Friday, 18 April 2008

Take a deep breath....Analysis of 3.40 at Thirsk tomorrow

I chose this race simply because it is the trickiest race by far tomorrow. 2 other races met my criteria but I'll only bet in this race.

Initial Thoughts

1 – 7f specialist who seems OK handicapped off 74 here. Last 2 wins off 80 and 75 but does seem to be deteriorating slightly. This is backed up by the fact last 4 wins have been when a double figure price. Only an average 1st run back this season but dropped another 2lb.
2 – Badly handicapped and not got the pace for 7f. Only hope is that they go too fast in front.
3 – Last win off 72 on soft and off 73 here. Doesn’t appear well handicapped but this is the 2nd lowest mark he has ever run off. He won by 2 lengths off his lowest ever mark!
4 – All wins have come on softish ground when there has been plenty of pace in the race. Needs to be improving to defy this sort of mark as never looked like winning off this sort of mark before. Clearly improved at the backend of last season though and 1st run this season was impressive if you forget the winner. Would have won the race with 5 lengths back to the 3rd. Appeared to be an improved performance again and could improve past current mark this season.
5 – May actually be well handicapped but you need to read into form lines to see it. On its maiden win, it would be well handicapped by a few pounds and would be the type to improve as it matures as trainer doesn’t over race them. On its handicap runs, doesn’t appear well handicapped at all as cut no ice but could improve.
6 – Has the look of an amazingly well handicapped horse now and well backed last twice. However, beaten 36 lengths last time and not convinced it likes soft ground. A full 14lbs lower now than when started handicapping but what happened last time?
7 – Ok, on handicap ratings, this horse looks an absolute certainty. It is handicapped to win as it likes here and I’ll be amazed if this doesn’t win a decent handicap this season. However, it a bumper winner who has been handicapped over running over the wrong distance. Therefore, it needs a longer trip. At 1m 2f, this horse is a penalty kick. I won’t say why but anyone who is interested can read its form as it stands out like a ‘sore thumb’. If this was a 1m 2f race, it would really be a stand out bet. Why it is running at 7f is a mystery to me!
8 – Never run a good race on softish ground in its life! Not that well handicapped either as at top end of its mark. Easy to ignore.
9 – 7f specialist who looks very well handicapped. A decent first run back and wont mind the ground. Can win off this sort of mark no problem. Not won for a long time but handicapper given him a chance here.
10 – Another horse that looks very well handicapped here. Won off a higher mark in the past. On its last win, it has about 6lbs in hand here but not done much since. Was a great run last time though and only needs to reproduce that to stand a chance here.
11 – Loves soft ground. Looks a 6f horse though and not well handicapped either.
12 – Can’t win off this mark and hates soft ground. Easy to dismiss.
13 – Loves soft ground and like a few, will try to lead. Not that badly handicapped but been beaten 4 times off this mark in the past. Needs to improve to win off that mark in this competitive race.
14 – This could be frightengly well handicapped based on its 2 wins. May have 5lbs or so in hand. Great first run back and only needs to run to that level of form.
15 – Very badly handicapped and no chance here.
16 – Oh my God! This looks remarkably well handicapped and is a definite winner waiting to happen. Seems to handle the ground.
Well, I know I like a challenge but this is one hell of a tough race. I’ll keep going down the route I usually takes and see what happens!

The horses that can’t win are:

2 – Not handicapped to win
8 – Won’t go on ground and not well handicapped
11 – Not well handicapped
12 – Ground and handicap mark
13 – Needs to improve to win off this mark
15 – No chance

Ok, out of a 16 runner race, I’ve only managed to rule out 6. Being honest, all that shows is how competitive the race is.

As usual, I’ll try to use a different angle to separate these. I must say though that having 10 horses handicapped in the race to win means the form of the race will hold up remarkably well in the future. Bear this in mind…..

Ok, Thirsk is a left-handed 7f course. That means that high numbers are drawn out wide. With this in mind, it will take a better handicapped horse to win from a high draw than a low draw. Let’s see if I can rule any out now:

5 – To find this well handicapped, I needed to read into some form lines. For the simple reason that I found others well handicapped quicker and the fact it is drawn 13, I’ll miss this one out. Keep an eye out in the future for it!

Ok, I’ve ruled out 1 more. This is bloody difficult……. 9 horses left!

