Tag Archive for: Pontefract Racecourse

Racing Insights, 18th October 2021

Pace is an often overlooked aspect of bet finding, but its importance cannot not be over-stressed. If you know how horses are likely to run, then it makes it easier to frame how a race might pan out. This is covered extensively here on Geegeez and in the user guide that we hope everyone reads. To show how important we think pace is, we give full access to the PACE tab to ALL readers for ALL races, every Sunday and Monday, particularly useful for assessing Monday's free races of the day, which are...

  • 2.55 Pontefract
  • 3.30 Pontefract
  • 6.00 Wolverhampton
  • 8.00 Wolverhampton
  • 8.30 Wolverhampton

And of those, I'm going to look at the 3.30 Pontefract. The earlier race looks far better on paper, but only five run and it looks like two shorties against the field, whilst all three evening AW races are Novice affairs and I don't like playing those. Remember folks, Matt is at pains to tell us that race selection is critical and he's spot on.

So, we've got an 11-runner, Class 4, 3yo+ Flat handicap over 1m2f on Good to Soft ground to look at. The ground is already soft in places and more rain is forecast, so it may well be soft in a day's time, but here's the racecard...

And most of these arrive here in decent enough form. Sudona is the only LTO winner, but Arctic Emperor is three from six, Kayfast Warrior is four from six, Myristica has five consecutive top 3 finishes, as does Where's Jeff. Molinari and Thunderclap are two from four and both were third LTO, so we could have a decent contest on our hands. Seasett probably looks weakest on form.

Seasett, however, drops down a grade to be here, as does Where's Jeff and Tricorn comes down two levels, whilst Little Jo, Sudona And Molinari all step up from Class 5. Little Jo has won here previously whilst Tricorn, Myrisitica, Where's Jeff and Molinari have all scored at 1m2f. Sudona, however, is a course and distance winner from July 2020.

As for trainer/jockey icons, there aren't many to see, but positives go to Arctic Emperor, Myristica, Little Jo, Sudona and Thunderclap, whilst Tricorn, Where's Jeff and Golden Dove are negatives.  And finally the Geegeez SR figures have Where's Jeff, Sudona and Thunderclap as highest rated with Golden Dove, Kayfast Warrior and Myristica bringing up the rear.

At this point, without even looking closely at the horses, the above suggests the ones I might be most interested in would be the likes of Sudona and Where's Jeff with Seasett and Golden Dove looking vulnerable.

As PACE is Monday's free feature, let's skip straight to that tab on the cards and see how that might affect the race as a standalone facet to the contest and also how it might interact with the draw. On Good to Soft / Soft ground over this course and distance, here's how the running styles of the horses have played out from a results perspective...

And the key here is that leaders fare best of all from both a win and place perspective and they also have the best placers to winners conversion rate. We can then (still on the PACE tab) see that our field have raced like this in their last four outings...

And if 4 = led and 1 = held up, then with three scores of four, Golden Dove is the one most likely to set the pace with Arctic Emperor and Where's Jeff in close proximity. Previous eye-catcher Sudona looks vulnerable on pace, as do all those listed below Myristica, who'll probably revert back to prominent running.

This of, course doesn't mean that the bottom five on the pace scores can't win, but they might need some assistance from the draw, where I'd say you'd want to be drawn in the stalls 2 to 5 kind of area...

...which is best news for Thunderclap, Molinari, Myristica and Where's Jeff, but not so good for Sudona (stall 11) once again. It also turns out that those draw stats seem to have more bearing on the result than the pace aspect does, because the pace/draw heatmap for this contest looks weighted towards those drawn low rather than a particular running style...

and if we overlay our pace scores from earlier onto that heatmap, we get...

...which looks good for the likes of Where's Jeff, Arctic Emperor and Golden Dove. Myristica is likely to be slightly further to the right in a similar position to Molinari and with much of the pace coming from stalls 9 & 10, Sudona might well get dragged into the race early too. at this point, I'm not keen on those in stalls 6, 7 and 8.

So we know how they're drawn, we know how they might run and how the initial stages of the race might pan out, but what of the field's suitability for the actual task in hand :  a Class 4, flat handicap over ten furlongs on Good to Soft / soft ground? We can answer that very simply via Geegeez' unique Instant Expert racecard tab...

Little Jo seems best suited by underfoot conditions, but seven of these have won on this going. Tricorn has a couple of class 4 wins and the two course winners are highlighted. This is the final tool I'll be using today, so it's now time to reduce the numbers of horses in my calculations and it makes perfect sense to cut Molinari, Thunderclap and Golden Dove from my list of potential winners here, as they're totally unproven by conditions.

Instant Expert also gives us place stats, ideal for E/W betting...

...but with this field having made the frame so often, it doesn't bring us any nearer to making a selection, but it does make me remove Tricorn from consideration. Yes, he has those two wins at this level, but he seems like a case of win or be nowhere and his place stats don't inspire me, so he's gone too, leaving my racecard looking like this...

I also removed Seasett, as he was the weakest alongside Golden Dove on the initial race overview. Based on everything I've looked at and highlighted so far, I think Kayfast Warrior and Myristica are the least likely winners, leaving me with four to choose from.

Summary

We've quickly gone through the field and reduced it from 11 runners to 4...

  • Arctic Emperor is 111244 on turf this season and has been versatile enough to win Class 5 handicaps on both firm and heavy ground. he won in this grade under today's jockey back in July off a mark of 82, but hasn't hit those heights off 87 in three races since and struggled last time out at 1m4f. It might have been the extra 2f (he's back down in trip here) or he might not have "got" Epsom, but conditions should be better for him here and he's down 2lbs.
  • Little Jo has won here in the past and is 3 from 9 (plus 3 places) on good to soft/soft ground, so would the one for the underfoot conditions, but has won just once in his last sixteen outings, but did go well here last out when third of ten, beaten by four lengths over a mile on heavy ground. Up in trip by 2f here isn't a positive for me, as he's 0 from 7 beyond a mile, placing just twice.
  • Sudona is a former course and distance winner and comes here in good form after run of results since the start of August reading 221, having gone down by half a length over 1m4f and then by a short head over today's 1m2f trip, both at Ripon before winning over 1m2f on soft ground at Beverley just over a month ago. All three career wins are over today's trip, she likes soft ground and runs well close to home. She's trained just 40 miles away from Ponty and her record in Yorkshire stands at 8 places (inc. 2 wins) from 12, so clearly is a homebird.
  • Where's Jeff won twice in the summer but has continued to run well despite his mark creeping up from 72 for his last win to 77 LTO. He has finished third in back to back Class 3 handicaps recently and now drops in class. A one pound drop should also help a little here where the trip is ideal for him and he's to be ridden by Joanna Mason, who'll take three pounds off. The pair get on well together (6171223), but I have my doubts about him if more rain comes.

There's no single horse that ticks all the boxes to be the "perfect bet", but I feel that despite some concerns Sudona & Where's Jeff are the two to concentrate on. Sudona won't be suited by the pace/draw make-up, but horses can win from wide and she can be ridden/raced differently if connections decide to do so, whereas Where's Jeff doesn't like soft ground and if the forecast rain turns heavy, there's nothing that can be done to overcome it, so Sudona becomes my marginal preference over Where's Jeff, assuming the rain comes, of course!

As for third place, I'm inclined to go with Arctic Emperor over Little Jo. Yes, the latter will like the ground, but hasn't yet shown he gets the trip and he's not in as good form as the former.

So I'm on Sudona / Where's Jeff / Arctic Emperor as my three to beat. My 1-2 might change with the weather 😉 but they should be the ones on the podium, so to speak. The bookies have the three at 6/1, 17/2 and 15/2, so I'll back Sudona to win, go E/W about Where's Jeff and keep my fingers crossed for a drift in price about Arctic Emperor for another E/W punt, whilst Little Jo is interesting at 10's!

 

Racing Insights, 4th October 2021

Our Pace tab helps to inform us how a race will be run even before the horses have left the starting stalls by studying the in-running comments from recent previous outings for the horses in the race. We believe that this is a vital tool in any bettor's armoury, to the extent that we make the tab totally FREE to ALL readers every Sunday and Monday in addition to our daily free 'races of the day', which for Monday are as follows...

