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.


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, 28th June 2021

Late start tonight, sorry, had a family 'event' to attend, but hopefully better late than never and I'll try to get to the point a little quicker. Monday's free feature is open access to the pace tab for all readers for all races, including the following races of the day...

  • 1.30 Southwell
  • 6.45 Musselburgh
  • 7.00 Windsor
  • 7.45 Musellburgh

...and as we've been concentrating mainly on Flat/AW racing recently, let's look at the first of those races, the 1.30 Southwell, a 7-runner Class 4, 5yo+ Handicap Chase over 3m1f on Good ground worth £3,594...

Boughtbeforelunch has six top 3 finishes from his last seven runs and won by 8.5 lengths at Ludlow two starts ago. That earned him a 7lb rise in the weights, yet he was still able to finish as a runner-up at Aintree LTO. Down in class off the same mark here at a track where he's 1 from 1, he has to be in considerations.

Dancing In The Sky was a winner over 2m4.5f at Perth last September, but has been beaten by 51L, 23L and 41L in three runs since. He's down in class from that last run but as well as being out of form, has yet to prove he gets this trip.

Fact Of The Matter last won was 8 starts ago off a mark (135), some 18lbs higher than today, but that was actually back in mid-December 2018 and despite a recently plummeting mark, he has failed to get close since. He has only raced three times since the end of 2019 and it's probably time he was retired.

Lygon Rock has won just once in twenty attempts and that was in a 4-runner novice hurdle more than three years ago and he has made the frame just three times in thirteen races since. He hasn't raced since mid-January when beaten by 31 lengths and will probably need a run. Best avoided.

Compadre tends to run well and give every race his best shot, but he's not really a stayer. He weakens out of it late on in too many of his races for anyone to be confident and backing him to finish strongly. This is a shame to be honest, because he clearly has ability having won off a higher mark than today. For me, he's a low-110's 2m6f chaser and this should be too tough for him.

Tribesmans Glory was 0 from 5 including 4 heavy defeats (69L, 38L, 46L & 21L) before winning a class 5 novice handicap on his chasing bow last October. he's also a former PTP winner, but hasn't really kicked on since that first win under Rules and has unseated his rider in two of the four races since. Big step up in trip here too.

The Composeur is also a former PTP winner and has two wins and two runner-up finishes from six handicap hurdle efforts prior to a chasing debut at Warwick just under five weeks ago over a trip just half a furlong shorter than today. He was admittedly just fourth of seven, but a 9 length defeat over that trip on debut is far from a disgrace. He had two good results at 3m/3m0.5f over hurdles, so the trip should be fine and he'd be entitled to come on for that run last month.

At this point, based on the above, Fact Of The Matter & Lygon Rock look the weakest.


All previous NH form under today's conditions...

...and just over fences...

Lygon Rock looks weak again here and I'm not keen on Tribesmans Glory from those figures either, especially at 12lbs higher than his last win. Boughtbeforelunch, Dancing In The Sky and Compadre all have weight to make up, but don't read too much into Fact Of The Matter being 18lbs lower. We covered that above and it was so long ago! Compadre's four Class wins is decent, though.


The pace stats tell us leaders do best, pretty much at the expense of mid-division horses and with prominent / hold-ups having IVs of 0.97 and 0.98, they're virtually running/winning as many as expected. Leading isn't the be all and end all here, but just don't get stuck in mid-div! Prominent runners have a good place record, so I'd say that made prominent running the second best option after leading. It seems almost strange to say you're more likely to win a 3m1f chase from the front, but the numbers don't lie.

For the record, here's how these seven runners normally race...

Boughtbeforelunch and Fact Of The Matter have both set the pace in at least one of their last four races, so I expect those two to take the race forward here.
Dancing In the Sky and The Composeur are both solid 3's (prominent) more often than not, so they're likely to take second rank here.
Compadre and Tribesmans Glory are definite 1's, having been held up in each of their last four outings, so they'll take the fourth rank, leaving Lygon Rock as the mid-division horse, hammering another nail into the coffin of his chances.


From the write-up stage, I didn't like Fact Of The Matter & Lygon Rock and then I added Tribesmans Glory to that pair after Instant Expert. Lygons Rock was a negative again on pace, so all three are discounted at the first fence, so to speak.

That still leaves me with four, so I'll take a pair and reject a pair and the duo I'm taking are Boughtbeforelunch and The Composeur. Of the pair I'm getting rid of, I think Compadre is marginally better than Dancing In The Sky, but I have doubts about either staying the trip.

As for a winner, well I think there's very little to separate Boughtbeforelunch off his current mark and The Composeur based on his chase debut. The former has more experience, of course, but might have too much weight to carry, whilst the former isn't guaranteed to improver, although you'd expect him to, especially off a mark 2lbs lower than LTO.

To me The Composeur offers more value at 9/2 (Bet365) than Boughtbeforelunch does at 9/4 (generally), so although I think these will be the first two home, I hope it's the longer-priced one that wins!


Racing Insights, 8th June 2021

Funny race at Leicester this afternoon, Wolflet disappointed but my second best, Cruyff Turn, made all to win pretty comfortably by 3.5 lengths. He's not nornally one to set the pace, but our pace/draw heatmap for this race suggested mid-drawn runners who led were the most successful runners and from stall 5 of 8, Cruyff Turn validated the data.

The Shortlist report is Tuesday's free feature, highlighting horses known to perform well under the conditions they'll face next, whilst our free races of the day are...

  • 1.50 Roscommon
  • 2.00 Southwell
  • 2.20 Wolverhampton
  • 3.00 Roscommon
  • 4.30 Salisbury
  • 5.30 Wetherby

The first of the UK races on that list is the best of the four, it also contains a runner from The Shortlist report...

...who we backed successfully last time out, so we can tie it all together by analysing the 2.00 Southwell. Sadly, only 7 are set to run, so just two places available for this Class 4, 5yo+ Handicap Chase over 2m on Good ground. The prize is £3,594 and here are our runners...

Form : Four of the field (Sarasota Star, Candy Burg, Tardree & Atlantic Storm) have won at least once in their last five starts with Tardree & Atlantic Storm winning LTO.

Course/Distance form : All bar Sarasota Star have won over this trip with Atlantic Storm the only course & distance winner and also the only previous Southwell winner.

Last Ran : Triplicate returns from four months off, but the others have all raced in the past 23 days.

Weight Spread : Just 11lbs separate top and bottom weight here.

Trainer/Jockey Form : Trainers of Triplicate, Tardree, Sarasota Star and Candy Burg all have positive recent form indicators (14 and/or 30) with the former also having a good last 12 months here at Southwell (C1) whilst the latter hasn't fared quite so well (C1). We've in-form jockeys on Siannes Star, Tardree and Candy Burg with the first one also having a good short and long term record here (C1 C5) and the latter struggling like his trainer (C1)

Triplicate is joint top rated here off 122 and now makes a UK debut and yard debut after 19 previous runs for a couple of the O'Brien clan in Ireland. He won a couple over hurdles back on Aug/Sept 2018, but is now on a run of 13 defeats and in 8 efforts over fences, the nearest he has come to winning is 12.5 lengths off the pace, when 7th of 10 at Galway in October!

Tardree is The Shortlist horse that we backed five days ago as he became the latest Laura Morgan Class 4 chase winner. Two wins and two places from five so far, one from one over fences after last week's Uttoxeter success at this class/trip/going and the manner in which he won by 6.5 lengths suggests a 7lb rise in weight might not be enough to stop him.

Sarasota Star won back to back 2m1f handicap hurdle races at Carlisle in the autumn, but struggled in four runs at higher grades after those successes. He was beaten by 18.5 lengths last time out, but drops markedly in trip (-5.5f) and is down a class and eased 2lbs for his chase debut. His last win was only off 2lbs higher than today, so if taking to fences first time out, he could well get involved.

Siannes Star is also on a 13-race losing streak that now stretches back over two years and has yet to win over fences after eight efforts. Results have improved as his mark has tumbled this year, but he was still only third of four here over course and distance last time, beaten by 8.5 lengths and I don't think taking another pound off his mark will help much.

Atlantic Storm won a class 3 chase over this trip at Hereford off a mark of 111 last October and was a winner here over 2m1f on soft ground last time out, beating Larch Hill by three quarters of a length off a mark of 109. He was running well enough between those two wins, but a mark of 113 would be a career-high win.

Check My Pulse was only beaten by just over a length and a half off today's mark of 112 on his chase debut at Cartmel ten days ago and the drop back in trip should help. The two horses that beat him were 17lbs and 18lbs better off at the weights and he should come on for the run.

Candy Burg carries bottom weight here and runs off a mark of just 113, but closer inspection shows that's just 2lbs lower than his last two runs that have seen him defeated by 46 lengths and 6 lengths and he's still 9lbs higher than his win at Ffos Las three starts ago. That said, he did win by 14 lengths that day and is 4 from 11 over fences. The problem with him is that he seems to either win or gets beaten by a long way. That last win came after 9 straight losses over almost 18 months by a combined 374 lengths. So if it's either win or lose by 40 lengths, he's not to be trusted.

To date, this field have made the frame in 53 of their 153 combined starts (34.6%), going on to win 23 of them (15%) and here's how those figures stack up under today's conditions...

From the above general stats, the only real alarm bells come for Siannes Star with a line of red, whilst our Shortlist runner, Tardree looks well suited but for his 12lb weight rise. With those numbers above in mind, we can now be a little more specific and look solely at chase handicaps...

Again, Tardree looks good based on that debut run alone, but the past form of Candy Burg also catches the eye as long as you remember his inconsistency.

