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Racing Insights, 24th May 2021

I suggested that Que Amoro would be the biggest danger to Liberty Beach at Haydock on Saturday, but she was a non-runner eventually and Liberty Beach got home by a neck, but was always holding the runner-up.

Monday heralds the start of a new week and rather than give everyone free access to a specific report, we give full free access to the racecard pace tab to ALL readers for ALL races including, of course, our free races of the day, which are set to be...

  • 2.00 Wolverhampton
  • 2.20 Ludlow
  • 3.20 Ludlow
  • 7.45 Windsor

I fancied a crack at the Windsor race with it being a 5f heavy ground sprint, but there are only 5 entered and the short-priced fav looks like winning it. The two races at Ludlow are a maiden hurdle and an apprentices race, so almost by default, I'm going to tackle the 2.00 Wolverhampton, a 10-runner, Class 5, A/W Handicap for 4yo+ over 1m6f on Standard Tapeta worth £2,862 to the winner, who will be one of these...

Half of the field have a win in their last five outings, half the field are also class movers with Bad Attitude and Juriste dropping from Class 4 and Stormy Night, Dynali and Thawry all stepping up from Class 6. Only Bad Attitude, Thawry and Stormy Night have won here before and the latter is the one to have won over this trip and he is also a course and distance winner.

Of the ten runners, six are aged just four and the field have hardly been prolific in the past, making the frame in just 28.8% (47 times) of their combined 163 outings, going on to win just 9.2% (15) of them. The SR ratings suggest Bad Attitude is well clear of the pack, although two runners don't have a rating due to a lack of recent relevant form.

The Dancing Poet struggled on soft ground at Nottingham last time out, but now returns to the all-weather for the first time in 15 months, since he was beaten by just a short head over 2m0.5f here at Wolverhampton meaning he has made the frame on both visits to this track and today could well be three from three.

Storm Chaser is a bit of an unknown quantity, as she makes a handicap debut, a yard debut and a UK racing debut all at once. She hasn't raced for 278 days since finishing fifth in an 8-runner maiden at Clairefontaine over a similar trip to today, but on soft ground. I'm told she was pretty one-paced in the closing stages, going down by eight lengths. To be honest with you, I don't know enough about her, so I'd have to just give her a miss for now.

Trinity Girl won at Chelmsford back in November (C5, 2m), but has been beaten fairly convincingly in four starts since and went down by 16 lengths at Kempton (C5, 2m) 19 days ago. I'm not sure a drop back in trip helps here either as I suspect she'll be in the second half of the results list.

Aldrich Bay won over 1m4f at a lower grade at Lingfield just before Christmas and ran a decent race in a first-time visor at Chelmsford almost four weeks ago at this class/trip when only just held off by a neck. He's only up a pound for that run and could be prominent again here.

Bad Attitude hasn't quite lived up to his performances in late 2020 where he ended the year with a run reading 22311. All five runs came at Class 6, but after the turn of the year he stepped up to Class 5 and dropped in trip to 1m2f, which is probably his best distance to tackle. He clearly has ability, but 1m6f might be too far and he's still higher than his last win, which was here back in December.

Stormy Night won here over course and distance two starts and five weeks ago when he made all and stayed on strongly to win by more than three lengths off a mark of 58. He was raised 5lbs next/last time out just ten days later and was a runner-up over two miles on soft ground at Chepstow and although he was beaten by six lengths that day, he proved his stamina by being 12 lengths clear of the third placed horse. He's up another 2lbs for that run, which makes life harder, of course, but he's definitely one to consider, especially with the in-form, course specialist William Buick booked to ride.

Juriste was third of seven here over course and distance at a higher grade four starts ago at the start of February and is now 8lbs lower than that run after three admittedly dire performances that have seen him finish 8th of 12, last of 6 and most recently last of 9 tailed off by 94 lengths at Thirsk. The run here in February off 8lbs higher says he could have a big part to play, but recent form is so bad that I'd not want to risk it, unless he was a massive price for an E/W punt.

Beat The Breeze completed a hat-trick of class 6 A/W wins over 1m2f and 1m4f in his last hree outings of 2020 and also made the frame as a runner-up in successive outings in March/April. I'm happy to overlook his 15 length defeat at this Class/trip 16 days ago on soft ground, as his A/W record is better than most in this field and he definitely has place potential for me.

Dynali has made the frame just once in ten starts, finishing third of nine, beaten by more than five lengths at this trip in a lower grade Chelmsford six months and five starts ago. Has been racing over longer distances since, but I'm not convinced a tapeta debut over a shorter trip is the key to getting him to win, despite a career-low mark. He's a Class 6 horse at best.

Thawry is a previous course winner (C6, 9.5f), but hasn't won any of 18 races since scoring at Southwell last October over 1m4f. He's still 4lbs worse off than that run and although he's only carrying the weight of a small child (8-8) here today, I still think he's overburdened.

If the above was all I had at my disposal to make a decision about this race, the first thing I'd do would be to eliminate Dynali, Juriste, Thawry and Trinity Girl based on what we already know about their pasts. I'd also be discounting Storm Chaser because of what I don't know!

Thankfully I and all Geegeez readers do have more to go at, so let's turn to Instant Expert for past relevant form. I already warned that this field don't win (or even place) often enough, so I'm not expecting the win element of IE to yield too many clues and that's why I think it's beneficial to start with place form first...

Backing up my initial post-analysis thoughts, Juriste, Thawry & Trinity Girl look weak whilst Storm Chaser has no relevant data. Dynali's numbers look better than expected, though. And now to the win data...

...which gives me a sneaking suspicion of where my attention should be focused : those with green!

The four with the green blocks above aren't sadly all drawn together, they're strung a cross the track in stalls 1, 4, 7 and 8 and to see if that has any bearing on the result, let's quick check the draw stats for similar past races...

And in graph form (it's the blue line we're interested in) from previous 10-runner handicaps...

The inference here is pretty clear, you can win from any stall, but stall 1 isn't the advantage it can be at other tracks and that stalls 5 to 8 seem to be the best place to be. This data isn't great news for Aldrich Bay, but does seem to favour Bad Attitude and The Dancing Poet from our four "greens". That said, this race is a mile and three quarters long and the draw has plenty of time to either take effect or even be negated depending on the horses' running style(s) and in similar previous contests...

...prominent racers with an IV of 1.02 set what looks like "par" from a win perspective, but are easily the best place to be to make the frame. Hold-up horses outperform par by some 23%, whilst leaders and mid-division horses have struggled. Leaders seem to either get swallowed up by the prominent runners or end up tiring late on and become susceptible to the fast finishing hold up horse who has conserved energy for the final dash to the line.

With the above in mind, you're probably thinking that you now want to be on a hold-up horse drawn in the higher half of the draw?

If so, you'd not be far wrong, but for the vagaries of deciphering what is mid (4-7) and high (8-10) in a 10-horse field. Our next task is to see how our runners have raced in their previous outings and how that lines up with the heat map above...

...where I suspect that Dynali in stall 10 and Beat The Breeze in stall 9 will tack across towards the rail and try to remain ahead of Trinity Girl and Stormy Night. Whether they'll have to expend too much energy to do that is open to debate, but the heatmap doesn't advise that tactic and the graphic says that The Dancing Poet and Thawry have the best of the pace/draw make-up.

Summary

In low quality races like this featuring unreliable/inconsistent runners (9.2% strike rate, remember?), it's often not a case of "who ticks all the boxes?" but more a case of "who has the least red crosses next to their name?" And with that in mind, I'm looking at Aldrich Bay, Bad Attitude, Beat The Breeze, Stormy Night and The Dancing Poet as my "division 1" if I was to split the field in two.

From that five, it's pretty easy to discount Aldrich Bay from my winner-finding perspective. He's badly drawn, doesn't have a good pace profile and ultimately looks out of it on the pace/draw combo, leaving us with four.

So, who's not making my tricast list? Well, there's not much between Beat The Breeze and Bad Attitude for me, but I think that not only does the former shade it, he'll probably offer more value with the bookies.

And the winner is... Again, a tight call, but I prefer The Dancing Poet marginally over Stormy Night, he's well drawn, has the right pace profile and has ran well here before. Plus like my choice for third place, I suspect he'll offer more value at the odds.

Over to the bookies... my 1-2-3-4 is The Dancing Poet to beat Stormy Night and then Beat the Breeze to beat Bad Attitude. My pairings are fairly closely matched and the bookies have them at  13/2 & 11/4 and 25/1 & 12/1, meaning I've ended up with the longer priced pick of each pairing.

I'm happy to back The Dancing Poet at 13/2 and I may well have got this wildly wrong, but I'm going to have to back Beat The Breeze at 25/1 e/w. The lattr really is a bet to nothing based on what we know.

Racing Insights, 18th May 2021

Tuesday's 'feature of the day' is free access to the Shortlist report, which quickly flags up horses running in conditions they have excelled in on previous occasions, whilst our free-to-all 'races of the day' will be the following...

  • 1.55 Wolverhampton
  • 3.10 Sligo
  • 4.00 Nottingham
  • 4.55 Huntingdon
  • 5.20 Sligo
  • 6.45 Limerick

Those who watched Matt's webinar the other evening will have heard him say that you should be selective in the races you look at. It's a case of "each to their own" and as such, I'm not a fan of races of 12 or more runners, I'm not overly keen on Irish racing and I really don't like maiden hurdles, so I've narrowed the six free races down to just one, the first on the list.

Thus, today's piece is about the 1.55 Wolverhampton, an 11-runner, Class 6, A/W handicap for 3yo's over 5f on standard tapeta. The prize money is £2,322 and here's how they'll line up...

Only Aish, Sparkling Perry and Swooper have won any of their last five runs and the first two of those three are dropping in class here, as are High Security, Nagasaki Dream and Moonshiner. Anjella hasn't raced for seven months, but the other ten have been out in the past six weeks. High Security's trainer is the only one with a positive course marker (C5), whilst both Ooh is It and Anjella will have jockeys proven on this track. The Neural SR ratings suggest a close contest between Swooper, Ooh Is It and High Security.

Aish produced her best run to date when landing a 5.5f handicap at Brighton almost three weeks ago, just doing enough to stay ahead without over exerting herself. She had run well 16 days earlier to only go down by 1.25 lengths after a nine month break, so she's clearly in good nick. Up 4lbs here, but down in class and she does have the benefit of a prior tapeta run, albeit at Newcastle.

High Security is still a maiden after nine attempts, but was only beaten by 2.5 lengths in a big field handicap last time out. The ground was too quick for him that day and this slower surface should appeal more. Down 5lbs and down in class, he might not get a better chance to get off the mark.

Ooh Is It has only raced five times so far and ran pretty well last time out, making the frame at Chepstow over 6f, losing a place in the final furlong. Eased a pound and dropped back in trip, he looks sets for another decent showing.

Sparkling Perry might well run in the 4.55 at Redcar on Monday, where I'd expect her to struggle, but based on her past form, she's likely to struggle everywhere. She won a Class 5 Novice race at Doncaster over 6f last June but has been beaten by 28L, 12L, 4.5L and 18L in four races since. Not for me.

Nagasaki Dream was third here at this grade over 6f two starts ago and went down by 4.5 lengths over the same trip at Newcastle last time out when stepped back up to Class 5. Now back down in class and eased a pound, he might well fare better, but I don't see him winning. Place chances at best?

Swooper was a winner three starts ago at this class/trip on the polytrack at Chelmsford, but is 7lbs higher now and doesn't have a 7lb claimer to call upon either, which would make this a tough task. He's effectively 2lbs worse off than when losing by almost seven lengths at Lingfield four weeks ago and will need improvement and/or some luck to get involved here.

Spirit of Heaven makes just a fourth career start here after failing to make the frame in three novice contests going down by a combined 30 lengths, before finishing 9th of 10, 8 lengths off the pace over this course and distance on handicap debut a fortnight ago. Hard to see a 3lb drop in weight bringing about enough of an upsurge to become competitive here.

Moonshiner has a similar profile to the horse above. Little sign of prospect in three Novice races and then 7th of 12 on handicap debut at Windsor three weeks ago. Also drops 3lbs and comes back in trip, but I'd not want to get too involved with her.

Anjella has a few more furlongs under her belt, but she's hardly set the world alight either so far, failing to make the frame in any of her seven runs to date. She was only beaten by three lengths last time out, but she's effectively 2lbs worse off here and makes little appeal to me.

Nacho produced his best result when second here over course and distance last time out. That was a fortnight ago, when beaten by a length under today's jockey, but he's 3lbs higher here and it's always tough for a loser to improve carrying more weight. I'd expect him to go well again, but without troubling the judge.

Red Walls carries bottom weight here off a lowly mark of just 48, probably because he has ade the frame just once in eleven attempts. Four of his last five runs have been here over course and distance and the margins of defeat have been 4.5L, 3.5L, 6L and 4L. He tends to race prominently and get headed with a furlong or less to travel and mid-division is probably the best he could hope for here.

