Tag Archive for: Yarmouth racecourse

Racing Insights, Tuesday 30/04/24

The Shortlist is Tuesday's free Geegeez GOLD feature and it's a simple (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 for both the current and the next 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 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 might imply.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]

Here are my qualifiers on Tuesday's Shortlist...

...where Rajindri would be of most obvious interest. As ever, the daily feature is complemented by a selection of fully functional racecards opened up to all readers and for Tuesday they cover...

  • 3.00 Brighton
  • 3.40 Punchestown
  • 4.00 Nottingham
  • 5.45 Catterick

...from which I think I will have a look at the 4yr old Rajindri and the other 10 runners in the 5.00 Yarmouth, which is a Class 4, 3yo+ fillies' flat handicap over a straight 7f on good to soft ground...

Nighteyes was the only one of these to have won last time out, but Rajindri was a runner-up and is two from four, whilst Queens Reign, Bella Bisbee and Royal Elysian all won their penultimate starts with the latter also finishing third last time out, as did Rating and Elderflower.

Top-weight Conservatonist drops down a class for his debut for Kevin Ryan, Shin Jihai drops down two classes for her second crack at a handicap and Queen's Reign makes her handicap bow, 3 classes lower than her Group 3 defeat (Solera Stakes) last time out.

Going the other direction are Bella Bisbee and Elderflower who both step up one class for their handicap debuts, whilst it's handicap debut day for Nighteyes and a second attempt for Baileys Pola Dot (after a recent wind op), Bigger than Giga and Royal Elysian.

In fact only Conservationist, Rajindri and Rating have more than one handicap run under their belts and Rating is the horse turned back out quickest, just a fortnight after finishing third of nine at Newmarket. Royal Elysian and Bella Bisbee both ran three and four weeks ago respectively, whilst Baileys Polka Dot (72 days off) is the only other filly to have raced on 2024.

Elderflower was in action just before Christmas last year, but Shin Jihai, Conservationist, Rajindri, Bigger Than Giga, Queens Reign and Nighteyes have all been absent for seven moths or more and might well need the run!

Rajindri is the only one of the field to have raced here at Yarmouth before and he's a course and distance winner, but Queen's Reign, Bigger Than Giga and Shin Jihai have also won over this trip, as shown on a rather depleted-looking Instant Expert...

...dominated as you'd expect by Rajindri from TS. That said, the field only have 52 races between them so far and just 10 wins, so I'm hoping to get a bit more help from the place data...

...which again confirms Rajindri's liking of the expected conditions, but most of them show up well and I wouldn't write any of them off just yet, but Conservationist, Rajindri, Nighteyes and Rating edge it here for me (high percentages off more than just one run!).

I didn't get as much assistance as I'd hoped for from Instant Expert, which is a shame as I'm not expecting much help from the draw stats. Surely there's not much draw bias in a straight seven furlongs here?

Hmmm, not a huge bias, but it would appear that stalls 1 to 5 might well be the place to be, based on an admittedly fairly small sample size, which could potentially be good news for Nighteyes, Queen's Reign, Rajindri, Bella Bisbee and Elderflower. If we then see how those races above were won...

...the inference is quite clear. You need to get on with things early doors here at Yarmouth with those racing prominently or leading going on to provide 57.7% of the winners and 44.2% of the placed horses from just 39.3% of the runners with leaders winning far more than their fair share, so if any of Nighteyes, Queen's Reign, Rajindri, Bella Bisbee and Elderflower are front-runners, they could be expected to go well.

Now, we never who might lead, but by looking at how horses have raced in the past, we can sometimes make a judgment call as to how a race might pan out, so let's look at this field's most recent efforts...

...where Conservationist, Nighteyes, Rating and Queen's Reign would be the ones to take from here and this quartet will emerge from stalls 11, 1, 9 and 2 respectively.


If we start with recent form, then Nighteyes, Rajindri, Queens Reign, Bella Bisbee, Royal Elysian, Rating and Elderflower all merit a second look and it was Conservationist, Rajindri, Nighteyes and Rating who caught my eye most from Instant Expert.

We then moved to the draw and ace stats and from past similar races, stalls 1 to 5 (Nighteyes, Queen's Reign, Rajindri, Bella Bisbee and Elderflower) were deemed the best places to be drawn for a race that suits leaders and prominent runners. From the field's last few races, Conservationist, Nighteyes, Rating and Queen's Reign seem most likely to be setting the tempo.

It's very rare that a horse ticks all the analysis boxes for me, but one horse keeps popping up here and that's Nighteyes. I do have some concerns about her nine-month layoff, but having looked at the market at 5.45pm on Monday...

