Tag Archive for: Trainer/Jockey Combo

Racing Insights, Saturday 07/05/22

Saturady's free GOLD feature, the Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report works by bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report and this has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

But wait, there's more, we also have our usual daily selection of full free racecards and they're going to be for...

  • 2.35 Cork
  • 3.05 Hexham
  • 3.15 Lingfield
  • 4.05 Ascot
  • 4.55 Cork
  • 7.20 Warwick

And I think I'll refer back to the TJC report, where my settings...

...have produced a few qualifiers on the 1-year handicap option...

...from which I'm going to focus on Clive Cox's pair of 3 yr old LTO winners set to run in back to back races at Nottingham. Both will be saddled by Liam Keniry in Class 5 handicaps on good ground on this left-handed track with Murphy's Dream running first over 1m½f followed 35 minutes later by Midnight Train tackling 1m2f.

Four from sixteen is a decent return for a trainer/jockey combination, but the fact that ten made the frame is what caught my eye. You can't win if you don't make the frame and if only 60% of your rides are in the places, then you've always the chance of winning, so let's have a quick look the Cox/Keniry runners and see if they're worth backing, starting with Murphy's Dream...

So, we have a 3yr old colt who won last time out (101 days ago) when scoring at Kempton in a Class 5, 7f maiden. All three career runs have so far been at Class 5 on the A/W and they include two previous unplaced efforts on Tapeta, over 6f at Wolverhampton and over 7f at Southwell before winning on Polytrack debut. he now races on turf for the first and had been allotted an mark of 73 for his handicap debut, whereas the runner-up from Kempton has been well beaten off marks of 64 & 66 recently, so 73 might be a reach.

The yard is in good nick, though, with half of its 20 runners over the last fortnight making the frame with 6 going on to win, whilst here at Nottingham the Cox runners are 6 from 24 (25%) since the start of last season, including four winners from nine at Class 5.

Murphy's Dream is drawn wide in 11 of 12 and raced in mid-division in his two defeats before a more prominent effort saw him break his duck at Kempton ;ast time out. In the past here, a mid-range draw has been more advantageous, but stall 11 has certainly held its own...

As for the pace in those races above, Murphy's Dream would be well advised to race prominently once more, based on these numbers...

So, his running style could be spot on, even if  the draw isn't perfect. That said he has more than a mile to undo any effects of the draw, so who knows?

*

And now to Midnight Train...

...who won on handicap debut just twelve days ago off a mark of 54 and is up 4lbs here for that win at Windsor. He's also up in class, but would naturally be expected to improve upon his last run, as that came after 151 days off the track, yet he was still finding more as the post got nearer, which bears well for a step up in trip.

Like his stablemate above, he's also drawn in the second to end box, running from stall 12 of 13 and although his pace profile is a little more muddled, he'd be expected to be in mid-division, as per his two other turf outings. I've already mentioned the form of the yard, so won't bother you with those details again.

A longer trip and a slightly bigger field puts a different perspective on the draw stats now and Midnight train's high draw looks more beneficial than that of his stablemate earlier...

...but I feel that a return to the prominent run from three starts ago would be his best tactic here, based on previous similar contests...

It's almost the opposite way around to the previous race, whereby he does have a good draw, but not quite there on pace profile, but he does have the advantage of a turf win and it's not his first handicap outing. he's entitled to improve from last time out and this might not take a lot of winning.

Summary

Had Murphy's Dream had a previous turf outing to look at or if today's race was on Polytrack, then I'd be interested in having a small wager on him at 10/1 (Bet 365) especially with a bookie paying four places, but he might need the run after 101 days, he's not had a turf run and 73 might just be a tad high for a handicap debut. Don't get me wrong, that 10/1 E/W punt might well pay off, but I've erred on the side of caution and left him alone. The 9/4 fav Aussie Banker should be winning this and at a bigger price Loquace was interesting around the 10/1 mark for an E/W pick.

I do, however, like the chances of Midnight Train, but the bookies aren't exactly being generous at 11/4 (Bet365), although I suspect that might end up being a good price, so I'm taking that whilst I can. Elsewhere, at a bigger price for an E/W interest, Young Winston might fit the bill at 18/1 if you can get 4 places.

 

Racing Insights, Saturday 30/04/22

Last piece of the week/month and we're a third through 2022 already! Our free GOLD feature is the rather excellent Trainer/Jockey Combo Stats (TJC) Report, which works by bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for our readers. Basically some trainers have better records with certain jockeys and vice versa and this report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. Clicking on any row of the report will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing and then a further click on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

This free feature is complemented, as ever, by a selection of free, fully functional racecards for the following contests...

  • 1.15 Newmarket
  • 2.35 Punchestown
  • 3.50 Punchestown
  • 4.50 Newmarket
  • 5.15 Hexham
  • 7.35 Doncaster

My settings for the TJC report...

...are fairly restrictive, but on the course five year handicap form, I have a qualifier who runs in one of our 'free' races...

...so I suppose I really should take a look at the chances of Messrs Appleby & Doyle with Private Signal in the 4.50 Newmarket, a 6-runner, Class 3, 3yo Flat handicap over a straight mile on good ground...

My initial thoughts were that I should be focusing upon the TJC report horse, Private Signal, his stablemate King of Time and the Johnston horse, Spirit Catcher, but let's have a look at all six in turn...

RAZZLE DAZZLE
Hasn't been seen for almost eight months since finishing 6th of 9 (beaten by 6.45 lengths) in a Listed race at Doncaster, but had ran well in both of his previous outings as a half lengths runner-up and then a 5.5 lengths winner in a pair of Class 4, 7f contests on the July course here at Newmarket last August. Now a class higher than those runs, but two grades down from LTO, he now tries a mile for the first time and hasn't been done any favours as top weight off a mark of 94 for his handicap debut, but jockey Ryan Moore is in great form right now...

PRIVATE SIGNAL
The TJC report horse turns back out just 13 days after a really good run on handicap debut at Newbury, when a 0.75 length runner-up over 7f. That was at one class higher than today and came off the back of a 281 day absence, so there's every chance he'll come on for having had the run, although he has been raised 3lbs for his troubles. His place on the TJC report is backed up by these numbers...

SPIRIT CATCHER
Won by four lengths on debut at Redcar (C4, 7f) in early October and then went down by just a neck at Chelmsford three weeks later before being put back in the shed for the winter. He re-emerged a fortnight ago after almost six months rest to win on handicap debut at Musselburgh, tackling this class and trip for the first time. Every chance of improving upon that run now the cobwebs have gone, but he has been raised 4lbs for a half length win. His jockey is in good nick, though and has been amongst the winners for this yard (as always seems to be the case!) and other offspring of his sire, New Bay, have gone well in similar contests...

KING OF TIME
By Kingman and his career to date consists of two runs on the A/W at Lingfield a fortnight apart in February/March of this year. Both at Class 5, both over a mile, both novice contests and he won both by a length and a quarter. An opening handicap mark of 86 seems lenient compared with Razzle Dazzle's 94, but he does step up two classes and is unproven on turf. Mind you, he is by Kingman who wasn't too shabby on turf and his yard have a good record with handicap debutants...

TIEMPO STAR
Four Class 4 runs last year that got progressively better (8321) after defeats by 14L and 5L were followed by a runner-up finish, a neck behind the winner and then he finally won LTO when scoring by a head on both his A/W and his 1m debut. Hasn't raced for 208 days and will probably need the run, but was gelded during his down-time. Will need to improve to be involved here and he's probably going to find this tough, but his yard aren't faring too badly right now...

BULLET FORCE
Like Spirit Catcher above, returned to action at Musselburgh a fortnight ago after a 175 day absence and they both ran in the same race. Spirit Catcher won, of course, but Bullet Force was 4¼ lengths back as 5th of 10 and even though he's now 5lbs better off with the winner, I'm not convinced he's overturning the placings here.

This half a dozen runners have only raced 23 times between them, but have made the frame 16 times, going on to win eight of them, but how have they fared under similar conditions to today? Let's check Instant Expert for the answers...

Of an admittedly small sample size, the TJC report horse, Spirit Catcher doesn't stand out on the win graphic, whilst Bullet Force's failure to land any of three attempts art this this trip is a red marker for me, compounded by him only making the frame once, as the the place graphic. King In Time gets the trip, but has no turf experience.

A small field and a straight mile, so surely there's no draw bias at play?

If we treat the data from stalls 6 &7 as one entity, then that's 10 wins/19 places from 47 which is very similar to stall 4. Stall 5's numbers have to be anomalous, there's no real reason for one isolated stall to fare so badly and although stalls 1 and 2 haven't won as many as the others, they have made the frame regularly, so I'm still not sure there's much in it.

Which means it may well be a case of who has the best tactics/pace management here and in those 40-odd races above, the general rule has been the further forward you race, the more chance you have of winning...

...and in a race not exactly full of pacemakers, it might prove good news for Spirit Catcher to race as he did for his first two outings...

Summary

King of Time will prove popular amongst punters by the way he seemed to win effortlessly on both previous outings and his lenient looking handicap mark, but this isn't a Class 5 1m spin on the Lingfield polytrack, this is a Class 3 handicap on quick ground at HQ and whilst he has a great chance of adapting and winning here, he's not backable for me at 6/5 to 6/4, so I'll look elsewhere. I still think his main rivals are Private Signal and Spirit Catcher and of the two, based on everything above, I've a marginal preference for the latter.

