Tag Archive for: The Shortlist

Racing Insights, Tuesday 28/06/22

Tuesday's free feature, 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.

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, but as ever, please refer to our User Guide for further information.

And here is Tuesday's Shortlist...

...where Calva D'Auge might be a worth a second glance, as could the 6.50 race at Stratford once I've looked at the list of free racecards for Tuesday...

  • 2.45 Hamilton
  • 4.55 Chepstow
  • 6.30 Chepstow
  • 8.10 Roscommon

Calva D'Auge looks like the marginal favourite in a two-horse race and with the other two of interest competing in a 6-runner event, it might be an idea for us to have a look at the 6.50 Stratford after all. It's a Class 3, 5yo+, 12-fence handicap chase, where Sir Tivo and Larch Hill will face four other rivals over a left-handed 2m1f on good ground...

It's an interesting looking contest despite the small field and half of them (Larch Hill, Texard, Atlantic Storm)come here on the back of a win last time out, whilst only Dino's Velvet is winless in five wheras Larch Hill is 3 from 5 and Sir Tivo/Texard are 2 from 5.

Bottom weights Atlantic Storm and Admiral's Sunset step up a class here, but Texard's LTO win was at Class 2. That win was just two days ago and this might come a bit soon for him, as the others have all been rested for 18-57 days.

The assessor suggests a tight race too, with the top four in the weights separated by just 2lbs with all six runners having already won over a similar trip to today and all bar Texard are former Stratford winners. Dino Velvet's win here was a hurdles contest over a slightly shorter 2m½f, but the only four course winners have all landed 2m1f chases here.

DINO VELVET is 4 from 32 over hurdles, which is much better than his 1 from 11 over fences. His chasing record looks even worse when you consider he won on debut at Uttoxeter almost a year and has ten straight losses since and his form line of 3223224424 in those ten defeats is flattering as the average field size of those races is 4!

SIR TIVO came here just over a year ago having failed to win any of five starts over fences, but managed to win here over course and distance and has since won five times from nine including a pair of runner-up finishes including at Aintree last time out, when beaten by just two lengths off today's mark.

LARCH HILL moved to the Pogson yard ten months ago and seems to be thriving. He'd been decent enough for the Twiston-Davies team, but since the switch he has finished 11551 over fences culminating in a course and distance success here just over five weeks ago, when finishing 2.5 lengths clear of the re-opposing Atlantic Storm and a 4lb rise in weight might not anchor him here.

TEXARD has finished 341 in his three efforts over fences in the UK, but also ran in six French chases during 2020/21, finishing 121112 admittedly mainly in low-grade soft (or worse!) ground affairs. His form over fences in the UK is a little strange, he was 3rd of 4 at Aintree 18 days ago and then well beaten by almost 60 lengths at Worcester six days ago. he was then sent back out four days later and gamely hung on to win a Class 2 and I'm not sure which was the real Texard: the low-grade struggler or the higher class winner. Either way, a second race in three days and a third in a week might be a bit much and he's up 7lbs despite a drop in class.

ATLANTIC STORM was a runner-up here over course and distance behind Larch Hill recently, beaten by just 2.5 lengths despite some issues with a slippery saddle. He was raised 1lb for that effort, but has gone on to win at Southwell since after dropping down in class. He was comfortably (6.5L) clear that day, but is now up 5lbs, back up in class and re-opposes Larch hill some 2lbs worse off, so I'm struggling to see him overturning that result.

ADMIRAL'S SUNSET got better and better from around this time of year in 2021 finishing 33211 over a 9-week or so period taking her mark from 96 to 113 before the handicapper finally got a grip of her and she saw the year out with defeats of 46L, 10L and 33L, beating just 3 rivals in the process. She then too 163 days off before returning to action over 2m3f here at Stratford last month but was hampered by a faller at the sixth fence and unseated her rider James Davies. Chances should be improved by the refitting of her usual cheekpieces and the re-booking of her regular jockey, but I still think she'll struggle here.

Instant Expert doesn't show Texard's French form, but it does suggest...

...that this might well be a shootout between our two runners from The Shortlist and Sir Tivo is interestingly 2lbs lower than his last win. Dino Velvet has struggled across the board and Admiral's Sunset has been well tried on good ground and here at Stratford without much success,.

There's also very little to separate Sir Tivo and Larch Hill on pace either, as both like to be upfront throughout...

...meaning that this really could become a shootout. Heading the field is probably just about the best tactic in this type of race based on previous fixtures...

...although prominent and hold-up horses have done as well as they'd expect. There's not enough data yet to suggest mid-div runners do poorly, but there is just enough evidence above for me to say that the further forward you race here, the better.

Summary

For me, there's no getting away from the two horses identified by The Shortlist and to be honest, either of them could win here. If pushed, however, I think I just about prefer Larch Hill to Sir Tivo.

The bookies don't agree, though and they've got Atlantic Storm as a 9/4 favourite, meaning I can take 4/1 from Bet365 about Larch Hill when I'd probably have settled on 3's!

Racing Insights, Tuesday 21st June

Tuesday's free feature, The Shortlist is 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. 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, but as ever, please refer to our User Guide for further information.

This is how The Shortlist looks this Tuesday...

...where probably only the first on the list interests me enough to take a second look, but I've always got the daily free races to consider too...

  • 1.45 Beverley
  • 4.45 Beverley
  • 6.35 Newbury
  • 6.45 Sligo

Sadly the free races don't really appeal to me, so let's take a look at that 8.00 Newton Abbot race featuring both Al Roc and Kauto The King from The Shortlist. The race itself only has five runners so The Shortlist is well represented in this Class 3, 5yo+ handicap chase (16 fences) over a left handed 2m5f on good ground...

So, we've some good recent form on display here, all have won at least one of their last five outings withe Black Gerry and Mr Mafia both winning last time out, whilst Kauto The King comes here on a hat trick. Al Roc only ran two days ago and his rivals have all also been in action over the last month.

Although they've all had a recent run, only Black Gerry raced at Class 3 LTO, Kauto The King (won) and Across The Line raced at Class 2, whilst Al Roc & Mr Mafia (won LTO) step up from Class 4.

Kauto the King and Al Roc have won over course and distance, whilst Mr Mafia has won here over 3m2f and 3m2½f, but he has won over an extended 2m4½f at Southwell (hurdles).

It's fair to say that at the respective ages of 13 and 11 that Mr Mafia and Al Roc must be in the twilights of their careers, but they are still winning races and do look competitive in a race the official handicapper feels tricky to call with just one pound splitting four of the five runners...

BLACK GERRY
Does much of his running (4 of 8 starts) at Fontwell and usually races over slightly shorter trips, but he won well over 2m2f at Fontwell last time out, winning by 5.5 lengths despite stumbling 2 out. He's up 5lbs which makes life more difficult, but definitely in the running.

KAUTO THE KING
Seven from eighteen over fences is decent and he has won his last two after scoring over today's trip at Worcester a month ago before landing a Class 2 contest over just 2m½f here at Newton Abbot 11 days ago. Now up 4lbs and 4.5f, he does take a drop in class. Trip won't bother him, as he stays 3m+ and he looks a major player here.