Right, quickly through each horse again. This is driving me mad…

1- Won off 2 higher marks last year and nice draw in 7. Keep it.
3 – Doesn’t always break well and 1 draw may make it difficult. Lose it.
4 – On career high handicap mark and drawn 8. Had to ignore the 5 lengths winner last time to see this as well handicapped. Even though it is effectively an unpenalised winner of a 17 runner race with 5 lengths back to the 3rd, I’ll let it go this time. If this does win, The Osteopath who beat it last time must be improving fast! Won over 9f in the past also and against real 7f specialists here, so will need a fast pace. Lose it.
6 – Nightmare draw, only ever won 1 race, beaten 38 lengths and 16 lengths last twice. These will make it a huge price. However, does appear very well handicapped. A huge price and a well handicapped horse……keep it.
7 – Bad draw in 10 and needs 1m 2f really. However, on 2 different form lines, could be rated 80. Simply due to the fact it is so well handicapped….keep it.
9 – Bad draw in 11. Won off much higher marks and can win on this ground. Keep it.
10 – Ok draw but so well handicapped, might not matter. Keep it.
14 – Will win off much higher marks in future no problem. Looks a definite improver and will go on ground. Keep it.
16 – Handicapped like a dream. Keep it.

Ok, that’s 2 more ruled out. Left with 1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 14, 16. 7 horses…..
Something I hate doing is reading form lines of particular races. Gets me in trouble every time. However, I need to do it here.

14 and 16 are 2 very well handicapped horses but were beaten more than 5 lengths by 2 horses last time. Both horses have been well beaten since and for that simple reason, I’ll leave these 2 out of the calculations.

So, that leaves 1,6,7,9 and 10.

Just realised I’ve got horses drawn 7, 14, 10, 11 and 9. Considering a low draw is a big advantage here, I’m not too confident I placed enough emphasis on the draw!

Ok, I’d probably stop here. I could spend a week on this race now but I’d struggle to pick the winner. I’m not too sure the winner is even in these 5 as I did like the 2 I cut out before that but that’s part of the game…….

Last comments after looking at Betfair odds quickly (Market is 132% so the odds will get much better):

1 – 6 on BF and favourite. Not a favourite in my book and too short at this sort of price. Tipped by Spotlight in RP though, so I’d dodge this at this price.
6 – 30 on Betfair and someone is asking for 500! What an insult. Poor draw and poor form make this an obvious play for smallish stakes. Be looking for 100+.
7 – 14.5 at the moment. I think this is an OK price and I’d play at 20 for sure. Needs 1m 2f though!
9 – 12.5 is far too short and would be looking for 25+. Poor draw for a front-runner will make it drift out.
10 – 9 at the moment is too short. Be looking for 12+ to make it a play.

I’ll post up a post-race analysis tomorrow night if I get a chance as this is easily the most difficult race I’ve looked at yet.

Good luck if you have a punt!


Anonymous said...

Buddy, I've read a lot of your blog posts but that has go to be the best yet.

Amazing insight into how you find a winner.

All you got to do is win now.


knocker said...


Sorry to sound a bit sycophantic, but I think I want your babies :)


Graeme Dand said...

Cheers Steve.

I'm not tryng to write a novel here but cheers for the literary crticism. As you say, I go to win now!

lol Dave. It's all common sense mate! There's nothing there I did too smart. Narrowing it down to 5 runners and still not being confident that I've got the winner isn't that smart. Probably a waste of 2 hours of my time but I like a challenge!

I'm going to try something a bit different with my staking plan today, so I'll see how it goes.


Anonymous said...


I’m sure I’ve read a similar comment before but you are in the wrong career. I have used many tipping lines and subscription services in the past and none have managed to convince me that they could pick the winner of a difficult handicap. From reading your blog posts, I’d back anything you say!

Have you thought about a career with the Racing Post or something similar? I’m sure you could be a useful tool for a trade paper as a tipster.

In the meantime, keep up the posts and hope you make a profit today.

Dave M

Graeme Dand said...

Dave M,

As you say, you're not the first person to write this but as I said to the last person, you're having a laugh!

Incidentally, when I qualified from uni, I wrote off to every bookmaker in the land for a trainee job as an odds compiler for horse-racing. As you can imagine, an 18 year old know-it- all was probably the last thing a bookie would look at.

7 years on, and it's time for revenge! Well, it's bad luck for the Betfair layers but the principle applies!