, but that aside a full line of green is always seen as a positive and of those racing off higher marks than their last win, his +2lbs is the joint best alongside Brian Boranha and these are our two LTO winners, so they're not coming back down towards historical marks, they're actually in form. From that graphic, That's A Given looks the weakest, but with only a fairly small dataset to work with, it might be an idea to look at place form...

...which as you'd expect gives us more green to look at. That's A Given still looks weak here and Brian Boranha's claims are hardly enhanced, at least some of the others have acquired a bit more green

Feature of the day is PACE, of course and what we know from similar past races is that it pays to be up towards the front end...

...where leaders have a really good chance of remaining in the frame, even if they do often get picked off by the prominent chaser/stalker. I'd take the mid-div stats with a pinch of salt or at least a bit of caution, as 8 runners from 140 (5.7%) is a really small sample size, but I think the main takeaway from the PACE stats is that hold up horses tend to struggle.

They can win, of course and their conversion of placers into winners (41.6%) is very good, but life is tough from the back under expected conditions. All of which would suggest that the likes of Pookie Pekan, Eaglehill and Dino Boy are best suited by the way they've approached recent races...

...Elmono is a conundrum, switching in his last two from a hold-up style to more advanced positions, but with no change in form, First Account will probably run prominently, as those two hold-up runs were on the Flat and he has actually tracked/chased the leaders in each of his last three NH outings. Brian Boranha will definitely be further back, as will That's A Given, unless either have a change of tactics.

Summary

I've written today's piece a good few hours earlier than normal, due to a family commitment this afternoon, so there are currently only odds available from Hills. Throughout the piece, I've been drawn back towards Eaglehill and he's the one ticking the most boxes for me here. He's an 11/4 to 3/1 shot in my eyes, so Hills' 5/2 is a little on the skinny side for me, meaning I'll need to hang on for other firms or to see if the 9/4 fav First Account shortens in the market.

First Account is probably next best, but he's also too short in my opinion at 9/4. If I was tempted to take a longer-priced E/W punt, then Pookie Pekan might try to make all and hold on for a place, but even his 9/1 ticket is a good couple of points short of where I'd want to be with him and there are only 2 places offered by the bookies, although the exchanges might give three.

 

 

 

Racing Insights, 27th December 2021

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a good Christmas, mine was a very quiet affair, thankfully!

One of the biggest time saving tools on Geegeez Gold is the PACE tab on the cards and this feature is completely free for every single race on both Sundays and Mondays to all registered users, irrespective of whether they pay for the GOLD service or not..

We also have a handful of 'races of the day' where every racecard feature is again available for free to ALL registered users. Those races will be...

  • 12.20 Limerick
  • 12.45 Kempton
  • 2.05 Limerick
  • 2.50 Chepstow
  • 5.40 Wolverhampton

I'm not a big fan of Irish racing and the two UK jumps racing don't appeal (a juvenile hurdle and a 20-runner affair), so we're off to the Black Country for a quick look at the 5.40 Wolverhampton, an 11-runner, Class 5, 3yo+ A/W handicap over 1m6f on the Tapeta and here are the runners...

Top and bottom weights, Winklevi and Percy Willis seem the most consistent of late, but Beat The Breeze and Kinderfrau did both win last time out. Winklevi also benefits from a drop in class here, as does Crimson King, Kitten's Dream and Rushmore.

Crimson King & Dreaming Blue have both won here in the past, whilst Scudamore & Heron have both scored over 1m6f before today. Beat The Breeze and Glan Y Gors have done both by winning over course and distance.

Aside from Glan Y Gors (85 days), Scudamore (134d) and Heron (306d), the rest of the field have all had a recent (within 32 days) run with four of them having raced in the last ten days.

Kinderfrau, Rushmore and Heron are all aged three and get a 5lb weight for age allowance here, which will help their causes and the latter heads the Geegeez SR figures, but he has been off the track for ten months.

On a simple totting up procedure of positives from above, the ones currently in mind would be (alphabetically) Beat The Breeze, Crimson King, Kinderfrau, Rushmore & Winklevi, whilst past relevant form (courtesy of Instant Expert)...

...would appear to favour the likes of Beat The Breeze, Crimson King, Dreaming Blue, Glan Y Gors, Kinderfrau and Scudamore. Our next thing to consider is the draw and past similar races...

...have tended to favour those drawn midway (stall 6) of higher, which could give an advantage to the likes of Crimson King, Glan Y Gors, Kinderfrau, Rushmore, Scudamore & Winklevi, whilst the corresponding pace stats for the same races are as follows...

...showing a clear bias for prominent runners and a distinct disadvantage for those liking to set the pace and if we look at our field's recent efforts...

...you'd probably say that Beat The Breeze, Dreaming Blue, Heron, Scudamore & Winklevi would the ones most likely to score a 3 here.

We can, of course combine those pace and draw stats as follows...

...and we can log pace/draw for our eleven runners...

and when superimposed onto the main pace/draw heat map...

...none of them are really ideally suited, but you'd probably say Scudamore (based of an average of 20.00 & 7.69) shades it here, then possibly Dreaming Blue, Heron and even Beat The Breeze.

 

Summary

I've attempted to show how quickly you can whizz through a card to get a shortlist of runners based on positive showings and the ones I highlighted were...

Racecard : Beat The Breeze, Crimson King, Kinderfrau, Rushmore & Winklevi
Instant Expert : Beat The Breeze, Crimson King, Dreaming Blue, Glan Y Gors, Kinderfrau & Scudamore
Draw : Crimson King, Glan Y Gors, Kinderfrau, Rushmore, Scudamore & Winklevi
Pace : Beat The Breeze, Dreaming Blue, Heron, Scudamore & Winklevi
Pace/Draw : Beat the Breeze, Dreaming Blue, Heron & Scudamore

If I then do a quick totting up, I see that Beat the Breeze has four mentions, as does Scudamore, whilst Crimson King, Dreaming Blue, Kinderfrau and Winklevi all have three and it's from these six that I'd want to draw my 1-2-3, where I'm finding it difficult to get away from Beat The Breeze.

I think Scudamore is going to run this afternoon at 5.20, as he hadn't been withdrawn by 3.30pm, so I'm going to set him aside. Dreaming Blue is a lightly raced sort from a yard best known for its jumpers, he was well beaten here LTO (admittedly after a year off!) but I can only advise a watching brief there. And the other I'm going to discard is Crimson King. I'm almost reluctant to do so with him having made the frame in 11 of 22 on the A/W, but I think Kinderfrau has a good chance of challenging Beat The Breeze for the win and that I have a marginal preference for the consistent Winklevi ahead of Crimson King.

So, my 1-2-3 are...

  • Beat The Breeze, who has won two of his last five, starting with a C&D win here in May and then stayed on well to win over this trip at Southwell earlier this month.
  • Kinderfrau, who took advantage of a dropping handicap mark to win over a similar trip to today when last seen at Chelmsford just over a month ago. back up 6lbs here, though, which might just stop him winning.
  • Winklevi, who has six top three finishes on the bounce and was a runner-up here over course and distance last time out. He's down in class now and should at least make the frame off the same mark.

Sadly, I've not spotted much that the bookies haven't and my trio are best priced at 9/2, 10/3 & 7/1, whilst Scudamore would be an interesting 18/1 E/W bet if he runs here after either not running or running reasonably well on Boxing Day. A poor run would discount him from my thoughts.

Racing Insights, 6th December 2021

Monday's free offerings are access to the PACE tab on the cards for ALL races and the following trio of full free racecards...