  • 1.15 Stratford
  • 3.05 Tipperary
  • 4.00 Lingfield
  • 4.05 Tipperary
  • 4.45 Pontefract

We've been told to expect soft ground in Yorkshire and with that in mind, I'm going to take a look at the last of our free races, the 4.45 Pontefract, an 11-runner, soft ground, Class 5, 3yo+ flat handicap over a mile...

FORM : Only Helm Rock, Goodwood Glen, Key Look and Ventura Mutiny have a win in their last five outings, although the latter's did come over 15 months ago so probably isn't relevant and we've no LTO winners

CLASS : Little Jo, Helm Rock, Ventura Mutiny and Irv all drop down a level, whilst Al Erayg comes down three grades.

COURSE/DISTANCE : Little Jo is the only former course and distance winner, but all bar Al Qaasim, Dark Spec, Ventura Mutiny and Big Muddy have won over today's trip.

DAYS SINCE RUN : Al Qaasim hasn't been seen for 161 days, whilst Dark Spec, Big Muddy and Ventura Mutiny have also been well rested (60-79 days). The others have all raced in the past month with Al Erayg running as recently as Saturday at Redcar!

TRAINER FORM :
Positive : Little Jo, Helm Rock & Grantley for recent form, Al Qaasim for course form.
Negative : Irv on recent form

JOCKEY FORM :
Positive : Little Jo for recent form, Al Qaasim for course form and Dark Spec, Al Erayg & Goodwood Glen for both.
Negative : Helm Rock for both recent and course form.

AGE : Four three year olds (Helm Rock, Grantley, Ventura Mutiny & Goodwood Glen) all get a 3lb weight allowance.

Instant Expert tells us amongst other things that five of the field have never raced on soft ground before and of the six who have, only three have managed to win...

Helm Rock is one of thoise soft ground winners, he tops the Geegeez SR figures and albeit off a small sample size, he has a line of green on IE, which stands out a mile. Little Jo probably looks second best on that graphic. Al Erayg has a soft ground win, but has tried 12 times which isn't great. he has, however, also made the frame in 4 of his 11 soft ground defeats, which is respectable if nothing else. Irv has placed just once from six, but Little Jo is best of the bunch with 2 wins and 2 places from 6.

DRAW : Stall 10 (Al Erayg) looks a good place to make the frame from, but that's an isolated and potentially misleading stats without seeing the full picture...

...which suggests you really want to be in the bottom half of the draw and those drawn in the lowest third of the stalls have done best of all, which might be good news for Dark Spec, Big Muddy, Little Jo & Grantley. That said, a good draw can be wasted if the race tactics aren't right and the pace tab will tell us more about that. In those races above, where the lower drawn horses have had the best of it, leaders have made the frame most often and leaders/prominent runners have the best win stats...

And when combined, it's not a massive leap of faith to guess that those drawn lowest with leading/prominent running styles are the ones to be on here...

When we then arrange our field into draw order and overlay them onto the pace/draw heatmap...

...we once again see that those drawn in the lowest half of the draw are ones with the most green about them, suggesting they've got the best pace/draw make-up here. Based on everything above, I've narrowed the field down in my mind to six runners from which I'll need to discard at least three. Alphabetically the ones I like(d) were..

  • Al Erayg, who has a decent enough place record on soft ground, he's down three classes, has an in-form jockey with a good course record, but he's poorly drawn and might be running too soon after just a 2 day rest.
  • Dark Spec, who has a great draw, scores well on pace/draw combined, is lightly raced and also has has an in-form jockey with a good course record, but hasn't won a race yet and has never tackled soft ground
  • Grantley, whose yard is in good nick, gets that 3lb allowance, likes to race up with the pace and is drawn well in #4, but has very little soft ground form
  • Helm Rock, who has won a couple this season, drops in class, his yard is in decent form, scored the best on Instant Expert, gets a 3lb weight allowance, has raced prominently and is in the "right" half of the draw, but his jockey is out of form and hasn't done great here of late
  • Key Look, who brings the best form (12) to the table albeit on quicker/AW conditions, she receives weight all round, but is dreadfully drawn here and likes to race from off the pace, which is tough on soft ground here.
  • Little Jo, who was 2nd best on IE, has a great soft ground record, has won seven times over this trip including once over course and distance. He's very much in the right part of the draw, but will need to kick on a little to win here : mid-div running won't help him.

Summary

As you'd expect down at Class 5, none of the field not even my 6-runner shortlist tick all the boxes and sometimes in these races, it's a case of who is the least unsuited for the contest and that's not a negative attitude, as one of these will win.

Of my six-runner shortlist, I'm going to set Al Erayg, Dark Spec and Key Look aside. All could feasibly win/make the frame here, but there are too many negotiables/negatives in what i've written about for me to able to back them.

The one I fancy to take this is Little Jo at 9/2. He'll relish the return to soft ground, as his record over a 1m trip on soft reads 41312 (sequence followers' ears pricked up there as surely it must go 41 31 21?) However, I'll NOT be backing him at 9/2. I wanted a better price than that if I'm honest and I was rather hoping for at least 6/1 if not a bit bigger.

So, what of Grantley and Helm Rock? Well, I've not much separating them on my notes/figures, but the former edges it on pace/draw and offers far more value here at 9/1 than the latter's 6's. So, the play for me is a small E/W bet at 9/1 on Grantley.

Racing Insights, 16th September 2021

The INSTANT EXPERT Report is by far the most popular tab in the geegeez racecards.

The reason? Its ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view. The report covers the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size. It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating. The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

This feature is FREE to Gold subscribers everyday and FREE to everyone every Thursday for every race including, of course, our free races of the day...

  • 2.40 Yarmouth
  • 3.25 Pontefract
  • 4.35 Pontefract
  • 4.55 Naas
  • 8.00 Chelmsford

The best of those is the second on the list, the 3.25 Pontefract, a 7-runner, Class 2, flat handicap for 3yo+ fillies over 6f on good to firm ground. The winner will receive almost £15.5k and is one of these...

Early indications from the bookies are that it's a four horse race between Crazy Luck, Silent Flame, Gale Force Maya and Ey Up It's Maggie. My own initial thoughts were that it was a three horse race, as the last of the bookie's four wasn't as good as the others, but let's have a proper look, shall we?

Gale Force Maya is the oldest here at 5 yrs old and has a decent enough record at 6 wins from 26. She has a win and two runner-up finishes from 3 efforts over course and distance winner and although well beaten last time out, has been in pretty good from this season. She has been the runner-up in this race in both 2019 and 2020 and will relish the quicker ground.

Zim Baby has had a bit of a break (45 days) since finishing 6th of 14 at this class/trip at Windsor LTO and has been eased a couple of pounds by the assessor, but although she was only beaten by less than three lengths LTO, she has struggled over the last few months. Her best form comes on ground with soft in the going description and this track might be too quick today.

Ey Up Its Maggie finished 321 in her first three outings, landing a soft ground 5f maiden at Catterick just over a year ago. Since then she has won just one of nine starts and was only 6th of 12 off today's mark in a lower grade last time out. She's 0/6 on Good or quicker ground and 2/6 on softer, suggesting that she too might find this a bit sharp.

Crazy Luck has been in great form this summer finishing 32114222 in her last eight races, beaten by just a neck two starts ago and by half a length last time out, both off just a pound lower than today's mark. The horse that beat her by a neck then won again next time out and this horse has won on both good and firm ground.

Algheed is the least experienced/exposed here after just five starts, running on turf just the once when 4th of 6 at a lower grade last time out. Based on that effort and the fact she's off the same mark suggests this will be tough for her up in class, as all her best form has been at Class 5 on the A/W. She's also dropping down to 6f for the first time too. Too many unknowns for my liking with this one.

Silent Flame is 3 from 7 on the Flat with two further places, has won over 6f on Good to firm and has finished 121213 in her six handicap efforts over 6f. Off a mark of 76 (last win off 70), she might now be carrying too much to win, but she's a definite place contender here.