I won't be investing heavily, but after a 6/1 winner on Friday, I've a couple of quid spare for a 7/2 bet on Spirit Catcher with the obvious caveat that King of Time might be far better!

Racing Insights, Saturday 23/04/22

The Trainer/Jockey Combo stats (TJC) report is our free feature every Saturday and it works by bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Basically, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

As ever, we supplement the daily feature with a selection of free, fully functional racecards open to all readers and they're going to be for the following...

  • 2.15 Limerick
  • 2.45 Leicester
  • 3.32 Sandown
  • 4.30 Limerick
  • 5.30 Limerick
  • 7.35 Doncaster

My settings for the TJC report...

...are fairly exacting and don't always throw out many qualifiers, but they have highlighted two possibles for me for Saturday...

So, let's take a look at them, starting with Via Dolorosa who appears on paper to have the harder task, tackling the 3.32 Sandown (incidentally a 'free' race), which is a 15-runner, Grade 3, 5yo+ handicap chase (24 fences) over a right-handed 3m5f on good ground...

I'll lay my cards on the table here and tell you straight away that I don't fancy this horse at all. The yard/rider might well be in great form together right now, but under today's conditions, this horse looks out of his depth...

He was a reasonable enough low level chaser in France before coming over to the UK where he has raced just 8 times, making the frame just twice but he did at least win both of those. They were at Classes 3 & 4 and mirrors the 'heights' he achieved across the Channel. To add some meat to the numbers above, his form under today's conditions reads...

  • UPP beyond 3m1f
  • 4UP0 higher than Class 3
  • 4UP6P0 in fields of 9 or more runners
  • 4UPP0 at odds of 18/1 or higher (where he'll surely be)
  • 4UPP0 when rated at 130 or higher

He comes here on the back of a 71 length defeat as 17th of 29 in a similar standard race (Topham) at Aintree a fortnight ago and based on the stats above and that run LTO, there's no need for me to waste my time or yours doing a full race analysis here, I've already seen enough to tell me keep my money in my pocket with Via Doloroso.

Mille Miglia, however, should have more of a fighting chance in the 4.20 Haydock, a 10-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ Flat Handicap over a left-handed 1m2½f on good ground...

This 4 yr old filly makes a seasonal re-appearance after a break of 239 days since making all to win over 1m2f at Newmarket almost 8 months ago, closing a season where she got better with each run starting with a 5th place finish in a Novice event here at Haydock and ending the season with finishes of 321 in 1m2f handicaps.

We already know from the TJC report that the trainer & jockey have enjoyed some success over the last twelve months, but closer inspection shows the yard have a 40%+ place strike rate over the past month and that Friday's only runner was a winner. Clive Cox also has the C5 icon next to his name, denoting a good record here at Haydock, having won 16 of 70 (22.9% SR) here over the last five years.

This filly has only made six starts to date, so Instant Expert might not tell us too much that we don't already know...

...other than all five runs last season were at this grade and she's now up 4lbs for that win last August. She missed the break at Bath two starts ago, but that run aside , she does like to be up with the pace and when getting off the mark LTO, the race report said...'made all, ridden over 1f out, ran on...' and this is backed up by our pace data...

and based on past races here at Haydock, she'd be advised to adopt similar tactics if she wants to win...

...whilst her draw in stall 7 of 10 might also be a positive...

All of which seems to suggest she has a decent chance here and those pace/draw stats look like this when combined...

...giving even more confidence to those drawn high who like to get on with things.

Summary

I've been pretty clear about how much chance I give Via Dolorosa, but now (5.00pm) is the first time I've looked at the market and the fact that he's currently the 66/1 outsider of a 15-runner field speaks for itself. I'll pass on this one.

As for Mille Miglia, I think she has an excellent chance here, but might very well need the run after such a long absence. She's currently 9/2 and I expected her to be a little shorter, so I'll have a small play there from a perspective of perceived value. Wot's The Wifi Code and Carey Street have both ran well and won already this spring and should run big races here. The latter looks particularly overpriced at 13/2, I had him at 7/2 or 4/1! Time will tell, of course!

Enjoy your weekend, folks.

Racing Insights, Saturday 09/04/2022

Saturday's free feature, the Trainer/Jockey Combo stats (TJC) report, brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Basically, some trainers turn to preferred riders when they have one ‘ready to win’ and this report quickly identifies those most successful at it. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing, whilst clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

In addition to this excellent report, we also have the following free races to choose from...

  • 1.00 Newcastle
  • 2.05 Thirsk
  • 3.15 Thirsk
  • 3.35 Aintree
  • 4.52 Bangor

My own settings for the TJC...

...have only generated one runner for me to consider...

...but you can apply your own (slightly less exacting?) settings to this report to open up more options. The Armed Man hasn't raced for six months and was bang out of form last Autumn, he's up in class and runs in a competitive (for the grade) 15-runner handicap at Thirsk, so I'll swerve that race and focus instead upon the best of the 'free' races, the 3.35 Aintree, the 9-runner, Grade 1, 4yo+ Liverpool Hurdle (13 flights) over a left-handed 3m½f on Good To Soft ground and here are the contenders seeking to go home with a cool £140k...

Four of this field have come here via the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, filling three of the top four places...

Paisley Park has yet to re-appear and Koshari, who runs here, was seventh in that race some 3.5 lengths further behind Champ. Based on that contest 23 days ago, it's little surprise that Flooring Porter, Thyme Hill and Champ head the market, but I want to see if (a) the result/order might be different here or (b) an unfancied runner might defy the odds and gatecrash the party.

Koshari, Sire du Berlais and Thomas Darby look weakest on form, but none of these are mugs or out of their depth. All have raced in the past 24 days, bar Thomas Darby and Molly Olly's Wishes, but even they ran seven weeks ago.

Ashdale Bob and Roi Mage are the only ones without a win at a similar trip to this one, whilst Champ, Koshari and Thyme Hill have all won over course and distance in the past, with the latter winning this very race in 2021.

Flooring Porter (rated 164), Champ (162) and Thyme Hill (161) are best off at the weights, further backing up the suggestion that it's a three-horse race. The last 17 renewals of this race have gone to horses aged 9 or younger, which isn't good news for Champ from that trio, nor is it good for Koshari, Roi Mage or Sire du Berlais.

ASHDALE BOB
Has finished 1132 in four Grade 2 contests so far and was a decent third on the Gr 3 Coral Cup at Cheltenham 24 days ago, but has yet to make the frame at Grade 1 and I doubt that'll change here.

CHAMP
A 4-time (from 7) winner at this level including the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in 2020 and more recently the Long Walk Hurdle (where Thyme Hill was the runner-up by 1.75L) on return. A decent third to Flooring Porter last time out and the extra yardage/better ground should help here.

FLOORING PORTER
Was allowed a soft/easy lead in that Cheltenham race last time out, putting both Thyme Hill & Champ to the sword as he retained the Stayers' Hurdle, gaining revenge over Klassical Dream who had beaten him by two lengths in Leopardstown's Christmas Hurdle. He'd probably prefer it a bit softer here, but the trip is no issue and if allowed to dominate again, would be the one to beat.

KOSHARI
Was a surprise (80/1!) winner of a Class 2 handicap here over course and distance two starts ago back in November, but this is probably too much for him to handle. He was well beaten in that Stayers' Hurdle and although he did land a Grade 2 at Punchestown as recently as last May, he's not really a Class 1 runner in my eyes and he'd do better over a shorter trip going right handed.

ROI MAGE
Won 7 of 33 over fences in France, but his career hurdling record stands at just one win from twelve and could only manage to finish 5th of 7, beaten by 27 lengths at Grade 3 in his last effort over hurdles. Probably better off in stayers' chases.

SIRE DU BERLAIS
Was a 3.5 length runner-up behind Flooring Porter in last year's Stayers' hurdle but bypassed the race this year for a crack at the Pertemps, but never really recovered from being badly hampered early on and ended up just 11th of 22, some 11 lengths behind the winner. He's better than that, even if recent results say other wise and I can see him running a big race here, but it'd have to be his best for some time to get close.

THOMAS DARBY
Won the three-mile Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury 3 starts ago, back in November but could only manage 4th of 8 in the Long Walk at Ascot 22 days later, as Chap beat Thyme Hill in the 1-2. He didn't enjoy Haydock's traditional heavy ground when pulled up in February and looks up against it here. He's a decent sort, a solid Grade 2/3 runner, but I don't fancy his chances today

THYME HILL
Has finished 2122 in four Grade 1 starts since winning the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in 2020, including landing this race last year. Trip and ground conditions are ideal for him, but if he wants to reverse the placings from LTO, he can't let Flooring Porter have it all his own way.

MOLLY OLLYS WISHES
This 8 yr old mare has progressed really nicely over last 18 months, winning at Class 3, Class 2, 2 x Listed and then a grade 2 at Ascot in January. last seen seven weeks ago at Haydock in the same race as Thomas Darby, she suffered the same fate as her rival and struggled with the heavy ground late on, having ran pretty well for much of the race. An unlikely winner here, but a 7lbs allowance and further progression could see her feature closer to the front than the back.

These are good horses and I expect to see plenty of green on Instant Expert...

The likes of Ashdale Bob (Class), Roi Mage (experience), Sire du Berlais (Class/Distance) and Thomas Darby (generally) look the weakest when we consider overall career stats, but so that we're not leaning/relying on old data, let's look at how they've performed more recently...

