ED­DIE WOOD

Ed­die Wood con­tin­ues his fas­ci­nat­ing se­ries about how al­ti­tude can help find win­ners at Bri­tish race cour­ses

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Con­tin­u­ing his se­ries about the char­ac­ter­is­tics of Bri­tish cour­ses

Fol­low­ing on from last month, we have the rest of the Flat cour­ses from Le­ices­ter to York. Once again, I must stress the im­por­tance of our race­course con­fig­u­ra­tions. All races are in­flu­enced by many fac­tors and again the bet-wise, course-wise, draw-wise and horse-wise con­tent will in­form your bet­ting and lead to in­creased prof­itabil­ity. My find­ings on al­ti­tude com­bined with these vari­ables have lately given me sev­eral win­ners which, with­out the al­ti­tude fac­tor, I would not have backed. The al­ti­tude fac­tor’s im­pact on re­sults is of­ten missed by most race­go­ers and pro­fes­sion­als alike.

LE­ICES­TER (LE­ICES­TER­SHIRE) - AL­TI­TUDE 90 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: the Bar­ron/Ben Cur­tis com­bi­na­tion have a high win strike-rate here.

COURSE-WISE: this is right-handed oval cir­cuit of nearly 14f, with a long run-in of just over 4½f. There is also a straight mile course on which all races up to that dis­tance are run. It is down­hill to half-way then rises for 2f be­fore fin­ish­ing on the level. DRAW-WISE: low numbers have an ad­van­tage in races up to a mile, more so in test­ing con­di­tions.It is equally im­por­tant that a prom­i­nent po­si­tion is found in the early stages of any race. High-drawn horses are favoured on the straight course over 5-7f. HORSE-WISE: early sea­son 2yo’s can find this a real stamina test.The out­right gal­loper is ide­ally suited to this track.

LING­FIELD (TURF) (SUR­REY) – AL­TI­TUDE 50 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: the horses from the sta­bles of Clif­ford Lines and Kristin Stubbs should al­ways be closely scru­ti­nised here.

COURSE-WISE: the track has an ex­tended 7f straight with a left-handed loop. It leaves the straight 1½f out and re­turns for 4f out.The round course is flat for the first half, then rises grad­u­ally and falls to the home straight, con­tin­u­ing down­hill there­after. This sec­tion of the course prompts com­par­isons with Ep­som. The straight course first runs sharply down­hill, be­com­ing shal­lower af­ter pass­ing the round course. The em­pha­sis is on speed and adapt­abil­ity and the round course does not test stamina so much as bal­ance and agility. DRAW-WISE: high numbers tend to have an ad­van­tage on the straight course, more so when the stalls are on the stand side.

MUS­SEL­BURGH (EAST LOTH­IAN) – AL­TI­TUDE 6 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: Con­nor Beasley’s mounts re­quire more than a sec­ond glance, es­pe­cially those trained by Keith Dal­gleish.

COURSE-WISE: the track is a righthanded oval mea­sur­ing just un­der 1¼m with a ½m run-in. There is a straight 5f course and the track is flat with a few un­du­la­tions and a gen­tle rise from the dis­tance to the winning post. How­ever, the bends are sharp es­pe­cially the one into the straight. DRAW-WISE: when the stalls are on the stands side, low numbers have a ma­jor ad­van­tage in 5f races and high numbers when the stalls are on the far side. In all other races, high numbers re­tain the ad­van­tage.On the round course, low-drawn prom­i­nent horses are of­ten best. HORSE-WISE: the strid­ing gal­loper is at a dis­ad­van­tage on this course.

NEW­BURY (BERK­SHIRE) – AL­TI­TUDE 81 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: ap­pren­tice Ge­or­gia Cox rides this course as well as most se­nior jockeys. John Gos­den and Wil­liam Hag­gas have around a 40% strike-rate in par­tic­u­lar race cat­e­gories here; Gos­den in group/listed races and Hag­gas in 3yo plus hand­i­caps. COURSE-WISE: the round course com­prises a left-handed oval of 15f, with a long 5f run-in. There is a straight mile which is slightly un­du­lat­ing through­out and races on the round mile course start on a sep­a­rate ex­ten­sion. This is an es­sen­tially flat track with easy bends.