AL ROC
Won here over C&D six weeks ago and has finished 1817 in four races since with good wins over 2m4f and 2m6f but two disappointing efforts in between, particularly LTO when last home of seven, 54 lengths off the pace. At 11yrs of age, he's getting no younger and five runs in less than six weeks has probably taken its toll and a 2-day rest probably isn't enough.

MR MAFIA
At 13, is also at the veteran stage but has won four of eight since the start of August in his Indian Summer. He won by 7.5 lengths at Ludlow last time out, but will need to pull out all the stops here, up in both class and weight. Likes to race prominently, but might get company here.

ACROSS THE LINE
Useful enough over both hurdles and fences for the Skeltons, but he moved yards in the spring and finished 3rd then 1st in a pair of hunter chases for his new handler before a heavy defeat here last time out. That was the Class 2 affair won by Kauto The King and Across The Line could only manage 6th of 7, some 30 lengths away. All his form is at 2m to 2m1½f and could be out of his depth here.

Race suitability is usually best shown via Instant Expert...

...suggesting we focus on the first three, who all carry 5 or 6 pounds more than their last win, so that's a pretty even playing field. Of those Kauto the King has 'done it' more often and is the course specialist and based on recent outings, he's probably going to set the pace here...

...which based on the pace analysis of similar past races, is probably the place to be...

Summary

Based on recent form, Instant Expert and pace, Kauto The King ticks most boxes for me and at 11/4 is probably worth a quid or two of your money.

Of the rest, I think that Black Gerry is probably the best horse and looks best suited, but might concede too much ground. I don't like the recent form of Al Roc and he probably needs a rest. Mr Mafia is in good nick and likes to get on with it, so he could well be involved and I think that Across The Line is out of his depth.

All of which means it's either the 5/2 fav Black Gerry or the 4/1 Mr Mafia for the places and I don't think there'll be much in it, but Mr Mafia might just hold the fav off.

 

 

Racing Insights, Tuesday 14/06/2022

Tuesday's free races of the day are as follows...

  • 1.45 Thirsk
  • 3.40 Royal Ascot
  • 4.30 Stratford
  • 5.10 Beverley
  • 7.30 Roscommon...

...whilst our daily free feature on Tuesdays is The Shortlist...

...a 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.

GREENis good (33% or better win rate) – worth 3 points
AMBERis quite good (16-32% win rate) – worth 1 point
REDis 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.

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, but as ever...please refer to our User Guide for further information.

The Shortlist is dominated by runners at Royal Ascot, as you'd expect, and although there's a pair on that list from one of our 'free' races, the 3.40 Royal Ascot, it's a braver man than I who tackles the 18-runner King Stand Stakes 5f sprint! That said I do want to look at the 2.30 Royal Ascot, where three of the seven runners are on The Shortlist. Baeed, Real World and Lights On are our qualifiers in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes for 4yo+ runners over a straight mile on good to firm ground. It is worth over a third of a million pounds to whichever of the following gets home first...

Baaeed is 6 from 6 so far and is likely to be a very short favourite and I've arranged the card in order of Official Ratings, so you can see how much higher rated he is than the others. With that perfect record, it's easy to work out why he's on , but that doesn't mean the race isn't worth me looking at, as his short price will open up a reasonably price E/W bet elsewhere (it's a shame only 7 run) or we might (unlikely) find reasons to lay him.

Sir Busker looks weakest on form here in a field where all have won at similar trips and all bar Order of Australia have won here at Ascot. In fact, Order of Australia and Chindit are the only two yet to win over course and distance and the former at 248 days off is the only one without a race in the past eight weeks. Accidental Agent was a Class 2 runner-up LTO, but the other six last raced in Class 1 company and the assessor rates the field at a 19lb spread.

ACCIDENTAL AGENT
8yrs old now and not the same horse who won this very race four years ago, causing a 33/1 upset inm the process. He's more of a low 100's Class 2 handicapper nowadays and although he has a win and a narrow defeat as runner-up in his two runs this season, this looks well beyond him.

BAAEED
Five from five in the UK last season, plus a win in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. Won another UK Group 1 race last time out when more than 3 lengths better than the field in the Lockinge a month ago despite a seven month absence, looks set to dominate here too.

CHINDIT
A winner of a Listed race and third (5L) behind Baaeed in the Lockinge from his two starts this season. Has plenty to find on the two in front of him LTO, but is sure to give his best here.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA
Won the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November 2020 and a Group 2 contest at the Curragh last July before making the frame in back to back Group 1 races in France last August/September. They were followed by a poor run back at Keeneland in early October and he hasn't been seen since. Now sporting a tongue tie for the first time and do we ever write off the O'Brien/Moore/Group 1 horses?

REAL WORLD
Four from four in the UK including Listed & Group 3 success last season, before going on to win a Group 2 race on the Meydan turf. A couple of disappointing A/W efforts in the UAE followed, but showed that turf is his preferred surface when a good second to Baaeed in the Lockinge That's probably all he can hope for here too.

SIR BUSKER
Won the 22-runner, Class 2, Silver Hunt Cup handicap here over course 3 days shy of 2 years ago, but hasn't won any of his fifteen starts since. His best run in that time, possibly ever, was when third in this very race last year, but I don't see him troubling the judges this time around

LIGHTS ON
Won a Listed contest at Pontefract last July and backed it up with a Group 3 runner-up finish here over course and distance 17 days later, but her best result to date just has to be her Group 2 win at Sandown last time out, when defying a 196-day absence to land the Gr 2 Bet365 Mile by a neck. She was clinging on at the end, but the result says she won. This is far tougher, though.

At this point, it seem like a repeat of the Lockinge with Baaeed leading Real World home with any of the others (possibly bar Sir Busker) scrapping home for third and this feeling is reinforced by the line of green on Instant Expert for the main protagonists...

A straight mile really shouldn't have a draw bias other than stall 1 having the rail to run along and stay straight and having looked at the data

...I'd treat stalls 7 & 8 as one entity at 13.46% win and 34.62% place strike rate, which ties in well with the other stalls, bar number 2, which I'd class as an outlier or anomaly with stall 3's wins artificially high as a result. Pace, however, is a slightly different matter, as those who set the pace don't fare as well as those who are waited with...

...nut IV figures of 0.90 and 0.85 are hardly disastrous for leaders/prominent runners, but based on their last four outings...

...you might have an interest in those from Lights On downwards.

Summary

I find it very hard to look beyond another Baaeed/Real World 1-2 if I'm honest. The one I like best of the others is Order of Australia, who finished little more than a length behind Baaeed at Longchamp last year and a similar effort puts him in the mix. You write off AP O'Brien at your peril and had Order not been a front runner, I'd have been more keen.

That said, he might hold Real World off and cling on to second place. Either way, I think he's a good shout at 22/1 E/W, even if the bookies are only paying two places.

Racing Insights, Tuesday 07/06/22

Tuesday's free GOLD feature is The Shortlist is a simple – and usually brief – report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day and 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]

Tuesday's Shortlist is fairly sparse...

...but the free stuff doesn't end there, as we've also got the following racecards open to all readers...

