I was right to oppose the 11/10 favourite in Tuesday's race (2nd) but my main selection was 3rd and the winner was Bay Of Naples who was well enough bred for the surface but hadn't shown enough (in my opinion) in his previous course and distance run to be of interest.
Once again on Wednesday all registered free users of Geegeez have full free access to Geegeez Gold – all racecards, tools and reports are free until the end of Friday.
So with the every race to choose from it seems best to play safe and go for an all weather race with the winter weather putting plenty of jumps fixtures in doubt at the minute. The race of most interest on Wolverhampton’s card is their 4.40pm, a class 5 handicap over 6f.
First let’s rule a few out from calculations who are out of form or badly handicapped. Harbour Project’s best run to date came in a course and distance maiden in July but in three runs to date he hasn’t really shown enough that he’s capable of defying a mark of 60 on handicap debut. Big Impact has finished nearer last than first in all four appearances since racing resumed in June and similar sentiments apply to Red Alert who hasn’t run particularly well for over a year. Sepahi has beaten just one rival home in his last three runs.
Little Red Socks’ best two runs to date have come in her two starts here. She won on debut here in March and then had two poor runs elsewhere before finishing 3rd here off a mark of 67 (runs here off 64). She then had a wind op and hasn’t run well in two starts since. Her chance completely depends on this course bringing out the best in her once again but stall 12 is a concern, course and distance runners coming out of stall 12 have the worst PRB of any stall (0.45). The second worst PRB is stall 11 and a very high draw here is not good so she’s probably up against it even if she does bounce back to form.
Final Frontier ran well here in 2nd two starts ago but reverted to type next time out (again here) by running moderately but as if in some sort of form. He’s got a chance here on some of his form but his best runs have generally come when ridden positively, which he hasn’t been recently. If betting in running it’s worth checking what early position he takes up but it’s a leap to back him for win purposes ahead of the race.
Turanga Leela won two races seemingly out of nowhere recently before a poor run at Southwell (course debut). After her most recent win she was pushed up to a mark of 70 an all her wins in the past three years have come off marks between 57 and 65. In fact she’s been beaten on her last 24 runs off marks above 65 so she’s another who looks an unlikely winner.
Gold Brocade was 2nd on two recent runs at Chelmsford but was well below par when trying to make all at Kempton last time out. She’s run twice here at Wolverhampton off this sort of mark and although not beaten far in either race (2.5 lengths and 3.25 lengths), she was 5th of 9 and 7th of 9 respectively and probably isn’t seen to best effect here.
If all the above are going to struggle to win that probably leaves one of the likely four favourites in this as the most likely winner. Steelriver is a bit of a legend here having won at Wolverhampton seven times and finished runner up on a further five occasions from twenty six runs here. In fact he’s been in the places on half his runs here. His last six runs here have dented that stat somewhat though as they’ve all here and he hasn’t placed in any of them, although he was beaten 1.5 lengths or less in three of them. He’s back down to his last winning mark and his recent close 4th has been advertised since with the 3rd winning on his next run. He’s certainly a strong contender dropping down in class but he does need a decent pace to aim at.
Inevitable Outcome is interesting based on several angles. She’s 2lbs above his last winning mark in September but has the capable services of Laura Pearson on board claiming 7lbs. At the time of writing she has won on 5 of her last 13 rides that have started at 8/1 or less and she’s well worth her claim. The horse was 2nd here off a 1lb higher mark in September and ran well in 4th last time out over course and distance last time out against a pace bias. The jockey isn’t the only one in form. The trainer has won 8 of his last 34 runs and is producing an A/E of 1.88. Another runner with a clear form chance but another that will want a good early gallop.
Araifjan has placed in all five starts here so a not so strong effort at Lingfield last time out isn’t a concern. On his last run here he was just behind a subsequent winner and was 2.25 lengths in front of Steelriver in receipt of 5lbs. Today the 3yo is getting 2lbs from that rival so is weighted to confirm form. Both his wins have come from the front and the difference between him placing in this and winning this could be an uncontested lead.
Thowq is a slight unknown, making his handicap debut in this after just five previous runs, all over an extra furlong for previous trainer William Haggas. The trainer change report shows that Marco Botti isn’t one of the best performers over the past five years with horses making their debuts after moving yards.
He has just a 13.33% strike rate and a WIN PL of -9. He run creditably here in the past and based on that form behind Sunset Kiss his mark of 70 is a fair one but he’ll almost certainly have to improve after the stable change or for the drop in trip to win this and he’s less convincing than the tried and trusted Steelriver, Inevitable Outcome and Araifjan.
Let’s have a quick look at the pace map for this.
A lowish draw and being closer to the pace is likely to be an advantage here. There should be a decent pace on with Araifjan and Gold Brocade likely to go forward.
Araifjan, Inevitable Outcome and Steelriver are the most interesting trio by far in this and the winner is likely to come from one of the three. It would be no surprise if all three are in the first three or four home.
Gold Brocade is arguably the horse that holds the key though. She’s led early on two of her recent runs, including the only one for this jockey, but is often happy taking a lead. If she allows Araifjan to get an easy lead then Araifjan is by far the most likely winner of this. If she takes Araifjan on early in the race the pair could end up setting this up for Inevitable Outcome and Steelriver.
Inevitable Outcome is arguably the best single play in this race assuming he’s a bigger price than Araifjan and big enough to back each way. If Araifjan was backable each way (probably won’t be) he’d be the more interesting bet.