Hmmm, a novice hurdle, a juvenile hurdle and a 7f novice stakes! I'll be honest with you, they're not setting my heart racing here, so with the feature of the day in mind, let's give you a bonus race and take a look at the 7.00 Wolverhampton, a Class 5, 5f dash across the tapeta where 11 runners will swing left handed in a bid to win £3,240...

FORM : Cherish, La Roca del Fuego and Glamorous Force have the best recent form, but Liamba is running well, as are Good Earth and Trusty Rusty

CLASS : Mutabahhy is down a class here, but Glamorous Force, We're Reunited and You're Cool are all stepping up a grade

COURSE/DISTANCE : All bar Ghaaliya and Highest Ambition have won over 5f previously with Mutabaahy, Glamorous Force, We're Reunited and You're Cool, Trusty Rusty doing it here at Wolverhampton.

LAST RUN : All bar Liamba (300 days off!) have rtaced in the last 8 weeks with Highest Ambition & You're Cool having raced in the last fortnight.

We've no handicap debutants or second timers, nor do we have any yard debutants on display. we no have five jockeys riding with a claim and at 9yrs of age, You're Cool is the only non-3 to 6 yr old.

Relevant form via Instant Expert...

On the purely simplistic basis that green is good and red isn't, our focus here tells us that Mutabaahy looks best suited by the expected conditions and that with full lines of red that Cherish, Good Earth & Highest Ambition have work to do. Mutabaahy is also some 6lbs lower than his last win, but La Roca is 7lbs higher. i won't discuss all the weight changes, as I'm loathe to patronise.

Next up we should consider the draw...

The blue line shows (stalls 9 and 10 aside) an almost lineal, gradual decrease in results the further away from the rail horses are drawn over this left handed five furlongs and that makes sense, as those drawn lowest have shorter distance to travel, but the wider runners can almost "slingshot" the bend ie approach it quicker from wider and cut across the apex almost F1-style, as this simplistic image suggests...

...and that gradual decrease in results and the rise from wide is illustrated by the stall-by-stall results...

That said, I believe that over such a short trip, race tactics will play as much if not more of a role in the final outcome, because even if you get that 9/10 draw and can cut the corner, if you're slow away you'll be running into traffic when you're trying to accelerate from the bend, so that's where feature of the day, the Pace tab comes to the fore and the pace stats tell us that whilst prominent runners fare 21% better than par (IV 1.21), the best policy is to lead...

Leaders account for just 13.6% of the runners, as you'd expect, but they actually account for 19.5% of the placers and an impressive 28.1% of the winners and just as the draw stats gradually decreased, so do the results from running styles the further down the field you run.

So, does that mean that a low drawn (or stall 9/10) runner who likes to lead should go well? Yes, it certainly does, as shown in our unique pace/draw heat map...

We know the draw...

We also know how they've raced in their last four runs...

(4=led, 3= prom, 2= mid-div, 1=hold-up)

And we can now combine the two and place them on the pace/draw heat map and arrange them in draw order to give ourselves a bird's eye view of how they might break from the stalls...

...where La Roca del Fuego looms like he'll be the one trying to make all.

Summary

From the card analysis, I have reservations about Ghaaliya, Highest Ambition & You're Cool (all for form reasons) plus Liamba (300 day absence).
From Instant Expert, I placed a red mark against Good Earth & Highest Ambition
On pace/draw, I have concerns about Highest Ambition, Good Earth, Mutabaahy, Glamourous Force, Cherish and You're Cool

I'm happy to still consider horses falling into one of those areas of concern above, but I do have a 2 and out policy, so I'm now disregarding  Highest Ambition, Good Earth and You're Cool, leaving me with eight to ponder in draw order.

Liamba is 5 from 33 within a month of her last run, but 0 from 7 after a longer break. She's better over 6f than 5f and all her A/W wins have come at Southwell. She's 2 from 2 in December, but I think she'll need the run and would be one to consider next time out.

We're Reunited just doesn't win often enough and although he tends to be there or thereabouts on the Flat, he has only made the frame once in 8 A/W runs, although that was a Class 6 course and distance win here just over a year ago. He won by a neck that day and is now 3lbs higher, so whilst he could get close, he wouldn't be my choice as a winner.

Trusty Rusty is an interesting filly who has made the frame in 6 of her 11 A/W starts, finishing 1123 in her last four, the first three of which were here at Wolverhampton. After two Class 6 C&D wins, she stepped up Class 5 and was a runner-up. She was beaten by a good 4 lengths that day, so a 1lb drop doesn't make her a shoo-in here, but it should help her get closer.

Mutabaahy looks quite inconvenienced on pace/draw stats, but he's 6 from 14 over C&D so he has obviously managed to win despite not front-running. He was, admittedly beaten by over four lengths here last time out, but now drops in class (1), trip (1f) and weight (2lbs) and now back over his favoured trip, could well be involved.

Glamorous Force comes here on a hat-trick so he's clearly in good heart. Was a course and distance winner from off the pace last time out, so it can be done, as shown by Mutabaahy on several occasions. He's only up 3lbs for his win and his yard have been in good form (3 wins, 4 places from 10) of late and he's definite one to consider.

Cherish has been in scintillating form over the last seven months with 6 wins and a place from 8 starts, but all on turf. That said, she has shown versatility by winning on good to soft, good, good to firm and firm ground as well as making the frame on soft! She won a 15-runner handicap at Bath almost eight weeks ago and is up another 6lbs for that win. She hasn't raced on the A/W since beaten by a neck here over 6f back in March and she's now rated 32lbs higher than that run. She clearly has ability, but I'd have preferred her to have had a more recent spin on the A/W.

La Roca del Fuego (the rock of fire) is the likely pacemaker here and has won four of his last seven including by 2.5 lengths at Chelmsford two starts ago off a mark of 63. That sent his OR to today's career-high of 70 and he was unable to run to that level at Kempton last time out, coming home last of nine, beaten by almost nine lengths weakening badly late on. he gets on great with his jockey, but all his form is at Chelmsford and I think 5f is a bit sharp for him.

Ghaaliya is a lightly raced daughter of Frankel who won over 6f on debut at Kempton in June 2020, but has only made the frame once in six races since. Her handicap mark has slid from 75 to 69 in four races and she now makes a debut at 5f. She has raced here once before, finishing 5th of 10 two starts ago and I'd be very surprised to see her in the shake-up here.

To be perfectly frank, this is one of those races where I don't really have a clear idea of which horse(s) to back as none are jumping out at me, so I'll approach it from the other side and rule some out that I wouldn't want to back. Ghaaliya doesn't look good enough to be here, La Roca's mark is too high for me and I think he's better over 6f, Liamba is likely to need the run after a ten month break plus she's better at Southwell and over 6f. Trusty Rusty is interesting but a mark of 58 does her no favours after winning off 52, but then losing off 57 and 59 (twice). She'd need to come down in weight for me.

Which leaves me with four, of which Glamorous Force and C&D specialist Mutabaahy make most sense to me. The market have these at 4/1 and 8/1 and of the two at those prices, I'd rather have an E/W bet on the latter.  Cherish and We're Reunited are the other two I'm still considering and again at odds of 5/1 and 9/1 respectively, I think I'd rather back the latter E/W.

 

Racing Insights, 22nd November 2021

The pace tab on the racecard is a really useful tool that will help us get a good idea of how the tactics race might unfold. We feel that pace is so important and under-used that we make this feature totally FREE to ALL readers for ALL races every Sunday & Monday including, of course, our daily free races which are scheduled to be...

