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Racing Insights, 1st September 2021

Wednesday's free feature is the excellent Trainer Stats report which is, in fact, four reports in one. It contains information on a trainer’s recent form, and their longer term course form. For each of 14 day, 30 day, course one year, and course five year, users can filter by runs, wins, places, win profit/loss and each way profit/loss. In addition to this offering, we also have a selection of free racecards...

  • 1.35 Gowran Park
  • 2.10 Bath
  • 3.20 Uttoxeter
  • 4.20 Uttoxeter
  • 6.50 Hamilton

I have no qualifiers from my Course 5-year handicap settings on the Trainer Stats report and just this one on the course 1-year...

...and Yagan is likely to go off fairly short, so I'm not really interested. This sends me back to the 'free list', where I think the second of the two UK NH races lends itself best to analysis, so the focus here falls upon the 4.20 Uttoxeter, a 9-runner, Class 5, Novices Handicap Chase over 2m4f on good ground. It's for horses aged 4 or older and the first prize is £2,505.

The sharper-eyed amongst you will have noticed that September marks the return of the NH SR ratings on our cards for this Class 5 contest, which as the category suggests is hardly for in-form runners. There's not much recent form to shout about, but Brother Pat did win last time out, whilst Notnow Seamus was a runner-up and this 10 yr old is the only runner in the field to have won at either course or distance and he's done both at the time, although it was over hurdles. He's also down in class here and is the only class mover today.

Pens Man is returning from a four month break, but his eight rivals have all raced in the last six weeks and the assessor has this race as a 37lb spread between top and bottom rated, but Parisian Affair races from 6lbs out of the handicap. We've a few in-form yards/jockeys (14 30) and some with good course stats (C1 C5), four jockeys with a weight allowance and one four year old horse who'll get allowed 11lbs for that.

Notnow Seamus has 5 wins and 2 places from 11 efforts over hurdles, so he's no mug having won a Class 3 off a mark of 128 (107 here) and he's 3 from 3 here at Uttoxeter all at this distance or plus 0.5f, yet he's winless in nine starts over fences. He's down in class and weight after a 17 length defeat as runner-up LTO when he might have needed the run after 19 weeks off, so he should be closer here.

Dawn Raider is an habitual loser with a 1 from 40 record and 0 wins in his last 27 since July 2017, but ran pretty well at Bangor last time out to get within 9.5 lengths of the winner over a trip that was probably too sharp for him. This trip should suit him more and after being eased 3lbs by the handicapper, could be involved here.

Brother Pat is the only other horse (after those two above) in the field to have previously won a race and he landed the spoils at Market Rasen over 2m6f last time out on his chase debut. He'd be entitled to improve for having had the run and although raised 4lbs for that effort, there's every possibility of following up here under the same jockey.

Pens Man was beaten by 10 lengths on his sole run in a bumper and then went 0 from 8 over hurdles. He only got to within 20 lengths of the winner on one occasion when a 7.5 length runner-up a year ago and has failed to complete 2 of his last 3 outings, including falling last time out, which isn't great prep for a first crack at fences.

Billy The Squid also makes a chase debut here and despite being 0 from 14 over hurdles, he looked like he was going the right way earlier this year by finishing third in three consecutive outings with the margin of defeat decreasing each time, but his form has tailed off since. He gets an 11lb allowance here for his age and if the switch to bigger obstacles stokes his fire and he runs like he did in April to June this year, he's well weighted to get involved.

Le Pogues Storm has identical 0 from 8 records over hurdles and fences, but he did at least make the frame over fences two starts ago, when a 1.5 length runner-up at this class/trip at Worcester last month. He has won a PTP in the past, but seemed to run out of steam and unseated his rider LTO on his his first run for his new yard. Probably best left alone.

Begoodtoyourself has had 11 previous attempts to get off the mark over fences and his best run came three starts ago in early July when beaten by just a head over 2m1½f at Market Rasen and he has also made the frame in two of three efforts over 2m4f/2m4½f in the last 9 months at 12lbs and 13lbs worse off than today, so he could be a contender for a place here.

Hold Me Tight is a 40-race maiden (yes, 4o!) across Flat/AW/Hurdles/Chase contests, but has made the frame in 7 of his last 11 efforts over fences. That said, he really floundered at this class/trip at Worcester six weeks ago and has had a breathing operation since. These ops rarely have the desired effect first time out and mid-division is probably as good as he gets here.

