Tag Archives: Tapeta

Racing is Back!

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Racing is back! At least in the UK. We here in Ireland have to wait for another week.

Although it was only sand racing, having full fields at Newcastle this afternoon was certainly welcome… compared to none at all over the last while. Plus it’s only two more days until racing on green, lush turf returns as well.

It’s gonna be a packed schedule with top class racing over the next couple of weeks also. Those Classics are coming thick and fast right, left and center. France and Germany with their Guineas races today. Others will follow soon. Exciting times!

Looking back on the first day of the flat season 2020 I have mixed feelings, nonetheless. One the plus side I’ve also got an intriguing eye-catcher for the tracker for those readers who make it to end of my ramblings.

Racingpost is Poor Value

The sport I love is back: great! The print edition of the Racingpost is back: great! Not so great: one would have thought the editors had plenty of time to think about how to improve their product for when it returns to the shelves in a bid to entice prospective customers to buy a paper that comes with a whopping price tag of €4.20.

I’m afraid there was nothing in the “Bumper Edition” of the Racingpost that inspired me to pay such a steep price for something that would end in the recycle bin only half a day later.

Racing back in the UK. Top class races in France and Germany – there was plenty to cover. Yet the paper felt thin on actual, valuable content.

An interview with Lester Piggott on his remarkable career. That’s alright – I’ve got all respect for the man and his story – though, it’s hardly anything original these days. You can find plenty of similar interviews and articles with him for free (in fact RP published some under the “PR Classics” banner only recently).

A stable tour of Richard Hannon’s. Plus the usual tipsters and some race previews. Add racecards. That’s it.

In the day of online and mobile where everything is a swipe away all the time, publishers face an uphill battle, particularly with a niche print product such as the Racingpost. If you produce a paper that in essence has not changed in two decades and offers little real incentive to buy because of a lack of original content then you’ll struggle even more so.

I really wanted to buy the Racingpost this morning. Really wanted it. But a hefty €4.20 for what you get is simply no value for money. I’m not saying there is no value. Of course there is. For some people more than for others. But is it worth the price? I don’t think so. And that’s a shame.

More Data Please

I have thoroughly enjoyed dipping my toes into Hong Kong racing over the last weeks. Doing so, what becomes blatantly obvious – now that racing returns to more familiar places – what sets their product apart from ours here.

Hong Kong racing is all about providing relevant information, a myriad on data and a level of transparency with the aim of improving customer experience. Data that is freely available and easily accessible to all punters and racing fans alike for them to analyse- and better understand what- and why certain things happen in a race.

Free replays in excellent quality with different angles to chose from. Sectional times as well as every little detail on all the horses – be it their racing weight, injury history, or track work. Heck, even rather accurate Speed maps are produced.

Given the importance of racing for Hong Kong as the HKJC is the largest taxpayer there, this makes perfect sense, of course: if you want punters to come racing and gambling you need to provide an enticing product that people can believe in due to its transparent nature.

Granted there are only two tracks in Hong Kong, a small horse population and fewer variables. That makes it a lot easier to track all these things. It’s unrealistic to copy everything Hong Kong does and bring it over to the UK or Ireland. Still, more can be done and lessons can be learned from Hong Kong if racing over here wants to appeal to new and younger generations.

People these days are much more familiar with looking at- and using data. Many of us do it for work in some form or another. Not only for work, though. In a betting environment think about sports like football, hockey, basketball and so on that offer tons of data – from simple to “advanced stats”. Often available for free, easily accessible. Quite like it’s the case in Hong Kong for their racing product.

For UK and Irish racing data is expensive to get hands on (Flatstats, Proform….) and racing media tends to speak in plain and banal language anyway, as if the general punter would be too stupid to understand anything that goes beyond the numbers associated with naked form.

Baby steps are being made, though. Sectionals and stride data start to become more readily available for certain tracks. This really provides great insights into how races are run and why horses finished a certain way. This has to become a universal thing, though. It’s 2020 not 1985.

Newcastle Eye-Catcher

Ghadbbaan – Race 1 – 7th place: One could easily overlook this well beaten 4-year-old gelding. However this was a fairly decent seasonal reappearance, given he was drawn in gate one, which can be a negative for horses who already have starting issues. So it was no surprise to Ghadbbaan walking out of the gate. Hoe was then firmly driven forward to chase the lead.

He surly did much more than ideal in those early stages of the race and tired over two furlongs out to finish side by side with the pre-race favourite. That’s not the whole story, though.

He switched yards over the winter and was gelded, after two low-key efforts as a juvenile. He didn’t fulfill the hopes connections once had when in care of Michael Stoute.

However, Ghadbbaan is quite nicely bred, although clearly looks to have a future beyond a mile. He is a full-brother to smart 103 rated Listed 1m 2f winner Sound Of Cannons out of a Listed placed- and 1m2f winning mare  and by French Derby winner Intello.