Lady Celia is last of seven on the racecard and I'd not be surprised if that was her place in the results. She hasn't won for over a year, races from out of the handicap here and was only 7th of 10 at Class 3 last time out. This is her first crack at Class 2 and I'd be giving her a wide berth.

That's a general overview of what I see about them, but for race specific stats, we have our feature of the day, Instant Expert...

...where Gale Force Maya and Silent Flame are the two obvious eye-catchers. The former has a poor 0/8 record in this grade, but she has made the frame in five of those eight defeats, so she's not a complete washout at this level, as we can see below...

The inability to even make the frame regularly makes it difficult to want to back Zim Baby and/or Ey Up its Maggie based on above and as I stated, we don't know enough about Algheed.

The draw here tends to favour those drawn low...

...although if we class 7 & 8 as one entity, then those drawn higher than 6 have the second best win (20.5%) and place (43.6%) returns behind stall 3, but with almost 53% of the winners and 49.4% of the placers coming from 1-3, that would be the preferred place to be here, which would be good news for Lady Celia, Silent Flame and Algheed.

In terms of tactics/positioning, our pace stats suggest that being upfront is the best policy...

...which, based on the way they've raced in their last four outings, would best suit the top three on this graphic...

And here is how I think they might break out...

Summary

I don't think I've seen anything to change my mind about which three I like best and although they head the market, that's not always a bad thing. All three are ultra consistent at making the frame under these conditions, but I think Silent Flame is the weakest of the three. She might be too high in the weights, has only raced once at a level higher than Class 4 and despite having a good draw, might find this a bit too much for her.

Of the other two, neither look brilliant from a pace/draw perspective but both are rock solid from a place position on Instant Expert. Both have won under similar conditions to today and I've very little between them. Gale Force Maya will relish a return to this track and that just tips it in her favour for me here.

So, I'm having Gale Force Maya at 9/2 to beat the 11/4 fav Crazy Luck for this one. I think Silent Flame is the best of the rest, but there's definitely scope for a runner like Algheed to cause an upset if allowed a soft lead. Algheed might be worth looking at from a back to lay perspective for those that way inclined.

 

Racing Insights, 6th July 2021

Tuesday's free feature is the Shortlist report, a simple – and usually brief – report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day. And as well as a free feature each day, we also open up a number of racecards to all readers free of charge, irrespective of membership status and for Tuesday, these are...

  • 3.20 Wolverhampton
  • 3.35 Pontefract
  • 4.25 Roscommon
  • 6.35 Brighton
  • 7.15 Uttoxeter

The Shortlist report...

...only has one runner (As High Say) of real interest to me and she's likely to be an odds on favourite in a small field, so I'll revert back to the list races above.

Of that list of free races, the grandly titled King Richard III Handicap is the highest rated. It's on your cards as the 3.35 Pontefract, a 9-runner, Class 2, 3yo+ flat handicap over 6f on Good to Soft ground. The prize is £10,308 and here are the runners and riders...

On paper, it's a pretty open looking contest between a bunch of horses who don't appear at first glance to be in the best of form and I initially get a feeling that this wouldn't look out of place at Class 3! That said, six of them did race at this grade last time out with Corinthia Knight & Golden Apollo stepping up one grade and Brian The Snail taking two steps up.

All ninve have won over 6f previously, whilst Mondammej, Corinthia Knight, Golden Apollo, Danzan and Brian The Snail are all former Pontefract winners with the last three of those five also having won over course & distance at the same time.

Hey Jonesy is rated highest (100) by the assessor and he also tops the Geegeez SR figures kindly licensed to us by Dr Peter May of pjmracing.co.uk We'll now look at the race a little closer to see if I agree with them!

Hey Jonesy last won just over a year ago when landing a 22-runner handicap at this class/trip and has raced six times since without too much joy, but has shown signs of a possible return to form recently, as his last two runs have seen him beaten by just 1.75 lengths and 2.25 lengths, both off today's mark of 100, but he now has a jockey claiming 7lbs, which could be the route back to the winners' enclosure for him.

Aberama Gold won his last two races of 2020, both at this class/trip, but on the A/W of Chelmsford & Lingfield. Since then he is 0 from 9 in 2021, having made the frame just twice and was soundly beaten by 20 lengths at Ascot when 20th of 21 in the Wokingham.

Barbill, like the two above him, also featured in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot and whilst comfortably clear of Aberama Gold in 9th place, he was still more than 5 lengths and three places further back than Hey Jonesy. His own last win was back in August last year and whilst he could make the frame, I don't see him winning based on form.

Mondammej won here over 5f at this grade back in April and although he hasn't won since, he has made the frame in three of five runs. He was a runner-up at Newcastle last time out in a 14-runner contest and despite going down by 2.5 lengths, he was the "winner" from his side of a split field. he's only 1lb higher here and must have a decent shout.

Corinthia Knight is also a former course winner who is up just 1lb after making the frame last time out. He was only beaten by a head and a neck in a tight 3-way finish over course and distance 16 days ago and although an extra pound isn't much, he does also step up in class here. Like Barbill earlier, I think he could get involved without quite winning it.

Flying Pursuit has been around the block a few times (68 races to date) and he won his penultimate start of 2020 and also his first run in 2021, albeit both at lower classes and weight than today. he was only fourth of eight at this class/trip last time out and off the same mark but without the aid of a 5lb jockey claim, I think he might struggle.

Golden Apollo has won here over course and distance, but that was at Class 3 over four years ago and he hasn't won any of his last nine outings since landing the Ayr Silver Cup back in September 2019. A mark of 86 shouldn't technically be beyond him, but he's not one to rely on and his form isn't great.

Danzan is also a former C&D winner, but that was (a) his sole win from 20 starts on turf, (b) just his third career start and (c) a fortnight shy of four years ago. His last win anywhere was in February 2018 and although he's now 21lbs lower than that win, I don't him snapping a 25-race losing streak here.

Brian The Snail completes the line-up, carrying bottom weight off a mark of just 83 and he, too, is a former C&D winner. In fact he's two from two here at Pontefract, having won over 5f and then 6f either side of 5f win at Catterick, as he started his 50-race career with a hat-trick from September 2016 to April 2017. He hasn't been back here in over four years, but now returns off the back of a decent 4th of 14 at Chester when beaten by just over four lengths off 2lbs higher. He's up two classes here, but based on weight and his last run, he could go well here too.

From the above and other things I've read about these, my initial leanings are towards Barbill, Brian The Snail, Corinthia Knight, Hey Jonesy and Mondammej in alphabetical order, but let's see what we can glean from the racecard tools, starting with Instant Expert...

The two over-riding things here for me are that there's a hell of a lot of red on there and that those who have raced in handicaps here at Pontefract in the past have done well. Barbill's figures look the most consistent above, but due to the vast swathes of red, we should look at place records...

...which are a little more encouraging. Of the five I originally leant towards, Barbill fared well on the win front, but it looks like win or bust for him. Brian The Snail has abject figures at Class 2 and hasn't been great over 6f, Corinthia Knight is lightly tried under these conditions but has done well enough, Hey Jonesy doesn't look as strong as I thought he might, but isn't too badly treated on weight compared to his last win, whilst Mondammej's place figures are very good.

Let's look at the draw over 6f at Ponty...

There's a clear split there and being drawn in the middle doesn't look like good news, but maybe the stats for individual stalls will give us a better indication...

If, as usual, we count stalls 9 & 10 as one entity with a 2 from 17 (11.76%) win record and 7 from 17 (41.18%) place record, then I'm going to say that it's stalls 3 to 5 that need avoiding, which doesn't help the chances of Corinthia Knight, Brian the Snail or Aberama Gold. The stall 3 figures in particular are very strange with the next stall faring so well. Stall 5 has also fared worst from a place perspective.

The pace stats also make for interesting reading...

Prominent racers fare slightly (10%) better than you'd expect and they make the frame on almost 42% of occasions. Any further back in the field and it becomes really hard to even make the frame, never mind actually win! Leaders, however, do really well here and that's the tactic you'd want to see your runner adopt irrespective of draw. But what we've found in races lie this is that leaders are often drawn low (11 of 19 leaders have come from low draws) and that hold-up horses rarely come from low draws (just 9 of 45) and that the best pace/draw make-up is the low drawn leader, preferably from stalls 1 or 2 , I'd assume...