Parisian Affair has tried 3 Flat races, 5 x AW, 4 x bumpers and 8 x hurdles without winning and hasn't even made the frame in any of those 8 efforts over hurdles. She was beaten by 51 lengths last time out and now makes a chase debut from 6lbs the wrong side of the weights. Hard to imagine her being involved here.

At this point I'm probably leaning towards the three with a win to their names (Notnow Seamus, Dawn Raider & Brother Pat) along with Billy The Squid (11lb weight allowance and some good runs this year) and possibly Begoodtoyourself based on form at the trip and a low mark.

The win side of Instant Expert isn't going to tell us too much, but it will highlight how often runners have tried and failed under today's conditions...

Notnow Seamus' excellent hurdles form is shown here with his wins all coming at Class 3/4, the trip is ideal for him too, but when we look purely at chase wins...

...only Brother Pat features. Some of these have had plenty of goes at winning : Hold Me Tight is 0/22 in Class 5 NH handicaps after all, perhaps his place figures are better?

And in fairness, they are with 9 places from those 22 defeats giving him a respectable amber for class and going. Pens Man, Le Pogues Storm and Parisian Affair still have nothing but red and again Notnow Seamus is the standout, based on hurdling form and now for chase places...

...Hold Me Tight looks a different animal, but he is out of form and on the way back from a breathing op, so maybe we shouldn't get too carried away with his numbers, but in one or two runs time, who knows and it's possible that I should keep him in the equation here a while longer?

We're advised that the best way to win races like this one is to dictate the pace from the front, as leaders have won 14 of 34 (41.2%) similar races and taken 21 of the 89 places (23.6%) despite making up just 16.1% of the 280 runners involved...

Mid-division runners have fared poorest of all, but the message is clear, try to get up with the pace.

Unfortunately, the field isn't stacked with runners who like to set the fractions. from each of the nine runners' last four outings ie 36 results, there are only 3 scores of 4 denoting a leader...

Pens Man has three scores of 3 or more, as does Begoodtoyourself, suggesting that they might the ones to take it on, especially the former. Notnow Seamus, Brother Pat and Le Pogues Storm have a couple of higher scores, but that's pretty much it for pace.

Summary

After I'd had a look at each runner, I said..."I'm probably leaning towards the three with a win to their names (Notnow Seamus, Dawn Raider & Brother Pat) along with Billy The Squid (11lb weight allowance and some good runs this year) and possibly Begoodtoyourself based on form at the trip and a low mark"...

Notnow Seamus showed up well on IE based purely on hurdles form and does OK on pace relative to the field.
Dawn Raider has placed frequently at going/trip, but would need to step forward from a hold up/mid-div position.
Brother Pat showed up on IE albeit off a small sample size and is expected to race quite prominently.
Billy The Squid was OK for places on good ground and is similar Dawn Raider on pace. He gets the 11lb allowance which is a positive, but a chase debut is a negative for me.
Begoodtoyourself has form at class and distance, goes off a much lower mark than his previous decent efforts and has shown a propensity to get involved early doors.

Based on the those snapshots, I'd have to say that I prefer Dawn Raider and Brother Pat for this one. If I'm entirely honest, I have very little between them on my own notes/figures, so I'll side with the one that I think might offer us more from a returns perspective, so it's the 4/1 Dawn Raider to hopefully shade it from the 11/4 Brother Pat.

As for the places, all three again could make the frame, but that 11lb allowance keeps nagging/chipping away at me, so I'll go with the 9/1 Billy The Squid as my E/W alternative to the front two.

Prices are as per Bet365 at 4.15pm, as the only book open. You might get better later.

Racing Insights, 3rd June 2021

No joy for us on Wednesday, but when the first four home in an eight-runner race are 10/1, 6/1, 6/1 and 8/1, I'm guessing not many people called it right in a contest where 10/1 was the highest SP. I don't like getting it badly wrong, but I'm mildly heartened when it's not just me!

Every Thursday, we make the Instant Expert feature on the racecard available to ALL readers for ALL races including, of course, our daily free 'races of the day', which are set to be...

  • 1.55 Leopardstown
  • 3.05 Leopardstown
  • 4.55 Ffos Las
  • 5.10 Uttoxeter
  • 5.15 Thirsk
  • 7.45 Thirsk

The best of the UK races from that list is the 5.10 Uttoxeter, a competitive looking 6-runner affair. We probably won't get a big price about the winner but it looks an interesting puzzle to unravel this Class 4 Handicap Chase over two miles on good ground. The top prize of £3,594 awaits one of this half dozen of geldings...