Today was only his first handicap start. A fair pipe opener. Once Ghadbbaan steps up in trip he should improve readily and be able to exploit his current 64 Official Rating.

Thursday Selections: January, 9th 2020

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

12.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

The favourite Double Martini has to be respected for the step up in trip that looks sure to suit, a fair handicap mark and a top jockey booking. I feel the potential improvement is already reflected in the price, though.

There isn’t too much else to fear in this race, which enhances the chances of Double Martini having found an ideal opportunity. Although 7-year-old gelding Destroyer drops down to class 6 with another couple of pounds off his rating and appears certainly well-handicapped if finding some form again.

It’s his second run after a break, so he should strip fitter for the latest – arguably poor – showing over this course and distance last month.

Only four runs back though in September he still finished a fine third only a lengths down at Pontefract of a 67 handicap mark, also matching a 67 topspeed rating, suggesting there is life and enough class to be competitive in a low-grade handicap such as this.

True, Destroyer is without victory on the All-Weather but his career best speed rating was achieved at Kempton (79). He also acts on tapeta as proven when a 1¼ lengths beaten 4th over a mile here in November 2018 of a 13lb higher mark than today.

He may well have enough of racing, as he’s not getting any younger, and his last three efforts are concerning. If back in the same mood at Pontefract, though, he’d have a massive chance.

*Edit: Non-runner!*

Selection:
10pts win – Destroyer @ 15/2 MB

Thursday Selections: December 26th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Merry Christmas to all readers of this site! Hope you are having a wonderful time surrounded by family and friends.

I am in the middle of my very own winter “break”, with overseas travel as well as spending Christmas at home in Germany. A busy year, an even busier few weeks…. but now it’s certainly time to sit back and relax for a few days at the very least.

Nonetheless, I can’t help but have a quick look at what’s going on in the world of racing. I have no real interest in the jump races today – not from a betting perspective at least. Thankfully the Tapeta track at Wolverhampton is open for business….

………

4.25 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f 

Favourite Renardeau looks to be too high in the mark now after his two victories on the bounce. A better case can be made for Dream Magic who was so impressive over course and distance when last seen, who also matched his revised handicap mark on topspeed that day.

However it was clearly a career best and you have to wonder if that one run should overshadow the evidence of a gelding who has been seen 30 times before and only once ran to anything remotely close to that level of form before. He can go close again, and one can argue at 7/1 is a fair price to find out, but I am more inclined to give the runner-up of aforementioned Wolverhampton contest a big chance here today.

Bottom weight Fayetta is still a maiden after 19 starts and was well beaten in second place at Wolverhampton behind Dream Magic. On the other hand there is a significant turnaround in the weights today, in favour of the filly. She ran at Southwell in the meantime, didn’t follow on from the good form shown at Wolverhampton, though.

Possibly down to the fibresand, now back on Tapeta will be more suitable. On this surface she has achieved topspeed ratings of 61 and 67 this year over the 12 furlong trip. So now down to a 61 official rating the case can be made for Fayetta having a prime chance taking advantage of a slipping mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Fayetta @ 10/1 MB

Thursday Selections: November 21st 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

4.35 Newcastle: Novice Stakes, 5f

Normally not my cup of tee this type of contest, however I make an exception for the fact that Agent Shiftwell appears to be undervalued in the market.

The son of Equiano showed plenty of promise on debut at Windsor on less than ideal ground, coming in as a good runner-up in a fairly decent maiden contest under a sympathetic ride.

He should have learned plenty that day and looked also rather ready on the day already, bouncing out of the gate well and travelling strongly for long. Agent Shiftwell has the profile to improve rapidly, out of a listed placed dam who was a winner on the All-Weather as a juvenile also.

The colt should improve not only for the Windsor experience but also for the switch to Tapeta, given Equiano has quite a strong record on this surface with his juvenile offspring (albeit the jury is out on Newcastle).

Selection:
10pts win – Agent Shiftwell @ 7/1 WH

Friday Selections: November, 8th 2019

Iron Major Dundalk

6.35 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Back after a little break, Lucky Violet appears a compelling alternative to the market principles in an open race that lacks standout chances.

The seven-year-old isn’t the force of the past, however arrives off a career lowest handicap mark on either turf or All-Weather. He is still searching for a maiden victory on the sand, though, only had eight starts, all of a higher marks and only three over his preferred mile trip.

Lucky Violet showed that there is still life when running well earlier this year on turf – a number of placed efforts at Ayr at Hamilton off 64 and 65 ratings in higher class.

Down in class 6 back on the All-Weather, his mark a lowly 49 rating, given he ran to much higher topspeed ratings in the past, in fact he did so in 2019, albeit on turf, but also a 51 TS performance last November at this venue, suggest he could go well today.