DRAW-WISE: low numbers are slightly favoured on the round course; high numbers are favoured on the straight course when the ground is soft or heavy. In other ground con­di­tions, mid­dle to low drawn horses are favoured. HORSE-WISE: New­bury is an ex­cel­lent course to in­tro­duce a 2yo. It is great for the long-strid­ing stayer but not a track for horses lack­ing in stamina.

NEW­MAR­KET( JULY) (SUF­FOLK) – AL­TI­TUDE 33 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: whether it is au­tumn, spring or

sum­mer, the record for favourites will rarely pass the 33% mark; think se­ri­ously about back­ing them. COURSE-WISE: the July track is just over 2m in to­tal and shares the Ce­sare­witch course for the first mile. The straight bun­bury mile has un­du­la­tions for the first 6f be­fore run­ning down­hill into a dip, then up­hill to the fin­ish. DRAW-WISE: Low-drawn horses ap­pear to have a slight ad­van­tage.

HORSE-WISE: like the Row­ley course, this suits long-strid­ing horses and will find any lack­ing in stamina as it has a test­ing fin­ish.

NEW­MAR­KET (ROW­LEY) (SUF­FOLK) – AL­TI­TUDE 33 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: al­ways con­sider any John Gos­den horse who is hav­ing his first run af­ter be­ing gelded. He has around a 25% strike-rate in most sea­sons. The stats are more favourable for Hugo Palmer when his charges wear first-time blink­ers at around the 40% mark. COURSE-WISE: the Ce­sare­witch course is 2¼m in ex­tent with a right-handed bend af­ter a mile.The last 1¼m is straight across to the Flat. There are un­du­la­tions for the first mile of the straight then the course runs down­hill into the dip and up­hill to the fin­ish. It is a very wide track and this can be a daunt­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for a thor­ough­bred. DRAW

WISE: there is an oc­ca­sional fluc­tu­at­ing ad­van­tage for ei­ther high or low numbers in big fields. Prom­i­nent horses drawn on ei­ther rail are of­ten favoured whereas low­drawn prom­i­nent rac­ers ap­pear to be favoured with the stalls on the far side.

HORSE-WISE: New­mar­ket (Row­ley) favours the long-strid­ing horse but the test­ing fin­ish will chal­lenge those with sus­pect stamina.

NOT­TING­HAM (NOT­TING­HAMSHIRE) – AL­TI­TUDE 23 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: any Clive Cox run­ner rid­den by Adam Kirby is wor­thy of a sec­ond look, as are any run­ners rid­den by An­drew Mullen for Tom Tate. COURSE-WISE: this is a left-handed oval of about 2½m with a 4½f run-in. There is also a straight 6f course which serves as a start for races of 2m or more. Both cour­ses are com­pletely flat with easy bends. DRAW-WISE: when the stalls are on the far side, low numbers are favoured although soft ground can­cels out any ad­van­tage. High numbers are pre­ferred in sprints when the stalls are on the stand side, more so in soft go­ing. HORSE

WISE: the course is well-suited to the long-strid­ing horse and is an ex­cel­lent place to in­tro­duce a two-year-old.

PON­TE­FRACT (WEST YORK­SHIRE) – AL­TI­TUDE 35 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: any Richard Han­non run­ner wear­ing cheek­pieces re­quires se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion. COURSE-WISE: this track is an oval left-han­der and at just over 2m. It is the long­est flat track in the coun­try de­spite hav­ing a short run-in of barely 2f. There is no straight course and the bend into the short straight is sharp. There are many gra­di­ents and un­du­la­tions, cul­mi­nat­ing in an up­hill climb to the fin­ish for the last 3f. DRAW-WISE: a low num­ber in the sprints is an ad­van­tage if the horse breaks smartly. Oth­er­wise, as the run­ners move across the rail be­fore the bend and the short run-in, it can be a dis­ad­van­tage. Over 1m-2f, low numbers are es­pe­cially favoured. HORSE-WISE: long-strid­ing types are at a dis­ad­van­tage.

RED­CAR (NORTH YORK­SHIRE) – AL­TI­TUDE 11 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: Michael Bell and Kevin Ryan’s horses in 2yo non-hand­i­cap races should be closely scru­ti­nized. They both have a 50% plus strike-rate on this course.

