Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 14th December 2021

The Shortlist is a simple – and usually brief – report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day. It covers win or place stats, and can be viewed for both today’s and tomorrow’s racing.

GREEN is good (33% or better win rate) – worth 3 points
AMBER is quite good (16-32% win rate) – worth 1 point
RED is not so good (0-15% win rate) – worth -1 points
GREY means there is no available data for that factor - worth 0 points

The final column, ‘Score’, is the sum of the previous five ‘colour’ columns, with 15 being an all green profile, and 9 being the lowest score appearing on this report.

HINT: The best bets are not necessarily the highest scores. Rather, they are often the biggest difference between a Shortlist horse and the ‘best of the rest’ in that race.

N.B. Shortlist selections are unlikely to make a profit, at SP at least, to blind backing. Our recommendation is – and has always been – that The Shortlist should be a starting point rather than an end in itself. That said, it continues to highlight horses whose chance is better than recent form - and its odds - imply.

[ Please refer to our User Guide for further information ]

This is how The Shortlist looks for Tuesday...

...and I'm showing you this because we make this Gold feature available to ALL readers EVERY Tuesday. In fact, we make a different Gold feature available every single day, along with a selection of 'free' races, which for Tuesday are...

  • 1.30 Wincanton
  • 2.30 Wincanton
  • 4.00 Newcastle

And seeing as the highest ranked on The Shortlist also runs in a 'free' race, I think I should be covering the 4.00 Newcastle for you today. If I'm honest, it's not a race I would normally give much air time to, because it's high on runners and low on quality, but every race has a winner! This one is a 14-runner, Class 6, 3yo+ A/W handicap over a straight mile on tapeta. The top prize is a mere £2,700 and it will end up with one of these...

Tie A Yellowribbon and Vintage Polly are the only two runners with a win in their recent form, but the former has been off the track longest of all 14 runners at 149 days. All her rivals have raced in the past eight weeks with six of them turning back out after less than a fortnight's rest.

Bottom weight Big Dutchie gets 13lbs from Shortlist horse and top weight Harry George, but his runner-up finish at Class 5 LTO is the best LTO result in the field. He's the only class mover as he drops down a level from that run four days ago. Tie A Yellowribbon makes a yard debut, having moved to her fourth UK yard, whilst William of Mowbray makes just a second handicap appearance hopinbg to do better than his last of 12 at Chelmsford 11 days ago.

Harry George, Velma, Vintage Polly and Lukoutoldmakezebak have all previously won over a mile here at Newcastle, whilst Tie A Yellowribbon and The Game of Life have both won over a mile elsewhere.

Based on the above, I'd currently lean towards Tie A Yellowribbon and Vintage Polly with an eye on Big Dutchie, Harry George, Lukoutoldmakezebak, The Game of Life and Velma to complete my current preferred half of the field.

We know that most of these aren't coming here in the best of form and we know that Harry George will have conditions that suit him, but what of the others? Instant Expert has the answers...

I know it's a Class 6 contest, but that's disappointing. We knew HG would look strong thanks to his place on The Shortlist, but I didn't quite expect that much red. The only others with any green/amber are already in my preferred half of the field. Hopefully the place stats will show some of these in a better light...

...which is more helpful and also suggests that both Lenny's Spirit & Giant Steps might be in with a shout of making the frame. Big Dutchie and The Game of Life are the two from my original seven most at risk right now. Aside from the wins/places, there are some interesting weight changes, with both Velma and The Game bring much lower in the official ratings than their last win.

We've fourteen runners strung across the track for this straight mile and without looking at the stats, my own personal logic says that there shouldn't really be a draw bias, but it doesn't hurt to actually go and check...

The results for stall 12 have to be a coincidental anomaly and some of the central stalls have marginally better results than par (par = 3 wins, 9 places), but there's not enough there for me to confidently announce a draw bias, but that doesn't mean that certain running/racing styles aren't more advantageous than others. Thankfully, we also have the stats for those...

and basically, the further back you run, the better. We log the running styles of all horses and over their most recent outings, this field has run like this...