...I'd be happy with 10/1 as an E/W option.

Rating and Rajindri also ticked several boxes and I suspect they'll both go well and this could easily be the day that Rating finally gets off the mark after eight defeats, She has been close of late, finishing 233 in her last three outings and should come on for having had a run earlier this month. Rajindri has conditions to suit here, too and should be in the mix if race-ready after a break.

Racing Insights, Thursday 27/07/23

Did you know that the Instant Expert tab is by far the most popular tab on the geegeez racecards?

That's because it has the ability to condense the entire form profile of every runner in the race into a single, easily digestible, view. The report covers the form in terms of wins (or places), runs, and win (or place) percentage for each of going, class, course, distance, and field size. It also compares today’s official rating with the horse’s last winning official rating. The display is colour coded: green for a higher percentage rate, amber for a middling percentage, and red for a low percentage. Horses with no form under a certain condition have grey figures.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Where a horse has no UK/Irish form – i.e. it is having its first run in Britain or Ireland under Rules – it will not show up on Instant Expert at all.

This GOLD feature is so important that we make freely available to ALL readers EVERY Thursday alongside our usual selection of FREE races which, for this Thursday are...

  • 2.20 Worcester
  • 2.30 Doncaster
  • 3.15 Sandown
  • 6.52 Leopardstown
  • 8.30 Yarmouth
  • 8.45 Newbury

The Sandown race is a Listed contest and is clearly the 'best' on the list, but 2yo fillies really aren't my thing, so let's check out the UK's most valuable race of the day, the final contest in the evening's Racing League fixture and the penultimate of our free races, the 8.30 Yarmouth, which is a 13-runner, Class 2, 3yo+ flat handicap over a left-handed 1m2f on good to soft ground...

This looks a tricky/competitive contest and I'm sure you'll be able to make a case for quite a few of these. The upside of this is that there shouldn't be any short prices and we might find a nice E/W bet for ourselves, especially with the bookies paying four places...

Andaleep won last time out, Elzaam Blue comes here on a hat-trick and Eagles Way has won his last four! Like A Tiger has won two of his last three, as has Cumulonimbus who has four wins and two places from his last seven outings.

These five are the 'form horses' here, but Certain Lad, Dark Pine, Baryshnikov, Ace Rothstein and Aqwaam all come here on fairly lengthy losing streaks, having lost their last 8, 12, 11, 11 and 7 races respectively. In fact, their recent form in comparison with the other five I named is so bad that I'm just going to omit them from my considerations immediately, leaving my card looking like this...

This makes the field much more manageable with just eight runners to consider, as I look at class movements. Five of the eight are stepping up in class here with Eagle's Way and Regal Empire up one class, Andaleep and Bringbackmemories are both up two levels and it's a triple step up for hat-trick seeking Elzaam Blue, which might make life tough.

Cumulonimbus and Old Port both raced at Class 2 last time out with the former having won and placed in his last two Class 2 starts, whilst Like A Tiger actually drops down from Listed class to run in just his second handicap contest, having won on handicap debut two starts ago. That win was over today's trip and of my eight under consideration, only Old Port, Regal Empire and Elzaam Blue have yet to score at this distance. Only Cumulonimbus has won here at Yarmouth, making all to score over course and distance on good to soft ground back in September 2022 at the start of his seven-race run of form I mentioned earlier.

Eagle's Way now carries top weight of those I'm still considering and his chances of a fifth win on the bounce might be affected by the fact that he hasn't raced for just over ten months, although he did win at Brighton on his seasonal reappearance at last July after an eight month absence, so he might well be one of those who goes well fresh. His rivals, however, have all raced in the last four weeks apart from Like A Tiger who has had twelve weeks' rest. Based on the above and on recent form, Old Port looks the weakest of the octet, so I'm bidding him goodbye before we even look at feature of the day, Instant Expert...

Eagle's Way is 2 from 2 on good ground and 2 from 2 on good to firm, but hasn't raced on good to soft and was only 8th of 15 when beaten by 9 lengths over 7f on soft ground when making his debut in October 2021. He makes a Class 2 debut after 2 wins at Class 3 and 2 at Class 5, but will certainly get the trip. Cumulonimbus has a line of green albeit off a small number of relevant races, but Andaleep is proven at this trip. Bringbackmemories looks the weakest on those win stats, particularly with 7 defeats from 8 at this trip. Perhaps, his place stats will make him look better...

And, in fairness, they do. Those numbers suggest he could still be in contention to make the frame, but I've already decided that I won't be backing him to win this one. He's drawn widest of the seven and is second widest of the entire field and although we don't have a stack of data (which is why I've tweaked the parameters a touch) about similar past contests, I'd say out wide is not the place to be here...

