Racing Insights

Racing Insights, Tuesday 15/03/22

The Shortlist is our free feature every Tuesday and it's a simple (and usually brief) report highlighting 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. The Shortlist selections are unlikely to make a profit, at SP at least, to blind backing. Our recommendation is, as it always has 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) might imply.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

And here's how The Shortlist looks for Tuesday...

As expected with the larger fields at Cheltenham, there are quite a few more qualifiers than a normal Tuesday! And in addition to The Shortlist, we also open the following races to all readers...

  • 2.10 Cheltenham
  • 3.50 Sedgefield
  • 7.00 Southwell
  • 7.45 Newcastle

They say that fortune favours the brave, so whilst other writers on Geegeez will already have done a far better personal analysis of the Grade 1 Arkle than I could dream of, I'm going to take a look at the 2.10 Cheltenham from a toolkit perspective and hopefully find myself a nice little E/W bet. The race is worth a cool £102,482 to one of the eleven runners tackling the thirteen fences on this left handed two mile trip on the usual good to soft ground declared on Day 1...

Edwardstone and Blue Lord head the market and the Geegeez SR figures and are the best off at the weights and if I'm honest, my initial thoughts were that they'd be the first two home, but that's never a given at Cheltenham and in a weaker than usual renewal containing no real superstars, the door could be open for a bigger priced horse to make the frame. Most bookies will pay four places, so even if the market leaders do finish 1-2, we've still two places open to us.

So, from the card...
As you'd expect of a contest at this level, these horses are coming here at the peak of their form. Haut En Couleurs was a faller last time out, but the other ten all made the frame on their most recent outing with half of them (Blue Lord, Coeur Sublime, Edwardstone, Red Rookie & War Lord) going on to win. Blue Lord has actually won three on the bounce, bettered only by market rival Edwardstone's four.

All bar two of the field were in Class 1 action when last seen, but this will be tougher than the races War Lord and Red Rookie won at Classes 2 and 3 respectively last time out. Despite only Brave Seasca, Red Rookie & War Lord being on Cheltenham debut, we've no previous course winners from 11 efforts here, with four placed. The trip, however, is a different story with all apart from Haut En Couleurs and Saint Sam having won over two miles.

The entire field have all had at least a month's rest before coming here with Magic Daze the longest between races at 100 days and he might therefore be a little rusty. Mind you, based on jockey bookings, he looks like the yard second string, although his yard did win this race two years ago with one coming off a 114 day absence.

BLUE LORD
Ran really well in four Grade 1 hurdles last spring and was then rested for over seven months prior to a chasing campaign from which he's now 3 from 3, including landing a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time out, holding off the re-opposing Riviere d'Etel by ½ length despite carrying 9lbs more. The difference is only 7lbs here, so it's not guaranteed the placings will be reversed on weight alone. Definite chances.

BRAVE SEASCA
Represents the Deutsch/Williams combo who are having a great season and this horse won three back to back handicap chases in just over five weeks during December and January, but as they were at Classes 4, 3 then 2, this is going to be much tougher, as shown when he was only 3rd of 4 when 6 length behind Edwardstone in the Grade 2 Kingmaker at Warwick last time around and he's 5lbs worse off here.

COEUR SUBLIME
A former Grade 2 winner over hurdles, who has just three efforts over fences to his name so far, but has finished 231 in those, including a third in a Grade 1 on Boxing Day and a ten length success last time out. Early days for this one as a chaser and he could be better than the market might suggest.

EDWARDSTONE
Certainly looks the one to beat after winning his last four starts including a 16 length success in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novice Chase at Sandown in early December, backed up by a couple of Gr 2 successes at Kempton just after Christmas and Warwick a month ago.

GABYNAKO
Has won just once from four attempts over fences, but has finished 2123 in them with the runner-up defeats coming by just a head on debut and then a length and a quarter in a grade 1 at Fairyhouse in November. He wasn't at the races last time out, though, when 28 lengths adrift in another Grade 1 on Boxing Day, but connections were happy to stump up £8,000 for him to run here, although the drop in trip isn't guaranteed to work.