  • 1.00 Brighton
  • 2.45 Salisbury
  • 6.45 Chelmsford
  • 7.35 Wetherby

The bookies seem to think Sharpcliff is in a two-horse race and I'd probably agree with them, but I feel he has a slight edge over his main rival Peter The Great, as he seeks a 4-timer, so he could be worth backing if the price is right., but I'm going to focus on the race immediately before that clash, the 6.45 Chelmsford, a 7-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ A/W handicap over a left handed 7f on standard polytrack...

It's an interestingly open-looking contest with runners deemed good enough to be Class 3 runners, but not coming here in the greatest of form, as none won last time out, but the likes of Sir Oliver and Natural Path did at least make the frame in each of their last two outings, so put a tick by their names for now.

Lalania drops down in class from a Listed race, whilst both Mehmento and Revolutionise were in Class 2 action last month, with Mehmento probably running the best of the three. All the field have won over today's trip and both Karibana and Revolutionise have won over 7f here.

Lalania has also won here in the past, but that was over 5f and she now returns to action after some 256 days, so may well need the run. Light And Dark last raced back in February, but the others have all been sighted in the last couple of months.

MEHMENTO
Better on the A/W (3 from 7) than on the Flat (1 from 6) and is a class lower and a pound lower than when beaten by 3.25 lengths at Thirsk last month. The return toi the A/W is a plus, but it has to be pointed that on the A/W, he is 3/3 at Southwell and 0/4 elsewhere. Likes to lead/race prominently.

LIGHT AND DARK
Hasn't raced in the UK since winning on his debut at Kempton over 7f back in October 2020. He's had three fairly mediocre runs at Meydan during this time, but hasn't featured since mid-February and although he's only a pound higher than that Kempton win, I think he's going to need the run.

SIR OLIVER
Won three of four starts from the end of August to the end of 2021 and was 5 from 13 for the year. Has been in good nick of late too, beaten by less than a length at Lingfield before going down by just a head over course and distance last time out. he's up 1lb, so will need to find a little more, but every chance here

KARIBANA
Class, course and distance just over a year ago, but that's his sole win in a dozen A/W outings, although he does have a 50% place strike rate and his C&D record reads 2133. He's probably not quite at the level of some of these here and his more recent A/W form (5886) is a little disappointing if truth be told.

LALANIA
Was a winner here over 5f way back in Nov '19 and hasn't raced on Polytrack since she was a Class 4 runner-up over a mile at Lingfield in November 2020. She did win over 7f at Newmarket on quick ground in July of last year, but was 6th of 8and 11th of 12 in two runs since and now returns from over eight months off.

NATURAL PATH
Won back to back Class 3 handicaps over 6f on turf last August/September and ran well enough to finish third in a Class 2 at Newmarket last month despite coming off a 30-week break. He followed that up with an A/W debut two weeks later when third of nine here over course and distance and should benefit from the experience.

REVOLUTIONISE
Has won over course and distance, but that was at the start of last year. Has made the frame in half of his 26 A/W races, winning five times, but has only made the frame once in eight starts this year. That was over course and distance here in April, but his two runs since have seen him finish 10th of 11 and 7th of 10 over C&D, so he's probably not one to hang your hat on.

Instant Expert doesn't tell us a great deal on this occasion...

...and the green boxes are self-explanatory. Lalania's A/W form isn't exciting at 2/15 and the 7yo mare is better on turf, but Mehmento has gone well on standard going, albeit on the old Fibresand at Southwell. No real news on the class front: three Class 3 winners but the others have hardly ran that often to be deemed failures and Mehmento has won at Class 2 on the A/W. Lalania's poor A/W form seems to be centred around this track and that 1 from 10 record isn't good and the same goes for Karibana's 1 from 8 over this trip. What Instant Expert has done for us here is highlight some deficiencies, even if it hasn't pointed us towards a winner.

The draw seems to favour those drawn centrally in similar past races here...

...with stalls 4 (Natural Path) and 5 (Light And Dark) coming out on top. Matt once mentioned to me that Chelmsford is like a speedway track in so much that those getting out quickest often held on to win. Now we know that could just be hearsay or one person's opinion, so let's check the pace stats from those 28 races above...

...and yes, those setting the pace win far more often than any other running style and although hold-up horses have done OK from a win perspective, they haven't fared very well from a place point of view and I think the further forward you can run the better and when we combine pace with draw, this heatmap isn't too surprising...

Now, we know how they're drawn, but how will they run? Well, we're not 100% certain, but horses tend to run to a set tactic and we can look back and see how they've gone in each of their last four races...

...with Natural Path looking like the mid-draw prominent runner chasing the higher drawn Sir Oliver, as they both seek to wear down the early pacesetters drawn inside them.

Summary

For me, based on the above, how they've raced recently and a little gut feeling, I've got this between Sir Oliver and Natural Path with the class-dropper Mehmento the possible danger. Of my two principals, Sir Oliver is in slightly better form and will probably start a little quicker than Natural Path and that's where the edge is for me. The bookies agree with my two against the field, but they've installed Natural path as the 5/2 fav ahead of my pick Sir Oliver at 11/4. If either falters, then Mehmento's 7/1 odds might be a nice E/W option.

P.S. Sharpcliff from The Shortlist is 9/4 in the earlier race and I fancy him to overturn the 2/1 fav Peter The Great.

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.

Summary

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.

 

Racing Insights, Tuesday 24/05/22

Hi everyone, Chris here and "back in the saddle" so to speak. Many thanks to Sam for looking after you whilst I was away, but now I'm home we're going to look at Tuesday's racing, where The Shortlist is our free feature and these are our free races of the day...

  • 1.20 Punchestown
  • 3.55 Punchestown
  • 5.00 Newcastle
  • 5.50 Gowran Park
  • 7.40 Lingfield
  • 8.20 Gowran Park

The Shortlist is a simple – and usually brief – report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day and it covers win or place stats, viewable 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 this is how Tuesday's Shortlist looks...

The two Bangor runners at the top of that list are the ones that interest me most. I suspect both will be pretty short in the market come race time and having had a quick look at the early markets, the bookies suggest both races a 2-horse races with the Shortlist horses 2nd fav in each. I'm going to ease myself back in by looking at both to see if I fancy backing none, one or both of them, starting with Could Be Trouble in the 1.40 Bangor, a 5-runner, Class 3, 5yo+, Novices Limited Handicap Chase (15 Fences) over a Left Handed 2m4½f on Good ground...

As you can see Could Be Trouble won last time out 17 days ago and has already won at both track and trip, although not at the same time. She's top weight here, but aided by an in-form 3lb claimer who also rides this track well and the yard also have a good record here. She's the only runner not stepping up in class for this race and on results alone, fellow LTO winner Mortlach looks the danger and the bookies have that one as favourite.

She's a useful mare who has 5 wins and 2 further places from 12 efforts over hurdles/fences and her record since moving to the McCain yard reads 111P03221. She was pulled up here at Bangor on chase debut last November, where she found a Listed contest a little hard to handle, but has gone well back over hurdles this spring, before a second crack at fences saw her win another small field contest at Warwick earlier this month, where she stayed on well to land a Class 3 contest over this trip and she's expected to kick on in handicap company.

She's decent enough on most going, has won here and 2m4f/2m4½f seems her preferred trip, plus she has a good record at Class 3 : all of which is documented in the win/place figures on Instant Expert below. In addition, she has finished 1321 in four starts under today's jockey, 111 in the month of May and 111P21 going left handed, so conditions should suit...

