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Racing Insights, 10th December 2020

Nobody expected Casimir du Clos to try and make all at Hexham today, but that's what he did to good effect. The veteran (and my preference) Skipping On launched a valiant attempt to reel the winner in and got close before the stone and a half he was conceding finally took its toll. I lost a couple of quid, but 2nd at 11/2 was a decent effort.

Not enough to get me off the cold list, but I'm game if nothing else, so I'll dust myself off and go again for Thursday's racing, whose feature of the day is the informative and visually inspiring Instant Expert tab for all races, including the full free cards for...

  • 12.52 Warwick
  • 1.27 Warwick
  • 2.05 Tramore
  • 2.25 Newcastle
  • 3.40 Tramore

A slightly different take on proceedings today, as I look at the 1.27 Warwick, which is the most interesting (to me anyway!) of the five free races. It's a 7-runner, Listed Novice Chase for 4yo+ mares over 2m4½f on soft ground and it's worth winning at a top prize of £11,746.

Zambella is our 2/1 favourite here and I fully expect her to go on and win the race, based on the way she won last time out. It was just her fifth UK start and her chasing debut, but she still won a Listed contest on soft ground despite making a mess of the last fence and she had won her last two races on French soil, both on very soft ground. She's up 5lbs for the win, but there's plenty more to come from her and she's the one to beat/back here.

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So why are you looking at this, Chris?

Well, as you know, I'm not massively fond of backing favs at 2/1 and shorter, so I'm looking to see if any of the others stand out as more obvious types for a forecast or even tricast bet here.

My first action is to cross Liberty Bella off the list, she's 0 from her last 10, hasn't looked like winning any of them and is 25/1 and bigger for a reason, this leaves me with five to consider for my two placers.

And I'm going to be ruthless here and discard both Flow Away and Diva de Vassy at this stage. Flow Away has undoubted ability, as shown when second in a Grade 2 Novice Hurdle on Heavy ground last time out, but she's never tackled a chase before and the form of that hurdle race hasn't really worked out well. Diva de Vassy, however, did actually win last time out, but only by a length in a poor Class 4 contest.

She was aided by the re-opposing Midnightreferendum falling when easily travelling best of all and eventual runner-up Shesasupermack making a mess of the second last. Jockey Page Fuller retains the ride and I'd prefer a more experienced rider in a race like this. I'm sure Page is very good, but she's inexperienced and doesn't win often enough.

So that leaves us with our fav and three possibles as we look at the pace make-up of the race...

Here we see that prominent runners have won 14 of the 23 (60.9% SR) similar contests in recent years, but we've three who fit that bill here, whilst I'd expect Zambella to be waited with whilst the front three take each other on. One of them will have to set the pace or Zambella could turn it into a procession late on.

Legends Gold has made all in two of her five wins to date and fell 2 out at Uttoxeter having made all the running last time out too. Midnightreferendum has never set the pace in any of her 13 starts to date, whilst Pink Legend's best efforts have come when tracking the lead rather than setting the pace. All of which makes Legends Gold the vulnerable one of the three, so she's going to be the odd one out here. I just feel she'll attempt to set the fractions and get picked off by the other three.

Which leaves us with a final three of Zambella who I expect to win, Midnightreferendum and Pink Legend. Both of my suggested placers are offspring of the mighty Midnight Legend, whose daughters have done very well in soft (or worse) ground chases for many a year, but which one will prevail here?

Well, let's quickly assess this...
FORM  : Pink Legend won last time out, Midnight was a faller
CHASING : Pink is 1 from 1, Midnight is 1 from 2
GOING : Pink has 3 wins and a place from 6 on soft or worse (2/3 on soft), Midnight has a win and two places from three on soft
DISTANCE : Pink has won at the trip, whilst Midnight hasn't won beyond 2m3.5f
JOCKEY : Pink has 2 wins and 2 places from 5 under Charlie Deutsch, who has ridden her more times than anyone else, whilst Midnight is 1 from 2 under Tom Bellamy, as she's normally ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
TRACK : Pink hasn't raced here before, Midnight is 2 from 2 at this venue

Throw in the long-standing record of Venetia Williams' runners in testing conditions and I'm leaning towards Pink Legend.

Summary

Zambella should be winning this and whilst 2/1 isn't normally attractive to me, I think it's about right. I then have Pink Legend (9/2) ahead of Midnightreferendum (4/1) for the place money, but it should be tight.