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Racing Insights, 5th December 2020

Worsening ground caused Bit On the Side to pull out of today's contest and that heavy going allied to conceding 15lbs to the eventual winner put paid to Whitehotchillifili's chances of winning. She was game and gutsy in a three-length defeat, but the weight took its toll late on up the hill.

And now to Saturday, whose "free feature" is the Trainer/Jockey combo report and the free races are...

  • 12.00 Navan
  • 12.05 Sandown
  • 2.25 Sandown
  • 3.00 Sandown
  • 3.22 Wetherby
  • 4.30 Wolverhampton

And as my full race profiling seems to be a bit out of kilter right now, I'm going to take a look at a couple of runners from the Trainer/Jockey report. I've set fairly demanding criteria that has produced just three qualifiers, one of which I'm really not interested in. Fillies' Junior Bumpers aren't my (or many people's) bag, so it's off to Wolverhampton we go...

Red October runs in the 7.00 Wolverhampton...

Red October hasn't been seen at this best in his last two runs when down the field on soft ground at York and then 6th of 10 at Chelmsford last time out in a higher grade. Nevertheless, he has finishes of 2116 from four A/W starts including 116 on standard going, 211 at 16-30 days since his last run, 116 going left handed and he's 1 from 2 in cheekpieces and 1 from 1 at Class 3, but now makes a Tapeta debut.

His trainer Hugo Palmer was 6 from 8 over the last fortnight prior to today's action and has an excellent 38 from 156 (24.4% SR) record here at Wolverhampton since 2013, which includes 5 from 13 for jockey James Doyle, 4 from 20 at 1m4f and 3 from 8 at Class 3.

Jockey James Doyle also has some good numbers behind him with 4 wins from 16 over the last week and 31 from 80 (38.75% SR) here at Wolverhampton since 2016 including 3 wins from 6 at Class 3.

Red October only sits fourth on the Geegeez Speed Ratings, but Instant Expert shows him in a very favourable light...

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The draw stats suggest he isn't too well drawn in stall 1, but over the course of a mile and a half, the draw shouldn't be the reason for a horse getting beat...

...whilst the pace make-up of the race suggests horses who prominently win more often than not...

44 of the 96 (45.8%) winners were prominent racers, whilst those held up for a late run won 36 (37.5%) times, also backing up my theory that the draw might not be as important here as it is in other contests.

When you overlay the pace and draw together...

Red October actually seems to have as good a running style as you'd need from stall 1. Perhaps he could press on a little to enhance his claims, but he's not badly positioned there.

*

Next up is Atalis Bay in the 5.30 Wolverhampton...

Like Red October above, Atalis Bay was disappointing last out, finishing 9th of 11 beaten by almost 12 lengths over 5f on soft ground. In his defence, that was the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket and this represents a major drop in class/quality. Prior to that run, he had won three on the spin showing versatility on Good to firm, Standard to Slow and then Goods to Soft ground over both 5f and 6f.

He's 3 from 3 at odds of 6/1 or shorter, 2 from 3 under today's jockey Andrea Atzeni, 2 from 2 at 6f, 2 from 2 in fields of 7 runners or fewer and 1 from 2 at Class 2. He has no run on Tapeta yet, nor has he gone left handed before.

Trainer Marco Botti's horses have been running well of late, even if they're not winning as often as he's like. Over the past fortnight, his 18 runners have only produced 3 winners (16.66%), but that's not a disaster, but the fact that 12 of them finished in the first three home suggests they're going well. The jockey booking is interesting, as this is Andrea Atzeni's only ride of the day and he comes to a track where he has ridden 17 winners from 72 (23.6% SR) since 2015 including a 6 from 14 (42.9%) record over this 6 furlong track and trip.

Instant Expert backs up the horse's stats and reminds us that he's a tapeta debutant...

Don't be too alarmed that he appears to be rated 13lbs heavier than his last win, that was just his last A/W win, he did win off a mark of 93 at Haydock two starts ago, so despite being 5lbs heavier here, it's not quite as bad as it first looks.

Over 6f, Atalis Bay's draw might well be important than the afore-discussed 1m4f contest, so let's work out whether stall 3 will be good or bad here...

Stalls 2 and 4 seem the most successful in this type of contest with a definite bias towards the lower end of the draw, whilst in these sprints race positioning is key...

...suggesting that no matter where you're drawn you want to be up with the pace.

The above figures back up that suggestion, as leaders have won 34 (30.1%) and prominent runners 59 (52.2%) of the 113 races in focus. So, with a record of almost 5 in 6 going to prominently ridden/leading horse, we know where we need to be on the heatmap...

...which also reinforces the stall 2 to 4 supremacy from earlier.

Summary

Both Red October and Atalis Bay look very well suited to the task ahead, but both carry the same baggage as each other. Both disappointed last time out (last two for Red October), both are carrying more weight than they've won with, neither has raced on Tapeta before and Atalis Bay has never run left handed.

