Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 28th December 2021

The Shortlist is the Geegeez free feature every Tuesday, but what is it?

Well, 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 and employs the familiar Geegeez traffic light system...

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 extensive User Guide for further information]

Tuesday's Shortlist is dominated by half of the field of Leopardstown's Savills Chase, but here's the list in full...

Samcro is an interesting sort there, clearly not the force of old, but still only 9yrs old and definite has talent and at 40/1 could be a decent value for money E/W punt, but if that list above doesn't float your boat, then there's always our usual daily selection of free races, such as...

  • 1.03 Leicester
  • 1.38 Leicester
  • 1.45 Leopardstown
  • 3.20 Leicester

The best standard of the three Leicester races is the middle one, but it's a 4-runner affair with one looking like a no-hoper so I'll leave that alone. The first is a maiden hurdle where nine runners average just three previous runs each, which won't give us much to work with, so we're going to look at the 3.20 Leicester, a Class 3, 3yo+ Handicap hurdle over a right-handed 1m7½f on heavy ground and it's worth just under £5,800. Now, only six are set to run and there's the probability of a short priced favourite, but he might not win or we might find a nice E/W pick or we might have a forecast to aim at. We'll never know until we have a closer look...

Lebowski was placed in the first three of his four bumper runs, but is now 2 from 2 over hurdles, having landed a pair of 2m, Class 4 novice hurdles last month. He's up in class here and his recent exploits have "earned" him top weight off a mark of 127 for his handicap debut, which might not be enough to anchor him here. He's the likely short-priced favourite and it should be his race to win/lose with possibly only a lack of hurdling experience (handicap or otherwise) being the challenge.

Friary Rock makes a UK debut here on his first start for new handler Laura Morgan, who had a couple of winners on Boxing Day to snap out of a dry spell. She has a reasonable record with new recruits and jockey Adam Wedge is riding pretty well right now, but they'll have their work cut out with this one, I think. He was a modest hurdler in Ireland and although he made the frame in 6 of 13 races, he was never narrowly beaten and only managed to win once. Virtually all his racing is at 2m4f and beyond and this trip might be a bit sharp for him.

Jante Law was 6th of 16 on bumper debut just over 13 months ago, before making the frame at Musselburgh back in January. Since then he has finished 911 over hurdles, landing a pair of Class 4 novice contests over 2m½f at Hexham. Like Lebowski, he's also up in class for a handicap debut, but unlike the fav, Jante hasn't raced for almost eight months and despite obvious ability, might very well need the run.

McGowans Pass is unlikely to be getting better at 10 yrs of age, but he does have plenty of Class 3 (and above) experience. He was a runner-up then a winner in two bumpers, way back at the start of 2017, but then had seven months off prior to a hurdles debut at the start of December '17. Since then he has made the frame in 7 of 15 hurdles contests over a 4 year period, winning twice. His best time was last year (2020) with finishes of 12222, including a Class 3 win and three Class 2 runner-up spots. Sadly 2021 hasn't been the same and he was 7th off 11, beaten by 21 lengths after a 4 month break in April this year and then 7th of 11 again, beaten by 22 lengths at the start of this month after another break of 224 days. His mark has now dropped another 3lbs, but at 6lbs higher than his last win he's probably still to high in the weights and his form is poor, but he certainly has ability at this level.

Natural History is a really interesting (to me) runner here. he started out with seven races on the Flat, where he made the frame every time and won three of them at Classes 4, 3 and then 2. His final run on the Flat saw him finish as runner-up in the Group 3 Pravha Stakes on heavy ground at Newbury where he was only 1.75 lengths behind Euchen Glen, who has since won another Group 3 contests as well as a Listed race. Natural History hasn't, in fairness. hit those heights over hurdles just yet, but has made the frame in four of seven, winning once (Class 3, 2m) and although he's not had the best start to the new season, a revised mark of 118 is only 2lbs higher than his sole hurdles success, a race he won by 15 lengths without being ridden out. Trip and going are ideal for him and jockey, trainer and trainer/jockey are all in good form. Shortlist material.

Applesandpierres is the oldest in the race at 13 yrs of age, but did win this race when least held two years ago. He's now some 12lbs lower in the weights than that win and has only raced four times in the UK since, finishing 51P4. The win, in fairness, was another heavy ground course and distance success back in January 2020, but after being pulled up at Uttoxeter in March '20, didn't race on these shores again for 636 days before coming home 4th of 10, beaten by 32 lengths at Bangor 18 days ago. He hadn't been off track all that time though, he actually had seven (generally poor) runs in France where he was 5100PUP (14th and 15th of 16 for the two zeroes!) and I'd probably have given him a better chance here if he's just had 636 days off!

So, that's the overview of the field, where I think it's going to be (alphabetically) Jante Law, Lebowski & Natural History vs the other half of the field, but Instant Expert's summary of past performances under these conditions might change or re-affirm my thoughts...

Heavy ground here and this is key, where the top three of the field only have one heavy ground run between them, but the bottom half of the filed have all won at least once. The bottom two have it on Class 3 results and Apples is the only former course winner (twice over C&D). Apples' two C&D wins mean he's only 1 from 8 at the trip elsewhere and Lebowski/Jante Law then become the pick on distance. Friary Rock & McGowans Pass look too high in the weights and Lebowski/Jante Law are both on hcp debut.

The beauty of Instant Expert is that you can switch from win to place figures and you can amend the headings and I just want to show you a couple of other relevant issues...

The place stats...

...show the consistency of Natural History as a rival to the favourite and his record at this level led me to see how he fared at a higher grade...

Whilst we're talking about Natural History, T can tell you that, aside from last time out when he was at the rear and never involved, he likes to lead/race prominently, but he's not the only one in this field who'll want to get on with things...

...in a race where only Applesandpierres is a confirmed hold-up horse. The stats from previous similar races suggests that "going for it" is indeed the best option...

...and if five of the six want to make a race of it, they could burn each other out on testing ground.

Summary

After stage 1 of my analysis, I said I thought it would be (alphabetically) Jante Law, Lebowski & Natural History vs the other half of the field and I've not really changed my mind. I don't have much between the pair on my own numbers, but I do prefer National History to Jante Law based on the stats. The latter is proven at going/trip, has run well in higher grades, has ground speed from good Flat results and has raced recently. Jante Law is up in trip and makes a handicap debut after a layoff and might well need the run.

But what of Lebowski? Well, he's also up in class for a handicap debut and bears top weight, but it's surely his race to win/lose based on his recent form. So, Lebowski and Natural History are my placers here. The market has them at 5/4 and 7/1 best prices and although, they should finish in that order, I don't think those odds are a true reflection of their respective chances, I thought they might have been a little closer to each other.

I can't back Lebowski at 5/4, as I'm not prepared to stake the volume required to make it worth my while, but Natural history does interest me from an E/W or place bet perspective, as does the possible forecast options.

PS as for the Leopardstown race, it's hard to see past A Plus Tard and I certainly wouldn't throw very much money towards Samcro.

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