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The Monday Diary

Good Monday Morning to you!

After some fairly low-key racing last week. This week’s sport steps up a couple of notches. Yesterday saw the start of a week’s racing at Listowel Harvest Festival. This Wednesday sees the start of four days’ racing on Town Moor with the Doncaster St Leger Festival. If that wasn’t enough for racegoers, next Saturday & Sunday we have Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh. So, plenty to look forward to.

Enable Makes Impressive Return

Before looking ahead to this week’s action. Let’s take a look back at Saturday’s racing.

Last year’s Oaks & Arc heroine, Enable, returned to the racecourse with a very decisive win in the September Stakes at Kempton. I had forgotten just how big & strong she is, more like colt than a filly. A classy looking horse, and a classy performance to boot.

She had just the one serious rival to beat in Crystal Ocean. Sent to the front, from the front, with Crystal Ocean tracking her in second. Two furlongs from home, Crystal Ocean made his effort and for a stride it looked like he would ask a serious question of the filly, but she simply blew him away to win by 3½ lengths.

I think she was pretty straight for this, although her trainer will have left a little bit to work on. All roads lead to Longchamp now for Enable, as she bids to defend her Arc crown. For which she was a best priced 9/4 after the race.

Tin Man Makes It Third Time Lucky

Most racing journalists seemed to be at Kempton on Saturday, if the post-race scrum to interview Enable’s jockey Frankie Dettori is any guide, rather than being at Haydock for the Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup.

On heavy going, more suited to the Betfair Chase Day, the James Fanshawe trained, The Tin Man, made it third time lucky when holding-off Brando and Gustav Klimt for a gutsy win in the day’s big race. Third in last year’s renewal on soft ground, any doubts about heavy ground for the 6-year-old were brushed aside with this win. He’s clearly not ground dependent, but does need them to go a strong pace, which he got here.

Last year’s winner, Harry Angel, was responsible for setting that strong pace. Given a forceful ride by Adam Kirby, he helped force the pace in the first two furlongs, before going on alone. On this very testing ground, he was never going to be able to keep-up the strong early fractions that he set, and eventually weakened out of contention to finish 6th.

Last Week’s Eyecatcher

Nick Vedder, trained by Michael Wigham, was well backed at 8/1 for his first start at 6f, but didn’t get a clear run until two furlongs out, and once again inside the final furlong. In the circumstances, he did well to finish within 4 lengths of the winner in 8th. A winner at 7f at Doncaster two starts back, the 4-year-old looks worth another try at the trip, and is capable of winning at 6f when he gets better luck in the run than he had at Ascot on Friday.

The St Leger Festival: A Stats Perspective

The four-day St Leger Festival starts this Wednesday, and culminates on Saturday, with the latest running of Britain’s oldest Classic horse race – the St Leger.

Here are some stats that are worth noting this week:

1. Roger Varian has been the trainer to note in Class 1 & 2 races at the meeting. Since 2013 he’s had:
10 winners from 29 runners
Strike Rate 34%
SP Profit +63.38
A/E 2.04
18 placed
Place Strike Rate 62%. 

You could have backed the Newmarket trainer blind, as he’s made a profit in such races in 4 of the last 5 years. If you want to filter a bit more, you can could concentrate on his runners in non-handicap races which are:

7 winners from 16 runners
Strike Rate 44%
SP Profit +51.88
A/E 2.43
11 placed
Place Strike Rate 69%.

2. John Gosden has had at the St. Leger Festival since 2013:
8 winners from 42 runners
Strike Rate 19%
SP Profit -4.99
A/E 1.01
18 placed
Place Strike Rate 43% 

However, if you focus on his runners in handicap races at 1m+ he’s had:

4 winners from 7 runners
Strike Rate 57%
SP Profit +10.63
A/E 2.15

3. David Simcock is another trainer whose runners at the meeting are worth a second look. Particularly, it’s worth focusing on his runners that are sent off 12/1 & under. Such horses have produced:
5 winners from 13 runners
Strike Rate 38%
SP Profit +25.5
A/E 2.42

4. John Gosden once again features, but this time with his 2-year-olds starting 9/1 & under
5 winners from 11 runners
Strike Rate 45%
SP Profit +8.51
A/E 1.96
6 placed
Place Strike Rate 55%.

5. The top jockey at the festival is Andrea Atzeni with:
22 winners from 78 runners
Strike Rate 28%
SP Profit +69.71
A/E 1.69
41 placed
Place Strike Rate 53%. 

These results are even more impressive when you consider that he has had 12 more winners than his nearest rival, Ryan Moore.

6. For those of you who like backing the clear favourites, the meeting has been a profitable one, with the clear market leaders providing:
45 winners from 126 runners
Stroke Rate 36%
SP Profit +18.94
A/E 1.14
81 placed
Place Strike Rate 64%.

St Leger Preview

An early look at the final British Classic of the 2018 flat season, the William Hill St Leger.

In the last ten years, the race has produced:
10 winners from 100 runners
29 placed

Favourites or joint favourites are:
4 winners from 11 runners
Strike Rate 36%
SP Profit +3.75
7 placed
Place Strike Rate 64%.

A decent record for the market leaders, but don’t rule out a longer priced horse winning the race. In the past decade, 4 winners from 25 runners, have gone off between 12/1 & 25/1.

Here are a few of the more interesting stats:

Last Time Out Placing: Top Four
10 winners from 72 runners
Strike rate +37.25

Days Since Last Run: 46 to 90 days
7 winners from 29 runners
Strike Rate +36.25
A/E 1.99

Last Race Class: Group 3
5 winners from 18 runners
Strike Rate +30
A/E 2.91

Verdict: Trainer Aiden O’Brien has won this race three times since 2008, and he has the short-priced favourite in Kew Gardens. The son of Galileo was 9th in the Epsom Derby, before going on to win the Queen Vase and the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp. Ran a shade below best when 3rd in the Great Voltigeur at York last month, but was only beaten 1¾ lengths by Old Persian that day, and did well considering the race didn’t suit those coming from off the pace. No issue with distance, and he’s a worthy favourite in the likely absence of Lah Ti Dar, albeit soft ground would be a bit of an unknown.

If the ground was to ride good to soft, or worse, on the day, then Dee Ex Bee would have to enter the calculations. He had looked a likely type for the race when finishing runner-up in the Epsom Derby. He hasn’t run to that form on three subsequent starts, and has 4½ lengths to find with Kew Gardens on their running at Longchamp. The step up to 1m 6½ f looks ideal for the colt, as would some ease in the ground. Both his career wins have come on soft & heavy. An each-way contender, if the going eases.

Another with place is the Richard Hannon trained Raymond Tusk. He was runner-up to the 4-year-old Hamada in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer at Newbury last month. The extra 1½f will suit him on the evidence of his Newbury run. He needs to improve a few pounds to win a race like this, but given he’s only had five career starts, such improvement could easily be forthcoming. If the going remains on the good side, his 16/1 odds look decent each-way value.

Until next week.
All the best,
John Burke
for The Race Advisor

John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.

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