Tag Archives: All-Weather

Tuesday Selections: December 12th 2017

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Actually I had mushrooms for dinner…. Anyway – despite breaking slowly (again), Mach One had – as hoped – way too much in hand at Southwell this afternoon. He drew clear eventually when asked for full effort and justified market support.

Second selection Very First Blade ran a blinder in the last race on the card. He was a massive 40/1 before the off but finished much better, despite never travelling. A fine third in the end.

No winner, but it proved once again the golden highway for the low drawn horses over 5f at Southwell does exist, as explored in my recent Myth or Fact article.

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3.15 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Arriving from back-to-back-wins is Entertaining Ben here; thanks to a good draw he has every chance to go close once more.

I fancy one who finished a good deal behind the last two times, though: Roundabout Magic.

Not seen to bet effect in his recent starts having to deal with wide draws, the three year old was also incredibly keen and that in combination meant he was finished before it really mattered.

As a consequence he drops to a very tasty mark: tasty because in February and March he went back-to-back off a similar- and even 4lb higher mark in similar type races.

His keenness can be an issue, however the colt has been allotted a pretty decent draw this time. So a combination of draw and falling mark should see him being competitive.

Selection:
10pts win – Roundabout Magic @ 10/1 Bet365

….

6.20 Wolverhamtpon: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Mansfield couldn’t have been unluckier the other day when conceding first run, having to turn widest and being in front just behind the line…. off the same mark here he has an obvious chance to get his head in front.

He is finally down to a realistic mark after racing in tougher competition of much higher ratings for most of 2017, which was based on one excellent performance in a class 3 Nursery back in 2015.

This lad has obviously talent and is likely a bit better than what his current OR of 65 says – so with a clear run he should be hard to beat in this.

Selection:
10pts win – Mansfield @ 11/8 William Hill

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6.20 Wolverhampton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Despite stepping up in grade this is not a tougher race, in fact at this course and distance Mr. Christopher has an excellent chance to run a big race.

He’s 3lb higher for a recent superb runner-up effort at Southwell and it remains to be see if this career best he has yet to achieve is beyond him.

However with conditions bound to suit to perfection – the wide draw must not be a concern over this CD as the stats prove – he is sure to go close as this most recent form looks strong and therefore the additional 3lb might actually underestimate what he is capable of right now in his third race after a break.

Selection: 
10pts win – Mr. Christopher @ 10/3 William Hill

Monday Selections: December 11th 2017

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Before I go into detail what’s on the menu tomorrow – big shout out to the star that Sizing John is. On a day as bleak and freezing as it gets here in Ireland, the reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup champion lit up a fire at Punchestown this afternoon.

A re-match between Djakadam and Sizing John is was meant to be; the odds moved only one way: defeat for the Willie Mullins charge was out of question while sizing John was likely to need the run. Incredibly, he was available at 2/1 before the off!

In the end it looked the other way around. Sizing John, in hands of Robbie Power, appeared sharp and won as he pleased, whereas Djakadam, who won the John Durkan the last two years, seemingly needed the run this time round….

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3.00 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

Mach One has notably improved since being gelded and switching stable during the summer. Going handicapping since then too, he won a Chelmsford handicap in November – form that looks rock solid, and subsequently ran an almighty race here at Southwell over a mile.

Widest draw, he was slowly away, but pushed forward to make up ground quickly and be up with the pace before the first turn. He travelled strongly into the straight and went to the front briefly, just be worn down by a closer from off the pace in the dying strides.

Taking all that into account that went against him, it is fair to say Mach One was the best horse in the race that day, with a clean break would have won probably quite easily, so a 4lb rise on the mark is potentially lenient. Even more so as that was only his second start on fibresand – often horses improve for their second outing here.

The third has franked the form subsequently, so the run and ratings should be legit. Only slight concern, if you will, is the fact Mach One moves up in class and has to fight off a better bunch of horses than the other day. For reasons mentioned and general improvement not unlikely I do not think this is a problem.

