Front-runners enjoyed a massive advantage at the York meeting on 12 October thanks to a strong tailwind in the straight, with the first five home in the 5f nursery receiving the comments ‘close up’, ‘prominent’, ‘in touch’, led’ and ‘in touch’. I suspect that fourth home Enchanted Linda ('led') was flattered yet she heads the market at 7-2 for the 5f Join Racing TV Now Handicap at Nottingham on Wednesday (2.00).
Pontefract is one of my favourite punting tracks but after spending a few hours on the card I’m struggling to find a bet. Early season, it’s usually a big advantage to race towards the inside from a low draw but I’d rather let the first few races go to see if this is still the case (the bias was all over the place last season after ‘selective’ watering).
Chris Gordon has a good record when fitting first-time cheekpieces to his hurdlers, scoring with eight of the 36 qualifiers (22.2% strike-rate) for a profit of £53.25 to a £1 level stake at SP (+£80.02 at Betfair SP). Six of the 28 beaten horses finished second, often at big odds (12-1, 12-1, 10-1, 13-2, 100-30 and 7-4).
DOWNTOWN DIVA was up against a significant draw bias when fifth of 14 in a 6f handicap at Dundalk last time – a trip that’s too sharp for her - doing well to finish just over one length behind the winner from stall 13 (first five drawn 2, 4, 1, 12, and 13). The badly-drawn fourth won next time and she looks worth an interest in the 1m Bulmers Live At Leopardstown Handicap (4.55).
Andrew Mount provides his analysis and best bets for Day 3 of the Aintree festival, with three picks in the big race itself...
Andrew Mount provides his analysis and best bets for Day 2 of the Aintree festival.....
Andrew Mount provides his analysis and best bets for Day 1 of the Aintree festival
Rod Millman does well when he fits a filly or mare with blinkers for the first time, scoring with seven of the 26 qualifiers since 2009 (27% strike-rate) for a profit of £73.00 to a £1 level stake at SP (+£122.29 at Betfair SP).
SCORCHED BREATH (stall one of 13) has already shown a good level of form in three all-weather spins and can get off the mark when he makes his handicap debut in the 7f 32Red Casino Handicap at Kempton this evening (6.15).
Kevin Ryan’s DANDY’S BEANO is zero from three on Tapeta but was a close second at 12-1 in a 5f Newcastle handicap in the first of those and she did too much too soon when a 10-1 fifth of 12 behind course expert Outrage over the same trip and track on her final 2018 outing (she struggled to stay 6f, also at Newcastle, on her other Tapeta outing).
BUGLER BOB has yet to race on the all-weather but the son of Dandy Man has the perfect pedigree for Tapeta. Backing his sire’s offspring on Tapeta here or at Wolverhampton would have found 43 winners from 392 runners (11% strike-rate) for a huge profit of £216.87 to a £1 level stake at SP (+£988.23 at Betfair SP).
Brian Meehan has a good record at Doncaster and had we bet his runners blind here this century we would have found 30 winners from 251 bets (12% strike-rate) for a profit of £49.25 to a £1 level stake at SP (+£100.73 at Betfair SP). Those that were returning from a layoff of 150 days or longer won six of their 18 starts (33.33%) for a profit of £39.50 to £1 at SP.
Michael Scudamore has a fine record with runners having their start in a handicap chase, scoring with ten of the 46 qualifiers since 2008 (21.7% strike-rate) for a profit of £35.75 to a £1 level stake at SP. Those who ran over hurdles last time out, as opposed to running in a non-handicap chase, had a nine from 31 record (29%) for a profit of £44.75.
The ‘dead’ rail was in evidence at Wolverhampton again last night, with the winners, most of which arrived late and wide, drawn 7 of 12, 7 of 12, 5 of 11, 4 of 11, 9 of 9 and 8 of 11. Low-drawn prominent racers could again struggle tonight.
INDIAN AFFAIR had a tough draw towards the inside at Wolverhampton on his latest outing and challenged on the ‘dead’ rail, keeping on into a respectable 10-1 fifth. The runner-up went one better at Lingfield on Friday and he can be backed in the Betway Handicap when he returns to Wolverhampton tonight (5.45).
Since the Tote Irish Lincolnshire (4.10) was moved to Naas from the Curragh, both winners have arrived late around the inside from low draws (stalls one and three). That’s obviously a very small sample size but if we look at all big-field handicaps over course and distance in recent years a low-draw bias is evident, with eight of the 15 winners in fields of 14+ coming from stalls one, two, three or four.
Three-year-old break-returners have a good record in all-weather handicaps at this time of year, as they’re often up against rivals who have crept up the handicap during busy winter campaigns. Simply backing those returning from an absence of 150 days or longer, in March or April, would have found 60 winners from 408 bets since 2016 (14.7% strike-rate) for a profit of £68.61 to a £1 level stake at SP.