Morning everyone, and it’s that time of year when I welcome some of you back, and bid au revoir to others, as we welcome back flat racing, and every year I do give the same warnings: give form ratings a month to ‘bed in’ before you trust them… don’t assume a good 2yo will make a good 3yo… and use those stallion ratings in combination with jockey & trainer ratings to find unraced opportunities.

For fun, then, let’s start with the 1:25 at Doncaster and our first opportunity to see this year’s crop of 2-year-olds. Makalu is our RTH Selection by dint of being out of Mehmas, who gives him a stallion rating of 2.47. For those new to stallion ratings, anything over 2 is worth watching, anything over 3 is very good, and beyond that, you have a statistical freak. The rating is based on the stallion’s progeny’s record in these conditions – so have a look on the racecard at the statistics to see what makes up that number. Importantly, a good stallion needs a good jockey. Every year, I use the analogy of Leo Messi playing for Bradford City. However, that analogy has faded and I can simply replace Bradford City with Barcelona, given that they’re probably on a par now. Anyway, you get my point – good as the horse may be, it needs a good jockey, and a good yard often helps. Makalu has both of these, and is yours for the price of 8/1. In a blind crapshoot where literally nobody knows anything (except us, of course), 8/1 is ridiculous. Black Hill Storm is next, and the favourite has a stallion rating of zero, so we know nothing about this one (Forca Brasil).

The Lincoln, then, at 3:10 (Doncaster) and you’ve got Haqeeqy as the RTH Selection at 3/1, which is a little short in the context of the race – he won’t win 1 in every three runnings of this race, but he has won 3 from 5 including a win here last time around, and he’s moved over to John Gosden (or John and Thady Gosden as he’s now known) and he’s had his nuts lopped off, because y’know, it gives him focus. He beat Eastern World by a long chalk, as well. And another option would be Born To Be Alive whose weight is set to rise for having won the Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton, and he runs off the same mark as that victory. The last time he ran over a mile at Doncaster, he did well to end up 2nd, so his turf record reads quite well too.

Those interested in the stallion ratings can see the adjusted ratings here:

You can filter this, by the way – new feature – so that you’ve only got good ratings in all three, and then you can see an adjusted stallion rating as well which would make more sense.

This adjusted rating takes into account the jockey & trainer ratings to give you a blended view, and tells you to look at Save A Forest in the 5:00 at Wolverhampton – a 3yo that has been tried twice at Wolvo and has improved from a good first effort. She’s out of Kingman, whose progeny have a 27% win rate at Wolverhampton and is from a yard that has a 35% strike rate. So, y’know, 2/1 might be short, but she’s on the right track, both metaphorically and literally.

At 3:35, you may want to have a peep at Cocobanana, not just because of the great name, but her form did improve towards the back end of last year, showing a little bit of speed, and the combination of stallion, jockey & trainer ratings together imply that she’s flying under the radar in this race, and if she’s going to step up as a 3yo, she may be one of the more likely types.

There you go – lots of notebook type races today, and lots for you to play with. Let’s see how it plays out!