They're both likely to be fairly high up in the market and as such, there are too many question marks about both for me to want to back them, I'm afraid. I'd say Atalis Bay had the better chance and 4/1 isn't a bad price about him, so if we wanted a bit of fun, we could have a couple of quid on him for some interest, but no real money. Red October, I'm not sure about, so I'll leave him be.

Racing Insights, 5th November 2020

Thursday's feature of the day is the Instant Expert tab on the racecards, often a very quick way of assessing a runner's suitability for the task ahead, whilst our free racecards cover the following half dozen contests...

  • 12.40 Sedgefield
  • 2.00 Newbury
  • 2.15 Sedgefield
  • 4.45 Chelmsford
  • 6.45 Chelmsford
  • 8.30 Kempton

...and I've decided to tackle the 6.45 Chelmsford : a 10-runner, Class 2, A/W handicap for 3yo+ over 1m2f on polytrack with the winner receiving £11,972, so let's take a look at the racecard in descending Geegeez Speed Rating Order...

...where we see lots of positive green icons, a few red ones and some good speed ratings at the top of the list. Visinari is a lightly raced 3 yr old with no A/W experience, hence no rating.

At this first elimination stage, I'm going to discount just Data Protection so far. He has looked out of sorts lately (a mark of 89 is possibly beyond him) and jockey Nicola Currie is also struggling for form and hasn't performed particularly well here recently either.

The next step is the feature of the day, the Instant Expert tab, which looks like this for our nine runners...

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As with most things here at Geegeez, the above is pretty self explanatory and based on the naked data above, I'm now going to exclude Home Before Dusk (too much red), What's The Story (no green at all) and Morisco/Visinari for a lack of data to work with.

I should at this point make it clear that I'm aware that I might have eradicated the winner already. I'm merely whittling down to see who stands at the end and then I'll decide if I want to back them.

That leaves the IE tab looking like this...

Next up is pace/draw and we have runners drawn in stalls 2,4,6,9 and 10...

...and the draw data tells us that you don't want a high draw in this type of contest, which isn't great news for Assimilation or The Gill Brothers in stalls 9 and 10, but the picture may change when we overlay our horses' running styles onto that draw data in our unique pace/draw heatmap...

...which very quickly leads me to just two of interest here : Red October in stall 2 and Solid Stone in stall 6, so let's dig a little deeper to see if either, both or none are worth backing, starting with Red October, whose form this year of 1010 reeks of inconsistency, but the two defeats were in big-field (18/19 runners) turf handicaps and his overall A/W record is excellent at 211. he is 2 from 2 here at Chelmsford including a win over course and distance the last time he visited (just over 10 weeks ago).

He has finished 3101 at today's trip, he's 2 from 4 going left handed and 2 from 4 in cheekpieces and has won once from two under today's jockey. He does go well in these smaller fields, but has no Class 2 win to date, that said his only previous run in this grade was on turf back in July. An interesting (to me, anyway) stat about him is that since the start of 2016, his trainer, Hugo Palmer is 11 from 40 (27.5% SR & A/E of 1.22) in Class 2-5 handicaps over 7 to 14 furlongs here at Chelmsford with horses sent off in the evens to 9/1 price range. Those winners have generated 17.5pts profit at Industry SP at an ROI of 43.8%.

And now to Solid Stone : an in-form ( 7 top 3 finish in his last 8 starts) 4 yr old gelding who was a winner here over C&D two starts ago and only found one too good for him when dropped back to a mile in the Balmoral handicap at Ascot last time out. That run at Ascot was arguably better than the C&D win the time before and he seems to be still on the up.

He is 4 from 14 (28.6%) to date and that includes 4 wins and 2 places from the six occasions he has been sent off as favourite (as I suspect he might be today), he has 2 wins and a place from 5 over this 1m2f trip, 2 wins and a place from 3 in Class 2 races worth less than £20k and he's 2 from 3 on the All-Weather. His only previous visit to Chelmsford was that C&D success here two starts ago.

He is trained by the evergreen Sir Michael Stoute, who has a fantastic record here since 2015 with his handicappers sent off at 6/1 or shorter winning 24 of 69 (34.8% SR, A/E 1.12) for 11.65pts (+16.9% ROI) profit at ISP and they include (10/21 (47.6%) over this 1m2f C&D, 8/22 (36.4%) at Class 2 and 3/6 (50%) in Class 2 contests at C&D.

Summary

Quite simply, I like them both. I fancy Solid Stone to go on and win, whilst Red October is more than capable of at least making the frame. A quick glance at the market tells me that they're available at 9/4 and 9/1 respectively. Personally I would have liked a little more juice at 5/2 and 10/1, so I suppose it's a case of whether you're OK with taking a 10% cut in expected prices or not.