...and that has merely reinforced my view that I want to be focusing on the the Stayers' Hurdle runners plus bottom weight Molly Olly's Wishes, but the more I look at it, the more it's the three-horse race we thought it might be.

We know that Flooring Porter was afforded a soft/easy lead at Cheltenham, but that's the way he likes to run his races, whilst both Champ and Thyme Hill prefer to sit much further back...

Molly Olly's Wishes, however, also likes to get on with things and she might cause the likely fav some discomfort if she decides to press him early. If FP responds by setting a stronger gallop, this could well play into the hands of his rivals, based on past 3m hurdles contests here on good to soft ground...

So, essentially, Molly's best chances of making the frame are to put some distance between here and the others making herself hard to catch, but Flooring Porter might ruin his own chances by going with her.

Summary

The 1-2-4 from the Stayers' Hurdle should be the 1-2-3 here and whilst there's very little between Thyme Hill and Champ, I expect the former to just about retain his hold over the latter. Much will depend on how hard Flooring Porter has to work to assert himself at the head of affairs and if Molly Olly's Wishes takes him on, it could well cost him the race.

So, with the above in mind and my feeling that he'd prefer softer ground, I can't back him at 15/8 or shorter, even if I do think he's the most likely winner. Neither Thyme Hill (3/1) nor Champ (4/1) are long enough to back E/W, so I'll do some reverse forecast/tricasts etc and also back Molly Olly's Wishes at 22/2 E/W with Sporting Index, who are paying 5 places. (Sky are paying 4 at 20/1 too)

 

Racing Insights, Saturday 02/04/22

Saturday's free feature is the excellent Trainer/Jockey Combo stats (TJC) report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations and clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. Clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

We also have a selection of full free racecards on offer, too and Saturday's free list includes...

  • 1.08 Chepstow
  • 2.25 Ayr
  • 2.45 Newbury
  • 4.20 Leopardstown
  • 5.50 Lingfield
  • 8.00 Wolverhampton

...and that list contains a couple of Grade 2 contests, so it'd be almost rude not to look at one of them. Now, 16 are set to run at Newbury, which is beyond my usual comfort zone, so I'm going to tackle the 2.25 Ayr, the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle, which is a Grade 2 Limited Handicap for horses aged 4 and over. They'll tackle nine hurdles over a left-handed two miles on good to soft ground and one of these is going to "earn" £34,170 for their connections...

As you'd expect for a race at this level, plenty of past recent wins for our runners with only the solitary mare, Anna Bunina, winless in the last six outings. Socialist Agenda and Barrichello both won last time out and the latter, along with Alqamar, has won four of his last five.

Only West Cork, Onemorefortheroad and bottom weight Kihavah raced in Class 1 (all at Gr 3) action last time out, as both Anna Bunina and Socialist Agenda ran at Class 3, whilst last year's winner Milkwood, Voix du Reve, Barrichello and Alqamar are all stepping up from Class 3.

The latter at 171 days and Milkwood at 181 days have been off the track the longest, whilst Anna Bunina and Socialist Agenda ran eight weeks ago and the other five have all been out in the last two to five weeks.

All nine have at a similar if not identical trip to this one and by virtue of winning this race last year, top weight Milkwood is one of just two (Alqamar) former course and distance winners. As well as stepping up in class, this is only a second crack at handicaps for Barrichello and Socialist Agenda.

Voix du Reve, at 10, is at least 2yrs old than the pack an bottom weight Kihavah is 'the baby'. As for the form of the yards and riders, West Cork (Skelton) and Barrichello (McCain) look like the ones to watch.

That's an overview of the racecard info you see in front of you, let's now take a quick look at the runners...

MILKWOOD
Was third in a Grade 3 at last year's Cheltenham Festival, before winning this race a month later. He then took 15 weeks off before an excellent runner-up finish in a Galway Grade 1 before calling it quits for the season. Had a pipe-opener over fences at Uttoxeter in October, but having bypassed Cheltenham this year, you'd be excused for assuming this is his target race.

WEST CORK
Finished 22112 over hurdles in the 19/20 winter season before defying a 90-week absence to land the Grade 3 Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham back in November. Didn't fare too well at Ascot a month later, but had a great run in this year's County Hurdle at Cheltenham a fortnight ago, finishing fourth and now raised just 1lb, has to be a contender here.

ONEMOREFORTHEROAD
Won five of six between last March and November, culminating in a career best effort to win a Listed race at Newbury from the front. He backed that run up three weeks later when a Grade 3 runner-up at Ascot and was a respectable 4th of 22 in the Imperial Cup at Sandown three weeks ago. Has to be respected.

VOIX DU REVE
Hardly prolific and although he won last time out, that came after a run of 18 defeats over almost three years, taking his mark from 156 all the way down to 132. Truth is that he won a poor, 4-runner, Class 3 contest by three lengths LTO and now up 3lbs and two classes, this is probably beyond him.

BARRICHELLO
Finished fourth of seven at Bangor three starts ago on the only occasion in ten starts over hurdles that he hasn't been to the first pair home. That rare failure came 20 days after he's won a Listed race at Haydock and his two runs since Bangor have seen him win a pair of Class 3 contests by fairly small margins. 7lbs worse off and up from Class 3, this is probably too much for him, as on his day, he's a solid Class 3 handicapper. I'll wait to see him run at that level again before backing him.

ALQAMAR
Only made his hurdles debut in February 2021 when a runner-up (beaten by 18L) of 12 at Carlisle despite having been off track for 27 months. He then rattled off four wins on the bounce in less than four months, but made a mistake and unseated his rider at Wetherby in October and hasn't been seen since. He might need the run, something might not be right with him and all his form is at Classes 3 & 4. Too many what-ifs for my liking.

ANNA BUNINA
Won back to back hurdle races in Ireland in the summer of 2020 and was then a good second of 16 in a grade 2 event at Listowel in the September. Since then, however, she has made the frame in just one of ten starts and was beaten by 20L and 24L in two January runs his year before getting closer at Musselburgh (3rd of 7, 6L) last time out. This is much tougher, though, even if she is down another 3lbs.

SOCIALIST AGENDA
Caught the eye when landing a heat-trick of bumpers in his first three outings and has since finished 2411 over hurdles. He stayed on well to win readily by more than 4 lengths in a Class 2 handicap at Musselburgh in early February off a mark of 118 and although officially up 6lbs to 124 (which would have tested him), he has to run off 130 here and I'm not sure he's got 12lbs more in him, even if he is in good form.

KIHAVAH
Actually ran here at Ayr in the 2.55 race on Friday, so probably won't run in this one. He would also have been 6lbs out of the handicap and I'd say he would have struggled and the fact that he was only 5th of 7 off his proper mark on Friday, beaten by 13 lengths at Class 3 does back up my theory somewhat.

So, from the nine originally declared, Kihavah doesn't run and I'm most keen on the first three or four on the card, but past relevant form documented by Instant Expert might change my mind...

Here, Voix du Reve's 0/10 at class 1 is a standout for the wrong reasons, as is his 1 from 13 at the trip and having not made the frame in many of those either, he's not going to be for me. Anna Bunina is another worry at the grade/distance at at 0 from 9 and 1 from 9 respectively with out troubling the places much either. Barrichello is 1 from 1 at Class 1 in fairness, but he's really just a solid Class 3 'capper and I'm not that keen on his chances here.

The beauty of the racecards tools is that you can clock the little X to the left of the runner to quickly remove those you don't fancy, so my Instant Expert now looks like this...

...and when you focus on handicap hurdle races, you see that they almost pick themselves. Alqamar and Socialist Agenda lack relevant past experience and are probably the weaker pair of my five, especially the latter at 6lbs higher than his last win, but let's see if he might be suited by how the race is likely to be run.

This is how the entire field have approached their last four outings...

...and I expect Alqamar to set the fractions here, whilst West Cork looks like being held-up for a run, so my final five are spread through the field, but who will be best suited? Well, in past similar contests...

It has paid to sit just off the pace or to be held up for a run and this seems to re-affirm my thoughts that the top three on the card are the ones to be with here.

Summary

I think our winner (if not our first three home) sits in the top third of the card ie last year's winner Milkwood, West Cork and Onefortheroad. I think the latter is the least likely of the three to win here based on everything above and the other two have achieved more to date. He's currently (5.30pm) 4/1, so no E/W play here, I'm afraid.

I don't have much between Milkwood and West Cork if truth be told, but again the latter has achieved more and has run well very recently, so for me (and the bookies, sadly), I'll say the 3/1 West Cork beats the 5/1 Milkwood here.

Racing Insights, Saturday 19/03/22

Saturday's free feature is the Trainer/Jockey Combo Stats (TJC) Report, whilst the day's free races are...

  • 3.15 Kempton
  • 4.10 Uttoxeter
  • 4.50 Newcastle
  • 5.18 Uttoxeter
  • 6.30 Wolverhampton
  • 7.30 Wolverhampton

My fairly stringent TJC Report settings...

...have yielded no qualifiers for Saturday, so I'm going to take a look at the first of the free list, the 3.15 Kempton, a 10-runner, Class 2, 5yo+ Handicap Chase, taking in 16 fences over a right handed 2m4½f on Good ground. it's definitely worth winning at £31,218 and here are the contenders...