...where the likes of Cosa Sara and Vintage Polly are confirmed hold up horses. If we combine pace/draw stats, we get a unique 12-sector overview of the race which will tell ther most advantageous (or otherwise) pace/draw combos...

...where almost strangely the two best are quite a way apart. The mid-drawn hold-up horse fares best, presumable passing the low drawn leader late on in proceedings. We can now order our field by draw and place them onto the pace/draw heat map above and that gives us an idea of how the race might pan out...

The only issue that the above generates for me is that there's the possibility of a slowly/falesely run race, with no real pace but Big Dutchie & Lukoutoldmakezebak both led last time out and have both ran prominently recently. Regimento and William of Mowbray have also both led in a recent outing, so they might be towards the front too.


After looking at the racecard and consulting my own figures, I initially split the 14-strong field into two, suggesting that alphabetically, I'd want to be with Big Dutchie, Harry George, Lukoutoldmakezebak, The Game of Life, Tie A Yellowribbon, Velma and Vintage Polly and I still think/hope the winner comes from that group.

Of them, I'd discount Big Dutchie on both Instant Expert and running style as documented above. Lukoutoldmakezebak would also be in danger based on running style, but he was also last of 13 over course and distance beaten by 15 lengths 111 days ago and looks set to struggle off the same mark and I'd also be ruling The Game of Life from contention at this stage. He's an other with an all-red IE profile on place stats, probably won't be held up and he was also last of 13 over course and distance in his latest run, beaten by nineteen lengths five weeks ago.

All of which leaves us with...

  • Harry George, The Shortlist horse now 2lbs lower than when 4th of 13 over C&D here 11 days ago in a first time visor. A winner of 6 of his 20 races so far and he's 4 from 10 at this track including 3 wins from 8 over course and distance. The visor is retained and he could be dangerous here 2lbs lower than his last course win.
  • Tie A Yellowribbon, who returns from a rest of almost five months, having changed yards in that time. She's hardly prolific, but did win at Yarmouth two starts ago off a mark just 3lbs lower than today's 59, whilst her sole A/W win came at Chelmsford off 55 in October 2020. That suggests she's pretty well weighted, but needs a career best effort to actually go on and win.
  • Velma, who is also a former C&D winner, albeit nine starts and over 14 months ago, but this 4 yr old filly was a decent 3rd of 13 here over C&D when last seen five weeks ago. She was unlucky in the run, being denied clear passage a coupe of times but was only beaten by less than 3 lengths and finished 3 places and 4 lengths clear of the re-opposing...
  • Vintage Polly, who also won here over course and distance off a mark of 52 in October. She goes off 54 today and arrives here on the back of a poor performance at Southwell four days ago off this mark. Her best career form has been over this C&D, so it's hoped that a return to the North East puts Friday's run to bed, but it should be noted that despite being 4 lengths behind Velma here last month, she's now a pound worse off at the weights.

So, I don't see Vintage Polly overturning a 4 length deficit to Velma off a pound worse, so she can't be my winner even if she does have the best pace/draw make-up, but she could be good for a place. Velma's LTO run was the best of the four I'm considering and now eased a pound and having chance to get used to the visor, I'd take Velma to win this one.

Harry George will run his race here as he always does and should be good for a place, as should Tie A Yellowribbon, who'd probably be higher up in my thoughts had she had a recent run.

Bet-wise, Velma is a bit skinny for me at 7/2 and whilst I hope she wins, she won't be carrying my money, unless I can get on at 9/2 or bigger. Harry George is 6/1 which is probably a decent price (I thought maybe 4/1) if you fancy him, but that's not long enough for me to go E/W, whilst Tie A Yellowribbon is also too short for me at 7/2. Vintage Polly, however, is interesting out at 12/1. She'd need to put that last poor run behind her, but I had her as an 8 to 10/1 shot, so at 12's, I'll have an E/W nibble with a bookie paying four places.

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2 replies
  1. 10 Things You Didn't Know about Geegeez Racecards
  2. Rambler
    Rambler says:

    Chris – Very tricky race you have sided with today, good on you. Rewards could be good for Exacta & Trifecta backers – here’s hoping. Bob S.


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