Although this is a National Hunt contest, we can still approach it in a similar manner to the Flat races we've been profiling more of late.

Form : We have three with wins in their last five outings with Cawthorne being the only LTO winner
Handicap Experience : All bar Tardree have raced in handicap company before now
Class : Chez Hans and Cawthorne step up from Class 5
Course/Distance : Twycross Warrior is the sole previous winner here at Uttoxeter, albeit over a different trip, but he has won elsewhere at this 2m distance, as have all bar Chez Hans.
Recent Runs : All have been seen recently in the last 18-27 days, so no layoffs to overcome
Trainer Form : Handlers of Tardree and Zuckerberg are going well, but Larch Hill's yard is unusually quiet
Jockey Form : Conversely Larch Hill's rider has a good Uttoxeter record, as indeed does the jockey aboard Twycross Warrior
Weights :  A fairly big spread here with Cawthorne carrying 16lbs less than Larch Hill!

Larch Hill does indeed head the weights and has 12 stones to carry here, but arrives here in peak form having finished 212 in three starts this year so far. Beaten by just a length and a quarter on his return from a 20-week break, he then went on to score by 5 lengths at his favoured Warwick before going down by just three parts of a length at this class over a furlong further on unsuitably soft ground at Stratford 18 days ago. He's only up a pound for that and now back on quicker ground at his preferred trip, you'd expect him to be in with a good shout of breaking his yard's current (0/21, but 8 top 3 finishers) cold spell.

Tardree is a former PTP winner who has made just four starts under Rules, finishing 2nd then 1st in two bumpers last year before running fourth on his hurdles bow just after Christmas. He was then rested for 130 days before returning to finish third over hurdles at Market Rasen less than four weeks ago and I find it interesting that he is being sent chasing so soon for a yard with a 25.7% strike rate in Class 4 handicap chases since the start of 2018 (18 from 70 at an A/E of 1.55).

Zuckerberg won four of eighteen in France over hurdles/fences, but is 0 from 9 in the UK one the A/W, over hurdles and chasing without even making the frame. His best UK run came LTO when he was 3rd of 7 at Sedgefield, but is now a pound higher as he drops back in trip by some 3.5f. Trainer, Jockey and Trainer/Jockey are all in good form, but I prefer others here.

Chez Hans' sole win came over hurdles at Leicester in December 2018 when he was quite lucky to be handed the race after the leader fell. Since then he has only raced six times in thirty months, failing to complete three of the six. His record this year reads PU5 and he was 5th of 9, beaten by 19 lengths last time out. He's up in class and has no form at this trip and at the moment looks like the worst of the six runners here.

Twycross Warrior has just completed 15 straight runs over hurdles and has run pretty consistently of late, but without winning. In five races since the start of last year, he made the frame four times and was then 4th of 12 last time out. His sole win came at this track/trip just over two years ago and now tackles fences for the first time at the age of nine. His jockey rides the track well and the horse's past form deserves respect, but I don't see him winning here first up.

Cawthorne presents an interesting conundrum here. He was last home of nine (bt by 148L!) in October 2019 and then failed to complete six (4 falls, 2 x PU) of his next seven before he surprisingly won a Class 5 hurdle at Market Rasen over 2m3f last September off a mark of 79. he followed that up by making the frame at Exeter 12 days later before taking a 197-day break. He probably needed the run when beaten by 34 lengths at Chepstow on St George's Day, but then switched back to fences to win by almost 5 lengths at Sedgefield last time out off a mark of 83. He's up in class here and some 11lbs higher and those facts along with his previous poor form allied to his trainer's poor (4 from 84 = 4.76% SR, A/E 0.55) record here at Uttoxeter since the start of 2018 puts me off somewhat.

That's a general overview of the runners recent history, but 'feature of the day' Instant Expert gives us a quick overview of past form under today's race conditions...

There isn't much data from the runners' previous chase contests, so I've also shown you their overall records in NH races and Larch Hill looks to be the standout here.

As this is a two mile chase, there are no stalls and subsequently no draw data to consider, so we'll move straight to the pace tab for race positioning...

I wouldn't set too much faith in the 25% strike rate for mid-division runners, as it's from such a small sample size and what I'd be taking from the above is that you really want to be up with the pace here at Uttoxeter. Leaders/prominent runners have won 14 of the 18 races and have taken 25 of the 36 places available. I wouldn't say whether racing in mid-div was a good or a bad thing, but I do know you don't win many from a hold-up position, although there's always a chance of making the frame, as fields often get strung out here at Uttoxeter.