  • 2.00 Ludlow
  • 2.45 Ayr
  • 3.05 Ludlow
  • 5.30 Chelmsford

And it probably makes sense to look at the last on that list, as Chelmsford is renowned for having a pace bias and it's actually the highest rated of the four free races. Sadly, it only has fine runners and as I'm late posting this evening (family function), I'm aware that the bookies think it'll be a two-horse race, but that doesn't mean it's a futile exercise assessing the 5.30 Chelmsford, a 5-runner, Class 2, 3yo+ A/W handicap over 6f on Standard Polytrack...

So, the bookies see Regional and Above as the two most likely to fill the frame here. My own initial thoughts would also agree, but I also had Corinthia Knight very closely matched with Above. The Geegeez SR figures would appear to favour Shallow Hal and above, but the caveat there is that Regional has no rating, having never tackled the A/W.

This also means that Regional will have very little relevant form on display on Instant Expert...

...that said, you can still see that he has a previous Class 2 win, a 6f win and has an opening A/W mark of 98 (he was 3rd off this mark on the Flat LTO). Of his four rivals, all have a tleast one block of red and with The Last Lion having two reds, he's probably worst off here, whilst Above is the only previous course winner whereas Corinthia Knight's 0 from 6 at Chelmsford is a worry. From a weight perspective, both Above and Shallow Hal are considerably higher than their last A/W wins, but Corinthia Knight could be weighted to win.

The draw here over a left handed six furlong definitely favours those drawn lowest...

...and aside from stalls 2 and 3 being slightly flip-flopped, the inference is that your chances of winning/making the frame diminish with every position away from the rails you are drawn. Above has the plum draw in stall 1 and Shallow Hal will have most to do from box 5, but his race tactics might help him get involved...

The stats from Shallow Hal's last four runs suggest he's a mid division type runner, but it's highly likely based on pace averages that he'll only have Regional behind him in the early stages. To be honest with you, that pace profile won't exactly put either of those two at a disadvantage and mid-div/hold-up runners have done OK (if not spectacularly well) here...

Ideally you want to lead from a low draw or sit further back off the pace, as chasing the leader looks to be a difficult task. Essentially you can waste too much energy chasing, not leaving enough in the tank for a finish. Corinthia Knight looks like the pacesetter here and he's drawn well in stall 2. The Last Lion probably ends up the disadvantaged chaser, but stall 3 isn't horrific. Above has that plum 1 draw, but with two high pace scores and two low ones, much will depend on his approach. If he's slow away, then his stall advantage will dissipate. Finally, we have the favourite Regional, who isn't ideally suited by pace nor draw, but would hope to still be involved by sheer ability.

Summary

No horse ticks all the boxes here, but based on the above The Last Lion and Shallow Hal look the weakest of our five runners, so I'm going to strip it down to three...

  • Above is a former course and distance winner (Class 4, June 2019 on debut), but after finishing 1211 in his first four starts taking his mark to 100, is now 0 from 10 since October 2019. He had some good runs in the summer of 2020 off marks of 98 and 100 (twice) and looked like coming back to form when just 1.75 lengths adrift at Kempton at this class/trip 24 days ago. Eased another pound could go well.
  • Corinthia Knight is far more experienced than each of his rivals (51 races to his rivals' combined 58) and has a healthy 8 wins and 6 places from 34 on the A/W. he won back to back 6f contests at Pontefract in the summer, but looked like he needed the run when 6th of 8 at Kempton 24 days ago. he was coming back from a 96-day break, set the pace and was caught and eventually beaten by just 2.5 lengths. He should come back on for that run and is now a pound lower.
  • Regional is a lightly raced 3yr old who has won two of five starts so far, including a Class 2 handicap off a mark of 94 two starts ago and has already been considered good enough to tackle two Listed contests. On paper, he's the best horse in the race, but makes an A/W debut off a mark of 98, the same mark he was beaten off last time out.

Regional is, for me, the best horse in the race and had this been on turf, I'd have been all over him. I don't dispute that he'll be well prepared for his A/W debut, but a mark of 98 leaves no room for error and at odds of 11/8, I don't think I want to get involved. Basically, I think that if he "gets" the surface, he wins, but that's not 11/8 for me, especially with the pace and draw being against him.

Above is next on my/the bookies lists and he's been a long time between drinks. He's well drawn, but is inconsistent on pace. If he makes full use of stall 1 and breaks quickly, he'd have every chance, but losing has become a bad habit for him and odds of 15/8 about a horse on a 0 from 10 run aren't particularly attractive, so I can't back him either.

Corinthia Knight is probably just third best of the five runners, but is the one who interests me most. He's available at odds of 15/2 and that's borderline E/W territory for me normally. With only five runners, I'm happy to lower my sights and I think a small E/W play or place only bet is my way forward from this race. He's got a decent draw, will set the pace and is well weighted. There's every chance he'll grab a soft lead and hold on.

Of course, it might just be a Regional/Above 1-2 as the market suggests, but I think CK will give me a good run for my money.

 

 

 

Racing Insights, 1st November 2021

We offer one feature from the GOLD membership free to everyone each day and such is the important of pace analysis in race reading, we open up the pace tab to all races twice a week, Sunday & Monday. In addition to having free access to this tab on Monday, there are also the following free races...

  • 12.25 Hereford
  • 1.50 Laytown
  • 3.05 Kempton
  • 5.00 Wolverhampton

Now, I know the Kempton race is a Listed contest, but the last on that list actually looks more interesting to me, so we're off to the Black Country for the 5.00 Wolverhampton, a 9-runner, Class 4, 3yo+, A/W (Tapeta) Handicap over 6f worth £4,590...

...where all bar Politics and Wonder Elzaam are previous 6f winners with four of the field (El Hombre, Wudashudacuda, Mutabaahy & Youllovemewheniwin) achieving course and distance success. We have two class movers (1 up a class and 1 down a class) and one making a debut for a new yard and incidentally all three horses (Youllovemewheniwin, El Hombre & Wudashudacuda respectively) are three of the four C&D winners. We've no LTO winners on display and Wudashudacuda probably shades it on recent form.

There are usually between 65 and 75 6f handicaps each year here at Wolverhampton, so the draw and pace stats and the associated heat maps should be pretty reliable to lean on, so I'm going to start with those via the analyser tools, starting with the draw...

...which suggests the middle of the draw is the best place to be for both win and place purposes, whilst stall by stall analysis would appear to back this up...

...where I'd be inclined to say that stalls 3-8 would be the preferred draws for winners and 4-6 for the places. When the draw stats say that 6 of 9 stalls have a good chance, then there's every possibility that running style (aka pace) will decide the contest and so we turn to both historical pace results here at Wolverhampton and also how our nine runners have approached their last four races. We start with the pace analyser...

...which says that racing prominently or preferably leading is the key to success here from both a win and a place perspective and here's how our nine have tackled their last four races...

...of which you're probably looking at the first four to be the more prominent runners, although both Temple Bruer and El Hombre also have a couple of prominent runs in their last four.

It's also important to see how the draw interacts with the pace stats and for this, we can show you our unique pace/draw heat map, which for this type of encounter looks like this...

...seemingly favouring Seas of Elzaam, Youllovemewheniwin and possibly Temple Bruer. Wonder of Elzaam led last time out and that would be a good tactic from stall 3, whilst stall 1 El Hombre would need to return to prominent racing after two recent hold up runs.

That's draw and pace for now and a few suggestions, but this field have plenty of 6f races and trips to Wolverhampton under their belts, so now it's time to assess race suitability via Instant Expert...

...where the win stats don't tell me anywhere near as much as the place figures...