We don't beat about the bush here at Geegeez and we try to call things as they are and this is a pretty poor race for some pretty poor horses. That said, three of them will make the frame and many of them will be well off the pace. The quality of the race never affects those two facts. So, I'm still trying to find a winner, but I'm getting rid of four I don't like at this stage, meaning the end of the road (for me, anyway!) for Anjella, Moonshiner, Sparkling Perry & Spirit of Heaven.

Removing the four I don't fancy makes the field a more manageable seven runners, but as they've only two wins between them, we're better off looking at their place records via Instant Expert...

The standout bits of data there for me are Ooh Is It's record at this grade and High Security's numbers over this trip. Swooper seems to have had plenty of tries without much success and Aish is too lightly raced to make a judgment call.

The draw stats here say that stalls 1 and 2 perform best and then there's a steady decline the further away from the rail you are, until a boost for stalls 9 and 10. I think the win percentages might be a little anomalous, as the overall place stats for those two draws aren't as noticeably increased, but there definitely seems to be a bit of a dead spot for centrally drawn runners.

From a pace/tactics perspective, the advice here is simple...get out quick and stay in front!

Quite simply, the further back you race, the less chance you have of winning and so when you consider that low or high draws fare better than those in the centre and that leaders win far more often, you'll not be surprised by this...

Those drawn on the outsides and try to lead win most races and the further back you sit, the harder it is. And when we look at our runners' most recent efforts...

We see that Aish's run profile is excellent, but she's poorly drawn in #6.
High Security isn't too badly drawn but would have to work hard from mid-division
Ooh Is It is well drawn from a win perspective and races prominently, as does Nagasaki Dream but from a place angle.
Swooper isn't that well drawn and will be too far off the pace for my liking.
Nacho is drawn well to place, but sits too far back, whilst red Walls prominent racing style is useful, but the draw isn't good from stall 7.

Based on the above, I think I'm taking Aish, High Security and Ooh is It to the final analysis.

Summary

It's a Class 6 contest on the A/W in peak Flat season, it's early in the day and the field have precious little previous success between them, so it's inevitable that we're looking for the least poor of the bunch rather than a standout candidate. I think the three I've taken stand a very good chance of containing the winner, but all have questions to answer.

There's probably very little between them in all honesty. Aish is in good nick, drops in class and likes to lead. if she gets far enough clear, she could hold on, but she's got top weight. High Security is consistent and is knocking on the door, but never wins whilst Ooh Is It looks suited by the drop in trip, has course specialist on board and has a good draw/pace make-up.

So with all that in mind, I'll Ooh Is It to catch and beat Aish, with High Security back in third. At 4.40pm, only bet365 had opened the book and they go with my trio at 4/1, 7/2 and 10/1. The price on my pick is fair, but I might also be tempted with a 10/1 e/w punt on High Security.

Racing Insights, 24th April 2021

Well, Friday's race didn't exactly go to plan as two of the favoured runners were the last two home. The money came for Frankie Dettori and Waldkonig and it proved to be a shrewd move as the 6/4 favourite won by a length and a quarter, giving Frankie yet another Class 1 winner.

Now to Saturday and the last "Insights" of the week. To help us, we offer full access to the Trainer/Jockey Combo Report and our free races are as follows...

  • 1.45 Limerick
  • 2.55 Limerick
  • 3.40 Sandown
  • 4.30 Leicester
  • 4.45 Doncaster
  • 5.25 Sandown

And I'm going to look at the couple of qualifiers on my 5-year course handicap Trainer/Jockey Combo Report, because they both run in the same race. It's the 6.15 Wolverhampton, a 10-runner, Class 5, A/W handicap over 1m1.5f on tapeta worth £2,862.

Here's the snippet from my report...

and here's the racecard for the contest...

As you can see, our featured horses are ranked first and second on the Geegeez Speed Ratings, but Rain Gauge is officially rated 3lbs higher than his rival.

Rain Gauge is a lightly raced 3 yr old with just two runs here over class, course and distance and two at Lingfield over a mile. The mile seemed too sharp fr him at Lingfield and his best work has been in the two previous C&D runs here, when he finished third on both occasions, showing an instant adeptness for the Tapeta surface. The winner of the second of those two runs, a Sea The Stars colt, has won again since and remains unbeaten.

Technically, this is a tougher ask for Rain Gauge and he hasn't received any favours with a mark of 72, so you'd think he'd need a significant improvement to get involved here, but the truth is that this isn't that good a race and it wouldn't look out of place at Class 6. A bonus here is the form of the yard in general, James Tate has never been prolific, but his horses are making the frame in more than half of their races of late and they have a 25.5% strike rate in handicaps here since 2016.

Spirit of Rowdown won over a mile at Chelmsford last November and has raced exclusively here at Wolverhampton to good effect since, finishing 113241, but all over a furlong shorter than today. He recently returned from an eight-week break to run a career-best victory here off a mark of 64 (his Chelmsford win was off 46!). All his best work was in the closing stages of that contest and he loved string at the finish. I'd not be surprised if he ran even better now stepped up in trip, even with another 3lbs on his back.

Instant Expert will also paint Spirit in a very positive light, I'd have thought...

Obviously, as this is a Racecard only open to Gold subscribers, I'm not going to replicate the whole field's records, but what I will say is that only two other runners (more on them later) come close to our featured runners' place records, whilst Spirit of Rowdown's win numbers are easily the best on offer here.

Our two are drawn fairly close together in stalls 3 and 5 and I'd suggest the central stalls are the best place to be, which is good news for Rain Gauge...

When we looking running styles and the way these 10-runner contests tend to unfold here at Wolverhampton, we're advised that the best place to be is just off the pace without being held up too much. Our prediction here is that one runner might attempt to win it from the front, but that hasn't really proved successful in the past from either a win or a place perspective...

So, we've said the central stalls have proved most successful and a central-ish race position has been the best place to be. Therefore it won't surprise you to see that when we put pace and draw together, we get...

...clearly highlighting what you were probably already thinking. All we need now is a prediction on how we think our runners will break from their respective stalls and then overlay that onto the heat map above. So, based on our pair's last four runs, we have...

...Rain Gauge with an excellent pace/draw make-up from that central stall. Spirit of Rowdown's chance would improve if he stepped forward a little and he has been know to occasionally race more prominently than that graphic would suggest, so he's not out of it.

Summary

I really like Spirit of Rowdown here, despite the extra furlong and the 3lb weight rise. He's the form horse in the race and looked like he wanted further last time out. He's not badly drawn in reality and loves it here at Wolverhampton and at 4/1 with Hills, he's my pick here.

So, what of Rain Gauge? Well, I like him too back here at Wolverhampton where he has shown he likes the course and distance. His stablemates are running well, his yard have a good record at the track, he's well drawn and should take up a really good position in the race. I'm surprised he's 14/1, so I'll have to have an E/W punt there too.

Do we want/need a third runner for possible trifecta purposes? I mentioned earlier that there were only two others that interested me for the places via Instant Expert and they are the 8/1 shot Where You At and the 11/2 Lochnaver. They were fairly closely matched during my analysis, but I think that's the order I want them in here.

Racing Insights, 20th April 2021

On Tuesday, we open up the doors to the The Shortlist report to all readers and this is a quick overview of a selection of horses that have fared well under similar conditions in the past. Like ALL of our reports, they're a starting point for further research/analysis and NOT a list of horses to back blindly. I know most of you are on board with that, but it's good to add clarity from time to time!

In addition to free access to a different feature every day, we also make a selection of races fully available to ALL readers each day and for Tuesday, they are...

  • 2.50 Epsom
  • 3.20 Epsom
  • 3.55 Epsom
  • 4.10 Yarmouth
  • 5.50 Wolverhampton
  • 6.20 Wolverhampton

And I'm going to focus on The Shortlist report today, because there's an 8-runner race at Wolverhampton featuring three horses from that report...

A rudimentary first glance at the above suggests Margub / Corvair / Young Fire would be the pecking order here, but more analysis of what those colours actually mean is now needed, yet I'm not going to open up the full card etc here, as that would be unfair to our paying Gold subscribers, but I will assess the merits of each of these three runners and suggest whether they might be worth backing.

To do this, I'm going to start with Instant Expert, as that effectively puts The Shortlist report into numbers as well as colours (the % parameters are slightly different between the two features, but you'll get the gist of it)...

I'm not going to try to teach any of you how to suck eggs here, as the beauty of Instant Expert is that it's so self explanatory, especially when directly comparing a small number of runners. Once again, Young Fire is the worst of the the trio, but Corvair edges it on this occasion, not withstanding Margub's great figures in this size of field.

Now to their details from the racecard for the 7.20 Wolverhampton, an 8-runner, Class 3 A/W Handicap over 7f on Tapeta worth £6,019...

Margub looks to have had the best recent run, but the other two drop in class here. All have won over course and distance as, you'd expect, of course. Margub and Young Fire have raced in the past three weeks, but Corvair has had almost three months off and their Geegeez ratings of 71, 84 and 83 equate to 7th, 3rd and 4th respectively of the eight runners.

Young Fire was a course and distance winner (1 win and 1 place from 2 over C&D) here 13 races ago back in early February 2020, but that remains his only A/W win in 10 efforts. He has however won 2 of 6 Turf runs since that C&D success and it could well be argued that he's better on that surface, particularly on soft ground.

He was twelfth home of fourteen runners last time out, when beaten by 6.5 lengths over 7f on the Polytrack at Lingfield last time out (18 days ago). In his favour is the drop in class here and a reduced mark of 96, which is the same as his last win (Redcar, C3, 7f, soft) back in October. Has ability, but seems out of sorts and I don't see him winning here.

Corvair is 1 from 1 here at Wolverhampton, courtesy of a Class 4 handicap victory here fifteen months ago off a mark of 86 and that was the middle run of a 67-day hat-trick of wins. He has struggled since his mark was elevated into the 90's and was last home of nine, beaten by 25 lengths at Jebel Ali last time out, almost three months ago. He's down in class here, but I'm thinking that a mark of 93 is still too much for him and he might well need the run after not having raced in the UK for 10 months.

Margub has only been to Wolverhampton once in the past, when scoring by 3.5 length at class, course and distance almost two years ago and he has only raced three time since, due to a long lay-off. He did, however, race just 14 days ago and ran very creditably in a 1.25 length defeat despite having been off track for 21 months.

He can be excused for getting beat that day, as tiredness played a part as he'd led until the final half furlong before getting caught by two fresher rivals both in receipt of 10lbs from him. He goes off the same mark here today, but now receives weight all round and could well improve for the run.

Based on the write-ups, I'd put them in this order : Margub / Young Fire / Corvair

Draw

The draw stats for similar 8-runner handicaps here are as follows....

And whilst there's not a massive draw bias at play here, you probably don't want to be out wide in stalls 7 or 8, which doesn't bode well for Corvair in #8, but the other two go from stalls 1 and 5, so they shouldn't be too inconvenienced here.

Pace

As for the pace/race tactics at play on contests like this, we've found that as with the draw, there's not actually a massive difference in the four Geegeez running styles. Leaders win roughly as often as expected (IV = 0.97) whilst Prominent/mid-division runner win approximately one sixth more often than expected and that at the expense of hold up horses who win a sixth less often.

Pace & Draw together

With high draws faring worst and prominent/mid-division runners faring best, it's no surprise that mid-drawn mid-div runners scored really well and our unique heat map below cross references all four running styles with all three sectors of the draw to show a dozen combinations as follows...

and we can then look at how our trio have raced in their last four outings and superimpose their running styles onto that pace/draw heatmap as follows...

To be honest, none of them are really well positioned, but Young Fire could step forward a little to improve his chances and maybe Margub could be a little more restrained in his approach. In fairness, without giving too many Gold secrets away, only Gobi Sunset in stall 2 has a really good pace/draw make-up and he might well tow Young Fire into the contest.

Summary

I'm going to do this in two brief parts, starting with how I see them finishing. Based on everything above, I think Corvair is the weakest of the three, whilst Margun should have the beating of Young Fire.

Secondly, do I feel Margub can win or is worth backing? Margub could win, but I think it's unlikely, he's probably going to have to settle for a place at best behind the likes of Arafi, who looks "big" at 9/2 and the well drawn and afore-mentioned 11/4 fav Gobi Sunset. Margub is currently (4.50pm) priced as short as 3/1 and that's (a) a bit shorter than I expected and (b) far too short for a place only or E/W bet for me.

Racing Insights, 29th March 2021

Monday heralds the start of a new week and the PACE tab is available to all readers for all races, including our 'races of the day', which are...

  • 2.40 Fontwell
  • 3.10 Fontwell
  • 3.20 Stratford
  • 6.20 Wolverhampton

The latter of those four is best suited to analysis, even if it is only a Class 5, A/W handicap over 1m1.5f. The three NH races are fairly small fields with an expected short priced favourite, so we're off to the 6.20 Wolverhampton, where we expect them to line up as follows...

