Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 7th December 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 and like the Instant Expert feature, it is colour coded for easy viewing....

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. The 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.

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As is often the case, The Shortlist is fairly compact for Tuesday...

...but we do supplement this offering with the following free 'races of the day'...

  • 12.30 Uttoxeter
  • 2.10 Tramore
  • 3.30 Uttoxeter
  • 4.30 Southwell

Now, I'm not normally a fan of Conditional Jockey races, but it makes sense for me to take a look at the 12.30 Uttoxeter, as it features a runner from The Shortlist. The race itself is a Class 4, 3yo+ handicap hurdle over 2m7½f on good to soft ground. They'll go left handed taking 12 flights of hurdles in a bid to land the £3,159 first prize and all the jockeys are conditionals, but at varying stages of their career with claims ranging from 0 to 10lbs as seen here...

The Shortlist horse, Mr Washington clearly brings the best set of results to the table, but Quick Draw also won last time out and Angel of Harlem, Catchmeifyoucan, Gibberwell and Classic Escape all have wins in their not too distant past. We've just two class movers today with Be My Sea stepping up a level and Angel of Harlem coming the opposite direction. The latter is one of three course winners (Quick Draw & Catchmeifyoucan the others) and one of five (Catchmeifyoucan, Mr Washington, Classic Escape & Be My Sea) to have won at similar trips. He hasn't actually won over course and distance, mind, but Catchmeifyoucan has.

In Our Dreams hasn't raced for over 6 months and Gibberwell for nine months, but the rest have been out in the last seven weeks with four (Quick Draw, Catchmeifyoucan, Mr Washington & Classic Escape) having raced less than three weeks ago. Angel of Harlem & In Our Dreams come from in form yards (14 30), whilst the trainers of Quick Draw, Angel of Harlem, In Our Dreams and Classic Escape all appear to have good records here at Uttoxeter (C1 C5), whilst similarly the riders of Gibberwell and Be My Sea have done well lately (14 30), although the latter's yard are a bit of shy of winners right now (14 30).

Based on a simple positive v negative mentions tally, the two catching the eye from this section would be Angel of Harlem and Quick Draw

We know from The Shortlist that Mr Washington will show up well on Instant Expert, but what of his seven rivals?

Yes, aside from his 0/1 record at this venue (5th of 7 almost 2 yrs ago!), Mr Washington certainly leads the way, but good to some Good to Soft winners and plenty of past Class 4 success. We'd already highlighted the previous course/distance winners and aside from Classic Escape's 19lb difference, most are running off marks fairly close to their last winning rating.

Based on a simple overview of the above graphic, the two catching the eye from this section would be Mr Washington and Be My Sea. I'd also add that Mr Washington is the only previous soft ground winner, just in case the weather takes a wintry turn for the worst!

We should now take a look at how this field has raced over their last four outings to give ourselves an idea of how the race might unfold even before it happens and we do this via the pace tab of the racecard...

On average pace scores, it looks like In Our Dreams and Be My Sea are the ones expected to set the pace, but Quick Draw has 3 scores of three and Classic Escape led last time out. At the other end, I expect Angel of Harlem, Catchmeifyoucan and Mr Washington to be waited with for a late run. Thankfully we, also have the ability to analyse similar past races to see where the winners/placers have come from and that looks like this...

...which basically says that you either set the pace or you wait, but hold up horses have the better place strike rate.

From= here, I'll nominate two from the front end (In Our Dreams, Be My Sea) and two from the back end (Mr Washington, Angel of Harlem) and then to those four names, I'll go back to stage 1 (the racecard), where I suggested Angel of Harlem and Quick Draw and then to Instant Expert, where the standouts were Mr Washington and Be My Sea. I then quickly get to an alphabetical shortlist of Angel of Harlem, Be My Sea, In Our Dreams, Mr Washington and Quick Draw.

Angel of Harlem is a really consistent 8yr old mare, with 14 top 4 finishes in her last 15 races, some were admittedly small fields, but she has gone on to win five of them. She re-appeared at Wetherby at the end of October for her first run after just a week shy of a two-year absence to be outpaced over an inadequately short 2m4f. The step back up in trip, the step down in class and the benefit of having had the run should make her more competitive here, but I'm concerned about the inexperience of her rider (3rd outing here after a bumper and a hurdles race). That said, her yard is in form and she's running off a mark lower than her last two wins. The market will be a good indicator here, as all her wins have come from a top 2 position in the odds.

Be My Sea was second of 13 over 2m on the Flat at Newbury last time out, where he stayed on well on heavy ground, suggesting he'll have ground speed between the hurdles and the stamina to stay the trip. He has won a class 4 hurdle over three miles previously off a mark 3lbs higher than here and if ready to tackle obstacles again after nine months on the Flat/AW, he could be very well weighted here.

In Our Dreams will probably attempt to set the pace alongside the above runner and this unexposed 5yr old could well take another step forward after finishing as runner-up in each of his two previous hurdles races. That anticipation is slightly tempered, however, by the fact that his usual rider (on board for all four career starts) now rides Be My Sea (above) and is replaced by a less experienced 10lb claimer, but at least that does lessen the impact of a not particularly generous opening mark of 118.

Mr Washington is our featured horse from The Shortlist and his suitability for the task has been well documented. He won at Chepstow after a break of 249 days in November 2020 and then won his next three at increasingly long trips, before a run in February this year was possibly one visit to the well too many and he was only 4th of 14, beaten by 31 lengths. That led to another long (277 days) rest before another Chepstow reappearance win 18 days ago and despite a 4lb rise for winning by a neck, you'd have to expect him to be there or thereabouts once more.

Quick Draw has finished first twice and third twice in his last five outings and was a winner here at Uttoxeter by 2.5 lengths over 2m4f just sixteen days ago. Now he's only up three pounds for that win and has a 5lb claimer booked to ride, so he's technically better off, but he was well beaten on his only previous effort at anything like today's trip with all his best work coming at 2m4f. His jockey is riding him for the first time, but he's 2 from 6 for the yard.

Summary

All five that I've documented above have pros and cons to backing them, that's why they're Class 4 runners, but the one best suited to the task has to be The Shortlist horse, Mr Washington, even if he will need a career best to win here after being raised 4lbs for winning by a neck. The gamble with Be My Sea is whether he has been schooled enough over hurdles since racing at Newbury on the Flat recently. Class/trip/weight shouldn't be his downfall, but the trip might be the undoing of Quick Draw.

These are the three that I think I want to be with, so let's see what the bookies think...

Interestingly, they've got Angel of Harlem as the 3/1 favourite and all her best form comes at the top of the market, but I'm concerned about the jockey booking. Quick Draw and Mr Washington come next at 4/1 and 5/1 respectively with Be My Sea a 15/2 fifth rank with bet365.

I had both Angel of Harlem and Be My Sea down as being much longer priced (8/1 & 12/1, perhaps), so I wouldn't want to back them at their current odds. Quick Draw and Mr Washington at 4/1 and 5/1, however are both a bit longer than the 7/2 I was expecting, so I'm going for what I perceive as a bit of value with a small bet on Mr Washington at 5/1.

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