When drawing up a shortlist for a race, I prefer to look at the place figures, because if a horse isn't making the frame, he isn't winning races! With that in mind, I really want to focus my attention on runners 2 to 6, where all the green is. This group doesn't have great win stats, but they constantly make the frame and if I can find three placers here, the winner will automatically be amongst them, so let's take a closer look at the five in question, starting with...

  • The Lamplighter, who was only beaten by half a length when third of ten over course and distance three weeks ago, when having to run wide after a slow start. He's up a pound here and has no 3lb claimer aboard, so this is automatically tougher, but he can overcome the weight disadvantage by getting away quicker. He's not ideally drawn in #2, but has raced further forward on his best A/W runs, so a definite player here despite being 6lbs above his last A/W win, although he did win at Goodwood off 77 in the summer.
  • Wonder Elzaam, who is better than his recent form would suggest. He may well have been fifth of thirteen on his UK A/W debut last time out, but was only beaten by 2.75 lengths, having led for much of the 7f trip, but faded late on. The drop back to 6f should help and he was no mug on the A/W in Ireland, notching up a win and four places from eight runs at Dundalk. His yard is in decent nick, he's drawn well enough and has led in the past.
  • Temple Bruer wouldn't be an obvious winner here, but scores well on pace/draw. He's a solid Class 4 horse that has made the frame in two of three Class 3 starts, but it has to be said that he's a better turf horses than he is on the A/W, although he was a Class 3 runner-up here over C&D two starts ago. If running to that level again off a pound and a class lower, then he could definitely make the frame, but can't be relied upon. That said, he does have the right jockey for the job...

  • El Hombre, who despite not having won any of his last sixteen starts should still be in the mix based on his two wins and four places from eleven efforts over course and distance. His latest run was a 3.75 length defeat here over this trip four weeks ago, but that was on his return from 222 days off track, so he should come on for the run and he's down in both class and weight here. If racing prominently as he has in the past, then stall 1 isn't insurmountable.
  • Wudashudacuda, who won here over C&D at the end of March and was only beaten by half a length at Chepstow two starts ago. He was, however, disappointing at the same venue a week later, when perhaps the ground was too quick/hard for him. his best form has come on the A/W, but he's now on a career-high mark, which I fear is too high.

Summary

Of my five against the field, I think Wudashudacuda & Temple Bruer are the weakest, so they're not in my final three. At 13/2, Wonder Elzaam is the longest-priced of my three and whilst I think he has a really good chance of making the frame, he wouldn't be my first pick as a winner and he's also not long enough to back E/W.

So, it's between The Lamplighter and El Hombre and despite the latter being on a long losing run, he did show some positive signs on his return last time out and offers more value (to me, anyway) at odds of 6/1 (Bet365) than The Lamplighter's best price of 3/1.

All of which leaves me with El Hombre / The Lamplighter / Wonder Elzaam.

 

 

 

 

Racing Insights, 25th October 2021

Pace analysis is a relatively new area for many UK bettors, but it is is one which is in fact as old as the hills, and without which even novice horse players in some countries will not bet. But what is it?

Well, pace helps to inform how a race will be run even before the horses have left the starting stalls, which can be a massive advantage over other bettors. To this end, we make the PACE tab on our racecards FREE to ALL readers every Sunday & Monday for ALL races, including Monday's free races of the day, which will be...

  • 2.45 Galway
  • 3.05 Ayr
  • 3.50 Redcar
  • 4.00 Leicester
  • 5.35 Galway
  • 8.00 Newcastle

And the best of those races on paper, at least, looks the the 4.00 Leicester, a 7-runner, Class 2, soft (heavy in places) ground, 3yo+ flat handicap over 1m½f after rail movements...

None come here in top form, but Dashing Roger has two wins and a place from his last four starts, has won over course and distance (when landing this race last year), sits second on the Geegeez SR figures, is 5 from 14 on turf and has won on both soft and heavy ground, whilst his yard has a good record here...

Afaak is likely to be a fairly warm favourite due to his record on soft ground and the fact that he's 4lbs lower than his last win but that came twelve races and more than 28 months ago. He did, however show signs of a return when beaten by just a neck at Haydock LTO but has been raised a pound for that run. He could well win this, but I've not yet found why he might be such a short price.

Young Fire won in this grade on soft ground over 7½f at Haydock off a mark of 96, but has struggled in four races since going up 4lbs for that win. There is a 1lb respite here, but I'm not sure that'll be enough even if he does have an excellent record on soft ground and his trainer/jockey are working well together right now...

Greenside has won at this class, distance and going but at 10 yrs old his career is on a downward trajectory and he's now 2lbs lower than his last which came 8 starts ago at Haydock in July 2020. His mark would give him a fighting chance, I suppose, but back to back 13 length defeats suggest he'll toil again here, even if both yard and jockey have been going well of late...

Chance had a spell reading 2111 in the summer of 2019 and ended the 2020 campaign with finishes of 221, but hasn't really got going this term, beaten by 6.5 length on his comeback from 10 months off and then last of five next/last time out. Chance? Slim, I'd say.

King Carney was decent enough as a 2yr old for Charlie Fellowes in 2019 finishing 5211 in his four starts that season, culminating in winning a 1m soft ground Listed race at Pontefract two years ago. That kind of form would be more than ample here, but he just hasn't kicked on from his juvey season. He's unplaced in all eight starts since then and left the Fellowes yard this summer. His sole run for new handlers saw him last of 8, beaten by 64 lengths over 1m2f less than 4 weeks ago, massive improvement needed, but yard & rider do get on well...

It's just over two years and nineteen defeats since National League last tasted success, but he did show signs of a comeback when a creditable third of eleven at Musselburgh a fortnight ago. He overcame a slow start that day to get beaten by just a neck and a short head over 7f on soft ground and was staying on well. The extra furlong might help him here and he receives weight all round. A win and 3 places from 5 soft/heavy ground runs suggests he'll enjoy conditions and could very well be involved.

As many of this field come here without a recent win, conditions, draw and the pace of the race might be the deciding factor in which one(s) of them post a better performance than they have of late. Fortunately we've several tools to help us predict which they might be, starting with Instant Expert, our unique overview of a field's results under any given set of conditions and in this race, it looks like this...

For those unfamiliar with Instant Expert, it's a simple traffic light system where green is go, amber is proceed with caution and red invariably spells danger. You don't need to be a genius to see that Dashing Roger looks best suited by expected conditions here. Afaak & Greenside are on lower marks than their last wins, but that often signifies a spell of poor form. So, last year's winner, Dashing Roger might actually be the one to beat today and he's bagged stall 1 on this right handed track, but is that an advantage today?

Well, based on those numbers, I'd say stall 1 was a decent place to be. Stall 5 (King Carney) has marginally better returns, but I'm not convinced there's a massive draw bias here if I'm honest, so the way the race unfolds will probably be a more decisive factor, so let's consider the pace stats...

...and the message is clear here. Leaders fare much better than all other running styles. The potential fly in the ointment is the looming prospect of a falsely run race, because there's not actually much pace in the race and these seven horses aren't natural leaders, as shown here...

Yes, both King Carney and Afaak have led in one of their four most recent runs, but they've both also got a hold-up run. In a falsely run race, it normally lands upon those best suited by conditions to go and win the race and that takes us back to Instant Expert, of course. The brief resumé comments will also come in handy, but we're not really getting much from this pace/draw heatmap, unless last year's winner, Dashing Roger, approaches the renewal with a bit of vigour...