HAUT EN COULEURS
Just four starts since leaving France little more than a year ago, but made the frame (3rd both times) in a pair on Gr1 hurdles here at Cheltenham in March and at Punchestown in May, before landing a beginners chase on debut at Leopardstown just after Christmas. His sole run since then saw him fall at the third fence back at Leopardstown and it's hard to tell how good he might be right now. next year might be better.

RED ROOKIE
Two from two in bumpers and won one of three Class 4 efforts over hurdles. Has progressed more over fences with a win and a runner-up finish from three Class 3 events, but this is a massive step up in quality and I think he'll be found wanting.

SAINT SAM
911 over hurdles in France and then pitched straight into Class 1 action on his arrival in Ireland, where he was second of five in a Fairyhouse Grade 3 contest. He was a Grade 1 runner-up at Leopardstown in Feb '21 before repeating that position in the Fred Winter here at Cheltenham a year ago. Just two races over larger obstacles to date, but he was a nine length winner on debut and third of six in a Grade 1 last time out behind Blue Lord and Riviere d'Etel, which was a good run but sums up his chances here.

WAR LORD
Three from four over fences so far, but the wins were at Class 2 twice and Class 3, whilst his defeat was by 16 lengths as runner-up to Edwardstone in the afore-mentioned Henry VIII at Sandown in December. Will be a decent Class 2 handicapper, but this is surely too tough.

MAGIC DAZE
A win and two places over hurdles preceded her switch to chasing for this season and was a good third of eight on debut, despite coming off a 159-day layoff. She then won by 25 lengths at Cork in mid-November, but made a few mistakes at the same track last time out. Mind you, she was still good enough that day to finish third in a Grade 2 and if jumping better here could be involved.

RIVIERE D'ETEL
Seventh here in last year's Fred Winter before a 207-day rest and a switch to fences, where she won her first three races by 11, 21 and 12 lengths. Runner-up in both outings since that last win going down by just 1.5 lengths to Ferny Hollow on Boxing Day and by half a length to Blue Lord (she may well have won but for an error at the last) in a pair of Leopardstown grade 1 contests. Similar efforts put her right in the mix here.

Edwardstone's four wins on the bounce earned him a place on The Shortlist, which should be reflected on our Instant Expert, which shows how the field have performed in similar past races...

...where Edwardstone is the obvious eyecatcher, but with plenty of green for short distance chases and a few good to soft winners, he might not have it his own way in what looks like one of the more open renewals of this race in recent history at a track where those setting the pace in similar past contests have fared best of all..

...and when we look at the recent pace profiles of our runners here...

...that is going to suit the likes of Magic Daze, Blue Lord and Riviere d'Etel more than Coeur Sublime, Red Rookie and War Lord.

Summary

Initially I expected Edwardstone and Blue Lord to be the main protagonists based on form. The bookies and the Geegeez SR from pjmracing.co.uk backed up those thoughts, as did Instant Expert. The only time they've deviated was in the pace profile, which suits Blue Lord's running style far better and as a result, he's my tentative pick here. Current (5.40pm) odds of 9/2 look quite generous, so I'll take a slice of that, whereas Edwardstone seems a bit short as low as 5/2 and I'd want to leave him alone at those odds..

Riviere D'Etel could very well have beaten Blue Lord but for a late mistake last time out and as such, I expect her to be challenging again here. She might not quite make it, but I do fancy her for a place, it's just a shame that a similar 9/2 tag is too short for an E/W pick, so I'll look elsewhere for a longer priced top four shot and my arrow/pen/rusty nail has fallen upon the 14/1 shot Coeur Sublime. Both trainer and jockey have great Cheltenham records individually and collectively, whilst the horse was a really good hurdler and has started life over fences well. Still unexposed in this sphere, he could be the one to come from the pack to grab a place.

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