She's a confirmed front runner, but didn't lead last time out after being bumped at the first fence, but that didn't stop her winning, but the rest of her pace profile suggests she'll be wanting to set the fractions again here...

...and this approach has proved successful in previous small field chases over this track/trip in the past...

Her main rival here Mortlach is up in class after winning on handicap debut, is raised 7lbs and might well be turned back out too quickly just a week after that win, especially with an extra half mile to find here.

Next up, but remaining at Bangor, is Butler's Brief, who is set to contest the 4.11 Bangor, which is a 6-runner, Class 4, 4yo+, Handicap hurdle (12 flights) over 2m7½f (after rail movements) on good ground...

Butler's Brief doesn't look to have been in great form of late, but a recent wind op saw him run a very creditable 3rd of 9 over this trip at Uttoxeter ten days ago and he now drops two pounds and two classes. Both his yard and his rider have been going well lately and the yard have a good record at this track. The horse himself is the only former course and distance winner in this field and it is hoped that the recent surgery gets him back to the form that saw him win three handicap hurdles on the bounce over 2m7f to 3m last spring, culminating in him winning this very race off 2lbs higher than today.

Instant Expert will show his aptitude at going/class/course/distance, but I'd also like to mention that he's 3 from 6 under today's jockey, 4 from 10 going left handed and 2 from 3 in May...

Previous similar races have favoured runners who lead or those waited with in mid-division...

...and if you look back throughout his career so far, you'll see that his best efforts have come from as mid-divisional position and that most recent run where he looked like he was getting back to his best, the race report says he was held up in 5th (of 9) on the inside, so a repeat of those tactics should serve him well here.

Summary

Two fairly short runners in small field contests at Bangor and I like them both.

In the opener over fences, Could Be Trouble is 13/8 second fav with Hills behind Mortlach at 6/5, whilst later over hurdles in the last on the card, Hills also have Butler's Brief as 9/4 2nd fav behind the 2/1 Lelantos.

Mortlach is up in weight, trip and class with just a week's rest and could be vulnerable, whereas it's the opposite for Lelantos, who hasn't been seen since a week before Christmas and may need a run. I'm happy to back both and whilst we're not getting rich at 13/8 and 9/4, there could be a nice 15/2 double on the horizon, plus forecasts for those that way inclined?

Racing Insights, Tuesday 10/05/22

Tuesday's free feature is The Shortlist, a simple, usually brief, easy to understand list of 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 with all that in mind, here's how The Shortlist looks for this Tuesday...

The "15's" are of course, of immediate interest and I'll definitely take a look at them as well as checking out the following list of 'free' races open to all readers...

  • 1.00 Sedgefield
  • 1.30 Sedgefield
  • 2.50 Chepstow
  • 4.45 Beverley

The two from The Shortlist hold more interest for me, so let's kick things off with Colinton, who runs in the 5.30 Newcastle, a 7-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ A/W handicap over a left-handed 1m4½f on standard tapeta...

Colinton has five wins and a runner-up finish from his last eight starts and was only beaten by half a length over this trip on turf at Musselburgh twelve days ago, but down drops down in class. That win came just eight days after he's scored over 1m4f at Catterick, but despite those two excellent runs, he's actually better on the All-Weather where he has four wins from six in handicaps and has done really well in similar conditions to today as shown on Instant Expert...

All six handicaps were on left-handed tapeta tracks and in addition to the above stats, he's 3 from 3 when not the favourite and 2 from 2 over this course and distance. He's drawn widest of all in stall seven, which isn't perfect, but evidence suggests it's better than being drawn low...

...whilst the pace data from those 47 races above says that it's pretty difficult to make all here...

...which on paper, isn't particular good news for our boy...

...although that "2" is encouraging, as is the prospect of another horse taking it on and to his credit that 2 winners from 60 from leaders over this course and distance includes one of his C&D wins, whilst he raced prominently in the other. So although leaders are 2/60, he's 1/1 and the others are 1/59, so I wouldn't write him off just yet purely on pace, because he has pretty much everything else in his favour.

*

Our second qualifier of interest from The Shortlist is Nuble, who goes in the 8.15 Lingfield, an 11-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ A/W handicap over a left-handed 1m2f on standard polytrack...

As you can see, she was most recently third at Kempton, when beaten by 2.5 lengths over 1m3f on a slower track, having won three times in a row over today's trip on standard going, as well as a win over 1m1½f at the end of 2021. She's back down in trip here on a quicker surface and eased 2lbs by the assessor, that might or might not be enough, but it should make her more competitive.

To date, she has four wins and a place from seven A/W handicaps (wearing a hood each time) and her form under these conditions is, of course, documented by Instant Expert...

An impressive set of numbers that are further enhanced by the addition of...

  • 4 wins from 6 at odds of 8/1 or lower
  • 4 wins from 5 in a tongue tie
  • 3 wins from 6 as a non-favourite
  • 3 wins from 4 as a 4 yr old
  • and 3 wins from 3 over course and distance

She has a fairly low draw in stall 4 of 11, which has actually proven to be the best place to be here in 10-12 runner contests over this trip...

...whilst her running style of late...

...would put her as a mid-division runner, which is just about OK here, based on the following...

...but ideally she'd race a little further forward. However, if we look at the three runs at this track, which all resulted in course and distance wins, the write-ups of the race say...

  • close up, hampered 6f out, pushed along and headway approaching final furlong, soon joined leader, ran on to lead final strides
  • tracked leaders, headway on inner over 1f out, ridden to lead inside final furlong, soon pressed, ran on gamely
  • chased leaders, pushed along and slightly outpaced 2f out, rallied out wide over 1f out, shaken up to lead 1f out, ran on well

...suggesting she'll probably race further forward in a more prominent position, which would give her a better chance in my opinion and this theory is backed up by the Geegeez pace/draw heatmap that says prominent runners from a low draw fare best off all here over 1m2f...

Summary

I like both runners and both runners are obviously well suited to the task ahead, hence their scores of 15 on The Shortlist. Yet both come with some doubts over their heads. Both were in excellent form, but failed to win last time out.

Colinton is now some 8lbs higher than his last win and 15lbs higher than his last A/W win, so he's vulnerable there whilst Nuble's 97-day absence is the longest she's gone between races. Admittedly it's not exactly a lengthy lay-off and she did only make her debut less than seven months ago, but all her eight previous starts were condensed into a period of 106 days, so 97 is quite a break for her, having only had 28 days off twice as her longest rest.

That said, if the price is right, they could still be worth backing.

Colinton is currently (3.40pm with Hills) the 4/1 second favourite behind a short-looking Murau at 4/6 and I think the fav is worth taking on at those odds, whilst the 9/1 Scheggi also interested me from an E/W perspective. As for Nuble, she'll need to beat the 9/4 fav Meadram who looks the best in the field, but at odds of 7/1 and possibly bigger later Nuble is definitely worth an E/W bet at the very least and if not too rusty, could still go on and win. Noble Peace also caught the eye at a too-large-looking 14/1.

 

 

 

Racing Insights, Tuesday 03/05/22

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.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

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.