So, do we have a natural pace setter or two here? Well, based on their last four outings...

...I'd be very surprised if chase debutant Tardree didn't set the fractions. This is clearly a successful tactic on this track, but it's also good for those tackling fences for the first time, as they get the clearest view possible of each obstacle. Whether he can create a big enough gap to hold on to, is the big question.

Summary

If Tardree takes to the fences, then he's of real interest here. His yard do so much better with their Clas 4 handicap chasers than in any other kind of race and I've no doubts that he'll have been well schooled. He has moved from 5/1 in the market to 7/2 whilst I've been typing (must type quicker!), but I think he'll have to play second fiddle to the top weight.

Once again, I have to make an assumption or two and hope that Larch Hill can carry 12 stones well enough and that he doesn't let Tardree to get too far ahead. His jockey (ST-D) is no mug, he rides this track well and is a prety good judge of pace, so it's Larch Hill at 11/4 for me here.

 

Racing Insights, March 20th, 2021

Last "Insights" or Worrall's Witterings for the week and to assist everyone, open access is granted to the Trainer /Jockey Combo report as well as the full lowdown on the following handful of races...

  • 3.00 Uttoxeter
  • 3.10 Newcastle
  • 3.20 Fontwell
  • 4.55 Newcastle
  • 5.15 Uttoxeter

The first of those races looks an interestingly open affair, so today's focus in the 3.00 Uttoxeter, a Class 3 handicap hurdle over 2m4f on soft ground. 10 runners compete for a top prize of just over £17k and they line up as follows...

Wilde About Oscar has finished 11P1 in four starts over hurdles so far and won a Listed race over 2m1f last time out, clear by over 7 lengths despite stumbling at the last. A run like that would suggest he's the one to beat here, but hasn't been done any favours at all by being handed a mark of 146 for his handicap debut and he might struggle to concede weight all round. That said, his trainer and jockey both have great individual and combined records here at Uttoxeter.

Rockadenn ran out when leading at Musselburgh last month on his yard debut for Paul Nicholls, but made amends by winning a Class 2 heavy ground hurdle over 2m1f at Taunton 25 days ago. Prior to moving to the Nicholls yard, he had been a very useful chaser in France with a 3 from 3 record, all over 2m2.5f/2m3f on very soft or heavy ground, so he shouldn't be found lacking in the stamina department here.

Mint Condition came in to form around this time last year when a runner-up, beaten by just a length and a quarter at Carlisle before finishes of 11412 with the last of those runs being his best so far, beaten by just a neck in a Grade 2 over 2m4.5f at Warwick in mid-January. He did, however, struggle last time out in another Grade 2, but that was over 3m1.5f and he now drops back in both class and trip.

Gustavian has never been out of the first two home in eight starts so far, winning three times from six over hurdles, including his last two outings. He now seeks a hat-trick after winning over 2m2f at Class 4 and 2m4f at Class 3, both on heavy ground. He's up in both class and weight, but won very comfortably last time out suggesting he still has more to give.

Winningseverything was a useful bumper horse, who is 2 from 2 over hurdles, albeit both at Class 4. Hasn't seen a hurdle competitively since the second win in early December 2019, but did have a crack at chasing back in October although his jumping let him down that day. He's likely to need the run and a two-class rise might be problematic.

Nickolson won on both his bumper and his hurdling debuts but has only raced four more times since then over the last 17 months and his hurdling form has got progressively worse due to a series of jumping errors. Was switched back to a bumper last time out to let him run without having to worry about the obstacles, but he could only finish 8th of 10.

Relentless Dreamer is now 12 yrs old and reverts back to hurdles for the first time since being beaten by 69 lengths at Punchestown in April 2015! He has won 5 of 28 over fences since then, but has only raced once in the last 16 months and at his age, long lay-offs aren't usually beneficial.

Illegal Model is a very lightly raced 7 yr old who won a 2m7f, heavy ground, Class 4 novice hurdle on debut in January 2020. He was then off track for just over nine months before a solid if unspectacular trio of handicap runs at this grade, beaten by 2.25, 6.75 and 5.75 lengths respectively. He's down in trip by 3.5f today, so might get a bit closer here.

