Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Tuesday 01/03/22

Every day we open up a Gold feature and a selection of full racecards to all readers, irrespective of subscription status and on Tuesdays, that free feature is The Shortlist report. This is how it looks for Tuesday 1st March...

But what is it? Well, The Shortlist is a simple (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 does continue to highlight horses whose chance is better than recent form - and its odds - imply.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

So, The Shortlist is Tuesday's free feature and these are the free racecards...

  • 1.00 Catterick
  • 4.05 Leicester
  • 5.20 Newcastle

...and I think I'll take a look at the middle of that trio of races, the 4.05 Leicester, a 6-runner, Class 3, soft ground, 6yo+ hunters' chase taking in 18 fences over a right handed 2m7f...

Pure Vision and Indirocco both won last time out, whilst the top three on the card all finished third on their latest outings. Petite Ganache did win three starts ago, but that was actually thirteen months back. Mind you, he hasn't been seen for 49 weeks since finishing fifth at Kelso.

He's up one class here, but all his rivals are stepping up too. I'm Wiser Now, Pure Vision & Indirocco all make that same move from Class 4, Marracudja ran at Class 5 LTO, whilst Peacock's Secret moves three classes here.

Half the field (I'm Wiser Now, Pure Vision and Petite Ganache) have already won at similar trips to today's and the latter is having his first run for Derek Smith since leaving Nicky Richards' yard.

Indirocco has also moved yards, having raced for Dan Skelton just over five weeks ago, Dan still has a runner here: the likely fav Marracudja. The form yard appears to be that of Anthony Honeyball, whilst the afore-mentioned Mr Skelton has a good record at this venue.

I'm Wiser Now is ultra-consistent and has made the frame in 13 of his 15 starts to date, but a win return of just 2 from those 15 suggests he's just not quite there. That said, his record has improved since a switch to fences after going 0 from 10 in NHF/Hurdles races with finishes of 32113 over the bigger obstacles including wins at Stratford over 2m6f/2m6½f, but made some errors on his final run under Rules at the end of April. He was then off the track for 281 days, but made a comeback in a point to point at the start of Feb, where he ran well for most of the 3m trip.

Marracudja was a useful Class 2 chaser back in his heyday, he likes soft ground and small fields, so this should be fine for him. He was a winner four starts ago, when landing a three-runner affair by 26 lengths at Fontwell last October and was only beaten by just over three quarters of a length last time out.

Peacock's Secret was a winner three starts ago, landing a 3m½f hunter chase at Fakenham eleven months ago and also 3rd of 11 and 4th of 5 in two runs under Rules since, the margin of defeat is less of a concern to me than the jump from Class 6 to Class 3 here, but he did go well in a PTP just over three weeks ago when 3rd of 12.

Petite Ganache left Nicky Richards' yard on the back of a pair of disappointing efforts in March '21 and he's well out of it here based on weights/official marks. I'd probably say he was the worst in the field.

Pure Vision has won 4 of his last 12 starts, but has only raced three times since a runner-up finish at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018 courtesy of breaks lasting 213, 734 and latterly 447 days. He defied that latest 447 day absence to win another soft ground hunter chase at Ffos Las in February and although up in trip and class, would be entitled to come on for the run. The yard is in good form and I'd expect another good effort here.

Indirocco hasn't been seen under Rules since finishing 3rd of 8 in a 3m2f handicap chase at Uttoxeter some 39 months ago, but changed yards and racing sphere and has struck up a good relationship with jockey Gina Andrews who has been in the saddle for all five PTP outings since that Uttoxeter run. Those five races have seen the team finish 11231 with the latest being a 5 length victory at Chipley Park just over five weeks ago. A continuation of his recent PTP form puts him/Gina and trainer Tom Ellis (Gina's husband) right in contention, especially if you consider that Tom's Hunter Chasers are 1 from 1 this year after winning 6 of 17 in 2021.

Indirocco's absence from the UK racing scene for over three years means that we have very little data on him via Instant Expert, but here's how all the field have performed under Tuesday's expected conditions...

Likely favourite Marracudja's numbers are OK, but not great and don't really scream 6/4 shot here. It's good to see some soft ground winners and the first of Indirocco's 3 PTP wins was also on soft ground and all three were over three miles, stacking him up favourably with I'm Wiser Now and Pure Vision and I think that these three are the ones I like best from the Instant Expert/PTP stats.

In these smaller field, soft ground, staying contests here at Leicester, it has paid to be up with the pace...

...and I've looked back at Indirocco's last 4 PTP outings and he has led in all of them, which would give him a Geegeez pace score of 16 in stark contrast to the rest of the field....

Summary

Indirocco might not have been racing under rules for a hell of a long time, but there'll be rustiness after three good runs over three miles in the last 100 days, culminating in a nice win LTO. I argue that he's actually in the best form of the six here and with him being the only front-runner in the pack, could be afforded an easy lead that could prove difficult to peg back. He's proven over fences, has the stamina, loves soft ground and might well be allowed to dictate affairs, so Indirocco is my pick here.

A price of 7/1 from bet365 (the first to show) looks incredibly generous and at 1/4 odds, he's still attractive as an E/W proposition. Marracudja is easily best in at the weights, but didn't score brilliantly on Instant Expert and I'm not convinced he's an 11/8 pick. That said, he's not much shorter than Pure Vision who, despite being my next best here, also looks bit short at 7/4. Both shorties have a chance, of course, but there's not enough juice there for me and I can't help but feel Indirocco might get underestimated due to his lack of recent activity under Rules.

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