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Racing Insights, 29th July 2021

This will be my last Racing Insights column for a while, Chris will be welcomed back into the hot seat tomorrow. I think I’ve flagged up some decent angles in the past couple of weeks but my personal judgement on the most interesting selections to back from those angles has largely been a bit off. Hopefully I can give a good final steer in Thursday’s race of choice. My thoughts on one of the big Saturday races each week will continue to be published each Friday afternoon.

Thursday’s free feature of the day is Instant Expert for ALL races. That’s one of the most popular features of Geegeez Gold, free to use for every race on Thursday for anyone who is a registered free user of Geegeez.

Instant Expert is a massive time saver which allows the user to check and compare each horse’s, trainer’s, jockey’s and sire’s suitability to key race conditions in just a few seconds.

The free races for free registered users on Thursday are:

3.45 Nottingham
4.35 Galway
6.15 Galway
6.55 Newcastle
7.05 Epsom

Thursday’s meeting at Newcastle is the first day of the Racing League. This event has already divided the racing community somewhat but with good prize money on offer and square 12 runner fields they could make for some decent betting opportunities. With that in mind we’ll see what the 6.55 has to offer. This is a 6f, class 3 handicap open to 3yo+.

With many races run over course and distance in similar conditions in recent years we have a decent sample of data to work with so let’s take a look at some draw and pace data before doing any form analysis.

The first graph shows PRB3 data to give an overview of what should be the favoured parts of the draw. Although higher numbers have seemingly performed more positively than low numbers over this course and distance, it seems that being drawn very high isn’t ideal, perhaps increasing the chances of being trapped on the rail. Or maybe the surface is just at its fastest just off the rail. Either way the sweet spot seems to be from about 6 or 7 to 11.

In terms of pace, the draw and pace combination heat map suggests that those drawn higher are seen to best effect played late but the runners that are drawn low to middle are best off going forward. Perhaps that allows them to get closer to the rail then being either prominent or racing in mid division. The fact that held up from middle has a good PRB of 0.55 again backs that up, it’s probably not difficult to get close to the rail from there.

The pace map for this race tells us that there are two main pace angles, one drawn low (Imperial Force) and one drawn high (Lipsink). The likes of Strike Red, Walls Of Kano, Papa Stour and Mohareb could find themselves in the poorest position (furthest from the near side rail) whilst Cash Machine, Musicality and Ivatheengine will potentially enjoy the most advantageous early positions.

Now for the runners.

Lipsink

Has shown very little in three starts for Robert Cowell and his chances seem to largely depend on a wind op and first time tongue tie doing the trick. Nice enough draw and one to watch in the market but pretty much impossible to back on his most recent form.

Musicality

Showed early promise for Roger Varian last season but form tailed off towards the end of the season. His seasonal debut was a bit more like it, whilst not good enough to win this, but he’s again gone backwards since and connections now reach for first time cheekpieces. He’s another that is worth a check in the betting but is probably impossible to back on recent form.

Mohareb

All weather specialist who won last time out at Lingfield off a mark of 84. Now up to 86 but that’s a mark he’s defied in the past. He’s done most of his winning at Lingfield but has run well enough in defeat in two attempts at this venue. He’s entitled to run his race but he might be a little too high in the weights to win from a low draw knowing his run style.

Papa Stour

Another all weather specialist and one that has dropped to a nice enough mark having been largely out or form this year. He’s 2lbs lower than his last win and returned to form last time out in first time cheekpieces when a narrowly beaten third. He made the running that day and may be an additional pace option here. That effort did come at Chelmsford, a course that suits his run style very well, and he might be a little more vulnerable here at a venue and over a trip where he has never won.

Ivatheengine

Won three in a row last summer and then had his season cut short. He’s only managed three runs in the past year (all since April) and he was below par in all of those. Connections have pinned their hopes of wind surgery in a bid to get him back to sorts and he’d be very much of interest if he is but he’s another one of these that can’t really be backed unless there is significant market support suggesting a return to form is on the cards.

Irish Acclaim

It's fair to say he’s better on artificial surfaces than turf and has a split handicap mark to prove it. He was successful over this trip at Dundalk in March and after some largely lacklustre efforts on turf he was then 2nd recently in a 7f claimer. He didn’t run up to his mark that day though and he’s probably not well handicapped on any surface currently.

Bowling Russian

Another who is better on the all weather but even on artificial surfaces he hasn’t been running to form in recent months, beaten 6 lengths at Lingfield two starts ago in February. It’s difficult to weigh up his turf return in June given he rarely runs well on the green stuff but either way he is still 2lbs higher than his last win which came at Lingfield in November. He has a bit of improving to do and will need the return of the visor to spark of form revival.

Strike Red

Likely to be amongst the favourites for this given he’s a lightly raced 3yo who won by 2 lengths last time out. That form hasn’t really worked out and he’s 6lbs higher here meaning he needs to improve again but there is every chance he does that. This is a better race than he’s previously contested and he doesn’t seem particularly well drawn so he may needs to be well ahead of his new mark to win this. One of his best pieces of form was his racecourse debut when 4th to some smart types and that was his only start on an artificial surface (came here) so he does have potential to improve switching back to this surface.

Cash Machine

Another unexposed 3yo and he’ll be making his handicap debut here after just three starts, giving us a bit of guesswork to do. On debut he was a length behind now 90 rated Popmaster, in receipt of 7lbs, so potentially ran to a mark around 80 that day. That’s certainly not bad for a racecourse debut. He seemed to run to an even better level when winning a decent Chelmsford maiden next time out, doing well to come from off the pace when the others involved in the finish were ridden much more prominently.

Then after a 60 day break he tried to give weight to some promising types in a 7f novice at Wolverhampton. He was 2nd, beaten just half a length giving 7lbs to Wizard D’Amour who ran at least to his mark of 77 on his next start. He probably didn’t improve for the step up to 7f that day but did look to stay the trip. The handicapper has probably got things about right giving him a mark of 82 but he’s capable of improving again beyond that mark given he’s had just three runs and he’s well enough drawn here. Laura Pearson’s 5lb claim could end up being the difference maker.

Royal Musketeer

Only seven runs so far, six of which have come on turf and one of which has come on the all weather. It’s worth noting that he’s so far unbeaten on artificial surfaces. He probably didn’t run above his current mark on that one all weather start though so it’s worth treating him as if he’s just as good on turf. He hasn’t been the most consistent but won a weak Ripon handicap over this distance in June and was 2nd at Haydock last time out off a 2lb lower mark, seemingly with no excuses. Could run okay again but it’s not clear where the improvement is going to come from to win a better race here.

Walls Of Kano

Had just the four runs and was well backed when winning a novice stakes on his second racecourse visit in May. He was well beaten carrying a penalty next time and didn’t improve dropped to this trip in handicap company next time out. It seems likely he’s badly handicapped but it’s not out of the question that he’s better than he’s shown to date. Might have the worst of the draw.

Imperial Force

Started the season rated 93 and ran okay in a first time visor on seasonal debut here trying to give Haveagomecca (now rated 80) 12lbs, going down by less than a length. Connections have largely kept him out of handicap company and he’s been expensive to follow and a bit regressive since. He bumped into a now 95 rated rival in a Yarmouth maiden and was trying to give that horse 3lbs on that day but he was beaten almost 7 lengths so you can’t draw too many positives from that effort.

It's a stretch to suggest he’s going to bounce back to anything like his initial mark of 95 but he seemed to run much better than his current mark of 74 when last here and is capable of being in the thick of things. He’s not very well drawn (but could nullify that by going forward) and doesn’t always look the most straight forward so a place might be on the cards but a win looks unlikely.

Summary

Not an easy puzzle to solve. The likes of Lipsink, Musicality and Ivatheengine all have at least one factor that could help them bounce back to form but they are easy to oppose on recent form.

Mohareb is one of the more solid contenders and he would have made more appeal with a higher draw but he’s only fairly handicapped now and looks more likely to find a couple too good.

Papa Stour is probably a little better at Chelmsford so the one who appeals most is Cash Machine. He’s open to the most improvement out of these and given he has yet to run in a handicap there is more scope for him to be ahead of his mark than those who have already shown their hands. He’s seemingly got pretty much everything in his favour, has run to a consistent level of form on all three starts and seems sure to go well. He won’t be a huge price but could have better claims than the fellow market fancy Strike Red.

Racing Insights, 28th July 2021

Wednesday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer Statistics Report. This report gives you the low down on how trainers are performing, using a wide range of metrics, over both 14 days and 30 days. This data can be compared to 1 year performance, also available in the report, to check if a trainer is performing better or worse than average. There is also the option to check trainer performance at tracks where they have engagements either today or tomorrow, to examine courses where they might be sending their best chances of winners. This data is available for both the past year and past five years.

The free races for free registered users on Wednesday are:

2.35 Perth
3.10 Perth
3.20 Redcar
5.10 Galway
6.15 Galway

I’m a flat bettor through and through so the only one of those races that is going to appeal to me is the race at Redcar. It’s a 6f sprint handicap open to 3yo+ and there are fifteen runners so many bookies will be paying four places on each way bets (one is even paying five places).

Something I have noticed this season at Redcar is that on the straight course the far side rail has seemed much more of an advantage than usual. In previous years they would generally come up the centre of the course on most going types but this year they have gone centre to far side with those drawn lower generally having an advantage. Hopefully I can now prove this with some data!


In the majority of bigger field races on the straight course in recent years low and middle have enjoyed an advantage with PRB figures of 0.54 and 0.52 respectively but the data backs up what my eyes have told me this year – the low draw bias has increased with low drawn runners generating a PRB of 0.64 now – that’s a huge bias for a straight course and isn’t a million miles off the data you’d see at Chester for the same distances.

The market doesn’t seem to be taking into account this shift in bias. Low draws did have an A/E of 0.97 from 2009 to 2020 and that has gone up to 1.52 this year. There is obviously a smaller sample size looking only at races this year but we are seeing exactly what is going on when we watch a race – the runners that get the far side rail are outperforming their rivals.

Narrowing things down further to looking solely at sprint distances, stall 1 has a pretty incredible record of 3 wins and 5 places from 8 runs.

The heat map above is made up of data from 5f and 6f races this season in bigger field sizes and it’s interesting to note that despite the far side rail becoming an increasingly crowded part of the course, those coming from the rear or mid division (when drawn low) and still performing extremely well.

It’s worth noting that the leader from high stat is based on just the one run and is unlikely to be repeated when more data is gathered.

Given the data above I’m going to back whichever low drawn runner makes appeal in this, so here are the lowest drawn six runners.

Avior Star

Beat just one home last time out over this trip at Ayr on fast ground. Had previously run third on good to soft and overall his best form does seem to have come on ground with more cut in than this (likely to be good to firm here). He’s fairly interesting on his softer ground form but makes very limited appeal on fast ground.

Arfinn Rose

Has faced 53 rivals in five career runs and has so far only beaten three of them home. He’s now rated just 39 and isn’t even running up to that rating yet he runs of 46 here because he’s out of the handicap. Headgear now tried and all hopes will be on that working a miracle.

Must Be An Angel

Yet to win but has finished runner up in four out of 19 starts. She’s only raced on turf four times in total with all four runs coming on ground with the word soft in the going description. The 2nd place at Ayr on penultimate start on good to soft was fairly moderate form and then she was disappointing last time out at Wolverhampton in first time cheekpieces. She’d previously run well over that course and distance so the headgear was probably to blame (left off here). This isn’t the best race so a chance on that Ayr run but has to prove it on faster going and lack of win to date is slightly concerning.

Charlemaine

Hasn’t won for two years and he’s dropped 19lbs in the rating since then. He showed a bit more last time out over 5f here on fast ground, 9th of 13 but only beaten 4.5 lengths. He was drawn in stall 15 that day which I’ve already proved would have been a big disadvantage and the way he stayed on late suggested this step up in trip would be a big help, but the way he was tailed off early is a concern. Cheekpieces might perk him up but he hasn’t run well in them previously, has won in blinkers though so headgear can work on this horse.

Daysaq

Yet to win in 14 runs but he’s been knocking on the door on a couple of occasions this season. He was runner up on fast ground over this trip at Nottingham in a weak race, when getting the run of the race and was an eyecatcher last time out at Wolverhampton when well backed and not getting a clear run. He’s a big contender on that last run but many of his best efforts have come at Wolverhamapton and it’s not guaranteed he is quite as good on turf.