My first thoughts on this were that it's a decent/competitive looking contest for such a low-grade affair and that I'd already expect to be able to make a case for at least four or five of them here, which makes it an ideal race to run through the Geegeez toolbox. Applying my normal processes should either narrow the field down for us or it will tell us to walk away. As ever, I'm perfectly happy with both outcomes, we don't advocate betting for the sake of it.

We've just three recent (one LTO) winners in the field and Geegeez Speed ratings are heavily stacked towards Arthur's Angel. We've a couple coming back for their first runs of 2021, five handicap debutants, two making a second handicap run, one has changed yards and two are up in class, so plenty going on here!

Deep Impression is one of three fillies in the race and she carries top weight here. She had 1 win and 1 place from 4 on the Flat as a 2 yr old and has a nother win and another place from five A/W efforts since. Her wins have come at 7.5 and 8 furlongs so far and she ran creditably in a 2.5 length defeat at Southwell as a runner-up last time out, conceding 6lbs to the winner.

Tricolore is one of two Marco Botti-trained runners in the race and the booking of Hollie Doyle in the saddle suggests he's the first string. Stefano Cherchi has been the jockey for the horse's previous three outings, but he's on The Thunderer today.

As for Tricolore, he had two decent efforts over 7f on the Flat, before a handicap debut on the A/W at Kempton over a mile, where he was a runner-up. He was beaten by more than four lengths that day and has still been raised a pound by the assessor and after six months off track, might well need the run.

He's A Dream makes a handicap debut here for a yard who has 4 winners and 4 placers from 15 on handicap debut over the last year. The horse comes here off the back of four previous runs that could be described as ordinary at best, including a 23 length defeat when last home of 7 over 1m2f on the tapeta at Newcastle last time out. He has raced over C&D here, finishing 5th of 13 in January and he's not one I fancy.

The Thunderer is the other Marco Botti horse here, as mentioned above and his record to date stands at just one place from three runs, all here at Wolverhampton and he was 10th of 13 over course and distance last time out, ten weeks ago. His new jockey's 5lb allowance will be vital if he's to get involved here, but that looks a longshot on handicap debut.

Thunder Lily is another of the three fillies here and like the horse above, she has just one placed finish from her three previous runs. That was over a mile at Kempton mid-July and she was 5th of 9 last time out. All three previous runs have been at his level, but horses get sent off at 50/1, 125/1 and 33/1 for a reason. Handicap debut & Tapeta debut today, but others look better suited.

Liberated Lad left three modest novice runs over 7f behind him when winning on handicap debut over 1m2f at Lingfield last time out on easily his best run to date. Lots of change since that run, though. New yard, new surface to tackle, down in trip, up in class and raised three pounds. This will be more difficult than his last run, but he showed guts and spirit. A similar effort puts him in the mix here.

Arthur's Angel is also up in class here after three solid efforts at Class 6, culminating in a defeat by just a head and a nose over 8.5f here on Saturday. If he runs here, he'll be off the same mark, but assisted by a 5lb jockey claim and the way he stayed on in Saturday's contest suggests the extra furlong could also help.

Mustang Kodi didn't really show much in three outings over a similar trip to this one and was beaten by nine lengths over course and distance last time out. That alone suggests some improvement would be needed just to get competitive, but I fear that a 4-month absence will hinder his chances further and the combination of form/layoff are enough for me to say no, thank you.

Sergeant Major was a winner two starts ago, landing a 1m2f handicap at Chelmsford before stepping up in trip and class to finish as a runner-up over 1m4.5f on the tapeta at Newcastle last time out. He's now back down in trip to what I think is a better distance for him and goes off the same mark as LTO. Tapeta experience is always useful, even at another venue and that run allied to the drop in trip should put him right into considerations here.

Queen of Thorns is the last of the fillies, last on the racecard and therefore bottom weight and also the third of the three yet to be placed runners here. January runs of 9th of 12 over 7f here, followed by 7th of 10 over 8.5f here led to her finishing last of 7, beaten by 16 lengths at Lingfield in a 7f Novice race six weeks ago and she looks massively out of her depth here on handicap debut even if the yard is in decent form and has a good record here at Wolverhampton with Luke Morris in the saddle.

*

My first reaction to seeing the card was that four or five were more likely than the others and I'm more firm in that belief now having looked at each of them. As things stand, I'm leaning towards the four who have already won a race (Arthur's Angel, Deep Impression, Liberated Lad & Sergeant Major) plus Tricolore who has shown promise in defeat. I'm already fairly switched off about the likes of He's A Dream, Mustang Kodi & Queen of Thorns who haven't yet made the frame in 10 combined starts, whilst the remaining two (The Thunderer & Thunder Lily) look a little outclassed here.

That doesn't mean I've got the split right yet, of course, so I need to dig deeper. 

The field have only made the frame 14 times in 48 starts, a pretty poor 29.2% and with only 5 wins (10.4% SR) between them, I'm probably going to get more data/info from the place stats on Instant Expert than I will from wins alone, but I'll show you both, naturally...

Deep Impression's place record at Class 5 is excellent, as is Tricolore's, whilst Arthur's Angel also stands out here, but as for winning races...

...there's not a lot to discuss, is there? Our four past winners all have an A/W success to their name, Deep Impression has two wins at Class 5 and we've a couple with distance wins.

Instant Expert hasn't shaken my view about halving the field the way I did, I haven't discounted any of my five and I haven't seen much in the way of persuasion to promote any of the five I don't fancy. Maybe the draw, the pace make-up of the race and the way pace and draw interact will sway me.

So, starting with the draw stats from 214 previous similar contests...

It says that no particular stall is massively disadvantaged, but if you could pick and choose where to be berthed, then I'd want stalls 4 to 8 which have provided almost 60% of the winners from 50% of the runners. Stall 6's figures do look a little anomalous, yet they add weight to a stall 5 to 7 slight bias with 60 winners (28% of the 214 winners) in 5/6 and 57 (26.6%) in 6/7. This should be good news for the likes of Libeated Lad and Tricolore from my favoured five.

It's all well and good grabbing the best stall, of course. For example, Mustang Kodi has box 6, which is a good place to be according to those draw stats above, but how/where you run your run is as if not more important on races like these. Personally, I think the draw carries some weight, but he longer the trip, the easier it should (in theory) become to overcome a poor-looking draw, which means pace and race positioning are key.

Thanks to the data we collect, we can quickly see that in these contests, that racing prominently or in mid-division is often the best policy...

..as both have an IV of above 1.0. Hold-up horses don't particularly struggle, winning just 9% less often than you'd expect, but those who try to win it from the front really don't fare too well.

With a mid-draw looking best and mid-pack being a favourable racing spot here, you'll not be surprised at what are the preferred pace/draw combinations...

and thanks to us logging how every horse runs every race, we can superimpose the recent running styles of our ten entrants upon that heatmap like this...

That's in draw order from 1 to 10 and whilst there doesn't appear to be an abundance of pace around, He's A Dream and Liberated Lad might be the ones to show first in what I feel could well be a slow, tactical affair. If that does become the case, it will negate any perceived (or real) draw bias and the finishers will prevail.

Summary

I had four or five in mind for this one before I even typed a word. The analysis of the racecard and my individual look at each of the runners confirmed my thoughts. Instant Expert further cemented that opinion and pace/draw didn't really sway me in either direction, so I'm still at the same stage as I was, but with more confidence than just an initial though, if that makes sense.

I obviously can't go with five, so I'm removing Deep Impression and Liberated Lad at this stage. I think the former beats the latter (just), but both have narrowly failed to make my final three. DI is probably too high in the weights having gone up further after a defeat, whilst LL needs to improve to win here.

This, of course, leaves us, alphabetically, with Arthur's Angel, Sergeant Major and Tricolore and I think, that's probably the order I have them in. I should stress that this really is competitive/tight for a Class 5 winter A/W handicap and I wouldn't be surprised at all if any of my favoured five won it.

It looks like the bookies agree with me at 5.50pm about the five with four of them priced at 9/2 to 11/2 with Deep Impression 5th fav at 11/2 to 9/1. That 9/1 looks big actually and could be worth a small E/W tickle, but it's Arthur's Angel at 9/2 for me if he runs.

Racing Insights, 1st March

We ended February with a nice result as my 1-2-3 finished 1st, NR and 2nd and although our 9/2 about Lucky's Dream was subject to a 30p Rule 4 deduction, the 3.15/1 payout was still two and a half times better than the 5/4 SP. Cardano's defection meant that anyone getting on after the early morning news he wouldn't run could also have landed a 5.7/1 forecast, so well done to those of you on that.

Monday heralds the start of a new week/month and we're closing in on the highlight of the NH season for many, but there are still several race days to negotiate first, starting here. To assist you, the Pace tab is freely available for all races every Monday and our 'races of the day' are as follows...

  • 1.00 Plumpton
  • 5.10 Ayr
  • 5.50 Wolverhampton
  • 7.20 Wolverhampton

The first of the two A/W contests above is the best quality (on paper at least) of the four free races and although only six are set to go to post, it looks a tight competitive affair, which we can hopefully unravel, as we tackle the 5.50 Wolverhampton, a 6-runner, Class 2 handicap for 4yo+ runners over 6f on the Tapeta. The winner will receive £11,828 and is somewhere amongst these...

A quick glance at the Geegeez Speed ratings also suggests a tight affair, as fourth ranked Venturous scores 97, meaning the first four are separated by just 2 points. Fizzy Feet heads those rankings, shades it on form and is one of three dropping down from Class 1 racing. Joint second rated Huraiz moves in the opposite direction, but probably has the second best recent form.

We've a couple of in-form yards and one in-form jockey, whilst we've one yard with a positive track icon and two jockeys proven here. All six runners have previously won over track or distance, one has won at both and three have won over course and distance...

Summerghand is one of the three former course and distance winners from winning a Class 2 contest here on Boxing Day 2019, but has struggled of late, finishing 8367 over the last six months. He was 7th of 9 last time out when beaten by almost 3 lengths in a Listed race at Lingfield just over three weeks ago on his comeback from 17 weeks off the track. He carries top-weight here and is rated a pound higher than his last win and I doubt he's top 3 material.

Stats-wise...

...he could do a lot worse than have Adam Kirby in the saddle, but the recent form of the yard is a worry for me.

Venturous is another C&D winner, albeit at Class 5 back in April 2019. He's been doing most of his A/W running over 5f since then, but certainly likes the tapeta, placing in 7 of 12 (inc 5 wins) races. He has won four of his last six outings, but was beaten by a length and a quarter off this mark last time out. That said, he was staying on well and might relish the step back up in trip.

Stats...

Aberama Gold was in great form in the winter winning three Class 2 6f handicaps on the bounce (also a Listed race runner-up by 0.75L in the middle of that run of form), but hasn't had the same success this year. However, his form is better than 544 might suggest and he was less than three quarters of a length off the pace last time out in a Listed contest and is a pound lower here than his last handicap run.

Stats...

Major Jumbo returns to action after more than 23 weeks off the track since he finished 23rd of 24 in a Class 2 handicap at Ayr, prior to that he had finished 7th of 9 in back to back Listed races. He's a former course winner (1/1 here) and has three wins over this trip and has also won a Listed race, but after so long off the track, he's likely to need the run. Could struggle here.

Stat-wise, trainer Kevin Ryan was 9 from 36 (25% SR, A/E 1.65) in handicaps here at Wolverhampton during 2018 and 2019, but was 0 from 9 here last year and this is his first runner here for 2021.

Fizzy Feet is the only mare in the race and she was a winner at this trip/class two starts ago and was a runner-up beaten by just a neck in a 6f Listed contest last time out, where she was 0.5L and another neck ahead of the afore-discussed Aberama Gold. She's a former course and distance winner and has won 6 of 18 A/W handicaps to date including 5 from 12 over this trip. On recent form alone, she looks like the one to beat here.

Stats...

...and trainer David Loughnane's handicappers are 22 from 125 (17.6% SR, A/E 1.23) over 6/7f here at Wolverhampton since the start of 2018.

Huraiz makes up the field here carrying bottom weight and although he has ran creditably in his last two outings, he is 0 from 8 since landing a pair of Class 4 6f Novice contests in his first two outings back in August 2019. His two runs this year have seen him finish 3rd of 9, beaten by 3.5 lengths off a mark of 96 and then 2nd of 9, beaten by 2.75 lengths off 95. He goes off the same mark today, but steps up in class, making it difficult to see him winning, although he could well be involved for minor honours.

Stat-wise...

...not much of note, but the yard had a better second half of February than the first and might be coming into form.

*

Only six run here, but with the exception of Huraiz with "just" ten previous outings, there's plenty of experience in this field. Between the six of them, they have raced 193 times, making the frame in almost half of them (96 places = 49.74%) and going on to win a respectable 41 times (21.24%). How and where they've won their races and their relevance to today's contest is clear to see on Instant Expert, of course...