We've no stalls and therefore no draw data to deal with, but pace is often overlooked in NH contests. People often think pace = speed and the name can be misleading and tempo might be a better way of describing it. Some TV commentators talk about a "pozzy" and they're really referring to pace/tempo as it's all relating to race positioning ie where you put yourself in the pack.

And in 47 previous 6-8 runner handicaps here under similar conditions, the inference is very clear to me...

...grab the lead and hold on to it. If you can't lead, get up with the pace, otherwise it's going to be tough and based on our runners last four runs, this is how we think the race will unfold...

Tardree is an out and out pace setter with pace score of 4 in each of his last four runs, whilst Atlantic Storm has 4 x 1's. Tardree is massively up in weight, but won so convincing from the front last time out under the in-form Adam Wedge that you'd expect similar tactics today. In fact Adam's record on Laura Morgan's chasers since New Year's Eve reads 1112151!


After my first view of the card, I was most drawn towards Atlantic Storm, Tardree and Check My Pulse in that order, but I'm not sure about Atlantic Storm having gone through my process. I know a 4lb rise isn't huge, but he'd need a career best to win here and at the age of 9 with 43 races under his belt, that's not something you'd expect to happen. Plus he's a hold up horse nowadays and that'll make it tough if Tardree pours it on early. I'm doubtful whether Atlantic Storm even beats Check My Pulse now, that could be tight.

Tardree, of course, is up the thick end of a stone, but is unexposed and looked to have plenty in hand when winning by 6.5 lengths on chasing debut last week. He'd be entitled to come on for the run and overcome the huge penalty, so at 2/1 (was 3 earlier!) I'm with Tardree again.

Racing Insights, 19th March 2021

The summary from my preview for Thursday's race said..."11/2 looks generous about Westend Theatre, so that'll be a nice win if he gets up for us, whilst 8/1 also seems big about Cash Again for those of you looking for an E/W flutter..." Westend Theatre did indeed go off shorter, but could only manage fourth at 10/3, but was beaten by less than three lengths, whilst Cash Again went on to win, so well done to those who took the 8/1 E/W last night about an eventual 9/2 winner.

The Horses for Courses report highlights horses who've previously ran well at a given track and it also happens to be our Friday free feature, open to all readers : Gold members or otherwise. We also make a small number of full racecards available each day without charge and for Friday, they are...

  • 2.30 Cheltenham
  • 2.55 Fakenham
  • 4.05 Fakenham
  • 5.05 Dundalk

Call me a coward, but the potato race (Albert Bartlett) looks tough to call and I don't fancy the Dundalk one at all. Both Fakenham races look less than foregone conclusions, so they interested me for a while, but as it's Horses for Courses day and I noticed I only had two qualifiers, let's look at them instead.

Both run at Southwell and boasting a combined 12 wins and 13 further places from 45 handicap outings on this track, they must be worth a second glance, if nothing else.

We start with Bond Angel, a 6 yr old mare who has run 15 of her last 18 races here at Southwell and has finished 231 in her last three, culminating in a course and distance success last time out when dropping down in trip. She's up in class and weight here, but looked to have something in hand when winning here ten days ago.

She runs off 69 here, which is a career high, but she did win here over a mile off 68 in the past, so this mark could still be within her grasp. Her A/W career stats are generally pretty good...

...and of her 8 wins and 8 further places from 26 on this track, she has...

  • 7 wins, 5 places from 18 after a rest of just 6-20 days
  • 2 wins, 5 places from 13 at Class 5
  • 7 wins, 4 places from 12 at odds shorter than 8/1
  • 3 wins, 3 places from 11 since the start of 2020
  • 3 wins, 2 places from 7 after a win LTO
  • 3 wins, 2 places from 7 over this 7f C&D
  • 2 wins, 2 places from 5 in March/April
  • but no wins and just 2 places under today's jockey.

She tends to race prominently through most of her races, rarely leading until late on, but equally rarely not being close to the action. For those of you conversant with our running style index, she's generally a solid 3, which is how roughly 60% of runners in the past 86 recent similar races have run. They win just about their fair share of races, but if she were to lead, I think she'd have a better chance, based on these stats...

She's in stall 4 which looks (blue line) a pretty good place to be...

So you'll not be surprised to see her sitting firmly "in the green" based on draw & running style...

The issue here is simply, who is going to lead? My thoughts on this shortly.

Bur first we need to move forward half an hour to look at Geography Teacher, who hasn't been in the best of form of late finishing 3449 in his last four runs (all here) since winning over course and distance a week before Christmas. In fact, all bar 2 of his last 21 A/W outings have been on this track. He was comprehensively beaten last time out four weeks ago, but he had stepped up in trip by three furlongs to 1m3f for the first time. Prior to that, he was only beaten by less than a length and a half off today's mark over course and distance and he's only two pounds higher than that last win, so this wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility, but he does need to step up.

He's drawn widest of the 9 runners here, which might hinder him (the draw stats will help shortly!), but in Clifford Lee he has a jockey with a 20.8% strike rate (26/125) here at Southwell since 2017. Impressive stat there and here's are the horse's own stats on the A/W, mainly here at Southwell...

Some good, solid if unspectacular numbers there and we already know that he has 5 wins and 5 places from 20 starts here at Southwell with the 50% place ratio particularly interesting considering recent form and from those 20 course outings, there are...

  • all 20 at Class 6
  • 3 wins, 4 places from 12 over course and distance
  • 4 wins, 2 places from 11 at odds shorter than 7/1
  • just one win and one place from 8 after 3 weeks or more off track
  • one win, 3 places from 5 under Clifford Lee
  • just one placed finish from four efforts this year
  • no placed finishes at all from four career runs in February/March

His usual running style is actually a bit up and down. His best efforts have come when racing prominently or even leading, but I'd say that most of his running is done mid-pack. Sadly that's not an ideal place to be here at Southwell, where in 51 previous similar contests, 39 mid-division horses have failed to win a single race between them, whilst nearer to the front has proved most successful...

That said, he might find it difficult to lead from stall 9, but he'd be advised to get as far forward as he can, especially as stalls 2-4 look to be the best spots...

So, we know he's not particularly well drawn and I suspect his running style won't be the optimal way of approaching this race, so I'm not exactly expecting a positive result from the pace/draw heat map...

...which rarely fails to hit the spot and does indeed back up my fears, but also agrees that a slightly more advanced position could work wonders for him here.


So, back to back A/W handicaps at different classes/trips/field sizes with horses proven on the surface, but can they improve their records?

Well, although the above might not initially suggest it, Geography Teacher probably has the better chance of the two, but probably still won't win. I say he has the better chance, because Bond Angel's race looks pretty tough for a Class 5 affair. She's up against the likes of Khatm, who we righty opposed on Wednesday, but having ran well for most of that defeat, he looks very dangerous here down in trip of the same mark and would be the one to beat, if taking his place.

Aside from Khatm who might not appear, Bond Angel then has a good chance of making the frame, but will have to be at her best to repel Motawaafeq and Equidae, as there's not really that much between the three. At 15/2 (Hills), the latter is the longest of three and might be the best value E/W play here.

As for Geography Teacher, he does have place credentials, partly because his race looks a bit softer and also because there are still three places. He's not an obvious winner, mind, I'd probably be looking at horses like The Retriever or Mister Freeze,  but he could well sneak third ahead of the likes of Chloellie. Again like Bond Angel in the previous race 5/1 is too skinny for me to back Geography Teacher E/W, but Chloellie might be of interest at 8's if outrunning her mark.


Racing Insights, 4th March 2021

In the first of two races I looked at from today's Lingfield card, I felt Curtiz had a chance of a place if he could grab an early lead, if he was to win, he'd have to beat El Conquistador, who was available at 11/4. . I felt Curtiz was too short for an E/W bet at 7/2 , but I did find Cafe Milano interesting at 9/1 for those seeking a longer priced bet.

El Conquistador won at a very short 6/5 and Cafe Milano was third at 11/1, Curtiz was unplaced.

The second race featured two highlighted runners and I said that I preferred Propagation of the two and he could sneak into the places and that I thought River Wharfe might be the one to beat and you could possibly throw a blanket over four or five horses for the places.

Propagation did grab third place, but wasn't backable from an E/W perspective. River Wharfe, however, was beaten by just over a length yet could only manage sixth. How big is a blanket? 

Thursday's feature of the day is free access to Instant Expert for all races for all readers, whilst our races of the day are...

  • 12.30 Ludlow
  • 1.40 Southwell
  • 2.15 Southwell
  • 2.55 Clonmel

...and today is one of those "perfect storm" situations, where one of our races of the day is not only an interestingly tight decent standard of race, but also features a runner with a full line of green on Instant Expert, the feature of the day. So, it would almost be rude not to look at the 2.15 Southwell, an 8-runner, Class 2 A/W handicap for 4yo+ runners over 7f on the Fibresand here in Nottinghamshire. The winner will receive almost £12,000 for their troubles and is one of these eight...

As you can see the racecard is littered with red numbers under the runners' names, indicating notable stats and there are plenty of icons (red & green) by the names of the trainers and jockeys, so we've loads of data to take into consideration.

Gabrial The Devil has the best recent form and just shades the Geegeez Speed Ratings ahead of both Rock Sound (who won LTO) and Zylan who has also been going well of late, placing in four of his last six including two wins. My initial thoughts are that Muntadab's poor form looks out of place here and he could well need the run after a 20-week break, but let's assess each in turn, starting with...

Gulliver, who bears top weight here conceding a huge 11lbs and more to the field although he has been eased 2lbs from his last run, when beaten by 6.5 lengths at this class/trip at Lingfield six weeks ago. His sole run here at Southwell saw him win over 6f back in January 2020 off a pound higher than today and 3 of his 4 A/W wins have been at that shorter trip, but he stands every chance here.