Summary

When I first looked at the racecard and then did the short write-ups on each horse, I as leaning towards (alphabetically) Afaak, Dashing Roger and National League, whilst Dashing Roger was the one to beat based on Instant Expert. He and National League top the Geegeez SR figures and I think I'll stick to my original thoughts and take Dashing Roger at 5/1 to beat National league at 9/2 for my 1-2.

Afaak is more than capable of landing this, but doesn't justify 6/4 favouritism in my opinion, hence me leavingh him well alone here.

 

 

Racing Insights, 11th October

Pace analysis is a relatively new area for many UK bettors, but it is is one which is in fact as old as the hills, and without which even novice horse players in some countries will not bet. But what is it?

Well, pace helps to inform how a race will be run even before the horses have left the starting stalls, which can be a massive advantage over other bettors. To this end, we make the PACE tab on our racecards FREE to ALL readers every Sunday & Monday for ALL races, including Monday's free races of the day, which will be...

  • 3.25 Wolverhampton
  • 4.10 Musselburgh
  • 4.25 Yarmouth
  • 4.55 Yarmouth

And the best of those races would appear to be the 4.10 Musselburgh, a 12-runner, Class 2, flat handicap for 3yo+ horses. It's worth £10,308 and the trip is a right handed 7f on soft ground...

What I want to do here is a very quick process of elimination, because we really should be able to assess a race in a matter of minutes before moving to the next. So from the racecard alone, I want to get rid of...

Eagleway on horse, trainer and jockey form,
Hey Jonesy on horse and trainer form
National League stepping up in class despite being out of form
Northern Express stepping up two classes and two pounds after only getting home by a neck LTO, plus yard and jockey are in poor form

And I then want to head straight to Instant Expert and the place stats in particular...

I used the place stats first today, because if a horse isn't placing, then it's generally not winning either! Which signals the end for...
Bravado on class and distance
Hayadh on going.

You never know what might happen with the British weather, but after whittling the field down to half of the runners, I'm happy that all six have what it takes to make the frame on whatever the final going is, even if it improves to Good to Soft or if it deteriorates and becomes heavy, these place stats speak for themselves...

The only slight area of concern is about Volatile Analyst at this grade, but he has won two of three Class 2 races on Good to Soft/Soft, so he survives the cull, leaving me with half a dozen possibles for three places. They're drawn in stalls 2, 4, 6, 9, 10 and 12, so strung all way across., but based on the A/E (which correlates to the win percentages) for each stall, those drawn highest seem best off...

...which favours Muntadab, Volatile Analyst and Danzan from my six, possibly Fools Rush In too from a mid-draw of 6. Now we need to look at the pace stats and how they correlate with the draw, Firstly the standalone pace data tells us that those who lead are far more likely to win or place...

...which makes the following pace/draw heat map fairly obviously biased towards those drawn higher who like to get on with things...

So, if any of Fools Rush In, Muntadab, Volatile Analyst or Danzan are natural pacemakers, then they'll surely stand a great chance here. Let's look at their last four outings...

Fools has led twice, Muntadab three times whilst Volatile and Danzan are definite prominent runners. And I think that at this point, they're the four I want to be choosing between.

Summary

I've quickly taken twelve down to four and a quick look at each, starting with...

Danzan, who wouldn't be an obvious winner after scoring just once in 27 attempts on the Flat, but his 16 places (59%) suggest he'll get involved again. He has finished 23333 in his last five, but beaten by 1.25 lengths or less in each. He'll probably fall just short again here.

Fools Rush In has won five of his last eight and can be forgiven for not completing a hat-trick when well beaten at Leopardstown last time out. That was a far better race (worth £66k) than this one and on quicker ground and he should go better here, but he'd need a career-best to win.

Muntadab has a very healthy 21% strike rate from his 67 Flat outings and has two wins and two places from eight runs here at Musselburgh, all over today's trip. Much will depend on whether he can grab the early lead ahead of the likes of Bravado and/or Hayadh, but if he can, he could well hang on for at least a place.

Volatile Analyst ran a career best at York last time out to win by half a length over six furlongs, but is now up in weight by 5lbs and up in trip, which makes life tough. His best for has been over 6f and I think he might get run out of this one.

Which leads me to Fools Rush In as a tentative pick in what could be a decent/tight contest. If you are going to have a bet in tight/tricky etc handicaps, then it needs to be worth your while, so let's see what price we can get...

...and at 4.55pm, he was 8/1 and with several bookies paying four places, I'll go 8/1 E/W about Fools Rush In. Danzan looks set for the frame again, but I need a little bit more than his current 15/2 best price, but I will take some of the 14/1 E/W offered for Muntadab, whilst I'll be leaving Volatile Analyst alone : he's too short for my liking at 5/1!

 

 

Racing Insights, 27th September 2021

The Pace tab on our racecards helps to inform how a race will be run even before the horses have left the starting stalls and it is a vital weapon in any bettor's armoury. So much so, that every Sunday & Monday, we make this GOLD feature freely available to ALL readers for ALL races, including our 'races of the day'. These are a group of races that we open up to everyone on a daily basis and for Monday, they will be...

  • 2.05 Newton Abbot
  • 2.15 Hamilton
  • 2.30 Roscommon
  • 3.20 Hamilton
  • 4.55 Newcastle

And of those five, the one I'll be concentrating upon today is the 3.20 Hamilton, which is a 9-runner, Class 5, 3yo+, Flat handicap worth £2,862. The trip is 1m½f on Good to Soft ground and here are the runners with my Report Angle stats...

Only Gainsbourg, Mikmak and Wots The Wifi Code have a win in their recent form line, but the letter two of that trio are up in class here, whilst Caballero drops down from Class 4. Both Gainsbourg and Flying Moon are former course and distance winners, whilst Jackhammer, Al Erayg, Mikmak and Wots The Wifi Code have won at similar trips to this one. All bar Gainsbourg (46d) and Wots The Wifi Code (32d) have been seen in the last 15 days and the handicapper suggests that End Zone is some 17lbs better than Flying Moon.

End Zone has a win and a place at Carlisle already this season and ran well at Beverley two starts ago to finish 4th of 10 in a Class 4 handicap. His 7th of 10 last time out doesn't do him justice, as he was cramped for room entering the final furlong and had to be switched outside, yrt still only lost by 2.25 lengths in a tight finish. Has won at a higher grade on soft ground and if avoiding trouble here, could go well again off 1lb lower than that Carlisle win.

Jackhammer hasn't won for 27 months, but has actually only raced eight times in that period. He was a runner-up on his last 2020 run and on both of his first two runs this season, but hasn't kicked on since, yet his stablemates have been running well recently.

Al Erayg wouldn't be an obvious winner here, having been beaten in each of his last thirteen runs since winning a soft ground, 1m, Class 4 hcp at Redcar almost a year ago. He did, however, show signs of a return to form with a respectable effort at Ayr last time out and now coming to a track where his trainer, jockey and trainer/jockey combined all have good records, he could surprise a few off a career-low mark.

Gainsbourg never raced as a 2 yr old and as such is now only six races into his career, but did win here over course and distance two starts ago in a Class 5 Novices race. He then only beat one horse home in a 7-runner handicap at Beverley last month and will need to improve upon that after nearly 7 weeks rest.

Mikmak has been around the block a few times and will race for the 65th time in this one. He's a respectable (for this grade) 6 from 55 on turf, but off a mark of 64 is probably in the assessor's grip. He finished 121 inside 8 days in early August off marks of 60, 61 and 61, but has since been 8th of 10 off 65 and 10th of 13 LTO off 64, so still needs some slack off the handicapper.