And this is how our field fits into that grid, based on their last few runs...

Summary

I still think that Barbill, Brian The Snail, Corinthia Knight, Hey Jonesy and Mondammej are the just over half of the field I want to be with, but none are perfect here, of course. None are in sparkling form, but Mondammej has been running the best of them lately.

Barbill fared well on Instant Expert and has a good draw in stall two and the only thing I'd need him to change would be the necessity to race a little closer to the pace here. Brian the Snail has a really poor record (2 from 32) at Class 2 and hasn't made the frame in 8 starts on Good to soft ground, so he's out now. Corinthia Knight has the dreaded 3rd stall, but with neither Barbill nor Golden Apollo inside him showing any propensity to lead, he quickly grab the rail and almost be the stall 1 runner and his pace/draw make-up is excellent. In a preverse way, he hasn't raced under these conditions enough to be deemed a failure, so that's a sort of positive too if you like.

Hey Jonesy isn't out of it on a mark of 100 even though he is top weight here, but he's poorly drawn. Ideally he'd need to get out quicker, but attempting that was his undoing last time out and he has a faster starter immediately inside him. His Instant expert figures weren't the best and he's unreliable, so he's gone too and now to Mondammej. He brings the best form to the table, has a good draw out wide in 9 where he can keep out of trouble and he's a hold-up horse which often works from wide here at Ponty. He's greened up on the Instant Expert place stats and all things combined, he's the one I'd back here.

So, it's Mondammej at 4/1 for me here with the equally priced Corinthia Knight and the 9/1 Barbill as my placers. I don't actually have much between those two and I'll probably also take a small E/W on Barbill at 9's.

 

Racing Insights, 28th April 2021

Wednesday's free feature is the Trainer Stats report, whilst the free races offered to all readers are...

  • 1.15 Wolverhampton
  • 2.35 Pontefract
  • 3.10 Pontefract
  • 3.55 Ascot
  • 5.05 Wolverhampton
  • 6.30 Punchestown

I'm going to take a look at the Trainer Stats report today, as in-form Kevin Ryan has two handicappers out on Wednesday and they're in the same race. Kevin's 'cappers are in really good form right now, having won 10 of 39 in the last 30 days and prior to Tuesday's 5.05 race they have 5 wins and 4 places from 19 starts in the past fortnight, as highlighted below...

Of that 5 from 19 record over the past two weeks, those runners are 4 from 17 on the Flat, 4 from 14 on Good to Firm ground, 3 from 11 over trips of 6/7 furlongs and 2 from 5 at Class 5, which should be of interest as the 4.25 Pontefract is a 9-runner, Class 5, Flat handicap over 6f for 3yos on Good to Firm (good in places) ground worth £2,970 and here's how his pair look on the card...

On pure form figures alone, Bergerac would look to have the better chance of the two here, he's also rated 9lbs higher by the assessor and scores much better on the Geegeez Speed Ratings. Bergerac also has Kevin Stott in the saddle, a man in good recent form and proven at this venue. Tiny Danser, on the other hand, is making a handicap debut today after finishing fourth in a lower grade last time out.

You'll probably have noticed the 4 in the icons under Bergerac's name too, highlighting some relevant stats at play here, such as...

...all of which are positives here.

Bergerac hasn't actually won a race yet, but has finished in the first three home in four of his five starts to date, including three runner-up finishes, a result he achieved at Wolverhampton last time out when beaten by just a length behind a 7/2 favourite despite not having raced for 228 days. He should come on for the run and providing the ground isn't a little too quick for him, he could go well here.

That said, Tiny Danser is still a maiden too after three defeats that have seen her finish fourth on her first and last runs. She ran pretty well for much of her last race, before fading in the last of seven furlongs at Redcar just over two weeks ago. She was returning from 20 weeks off track that day and like her stablemate, is entitled to improve for having had the run, which was her first on turf. The drop back in trip should also be beneficial for her here and her opening handicap mark of 68 looks reasonable/workable as on her racing debut, she was two lengths clear of another filly who subsequently won off a mark of 69.

With no wins from eight starts between them, Instant Expert will be less informative than usual...

...but if we switch to the view that shows us place finishes across both codes, Bergerac suddenly comes to life...

Our pair are drawn the lower half of the draw with Tiny Danser grabbing the rail draw in #1, whilst Bergerac is in number 4 and it has to be said that stall 1 is not only the better of the two here, it's actually the best place to be in 9-runner contests over this track and trip...

Getting a good draw is pretty important, but it's not the be all and end all here at Ponty. It's all very well being on the rail, but if your race tactics aren't right, you won't win and from a purely pace perspective, hold-up horses fare badly here.

Leaders, however, do prosper here, whilst both prominent and mid-div runners win a little more often (7% and 12% respectively) than expected and all this success is at the expense of hold-up horses who have only won 20% of the races from 31.7% of the runners, whilst leaders have won just as many times (20%) from just 12.7% of the runners...

There then arises a little bit of an anomaly, as low drawn runners fare best, as do leaders, but low drawn leaders don't actually do that well at all. In fact low drawn horses get their worst results when leading and their plan should be to hang back slightly and tuck in behind the leaders. Needless to say, all hold-up horses fare poorly, whilst top billing goes to high drawn pace-setters...

And armed with all that data, we can look back upon our runners' last four contests (three in Tiny Danser's case, of course) and attempt to make an educated/informed guess as to how they might run here...

...and what that says is that if the handicap debutant Tiny Danser doesn't go off too fast, she could well have a ideal 'pozzy', whilst Bergerac would seem to have some work to do.

Summary

I think it's fairly clear from everything above, bar the pace/draw heatmap, that Bergerac would be Kevin Ryan's best chance of a winner here, but how do I think they'll actually get on?

Well, I think that despite the pace/draw situation that Bergerac has a real chance of landing this and his current 4/1 odds look quite attractive as I expected him to be in the 3/1 to 7/2 range, so I'm happy at 4's. He won't have it all his own way and I suspect that the main challenge should be coming from the likes of Julie Johnston, who is very interesting at 7/1 and Danny Tudhope's mount Readman who can also "be had" at 4/1.

As for Tiny Danser, making the frame isn't a forlorn hope, but I fear she's not quite ready/good enough here and will probably end up in midfield.

 

 

Racing Insights, 19th October 2020

Saturday's race went pretty much as I expected and we were only denied identifying the winner by a head, but that's history now, so we need to look forward to Monday, where our free feature is the pace tab for all races and our free racecards are for...

  • 1.30 Windsor
  • 2.50 Pontefract
  • 3.35 Gowran Park
  • 5.00 Wolverhampton
  • 7.00 Wolverhampton

I'm not a fan of going in relatively blind in maiden and/or novice auction contests, so that rules out Windsor, Gowran Park and the later Wolverhampton card and I'm going to focus on the 2.50 Pontefract, a competitive-looking Class 4 Handicap for 3yo+ over 1m2f on Soft ground with a £5.5k prize for the winner...

We start, as ever with the racecard...

...which gives us a supposed pecking order in terms of the Speed ratings and also tells us that Awake My Soul & Gold Souk come from yards with good records here at Pontefract (C5), whilst Ian Williams, trainer of Idilco has found winners hard to find of late (14).

One additional stat I would mention that jockey Ben Curtis & trainer Roger Fell are 5 from 18 (27.8% SR) when teaming up in handicaps here at Ponty over the last three seasons giving Cockalorum a positive.

Jockey-wise, Cockalorum, Gold Souk, Cruyff Turn and Viceregent are positives with their jockeys having ridden well here in the past (C1 and/or C5), whilst James Sullivan aboard Awake My Soul looks out of form and hasn't done too well here previously either.

If we then look at the Instant Expert tab, the win figures don't actually tell us too much...

...but the place returns are a better indication of potential...