COURSE-WISE: the track is a left-handed oval mea­sur­ing ap­prox­i­mately 1¾m ,with a long 5f run-in. This is part of the straight mile course and all races of up to a mile take place on this ex­ten­sion. De­spite be­ing some­what nar­row, the track is per­fectly flat through­out with easy bends.

DRAW-WISE: high numbers have a de­fin­i­tive ad­van­tage over five and six fur­longs. No ob­vi­ous bias this year.

HORSE-WISE: gal­lop­ing types are very much at an ad­van­tage.

RIPON (NORTH YORK­SHIRE) – AL­TI­TUDE 20 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: never let a run­ner in a 3yo hand­i­cap es­cape your at­ten­tion if it is from Mar­jorie Fife’s sta­ble or from the yards of David O’Meara or Richard Whit­taker. Whilst Bryan Smart’s older hand­i­cap­pers do well, you can swerve those con­test­ing in 3yo hand­i­caps. This is also the case with John Quinn’s yard. COURSE-WISE: the track is a sharp oval cir­cuit of 13f with a 5f run-in. There is also a straight 6f course which is pretty much up­hill all the way, apart from one small dip a fur­long out.

DRAW-WISE: low numbers en­joy the ad­van­tage in 5 and 6f races when the stalls are on the stand side. Mid­dle to high­drawn horses are pre­ferred in sprints in fields 13 run­ners or less. In larger field sizes where the run­ners of­ten split into two groups, low-drawn horses come into the mix. High numbers have the call in races over a mile. HORSE-WISE: agile, adapt­able types are suited to the Ripon track and long-strid­ing horses are some­what un­suited to it. There are sev­eral other slight un­du­la­tions and the sharp bends make this a track for the agile, adapt­able type. Gal­lop­ers of­ten be­come un­bal­anced turn­ing into the straight.

SAL­IS­BURY (WILT­SHIRE) - AL­TI­TUDE 128 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: Serve any run­ners from the sta­bles of Mark John­ston and David O’Meara wear­ing first-time blink­ers.

COURSE-WISE: Sal­is­bury is al­most a straight course of al­most 1m long. It is up­hill all the way and has a no­to­ri­ous dog­leg about 5f from home. Longer races use a sharp right-hand loop which runs away down­hill from the main track, be­fore climb­ing again to re-join it about 6½f from home. Although there are only mi­nor sur­face un­du­la­tions, the last 3f are up­hill and it be­comes a very test­ing track when the ground is soft. It is es­sen­tially a gal­lop­ing course. DRAW-WISE: mid­dle to high draws seem best up to one mile.

SANDOWN (SUR­REY) – AL­TI­TUDE 25 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: Michael Stoute’s hand­i­cap­pers are al­ways worth scru­tiny. Ste­wart Kit­tow has sent three 3yo hand­i­cap­pers to this course and has won with two of them. Chris Wall also has a good record in this same race cat­e­gory; the 40% plus mark in most sea­sons. COURSE-WISE: this is a right-handed oval course of 13f, with a still 4f run-in. It is steady up­hill un­til near the fin­ish where it lev­els out.The back stretch is level and there are no sur­face un­du­la­tions to throw the long-strid­ing horse off bal­ance. There is also a straight 5f course bi­sect­ing the round course, up­hill all the way. Long-strid­ing gal­lop­ers are very much at home here, but be­ing un­able to see out the trip is of the up­most im­por­tance, more so when the go­ing is soft or worse. DRAW-WISE: low-draws are best in sprints. HORSE-WISE: many jockeys make the mis­take of start­ing their chal­lenge too early, only to run out of steam in the last one hun­dred yards or so.

THIRSK (NORTH YORK­SHIRE) – AL­TI­TUDE 37 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: Michael Ap­pleby and John Holt have ex­cel­lent records in 3yo hand­i­caps. Swerve any Tim Easterby horse in 3yo plus stakes races. COURSE-WISE: the track is a left-handed oval of 10f with a 4f run-in. There is also a straight 6f course

which is also used to start long dis­tance races. The straight is slightly un­du­lat­ing, while the round course is pretty much flat through­out. DRAW-WISE: in sprints, high-drawn horses are best. HORSE

WISE: De­spite the easy turns, the track is on the sharp side and long-strid­ing gal­lop­ers sel­dom have time to set­tle into their stride.

