BDH Sandown Review: Gannon’s not Dun yet….

An interesting couple of days for us over the weekend and before I crack into the review of the 5f sprint at Sandown from Friday I just want to tidy up a few loose ends.

Starting with…

DOCTOR PARKES

As far as his role as a BDH runner is concerned it’s job done and thank you very much. On Friday he was very much a ‘well drawn horse’ and he rewarded us all at some very tasty prices. It will be interesting to see what the handicapper does but for the purposes of this here blog he happily moves off the BDH list. Good job Doc.

DUKE OF FIRENZE

I think what Duke of Firenze (I’m going to call him DOF from now on!) confirmed to me on Saturday was that he needs the big fields to produce his best. Small fields tend to congregate and cluster up into 1 group, causing plenty of traffic jams for hold-up runners, such as DOF. In large field races the runners tend to fan out at the end of the race and gaps appear between runners as the petrol gauge starts to flicker on empty, gaps that Duke of Firenze obviously loves coming through in the closing stages. When the runners are spread across the track they naturally open up and fan out as the energy levels drop in the closing stages, this is where I feel Duke Of Firenze can be seen at his best.

He certainly met plenty trouble in-running on Saturday and he was hindered at least twice when looking to make forward moves. As mentioned this is more likely to happen in small fields when they cluster up so as frustrating as it is, it also isn’t surprising.

For now he remains on the BDH list.

Now onto the meat of today’s post…

Race in focus: 2.20 Sandown (05-07-2013) – LONDON’S RACE TRACKS RACINGANDMUSIC.CO.UK HANDICAP (Class 3 Handicap) 5f (14ran)

How the race played out…

Doctor Parkes Sandown Race 05-07

As is generally the case with sprints at Sandown it is the runners drawn low and up with the pace that come out on top and it was no different in this contest. There was some fine analysis pre-race on Racing UK by Eddie ‘the shoe’ Fremantle about the effect of the draw at Sandown over the 5f trip, where he pointed out the advantage of being drawn in the low stalls. He himself had walked the track before the race and stated that there was a distinct advantage, in his opinion, to those drawn low. That was purely from him having walked the track and tested the underfoot conditions himself. As it turns out he was spot on and it was also something I had indicated in my Blog post on Friday. It is very much something to keep in mind when punting in these types of races at Sandown although obviously the bias is somewhat negated in the smaller fields (7 or less runners).

The pace map tells us that the pace was set by FAIR VALUE in the 6 box and he tracked across to the far rail early on. DOCTOR PARKES got a good break from the 2 box and that allowed jockey Neil Callan to position him just where he wanted him, something that proved pivotal in his victory. JOE PACKET didn’t break quite as well and he was maybe just a quarter step behind where he wanted to be for most of the race, nevertheless he was still in a decent posi compared to some. Possibly the most interesting aspect of the pace was the fact that the top 5 stalls (boxes 10-15) all made the early decision to switch in behind the pack and run held-up. That isn’t too unexpected as they all generally run that way anyway but in truth it was also their only real option from their unfavorable draws. Unfortunately it was also a moved that severely compromised their chances. Of the 5 of them the smartest riding came from Thomas Brown on STEPS who kept his mount on the outer of the main group, leaving him room to try and bullet home late with an unblocked passage (ooh er missus!). He did, however, have the ‘best’ of the wide draws and was in a prime slot to make that decision.

The end result…

The winner DOCTOR PARKES was well drawn, in the prime position throughout and took full advantage. This was a good performance and he won fairly readily in the end. He will possibly now be pushing on to a mark that he will start to struggle with, as always it will be interesting to see the handicappers reaction. Second placed JOE PACKET possibly didn’t get the best start and had to fight his way back into it a bit but it was a solid run and there is every suggestion that he can win from this mark. He may just be better suited to being stepped back up to 6f. Third placed STEPS ran a very sound race from out wide, he was one that didn’t have a great draw but the fact he stayed wide probably benefited him as he had a clear passage to the line. He is running from a career high mark at the minute but still remains competitive, it is a close call whether the handicapper has him in his grip or not; personally I would like to see him dropped just a couple of lbs. FAIR VALUE gave it fair effort from the front but just couldn’t keep the closer’s at bay and faded slightly in the final yards into fourth. His recent runs suggest he could well pick a race up from this mark though and an easy 5f is probably his best option. Fifth place TAAJUB didn’t really take advantage of his good draw and found trouble by being held up. He is another that suggests he could win from his current mark. As previously mentioned it’s hard to win from out the back and out wide over Sandown’s flying 5 furlongs so for that reason I would be willing to crank up DUNGANNON’s 6th placed run a notch or 2. It was an extremely difficult draw to win from and he did well to get so close and he did motor home once the gaps appeared; to only finish 2.5 lengths in arrears was a fine effort.

