Tag Archive for: Merlin’s beard horse

Racing Insights, Tuesday 31/05/22

The last set of free races for May are as follows...

  • 2.50 Brighton
  • 3.00 Leicester
  • 4.35 Ballinrobe
  • 5.35 Ballinrobe
  • 6.59 Yarmouth
  • 7.05 Ballinrobe

...whilst our free feature of the day, 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.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

And here is The Shortlist for Tuesday...

...from which I'd probably only be inclined to assess the chances of Merlin's Beard and as he's in a race equally as good or if not better than our free races, let's have a look at him.

So, he goes in the 3.10 Newbury, which is a 13-runner, Class 4, 4yo+ flat handicap over a left handed 1m4f on good ground and here's his racecard entry...

...which is fairly self explanatory. He's in good form, has won at this trip, last raced 10 days ago, carries 9st 11lbs off a mark of 82 and his jockey George Rooke claims 3lbs. As well as being on the shortlist, the horse hails from a yard with good 14 day numbers and also one that does well with flat stayers, as A/E over 1.25 and IV over 1.50 are good indicators.

What the above doesn't tell you is that in handicaps over 1m3½f to 1m6f, Merlin's Beard has finished 5311111, all left handed including 1 from at Class 4 from an LTO win 10 days ago. Of that run of form, he's 53111 at 1m3½f to 1m4f, including 2 from 2 over today's trip. He has also won 3 of 5 starts within a month of his last run and has won all five starts with George Rooke in the saddle. Some of this data is verified by Instant Expert...

...all of which looks great, but is he really 22lbs higher than his last win?

Well, technically yes. He won off 60 over 1m6f at Bath in September and was raised 6lbs for the win and hasn't raced on turf since, but has won over 1m6f at Wolverhampton off 66 and over 1m4f at Lingfield last time out off 76, so he's actually only 6lbs higher than his last win, but 22lbs higher than his last turf run/win. 6lbs is more manageable.

He's drawn in stall 9 of 13, which is on the cusp of mid to high and in similar past races, mid to high draws have done well...

You might notice that I've opened up some of the filters for trip, runners and going to get a better sample size. The trip and field size movements are obvious but a quick word on the going to explain the good to soft inclusion. The going stick is showing 5.8 which is on the softer side of good as far I'm concerned and they're watering the track to keep it that way, so I don't see it quickening up. The bottom line here for me is that Merlin's beard is drawn handily. Mind you horses shouldn't be losing a 1m4f race due to the draw, tactics will see to that and based on how Merlin's Beard has raced in his last four outings, his pace/draw heat map looks like this...

...which isn't ideal, but trying to set the pace could be dangerous here and he wouldn't want to be held up. Ideally, he'd be more mid-division, of course. However if I look at the field as a whole, there are three horses with a higher pace score than him and he's tied with four others, so they're going to stretch back to mid-division and beyond, so assuming he doesn't go hard to chase the front trio, he could bide his time and pick them off.


Merlin's Beard ended 2021 on the rise, winning his last four on the bounce. He probably needed the run when 5th of 9 beaten by nearly ten lengths at Chelmsford upon his return to action in April after 30 weeks off track and he had been stepped up to 2m that day (the cynic in me says he was sent out to run a decent time over 1m6f and then get beaten to protect his handicap mark). he was eased a pound after effort and roared back to form next/last time out, winning at Lingfield earlier this month.

Another 6lbs makes life tougher, but I like him here and at 9/2, he's very nicely priced.