Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 9th November 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.

And here is how Tuesday's Shortlist report looks...

In addition to the free daily feature, we always open up a selection of races to all readers and they're going to be...

  • 2.30 Huntingdon
  • 2.37 Lingfield
  • 3.15 Fairyhouse
  • 3.45 Newcastle

Now it's not a 'free' race, but it would be remiss of me not to check out the chances of Ajero and Takeit Easy in the 1.30 Huntingdon with both horses scoring 15 on the Shortlist

It's not rare to see two 15's in the same Class 1 race or even in the better Class 2 contests, but this is a Class 3, 3yo+ handicap hurdle over two miles on good ground. The top prize is a decent enough £10,892 and our featured pair will only face four other rivals...

Ajero has four wins and a place from seven starts over hurdles and is 2 from 2 at Class 3, but was beaten by 32 lengths on his last start of last season and he was pulled up on his seasonal reappearance just over a week ago. Admittedly, those two races were at Gr 1 and Listed class, but his connections would have hoped for better and he's now down in class and has been given a 2lb respite from the assessor, which should both help.

He's four from six under today's jockey, has the same record wearing a tongue tie and he's four from seven going right handed. The going, class, distance, track and field size are all fine, of course as denoted by the shortlist entry and will be backed up by Instant Expert shortly.

Takeit Easy, on the other hand, comes here having won three of his last four Class 3 handicap hurdles and he has been handed a 2lb rise in weight for the 1.5 length success at Wetherby almost four weeks ago.

His record in handicap hurdles now stands at four wins and two places from seven starts with a defeat of less than four lengths at Cheltenham last November his worst result. Aside from the stats shown in Instant Expert below, his hcp hurdle record includes 3 wins from 3 going right handed, three wins and two places from five since turning 6 yrs old and a 1 from 1 record over course and distance from landing a 17-runner, Class 4 affair on handicap debut a little more than a year ago. His mark has gone from 109 that day to today's 134 in less than 13 months, but the signs are that he could still have more to give.

At this point, I'd be leaning towards Takeit Easy of the two, but now to Instant Expert, which helps to put the Shortlist into numbers...

That is essentially taken from all NH runs including bumpers and non-handicap hurdles runs and based on those numbers, you'd have to say that Ajero edges it here to put himself back in the running, but when we look solely at handicap hurdle form...

...the advantage is back with Takeit Easy. You'll have noticed that neither are much higher than their last winning mark, but with 5lb claimer in the saddle on Takeit Easy, he's effectively 3lbs lighter than his win LTO, even it doesn't always work like that.

The two are clearly fairly closely matched on their stats and suitability for the task ahead, so let's consider race tactics for a moment. Over their last four races, here's how they have run...

Ajero tends to race prominently, whilst Takeit Easy is generally waited with, sometimes handily in mid-field but quite often he's held up at the back for a late run and despite having won here over course and distance, those tactics probably are the best way to approach this one...

...step slightly forward into mid-division perhaps, but based on the graphic, Ajero would be better placed from a prominent position. That said, the report from Takeit Easy's win here over course and distance says..."mid-division, bumped 1st, headway after 5th, challenged last, edged left and led flat, stayed on"... His trainer, Pam Sly is nobody's fool though and I'm pretty sure the jockey will get the right pre-race instructions from a trainer whose Class 3 handicap hurdlers are 11 from 35 (31.4% SR) since the start of 2019 including 9 from 18 (50%) plus four placers at this 2m trip. This suggests they're tactically aware enough to know how to tackle this one.

Summary

Both Ajero and TakeitEasy are clearly entered into a race with optimum conditions and both are more than capable of landing it, but based on what I've seen/read, I've got think that the latter has the better chance here. The market agrees with me too and has Takeit Easy as joint favourite with Onemorefortheroad, but I fancy the chances of Takeit Easy to land this. I was expecting/hoping for a price around 10/3 and with Bet365 going in at 7/2 (5.40pm), I'm taking some of that.

As for Ajero, he could finish second, but he could finish fourth, I think it's that tight a contest, so I'll not be playing the forecast market here. (which probably guarantees a 1-2!)

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