...where Bendalid would be of serious interest had he performed better on soft ground. Cockalorum and Awake My Soul have done well enough on soft ground, at Class 4 and at 1m2f, whilst the other "greens" are from pretty small sample sizes.

Monday is free pace tab day, so it would be remiss of me of not to take a look at that here to see if we get any pointers...

I switched the order to show how we think they might run based on previous efforts and it they run how we think, then Gold Souk looks well positioned provided he doesn't go off to quickly, whilst Bendalid might just need to push on a bit more than usual, as would Cruyff Turn.

Racecard data and tabs aside, what else do we know about these seven?

Cockalorum : Fifteen months and fourteen races have passed since he last won, but that was also another Class 4 soft ground handicap and he showed signs of a return to form last time out in a similar contest to todays.

He got going a bit late but was staying on well and a similar effort could put him in the mix here, as he has certainly shown that conditions will suit.

Bendalid : A six-time winner from trips ranging from 6 to 12 furlongs, but I believe he is best suited to 10/10.5f, so should be happy here and in fact only went down by a neck over course and distance two starts ago with both the winner and third placed horse having since gone very close at a higher level.

All that aside, he continues to creep up the weights and a lack of soft ground success is a concern.

Awake My Soul : Ticks a lot of boxes from an E/W perspective on Instant Expert, but at 11 yrs old with no win in 13 races over two years, it'd be hard to convincingly believe this could be the day. However, he was third in this race last season off a pound higher and wasn't disgraced as a runner-up last time out.

Gold Souk : Looks badly out of form which must be a worry for connections. He finished his 2yo season in fine form with results of 122 and not beaten by more than a length in either defeat, but this season has been a nightmare for him, beating just one rival across four races at a total combined losing distance of over 73 lengths. One to avoid.

Cruyff Turn : Hard to fully assess him on the basis of his five race career so far. He acquired a mark of 72 after three nondescript runs over glaringly inadequately (IMO) short trips, before setting off on a handicap campaign. A win was followed by a step up in trip to a mile last time out, where he was beaten by a couple of lengths staying on well.

Breeding (on his dam's side) suggests he still needs further than that mile, he's in good form in this grade and is fancied to go well again. The caveat? He is unproven on soft ground, but his yard are 6 from 30 (20% SR) over 9/10f on soft ground these last two seasons.

Idilco : Best (?) known as a hurdler who probably peaked when winning on debut two years ago. Just two non-NH runs to date finishing 12th of 12 beaten by 18 lengths over this trip at Newbury and then an improvement of sorts on the A/W at Kempton when 11th of 12 and "only" 16.5 lengths off the winner. A similar fate beckons : one to avoid.

Viceregent : Some decent efforts in a 7-week spell from mid-July to finish 231 on Good to Soft and Soft ground over 10.5/11 furlongs, but was well beaten by 12 lengths last time out, four weeks ago.

Now steps up a class and is 3lbs higher than his win, he's still of interest because stamina won't be an issue trip-wise and he does handle soft ground.

Summary

As expected, a competitive race. I really don't like Gold Souk and Idilco for this one, but that does still leave five in the mix. I can't bring myself to believe Awake My Soul will suddenly win and I'd be leaving Cruyff Turn out based on a lack of experience at trip and/or going. That's not to say he can't/won't win, but I can't back him. All of which leaves me with three.

Bendalid hasn't handled soft ground well enough for my liking and looks too high in the weights, Viceregent tends to find at least one too good for him and the step up in class could undo him, which leaves me with Cockalorum, almost by default.

I won't be having a bet here, because I'd probably want at least 4/1 about Cockalorum, but if we're disregarding odds, then he's the one that interests me the most.

Stat of the Day, 24th September 2020

Wednesday's pick was...

6.30 Kempton : Pioneering @ 7/2 BOG 4th at 15/8 (Prominent early, chased leaders, ridden over 2f out, no impression on winner inside final furlong, kept on) : not the result we wanted, but I was definitely right about the price offering value.

Thursday's pick runs in the...

2.05 Pontefract :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Victory Chime @ 11/4 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 3, Flat Handicap for 3yo+ over 1m2f on Good/Good to Soft ground worth £7,470 to the winner...

Why?...

As tends to be the case, the Geegeez Report Suite and interactive racecard provide us with an absolute stack of data, so let's crack on.

Today, I'm going to start with one of the easiest ways into a race : The Shortlist, which looks like this...

...and gives an indication that our horse should be suited by conditions. It's an indication backed by the following about this horse's performance to date. His overall record stands at...


...and includes of note today...

  • 16/28 (57.1%) at 6/1 or shorter
  • 12/24 (50%) in races worth up to £8,000
  • 11/21 (52.4%) during July-October
  • 11/21 (52.4%) in fields of 5-8
  • 9/20 (45%) during 2018-20
  • 9/19 (47.4%) on Good/Good to Soft
  • 6/17 (35.3%) in handicaps
  • and 5/5 (100%) on Good to Soft

Our next port of call is the racecard itself...

And the Geegeez ratings...

Plenty to go at there, of course, so let's take it bit by bit. We've discussed the horse and the Geegeez Ratings are self-explanatory, so let's focus on the trainer/jockey and trainer/course details. The TJ30 record of 5 from 17 is excellent, but isn't a massive surprise if you get into the Geegeez Query Tool, where you can do the following...

...from which, the pair are...

  • 15/47 (31.9%) during June-September
  • 13/36 (36.1%) in races worth up to £8k
  • 11/33 (33.3%) with male runners
  • 9/22 (40.9%) in fields of 4-7 runners
  • 9/18 (50%) at 4/1 and shorter
  • 8/28 (28.6%) on Good to Soft
  • 5/10 (50%) at Class 3
  • and 4/10 (40%) over a 1m2f trip

And finally for today, we'll look at Ralph Beckett's record here at Pontefract. Ralph only sends an average of 5 runners a year to this track and I can only assume it's the 400+ mile round trip that keeps him away, as the ones he sends here do very well, as once again the Geegeez Query Tool is our friend...

...including of note today...

  • 16/28 (57.1%) at 6/1 and shorter
  • 12/24 (50%) in races worth up to £8k
  • 11/21 (52.4%) during July-October
  • 11/21 (52.4%) in fields of 5-8 runners
  • 9/20 (45%) during 2018-20
  • 9/19 (47.4%) on Good/Good to Soft
  • 6/17 (35.3%) in handicaps
  • and 5 from 5 (100%) on Good to Soft

I've spent considerably more time on this today to try to highlight some aspects of the toolkit you might not currently be using as a type of precursor to next week's switch away to a Race of the Day feature, but hopefully you've found it both interesting to read...

...and a justifciation for... a 1pt win bet on Victory Chime @ 11/4 BOG as was still available at 9.00am Thursday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 2.05 Pontefract

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

Here is today's racecard

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Stat of the Day, 31st July 2020

Thursday's pick was...

1.10 Goodwood : Electric Ladyland @ 9/2 BOG 4th at 11/2 (Took keen hold, tracked leaders, ridden over 1f out, faded inside final furlong) 

Friday's pick runs in the...

2.55 Pontefract :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Single @ 9/2 BOG

...in a 10-runner, Class 3 Flat Maiden Handicap for 3yo+ over 2m1f on Good to Firm ground worth £3,493 to the winner... 

Why?...

We start with the racecard...

As trainer Mick Channon has the C1 and C5 icons by his name and is highlighted in the Trainer Stats report and also one of my own saved angles, it makes sense to focus on his record at this venue for today's piece.

Obviously his runner here yet to win a race, but the 3 yr old filly has made the frame in five of her eight starts today and comes here to race in what I'll hopefully show are favourable conditions...

...as Mick Channon's runners here at Ponty are 17 from 72 (23.6% SR) for 72.22pts (+100.3% ROI) profit since the start of the 2015 season, including the following of relevance today...