Caballero is another who'd be a surprise winner based on his run of 24 defeats since landing a handicap nursery at Newmarket almost three years ago during a very good 2yo season (2 wins, 3 places from 8). Since then his mark has dropped from 87 to today's 60. He was a runner-up in a soft ground Class 4 seller here over course and distance last time out, suggesting he might be ready to go one better down in class.

Engles Rock is also on a long losing run (20 races since early June 2019) and has finished fourth in each of her last four starts. Cheekpieces are re-applied here, but I'd suggest that if she was to finish fourth here, she'd have done well.

Wots The Wifi Code won at Ripon last month (C6, 1m), but was then a beaten favourite here over course and distance (C6) at even money and then a beaten fav (11.5 lengths off the pace) in another Class 6 hcp at Carlisle LTO. Down a pound but with no 5lb claimer, this will be very tough up in class.

Flying Moon won this race last year, but the form hasn't really worked out and they were a poor bunch if truth be told. He also won again straight after the race here (C6, 1m, Ayr) and repeated that win in June of this year but has struggled since. Showed some signs here of a recovery over C&D LTO when third of six and although down another 2lbs, has work to do.

This group of horses have a combined win strike rate of just 9.6% and a place record of 31.5% after 26 wins and 59 further places from their 270 total starts, so we're not dealing with prolific runners here, nor are we dealing with horses who used to be good but have slipped down the handicap. If we're honest, these are poor horses, but some of them might relish today's conditions and to quickly highlight if that's the case, we have our Instant Expert tab...

Not much to go of from a win perspective, but Flying Moon would appear to be the one to beat on this graphic alone. As for place form...

...that tells us a bit more about who has run reasonably well in forecasted conditions.

Other than those drawn higher than stall 8 in similar 8-10 runner handicaps performing badly here, I wouldn't say that there's a strong draw bias at this course and distance...

...and if you look at the PRB figures, then there's an argument that stalls 5 to 8 might be the worst place to be...

The PACE tab is today's feature and that shows us how all nine runners have raced in their last four outings, but before we look at that, let's see what type of pace profile has fared best on those races we go the draw stats for...

With an IV of 0.98, prominent runners almost win as often as expected, but the inference is clear here, leaders win most often and they're also the ones making the frame. Over half of the leading placers go on to win, which is easily the best conversion rate of the four running styles, so all we need is a front runner here.

Sadly, that's where it gets more difficult, as 4 = led and 1= held-up and our runners here are far more inclined to run from off the pace than they are to set it...

Sure, Jackhammer, Gainsbourg, Caballero and Flying Moon have led once in their last four, but there's no consistency from any of the nine, save possibly Al Erayg and Mikmak at a push. When we combine pace and draw to show the optimum combination...

...we are told that low draws are better, leading is the best approach and that five combos are very markedly favoured. When we overlay our runners on to that heat map...

...in draw order, based on their last three runs, we see that there's no real pace at all. Gainsbourg looks likeliest to take it on from a poor draw and the chances are that we'll get a falsely run race.

Summary

Based on how these have run recently, changes in weight/mark, relevant form via Instant Expert and the pace/draw stats, I think I'm going to take a fairly obvious runner with two possible surprises as my way in to possibly having a bet here. So, alphabetically, I'll start with...

  • Al Erayg, who has a couple of recent prominent runs, is drawn in 9 which scores well on PRB and comes here on a career-low mark for a yard & trainer that have done well individually and combined at this track.
  • Caballero ran really well here over course and distance on soft ground last time out and now drops in class, he has pace scores of 4 and 3 in two of his last three starts and is also on a career-low mark.
  • Flying Moon, who won this race last year off a pound higher than here and looked like coming back into a bit of form last time out. He gets weight from all his rivals, runs well for today's jockey and September seems to be his favourite month. It was admittedly a poor race last year, but tell me this is any better?

Of the three last year's winner ticks more boxes and as he's the longest priced of the trio, I'm siding with Flying Moon at 7/1 with Hills, the only market open at 4pm. I've not much between the 6/1 Al Erayg and the 5/1 Caballero, but I'd probably have them that way around, but neither interest me from an E/W perspective at those prices.

I think there's value in Flying Moon's price, but if you wanted a longer priced pick, then Jackhammer (the current 11/1 outsider) might be the one to outrun his odds.

 

 

The Importance of Pace in Three Mile Handicap Chases

After a break of a few months I am back to look at some more pace angles in an attempt to find potentially profitable avenues, writes Dave Renham. My last pace article looked at handicap chases at up to 2m 1½f; this time, I will focus on longer distance (2m 7f to 3m 3f) handicap chases.

The data I have researched is from the past five years (2014 to 2018) for UK racing, using the Geegeez Gold Query tool.

When I talk about pace I mean the initial pace in a race, and specifically the position horses take up early on. The pace data on Geegeez is split into four – Led (4), Prominent (3), Mid Division (2) and Held Up (1). The number in brackets is the pace score that is assigned to each section.

The first set of data to share contains overall pace statistics for handicap chases of 2m 7f to 3m 3f for the period of study (a minimum number of six runners in a race).

[N.B. It should be noted that when using the Geegeez Query tool you currently need to enter the parameters 3m to 3m 2f. The Query tool uses increments of 2 furlongs and when you put in 3m - 3m2f it actually covers races from 2m 7f to 3m 3f]

 

Pace comment Runners Wins SR% IV
Led (4) 2282 430 18.84 1.68
Prominent (3) 4894 626 12.79 1.14
Mid Division (2) 2076 160 7.71 0.75
Held Up (1) 5086 406 7.98 0.71

 

 

Despite the fact we are looking at long distance handicap chases, we can clearly see that horses which led or disputed the lead early have a definite edge. Prominent racers have a fairly decent record too, while horses more patiently ridden early tend to underperform.

 

Best performing tracks for front runners (2m7f - 3m3f handicap chases)

As when I looked at 2m – 2m 1½f pace data, there are significant differences in the course figures for these contests, with some courses being much more suited to early leaders and front runners than others. Here are the courses with the best strike rates in terms of front runners at the circa three mile range (minimum 25 front runners to qualify):

 

Course Front Runners Wins SR%
Carlisle 54 15 27.8
Sedgefield 26 7 26.9
Taunton 67 18 26.9
Kelso 62 16 25.8
Newton Abbot 69 17 24.6
Wincanton 79 19 24.1
Hexham 84 19 22.6
Plumpton 62 14 22.6
Lingfield Park 32 7 21.9
Ascot 48 10 20.8
Newcastle 45 9 20.0

 

For record the strike rate for Fakenham for front runners was 28.6%, but there were only 21 races so it has not been included in the table due to too small a sample.

Looking at the courses with the best impact values (IV) offers a potentially more accurate measure of front running bias. [For more information on Impact Value, click here]

 

Course Impact value for Front runners
Carlisle 2.46
Taunton 2.28
Kelso 2.20
Ascot 2.14
Hexham 2.14
Wincanton 2.09
Sedgefield 2.06
Newton Abbot 2.00
Cheltenham 1.95
Hereford 1.89
Uttoxeter 1.88
Lingfield Park 1.85

 

 

As can be seen, the strike rate and IV lists are very similar, with Carlisle, Taunton, Kelso, Ascot, Hexham, Wincanton, Sedgefield, Newton Abbot and Lingfield Park appearing on both.

