Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 19th October 2021

Tuesday's free feature is the Shortlist, 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.

In addition to a daily free feature, we also have a selection of free races every day and for Tuesday, they are...

  • 2.40 Exeter
  • 3.05 Yarmouth
  • 3.30 Gowran Park
  • 4.35 Newcastle
  • 4.40 Gowran Park

The Shortlist is actually a bit sparse for Tuesday...

...and with too many unknowns there, they wouldn't be my ideal way in to a race today, so we'll revert to the free race list for a look at the 4.35 Newcastle, a-13 runner, Class 6, 3yo+, A/W Handicap over a straight mile on standard going tapeta...

It's a lowly Class 6 affair, so recent form tends not to be too sparkling at this level, but Temper Trap has three wins and a place from his last six and he's the only LTO winner here. Swiss Knight is down two classes after making the frame last time around, Lexington Warfare won two starts ago, whilst the rest haven't much to crow about other than a win each for Pallas Lord and Shackabooah.

We've four class droppers here, as both Traveller and Pallas Lord ran at Class 5 recently, whilst both Velma and Swiss Knight were Class 4 runners LTO. All have raced in the last two months and if you thought the horses were in poor form, then so are the yards/jockeys, as the card is littered with red negative form icons. Lexington Warfare is well clear on the Geegeez SR figures, but the top seven on OR figures are only separated by 4 lbs, not withstanding the presence of five three year olds in the race receiving a 3lb allowance.

Traveller and Velma have both won here over a mile, Lexington Warfare won here over 7f two starts ago, whilst there have wins over today's trip for Swiss Knight (Haydock/Thirsk), Temper Trap (Ayr LTO) and Tarnhelm (Thirsk)

At this stage, the ones I'm most interested in are the ones with a win in their six-race form line, but I'm obviously open to persuasion! What I will do, however is rule out the following who are yet to win a race, so it's good bye to Cammy (unplaced in 9 starts), Kevin The Minion (placed just 3 times from 14), Lady Artela (unplaced in ten) and Wootton Creek (placed twice from eight).

Place form often tells you more at this level and the discarded quartet made the frame in just five of forty one attempts, which is lamentable really.

Instant Expert can tell who has won/placed before in all races, of course, but more specifically I like to look at form in similar conditions to those they'll face next...

...where only Lexington Warfare has any real winning form in AW handicaps, although Temper Trap, Velma & Engles rock are largely untried. Traveller has been around the block several times but without a great deal of success, but is now 3lbs lower than his last win, whilst Velma is 13lbs lower than when winning here over course and distance a little over a year ago, which is interesting.

When the win form doesn't tell us too much, we then take a peek at place results...

and whilst I don't think they tell you who might win, they can tell you who probably won't and this is where I'd say goodbye to Traveller. If his place returns are so poor off more than a dozen races, he'd be an unlikely winner.

This leaves me with 8 of the original 13 runners and they're drawn in stalls 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12 and 13 on a track/trip where those drawn centrally have fared worst...

...so that's probably not good for the likes of Pallas Lord and Engles Rock based on the data, but my own thoughts/logic say that on a straight run on a virtually level surface are that the draw really shouldn't have too much effect on the race, but that race positioning (aka pace) would be the thing to consider and the data from the races on that curve above says...

...that some 42.1% of all the runners have been held up and this has produced 54.1% of the winners and 48.9% of the placers, so whilst prominent runners have just about beaten expectations (31.1% of the winners & 32.1% of the placers from 30.5% of the runners), it's clear that hold-up horses are prevalent here and this is also reflected in the pace draw heat map...

...which would suggest that of my eight runners sill under consideration, I'd want Lexington Warfare, Velma, Shackabooah, Temper Trap, Swiss Knight and Traveller to be hold up horses, although the last four of those could still win from a prominent position, so let's see how they have raced in their last four outings...

...and I'd say that Lexington Warfare (4 x 1), Shackabooah (3 x 1) and Traveller (3 x 1) definitely fit the hold-up profile. Temper Trap might well race further forward and assume a more prominent position and Swiss Knight is likely to be closer to the back than the front, but I'm not sure how Velma might run.

The caveat here is that these are largely out of form horses whose previous tactics haven't worked, so changes might be made. The pace issue is further complicated, as you'll when I show you the full race pace profile of all 13 runners over their last four races...

...there's no pace in the race! Wootton Creek will probably set the early fractions from stall 1 and if allowed to race away early on, could cause problem for those more fancied. We've also got at least five, if not seven hold-up horses and they can't all be held up, so we're likely to get a falsely run race and whenever I see the prospect of that happening, I refer back to form, instant expert and that unquantifiable "gut feeling".

Summary

Through the piece, one name has stood out each time on form, SR figures, Instant Expert, pace, draw and pace/draw, so it'll be no surprise that my pick here is Lexington Warfare, who I feel might just have too much for Temper Trap, the other one that has featured most in my comments.

Lexington won here over 7f two starts ago and was a little unlucky over course and distance off this mark last time out. The latter needed a career-best to win by just half a length last time out and he's up 4 more pounds. Pus only 1 of his 21 career starts have been on the A (an 8 length defeat here in Sept '20), so I think he'll just miss out today.

As for completing the frame, I think Swiss Knight is the one. Yes, he's top weight before jockey claims (2nd behind Temper Trap after claims) and yes, he's winless in twenty, but was beaten by little more than two lengths when third at Ayr last time out off a mark of 68(-3) in a Class 4 handicap last time out and is now down two classes and three pounds, so you'd have to think that a similar level of performance puts him in the mix once again.

So, for me, it's Lexington Warfare for me and as of just before 4pm, there were no prices to quote, but I'll be wanting at least 9/2 or 5/1 before parting with any cash. Temper trap is likely to end up around the 3/1 mark and that doesn't do much for me, but I'd be hoping for 8's or better about Swiss Knight so I could have an E/W play, whilst Shackabooah might also be of interest if 12's or bigger is offered : he's not one I'd expect to win, but he could outrun those odds.

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