BDH(s) to follow…

DUNGANNON (6th) (A Balding)

This 6yo gelding put in some decent late work once the gaps appeared and whilst his finishing position probably doesn’t fully justify his effort it should be enough to keep him under the radar of most punters.

Possibly the most interesting angle with this horse is his current handicap mark of 88. That is a full 7lbs lower than his last winning mark and 2lbs lower than his 2nd highest winning mark. If we also consider the fact that he has run well from marks as high as 99 & 97 then it isn’t hard to make the assumption that he is currently sitting on a pretty handy mark.

It’s also interesting to note that all his wins have come when returning within 28 days or less of his last run (on Friday it was 32 days since his last run)…

Form when returning within 28 days of last run – 010061013571

Form when returning after a break of 29 days+ – 569252678055

He doesn’t necessarily run ‘poorly’ after longer breaks but the fact all his wins have come off shorter breaks suggests that ideally we want him on the track within a month.

He looks fairly adaptable when it comes to ground and to a certain extent distance (winning form over 5f, 6f & 7f) so his options should be open enough with regards to future targets. His handicap mark is clearly the most interesting aspect about him and I would be surprised if he can’t take advantage of it very soon, especially off the back of his run at Sandown last Friday.

Conditions – Ideally we are wanting him back on the track within the month, the 28 day window looks his optimum and there should be plenty of targets for him to be aimed at. He has winning form over 7f but personally I think 5f or 6f would be the ideal trips for him, again there should be plenty of openings for him within the next few weeks.

DUNGANNON now enters my Proform ‘Horse Watcher’ tool and I will post on the Blog when he is due to run next.

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Ben (BDH)

BDH Update: Is the Duke ready to Fire?

Will Ryan Moore find the gaps?

Another quick update for you today guys as another BDH runner heads into battle.

First of all though a big thanks for all the comments regarding Doctor Parkes’ win yesterday. Fantastic to see so many of you on board and collecting the spoils.

Now onto today’s task in hand…

BDH runner: 2:05 Sandown – DUKE OF FIRENZE

Ahh the Duke… what to do with the Duke…

I must say it’s not as straight forward a task as the good doctor yesterday. I did mention in my notes that I think he is a graded beast…and this is a graded contest…however, I was thinking more along the lines of the big 16+ runner sprints such as the July Cup and races of such ilk. An 8 runner contest at Sandown poses a slightly different conundrum.

For starters we know he needs a strong pace to come hard and fast off the back of, so lets look at the pace map and see if there is potential for plenty of speed….

Sandown Sprint Stakes

That does give us a bit of hope. Three potential front-runners and 2 others sitting in-behind suggests there may well be plenty of pace on the go here.

My main concern really is that a flying 5 furlongs at Sandown generally plays to the hands of those up with the pace or making the pace, the ones coming from behind can often come unstuck (the stats do back this up).

I’m very much in 2 minds about how this race will suit Duke Of Firenze. On one hand he has a good draw and should get a decent pace to aim at but on the other hand it is not a track that really suits horses flying hard and fast from out the back…hmmm…

My thought is to take a punt on him at around the 6-1 mark but at reduced stakes. Now I generally don’t play about with my stakes unless the situation really suggest that I do… today the situation suggests I reduce my stakes!

I think there will be better opportunities for this lad as the season progresses but there is the potential for the race to fall into his lap, especially if the 3 potential pace-setters go hammer and tong at it up front, and as such I want a bit on him in case that situation does arise, especially as we can get around 6-1 on the exchanges and with a couple of other firms.

Am I as confident as I was about Doctor Parkes? Not at all. Do I think there is more to come from this horse? Most certainly. Will he get the fast pace needed? I’m hopeful.

At the very least today will be a good test for him and hopefully a decent indicator of does he just have another valuable handicap in him or whether he can indeed take the step up the ladder to Graded level….

Best of luck if you are getting involved.

Ben (BDH)

 

BDH Update: The Doctor’s on call at Sandown…

Time for the Doctor to strut his stuff!