Oh So Hot

Lightly raced 3yo who has run well in all three starts for Adrian Nicholls this season, all over further. She was beaten just a head over an extended mile at Hamilton (race has worked out okay), didn’t quite get home when 4th over 9f at that same venue next time (race worked out well) and then was 2nd of 13 on her most recent start, dropped back to 7f at Ayr, beaten less than a length. The 3rd and 6th have both come out and won since giving Oh So Hot’s form a really solid look. She's clearly in form and open to more improvement.

Summary

The above runners should have an advantage and it seems pretty clear that in a very moderate race Oh So Hot brings a much stronger level of form into this. You can question how she was able to run so well over much stiffer tests if she’s going to be suited by this drop back to 6f but she was one of the last off the bridle over 7f last time and had few problems getting an early lead that day. Unless the drop back in trip is a massive negative she should be up to winning this.

Of the remainder Charlemaine is likely to be a bit overlooked by the bookies. The extra furlong and lower draw should be in his favour compared to last time and if the cheekpieces don’t have a negative effect he could be the one who follows Oh So Hot home, or takes advantage if the trip is too sharp for Oh So Hot.

Racing Insights, 27th July 2021

It’s the first day of Goodwood on Tuesday and the second day of Galway so plenty of great action to get stuck into.

Tuesday’s free feature of the day is the Shortlist Report, a very popular section of Geegeez Gold. The Shortlist Report highlights horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in Instant Expert everyday in attempt to flag up runners that are most likely to enjoy conditions – and therefore run to form and run well. It can be used for both win and place purposes and is completely free on Tuesday’s to all free registered users of Geegeez.

The free races for free registered users on Tuesday will be:

1.30 Beverley
3.00 Goodwood
4.45 Goodwood
6.25 Perth
6.35 Worcester
6.55 Perth

A nice choice of races but the focus has to be the 3.00 at Goodwood, the Group 2 Lennox Stakes run over 7f for 3yo+. There are three runners representing the classic generation, including one near the head of the market. Fourteen runners are set to go to post so expect some hard luck stories.

We all know draw and pace can be extremely important at Goodwood, especially over 7f, so let’s take a look at some draw and pace data.


The low v middle v high overview tells us that low draws have a very impressive PRB of 0.59 and account for over two thirds of the winners. High draws have given more winners than middle but the PRB figures tell a very different story with 0.49 for middle and 0.42 for high. This suggests high draws should be avoided.

The individual stall data for PRB, shown as a line graph, proves there is steady regression in performance the higher you go. It’s pretty obvious from looking at this that the lower you are drawn the better over 7f here.

Pace can be just as important as draw here and it’s hugely beneficial to be able to look at these in tandem, using the draw and pace combination heat map. The four best run styles as far as PRB is concerned all come with low draws.

Early pace from a low draw is most beneficial but gaining a lead from middle or low draws actually seems to affect performance negatively. If drawn in the middle a prominent ride seems best, followed by hold up, whilst for higher draws more patient rides are required. Dropping out and coming with a late run preferred to using up early energy trying to get a ‘good’ early position.

The pace map should tell us which runners could gain the most advantage (and disadvantage) from their early positions.

The first thing that stands out here is Space Blues, the early favourite, is drawn in stall 12 which has to be a big negative. He has the best kind of run style for that draw which is some consolation. Kinross, also prominent in the betting, has been even unluckier with the draw, as has Escobar.

Safe Voyage has arguably been luckiest of all with the draw, he’ll be emerging from stall 3 and has an ideal run style to take advantage of that low berth. Fellow pace angle Khuzaam has not been so fortunate and breaks from stall 11 giving him a less than ideal draw and pace combination.

With only two main pace angles, and one of them poorly drawn, we might see a steady early gallop and a well stacked field, likely to result in trouble in running. Those nearer the pace could get the double advantage of being well placed and avoiding any traffic problems.

Quite a few runners to get through but let’s have a quick look through them, in draw order this time.

Fundamental

Ran well in the Bunbury Cup last time out but that was off a mark of 100 and he has plenty to find here. He has form on softer ground but was 3.5 lengths behind Creative Force at Ascot and he clearly needs to improve a fair amount to win this. He’s a big price for one with such a good draw but his run style isn’t ideal to take advantage of it and he could end up trapped on the rail.

Creative Force

Extremely progressive this season, rising 25lbs in the official ratings. He seems to go on all ground types and was only beaten 2 lengths in the July Cup last time out over what was probably an inadequate test. This easy 7f is probably absolutely ideal and further progression can’t be ruled out. He probably deserves to be favourite given his low draw, compared to the high draw Space Blues has landed, but he has been played late on his last two starts and that might not see him to best effect. He did race prominently in smaller fields earlier this season and a return of those tactics would probably help his chances.

Safe Voyage

Out of form on his first two starts this season, beating just one runner home, but bounced back with a front running ride at Chester last time dropped to listed company. He didn’t beat a whole lot that day but it can’t be denied that he returned to form and if now as good as last year he clearly has a leading chance in this. He was behind three of these when 4th in this last year but that came on faster ground and given an easy lead here on his favoured ground he’d capable of reversing that form. He was only a neck behind Space Blues on these terms at Haydock last season on good to soft and he’s much better drawn than that rival (who is favourite) here.

Prince Eiji

Went close in a muddling listed race on seasonal debut over a mile but he’s yet to win outside of maiden company and has looked at his best on fast ground over a mile so serious questions to answer here despite a good draw.

Happy Power

Ran a career best last month when 4th in the Diamond Jubilee on soft ground and probably hasn’t really stayed a mile on his other three runs this year (five of his last six wins have come at this distance of 7f). He won a small field group 3 here last season (well placed) before landing a Group 2 later in the season and doesn’t have much to find on the best of his form. He should track Safe Voyage from a good draw here, has run three good races from three visits to this venue and if you can forgive a slightly disappointing effort last time out over a mile he looks a very backable price.

Pogo

Keeps improving each season and was a very creditable 5th to Palace Pier in the Queen Anne last time out. Probably just as good at 7f, he was 1.5 lengths behind Happy Power in the Challenge Stakes last year. He almost certainly prefers a sounder surface but it’s unlikely to be much better here so he could struggle to reverse form with Happy Power but he’s drawn okay, likes to race prominently and looks bigger than he should be in the betting.

Real Appeal

Career best when landing the Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes last time out at Leopardstown and this looks his trip. He’s progressing well and capable of improving further but all his best form to date has been on sounder surfaces and he might not be ideally placed.

Duke Of Hazard

Runner up in this last year and has course form figures of 11125 but it’s concerning that the 5th came on his only run here on soft ground. He was withdrawn on good to soft ground a fortnight ago and definitely looks better on sounder surfaces so his chance may have gone when the weekend rain arrived. Would have appealed on better ground with a stronger pace promised.

Fivethousandtoone

Dropped 7lbs by the handicapper after two lacklustre runs this season and has been withdrawn this season because of soft ground. He looks flattered by last season’s group form and has questions to answer on current form plus his draw and run style aren’t ideal.

Toro Strike

Won a competitive handicap over course and distance at this meeting last year and was only a neck behind Happy Power here on his next start. Not at his best in heavy ground in France on his final start last year but bounced back with a good win on seasonal debut. He was again slightly below par last time out on good to soft ground at Haydock. It would be easy to blame softer ground for some of his poorer runs but he ran so well on good to soft here behind Happy Power that it can’t solely be underfoot conditions that have held him back on a couple of occasions since. He’s been freshened up which may help and not completely ruled out for all he’d probably have preferred better ground and a better draw.

Khuzaam

Yet to match any of his all weather form on turf, last of four in the bet365 Mile at Sandown behind Palace Pier on his last attempt, beaten 25 lengths. He’s yet to race on softer ground but it’s a stretch to back him, especially with his draw.

Space Blues

Run of five wins on the trot came to an end at Meydan last time out but a straight 6f wouldn’t have really suited that day and he’s best judged on his 7f runs around a bend, conditions under which he is unbeaten. Most of his runs have come on faster ground and although he was beaten on his only run on soft, that came at 10f and it was a hot maiden anyway. He should handle conditions but Safe Voyage has a good chance of reversing form based on their meeting at Haydock last season and he’s not well drawn. He’s capable of defying the draw but he’s a very poor price to do so.

Kinross

Still very much unexposed at 7f and is unbeaten in two runs on good to soft so if it dries a little conditions should hold no fear. He won a Group 3 last time out but several didn’t give their running that day and it probably wasn’t the strongest of form. He still has room to improve but he’s been unlucky with the draw and if a high drawn horse is able to win, it will probably be Space Blues.

Escobar

Ran well at Sandown last time out in handicap company off a mark of 103 in a race not run to suit but he’s generally best at Ascot these days in testing ground and even his peak mark of 111 last season gives him a bit to find here. He ran well in defeat over course and distance twice last season, third in both this and the Supreme Stakes (behind Happy Power). Not a bad place bet on that form but the draw is the big put off.

Summary

Space Blues is the class act in the field and Creative Force is the potential star. Both are well found in the market and at the prices both are opposable unless you are sure Creative Force will be ridden prominently. Neither are likely to be able to afford meeting too much trouble in running.

At bigger prices Safe Voyage and Happy Power make more appeal from an each way perspective. Safe Voyage has shown a slightly better level of form to date and although you wouldn’t back either on the form of their first two runs this season, Safe Voyage looked back to somewhere near his best last time and he might not even need to run to his absolute best with draw and pace advantages in his favour here. Safe Voyage is preferred but it could be worth a very small reverse forecast given possible traffic problems in behind.

Racing Insights, 26th July 2021

Matt in again for Monday's Racing Insights; Sam will be in the chair early next week before Chris's return in the second half of the week: something for everyone then!

Monday’s free feature of the day is the Pace tab available for ALL races. This tab is a pivotal piece of my form study as the shape of the race, in exposed form handicaps especially, is just about the most crucial factor.

Monday's free races of the day are:

2.05 Newton Abbot
3.30 Lingfield
4.10 Galway
4.35 Lingfield
7.25 Windsor

I'm going slightly off road on this occasion, and placing my head in the lion's mouth somewhat, as we head to the first day of the Galway Festival and a seemingly inscrutable seven furlong handicap, due off at 5.15.

Let's start with a bit of context, specifically the track configuration. Checking out our Galway Course Guide, and indeed any of our course guides, is a smart idea if you want to understand any nuances over a given track/trip combination.

Here, we can see that the seven furlong distance has not one but two tight turns before the rise to the lollipop. It will hardly be the biggest shock in the world, then, to discover that outside drawn horses have been at a significant disadvantage, particularly when the ground has been on the quicker side. Looking at the rolling three-stall Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB3) chart illustrates that really well, as does the draw / run style heat map.

As I write, the favourite is drawn 16 and will need to be miles ahead of her mark to score from there.

We can see from the above that high and/or held up is not the style for this job which, while not making winner-finding a shoo in, does make for some credible shortlisting.

What is interesting is that, on recent evidence at least, nobody wants to press on with things. However, looking at the data display might offer a clue.

Now we can see that Fridtjof Nansen, the well drawn second favourite, has led in his most recent two races. Two stalls inside him, the handicap debutant Yester has also led in his last two. And Ola Bonita, that aforementioned favourite, led last time but has trap 16.

So there is likely to be a good early gallop and it might be considered a surprise, to me at least, if neither Yester nor Fridtjof Nansen is leading into the first turn.

What else do we know? Below is the Instant Expert, on place view and showing all races handicap or not, and I've opened the course form row for FN:

I've also hovered over the race title so that you can see it was this race last year. There, Fridtjof had a double digit draw on soft ground. He didn't lead but raced prominently, and wasn't beaten far in a very respectable fifth of 13. Therein lies a bit of an issue with FN, which is illustrated perfectly from this snapshot of Full Form:

One win from 39 starts. One. From thirty-nine. Ouch! He does have an admirable place strike rate and, I think, will go well for a long way from his optimal draw/run style setup.

Yester has to be worth a second look, too. Making his handicap debut here, he's led over a mile the last twice before fading into sixth and fourth in the final furlong. This drop in trip looks right and he's completely unexposed. Trainer David Nagle has a middling record with 'cap debs but did have a sixth placed finish with such a runner over this course and distance at the 2013 Galway Festival, his only handicap first timer to run at the track.