Fizzy Feet hasn't the best record in handicaps here, but the rest of her profile catches the eye off a decent sample size, Venturous looks consistent if not spectacular, whilst from a percentage point of view, these are ideal conditions for Aberama Gold, but three runs aren't a lot to hang your hat on.

*

The draw stats here basically say you don't want a low draw, especially not stall 1, which isn't good news for Huraiz's bid to win a handicap for the first time...

...but that doesn't mean those drawn low can't win. If they do want to win, the advice is that they're going to need to get out sharp-ish and lead and even then the numbers are stacked against them with higher drawn horses only faring worse when held-up, as shown below...

So, if we look at either end of the draw, we'd say that Huraiz would need to lead and try to make all, whilst the likes of Fizzy Feet could sit in mid-division and still have a great chance.

When we look at race positioning, we convert the above four racing styles into numbers where 1 = held up, 2 = mid-div, 3= prominent and 4 = led and here, in draw order, is how our runners have raced over their last four outings...

...and we can overlay those styles onto that heat map above to give us a suggestion of how the race might unfold...

The suggestion here is that Fizzy Feet and Major Jumbo have the best pace/draw make-up and both are likely to be up front. Huraiz doesn't seem to be too well positioned, whilst the other three aren't too far off a good position.

I have a feeling Major Jumbo will go off quickly and soon feel the effect of his lay-off and I'd expect him to go backwards from about a furlong from home, ruling him out of contention, whilst there's nothing I've seen so far to suggest Huraiz is winning this either. He might be progressive, but he isn't winning and this is his toughest assignment yet. This leaves me with four in contention and one to rule out before the summary.

The last one to go before my summery and three against the field is going to be Summerghand. The yard is out of form, as is the horse and he's carrying too much weight here. His Geegeez rating is low and I've just too many negatives about him, so he's not for me.

Summary

Alphabetically, I'm left with Aberama Gold, Fizzy Feet and Venturous. Fizzy Feet beat Aberama Gold last time out and I don't see that form being overturned here and as I think the mare is better than Venturous on form, Instant Expert and Pace/Draw placings, it means I'm going with Fizzy Feet here.

Of the other pair, I don't have that much between them, but Aberama Gold's stats are just that bit better, so I think he edges it for the runner-up slot.

Fizzy Feet currently trades at 3/1, which I think is a decent enough price, whilst the market has Huraiz as the 9/4 fav. One of us has it quite wrong, fingers crossed it's not me!

Racing Insights, 15th February 2021

Tough going for me at the moment with things not quite going my way of late, but Monday heralds a new week and six more opportunities. To assist everyone with their punting today, we make the PACE tab available to all readers for all races, included our featured free races, which are scheduled to be...

  • 1.40 Lingfield
  • 2.20 Warwick
  • 2.50 Warwick
  • 7.30 Wolverhampton

The Lingfield race is an A/W jumpers bumper and I don't like those, the first at Warwick has 19 runners and the second has just four and a probable odds-on jolly, so it's off to the Black Country for a look at the 7.30 Wolverhampton...

Nagasaki Dream is the lowest rated by the handicapper in this field off a mark of 62 and is the lowest scorer of the five runners with a Geegeez Speed Rating. With a 3lb claimer on board, he receives at least 13lbs from his rivals after all claims are considered, but I doubt that's going to be enough to get him a win.

Last of six and sixth of seven in his two handicap starts to date, both here at Wolverhampton at this Class 4 grade saw him go down by almost 14 lengths over 1m0.5f and then most recently he was beaten by nearly 12 lengths over today's course and distance off a mark just four pounds higher. I'd be very surprised if he's not last home.

Nortonthorpe Boy is likely to be popular after three wins and a runner-up finish in his last four starts, he's a former course and distance winner (the only one in this field) and he tops the Geegeez ratings.

He made all to win last time out at Kempton over a mile, just hanging on to win by a half a length over a one mile trip. That was his fourth run in 15 days and thankfully, he's been rested for 33 days since. He's likely to have needed the break as this is a sharper trip, he's up two classes and is now some 6lbs higher than his last run to a career-high mark of 74. Definite chances here, but it won't be easy.

Obtuse won four on the bounce (1 x Class 6 and 3 x Class 5) over 5f (twice) and 6f (twice) in a 40-day period to January 2nd, including two wins here at Wolverhampton. He then had 22 days rest prior to re-appearing at Lingfield 22 days ago to finish third.

He was actually last home of three if truth be told, but that was a Class 3 contest and he was only headed late on in a 2.25 length defeat. He now drops down in class and is 7lb lower thanks to the booking of the in-form Rhys Clutterbuck, but he has yet to prove he gets 7f. If getting the trip, he'll be bang in there at the close, you'd have thought.

Praise of Shadows is very lightly raced, but has won one of his three starts to date, scoring on debut over 7f at Chester in a Class 5 contest last August nine days before a 16 length defeat at Group 3.

He has been off the track for 5 months since his last run and has had a wind op in that time away from the track. His trainer, Marco Botti does well with horses returning from a lay-off, but on an A/W debut on a first post-wind op run, this one is probably left alone.

Sweet Bertie is the highest rated by the assessor here and runs off the same mark of 82 as he did in a 5 lengths defeat on this track over 1m0.5f on Boxing Day. His sole win to date came over that trip here in November when holding on by a neck off a mark of 77, so 82 seems a little steep.

He has been steadily consistent without setting the world on fire so far and it is hoped that a drop back to 7f (where he was second and third in his last two runs) and the application of first time blinkers will do the trick today. He's in with a shout, but I'm not wild about him at this point.

Toussarok makes up the field here and he has been running pretty well without reward finishing 2233 in his last four outings, all at this class and trip and not being beaten by far off marks of 79 and 80.

He was only beaten by half a length behind the in-form Fayathaan over this track, trip and class last time out, having led until a furlong from home. Mark Johnston's horses have had a great month (13 wins from 39) and they'll be hoping for success here, I think he just might be a couple of pounds too high.

*

Between them, this field have a respectable win/place strike rate, making the frame in 20 of 47 (42.6%) races to date, winning 10 (21.3%) of them and when it comes to A/W handicaps, the field have achieved the following...

I wasn't too keen on Nagasaki Dream nor Praise of Shadows from my write-ups and Instant Expert has done little to persuade me otherwise. I'm overlooking Toussarok's line of red for now, as I know he has been knocking on the door of late and with the three highlighted above all going up in weight by 5, 6 or 9 pounds, him staying on the same mark (albeit too high for my liking) might be a positive.

*

We don't get too many 6-runner handicaps at this trip here at Wolverhampton, but of the last 40, it has paid to be drawn more centrally with low draws faring worst. Stall 3 has proved to be the most successful from a win perspective with runners emerging from box four making the frame most often. It's not an exact science with small fields, but those details certainly look good for Nortonthorpe Boy and Obtuse.

That said, these small-field races often end up being tactical affairs, whereby leaders tends to get swallowed up (unless they're from a central draw) and the ideal "pozzy" is to sit mid-division waiting to pounce, which what Toussarok and Sweet Bertie would probably need to do from stalls 2 and 6.

Thanks to the pace tab (free to all users today), we can quickly see how these six horses have run in the past and we can overlay those past running styles onto that heatmap above. We're well aware that this is not a guarantee of how they will run, but trainers/horses do tend to stick to tactics.

Here's that overlay...

...suggesting we could well have a hot heat on our hands. Past performances suggest Obtuse & Nortonthorpe Boy will both attempt to go forward from the off with Sweet Bertie and Toussarok just in behind. Toussarok's pace/draw make-up looks better than Sweet Bertie's and I think that might be decisive in the battle for third spot, but I'd not be surprised if the two leaders get out and stay out.

Summary

Looks like we might have a proper sprint contest here and based on what I've read & written about these horses, my preference is for Obtuse at 9/2. He was in great form prior to his 9lb weight rise last time out, but the in-form Rhys Clutterbuck now negates 7 of those 9lbs and I think that'll be enough to see him home, assuming he gets the 7f, of course..

I don't expect him to have it all his own way, though. Nortonthorpe Boy will run with him all the way and I wouldn't be surprised if Toussarok isn't involved late on too, but it's Obtuse for me at a value price and I've little separating Nortonthorpe Boy & Toussarok. The market has those pair at 2/1 and 10/3 respectively, so for forecast purposes, I'd prefer the latter to make the frame at the former's expense.

Racing Insights, 13th February 2021

The recent cold spell even caused Chelmsford to abandon today, leaving just one of today's two featured runners with a race. In fairness to Luscifer, he was closer than I thought he'd be at the finish, but I was right to even discount him from a top three finish.

Still no UK jumps racing to be had on Saturday, whose feature of the day in the excellent Trainer/Jockey combo report, whilst our list of free racecards are for the following...

  • 3.25 Naas
  • 4.00 Naas
  • 4.44 Wolverhampton
  • 6.45 Wolverhampton
  • 7.45 Wolverhampton

And I think I'll combine the feature of the day with the first of our free Wolverhampton contests...

...to see if Steal The Scene is likely to win the 4.44 Wolverhampton.

From a form perspective, the top weight Broken Rifle is the only LTO winner on the field and wins have proven hard to come by for this group of late, although Seaforth has won two of his last five. Street Poet is the only class mover, dropping down from Class 5 and he's one of four previous course and distance winners, along with Seaforth, Steal The Scene and Born To reason, whilst Elixsoft has won over both course and distance but not at the same time and Broken Rifle has won here too.

Broken Rifle finally got off the mark last time out when scoring here at Wolverhampton over a furlong shorter just five days ago. He carries a penalty for that win and hasn't proved to be too reliable in the past, but his yard is in great form right now and if he repeats the standard of his last run, he's going to be there or thereabouts. That probably says more about the lack of quality in opposition, but you can only beat what's in front of you.

Seaforth has been off the track for almost 21 weeks, but did win two of his last five runs in 2020, last tasting success at Lingfield in August. He has previously won 4 of 20 here at Wolverhampton including 2 from 9 over C&D. He's still 4lbs higher than his last win and is likely to need the run here. I'd look elsewhere.

Steal The Scene is the TJ Combo horse from above, so I won't repeat those stats, but he'll be looking to turn the clock back to late 2019 when he landed a hat-trick of wins on this track. He's now just 2lbs higher than his last win and looked like coming back to form when only beaten by a length here last time out. Jockey Rossa Ryan is in good nick and if waited with, would have a great chance.

Shine On Brendan is a 15-race maiden and in the course of 12 handicap defeats has seen his mark slide from 75 to today's 59, jockey George Rooke will take another 3lbs off but I'm not convinced that'll be enough to help him break his duck. I wouldn't totally discount him for a place, after a decent enough run here over a furlong shorter last time out. He was only three quarters of a length outside the places that day and now effectively 4lbs lower, could take his A/W place record to 6 from 13.

Elixsoft is a former course winner, but that was over three years ago and she's not been here since, although she's 2 from 19 on Newcastle's Tapeta. Off the track for 96 days since a 15 length defeat over 7 furlongs at Southwell, she's now back up in trip. She'd probably need the run to be honest, but even then she wouldn't be high on my considerations.

Bankawi has only ran on the A/W three times to date, all on Tapeta, making the frame in each of the last two, beaten by just a length each time over course and distance (she was just a nose ahead of Steal The Scene LTO). If things go her way, she's every chance of another place finish.

Street Poet is 8 from 32 here at Wolverhampton, an excellent record that includes three wins from 13 over course and distance, but hasn't run well since winning here over 7 furlongs ten races ago and has finished last of 12 and 10th of 11 in his last two outings, both on this track. After 54 career starts, he's now on an all-time low mark, but he's not for me here despite the drop in class.

Born To Reason is the lowest rated here by the assessor and seems to run here at Wolverhampton almost exclusively nowadays (10 of his last 11 have been here). He won a couple of races here in November/December 2019 and is 2 from 6 over C&D, but has struggled since. He was, admittedly, fourth here last time out but I can't see him being too close today.

*

As I said earlier, plenty of these have course, distance and course/distance form, so the easiest way of comparing suitability is via Instant Expert...

As you'd expect at Class 6, not much green around denoting the lack of quality/consistency, but quite a bit of amber on display. Our original starting point, Steal The Scene, has some good numbers to his name and has been allocated stall 1, but from just a draw perspective I'm not convinced there's much of a bias anyway...

...and even the way the draw combines with horses' running styles in fairly inconclusive. There are obviously better race positions to be in than others no matter where you're drawn, but with just a few exceptions, there's no real bad pace/draw combos in similar races...

I suppose that in the case of Steal The Scene in stall 1, he'd be better off racing prominently or in mid-division and when I click to the pace tab, I find that in in his last four outings his average race position sits nicely between prominence and mid-division and in similar contests here, prominent racers have fared best.

We can highlight this when we overlay all our competitors running styles...