Stats say the yard is shy on recent winners and that Jason Hart hasn't got the best out of the rides he's been given...

Tawny Port won here at Class 3 over 5f back in December 2019 and followed that with a Class 2 win over 5f at Chelmsford a fortnight later for a third win in four starts, which began with a Class 4, 5f win here too. It's fair to say he has struggled in nine defeats since, but is now back to that last winning mark. That said, he's only a pound lower than when last of five here over 5f last time out and recent form allied to a 2f step up in trip make me cold about his chances.

Stats say Callum Rodriguez is in good nick and also back up my claim of two course wins...

Stone Soldier is four from six in A/W handicaps, including two from three here at Southwell. He won here twice within 10 days in December 2020, initially by 4.25 lengths over this trip at Class 4 and then over a mile, also at Class 4, where he just got home by half a length. He then reverted to this trip up in class and weight (+5lbs) last time out and could only finish 6th of 8, beaten by over 8 lengths. He's up in class again here and I think this is a tough ask for him.

Stats, however, show a yard in form with a good course record. The yard's horses seem to go well after a break and jockey Luke Morris has been amongst the winners for the yard over the last year...

Gabrial The Devil is bang in form having made the frame in 6 of his last 8 (winning twice), he steps up a class here after being beaten by just a neck over this trip at Lingfield last time out. He has only won one of ten A/W starts to date, but that win did come here at Southwell (8 weeks ago) and all six career wins have come at 6f. Up in class, trip and weight, he's going to need to find more here.

Stats are plentiful for this one and show a yard with a good course record, a jockey with a good course record and unsurprisingly good figures for the TJ Combo...

Aljari has won four of a dozen A/W starts, including a class, course and distance win here just over a year ago. He hasn't run particularly well in his last four outings split by a three month break, though and when last seen was beaten by five lengths here at 6f in a Class 3 contest. he has been eased a couple of pounds, but still steps up in trip and class. Although now lower than his last winning mark, others are preferred here.

Stats say that the yard is struggling for winners both recently and over the last year and haven't fared well here recently either, but Ben Curtis is riding well, bags winners at Southwell and has a decent record on the Botti string.

Rock Sound is a very interesting one here, having finished 12241 in five A/W runs (121 here) and was a winner at this track last time out. That was just a week ago as he defied any effects of a 16-week lay off to beat the re-opposing Zylan by a length and a quarter. From a more negative perspective, he's up two classes here, tackles 7f for the first time on A/W and is effectively 11lbs worse off today (6lb penalty and no 5lb jockey claim).

There's a whole bundle of stats about this one, the main ones say that trainer George Boughey's horses are flying right now, his LTO winners fare really well next time out and that he has good results from a small number of visits to Southwell. On the other hand, the normally excellent Hollie Doyle is scratching around for results and I half expected her to be riding Stone Soldier for Archie Watson.

Zylan is one of two Roger Fell-trained runners at the foot of the card and he's the more likely of the two to succeed based on recent form. He was only 1.25 lengths behind Rock Sound last time out and now meets him again on much better terms, He's a winner of 10 of his 41 A/W outings in a lengthy 78-race career and in the last 14 months has raced almost exclusively here at Southwell, racing here 18 times of his 20 starts, winning three times and making the frame on another five occasions. He has 8 wins and 6 places from 26 runs here, but it must be said that his best form here has been at Class 4 and over 6f. I'd expect him to go well, but others are more likely to be suitable, as he steps up two grades and a furlong.

Stats say Roger Fell's horses have a poor recent record from a win perspective, although they've started to make the frame over the last fortnight. His 1-year figures aren't great and a comparison of the Trainer/Jockey 1-year course stats and the yard's 1-year course stats say that the yard are 4 from 15 with talented 7lb claimer Tyler Heard in the saddle, but just 1 from 25 with other jockeys. That said, the yard does well with horses turned back out quickly.

Muntadab makes up the octet here and looks the worst of the bunch on form. Like stablemate Zylan above, he's been around the block a few times, racing on 64 previous occasions, but a respectable 11 from 55 record on turf hasn't translated well into A/W form where he is just 1 from 9. It's just over a year and 11 races since he last tackled an A/W surface and he now returns from a break of over 20 weeks since completing a run of defeats that saw him beaten by 16.5L, 17.5L, 16L and 10L in his last four, all over today's trip.

Stats as you'd expect confirm the Roger Fell form from above, but also show the yard's poor record with horses coming off a break. Our jockey isn't in sparkling form either both recently, yearly or at this track and hasn't done too well riding for the yard in the past.

So, I'd say we can rule Muntadab out here!

I did say earlier that one of these had a full line of green on Instant Expert, which is Thursday's 'feature of the day', so let's find out which horse that is...

Stone Soldier is the line of green horse based on all races, but it might well be worth looking at how these horses have fared purely in A/W handicaps...

and I think that gives us a clearer picture of which horses are likely to fare best here.

Our draw and pace stats for 8-runner handicaps of this nature suggest that those drawn highest are the ones to follow. Stall 1 has been poor, whilst 2 to 6 hasn't been a bad draw, but 7 and 8 are by far the best draw here. We also see that the further forward you race, the better the chance you have of winning.

So, I suppose it's very unsurprising that those drawn high and who like to lead have done very well here...

All we need to do now is overlay the recent running styles of out eight runners and put them in draw order and we should see a pattern of how the race might unfold...

The suggestion is that Stone Soldier and Rock Sound will try to take it on from the highest stalls, whilst Zylan will also attempt to lead, but could well struggle late on up in class and weight.


I think based on everything I've written, I want Gabrial The Devil, Rock Sound and Stone Soldier to be my three against the field, but they're not concrete solid picks. Gulliver and Zylan could also go well, but I can't pick five from eight!

Of my three tricast/trifecta hopefuls, I think Rock Sound and Stone Soldier are the strongest, so Gabrial sits in third for me here. He's in great form, but needs to improve on his A/W hcp record, but should still go well if not too keen too early.

So, we're down to two and I think Rock Sound edges it for me over Stone Soldier. Stall 8 is the best draw, he races slightly more prominently than Stone Soldier, he won nicely last time out and should come on for having had that run.

Sadly, the market agrees with my 1-2-3 at 11/4 and 7/2 twice, but hopefully we're all right!

Racing Insights, 12th February 2021

Friday's feature of the day is the Horses for Courses report , whilst the free racecards will cover the following...

  • 7.15 Chelmsford
  • 7.30 Dundalk
  • 7.45 Chelmsford

Once again, it's an all-weather only day, as the cold spell continues to wreak havoc with the racing programme, so let's take a look at the two qualifiers from my Horses for Courses settings of 30% win and 50% place off at least 10 course handicap runs...

We start with Luscifer in the 3.45 Southwell...

Luscifer has finished 11265 in his last five runs, all here at Southwell. He won back to back Class 6 handicaps over a mile off marks of 51 and 57 in November/December of last year. He was then raised to a mark of 62, resulting in a near-two length defeat in another C6, 1m hcp on 20th December.

He struggled in January though, firstly beaten by 22.5 lengths over a mile at Class 4 off 63 and then beaten by just over 10 lengths at Class 5 over this 7f course and distance last time out, also off 63. He now drops back to Class 6, but is only eased 1lb and is still some 5lbs higher than that last win.

With regards to his suitability for today's contest, Instant Expert tells us that he has achieved the following...

He's 0/4 on Std-Slow going, as all his best A/W form on been on Standard, where he is 4 from 16 (25%), he has done well in this grade and at this track, of course. He's more of a 1m horse in my opinion, where he has 2 wins and 2 places from 7 efforts,  What the above doesn't tell you is that he is 3 from 9 after 16-30 days rest and 1 from 3 over course and distance.

He's drawn in stall 5, which is neither here nor there, based on eight recent contests...

...and here's how that draw translates into running styles...

When we overlay Luscifer's last four runs, it's not really a favourable picture

...but if he was to ditch the hold-up tactics employed in the two recent heavy defeats and revert back to his previous prominent running style, I think that would suit him better.


And now to Nonios in the 6.45 Chelmsford...

Nonios was a winner over 1m on a Class 3 at Lingfield and was subsequently a decent third over 1m0.5f at Wolverhampton stepped up to Class 2, but has lost his way of late, finishing 770006 in six runs since. He was beaten by nearly nine lengths her at Chelmsford over a mile at Class 3 and now drops in class, weight (down 5lbs). He's stepping back up to what I think is his best trip and he's now some 8lbs lower than his last winning mark. Some of these details are replicated in Instant Expert below...

...and for a horse likely to be a fairly long price, those numbers are good. And if he's a decent price, then an E/W bet might come into play. It's worth adding to the above stats that he has made the frame in exactly half of his 22 runs on Polytrack, winning six times and he has 4 wins and 3 places from a dozen runs over course and distance.

With the E/W bet a current possibility, here's his numbers from the place element of Instant Expert...

...and they make excellent reading. He's not got the best of draws out in box 8, but stalls 5 to 7 get the fair share of winners, so he's not entirely out of it and I'm always wary of one stall having freakishly low returns compared with all the others...

Being drawn high, we ideally need Nonios to run prominently or in mid-division. Trying to lead or being held-up will harm his chances according to the pace/draw heatmap...

Sadly, Nonios has been held up in each of his last four runs documented by our pace tab. In fact, that's pretty much how he always runs, so there's not much scope/hope for change here, but it's tough to win from being held up off a high draw here....

...and this is backed up by the graphic above, showing the extent to which hold-up horses have struggled.


Two horses with good course records, but I don't see either of them winning to be honest.