 

Poorest performing tracks for front runners (2m7f - 3m3f handicap chases)

At the other end of the scale below are the courses with the poorest stats for early leaders/front runners in handicap chases of 2m 7f – 3m 3f:

 

Course Front Runners Wins SR%
Fontwell Park 52 7 13.5
Cheltenham 67 9 13.4
Huntingdon 56 7 12.5
Aintree 33 4 12.1
Bangor-on-Dee 66 8 12.1
Wetherby 57 6 10.5
Sandown Park 39 4 10.3

 

Sandown and Wetherby have not been favourable for front runners it seems, but again let us delve into the Impact Values to help to substantiate the picture. The table below shows courses that have an IV of less than 1.20 for front runners/early leaders.

 

Course Impact value for Front runners
Fontwell Park 1.03
Bangor-on-Dee 1.01
Huntingdon 1.01
Sandown Park 0.95
Wetherby 0.92

 

 

Just five courses with moderate IVs and, essentially, these figures suggest that front runners at these courses win roughly as often as they should given a fair playing field (an IV of 1.00 is ‘standard’). Hence, according to the Impact Values the remaining 36 courses all have an edge for front runners varying from a small edge to a considerable one.

 

Course Pace Averages (CPA)

So far, I have focused solely on front runners, but now I want to try and give a more rounded course and distance profile for each course. To do this I have once again created course pace averages.

These are complied by adding up the Geegeez pace scores of all the winners at a particular course and dividing it by the total number of races. The higher the average score, the more biased the course and distance is to horses that lead early or race close to the pace. Here are all the courses listed, in course pace average (CPA) order:

 

Course CPA Course CPA
Fakenham 3.14 Sandown Park 2.65
Sedgefield 3.06 Uttoxeter 2.64
Hereford 3.00 Chepstow 2.64
Taunton 2.93 Hexham 2.61
Ascot 2.89 Musselburgh 2.61
Doncaster 2.89 Exeter 2.60
Wincanton 2.88 Kempton Park 2.60
Lingfield Park 2.88 Newbury 2.57
Market Rasen 2.88 Towcester 2.56
Plumpton 2.87 Fontwell Park 2.53
Cartmel 2.83 Catterick 2.52
Warwick 2.82 Huntingdon 2.50
Stratford 2.80 Leicester 2.50
Perth 2.76 Ffos Las 2.49
Newcastle 2.75 Cheltenham 2.49
Kelso 2.74 Wetherby 2.46
Southwell 2.73 Bangor-on-Dee 2.43
Carlisle 2.73 Aintree 2.42
Newton Abbot 2.71 Worcester 2.41
Haydock Park 2.69 Ayr 2.23
Ludlow 2.69

 

These averages arguably give a more overall pace ‘feel’ to each course – as noted earlier, Fakenham (which tops the list) has had few races in reality.

It is interesting to note that Carlisle is only joint 17th on this list having been top in terms of front runner stats. This is because 20 of the 46 races have been won by horses that gained a pace figure of either 1 or 2. The fact that there have been 15 wins for front runners has been negated somewhat by this, aided notably by the moderate performance of prominent runners (just 6 wins from 46 races).

Taking all the information at hand, I would suggest that the following four courses offer the strongest pace bias – Sedgefield, Ascot, Taunton and Wincanton.

 

Ascot’s overall figures are worth sharing as an example:

Pace comment Runners Wins SR% IV
Led (4) 48 10 20.83 2.14
Prominent (3) 78 10 12.82 1.33
Mid Division (2) 51 1 1.96 0.22
Held Up (1) 108 6 5.56 0.57

 

Having all the Ascot stats at our fingertips helps to illustrate how strong a bias there has been in recent years with 20 of 27 races won by horses that led early or raced prominently – this equates to 74%.

 

2m7f - 3m3f handicap chase pace data, by field size

Before I close, I want to share some different ‘splits’ in terms of number of runners. The data I have looked at for this article has come from races with 6 or more runners, so is quite a wide range. In the following three tables I have split the 2m 7f – 3m 3f handicap chase pace results into races of 6 to 8 runners, 9 to 11, and 12 runners or more.

6 to 8 runners

Pace comment Runners Wins SR% IV
Led (4) 1233 267 21.7 1.51
Prominent (3) 2296 347 15.1 1.05
Mid Division (2) 548 63 11.5 0.82
Held Up (1) 1967 202 10.3 0.72

 

9 to 11 runners

Pace comment Runners Wins SR% IV
Led (4) 703 111 15.8 1.55
Prominent (3) 1643 188 12.4 1.12
Mid Division (2) 746 60 8.0 0.80
Held Up (1) 1867 147 7.9 0.77

 

12+ runners

Pace comment Runners Wins SR% IV
Led (4) 346 52 15.0 2.12
Prominent (3) 955 91 9.5 1.35
Mid Division (2) 782 37 4.7 0.67
Held Up (1) 1252 57 4.5 0.64

 

Interestingly, the 12 or more runner group has comfortably the highest Impact Value for front runners, notwithstanding the understandably lower strike rate. Therefore, these data suggest that the front running bias increases as field size increases. I wonder who would have thought that?

  • Dave Renham

The Importance of Pace in 5f Handicaps: Part 4

After hours, actually weeks of number crunching, I am able to share my most recent findings regarding pace in 5f handicaps, writes Dave Renham.

In this fourth article I have started to look in more detail at the Geegeez pace data focusing for the most part on the last four runs of each horse. Links to the first three articles are here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Horses on the Geegeez racecard have pace figures assigned to their last four runs, with the most recent run to the left. To recap the pace figures are split into four groups - Led, Prominent, Mid Division and Held Up. Pace points are given to each group - led gets 4 points, prominent 3, mid division 2 and held up 1. Therefore totals can range between 4 and 16.

My focus for this piece has been 5f handicaps (turf and all weather) with at least 6 runners from 2017. There were 465 such races in total and at present I have manually collated data for 200 of these, from which I will share my initial findings. The plan next month is to complete the research and report back on the results for all the races. Handicaps are generally the best medium for this type of research because one is usually dealing with seasoned campaigners who have raced many times in their careers.

I have noted before that front runners have a significant edge in these short sprints and this is clearly seen from the pace figures of these 200 winners:

 

Pace figure of winner

4

3

2

1

Win % 25% 43.5% 8%

23.5%

 

As we can see 25% of all races have been won by the horse that took the early lead. Considering front runners made up around 13% of runners in the sample, we can say that front runners have won nearly twice as often as they should (25% versus 13%); this is assuming all horses have an equal chance in each race. Of course, that may not necessarily be the case, but the 13% figure is not going to be too far away from the true chance. For the record, prominent racers provided 40% of all horses so this pace bracket also win slightly more often than ‘one would expect’; horses that raced mid-division provided around 13% of all runners so have under-performed statistically, as have hold up horses who provided around 34% of all the runners.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, with such an advantage in 5f handicaps it makes sense to investigate ways of trying to predict the front runner. In the third article I looked at the most recent race only and the pace figure gained from it. This time I am going to look at the performance of the top-rated pace runners using the last four races.

In each of the 200 races I collated the pace figures for each horse by putting them in order of pace points, then looking to see from which pace position the winner came. I was hoping of course to see a bias towards the top-rated pace horses in terms of number of wins.

Here are the findings:

 

Pace rank

Wins

Races

SR%

1 26 200 13.0
2 21 200 10.5
3 26 200 13.0
4 31 200 15.5
5 23 200 11.5
6 17 200 8.5
7 21 179 11.7
8 10 153 6.5
9 10 127 7.9
10 4 96 4.2
11 7 68 10.3
12 2 48 4.2
13 1 32 3.1
14 1 22 4.5

15+

0 9

0.0

 

Hence the top-rated pace horse (the one with the most pace points) won 26 of the 200 races (13%). On the face of it this does look a little disappointing. It should also be stressed at this point that there may have been 200 races, but due to several of these having joint top-rated pace horses, there were in fact 266 horses that were top- or joint-top ranked.