Thibault is 4 from 19 across A/W racing, bumpers, hurdles and chases, but with three wins and three further places from ten over these smaller obstacles, it's fair to say hurdling should be his focus. He won back to back Class 4 contests at Plumpton and Hereford back in December, but unseated his rider before the last at Taunton. He kicked off february by winning a bumper and then ran really well in defeat in a big-field Class 2 event at Ascot last time out, finishing 2nd of 15 just 2.25 lengths behind another from Team Skelton. Unfortunately he's up another 4lb for that run, making this tough for him.

Dan McGrue is the last of the ten runners and I wouldn't be surprised if that's where he finishes. He stayed on gamely to win a Class 3, 2m4.5f handicap at Plumpton in early November 2019, holding off Acey Milan by three quarters of a length, but has been largely disappointing in six starts since including some heavy defeats of 84L, 117L, 30L, 19L, 13L and 37L last time out and now he's up in class here. I can't see him being involved at all, I'm afraid.

*

All ten runners have won at least once in the past and collectively they are 31 from 116 (26.72% SR), which is a decent return, but I'm only really interested in how they've fared under similar conditions to today over hurdles and for this, we have our trusted Instant Expert...

...which has a decent smattering of green for us to consider and only Illegal Model looks out of place there, but we should remember that many of these horses haven't performed as well recently as they have in the past and 12-month form is as follows...

...where the ones with multiple greens might be the ones to have in mind in a race where previously front runners have struggled with 18 such runners failing to win any of 14 races. Horses running in mid-division have fared best followed by hold up horses...

...so the question is how will these ten approach the contest. We obviously don't know the answer to that, so we make an educated guess using past performance, which tells us that on average they run like this...

There's no obvious front runner here, but clearly at least one of them will have to set the pace and based on averages, Winningseverything looks likeliest, although Thibault did lead when winning a bumper two starts ago. I think the first three on that graphic will attempt to make the race, which will probably be their undoing, whilst none of the other seven look too disadvantaged by running style.

Summary

Plenty here with chances, it looks a decent / open contest and you could make a case for most for them, but based on what I wrote about each of them and also their recent form, I think I want to be with the four who looked best on Instant Expert's 12-month view.

That's means that alphabetically I'm with Gustavian, Mint Condition, Rockadenn and Wilde About Oscar. The latter will be very popular amongst those who only look at the numbers and will be pleased to see (a bit harsh?) 1411P1, but being asked to carry a mark of 146 on handicap debut is a big ask and I fear that the weight and his running style will be against him here, so he's the first discard of the four.

Of the three that remain, you could argue that Gustavian's consistent top-2 finishing is even better form and he looks a progressive type and I think he's the one I'd one to be on here with Rockadenn my marginal preference for silver over Mint Condition.

So, I've got them as Gustavian / Rockadenn / Mint Condition / Wilde About Oscar. Do you agree? The market has the same four, but Gustavian is only third fav at 6/1 behind Wilde About Oscar (who I said would be popular) and Rockadenn.

6/1 seems more than fair about Gustavian, so that's where I'd want to be for this one.

 

Racing Insights, 16th October 2020

On Fridays, the Horses for Courses report is free to all users, so let's take a look and see if there's anything of interest, shall we?

Obviously you can set your own parameters and the lower the required Win Strike Rate, then the more qualifiers you'll have, but I want to look at these with a record of 1 in 3 or better who have made the frame in at least half of their course appearances to see if they're likely to improve upon the figures shown.

I've merely arranged them in time order with no other reasoning and let's consider each in turn starting with Fact Flow...

On the plus side, this 11 yr old gelding has two wins and a place from six handicap chase efforts on this track, he has won twice in eight starts under today's jockey Robert Dunne and is two from seven in the lower prize funded Class 4 contests.

He is now running off a mark some 10lbs lower than his last win and despite this being a 17-runner contest, he did win a 16-runner affair here over 2m6.5f in 2018 and was placed third in his only previous effort over course and distance.

However, he has no win in ten since scoring here over 2m4f back in November 2018 on good to soft ground and is 004 on soft. He has never won beyond 2m6.5f, has never won after more than four weeks rest and comes here having been soundly beaten by a combined 92 lengths in his last three contests.

Next up, we have Everyhouronthehour...

We've the bonus of an in-form (14) jockey with a good course record (C5) aboard this 4 yr old gelding who has finished 521419 in six starts here at Dundalk.

He recently won over a mile on turf at Gowran Park and ran a very good race as runner-up off today's mark at the Curragh, also over a mile when last seen almost three weeks ago.

In addition to that, he has finished 14191 when sent off shorter than 5/1, so the market seems to be a good judge of his chances, he has a win and a further place from three runs wearing a tongue tie and was a winner on the only previous occasion that Colin Keane was in the saddle (at Gowran two starts ago).