Luscifer has finished 6th of 8 and 5th of 6 in his last two runs and if he's any better than 6th of 7 here, he'll have exceeded my expectations. He's out of sorts right now, as is his yard (1 from 41 in the last fortnight), he's too high in the weights for me, he probably needs quicker ground and he's better off over a mile. Other than all that, he's fine.

Currently priced as 9/1 sixth favourite of seven, the bookies probably have it right and Luscifer is to be avoided. Palazzo probably wins here, but at 5/1 Iva Reflection is interesting.

As for Nonios, there's no doubting his place credentials, but he's not winning this race in my eyes : I quite like Baystom Hill & My Target at 5/1 and 7/1 respectively here, but I disagree with the 18/1 offered about Nonios by Bet365. I've got in equal fourth on my own notes and wouldn't have to perform much better than I'm anticipating for him to grab a place. It's a bit of a punt, but at 18/1, I think the potential reward justifies the risk for a small E/W flutter.


Racing Insights, 9th February 2021

Nothing to discuss from today, as our previewed race fell foul of the weather, so I'll move swiftly to Tuesday, where the feature of the day is The Shortlist and our free races of the day are...

  • 3.30 Taunton
  • 5.45 Southwell
  • 7.45 Southwell

The Shortlist has just one runner with a perfect score of 15 and that horse runs in one of our featured races of the day, so let's take a look at the chances of...

who runs in the...

On recent form, you'd have to put Arabian King behind Mukha Magic, Nicks Not Wonder and Mr Carbonator, although  he's dropping down two classes here, as is Mukha Magic. He's a former course and distance winner, but so is Mukha Magic and Mr Carbonator, whilst the other three runners have all tasted success over this mile and a half trip.

Arabian King's jockey, Kieran Shoemark has a decent record here winning 5 of 22 (22.7%) since the start of 2020, including 4/15 (26.7%) in handicaps, but he looks out of form right now with just one winner in his last 27 outings.

The Geegeez speed ratings have Arabian King down as the worst runner here and even though he scores a maximum on the shortlist report, Instant Expert says that he's not going to have it all his own way and that he's not the only one with a good profile for this contest. A picture says far more than words can, so here's IE...

As you can see, Mukha Magic almost matches Arabian King on race suitability and he gets to race off the same mark as his last win (a 6.5 lengths success over this C&D last March) whilst Arabian King is still 5lbs higher than when winning here over a furlong shorter on Valentine's Day last year.

So, we've five horses ranked higher on the Geegeez ratings, three higher on form, an out of sorts jockey and an Instant Expert profile that doesn't actually make him much (if any) better than Mukha Magic.

Maybe the draw, race pace and the pace/draw heatmap will project him in a better light. He's drawn in stall 3, which unfortunately hasn't been a happy starting place in the last 52 similar contests

Hopefully the pace of the race will suit him?

Or maybe not, I'm afraid. From the pace/draw heatmap, you could argue that he looks the worst there.

Arabian King was last home of five over course and distance last time out, beaten by more than fifteen lengths and hasn't really run well since winning here almost a year ago. he does drop down two classes, bit a mark of 75 seems steep

Be Fair was beaten by almost ten lengths when finishing mid-division at Kempton at today's class / trip. It was admittedly his first A/W run for almost 10 months and his previous A/W form stood at 31131, all in handicaps over this 1m4f trip. He should go well having had the run but others make more appeal.

Mr Carbonator is in good nick, mind, winning two of his last four and finishing as a runner-up in one of them. He likes it here a Southwell, which is just as well, considering this will be his 20th visit to Southwell. A prolific placer here (11 times from 19 = 57.9%), but doesn't win often enough.

Mukha Magic is on a 12-race losing streak since winning here over course, class and distance off today's mark and although well beaten here by 9.5 lengths over C&D last time out, he does now drop two classes and with a 2lb drop in his mark allied to a 5lb jockey claim, this should be easier and he'll hope to improve upon his Southwell form that reads 11123, all over course and distance.

Nicks Not Wonder is a lightly raced 4 yr old, but has a win and two places from four starts, all on A/W, but he's never been to Southwell. He won a big-field (14 ran) handicap at this class and trip at Kempton last time out, clear by 2.5 lengths at the finish despite not having raced for a year. He's now some 6lbs higher here, but should come on for having had a run.

Siavash was a winner on debut over 8.5f at Wolverhampton but has struggled in his five races since, beating just 7 of his 42 opponents and finishing a combined 86 lengths behind the five winners. He's up in trip by a couple of furlongs today, but I don't expect that to change the result. In fact he might lose by more than usual!


Do I fancy Arabian King? Not at all, sadly. I see the race as being a tight affair between three horses, with the other three also closely matched with each other someway short of the standards of the primary group.

Arabian King, Be Fair and Siavash are the three about who you'd need courage and deep pockets to back, whilst I have little between the likes of Mr Carbonator, Mukha Magic and Nicks Not Wonder for the win with the last two looking better than the former.

We're not getting rich here, though. Both Mukha Magic and Nicks Not Wonder are 2/1 jt favs and both have enough uncertainties about them to put me off at those prices. However, I do believe they'll be the first two home, so I'll play a small reverse forecast for some interest.


Racing Insights, 4th February 2021

As expected, Mr Dib Dab was in the back half of the field at Lingfield earlier, whilst the horse I fancied for the race won by 3 lengths at 13/2, well done to those who got on and fingers crossed for the Kempton race later.

Thursday's feature of the day is free access to Instant Expert for ALL races including our featured free races of the day, which are (weather permitting, of course)...

  • 1.00 Wincanton
  • 1.10 Southwell
  • 1.50 Down Royal
  • 3.00 Down Royal

And I'm going to play it safe by sticking with the A/W for the 1.10 Southwell. It looks a competitive affair despite just having 6 runners for this Class 5, 4yo+, 1m handicap. The winner will receive £3429 and here's the card...

We've three course and distance winners (Straitouttacompton, Cheat & False ID), whilst Win Win Power has also won at this trip. The latter comes here on a hat-trick, whilst Cheat also won last time out but now steps up in class. Hotspur Harry hails from the yard positively noted on the card, whilst Win Win Power's jockey also carries a green icon. Greek Kodiac & Win Win Power are someway clear on the Geegeez ratings.

Win Win Power is 2 from 2 since coming back from a 3 month break almost a fortnight ago. Both wins came under today's jockey over today's 1m trip, the first by two lengths at Chelmsford in a Class 6 hcp and then by a head here over course and distance 8 days ago at Class 5.

He makes his Fibresand debut today carrying a penalty, but did beat the re-opposing Cheat by four lengths at Chelmsford and the latter has since won too.

Hotspur Harry has yet to make the frame in seven attempts and was a 14/1 4th of 6 here over course and distance last time out. In fairness, he was beaten by less than a length and a half that day and is now eased a pound by the assessor and drops in class.

That was also his course debut, so he might go well second time around, especially as his yard are 8 from 44 (18.2% SR, A/E 1.18) in Class 5/6 handciaps here since the start of 2018. Things would have to fall his way, but a top 3 finish is possible.

Greek Kodiac tops the Geegeez ratings, of course and has two wins and a place from his last four runs on the A/W, scoring over 1m2f on the Chelmsofrd Polytrack in a Class 4 contest and landing a 7f Tapeta success at Newcastle.

He was a staying-on third here at Southwell over 7f on fibresand debut last time out, going down by just over half a length. Luna Wish was four lengths further back, but she has won over a mile since.

Straitouttacompton has two wins and a runner-up finish from his last four visits to Southwell, finishing 115 over course and distance, but was disappointing in that fifth place finish here last time out. He was beaten by some 13 lengths that day and has been off the track for eight weeks since. He won here twice last February and then again at Leicester in mid-June, but hasn't run well in any of three races since.

Past performance says he can win this, a mark of 67 says he can too (last won off 70), but recent form suggests something isn't quite right (has started slowly in each of three poor efforts) and others make more appeal to me here.

Cheat is another course and distance winner and is likely to be popular with Hollie Doyle in the saddle. He won here over C&D last time out, finishing a length and a quarter clear of the pack, having dropped to a career low mark of 62. It was by far his best run in 16 months since his only other win. He'd lost 8 races in between and his overall record now stands at 2 from 14.

He couldn't follow up his first win after being raised by a class and four pounds, so he's by no means certain to do it again back up in class and carrying a penalty. He was well beaten by Win Win Power recently and although better off at the weights here, has a lot to make up on his victor from that day.

False ID makes up the sextet and might well also do that on the track. He's not a bad horse as such, but looks up against it here. His last four outings have all been over course and distance, finishing increasingly further down the order at 1346 and off the same mark as last time, I can't see him doing much here.

Career-wise, he's a respectable 7 from 57 (12.3%) on the A/W, but is better on tapeta than Fibresand, better over 7f than a mile and is only 1 from 14 for his current handler. Now to be ridden by a 36th jockey, he's not one to be too confident in.


A quick overview of race suitability is provided by Thursday's feature of the day, Instant Expert, of course...

Hotspur Harry was always going to come out worst of all, having to failed to (or even place) yet, but aside from him my thoughts about False ID being a struggle seem to be backed up by the above graphic.

Six runner contests can often be tricky/tactical affairs and draw, pace and race positioning can be vital in making or breaking a horse's chances here. In 89 previous similar 6-runner affairs, making the frame (ie first two home) has been made easier by being drawn higher...

...and the same can be said from a win perspective too. Stall 5 (Win Win Power) has fared exceptionally well and whilst you can win from stall 2, it just doesn't seem to happen very often, which isn't great news for Cheat, especially if the horses in the higher stalls set off quickly and assume control, since the ideal pace/draw scenarios here are highly drawn leaders, then mid-draw leaders followed by high draw prominence then mid-draw prominence. Any other pace/draw combination seems to have struggled here in the past...