Quick post today guys as we have one BDH runner going to war for us…

BDH runner: 2:20 Sandown – DOCTOR PARKES

The 7yo is making a relatively quick return from his Chester run last Saturday but in fairness jockey Harry Bentley eased up a touch on him in the final furlong and he didn’t really have an overly hard race that day.

He should get his ground at Sandown today as the going is currently described as Good and a quick look at the weather forecast tells me it is set fair for the day, in fact it looks like the sun will be out in all his glory. Providing that weather forecast is correct (!?!) then I would expect the ground to firm up rather than soften down, which is ideal for the Doctor. He has a prime draw in the 2 box (actually the hottest box over this trip at Sandown in these fields sizes), is on a decent mark, is racing over his preferred 5f and the yard are hitting form. He is also currently available at an each-way price, if you are that way inclined.

There are enough boxes ticked here for me to get involved although, as always, I will be keeping a close eye on the weather to make sure there is no unexpected rain coming in to spoil the day.

Best of luck if you are getting involved.

Ben (BDH)

2:55 Newmarket (08-06-13) – BETFAIR HANDICAP – 6f, Class 2 (14 Ran)

There were a couple of races I was contemplating reviewing on here today but on closer inspection this was the one that gives the most grist to my mill…

Race in focus: 2.55 Newmarket (08-06-2013): Betfair Handicap – 6f, Class 2 (14 ran)

How the race played out…

Newmarket 08-06-13

As you can see from the pace map it was Whozthecat who set most of the pace from stall 6 along with Zero Money from stall 5, in essence this perfectly set the race up for the front 2 in the market Nocturn & Enrol, who did indeed fill 1st & 2nd on the podium. The majority of the field bunched up on the near side and that very much benefited the low numbers, again playing to the hooves of the front 2. Doctor Parkes was the only runner to not really join the others. He was drawn widest of all in stall 15 and had to cut out his running on his own. Doctor Parkes is a hold up/close to pace horse who simply had no cover here and he found himself all alone with no option but to make his own pace.

The end result…

As already mentioned the race very much played to the hands of the front 2 in the market, Enrol & Nocturn, and they were in the prime spot to take advantage of the pace unfolding right in front of them. From a pace angle Doctor Parkes was clearly the most inconvenienced  from the highest stall (15) and the old boy Johannes also had a bit of a job to do from the next stall down (14), both of them I would probably mark up a couple of lbs. Third placed Mezzotint did meet a bit of trouble in-running so his final placing is also noteworthy from stall 11.

BDH(s) to follow…

DOCTOR PARKES (5th) (S Williams)

There is a lot to like about this run from the 7yo who is essentially a hold up/close to pace horse who simply had no cover in this contest and was forced to cut out his own running, mostly away from the rest of the field. He is far from a natural front-runner – in fact I can only find one other instance in his 39 career starts where he led – so this effort , where he was running in a position he clearly isn’t familiar with, needs to be marked up at least a couple of lbs. He only really faded in the final 50 or so yards and there is no shame in that as he looks a much better beast over shorter…

Record over 5f = 5 wins from 25 starts (20% S/R)

Record over 5 1/2f & 6f = 1 win from 14 starts (7% S/R)

He currently sits on a handy handicap mark of OR85 and he has won in the past off OR89 & OR84; it is a fair assumption to make that he has the ability to score off his current OR. He loves to hear his hooves rattle with his 5 turf victories coming on GOOD (x1), GOOD TO FIRM (x2) & FIRM (x1), the current ground conditions are right up his street. On Saturday he also recorded a Proform speed figure that sits just 1lb below his best, another firm indicator that he is on the cusp of striking gold.

In short, he is running near his best on a mark he can win from on ground that he loves; there is a lot to like about both his run at Newmarket on Saturday and his current profile.

Conditions – Ground conditions look important and we don’t really want to be backing him on anything less than GOOD with GOOD TO FIRM or better probably being ideal. A drop back down to 5f is also what we want to see as that looks his optimum. If he were to run back at 6f then it would need to be a flatter track than Newmarket with little to no incline to the finishing post, ideally though it will be 5f where he is campaigned at in his next few starts. He is handicapped to win a race and given a better draw than he was here he can find his way back to the winners enclosure. 

DOCTOR PARKES now enters my Proform ‘Horse Watcher’ tool (horse tracker in other words) and I will post on the Blog when he is due to run next.

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Many thanks for joining me here on the latest BDH post and I leave you with another from the ‘badly in need of a wash’ Manc indie kid…

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Ben (BDH)