  • 17/59 (28.8%) for 85.22pts (+144.5%) at 6-60 dslr
  • 15/52 (28.9%) for 84.35pts (+162.2%) in races worth £0-8k
  • 15/51 (29.4%) for 86.45pts (+169.5%) with 2/3 yr olds
  • 11/32 (34.4%) for 89.45pts (+279.5%) in 10-14 runner contests
  • 10/40 (25%) for 41.21pts (+103%) with female runners
  • 10/37 (27%) for 65.9pts (+178.1%) in handicaps
  • 10/32 (31.25%) for 64.17pts (+200.6%) with maiden horses
  • 9/30 (30%) for 76.69pts (+255.6%) at Class 5
  • 6/24 (25%) for 37.56pts (+156.5%) on Good to Firm
  • 6/16 (37.5%) for 9.9pts (+61.9%) when sent off in the 2/1 to 5/1 odds range
  • 4/16 (25%) for 16.31pts (+101.9%) in maiden races

...whilst his 2/3 yr olds running 10-14 runner contests worth £0-8k after 6-60 days rest are 10 from 18 (55.6% SR) for 100.13pts (+556.3% ROI) profit, including 7 from 13 (53.1%) with maidens, 5 from 7 (71.4%) with females and 3 from 4 (75% with female maidens...

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Single @ 9/2 BOG as was widely available (inc at least a couple BOGs, whilst Bet365 were a standout 11/2 BOG!) at 5.50am Friday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 2.55 Pontefract

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

P.P.S. Please note I left for Greece on Monday 20/07 for two weeks to look at some hotels for my travel agency business and to get some R&R, so whilst I'll still be posting each day (except 04/08 when cover has been arranged), the timings may well be different to normal.

Stat of the Day, 23rd July 2020

Wednesday's pick was...

4.50 Yarmouth : Dashing Roger @ 7/1 BOG WON at 6/1 (Chased leaders, went 2nd over 3f out, led 2f out, hard pressed final furlong, edged slightly left, held on well )

Thursday's pick runs in the...

5.35 Pontefract :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Squelch @ 7/2 BOG

...in a 9-runner, Class 4 Flat handicap for 3yo+ over 1m4f on Good to Firm ground worth £4,690 to the winner...

Why?...

From the racecard, we see...

...a horse in good nick (seeks hat-trick today) hailing from an in-form yard and with a decent enough draw for her usual running style. Those of you using the cards regularly will already know the above, so I won't dwell on that.

This 4 yr old filly was a winner at this trip on similarly good to firm last out, so we know she gets the distance and going and her win two starts ago was at this grade, so that's hopefully another boxed ticked.

Her trainer Rae Guest seems to do well at getting horses to clock up back to back wins, as Squelch did in June and since the start of 2017, his sub-10/1 handicappers who were LTO winners have gone on to win 15 of 48 (31.25% SR) for 23.3pts (+48.5% ROI), including...

  • 13/42 (31%) for 19.8pts (+47.2%) with female runners
  • 13/41 (31.7%) for 25.79pts (+62.9%) with 3/4 yr olds
  • 13/34 (38.2%) for 26.87pts (+79%) with those last seen 1-25 days earlier
  • 8/26 (30.8%) for 9.42pts (+36.2%) on the Flat
  • 8/25 (32%) for 10.42pts (+41.7%) during May to August
  • 4/12 (33.33%) for 1.54pts (+12.8%) at Class 4
  • and 2/5 (40%) for 12.28pts (+245.6%) for today's jockey, Martin Harley...

...whilst 3-4 yr old females at 1-25 dslr are 10 from 25 (40% SR) for 25.81pts (+103.25% ROI), including 4 winners from 6 since the resumption of racing last month...

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Squelch @ 7/2 BOG as was widely available at 7.30am Thursday with bigger offered in places, but as always please check your BOG status (*most are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 5.35 Pontefract

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

P.P.S. Please note I left for Greece on Monday lunchtime (20/07) for two weeks to look at some hotels for my travel agency business and get some R&R, so whilst I'll still be posting each day (except 04/08 when cover has been arranged), the timings may well be different.

Stat of the Day, 7th July 2020

Monday's pick was...

7.15 Windsor : Talking About You @ 4/1 BOG 2nd at 4/1 (Held up in touch, headway chasing leaders 3f out, went 2nd over 2f out, led 2f out, ridden and hung badly left over 1f out, headed and no extra close home).

Tuesday's pick runs in the...

1.15 Pontefract :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Music Therapist @ 5/1 BOG

...in an 11-runner, Class 5, Flat handicap for 3yo over 5f on Good to Firm ground worth £3,493 to the winner...

Why?...

An initial glance at the expanded racecard gives us plenty to go at...

... so we've a horse who was a runner-up 8 days ago and now drops in class. He'll be ridden by a jockey, Ben Curtis, who rides this track well (23.9% SR since the start of 2018) and has done well for today's trainer (6 wins from 15 in the past 13 months), whilst our pick is just about top rated on speed figures.

To be honest, there was probably enough there to justify a bet at 5/1 when I initially put the pick up, but what the above doesn't tell you is that when a runner-up last week, Music Therapist's write-up of the result said..."raced keenly, led on rail, ridden and strongly pressed over 1f out, headed just inside final furlong, no extra." So, I'd guess the drop back in trip is also a bonus today.

In addition to the data held within the racecard, it might be of interest to know that since the start of 2018, trainer George Scott's handicappers dropping down a grade are...

...whilst since the start of the 2017 campaign, his Class 5 Flat handicappers sent off at 7/1 or shorter are...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Music Therapist @ 5/1 BOG as was available from Bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes, Sporting Bet & Unibet at 8.20am Tuesday, but as always please check your BOG statusTo see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 1.15 Pontefract

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Stat of the Day, 15th June 2020

Saturday's pick was...

1.15 Newbury : Singing Sheriff @ 5/1 BOG 6th at 3/1 (Awkwardly and lost ground start, held up in last pair, headway on far rail over 2f out, ridden and hung left 2f out, weakened final furlong)

Monday's pick runs in the...

3.25 Pontefract :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

My Girl Maggie @ 11/4 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 5, Flat handicap for 3yo over 1m4f on Good ground worth £3,493 to the winner...

Why?...

In my haste this morning to get out to my aunt's funeral, I inadvertently quoted Mark Johnston's Goodwood stats! So, much later than planned/usual (approaching 12.30pm!), here are the correct details for today...

Mark Johnston + Pontefract + Classes 2-5 + 1m2f and beyond + 9/1 max SP + 2016-20 = 16 from 55 (29.1% SR) for 10.03pts (+18.2% ROI), from which...

  • 10/27 (37%) for 10.23pts (+37.9%) were placed LTO
  • 7/18 (38.9%) for 7.09pts (+39.4%) with those with a run in the previous 10 days
  • 6/14 (42.9%) for 3.13pts (+22.4%) in 3yo contests
  • 4/13 (30.8%) for 10.05pts (+77.3%) with females
  • 4/11 (36.4%) for 2.18pts (+19.8%) in June
  • and 4/10 (40%) for 16.84pts (+168.4%) with Joe Fanning in the saddle

Plus from the unique Geegeez racecard pace/draw heatmap...

...which is why I placed...a 1pt win bet on My Girl Maggie @ 11/4 BOG as was widely available at 8.00am Monday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.25 Pontefract

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Stat of the Day, 15th June 2020

Saturday's pick was...

1.15 Newbury : Singing Sheriff @ 5/1 BOG 6th at 3/1 (Awkwardly and lost ground start, held up in last pair, headway on far rail over 2f out, ridden and hung left 2f out, weakened final furlong)

Monday's pick runs in the...

3.25 Pontefract :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Currently, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

My Girl Maggie @ 11/4 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 5, Flat handicap for 3yo over 1m4f on Good ground worth £3,493 to the winner...

Why?...

In my haste this morning to get out to my aunt's funeral, I inadvertently quoted Mark Johnston's Goodwood stats! So, much later than planned/usual (approaching 12.30pm!), here are the correct details for today...

Mark Johnston + Pontefract + Classes 2-5 + 1m2f and beyond + 9/1 max SP + 2016-20 = 16 from 55 (29.1% SR) for 10.03pts (+18.2% ROI), from which...

