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Racing Insights, 21st September 2021

A strange one at Hamilton today, two of my top four didn't run and the two that did finished first and last! No after-timing here though, as I didn't have a penny on the winner.

The Shortlist is 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. This report is FREE to ALL readers every Tuesday alongside as election of full free racecards, which for this Tuesday are...

  • 1.20 Beverley
  • 2.17 Listowel
  • 3.10 Lingfield
  • 5.00 Warwick
  • 5.10 Listowel

This is the Shortlist for Tuesday...

...and only the top runner All Clenched Up was of real interest to me based on the scores. Sadly he's in a Novice race and I tend to shy away from the unpredictability of those, so for my piece today I'm reverting to the free race list, of which one has a runner that features on The Shortlist, so we'll be looking at the middle of the five, the 3.10 Lingfield. It's a 9-runner, two mile, Class 5, AW handicap on polytrack worth £3,240 and here are the contenders (including that runner from The Shortlist)...

FORM : Manucci, Nicks Not Wonder, Bird for Life and Arabescato are the ones to have won at least one of their last six outings with the latter having won last time out.

CLASS : Manucci is down a class, whilst Bird for Life, Retrospect and Gavlar all step up from Class 6

COURSE/DISTANCE : Lady Pendragon and Gavlar have both won here in the past with the latter also scoring elsewhere over today's trip, whilst Arabescato and Bird For Life are former course and distance winners.

LAST RUN : All bar Severus Alexander (146 days) have raced in the past seven weeks with Nicks Not Wonder (3d) and Retrospect (7d) running last week.

TRAINER POSITIVES : Nicks Not Wonder, Tindrum, Bird for Life & Retrospect (recent form) and Lady Pendragon (course form)

TRAINER NEGATIVES : Arabescato & Gavlar (recent form) and Bird For Life (course form)

JOCKEY POSITIVES : Manucci & Nicks Not Wonder (recent form) and Nicks Not Wonder, Lady Pendragon & Retrospect (course form)

JOCKEY NEGATIVES : Tindrum & Bird For Life (recent form)

Purely based on positive mentions above, the one catching the eye at first glance would be Nicks Not Wonder. Severus Alexander is my current back marker.

Manucci was very consistent for the Perrett yard from Sept '19 to Oct '20 finishing 2121321 on the flat and over hurdles before a 3 month break and one run for Tim Vaughan which saw him pulled up before 2 out in a 2m hurdle. He was then off the track 231 days prior to running last of 9 over 1m6f at Goodwood for his current/new handler just over three weeks ago. Clearly has ability, but is bang out of form. hard to recommend, but a good run wouldn't be a massive surprise.

Arabescato is 4 from 11 this year so far and has 3 wins and 4 places from his last 8 on the AW. A course and distance winner here LTO three weeks ago has to be in consideration again after a rise of just 2lbs and he's The Shortlist entry who loves it here at Lingfield...

Nicks Not Wonder has been running well in a busy period over the last 11 weeks where he has finished 3022412. He wouldn't be an obvious winner, but that form suggests he'll have some part in the final shake-up. Was 3rd of 11 at his only previous crack at 2m and that was off today's mark of 73, which is encouraging as is the recent form of his trainer, jockey and trainer/jockey combined. His jockey also does well at this venue, which is a bonus...

Lady Pendragon has won twice in thirteen starts so far and both wins came in back to back Class 5 handicaps over 1m2f here at Lingfield in Nov/Dec of last year. She hasn't been up to that level off higher marks this year and is now up in trip by 6f from a 29 length defeat as last home of eight at Chelmsford LTO. Hard to fancy here, despite her yard's success on the AW...

Tindrum was the runner-up behind Arabescato last time out and re-opposes 3lbs better off, but that run wasn't his normal form, as he'd struggled badly for 12 months prior to that race. I don't see him being consistent enough to reverse the placings, but is capable of getting involved again for an in-form yard and under a jockey with a decent record here...

Severus Alexander hasn't raced for 21 weeks and when last seen was the final finisher of six at Chelmsford. His last win came over two years ago at Listowel (1m4f) and he has raced 22 times since then. I suspect this will be a 23rd consecutive defeat.

Bird For Life is a former course and distance winner from May off a mark just a pound lower than today, which would put him in the mix, but he hasn't managed to land any of three Class 6 outings since and was only sixth of nine here over C&D at that lower grade LTO and now steps back up in class.

Retrospect has made the frame just 3 times from 11 career starts and his AW form reads 9474 and he steps up in class here. His jockey rides the track well, but it's hard to see him suddenly winning here off the same mark as LTO, even if his yard are in good nick...

Gavlar has certainly been around the block a few times at the age of 10. His AW record is respectable at 5 wins and 9 places from 41 and was a very good second of a dozen runners over course and distance here last time out. He was only beaten by a length, but he had almost four lengths between him and the following pack. he's up 2lbs here and although he'd be a surprise winner (winless in 25 since Aug '18), a similar run could see him in the frame again.

Not many of these are in good overall form, but there's always the possibility that some of them might have been waiting for or needing today's conditions. Instant Expert should highlight those apparently best suited...

As expected via The Shortlist, Arabescato shows up well here, Manucci's sole AW handicap run was a winning effort at Chelmsford and Lady Pendragon has decent numbers, albeit over much shorter trips. Gavlar is a four-time winner at this trip and is certainly weighted to break that long cold spell having seen his mark tumble by some 24lbs!

Based on fields of 8 to 10 runners, the draw here would tend to favour those draw higher...

...and if we treat the data for stalls 9 & 10 as one entity, then those drawn higher than 8 have a win strike rate of 17.3% and make the frame on 44.2% of runs. Personally, I wouldn't get too hung up on draw stats over two miles; a horse certainly shouldn't be losing a two mile race because he's eight wide of the first stall. The pace/tactics of the race are far more important here and the ideal place(s) to be here are off the pace. It's preferable to race in mid-division, but hold-up horses also fare better than par...

As for making the frame, there's very little in it as long as you're not the leader. it is tough to even hang on for a place from off the front end. Based on our runners last four races and sorted into draw order, here's how we think they might break...

This suggests that widest drawn Nicks Not Wonder will attempt to set the fractions and then try to hold off the pursuing runners from stalls 2 to 5. Severus Alexander in stall 1 should then slot in behind the prominent five ahead, leaving those in stalls 6 to 8 to be the hold up horses.

Summary

I liked Arabescato (from the Shortlist)  and Nicks Not Wonder (from racecard positives) from the start and I still like them as possibles here. Gavlar is interesting carrying no weight at all and coming here off a really good run, whilst the inconsistent Tindrum ran Arabescato close last time out and is 3lbs better off here.

All things considered, I think that's where my 1-2-3 are coming from. Arabescato has to be the horse to beat here based on form, Instant Expert and the fact he'll be held up, so he's the pick at 11/4. Sadly the bookies agree, but they might be right!

They've got Tindrum as 9/2 2nd fav, but I don't like him at those odds and I think Gavlar might surprise a few off this low mark. 8/1 is borderline E/W territory for me, so it would just be a small wager, whilst I also Nicks Not Wonder could make the frame, but 11/2 is too short for me as a placer.

If pushed to omit one of the four, I'd leave Tindrum out of my 1-2-3, but good luck however you play/see it.