The upshot of the above is that I'd be loathe to discount runners on the basis of draw, pace or even the pace/draw combination and with Instant Expert also not telling us too much, we need to revert to our opening section ie recent form and gut feeling. So, with that in mind, I'm going to eliminate Born To Reason, Elixsoft, Seaforth and Street Poet from my considerations. Based on my short write-ups of each runner, none of those four eliminations should be a surprise to you.

Summary

Having jettisoned half of the eight runners, I'm left with Bankawi, Broken Rifle, Shine On Brendan and our TJ Combo horse, Steal The Scene. Of the four, I think Shine On Brendan is the weakest. He's likely to lead, doesn't generally see races out and I can see him getting caught and beaten, so he's not making my three against the field.

Of my final three, much will depend on Broken Rifle's ability to cut through traffic late on and whether he runs as well as LTO. If he manages to pull both off, I think he could well win, but it'll be tight. Bankawi looks to have an ideal pace/draw set up, is in good nick and will win one of these soon, whilst our feature horse Steal the Scene also has an excellent chance if he doesn't go off as quickly as he did LTO.

So, to return to the question we started with : can Steal The Scene win here? Yes, I think he can, but I've Broken Rifle as being marginally better if he runs like he did last time and I've got Bankawi just behind the pair of them.

Broken Rifle and Bankawi are priced at 5/2 and 10/3 respectively and I wouldn't want to back anything in this race at those prices. Steal The Scene is an 11/2 chance right now and that might well represent better value, as Broken Rifle isn't guaranteed to run well twice in a row and he might well hit traffic.

 

Racing Insights, 10th February 2021

Wednesday's feature of the day is the very popular Trainer Statistics report and our free races of the day were as follows...

  • 1.50 Fontwell
  • 3.03 Sedgefield
  • 3.10 Fairyhouse
  • 4.40 Fairyhouse
  • 8.15 Wolverhampton

Sadly, there is no jumps racing in the UK or Ireland leaving us with just the 8.15 Wolverhampton from our free list. It's a pretty poor looking contest to be fair, but it (a) looks quite open and (b) has to have a winner, so let's take a look at it.

It's a lowly Class 6, A/W handicap over 6 furlongs on the Tapeta. Twelve runners aged 4 to 11 will aim to the first prize of £2,782 and the card looks like this alphabetically...

An initial look at the card suggests that Breath of Spring (won LTO) and Kingsley Klarion (2nd LTO) come here in the best form whilst all bar Cappadocia have been seen in the last six weeks. Cappadocia is the oldest in the field at 11 and now makes a yard debut after more than year off track at a time of life most horses are heading towards retirement.

All bar Presumptous who drops down a grade for a handicap debut ran in Class 6 company last time out and unusually for a decent sized field here at Wolverhampton, we have no previous course and distance winners. Half of the field of 12 have won over this 6f trip and a quarter of them have won here before with two, Kingsley Klarion and Secret Potion, having won over 6f elsewhere as well as having a course victory to their name.

Nothing really of note from the trainer, but we've a few in-form jockeys (14 and/or 30) and a couple with good track records (C5), whilst the final column is the Geegeez Speed Ratings headed by Tool maker, Doctor Nuno and Secret Potion. I admit I'm a bit surprised about Toolmaker's rating, as I've got that one down as one to avoid along with Back From Dubai. I suspect they'll both go off longer than 20/1 and I'm happy to omit them here.

After taking those two out who have a combined 0 wins and 1 place from 15 races, we're left with 10 runners who between them haven't fared particularly well from an average of 30 runs each (skewed by a couple of old hands, of course!) The remaining ten have made the frame in 81 of 299 races, a place strike rate of just 27.1%, including only 26 winners (8.7% SR), so I'd expect the place side of Instant Expert to tell us more...

...than the win element does...

What the two do tell us is that Cappadocia and Kinsgley Klarion have decent long-term A/W records, Doctor Nuno likes it here at Wolverhampton, Fard is pretty solid for a place at Class, Course and Distance and Secret Potion has some good percentages from a a large number of runs. From a weight perspective, Cappadocia and Secret Potion are running off marks considerably lower than their last win.

Pace, draw and the way they work together is generally very important in short distance contests, especially in large-ish fields having to navigate a bend as they do here over 6f at Wolverhampton. The analysis of the draw says there's no massive advantage for any stall in 12 runner contests over this trip, but being drawn low does look marginally advantageous...

And a similar story of no real advantage is shown in the pace/draw heatmap, where it just slightly favours high drawn leaders, then low draw prominence and mid-drawn leaders. Those drawn high don't want to stuck in mid-division, though...

And when we overlay the past running styles of our runners...

...the suggestion is that it pays to lead here, but we've no real pace setters in the race, so it could be falsely run playing into the hands of the hold-up horses. Both Quarry Beach and Toolmaker have led in one of their last four outings, whilst Breath of Spring has race prominently in three of his last four.

So where are we? Well, I've got four in mind. Doctor Nuno who comes back down in trip and has won on this track, Fard who shows up well on IE and has a low draw, Kingsley Klarion who is one of the form horses and has won here and Secret Potion who looks to be coming back to some kind of form.

Doctor Nuno won here back in November, when the best part of two lengths clear over 7f. Has been running over further of late and was beaten by just under three lengths over a mile last time out. He seemed to approach that race as though it was a 6f contest, going off too quickly and doing too much toom soon.Wears blinkers for the first time as he drops back in trip off a mark 2lbs lower than LTO.

Fard was a winner over this trip at Kempton back in October and has raced four time since including twice here over course and distance, getting beat by a head in mid-December and by less than 1.5 lengths in early January. The booking of Marco Ghiani is a positive here.

Kingsley Klarion won here way back in November 2015, landing a 5f nursery for Mark Johnston. Plenty of water has passed under the bridge since then and this 8 yr old last won at Chelmsford four months and six races ago and was a runner-up here over course and distance last time out.

He was beaten by the best part of three lengths that day in a race whose form hasn't really amounted to much (just 1 places from 6 runs), but he does get to run off the same mark as LTO.

Secret Potion hasn't won any of 17 races since scoring over 5f at Chepstow in August 2019 off a mark of 65. Now rated at just 57, he's on a winnable mark and he's a pound lower than LTO when he ran better than the bare result suggests.

He was fourth of nine here over course and distance when he didn't get the rub of the green and was stuck in a poor position approaching the closing stages, but made good headway to get within three lengths of the winner and only missing the frame by a neck.

Summary

I've split my four into two groups, as I like Doctor Nuno & Secret Potion more than I like Fard & Kingsley Klarion.

Of the latter group, I don't have much between them on my workings, but a slight preference for Fard is amplified by him being offered at 15/2, whereas KK offers little value as low as 9/4 or 5/2.

As for my choice of winner, I actually like Secret Potion more than Doctor Nuno here and at 14/1 versus 6/1, I can afford to follow my instinct and cover my back at the same time. This is a poor contest, if truth be told, but Secret Potion should be able to at least make the frame, so 14/1 e/w is the call here, especially with most bookies paying 4 places.

Racing Insights, 1st February 2021

Saturday didn't quite pan out for me, as my preference Koeman was only fourth at 9/1, the best part of three lengths behind the 5/4 favourite who I could (and possibly should) have backed at double those odds.

Would have, could have or should have is pretty irrelevant after the fact, so let's focus on the new week/month starting now with Monday's feature of the day providing the PACE tab for all races for all users, including our 'races of the day', which are...

  • 12.15 Lingfield
  • 3.10 Dundalk
  • 7.40 Wolverhampton

...and with the first two being an A/W jumpers bumpers and a low grade big-field Irish A/W handicap, I'm going to look at the last of that trio, the 7.40 Wolverhampton which looks a fairly open contest that probably won't have a short-priced fav, so there cold be potential for a bet (or two). We start with the card...

...which is an 11-runner field of generally inexperienced runners. Spirit of Rowdown (11) and Arthur's Angel (9) have 20 runs between them, but the other nine runners have only a further 37 appearances between them. From a form perspective, only Go Oscar Go and Bodroy have failed to make the frame recently.

Destacado has placed in two of her three starts to date (both places over 7f on Tapeta at Newcastle), but hasn't been helped by being allocated top weight here for her handicap debut here. She has, however, looked progressive, is rated 2nd on the Geegeez ratings and clearly handles Tapeta. Jockey Billy Garritty takes a useful 5lbs off and he's riding well (3 wins & 3 places from 12 over the last fortnight). The downside is that the filly is up in trip by a furlong and a half and her yard is 0 from 20 here over the last year, 2 from 35 here overall and is 0 from 18 with all handicap debutants.

Aviary was second at Lingfield in mid-December earning herself a tricky opening handicap mark of 70 from which she was 7th of 10 here at Wolverhampton over 7f three weeks ago. She ran OK to be fair and looked like a longer trip might suit. She's up in trip by 1.5f and down in ratings (OR) by 2lbs, whether that's enough is debatable, but she should be closer than last time although others will appeal more. Her yard do have a decent record (17 from 75 since the start of 2018) with 2nd time handicappers, though.

Go Oscar Go is probably the worst in the field here and his 15 length defeat over course and distance in mid-December doesn't bode well for this race, I'm afraid, as it was a poor race to be well beaten in (field is 0 from 13 since). He fared better down in trip at Kempton last time out, but back up in trip on this surface for a handicap debut off a mark of 68? No thanks, even if the yard are 111812173 here at Wolverhampton in the last six weeks.

Bodroy will assume the role of worst in race if the above runner doesn't. He showed very little in four runs for Nick Littmoden and his new yard have had just 1 winner from 28 over the last four weeks. The horse was last of five on handicap debut at Kempton and also eased 4lbs here and dropped in class, he's still going to be well up against it. In addition to his new yard's current poor form, they are only 3 from 75 here at Wolverhampton in the last year.

Musaytir had three modest efforts over 5/6 furlongs prior to a career-best effort on handicap debut over 1m at Newcastle 11 days ago. His jockey took a useful 3lbs off a mark of 62 today as they only went down by half a length, but I don't think it was a great race to be honest. The small field have failed to make the frame in four efforts since and off a mark of 65 today with no jockey claim, Musaytir is effectively up 6lbs for losing. He has ability, but I don't see him involved here based on what I've seen/read.

Arthur's Angel was a winner over 7f at Chelmsford in late November and his best two recent efforts have come in the past month since being stepped up in trip. he was beaten by less than three quarters of a length here over course and distance almost four weeks ago and then made the frame over a mile at Lingfield just two days ago. If taking his place here, I'd expect another bold effort if not given too much to do late on. With his jockey's claim, he's now effectively 2lbs better off than that C&D effort two starts ago and his jockey has won four of his last twelve starts. The yard hasn't gone well here at Wolverhampton of late, but does have a good long-term record at the track.

Spirit of Rowdown is the most experienced of the field with 11 races under his belt, but he accounts for 3 of the field's 56 total wins and his 3 from 8 record on the A/W includes 3 wins, 2 places from 6 on standard going, the same record under today's jockey, the same in cheekpieces and the same going left handed. He has 2 wins and 2 places from 4 over course and distance. He's the form horse in the race, rated third on the Geegeez ratings and really should be the one to beat, not withstanding he's up 3lbs despite not winning last time out.

Doonbeg Farmer was a half-length runner-up in a 6-runner, Class 6 seller over a mile last time out after two indifferent efforts in handicap company. He's up (slightly) in trip and up in class for his yard debut for James Evans, as well as it being a first crack at Tapeta. Well beaten off marks of 70 and then 68, today's 654 is far more workable, but I still think he's up against it here.

Woodview has improved each time he has run and on his fourth and latest start, he was only beaten by half a length in a Class 6 handicap over a mile. He was running on strongly that day and the extra half furlong might be useful for him today. He is, however, up in class and raised a punitive-looking 5lbs for that run, suggesting the assessor realised that he should maybe have been given a higher mark prior to that last run? 65 isn't an unfair mark, mind, I just think 5lbs for not winning is excessive in general. If continuing to improve, he has to be in consideration here despite his yard's poor (just 2 from 135) record here since 2016.

Roman Mist was third last time out in a 7f Novice event at Kempton, earning herself an opening handicap mark of 63, but in two previous efforts over course and distance here at Wolverhampton, she has finished seventh twice and was beaten by more than 10 lengths each time, so the step back up in trip and the switch back to Tapeta isn't likely (in my opinion) to be one that suits her and I suspect she'll be "out back" somewhere.

We Still Believe completes our field and is one of just three here with a past win to his name, having won last time out on handicap debut over 1m at Newcastle. All four career starts have been on that track and he won off an opening mark of 57, awarded after three modest efforts over shorter distances before the step up to a mile. The nature of that win is likely to make him popular here but a slight rise in trip, a step up in class and a 5lb rise in weight will all combine to stop this being a gimme and his win last time out was one of jockey Andrew Mullen's only 2 wins from 103 rides over the last 60 days and he's 0 from 29 here in the last 90 days.