It was all change for Ola Bonita last time as she was upped in trip for a different jockey and a change of run style. Shane Crosse led on her there, where Andrew Slattery - back aboard here - had generally bided his time on her theretofore. The fact is, if Slattery tries to get the lead from his wide post he's going to burn fuel, and if he rides for luck he's probably not going to get it.

Kodiqueen is another with a good draw in four. She has been a five- and six-furlong winner and only raced at this trip twice, finishing third on one of those occasions. With that sprint speed, she's another likely to be handy into the first turn and, if she travels kindly enough in the tongue tie she wore when winning two back, she could hang tough at the finish.

We can see from Instant Expert that top weight Royal Pippin has failed to make the frame in his seven big field races. Indeed, he's failed to make the frame in twelve of his 13 lifetime starts, winning the other one (on heavy ground, quick side of good here). Mind you, he's not been too far away plenty of times and stall nine wouldn't be insurmountable. He's another who might need miracle splits to open up given his midfield / hold up style.

Coil Na Sionnaine has a more compelling form profile but a car park draw in 18, while Godhead has a pleasing win record (3 from 14) for all that they were for his former trainer. Nevertheless, his jockey Gavin Ryan rides the track really well and the horse has dropped to a stone below his high water mark. Chance.

Maud Gonne Spirit, Earls, Excuzio Joe and Mary Salome all have double figure draws which may not stop them winning, but probably will.

High Altitude has had a million goes - well, 42 actually - and won five times. His wins have all been at a mile and four of them were at Killarney, which leans the other way though is not dissimilar in constitution, direction aside. All of his wins have come in August, which it nearly is, and he might nearly add to his tally here.

Turbine is quite a big price given his form: he was a seven furlong winner on good ground in a big field at Leopardstown last June and ran well for a long way in a weaker race over a mile at Killarney last month. He has a ten pound claiming rider, generally races prominently and is drawn in stall three. 20/1+ understates his credentials in my view.

If second reserve Silverkode snuck in he'd be a player given stall one and a very consistent place record over seven furlongs. His hold up style would mean supporters should assume the prayer mat position in transit, however.

Summary

A bigly field and competitive, as 6/1 your pick relates. But it is not total folly to biff anything with a double figure draw, and to ignore hold up types. That would reduce the maximum field of 16 to around half a dozen, my shortlist being High Altitude, Turbine, Kodiqueen, Yester, Fridtjof Nansen and Godhead. Wherever I turn from here, if I haven't already eliminated the winner, I'm very likely to do that now!

This race has been won in the last ten years by horses drawn 1-7-9-1-4-14-2-5-4-5. And winners have returned 25/1, 20/1, 14/1 and 10/1 twice during that decade, so it's certainly reasonable to have a swing.

Looking at the prices, Turbine is worth a tiny win only bet at 25/1; Yester may be an each way dart at 20's. I'm not quite convinced Kodiqueen will see out the seventh eighth (if you catch my drift), and Fridtjof Nansen has a horror win record though is undoubtedly well treated on all of form, ratings and race setup. Galway is about gambling and Guinness, so perhaps Gavin on Godhead for Ado McGuinness is a hint we should take. He too can be played each way.

I'll be combining those six in ambitious micro stakes exactas and even more wildly aspirational trifectas. Probably should add a "don't try this at home" warning here, but we're all grown ups so please yourself! 😉

Racing Insights, 24th July 2021

Saturday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer/Jockey Combo Report. This report allows us to not only find the most in form combinations but also to identify combinations that are particularly potent at certain courses. All in one easy to consume report!

As for the free races of the day, Saturday’s choices are:

1.40 Gowran Park
3.05 Newmarket
3.15 York
3.55 Newcastle
4.15 Newmarket
8.05 Salisbury

Having the Group 2 York Stakes as a free races is pretty handy so let’s take a look at the 3.15 York. This Group 2 is run over an extended 10f and is open to 3yo+. There are five runners set to go to post.

With a small field there is always a chance of a false gallop. This distance at York is a pretty fair one in terms of pace bias but the individual pace make up of the race is still going to be an important factor.

Montatham isn’t an out and front runner but he’s the closest thing we’ve got to one here. This race isn’t really in line with how the horse has been campaigned to date and given the ownership it looks highly likely his presence in this field is as a pacemaker for stablemate Mohaafeth. If that’s the case this should be run at an even tempo and given the small field no runner should be too poorly placed anyway – hold up performers tend to be more inconvenienced when held up off slow gallops in big fields compared than small fields because they have more ground to make up.

Now it’s time to check out the chances of each of the runners.

Armory

The highest rated runner in the field and still highest rated even if you make adjustments for the fact he carries a 3lb Group 2 penalty in this. He’s pretty consistent and although most of his form is away from fast ground he has two solid efforts on good to firm in Group 1 company so the ground should hold no fears.

His record in Group 1 company reads 2344323 so he’s clearly only just shy of the very top level and even with a penalty it will probably take a Group 1 performance to beat him. He’s used to racing in small fields which is a bonus, his last two wins came in fields of 4 and 5 respectively and a 1.5 length defeat at the hands of Love in the Prince Of Wales Stakes will almost certainly look very good form about twenty minutes after this race, if it doesn’t already. You could probably argue he’s improved again this season and he clearly sets a very high standard.

Bangkok

Won the All Weather Finals Day Classic but he’s so far looked slightly better on artificial surfaces.. Fast ground and this distance seems his preference on turf and he ran well in 2nd over 9f here at York at Group 3 level behind Zaaki a couple of years ago. He was probably a little out of sorts during last year’s turf campaign and although beaten 6 lengths by Armory at Chester he can be expected to get closer this time as he’s 3lb better off and faster ground should be in his favour too. It’s very unlikely he’ll improve enough to push Armory in this but he could get within just a few lengths of him which could be good enough to grab third maybe.

Juan Elcano

Improved from a wind op when landing the Wolferton Stakes at Ascot last month and connections will surely look to ride him relatively patiently again, his best form does seem to have come when he's avoided front running or racing prominently. He ran on well from off the pace in the Dante Stakes here last year on ground that was probably softer than ideal so he has some decent course form.

He’s pretty unexposed in general but is especially unexposed on fast ground over 10f. You’d have to think Armory would have been able to win the Wolferton Stakes by even further had he gone for that (ignoring the fact that Armory would have carried a big penalty) so although he only has 2 lbs to find with Armory on these terms he does still need to improve again and there is a suspicion he might be better in a bigger field.

Montatham

A creditable performer in his own right but he’s listed class at best on all known form, might be better with a little cut in the ground, looks better at a mile and is probably going to be used as a pacemaker. If all of these run to form he’ll finish last.

Mohaafeth

The real potential star in the field and he’s clearly extremely well thought of when you see the odds he has been winning at this season. He’s still only raced against his own generation so how much is his form actually worth?

He beat Secret Protector by 5 lengths in a listed race at Newmarket in May but then only beat that same horse by 2 lengths in the Hampton Course Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. Mohaafeth’s victory in that most recent run was quite visually impressive but there are some question marks over that form. The 4th was beaten a similar distance at the same level next time out whilst the 5th dropped to listed class and also got no closer to winning.

It's not Mohaafeth’s fault he hasn’t been beating better horses, you can only beat what’s put in front of you, and he does seem to have quite the engine on him. However that wasn’t a group 1 performance last time out and he might need near that to beat Armory here so he’s probably not one to take short prices about. He does get 9lbs weight for age which is a massive help at this time of year and that’s the main thing attracting me to him.

Summary

Is Mohaafeth as good as many think? He might well be and conditions should suit but even with the weight for age he’s a skinny price on what he’s done so far. Armory has his limitations but he’s a really solid yardstick in this and he probably deserves to be joint favourite at the very least. Getting involved at short prices doesn’t make loads of appeal but from this race at the prices it is Armory who makes slightly more appeal.

Juan Elcano and Bangkok are likely to battle it out for third place.

Racing Insights, 23rd July 2021

Friday’s free feature of the day is the Horses For Courses report. As you’d expect it highlights runners that have strong records at certain tracks. Personally speaking I am using this report more and more these days, especially at the quirkier courses that are more likely to produce course specialists.

As usual there are a selection of completely free races on Friday where all free registered users can can get full access to the racecards. These races are:

1.00 Uttoxeter
1.10 Thirsk
3.50 Uttoxeter
7.15 Cork
7.22 Newmarket
7.30 York

The 7.30 at York is a nice listed race so would have appealed as a race to go through but there is likely to be an extremely short priced favourite and with just 7 runners entered each way alternatives will be thin on the ground.

The 7.22 at Newmarket will therefore be the subject of this article. It’s a five runner, class 3 novice stakes set to be run over 12f. Not at all the sort of race I’d normally look to get involved in but there are some top stables represented and it’s likely the winner of this will go on to bigger and better things. The last three winners of this have rated 89, 111 and 87 so expect an above average winner.

Newmarket is often a track where the leaders don’t come back to the pack, even over longer distances, so we’ll need to take a look at the pace map. With several of these having had just two or three career runs there is a fair chance tactics change here but we can only go off what we’ve seen before. Given tactics do often change from race to race in the early stages of a horse’s career I’ll showcase the pace data rather than the graphic, allowing us to see where each runner has been placed early on in each of their races so far.

Auriferous seems most likely to take them along and he may well get an uncontested lead here. The course and distance pace data shows that early leaders have the best win and place percentages and they’ve been very profitable to follow producing a WIN PL of 70.85.

As previously mentioned, tactics can often change on these lightly raced runners and we see that with Constanta who was held up on his first two runs but raced prominently last time out. Line Of Descent has raced prominently in both starts to date whilst Adrastus and Thousand Oaks seem likely to be more patiently ridden.

Before we look at each of the runners, I want to take a look at the Instant Expert data for the sires of each runner. With so little form on offer this could be as enlightening as each runner’s races to date.

It’s no surprise these have ended up in a class 3 novice – some top sires on show here. The first thing that stands out is Camelot’s offspring are far less successful across each criteria which could be a negative for Constanta for all Camelot has sired his fair share of good horses - he's maybe just not quite as consistent at passing on his talents or it could be that he gets sent to less good mares.

Nathaniel enjoyed a decent amount of dig in the ground and so do his offspring more often than not as they are less successful on good to firm than the offspring of Golden Horn, Dubawi and Kingman. So possible ground concerns for Line Of Descent.

Golden Horn’s offspring have the best record in class 3 races so that’s a positive for Auriferous. He’s followed by Kingman (Thousand Oaks), Dubawi (Adrastus) and then Nathaniel with Camelot once again trailing.

Dubawi’s progeny do particularly well at Newmarket but Golden Horn, Kingman and Nathaniel aren’t far behind. As far as distance is concerned Golden Horn has by far the best record with his runners producing a 26% win rate at 12f. That’s well above the 16% of Dubawi and Nathaniel and the 13% from Kingman, who does tend to have many speedier types. Golden Horn and Dubawi offspring also have the best record in small fields.

Relying solely on this data it’s pretty clear that this is a near ideal setup for anything sired by Golden Horn so that’s good news for Auriferous backers. Adrastus also has lots of positives here being by Dubawi. I’d have some slight concerns, breeding wise, about the ground for Line Of Descent and maybe the distance for Thousand Oaks. Most criteria is a concern seemingly for Constanta so we'll hope to see some already good form from her on the track.

Now onto the runners.

Adrastus

By Dubawi who ranked well in Instant Expert for sires but he’s out of a staying mare rated just 73.

We are able to see all performances from the dam’s offspring and it’s worth noting that nothing as yet as rated higher than 84. Given the subsequent ratings of previous winners of this race Adrastus doesn’t look like he'll be good enough to win this. That is backed up by his form as both runs to date have been extremely modest and this trip and ground have already been explored so there isn’t great scope for improvement.

Auriferous

The most exposed in the field with seven runs to date but he’s also been very consistent and being by Golden Horn, he looks bred to be very suited to these conditions. His mare was rated 89 and Auriferous is the sole result of that mare.

His form has been a little disappointing though, yet to shed his maiden tag and held last time out in a handicap off a mark of 78, albeit a decent handicap. It’s probably fair to say he’s not going to be a 90+ rated runner, unless it’s over further, and there are surely going to be some more promising types in this.

Line Of Descent

Instant Expert flagged a potential ground worry but some Nathaniel’s do enjoy fast ground and Line Of Descent has so far only run on good or better. The dam’s other two runners to have earned handicap marks have so far only managed to earn marks in the 60s which raises concerns about Line Of Descent’s ability ceiling.

