Tony’s Trends – A Savvy Selection for The Achilles Plate – Haydock, Saturday 28 May 2022

Flashback to last weekend

Well, Native Trail won the Irish 2000 Guineas, but not in the manner expected and some of the smaller local yards (Sheila Lavery in particular) snaffled up some decent prize money by getting in the frame.

Meanwhile, the Trends selection came fifth and despite getting best odds at 10Bet, he was one place out of the money, leaving those who followed the advice somewhat frustrated. The Trends brought it down to several who had chances, but at the end of the day I went with a horse whose trainer and jockey were on fire.

However, in a cruel twist of fate the jockey hurt his shoulder in an earlier race and was replaced at the last minute. Bearing in mind that most jockeys have ridden their mounts prior to the race and know exactly how they tick, it may have been a factor. I would not go so far as to claim that this was the difference in the horse winning or not, but it could well have cost us a place and a return.

Discord news

So, it was another weekend where a Trends qualifier won but (frustratingly) I went against it. However, for the Discord community, it was a very profitable weekend. Joe McCabe had a 7/1 winner on Saturday with Valley Forge, Ginger Joe’s NAP won, my own NAP also obliged and so did a few others.

While Saturday was good, Sunday was a proper SCINTILLATING SMASH-UP.

Not only did Ginger Joe hit an 84/1 Double, he also had two winners and two placers in a Lucky 31. With odds between 10/1 and 25/1, it was definitely a 💥Boom 💥day for the Discord members. So, while the Trends selection was not profitable, those who joined the Discord group for free replenished their betting banks and then some!!!

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Looking ahead

Once again racing in the UK has cut up badly ahead of the weekend and there are no large field Handicaps with a decent data set where the Trends can be applied. Maybe there are too many meetings, or maybe horses are being saved for bigger meetings that are coming up, bearing in mind that Royal Ascot is just two weeks away.

The Achilles Stakes, Haydock

I will therefore look at the Achilles Stakes, a Sprint over 5 furlongs at Haydock. While the race has been run since 1995 (the inaugural meeting in 1994 was abandoned) it has not always been held at Haydock, so some of the earlier Trends are distorted at best.

Between 1995 and 2004 this race was run on turf at Kempton, before moving to Goodwood. Later it moved to the all-weather at Kempton before eventually settling at Haydock in 2009. To add even more confusion, in 2020 it was run at Doncaster. So, my tactics here are to discount a few of the renewals, as they will clearly distort the Trends and focus on the 12 renewals at Haydock only.

Age

Of the 12 previous winners, five were aged five years, but there was just one winner aged 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 years. With such a wide range of ages amongst the winners, this will not help us whittle the field down too much.

Weight

The 12 previous winners at Haydock all carried between 08-05 and 09-08.

Odds

The fields have not been large, with just eight to ten runners lining up. None of the twelve previous Haydock winners were sent off at an SP greater than 14/1 and of those there have been six winning Favourites.

All previous winners who were allotted an OR were rated at least 92.11 previous winners achieved an RPR of at least 96, but not more than 112, with the exception of Excellette in 2012.They were all high-class performers and had their final prep race in Meydan, at least a Group 2 Listed Race, a Class 2 Handicap or a Class 3 Conditions Stakes.

The Trends indicate we are looking for a horse who is highly regarded and has already proven itself at Meydan.

I will begin by discounting those runners whose current odds are greater than 14/1, ideally 12/1 given the strong possibility that some will drift, while others shorten. Remember, this is not a solid Trends criterion.

King of StarsTenaya CanyonAttagirl

I will also discount all of those do not meet the OR or RPR criteria:

Dragon Symbol (was also below form last time out when well fancied)Atalis Bay

Discussion

I will therefore need to review six qualifiers, which I will discuss in race card order, rather than by preference.

Ainsdale has changed trainer, moving from the in-form Karl Burke yard to Julie Camacho’s stable, which could revitalise him. However, he has not won over 5 furlongs since 2019 and as all his form was on soft or heavy going, I will discount him.

Clarendon House is versatile in terms of going and has won several times over the distance when carrying big weights, so he definitely has the class to land a race like this. However, his yard has sent out 30 runners over the last three weeks without getting a winner, so on that basis I will pass him over.

Nomadic Empire represents the O’Meara yard who are in form at present, but the going is likely to be too slow for him based on the comments they made after his last run at York. The going that day was good, but the trainer said the gelding was unsuited by the going and would prefer a quicker surface. Given it is currently good-to-soft with showers expected, he is unlikely to get the quicker ground he needs and is discounted as a result.

Raasel has been improving with every run and was a close second to another improver, Fine Wine, last time out. However, he will need to improve again to overcome the 5lb weight pull he has to concede to Clarendon House, when beating him by a head at Goodwood in April.

Significantly is from the red-hot Karl Burke yard and has had wind surgery after his last run to help his breathing. Personally, I prefer to back horses second or third time out after wind surgery, as sometimes they are not really ready for their first run. In addition, his odds may be soft, so I think he will drift and could easily fail to qualify on that basis too, so I will pass on him for this one.

Tabdeed has been running over 6 furlongs for the past year and has never won at this distance, so I’m not convinced that a drop back in trip against some speedy types will be in his favour. He is relatively lightly-raced for a seven-year-old, but this change seems to be a discovery mission rather than a thought-out strategy, so I will discount him as well.

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I studied the race between Raasel and Clarendon House and after watching it, I got the distinct impression that James Doyle won a bit cosily that day. He certainly didn’t have to dig deep to get the victory anyway.

Another thing in Raasel’s favour is that he is a five-year-old and they have the highest win percentage, so he is the selection to keep on the upward curve.

Raasel’s current odds are around 9/1 and it looks a decent play, but as always, when SPs are a selection criterion, this is very much a fluid choice, so please check on the day to ensure he has not drifted too much.

There are only three places on offer for The Achilles Plate with most firms and just eleven runners for this renewal, so I will not put up a saver this week.

As always, use Betting.co.uk to find the best bookie deals and Oddschecker to find the best odds and those crucial extra places.

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Author: Ronald Butler