Racing Insights, 3rd December 2020

No joy at Lingfield on Wednesday, I'm afraid. Arthur's Angel was forced very wide on the final turn effectively taking him out of the race, whilst Battle of Marathon looked like he was with too much to do late on and went down by less than a length. Such are the perils of hold-up horses, I suppose.

Thursday is, of course, a new day so I'll dust myself down and go ahead on a day where our free feature is the Instant Expert tab for all races, including the following full races of the day...

  • 12.22 Market Rasen
  • 2.07 Leicester
  • 6.00 Chelmsford
  • 7.00 Chelmsford

And of the four above, I think I'll take on the 2.07 Leicester : an 8-runner, Class 4, handicap hurdle for 4yo+ over 2m4½f on Soft ground worth £3,509 to the winner, who'll hopefully feature in my summary shortly, after we've considered the data available to us, starting with the racecard in saddle cloth/weight order...

Running a little late this evening, so let's go through the card quickly from left to right...

Positives : Gortroe Joe, Trans Express & A Distant Place
Negatives : Irish Odyssey, Aliandy & Unblinking : all three might need a run too after 266, 338 and 339 days off the track.

Gortroe Joe & Aliandy both drop down from Class 3

Gortroe Joe, Aliandy, Corri Lindo & Unblinking are all distance winners, whilst Trans Express is a course and distance winner.

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Positives : A Distant Place, Gortroe Joe, Aliandy, Known & Trans Express
Negatives : Corri Lindo. Also Unblinking starts for a new yard after even Nigel Twiston-Davies couldn't get a tune out of him over the last two years.

Positives : Irish Odyssey, Gortroe Joe, Aliandy, Known & Trans Express
Negative : Unblinking

Positive : Trans Express, Gortroe Joe & Corri Lindo
Negative : Aliandy, Unblinking, Known & Irish Odyssey

And based on that pros and cons list, I'll bid farewell to both Irish Odyssey and more obviously, Unblinking, as we move on to Instant Expert, the feature of the day, where the place results probably tell us a bit more...

...than the win only columns...

We already knew that Trans Express was the only previous course winner and he alongside Gortroe Joe are the ones that have shown some winning form on soft ground (Aliandy has failed to convert any of 5 placed runs into wins), whilst over trips of 2m2f to 2m6f Trans Express and Gortroe Joe once again tick more boxes than the others.

There's lots of red on the win graphic, but most of the runners fare well on the place element, so I'm only removing Corri Lindo at this stage, as he was on the edge after round 1. This leaves us with five ahead of assessing the pace/strategy of the race ahead...

The above data is based upon 27 previous races under the conditions I've selected. I've broadened the categories slightly to give me a bigger sample size to work with and from the look of the above, Trans Express might attempt to win it from the front, as 6 (22.2% of the winners) have done and the others may well let him get on with it in the hope of catching him late on.

Prominent racers tend to fare best, landing almost half of the 27 races and this could work for A Distant Place if he choose to keep in touch with the leader. Aliandy is a hold-up horse and although that tactic has been successful here in the past, he's 1 from 17 running that way, so the law of averages says he'll lose again from the back. Gortroe Joe changed tactics last time out and won from the front, so his position on the chart might be misleading, whilst Known seems to run differently every time, but to little effect so far.

Known didn't score greatly on the pros and cons and has yet to win a race, so he's a no for me, as is Aliandy with that 1/17 record. he was beaten by 37 lengths last time out ans is still only one pound lower in the handicap. His sole win came off a mark of 108 and has failed ever since off marks of 113 to 121 and runs off 119 today, a pound higher than Known.

And now I'm where I want to be : data assessed and a shortlist of three : A Distant Place, Gortroe Joe & Trans Express, all of whom have been ticking boxes as we've gone through the elimination process.

A Distant Place is interesting here on just his third start under Rules and on handicap debut. A respectable fourth on debut over 2m1f was followed by a good runner-up performance over 2m0.5f when just half a length behind the 5/6 fav Benson. Both runs were over short trips on Good to Soft, but I'm not concerned about trip or ground here, as he had one win and one place from three soft ground PTP races over three miles.

He'll have some running speed honed from those two short-distance efforts and if afforded an easy lead here might be hard to peg back and it's worth noting that trainer Jonjo O'Neill's handicap debutants are 8 from 35 (22.2% SR, A/E 1.35) since the start of 2019.

Gortroe Joe is one whose name I feel like I've typed a hundred times already in this piece, he won well last time out at a higher grade on soft ground over a similar trip to this contest and he was the best part of two lengths clear of the 11/8 fav First Lord de Cuet who has since reappeared in a one-length defeat at Class 2 off an unchanged mark of 126. Our runner here is up 4lbs but still only runs off 120 and if running to the same level as last time, would be the one to beat, especially if you consider he has previously won off 128 over both hurdles and fences.

And finally for today, we come to Trans Express, a 10 yr old gelding who had been out of sorts for a while but looked like coming back to form last time when third (beaten by 3.25 lengths) over an inadequately short trip at Exeter. He's a versatile sort who acts on most ground and has won four times at a grade higher than this. He runs off the same mark as LTO and receives plenty of weight from all bar one of his rivals here. Not an obvious winner, but definite place potential if nothing else as he's turned back quickly to avoid an imminent 2lb rise in weight.


A Distant Place, Gortroe Joe & Trans Express against the field for me. Trans Express might well try to win this from the front, but I suspect that Gortroe Joe might just race prominently again as he did to good effect last time out whilst A Distant Place will look to pick runners off on the way around. If the two do take up the pace, I think I'd want to be on Gortoe Joe and as Trans Express weakens, then A Distant Place would be the one benefit.

So, its GJ / ADP / TE as my 1-2-3 and 4/1 is a bit bigger about Gortroe Joe than I expected, which is pleasing. Sadly none are long enough to advise an E/W bet, but I'd be very surprised if my three don't include the winner.