Selection:
10pts win – Mach One @ 11/2 Bet365

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3.30 Southwell: Class 6 handicap, 5f

Very First Blade hasn’t won for a very long time and gets into this race only on a long handicap. Regardless, a return to 5f at Southwell from a perfect draw and a low weight might see him finding back some form.

He still finished in January of a higher mark an agonizingly close second over CD and subsequently ran some okayish races. His return in October after small break was really poor, and he had another break since then. Maybe he’s just gone, but deserves another chance.

Eye-shields back on, decent 3lb claimer in the saddle with conditions he loves so much. Any return to form shown not too long ago will see him go close.

Selection: 
10pts win – Very First Blade @ 33/1 William Hill

Friday Selections – 10th November 2017

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

6.45 Newcastle: Class 4 Fillies’ Handicap, 6f

A race very much for the taking and favourite Cashla Bay should be very hard to beat from a perfect draw. That is if she can regain form shown previously to a abysmal performance in her last start, when finishing down the field.

However all other three life time starts were quite excellent efforts in the context of the race and how the form has worked out in the long term.

Cashla Bay achieved a time speed rating of 81 on her debut back in October last year, which suggested she is potentially smart, and with natural improvement surely better than her current rating of 80.

A tongue strap is fitted for the first time. That might be the key to unlock improvement. Certainly one thing is for sure: there is no excuse today.

Selection:
10pts win – Cashla Bay @ 9/4 Bet365

Myth or Fact: Southwell 5f Advantage?

Short days. No sunlight. Freezing temperatures. Yep, winter is coming. So here it starts also, with zero fanfare: the dull, ever the same boring racing on the sand. Racing fans in huge numbers hate the All-Weather with a passion. Well, I don’t. In fact love it.

That is a matter of opinion of course, and is nothing to debate here and now. However with the AW season kicking into top gear sooner rather than later, I want to highlight some interesting facts on everything sand racing over the next coming weeks.

The 5 Furlongs Anomaly 

Every man and his dog seems to know that the straight 5 furlongs at Southwell works heavily to the advantage of horses drawn low. By how much? And is it true? Well, that’s the question. Pure gut feeling and visual impression as an indicator certainly tells a story of “something’s there”.

What do the numbers say? If we focus on winter as the season we’re interested in, then the almighty Excel sheet back this up in impressive manner. I don’t want to throw numbers around, but let’s say over the last five winters significantly more races have been won by those drawn low over 5f at Southwell. Regardless of age, sex and race conditions.

Imagine this: if you would have backed blindly every runner in every race drawn between stall one and four during those years with a £1 stake, you would have made a profit of nearly £75. That’s a 32% return on your investment. Not too shabby!

Even more so if consider three of the past five seasons have produced a profit after all.

Now, flying blind is never a good idea, regardless. So why don’t you refine your criteria hence increase you chance of finding a winner while profiting even more from the low draw advantage?

Fly With Open Eyes

Say you won’t back any fillies and mares, because the numbers quite clearly tell females perform much worse on the All-Weather in winter against the opposite sex. Say you focus on races for older (4yo +) horses solely, because most races are held for them in winter, anyway:

You’ll increase your return of investment to a near 96%. Just like that! In fact you would have made a definite profit in any of the past five years (based on SP)!

Why is that? Why is there this huge advantage for horses drawn low over 5 furlongs at Southwell? At The Races seems to know: This (over 5f very high draws tend to be at a disadvantage) is because they are often forced to rail under the near side rail where the ground is slower.

Southwell In Comparison 

Fact is: compared to the only other All-Weather racetrack in Britain that offers a straight 5f track – Newcastle – Southwell is an anomaly. You would think that a straight track is fair and gives near equal chances to win from either a low, middle or high draw.

Granted, Newcastle has a Tapeta surface and Southwell is Fibresand, it is telling that we see there exactly that: an equal strike rate for low and high drawn horses. The middle fares slightly worse. Not significantly worse, though slightly worse. Probably because if you’re drawn high or low you will have more often than not the rail as an aid.