...from either a win or a place perspective and the PRB3 figures suggest those drawn 3 to 10 would have the best chances here...

...which keeps the other six runners in with a shout. Those 30+ races I used for the draw stats have, like many a Yarmouth race, tended to be won by those setting or closely tracking the pace...

...which, on the evidence of the runners' last four outings, would appear to suit Cumulonimbus, Eagle's Way and Elzaam Blue more than the others...

...and the pace/draw heat map looks like this...


I've used a process of elimination up to the draw stats, which I think eliminate Bringbackmemories from my enquiries, a decision backed up by his pace stats and the subsequent heat map. The heat map also suggests that Like A Tiger might struggle here, but if Elzaam Blue races like he did two, three and four starts ago, he could still be in with a shout.

Of those above, i think Regal Empire is the weakest and he was beaten in a lower grade last time out, so i wouldn't be backing him here. I also won't back Bringbackmemories or Like A Tiger to win this, although the latter clearly has ability and was the 9/2 favourite at 4.45pm on Wednesday. I suspect he'll be there or thereabouts despite my misgivings, but he's too short for to consider a win or an E/W bet.

This leaves me with Andaleep, Eagle's Way, Cumulonimbus and Elzaam Blue and with the bookies paying four places, they'd be the four I'd want to consider from at least an E/W perspective. Cumulonimbus has ticked most boxes all the way through the process and for me, he's the one to beat and can be backed at 13/2, which is quite reasonable.

Of the other three E/W possibles, Eagle's Way and Andaleep are both priced at or above my nominal 8/1 preferred price, so a pair of small E/W bets might be the answer there, but Elzaam Blue would be too short for those purposes at 6/1.

Monday Musings: Remembering “Ginger” Roger

I suppose it will be happening ever more regularly now, writes Tony Stafford. The phone rings and someone says: “Did you know so-and-so died?”

Roger Hales, a great friend of racing, lost to us last week

Roger Hales, a great friend of racing, lost to us last week

Until the call last Tuesday I didn’t know Roger died, and it was only when I did that I realised I hadn’t been getting since before Christmas the almost daily call of “Fancy anything today? I’m just calling to see if you are all right.” Or rather, “all roit”.

Considering he was a year older than me and that from his days as a teenager down the mines near to his Nuneaton home, his breathing was always difficult, he got around walking many fast miles every day until very recently.

The breathing problems became even more difficult in later years when visits to doctors’ medical centres, and even brief stays in hospital to get some much-needed oxygen, characterised his time in his new life in Great Yarmouth, which he enjoyed to distraction especially when he moved within a few hundred yards of the track.

Roger “Ginger” Hales had been a fixture on the country’s Midlands racecourses from the time his father, who ran a betting business in the town, first introduced him to some of the characters of his own life experience.

Occasionally jockeys would come to see Hales senior and, while he did tell me a couple of names and the services for which they would be paid, I think it unfair to besmirch their memory.

I am much less reluctant to relate an anecdote which he loved to tell, about his family’s next-door neighbour, a certain Billy Breen. He was a celebrity in the Nuneaton of the 1960’s when, in common with many people in those days, their telephone was on a party line with next door.

When Billy, stage name Larry Grayson of “shut that door” fame, noticed Roger’s mum had picked up her receiver while he was already talking, he would proceed shamelessly to “camp up” the conversation. “She loved it,” said Roger. “Billy was the nicest man. We were all delighted with his great success on TV.”

Part of the family routine in those days was that they would all decamp every late summer for the big September meeting at Great Yarmouth, where dad would have a pitch at the races and Roger would help while his mother and sisters enjoyed the full holiday experience.

Then there were years training greyhounds to win races all around the country. “One top trainer used to pump them full of steroids,” he recalled. “I got hold of a few of them from him and it took at least six months to get it out of their system, just walking them and giving them proper natural food. Then we would take them flapping (unlicensed racing) and often pull off a gamble!”

Later in life – and this is when I first met him, around 20 years ago - he was running a company making metal garden items, such as hanging baskets. He walked up to me, unannounced, at Yarmouth, introducing himself. He told me how he ran a company employing many staff but that it was going bust as major firms took so long paying their bills for the products they bought.

Within a couple of years, he had left his family, moving permanently, alone, to Yarmouth where he soon became a very popular figure around the town. A few times when I visited for a race meeting and was able to be there for a couple of hours beforehand, we would walk through the market and be stopped every few yards. No mean feat for an outsider!

But the connection with racing continued well into his 70’s and he could often be seen either helping a trainer at the races or driving a horsebox from one end of the country to another. Noel Quinlan was one of those he knew best.