On the course he made a very promising start, finishing 3rd surrounded by runners rated 85, 95, 78 and 83 respectively. In doing so he has probably already outperformed any half siblings to date. He looked likely to improve for the run and for further that day. He then ran okay over this distance on fast ground and looked the winner a couple of furlongs from home but didn’t quite see it out. It was by no means a bad effort but he did look as though a drop in trip might suit that day so mixed messages regarding best distance from the two runs in his career.

Constanta

She’s a half sister to Skardu (group 1 placed at a mile) but Camelot’s sire data did trail behind the others here in Instant Expert.

Ran okay on debut in a hot maiden on the Rowley course over ten furlongs and again followed some fairly decent types home on her second run, stepped up to this trip but racing on soft ground. Thousand Oaks was half a length ahead of her that day. On her most recent start she raced on fast ground, finishing runner up, earning a mark of 80 in the process. She’s in good hands to progress and looks well capable of running  above her current mark in time, although a drastic step up from third run to fourth might not be on the cards.

Thousand Oaks

There was perhaps a slight distance worry on the sire’s side of things but both runs to date have come over this kind of trip so it doesn’t look a concern. If anything she has looked in need of even further.

She made a promising debut at Kempton, probably not running to a particularly high mark but very much looking as though the outing would do her good. She followed that up with a third at Haydock on soft ground, narrowly ahead of Constanta. On faster ground here she wouldn’t be guaranteed to confirm that form, especially if they don’t go much of a gallop which seems fairly likely. She is open to the most improvement though it seems.

Summary

A difficult race to work out. Adrastus is pretty easy to oppose whilst Auriferous sets a decent standard on much of his form and should get a tactical advantage but it would be disappointing if nothing was able to improve past what he has shown so far.

If I was awarding each of these runners a handicap mark I’d probably give the highest rating to Line Of Descent and given nothing is more lightly raced there is no reason why he can’t keep on improving further.

He does have to give 5lbs to the fillies though and given there isn’t a massive amount between some of these on form that could hand the initiative to the females. It’s interesting that Constanta and Thousand Oaks have already met, albeit on soft ground. On this fast ground, in a possibly tactical race, Constanta may end up reversing form. A slightly surprising selection given the sire data in Instant Expert but Camelot has produced some very good horses Constanta should be able to run to higher marks than 80 this season.

Racing Insights, 22nd July 2021

Thursday’s free feature of the day is Instant Expert for ALL races. That’s one of the most popular features of Geegeez Gold, free to use for every race on Thursday for anyone who is a registered free user of Geegeez.

Instant Expert is a massive time saver which allows the user to check and compare each horse’s, trainer’s, jockey’s and sire’s suitability to key race conditions in just a few seconds.

The free races for free registered users on Thursday are:

1.15 Worcester
4.40 Limerick
4.50 Yarmouth
5.00 Leopardstown
5.50 Doncaster
8.00 Leopardstown

The 5.50 at Doncaster looks a decent and competitive race. With 9 runners set to go to post in this 6f class 5 handicap for 4yo+ we’ll be getting paid for three places on each way bets even if there is a non runner so hopefully we can find some value at a decent enough price.

First of all we’ll have a quick look at the pace map to check for any extremes in likely pace setup and also to get an idea of how each horse is likely to be ridden.

Now remember the Geegeez Gold pace maps are made up of an average of pace scores over either the last two, three or four races. I generally use two races as my preferred option as it considers only the most recent data. The drawback of doing that is one different run style can massively skew the average. For example if a habitual front runner badly misses the break on his most recent start and ends up being held up as a result the average is going to show his run style as something between prominent and mid division.

This is why I also like to look at the data pace map, as shown below.

Now we can see the exact run style of each runner’s last four runs. The pace map graphic suggests plenty of prominent racers but nothing likely to make the running. Looking at the data view though shows that two of these led last time out (Jems Bond and Dandys Gold) but neither runner has made the running more than once in their last four runs and both were held up three runs ago. This goes to show how difficult predicting pace can sometimes be. These two runners could take each other on at the head of affairs or they could both be held up and what they do can have a massive effect on the result.

Looking at the data, we have three real pace options and only three of these have made the running in any of their last four starts. They are Jems Bond and Dandys Gold as already mentioned plus Barrington who consistently races prominently but went from the front three starts ago. Given there aren’t any habitual front runners it is probably safe to assume this race will be run at no more than an even gallop.

Let’s now run through each contender in this and see if we can uncover anything with a much better chance than the odds suggest.

Mutaanaseq

Has finally found some consistency this season, presumably a more sound animal at the age of 6. He’s now finished in the frame in all six of his last starts, winning once in that run in a big field sprint at Thirsk. He’s now 5lbs higher than that win and has been beaten on his last three starts so this will need to be a weaker race than those contests for him to get his head back in front.

There were no excuses three runs ago at Thirsk. The winner came from a similar position and similar draw and still managed to beat him by over a length. The winner did run well on his next start (2nd) but the form in behind hasn’t really worked out. Mutaanaseq returned to Doncaster on his next run and finished a solid third, beaten just half a length and slightly unlucky in running. The 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th were all ridden close to the pace that day whereas Mutaanaseq came from near last and the front pair have both won since.

On his most recent start Mutaanaseq stepped up to 7f on soft ground and again ran on late in the day. Again the first two home were ridden much more prominently. It seems a decent pace is probably more important to him than the distance – whether or not he gets that here is open to debate.

Dandys Gold

Without a win on turf since 2018 but did run well here under similar conditions in April when 2nd off a 2lb higher mark. He bumped into one that day, the winner has won both starts since, but the form in behind hasn’t worked out at all. He hasn’t run to that level of form in two starts since, well behind Mutaanaseq at Thirsk on one of those. He’ll need to run to at least his previous course and distance form to get into the places here and he’ll need to improve a fair bit on that run to win this. There is no obvious reason why he should improve.

Blazing Hot

Often went from the front last year for James Tate but hasn’t been able to go the gallop this season for Paul Collins. The step back up to 6f could help with that and he was competitive at this distance off higher marks last season. It’s difficult to tell how much effect first time cheekpieces had last time as heavy ground may not have suited. They are dispensed with here anyway.

He’s yet to win a handicap in seven attempts but he’s undeniably well handicapped on last season’s form and this combination of fast ground and 6f should see him improve on his form this season. He was only beaten 3 lengths off a 4lb higher mark against a pace bias at Musselburgh two starts ago so there is every reason to think he could run very well here.

Hail Sezer

Still lightly raced but yet to win in eight starts and five 2nd placed finishers is a bit of a warning sign. His best bit of form was perhaps on seasonal debut this year over an extended 5f at Wetherby – the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th all won within two subsequent runs and the 3rd, 7th and 8th all finishes 2nd within two starts since. That’s definitely hot form! To finish 2nd in that race was a strong effort and even off a 5lb higher mark here you can argue he’s well enough handicapped to win. So why hasn’t he done so in four runs since?

He was runner up again on his next run, at this trip on the all weather. He chased a strong pace that day and the winner has won again since so he can’t be judged too harshly on that effort. He ran no sort of race at Nottingham on his next start at 11/8 which is a warning sign but he has bounced back from that, running 3rd and 2nd since. His 3rd place came in a maiden handicap at Redcar. He ran on strongly that day, dropped to 5f, looking in need of a stiffer test. He got that stiffer test next time over 6f at Carlisle and he got as close as ever to winning, going down just a neck in the end. He has looked genuine enough in a finish but his tendency to get beat has to be a slight concern.

Musahaba

Made his stable debut this season over 6f but has gradually been stepped up in trip since, running over as far as 10f two runs ago. Dropped back to a mile on all weather debut last time out and ran poorly. His best run by far this season was when runner up in a mile handicap at Thirsk off a 4lb higher mark and his worst effort seemingly came in cheekpieces (over 10f) and they are back on here which might be a worry. More of a worry is the sharp drop in trip and it does look a bit like connections are clutching at straws. Backing him will be a leap of faith.

Barrington

Almost certain to be well placed here. His two wins came in 2016 and 2018 in small fields on decent ground on turf, His only handicap win was off a 27lb higher mark but this is very much his level these days. He was beaten just a nose off a 10lb higher mark 12 months ago and was in fair form off slightly higher marks early this year before a 148 day absence. His return run two and a half weeks ago was pretty uninspiring but it seems very likely he’ll come on for that. He ran as though still in form at least and it’s interesting that the visor goes back on here, his best runs last season came with this headgear on.

Jems Bond

Largely out of form this season but wasn’t far behind Hail Sezer at Newcastle in May, 0.75 lengths behind and now 7lbs better off. It’s worth noting though that he’s barely beaten a rival home in his six turf runs so he’s far from guaranteed to replicate that run here. His best turf run did come over course and distance but that was on good to soft ground. His form on faster ground is even less inspiring so he’s of very limited interest here. He does sport first time cheekpieces here and they’ll have to have a hugely positive effect.

Lucky Beggar

Won earlier this season (soft ground, 5f) showing he still has it in him at the age of 11. He’s largely run as if in form since including last time out here over the minimum trip when 3rd. He’s won three times at this 6f trip on fast ground so conditions aren’t a major concern. It’s interesting that he has mostly been campaigned at 5f this season, even when looking as though a return to further would suit. His last 6f run was a 4th at Thirsk off a 2lb lower mark.

He doesn’t look brilliantly handicapped but he was a close 4th at Ripon earlier this year off a 2lb higher mark and the three horses that finished in front of him that day have all gone in since. He tends to race prominently which could be an advantage in this and his speed at 5f could also be a useful asset.

Archimedes

Finished last at 100/1 last time out and although he was placing at Southwell earlier this year it’s been almost two years since he last won and he hasn’t finished better than 7th on turf since September 2019. He’s 6lbs out of the handicap here and makes almost zero appeal.

Summary

The winner is very likely to come from Mutaanaseq, Hail Sezer, Lucky Beggar, Blazing Hot and Barrington.

Mutaanaseq and Hail Sezer look nailed on to run their races and run well. The former would make far more appeal if a stronger pace looked likely but this might be a weak enough race for him to get his head back in front. His previous run over course and distance was a very good bit of form and it did come against a pace bias. The biggest issue is the price and I wouldn’t back anything this short when the pace setup may well be against it.

Hail Sezer shouldn’t be too inconvenienced by the likely pace setup but he’s been expensive to follow. At an each way price he’d make a ton of appeal but he’s risky for win only purposes, for all he hasn’t looked to dodge it in the finish yet. Some horse’s attitudes are more resolute than others though.

Lucky Beggar is a bit shorter in the betting than I expected. He may well improve for the step back up in trip and he’s well enough handicapped on some form from this season but you’d have wanted at least an each way price to consider getting involved.

Barrington could have a tactical advantage over many and should improve for his last run. He makes some appeal but Blazing Hot makes a little more appeal as an each way bet. The longer trip will give him a better chance of being a bit handier, like he often was last season, and he showed enough signs of life at Musselburgh to suggest he can go close after another 4lb drop with the step back up in trip almost certainly a big positive.

I’d probably be keen to have a saver on a Mutaanaseq/Hail Sezer reverse forecast. That’s probably the only way to squeeze a bit of value from either horse and they do look to have outstanding claims on form in this company, for all there are some reasons to oppose them.

Racing Insights, 21st July 2021

Wednesday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer Statistics Report. This gives you the low down on how trainers are performing, using a wide range of metrics, over both 14 days and 30 days. This can be compared to 1 year performance to check if a trainer is performing better or worse than average. There is also the option to check trainer performance at tracks where they have engagements either today or tomorrow, to examine courses where they might be sending their best chances of winners. This data is available for both the past year and past five years.

The free races for free registered users on Wednesday are:

3.40 Lingfield
4.10 Lingfield
5.50 Naas
7.00 Sandown
7.15 Leicester

The 7.00 at Sandown looks like a pretty good race with a decent level of form on offer so that will be the subject of today’s Racing Insights article. It’s a 7f, class 4 handicap for 3yos and is set to be run on fast ground. Just the six runners are entered.

With a small field there is always a good chance of a steady early gallop so the first thing we should do is check the pace map for this contest.

It doesn’t seem as though there is likely to be much of a gallop on. Mighty Power might be most likely to take them along but even he is not an out and out front runner. The pace data shows that front runners often have an advantage over this course and distance in smaller fields, they have by far the best win and place strike rates.