In Conclusion

We can say that there is certainly a bias over 5 furlongs at Southwell. This has not changed over the years and for punters this remains a great opportunity to exploit and profit from.

Refining the criteria of races you back horses in can yield in even better results. I gave you some very simple suggestions. If you want – of course – you can drill down even further and you find even more interesting facts to take into account (specific draw, head-gear…).

I do look forward to see how things pan out in the upcoming season. Keep an eye on these 5f contests. Southwell is back next Monday…. with three races over the straight course!

Tuesday Selections – 6th November 2017

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1.10 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Novices Stakes, 5f

After three highly promising runs, with the debut a clear stand-out, Miltia is clearly the one to beat. 5f on tapeta looks ideal with a perfect draw in a race that appears to be very much winnable.

Militia’s sire Equiano has a superb record with juveniles over CD therefore the switch to the All-Weather looks more like a positive than a negative.

Selection:
10pts win – Militia @ 9/4 Bet365

…….

4.45 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

This looks a race where one of the younger, lightly raced three year olds really should land a blow. Mio Ragazzo looks the pick of the lot, if this doesn’t come too soon and he can overcome a wide draw.

However I rather go with experience in this race. From the bottom end of the weights, nine year old Pick A Little looks primed for a big run. He comes here off a nice win at Brighton, yet can race off 2lb lower on the All-Weather, than he did on turf the last time.

Pick A Little is equally as good a horse on the sand as on grass, in fact his win record on the All-Weather is slightly better.

A mile on AW has never led to success, though. However he gets it well enough as seen at Brighton in desperate conditions three weeks ago.

It looks significant that Richard Kingscote takes the ride. He’s sat three times on Pick A Little and steered the gelding to success on each occasion.

Drawn in eight should still be okay and he should have not too many problems settling in a nice position not too far off the pace.

Selection:
10pts win – Pick A Little @ 17/2 VC

Wednesday Selection: 18th October 2017

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A nice winner with Mutafarrid (6/1) got the week rolling on Monday, although the other two selections on the day ran stinkers. Well, it would have been too nice, I guess. There was not much to like on Tuesday, but thankfully the next day is just around the corner…

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2.20 Lingfield: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 5f 

The two fillies at the head of the market set a fair standard, however their form is nothing to shout about and while experience counts for quite a bit in these races I side with a completely unknown quantity.

It looks significant that Silvestre De Sousa is on board of newcomer Baileys Excel. That is because the colt is quite well bred and his sire does incredibly well at this track over this trip, particularly with two year olds.

Now the jockey booking is even more so significant as this yard’s record in these type of races with young horses isn’t good. However the record for SDS on Dwyer inmates, particularly 2yo’s is excellent.

From a good draw where the door is wide open for an upset, Baileys Excel might be the one who is good enough on debut to win this.

Selection:
10pts win – Baileys Excel @ 10/1 Bet365

Saturday Selections – 7th October 2017

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

8.15 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f

Shocking race, despite the large field. Screams for an upset. Innish Man can be the one who causes it. An upset on last seasons form it wouldn’t be that much, however he’s been off for a long time and got merely a pipe opener under the belt a fortnight ago.

We don’t know whether he has regained full fitness and some of his old “class”, that says he was a progressive performer in low grade All-Weather handicaps in 15/16.

Now 3lb below his last winning mark and a full 6lb below his career highest mark, of which he finished a fair runner-up in a race that worked out well back in January 2016 – anything close to that will see him have a big say off a good draw today.

Selection:
10pts win – Innish Man @ 16/1 Bet365

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9.15 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Handicap, 9.5f

I do fancy Bebette quite a bit on her debut for a new yard plus first time over this trip and on the All-Weather. The switch to Tapeta over 9.5f should suit her much better than she shorter distances the encountered in her four starts to date.

She remains lightly raced, we may not need to read too much into her four disappointing career outings to date, three came in maiden company and one in a 16-runner Handicap at Yarmouth.

A fair 5lb on board is an added bonus I suspect, with a potentially lowly mark of 53 Babette could easily run a big race.

Selection:
10pts win – Babette 6/1 Ladbrokes