*

The entire 11-runner field has a not so grand total of 5 wins and 14 places from 57 combined outings, so with a win record of 8.78% and 24.56% placed, I suspect we'll get more from the place element of Instant Expert than we will from the win records, but here they both are...

Spirit of Rowdown shows particularly well with honourable mentions (in card order) to Destacado, Arthur's Angel, Doonbeg Farmer and Woodview. All five of those named are drawn close together in stalls 4 to 9, so I wonder how important the actual draw might be. To get some answers, I simply click the DRAW tab on the racecard and I find that in the last 312 11-runner contests here, stalls 7, 6 and 9 have fared best (see table below) and that the ideal situation here is to be drawn high and lead. Mid-drawn prominent runners fare next best followed by mid-drawn leaders, Trying to make all from a low draw has proved fairly distastrous and this is beautifully illustrated by our unique pace/draw heat map below...

Now, we already know about the horses and where they're drawn. We also where the best draw is and how best to approach the race from the draw given, but how do we predict the race will pan out? That's where the PACE tab (freely available for all Monday's races, of course) comes in. It will tell is how the horses have run is each of their last 2,3 or 4 starts and we can overlay that information onto the above heat map to see who might be be well (or poorly) suited here, as follows...

...and our feeling is that this race may be run differently to how these horses normally go about it. At least one will have to go forward and lead them out even if the pace is slow. Doonbeg Farmer has led in the past and might take it on, whilst Spirit of Rowdown has raced prominently on a couple of occasions recently too.

If they do dawdle and turn it into a sprint finish, that will suit Arthur's Angel down to the ground as he tends to do all his best work late on.

Summary

Not withstanding that this might become a tactical affair, I can't help but keep returning to Spirit of Rowdown. I know he's up in weight here, but the stats don't lie. He's the best here so far over track and trip and if they do dawdle, he might just go and nick the race from the front. I think 8/1 looks generous, as I was expecting nearer to 9/2 or 5/1, so I'll back this one.

Next best for me is Woodview, he's also up in weight and his yard have a poor record here, but he's upwardly mobile and will seek to continue his improvement. I also thought he's be in the 9/2 to 5/1 ball park, but odds of 2/1 to 11/4 currently available look mean and don't offer enough value to me (each to his/her/their own, of course).

To complete my 'three against the field', I've little between Arthur's Angel and Destacado. The former is more exposed and the latter may have more to give. There's probably nothing between them and the market has them similarly tied. If I had to pick one, I suppose it'd be Arthur's Angel on weight and experience, but only just!

Racing Insights, 26th January 2021

Well, I got the first two the wrong way around (again) this afternoon, but managed to correctly identify the first three to finish, so well done to those of you landing the near 59/1 Trifecta. They say there's no room for sentiment in sport, but I didn't mind Mr Jack overturning Sawpit Sienna to give Andy Irvine a first winner since the sad passing of his wife, Zoe Davison.

Tuesday's free feature is The Shortlist, whilst the free races are...

  • 1.20 Down Royal
  • 2.50 Down Royal
  • 7.10 Wolverhampton

...and I'm going to look at the last of that trio, the 7.10 Wolverhampton : an 11-runner, Class 6, a/W (Tapeta) Handicap for 3yo runners. The trip is 7f, the prize is £2782 and here are the runners and riders etc...

Major J sits third on the Geegeez ratings, but has yet to win or place in five runs to date. He wears cheekpieces for the first time today as he bids to improve upon a reasonable fourth of ten at Kempton 19 days ago. Has raced here over track and trip on three occasions and was only beaten by two lengths on his last visit/handicap debut almost four weeks ago. Now rated 2lbs lower than his last two runs, could step forward here, especially with the booking of the in-form course specialist Richard Kingscote in the saddle.

Lady of Desire is 0 from 4 so far and also hasn't made the frame yet. She was 7th of 11 here over course and distance last time out (2.5 lengths behind Major J and didn't seem to enjoy the step up from 6f. She's 3lbs lighter today, but will probably need more help than that.

The filly Mops Gem has also failed to even make the frame yet from six starts and has only beaten two of the 21 rivals she has faced in her last three outings, the latest of which was a 6 length defeat over 6f at Kempton. She weakened late on that day, which doesn't bode well for a step up in trip, although she does drop in class here.

And to follow the sequence, Orphiuchus is another filly yet to make the frame, although her 5th of 10, 6 lengths off the pace last time out was her best effort to date. She also drops in class to run here and whilst an opening handicap mark of 55 doesn't look too onerous, she's going to have to improve plenty to be involved here, you'd have thought.

As with the above runner, Doctor Churchill drops in class for his handicap debut and sadly like the first four we've looked at, he hasn't made the frame in five starts yet either, having beaten just 11 of his 51 rivals so far. His yard are only 3 from 46 so far this year, albeit 3 from 22 here at Wolverhampton. 54 isn't a high opening mark, but I just don't think he's that good either.

Hallelujah! We're at runner 6 of 11 and we find that The Good Ting has actually made the frame in two of her twelve starts! In fact she has 2 wins from 8 on the A/W so far, including a win by a head last time out where she stayed on well and needed every inch of the 6 furlongs, suggesting the step up in trip might suit. She'd only been beaten by half a length in her previous outing, so it looks like she's running into some form and she's second on the Geegeez ratings. The only negative about her is her yard's lack of winners at this venue : just 2 from 134 since the start of 2016!

Spartakos was third on handicap debut back in August and was only beaten by a length and three quarters last time out in another Class 6, 7f, Tapeta (Newcastle) handicap. He's been rested for the past 20 weeks, though and now re-appears 2lbs lower. If he's ready to go first up, then he has every chance of making the frame based on that last run and the lack of quality in the horses higher up this card!

Desert Mist has been pretty consistent if unspectacular on the Tapeta, finishing 39435 so far, all here at Wolverhampton except that fifth place last out. His last visit here (two starts ago - 8th December) was his best effort to date, going down by a length and a quarter over 6f. He goes off the same mark today, but will need to find more to see the extra distance out. He'll be aided by jockey Connor Murtagh who not only claims 3lbs but is in good form right now, winning 4 of 16 over the last month.

Nodasgoodasawink is interesting here on her second handicap start. Her handlers "acquired" a handicap mark as low as 52 for her after three completely differing races : C5, 6f Std-Slow Polytrack then C5, 5f on Good and finally C4, 1m on Firm. She was then put back in her box for almost 4 months before being asked to run a Class 6 over 7f at Lingfield last Thursday. She clearly needed the run, as she was slow away but caught the eye with a decent second half to the race, making up ground to finish a little more than three lengths behind a horse rated 12lbs better. She goes off 52 again today and I suspect that we'll see a better performance here if she takes to the Tapeta. Her breeding also suggests he's better than 52.

Peppermint Truffle takes us back to the "non-placers with little hope" category, I'm afraid. Three runs to date, all at Class 5 over 7f and finished 13th of 13, 8th of 11 and 8th of 9 (beaten by over 22 lengths) last time out. he hasn't been to Wolverhampton yet, but his first two runs were on Newcastle's Tapeta track and even though he drops in class for a handicap debut carrying no weight (OR = 46), I find it hard to make any form of case for him, unless some miraculous transformation has happened in the 11 days since we last saw him.

Last and quite possibly least of the eleven is Love Baileys, who is guess what? Yes, a filly that has never made the frame yet. Five starts so far and she has beaten just 10 of 43 opponents, but her latest effort was easily her best. She was only sixth of ten, admittedly, but she was within five lengths of the winner here over course and distance three weeks ago and now drops back to Class 6 as she returns to handicaps. That was her first run for new handler Amy Murphy after leaving Richard Fahey and Amy had her in first time cheekpieces and a tongue tie. The tie remains in place, but the cheekpieces are now replaced with first-time blinkers. I can't see it having much effect, but fair play to Ms Murphy, she's trying everything to eke something out of her filly.

As you'll probably have already worked out, there aren't many I like here and I could probably skip directly to the summary. To be honest, Instant Expert isn't going to tell us much about a field that has just 2 wins and 3 places from 58 starts, but here's the place view of IE anyway (just bear in mind that The Good Ting's places were both wins)...

With so many "much of a muchness" types competing here, draw , pace and the pace/draw combo are likely to be more helpful than Instant Expert was. And in previous similar contests, there seems to be a "golden corridor" for winners with the best draws appearing to be stalls 4 to 7, whilst horses who raced prominently or led fared best. It therefore doesn't take a great leap of faith to work that if you've a prominent racer or leader, drawn in 4-7, you could be on to a good thing or a back to lay proposition at worst.

That, of course, isn't to say that hold-up horses can't win from there. The hold up is the worst of the four descriptions to be most accurate about. Plenty of horses aren't hold up horses at all, but are just not quick enough away to be anything but rear runners. Hold up horses have won nearly 31% of the above races, but because their number includes slow horses as well as genuinely held-up runners, they account for nearly 44% of the total runners.

Distinguishing between tactics and a lack of speed is difficult, but we do need to be aware that a hold-up horse might not be one by choice! I certainly wouldn't rule Major J or Nodasgoodasawink out just based on that heat map.

So, where are we? A mediocre looking contest, if truth be told, but there will be a winner and two placers. I'll start by retaining those with previous form ie past placers (The Good Ting, Desert Mist, Spartakos) and to them I'll add Major J, Lady of Desire and Nodasgoodasawink.

That narrows my pack down to six, which is still too many and the first of those to cut will be Spartakos, who I think might just need the run.

All of the above was written pre-3pm, whilst I was expecting The Good Ting to swerve the 3.10 Chelmsford, but she took her place there and finished third despite having to race too wide from a poor draw. She's now unlikely to feature here, but my post-5pm summary will still reference her below.

Summary

I left five in a the summary stage for two reasons. Firstly I had very little to separate those I ranked third to fifth and secondly because I've doubts whether The Good Ting will line up here after all (I hadn't realised when I started the piece that she was still down to run at Chelmsford which she duly did).

Before the 3.10 race at Chelmsford today, The Good Ting was my clear pick for this race ahead of Major J. I had very little between Nodasgoodasawink, Lady of Desire and Desert Mist in that order.

As things stand, I can get 5/1 about The Good Ting, but I can't back her now. She's unlikely to run and she does, she's little time to recover. Major J is now my likeliest winner, but he's 11/4 already and with a Rule 4 due to be applied if we back him now or a shorter price later, there's little value there either.

Nod is currently 5/1 with the other two priced at 10's. At present, I don't see a win bet, but I might well have small E/W punts at double digit odds on Lady of Desire (I think Amy Murphy might get more out of this one) and Desert Mist (looks value at the price).

Racing Insights, 18th January 2021

Count Otto abandoned his usual/expected tactics and ran his best race for some time, meaning my favoured runner Total Commitment was an 11/4 (from 4/1) runner-up at Lingfield on Saturday, I'm afraid.

Ah, well, Monday heralds a new week and a new challenge/opportunity. To assist us, we offer the pace tab for ALL races to ALL users, as well as full free racecards for the following...

  • 12.15 Lingfield
  • 12.55 Ayr
  • 4.05 Ayr
  • 6.40 Wolverhampton

Lingfield is an A/W bumpers meeting (say no more), the two Ayr races are a novice hurdle and a bumper, so by process of elimination I'm going to focus my efforts on the 6.40 Wolverhampton, an 8-runner (hopefully it says that way for E/W bettors), Class 3, A/W (Tapeta) handicap for 4yo+ runners, who all just happen to be geldings today. The trip is officially 1m1.5f, the top prize is £7,246 and the card looks like this...

Teston's UK record stands at 1 win and 1 place from 3 runs so far and now steps up in trip after finishing as runner up at Southwell over 7 furlongs last time out. That was his first run on the A/W in this country, but had a win and four places from 8 A/W runs over 9/9.5 furlongs in France. He also won three races over a mile on turf across the Channel before scoring on his UK debut at Doncaster over a mile in this grade last June. Bears top weight off a mark of 97, a mark unaltered from his last outing and if adapting to the Tapeta has every chance of being in the final mix.

Power of States is bang in form, albeit all at Chelmsford where all six of his career A/W runs have taken place. He has finished 121113 in those six, a stark contrast to his 0 from 11 on turf. He's three from five over 1m2f at Chelmsford, so the trip itself is well within him and his usual visor and tongue tie will be worn here. He was only third last time out off a mark of 89, so going off 90 here doesn't do him any favours and he's stepping up in class. That said, his yard are 36 from 153 (23.5% SR) here on the Tapeta with horses tackling it for the first time winning 27 of 113 (23.9% SR). Those are positive numbers, which leave me wondering why only 40 have run here more than once, but that's for another day, I suppose!