  • 10/27 (37%) for 10.23pts (+37.9%) were placed LTO
  • 7/18 (38.9%) for 7.09pts (+39.4%) with those with a run in the previous 10 days
  • 6/14 (42.9%) for 3.13pts (+22.4%) in 3yo contests
  • 4/13 (30.8%) for 10.05pts (+77.3%) with females
  • 4/11 (36.4%) for 2.18pts (+19.8%) in June
  • and 4/10 (40%) for 16.84pts (+168.4%) with Joe Fanning in the saddle

Plus from the unique Geegeez racecard pace/draw heatmap...

...which is why I placed...a 1pt win bet on My Girl Maggie @ 11/4 BOG as was widely available at 8.00am Monday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.25 Pontefract

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P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Pontefract Draw & Pace Bias

The draw and potential draw biases is where my interest in horse racing began, writes Dave Renham. Back in the late 1990's I remember reading some excellent draw articles by Russell Clarke in a magazine called Odds On and I was hooked. Within days I was doing my own research using my Superform Annuals and pen and paper. This progressed to putting data into computers using excel.

I dread to think how much time I spent collating data. My main memory is working on my computer from 10pm to 2am on a regular basis. However, in those days the hard work was worth it because it was still a very under-researched area and draw biases were quite strong at certain courses. In addition to that, it was at a time before racing computer programs were commercially available.

It is over 20 years since I wrote my first book on draw bias and how things have changed since those ‘good old days’. At this juncture, it needs to be pointed out that many of the draw biases that were around 15 or 20 years ago are either not as strong as they were, or have disappeared completely. For many years draw biases provided punters with money spinning opportunities, me included. Virtually all my decent winning bets from around 1997 to 2006 were influenced by the draw in some way.

However, as with most things, when a good source of highlighting winners is found, within a few years the edge starts to disappear. This is very much a horse racing trait - good ideas gain an initial edge because the majority of people do not use that winner finding approach. As time goes on however, the betting public and the bookmakers catch up, and as a result the prices tend to contract and the value begins to disappear. This has happened with the draw, and to confound the problem course officials started using other means of negating potential draw bias. Running rails are now moved in order to keep horses off the fastest strip of ground, and better watering and drainage systems mean that most straight courses are far more even than they were back then.

The draw has had massive exposure in the past, and with people realising the edge is disappearing, the subject is beginning to assume less importance. However, before we begin to write off the draw completely, I still believe there is an edge for the educated draw punter. I maintain that at certain tracks a poor draw can still all but wipe out the chance of a horse, while a good draw increases one’s chances considerably. The trick perhaps is to find biases that may be more subtle, or at least which most punters are less aware of.

During this period of racing inactivity I plan to look at a few individual courses in depth, focusing primarily on draw bias but looking at pace aspects as well. The first course that will be put under the microscope is Pontefract.

 

Pontefract is located in West Yorkshire and is a left-handed track that is undulating with a stiff uphill finish in the home straight. Indeed the lowest point on the track is around the six-furlong start while the finishing post is the highest point, meaning both the five- and six-furlong sprints are testing.

The course is around two miles in length and, something I didn’t realise, is that originally it was around four furlongs shorter. Being left-handed one would assume that lower draws may have the advantage over high drawn horses at some distances, but the proof of the pudding, as always, will be in the eating!

For this article I am using key tools on Geegeez: namely the Draw Analyser, Pace Analyser and Query Tool. The period of study is a long one – going back to 2009, but I will examine more recent data in detail too.

My draw research has always focused on handicap races only. My belief is that handicap races give a better and fairer data set as such races are generally competitive affairs. When analysing each handicap race, I divide the draw into thirds - those drawn in the bottom third (low), those drawn in the middle third, and those drawn in the top third.

It should also be noted that I also adjust the draw positions when there are non runners – for example if the horse drawn 3 is a non runner, then the horse drawn 4 becomes drawn 3, draw 5 becomes 4 and so on. On a completely fair course the winning percentages for each "third" of the draw should be around 33% each. The differences in the percentages will help to determine the strength of the bias. The good news is that the Draw Analyser on Geegeez makes exactly the same splits, and is also capable of calculating draw by the advertised stall in your racecard and the actual stall, accounting for non-runners.

In my experience, I consider there to be two types of draw bias. Firstly, clear bias towards one specific section of the draw; this is the strongest possible bias. Secondly, one can get a bias against one specific section of the draw.

Another key factor to take into account is field size: for potential draw bias to exist I maintain there needs to be a reasonable number of runners in the race, and eight or more runners is the figure I have chosen. Draw bias is far more likely to be prevalent in larger fields as horses will either be forced to run wide (hence having further to travel), or be forced to run on a part of the track where the ground may be slightly slower. If the data set is big enough I will look at bigger field data where I feel it is appropriate.

OK time to crunch some numbers.

 

Pontefract 5 furlongs (8+ runner handicaps)

There have been 89 qualifying races - five-furlong handicaps with eight or more runners - during the period of study. Here are the overall draw splits:

Despite the track being left handed and the 5f distance having a bend to run round, low drawn horses do not dominate. The A/E values below suggest that the low drawn horses are overbet and are essentially poor value:

For the record, if you had bet every horse from the bottom third of the draw at £1 per bet you would have lost £136.34; backing all middle draws would have lost just £9.62 at starting price.

In the following table individual draw positions have been broken down for 5f 8+ runner handicaps at Ponte:

A few individual stalls made a profit but clearly there is no pattern to this so I would not be advocating backing certain draws in the future.

Field size seems to make no difference in the draw figures, but I was keen to look at whether the going made a difference. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the going got testing in sprint races at Pontefract, horses tended to head towards the near rail in the straight giving higher draws an edge. Unfortunately for the minimum distance we only have 15 handicap races that have occurred on soft or heavy going; but, interestingly, lower draws have won 9 of the 15 (66.66%). That's far too small a sample from which to make any concrete conclusions; however, the 6f stats may give us more data to work with and may hopefully will show correlation.

Regarding 5f soft or heavy ground runners, you would make a very small profit backing lower drawn horses each way (£3.03 to £1 level stakes).

Let us look at pace and running style now. Here are the overall figures:

An notable edge for front runners can be observed. Moreover, better than 52% of horses that took the early lead went on to finish in the first three. This implies a strong front running bias.

On good ground or firmer the front running bias gets even stronger – early leaders win 20.48% of these races with an IV of 2.15. On good to soft or softer, conversely, front runners have failed to win any of the 22 races. It will be interesting to see if a similar pattern emerges over 6f.

Lastly for the five-furlong range, a look at draw / pace (running style) combinations for front runners in these 5f races:

Due to the left handed nature of the course/distance one might have expected more leaders to have come from the lowest draws. Interestingly, though, those horses that led from the bottom third of the draw (low) only managed to win three races from 39 attempts (SR 7.69%); A/E 0.51.

Horses that led early from middle draws went on to win over 25% of the time giving a positive A/E of 2.66. One additional stat is worth sharing: horses drawn in the bottom third of the draw (low) that were held up early have a dreadful record, winning just 2 races from 98 with an A/E of just 0.17.

Pontefract 5f Handicaps (8+ runners) Summary

The draw seems to be fair with no bias, while from a pace perspective front runners do have an edge.

Early pace is generally far more material than stall position.

Horses held up from a low draw have a terrible record.

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Pontefract 6 furlongs (8+ runner handicaps)

 There have been 153 qualifying races over six furlongs during the period of study. Here are the overall draw splits:

There seems to be a small advantage for lower draws here. It may not be hugely significant but is worth further investigation. The A/E values correlate to a certain extent as shown below:

A look again at individual draw positions and how they have fared over time:

Stalls 1 to 3 have decent individual A/E values and stall 2 has secured a long term profit. However, backing this draw blind in the future looks a less than robust way to produce a profit. I would be encouraged, however, if a horse I fancied was drawn in the bottom three stalls – this would be an extra tick in the box as it were.

This graph, which shows IV3 (the average Impact Value of a stall and its closest neighbours, e.g. 456), helps to visualise the table above from a 'likelihood of winning' perspective:

Looking at field size, low draws have the strongest edge in smaller fields (races of 8 or 9 runners). There have been a decent number of these races – 62 in total. The draw split for winners as follows:

The A/E value for low drawn horses edges up to 1.06 here. It seems therefore that a lower draw is more preferable in smaller fields. It is nothing to go ‘crazy’ about but a lower draw under these circumstances does look preferable.