That brings the win strike rate down to under 10%. Before you reach for the Kleenex, I do have some positive news. If you had backed these top-rated pace horses to level stakes, your 266 selections would have yielded a small profit to SP. Even better returns would have accrued if you had backed them at Betfair SP – at £10 per bet the profit after commission would have been just under £530. This equates to a return of about 20p in the £. Very satisfactory returns for what is essentially a simplistic method.

With a notable difference between the number of winning front-runners and the number of winners with the highest pace rank coming into the race, what these findings indicate once more is that predicting the front runner is far from an exact science. It is clearly not just a case of picking the horse in the race with the most pace points from their last four runs. What that table does seem to indicate though is that the more points you have the more chance you have of winning.

The top-rated pace horse did lead in nearly 40% of the races; the table below shows the run style of the top-rated pace horse in the reviewed races:

 

Pace Figure

Races

% of horses

4 – Led 105 39.5
3 – Prominent 106 39.8
2 – Midfield 23 8.6
1 – Held up 32 12.0

 

So those top-rated pace horses coming into a race have generally led or raced up with the pace, which is clearly what one would expect. However, when I started this series of articles I was hoping to find a method that would predict the front runner at least 50% of the time, if not 60%. Not around 40%! It is interesting to note that in the third article I found that horses that had led in a 5f handicap last time out, went on to lead in their next race 42.5% of the time. So perhaps the most recent race is more important than combining the last four when looking at pace figures, though in truth the difference in terms of the sample size is negligible.

My next port of call was to look at the actual pace figure gained by the top rated or joint top-rated pace horse. 16 (four pace figures of 4) is the highest pace figure a horse can achieve.

Here are the findings:

 

4 race pace total (top rated horses only)

Wins

Runs

SR%

16 2 31 6.5
15 8 78 10.3
14 7 87 8.0
13 5 32 15.6
12 2 32 6.3
11 2 5 40.0
10 0 1 0.0

 

These figures suggest nothing particularly clear cut at this stage – however, when I have looked at all 465 races hopefully a pattern may start to emerge.

Before moving on I would like to discuss a theory. There is a perception that if there are two or more potential front runners in a race, then that race will be set up for a ‘closer’. The theory is that there will be a strong battle for the lead where the leaders essentially ‘cut each other’s throats’ – allowing a horse to come from off the pace and win.

I wanted to try and test this theory as best I could. I decided therefore in each race to work out the pace average of the top four rated pace horses. If the theory held any validity, then I expected the record of the top rated pace horse would be poor when the four horse pace average was higher. Here are the findings:

 

Top four rated pace average

Top rated pace runners

Wins

SR%

BSP profit to £10 stakes

ROI%

14 and above 48 3 6.3 – £220 – 45.8
13 to 13.75 77 5 6.5 – £193 – 25.1
12 to 12.75 69 5 7.2 – £232 – 33.6
11 to 11.75 51 7 13.7 + £363 + 71.2
9 to 10.75 21 6 28.6 + £320 + 152.4

 

It seems that this theory does hold water, although I appreciate that not all top-rated pace horses lead. Having said that most top-rated pace horses race up with the pace and thus are not coming from ‘off the pace’ to win. The races where the top four horses averaged 14 or above produced the lowest strike rate and the worst returns. Conversely the races with relatively low averages produced extremely positive returns.

I have also looked at the combined win and placed strike rates to see if they correlate with the win strike rates:

 

Top four rated pace average

Top rated pace runners

Wins / places

Win/placed SR%

14 and above 48 10 20.8
13 to 13.75 77 19 24.7
12 to 12.75 69 22 31.9
11 to 11.75 51 19 37.3
9 to 10.75 21 12 57.1

 

It is pleasing to see the win and place strike rates increase as the four horse pace average decreases – just like the win data showed.

This takes me onto the second theory where there is a perception that if there is just one ‘genuine’ front runner in the race, that runner has a good chance of getting a ‘soft’ lead and this increases their prospects of leading all the way. The table above seems to suggest when there is less ‘pace’ in the race, potential front runners have a better chance of winning. However, we cannot be sure that a race with, say, a top four rated pace average of 11 has a sole front runner. Consider the following two scenarios:

 

Scenario 1: Pace average of top four pace horses = 11

Horse A – 15

Horse B – 10

Horse C – 10

Horse D – 9

 

Scenario 2: Pace average of top four pace horses = 11

Horse A – 12

Horse B – 12

Horse C – 11

Horse D –  9

 

One way to perhaps test this ‘soft’ lead theory is to look at the gap between the top rated pace horse and the second top rated pace horse. Here are these findings looking at the performance of the top rated pace horses in each case:

 

Gap between top and 2nd rated

Top rated pace runners

Wins

SR%

BSP profit to £10 stakes

ROI%

0 126 10 7.9 – £364 –28.9
1 75 4 5.3 – £495 –66.0
2 44 7 15.9 + £323 +73.4
3 15 4 26.7 + £525 +350.0
4 5 0 0.0 – £50 –100.0
5 1 1 100.0 + £85 +850.0

 

This once again is not a perfect test because the top rated pace runner does not always lead! However, what it does seem to suggest is that the top rated pace horse has done extremely well when there has been a gap of at least 2 points between them and the second rated. I appreciate the data set is relatively small, but nonetheless the signs are good. I did look at the win and placed data here and the correlation was less strong – the problem perhaps is the data set for a gap of 3 or more is so small. I will revisit this after looking at all the races and share that data. [Alternative theory for lack of place correlation is that trail blazers are often binary types, who either win or drop out completely – Ed.]

For the final part of this article I want to look at the profile of the 200 winners in terms of pace. I initially looked at their four race pace totals and noted that 128 winners (SR 64%) had a total of 10-16 while 72 winners (SR 36%) had a total of 4-9. It seems therefore at first glance that the horses with higher pace ratings have outperformed those with lower ones. However, we can all manipulate data and hence we need to know how many runners were in each of the two pace brackets. Fortunately we have a relatively even split as the table shows:

 

4 race totals for all runners

Win SR%

% of actual runners in all races

Between 4 and 9 36% 48.5%
Between 10 and 16 64% 51.5%

 

To clarify this means that horses with a pace total of 10 or higher (from their last four runs) have won 64% of all races from 51.5% of the total runners. Hence, as we would have hoped, horses with higher pace ratings do perform better in 5f handicaps than lower pace rated horses. In reality if ‘pace’ made no difference whatsoever then these horses should be winning 51.5% of races not 64% - in reality, they are roughly 1.25 times more likely to win than statistically they ought.

So, it’s time now to start looking at the other 265 races to see whether the statistical patterns noted in this article are replicated over a bigger sample. At present we can make the following observations:

 

  1. Front runners have a huge edge in 5f handicaps
  2. Top pace rated runners (using the last four races) have a relatively low strike rate but have shown a 20% profit to BSP
  3. Top pace rated runners have taken the early lead around 40% of the time (led or raced prominently in just under 80% of races)
  4. Top pace rated runners have a much better strike rate in races where the top four pace rated runners produce an average of less than 12
  5. Top pace rated runners have a much better strike rate in races where they have a 2 point or bigger gap to the second pace rated horse
  6. Horses pace rated 10 win almost twice as often as those rated 9 or lower

*The fifth and final part in this series can be found here*

- Dave Renham