Friday, 24th September 2021
The Grand National has a few more runners. The Cesarewitch usually has more than 30 horses go to post….
But those two races aside you won’t see a field size bigger than the one for tomorrow’s Cambridgeshire – for which 35 will break from the stalls….
Look at the history of the race across the last two decades and the winners have come from all parts of the draw – low, middle, and high….
But study just the last 5 renewals and it’s clear that the high numbers have dominated over that period….
The last 5 winners were drawn 28/31, 29/34, 21/33, 29/30 & 25/27….
Of the 20 horses that hit the frame behind the winners – 13 were drawn in stall 16 or higher. Of those 11 were drawn in stall 20 or higher. Just 3 horses placed from single-figure stalls….
Draw biases cannot be 100% relied upon to endure in perpetuity. But the figures are strong enough to suggest that the low numbers have it all to do to overcome recent track trends….
In a 35-runner race you do have to find some way of reducing the options – and I’m focusing my search for a bet on the horses not drawn in single figure stalls….
Of course, that stat only cuts the field in half and I’m left with a group of 26 runners – a big-field handicap all of its own on any normal weekend….
But I’ve committed not to back older horses tomorrow – none of the last 20 winners were older than 6 and the last one of that age was back in 2009. Horses aged 3 to 5 are the percentage play….
Of course, I won’t be backing the fancied horses (I never do). Nor will I be backing horses that are turning out off a break – 13 of the last 14 winners had been on the track since the start of August….
I’ve also weeded out the ones I think aren’t good enough or out of form….
Of those that are left in the mix the one I like most is the Owen Burrows trained ANMAAT – who can be backed at 11s and 10s generally this morning….
The 3yo’s improved for each of his 5 runs to date this term – winning his last two and producing a good-looking win at Doncaster last time in a C2 over 10f off a mark of 94 – with some decent horses in behind him….
He runs with a 4lb penalty tomorrow – as a consequence of that win. That leaves him 2lb well-in at the weights – he’s due to go up 2lbs to a mark of 100….
I’d be very surprised if that mark proves to be the extent of his ability. I think there’s more to come and tomorrow is an ideal opportunity to show just how much….
The ground – now good to firm and with no rain forecast – has come right for him, and I see him as a big player under Jim Crowley from stall 22….
I want to be two-against-the-field for this one and the other horse I’ll be backing is IRISH ADMIRAL trained by William Haggas – available across the board at 20s this morning….
It’s probably fair to say that he’s disappointed connections a little since joining the Haggas yard at the start of the season….
He got beaten at a short price at Epsom; he flopped in the Royal Hunt Cup; and he got beat twice more at Newmarket at York – both times not unfancied. But – if you’re only as good as your last run – then the 4yo remains a fair prospect….
I was taken with his performance at Redcar last time where he produced his best effort to date to comfortably come out on top in a confidence-boosting C3 handicap over a mile with a couple of decent horses chasing him home….
He wasn’t extended that day under 5lb claimer Adam Farragher and gave the impression there is plenty still to come….
He ran off 93. He goes off 97 tomorrow and I think that mark still gives him plenty of leeway. Tom Marquand is back in the saddle for the first time since the Royal Hunt Cup – suggesting this is a day the horse has been aimed at….
I think this horse is just coming into his own after a tricky season. He’s had 7 races and not won much money yet – the one does owe connections a little something. He’s rated too highly for that situation to endure….
The handicapper could have him entirely wrong, of course. But I don’t think so. I think Irish Admiral will prove good enough to pay off his debt – and tomorrow would be a good day to do it….
Each-way backers take note: Sky Bet are 1/5 the first 8. William Hill & Boylesports are 1/5 the first 7. You can get 1/5 the first 6 generally….
Nick’s contrarian picks….
To recap on where my idea of the value lies tomorrow afternoon….
In the Cambridgeshire (3.40 @ Newmarket).
That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.
That’s all for today. I’ll be back next week. Meanwhile….
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