Let’s take a look at the six runners, in race card order, and see which of these has the form (and the speed) to win this.

Apres Dark

Has generally been fairly consistent this season but there were some warning signs at Newmarket with the horse reluctant to race and beaten 41 lengths in the end. He has recovered from that to run well last time, probably as well as ever in fact, and he did race prominently on that occasion. Repeat of those tactics wouldn’t be a negative here.

Apres Dark finished runner up on his last start to Kingmania, who ran well in a class 2 contest on his next start, whilst the 3rd went one place better on his next run in a 19 runner affair at York so there is some strength to Apres Dark’s form. He wore a hood on his last start and it seems to have helped him produce his best run to date so impossible to rule him out.

Billy Mill

Below par on softish ground last time out but previously consistent and running to a decent level on the all weather or fast turf. He’s switched between 6f and 7f this season so may have more speed than several of these and has largely raced prominently or in mid division this season so might not be too badly placed (or as badly placed as the pace map suggests).

His win at Windsor (6f) earlier this season has worked out well with the runner up finishing 2nd on his next start, the 3rd winning twice season and the 4th also successful since. Billy Mill is 6lbs higher here though and his best form so far has arguably come at 6f rather than 7f. Richard Hannon and Sean Levey have an A/E of 2.52 and an IV of 2.9 in the past 14 days.

Sunset Bay

The only last time out winner in the field, having won over this trip at Newbury on his previous start (4th has come out and won since). That came on soft ground but he’d previously run very well on good to firm so is clearly versatile with regards to underfoot conditions. Several of his other races this season would qualify as hot form and he’s clearly progressive and deserves to be favourite for this. He’s led and been held up this season but it looks most likely Oisin Murphy will track the pace in this so he may not be too badly placed.

Shuv H’Penny King

Seemingly not the most consistent but talented on his day. He was last of 5 on his latest start but that was up in distance, up in class and on softer ground plus he was only beaten 4.5 lengths and the winner has won again since so it wasn’t as bad an effort as initially seems.

Previous to that he won here over this 7f in a race that has worked out well. The 2nd, 4th and 6th have all come out and won since with the 5th and 7th finishing 2nd since. Shuv H’Penny King won that by 1.25 lengths and is only 4lbs higher here which is surely lenient but the potential lack of pace could hurt him more than any other in this race. He seems pretty reliant on being held up (ran by far his poorest race of the season when ridden close to the pace at Newmarket) and isn’t going to be seen to best effect.

Mighty Power

Most likely pace angle. Won over a mile at Lingfield two starts ago when well placed when a length ahead of Shuv H’Penny King but flattered by the result and other than Shuv H’Penny King’s subsequent exploits that form has worked out poorly suggesting Shuv H’Penny King wasn't seen anywhere near best effect on that occasion. Mighty Power was gelded after that and ran respectably at Yarmouth again at a mile following a 6 week break. He’s been off another 6 weeks since and may have to largely rely on a tactical advantage as others seem to have stronger form claims.

Matamua

Consistent since making her debut just 11 weeks ago and she’s run to a decent level in all five starts since without winning. She was just a length behind Sunset Bay on debut and is now 5lbs better off so looks well handicapped on that form. She’s probably best judged on her only handicap start, a month ago when 3rd at Nottingham. She was only beaten a length into 3rd that day off a 1lb lower mark but that form hasn’t worked out at all well.

The key might be the drop back in trip. She’s only had one run at 7f on fast ground and that was on debut, arguably her best run of all. She’s often well enough placed and if the drop back in trip does the trick she could go close.

Summary

A really closely knit handicap, in which none of these can be confidently ruled out. From a handicapping perspective I like Shuv H’Penny King the most given how his course and distance form has worked out but he’s reliant on a decent gallop and seems unlikely to get it. He’s worth adding to the tracker for when he should get a stronger gallop to aim at.

Billy Mill might have the tactical speed to cope with a slow pace but he’s looked better at 6f to date so might not have enough up the stiff finish whilst Mighty Power doesn’t look as well handicapped as a few of these so unless he gets a really easy lead he could be vulnerable too.

That would leave things between Sunset Bay, Apres Dark and Matamua. Sunset Bay is probably the most likely winner of this, but the market reflects that and she’s up 6lbs from her latest win. Better value almost certainly lies with Apres Dark and Matamua. The former ran his best race to date last time out in the hood and a reproduction of that would see him go close. He’s shown quirks in the past though and with only two places on each way bets he’s a risky prospect.

Matamua on the other hand seems to have been badly campaigned to date. She needs to improve on her only handicap run to date but looks as though she’ll be better served by this sharper test and she’s completely unexposed at this distance on decent ground. She’s worth a chance to match and even improve on her racecourse debut and that could be enough to beat Sunset Bay on these terms.

Racing Insights, 19th July 2021

In Chris's absence, and giving Sam a day off, it's Matt here for the Sunday evening shift, looking at Monday's racing.

Monday’s free feature of the day is the Pace tab for all races, and it is available in its entirety to all registered users of Geegeez. It's a fundamental cornerstone of my betting research and, frankly, I NEVER place a bet without considering the likely shape of the race via this tab. Nor should you.

Moving on to Monday's free Races of the Day for registered users, they are as follows:

2.45 Ayr
4.10 Cartmel
5.55 Ballinrobe
8.20 Beverley

Perversely, perhaps, for the time of year and weather, I'm going to have a rummage through the Cartmel race form. It's a 2m 1 1/2f handicap chase and most of the six runners have shown their hand fully to Mr Handicapper. Indeed, the most lightly raced of the sextet has come under orders 16 times previously.

Pace wise, they should be a formation not dissimilar to the below, with Sword Of Fate and Tonto's Spirit very likely to be front rank. Lermoos Legend meanwhile will be waited with, as he has been in two of his three recent wins.

Here's what we can quickly deduce about the form of the runners from Instant Expert, win view (handicap chases only) then place view beneath.

WIN ^^              PLACE vv

 

And here's what a deeper inspection into the book suggests...

Tonto's Spirit

A veteran of 58 races, he's spun his wheels around Cartmel ten times winning an outstanding six of them (two handicap chases, a novice chase, a beginners' chase, and two handicap hurdles)... and all of them over this 2m 1f (ish) trip. Five of those wins were on good ground, the same as Monday's race is expected to be. His highest winning mark was 132 two years ago making his current 123 perfectly feasible. On his most recent start, over the longer Cartmel 2m5f trip, he fought a contested lead - something which could happen here too - before only giving best by half a length. That was a Class 2 event and he looks to have everything in his favour aside from an easy lead. Remarkably for one that likes to be front rank, he's 0 from 7 in small fields (seven or fewer runners), which is another slight niggle.

Trainer Dianne Sayer is in great form:

Ballyvic Boru

Brian Ellison's entry is a six time winner, all at this sort of distance and five on this type of ground (also won a jumpers' bumper). Prior to an uncharacteristic blip last time where he unseated at the first, he'd been consistent in defeat, making the podium in five of six starts. A solitary win in that sequence suggests he's handicapped to the hilt, however. Expect him to track the leaders in the middle of the group.

Check My Pulse

A more occasional winner, Check My Pulse is having just his second start in handicap chase company. So, while he's less exposed in that regard, his one-from-seven hurdle record and one-from-12 flat career don't scream win machine. Rated 119 after his Uttoxeter novice hurdle score - a rise of 10 pounds - he's gradually dropping to a more credible handicap peg. The pick of his two chase starts was a fast finishing third over course and distance in a beginners' event in May but he beat nothing of note there.

Ardera Cross

The old man of the party at ten, Ardera Cross is dropping to a viable mark once more. He's been an incredibly game horse, winning 13 times in his career:

But all bar one of those scores was with either soft or heavy in the going description. These young whippersnappers are likely to be a bit too quick for the wily veteran. Trip and field size are positives, though.

Sword Of Fate

Winner of a mere nine races (!), Sword Of Fate is another that is a credit to connections. His five chase victories include two over course and distance. Aged eight, he can hardly be considered on the down slope just yet and, given a historical high rating of 135, his mark of 106 for this looks enticing. A recent fourth place can be forgiven on account of the soft ground - never won on it - and he looks booked for a bold showing from the first wave.

Lermoos Legend

The joker in the pack who has rattled off a facile hat-trick at Ffos Las. Cartmel is very different from that West Wales venue, and he's up nine pounds for his most recent triumph. Trainer Peter Bowen is back in his traditionally rich summer vein after a couple of years in the doldrums, but Lermoos might need them to go mad up front in order to get into the race: he's looked a horse that stays quite well. Still, he's ascendant and one certainly couldn't say he's done improving. This is a two grade class jump.

Summary

A fascinating race given the small field. The pace looks pretty cut and dried: Sword Of Fate and Tonto's Spirit to contest it. Tonto's Cartmel record is exemplary but he's not met as deep a field as this for a while and, for whatever reason, he has proved vulnerable in shorter fields. The Sword is still well below his highest winning mark and was on a hat-trick before meeting the mud at Perth last time (over a longer trip also, though he stays well enough).

Of the midfielders, Ballyvic Boru may find this too hot and Ardera Cross may find it too dry. Check My Pulse is the dark horse though his best chase finishing position was probably in a far weaker race.

The rising star is Lermoos Legend but that line of grey zeros on Instant Expert tells us that he's trying a bunch of new things here. He might handle the rise in class and the very different topography, but he's unexciting odds to my eye.

At the prices, Tonto's Spirit is no value - though he can readily win - and the same is true of Lermoos Legend, with those questions to answer. SWORD OF FATE, at 11/2 in a place - 9/2 generally - looks some value: he'll presumably at least share the lead, will relish the return to quicker terrain and has back class to carry these home. Tonto's Spirit and possibly Ballyvic Boru could make for a fair combination exacta, though there are credible threats elsewhere in a terrific little race.

Racing Insights, 17th July 2021

Saturday’s free feature of the day is the Trainer Jockey Combo report and is available in its entirety to all free registered users of Geegeez. This is one of the most popular reports on Geegeez with very good reason. Users are able to compare trainer and jockey combinations over 14 days, 30 days or 1 year and can also examine their records at the racecourses hosting meetings that day, over both the past year and past five years.

If you want to find out which trainer and jockey combo have 5 wins from 7 runners in the past year at Newbury, producing a Win PL of 7.82, head on over to the Trainer Jockey Combo Report. They have two runners at Newbury on Saturday.

The free races for registered users on Saturday are as follows:

1.50 Newbury
3.40 Newbury
4.15 Cartmel
4.35 Curragh
5.20 Newbury
7.20 Haydock

It's the last of those races I’m going to concentrate on. I think Haydock is certainly one of the more straight forward courses to back at and I tend to find that I probably have more success there than at any other course.

This is a class 5f sprint handicap open to 3yo+ and 10 runners are set to go to post.

Pace is always a key factor so let’s check out the pace map to see if any of these runners may be advantaged or inconvenienced by the run of the race.

Three possible front runners in this one so there is every chance they are taken along at a pretty good pace. Any runner that relies on getting an easy lead might not get the run of things and those that like to be held up should get some decent pace to aim at.

Let’s now look through the runners for this to build up a shortlist of those most likely to run well and those that could outrun their odds.

Mountain Peak

Relatively exposed 6yo now but he’s consistent and should get close to ideal conditions. His last win came off a mark of 95 and having run well off higher marks since he’s still managed to drop back down to 96 here. He won twice last season at this venue and also has a previous course and distance win too meaning he’s 3 from 3 here.

He's maybe been slightly disappointing this season but he was only beaten 0.75 lengths when 4th on his penultimate start and the 1st and 2nd have both won since. He seems to have developed a habit of being outpaced mid race but perhaps a strong pace here could help with that, as could the return to a course that obviously suits well.

Lord Riddiford

A possible pace angle. He couldn’t quite go the early pace in the Epsom Dash after a short break but was prominent last time and his best form has come when very close to the pace. It’s been almost three years since he won on turf and although he’s back on that last winning mark he hasn’t done enough to suggest he’s about to win again and sharper courses suit ideally. The trainer and jockey are in top form though.

Get It

One of three 3yos in the race. Came 4th in last season’s Windsor Castle and has had one run this year since a wind op which was a victory in a Wolverhampton novice stakes. He beat a 66 rated rival by just a length that day, giving him 5lbs, when he was rated 27lbs superior, so needs to massively step up on that form and is surprisingly short in the early betting.