Espoir de Guye and Native Robin are our two LTO winners with the latter seeking a fourth success on the bounce and his fifth in six starts, making himn the obvious form horse. Elsewhere Debece is the only one winless in six, having been ulled up in three of them.

Only four of the field ran at Class 2 last time out. Three (Pistol Whipped, Manofthemountain & Kalooki) drop down from Class 1 action, having raced at Grade 2, grade 3 and grade 3 respectively, whilst three others (Native Robin, Debece and Paddy's Poem) all step up from making the frame at Class 3.

Diego du Charmil is the only one yet to win at a similar trip to today, having only gone beyond 2m1f on one previous occasion, whilst both Debece (2m hrds) and Up the Straight (2m5f hrds) are former course winners with Killer Clown the only one to have won here over fences at this trip.

Pistol Whipped and Manofthemountain might need the run after breaks of 119 & 126 days respectively, but half of the field (Espoir de Guye, Kalooki, Native Robin, Debece & Paddy's Poem) have been out on the last four weeks, so should be ready.

PISTOL WHIPPED
Won back to back Class 2 2m4f chases last April and was unlucky when headed in the final strides over today's trip at Uttoxeter at the end of May. He wasn't seen again for almost six months when pulled up quite early in Ascot's Grade 2 1965 chase and has been off the track since. On the basis of that run, he's a no, but on last spring's form, definitely. Just a case of which horse turns up. Trainer and jockey are in decent nick...

ESPOIR DE GUYE
Returned from virtually a year off the track after being the runner-up in 2021's Budbrooke Handicap at Warwick to go back and win it this year, helped by a 2lb drop in weight and a wind op no doubt. Only three ran, mind you and his jumping wasn't the best, but he should come on for the run and is only up 4lbs.

DIEGO DU CHARMIL
Won over hurdles at Plumpton last April and that was followed by two lacklustre efforts either side of a 6-month summer break. Switched back to fences at Ascot in November and was only 5th of 7 over 2m1f, but did manage to be runner-up next/last time out over 2m3f at the same venue. That said, he was beaten by the thick end of ten lengths after fading. Up in trip after three months off isn't a positive for me.

MANOFTHEMOUNTAIN
Only 6lbs higher than when landing a Grade 2 handicap over this trip at Cheltenham last April and ran better than 8th of 19 might suggest at the same venue for the Grade 3 Paddy Power Gold Cup over this trip in November, as he was beaten by less than six lengths off a mark a pound higher than today. Hasn't raced for four months but has previously won after breaks of 218 and 274 days.

KALOOKI
All his form has come over further than this and his last win, just after Christmas was over 3m on soft ground, suggesting this might be too quick/short for him. His form hasn't been great since, either, being pulled up at Haydock last month sandwiched by defeats of 24 and 27 lengths.

KILLER CLOWN
Won over course and distance on Boxing Day 2020 and has only raced six times since, finishing second then third off increasing marks to end the 20/21 season. He looked like coming back to his best when winning by almost 10 lengths at Wincanton in January, but was tailed off/pulled up at Ascot next/last time out. He's had eight weeks to pull it round and could well be involved.

NATIVE ROBIN
Making surprising progress at the age of 12, a winner six times in eleven races over the last two years, landing four of five this season and each of his last three. That's the good news, the bad is that all this form has been at Class 3 & 4 and he's up in grade here as well as another 7lb rise. He now runs off 132, some 19lbs higher than his season opener, but you can't deny the mood/form he's in.

DEBECE
Won back to back Class 4 chases around the 3m distance in early, but didn't run at all from April of that year until November 2020 and has failed to complete three of his runs since that long absence. He has however, made the frame in the two completions, albeit at Class 3 and whilst he's probably good enough to get involved here, he's not one I'd trust.

PADDY'S POEM
Made the frame in eleven consecutive starts from May 2018 to march of last year, winning four times, but was only 17th of 21, beaten by 34 lengths in the Grade 3 Paddy Power plate at lats year's Cheltenham Festival. he then took ten months off and was pulled up after several poor jumps at Sandown upon his return in January and although the formline says he was third LTO, only six ran and he was almost 20 lengths behind the winner in a Class 3 handicap.

UP THE STRAIGHT
One win in a Novice event from ten efforts over fences isn't good enough for this level and in his three outings since that win at Plumpton (Class 3, 2m4f, 3 ran), he was 14th of 19 (20L) at Cheltenham in November, third of five (27L) at Ascot and was pulled up LTO at Ascot in the race Paddy's Poem finished third above.

At this point, I think I want to be with one (or more, depending on odds) of Espoir de Guye, Native Robin, Pistol Whipped and Manofthemountain in alphabetical order, so let's see how the past form in similar contests stacks up, courtesy of Instant Expert...

...where Pistol Whipped is 0/3 here, but has good numbers otherwise and Espoir is proven at class/trip, Manofthemountain will like the going, but hasn't really raced much at class/track/trip but Native Robin just loves the trip with 9 wins and 6 further places from 26 efforts. Elsewhere, Paddy's Poem will like the ground and the bottom three on the card are carrying considerably less weight than their last win, but that's probably due to a run of poor form!

Pace could very well be the deciding factor here, because I've got in my head that controlling the race from upfront is the way forward, but let's check the stats, shall we?

Ah, yes, good to see I remembered something this week! Mid-division runners do better than average, but upfront is where you want to be for winners and based on this field's last four outings...

...my preferred quartet look very well positioned.

Summary

From quite early on, I liked Espoir de Guye, Native Robin, Pistol Whipped and Manofthemountain in alphabetical order and nothing has put me off. Sentiment wants the 12 yr old Native Robin to carry on winning, but up in class and weight again, I think the run stops here, but at a solid 8/1 (even with those paying 4 places), he owes me nothing and a small E/W bet is due. I'm also having an equally sized E/W punt on Manofthemountain who is as big as 10/1 in places.

This of course leaves Espoir de Guye at 4/1 (Bet365 & Hills) and Pistol Whipped (13/2 Hills) and as much as I'd love Pistol to hold on and win this, Espoir might just "do" him.

Racing Insights, Saturday 12/03/22

Our final free offering of the week is the Trainer Jockey Combo Stats (TJC) Report, which  brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

In addition to this excellent report, we also have the following free races of the day...

  • 1.40 Navan
  • 1.50 Sandown
  • 2.21 Lingfield
  • 3.00 Sandown
  • 4.16 Hereford
  • 5.25 Gowran Park

If I'm totally honest, I don't really fancy profiling any of the six free races for different reasons (quality/field size mainly), but thankfully my settings for the TJC Report...

...have yielded me two horses to consider :  one from course one-year form...

...and one from the course five year stats...

So, let's start at the 1.46 Lingfield, a 12-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ A/W handicap over a left handed mile and a half on standard polytrack, where top weight He's A Latchico looks like this on the card...

As you can see, he comes here on a hat-trick having raced and won ten days ago. He's a winner at 1m4f and has also scored here at Lingfield, but steps up in class today. The stats below his entry are self explanatory and are very encouraging and his geegeez SR figure of 83 is the best in the race.

He won a Class 6, 1m2f handicap here two starts/five weeks ago, running on well late on from a prominent position to win by a length and three quarters off a mark of 61, a figure raised 5lbs to 66 for his next/last run, another Class 6 A/W handicap, but this time at Kempton over today's 1m4f trip. Another prominent run saw him take the lead inside the final 2f and he ran on well again to score by 2.5 lengths and the manner of those two wins suggests that another 7lb rise still might not anchor him.

He was well down the field (10th of 12, 4.75 lengths) on his only previous crack at Class 5 racing, but that was here on the 3rd Jan over an inadequately short mile and coming off the back of a 14-month absence, so he probably needed the run, as shown by his figures of 411 since. That Class 5 race is the only blemish on a decent showing on Instant Expert...

As you can see, he's been drawn in stall 1, but without disputing the importance of the draw in A/W or Flat racing, I do believe it has less of an influence over longer trips, when horses have plenty of time to undo the draw. I'm ore concerned about them missing the break from whichever stall they're in. However, for full disclosure/clarity, here's how the draw stats look...

...and a low draw isn't a bad place to be, but it's a race that will surely lend itself more to quality/race tactics! We know that He's A Latchico has raced prominently in his two recent runs/wins, but according to the pace stats, that's not always the best approach...

Mind you, with an IV of only just shy of 1.00 (at 0.94), it's hardly disastrous. What it does tell us is that it's difficult to win here from off the pace and our pace/draw heatmap says this horse could have had a worse combination and based on the "green is good" mantra, he's not too badly off here...

*

Our second race takes place around 25 miles North West of Lingfield, where King's Knight will tackle the 7.00 Kempton, an 8 runner, Class 4, 4yo+ A/W handicap over a right-handed 7f on Standard To Slow polytrack...

Charles Hills' 5yr old entire was last seen competing in a £30,000 contest at Sakhir, Bahrain a little over three weeks ago when he finished third of sixteen runners, touched off by just a head and a neck behind Godolphin's 99-rated Silent Film who was completing a hat-trick that had started in a Class 3 handicap at Sandown last June, from which the runner-up has also won twice, both at Class 3.

King's Knight runs off just 86 here, so to get that close to a 99-rated was a great effort and when you consider that his best UK run was a runner-up finish beaten by a neck at Chelmsford off 87 in a Class 2, 7f handicap last August, you'd have to say that this was within him. That was only his second effort on the A/W, having previously won over 7f at Lingfield in a Class 4 contest, so we're not going to get too much info from Instant Expert...