Noel said: “He would do anything for you – even drive down from Yarmouth to Newmarket to muck out or drive a box. Then when he returned the box he would wash it out and leave it much cleaner than when he collected it. He was about the same age as my late brother Michael and he was so sad, as we all were, when he died.”

Roger used to love to come and watch Raymond Tooth’s horses run as we got to know each other better. I needed to be there and often when there was a long trip north, he would insist on driving, usually meeting near Huntingdon. He had been a long-distance lorry driver and had a licence which allowed him to drive larger horseboxes.

One tale involving a much smaller vehicle, a two-hander which needed to be collected in Newmarket; transferred up to Richmond in North Yorkshire where he was to pick up a filly and then on to Wilf Storey in Co. Durham to drop her off, was not without incident.

It soon became obvious to him as he left Richmond and the filly (a two-year-old) settled in, that the partition was faulty, and she was falling into the middle all the time. She had a bumpy ride, poor thing. Then after delivering her safely, making sure to avail himself of Brenda Storey’s legendary Victoria Sponge cake <I always used to bring one back from there!> on his way out of Wilf’s yard, he banged into one of the guarding posts at the entrance, doing a fair bit of damage to the vehicle, less so the stone. I expect it took a degree of soft soap to sweet talk the box-owner and allay his irritation.

Back in 2011, several years earlier than the box incident, we got into a great routine. It was at the time of French Fifteen’s brilliant two-year-old career with Nicolas Clement. After he won his first race near the German border, which we missed, Clement found him three more successive winning opportunities.

Roger would drive down from Great Yarmouth to Hackney Wick, pick me up and drive via a very late Eurotunnel train to the West of France from Calais, usually arriving early in the morning.

We went in July to Chateaubriant, August to Le Lion d’Angers, and in early September to Craon. On  the last-named trip French Fifteen won a very good Listed race at the expense of the favourite, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, who used to expect to win the race every year.

To say Roger enjoyed the day is an under-statement as after the race he was invited to join us on the podium and conversed for a few minutes with a senior administrator who happened to be one of the Baron Rothschilds. “I was speaking to a Rothschild!”, he kept reminding me, all the way home.

The colt’s next race was a Group 3 at Saint-Cloud, and that was the one time Raymond could attend; so he, Steve Gilbey and me, travelled by Eurostar for his only other defeat as a juvenile apart from his debut, finishing an okay second, but losing just the same.

There were misgivings (both from owner and trainer) about whether he should run in the Criterium International (Group 1) back then, but in the end we bit the bullet; though it was to be me and Roger again. As usual, it was an early pick-up so, knowing his penchant for promptness, I called at 5 a.m. asking: “Are you in the car park?” He replied that, no, he was stuck on the side of the M11 with a broken-down car and a phone with no credit.

Having organised a pick-up to take him and his vehicle back home, I set off to drive to Paris. When FF won in great style, I couldn’t partake of the free-flowing champagne but a one-time (and not especially favourite) divorce client of the boss, John Livock, certainly did enjoy the refreshments. By the time I set off back home for Chelsea and Ray’s house to deliver the massive trophy, I was almost convinced that Livock and not Tooth was the owner!

Within a week, French Fifteen was sold to a member of the Qatar Ruling family. He came to the 2,000 Guineas the following spring and got within a neck of Camelot in a desperate finish. Roger always remembered bumping into Nicolas Clement before the race and having a great chat. As he turned back to us before going in, he said: “What a gentleman, he gave me two owners’ badges.”

Everyone who knew Roger regarded him as a gentleman. His Yarmouth friends Richie Farnese, Gary Holmes, who called me with the awful news, and Malcolm “Murphy” Alexander recalled countless instances of helping infirm older relatives and how he would volunteer at the medical centres when anyone needed to get to hospital.

His friend Vicky Coleman, who he referred to whenever they bumped into anyone as “my babs” has a similar story. Her grandmother was ill with cancer a few years back and Roger “used to take granny everywhere when he still had a car. He was the same with my mum Maureen and my two girls.”

When Covid struck, coincidentally his health deteriorated, Vicky believing his not being able to drive being the major reason rather than the virus. I remember at the time when nobody was supposed to go out, but the buses were still running, he would call and say: “I’m in Norwich” or “I’ve come to Peterborough”. He would say: “No-one’s about, but I managed to get a cup of tea and then I’ll be coming back and probably be the only person on the bus.”

Nobody got better value from their Seniors Bus Pass, or as he would laugh at his frequent later trips to his various medical appointments, “Or the NHS!”

I hate funerals but once this lovely man’s time to be laid to rest is settled, I will move heaven and earth to be there.

- TS