BALLETICON
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!

GRAND REVIVAL
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
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.

CHANTECLER
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.

HEY BOB
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.

TARSEEM
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.

MORANI KALI
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...

Summary

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.

Racing Insights, Tuesday 26/04/22

Tuesday's free 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.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information] and here's how it looks for this Tuesday...

...unsurprisingly mainly made up of runners from the big Punchestown meeting that I tend to swerve, so I'm going to look at the daily free list of racecards, which come from all points North, South, East & West...

  • 1.35 Yarmouth
  • 3.58 Brighton
  • 4.15 Punchestown
  • 8.30 Ayr

It's another small field, I'm afraid, but the 'best' of the UK free races is the 3.58 Brighton, a 6-runner, Class 3, 3yo+ fillies flat handicap over a left-handed 1m2f on good to firm ground...

Thunder Queen is the only LTO winner, but all bar Passionova have at least one win from their last five outings. The latter drops down a class here, but the former is up two levels since that LTO success. Mystic Wells & Undertheboardwalk both step up one class with both making just a second handicap start, as is the afore mentioned Thunder Queen.

Jewel In the Crown is the only previous course winner (over a mile), but she has won over 1m2f at Nottingham whilst Enfranchise won over this trip on the A/W at both Chelmsford & Lingfield. Undertheboardwalk & Jewel In The Crown are making seasonal bows after breaks of 157 and 220 days respectively, but the other four have all been out in the last four weeks.

Mystic Wells and Thunder Queen are both 3 yr olds and receive a whopping 17lbs weight for age allowance here, which could be telling. Plenty of trainers/jockeys with positive form/track icons and it looks like an interesting contest at this point, but I'd say Undertheboardwalk looks weakest right now and the bookies early show had it as a 4-way contest excluding Passionova and Undertheboardwalk....

PASSIONOVA
Won 2 of 6 last season, but hasn't really fired this term just yet, finishing last of seven and eighth of nine in two Class 2 ,A/W runs over a mile. Now up in trip again and despite a good to firm win over 7f at HQ last season, her form is a worry and top weight won't help, even if she is down in class.

JEWEL IN MY CROWN
Won here over a mile last season as part of a campaign that saw her go 3 from 7, including wins over this trip and over a half furlong further. The trip isn't an issue, but she's needing a career best effort here and a 220-day layoff might take its toll on quick ground.

ENFRANCHISE
Made her debut just 54 weeks ago, but has been busy clocking up 11 starts to date. Has won 4 of the 11 and 2 of 5 this year already, including two over today's trip. Just one run on turf to date, winning over a mile at Pontefract on good to firm ground, so she's in the mix.

UNDERTHEBOARDWALK
Just four starts so far, winning a 7f Novice event at Salisbury on debut, but displaying little else as last of 12, 9th of 13 and last of 10 in three runs since. Off track for over five months, she'll need to have improved dramatically to get involved here.

MYSTIC WELLS
Placed in two of four on the Flat and only beaten by a length over this trip as a runner-up last time out despite coming off a 163 day absence. Entitled to improve for the run. Whether she's got more to give is unclear, but a 17lb weight allowance will certainly help.

THUNDER QUEEN
Is also lightly raced, but has won two of four including just getting up on the line last time out over a mile at Winsdor. She gets that 17lb allowance too, but us up in both trip and class. Still holds chances here, though.

An inexperienced field means that Instant Expert is a bit light on data, but it does tell us that...

...three have already won on ground this quick and that two are proven at the trip, as per the comments above. Past similar runnings of small field, 1m2f, good to firm ground handicaps here at Brighton don't show a massive draw bias...

...especially if we treat the stats for stalls 6 & 6 as one stall. Stall 4 has a slightly inferior return, but there's no real rhyme or reason why just one stall would fare better or worse than all the others, so putting draw to one side (for now), it's going to be a case of race tactics and sheer ability. The latter is more 'gut feeling' and a matter of opinion, so let's consider tactics first aka 'pace'. Those 50-odd race above have tended to be won by horses keen to get on with things. Prominent racers and then leaders have the best win records and vice versa for the places...

...which is probably going to suit the likes of Enfranchise most...

Summary

For me it's Enfranchise based on my initial write-up/thoughts, Instant Expert plus the pace profiling. She ticks more boxes than the others and at 10/3, she might be a nice price.

I didn't really like Passionova and Undertheboardwalk from the start, nor do the bookies, so that leaves Jewel, Mystic and Thunder vying for runner-up spot. I think the extra weight carried by the 4yr old Jewel is a negative so she's out.

Of Mystic Wells and Thunder Queen, my heart says the latter based on the odds, but I don't think there's much between them and she's up two classes as opposed to Mystic Wells' one step up and Thunder Queen is actually 1lb out of the handicap, so I'll go with Mystic Wells as my runner-up. She also has a better pace profile.

Racing Insights, Tuesday 19/04/22

Easter is now behind us and normal service is set to resume on Tuesday, where the daily free 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.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

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

Not much catching my eye if truth be told, so I'm hoping that one of the following 'free' racecards has some meat on its bones for analysis purposes...

  • 2.55 Epsom
  • 4.40 Yarmouth
  • 5.10 Yarmouth
  • 7.20 Worcester

And let's head for the Downs and the 2.55 Epsom, an 8-runner, Class 2, 4yo+, Flat Handicap over a left-handed 1m2f on good ground. The prize is decent enough at almost £26k and it'll go to one of these...

No LTO winners on display today, which is a little unusual at this level, but all bar Love Is Golden, Fairmac and Starry Eyes have won at least once in their last five outings. Lots of class movers here today with onlt Love Is Golden having raced at class 2 LTO, as both Starry Eyes & Vulcan move up two classes and Fairmac, Bad Company & Arenas Del Tiempo are all up one level. Soto Sizzler & Achelois both ran in Listed company when last seen.

Epsom can be quirky, but Soto Sizzler has won here twice over 1m4f, whilst Arenas Del Tiempo is a former course and distance winner. Only Love Is Golden and Starry Eyes are without a win at a similar trip to this one. Vulcan hasn't been seen for 400 days since running over hurdles and it's 18 months since his last Flat outing, so he might be vulnerable on yard debut for Ralph Beckett and Achelois (164 days) is the other coming back from a break. The remainder have all raced in the past 24 days.

SOTO SIZZLER
Has been to Epson four times so far (all at 1m4f) finishing 1122. Rounded off his 2021 campaign with a Class 3 win at this trip off a mark of 94 beating Bad Company by 0.75 lengths, but was only 7th of 8 on his seasonal reappearance at Kempton last month, albeit in a Listed race. A class and 5lb higher than his last win means this is far from a gimme.

ACHELOIS
Three wins and a place in a four-run purple patch last May-July included a win on her first crack at class 2 and/or 1m2f. Not seen since November, when beaten by less than two lengths in a Listed race at Doncaster where she beat a subsequent Listed winner. A similar run puts her right in the mix here.

LOVE IS GOLDEN
No win in seven since scoring at Chester in August and he's still 3lbs higher than that day. Didn't cope with conditions at all at Pontefract earlier this month, but did go well at a lower level on seasonal bow at Doncaster.