...so although there's not much data to work with, we know that he can win at this grade/trip and if going to win, he's going to have to do it from stall 8 of 8, which isn't actually too bad a place to start from...

And from what I gather, whilst he's been over in Bahrain, he has tended to be waited with in mid-division for a run and that's how his second to last UK contest went too when narrowly beaten at Chelmsford, so in terms of pace score, I'd probably/tentatively say he was a "2", which could actually work out very well for him based on...

and

which suggests his pace/draw balance is as good as he's going to get here.

Summary

Two potential selections and I like them both. He's A Latchico seems to have everything going for him, ticks all the boxes and I've got him as clear best in race. Sadly, so do the bookies, but it didn't take a massive leap to get to that point.

I suppose the question here is whether you're comfortable at backing a horse whose best price at 4.15pm was 5/4. He's too short for me to want to get heavily invested, I was rather hoping for 2/1 or thereabouts, so I'll not back him even though I expect him to win. Others of interest here from an E/W perspective are Sea of charm at around 10/1 and Danni California at 12's, especially if your bookie pays four places, although Helian might be the biggest danger to the fav.

Not so clear cut at Kempton later, but I do still have King's Knight as my pick here, narrowly ahead of the likes of Gobi Sunset and Dashing Dick and a price of 4/1 is probably about right, so I'll have a small piece of that.

 

Racing Insights, Saturday 05/03/22

Saturday's free feature is the Trainer Jockey Combo Stats (TJC) report , bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

We also have a selection of free functional racecards on offer to non-Gold subscribers and they will cover...

  • 1.40 Navan
  • 2.55 Doncaster
  • 3.30 Doncaster
  • 3.43 Kelso
  • 5.15 Doncaster
  • 7.00 Southwell

My settings for the TJC report have generated the following for course 5-year handicaps...

and these for 1 year (anywhere) handicaps...

...but I want to focus on the free races today, because the two back-to-back Doncaster offerings are both decent-looking Class 2, soft (heavy in places) ground, 5yo+ handicap chases. The first is a 7-runner affair over 2m½f worth just over £15.6k, but I want to look at the 3.30 Doncaster, because it has 8-runners (better E/W possibilities), the trip is 3m2f (I love the stayers) and it's worth just over £28.6k to the winner, who'll have successfully negotiate 19 fences on a left-handed track and here are the runners...

We have three LTO winners on show here in the shape of Soyouthinksoagain, Powerstown Park and Le Milos. The latter is actually on a hat-trick and won in this grade LTO, making him probably the form pick as the other two are now both stepping up in class, as is Legends Gold. Cloth Cap, Mister Malarky and Storm Control, on the other hand are all dropping down from Class 1 (Lst, Gr3 & Lst respectively) action.

Mister Malarky makes a debut for his new handler here and it's his first run since a wind op. Storm Control is the only previous course winner, albeit at a trip 7f shorter than here, but he has also won over both 3m1½f and 3m2½f, whilst Cloth Cap, Undersupervision and Powerstown Park are winners at 3m2f, whilst Soyouthinksoagain has scored at 3m1½f. No real negatives from trainer/jockey form, so let's look at the horses...

CLOTH CAP
Won back to back Class 1 races last season, including his first run of 2021 almost a year ago. This season hasn't quite gone to plan for him and hasn't really seen races out properly and refused to jump the last at Ascot last time out. He is a pound lower than his last win, but has a poor record on soft ground.

LE MILOS
Switched to chasing at the start of 2021 and has finished 313211 since. He gamely made all at Sandown a month ago and was all out to hang on by a head, but now he's up 4lbs and this is 2f further than LTO/he's ever gone, which makes life tough, but he is 2 from 2 on heavy ground. Might have more to come?

MISTER MALARKY
A winner of 3 Class 1 chases (Lst, Gr3 & Gr2) in 2019/20, but his form since landing a Listed race in mid-December 2020 reads 73P050 and has been heavily beaten in each of his last three outings. Hasn't raced for 14 weeks now, so might need a run anyway and this is his first outing since leaving the Tizzard yard.

STORM CONTROL
Was more comfortable than half a length might suggest when winning at Newbury in mid-January despite idling on the run-in, a tendency that cost him next time out 10 days later, when throwing a 5 length lead away and getting caught in the last half furlong by Windsor Avenue in the Sky Bet Chase here over 3m five weeks ago. Up 4lbs and 2 furlongs here, will find this a tougher task and hopefully he'll be kept working to the line. Should that happen, he has every chance.

UNDERSUPERVISION
Will get the trip and loves heavy ground, but hasn't quite managed to reproduce his hurdling form over the bigger obstacles. He wasn't outclassed at Sandown recently but was still beaten by some 12 lengths and will need to improve to get involved.

SOYOUTHINKSOAGAIN
A reasonable hurdler (2 wins and 4 places from 11) who has really taken to chasing, finishing 2161 in four starts and on bare results, you'd give him a chance, but he's up in class, up 4lbs and is unproven on soft/heavy ground. I suspect he'll go well for much of the race, but find it a bit much when push comes to shove.

POWERSTOWN PARK
Has landed two nice victories at Hereford from his last three outings either side of being pulled up at Market Rasen on Boxing Day to get off the mark over fences, having won each of his last three efforts over hurdles last March. A gutsy likeable sort, who recovered from a couple of mistakes last time out to still win and although he's up in class and weight, the trip's no bother and better jumping might carry him through.

LEGENDS GOLD
Started the season well, finishing 332, albeit beaten by 11 and 14 lengths in the latter pair of those races. Didn't go at all last time out at Wincanton, though and was always struggling before being withdrawn 5 out. A 10-day break might not have been enough that day, but he fact remains that she's still only 1 from 9 over fences and despite receiving weight all round and liking soft/heavy ground, the sole mare in the field might find this too much.

Although this field have made the frame in 71 (46.1%) of their combined 154 previous outings, winning 36 (23.4%) of them, soft/heavy ground and a fairly lengthy (3m2f) trip often sorts out the wheat from the chaff, so we turn to Instant Expert for a breakdown of how they've fared under expected conditions...

...and this happens quite often in such races, one horse will have a far better record under the conditions than the rest of the field and I'm really interested in Storm Control at the moment from a win perspective. Let's look at the place results to see who might challenge...

Well, there's not really a lot there if truth be told. Le Milos and Legends Gold are probably the best of the rest, based on that evidence. If we revert back to Storm Control, his recent efforts suggest he fares best when up with the pace and might well decide to try and win this from the front...

...which based on the data from our Pace Analyser could well be the right tactic to employ...

Le Milos who scored better than most on Instant Expert is also likely to be in the ascendency early on, improving his own chances, as will Cloth Cap.

Summary

The three most likely to take it on, Storm Control, Cloth Cap and Le Milos are probably the ones to focus on here. I was rather hoping that Powerston Park would have a stronger pace profile, because I did quite like his chances p to that point, but I'm reluctantly setting him aside and hoping I don't rue the decision.

Of the three I am going with, it's hard to get away from Storm Control's chances here, he has ticked more boxes than the others all the way through and although he can be lazy late on, the better quality around him could just spur him on and based on that, I think that Bet365's price of 11/2 is quite generous and at least a full point more than I expected, so I'm on!

As for the other pair, I've little/nothing between them on my own ratings, but Le Milos is probably a better horse in better form and will get the ground more readily, so I'd say Le Milos beats Cloth Cap here for silver.

Racing Insights, Saturday 26/02/22

Saturday's free Gold feature is the multi-faceted Trainer/Jockey Combo stats (TJC) report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report has produced excellent results for users. Essentially, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’ and this report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

In addition to the free feature, we also full card/functionality for the following races...

  • 2.00 Fairyhouse
  • 2.05 Lingfield
  • 3.50 Newcastle
  • 4.00 Chepstow
  • 4.25 Newcastle
  • 4.35 Chepstow

On this occasion, my fairly stringent settings for the TJC report...

...have yielded no potential bets, so I'm going to take a look at the free list. The two Newcastle races look decent competitive affairs, but the earliest of the free UK races is the Winter Derby aka the 2.05 Lingfield,  an 8-runner (hopefully staying that way for E/W bettors), Group 3, 4yo+ contest over a left handed 1m2f on standard polytrack and it's worth a cool £62,381 to one of these...

You might notice that I've not gone with racecard nor draw order here, but with their official ratings, because they'll all carry 9 stone despite varying OR figures, meaning that Lord North is best off at the weights. All eight have won at the trip before, Fancy Man and Forest of Dean are course and distance winners (the latter won this race last year!), whilst Al Zaraqaan and Pistoletto have won here before too, albeit at 1m4f Polytrack and 1m turf respectively.

Son of Frankel, Barn Owl step up two classes for his yard debut for team Moore, but the change for Lord North is only in the name of the training licence, he's always been with the Gosdens, who have won each of the last three renewals of this race.

Lord North is six from 11 here in the UK (1/1 on A/W) and has already won Group 1 and Group 3 contests, which will make him a pretty warm favourite here. He was a winner at Meydan last time out, landing the Gr 1 Dubai Turf, but that was 11 months ago and he now tackles polytrack for the first time.

