Tuesday's free Geegeez Gold 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.
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And here's how The Shortlist looks this Tuesday...
...and this is supplemented by the following free racecards...
- 1.45 Lingfield
- 2.00 Fakenham
- 5.50 Sedgefield
- 7.20 Sedgefield
- 8.00 Ballinrobe
The two obvious candidates from the Shortlist (Geronimo and Wonder Elmossman) are going to be small-field short-priced favourites, so I'll leave them alone to look at the 2.00 Fakenham, a 9-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ Selling Handicap Hurdle (9 flights) over a left handed 2m½f (2m initially plus 158yd rail movement) on good ground...
Hey Bob has won two of his last three and looks the form horse here and is our only LTO winner, whilst Bagan is the only one of his rivals with a with in their last five starts. Conversely, Chantecler is unplaced in ten and hasn't completed any of his last three and he's the weakest here on form.
We've a couple of class droppers, as bottom-weight Morani Kali and top-weight The Flying Sofa drop down from Classes 4 and 3 respectively and all nine have raced in the last six weeks. 42 days is indeed the longest break any of them is on and that's the figure for Grand Revival who makes a debut for his new yard here.
That new yard are in decent form right now, as is his jockey who does tend to ride well for the yard. Elsewhere, Tarseem's yard have been amongst the winners lately and Bagan's trainer has a respectable Fakenham record.
All bar four of this field (Grand Revival, The Yellow Mini, Tarseem & Morani Kali) have previously won at this trip, but only The Flying Sofa has won at this venue, landing a 2m½f chase back in January 2020.
And finally from the card, we've a real interesting spread of ages, with 4 x four year olds (Grand Revival, The Yellow Mini, Tarseem & Morani Kali) taking on a couple of veterans in Hey Bob (10yo) and Chantecler (11yo).
THE FLYING SOFA
Tackles hurdles for the first time in over three years since winning a 2m maiden at Plumpton, having been chasing ever since (1 from 13). Possibly well treated off a mark of 110, but will need to re-adjust to these obstacles and recent form has been poor.
0 from 3 in bumpers and just one win from nine over hurdles, having won on his first crack back in December 2020. His rating has gone from 127 to today's 100, but he was still beaten by 14 lengths LTO. In fact, his average margin of defeat in his last seven outings is 23.5 lengths per race!
Landed a 1m3f claimer in Ireland on his last Flat outing, but has made the frame just once in eight efforts over hurdles and was beaten by 38 lengths last time out. Has since moved yards to one in good form, but will need a significant improvement on his UK/yard debut.
Bagan won at Huntingdon and Stratford last summer and is just a pound higher than that second win. Recently returned to action after 145 days off to finish third at Newton Abbot, which could help him here, but the trip might be a little short for him.
Won back to back Class 4 handicaps off 104 and 113 in August/September 2020, but has failed to even make the frame in ten starts for three trainers since and has failed to complete his last three over hurdles. Probably time he retired.
THE YELLOW MINI
0 from 14 (just one place) on the Flat & A/W was followed by a win and a runner-up finish on his first two hurdles outings last September, suggesting a reasonable future in this sphere, but he hasn't shown much since during a busy winter and was pulled up last time out. He's probably due an extended rest, having raced 20 times in the last 58 weeks.
Vastly experienced after 64 efforts over hurdles and although a winner of just five of them, seems to have had a second wind of late, winning two of his last three in a run since March 2021 that reads 23922141. Likes to set the pace, but will need a career best to win here after another 5lb rise.
Has made the frame just once in six starts and jumped poorly at Newton Abbot a fortnight ago on his yard debut after leaving the Skelton yard. He's down 3lbs, but I'm not sure there's any substance to this one.
Won over a mile and a half on the A/W as recently as late November and then suffered defeats by just 1.9L and 3.5L over the same trip at both Southwell and Lingfield in December and January before reverting back to hurdling in the hope that he could carry the reasonable form over with him and it almost worked as he was 2nd of 10 over today's trip at Huntingdon in late January, but has been last of 4 (60L) and 6th of 8 (29L) in two starts since.
At this point, I think that Hey Bob looks the standout runner in a poor race here and very little else is catching the eye! Let's see if Instant Expert can shed any light on it for me...
Well, some positives for The Flying Sofa from a win perspective over hurdles, whilst as a place or E/W angle...
Balleticon looks next best. Most of Hey Bob's best form has been in the last year, so he's in better nick than the above might suggest, so his red blocks don't worry me unduly. If nothing else, we know two things about him, he's running well and that he likes to set the pace, which is a decent tactic here based on past runnings of similar races...
...although those tucked in behind have fared better, which might give the likes of Morani Kali some hope here...
It's a poorer race than I thought it might be and whilst I think hey Bob should be winning this, I'm not rushing out to lump on. That said, he's currently the 11/4 favourite and I thought he'd be a bit shorter than that, so I'll have a small value wager.
I think the bookies have it right with The Flying Sofa and Balleticon as next in line and I'd not be surprised if that wasn't the 1-2-3.