WETHERBY (YORK­SHIRE) – AL­TI­TUDE 26 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: in 3yo plus hand­i­caps, Eric Al­ston’s run­ners are worth re­spect. The David O’Meara/Philip Makin com­bi­na­tion should al­ways be se­ri­ously con­sid­ered as should David Brown’s 3yo hand­i­cap­pers.

COURSE-WISE: Wetherby is a left­handed and prin­ci­pally gal­lop­ing track. It is 1m4f in cir­cum­fer­ence with a 4f slightly up­hill straight. DRAW-WISE: at the mo­ment, there is in­suf­fi­cient in­for­ma­tion for me to be de­fin­i­tive in this area.

HORSE-WISE: one of my favourite trainers of all time is Les Eyre and when his charges sport first-time blink­ers, es­pe­cially a hood, they can be se­ri­ously con­sid­ered.

WIND­SOR (BERK­SHIRE) – AL­TI­TUDE 20 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: in 3yo plus hand­i­caps, run­ners from the Rod Mill­man and Ed Walker sta­bles should be se­ri­ously scru­ti­nized for both sport around a 60% strike-rate.

COURSE-WISE: Wind­sor has a unique and idio­syn­cratic fig­ure-of-eight lay­out of 12½f. In races of 1¼m or more, both right and left-handed turns are en­coun­tered, while one only meets the for­mer over shorter dis­tances.5 and 6f races start on an ex­ten­sion but there is no straight course as such since there is slight right-hand bend 3f from home. The course is per­fectly flat through­out. DRAW-WISE: mid­dle-to-high drawn horses are favoured in big field, 6f hand­i­caps. HORSE-WISE: whilst the bends seem to favour sharp types, the turns are easy and the 5f run-in gives the gal­loper plenty of time to act. Any horse wear­ing first-time blink­ers from the Gary Moore sta­ble is worth a sec­ond look. YAR­MOUTH (NOR­FOLK) – AL­TI­TUDE 1 ME­TRE BET-WISE: when Owen Bur­rows en­gages Jim Crow­ley to ride his run­ners, you should reg­is­ter some in­ter­est as well as those from the David Sim­cock sta­ble rid­den by Martin Har­ley. COURSE-WISE: the round course is a nar­row left-han­der mea­sur­ing about 13f with a run-in of 5f. There is also a straight mile course which joins the main track just af­ter the home turn.The bends are easy and, apart from a slight dip on the fi­nal bend, the track is level through­out. There are sel­dom ex­tremes of go­ing here and large fields are rare on this nar­row track.It is a very fair test of the thor­ough­bred, es­pe­cially twoyear-olds. DRAW-WISE: high numbers are best on the straight course, es­pe­cially when the ground is on the soft side. Low-drawn horses are mod­er­ately pre­ferred on the straight course HORSE-WISE: you should al­ways se­ri­ously con­sider any Dean Ivory horse wear­ing cheek­pieces.

YORK( YORK­SHIRE) – AL­TI­TUDE 17 ME­TRES

BET-WISE: any Luca Cu­mani 2yo is worth more than a sec­ond glance, as are the 2yo from Wil­liam Hag­gas’ sta­ble. David C. Grif­fith’s hand­i­cap­pers show re­sults with a 25% win strike-rate. COURSE-WISE: the track is a wide, al­most per­fectly flat Ushaped left-han­der. It is 2m in ex­tent with a 5f run-in. There is a straight 6f course and 7f races start on a spur off the home turn. It has easy bends and no sur­face un­du­la­tions. DRAW-WISE: mid­dle to low drawn horses fair best in sprint races, par­tic­u­larly on soft go­ing. HORSE-WISE: The great width makes this a course suited to the long-strid­ing gal­loper, but no type is un­rea­son­ably favoured, and it is prob­a­bly the fairest course in the coun­try.

In the next two months, we con­tinue with the key char­ac­ter­is­tics of the all­weather and Na­tional Hunt cour­ses. Un­til then, take care and good in­vest­ing.

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