Alenquer won a C5, 7f maiden on debut in August 2020 and progressed quickly to a group 3 success over this trip at Sandown 10 months ago via a Listed class runner-up finish on soft ground (isn't it usually?) at Haydock. He then landed the King Edward VII (Gr 2) over a sapping heavy ground 1m4f at Ascot in June before signing off his UK season with a decent runner-up finish in York's Gr 1 Juddmonte just a year on from debut. He has run once more since and despite finishing ninth, he was far from disgraced 6.5 lengths behind the winner of the Arc in October and now makes an A/W debut.

Fancy Man has progressed nicely so far and in his last three runs of 2021 was a narrowly beaten runner-up in back to back Gr 3 contests over similar trips to today, before making his A/W debut here over 1m4f last September, going on to land a Class 3 handicap by half a length at odds of 4/11. He was then put back in the shed for 21 weeks, before emerging back here at Lingfield to comfortably land a Listed race over course and distance three weeks ago with the re-opposing Al Zaraqaan in fourth, some 2.5 lengths back. A similar run puts him right in the mix.

Forest of Dean went 1214110 in 2019, but then didn't race again until January 2021 after 478 days off the track, but managed to win this contest last year on just this third run back, enabling his yard to land a hat-trick of wins in this race from 2019. He didn't seem "at it" when second to last of twelve in the Wolferton at Ascot in June and it looks like he's second string to stable mate Lord North here, but would still hold hopes of being involved.

King of the South's A/W results have been impressive, with 6 wins from 13 do far, including 5 from 8 in handicaps under today's jockey, but here lies the danger of just looking at form numbers, because although his figures are good, he's 0 from 4 on Polytrack with all his best form coming on Tapeta, but he did finish second here over course and distance last time out. That was a 2.25 length defeat behind the re-opposing Fancy Man and although KOTS holds valid place claims, he's not expected (by me, anyway!) to reverse the placings from LTO.

Al Zaraqaan was also in that race, of course and was two places and a further quarter length back, but that was his first defeat in five A/W contests having already won here over 1m4f, at Kempton (over 1m3f twice) and Newcastle over 1m2f, In a lesser race, you'd be all over this lad, but he looks to be held by both Fancy Man and KOTS from the last race and if the former is his yard's second string, then Al Zaraqaan isn't winning this by that crude logic!

Barn Owl looks a decent handicap horse on the turf, but his record on the A/W isn't good yet at 0 from 3 and was only third of five at Kempton last time out, beaten by 3.5 lengths over 1m3f at Class 3. This is a much tougher ask up two classes and his yard debut could well be a baptism of fire. The assessor suggests he's far inferior to most of the others and I'd probably agree with his assertion.

Pistoletto completes the line-up and with 31 runs under his belt, he's easily the most experienced in the pack. he has finished a neat 141414 in his last six runs in the UK, landing handicaps at Classes 4, then 3, then 2 with the latter here over a mile back in November. He was then 4th of 10 on Class 1 debut in a Listed race at Kempton the same month and hasn't raced in the UK since, but has been seen three times at Sakhir, Bahrain finishing 12th of 14, 7th of 13 and most recently 10th of 11 in a Listed race. One of the weaker runners here for me.

This group have won an impressive 36 of 105 combined starts (34.3% SR) across their careers, but what about relevant (class/distance/course etc) form on the A/W? Instant Expert has the answers...

...where only Barn Owl has failed to win a race on standard going, although he has only had one attempt (Alenquer is on A/W debut). Forest of Dean won this race last year, but Fancy Man is also a Gr 3 winner and has a 100% record here : Al Zaraqaan and Pistioletto are former track winners, whilst all five to tackled the trip on the A/W have won at it, whilst Alenquer, Barn Owl and Lord North are 1m2f winners on turf, though.

Al Zaraqaan has stall 1 and King Of the South stall eight and whilst I'm not massively sold on draw bias in races of this length, it does no harm to check!

Based on the above, I'd be inclined to stick with my original thoughts, but would suggest that the numbers for stalls 2 and 6 were more down to luck than a bias. Stall 2 has easily the best numbers, but stall 6's poor win record is covered by the excellent place stats, which would tend to back up my erroneous theory. It's probably the case that pace will be far more informative...

...and what we want here is a horse happy to take the race on and set the tempo or sit in just behind but handy and based on recent efforts...

...that's going to suit last year's winner Forest of Dean more than his fancied stablemate, Lord North.

Summary

All decent horses, but some are decent Class 1 horses, some are just decent handicappers. There's nothing wrong with being one of the latter, but that doesn't win you Group 3 races and I think I agree with the handicappers that the winner should come from the top half of the card as I arranged it (in OR ranking).

I don't dispute that Lord North is as good, if not better than the rest, but for a horse unraced in 11 months and making a Polytrack debut, an odds range of 5/6 to 11/10 doesn't set my pulse racing and I think I prefer the claims of the 3/1 shot Alenquer. He had a really good UK season last time around and went well in the Arc. He hasn't been off the track as liong as the fav and he could well turn Lord North over here.

That leaves Fancy Man and Forest of Dean. Based on collateral form above and the latter's poor run last time out, I'd be leaning towards Fancy Man, but at 4/1 vs Forest of Dean's 12/1 ticket, I'm going to have a small E/W wager on last year's winner.

 

 

Racing Insights, 1st January 2022

It was nice to end 2021 with a few nice results, but now we turn our attentions to what will hopefully be a better year for all concerned.

Saturday's free feature is always the Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations and clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing : clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]
In addition to a daily free feature, we also have a selection of full free racecards open to non-Gold subscribers and with it being a busy day of racing, we've half a dozen free ones to consider...
  • 12.15 Cheltenham
  • 1.15 Exeter
  • 1.30 Fairyhouse
  • 2.15 Catterick
  • 2.18 Southwell
  • 3.10 Cheltenham
The last of those six interests me the most, so we'll take a look at the 3.10 Cheltenham. It's the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle where seven 5yo+ runners will go left handed over ten hurdles on soft ground. The trip is 2m4½f and these are the competitors seeking to land almost £40k...

Brewingupastorm is easily the best off at the weight based on handicap marks and is therefore probably the one to beat. A winner of three from four outings this year, including the Grade 2 National Spirit hurdle at Fontwell ten months ago, he defied a 212 day absence to win at Aintree last time out and although this is a tougher ask back up in class, he did win easily that day, but there are concerns over the yard's form after just 1 winner from 30 in the past fortnight (prior to Friday's racing, where both were beaten).

Guard Your Dreams has made the frame in six of his ten efforts over hurdles, winning five of them, including a Grade 2 success on this very track just three weeks ago taking his record here to 2 from 3. That was easily his best effort to date and more is needed here but he has already made the frame in a Grade 1 contest over this trip at Liverpool back in April and his trainer/jockey have excellent records here at HQ...

McFabulous is rated as being a pound better than when he won this race last season for his current yard/rider when the race was ran at Kempton. He has only raced twice since, finishing behind Brewinupastorm on both occasions by 5.5 lengths in the Gr2 National Spirit (they were 1st & 2nd) at Fontwell in February and then by 2.75 lengths in the Gr1 Aintree Hurdle (5th & 8th) at Liverpool in April. He seems to be held by Brewinupastorm on that evidence and a 268-day absence is another cause for concern, but he has had a wind op in that time and his trainer and jockey are both in decent form.

Dans Le Vent is only 3 from 21 over hurdles during the past 51 months, but has 2 wins and 2 runner-up finishes from 7 starts over the last 55 weeks, suggesting that the penny might just have taken a while to drop with him. His last three runs have seen him finish 2nd of 22 in a Gr3 at Aintree back in April, 2nd of 12 at Ffos Las in October after a 190-day break and he then won next/last time out, landing a 12-runner Grade 3 Stayers Hurdle at Haydock six weeks ago. He might not have the best strike rate of this field, but he's definitely on his best form right now.

On The Blind Side is a decent enough hurdler (5 wins and 5 places from 14) and was second in this event behind McFabulous last season at Kempton. It might well have been a different story had Cheltenham hosted the race, as he has two wins and a runner-up finish from three efforts over hurdles here. He was a valiant runner in a Gr2 at Newbury in November, but was only 6th of 8 beaten by 22 lengths at Ascot last time out, albeit in a Grade 1 contest. My concern here is that the trip won't be long enough for him, his last ten races over hurdles have been at longer trips than today with seven of them being at 2m7½f or further.

Indefatigable is now a non-runner, which is a pity, as she has a good record on soft ground, has dome well here at HQ in the past and has had enjoyed some good results at this level, winning a grade 2 just 2 starts and 2 months ago.

Stormy Ireland is a likeable mare who landed back to back Gr2 then Gr1 contests in Ireland back in April/May of 2021 before taking a six month break. On her return in late-November she was well beaten (36 lengths as 6th of 8) in another Gr1 at Fairyhouse. This is, of course, not quite as difficult on paper and she can be expected to come on for having had the run, but of her overall 8 from 21 record, she's 0 from 7 in the UK including four visits to Cheltenham.

Essentially, we've half a dozen quality horses here who could all land this based on their past performances, but Instant Expert can show us exactly how they score over the conditions they're expected to face here...

Field size is of no concern to any of these runners, they've all won their fair share of small filed contests and all bar Dans Le Vent have a good record at this trip. That said, aside from winning 3 of 7 in small fields, Dans Le Vent's numbers just don't stack up against the rest of them and I'm going to drop him from the reckoning here. The remaining five runners all have at least three blocks of green with both Guard Your Dreams and McFabulous only missing out on Class and Course respectively.