Isle Of Lismore

Another 3yo. Successful on two of his last three runs but those victories came on heavy and good to soft whereas he was beaten last time out on good to firm, albeit only beaten 1.5 lengths. The ground probably won’t be that quick but it will be quicker than his recent wins and his tendency to hang right is a concern.

Indian Sounds

Has bumped into Mountain Peak on his last two runs, finishing a neck ahead the first time and 1.25 lengths behind most recently when getting shuffled back by a weakening rival. He’s not quite as consistent as Mountain Peak but seems to have a similar chance based on their recent meetings.

Ishvara

Another that lacks consistency, he either finishes in the first two or is well beaten – the latter eventuality has been the story in three out of four runs this season. He did run well against the improving Arecibo on his ‘good’ run this season but all his best form has come on soft ground and drying conditions will be against him.

Tweet Tweet

The third and final 3yo in the line up. Sent off favourite for a warm 3yo handicap at the Dante meeting last time out but failed to give his running. She had previously beaten the winner of that contest by 2.5 lengths so although she ran poorly last time out, she actually looked a very good bet in hindsight. An absence since mid May and that poor run clearly won’t have been the plan so it very much depends on what sort of form she returns in. If she’s back to the form of her seasonal debut she’d have a massive chance even if 10lbs higher here. One to monitor in the betting.

Phoenix Star

Part of the photo finish controversy on Eclipse day at Sandown, eventually called the dead heat winner of that race. He did look fairly handicapped heading into that race but he’s been nudged up 5lbs by the handicapper to a career high mark of 82. The horse he dead heated with at Sandown was beaten just a short head in a hot Ascot handicap last weekend so he's probably capable of defying this mark. He’s arguably best over a very stiff 5f or an easy 6f though so it’s possible this could be slightly too sharp, even with a strong early gallop.

Son And Sannie

Still quite lightly raced for a 5yo but his best form for his current yard has come in two runs on the all weather. Hasn’t matched that form on turf since and is likely to have competition for the early lead here which could compromise his chance further.

Saras Hope

Relatively lightly raced 4yo who hit form in the second half of last season on testing ground at this trip with two wins. He reappeared earlier this month over course and distance on good ground and despite finishing 4th, was only beaten a length. That run suggested he was as good as ever but he looked in need of softer ground there and is unlikely to get it here.

Summary

Tweet Tweet could bounce back but she’s a risky bet and is probably only worth considering if there is a positive market move.

Isle Of Lismore and especially Get It look too short in the early betting, Phoenix Star could be a more reliable prospect than that pair but he’s slightly vulnerable over this sharper test, even with a decent pace likely.

The two who make most appeal for me are Mountain Peak and Indian Sounds. At any other venue I’d probably take Indian Sounds at the bigger price but Mountain Peak seems to get on really well with this course and distance and with a strong pace likely to suit him perfectly, he's preferred. Given they are closely linked on two bits of recent form a reverse forecast would appeal too. Both will appreciate the ground drying as much as possible.

Racing Insights, 15th July 2021

As most of you are probably aware, away from Geegeez I run my own travel agency, so this will be my last piece for a fortnight, as I'm off to Antigua to (a) check out some hotels and (b) enjoy some refreshments in the sunshine 😉

But don't worry, I'm leaving you in the more than capable hands of Matt & Sam, whilst I'm gone, plus of you ever need a decent holiday deal, you know who to ask! 😀

Anyway, cheeky advert/plug done, on with the preview!

Thursday's feature of the day is full free access to the simple but intuitive Instant Expert report, which 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.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Where a horse has no UK/Irish form – i.e. it is having its first run in Britain or Ireland under Rules – it will not show up on Instant Expert at all.

This is freely available on Thursdays for ALL races, including our selection of free races, which are...

  • 1.30 Hamilton
  • 1.40 Killarney
  • 1.45 Chepstow
  • 4.00 Leopardstown
  • 4.10 Chepstow
  • 6.30 Leopardstown

A bit of a dilemma for here trying to choose a race to cover, the three Irish races are all maidens and the second of the Chepstow races only has three runners leaving me to pick between an 8-runner Class 6 sprint and a 12-runner fillies handicap. Although the smaller field is likely to have a shorter-priced favourite, I think there might be more scope to find an E/W pick, so we'll tackle the first on the list : the 1.30 Hamilton which is an 8-runner, Class 6, 3yo+ handicap over 5f on good ground worth £2,322...

FORM : Only Tanasoq, Captain Corcoran and Rose Bandit have a recent win on their form line and none won LTO.

CLASS : We have three class movers with Auckland Lodge, Debawtry and Mr Trevor dropping down from Class 5.

COURSE/DISTANCE FORM : The top five on the card have all won over this minimum trip and of those, Rose Bandit has done it here at Hamilton, making her the only previous course winner.

LAST RUN : All bar Auckland Lodge (38 days) and Captain Corcoran (99d) have been seen in the last three weeks, whilst Rose Bandit ran on Tuesday!

AGE : We have 2 x 3yo (getting a 6lb weight allowance), 4 x 4yo, a 6yo and an 8yo.

TRAINERS : Jim Goldie (Tanasoq) looks in good recent form, unlike Ben Haslam (Auckland Lodge)

JOCKEYS : Tanasoq, Rose Bandit, Rain Cap and Lady of Deisre have in-form jockeys, butt hose aboard Auckland Lodge and Mr Trevor are shy of winners right now. Paul Mulrennan and Jason Hart aboard Tanasoq and Captain Corcoran respectively both have decent records at this venue.

OR / SR FIGURES : The assessor thinks it'll be tight with just 2lbs separating the top four, whilst the top four of SR are 12pts apart.

Tanasoq heads both the OR & SR figures and comes here off the back six top three finishes in his last seven runs. He won a Class 5 at Newcastle two starts ago and and was only beaten by a short head at Ayr last time out, being headed on the line despite making a poor start. A better start and a similar run off the same mark here (he's due to go up 3lbs) puts him in the driving seat for me, as does...

Auckland Lodge is on face value, a decent enough sort with three wins from eleven starts to date, but closer inspection shows she was 3 from 6 at the end of September 2019 and hasn't made the frame since. She was 4th of 9 at Pontefract last time out despite breaking well from a good draw and that 4+L defeat makes it tough here.

Debawtry wouldn't be an obvious choice as winner, based on her 2 from 19 career record, but won a Class 5 at Newcastle in February and although beaten in all six runs since, her average margin of defeat is only around 2 to 2.5 lengths, giving her a squeak of a chance of making the frame now down in class.

Captain Corcoran ended last season with a win and a runner-up finish from his last three runs, but looked below par when re-appearing from a 196-day break to finish just fourth of eight at Catterick just over 14 weeks ago. He hasn't raced since then and could still be rusty. he's also 2lbs worse off here, so I don't see him posing much threat, although...

Rose Bandit is a former course and distance winner from just three weeks ago and she then won over 6f at Ayr 11 days later despite going up 8lbs. She raced again yesterday (Tuesday) but didn't go well at all. I don't know whether it was one race too many (8 runs in 76 days), whether it was the soft ground at Beverley or the 5 more pounds she was carrying. I suspect all three played a part in her finishing 8th of 14, beaten by over 8.5 lengths. If she's not too tired, she now has a 5lb claimer on board and the ground is better here, but she's definitely vulnerable despite...

Mr Trevor is still a seven-race maiden, but ran a good race to finish third of seven at Carlisle earlier this month, beaten by little more than a length and a half. He remains on that career low mark of 57, but would need to improve to make the frame here.

Rain Cap won a Class 5 seller over 7f at Redcar just over two years ago and hasn't made the frame in eleven starts since. That win "earned" him an opening handicap mark of 66, which is now down to 46, the same as he when he was beaten by almost nine lengths here over 6f last month, which doesn't bode well for his chances here. I'd be surprised if he beats any of the other seven runners.

Lady of Desire has a jockey taking 7lbs off her allotted weight of 8st3lbs, meaning she'll carry 26lbs less than Tanasoq, who heads the weights, but she'll still find this tough. No wins from twelve so far, but has made the frame in two of her last four without ever actually looking like she's due to win. She'll no doubt chase the leaders along for a while, but she's not even good enough for this contest, even if her 7lb claimer is more than useful...

*

The form overview starts to sow seeds in the mind about who might have a chance and who you should avoid based on their careers to date, but some with a modest overall record might be better suited to today's conditions and for that, we have feature of the day, Instant Expert...

I'm not really surprised that this doesn't tell us too much, that's why these are Class 6 horses! Likely favourite Tanasoq prefers it quicker (5/20 on gd to fm), but Rose Bandit looks the best suited from a win perspective, notwithstanding the fears I've already got about her. Auckland Lodge seems to like the trip, though.

As for making the frame...

...Debawtry is definitely of interest, along with Tanasoq and Rose Bandit, both of whom you'd expect to feature. These three are drawn 1 to 3 here and although stall 1 has done well enough, I think I'd prefer to be drawn in box 4 or higher here...

This doesn't mean that the trio above can't win, of course, but history suggests it makes it more difficult. History also suggests that no matter which box you get put into, you'd better get out of it quickly and hit the front if you want to win...

And if you put the draw stats with the pace stats, you'll not be surprised to see that those drawn higher than 3 and who like to lead have done rather well...

And in draw order, here's how the field sit on that pace/draw heatmap...

Rose Bandit will look to make all against the rail with the rest of the pace coming from widest, whilst Tanasoq looks quite badly positioned.

Summary

After the original write-ups etc, I'd say that in terms of ability that it looked liked Tanasoq/Rose Bandit/Debawtry, but I've doubts about all three here. Tanasoq's record on good ground is poor and racing from the back of the field is going to be tough, so I can't back him at 11/8. I'm concerned about how jaded Rose Bandit looked on Tuesday and if she lines up here, she's very vulnerable to less-worked horses and at 3/1 offers little value.

Debawtry's pace/draw make-up doesn't look great either, but her run LTO was her best for a while and she actually led that day, so she might step forward and odds of 8/1 are interesting. I don't like Auckland Lodge here, despite the pace angle. Yard, jockey and horse seem out of sorts so that's one more off the list. I already said early on that both Lady of Desire and Rain Cap would struggle, so they're gone too.

That just leaves me with Captain Corcoran and Mr Trevor to consider and whilst I don't see either winning this, one could quite well make the frame. If forced to choose between them, it'd be the former, who I think is marginally better and offers more value at the odds (8/1 v 5/1).

At the end of the day, this should be a Tanasoq/Rose Bandit 1-2, but I'll just be having a couple of small stakes E/W punts (or place bets on the exchanges) on Debawtry and Captain Corcoran at 8/1 the pair.

 

Racing Insights, 14th July 2021

Happy Bastille Day to our French readers or plain old Wednesday to the rest of us. Feature of the day is the Trainer Stats report, whilst our free races of the day are as follows...

  • 1.00 Lingfield
  • 1.20 Uttoxeter
  • 2.55 Catterick
  • 4.55 Killarney
  • 6.25 Killarney
  • 8.05 Yarmouth

I think we'll take a trip to the seaside, because the 5 yr course handicap figures on my Trainer Stats report at Yarmouth throw up a couple of runners worth at least a second glance...

Sir Mark Prescott's figures at this venue are fantastic and he runs the 3 yr old colt Jebel Dukhan in the 5.00 Yarmouth, a 9-runner, Class 5, 3yo+, Maiden Handicap over 1m2f on Good To Firm ground for a tilt at a prize of £3,510...

In fact, Sir Mark's figures in handicaps here since the start of 2017 stand at 14 wins from 31 (45.2% SR, A/E 1.40) and they include of relevance to this race...

  • 14/27 (51.9%) with 3 yr olds
  • 12/20 (60%) with males
  • 8/20 (40%) on good to firm
  • 7/18 (38.9%) at Class 5
  • 8/15 (53.3%) were placed LTO
  • 5/9 (55.6%) in July
  • 3/8 (37.5%) over 1m1f to 1m2f
  • and 2/4 (50%) with Ryan Tate in the saddle.

This is a maiden handicap, so none of the field have won a race yet, but Jebel Dukhan's 60% place strike rate (3 from 5) is the best on offer here and he has been placed in three of his last four, including a runner-up finish last time out. That was at Hamilton over 9.2 furlongs in this grade off a pound higher than today. He led, but looked awkward at the head of affairs and was caught with a furlong to go. First time blinkers will be applied today in a bid to settle him more and if they have the desired effect, he's already proved he's got something about him.