As usual, we can overlay the past running styles of our runners onto that heat map and hopefully we'll have some in the green...

...and the suggestion here is that Hotspur Harry might set out to win from the front, followed in by the well drawn Win Win Power and Greek Kodiac on the rail.


Given what we know about these horses' recent form, draw, pace etc. it's between Win Win Power and Greek Kodiac for me. I think Hotspur Harry will make a bold bid to win off the front end, but will (hopefully) be swallowed up by my two.

As for which will win, Win Win Power would be the one for me. He's in the best form, has a great draw, his race positioning looks ideal and he gets on great with his jockey. The negatives are a first run on this surface and the weight, but he'd still be the one for me.

Sadly, the market agrees with me and are showing Win Win Power as a 9/4 favourite. That's towards the lower end of my general comfort zone, but it is only a six-runner contest and an implied chance of winning above 30% seems pretty fair, all things considered.

No E/W suggestion here, False ID is the only double-digit odds horse and he's likely to be last (or second last) home.

WWP for me with Greek Kodiac next best, hopefully. Boringly predictable, I'm afraid. Perhaps I should have looked at the market first and just said to follow the market. After all, they're sometimes right!

Racing Insights, 2nd February 2021

Today's previewed race doesn't go off until 7.40, so I'll move straight to Tuesday, where 'feature of the day' is the Shortlist report and the 'races of the day' have full free racecards for everyone for the following...

  • 1.25 Newcastle
  • 2.25 Newcastle
  • 6.40 Southwell

Newcastle is another A/W jumpers bumpers meeting and they hold no interest to me, if I'm brutally honest and ignoring that meeting leaves very little on the Shortlist either. However, the final 'free race' also features a runner from the Shortlist, so it makes sense for me to look at the 6.40 Southwell, a 9-runner, Class 4, 5 furlong, A/W (Fibresand) handicap for runners aged 4 and older with a top prize of £5,208.

We start with the racecard itself...

and the excerpt from the Shortlist...


I had a look at this race earlier and I've already arrived at a conclusion that it's a 4-horse race at best between the only runners to show any good recent form, including the two LTO winners and the Geegeez Ratings top three who also are the highest rated by the handicapper, so let's look at my four a little closer, starting with...

Mulzim who, of course, features on the Shortlist and also has a whole stack of stats to support him : it's easier if I copy and paste these...

In addition to those, the trainer/jockey partnership is 16 from 69 (23.2%) since the start of 2020, the trainer is 15 from 63 (23.8%) with LTO winners since the start of 2016. The horse himself has finished 23118141 in his eight starts since the start of 2020, all here over course and distance including two wins from three at Class 4. He won here a week ago beating the re-opposing Dike of Firenze by a length and a half and the manner of the victory suggested that a 4lb penalty wouldn't be enough to anchor him.

Mondammej also has a bundle of relevant stats to lean on, so again I'll take the lazy way out...

Just the three starts so far for this one, all on the Tapeta at Newcastle. He won on debut landing a 6f novice contest by almost three lengths before going down by a head in a two-horse race over the same course and distance ahead of dropping to this 5f trip for his handicap debut last time out. He was third that day, beaten by 2.5 lengths off a mark of 82 having been headed well into the final furlong. He's down a pound to 81 today and the runner-up from that last race has since gone on to win a Class 4, 5f handicap at Lingfield.

Fantasy Keeper is far more experienced with a total of 32 races under his belt (6 wins, inc 3 on the A/W) and was a gutsy winner last time out (yard is 53/298 = 17.8% with LTO winners since the start of 2018). It was a career-best effort to win over course and distance here a fortnight ago, just getting back up on the line to win off a mark of 77 after being headed briefly deep into the final furlong. He's only up a pound for that win and another similar battling performance will see him right in the mix again.

Duke of Firenze completes my four against the field and this 12 yr old makes his 100th start today, having won 10 races so far. He has, admittedly, been better on turf and his sole A/W win (from 12 attempts) was here at Southwell over course and distance just over seven weeks ago when wining a 14-runner handicap by half a length off a mark of 74. He was also a valiant runner-up here over C&D last time out, when beaten by Mulzim off 75 and he has been eased a pound today. He's not one you'd expect to win but (a) is better than most of this field and (b) could well sneak into the frame


With so many stats knocking about for this race, you'll not be surprised to see plenty of green and amber on the Instant Expert graphic...

Much of the above has been mentioned in my analysis and the switch of view to A/W form only is very interesting...

Mulzim looks rock solid there, Mondammej is inexperienced and tackles Fibresand for the first time, Fantasy Keeper is solid if unspectacular and Duke of Firenze seems to have a bit to prove against the others.

In 49 previous 9-runner handicaps, stall 1 (Fantasy Keeper) has fared best...

...whilst the ideal pace/draw make-up has been to race prominently from a low draw or lead from higher draws...

and here's how our runners fit into that heat map...

...suggesting Fantasy Keeper would be the one to catch/beat from his plum draw.


Based on stats and recent performances, Mulzim just edges it for me ahead of Fantasy Keeper. I think the latter might try to win it off the front, but won't get far enough clear to make his lead unassailable. I expect it to be close, but it would be Mulzim for me.

I'd also expect Mondammej to have too much for Duke of Firenze in the battle for third place. The Duke is definitely coming towards the end of his career and Mondammej has plenty of scope for improvement.

I've only just (4.50pm) looked at the market and it seems that we're in agreement re: the 1-2-3-4. That's reassuring in a way, but also frustrating not to have found something others haven't. That said, I expected 2/1 or 9/4 about Mulzim, so I'm getting on at 11/4 with Hills whilst I can.

No scope for an E/W bet, I'm afraid with the Duke being the longest of the four at just 7/1.

Good Luck however you choose to play this one.

Racing Insights, 15th January 2021

Soft ground became heavy at Fontwell today and with the added weight, it was all too much for the 7/4 favourite, so I'm glad I swerved that one. Main danger Lily The Pink went on to win at 9/4, so well done to those of you who got on at 7/2 last night, whilst I did have a late small bet myself, but not on the winner!

I said I'd wanted more than 13/2 for an E/W bet on Jaunty Soria, so at 14/1 (she did hit 16's for a while) I couldn't resist and she was third home, albeit some 34 lengths behind the winner. I wasn't too bothered about the margin as I collected a couple of quid, mind you.

And so to Friday, where our free feature is the Horses for Courses report and our free racecards will cover...

  • 3.10 Newcastle
  • 3.45 Dundalk
  • 3.50 Sedgefield
  • 5.00 Southwell

And it's the last of those four races that interests me today, because there's a bit of a Racing Insights "perfect storm" going on here. It's a free to all race and today's free feature, Horses for Courses, shows this...

Five of the eight runners in this Class 5, 1m, A/W handicap for 4yo+ on Fibresand feature on the H4C report suggesting we could have a decent race on our hands.

First/best place to start is the racecard itself...

...where we have two LTO winners in Star of St James and Headland and I'd expect the former to be a fairly warm favourite here, so like yesterday we're assessing value in his price/chances and also maybe finding a bigger priced alternative.

The likely favourite drops in class here despite a 6.5 length success over course and distance last time out, whilst half of the field are stepping up in class (Vive La Difference, Makambe, Custard The Dragon & Headland).

We have five course and distance winners on display here and of the other three runners, one is a course winner and the other two have won over this trip, so all of the field are racing under some form of familiar conditions.

Half of the field are trained by trainers with good previous records at this track (C5), although closer inspection might be needed to see whether those records are skewed by today's runners' past successes here, whilst there's not much to go off from a jockey perspective, other than those on board Custard The Dragon and Headland have been amongst the winners of late (14 30).

At this point, Star of St James, Custard The Dragon and Headland are the most interesting whilst the negatives would be Love Your Work, Makambe and Michele Strogoff.

Next up is Instant Expert, where I'm expecting plenty of green in the "course" column, but how do these runners stack up on standard going, class 5 racing and a one mile trip? Let's see...

Pro - Native Silver, Vive La Difference
Con -  Star of St James, Headland

Pro - Headland, Love Your Work
Con - Star of St James, Custard The Dragon

Pro - Love Your Work, Star of St James, Custard The Dragon
Con - N/A

Pro - Headland, Star of St James
Con - Custard The Dragon, Michele Strogoff

From Instant Expert, Love Your Work & Vive La Difference look most consistent with no red blocks, whilst Michele Strogoff is a negative again here.

In the past 82 runnings of similar 8-runner handicaps here at Southwell, it has paid to be drawn in stalls 4 and higher with a seemingly "golden corridor" covering the centre of the draw in boxes 4 to 6 as highlighted via the draw tab...

...which is a positive for Headland, Makambe and Native Silver, but not so good for Michele Strogoff (again!), Vive La Difference and Star of St James.

According to our unique pace/draw heat map, the three most favourable outcomes are highly drawn prominent (but NOT leading) runners, mid-draw prominence or mid-draw leaders, so I suppose a 4-6 draw with an average pace score of 3 or more would be very good here, so let's see how our runners overlay the pace map...

...where Native Silver looks excellently positioned with Headland also in a favourable place if running to his usual style. I think the hold-up horses might find it tough from stalls 2 and 8. I'd expect Star of St James to try and make all here and given the manner of his last win, he has every chance of repeating the feat. Now a quick look at each...

Native Silver has finished 325 in his last three efforts over C&D. Only beaten by a short head two starts ago, but lost by the best part of four lengths LTO after being raised 3lbs to today's mark of 72. He was fifth that day and both the winner and the third placed horse has since made the frame at a higher level than this. All his best form comes here and he's two from five under jockey Luke Morris.