Selection:
10pts win – Lucky Violet @ 23/1 MB

………

6.45 Dundalk: 45-65 Handicap, 7 furlongs

If Crest Of A Wave can bounce back after a recent below part effort she is in with a big chance of her current mark. That is a substantial if, given she remains a maiden after twelve starts. Equally there is plenty to like about her chance today.

For one, she ran well in her other two Dundalk starts this autumn, when not beaten far and in fact finishing a good third place last month. She is two pounds lower today, which is a career lowest for her.

Crest Of A Wave showed promise on the All-Weather earlier this year already, when finishing runner-up and 4th on two subsequent occasions. She ran to topspeed ratings of 50 and 59 back then, suggesting there is opportunity for her today with a good draw and lowly 47 handicap mark to play with.

Selection:
10pts win – Crest Of A Wave @ 16/1 MB

Friday Selections: September, 20th 2019

Postulation

7.20 Newcastle: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Decent race for this class, and favourite Chaplin Bay, who’d made me a happy boy a number of times in the past, is a strong favourite. But it’s Mostahel who really makes strong appeal on his return to Tapeta.

His career has certainly not developed as one would have envisioned when he demolished a field of maidens at Wolverhampton back in spring 2017, even though he followed up with a strong handicap performance at Newmarket, ever since then the now 5-year-old gelding has been falling down off a cliff.

Clearly this lad has had his fair share of issues, endured twice long absences from racing and has changed yards but on the plus side is potentially on a sexy handicap mark and may not yet be finished, given he’s been rather lightly raced for his age.

There was clear signs of a return to some sort of form when Mostahel finished a strong third – albeit in a messy race – at Redcar two starts back. He pulled pretty hard early on over the 7f trip and then didn’t get a run until finally in the clear over a furlong out. He finished strongly, suggesting victory is imminent.

Mostahel didn’t kick on the next time, dropped to 6 furlongs when upped in class, though that was a hot contest and he ran okay, I felt.

Now back over 7 furlongs, with a strong pace likely, only his second ever start on the All-Weather, the sole one was the demolition job at Wolverhampton, he makes plenty of appeal of a mark of 68, given as a juvenile he ran to topspeed ratings of 79 on turf and 86 on the Wolverhampton Tapeta. He’s not that good these days, obviously. But doesn’t have to be to land this contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Mostahel @ 11/2 MB

……….

8.20 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Fard is a fair favourite but nothing more. The case of Groupie is much more intriguing for her return to the All-Weather, after a number of respectable efforts this year, all the while she keeps falling in the official ratings.

Clearly the mare is now on a dangerous handicap mark, given she has ran nine times in her career to topspeed ratings of 52 and higher, plus did so this season already and caught the eye when last seen on the All-Weather at Wolverhampton in August.

That form is a key piece I feel. Even though over an additional furlong, it was a stronger race than this today, Groupie travelled really well but didn’t get a run until entering the home straight when the bird was flown with first and second, in fact also the third, all enjoying first run.

She finished a fair 4th nonetheless, best of those from the ones off the pace. She did so off a 59 handicap mark. One can clearly see how she’d gone much closer with a clear run and 8lb less on the back.

The drop to 6 furlongs isn’t an issue. The fair straight at Newcastle should suit. Big run expected.

Selection:
10pts win – Groupie @ 10.5/1 MB

………

6.00 Dundalk: Handicap, 1 mile

Speculative and unlikely to happen, but should Masalai get in here as third reserve he’d have a big chance to go pretty close of a big price. Otherwise he’s one to stick into the tracker for another day.

Masalai is a course and distance specialist who has won of a 63 handicap mark earlier this year, while also having ran four times to topspeed 57+ over CD. Therefore it is rather obvious that currently down to a 56 handicap mark the 5-year-old is potentially well in here.

He hasn’t excelled during the turf season in three starts, so a lightly campaign in the last few months should ensure he’s fresh and ready for a big run.

Selection:
10pts win – Masalai @ 12/1 MB / Edit: ***NR***

……..

6.30 Dundak: Handicap, 1 mile

The draw is a big negative, but Dubai Rainbow appears to be so well handicapped today that I take the risk. It also helps knowing the filly usually breaks smartly.

Despite strong performance at Bellwestown when last seen in July, the handicapper has dropped her 3lb. She was a beaten favourite that day but it was a messy finish, not unusual for that track, and a good 3rd place finish was rather encouraging, proving her fallen mark will see her get her head in front soon.

Dubai Rainbow returns to the All-Weather now, where her career best performances came in two starts – a win in a claimer, and a strong 3rd place in Handicap company last autumn. That day she raced off a 70 handicap mark and ran to a 70 topspeed rating.

With excellent Oisin Orr on board today I’m hopeful she can break well and overcome the wide draw. If that’s the case she’ll go close of a mark of 59.

Selection:
10pts win – Dubai Rainbow @ 9/2 MB