As he hasn't won a race, the place version of Instant Expert is more relevant here...

...and those figures are encouraging. He's drawn in stall 7 of 9 which looks to be in a decent spot...

...as higher draws (particularly stalls 5 to 8) seem to fare best, whilst the pace here at Yarmouth seems to favour hold-up horses...

...although prominent racers win slightly more than their fair share of races and with a 41.4% record, are the best in terms of making the frame. As for Jebel Dukhan, his last four runs have seen one hold-up run, two prominent rides and one where he led, giving up a pace/draw mark-up of...

That's not ideal, but recent history says he's 50% prominent and 50% led/hold-up, so there's every chance he might lead or be held up too.

*

Then 95 minutes later, Team Crisford send Noble Patron out to contest the 6.35 Yarmouth, a 7-runner, Class 4, 3yo+ handicap for Pro-Am female jockeys over 7f on good to firm ground, where the top prize is £4,347...

Over the last four years, the Crisford stable has a 50% strike rate in Yarmouth handicaps, winning six of the dozen recent attempts, that have included of relevance here...

  • 5/8 (62.5%) at Class 4
  • 5/8 (62.%) on good to firm
  • 4/9 (44.4%) with males
  • 3/7 (42.9%) were placed LTO
  • 3/5 (60%) over 6/7 furlongs
  • and 2/2 (100%) in July.

These are also very encouraging numbers as Noble Patron now makes a handicap debut after finishing third in three of his four runs this season. I wouldn't say he's been leniently treated with an opening mark of 79 and the step down in trip is a little surprising, but not entirely unexpected. He hasn't really seen races out at 1m/1m0.5f, fading late on in most outings. Yet to win any of five starts, once again, the place side of Instant Expert should tell us more about him...

The pace of the ground and the class shouldn't be a factor here, but his only run over 7f was his sole 2yo start when beaten by nearly 14 lengths on debut last August. He's drawn in stall 4 here, which is right in the sector of the draw (stalls 3 to 6) you'd want to be in...

...whilst the draw stats say that leading is the best policy, but prominent runners also hold their own here...

Noble Patron has raced in mid-division in two of his last four races, but has led in the other two, giving him a pace average score of 3.00 (= prominent) and an average pace/draw make-up as follows...

...although a continuation of his last two mid-div runs wouldn't be beneficial, he does have that ability to lead and that would be his best chance here, if the weight isn't too much.

Summary

I like Jebel Dukhan more than I like Noble Patron and I don't think the latter wins here and I'd not be surprised if he ends up with more runners ahead of him than behind him, so he's a no from me, especially at 4/1.

Jebel Dukhan, on the other hand, has a good place strike record, scored well on Instant Expert, is well drawn and this type of race is one his yard have been successful in. He's currently 6/1 with Bet365 and if the blinkers steady him (he hit the rail last time) as hoped, those odds might prove generous. I'm not massively confident about his composure, but I'm happy to risk a quid or two on him here.

Racing Insights, 13th 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, whilst our free races of the day are as follows...

  • 2.15 Beverley
  • 2.55 Downpatrick
  • 3.15 Beverley
  • 6.25 Killarney
  • 7.45 Southwell
  • 8.05 Brighton

And here is Tuesday's Shortlist report, as it would appear on your screen. The two horses of obvious interest are the two "15s" at Southwell, but Oscar Nomination is actually a non-runner, leaving Forchena as the only one I'm bothered about here.

This 7 yr old mare actually runs in one of our free races, so it makes sense to have a quick look at the 7.45 Southwell, a 12-runner, Class 5, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ mares over almost 3m1f after a 123 yard rails adjustment. The going is set to be good and these are the runners chasing a small prize of £2,342...

Forchena, our featured horse, heads the weights and comes here on a hat-trick, easily boasting the best form in the race. I now aim to see if she's worth backing or not by quickly whittling the field down to a workable shortlist, using the toolkit available, starting with the full form filter available by clicking a horse's name as follows...

Here you can see Our Cilla has no wins and just three places from sixteen attempts over hurdles and now steps up in class. I'm going to be quite brief/brutal today and she's already off my list based on those figures, as are...

  • Ballymilan : 0 wins, 2 places from 10
  • Stephanie Sunshine : 0 wins, 2 places from 14
  • Strike The Flint : unplaced in all seven starts over hurdles

Horses that have had ten or more cracks at winning aren't of much interest to me, if I'm honest, which leaves my racecard looking like this...

I also don't like Winged Dream making a handicap debut after a near five month absence since being pulled up. I sense that she has been sent off at 100/1 on debut and then 200/1 twice for good reason and even though she drops in class here, I don't like her. Cast In Grey hasn't hit that ten start barrier of mine yet, but she has only made the frame once in seven hurdle runs and has suffered a string of heavy defeats and has never raced beyond 2m5.5f, so she's out too, whilst Pretty Stranger is ridden by a 10lb claimer and such jockeys are 1 from 37 in handicap hurdles here since the start of 2017.

All of which leaves us with the five runners who have actually won over hurdles and here they are in Instant Expert...

Forchena is the obvious starting point and the only negative is her 7lb rise for her latest run/win. Both Keep the river and Misscarlett have won on good ground, whilst all five are previous Class 5 winners. Only Forchena has won here previously, whilst Dorette has won at a similar trip to today. Sadly she's 6lbs higher than her last win, whilst Misscarlett is up 8lbs, but Ali the Hunter is now some 6lbs lower than her last win.

We think this race may well be run at a false pace, because such contests tend to favour those leading the pack...

...but there's no actual pace in the race...

...although the top three on that chart have scored a 3 (prominent racing) in two of their last four outings. At this point, I'd probably move the pace stuff to one side and suggest a falsely run race. When I suspect that's going to happen, I tend to side with what I think are just the best horses in the field and sometimes you have to follow instinct. A quick look at the runners can be helpful...

Forchena is three from four in handicaps, having won her last three. She scored in August 2020 here over course and distance before a 255-rest was ended with a 2 lengths success over a furlong further at Huntingdon, despite going up 6lbs. She was then raised another 6lbs next/last time out, when she snatched the lead in the shadow of the post at Hexham, staying on strongest over 2m7.5f. The step back up in trip should help her here and I think it's just a case of whether she can carry another 7lbs, although her jockey takes 3 of those 7 off.

Keep The River is just 1 from 20 over hurdles but does have a 40% place strike rate and has made the frame in 3 of his last 6 (2 out of 3 for new yard). Now eased another couple of pounds to a mark of 84, he could well make the frame again here.

Misscarlett produced her best effort over hurdles at Uttoxeter last time out when winning for the first time after ten previously unplaced efforts. In Brian Hughes, she has an in-form jockey with a good record at this venue, but she's well up in both trip and weight and prior to that win LTO, hadn't really shown much at all. The question therefore is whether that last was a flash in the pan or not.

Ali The Hunter comes here in good nick, having been a runner-up in three of her four starts this year, seemingly revitalised by a 6-month break from October to April. Last seen almost five months ago when just three quarters of a length behind the re-opposing Dorette, but she's now 2lbs better off with her victor and could very well reverse the placings.

Dorette won a bumper on debut in August 2018 and also won that afore-mentioned 2m7.5f hurdles race at Uttoxeter ahead of Ali the Hunter. However, she did lose another bumper and sixteen hurdles contests between her two career wins and now 2lbs worse off witht he runner-up from LTO might struggle here up 6lbs.

Summary

She's up another 7lbs here making her now some 19lbs higher than at the start of her run of three wins, but I still don't see any of these beating Forchena. Odds of 4/1 look generous, so I'm on!

As for the rest, I think Dorette gets beaten by Ali the Hunter on revised terms, so she's not in my top three here and the other to miss out is going to be Misscarlett. I'm not convinced that her last outing shows her in a true light and an 8lb rise could prove problematical, whilst Keep the River does have that 40% place strike rate over hurdles and was better than Misscarlett on Instant Expert.

If I'm having Forchena as my winner here, I think I've got Ali The Hunter ahead of Keep The River in the places, although there's very little between the two and the pair of them probably won't be too far clear of Misscarlett and Dorette.

Ali is currently 6/1, buty at 10's Keep The River might also be worth a cheeky E/W punt.

Racing Insights, 12th July 2021

As expected/advised, making all was the best policy at Chester on Saturday and class act Safe Voyage did just that as she returned to form with a bang, sadly I wasn't sure she would and didn't back her, despite thinking she was the best horse in the race!

Ah well, such is life and we must move on as the new week beckons. Feature of the day for Monday is the the pace tool and we open that up to all readers for all races including the following free races of the day...

  • 6.15 Killarney
  • 6.25 Wolverhampton
  • 6.35 Lingfield
  • 7.05 Lingfield
  • 7.45 Killarney

The 7.05 Lingfield looks the best of the three UK offerings, so we'll focus on that 8-runner, Class 3, 3yo+ A/W handicap over 6f on standard to slow polytrack. The prize available is £6,210 and these are the ones hoping to land it...

This looks a really competitive affair here and should be good to watch. Half of the field have won at least one of their last five outings, but only Newyorksateofmind won LTO. The top two on the card drop down a class here, whilst the bottom four all step up one grade. All have won over 6f previously, Total Commitment is also a former Lingfield winner, whilst Mohareb and Newyorkstateofmind are both course and distance winners.

All eight have raced in the last seven weeks with Muscika and Newyorkstateofmind rested for less than a fortnight. We've 2 x 4yo, 3 x 5yo and 3 x 7yo here and all are geldings apart from the 4 yr old colt Raaeb, whose yard is in good nick righty now and have a good record at this venue, facts that also apply to his jockey. Newyorkstateofmind also hails from an in-form yard.

Raaeb heads the weights and won at this class/trip on the polytrack at Chelmsford three starts ago off 2lbs lower. Has struggled in two Class 2 turf outings since and despite dropping in class here and returning to the A/W, I think he has too much weight here.

Total Commitment made the frame in 8 of 9 outings (5 from 6 at Lingfield) prior to finishing 10th of 28 at Ascot last month. He runs off the same mark here and drops in class on his return to a venue he likes where he has five runner-up finished from 5 attempts over C&D.

Muscika does most of his work on grass with just 3 of his 56 career runs coming on the A/W and he hasn't raced away from turf since October 2019, 19 starts ago. He was 4th of 7 at Epsom last time out, beaten by six lengths and eased just a pound, it's hard to see him winning for the first time in over nine months.

Open Wide is another with just 3 A/W runs to his name, this time from 42 races, but he did win a Class 2 6f handicap off a mark of 87 four starts and nine months ago. Has struggled off marks in the 90's in three runs since and to win off 89 would be his best effort since June 2019, so it seems unlikely.

Treacherous has a good record on the A/W, winning 8 of 23, but his last two wins were back in July/August 2020, both on turf. His last wins on the A/W were back to back 6f successes at Kempton three days apart last February, but has only raced four more times on the A/W since. He was a decent 14/1 second of ten at Doncaster last time out, only beaten by a length, but now up a pound and up a class, will find this tougher but could make the frame.

Mohareb hasn't won any of his last 16 runs since winning here at Lingfield over 7f on New Year's Eve 2019 off 2lbs higher than today. He did, however, look like returning to form when only beaten by a neck and a short head into third place at Kempton last time out. His best form has been here at Lingfield where he's a former course and distance winner and I'd not be surprised in he was involved here.

Spirit Of May has a healthy 5 from 20 record over this trip, but he's a Chelmsford specialist, where he has 4 wins and place from 8 runs over 6f. He has failed to make the frame in any of four A/W runs elsewhere and since winning a Class 4 at Chelmsford in January has only managed to finish last of nine and last of seven, both back at Chelmsford and then he was 12th of 14 at Chester (the scene of his other career win) last time out. He'll be near the back, I suspect.

Newyorkstateofmind is a former course and distance winner and has raced here more than any other venue, but his last four runs have all been on turf. He was first home at Bath four starts ago, but was demoted to second, however he did win there again last time out. In between those Bath runs came two disappointing efforts (6th of 8 and last of 6) highlighting his inconsistency. He might well be bottom weight, but he's up in class and up 4lbs and doesn't tend to run well twice in a row.

A few of these have very little A/W experience and it's not always easy to transfer turf form to the A/W (and vice versa for that matter!), I now turn to Instant Expert to show me the collefctive collateral form...