Star of St James has taken a while to get his head around racing, but after initially only making the frame once in his first eight starts, has won two and placed in three of his next eight. A very comfortable (6.5 lengths easing down) winner here over C&D LTO eight days ago, he now even gets to drop in class. He does have a 5lb penalty to bear for that run, but that is more than offset by the booking of a 7lb claimer to ride him. George Bass isn't the best choice of jockey here, but I'd expect this should just be a point and steer job.

Love Your Work is a triple winner over this course and distance at which he was 6th of 10 last time out. Sent off at 18/1, he was only 1.5 lengths behind Native Silver and he's 3lbs better off here for the rematch. Currently on a run of nine losses since winning here on Valentines Day last year off a mark of 72, he's now down to 69 and based on last year's winter form, that's a very workable mark.

Vive La Difference was impressive in victory two starts ago at Newcastle off a mark of just 62, but dreadful three days later, fifteen days ago at the same track/trip despite dropping down to Class 6 off a mark of 67. It wasn't all his fault, though, he got a shocking ride (IMO) and a 21 length defeat as 12th of 13 doesn't do him justice. That said, he's up another pound in the weights and for his fibresand debut, he's best left alone.

Makambe is in poor form if truth be told. Finishes of 88898 in races averaging 12 runners over his last five outings tells its own tale, but the silver lining is that his mark has now fallen from 74 to 65 in the process. Sadly he couldn't win off 65 last time out, but will relish a return to Southwell, as he's 0 from 7 since last coming here ten months ago, when he won at this class and trip by a short head. The cheekpieces worn that day are being reapplied but I think he'll have his work cut out today especially trying to come from towards the back of the pack.

Custard The Dragon is a on 11-race losing streak since a win at this very meeting a year ago made him a 7-time course winner. Looked more like his old self when 2nd of 8 here over C&D a week before Christmas. He was only beaten by a short head that day, but he's up in both class (6 to 5) and weight (63 to 65), so a win isn't necessarily on the cards, but has great chances of making the frame. He gets on well with jockey Joe Fanning (5/18 on the A/W together), but is 0 from 9 beyond 7f furlongs on the A/W, finishing 54882 over course and distance.

Michele Strogoff is one where you've probably guessed where I am with him. It's two years plus a day and thirty-two (yes, 32!) races since he last won and rather than be rude about him/his chances, I'm just going to say that others impress me more.

Headland has run each of his last four races here at Southwell in the space of three weeks. Starting a week before Christmas, he was 5th of 7 (C5, 7f), 8th of 11 (C6, 7f) and then 7th of 10 (C5, 1m) and beaten by an average of just over nine lengths, he then went on to win a 5-runner Class 5 C&D handicap last time out after his mark had dropped from 67 to 60 in that period. I don't think there was a dramatic improvement to be honest, he won a poor race that pretty much fell apart. He's an unreliable type and the weight penalty adds to the unlikeliness of a repeat performance.


For a race with so many course winners, there's no standout runner here. Star of St James should be the winner based on his last run but the stats above have cast some doubts for me on how easily he might win. He's 5/4 with bet365, but already as short as 11/10 with Hills and I can't back him at that kind of price. I think that price says more about the opposition than it does about the strength of the favourite though.

So where do I go from there? Well, Native Silver is better than his last run and I think he's the biggest danger to the fav if he doesn't let him get away too soon. He's 13/2 here which is about right, I'd say, but sadly he's too short for me to go E/W. I might still have a quid on him to win, mind : we'll see.

And one "at a price"? Love Your Work is on a very workable mark, goes well at the track/trip and does his best work around this time of year. I doubt he can win, but at 20/1, I think he's worth a cheeky E/W punt for small change.

Racing Insights, 8th January 2021

Other than predicting a very close race where any of the 6 runners could win and any of them could finish last, I didn't get much right else right about Wednesday's race.

Tranchee looked held by the three I thought would dominate but was well backed in to 11/8 and won. Gulliver was my third choice and I was right that he wasn't a 9/4 horse, as  he went off at 9/1. That, however, was massive for a runner-up berth. beaten by just half a length. The two I thought would land me the forecast were only 5th and 4th in a tight contest where all six were within two lengths of each other.

Ffos Las foul of the weather today, leaving us with just two to consider from Wolverhampton's meeting and I'll bring you details of the 7.00 race tomorrow. The 4.20 race featured Spirit of Rowdown, about whom I was happy to take 4/1. The market didn't like him and he drifted out to 13/2 but ran very creditably to finish third. I said that Space Kid was a danger and he finished a short head in front of us with Uncle Dick winning by half a length.

But now to Friday, where the free feature is the Horses for Courses report and our free racecards will cover the following...

  • 12.40 Newcastle
  • 3.40 Newcastle
  • 4.15 Southwell
  • 4.30 Dundalk
  • 6.30 Dundalk

None of the above races float my boat and there's not very much on the horses for courses report under the parameters I require, so I'm going to turn to the cards for inspiration.

Two of the three UK meetings are just A/W bumpers that hold no interest at all, so Hobson's Choice is Southwell. Hopefully they'll have at least one competitive race on the card that doesn't feature a short priced fav! And that has now led me to have a look at the last UK race of the day, the 7.15 Southwell. Now it's only a Class 6 handicap worth £2,782 where the seven runners have a poor combined record of 1 win in 39, but it does look a pretty even contest that could be interesting to watch.

So let's start with the racecard...

With a field with 1 win in 39 before this race, there's not much winning form to go off, of course. Vitalline was the one to win three starts ago, whilst both Professor Galant and Gaelic Secret have been placed recently, whilst The Gloaming, True Contendor and Soberton have never made the frame in nine combined starts.

Gaelic Secret and Upside Down were both beaten in this grade last time out, but The Gloaming, Vitalline and True Contendor all raced at Class 5 LTO, whilst Soberton actually drops two classes for her handicap debut. True Contendor is also a handicap debutant here, as is The Gloaming, whilst Professor Galant made her debut last month.

Soberton hasn't been seen for over ten weeks, but the other six runners have raced within the last month or so.

From a trainer perspective, none of these runners hail from a particularly in-form yard and although Iain Jardine's (The Gloaming) last 21 runners have all been beaten, he is 11 from 48 (22.9% SR) in Southwell, Class 5/6, A/W handicaps since the start of 2017.

Jockey-wise, PJ McDonald (Gaelic Secret) is highlighted for landing 2 wins and 3 places from his nine rides so far this season, whilst Richard Kingscote has won 7 of 24 already this year and made the frame on a further 8 occasions, so he's going very well right now. He also has a 28.3% strike rate in Class 4 to 6 handicaps at this track since the start of 2016 (13 from 46 at an A/E of 1.52).

The Geegeez Speed ratings show pretty low figures, as you'd expect from such a moderate contest. A lack of fibresand experience is the reason behind True Contendor and Soberton having little/no score, whilst there's not a great deal to separate the other five.

We know that these runners aren't winners normally, but maybe the place aspect of Instant Expert can help us separate the chaff from the dross...

...or maybe not! At least we see that Professor Galant, Gaelic Secret, Vitalline and Upside Down do have some form on the A/W with the latter three of that quartet all having placed in this grade (Professor Galant actually has two Class 5 runner-up finishes!) We've two runners to have made the frame on this track, but no discernible form at 5 furlongs!

Rudimentary draw stats in 6-8 runner contests over 5f on Std to Slow here suggest that runners drawn in stall 4 or higher would have a better chance than those in boxes 1-3...

... whilst this type of contest suits those who lead from low to middle draws. Those drawn highest often fare best if raced prominently tucked in behind the leaders, as seen here...

If we then overlay the past running styles of our seven competitors, we end up with this potential race layout...

I've based this on their last three runs, because three of the field only have three runs and the pace prediction is for possible lone speed from Professor Galant, who might try to make all.

This would be an ideal tactic were she drawn a little lower, but none of these have the perfect pace/draw combo for this contest. If she does attempt to set the pace, there's a possibility that Gaelic Secret might go with her and that would be a good move based on the above. That also raises the possibility of widest drawn True Contendor following the leader into a more prominent position and entering "the green zone" too.

All of this is supposition, of course, as we're dealing with unreliable horses, who've failed using their previous tactics, so they might run the race very differently and that's an interesting warning that sometimes we have to look beyond the raw data.

So, have I got a winner from this? Not exactly, I'll need a closer look at them first.

Professor Galant is a pound lower than when fifth here over C&D LTO but she'll need to perform better this time if she's to win. That said, she has been a runner-up here as recently as two months ago. Trainer & jockey have 3 wins and 3 places from 15 together, whilst the yard is 19 from 68 (27.9% SR) on this track with sub-7/1 runners since the start of 2015.

Gaelic Secret has raced just five times previously, but has finished third three times already, including once at this trip, once in this grade (twice at C5) and once on the A/W. She makes a fibresand debut here today, but did adapt well to a new surface last time out. She might not win this one, but she'll win soon, I think.

The Gloaming comes from a yard with a good record at this venue but is hopelessly out of form right now (as I said earlier). Just the three starts to date, all on Tapeta at massive odds that were justified in her first two starts. She ran far better last time out dropped to 5f and she drops in class here ands is as they say "open to improvement".

Vitalline won a Class 6, 6f handicap at Kempton by three quarters of a length three starts ago, but the eleven runner field from that day has 0 wins and just 2 places from 23 subsequent runs and this colt has finished 11th of 12 and 6th of 6 since. The blinkers are now reached for, almost in desperation and I'm not sure that they allied to the booking of an in-form course specialist jockey will be enough today.