Home Before Dusk was fifth off a mark of 91 at Class 2 last time out and is eased a pound as he drops down to Class 3, so that should help him as he attempts to improve upon his own record of 5 wins and 3 places from 13 in Tapeta handicaps, including 5 wins, 2 places from 10 over 8-10f, 2 wins and a place from 5 under today's jockey and a win from two goes over this course and distance. I wouldn't rule him out totally based on those numbers, but the reality is that he hasn't run well in any of his seven defeats over the last eleven months since winning at Kempton off a mark of 92. This is within his capabilities on history, but form suggests others will make more appeal.

Mythical Madness finished 121 in his last three races, but all were on turf at Class 4 over a mile in a twelve day period seven months ago. The 10 yr old hasn't been seen since then and is likely to need a run before being seen at whatever his best is nowadays. History suggests he's better on the Flat (6/31 = 19.4%) where he wins more than twice as often as he does on the A/W (4/43 = 9.3%), but he is 3 from 16 (18.75%) here at Wolverhampton over 8.5-9.5f. Sadly his last decent run here came a month shy of four years ago, when beaten by a neck off a mark of 101. In his favour, though, is a mark of 87 today and the fact he was in good nick before his rest. If ready to go first up, he's well weighted and capable here, but I can't see it happening on the basis of history, especially stepping up in class.

Ledham is a really interesting 6 yr old and one to probably watch here with a view to possibly backing next time out. Fourth of eight on debut in August 2017, then put back in his box for 282 days before finishing 2nd of 16 in mid-May 2018. He ran four more times that season, winning a class 5, finishing as runner-up then as a winner in two Class 3 contests, before a third of ten at Class 2 in October 2018. Another long (193 days) layoff followed and then he re-appeared to finish as a runner-up in a ten-runner C2 handicap at Haydock over a mile on soft ground in late April 2019. He hasn't been seen since and now returns some 632 days later. He has won on this track before, he's down in class, down 3lbs in the ratings, was gelded back in November and moved yards last week. If he can get 1m on soft at Haydock, he should get this trip and he clearly has gone well fresh in the past, but you'd need some bravery to back him here, wouldn't you?

Kaser comes here armed to the teeth with a volume of stats to suggest he'll go well, as follows (easier to copy and paste than type!)...

...chuck in his trainer's record of 11 wins from 54 (20.4% SR, A/E 1.59) in course and distance handicaps since the start of 2018 and you've certainly got something worth a second glance. Kaser, himself, is 4 from 11 over course and distance which skews the stats slightly and hasn't ran particularly well here in his two C&D efforts this winter. He was 11th of 13 and in rear throughout at this grade in mid-November and then a similar run as 9th of 10 last time out. He was ridden by two claimers in those races and recent rider Laura Pearson has been replaced by Rossa Ryan. Laura now rides Avarice here and Kaser is now effectively 5lbs worse off for that defeat, due to the jockey claim. Rossa Ryan is in good form, of course and rides this track well, but a minor place has to be the best he can hope for here.

The afore-mentioned Avarice is probably left well alone here to be brutally honest. No previous run in the UK, no previous run on an artificial surface and probably needs a stiffer test. He's not a poor horse as a run of results reading 2212 after his debut will testify. Admittedly beaten by eight lengths last time out, but that was over 1m4f on soft ground on a contest worth over £20k. He gets 1m2f on soft well enough, so even if adapting to Tapeta first up, I think this'll be too sharp for him.

Athmad makes up our octet and he's well proven at this track having finished 1141331 here over 8.5-9.5f, including 1331 over course and distance, the last of those runs being his last run overall when prevailing by a length here a fortnight ago. But he's up 4lbs and up in class for that win and has never won any race better than a low-prize (ie sub-£6k) Class 4 contest, failing to even make the frame in eight such contests. That said, all runs have to come to an end and having seen the opposition, he has every chance of being in the shake-up here. His yard is in good form too and he's definitely worth considering at this stage.

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We know already that a couple of these should be suited by conditions, but the easiest way of checking all runners at once is via our unique traffic-light colour (green = good, amber = moderate, red= not so good) coded Instant Expert (click the tab on the racecard)...

...where only Mythical Madness looks to be struggling. Power of States is up 6lb from his last win, but is in prime form and the stats behind the returning Ledham and course specialist Athmad are clearly laid out.

In similar previous contests to this one, we get the impression that the higher the sector of the draw the better, as seen below...

...and stalls 5 to 8 have certainly outperformed those in stalls 1-4 winning 55% of the races...

History also tells us that the three best pace/draw combinations are highly drawn leaders, highly drawn prominent runners and then prominent/mid-division runs from a low draw, which I suppose makes sense as the low draw would just tuck in as the higher drawn pace setters come across...

We can then overlay the past running styles of our eight runners to see how the race might unfold as follows...

...where Teston looks particularly well suited, whilst Athmad is also in a good place. The in-form Power of States is likely to race a bit further forward, I'd have thought, as he won't want the race to be "nicked" at the front by the front-running Teston. Should he step up, that would be a shrewd move in my opinion, but even if they just actually break in that order above, he's mid-division anyway!

The two most inconvenienced by the draw/running-style combo are the the two drawn widest and that doesn't bode well for Kaser's efforts to maintain his form at this venue.

Summary

Lots with chances or reasons to at least be positive about their chances. Power of States will be popular and I expect him to go off as favourite, probably in the 5/2 type of odds and whilst he has every chance here and should definitely make the frame, the one I like more is Teston. His French form, allied to his Instant Expert showing and the pace/draw positioning make him the one to beat for me. I don't think I'll get the 4/1 or better that I was hoping for, but he's the one I fancy most here.

Elsewhere, Athmad should go well and could threaten the two I've mentioned in this summary. Kaser would be of interest from an E/W perspective, but 8/1 is too short. Home Before Dusk, Mythical Madness and Avarice hold little appeal to me and if I wanted a small E/W punt at a decent price, Ledham would be the one at 20's or bigger not withstanding he'll probably need the run and come up short this time.

 

 

 

Racing Insights, 7th January 2021

Wednesday's race has yet to run, but Monday's late action saw our three-runner shortlist provide the first and third (two necks behind) horses home. That's history now, of course and it's the future that's of interest here with Thursday looming large.

The free feature of the day is the access to the fantastic Instant Expert data for ALL races, including our highlighted free races of the day, which are...

  • 1.37 Musselburgh
  • 2.15 Southwell
  • 2.28 Ffos Las
  • 3.37 Musselburgh

And with Instant Expert being the feature of the day, I've spotted three runners of interest based on their past aptitude for tomorrow's expected conditions (if that makes any sense), starting with the 3.28 Ffos Las, a 15-runner, Class 5, Handicap Chase for 5yo+ over a 3m slog on heavy ground. The winner will receive a paltry £2989 for their troubles and the one that caught my eye was the 8 yr old gelding, Ballybreen and here's why...

The above figures are obviously excellent and are supplemented by the following...

  • 3 from 9 under jockey Conor Ring
  • 3 from 9 over fences
  • 3 from 7 during January & February
  • 3 from 4 in blinkers
  • 2 from 2 in January
  • and 1 from after 1 to 2 months rest.

He ended last year's chase campaign in early March with a 1.25 length defeat over 3m on soft ground off a mark of 93 and didn't tackle a fence again for almost seven months when last home of eight at Newton Abbot (3m2f, heavy) off a mark of 98. He led until the 16th fence but then faded out of contention and was eventually beaten by the thick end of 40 lengths. He then stepped up in class for 3m, heavy ground Class 4 hurdle contest off a mark of 101 and was pulled up 3 flights from home, so it's fair to say that this campaign hasn't got going yet.

It's quite possible that he needed that first run over fences and that something wasn't quite right in the hurdle race and he has gone well third time out in previous seasons. We should also remember that he finished 111212 in the first 11 weeks of 2020, so he's clearly at this best at this time of year. The blinkers are back on today (1112 in those) and he's back down to a workable mark of 94. That's not a definite winning mark, but it must give him more chance that his recent efforts.

Will he win? Probably not, if I'm totally honest, but if he's in a "going" sort of mind and runs like we know he can, he'd have every chance of making the frame, assuming we can get four or even five places at a decent (14/1?) price. We'll know more when I check the prices in my summary.

*

The next race I want to look at is the 4.20 Wolverhampton, an 11-runner, Class 6, A/W handicap for 3 yo over 1m0.5f on Tapeta. The top prize is £2,782 and the horse I'm looking at is the 4-timer seeking gelding Spirit of Rowdown, whose nine race career looks like this on Instant Expert...

The above numbers speak for themselves, of course, but I'd like to add a few more of my own, such as...

  • 3 from 7 after 12-30 days rest
  • 3 from 7 in cheekpieces
  • 3 from 4 under jockey Charlie Bennett
  • 3 from 4 going left handed
  • 2 from 2 over course and distance
  • 2 from 2 off a mark of 51-60
  • 2 from 2 at odds of 4/1 and shorter
  • 2 from 2 as favourite

He comes here in fine form, of course after winning his last three outings in a 37-day period just before Christmas. He started with a win over a mile at Chelmsford and followed that up with back to back course and distance successes here at Wolverhampton 12 and 37 days later. He's had almost three weeks (seemingly his standard) rest to get over those exertions and is only up 4lbs for his last win. I say only, because he looked to have plenty in hand in all three wins, just doing enough to get home without being hammered by the assessor.

When he won here two starts ago, he was 3.25 lengths clear of the filly, Fast Emma who finished fourth and she has hopefully franked the form by winning in a tight finish at Lingfield yesterday.

Can he make it four in a row? Yes, I think he could, but this would be the toughest test yet and a 4lb rise does make life more difficult. I think he has more to give yet, but nobody knows how much. I don't think he can afford to blow the start like he did two races ago and if I can get 7/2 or 4/1 about him, I'd have to consider a bet.

*

But before I get my money out, there's one more to look at in the 7.00 Wolverhampton, which is the 10-runner, seven furlong, Class 4, A/W handicap (tapeta) for 4yo+ runners that Unforgiving Minute will attempt to land the £5,208 purse...

As expected, Instant Expert shows him in a favourable light and in addition to those numbers above, he is also...

  • 6 from 10 going left handed
  • 5 from 10 at sub-10/1 odds
  • 5 from 9 for trainer Sean Curran
  • 4 from 7 in the months of November to January
  • and 1 from 2 over course and distance.

He might well be 10 yrs old now, but there's no sense of a slowing down from this boy yet. He moved to Sean Curran's yard in the summer of 2019 and has five wins and two third-place finishes from nine starts since, taking his overall A/W record to 15 wins from 43 runs, a fantastic 34.9% strike rate. He was a 33/1 winner at this grade and trip at Lingfield last time out and is up 3lbs for the win, but importantly at his age, he's had 44 days to get over that effort.

He goes off a mark of 81 here today, but is assisted by jockey Grace McEntee's 5lb claim and it's worth noting that he did win here at Wolverhampton off 83 as recently as March. He was very impressive last time out and although life will be made harder for him here this time, has every chance of another good run.

Good enough to win? I think so, but he'd have to run to his recent best, as I think the likely favourite Beauty Choice also has a very good chance. This is by no means a gimme, but I'd expect him to make the frame again here. If I'm going to spend money, though, I'm going to want 6/1 or bigger to make it worth the risk, as it's not always easy to win from the back here at Wolves.

Summary

Three runners who all warrant a second glance based on their Instant Expert data and I'm quite happy to back all three at the right price. Ballybreen is currently available at 18/1, and whilst he's not likely to land the race, he's better than 10th favourite in my opinion, so I'll have a small 4 places E/W bet there.

Spirit of Rowdown won't have it all his own way and will have to beat the considerable challenge of Space Kid to land the spoils but 4/1 is too good a price for me to pass up, so I'm on this one too! This could turn out to be a good contest, as I was semi-interested in Arthur's Angel (16/1) and Cliffcake (10/1) as possible E/W punts.

And finally, I see that Unforgiving Minute is priced at 8/1 with Beauty Choice the favourite as I expected.  The fav is as low as 6/4 in places and I don't think he's nearly four times more likely to win than the old boy. I'm going to hedge my bets and take the 8/1 as an E/W bet, but I won't deter from going win only, if that's your preference.

Racing Insights, 5th January 2021

Yesterday's piece ended up being the proverbial Curate's egg: good in places. The winner came from the two I liked most, even if the one I had a marginal preference for didn't win. Hier Encore was indeed the worst horse in the race and Group Stage did indeed finish third.

The one that I though might be worth a tentative second glance as an E/W possible was last of the six to finish, not far behind the one I'd hoped would win. So, a mixed bag that did at least find the 4/1 winner from the two I struggled to split.

Next up is Tuesday, where the Shortlist Report is open to all readers, as are the racecards for the following races...

  • 1.10 Lingfield
  • 8.10 Wolverhampton

Only the two A/W meetings have survived the weather and sadly that has taken away any qualifiers for the shortlist, so I'm back on race preview duty and as I'm not a fan of Novice Stakes on the A/W, it's Hobson's Choice today as I'm going took at the 8.10 Wolverhampton : a pretty mediocre looking 12-runner, Class 6 handicap for 3yos on the tapeta.