GOING : Treacherous and Total Commitment look particularly well suited by the Standard to Slow pace of the track here.
CLASS : Treacherous again with two wins from three, but Total Commitment also has two wins
COURSE : Mohareb is the only one with significant form on this track
DISTANCE : Virtually all have an A/W in over 6f, but the ones catching the eye are Treacherous, Spirit of May and Total Commitment
WEIGHT :  Only Mohareb races off a mark lower than his last win.

The draw stats here at Lingfield over 6f on the A/W would suggest a lower half draw would be beneficial, but stall 7 has performed well enough to say that a high draw isn't necessarily game over...

...and those drawn wide also have little problem making the frame. Top jockey David Probert says: “It's probably the most idiosyncratic of the all weather tracks because of the hill and from the four furlong to the two furlong poles you're running down that hill. Some horses don't handle the hill which makes it a tricky track to ride; many of the jockeys will start to make their move at about the three - halfway down the hill, on the home bend - trying to get some of their rivals off balance. That's where you'll see most of the manoeuvres, jostling for position, trying to either get an inside run or slingshot off the bend if a little wider.

In five and six furlong handicaps, you want to be handy, and perhaps ideally with a middle draw to cut the corner a little. That gives you the most options. They're both tricky starts, the five in a little chute on the crown of the bend, and the six just before the bend on the main track. Inside draws need to be very quick away and edge right a bit to get a position, because if you don't you'll be in a pocket and it'll be hard. The six furlong trip is a bit more forgiving because you've got half a furlong or so before the bend, but you still need to jump and get a position quickly.

This would suggest that those getting away quickly would fare best, but that's just David's perception of it. Personally I'm happy to take his word, but just in case, these are the win stats...

...which show a massive advantage in getting out quickly. Leaders make the frame almost 57% of the time too, so that's clearly the best tactic. To see how those pace stats interact with the draw, we have out unique heat map, which tells us...

...that you should try and grab the lead and the higher you're drawn, the better if leading is your chosen tactic.

We log the running styles of every runner and we also know the draw, so we can easily see where the 8 horses in this race would fit on the above chart if they ran to their usual tactics and that looks like this in draw order...

The pace here would seem to be from the lowest drawn horses and if running to form, I'd expect Muscika to lead them out with Total Commitment and Newyorkstateofmind in close attendance. Treacherous has ticked plenty of boxes so far, but he's the only hold-up horse in the field and whilst conditions should favour him, he might not be able to pass seven rivals on the run-in over a 6f sprint.

Summary

With a better draw or pace/draw make-up, I'd probably want to back Treacherous here and I think he can still make the frame, but would have too much work to do late on to win. Muscika looks set to lead, but I've serious doubts about his A/W ability, so he's not for me, but he should tow Total Commitment and Newyorkstate of mind along, whilst Mohareb also looks well placed and did actually lead the field three starts ago, so he might race in a more advanced position.

Might be easier to rule some out first? Well, I don't like Open Wide, Raaeb nor Spirit of May here and I do think Treacherous makes the frame. So, I need two more for the frame and two for the discard pile. Total Commitment and Mohareb both scored well on Instant Expert, so I'll have them in my three against the field and of the two, I prefer Total Commitment to Mohareb.

So, my 1-2-3 here are Total Commitment, Mohareb and Treacherous and they're currently priced at 9/2, 6/1 and 11/2 with Newyorkstateofmind the 4/1 fav. He could easily win this too, of course, it's that competitive, but I'm happy with my decision.

Racing Insights, 10th July 2021

Another decent afternoon for us as Sandrine / Hello You / Oscula did indeed finish in that order giving us a 9/4 winner. I also hoped that Desert Dreamer might gatecrash that trio and had an E/W tickle on her at 12/1 and gatecrash she did, finishing as runner-up as my "favoured four" were the first four home...

And now to Saturday's racing for my last piece of the week. Feature of the day is the excellent Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report and has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations.

In addition to that informative report, we also have the following free races of the day for you to consider...

  • 1.00 Navan
  • 2.30 Limerick
  • 3.25 Chester
  • 4.05 York
  • 5.05 Navan
  • 5.40 Chester

I have fairly stringent settings/requirements for my Trainer/Jockey Combo report, which means I've actually no qualifiers at all for Saturday but all is not lost, because the free list has once again given us another Class 1 race to look at. This time, we're back in the North West on the Roodee for the 3.25 Chester : it's a 9-runner Listed race known as the City Plate Stakes, which is a 7f affair for horses aged 3 or over. We're expecting soft ground that will be better in places (and it has been sunny & dry up in the NW today) and the top prize of £28,355 will go to one of...

All bar Azano, Khaadem and Sir Maximilian have won at least one of their last five outings, although the former has been runner-up in his last two and the latter has made the frame in his last three, even at the age of 12! He is, however, up three classes today, whilst Documenting, Matthew Flinders, Oo De Lally and Rhoscolyn all raced at Class 2 last time out.

Khaadem and Matthew Flinders are the only two not to have won over 7f, whilst Oh This Is Us and Sir Maximilian have actually done so on this track. Safe Voyage last raced six weeks ago and he's the one longest rested of this field, whilst four of them (Oh This Is Us, Khaadem, Sir Maximilian and Os De Lally) all raced a fortnight ago.

We've a fair age spread here with 2 x 3yo, 1 x 4yo, 2 x 5yo, 3 x 8yo and the 12 yr old Sir Maximilian. The three year olds have a useful 8lbs weight allownace, whilst Oh This Is Us carries an extra 5lbs over the standard allotted 9st5lbs for the race, making Safe Voyage best off at the weights.

Trainer/jockey-wise, Safe Voyage & Oo De Lally are from in-form yards and it's Oh This Is Us & Oo De Lally for trainer/course form. Rhoscolyn's jockey is riding well, but those aboard Matthew Flinders & Sir Maximilian seem to be struggling for form. Oo De Lally will be ridden by Hayley Turner and she tends to go well here.

Ratings-wise, Safe Voyage and Oh This Is Us are only 2lbs apart according to the BHA figures, whilst the SR numbers show Azano and Safe Voyage separated by the same amount and now to the runners themselves...

Oh This Is Us has a win and a runner-up finish from two C&D efforts, but they were back in 2018/19. Since then he's really blossomed into a decent horse who has won a Listed race and a Gr3 in his last four outings. He struggled on the A/W at Newcastle LTO over a inadequate trip, but back on turf will fare better. The added weight is a concern, though.

Azano hasn't won any of his last nine races since landing a Class 4 Novice event at Yarmouth on good to soft in October 2018 on his second career start. He followed that up with a runner-up finish in a Gr3 also on good to soft, but hadn't done much else of note until a soft ground runner-up finish two starts ago (C2) and then second again at York in a Listed race last month. I don't think he's good enough to land this, but he likes soft/good to soft ground.

Documenting was decent enough in late 2019 to late 2020, finishing 122911713, but hasn't shown similar form this year with runs of 4th of 9, 5th of 10 and then 22nd of 28, beaten by 18 lengths last time out. His best form comes on the A/W and whilst he's not a bad Class 2 runner, he's really a C3 animal and looks like being outclassed here.

Khaadem won the 27-runner Stewards Cup in August 2019 and looked like a Class 1 horse that day. Sadly he's 0 from 7 since and decent runs have been few and far between, although he was only beaten by 1.5 lengths in last year's Diamond Jubilee Stakes and by 2.25 lengths in a Listed race last month. he has no decent form on ground "worse" than good and all 14 career starts have been over a furlong shorter than today. Too many negatives there for me.

Matthew Flinders also has no form on slower than Good ground and has also never raced over 7f with all nine starts being at 1m to 1m2.5f and this might well be a bit sharp for him. In his defence, he ran well enough last season in handicap company, but was well beaten in the Royal Hunt Cup last time out, doing too much early doors.

Safe Voyage should really be the one to beat here, but hasn't lived up to his 2019 or 2020 form just yet this year. He won 2 x Gr2, 1 x Gr3 and two Listed races in those two seasons, but came back from 245 days off to run last of 11 in the Gr1 Lockinge in mid-May and was 8th of 9 in the Gr3 John of Gaunt a fortnight later. He's had six weeks to get over those runs and really need to rediscover his form. To help him, the going/trip/jockey and track direction are all positive, but this won't be a walk in the park.

Sir Maximilian is game, make no mistake, but looks out of his depth here and at 12 yrs old, won't get any better. Winless in 12 outings since a Class 3 handicap win here over course and distance ten months ago, he doesn't scream "winner" at me. he is running well, though and has made the frame in his last three runs, all here at Chester (where he loves it!) including twice in two days last month over 7.5f and then over 5f. All of that points to another bold effort, but they were all Class 4 runs and this is so much tougher.

Oo De Lally looks like a progressive 3yr old, who'll no doubt be helped by the extra 8lbs weight allowance which makes him one of the better off at the weights. Fair to say, however, that his best form is on the A/W, but was a runner-up over this trip in soft ground two starts ago. He steps up in class today, but if transferring his slow ground A/W form to this going, he'd be in with a shout especially with his 011121 form over today's trip.

Rhoscolyn, like Oo De Lally, is also an in-form progressive 3 yr old receiving 8lbs weight allowance. This only puts him 2lbs worse off with the race's class act Safe Voyage. He moved to David O'Meara's yard this season having 1 win and 0 places from 7 for Charles Hill. Since then he has finished 72111, going three from three on soft/good to soft and landing back to back Class 2 handicaps. Of course, this is tougher, but he's thriving right now and has the talented Marco Ghiani on board.

Instant Expert takes all runners career outings and then discards the runs that aren't relevant to conditions expected for this race. IE then colour codes (green is good, red not good!) their stats at going, class, course, distance and field size and puts them all in one handy chart so you can see who might be best suited for this task, as follows...

And this explains why Safe Voyage is probably the one to beat here. Rhoscolyn, however, should relish the underfoot conditions, Oh This Is Us has four Class 1 wins and 5 wins over 7f, whilst Rhoscolyn also has a very healthy record at the trip.

Course form is always handy to have here at Chester with the way you're always turning left making life difficult for many runners and they do tend to say that in races of a mile or shorter, you really want to be drawn low. We hear this about lots of tracks, but in fairness, getting a low draw here is very useful indeed...

Stalls 1 to 3 have the edge and if you look at the blue line, there's a gradual decrease from 3 downwards. I think 4 & 5's figures suffer from the success of 1 to 3, but if you could hand-pick your stall, that that low draw would be the one to go for, which is good news for Oh This Is Us, Documenting and Rhoscolyn. The draw is so important because on a constantly turning track like this, the inside stalls are the shortest route from start to finish, BUT if you're drawn low, you still need to try and get out quickly, otherwise you've a chance of being cut across by faster starters from wider draws.

Our pace stats tell us that leading is the best policy here at Chester. Mid-division runners do OK and make the frame more than once every three attempts, but with 13 winners and 11 placers from 40 runners, leaders win the contest hands down.

So, from those graphics above, a low drawn leader must be a shoo-in?

Not quite, but over 47% is a brilliant strike rate and actually comes from 8 winners and 6 placers off 17 runners, so leading from a low draw puts you in the frame in 82.4% of similar races and id-drawn leaders made the frame 8 times from 14.

Thanks to Geegeez logging the running styles of every runner in every UK, we can make a reasonable assertion/assumption as to how these nine will break out and as we already know the draw, we can superimpose our horses onto that heatmap as follows...

This would suggest that confirmed front-runner and softer ground-loving Azano will set the pace, chased by Rhoscolyn and Safe Voyage at close quarters. Those drawn in stalls 1 and 2 probably won't make best use of the plum draw, whilst aside from Oo De Lally in the car park, there's precious little pace elsewhere.

Summary

I think that Azano, Rhoscolyn and Safe Voyage are going to set the pace and given the lack of pace elsewhere, they could fairly quickly put this race to bed between them. I don't think Azano is good enough to win this, but front-running tactics are his best hope and at 11/1, he's worth an E/W bet.

So, what of Safe Voyage and Rhoscolyn? Well, the former should be the one to beat here, but he has seemed out of sorts this season, so you're effectively backing him at 11/4 to regain form and that's not value in my book. That said, Rhoscolyn isn't much better priced at 10/3, but I think I prefer him over the favourite. Both should beat Azano, but I do hope the pace-setter hangs on for the place.