True Contendor is likely to be anything but, I'm afraid. She's another adorning headgear for the first time, as she'll sport blinkers in a bid to improve upon her three previous poor runs, which have seen her finish 7th of 8, 9th of 14 and most recently last of 11 and beaten by 11.5 to 12 lengths on each occasion. She drops in class and trip for her handicap debut, but she's likely to need more than that unless the acquisition of a mark as low as 47 was part of a bigger plan.

Upside Down and Soberton will complete the field and they're another pair of lowly-rated lightweight headgear debutants, as they'll both wear visors for the first time. Upside Down is the most exposed runner in this race, having raced 13 times already, making the frame three times. her best run came four races ago when second here over 6 furlongs off a mark of 46, but has struggled since.

Soberton, on the other hand, has just three efforts, all at triple digit odds and all at a higher grade than this. She drops two classes and a furlong here and carries practically no weight at all : spare a thought for jockey Erika Parkinson trying to take 7lbs off an allocated 8st 2lbs!


At the outset, I had a feeling that despite being a lowly Class 6 affair that it might actually be an interesting/competitive heat between 7 runners anxious to get off the mark. Having spent some time going through the race details, I'm not so sure. I now think it's a pretty poor contest that will probably be uneventful.

I think Professor Galant will get out and attempt to stay out and I think there's a very good chance she'll not get caught. 4/1 looks about right for her and I'd rather have a small punt at that price than back any of the others. Not that I'm massively keen on having a bet at all, if truth be told.

That's how (a) it is sometimes and (b) it should be sometimes. They say "when the fun stops, stops..." and I don't see much fun happening in this one. A field that is 1 from 39 will "improve" to 2 from 46, but they'll still be poor horses.

I think the best advice might well be to leave this alone, switch the telly off and go for a walk, as the pubs remain closed.

Racing Insights, 1st December 2020

Well, Monday's race didn't exactly go to plan, I liked the favourite and was struggling to separate two others as my Plan B horse. The favourite was well backed giving us some value on the price taken but was turned over by the 11/1 shot that I discarded last of all, whilst my Plan B horse came home fourth. The bright side is that my final three contained the first two home (well done to those on the £27.40 Exacta), but my position was a loss on the 2/1 win bet.

Tuesday's free feature is the Shortlist report, whilst the free races are as follows...

  • 12.20 Lingfield
  • 1.00 Southwell
  • 1.10 Limerick
  • 2.32 Southwell
  • 3.40 Newcastle

Things haven't quite gone my way over the last few days, but the best thing to do after falling off a bike is to get back on and try again, so although the Shortlist report is an excellent feature, I'm going to attempt to profile another race, which incidentally contains a Shortlist-featured runner, namely...

and so, it will come as no surprise to see me take on the 2.32 Southwell, a 12-runner, Class 4, handicap hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m on good to soft ground with the winner receiving £3,769 for his (all 12 are geldings) owners. We start, as ever with the racecard and I've ordered it by Geegeez Ratings...

So, 12 to go at with a view to finding a shortlist that will hopefully provide with a value proposition. My immediate action is remind you of something Matt alluded to in his recent video series that suggested horses at 20/1 and bigger were that kind of price for a reason. And he's right, of course, which leads me to instantly remove both Motueka & Putting Green from my considerations before I go through the various elements of the card.

There's a distinct lack of decent form on offer here, but Laugharne, Fontley House, Heavey, Ridgeway Flyer and Peachey have all been there or thereabouts this season already, whilst flags are raised about Connetable and Danboru from a form perspective, particularly the latter as he returns from more than a year off the track .

We've no last time out winners, so it's unsurprising to see half of our ten under consideration take a drop in class to run here. Fontley House, Heavey and Ridgway Flyer all drop down from Class 3, whilst Laugharne and Poppa Poutine both drop two grades from Class 2 with the other five runners having ran at this Class 4 level last time out.

Fontley House, Fortunate George, Brummie Boys, Peachey and Poppa Poutine all represent yards with good records at this track (C1 and/or C5), whilst Tim Vaughan who trains both Danboru and Laugharne has only had one winner from his last sixty runners. From a jockey perspective, Fontley House, Heavey, Peachey and Poppa Poutine will be ridden by jockeys known to do well here, whilst once again Danboru and Laugharne are negatives.

And the final piece of data to take from the cards for now are the Geegeez ratings themselves, where Laugharne, Fontley House and Heavey lead the way with Poppa Poutine, Danboru & Peachey faring worst.

Baring all the above in mind, I'm now going to discard Connetable and Danboru before I click the Instant Expert tab...

...where from a place or E/W perspective Ridgeway Flyer & Laugharne jump out with four blocks of green each. No surprise to see Ridgway Flyer featured, as he's the horse from the Shortlist report. In addition to that pair, Fortunate George goes well at Class 4, Fontley House clearly gets three miles and Heavey looks proven at both class and trip, but how do those placing convert into wins? Let's see...

...where it's all about the Shortlist horse, Ridgeway Flyer, who in addition to his excellent numbers above, will run off a mark some 10lbs lower than his last win over hurdles and some 17lbs lower than his last chasing win, although I should point out that those wins were over three years ago,as he has only recently returned to action from a 20-month layoff!

Our final graphic will hope fully show us how the race might unfold...

We're told that from 13 races under similar conditions to ours that hold-up horses have won 7 (53.8%) and have taken 15 (40.5%) of the 37 places on offer, suggesting that Peachey and Heavey have the tactics best suited to this race.

I have, so far, not managed to get my 12-runner field down to a workable level but I will discard two more now ahead of a closer look at each of the ones left standing. Laugharne has ability and is a consistent sort, but I think he'll end up leading which will make him vulnerable in the closing stages, so he's our for me. next to go is Brummie Boys, I've no real negatives about him other than his inexperience and having never gone beyond 2m4f, he just doesn't tick enough boxes for me.

And that leaves me with a still unsatisfactory six runners to consider...

Fontley House won't have any issues getting the trip, but doesn't win often enough. He was third of seven last time out and although he drops in class to run here today, he's still a pound higher than his only previous win in 11 starts. His yard used to do well in hurdles contests here at Southwell, but are only 3 from 20 here since the start of 2018.

Fortunate George has flown under the radar a little in my analysis above, but stands a good chance of at least making the frame here. He likes some cut in the ground, has won at 3m2f so stamina is fine and has won at Classes 2, 3 and 4 in the past. He's 10 yrs old now and clearly not the horse placed second in a grade 3 contest back in 2017, but he's game and nobody's fool. He won as recently as February over 3m2f and now back to just a pound higher is a contender for at least a place.

Heavey was unlucky earlier this autumn in back to back runs when sliding on landing 2 out when travelling really well at Fontwell before going down by just a head 10 days later at Perth. He was below par at Cheltenham last time out, but steps back up in trip and down in class and we should see him in a better light today.

Peachey is difficult to assess on handicap debut really, just one bumper run and then three efforts over hurdles. Beaten by just over two lengths on hurdles debut at two miles more than two years ago, returned to action 45 days ago after 693 days off the track but was hampered and fell at the first, before being quickly turned back out 13 days later when a creditable 2nd of 10 at Uttoxeter over 2m4.5f on soft ground a month ago.

Two narrow-ish defeats says he has ability, but he's upped in trip here and hardly thrown in off a mark of 116, but has a shrewd trainer and jockey behind him.

Poppa Poutine wasn't ruled out yet, but isn't ruled in, if that makes any sense. Just two runs to date : third of eight in this grade but over a mile shorter than today and then moved up to 3m0.5f and Class 2 for a 28 lengths defeat. And I don't think there's much more to say other than his yard are well known for throwing one into a handicap with no relevant form and emerging with the money.

Ridgeway Flyer is the one whose supposed suitability for the task ahead has been discussed the most here. He's on the Shortlist report and ticks lots of boxes, but the caveat is that he hasn't won a race for three years and is no longer trained by Paul Nicholls. His new handlers don't have many runners/winners and this one will need to improve upon his run last time out, but the step up in trip should help.


I was hoping for and easy-to-read contest to get me back on track, but this race is actually far more competitive than I thought it was going to be. Not because there are too many decent horses here. It's quite the opposite, I fear. It's a poor looking contest for poor well-tried horses against relative newcomers. No decent form amongst the lot of them and there's very little to separate them in my opinion.

I'd fully expect the first three home to come from the six runners above, but I won't be having a proper bet here. I'll be having one of what Matt calls an "action bet" ie something to make watching the race slightly more interesting and that'll probably be a small E/W flutter on Fortunate George at 12/1 or bigger.


Racing Insights, 27th November 2020

Lincoln Park did attempt to win from the front this evening but couldn't hold on, he faded once again going from first to last over the course of the final furlong. Last night's 7/4 favourite Ghalyoon was eminently more backable at 9/4 and was asked to get going sooner than he had in the past and to good effect, getting home by a length. Firmament was more of a let down than Lincoln Park's reverse gear, as he looked to have every chance but found nothing late on.

Friday's free feature is the Horses for Courses report, whilst our free racecards cover the following handful of contests...

  • 1.15 Newbury
  • 2.25 Newbury
  • 3.20 Southwell
  • 4.15 Chelmsford
  • 4.45 Chelmsford

And I'm going to look at a race that could be heavily influenced by the Horses for Courses report...

As you can see, three runners with a combined record of 14 wins from 34 Southwell handicaps take each other on, so let's see which of the three (if any) have a chance of improving their record. We start, as ever with the racecard for the 12.35 Southwell,  a 9-runner, Class 5 A/W handicap for 3yo+ runners over 1m4f on the Fibresand with a top prize of £3429.

I've arranged the card in Speed Rating order as follows...

Our possibles, Tynecastle Park, Cold Harbour and Blowing Dixie are ranked 2nd, 4th and 6th here with the first named considerably better off at the ratings.