The downside is that he hasn't even made the frame when dropped into a 7f contest, finishing 059 with the last two of those coming here at Dundalk, but he does like to press on, so that might help here. He was a creditable second off today's mark of 62 last time out, but that's 5lbs higher than his previous highest winning mark.

And finally, we turn to Castle Quarter at Newcastle...

This 4yr old gelding is 13137 here at Newcastle, all over 7f and tries a mile here for the first time. He was only beaten by three lengths last time out when seventh here and has now been eased a couple of pounds in the weights.

He has won at this grade and is one from two under today's jockey David Nolan whose C1 icon signifies a good record on this track over the last year. It's interesting to see a return to cheekpieces after wearing blinkers for his last five runs, but he has run well with the 'pieces in place previously, finishing 183.

There is however a doubt that he doesn't "get" further than seven furlongs, having to failed to win any of his four attempts, but he does like this track and this might represent his best chance to win at a longer trip so far.

Summary

I personally feel that today has been a very worthwhile exercise in reinforcing the Geegeez message that you have to use stats as a starting point, but look beyond them before making a final decision.

On face value, the Horses for Courses report suggests we've three "live" chances for Friday, but my personal opinion is that you should leave all three alone : I'm certainly doing just that.

Fact Flow isn't getting any younger (I feel and share his pain) and probably won't have many more bites at the cherry, but if connections feel he's one more win in him, then the recent wind op will need to be a miracle worker. He's bang out of form and 33/1 for a reason. I'd expect him to finish nearer the back than the front.

Everyhouronthehour on the other hand is more than capable of winning, so why won't I back him? Well, taking 11/4 about him in a 14-horse contest doesn't float my boat from a value perspective, especially when ou consider he hasn't won at this shorter trip and is at a career-high mark. I think I'll pass, meaning he's likely to win!

And Castle Quarter is unproven beyond 7f and has only one win in ten at this grade. If there was such a thing or horse, he's a Class 5.5 runner or plain Class 6.  This is too much for him off this mark.

Punting Angles: Uttoxeter

After a recent focus on some of the UK’s All-Weather courses it’s time to adjust the radar to a little bit of National Hunt racing (I’ll return to the remaining AW tracks of Wolves and Lingfield in due course), writes Jon Shenton. For this edition, I’ve chosen the Staffordshire venue of Uttoxeter to focus upon, the reason being that, based on a quick query (run in Query Tool), this course has hosted the most races in the last few years. More races equals more data, and more data sometimes equals better inferences.

Uttoxeter is probably best known for the second longest race in the UK calendar, the 4m2f Midlands National. The course offers a year-round jumping programme, with 25 scheduled meetings per annum. The summer jewel in the crown is the prestigious and valuable Listed race, the Summer Cup.

Course Map

The course is left-handed and relatively sharp in nature.  It is seemingly synonymous with punishing winter ground meaning the track has a reputation for suiting stamina-laden types. Although, given its relative sharpness, speed is possibly an undervalued commodity, especially on the typically firmer ground during the summer. A single circuit is approximately 1 mile 3 furlongs in length, with an unusual kink in the back straight.

 

Uttoxeter Trainers

We start, as usual, with a perusal of trainer performance as a way into developing betting opportunities at the track. The table below shows the record of each yard that has had 50 or more runners at the track since 2012, at a starting price of 20/1 or shorter, and with a minimum of 10 victories over that period.

 

There is some promise in these numbers, with the trio at the top of the list possessing phenomenal records at the track. The IV data confirm that runners from these stables are approximately 2.5 to 3 times more likely to prevail than the average at this venue, and all at a healthy margin, based on A/E or plain old profit and loss.

The Sue Smith, Evan Williams and Harry Fry data also would merit further investigation should time and word count permit, which it doesn’t for this edition, sadly! 

Warren Greatrex

For Warren Gretrex, things aren’t quite as rosy as they might seem from the headline figures, as will become clear below. Firstly, it is notable that his yard hasn’t had a single winner at the course at odds above 10/1. I haven’t shown workings but if you can take that on trust, of the remaining 78 runners we get the following profile by splitting the info by calendar year.

 

 

As can be seen, performance has dipped in 2018, and thus far in 2019. In fact, there was not even a solitary placed animal this year until Elleon won on the 16th November at a welcome SP of 15/2. [As was noted in this article, the Greatrex yard suffered a big dip in fortune last campaign, and will hopefully revert to type this term].