VULCAN
No run of any kind for 400 days, no Flat run for 18 months and his best form is at Class 5. Runs off a mark 8lbs higher than his last win and is best left watched in my opinion.

FAIRMAC
Was only third of four at Ripon last week after a break of 183 days. it could have been the layoff, it could have been the heavy ground, but he didn't go well. He'll come on for the run, but I'm not generally keen on horses with a 2 from 17 handicap record.

BAD COMPANY
Has a reasonable 5 wins and 2 places from 14 Flat handicap starts and was only 0.75 lengths behind Soto Sizzler two starts ago and he reacquaints himself 3lbs better off, suggesting he could well overturn the deficit. He ran well for much of his last race, when coming off a 155-day break going down by four lengths after weakening late on. He, too, should improve here and could well make the frame.

ARENAS DEL TIEMPO
Has finished 1172 in four starts under today's jockey Hollie Doyle, who rode her to a course and distance success here back in August. She was then beaten here over C&D by just three quarters of a length four weeks later under a 3lb claimer. Has suffered two narrow defeats on the A/W in her last two starts, but a return to this trip and turf should see her go well again.

STARRY EYES
0 from 3 on the Flat and only 2 from 23 on the A/W, it's hard to make a case for a runner beaten in each of her last dozen outings, no win beyond a mile and runnig from a stone outside of the handicap.

At this stage, I've already seen/heard enough about Vulcan, Fairmac & Starry Eyes to tell me that I won't be backing them, so if they win, they won't be carrying my money. Of the remaining five runners, Instant Expert will quickly show me how they've ran in similar circumstances in the past...

Love Is Golden is the standout horse for me here, but for all the wrong reasons. An first crack at quirky Epsom backed by a line of red blocks isn't the ideal profile for winning here, so I'm crossing that one off to leave me with four to consider, all of whom could easily be involved here from stalls 4, 5, 6 and 7 where the draw stats aren't massively conclusive from a winner finding perspective...

...but horses drawn higher than 6 have made the frame in 25 of 64 (39.1%) starts, which is good news for Achelois bid to make the frame from stall 7, where she'll probably want to get her sefl in a prominent position if her most recent runs are anything to go by...

Bad Company is a confirmed front runner, as is the already discarded Fairmac, so we should have some decent early tempo to the race which in the past has tended to be won by those racing prominently or even leading...

and this data is backed up by the pace/draw heatmap...

Summary

Any of these four could win, of course but somewhat surprisingly, the one of the quartet I'm dropping from the final three is the 2/1 favourite Soto Sizzler. His running style doesn't seem to suit the contest ahead and he's 3lbs worse off with pacemaker Bad Company for a win by just three parts of a length, so I suspect Bad Company could finish ahead of the fav here.

Mind you, I fancy the two "A's" to be the first two home. I have a marginal preference for Achelois on ability, but I fear her 164-day layoff allied to the rebooking of Hollie Doyle on her rival Arenas Del Tiempo might just swing the decision.

So, I think it might be tight, but I'm having the 4/1 Arenas Del Tiempo to beat the 7/2 Achelois in the battle of the 4 yr old fillies with Bad Company a nice 10/1 E/W shot for a place.

Racing Insights, Tuesday 12th April 2022

Tuesday's free GOLD feature, the Shortlist, is a simple and usually brief report highlighting those horses with a largely ‘green’ profile in the Instant Expert Report each day and 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]

Here's how Tuesday's Shortlist stacks up...

...whilst these are our 'free' races of the day...

  • 3.35 Newmarket
  • 3.50 Ayr
  • 7.00 Dundalk
  • 7.15 Wolverhampton

I'm not quite ready for Flat Pattern races just yet, so the next best to cover of the free races is the NH contest from North of the Border, the 3.50 Ayr, an 11-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ handicap hurdle (12 flights) over a left-handed 3m½f on good to soft ground...

It's not a great looking race, but could be competitive all the same. Ten of the field were priced at 10/1 or shorter at first show (3pm) with Geyser the outlier at 80/1. Horses are generally that price for a reason, so I'm disregarding him right away. It's a field short on recent wins, Geonice won four starts ago and You Some Boy has won three of his last four, but none of the others have a win on their recent formline.

Topweight Walkonthewildside makes a second handicap appearance and drops down a class and Release the Kraken is in exactly the same situation. Elsewhere Askgarmor also drops down a class, whilst Bak Rocky comes down from Class 2 to Class 5 here.

Most of the field have had a run in the last month or so, with just Walkonthewildside (44 days) You Some Boy (50d) and Release The Kraken (87d) off longer. None of the filed have won here at Ayr before after 13 total attempts and aside from You Some Boy's two wins at 3m1f, none have scored at a similar trip either.

Geonice's yard looks to be in decent form (14 30) and also has a good course record, as do the handlers of Walkonthewildside, Release The Kraken and Askgarmor.

I don't want to spend too long on a fairly mediocre race, so I'm going to quickly look at Instant Expert for relevant form and the pace profiler to see if I can whittle the field down pretty quickly...

Well, the win side of IE doesn't give us a great deal, but Fame And Hope has to be discounted after losing 17 races at this level and I noticed Go Bob Go was 1 6-race maiden too, so he's also of the list. Let's see if the place element of Instant Expert sheds any more light on a potential winner other than You Some Boy...

That looks a little more promising that we might actually have a few suited to run a decent run under these conditions. Shoeshine Boy and Askgarmor in particular look totally different from a place perspective, but I'm at the end of the road with Walkonthewildside and Bak Rocky now, leaving me with six to assess from a pace perspective in a race where similar past races have favoured those most likely to get on with it from the off...

...which based on our runners' most recent outings...

...suggests that the likes of You Some Boy and Your Place are the most likely to succeed.

Summary

I've deliberately gone through this one quickly, because it's not a great racer and I wanted you to see how speedily you can actually come to a conclusion and mine is that I want You Some Boy and Your Place to be the first two home.

You Some Boy had a great five weeks (or so) spell during December and January, when he landed three handicap contests on the bounce, taking his mark up from 82 to 103. He subsequently struggled of his new mark next/last time out at Carlisle seven weeks ago, but quite possibly just needed the break, running out of steam late on. A former class 4 winner, he's better than this field on his day and I expect him to bounce back here.

Your Place is still a maiden after nine starts over hurdles, but unlike the other two I dismissed for failing to win, this one has been knocking on the door of late. He was beaten by just 1.75 lengths over 2m5f here at Ayr two starts ago and then lost by just a head at Hexham last month when stepped up to 2m7½f. He was doing all his best work late on and was only headed/beaten very close to the line and a similar effort puts him in the frame again.

Based on everything we've documented here, I've got to side with You Some Boy over Your Place, but the market disagrees with me somewhat. Your Place is the current (4.15pm) 10/3 favourite, but You Some Boy is available at 17/2, so I'll take an E/W shot there. For a third horse in the frame, they're much of a muchness if truth be told but Shoeshine Boy has beaten both of my 1-2 in recent outings and would be my third horse in any trifecta/tricast perms.

 

Racing Insights, Tuesday 05/04/22

The Shortlist is Tuesday's free feature and it's a simple and usually brief colour-coded 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, where...

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/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 its recent form/current odds might imply.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

Here's how Tuesday's Shortlist looks...