What about the impact of the going in Ponte handicaps over six furlongs? It was noted above that, on soft or heavy ground in 5f handicaps, low draws seemed to have an edge albeit from limited data. In handicaps over a furlong further, the soft or heavy draw stats look as follows:

Again this data set is quite small (21 races), but a look at the win and placed data - table below - strongly suggests a lower draw is preferable:

For the record, backing all low-drawn horses EACH WAY on soft or heavy ground would have secured a profit of £19.57 to £1 level stakes.

Next follows a table illustrating the effect of pace and running style:

An edge for front runners again, while hold up horses have a relatively moderate record. When looking at 5f races earlier it was noted that front runners did better on firmer going and had struggled in testing ground. Unfortunately, from a statistical point of view at least, the complete reverse is the case here with front runners having performed far better on testing ground: indeed from the limited sample they have won over three times more than would be expected statistically. So one potential theory goes out of the window!

Again, we'll close out the distance review with a look at draw / pace (running style) combinations specifically for front runners in 6f handicaps:

As with the 5f range, horses which are drawn high are less likely to get to the early lead - in this case approximately half as likely as those drawn middle or low. There is little to choose between low and middle drawn horses in terms of getting to the early lead.

However, it should be noted that higher drawn horses that got to the lead have managed to go on to win almost 20% of the time.

Pontefract 6f Handicaps (8+ runners) Summary

To conclude, the 6f trip seems to offer low drawn horses an advantage which appears to increase in smaller fields.

The bias towards lower draws has been stronger on softer ground where, conversely, higher draws have struggled more.

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Pontefract 1 mile (8+ runner handicaps)

Most people focus their draw attentions at sprint distances, but a mile for me has always been the key distance at Pontefract in terms of the draw. From my previous research, lower draws traditionally had a decent edge over a mile so let’s look at the current data. There have been 142 qualifying races which gives us a really good chunk of information:

As expected the low draw bias is strong, with the A/E values not surprisingly following a similar pattern:

And here is the performance of each individual draw since 2009:

Draw 2, as it did over 5f and 6f, shows a blind profit. The A/E values for draws 1 to 3 are good as one would expect. This table does show quite neatly the draw bias in operation – several columns show this such as the win% column, the ew % column and the A/E column.

Once more, the IV3 chart brings the point home:

As this mile trip indicates a strong bias it is worthwhile checking a more recent subset of the data to confirm the long-term perspective. Focusing on the last four seasons (2016 to 2019), during which time span there were 54 races, gives the following splits:

These are similar results albeit a slightly lower win percentage for the bottom third of the draw. However, it ratifies the bias which has been around for years remains alive and kicking.

A  solid footnote is that in the past four seasons 23 of the 54 mile handicap races with eight or more runners were won by horses drawn 1 or 2 (SR 42.6%). Compare this with just eight wins achieved by the two highest drawn horses.

In addition, for those who like ‘exotic’ bets, you would have made a small profit if you had permed the lowest two drawn horses in every race in £1 reverse exactas: £14 profit from a £108 outlay. Of course an exacta is a pool bet so it is difficult to exploit potential draw biases in this way as such ideas, if overbet, would contract the returns. Having said that I have personally had much success in the past perming certain draws at certain tracks.

Back to the complete data set (going back to 2009) and a look at mile handicaps by number of runners - specifically looking at fields of 8 or 9 runners - there have been 53 races with the following draw splits:

A stronger bias it seems for lower drawn horses in small fields. The A/E values back this up as is shown below:

There also is a strengthening of the bias in bigger fields albeit from a relatively small sample. In races of 14 runners or more, 19 of the 30 races (SR 63.3%) have been won by the bottom (low) third of the draw.

Turning attention to the state of the turf, the win percentages for low drawn runners are extremely uniform and I have found nothing of note there.

However, with regard to pace and running styles, there are some factors to keep in mind. Here are the overall stats:

In racing in general, as the race distance increase so front running biases start to diminish. However, at Pontefract there is a stronger front running bias over a mile than at 6 furlongs. I found nothing of interest when delving into going considerations and field size, so nothing extra to report there.

Finally over this mile trip this is how the draw / pace (running style) combinations look for front runners in 1 mile handicaps:

These stats demonstrate that it is much easier - or at least more common - for a horse to lead from a low draw over a mile at Pontefract. Having said that, high drawn early leaders have gone on to win slightly more often in percentage terms. Horses that race mid division or are held up when drawn in the top third of the draw (high) have won just 7 races from 285 runners.

Geegeez Draw Analyser has a heat map to help visualise this, here displaying IV:

Pontefract 1 Mile Handicaps (8+ runners) Summary

The mile trip at Pontefract shows a significant draw bias to lower drawn horses. It is one of the strongest mile biases in the UK, if not the strongest.

From a pace angle, it is preferable for a horse to lead or track the pace.

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Pontefract 1 mile 2 furlongs (8+ runner handicaps)

The final distance to be examined in this article is a mile and a quarter. The configuration of the track means that there is an extra bend at this distance as compared to the mile trip and hence one would expect low draws to again have a decent edge. There have been 107 qualifying races from which to find angles:

On first view this looks a very strong bias with lower draws dominating and higher draws seemingly at even more of a disadvantage than they were at a mile. The A/E values back up the raw win percentages as a measure of profitability:

Indeed backing every horse drawn in the lowest third over ten furlongs at Pontefract (8+ runner handicaps) would have returned £39.90 to a £1 level stake.

Individual draw data next, and can stall 2 make a blind profit yet again??!!

Yes! Stall 2 has made a blind profit again - meaning it has been profitable at every individual distance up to 1m2f - as have stalls 3 and 4. Again, this table helps one visualise the strength of the low draw bias. Would I consider backing draws 1 to 4 ‘blind’ in the future? No, but it is clear that these draws must be the primary focus when analysing these races. Here is the IV3 chart to bring that home:

Time to check out more recent data to see whether the bias has been as strong over the past four seasons (2016-2019). There have been 33 qualifying races during that time, giving these stats:

Whilst it is not quite as strong, that could simply be down to the smaller - less reliable - sample size. It still indicates that low draws have a substantial advantage over higher ones.

Moving back to the complete data set (2009-2019) the low draw bias seems to strengthen considerably as the field size grows. This makes sense as the extra bend potentially helps lower drawn runners and impedes higher drawn runners who have to race wider. In races of 12 runners or more, 20 of the 31 races (SR 64.52%) have been won by the bottom third of the draw (low). The A/E value stands at a very healthy 1.25.

Indeed moving the goalposts up further - to 13+ runners - low draws have totally dominated, winning a huge 17 of the 22 races (SR 77.27%). The A/E value for low drawn runners is an uber-impressive 1.53.

Looking at going data there is something which stands out albeit from a limited sample. Races on soft or heavy seems to increase the strength of the low draw bias. From 21 races 15 were won by a horse in the lowest drawn third of the field. That equates to over 70% and an A/E of 1.55. Of course with limited data one cannot be too dogmatic, but these figures are still highly promising.

A look at the pace / running styles figures next:

Front runners have a stronger edge than I had expected, winning twice as often as most other run styles: maybe that extra bend near the start helps.

And finally, the draw / pace (running style) combinations for front runners in 1m2f handicaps:

Lower drawn horses as expected lead more often and roughly four in seven of them go on to finish in the first three. High drawn horses tend to struggle when racing mid division or when held up. This was also the case over 1 mile as we saw; over 1m2f such runners have won only five races from 207 runners.

 

Pontefract 1m2f Handicaps (8+ runners) Summary

The 1 mile 2 furlong distance shows a similarly strong low draw bias to that at a mile, and it seems that bigger fields may accentuate this.

Soft or heavy going may also strengthen the bias but that notion is based on limited data and so a watching brief is recommended.

*

Fingers crossed, in the near future we will see race meetings start again at Pontefract and, when they do, I hope these stats will help point you in the right direction in the ‘fight’ against the bookmakers.

- DR