Any projected angle from this high-level data comes with a wealth warning then. Taking the overall data at face value, 24 winners from 78 runs, a strike rate of over 30% and a reasonable return all appears to be a rock-solid no-brainer. But two victories from 22 over the last couple of years removes some of the lustre of the overall picture.

Of course, it’s possibly attributable to the usual variance and randomness (as could the over-performance of earlier years be) given the acutely small sample size. It’s the beauty / challenge / pointlessness of using data such as this to base punting on depending on your viewpoint.  I’m firmly in the beauty & challenge camp if that’s not clear enough already.

Presenting the data differently gives an alternative view.  The graph below shows the cumulative return if you had put a £1 win single on every Greatrex runner with an SP of 10/1 or shorter at Uttoxeter since 2012.

It’s not a bad picture is it? In the context of the overall numbers the relative downturn in 2018/19 of 2/22 winners doesn’t look too damaging. The key question is, what is going to happen from today onwards? Clearly nobody knows for sure, but I’d be inclined to treat this data positively, at least for the time being, and especially in light of the recent winner.

However, if that’s not convincing enough, by looking a bit deeper under the surface there are opportunities to potentially improve the chances of success and lessen the risk based on historical data.

The table below shows track performance by the race code/type data for the yard at the course.

 

Did you spot it? One of those lines is very striking indeed! Chase numbers are fine; hurdle data are competitive, but not micro material. However, the National Hunt Flat race data is exceptional and irrefutably worth tracking. Sadly, for us, the aforementioned Elleon delivered the goods recently meaning a good betting opportunity was missed. The SP of 15/2 is the largest priced winner in the dataset just to add a little bit of salt to the wound!  It does mean that for angle purposes a cap of 8/1 on SP will be used for Uttoxeter runners.

The Greatrex bumper (NHF) record at Uttoxeter is particularly strong, so it is a sensible step to check if the yard performs well in such races generally, or particularly at the Staffordshire venue. Analysing results by course suggests there is some definite further interest.  The below table offers insight:

 

 

There is no doubt that performance is strong at the top four listed tracks, arguably five if including Ffos Las. A/E’s of the quartet at the head of the table are all above or equal to 1.22, a nice benchmark.

Is it interesting or coincidence that it could be argued that the top three are all geographically close to the trainer's base (in relative terms)?  Or is it interesting that all the high-performing tracks have similarities in being left-handed sharpish constitutions? Indeed, all of the top five are left-handed circuits.

The absolute, sacrosanct rule on angle building is that every filter used to compile the angle is explainable and must make at least some degree of sense. I am aware enough to recognise entirely that the above conjecture may be stretching that point, but I have the gut feel that there is something worth noting here. Probably more based on the track layout similarities than location; after all, Lambourn to Uttoxeter is a bit of a schlep.

However, I’ll be watching Greatrex bumper entries at these tracks with great (and probably financial) interest over the coming months.

Incidentally no winners have been delivered at SP’s of greater than 15/2 in this data. While that’s risky and arguably somewhat convenient, for pure angle building I’m only going to consider those runners at 8/1 or shorter (but will personally monitor all).

 

 

The bottom line is, as always, that it is your call how - and indeed if - to play:  the numbers presented are factual, but whether they are strong enough or reasoned enough for you to part with your hard earned is your choice. Caveat emptor!

Suggestions

  • Back Warren Greatrex horses at Uttoxeter in NHF races where the SP is 8/1 or shorter
  • Take note of all other Warren Greatrex runners at 10/1 or shorter at the course
  • If you feel so inclined, track or back Warren Greatrex runners in NHF at SP’s of 8/1 or shorter in races at Warwick, Stratford and Bangor in addition to Uttoxeter

Dan Skelton

It’s hardly new news that the Stratford-based operation has a prolific and rewarding record at the not-too-distant Staffordshire track; however, it’s always worth delving to establish if any deeper insights can be attained. The first port of call in this instance is by market price (it’s usually the first item I look at), and in the case of this intel there is some enthusiasm for a deeper dive.

 

 

The data tell us that  shorter-priced animals outperform the market in terms of A/E, IV and profit (look at that 5.3 IV for animals sent off shorter than 2/1!), whilst the entrants who start at prices of 11/2 or greater just about hold their own. Shorter priced the better, then.

If a lower SP is counter-intuitively a good thing then analysing performance based on market position is a sensible step.  There may be an angle containing the favourite, rather than just short priced animals.