..and the top two are the most interesting with four greens for the four areas they've actually scored in. Mack the Man has never raced on Good to Firm, whilst Hardy du Seuil is making a Southwell debut. In addition to the The Shortlist we, do of course, have the following selection of fully functional free racecards...

  • 3.00 Exeter
  • 3.35 Exeter
  • 3.50 Pontefract

The three 'free' races only have a total of thirteen runners between them and the two most interesting Shortlist runners run in fields of four runners and three runners respectively! So, I think I'll swerve full race profiling today and just focus on those two from The Shortlist, starting with Hardy du Seuil in the 2.15 Southwell, a 3-runner, Class 3, 5yo+ Novices Limited Handicap Chase (13 fences) over 2m on Good ground...

There's a certain symmetry about his form in the UK over fences since coming over from France, where he won one of his two hurdles contests (2m1.5f, soft). Since arriving on these shores, he has two wins, two runner-up finishes and two incompletions from his six starts.

He was a decent enough second of six in a Haydock grade 2 in January, before achieving the same result in a Class 3 contest at Kelso LTO a month ago, finishing 2.5 lengths behind Dubai Days, who has since won again by further. he could probably handle further than this, but in his 6 UK runs to date, he...

  • has never raced here at Southwell (as per The Shortlist)
  • is 2 from 4 on Good ground
  • is 1 from 1 over 2m
  • is 2 from 6 under jockey Gavin Sheehan
  • is 2 from 5 at Class 3

...but is 0 from 3 going left handed, 0 from 3 after more than 30 days rest and 0 from 2 this calendar year (2 x runner-up, though).

Instant Expert verifies some of my stats...

...and also notifies us that he's currently rated some 6lbs higher than his last win. Aside from him never having been here before, a line of green is encouraging.  He tends to race prominently in his races, but his two rivals here also like to take it on if possible...

...but the pace analysis from previous similar events suggests that he'd be advised to let his two rivals fight it out upfront...

*

Just ten minutes later, Mack the Man makes a first run on good to firm ground in the 2.25 Exeter, a 4-runner, Class 3, 4yo+ Handicap Hurdle (8 flights) over a right-handed 2m½f...

As you can see, he's already won over course and distance and that was four starts ago on good to soft ground off a mark 3lbs higher than today. He was raised from 127 to 130 for that win, but it's a sign of how poor his three runs since have been, that he's already dropped 6lbs.

His win here in November came after a break of 242 days (most of his best runs come after breaks), but was only 5th of 8 (9L) two months later. he was then quickly (13 days) turned back out at Lingfield finishing 7th of 12 (40L) before coming home last of five (55L) at Carlisle next/last time out a month later (six weeks ago) and his recent form allied to never having raced on such quick ground is an obvious concern.

His 4 wins and 3 places from 14 over hurdles is decent enough and he's 1 from 1 here at Exeter. All his best form has been on ground softer than good and he was unplaced on his only good ground run. He's 4 from 12 at 1m7½f to 2m1f, so the shorter trips suit him and today's jockey, Adam Wedge, has been on board for all four wins (from 12 rides).

He's 2 from 3 at Class 3 and 2 from 3 in fields of 4-7 runners (although last of 5 LTO), he's 3 from 7 going right handed, but hasn't won any of three races in 2022...

He has tended to be waited with in recent outings...

... and was held-up when winning here in November "held up in rear, headway approaching 3 out, challenged 2 out, led flat, stayed on well", but the stats say that's not going to be the best course of action on quicker ground...

*

Summary

Hardy du Seuil is pretty closely matched with Sir Tivo in my book and both should beat Stepney Causeway. Sir Tivo is 5lbs higher than his LTO win and not having raced for 130 days, I feel he's slightly disadvantaged, giving the edge to Hardy du Seuil, who is a fairly-priced 6/4 with Hills.

As for Mack The Man, you'd say on first glance that conditions were ideal, other than the untried going hence his inclusion on The Shortlist, but closer inspection says he's out of form and his usual pace profile is going to leave him with too much to do here. He's not for me today, even off a mark of 124. In fairness, there's no outstanding horse in the race, all hace pros and cons, but I'll be leaving the Mack alone, reminding myself that The Shortlist should be a starting point rather than an end in itself!

Racing Insights, Tuesday 29/03/22

Tuesday's free feature is The Shortlist report, which 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.

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 this is how The Shortlist looks for this Tuesday...

...where Rocky's Treasure interests me most on his first visit to Uttoxeter. In addition to The Shortlist we also have the following 'free' races of the day...

  • 2.05 Fontwell
  • 2.50 Navan
  • 3.00 Uttoxeter
  • 7.00 Wolverhampton

I had a quick look at Rocky's Treasure and whilst it looks like he has favoured conditions at Uttoxeter, he hasn't ran well for some considerable time and at 11 yrs of age probably hasn't got many wins left in him. This leaves me with the free races of which the last lends itself best to toolbox analysis, so we're looking at the 7.00 Wolverhampton, an 8-runner, Class 5, 4yo+ A/W handicap over a left-handed 1m4f on standard tapeta...

So, we've three LTO winners on display in Najeeba, Pecy Willis and Red Flyer with the latter seeking a hat-trick and the former coming back from five months off track. The rest of the field have all raced since Najeeba did with five having been out in the last four weeks.

The top four on the card, including two of our LTO winners, are all dropping down from Class 4 action, but bottom weight El Jad moves the opposite direction from Class 6. Red Flyer has won over this trip at Kempton & Lingfield and Najeeba has won over slightly longer at Newcastle, whilst Richard RHB has won here three times over 1m1½f, but we do have two course & distance winners in Percy Willis and Eagle One.

RED FLYER
Three wins and two runner-up finishes from his last five, comes here on a hat-trick just 2lbs higher than an LTO win over this trip at Lingfield but now drops in class, definite chances.

PERCY WILLIS
C&D winner by a short head here LTO 15 days ago on easily his best run to date. Narrow margin means a mere 2lb rise and he should be on the premises once again.

AFKAAR
Just two poor runs three weeks apart in December to date, as last of 9 (12L) over 1m3f on debut at Kempton and then 9th of 11 here over C&D just before New Year. Down 4lbs, down in class and returning from a wind op are all positives, but not today for me.

RICHARD R H B
Loves it here, winning 3 of 6 over 1m1½f, but his failure to even make the frame in six attempts over C&D tells its own story. 5th of 8 behind Percy Willis over C&D LTO and has work to do.

NAJEEBA
Difficult one for me. Arguably the most promising on show here, but hasn't raced since winning quite comfortably over 1m4½f at Newcastle five months ago. Looks leniently treated on handicap debut and could well be the one to beat if ready first up.

EAGLE ONE
Won here over C&D four starts ago and has been a runner-up in his two both at this trip/class, firstly here over C&D and then at Southwell two months ago. He was staying on well both times, but never really looked threatening, if truth be told.

PECKINPAH
0 from 6 on the Flat, 0 from 5 on the A/W and now returns to this sphere after six defeats over hurdles, where he's 0 from 9. Those numbers speak for themselves and he's not winning here either.

EL JAD
Seven starts, all on the A/W without winning any and making the frame just twice. Fifth of nine at Southwell over this trip last week was a creditable effort , but a rise in class isn't helping him win here.