McFabulous has only raced here once, so it was always going to be 0% or 100% and his sole run here was a Listed Bumper over three years ago, so it's not entirely relevant. Guard Your Dreams is only 1 from 3 on soft ground, but did win his only start on heavy, so with rain forecast, he should be fine there and as for being 1 from 5 at Class 1, he has also been a runner-up at Grade 1.

A small field on a big wide track like Cheltenham might lead this to be a tactical affair and in similar contests here...

...we're advised that being held up isn't going to do you any favours, which would have been another nail in the coffin of Dans Le Vent's chances, had I not already discarded that one...

The likely favourite Brewingupastorm has been held up in two of his last three runs too and this might pose a problem for him here, but based on their last three outings there's a suggestion that four of them will want to make this a pretty pacy affair.

Summary

Brewinupastorm is best off at the weights, comes here in good form, but steps up in class, his yard are out of form, he might left wanting rom the back of the field and neither he nor his stablemates have a particularly good record here at Cheltenham. He's failed to complete 2 of 3 runs here and was unplaced in the other, whilst Olly Murphy's record isn't good at just 2 wins from 50 on this track, so at odds of around 11/8, I just can't back him.

That said, he seems to have the measure of McFabulous, who he has beaten twice and the latter will probably need the run after nine months away from the track. Stormy Ireland was well beaten last time out although down from Gr1 to Gr2 with a run under the belt, 36 lengths is till a lot (too much for me) to find. She's likely to set the pace, making herself a target for one of the prominent runners to aim at.

On The Blind Side loves it here at Cheltenham and ran a good race in this contest last season, but he's better suited to staying hurdles in my opinion and had this been three (or more) furlongs further, then he'd have been ticking plenty of boxes for me, but it isn't and he therefore doesn't, bringing us finally to Guard Your Dreams, who likes it here and has won at this level here. His trainer and jockey both have good records at this venue and the horse will relish underfoot conditions. Just as I don't see the fav justifying being as short as 5/4 in places, nor do I see why this one is as long as 5/1 in places.

I don't fancy Stormy Ireland or On the Blind Side under these conditions and I think McFabulous probably won't beat Brewinupastorm, which puts the fav as runner-up here at worst. And I think that's where I have him (just!) Guard Your Dreams makes much more sense at the odds, so I'll take the 5's on offer from Bet365/888Sport.

Happy New year everyone,
Chris

 

Racing Insights, 18th December 2021

Saturday's free GOLD feature is the rather splendid Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report has produced excellent results for users. Basically, some trainers will tend to turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

In addition to opening up this report, we also have our usual daily selection of free races, which consists of...

  • 11.40 Lingfield
  • 12.35 Navan
  • 12.50 Lingfield
  • 1.50 Ascot
  • 3.35 Ascot

As is often the case, my fairly stringent settings for the TJC report mean that I don't have a plethora of qualifiers, but my 5yr course handicap filter has two possibles, one of which runs in one of our free races...

...so it makes perfect sense (to me, anyway) to take a look at the 1.50 Ascot, an 11-runner, Class 2, 4yo+ Handicap Chase over 2m3f on Good To Soft ground. Our runners will go right handed to tackle 16 fences in a bid to win £13,008...

Of the eleven, only Dolos, Slate House and Guy are winless in their last few races, although the latter has hit the crossbar several times and Slate House looks the weakest on results alone. He's one of seven runners stepping up in class here with only Dolos, Diego du Charmil, Sully D'Oc AA and Guy having raced at this Class 2 level last time out.

The top three on the card (Dolos, Diego du Charmil & Sully D'Oc AA) have all won here before with Diego the only one of the three without a couse and distance win. Four others (Knight In Dubai, Palmers Hill, Slate House & Golden Whisky) however, have won at this trip in the past.

Financier hasn't been seen since winning at Hereford just over nine months ago, but his ten rivals have all had the benefit of a run in the past six weeks and Financier's layoff is a concern for me, as is the form of Dolos, Ornua and Slate House (especially with the latter pair stepping up in class).

In fact I'm going to be quite brutal here and omit those four from the equation right now, as we assess relevant form via Instant Expert...

It's good to see that all seven have some green on display, but the lack of Class 2 chasing success is the eyecatching stat for me, however closer inspection shows that both Diego & Sully have made the frame once at this level, whilst Guy has placed on both of his C2 outings. In fact, it probably makes sense to look at the overall Instant Expert picture from a place perspective...

...where Guy now looks very strong for making the frame, but the 17lb weight hike since his last win might be more than enough to stop him getting home first, whereas both Diego & Knight in Dubai run off marks lower than their own last wins. With regards to class, I should probably add that Diego has 2 wins and a place from 8 Class 1 runs, whilst Sully's C1 record has a win and a place from four efforts, so I'm now less concerned about their ability to run well at this level.

The final piece of the jigsaw from a Geegeez toolkit perspective is to look at how the race might be run and based off their most recent outings...

...I'd expect the pace to be set by the likes of Golden Whisky and Ornua. Palmers Hill is likely to run in mid-division with Dolos & Sully probably separating him from the leaders. Slate House's tactics are unclear, but Diego looks like he'll sit between Palmers Hill and the four (IMO) confirmed hold-up types, Knight In Dubai, Financier, Guy and Zhiguli.

But what's the best approach, Chris?

Well, our pace analyser says...

...which would seem to favour the likes of Sully D'Oc AA, Palmers Hill and Diego du Charmil from the seven I took to Instant Expert.

Summary

Of the seven runners I quickly narrowed the field down to, the ones catching the eye were...

Form : Palmers Hill & Guy
Instant Expert : Palmers Hill, Guy, Diego du Charmil and Sully D'Oc AA
Pace : Sully D'Oc AA, Palmers Hill and Diego du Charmil

Which essentially gives me four candidates with Palmers Hill ticking all the boxes. He's unsurprisingly the early bookies favourite (as of 4.15pm) and his odds of 7/2 are pretty much what I expected and I'll have a piece of that.

Of the other three, there's probably not much between them, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Guy's recent pair of Class 2 runner-up finishes will give him a slight edge, so he'd be my next best. He's available at 11/2, which is probably about right, but not long enough for me to go each way. Many bookies are actually paying four places here and my two remaining runners, Diego du Charmil and Sully D'Oc AA are both priced at playable E/W odds at 9/1 and 8/1 respectively and at four places, I'd be happy to have a wee punt on both.

I find/found it tough to separate the pair though, but with Diego now down in weight and having more Ascot experience, I'd probably side with him for third if pushed, but either could finish in the top three.

Racing Insights, 11th December 2021

Saturday's free feature is the fantastic Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report, which brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations. Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

And in addition to this report, we also have the following free races of the day...

  • 11.30 Fairyhouse
  • 12.05 Cheltenham
  • 1.50 Cheltenham
  • 3.22 Fairyhouse
  • 4.30 Newcastle
  • 4.45 Wolverhampton

The Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch trainer/jockey combo are in sparkling form right now and prior to Friday's racing where they have/had two runners at Cheltenham, the partnership had 7 winners and 4 further placers from just 19 runners over the past 30 days and with 2 more handicappers booked in at Cheltenham on Saturday, that's where I'm heading with this piece.

So, basically...

Both geldings will run in Good to Soft ground chases, the 6yr old Frero Banbou tackles an 8-runner, Class 2 affair over 2m½f worth just over £15,600 whilst the 9 yr old Cepage is entered into a 15-runner, Grade 3 contest over 2m4½f in search of a prize of over £74k!

Before we look at the individual horses, let's consider those 19 runners above, as they include...

  • 7 wins, 4 places from 18 over fences
  • 4 wins, 4 places from 14 male runners
  • 4 wins, 2 places from 10 on Good to Soft
  • 3 wins, 2 places from 5 x 6 yr olds (0/1 with a 9yo)
  • 2 wins, 2 places from 5 at Class 2 (1 from 3 at Class 1)
  • 2 wins from 3 over 2m4½f/2m5f (0/1 at 2m½f)
  • and 0/1 here at Cheltenham

Plenty of encouragement from those stats, so let's start with Frero Banbou in the 1.15 Cheltenham...

Frero Banbou has been improving with pretty much each run that has seen him finish 331443 over fences with his best run to date coming when 4th of 18 in the Grade 3 Red Rum handicap at Aintree back in April, which came despite a 13lb rise for winning a Class 3 contest at Sandown four weeks earlier. He didn't run again after that Aintree effort until reappearing in a Listed race at Ascot at the end of October, where he was 4th of 10 despite a drop in quality and a 2lb easing in weight. Since then, he has dropped down to this Class 2 level and was eased yet another 2lbs, but could only finish 3rd of 12, beaten by 8 lengths at Newbury a fortnight ago. He's back up a pound here and is still 10lbs higher than his win, which makes life tough, but he's certainly not out of it so far.

Based on relevant past exploits, Editeur du Gite would appear to be the one to beat, but without much green in evidence elsewhere, Frero Banbou remains in contention.

The pace stats here for this type of contest are as follows...

...telling us that the ideal profile is one that gets away sharpish and stays right on the pace throughout. Prominent runners do well for the place, but tend not to catch the leaders often enough, so let's see how this field normally run...

Well, again it's Editeur du Gite who's the one to catch again with a perfect 16 for front-running pace, whilst Frero might well end up mid-division here which won't really enhance his chances, despite his obvious ability.

