Well, Friday's race went rather well for us. The short priced fav was beaten but placed and the other two on my shortlist were first and third. I know of at least two readers who got the 103/1 tricast, hopefully more of you were on it.
And now to Saturday for my final piece of the week, ahead of some weekend "beverages" and our free feature is the utterly marvellous Trainer/Jockey combo report, a firm favourite here at Geegeez, whilst our free racecards cover...
- 12.35 Lingfield
- 1.30 Ascot
- 2.25 Haydock
- 2.40 Ascot
- 2.47 Naas
- 6.00 Wolverhampton
...and whilst the race profiling seems popular and going well, we'll try one more and cover the 1.30 Ascot : an 8 (was 9) runner, Class 3, Mares Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m on soft ground. The winner will get £7798 and here's the full card...
As you can see, we've greyed out the non-runner, something you can do easily by clicking the X on the row of icons. This is particularly useful when a race has a going change and several runners pull out. You can quickly de-clutter the card this way and the same applies if you work like I do and discard runners at each step of your process.
I then work through the card from left to right making notes on the pros and cons of each column, something like...
Positive : Yeavering Belle, Same Circus, Dame de Ruban & Robin Gold
Negative : Printing Dollars
Positive : Hotter than Hell & Midnightreflection both drop down from Class 2
Negative : Dame de Ruban (2nd hcp start) & Coillte Eile (1st run for new yard) both step up from defeats at a lower grade
Just one previous course and distance winner Coilte Eile, whilst Yeavering Belle, Printing Dollars & Same Circus have won at this trip
Positive : Yeavering Belle (30) Hotter Than Hell (14) and Midnightreflection (14) come from in-form yards, whilst HTH's yard also has a good recent record here at Ascot (C1)
Negative : Printing Dollar's yard are misfiring at present (14 30) and Robin Gold's yard haven't had a good year here at Ascot (C1), but they are a top yard not to be underestimated.
Positive : Yeavering Belle (30)
Negative : Hotter Than Hell (14)
Positive : Midnightreflection, Same Circus, Hotter Than Hell
Negative : Dame de Ruban, Coillte Eile, Printing Dollars
It's a fairly simplistic way of analysing what's in front of you, but you'll find certain names cropping up all the time and after reading the above back to myself, I'm going to get brutal very quickly and jettison Dame de Ruban, Coillte Eile and Printing Dollars from my considerations, despite Coillte winning this race last year. She just hasn't been the same horse since (889945 and beaten by 70 lengths LTO). This will leave me with just five to look at as I move towards Instant Expert...
... where my thoughts are that aside from not having raced on ground worse than good other than in a bumper, Yeavering Belle looks well suited here, Hotter Than Hell hasn't managed to turn places into wins and Same Circus should be very used to conditions. She likes some cut in the ground, is a solid Class 3 horse, gets the trip and runs off the same mark as her last win.
Midnightreflection looks the weakest of the five based on the above, so despite her being a daughter of Midnight Legend, she leaves at this stage, whilst Robin Gold has the best record on this type of ground. All of which means I'm just taking four runners into the final data analysis, the Pace tab...
Same Circus and Yeavering Belle have ticked boxes as we've gone along and the pace graphic just cements their place in my shortlist. I do like to end up with three, so from Hotter Than Hell and Robin Gold, it's like this...
HTH is 0 from 7 since landing a Class 5 maiden in May 2019, including 0/4 in handicaps off marks of 118 to 121, yet still has to race off 121 today. That mark is too high, I'd say, as the claimer who takes 5lbs off her was on board for the last three defeats anyway, whilst RG won back to back handicaps at Class 5 then Class 4 in September/October and then was third at this grade over 2m7f on soft ground when only half a length behind Storm Arising & Potters Hedger, who were rated (OR) at 131 and 125 respectively, yet Robin Gold races off just 108 here and receives stacks of weight from her rivals.
And then there were three...
Robin Gold (as above) is 113 in her last three starts and is progressing nicely this autumn, she was only caught late in the proceedings last time out by two highly-rated runners and has only been raised a pound for that run. The ground should be slightly less testing here, so s similar level of performance puts her right in the mix.
My only concern is that she was pretty much hard at it from 2 out last time and 11 days might not be enough rest. She also might find herself with too much to do from a hold-up position if Same Circus & Yeavering Belle force the pace as predicted.
Same Circus is easily the most experienced of the three having run more races than the other two shortlisters combined (30 vs 18 & 10) but with 11 places including 6 wins (3 over hurdles, 3 over fences), she's no mug. She likes the soft ground, stays further than this (2 wins at 3m1.5f) and has a better than 25% strike rate at this grade (4/15)
She won off this mark of 120 at Aintree at this class over slightly further on soft ground just over a year ago and returned from a 225-day absence to run in the very same race at Aintree off this mark four weeks ago. Not disgraced there, as she finished second just 5 lengths behind Dell Arca who has since landed the Class 2 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle just a fortnight ago.
And finally, we have Yeavering Belle, another daughter of Midnight Legend. She was, admittedly disappointing last time out in a big-field handicap at Cheltenham, but prior to that run she had four wins and a runner-up finish from six over hurdles. Add in her bumper record of a win and a place from three starts and it's safe to say that she's generally there or thereabouts.
She's game, gets on great with jockey David Bass (5 wins and a place from 8 together), gets the trip, has won at this grade and she's 2 from 2 going right handed. So what's the catch? The issue is just one soft ground run from her ten starts and that was in a bumper 20 months ago. her other nine runs have been on Good ground (8 times) and good to firm (once). She's on a career high mark of 128 and that might just be too much on this ground.
I ended up with three on my shortlist and I like them all for different reasons. I can see Same Circus and Yeavering Belle setting the pace with the latter fading in the closing stages. the questions will be (a) how far clear will they be, so that Yeavering can stay in the frame and (b) will Robin Gold have been kept close enough for a run to make the frame?
I think Same Circus wins the race and it's hopefully tight between Robin Gold & Yeavering Belle for second, but I wouldn't be surprised if we fill the frame again, regardless of finishing positions.
From a betting perspective, Same Circus is probably about right at 7/2 (I thought 4's would be the play), Robin Gold was expected to be sub-3/1 and a clear favourite, so 7/2 looks fair, whilst 10/1 from Bet365 about Yeavering Gold looks generous for the E/W punters amongst us.
Ideally Yeavering wins at a big price with the other two just behind and we land a massive tricast. We can but dream... 😉