Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 20th April 2021

On Tuesday, we open up the doors to the The Shortlist report to all readers and this is a quick overview of a selection of horses that have fared well under similar conditions in the past. Like ALL of our reports, they're a starting point for further research/analysis and NOT a list of horses to back blindly. I know most of you are on board with that, but it's good to add clarity from time to time!

In addition to free access to a different feature every day, we also make a selection of races fully available to ALL readers each day and for Tuesday, they are...

  • 2.50 Epsom
  • 3.20 Epsom
  • 3.55 Epsom
  • 4.10 Yarmouth
  • 5.50 Wolverhampton
  • 6.20 Wolverhampton

And I'm going to focus on The Shortlist report today, because there's an 8-runner race at Wolverhampton featuring three horses from that report...

A rudimentary first glance at the above suggests Margub / Corvair / Young Fire would be the pecking order here, but more analysis of what those colours actually mean is now needed, yet I'm not going to open up the full card etc here, as that would be unfair to our paying Gold subscribers, but I will assess the merits of each of these three runners and suggest whether they might be worth backing.

To do this, I'm going to start with Instant Expert, as that effectively puts The Shortlist report into numbers as well as colours (the % parameters are slightly different between the two features, but you'll get the gist of it)...

I'm not going to try to teach any of you how to suck eggs here, as the beauty of Instant Expert is that it's so self explanatory, especially when directly comparing a small number of runners. Once again, Young Fire is the worst of the the trio, but Corvair edges it on this occasion, not withstanding Margub's great figures in this size of field.

Now to their details from the racecard for the 7.20 Wolverhampton, an 8-runner, Class 3 A/W Handicap over 7f on Tapeta worth £6,019...

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Margub looks to have had the best recent run, but the other two drop in class here. All have won over course and distance as, you'd expect, of course. Margub and Young Fire have raced in the past three weeks, but Corvair has had almost three months off and their Geegeez ratings of 71, 84 and 83 equate to 7th, 3rd and 4th respectively of the eight runners.

Young Fire was a course and distance winner (1 win and 1 place from 2 over C&D) here 13 races ago back in early February 2020, but that remains his only A/W win in 10 efforts. He has however won 2 of 6 Turf runs since that C&D success and it could well be argued that he's better on that surface, particularly on soft ground.

He was twelfth home of fourteen runners last time out, when beaten by 6.5 lengths over 7f on the Polytrack at Lingfield last time out (18 days ago). In his favour is the drop in class here and a reduced mark of 96, which is the same as his last win (Redcar, C3, 7f, soft) back in October. Has ability, but seems out of sorts and I don't see him winning here.

Corvair is 1 from 1 here at Wolverhampton, courtesy of a Class 4 handicap victory here fifteen months ago off a mark of 86 and that was the middle run of a 67-day hat-trick of wins. He has struggled since his mark was elevated into the 90's and was last home of nine, beaten by 25 lengths at Jebel Ali last time out, almost three months ago. He's down in class here, but I'm thinking that a mark of 93 is still too much for him and he might well need the run after not having raced in the UK for 10 months.

Margub has only been to Wolverhampton once in the past, when scoring by 3.5 length at class, course and distance almost two years ago and he has only raced three time since, due to a long lay-off. He did, however, race just 14 days ago and ran very creditably in a 1.25 length defeat despite having been off track for 21 months.

He can be excused for getting beat that day, as tiredness played a part as he'd led until the final half furlong before getting caught by two fresher rivals both in receipt of 10lbs from him. He goes off the same mark here today, but now receives weight all round and could well improve for the run.

Based on the write-ups, I'd put them in this order : Margub / Young Fire / Corvair

Draw

The draw stats for similar 8-runner handicaps here are as follows....

And whilst there's not a massive draw bias at play here, you probably don't want to be out wide in stalls 7 or 8, which doesn't bode well for Corvair in #8, but the other two go from stalls 1 and 5, so they shouldn't be too inconvenienced here.

Pace

As for the pace/race tactics at play on contests like this, we've found that as with the draw, there's not actually a massive difference in the four Geegeez running styles. Leaders win roughly as often as expected (IV = 0.97) whilst Prominent/mid-division runner win approximately one sixth more often than expected and that at the expense of hold up horses who win a sixth less often.

Pace & Draw together

With high draws faring worst and prominent/mid-division runners faring best, it's no surprise that mid-drawn mid-div runners scored really well and our unique heat map below cross references all four running styles with all three sectors of the draw to show a dozen combinations as follows...

and we can then look at how our trio have raced in their last four outings and superimpose their running styles onto that pace/draw heatmap as follows...

To be honest, none of them are really well positioned, but Young Fire could step forward a little to improve his chances and maybe Margub could be a little more restrained in his approach. In fairness, without giving too many Gold secrets away, only Gobi Sunset in stall 2 has a really good pace/draw make-up and he might well tow Young Fire into the contest.

Summary

I'm going to do this in two brief parts, starting with how I see them finishing. Based on everything above, I think Corvair is the weakest of the three, whilst Margun should have the beating of Young Fire.

Secondly, do I feel Margub can win or is worth backing? Margub could win, but I think it's unlikely, he's probably going to have to settle for a place at best behind the likes of Arafi, who looks "big" at 9/2 and the well drawn and afore-mentioned 11/4 fav Gobi Sunset. Margub is currently (4.50pm) priced as short as 3/1 and that's (a) a bit shorter than I expected and (b) far too short for a place only or E/W bet for me.

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