 

An odds rank of 1 relates to the favourite, 2 is the second favourite and so on.  It is crystal clear that a Skelton jolly at Uttoxeter is a very serious contender, with over half of them delivering, and recording an A/E of 1.29 to boot. Impressive stuff at such apparently such short prices.  It proves that there can be value when fishing at the top of the market on occasion.

Obviously, knowing whether a horse is going to start at the top of the market is a bit of guesswork if you generally back the night before or early on the day of the race, but invariably you win some, you lose some and such things even themselves out over time.

Suggestion: Back Dan Skelton horses at Uttoxeter when they are positioned as SP favourites

 

Dr Richard Newland

Third on the trainer table is Dr. Richard Newland. The former GP and Grand National-winning trainer (2014, Pineau De Re) has an impressive record at Uttoxeter. However, focusing on the time of year gives a lot of clarity regarding when the real spotlight on his runners should occur.

The graph illustrates the volume of Newland runners at Uttoxeter, as well as the number of winners.  There’s a pronounced focus on summer jumping at the track, particularly in the months of June and July.

This table shows the same data in more traditional format, with the usual supplementary info, as provided by geegeez.co.uk's Query Tool:

Admittedly, highlighting summer jumping prowess at this point in the year is terrible timing, but it’s worth keeping in cold storage until the warmer temperatures return to these lands. Again, Query Tool is your friend!

The summary version of all runners from May-Sep (inclusive) results in the below output.

That’s good enough but further optional sharpening could be attained as there is no runner that has won at odds of greater than 15/2 SP, albeit only from nine attempts (three of which placed).

I get a strong impression that there is more to find with this trainer. From a relatively small number of horses in training this is a yard worth tracking closely and getting to know in closer detail.

Suggestion: Back Dr Richard Newland horses at Uttoxeter over the summer months (May-September) at odds of 15/2 or shorter

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Distance nuggets

As ever, let's have a quick hack around some of the race dynamics at the course.

Hurdle races – 2 miles

I’ve concentrated on hurdles primarily due to the volume of data; the chases are a little sparser in frequency so harder from which to draw even moderate conclusions. Initially, then, let's pick up the two-mile distance for larger field sizes (nine or greater) the following profile is generated:

The table illustrates the Impact Value (IV) performance of horses by the various underfoot conditions and by pace profile. The column “races” simply contains the number of races that relate to those going descriptions. This is included primarily to demonstrate the sample size of each data set so you can draw your own conclusions to the relevance when assessing a race.

The data clearly shows that front end pace is important and it’s better to be at the head than biding time in the relative back positions. This is a general truism for all races on all goings at all courses.

There is a suggestion that racing prominently is of greater importance as the ground becomes more testing, with the strongest two numbers in terms of IV relating to leading in Soft (1.81) and Heavy (2.55) conditions, abeit on smaller sample sizes. Making up ground from the cheap seats is tough in all conditions, especially so in the sticky stamina-sapping Staffordshire mud.

 

Hurdle races – 2m 4furlongs

The data for the two-and-a-half-mile trip is reasonably similar to it’s shorter two-mile counterpart, namely that leaders and prominent racers are generally favoured. The green-tinged data is on the right-hand side of the table where the speed is, the redder/orange numbers relating to horses who are ridden patiently is towards the left. There isn’t the same profile in terms of front-running mudlarks getting an even better time of it, perhaps stamina becomes of greater importance than track position over the extra half-mile. Irrespective of reasons or rationale, backing a horse that is likely to be in the leading ranks seems a sensible approach when assessing a race at this distance.

 

Hurdles - 3 miles

Finally, a focus on the longer distance of the 3-mile trip. The first thing to say is that there are fewer races at this distance, but there is no doubt that based on the information available, the box seat seems to have shifted towards the prominent racers, not the horses who cut out the running.

Whilst the front runners perform perfectly well on average, it seems logical that to lead without cover for this longer distance is a more difficult proposition. The low sample sizes do not help, but there is a flavour of it becoming increasingly difficult to make all as the ground gets more testing.

Broadly speaking the optimum position is tucked in nicely behind the leaders; however, based on the overall sample sizes it is not a strong conclusion. Taking the good ground data (where there is the biggest sample, 71 races) the pace profile is relatively flat in comparison to some of the numbers we’ve seen on other tracks. However, caution is advised on likely leaders in deeper underfoot conditions.

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I hope that is of some use to you over the winter and beyond. Forget the Derby, I’m already looking forward to Dr. Newland at Uttoxeter next summer!

- JS