Posts

Racing Insights, 25th September 2021

It’s Sam stepping in for Chris just for Saturday's column. You'll be able to enjoy Chris' thoughts once again from Monday.

Saturday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer Jockey Combo Report. This is an excellent resource allowing you to find not only the most in form combinations but also the racecourses where these pairings are most likely to excel.

There are also several races on Saturday that are completely free to all. These free racecards are for:

1.40 Listowel
2.00 Chester
2.25 Newmarket
2.40 Haydock
4.05 Ripon
4.55 Chester

The pick of those races from a betting point of view is probably the 2.40 Haydock, a competitive class 2 5f handicap that is live on terrestrial TV. This means that it has already been priced up by the majority of bookies so hopefully easier to pick the early value.

It's been unseasonably dry over the past 6 weeks and more often than not this race would be run on soft or heavy ground but we are once again getting fast ground - certainly a rarity in the past at Haydock!. It’s worth noting that the ground has been so fast at Haydock at recent meetings that it has often been difficult to make up ground from off the pace. If there isn’t much pace in the race then prominent racers could have a significant advantage, if there is a good pace on the cards then it will probably be a much fairer contest.

So let’s first take a look at the pace map for this contest:

Copper Knight seems almost certain to try to lead early with Royal Crusade likely to be up there too. Coming from rear probably isn’t going to be easy given recent course evidence but there could be just about enough pace on to do it.

Key Form Lines

There are two key form lines that relate to this race.

That race over York’s 5.5f course has worked out well and three of these runners, Copper Knight, Jawwaal and Mondammej were involved in the finish that day.

This trio then met again here, on fast ground, so very relevant form in terms of this race I am previewing. If I had been picking between Copper Knight, Jawwaal and Mondammej ahead of this race above my preference would have been for Jawwaal and then Mondammej. The former is probably better over 5f than an extended 5f so the slight drop back in trip should have suited. Mondammej meanwhile would have been expected to enjoy the slightly faster ground in this second race whilst Copper Knight wouldn’t necessarily have enjoyed it – plus he gets on particularly well with York so wouldn’t be guaranteed to run to the same form at Haydock.

As it turned out Copper Knight ran a blinder chasing a fast pace and he was only beaten on the line by Mondammej, with Jawwaal not quite quick enough to finish any faster than his old rival, always around 1.5 lengths behind him.

I doubt they’ll go as hard as they did in that previous Haydock race here which could hand a slight edge back to Copper Knight, who is also 1lb better off now.

I mentioned that I would have fancied Jawwaal to beat the other two in that Haydock race but he was beaten fair and square and off a potentially slightly slower gallop here it’s difficult to see why he should reverse form with either Mondammej or Copper Knight, now 3lbs better off and 2lbs better off with those two respectively. There really should be much in it again but based on that previous run I’d give Copper Knight the narrow nod over the other pair.

Two more of this field were involved in that race – Be Proud and Mountain Peak. Both ran poorly but Be Proud bounced back to form in last week’s Bronze Cup at Ayr. Be Proud has always been a bit difficult to figure out. He often shapes like he needs further than 5f, and he stays 7f (beaten a short head over 7f this season) but all six career handicap wins have come at the minimum distance. He basically needs a very strongly run, preferably stiff, 5f. He should run better this time around than when well beaten here but he might find things happening a little quickly.

As for Mountain Peak, he used to be a bit of a course specialist here but he’s been inconsistent this season and well below par on his last two starts for no obvious reason. He’d have an excellent chance based on the form of his Ascot win in July but it’s difficult to see why he should suddenly bounce back.

Premier Power is one of those runners that is difficult to weigh up. He’s so far shown his best form on artificial surfaces, hence the split mark, and he’s fairly difficult to fancy based on his two turf runs this season which are the most relevant evidence on which we have to judge him. A fast 5f on quick ground are big unknowns and whilst it’s worth a try, he can’t be backed with a huge amount of confidence.

Royal Crusade makes his handicap debut off a mark of 103 after ten career starts. His defeat of Glen Shiel last summer reads well but he’s generally been disappointing since and he’s another where the fast 5f is a question mark.

That leaves Lihou, Mokaatil and Show Me Show Me, the three outsiders of the field. Lihou is actually quite interesting. He placed twice in July off slightly higher marks and although not running to the same level in three runs since, they have all come over a little further and his latest two efforts at Chester have come from double figure stall numbers. He might not be quite well handicapped to land this but it’s fairly easy to see him outrunning his odds.

Mokaatil is another who will be suited by the drop in trip. He’s spent plenty of his career over 6f but five of his seven wins have come over the minimum trip. He was beaten too far last time out for it just to be the trip though and he’s above his highest winning mark so I’m not overly keen on his chances.

Show Me Show Me has won twice on quick ground over this trip this season and all his best form is at this trip so his 13th last time out in the Bronze Cup, only beaten 4.5 lengths, is not a bad run at all. He was runner up to Saluti on his last run at 5f and that runner has won again since so just like Lihou it’s easy to see him massively outrunning his odds down in trip. He’s only a 4yo and was rated as much as 16lbs higher last season so could still be well handicapped.

Summary

As far as most likely winners go, this probably revolves around Copper Knight, Mondammej and Jawwaal, who are fancied to finish close together again but just about in the above order. I’d have some slight reservations about taking 9/2 on Copper Knight though given six of his ten career wins have come at York and a further two have come at Chester, he clearly appreciates those extremely quick tracks and although he went close here a few weeks ago he’s up in the weights again.

If I don’t have a strong feeling towards a race I want to find something at a bigger price that I can make a case for. Lihou, and especially Show Me Show Me, are both fancied to outrun their odds. Lihou would be more of a place only fancy but he’s a perfectly acceptable each way bet at 16/1. I’d be more confident about Show Me Show Me though who is an even bigger price at 20/1. He’s not out of form, has been running well at this trip, and ran to form over 6f last time out so I just don’t understand why he should be considered the outsider of this field.