*

Our second race is, of course, trickier with almost twice as many runners competing over further at a higher grade for much more money! So, here's the 1.50 Cheltenham featuring Cepage...

Cepage bears top weight here on his return from almost nine months off the track, during which time all bar one (stable mate Farinet) of his rivals have seen some action. For his part, he has made the frame in over half (10) of his nineteen starts over fences, winning four times, although he's only 1 from 9 at Class 1. He has a win and three places from eight runs on this track and gets on well with Charlie Deutsch. He was beaten by just over 10 lengths here last time out off a career high mark of 158 and is only eased a pound, so this is no easy ride for him, especially as he's 0 from 10 after more than a month off track.

...and his relevant form under today's conditions don't exactly scream "back me!", Siruh du Lac looks the one to beat, but his recent form is poor and jhe's certainly not the horse who finished 1131111 from Nov'17 to Mar'19, but if running like he could, who knows? Fusil Raffles is the only other without any reds (or blanks).

As for pace, it's a similar story to the earlier race, where the advice is to set the pace to get as close to the leader as you can. If, however, you can't get close, then hang back a but further and settle in mid-division for a late run...

And the runners' pace scores suggest that Cepage's stablemate Farinet is likely to set the fractions alongside the afore-mentioned Siruh du Lac, but with the latter finishing 7th of 8 at Class 2 LTO and failing complete his previous three runs, he'd not be one for me to hang my hat on...

Cepage looks like he's going to end up second rank (prominent) which isn't ideal and he's probably going to have to step forward a little or step back a bit.

Summary

I think Frero Banbou is good enough to make the frame in the 1.15 Cheltenham and there's not much between him and the likes of Amoola Gold or Cheddleton, but one of the three is likely to miss out, as I've got Editeur du Gite winning this on form, Instant Expert, pace and much more! So, my play here is EdG to win at 11/4. Frero is only 9/2, so I won't be backing him E/W either.

As for the 1.50 Cheltenham, I'm not keen on Cepage's chances at all, if I'm honest. Don't get me wrong, he's a good horse and more than capable of landing such a race on his day, but for me he's too high in the weights, would prefer softer ground, will probably need the run and won't be well positioned, so he's a no from me, even at 16 to 20/1. Based on the above, I like Fusil Raffles at 8/1 and I'd take a small E/W punt there, especially if I can get on with a firm paying five places. Midnight Shadow would be another possible at the same price, whilst Siruh du Lac could surprise a few people at 16's.

Racing Insights, 6th November, 2021

The Trainer/Jockey Combo Stats (TJC) report is Saturday's offering and it brings together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations.

Clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing. And clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

In addition to this excellent report, we also have the following 'free' races...

  • 12.15 Naas
  • 2.40 Doncaster
  • 3.20 Aintree
  • 3.28 Chelmsford
  • 4.00 Chelmsford
  • 5.30 Chelmsford

Based on my parameters for my TJC report , I've only one handicap possible for tomorrow...

...and with that being a 23-runner contest, I think I'll leave it well alone and refer back to the free race list.

Naas doesn't really interest me and the Doncaster race is the one featuring Alright Sunshine, which leaves us with a Class 2 contest over the jumps at Liverpool and classes 2, 4 and 6 at Chelmo. The NH race has just six runners, but the Chelmsford Class 2 has only four, so we're off hurdling in the North West and a competitive-looking 6-runner, Class 2, handicap hurdle for 4yo+ horses over 2.5 miles on good to soft ground. The top prize is a shade over £20,800 and it appears on the fixture list as the 3.20 Aintree...

Lisnagar Oscar and If The Cap Fits are both winless in their last five starts, but the other four are 10 from 20 between them. Martello Sky has won four of his last five but now steps up from Class 3, whilst his five rivals all ran at Class 1 (3 x Gr1, 1 x Gr2 and a Gr 3) LTO. All six have won at today's trip, If The Cap fits has also won here at Aintree over 3m½f, whilst both Wilde About Oscar and Summerville Boy are former course and distance winners.

All bar Martello Boy, who won three weeks ago, have been off the track for at least 7 months (10 for Summerville Boy) and the assessor rates the first five on the card as being within just 6lbs of each other, whilst the Geegeez SR figures also suggest this might be tight. The Skeltons (Wilde About Oscar) seem to be the pick of the bunch on course form with Brewin'upastorm leading the way on recent trainer and jockey form.

Brewin'upastorm bears top weight conceding at least 4lbs to the field, but has won four of eight starts in just over two years and is two from three over hurdles this year, having won a C2 hcp and a grade 2 race, both over 2m3½f before ending last term with an 8 length defeat here at Aintree over 2m4½f in a Grade 1 contest. That was a really decent effort and he's down back down in class, his yard & jockey are in decent nick and he should go well again here.

Wilde About Oscar has won four of six over hurdles to date, scoring in back to back C4 Novice events (inc one over C&D) this time last year before going on to land a Listed race and a C2 handicap in the spring. He struggled on his final run of the season, though, when 19th of 22, beaten by 49 lengths here at Aintree over 2m4½f seven months ago. This is easier, of course, but he's 2lbs higher than his last win which only came by three quarters of a length.

If The Cap Fits had a brief dalliance with fences last winter finishing 1232 at trips ranging from 2m5f to 3m4½f, but either side of those races, he has 8 wins and 2 places from 15 starts in bumpers/hurdle contests, winning 6 of 12 over these smaller obstacles, including a Gr 1 success on this very track. Was well beaten in two stayers hurdles at the end of last season, but the drop back in trip should help, he'll like the underfoot conditions and gets on well with his rider.

Lisnagar Oscar is probably the weakest in the field in terms of wins, having won just 3 of 18 starts so far, but he did win the Grade 1 Stayers' Hurdle at last year's Cheltenham Festival (Summerville Boy was fifth, six lengths back). defeats of 15 and 22 lengths followed that, though, before he was second in a soft ground Haydock Gr2 race beaten by just 0.75 lengths. Since then he has fallen at Cheltenham and been beaten here by 14 lengths. He has work to do here and I'm not sure the trip suits him either with 14 of his 18 starts being at 2m7½f to 3m1f.

Summerville Boy won this race last year off the same mark as today and although beaten in his three starts since, they were all at Gr2. That said, he's a dual Gr1 winner including the 2018 Cheltenham Festival Supreme Novice Hurdle and will look to start this season better than how he ended the last. He'll be happier if the expected rain materialises, as his best form is on soft/heavy ground, whilst the small field and his layoff are positives too : he goes well first up and should be a player here.

Martello Sky comes here with the best set of results showing 2 wins and a place from four bumpers and 4 wins from 5 over hurdles. The blot on her hurdles record was a 15 length defeat as 8th of 15 in the Gr2 Dawn Run Mares Novice Hurdle at this year's Cheltenham festival, but she did land a Listed race back at Chelts four weeks later and returned to action after a nine month break to win on handicap debut at Market Rasen three weeks ago. She's up a class and 9lbs for that win, but still gets weight all round. This would be a big step up for her, though and others might be better suited, but she does come from a yard with a great record at middle distances...

Six decent competitors here and whilst I wouldn't want to rule any of them out right now, I think that Martello Sky might not yet be at the level of the others and that Lisnagar Oscar might be weaker still, but we should examine their records under expected conditions first...

Such is the quality of this field under expected conditions, that Instant Expert doesn't highlight a winner or potential winner for us, but it does cast another shadow over the chances of Lisnagar Oscar. He's going to need to produce something special to win here, I think and our pace data tells us that...

...he's quite likely to try and do that from the front of the small field, but with the first four on that chart all having three paces scores of 3 or higher in their last four runs, the suggestion is that it might develop into a bit of a battle. That said, it has paid to be up with the pace in similar events here in the past, as seen below...

As you can see, I've slightly expanded the trip, going and field size parameters to give me more data to work with, but the inference here is that leaders win most often with prominent/mid-div runners filling the frame.

Summary

The fly in the ointment re: pace data is Brewin'upastorm. He's a far better runner than a Class 2 handicapper, has a good season last time around and his yard and jockey are both firing right now. I'd not be surprised if he isn't kept handier here and despite where he is on the pace chart, I want him in my final three, based on horse/trainer/jockey form, if nothing else.

I don't like Lisnagar Oscar's chances here for several reasons, so he's one of the three I'll discard here, which means I've two to pick and two to leave from four, starting with Summerville Boy. He won this race last year off the same mark, is a dual gr1 winner and goes well fresh, so he's definitely in.

Wilde About Oscar ended last season poorly and is now 2lbs higher than a win by just three parts of a length, so that's hardly promising. If The Cap Fits has a superb record over hurdles, but has been plying his trade at longer distances and might find this a little sharp late on, especially if he's towards the rear. Martello Sky might not quite be ready for this level of race, but she's in terrific form right now, gets weight all round and has the benefit of a recent run. Most of her wins might be at lower grades, but winning is a habit, of course.

That brings me to an alphabetical 1-2-3 of Brewin'upastorm, Martello Storm and Summerville Boy. I've already said that Martello Storm probably isn't quite there yet, so she's the one to miss out, but could still make the frame if one of the others falters and at 8/1, might be an E/W tempter for some.

As for my 1-2, I don't have much between them, but Summerville Boy won this last year, his pace profile is more positive and at 7/2 offers more value, so its Summerville Boy / Brewin'upastorm / Martello Storm for me.