The winner will receive £2781 for their connections and despite it not looking like a Classic, there has to be a winner, so let's see if the Geegeez tools (starting with the actual racecard) can steer us in the right direction...

Somebody far wiser than me (Matt) said in a video I watched that horses are 20/1 and bigger for a reason, so I'm now going to immediately remove four of the above from my thinking as I expect they'll be that kind of price, so out go The Bay Warrior, Eaux de Vie, Papas Champ and Inspiring Love to leave our card looking a bit more manageable as follows...

Form-wise, only Ladywood has shown any kind of recent form and that was a win LTO 19 days ago at Chelmsford in a 10 furlong Class 6 contest where she beat four of today's rivals by three to eleven lengths. Aside from her 1 in 6 record so far, the other 11 rivals are a combined 0 from 57 with just four placed efforts amongst them. I suppose at least that place stat will improve here.

Baroness Rachael and Princess Elektra look to have the worst recent form, although the latter does now drop three classes for her handicap debut. The other seven under consideration all ran in this grade last time out and all have had the benefit of some rest (17 to 39 days).

Yards in form provide us with Ladywood, Baby Sham and Baroness Rachael, whilst Baby Sham's trainer has a good longer-term record on this track. The trainers of Pocketeer, Ghostly and Classy Dame have all struggled to make much impact at this venue, though and the majority of our jockeys have been amongst the winners of late.

I'm going to disregard the Geegeez ratings here as only four of the eight have run on Tapeta before and none have particularly high ratings. In a similar vein, looking at the win element of Instant Expert isn't likely to help us, but the place stats...

...show that Ladywood's win/place was on the A/W at Class 6 in a similar size of field and that she's up 6lbs for the win. The other three runners to have been placed in the past were all placed on the A/W, but none of the field have any relevant form at either trip or surface. Ghostly and Complexo were both placed at his Class 6 level, whilst Classy Dame made the frame in a Class 5 maiden six races ago.

In fairness/honesty, there's not a lot to be gleaned from Instant Expert, but perhaps the draw and the pace make-up of the race can help us out...

Low draw (1-4) have won 122 of the 341 races and have provided 347 of the 1019 places in similar contests at strike rates of 35.8% and 34.1% respectively, whilst middle drawn (5-8) horses ratios are 32% and 33.6% with those drawn highest (9-12) providing the remaining 32.2% of winners and 32.3% of placers, so I'd not say there was a considerable draw bias.

A quick look at the individual stalls' records...

...says stalls 2 to 6 would be a good place to run from, which is a positive for Pocketeer, Princess Elektra and Baby Sham. And now to the pace stats, that show...

...a clear superiority for prominent runners or hold-up runners. Most runners in these types of races try these tactics which is why they provide most winners, but the few that do try to win from the front win more often than any other tactic.  The problem here is that there's no confirmed pace setter which leads me to predict that this contest might be falsely run, although there is the possibility that Ghostly might take it on and try to win from the front as he has (unsuccessfully) in three of his last five starts including LTO over course and distance.

At this point, I've still got eight runners under consideration, but I'm now going to cast four aside that I don't see winning here, namely Baroness Rachael, Classy Dame, Complexo and Princess Elektra based on what we've seen so far. This leaves us with four : Baby Sham, Ghostly, Ladywood and Pocketeer.

Of our final four, Ghostly is going to be the odd one out. I think he'll revert to type and try to win from the front, he'll get swallowed up after 7-8 furlongs and miss out on the places, hopefully leaving my final three to battle it out and they are...

Baby Sham was 6½ lengths behind Ladywood in that 1m2f Nursery at Chelmsford 19 days ago and now wears cheekpieces for the first time on her tapeta debut. Still has a fair bit to find to catch that winner, but she's 9lbs better off at the weights here and could go very well for a yard who is 11 from 46 here at Class 5 or lower since the start of 2018 including a winner with their only runner here today.

Ladywood will be very popular and as the form horse of the race, that's perfectly understandable. She ran on well late on to win last time out, but she's up 6lbs for that run and that will make life tougher here. That was by far her best effort to date and if coming here in the same frame of mind will have every chance.

Pocketeer seems to be improving for every run and is certainly less exposed than Ladywood who beat her by 3¼ lengths last time out. Similar continued improvement gives her every chance of closing that gap now that she's half a stone better off at the weights and if taking to the Tapeta first time out could be one to side with. Jockey Ben Curtis rides her for the first time and he's in cracking form right now.

Summary

Had these three been running off the same marks as that Chelmsford race almost three weeks ago, there'd be little reason to think the finishing order would be any different. There were no hard luck stories that day, Ladywood was just better than the other two, but she's now 7-9lbs worse off and that could well even things up.

I don't actually have much separating the three, but the market disagrees. Ladywood is a best-priced 7/4 whilst the other pair are closely matched in the 15/2 and 8/1 area.

Pocketeer is definitely on the rise and with the new weight advantage, she'd be the one I'd back here if getting involved.

Racing Insights, 18th December 2020

Chris got Thursday's race pretty much spot on with his runners of interest finishing 1st and 3rd at Hereford. He'll be taking a short break from Racing Insights but hopefully the standard of analysis won't drop in his absence.

Friday’s feature of the day is the Horses For Courses report which is available in its entirety to all free registered users. The free races for free registered users are as follows:

12.37 Uttoxeter
1.35 Navan
4.10 Wolverhampton
4.30 Dundalk
5.00 Dundalk
7.00 Dundalk

All weather sprints often present a bias or two we can take advantage of so that 4.10 at Wolverhampton is of particular interest here and worth further investigation. The race is a class 6, 5f race worth £5,593 and looks an open contest.

Time To Reason has been out of form in two recent runs after a 252 day break. Both of those runs came at Southwell, a course where he had no previous form, so it’s entirely possible that the surface hasn’t suited and these two runs have got him both cherry ripe and 4lbs lower in the handicap.

His sole UK victory came off a 10lb higher mark back in February 2019 over this distance at Chelmsford and he has a solid record here at Wolverhampton with form figures of 63263022. When narrowing it down to runs here at this distance his form reads 32322 and all those runs came off marks either in the high 50s or mid 60s so that form entitles him to plenty of respect here off 54 and he may well have been laid out for this.

Jockey Richard Kingscote knows the horse well, he rides the horse more often than not and was on board for all five of those course and distance efforts. He has a place strike rate of 34.48% overall and that rises to 39.56% at Wolverhampton so this is clearly a venue he performs well at.

His partnership with trainer Charlie Wallis is much more potent on the all weather than turf. The pair have a 21.43% place strike rate when teaming up on turf and a 41.54% place strike rate on artificial surfaces.

Thegreyvtrain outran her odds of 20/1 last time out in first time cheekpieces when 3rd over this course and distance and she now tries first time blinkers in an attempt to eek out more improvement.

The Profiler is capable of shedding some light on how much difference the blinkers could make compared to the cheekpieces.

Looking at the sire data in Profiler for handicaps, offspring of Coach House have a 7.89% win strike rate and a 26.32% place strike rate in cheekpieces compared to a 7.5% win strike rate and 22.5% place strike rate in blinkers so chances are her performance here will be similar and possibly marginally worse than last time.

This runner has a poor strike rate when it comes to getting her head in front, she’s just 2 from 37. Her place strike rate is much better though (17 from 37) and she’s finished either 2nd or 3rd in 5 of her last 8 starts. It’s easy to see why connections have been reaching for headgear.

The majority of her course and distance runs have come off slightly higher marks than today and her form figures here at 5f read 779253283 so she looks a place contender at best.

Arcavallo is another with a fairly modest win and place strike rate, Michael Dods’ gelding has 3 wins, 5 2nds and 2 3rds from 33 career starts. He’s yet to win from 11 runs on the all weather but has finished 2nd once and 3rd twice.

He’s found a fairly consistent level on her last seven starts with form figures of 4293374 but his mark has been creeping up for not winning. He’s yet to race around here but has put some decent enough efforts in on Newcastle’s tapeta surface. He doesn’t look obviously well handicapped but perhaps racing around a bend will suit this habitual front runner better than the straight track at Newcastle.

Mansfield ran poorly at Catterick on soft ground in October but has never run well in testing conditions and has been withdrawn several times on account of that ground so that effort is easily forgiven. Prior to that he had run well in defeat at Musselburgh and had won here over course and distance off a 4lb lower mark than he carries here.

He won comfortably enough on that occasion in a race where several of those behind have run consistently well since. He seems to struggle at most all weather courses except for Wolverhampton and Lingfield. He’s run six times over course and distance, winning one of those and placing a further twice. It’s worth noting that when he won here he was ridden more prominently than usual (can often be held up) and he’d also shown more early enthusiasm on his previous run too. It could be that not getting too far behind is ideal for the horse. His trainer does have just a 2.13% win record here though and a WIN PL of -86.

Red Allure, a maiden elsewhere, has two wins over course and distance but was slightly disappointing last time out here when a well enough beaten 6th. The response of his connections to that run has been to reach for a first time visor. It’s worth noting that he is 0-15 without headgear and 2-11 with headgear. When he wore blinkers for the first time he was a winner here so the switch in headgear could be what he needs.

His two wins have come off marks of 45 and 47 and he’s rated 50 here so certainly not out of it on that score but he isn’t the most consistent runner.

Superseded has a similar profile to Time To Reason in that he recently returned from a long break (257 days) and has put in two poor performances since. What’s different here is those runs haven’t come when trying a new surface, they have come here and also at Newcastle.

He's done the majority of his racing on the all weather (22 of his 30 starts have come on artificial surfaces) and both his career wins came here over course and distance off much higher marks, but that was almost 18 months ago now.

He's run poorly in all five course and distance runs that have followed those victories so it’s certainly not a case that this venue could spark a revival and it’s difficult to build a case for him in this.

The main positive is the current form of the John Butler yard.

He’s had 6 winners from his last 17 runners at the time of writing with a further 3 places in that sample.

Raspberry is potentially very interesting. She hadn’t shown much in her previous six runs (beaten 10+ lengths in five of those runs) before showing signs of life off a much reduced mark here last time out. She’s now dropped from a mark of 75 (has finished 2nd off 67) down to 48.

That run last time came off the back of an 87 day break so whatever had been bothering her may well have been sorted and that looked a decent enough race for the grade (the winner has placed since and the runner up won on Thursday).

She's finished 2nd off 67 over 5f at Newcastle, 7th (beaten 4.5 lengths) off 67 again here and 4th last time off 49. Given that last race looked stronger than this she’s of interest here off the current mark based on all three of those runs.

Jessie Allan has done most of her racing over 6f and 7f but drops back to 5f here. She’s never got closer than 3rd over the minimum distance and has been unplaced in 10 out of 11 attempts at 5f. She’s very easy to oppose on that basis.

Rank outsiders Trulove and Diamonds Dream are also easy to oppose. The former is on her last winning mark but she hasn’t placed in over a year and beat just two home off the same mark here last time out. Diamonds Dream has been beaten over 9 lengths in all 4 starts to date and was beaten 16 lengths on handicap debut last time out.

Over this course and distance there is an edge towards front runners and those who race closer to the pace, as demonstrated by the historical pace data shown in the pace tab.

The further back in the field a runner is placed, the less likely it is to perform well.

A possible contested pace here according to the Geegeez Pace Map which could compromise the chances of likely pace angles Thegreyvtrain and Arcavallo. The former looked place only material on the form check and Arcavallo didn’t have amazing claims for win or place so neither would stand out as likely bets now based on the pace map, despite the advantage pace horses often have here.

Red Allure should be well placed from his low draw and has good claims on his previous course and distance form but he's no guarantee to give his running.

Mid division is probably as far back as you want to be here, even with contested pace, and Raspberry and Time To Reason plus outsiders Trulove and Diamonds Dream are likely to be placed there, but the latter two are drawn wide and therefore may have to race wide or race even further back than ideal.

In this field size there is an edge for those that are drawn middle to low. The PRB (Percentage of rivals beaten) highlight an advantage to those in the lower stalls and an equal disadvantage to those that come from the higher numbers. That would be a slight concern for Arcavallo who is drawn in stall 6 which is on the middle to high end of the scale in this field.

Summary

The main trio I would be interested in here are Time To Reason, Red Allure and Raspberry. Time To Reason would be an interesting place only bet given his course and distance record but he does look vulnerable for win purposes and will probably find one or two too good. Red Allure is interesting but risky. He’s not the most consistent and is trying new headgear which is a bit of extra risk but chances are he will run well too over a course and distance he generally enjoys.

Raspberry stands out at the early prices though. She’s been rated much higher in the past, seems to go pretty well on tapeta over the minimum distance and gave a strong hint last time that she was on her way back in what was probably a better race. The fact that her best effort by far during that run of six poor races came here is an added bonus.