Instant Expert gives us an 'at a glance' form comparison across today's forecasted conditions...

...and I'm not interested in those with a line of red, which quickly takes Afkaar, Peckinpah & El Jad out of the equation. Najeeba looks the best, albeit off a small sample size and could be thrown in off a mark of 68. Richard RHB has some good numbers, but is now 8lbs higher than his last win and his record at 1m4f is lamentable. Percy Willis & Red Flyer are the pick of the pack at this trip.

The draw stats for similar past races suggest stall 4 or higher is the best place to be...

...which is a negative against Red Flyer and Najeeba and yet another for El Jad and when we look at the pace analysis of those contests above, we see that...

...there's not a great deal in it, but hold-up horses do come off worst which is another red cross next to Peckinpah's name...

Summary

I think Najeeba is the best/most promising on show here, but having not raced for over five months, I can't be backing her at 11/10. Don't get me wrong, she should be winning this, she's not up against too much and 11/10 might end up being good value at 7.10pm on Tuesday, but you need deep pockets to be punting at those prices and the size of my styakes don't warrant the risk here.

Will I have a bet? Probably not, if I'm honest. Red Flyer and Percy Willis the most interesting of the rest, but at 9/4 and 13/2 respectively, there's not enough for an E/W punt, although if one touched 8's that would be a different story.

Bottom line is that much depends on Najeeba's readiness first up, but save your money for better races.

Racing Insights, Tuesday 22/03/22

Tuesday's free offering from the Geegeez Gold Toolkit 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's a colour coded report that covers win or place stats, and like all our reports, can be viewed for both the current and the subsequent day'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]

In addition to the free feature, we also have our usual selection of fully functional free racecards as follows...

  • 1.26 Wetherby
  • 2.26 Exeter
  • 3.01 Exeter
  • 4.03 Clonmel

Here's how The Shortlist looks for Tuesday...

Attention quickly goes to the top two, but interest waned for me when I saw the Market Rasen race only had four runners and that Black Pirate wasn't too far ahead of another on the list, Antunes. We've three runners in the 3.46, so that's probably a tad too competitive/tough to call, leaving just Moroder on 10pts. To be honest, he's not a standout eyecatcher on those stats, but he runs in a 'free' race, so it makes sense to try and kill two birds with one stone and tackle the 3.01 Exeter, a 7-runner, Class 3, 5yo+ Handicap Chase taking in 21 fences over a gruelling right-handed 3m7f on soft ground for a first prize of some £11,219...

Shortlist horse Moroder is the clear form pick here, having won each of his last three starts whereas Canelo is unplaced in six. Just two horses are moving class today, as Encounter A Giant drops in from Class 2 whilst Len Brennan is up from Class 4. There shouldn't be any rustiness on display either as all have raced in the past four weeks or so.

Moroder has won here over 3m and 3m½f in his last two starts, but none of the others have won here before and not one of the seven have won at this trip.

MORNING SPIRIT
Useful at Bumper/Hurdle races, making the frame in 7 of 12 starts, but has only completed one of three chase contests, falling at Aintree last October and again here at Exeter 11 days ago either side of finishing 2nd of 17 here over three miles. His jumping has been sketchy so far and he's up in trip by 7f, being asked to go 5f further than ever before and a mark of 131 doesn't help, even if...

EQUUS DREAMER
312 over hurdles and 324 over fences and has shown a tendency to not see races out. That might be because 3m is too short for him, meaning he's going to relish 3m7f, as his best run to date was over the longest he's travelled so far, so he might be a stayer in the making.

CANELO
Yard and rider are in great form (see below), but has shown very little since landing the Grade 3 Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day 2020. His last six runs have seen him fall in the Grand National and be pulled up at Newbury along with defeats of 28L, 40L, 31L and 29L.

MORODER
Improving over fences each time, finishing P6111 so far, having won a Class 4 over 3m2½f at Plumpton just before Christmas and then a Class 3 over 3m½f here at Exeter four weeks later, just holding off the 6/4 fav by half a length after a 4lb weight rise. That earned him another four pounds but didn't anchor him next/last time as he won here again. also at Class 3, getting home by 8.5 lengths over 3m on soft ground. Up another 6lbs, but he might not have stopped improving yet.

CLASSIC BEN
Was a good second of thirteen here at Exeter over a trip just ½f shorter than today almost four weeks ago, but I'm yet to be convinced whether it was a belated return to form (no win in 10 since early Feb'19) or just a one-off decent run after dropping to a career-low mark of 122. Back up 3lbs here too.

ENCOUNTER A GIANT
Three wins and a place from seven PTP contests suggests he should be able to jump, but has had just four races under Rules in almost 28 months. He unseated his rider 2 out in a 2m7½f chase at Huntingdon in early December 2019 and then won by 8 lengths over 3m1½f on heavy ground at Hereford. He then didn't reappear until five weeks ago after 787 days off and unsurprisingly needed the run and was pulled up before 3 out here over 3m. His next/last run did see him complete the race, but he was a distant 6th of 7, tailed off and beaten by 59 lengths.

LEN BRENNAN
One from six over hurdles and one from twelve over fences is less than encouraging, but his sole chase victory did come just two starts ago when 7.5 lengths clear over 3m2f at Plumpton three weeks ago. He then ran off the same mark but down in class at Southwell a fortnight ago and was only fourth of eight. Back up in class now and 7lb heavier than LTO, Len Brennan might well need a kick up the arse (one for Father Ted fans, there).

Instant Expert shows past form at going, class, course, distance and field size as well as showing the difference 9if any) between today's official rating and their last winning mark (if there is one). This feature allows us to see the form of an entire field at once like this...

Now, we expected Moroder to show up well, as he's The Shortlist horse, but that's quite incredible. Loads of red knocking around. Classic Ben has tried (and failed) more than the others and has scored poorly across the board. Len Brennan has been poor at Class 3 and only Canelo has any respectability to his numbers and he's notably lighter than his last win. That said, he's in awful form, unlike 4-timer seeking Moroder who after wins over 3m and 3m½f here at Exeter on his last two starts, so he knows how to win here and he generally runs prominently and actually made most of the running LTO as shown on the racecard pace tab...

And I'm not actually sure that pace score of 1 from two starts ago is correct. He won here over 3m that day and the race report says..."Held up in behind leaders, close up 4th, led when not fluent 10th, mistake 5 out, ridden 3 out, briefly disputed lead 2 out, good jump last, kept on, just did enough"... suggesting a score of at least 3 to me, which makes his 4-race average 3.25 and the likely leader, which is great here for those 3m type races, but what about over today's 3m7f?

Well, I've had to expand the parameters to get a workable sample, but the data suggests that hold-up horses win their fair share of races, but leading has paid off most...

...which will hopefully be great news for The Shortlist horse, Moroder.

Summary

It's very hard to get away from Moroder here and I'm not going to try to. I had it in my head that 3/1 would be a fair price and I'm happy to report that at 4.10pm, both Hills & Bet365 (the only two showing their hand) are both offering that price. They've got Equus Dreamer at similar odds and that's probably right. He's possibly the best of the rest, if only because he hasn't failed as often or as badly as the others.

 

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.