Tynecastle Park struggled over two miles on heavy ground last time out at Newbury five weeks ago, so should relish a drop in trip and the switch back to the A/W track. he won here over 2m0.5f five starts ago and returned to this venue to finish second, beaten by just a length over 1m6f. He was caught and headed in the final furlong by a horse that has since finished third in a higher grade. That failure to see the race out could also be the reason for dropping to this trip today.

He is 5 from 19 on the all-weather so far with all five wins coming from 13 runs in handicaps on this track. Of those thirteen runs here, he is five from eight after less than six weeks rest and two from four under today's jockey. He has never tried this trip before but has won here over 1m6f and despite being 0 from 3 at Class 5, has won here at Class 3. He was 12th of 14 last time out at Newbury and he is only 1 from 6 here after an unplaced run last time out.

As seen by the green icons on the card, both his trainer and jockey have enjoyed success at this track in the past.

Cold Harbour also disappointed last time out when 10th of 14 at Kempton in this grade over 1m3f, although he was only beaten by 4.5 lengths having led until just before a furlong from home. He has finished in the first three home in each of his last six visits to Southwell, where his record stands at 4 wins from 13 (all in handicaps), from which he is 4 from 11 at 11/12 furlongs, 3 from 10 over course and distance, 3 from 6 within 10 days of hos last run and 2 from 7 under today's jockey.

Most of his wins/runs here have been at Class 6, where he is 3 from 7, but he has won in this grade here as recently as four starts ago (finishes of 322 since).  On the down side, his yard are 1 from 22 overall during the last ten days, whilst his jockey is in even worse form with 0 wins from 122 over the last seven weeks.

Blowing Dixie comes here looking for a change of fortune having been beaten in his last eleven outings since wining here in early January. The positives from that are that the win was over course and distance two grades higher than today and he now runs off a mark some 4lbs lower than that day and he drops in class today after being well beaten at Wolverhampton last time out off a mark of 72 (now at 68).

His new yard (moved this summer) has a good record at this track, whilst in seven runs here himself, he has finished 1131127, all in handicaps over course and distance and including 4 from 5 when unplaced last time out, 2 from 2 at this Class 5 level (also that Class 3 win from January) and he's 1 from 1 here in November.

Of our trio, I've read the above as Tynecastle Park, Cold Harbour and then Blowing Dixie, BUT I was more drawn to Sky Power, Notation and Thawry!

On to Instant Expert, which should show our trio on a favourable light...

...and that's certainly the case when you look at the place records. The sheer volume of races and consistency especially from TP and CH are staggering, although my enthusiasm is somewhat tempered by Tynecastle's lack of any previous run at this trip, although he hasn't been seeing 1m6f of late, so who knows?

Instant Expert from the win perspective tells a slightly different story...

Still good numbers for our three, but not as much green as previously and some red creeping in too. Small sample sizes from the remainder, but Notation has done well so far. Let's now consider the draw and pace make-up of this contest...

...where runners drawn in stalls 7-9 in 9-runner contests do considerably better winning 15 of 32 between them. Unfortunately for us, our featured runners are in stalls 1, 2 and 6 whilst the plum draws seem to have gone to Thawry, Mostallim and Sky Power. But over a mile and a half, I'm not going to get too hung up about the draw, when I believe that running style and race positioning are more important and our unique pace/draw heatmap tells us...

...that the ideal combination is a front running type coming from stalls 4-6, whilst those drawn either side of middle are best tucked in just behind the leader(s). To see how this race might pan out, we just need to overlay the runners' past performances...

...suggesting that Tynecastle Park not only looks the best suited of our trio under consideration, but might actually have the best pace/draw make-up in the race. Notation has led in the past and might well take it upon himself to try and set the fractions here. There won't be much pace in behind, so there's a possibility that Notation and Tynecastle Park attempt to get out and hold on. If Tynecastle runs this as he has run over 1m6f, he's going to be there or thereabouts, but there's a fear they might just wait with him.


Do I think any of the featured trio will win? Sadly not.
Who will fare best? I have it as Tynecastle Park, Cold Harbour and then Blowing Dixie.

So, who will win? The two I like the best here are Notation and Sky Power with a preference for the former. Sky Power is as short as 7/4 and I'm not that keen at such odds, whilst Notation's 3/1 seems fair.

That said, I think there's every chance that Tynecastle Park makes the frame and at 9/1, I wouldn't deter you from an E/W bet. I also expect Cold Harbour to be in the mix too and he's attractively priced at 12/1.

Stat of the Day, 3rd September 2020

Wednesday's pick was...

5.00 Wolverhampton : Swiss Pride @ 11/2 BOG 2nd at 5/1 (Towards rear, switched right over 1f out, ran on final furlong, no threat)

Thursday's pick runs in the...

4.30 Southwell :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.


Classic Escape @ 5/2 BOG an 8-runner, Class 4,  Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 3m1f on Good ground worth £4,289 to the winner...


Again, the racecard holds all the clues for me today...

Essentially we have a trainer and a jockey with good course records (C5) and the trainer is also one of a list of trainers I keep an eye out for in Class 4 & 5 handicap chases.

So, let's start with the jockey, Sean Bowen. A closer look at his overall record here at Southwell shows that he has won 13 of 40 (32.5% SR) races for 45.92pts (+114.8% ROI) in handicap chases here since the start of 2016 when sent off at 12/1 or shorter and this includes a 9/23 (39.1%) for 30.1pts (+130.9%) return over trips of 3m to 3m2f.

And now to the trainer, Dr Richard Newland. Of his C5 record, I'm particularly interested in his runners sent off shorter than 4/1, as they are 10 from 18 (55.6% SR) for 6.32pts (+35.1% ROI) profit, whilst more generally he's one of a number of trainers that I look for in these type of events, as his record in Class 4 handicap chases since the start of 2016 stands at 22 from 75 (29.3% SR) for 12.76pts (+17% ROI).

So, a strike rate approaching 1 in 3 and a profit of almost 20p in the pound from blind backing? What's not to like?

Well, blind backing is what's not to like, as we should always seek to eliminate some of the losers where possible without affecting our returns and in this case, we should focus on the...

  • 18 from 44 (40.9%) for 9.72pts (+22.1%) at 3/1 and shorter
  • 15 from 41 (36.6%) for 13.02pts (+31.8%) with 6 and 7 yr olds
  • and the 11 from 27 (40.7%) for 27pts (+100%) at 11-20 days since last run.

The above 22/75 also includes a 35% strike rate (7 from 20) at 3 miles and beyond, whilst 6/7 yr olds at 3/1 and shorter at 11-30 dslr are 10/16 (62.5% SR) for 14.47pts (+90.5% ROI) and an A/E of 1.66 including 7 from 10 (70% and A/E of 1.68) from 7 yr olds... us... a 1pt win bet on Classic Escape @ 5/2 BOG as was available at 8.05am Thursday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race... here for the betting on the 4.30 Southwell

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!


Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Stat of the Day, 31st August 2020

Saturday's pick was...

4.40 Redcar : Sambucca Spirit @ 11/4 BOG 2nd at 5/1 (Pressed leader, ridden to lead 2f out, headed entering final furlong, kept on but no chance with winner) 

Monday's pick runs in the...

12.00 Southwell :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.


Cape Greco @ 8/1 BOG a 12-runner, Class 6, A/w Handicap for 3yo+ over 6f on Fibresand worth £2,782 to the winner...


More on this shortly, of course...

In a poor-looking race, I've hopefully grabbed us some value with a 5 yr old gelding whose form line looks the most promising of the 12 runners here today. Half of them have never won, only two including our pick have won within their last five starts and with three wins and four other top 3 finishes from his last ten starts (all on A/W), our selection clearly brings the best recent form to the table.

Those 10 runs include three wins on standard going, three wins going left handed, a win and a runner-up from two here at Southwell including a win on his only effort at course and distance. That C&D win was just three starts ago and he's only 2lbs higher here today.

The C5 icon on the racecard and the highlighting of my own Sthl AW angle suggest Gay Kelleway has done well at this track of late, so let's take a quick look at the evidence. Initially we can see that simply backing all Gay's runners here since the start of 2018 has been a profitable venture at...

...with a near 23% strike rate, an ROI at Betfair SP of over 45% and an A/E just shy of 1.25 all ticking lots of boxes for me. The average win odds suggests she's not relying on favourites or shorties to bring home the bacon, which also works for us today.

Now, based on the horse's record above and these trainer stats, I'd be happy to hang my bet upon those numbers, especially at the odds we've secured, but SotD wouldn't be SotD if I didn't at least attempt a deeper dig at the stats, would it?

So, here goes, of that 14/61 record here on the A/W at Southwell, Gay Kelleway is...

  • 14 from 54 (25.9%) for 34.79pts (+64.4%) with male runners
  • 13/48 (27.1%) for 11.57pts (+24.9%) at Class 5/6
  • 13/43 (30.2%) for 43.12pts (+100.3%) at 1-30 dslr
  • 13/42 (31%) for 17.97pts (+42.8%) at odds of 8/1 and shorter
  • 12/50 (24%) for 33.92pts (+67.8%) in handicaps
  • and 7/25 (28%) for 40.27pts (+161.1%) in fields of 8-12 runners...

...whilst Class 5/6 males sent off at 8/1 and shorter in handicaps within thirty days of their last run are 11 from 20 (55% SR) for 35.1pts (+175.5% ROI), from which they are 5/7 (71.4%) for 27.25pts (+389.3%) in fields of 8-12 runners... us... a 1pt win bet on Cape Greco @ 8/1 BOG as was available at 8.05am Monday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race... here for the betting on the 12.00 Southwell

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!


Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!